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JP - PNPC Ensign Vailani Zoyara & Lt JG Gila Sadar - Between Friends, the Past is an Open Book?

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This JP between @Gila Sadar and @LuxaLorana with her PNPC Vailani is very nice, it gives great insight into both characters, and their lovely friendship as well as really hit some serious emotions in me. I do think I teared up a few times. This was great, and I appreciate both of you for writing it and sharing it.




((Transport Room 3 - Deck 9 - USS Ronin))


Zoy narrowly avoided two officers leaving the transporter room, adorned head to toe in fineries undoubtedly purchased at hyper inflated rates on Ferenginar. 


She noted a bejewelled necklace, a bong, cape, and tiaras. Tacky and cheap. 


oO Is this how we spend our allowance? Oo


She couldn't resist a disapproving glance at them both. They lowered their heads and rushed past her. As she moved forward, prepared to take her position on the transport pad, she heard their laughter. 


Then one of them yelled ‘general’, which preceded more raucous laughter. 


It wasn't the first time she'd heard it. Whispered in the mess hall and muttered under breaths. It seemed that everyone on board found her the butt of their jokes for various reasons. They had taken to dubbing her general, due to her apparent name dropping of her father. 


Being an effective, resilient and diligent officer that demanded the best of those around her, seemed to encourage mocking within this crew. She had been tempted to report it although that would mean it would be put on an official report and her father would eventually read it. 


She could only imagine what he'd think of a nickname that included a reference to him, along with all the other reasons he's got to be disappointed in her. So she shrugged it off. They didn't matter. 


She brushed some stray hairs away from her face and tucked them behind her ear. She had kept her uniform on. 


oO An officer must always be prepared for duty Oo


There were important matters to attend to, her first visit to Ferenginar and an opportunity to see her old friend Gila, from the Artemis


The transporter chief nodded his head to indicate that she was ready to beam down. She took her position on the pad, and seconds later she felt the familiar tingle of the beam down. 


((Ferenginar Central Spaceport, Ferenginar)) 


To say that Gila was unfamiliar with the sensation of an excitement completely unaccompanied by dread would be an understatement. Gila regularly came face-to-face with the prospect of a genuinely exciting situation - a new development in a research project of hers, a new planet that she’d never seen before, the opportunity to witness one of her senior officers perform a procedure or test that she only had academical experience with - but each and every one of these situations was always accompanied by that overwhelming concern that she would fail in some way.


The same could be said for the conference she’d attended just days before. She enjoyed any and all opportunities to further her knowledge, and the added bonus of having been in the company of one of her best friends had been a comforting element, but it had still been multiple days of her parading about a conference of the best and brightest in the universe, and not feeling at all like she belonged there…


Not for the first time since coming back to her own timeline, courtesy of a rogue member of the Q Continuum, the weight of that hollow pip on her collar was like an anchor, weighing her down and rooting her in place.


Lieutenant JG.


She was still acclimatising to the change. Frequently, she’d accidentally ignore someone calling for her, because she had yet to internalise the fact that her rank had changed. Most of her fellow medical officers in Sickbay had adapted by using ‘Doctor’ more frequently, but it was definitely something she had to get accustomed to… And fast.


For now, however, Gila was partaking in something that would surely cause many of her colleagues aboard the Artemis-A to drop dead from astonishment. She was on leave. And a purely recreational one at that. While she and Madison had always been quite adept at exchanging subspace messages to keep one another updated on happenings in each others’ lives, Gila did not have the same kind of steady communication with Vailani, another friend that she was now separated from. Or at least, usually was separated from.


Gila allowed the slightest smile as she looked upon her surroundings. The Ferenginar Central Spaceport was interesting, clearly a building of a long history as a primary transportation hub on a planet with a society based entirely around the concept of commercial gain, and as such, stores and stalls and vendors peddling all sorts of wares and schemes littered the arrival hall, hawking at any and all tourists that passed through. With one notable exception.


oO I can only imagine what she’s done to warrant such a complete reprieve from Ferengi sales tactics. Oo


Gila waved at the Bajoran Officer in the distance, slightly bemused to see that Vai-net - much like herself - had neglected to actually dress for leave.


Vailani: :: notices the pip :: Lieutenant? 


Although Zoy was happy for the deserved promotion of her friend, she had to admit the sinking in her stomach was unpleasant. 


Luxa, Clara and now Gila. Yet, she was still an ensign. It was a fact that was hard to swallow. 


Sadar: ::grimaces:: Don’t remind me, please… It came with a very public dressing down by the Captain. ::shrugs it off:: It’s good to see you again, Vai-net. How have you been?


Vailani: I've been well, it's … it's very good to see you :: genuine smile :: I don't think I realised how much I've missed you until this moment. 


The unexpected show of emotion from the usually guarded Bajoran caught Gila by surprise, but it was not an unwelcome one. A twitching of her finger reached for her anxiety band to help tide over the awkwardness in her mind, but she fought it off.


Sadar: The feeling is mutual. ::looks around:: Have you had much chance to sightsee yet? I’ve never been on Ferenginar except in holodeck simulations.


Vailani: No, this is the first I've come down to the planet :: sternly looks at a nearby Ferengi vendor :: It's wet. The vendors are … annoying. Do I look like I like to play dabo? Or frequent casinos? You'd think they'd respect the uniform. A Starfleet Officer should conduct themselves in an appropriate manner. 


Sadar: ::slight smile:: oO A reaction I expected. Oo The fact that you’ve managed to deter the Ferengi sales-gene to this extent is genuinely impressive… I’ll, uhh, be counting on you.


Vailani: That's because I do my research, Gila. Never embark on adventure without reading the by-laws. There is multiple violations of Ferengi trading standards :: points to a sign :: That's 5.4 inches too wide. :: points to a stall :: That stall is covering the Nagus’ advertisements. That crime can see you in the Tower of Commerce. I'm genuinely surprised the Ferengi are so lapsed, there is a lot of latinum to be made here. I've been offered at least twelve bribes. 


Gila was suddenly concerned whether the only reason Vai-net was currently being left alone was because the Ferengi vendors were planning wedding proposals, so she searched around the spaceport for some kind of information centre, eager to get her friend away from the numerous Ferengi who’d already made her indomitable acquaintance.


Sadar: Well, I did fairly well in the Xenology Courses on Ferengi history and culture at the academy, but it’s been years since I sat those, so I might be rusty… I’d like to visit the Ferenginar Public Library. They ostensibly have physical books dating back to earlier than the 14th century that haven’t been read since! ::considers:: It’s been turned into a bar and gambling establishment, obviously...


Zoy smiled, she had almost forgotten how easy it was to be around Gila. She always had the best ideas for fun things to do. 


Vailani: Well I might be able to find an infraction of a rule or two and we can get some access to those books? It'll be fun! 


If Gila had a bar of goldpressed latinum for every time she’d counted on a fellow Officer strong-arming her access to a restricted reliquary of books, she’d have two. Which wasn’t a lot, but it was alarming that it had happened twice… A pattern was forming.


Making a decision, Gila started walking towards the exit of the spaceport, encouraging Vai-net to follow her, while making an effort to not come within thirty feet of any Ferengi salesmen.


Zoy glanced haughtily at the nearest Ferengi, one of which eyed her up seductively. She furrowed her brow and tucked her arm into Gila’s and quickened the pace. 


Sadar: Well, should we try our luck with finding it ourselves then? Ferengi Tourist Centers have a habit of providing you with the longest route to your destination, and usually one that involves you having to pass by several of their acquaintances’ establishments. It would also allow us the time to catch up. The only news I’ve heard out of the Alpha Isles are what’s on the news, and ::furrowed brow:: they are not comforting… I’m glad you’re ok.


Vailani: Yes, we'll need some umbrellas. 


As they approached the large doors in the front of the spaceport, there were four vendors on either end, each of them had a selection of umbrellas for sale. 


She reviewed them. They seemed mostly in order, possibly because they were in a much more prominent position. Then, she saw a Ferengi man who wore shorts. She had read a by-line that indicated trousers that showed more than one inch of leg, in males, were forbidden. 


Vailani: I got this.


((Commercial District Mollk, Ferenginar)) 


The two friends walked along in silence. It was said by some cultures that those who can exist in the quiet comfortably with each other would be friends for life. This was certainly the case for Vailani Zoyara and Gila Sadar. 


Zoy was huddled under her floating umbrella, in an inner battle with the rains of the planet. It was bad enough that her Starfleet issue boots were splashing through the puddles that filled every pothole and groove on the pathways. She would not let a drop touch her uniform or her carefully put together hair. It just wouldn't be acceptable. 


Then over the bright lights of a gambling facility, or maybe a bank, there was the gleaming Tower of Commerce. She gently nudged Gila and pointed to the tower. 


Vailani: It is a remarkable feat of architecture. Centuries old :: slightly embarrassed :: I didn't get the exact date of its first construction. Anyway, it's constructed of mainly duranium and pergium, which is what gives it its colour. 


Sadar: Huh, I didn’t know that. In terms of its age, its construction was never logged, so until a scientific examination of the building can be arranged, I don’t think we’ll know for certain, but the oldest known mention of it dates back to the 11th century, when they started logging the criminals thrown from the top of it for executions… ::sighs:: I wonder why so many civilizations find it necessary to log executions, but not the construction of the most well-known landmarks of their civilizations.


Vailani: Throwing people from a building isn't the most novel way of punishment. You should do a month on mess hall duty. 


Sadar: Mess hall? ::a moment of silence:: Wait, what? You’re not telling me you were given disciplinary action? What happened!?


Zoy returned her attention to the pathway in front, she avoided a puddle deftly, even as Gila - fully flabbergasted by the notion of her dutiful and diligent friend being reprimanded in any way - waded straight through it.


Vailani: Oh the Captain hates me. Did you know that Niac has a beard? 


The thought of the Captain twisted her stomach into multiple palpable knots. She thought of his always slightly tousled hair, and those bluish green eyes that looked like they'd seen a thousand wonders and equal horrors. Yet, despite this he was still completely obtuse. She had never met a more frustrating individual in all her life, and she included every single one of the Ferengi she'd encountered today. 


Sadar: A beard? Uhh, yes, I’ve seen pictures of him in news reports and on the transfer call that went out. ::struggles to keep up:: I-I’m sure he doesn’t hate you! B-But, d-disciplinary duty? Why!?


Vailani: You'll understand, I presented a series of tasks that needed to be completed. For the safety of the crew, of course. He acted like I'd single handedly orchestrated a coup. Then, of course, my father gets all the reports :: she felt the lump in her throat rise at that :: Thanks to Niac my father thinks I'm a failure.


Gila’s browridges furrowed and trembled with contained emotions, as she sorted through the multitude of layers to Vai-net’s admission. She was not ignorant, she was aware that the Bajoran’s dutifulness and intense focus on work, coupled with her sometimes abrasive sense of diplomacy, could be grating on people. She’d seen quite a few examples of this onboard the Artemis, back when they still served on the same vessel, but Gila had also been rescued by that very same tendency a number of times.


But… For Vai-net’s father to be pulled into the mess…


oO You are a detriment to the family’s harmony Oo


Gila felt herself bristle at the unwelcome reminder in her mind, and forced her focus back onto her friend.


Sadar: B-But, you’re an Operations Officer, right? It’s your job to locate issues and devise ways to cover those bases with the personnel available. Why is that a problem?


Vailani: Something about chain of command. I may have skipped a few rungs on the ladder. Which I admit was a little rash. 


oO Oh Oo


Gila sighed slightly, realising where her friend had gone wrong. It was not necessarily a matter of court martial or something Gila would think disciplinary duty was necessary for, but as an individual shaped by a strictly hierarchical society, where there was always someone superior to report to in any instance of life, she definitely saw the issue.


Sadar: I see… You know, I finally apologised to Captain MacKenzie. For speaking out of turn on the Bridge when I first came on board. Only took me nine months, but you know, progress?


Vailani: You did? That must have taken a lot. 


Sadar: What I mean is, getting integrated into a new crew isn’t going to happen over a few months, no matter how qualified or diligent you are. And, I think, getting accustomed to a new Captain is much the same way. Surely there are things about the way Commander Niac runs the Ronin that you appreciate, right?


Vailani: He does have a nice way of making a speech and he's gotten us out of some scary situations. 


Zoy had been so devoted to the idea of hating Niac that she'd not even considered what she liked about him. 


Vailani: And maybe the beard isn't so bad. It's kind of rugged in a handsome way. 


Zoy put both her hands to her mouth to cover it completely, but Gila had one hundred percent heard her, and this was evident in the awkward cough Gila expelled in an attempt to tide over the embarrassment of her friend.


Sadar: Did I never hear you say that, or?


Vailani: Let's pretend that never came out my mouth! :: disgust :: I need mouthwash. 


Sadar: Look, while I’ll never understand the allure that some of you ascribe to the presence of facial hair, I won’t deny that it lends gravitas.


Vailani: No, Gila, it's a food collector. Horrid things… some people just … look good with beards. 


Sadar: ::giggles:: Well, maybe use what things you like about him to find some middle ground. Give him some beard oil.


Vailani: Once he promotes me he gets beard oil. In the meantime he gets my service as an officer. 


Sadar: ::serious tone:: And give him and the senior staff time to realise what an asset you are in the position you’re in. ::slight smile:: I know better than anyone that no one works as hard as you, present company included.


Vailani: Thanks, you're a good friend. Always pull through with words of wisdom. 


Gila sighed slightly at that jab, shaking her head.


Sadar: I just spent a week and a half with a friend of mine from the Academy, who minored in Counseling, at a medical conference. That headspace is hard to get out of right away.


The library building came into view through the lashings of rain. It was at the end of what appeared to be a plaza, the entranceway was at the top of stairs. Neon lights lined either side, the words ‘Books, Books, Books’ flashed in a variety of bright colours. 


Vailani: We're almost at the Library. Can I ask you a personal question? If you don't mind? 


Sadar: Of course.


Vailani: Do you get along with your family back home? You never speak about them much? 


Gila almost stopped in her tracks, her body freezing in a familiar pattern of the prey wanting to flee from the predator - or in this case, the coward wanting to flee from the arrow - but Vai-net’s continued pace urged her body along, so while her legs kept marching autonomously ahead, her hands clasped together, thumb and index finger twisting her obsidian anxiety band. Zoy noticed this, obviously, and knew well enough that this question had sparked some anxiety in her. Which sparked more than a little curiosity in the Bajoran. 


Sadar: I, uhh… ::violent twisting of anxiety band:: I suppose… We’re not on bad terms.


Vailani: And is your father proud of you? 


Pride. A foreign idea. Had Gila ever truly wanted her father to be proud of her? It was a far jump to go from ‘please acknowledge my existence’ to ‘be proud of my achievements’.


When your very existence causes a loved one disappointment, how could you possibly expect pride?


Sadar: No. No, he’s not.


Zoy stopped walking, halting the autonomous movement of the absent-minded Gila, and turned to her friend. She found it hard to hold her gaze but she forced herself too. 


Vailani: But … but you're amazing. Why wouldn't he be proud of you? What does he expect of you?


It made her think of her own father. The performance review and his endless disappointment in her choices. 


He had been angry when she opted to join the Operations division at Starfleet rather than go through Starfleet Marine Corps. Despite her graduating top of her class.


Sadar: … Nothing. ::deep sigh:: To him, I’m just… Wrong. The ‘good’ Mizarian is supposed to be docile, content and follow orders without question, and never show any interest in changing what has been proven effective for centuries. We also accept any guidelines enforced on us from superiors…


Vailani: I've read this. It seems, a strange way to live. I guess Bajorans, in spite of our spirituality, are ready to fight. We never want to be under the foot again. That's what my father says. He'd rather die :: looks at her friend with a fresh perspective :: Maybe you're more Bajoran than you think? :: laughs :: We'll need to run a full bioscan.


Gila smiled mirthlessly as Zoy, uncharacteristically, laughed at her own joke. There were some on the Ronin that'd be stunned to find this operations officer could laugh let alone tell a joke. This thought only made her laugh some more.


Sadar: Didn’t you know I’m the rebellious type?


Even to Gila’s ears it sounded like a joke at this point. She’d spent more than a decade amongst Federation species, and if she knew there was one thing most of her fellow officers would never call her, it would be rebellious. A complainer, sure, but never rebellious.


Vailani: I always knew there was a rebel heart in there somewhere. You have to be rebellious to keep these Starfleet types in order, not to mention speak to Captain Mackenzie the way you did on your first shift. If you don't mind me asking, why did you leave home?


Remembering the longest week of her life was familiar ground for Gila at this point, as she recalled the hearing, the invasion and confiscation of her life’s work, the concern… Leaving Mizar II had not been her first choice, but faced with the worst possible consequences of staying, she’d had little choice.


Sadar: Well, the short version… ::deep sigh:: I left home because I brought shame on the family. As far as my father’s concerned, I’m as good as dead. The only ones I still talk to are my sister and my nephew.


Zoy couldn't help but wonder what it was that Gila, her sensible and overly considerate friend, could do to bring shame to anyone. 


Vailani: That must be difficult. I understand what that feels like. Sometimes I wish my father would stop speaking to me. 


The Bajoran dipped her green eyes to the ground, then they rose slowly. 


Vailani: What about your mother? 


Zoy couldn't help but think of her own mother. The indomitable Pol Chael. The daughter of a vedek. A woman of many faces. Activist, warrior, academic, politician and staunch opponent to Federation influence on Bajoran culture. They'd been estranged since she left Starbase One when she was fourteen, after many attempts to reconcile they'd parted ways in her final year at the academy. 


Meanwhile, Gila’s mind was boggling at the unexpected question. Was it an alarming thought that she felt almost nothing as her mind considered what Cefli Sadar, her mother, thought of her current situation? She knew that Eyla often included the phrase ‘mother hopes you’re well’ in her messages, but it felt more like a polite afterthought than a genuine revelation. Cefli Sadar was subservient to her husband in any and all ways of life, as was the custom in the hierarchical unit known as a ‘family’, and it was only after meeting so many different cultures in her time since leaving, that Gila had found herself lamenting the lack of a proper relationship between her and her mother.


So many things were put into new perspectives once your horizons were broadened.


Sadar: ::shrugs:: I don’t know… She follows my father’s example. ::sighs:: Anyway!


Zoy knew better than to push the subject. 


Between the two of them, there were enough paternally grounded issues to fill an Odyssey-class starship, but that was not to say there was no merit in the two of them visiting them together. Speaking to someone in a similar situation as oneself sometimes provided new perspectives to familiar problems, but more than that, it enforced the sensation of not being alone. Gila remembered a similar feeling when first meeting M’Aris Lorana - a talented Caitian artist, and the mother of her former colleague, Luxa Lorana.


Black sheep knew their flock.


Sadar: We’re coming up to the library. ::smile:: Feel ready to throw all of this unresolved tension with parental figures into arguing with Ferengi bartenders?


Vailani: :: smiles deviously :: Isn't that my specialty. Are you ready?


Sadar: Oh, make no mistake, I’ll be completely unable to back you up in there. Rather, I’m counting on you to stop me from buckling to any and all hawking attempts. ::excited eyes:: I can’t wait to read a book that hasn’t been touched in more than a century...


Vailani: Leave all the negotiations to me. :: brings out PADD :: I can see nineteen separate violations and we haven't even got inside. This should be fun. 


End Scene.




LtJG Gila Sadar
Medical Officer
USS Artemis-A



Ensign Vailani Zoyara
Flight Operations Officer
USS Ronin
As simmed by:
Lieutenant JG Luxa Lorana
Science Officer (Astrometrics, Meteorology, Xenology)
USS Ronin


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