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[Round 7] Warp Tides

Sedrin Belasi

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((Time Warp: The Day After the Wedding: The Free Spirit))

::The day kept coming, though each year seemed shortened enough that the intervals between shrank with each new arrival. Alahndra ordered her first drink. Gin. Gin martini, gin and tonic, gin and juice... Didn't matter. oOPoison either way you look at it.Oo She took a swallow and stared into her cup. Gin was the closest thing she could get to the herb-infused alcohol Deltans served at weddings, birth celebrations, and funerals.::

::Usually she refrained from drinking on this day. But she felt as if something within had loosed, and she couldn't figure a way to put things right.:: oO Seeing Sedrin made me feel too much. Oh. My heart will burst... Oo

oO NO! Oo

::The vehemence of the silent command shocked her.::

oO Am I so weak? Have I been running all this time? Yes... Yes... Oo

::She sat and stared blankly as she finished two drinks.::

oO Running, never aware that I could not ultimately escape the tides... The tides that threaten... Threatening to deface; destroy; empty my insides into the tides... The tides that threaten-- Oo


oO A sea. A storm. Lightening striking the water, the fish aglow in the depths; oh Father was there, working the sails as we, cowering below the old strung up sack used to hold the day's catch, watched the waves to either side grow into leviathans and shrink into the mists, the clouds swirl above the head and feel the Drip, Drip of the pattering outlaying droplets began to fall, and he said it was only a small squall.

oO Very young, I was--perhaps four, five. As natural a man as I ever saw, laughing at the wind, calling her Bayoone, You Cannot Have These Bones. He sang to the rain, and I didn't look away; he sang the song that lingers in the tides. Wondered what kind of man was he--not the Father I knew--never that free or alive or -- no, I didn't want to leave Sewa's decks because there I had seen him first and last.

oO Did anyone know his actions would lead -- no, no one. There are no written histories of the future, but doom filled me because I saw the light in his eyes as it flashed off the waves and the tempest billowed his clothes. Not a man I knew, nor ever was to. That, with his past nothing but a painful veil none was so strong enough to lift. No, I never knew him. Oo

::Alahndra could not cry. She glanced around for a distraction, anything, and toyed with a napkin as she tried to feel something. oO Regret? No. Oo Then her eyes followed the contours of the room and she caught his face, though she couldn't seem to hold it anymore because seeing Sedrin once again loosed that thing she kept, safe, locked within. She took a gulp of whatever she was drinking, and then stood a bit unsteadily.::

Nevarass: Hello...

Belasi: Hello Alahndra. ::Pause:: It is very… *pleasant* to see you again so soon.

Nevarass: It's good to see you. ::She didn't know whether she meant it or not.:: You must know... Today... My family died today. ::She didn't quite look him in the eye.::

Belasi: Yes, I was aware, but I only ever remembered this day as the day that… I lost you.

Nevarass: Sedrin... ::sigh:: I am so sorry to have caused you pain.

Belasi: I forgive you.

::Sedrin smiled, the warmest smile he had since they were reunited. He could see that Alahndra was hurting deeply inside. It looked like she would burst unless she could release some of that hurt.::

Belasi: You said that last night was not a good time to talk about how you escaped. Would you mind if I join you for this drink, and you can tell me now. I’d like to know…

Nevarass: Yes, please. I am tired of facing it alone. Care for some gin? It tastes like Jouya.

Belasi: That sounds nice.

::Sedrin sat down opposite Alahndra.::

Nevarass: The day I left... Well, I will begin as close to the beginning as I can.

((Flashback: Delta IV: 4.33 years ago))

::She had finished her advanced degree a month back, but in spite of intentions, she lingered at the University. It had become a refuge of sorts, with long, tree lined boulevards and the quiet, dust-full library filled with near transparent manuscripts, tomes in stasis, so much history that it dwarfed her small intellectual inroads. She had focused on medicine, xenobiology, astronomy, all things that would be useful if she could only keep herself on task and leave off haunting these quiet places.::

oO I will return home soon to find everyone in an uproar about the upcoming election, Father brooding in his study and wagering for partisans' support like a s[...] peddler selling bits of metal and glass, Mother having already withdrawn to her room most days to barter because for her it is an addiction, buying, selling things as Father buys and sells people, though one with money and the other with words.

oO Yes, and perhaps both will be too busy to notice me. It is an old house, full of the ghosts of our ancestors, plenty of places to hide for a moment, an hour, a day. No longer. Oo

::Suddenly she felt the need, and it was need, not desire, to be lightyears gone by now.::

oO The plan, so simple, but it needed a moment of frenzy, such as the election season, to work. Be seen going back home, but leave things at the University as if I mean to return. Travel light, one bag, take no forms of identification. Become a true inhabitant of the stars. Use the account in Delinar's name and slip quietly from their fraught lives on a planet that now seems so small, with petty, insignificant troubles. Oo

::She walked steadily to her room, steadily, no speed, no hint at the urgency she suddenly felt. Shintara met her there.::

Shintara: You look brood-some. It is past time we were off, Allie.

oO She knows me too well. I cannot lie. Oo

Alahndra: This time, I think, I will go alone.

Shintara: ::nodding:: I thought that was the problem. You have been acting quite like that old Terran fool. If I didn't know better, I'd say you thought me a fishmonger for all the incoherent babble I've been listening to. I know it's no use trying to crawl backward like a crab across the sands of time, yet when you are with Memory, you accuse me of insensibility.

Alahndra: Shintara, why do you always compare me to some of the noblest characters as if I were committing a crime?

Shintara: Because the way you carry on, I'd think you were a character right out of history, sent here only to drive your poor friends positively batty with moodiness. Brooding, really. 'Zounds, woman, what madness do you suffer? Walking through the boulevards as if you are going to leave your very spirit here. Come now, have a little sense and be decently done with it.

Alahndra: ::chuckling:: I do see the point, but I can't help that. It's a natural predicament, a kind of character flaw one learns to love.

Shintara: If by love you mean tolerate, in view of the absolutely fantastic person you are otherwise, when not taken to fits of... Oh, bah, what was it once called? Spleen?

Alahndra: I do not have fits of spleen!

Shintara: Oh, yes, you do. I've lived with you ever since Sedrin left, and you have certainly turned splenetic since.

Alahndra: Shintara... In all seriousness, splenetic or not... ::She struggled to find words to express her thankfulness, her love, for the Ferengi woman, but Shintara wouldn't let her.::

Shintara: It's not as if you are going to die, right off, anyhow. I'll be leaving for the Delta Quadrant in a year, and until then you know which very secret subspace channel I'll be monitoring. Let's not bother with goodbyes. ::She turned rummaged through one of her numerous bags, came up with something, and handed it to Alahndra with a twinkle in her eye.:: Here. You'll need these in case anyone thinks they recognize you.

::Alahndra unwound the silk covering a small, squarish item. A scarf to cover her head, if need called for it, and it was quite nondescript, a deep brown. The squarish object she stared at in fascination. It was a microcrystalline display card, completely blank, ready for immediate data sync and use.::

Alahndra: ::Astonished:: You... how did you get this? ::beat:: No, never mind. I don't want to know.

Shintara: It's the final step in the process of self-creation, Allie. ::She smiled.:: You don't actually think my father named me something like "Shintara," do you? This way, you can be whatever, whoever, you need to be, or want to at any rate. Use frequency 5.1243, QL-H5-level encryption, and no one will ever be able to tell the difference between you and your devious alter-ego, Allie Varan. After you program it, the encryption will auto-update.

((End Flashback))

Belasi: Please continue. I won’t judge.

::Sedrin listened intently, but was unsure whether he should make any physical contact with Alahndra. Even sitting nearby, he was awash with her strong emotions. So much pain, so much sorrow but underneath it all, a growing inner strength.::

Nevarass: You know how my father was. Well, I did go back to my parents' residence. I pretended that I was tired, evading questions from my mother. Father was more difficult. ::And suddenly, her voice stopped working, simply refusing to take her onward.:: I can only show you. It is too sensitive yet for words to touch., I suppose.

Belasi: Go ahead. ::Sedrin said softly::

::Alahndra slid her hand next to his, so that the outsides of their pinkies touched.::

::Possible images flitted through her brain, but she showed him the truth. Her father, Ryald Nevarass, Laenthali, Delta IV Emissary and World Leader, had changed from the hard but kind man she knew from her youth. Something had warped in him, or perhaps she had only then noticed, and the warp had been there all along. It was the first time in her life she had ever been beaten, and she swore it would also be the last.::

Belasi: Oh Allie, I never realized. ::Sedrin heart ached for Alahndra. How he wished he could have been there for her at that time, to protect her, even from her father.::

Nevarass: Nor did I, until I was... ::break:: My mother came after, used a derma laser to repair me, like she'd been doing it for years...

::She did not break contact, using her other hand to pick up her drink while she slid the tip of her smallest finger over his own. She took a long swallow, getting her voice back.::

Nevarass: Yes. That is what happened. I think, from research and the few observations my shocked mind could absorb, that someone was blackmailing him, but I have little proof other than my own eyes. ::pause:: Everything I thought I knew about my parents might be wrong.

Belasi: They were living a lie?

Nevarass: Masquerading... pretenders. How long were they like that? Always? Was I so blind that it was always there but I never saw?

Belasi: No. They had the whole world fooled.

::She couldn't hold it back any longer... the tides finally upset the lone boat floating in the ocean of her mind. She tried to stand suddenly, to run... somewhere... before it could overtake her. But she collapsed back onto the chair.::

Nevarass: Oh. Drank too much. Sorry... Please... Hic... help me get out. ::She said, strangled, right before the tears began, slumping against his shoulder, trying to hide, to sleep. She felt so very weary, felt her body go limp.::

Belasi: Oh Alahndra.

::Sedrin twisted around to look down at Alahndra. He put his arm up to support her head, and gently nudged her.::

Belasi: ::Whispering softly in her ear:: Alahndra….. Alahndra….

::She felt his breath as he whispered in her ear, and suddenly she was very aware of his skin... Unable to control the electric current that spun down her spine, she surrendered, only for a moment, and that was enough to banish everything else in her mind. No.::

Nevarass: You... ::she paused, trying to remember the words:: are very nice, Sedrin, to suffer such an evening. Please, get me out of here before I make a scene... I don't drink quite like I used to.

::He helped her stand, and she swayed a few moments before grasping his arm for support, and they left the half-deserted bar. The corridors became misted, storm clouds beneath her feet, lightning rippling forth across sky underfoot--and he was there, working the sails, guiding her ship to harbor, and she soon failed to resist the currents that pulled her under.::


JP Sim By:

Ensign Alahndra Nevarass

Assistant Chief Medical: USS Independence-A


Lt JG Sedrin Belasi (PNPC)

Pilot: DeepSpace 17

Simmed by Lt JG Eyas Wulfantine

Chief of Security: USS Independence-A

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