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[Round 18] FltCapt. Sidney Riley and Lt. Bron Storos: JP, What Does It


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((Timewarp: After Clack and Townson's Visit, Outside the Captain's Quarters, USS Independence-A))

::Sidney slowly stood, even still she felt light headed when she did so. She took in a deep breath. Perhaps one day Starfleet medical would learn how to replicate her blood, but until then... She knew it would be another couple days before she felt well enough to do many regular tasks. And even then, the Doctor probably wouldn't let her go back to work.::

::She walked over to the replicator and then paused. That was right...they were offline. She closed her eyes and turned slowly. Walking over to the hidden cabinet in the wall near the replicator she pulled out a medium sized Victorian style tin box. She smiled as she looked at the ornate pattern a moment before moving her thumb over the lid and pulling it upward. There was a soft click and the box opened to reveal a small container of real coffee grinds with chicory from New Orleans, a small container of creole seasoning and a stack of pecan pralines neatly arranged in a row. Taking out two of the sugary treats she closed the box and put it back in the cabinet for another day.::

::She carefully pulled at the wrapper of the first candy when the door chime sounded rather unexpectedly. She almost dropped the sugary treat onto the floor and moved a little too quickly to try and catch it. After she regained her composure she called out.::

Riley: Who is it? ::She waited rather impatiently for a repsonse as she took a bite of the pecan candy.::

Storos: It is Bron Storos.

::Sidney's eyes widened and she caught her breath. Townson had mentioned security detail, but she hadn't thought it would be...It was a long moment before she responded.::

Riley: Come in...

::She took another hearty bite of the praline.::

Storos: I hope that I am not intruding, Captain...

Riley: No, of course not. ::She motioned for him to enter with the hand that held the candies. Bron blinked at the treat in Sidney's hands but said nothing about it.::

Storos: I was... I just wanted to make sure that you were alright...

::A genuine smile crossed Sidney's face for the second time since she'd been released from sickbay.::

Riley: I will be alright. ::She paused.:: So, you've been assigned as my security. ::She tilted her head questioningly.::

Storos: That is correct, Captain.

::Sidney walked over and sat back down on the couch. She took several more bites of the praline before responding.::

Riley: Forgive me if I eat...I haven't had anything in a while. The replicators are down so I had to raid my personal stores. ::She held up her remaining candy.::

Storos: There is nothing to forgive. Though I believe the ship is now secure enough that you could eat in the mess hall.

Riley: Yes, well... I'm not going to the Free Spririt to eat, especially if Tan is cooking. He'd probably poison my food...

::Bron let the faint hint of an emotion play across the corners of his mouth, though he quickly reigned it in. He gave a nod indicating the room around them.::

Storos: I notice that your quarters seem...less cluttered.

Riley: Heh, yes well, I took care of that problem...

Storos: So I am given to understand...

::Sidney focused her eyes on the rigid Deltan.::

Riley: Look, if you're going to stay here, you're going to have to sit down.

Storos: Of course, Sir.

::Bron looked around for a moment, then sat on a chair across from Sidney. He sat only on the front half of the chair, his back ramrod straight.::

Storos: Better?

::Sidney raised an eyebrow, leaning back. She let her gaze fall over the Deltan man for a moment, once upon a time things had been very different between the two of them. A time when he hadn't called her "Sir...but that was a long time ago...a very long time ago.::

Riley: I suppose so... ::She raised both her eye brows this time, a very animated gesture for her current mood.::

Storos: I of course do not mean to intrude on personal matters.

::Sidney had opened and taken a bite of her second praline. At the security officer's comment she looked up with some surprise.::

Riley: No, of course you don't... ::Her voice trailed off...the very leading nature of the comment didn't escape her though.::

Storos: I am simply glad to see you looking well...all things considered...

::Sidney laughed lightly and shook her head.::

Riley: All things considered? What's that supposed to mean? ::She gave him a look full of scrutiny.::

::Bron smiled at Sidney's laugh. It was a good sound to hear again.::

Storos: I mean the recent attempt on your life. Of course.

Riley: I see... ::She set the rest of the praline down on the table.::

Storos: Yes.

::Bron swallowed. This was going to be a...most interesting shift.::

::Sidney crossed her legs lightly and settled back into her seat. She closed her eyes and then opened them before speaking. Her mind drifting back to a conversation she had what seemed like long ago with then Karynn Ehlanii. Then to the statements made by Alleran about her blood. About something being wrong with her. She looked at Bron, her bright green eyes suddenly more intense.::

Riley: Bron?

Storos: Yes, S-- Captain?

Riley: What does it mean to be Deltan?

::Bron blinked, not entirely sure where the question was coming from.::

Storos: What it means to be to be a Deltan?

::Her gaze focused on the Deltan man, her expression very serious.::

Riley: Yes, what does it mean to be Deltan.

Storos: I am not entirely sure that is an easy question. Some species I think can be summarized in one word. Vulcans -- logic, Klingons -- honor, Ferengi -- profit. Even then, there are nuances from person to person. And then there are other sorts of species. Could you sum up everything it means to be Terran in one word, or everything it means to be Andorian or Romulan?

::It was Sidney's turn to blink. She looked at him curiously for a moment and then reached forward, picked up the praline and took several more thoughtful bites before responding.::

Riley: I don't know...

::She paused again, setting the candy down. Did she really know what it meant to be Terran? She was raised by Terrans, she'd thought she was Terran for most of her life. But, she'd always been different, she'd always been part Deltan. Did she know what it meant to be Terran? Sometimes it felt like everything she knew was wrong.::

Storos: I am not sure I can speak for all Deltans. I can only speak for myself.

::She wrinkled her nose.::

Riley: Then what does it mean to you?

Storos: To be Deltan -- for me...is to be fire...

::She tilted her head lightly, questioningly.::

Riley: Fire?

Storos: Deltans feel strongly. We love strongly, that is well-known. But that is only part of it. Everything is felt so strongly, it is like being a spark in the midst of the fire. We...it can be hard for us to reach out to other species. Perhaps we fear we might burn them. Fire is dangerous. But fire can also be the hearth-fire of home. ::beat:: Does that make any sense?

::Bron offered Sidney a quirky smile. She paused in deep thought for a moment. She closed her eyes, opened them and then sighed.::

Riley: I think so...I don't know...::Pause.:: They can't replicate my blood, did you know that?

::Bron blinked again, it taking a moment for him to adjust to the change in subject.::

Storos: I did not know that. Though I am given to understand that people with a mixed genetic makeup do have such difficulties.

Riley: Apparently Terran/Deltans aren't a very studied group. Starfleet medical says there aren't enough of us for any research to take place. ::She shrugged.:: And then of course, I'm not half, just one eighth. And well, you know how Deltans feel about anyone who isn't pure Deltan.

Storos: ::with a rueful smile:: Not quite every Deltan. Though the prejudice is unfortunately widespread.

Riley: I could have bled to death in the corridor...because there's something ::She paused, Alleran's words coming back to her.:: *wrong* with my blood.

::Bron felt his hands clench into fists, holding back his anger.::

Storos: ::blankly:: Who told you this?

Riley: It's just something I was told by someone...

::Bron nodded and filed Sidney's evasion away for further investigation.::

Storos: Ah... Sidney, may I ask you a question and then give you the answer from my outsider perspective?

Riley: What's that?

Storos: What does it mean to be Terran?

::Sidney laughed.::

Riley: Do I really know? ::She shook her head. Her previous questions coming back to mind.::

Storos: ::nodding:: Terrans are perhaps the most diverse sentient species ever discovered. Certainly they are the most diverse humanoid species I know. They are not united by appearance or creed or way of life. What defines a Terran?

Riley: I don't know I...

::She stopped, she was beginning to get frustrated. It was always like this when she talked to Bron. How could she explain? She was neither Terran nor Deltan, she was something in between, something different, something...many considered *wrong*.::

Storos: As a Deltan, someone observing Terrans from the outside, what it means to be a Terran is that you have the power to choose. Unlike any other species in the known galaxy, you choose your own path. You do not limit yourself to logic or emotion, to honor or to profit. You are what you choose to be.

::Sidney sighed.::

Riley: Yes, yes...::She waved her hand gracefully.:: We better ourselves for knowledge, for the good of others...etc, etc, etc....

Storos: I think sometimes that that is why Terrans have so many enemies. All the rest of us are jealous.

::Sidney gave Bron Storos a skeptically raised eyebrow.::

Riley: I'm sure many would disagree with you.

Storos: The question you should be asking yourself, I think...is not what it means to be Deltan, but what it means to be Sidney Riley.

::She simply looked at the Deltan man for a moment. She took another deep breath.::

Riley: But why does being Terran mean anything to you? ::Her eyes narrowed.::

Storos: It means something to me... ::trailing off:: oO...because you mean something to me, Guardian of my heart. Oo

::She closed her eyes. Talking to Bron was like talking to a wall.::

Riley: But why don't you understand? ::She opened her eyes and raised her voice. Her previous feelings coming to the surface.:: Why am I the way I am?

::She moved on the couch lightly, fidgeting. If she had thought she wouldn't have been light headed she would have stood.::

Storos: You are the way you are, because of who you are. That is a sum of everything you are, Deltan and Terran both, as well as your unique experiences.

Riley: Why is there something wrong with me? ::She hit her fist on the table as she leaned forward.::

::Bron lifted his right hand, hesitantly at first. His index finger curled and rested under Sidney's chin. He attempted to raise it so he can look into Sidney's eyes. She made no move to stop him which surprised her slightly.::

Storos: ::very softly:: Who told you that there was anything wrong with you?

Riley: Someone I trusted. ::Her voice was a mere whisper.::

Storos: I do not believe it.

Riley: Maybe he was right?

Storos: Perhaps you only feel that way because you do not know how to reconcile what you are feeling with your previous experiences.

::She pulled back from Storos' touch.::

Riley: What?

Storos: Talk to me. Tell me what you are feeling...

Riley: You wouldn't understand...

Storos: Why do you say that?

Riley: Because you can't even tell me what it means to be Deltan. ::She laughed lightly, but it held a hint of sadness.::

Storos: I will try, if you want me to...

::Sidney nodded.::

::Bron closed his eyes. He rested his right hand on his heart. Then he opened his eyes and smiled at Sidney, though there perhaps was a sadness about his eyes.::

Storos: My creche tells a story. It is sung to us in our cradles. We sing it as we work in the fields. We whisper it to each other making love...

::Sidney listened intently.::

Storos: In the beginning there was Fire. Fire burned bright upon the earth, but Fire was alone. So Fire divided itself, again and again. He filled the world with heat and light and love. All things that move have this Fire within them. When I meet a member of my creche, Fire speaks to Fire. Fire flows between us. Fire grows. Fire rejoices to be reunited with itself.

::She blinked, deep in thought as he continued.;:

Storos: For my creche, this is what it means to be Deltan. It means to be aware of the Fire within, to know when to hold off on letting it burn, and when to give in to the flames... ::laughing:: And I am sure that that helps not at all...

Riley: I have to admit, the story is cryptic. ::Sidney smiled lightly, sighed and shook her head.::

Storos: ::smiling in turn:: If it were not cryptic, it would not be a true story...

::Bron paused, feeling that there was more Sidney wanted to say.::

Riley: It's just...

Storos: Go on.

Riley: I have such strong emotions and...I don't know how to deal with them. :: A single tear escaped from her eye.::

::Bron hesitated for a moment, then he reached out and brushed away Sidney's tear with the back of his index finger.::

Storos: Tell me. Let me help...

Riley: No one understands me...maybe it is my fault, maybe there is something wrong with my blood...

Storos: ::shaking his head:: I refuse to believe that there is anything wrong with you.

Riley: I lost the child I was carrying...in the assassination attempt.

::Bron sucked in a breath.::

Storos: I... I did not know, Sidney. I am truly sorry...

::Sidney shrugged lightly, her eyes staring off into space.::

Storos: The Deltans of my creche believe that death diminishes those left behind, but the Fire within those we have lost rejoins the greater Fire of the universe. The closer we draw to the great Fire, the truer we are to the Fire within ourselves, the closer we draw to those we have lost.

::She blinked looking over at Bron. She gave a wry smile.::

Riley: Thanks... ::Her voice was very quiet.::

Storos: You are very welcome.

::The Terran/Deltan was very quiet for a moment.::

Riley: ::Sighs.:: I just have such strong emotions...they pull me in every direction...sometimes all at once.

Storos: Emotions are not bad things. The important thing is to be true to yourself.

Riley: I just want things I can not have...

Storos: What sort of things?

Riley: You couldn't understand...

Storos: ::with a wry smile:: I may know a few things about wanting things one cannot have...

::Sidney raised an eyebrow, she seriously doubted what the Deltan man said.::

Storos: If you do not wish to speak about it, especially at this time, I understand.

::She nodded.::

Storos: I do want you to know, though, that I am always here if you do want to talk.

Riley: I just want to know what it means to be Deltan...

Storos: I am not sure what more to say than what I have already said.

Riley: You don't understand...

Storos: I can tell you more stories. I can suggest cultural studies to read. I would be happy to show you more of Delta IV on the holodeck. With the greatest joy. But I am not sure to what extent that would be helpful to explain what it means for Sidney Riley to be part Deltan...

::Sidney took in a sharp breath, it was always like this when talking to Bron. It was why things were the way they were. She stood slowly.::

Riley: I am headed to the Free Spirit... ::She walked past Bron and then turned around her eyes flashing a smile.:: I guess that means you're supposed to follow me.

Storos: ::with an answering smile:: I suppose that it does.

Riley: Well come on then...

::She motioned for Storos to follow her as she walked out the door and into the corridor.::


Fleet Captain Sidney Riley

Commanding Officer

USS Independence-A


Lieutenant Bron Storos


USS Independence-A

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