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[ROUND 4] Lt. Commander Karynn Ehlanii and Fleet Captain Sidney Riley


Alleran Tan
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JP - Lt. Commander Karynn Ehlanii and Fleet Captain Sidney Riley - Informal

Friendship

((Corridors, USS Independence-A, 23:40 hours))

::Sidney Riley hurried down the corridor in her bare feet. The dream still

weighing heavily on her mind, the Captain paid no attention to the stares

that greeted her as she ran, her green terry robe, flying behind her like a

train.::

::She stopped outside the door, tears streaming down her face onto her light

green shirt and flowing green striped pants. Hurriedly she pressed the

chime, not giving herself time to think. She couldn't give herself time to

think...::

::It seemed like forever before there was a response. Her mind was in a

whirl. Why was this happening to her?::

::Karynn heard the door chime and sat up quickly, her breaths coming fast.

The Haliian hated being startled awake, especially when she was only

justfalling asleep. As her heartrate slowed, she glanced over at

Ethan, still

sleeping and shook her head. The man would’ve slept through the Hobus

disaster.::

::She grabbed her robe from the foot of her bed and wrapped it around

herself, over her pajamas. Rubbing her eyes, she went through the door of

their bedroom into the living area, hearing it swish closed behind her. It

was good Matthew was still on Earth - he probably would have woken up. She

reached the door of their quarters and pressed the PADD on the side. As

they swished open she found herself face to face with the Captain on the

other side. She wasn’t sure whether it was the Captain’s presence or the

state the woman was in that she found more surprising.::

Ehlanii: Captain... I... what can I do for you, Sir?

Riley: Commander, I...I'm sorry. I need a Counselor and with Ensign Pierce

transferring to the Aurora. I need to talk to someone. I didn't know who

else...

::She reached around pulling her robe closer around herself.::

Ehlanii: Right now, Sir? I can see you first thing in the morning...

Riley: Please, it...it can't wait, not any longer.

::Karynn indicated that the human/deltan come inside, a tired smile crossing

her features.::

Ehlanii: I think I can understand that. Come on in, Sir. I could get you a

cup of tea...

Riley: No, I don't want to bother Commander Brice. Could we go? Could we

go to the holodeck?

::The thought of the two senior officers on the ship heading to the holodeck

in their pajamas amused the Haliian. She ran her fingers through her hair

and shrugged.::

Ehlanii: Ethan was sound asleep a minute ago and would likely sleep through

anything, but if you’d be more comfortable in the holodeck, that’s fine with

me. Its up to you.

Riley: I just...it might help me explain. And...::She paused.:: I don't

want word of this getting around...

::Karynn simply nodded. Pulling her robe closer around her, she stepped out

into the bright corridor, blinking at the lights. The door swished closed

behind her.::

::The Captain looked over her shoulder as two crewmen passed and looked back

at her. She'd been over emotional for weeks, well, since Operation Bright

Star. She didn't need any more rumors running around the ship.::

::Karynn wondered what the two crewmen thought. Their CO and FO were

walking through the corridors of the ship, dressed in nightwear. Karynn

would certainly have been curious as an ensign had she seen a similar

sight.::

::The tears continued to stream down Sidney's face, but at least now she was

moving forward. She reached up and rubbed her eyes with the sleeve of her

green robe, sniffling.::

Riley: I never imagined how far quarters are away from the holodecks until

now... ::She laughed uncomfortably.::

::Karynn joined in politely with the woman’s laugh, although her’s was a

little lighter, a little less uncomfortable. She glanced at the woman and

smiled sympathetically.::

Ehlanii: Aye, but we’ll be there soon.

::And soon they were. Thankfully they didn’t meet with too many crew

members along the way. Soon the two women were stepping through the double

doors and into the very empty holodeck room.::

Ehlanii: So... what brings a crying Sidney Riley to my door at this time of

night?

::Sidney waited until the doors to the holodeck closed before she responded.

The stark yellow on black grid hurt her eyes and she blinked.::

Riley: I had a dream...

Ehlanii: That bad?

Riley: No...I mean...yes, it's just...I can't control my emotions anymore.

Everything, anything...all of it. ::She wrung her hands.:

Ehlanii: Well we can certainly talk about it, ::she gestured to the room

around them:: although it might be better to start a program than stand here

in the grid.

Riley: I know a place...::Sidney walked a little further into the holodeck

before she spoke again.:: Computer, begin program "Riley One, Sitting Room".

::The yellow on black grid instantly changed to a large room with vaulted

ceilings and huge windows which opened up to the porch. It was early

evening and the sun had already passed the windows on this side of the

house, the soft breeze however still assailed the windows. The white lace

curtains billowed softly in the wind the smell of the river wafted into the

room along with the light feel of salt in the air. Sidney smiled through the

tears as she closed her eyes and savored the vision.::

Riley: This is my home away from the Independence. I grew up here mostly,

after I escaped Vulcan.

::Karynn looked at the room around her, gently running her fingers along the

various textures of the furniture near her.::

Ehlanii: It’s nice... relaxing.

::The Terran/Deltan walked over to one of the rose colored Victorian style

chairs, rubbing her bare feet lightly on the soft white carpet. She sat

down, pulling her legs up into the chair and leaning slightly on her left

right side. She motioned for Ehlanii to have a seat. Reaching over, Sidney

pulled the chain on the old lamp sitting on the rose wood end table. The

room filled with a little more light as the sun continued to find its

rest.::

::Karynn settled in another seat near the auburn-haired woman. She tucked

one foot under her and waited for Sidney to start.::

Riley: I want to thank you...::She looked down at the floor, her mind

following the edges of the carpet, and then the lines in the hardwood

floor.:: you didn't have to come with me.

::The Haliian smiled gently at the captain.::

Ehlanii: It wasn’t a problem. I couldn’t not help someone who obviously

needed to talk.

::Sidney looked up at Karynn Ehlanii, her eyes were puffy from crying. Her

face red, she sniffed lightly.::

Riley: I just don't know what else to do. I just can't...I can't keep going

like this, my personal life is a mess.

Ehlanii: Sometimes talking about it helps.

Riley: ::She smiled softly.:: That’s what I’m hoping...

::The Haliian thought for a moment about how best to approach things. She

took a slow quiet breath in and let it out equally slowly before speaking.::

Ehlanii: Well, perhaps we can start with what you see as the biggest

problem.

::Sidney paused for a moment. What exactly was the biggest problem? The

fact she couldn’t control her emotions or the fact she was in love with

three men and couldn’t make up her mind to save her sanity. In all

actuality, the Terran/Deltan felt like they were both connected.::

Riley: It’s hard to explain really...

Ehlanii: ::smiling gently:: Just walk me through it. I might understand

better than you think.

::A worried expression crossed Sidney’s face.::

Riley: I’m not sure I understand it myself, so you’ll be doing better than

me.

::She paused again, now she was just stalling for time. Time to collect her

thoughts, or time to rethink talking to someone, she wasn’t sure.::

Riley: I’ve been having a hard time dealing with my emotions since Operation

Bright Star. It feels like everything is crashing down around me. My whole

life is falling apart, except my career.

::The Haliian smiled gently, sympathetically. “My whole life” was a

sweeping statement. Potentially an exaggeration... or potentially right on

track. Karynn decided to tease things out a bit more.::

Ehlanii: That’s a lot to be crashing. I can understand it would be

overwhelming. What are some of the pieces that are falling apart?

Riley: My personal life has always been a mess, especially when it comes to

how I feel about certain people.

::She reached over and began playing with the edge of the chair lightly with

her finger.::

::Karynn watched the woman, waiting in silence. There was such a thing as a

counselor talking too much in a session.::

Riley: The thing is ::she kept her eyes on the chair.:: I’m not sure if

that’s the problem or a symptom of the problem. Since the battle, since my

injury I’ve felt like I can’t control my emotions. ::She took a deep

breath.:: when it comes to relationships.

::They were getting closer. Now the scope of the current conversation had

been limited from “my whole life” to “relationships.” Karynn took a wild

guess that it was romantic relationships the woman was referring to. After

all, those tended to give a lot of people problems.::

Ehlanii: ::thoughtfully:: You can’t control your emotions. ::the Haliian

paused:: What does that mean to you exactly?

::Sidney looked up from the chair, but her gaze was set on the curtains

flowing in the breeze.::

Riley: I feel too much for too many people. ::She paused for a moment,

suddenly feeling very flustered. She sighed.::

::Karynn pondered the statement, turning it over in her mind, and noting the

woman’s sigh.::

Ehlanii: How so?

::Riley took a deep breath. She was going to have come out with her feelings

sooner or later, she was the one afterall, who had woken the Halliian and

the drug her around the ship in their night clothes. Still, it was hard for

her to articulate what she wanted to say. Her mind running through worries

about what her First Officer would think of her.::

Riley: It’s just I think I’m in love with three different men. ::She

deliberately kept her gaze on the window.::

::Even though the woman wasn’t looking at her, Karynn made sure to keep her

expression neutral and sympathetic. She hadn’t really guessed that the

Captain was romantically attached to one man, much less three, although she

had heard the rumors around the ship just before and after Operation Bright

Star. Unlike some, though, she generally tried to keep herself out of the

gossip.::

Ehlanii: And that’s a problem for you...

::It wasn’t exactly phrased as a question, but it was a statement inviting a

response from the auburn-haired woman. That got Sidney’s attention, she

turned quickly from the window, a shocked expression on her face as she

looked at Karynn.::

Riley: Yes! It’s...::She fought for the words.:: It’s a huge problem!

::Karynn’s response was very simple.::

Ehlanii: Why?

::The question caught her off guard...why? It was simple, logical and to

the point. What had she honestly expected her to say? It took a long moment

for her to think, why was it problem? She thought about each situation for

a brief moment, her thoughts focusing mostly on her failed relationship with

Alleran Tan..::

Riley: Because I destroy peoples lives. ::She felt several tears roll down

her cheeks.:: Because I can’t decide what I’m feeling and I can’t make up my

mind. I rip peoples hearts out and... ::She stopped, she felt like she was

on the verge of a breakdown...::

Ehlanii: And...?

Riley: I don’t know... ::She looked back down at the chair.::

::The Haliian paused. There was a lot that had just been said that she

could deal with, but the unspoken thought was still looming. She really

needed to know what that was.::

Ehlanii: You said it for a reason. What were you thinking about?

::She looked up at Karynn with sad eyes.::

Riley: And, I make them miserable and I come to regret my actions. I was

thinking about...::She paused.:: I was thinking about Alleran Tan,

specifically.

Ehlanii: You know for certain that you’ve ruined his life, that he’s

miserable?

::Absentmindedly Karynn rubbed her palm with her other thumb, the location

of a scar from her past. It was a reminder that even the bad experiences in

life could be transformed.::

Riley: He left didn’t he? ::She closed her eyes.:: He left because of

me...he told me so, because I didn’t know what I wanted. Because I couldn’t

make up my mind. Because I hurt him.

Ehlanii: He told you all that? That the entire reason that he left was

because of you?

Riley: Sort of... I mean...yes...mostly.

Ehlanii: Mostly?

::This time it was a question.::

::Sidney thought back to the letter she had received from Alleran prior to

his departure.::

oO Being rejected by the first :: person in two lifetimes I truly loved...

some day, :: this wound too will fade. Oo

Riley: He sent me a letter, just prior to leaving, it rambled on and on

about several things. About how he didn’t feel worthy of me, how he felt I

didn’t love him... I made him feel like that.

Ehlanii: And he said that you’d ruined his life, that he would never

recover, that he was going home in shame and disgrace?

Riley: I...::She paused, searching her mind.:: I’m not sure...I have the

letter still...

::The Haliian watched the woman, for a moment, sorting through the situation

in her mind. She shook her head.::

Ehlanii: Perhaps, if we need it, you can look at it another time. But I’m

pretty sure words like that would stick with you. ::she paused:: Did he say

he could never love again?

Riley: He said he thought he would die unloved and friendless. ::She bit

her lower lip for a moment.:: But that’s not true...He told me that if I

loved someone to seize them with all of my strength and never let them go.

::Karynn pondered the information. She knew that Alleran had been dealing

with a lot when he left. She had begun to help him work through some of it.

So while the shattered romance with the Captain may have been a catalyst,

she knew it wasn’t the whole issue either. And even in the short time she

had worked with him she had come to realize that the man was prone to … the

dramatic. The silence between them hung in the air for a bit. She shifted

her gaze to look gently but intently at the auburn-haired woman.::

Ehlanii: I’m not going to say that what happened didn’t hurt him. Shattered

romances almost always do... for both parties. But I also don’t think that

it was the sole cause that he left, or that it destroyed his life.

::Sidney thought about her words for a moment. She still felt like she had

destroyed something.::

Riley: But...I hurt him and...I don’t want him to...I ::once again she felt

lost for words.::

Ehlanii: ::nodding sympathetically:: You don’t want him to what?

::The Terran/Deltan reached up and wiped the tears from her eyes with her

sleeve.::

Riley: I don’t want him to think I don’t love him. ::She paused, a surprised

expression on her face.::

::The Haliian arched one eyebrow slightly. Now they were really getting

somewhere.::

Ehlanii: So why not tell him.

::Riley looked up, a simple expression on her face.::

Riley: How can I? He left... ::Her hand shook for a moment, until she set

it down on the arm of the chair.:: I don’t want to hurt him again...I mean I

have feelings for two other men, what if I make the wrong decision?

::Karynn raised her right shoulder slightly in a small shrug.::

Ehlanii: Is there a wrong decision?

Riley: I don’t know...::She thought for a moment. Her mind drifting to the

way she felt when she was with the Joined Trill. The intensity of her

feelings.:: Doesn’t there have to be a wrong decision? I mean...there’s

only one right person out there and...::She paused again her mind working.::

Ehlanii: Are you sure? Only one? Its a large universe.

::This time Sidney raised an eyebrow. That was a universal idea wasn’t it?

Surely it wasn’t foreign to the Commander. She thought for a moment...she

had always been a fairly firm believer in true love. The fact there was one

person out there for everyone, one soulmate. Maybe it was a silly idea, but

knowing her parents story and seeing people like the Halliian Commander and

Ethan Brice, only solidified the idea more so in her mind. That was the

whole problem, Sidney Riley didn’t believe she could actually be in love

with three people and it bothered her.::

Riley: Well, yes.

Ehlanii: So how do you ever know you’ve found the one person for you? ::she

smiled gently:: And where does that leave those cultures who have more than

one love, more than one life-partner?

::Sidney tilted her head. She hadn’t thought of that.::

Riley: I don’t know...I’m not from one of those cultures.

Ehlanii: No? ::she arched an eyebrow:: You may not have grown up in one,

but it’s part of your heritage...

::At first Sidney looked at the woman like she was crazy and then the

realization of what she meant slowly crept across her features.::

Riley: But...I’m mostly Terran...I mean...I grew up with Terrans on Vulcan

and Earth...I’ve never been to Delta IV...

Ehlanii: ::shrugging her shoulder slightly:: So?

Riley: So...It’s not possible. How can that be genetic?

::Karynn laughed slightly, quietly. Genetic wasn’t exactly what she had

meant, but...::

Ehlanii: Some things are genetic, some are cultural. I agree with that.

Whether this is or not, I wouldn’t have a clue. But if it were genetic, if

you could have more than one love because you’re Deltan, is it possible you

might have more than one love as a Human?

Riley: I’m not sure...I... ::Lost for words again.:: But, I mean...I’ve

always believed there is one person. One right person. I can’t be what I’m

not...

::Karynn smiled sympathetically.::

Ehlanii: So lets go back to my other question then. How do you ever know

you’ve found the one right person for you?

Riley: The right person for me...I will be totally happy when I’m with him.

::She closed her eyes.:: I will know because he will be kind and good, he’ll

love me for who I am, not the uniform I wear ::She laughed lightly.:: Or the

fact I’m part Deltan. ::She raised an eyebrow and opened her eyes.:: He

will be smart and courageous, romantic and funny...

::She stopped abrupty.::

::Karynn let the silence reign for a moment, studying the other woman.::

Ehlanii: Why did you stop?

::Sidney took a deep breath, a smile breaking out across her face. Could

she honestly tell Karynn the reason she had stopped was because as she said

the word funny, a picture of Alleran Tan holding Lira Fruit up to his head

as mock antenna as he had impersonated Jhen Thelev had popped into her

mind?::

Riley: Because I thought of something someone did once...::A bright smile

crossed her face for the first time since they had started talking.::

::A smile played at the corner of the Haliian’s mouth. It was nice to see

the Captain smile for once.::

Ehlanii: Do you mind if we shift directions for a bit?

Riley: Shift directions? How so?

Ehlanii: Well, you’ve told me about one of the men that you love. What

about the other two?

Riley: The other two...

Ehlanii: ::nodding:: Have you destroyed their lives?

::Sidney thought for a moment. Bron had left her...Darius had Katherine

Sharkey. She hadn’t destroyed their lives, they had made their own

choices...::

Riley: No... ::She shook her head::

Ehlanii: Do any of the three of them satisfy your list?

::For some reason the Terran/Deltan hadn’t been expecting that question.

For a moment she looked surprised, then she looked down blushing lightly

before she looked back up.::

Riley: Yes

Ehlanii: ::smiling gently:: Then I think you have your answer.

::A worried look crossed her face.::

Riley: But, he might say no...

::The Haliian nodded slowly.::

Ehlanii: He might. Love always has the potential for hurt. If it didn’t it

wouldn’t be love. But if he’s “the one”, then do you really think he would?

::Sidney took a sharp breath, that was right. And Alleran had told her, if

you loved someone to seize them with all of your strength and never let them

go. The question was...was she strong enough to do that?::

Riley: ::Smiling.:: No...

Ehlanii: ::smiling gently:: Then I think you know what to do.

::The Terran/Deltan practically jumped out of the chair, she would have

given Karynn a hug, but she paused remembering the Halliian was a touch

empath.::

Riley: Thank you...

::The Haliian smiled warmly at the woman. She’d had a feeling that all the

commanding officer really needed to do was talk through it. With the

Captain standing, she rose too.::

Ehlanii: You’re welcome, Sir. I’m glad I could help.

Riley: I’m glad you were here to talk to...there aren’t many people I can

talk to...it means a lot to me...and you don’t have to call me “Sir” off

duty either... ::She smiled.:: My name is Sidney.

Ehlanii: ::thoughtfully:: Sidney... ::she smiled brightly:: I’ll try to

remember that. You can call me Karynn, if you’d like.

::The Captain laughed lightly.::

Riley: I think I can remember that. ::She winked.:: What do you say we head

back to our quarters...I want to avoid the changing of the shifts...I can

just imagine the rumors about us running around in pajamas.

::The Haliian laughed quietly, nodding as she did so. Then she paused.::

Ehlanii: S... ::she stopped herself short, changing what she was going to

say.:: Sidney?

Riley: Yes?

Ehlanii: I’m touch empathic. I know you know that. I tend to avoid

physical contact, so I don’t invade other’s privacy. But not with my

friends. At least, if they’re that comfortable with me.

::The Terran/Deltan smiled brightly, shaking her head lightly. She hadn’t

realized she’d been that obvious earlier.::

Riley: Thank you Karynn...You pretty much know what I’m feeling anyway...

::She reached out to give Karynn a friendly hug.::

::The Haliian hugged her, smiling as she did so. She’d made a friend. The

first, it seemed, in a long time, almost a year. After a moment, she pulled

back.::

Ehlanii: Thanks. It means a lot.

::For the first time in a long time Sidney felt something other than

impending doom and gloom. She couldn’t remember the last time she had kept

a smile on her face for longer than a few seconds.::

Riley: To me too.

The End

Lt. Cmdr. Karynn Ehlanii

First Officer

USS Independence-A

and

Fleet Captain Sidney Riley

Commanding Officer

USS Independence-A

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