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Ensign Eshrevi Sh'shiqil - Winners, and those less fortunate


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Some lovely writing from our new tactical officer. Showcasing the evolution of the relation ship between her and her academy roommate.

 

 

((OOC: Long sim is long.)) ((Academy Campus, Starbase 118))

The Narendra had returned from her mission, but with most of the senior staff on their well-deserved shore leave, Eshrevi once more had the impression she was left to figure out the intricacies of her new posting on her own. Or rather, the circumstances surrounding it. Right now, for example, she was making her way back to her old dorm room on 118’s Academy campus, because assigning her new quarters had been an oversight so far. Perhaps she should be a little more demanding, self-sufficient, and show initiative- just find the person responsible, request new accommodation, and get it over with.

She wasn’t quite sure why she didn’t. Perhaps she simply liked to play PLOM (poor little old me). Or perhaps she was just exhausted and glad to be able to decompress in a place that had been her home for the past few years, rather than unpack boxes.  Perhaps she didn’t want to let go.

Maybe it was a mixture of all of these.

((Same location, four years ago))

Eshrevi trudged wearily back to her dorm room. Her steps were heavy with the weight of a particularly rotten and exhausting day that had the Andorian eagerly anticipate the peace and quiet of her quarters. Really, she wanted nothing more than an early night's rest after a long sonic shower.


And she knew that wasn’t going to happen.

Because once the doors slid open, she wasn’t greeted with the silence and solitude she so desired. Instead, some Terran (?)  music was blaring from the questionable quality speakers the room was fitted with, and a sickeningly sweet scent hung in the air, intensifying her already sour mood.

Eshrevi was tempted to simply turn around and leave, and considered sleeping in the library, on a park bench, or falling down the stairs to earn herself a biobed in sickbay. Retrospectively, she should probably just have picked the park bench.

With a resigned sigh, the she forced a greeting as she entered, her tone already tinged with thin-veiled annoyance.  

Sh'shiqil: Hey Brennan.

 

Brennan: Hey!  

Brennan, her roommate, responded from her desk. The woman’s oblivious cheerfulness grated on Eshrevi's nerves, and had since the day they first met.

It was tradition at Starfleet’s Academy Campus to share quarters with another first-year cadet. It prepared aspiring officers for life aboard their first vessel, where they - depending on what ship they served on - were either sharing their room with one to three other junior officers, or simply lived in a hallway with all the other junior officers.


Usually, Eshrevi wouldn’t mind - both her upbringing with several siblings and her previous career had gotten her used to having to earn the privilege of privacy. But in this particular case, it seemed that whoever was responsible for assigning roommates had decided to conduct some sort of social experiment where they matched two people who were utterly incompatible.

Alcyone Brennan was good bit younger than Esh, and half Rodulan - which in and of itself wasn’t a crime, but didn’t make the young woman particularly likeable in Eshrevi’s eyes. Not that she had something against Rodulans as a species, but she didn’t enjoy the company of telepaths. That Brennan insisted her telepathic abilities were minor at best, didn’t make it much better. It just made her a bad telepath.

In addition, Brennan somehow managed to be shy yet talkative, and prone to sharing things Eshrevi had no interest in knowing. Like how her classes went, or that she saw a squirrel - whatever the fuck a squirrel was - on the way to the library.

But the worst thing-…

Brennan: My mom says hi!

… was that.

Sh'shiqil Good for her.

Eshrevi suppressed a growl of frustration as she retreated to her side of the room, her antennae stiffening with irritation.

Brennan came from a sprawling family that seemed to rival the size of a major Andorian clan, and apparently called member at least once a week. She received stupid little notes of encouragement and parcels with even more stupid handmade tokens on a regular basis, and that made Eshrevi angry.
Because she and her family hadn’t spoken since the day she told them she would join Starfleet.

Perhaps it was an ill-advised change of careers. Eshrevi had attended, and graduated from Chekthora, the prestigious Andorian Military Institute on Andoria. She had served in the Imperial Guard long enough to build a career and reputation that made her parents proud. And now, while the skills she had learned there were valuable and would certainly be beneficial in the years to come, she was once more starting out as a cadet, and once more had to prove herself.

But it wasn’t sudden. Eshrevi had played with the idea of joining Starfleet for several years, weighed pros and cons against each other, and eventually came to the conclusion that being her own person and making her own decisions was more important than chasing family approval. She had studied for the entry exam in secret, passed it with a score just high enough to get accepted, and then casually revealed her plans during an already tense family dinner.
Needless to say, it hadn't gone over well. She could probably have picked a better way to inform them. Oh well.

Brennan turned with a slight frown, her forest green eyes fixed on the Andorian. Another annoyance for Eshrevi—Brennan's cosmetic contact lenses. If Brennan felt discontent with her species' features, she ought to consult a therapist rather than a cosmetologist.

Brennan: Did you have a bad day? :: she asked with genuine concern in her voice::

Sh'shiqil No :: responded Eshrevi a little too quickly. Then she amended:: It wasn't bad. But it didn't go as planned.


Brennan: What happened?

Eshrevi didn’t want to talk about it, which was pretty much what she told Brennan, who gave a slow nod but seemed unwilling to give up on having a conversation.

Brennan: Do you want to hear about my day?

oO Not really Oo  thought Eshrevi, but she merely said:

Sh'shiqil: I guess. Just make it quick. I already have a headache.

Brennan either didn’t mind, or didn’t notice the jab.

Brennan: It was good. I get to prepare participants for a medical trial, and I’m really looking forward to it.

She was positively glowing. Ugh. Brennan was doing her major in nursing, which was basically just holding people’s hands and telling them everything was going to be fine while the doctors did the real work.


Eshrevi was aiming to become a tactical officer and make sure that people didn’t get injured in the first place.

Maybe she could apply for a different room, with a different roommate, but Eshrevi was concerned that making such a request would flag her as a potentially complicated cadet. Maybe she could get Brennan to request a different room. But that, too, wouldn’t make Eshrevi look good. The best course of action was probably to deal with her as little as it was possible.

Sh'shiqil: Ah :: Eshrevi replied impassively, tuning out Brennan's prattle as she placed her shoes in the designated area::

 

Brennan: … and that was pretty much my day ::her voice trailed off, having grown quieter and a little unsteady::

Sh'shiqil: That's nice.

She hadn’t noticed the change in demeanour and her patience was wearing thin.

Brennan nodded solemnly, and for a moment she seemed unsure what to say. Then her eyes lit up as she continued

Brennan: Oh, and I got a parcel today. Some homemade cookies. Would you like to try some?

Eshrevi blinked once, slowly, and tried to ignore the surge of anger rising within her at Brennan's seemingly perfect family and their constant displays of affection. She told herself that there was no point in a confrontation, but before she could convince herself to let it go, she snapped. Her voice was loud, and edged with bitterness as she replied.

Sh'shiqil: Stop flaunting your perfect family in everyone's faces. No one wants to hear it.

Brennan: I-I’m sorry, I didn't mean to… ::she stammered, her voice trailing off. Her eyes filled with tears, her shoulders slumping in defeat. She fell silent, her gaze downcast. ::

Eshrevi was ashamed to admit that all she could think of in that moment was that she had gotten the woman finally shut up. Her tone was laced with venom as she spoke.

Brennan: You never do, do you? Always rubbing it in that you have these wonderful and loving parents and aunts and whoever the heck all these people are.

Eshrevi watched Brennan's reaction, which really was no reaction at all. That didn’t calm the Andorian down one bit. She wanted to lash out, if not physically then at the very least by continuing their argument, but instead found herself confronted with a suffocating silence that stretched on and on and on, until Brennan's quiet voice broke the tense silence.

Brennan: …Foster.

Sh'shiqil: What? :: she hissed, not getting it::

Brennan: They're not my parents. They were my foster family :: she admitted softly::

Eshrevi felt a pang of guilt stab through her anger as Brennan's words sank in. There was no shame in having a foster family or being adopted - such practices were common enough for many species - but Eshrevi knew that, for humans, it was not. And she could imagine that it was a far cry from the perfect family she had accused Brennan of having.

She opened her mouth to speak, to offer some semblance of apology, but the words caught in her throat. When nothing came forth, Brennan rose from her seat, her movements slow and deliberate as she slipped on her shoes. Without another word, she made her way to the door, and left.

Finally alone, the heat of Eshrevi's anger began to dissipate, replaced by a cold, gnawing sense of guilt. She sat on her bed, glaring up at the ceiling. It wasn’t like her to lash out in anger, not any more, and especially not at someone who was so much more… fragile than she was.

Would Brennan complain about her? Probably not. There wasn’t really anything to complain about, and this probably was neither the first nor the last argument she would get herself into.

Still, the right thing was to apologise. The thought of facing Brennan filled her with a sense of unease. Admitting to flaws and vulnerabilities had never been her strong suit, but facing her fears and working on weaknesses was something she used to pride herself in.

With a sigh, Eshrevi pushed herself to her feet and made her way to the door. She had no plan on how to find Brennan, but looking for her was better than sitting around doing nothing.

Or sitting around feeling guilty.

Neither was a great option.

As Eshrevi approached the door, it hissed open, revealing Brennan standing on the other side. For a moment they both stood there, an awkward tension hanging in the air.

Brennan: …Hey.

Sh'shiqil: Hey.

Their eyes met, and for a moment, neither knew quite what to say. Eshrevi cleared her throat.

Sh'shiqil: Where have you been? :: she asked, her voice tentative::

Brennan hesitated for a moment before holding up a hypospray.

Brennan:  I got this for your headache ::she explained sheepishly.::

Her cheek flushed with embarrassment, and Eshrevi felt the last remnants of anger and annoyance crumble at the gesture.  She still felt an inexplicable urge to respond with a sharp remark, like a familiar instinct to assert her independence and self-sufficiency. But she resisted.

Sh'shiqil: Thank you ::she said instead, her voice softer than she intended::

Brennan nodded, retreating to her desk as Eshrevi took the hypospray. They lingered in silence for a moment longer, the weight of their previous confrontation still hanging in the air.

Finally, Eshrevi broke the silence.

Sh'shiqil:: Can I still have one of those homemade cookies? ::she asked, gesturing towards the box Brennan had indicated earlier::

Brennan nodded carefully, bringing the box over to her. Eshrevi selected a cookie, and the the simple act felt oddly significant. She took a bite. It was nice.

Sh'shiqil: It’s nice.

More awkward silence followed, and Brennan once more quietly retreated to her desk. It irked Eshrevi that the usually so verbose woman wasn’t saying anything and left the talking to her. If the last conversation had shown anything, then it was that Eshrevi wasn’t great at talking.

Sh'shiqil:: I’m sorry.

Brennan: I know. I’m not mad.

Eshrevi nodded slowly, chewing thoughtfully on her cookie.

Sh'shiqil: I failed an exam. ::she admitted. ::

Brennan tilted her head to the side.

Brennan: Do you want to talk about it?

Eshrevi shook her head.

Sh'shiqil: Not really. But I would like to hear more about your day, if that’s okay?

She beckoned Brennan with a gentle wave of her hand, inviting her to sit beside her on the bed. And after a moment of hesitation, Brennan joined her.

Brennan: Sure.


((Today))

Things had changed, and despite the stress Eshrevi was feeling, her steps were a lot lighter as she entered her old quarters, expecting them to be empty. They weren’t.

Brennan: …Hey.

Sh'shiqil: Hey!

A big smile spread on Eshrevis lips, and all the stress of the past few weeks - final exams, graduation, the mission - washed off her. She hadn’t even dared to hope that Alcyone, too, had been assigned here. But with the woman’s usual excellent grades, that wasn’t a surprise.

Sh'shiqil: So they overlooked your room assignment too? Honestly I would have expected this place to be better organised, but I guess everyone is busy. ::she barely inhaled before she continued::  How were your first few days? Mine were great! I took a shuttle to the Narendra and arrived during an altercation with an enemy vessel :: she smirked :: Of course they needed me on tactical, and of course I made sure everyone got home.

The words just kept spilling forth, and while getting out of her uniform and into a more comfortable piece of clothing, she told Alcyone every little detail of the mission, the battle, the other officers she had met, and the presumably bright future she had ahead. Eventually, she let herself fall into one of the chairs, and closed her eyes for a moment, finally basking in the high of a battle won.

Sh'shiqil: Next time, hopefully you can come too. I’m sure someone needs their hand held ::she grinned::

That was their dynamic. Eshrevi made fun of Alcyone’s chosen duty post, and the other woman tried explaining for the umpteenth time that nursing was more than emotional support for officers who had gotten slightly injured. Then Alcyone tried to make a similar comment about tactical, failed, and turned red like the butt of a Kahit.

But she didn’t. She didn’t say a single word, and at the absence of the usual banter, Eshrevi opened her eyes again and looked at Alcyone, who just sat there, eyes fixed on her own hands, not saying a single word.

Sh'shiqil: Zion, what happened?

:

Zion - the nickname Alcyone hated, but that usually made her smile when Esh said it. This time, she didn’t smile, and it took minutes before she spoke.

Brennan: I failed.

Sh'shiqil: … What? ::she said, not getting it. She could be a little dense sometimes::

Brennan: I … in that last test, I just froze. I didn’t get to graduate.  The instructors… I don’t know.

Eshrevi simply stared at Alcyone, momentarily forgetting the somewhat exaggerated display of emotion she had taught herself to not come across as too cold-hearted or threatening. She took pride in being just the right amount of both.

She knew that the Instructors could be tough - they had to be. It was their job to make sure cadets were, in fact, ready to graduate. She also knew that the other woman could be a little touchy-feely, and lost her self-confidence easily. Especially when she sensed something that threw her off.

But all softness aside, she was still training to be an officer. And someone working for Starfleet should be able to stand above some instructors' bad mood.

Sh'shiqil: You … don’t know? ::she asked incredulously::

Brennan: I guess I’ll just… leave.

Even if Eshrevi didn’t have a solution right now, this certainly wasn’t it.

Sh'shiqil: No. :: she frowned ::

Brennan: Why not? I can’t do anything right! :: her voice was loud, and had an usual high pitch to it::

Esh took a deep breath. She wanted to be kind and nurturing but… really that wasn’t her style. It wasn’t how she was raised. Then again, the tough love approach didn’t exactly seem like a good choice here. So she was trying something in-between - logical reasoning.

Sh'shiqil: Look at me.

Brennan: I don’t want to ::she said quietly::

Sh'shiqil: Do it anyway.

Finally, Alcyone looked at her. She had been crying, and that … made Eshrevi angry. Not at Alcyone - okay, at Alcyone too - but mostly at whatever had happened to throw her off balance. She took a moment to suffocate that anger.

Sh'shiqil: Look… :: she bit her lip, then started again..:: You weren’t ready. Once you graduate, you can get into all sorts of very unideal situations. Like me, arriving in the middle of battle, not really knowing what is going on. There will always be things that can throw you off. People die, maybe even friends. Others get severely injured. You know that.

Alcyone nodded.

Sh'shiqil: Not being ready is… fine. It’s not a great feeling, but you learned that now, in a training scenario. And it’s good to figure it out before you’re being thrown into situations you can’t handle. You now know this is something you have to work on, and then, you will be ready.

Brennan: What if I’ll never be?

Sh'shiqil: What if the Starbase explodes and opens a black hole that destroys the sector?

Alcyone chewed on her lower lip, attempting the smallest of smiles.

Brennan: You wouldn’t let that happen.

Esh reached out, and took Alcyone’s hand, for a moment allowing herself to appreciate the other woman’s faith in her ability to keep a starbase from exploding and a black hole from forming.

Sh'shiqil: Obviously. And you won’t let ‘never being ready’ happen. When can you repeat the exam?

Brennan: In six months.

Sh'shiqil: That gives us six months to work on the things that didn’t go well. Top grades, assignment here.

Brennan: You think so?

Eshrevi nodded. She was well-aware that it would take work, and even if she doubted Alcyone a slight bit, she was convinced of her own skill. And now that Eshrevi had already graduated and was no longer concerned with her own exams, she would hopefully be able to invest time into helping. In addition, it meant that she would have access to the people who mattered - if she played it right, she could recruit them to help out where it was needed. Surely some of the doctors would be willing to run with a cadet nurse when they weren’t busy with sector-altering missions. And McLaren was an abundance of confidence who could probably teach Alcyone a thing or two.

All of that aside, suddenly, she was glad to not have been assigned quarters yet, and she hoped it would continue to remain an oversight. Or perhaps she could even request to stay here, though she’d need a good reason to get that approved. Hm… she would have to think of something.

Sh'shiqil: Yes. I’m an excellent teacher, you know?

This time, Alcyone actually smiled.

Brennan: Suuuuure. You’d have me run laps whenever I answer a question wrong.

Sh'shiqil: …. Yes. My class, my rules.

Which was one of the many reasons Eshrevi would never become an Academy instructor herself. She actually would make people run laps or do push ups. A little physical exercise had never harmed anyone.

Sh'shiqil: ::she smirked, but then turned serious for a moment:: I’m sorry I didn’t notice earlier that something was up. I was… :: she hesitated, looking for the right word::

Brennan: Self absorbed? Inconsiderate? A jerkface?

Esh dipped her antennae and slumped her shoulders for good measure.

Sh'shiqil: … A jerkface, :: she whispered, quietly and remorsefully:: But. :: her face lit up again:: I will make it up to you. I have credits to spend. How about I take you out for dinner?

Alcyone seemed to consider that, and Esh could tell that she would rather remain curled up on a ball and wallow in misery. Maybe even put on some sad music. Because really, Eshrevi liked to do that too, but she usually put a time-limit on said wallowing.

Brennan: I… don’t know.

Sh'shiqil: I know. That’s why I am making the decisions, Brennan. Come on, put on a nice dress. We’re going somewhere fancy.

Alcyone nodded, and before she headed over to her closet, she embraced Eshrevi. That was nice because Alcyone was warm and soft, and had somehow managed to become Eshrevi’s best friend. And she was glad that they hadn’t parted ways.  

 
End Scene

___________________
Ensign Eshrevi Sh'shiqil

Tactical

StarBase 118 Ops

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