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JP: CRUELLA/VALDIVIA: Thoughts of the past

Rinev Shryn

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(( Eagle's Roost, USS Discovery-C ))

:: Valdivia entered the Roost somewhat nervous. Although he was sure

she wouldn't blame him at all, he still felt he owed her an apology.

He took a deep breath and approached Sister Cruella. ::

VALDIVIA: Sister, may I speak with...

CRUELLA: ::interrupting him:: I was just thinking of you! What a

charming synchronicity. Perhaps fate has brought you to me? ::The

Chief Science Officer began forming a syllable as though to interject,

but she continued.:: But these surroundings seem dull - People eating

everywhere. Would you be so gracious as to accompany me? I was

thinking of the Astrometrics Laboratory. ::The Reman woman carefully

articulated the destination in her musical voice.::

:: Valdivia was a little surprised at first. For being cut

midsentence, but specially for her proposal. After all, he was there

when the darkening of the Roost had been planned, because she wasn't

comfortable in direct light. ::

:: There was something about her, something that was different.

Perhaps enthusiasm significantly altered her features? No, that wasn't

it -- not the most noticeable alteration. Color. Her alabaster white

face had the faintest blush of pink from within. ::

VALDIVIA: Are you sure? The rest of the ship is not as dark as this place.

CRUELLA: I am feeling ..hale. Besides my ..vigorous health, I believe

you suggested a protective set of lenses - "sunglasses".

:: Valdivia smiled and nodded, glad she remembered about his idea, and

they left the room. ::

(( en route, Astrometrics Lab ))

:: The Reman woman moved with only a trace of hesitation through the

corridors. Although her garb was as funereal as ever, Valdivia noticed

that it was slimmer, less shapeless than the layered shroud she

constantly wore behind the bar. Perhaps it was her casual attire? ::

:: They walked and Valdivia slowly started to fall behind, doubts

filling his mind. ::

:: Cruella paused, and turned to regard her escort. The wizened face

looked kindly up at he man. If it were not for her Reman features, she

could have passed for a typical grandmother. But the bat ears which

poked from beneath her shawl and sunglasses suggested her unusual

nature. ::

CRUELLA: ::She walked to close the distance between them.:: Does

something burden you? What is it? ::She carefully concealed her ears

once more.::

VALDIVIA: I... I heard about what happened. Are you ok?

CRUELLA: Oh, my dear child! ::She grasped his hand, her own grip

unpleasantly like icy steel cables.:: I knew you were different than

most scientists, but to be compassionate as well as possessed of a

..conscience -- Truly a remarkable, young man. ::She released him.::

You must forgive my familiarity, please. ::She trilled her apology.::

I forget sometimes how cold I must seem.

VALDIVIA: I am sorry I got you involved in this.

:: The man's rueful expression told his heart as plainly as any

telepath could have read. Rather than subject him to further chilling

contact, the old woman compromised, approached as near as she dared.

Lowering her glasses, their dark eyes met, bridged the remaining

distance. ::

CRUELLA: ::Her voice sounded of a music box, the clear tones as though

this tune had been repeated before and always the same.:: I am

flattered that you so concern yourself with my well-being. I do wish

that everyone were as considerate. I shall be fine. ::Her voice

regained its more fluid meter.:: In ..honesty I find myself still

thrilled that you thought of me. ::She smiled with ghastly fangs.::

Never regret your decision. I don't.

VALDIVIA: ::smiling. :: Somehow, I knew you wouldn't. But still... I'm

sorry. It is not your duty, but yet when we needed you...

:: The Reman vampire felt a greater shadow over the Chief Science

Officer. He did not disbelieve her words. No, the feeling was of

sorrow, a regret older than his relationship with the bartender.

Appreciating the burden of sorrow acutely, she took on a solemn, more

maternal posture. ::

CRUELLA: This goes beyond the two of us. Tell me, what troubles you?

You have my ear.

:: Valdivia reflected on the question for several seconds before

answering. He had not thought about that for a long time. ::

VALDIVIA: On my first mission... we were boarded. Two enemies that

used energy weapons entered the science lab. I thought I could

overload their weapons, and did so, creating an energy field in the

lab with the same frequency. One of their weapons exploded, killing

the attacker. But the other one saw the effect, and hurled the weapon

at a crewman. It exploded near him.

CRUELLA: Do you recollect this crew-man's name?

VALDIVIA: I do remember. Lieutenant Raharu. He lost his eyes, and had

them replaced by artificial ones. He... returned to Earth after that.

CRUELLA: And you were left with guilt. Raharu blamed you for his eyes,

and he departed.

VALDIVIA: Blame me? He even called me a hero, saying we could all be

dead if those Saurians wouldn't have been stopped. It made it even

more difficult.

CRUELLA: Not an uncommon paradox - to fabricate guilt even after

absolution. We often assume more responsibility than is our part. And

Raharu leaving the ship, you felt survivor's guilt, striking the man

as a casualty even though he lived and walked. But you walked on as

well, ever on. Maturing as an officer of peace.

VALDIVIA: It took me some time, but in the end I saw he was somehow

right. But each time I have to make a decision in a rush, or imply

someone else, without testing or discussion, this moment still pops to


:: Cruella was initially taken by the sinful irony of killing someone

by turning their weapon against them. As she thought of Valdivia's

crisis of escaping unscathed and forgiven, her thoughts began

wandering. ::

CRUELLA: You acted with the best of intentions. It is still ..tragic,

that some had to suffer and die. oO Violence, always fragmenting into

further violent acts. Oo

VALDIVIA: I'm really glad nothing serious happened to you, sister.

CRUELLA: You know, every time I can be of use, I feel a bit less

empty. ::a mournful bell tolling:: My eyes have seen lives burn

bright, and crackling turn to ash. These withered old bones have done

much. Good, at times, but I have acted in ..haste, at times.

:: Less used to telepathic reading, now Cruella understood a bit more

of the exchange that was conversation. Instead of offering thoughts in

exchange, talking required painting a picture with words. There were

times the Reman hesitated to reflect upon, felt ill about voicing

aloud. ::

VALDIVIA: Are you thinking about something in particular?

CRUELLA: It was so long ago, and we were just getting along.. ::The

musical notes faded, her words trailing off.::

:: They entered the lift for last leg of their jaunt to the lab.

Unsure of the meaning of her last choice of words, Valdivia looked

long at the little woman. Sister Cruella appeared to be reliving her

past regardless of his prompting. Whistling whispers came from her,

and when she would stop for a while her hand moved up to her face. ::

VALDIVIA: Do you... want to talk about it?

CRUELLA: ::sharply:: Oh! ::in a rising overture:: I feel I ought to

confide in you, at the least we will be on equal terms. Equality of an

unpleasant sort. My dear, innocent boy, I.. I do not know what you may

think of me after I have told my tale. ::In the darker Turbolift, she

removed her shades. Her eyes, haunted eyes, looked into him once more.

There was fear there, real fear.::

VALDIVIA: You don't have to. But I'm willing to listen.

CRUELLA: I was a girl, really only a girl. Lost in my ..the last

foolish tatters of romantic hope, they still clung to my budding

womanhood. How terrible for.. it was terrible that these last remnants

of ignorant ideals ::She looked away as she said it.:: wrapped

themselves over my eyes. ::aside, almost to herself:: My judgement was

usually so sound. I was most prudent of my friends. ::she continued::

I was a young fool.

VALDIVIA: It's hard to imagine you... :: too late, he noticed the

implied meaning. :: err... being a fool, I mean.

:: What he really meant, however, wasn't lost to her. She smiled

again, but there was a beauty unmarred by fangs this time. Her teeth

were orderly, more Terran. Rather than fangs curving toward eerie

translucence like a deep sea fish, her smile was of pleasant, white

teeth. ::

CRUELLA: Oh, it is not so difficult to imagine. Just open your mind to

the possibility.

:: Before his eyes, she transformed. She was no longer a withered

woman wearing a concealing pile of black and several life times' worth

of wrinkles. ::

:: A young Reman woman, really still a girl growing into her adult

features stood tall where Sister Cruella had been. Most shocking of

her transformation was that she was taller than Valdivia, imposing

even. Her curves had the pert edges and firmness which came from being

atop athletic muscle. She wore a coarse shift in fading maroon, with

some threadbare patches finally beyond mending. Her clothes were

actually a bit too small for her which made her seem a bit younger.

The shawl (with large ears pointing up under it) did little to hide

the woman's gaunt face, regarding Valdivia with open friendliness. Her

soulful eyes had another character entirely - where he was used to

seeing a sad understanding and acceptance there was none. Her eyes

were filled with wild passion as only youth could possess. ::

CRUELLA: Youth or madness. ::apologetic:: Forgive my intrusion. Nature

is difficult to renounce in part, more so than refusing it wholly.

VALDIVIA: This is... oO Impossible? A trick? Telepathy? Actual

transformation? Oo ... impressive.

:: The more robust, considerably younger Reman woman continued. Though

faint, there was color in her animated face and hands. The melody of

Cruella's voice seemed much more at home coming from her young self.


CRUELLA: A young healer, well skilled in the techniques and meager

resources Reman women developed since we resolved to live. Living in

the dark pit, the mines of Remus.

VALDIVIA: I can't even begin to imagine. Was it hard?

CRUELLA: For the young it was, mostly. An idea remained, one of

justice. That the Romulans would pay their due to us, and that we

would be free to the stars. ::sulky:: Free as we had been when our

people first came to settle Romulus and Remus.

:: With relived passion of youth, tempered by the sober wisdom of

hindsight, she told her tale. Unlike most Remans, she had been able to

leave their abyssal world. Unfortunately, she had become taken with

the powerful warrior Cenarius. Her love stuck her to the evil man's

side, and by him she wandered far astray. The horrors, some completely

pointless, Cenarius' loyal band perpetrated. The filthy lust and

borderline abandon of the vampire bachanals caused Cruella to color a

little, withdrawing from recounting the base details now as she had

reserved herself from the morally degraded acts she witnessed in her

past. She had succumbed to being a vampire with the rest of the Orcus

Sect, but unlike the riotous blood suckers she somehow, against all

she knew, believed she could bring them back around to more noble

goals. By the time Sister Cruella had finished, they were lingering

outside of the Astrometrics Lab. ::

:: There was undoubtedly more to her tale, but more than enough had

been recounted. Valdivia, however, mesmerized by her tale, and

specially by her telling it, was in shock for a couple of seconds when

she stopped. ::

VALDIVIA: oO Why...? Oh! Oo Oh! Welcome to Astrometrics.

simmed by

Lt.Cmdr John Valdivia

Chief Science Officer

USS Discovery-C


Sister Cruella (PNPC)


The Eagle's Roost

as simmed by

Lt.Cmdr. Inarr "Steve" Rogg d'Squamos

Chief Engineering Officer

USS Discovery-C

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