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Ensign Doz Finch - The Thing About Coincidences (Part II)


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@Doz Finch has a gift for dialogue and is such a fantastic storyteller. I can't wait to read more! Fantastic work! 👏

Quote

((Finch’s Scrapyard, The Apa Farm, Bajor))

 

The thing about coincidences is that they always felt contrived…at least they did to Doz. As if the universe, living and breathing in its infinite mystery and neverending wisdom—not to mention its dodgy sense of humour—decided to select mere mortals at random and plop them into situations that seemed far too unlikely to actually be true. Supplanting people and scenarios in a sort of “willy-nilly” fashion, like the jokester it was. And in this case, tossed into an incredible chase involving a mechanical dog eerily similar to one she had known in her past, she had found herself at the butt of its latest joke; surrounded by robots in the scrapyard of a Bajoran farm, she had somehow bumped into her brother Wallace, actually in person and face to face…for the first time in years.

 

W. Finch: Bless my soul. Is that you, Doz?

 

Finch: Wallace!

 

W. Finch: ::Shocked::…You’ve aged.

 

Finch: You’re not exactly a spring chicken yourself, thank you very much! ::Shaking her head quickly:: What are you doing here? On this farm? On Bajor for god's sake!?

 

It was as if she had been electrocuted, seeing him there, all fleshy and real and not at all like the holographic version of him she had seen in video messages in which he wished her a brief and slightly awkward happy birthday once a year. But there in person her brother looked so old, so different… saggier skin, dulled eyes, a certain frailty...if that was the right word to use. And evidently he saw the same in her too. A pair of strangers... almost.

 

W. Finch: What does it look like I’m doing! I’m keeping busy. I'm building things. Mending them.

 

Finch: But what happened to your work at the institution on Tellar Prime?

 

W. Finch: ::Sheepishly:: Eh, well…they are a very prickly people, the Tellarites.

 

Finch: ::Bemused, she raised an eyebrow:: I did think you were off your head taking that position all those years ago. But are you alright? In yourself?

 

Off his head because he was an awkward person who fringed on the bizarre, certainly in social settings—so she could only imagine he was the same in professional ones too. That was him, though, and she had always loved him (as frustrating as it was sometimes) because of it. But she wouldn’t say that to him, at least not there in that moment after not seeing him for so long. She could already feel a thin sweat lacquering her arms and neck at the mere encounter, still struggling to believe it was really happening—or it could have been the weather, which she had started to notice had become steadily balmier.

 

W. Finch: I’m fine! In fact, I’m very well. Life is good here.

 

Finch: I’m glad. Really, I’m glad.

 

W. Finch: …Yes…but what are you doing here, Doz? How did you find me, exactly?

 

Finch: I came here to return what I’m guessing now is one of your faulty contraptions. I should have known, really. It wouldn’t be the first time one of your “robots” has spiralled out of control. The thing near had Deep Space Nine on lockdown!

 

It was her attempt at humour, a tiny way to bridge a connection with the brother she had almost completely lost touch with over the years. Decades upon decades of an unspoken tension that had festered to a point of obscurity, one that they both knew existed but never brought up, as was the curse of their family. Emotional depth hidden by a steel wall of raillery, strong enough to protect them from any oncoming barrage—the reliable Finch trait.

 

Finch: Actually, if I’m being honest, I was glad for it. I was on one of those monotonous station tours.

 

W. Finch: Oh, not one of those.

 

Finch: Exactly. Anyway, I caught it and decided to bring it back here. I mean, look at the state of it, Wallace. The thing has a death wish.

 

Wallace: ::Scratching the side of his chin, he smirked, eyes bulged:: It just has a personality is all. All dogs have them, Doz. You remember Jupiter, of course.

 

The robotic dog beside her continued to spew out mechanical panting sounds, and amidst its mechanical tune she fondly remembered Jupiter, their family Goldendoodle, panting excitedly in its place. A very distant memory indeed that instantly imbued her senses with that familiar nostalgic warmth, almost tactile; the smell of the sea carried along the sands of the Yorke Bay beach, the squawking of penguins dispersing from a rising tide, the fresh splodges of mud in the kitchen after a rainy day and the pungent odour of wet dog intermingled with burning wood on an open fire. 

 

Finch: Our first dog… How could I forget him? He was just as bonkers as you.

 

W. Finch: ::He grinned clumsily:: Not that it helped him to like me anymore. He always liked you most...the same with people too.

 

Finch: Oh, nonsense! But if that's true then it’d only be because I’m a pushover, Wallace! I'm sometimes too nice for my own good.

 

W. Finch: ::His smile waned a touch, before his profile lit up again, eyes popping:: So tell me what you’re doing now. Are you still working on that notorious intrepid that’s always getting into trouble?

 

It didn’t surprise her that Wallace hadn’t tracked her career. That he wasn’t aware of what had gone on with her since the “incident” on the Marigold. She had wanted to tell him so many times how she had received a sponsorship in her fifties, how she had returned to the Academy to certify her commission as an Officer. It was outlandish, really, and completely out of character. She had sworn so many times that she would never do it. That she was content to stay where she was. But after losing Murph…

 

Finch: I’m an Officer now, Wallace! An Ensign—shiny pip and all.

 

W. Finch: You never are!

 

Finch: I am! ::She harrumphed comically:: I’m on a flagship. Arguably *the* flagship. The USS Gorkon. A Sovereign class. All the way at the outer edges of Romulan and Klingon space. ::She emphasised the names:: You want to see Main Engineering, it’s something else.

 

W. Finch: ::Grinning widely:: That’s wonderful, Doz. Really, really wonderful.

 

Lines deepened like long canyons at either side of her eyes and mouth as she beamed at him, bathing a little in his approval. Regardless of how old they both were, of how bumbling he was with family matters and of how sometimes his ignorance frustrated her, he was still her older brother. Losing touch with him over the years had felt like a splinter under the skin, each year buried deeper and deeper, unable to be plucked out but still now and then reminding her of its presence with its tender sting.

 

Finch: If I’m being honest with you… I did it because I didn’t know what else to do. When… ::Her voice crackled, and she paused, squeezing her fingers together:: …When Murphy died.

 

W. Finch: ::His smile faded:: Yes… I was…very sad to hear about that.

 

Finch: ::She swallowed:: He always talked about you, you know. Always said how much he missed you. He really valued your friendship and… he never understood why you cut him off.

 

W. Finch: Yes, well…that was the past. ::He awkwardly smiled:: No point bringing it up now. ::Looking at the dog:: I’ll take a look at it and see what can be done to fix it. Shouldn’t be too complicated. It’s one of my earlier designs—will probably take minutes.

 

As if she had been holding air in her lungs, she exhaled, her two bushy eyebrows meeting each other with regret. Regret for how everything turned out with her brothers, especially him. The distance that had become so monumental over the years that they barely recognised each other, except for their voices—and even their voices were different. He was raspier, strangulated… so god only knew how she sounded. But his temperament hadn’t changed. His proclivity for ignoring the truth, for choosing ignorance over empathy, for turning away from *his* innermost feelings hadn’t changed. Not one bit.

 

And it was like looking at herself in a mirror.

 

Finch: He loved you anyway, Wallace.

 

W. Finch: Mm… except he loved you more.

 

Her lips drifted apart, and everything around her went quiet—ghostly. Still. He loved you more. What did that mean?

 

TBC

 

--

 

Ens. Doz Finch

Engineering Officer

USS Gorkon

C239809SH3

 

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Thanks for reading it and for this kind appreciation Bryce! 🫶

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