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Lt. Rune Jolara & Lt. JG. Alora DeVeau: Who Was Helping Who?


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((Arboretum; USS Garuda))

::The Garuda was much larger than the Avandar had been and even though Rune had already memorized the ship's layout, it took her longer than she expected to reach the Arboretum. She actually had a dual purpose in seeking out the ship's garden park. One was personal, the other business though she wasn't going to push the business end too hard just yet.::

::As soon as she entered, she was greeted by a breeze of fresh air and the sound of water trickling somewhere from deeper within. She stepped forward, allowing the doors to close behind her. Taking a deep breath of the cooler air, she almost regretted it. Her side was still sore from the recently broken ribs and punctured lung.::

::She smiled with an odd sense of bitter-sweetness as she slowly made her way along the path that had been made to look like a well worn dirt walking path. Aside from her quarters and her office, it was the quietest place on the ship and it was the only place that reminded her of a homeworld she was certain she would never see again. She found a bench away from the entrance and sat down. ::

::Stretching out her legs in front of her, she leaned forward with her hands on the edge of the bench. Hanging her head, she closed her eyes and took a much slower deep breath. She sighed softly at the sound of footsteps and almost wished whoever it was would just keep walking. That was, unless it was the person she had hoped to run into here.::

::The Mercury had an Arboretum as well, but Alora hadn’t visited the Garuda’s version yet. It was lovely, of course, as lovely as the Mercury’s, and larger. Green was no dominant, nor was red, yellow, or purple, or any other colour. Rather the entire room was sprinkled with various shades of various hues, some that humans didn’t even have a name for. Flora from the furthest reaches of the known parts of the galaxy presented themselves in various locations for the benefit of those who wished to study or simply admire them.

In truth, the Arboretum wasn’t simply one room. Too support the amount of various flora and to sustain ideal conditions, various plantlife with similar atmospheric and soil requirements, smaller rooms were laid out in a pattern within the larger. The main room boasted the largest assortment and sustained a temperature around eighty degrees. For humans, it was warm but not too hot. Humidity was tempered by a constant but gentle flow of air which made it more pleasant - for humans and other races that enjoyed similar conditions.

While plants did not speak, silence could never be completely formed even in the Arboretum, especially with that breeze. There was always a hush of leaves, the whisper of twigs as they twittered slightly at the air’s touch. Visitors also added to the song of the Arboretum, though there were few that day. Only one that she could see, as a matter of fact, so when Alora drew nigh, she spoke.::

DeVEAU: Oh, hello!

:: Rune looked up and immediately smiled. She recognized the human face from the personnel files she had sorted through. ::

JOLARA: Hello. I was just enjoying the silence, such as it is. ::motioning to the empty space beside her:: Care to join me? I'm Rune Jolara.

DeVEAU: Sure. Why not?

::Another day, another new face. Alora wondered if there would ever come a time when she recognised everyone she saw on the Garuda. With turnover being what it was, that wasn’t necessarily going to happen for some time. Still, getting to know other members of the crew was useful. They had to work together, it was a positive goal. The young woman offered her hand.::

DeVEAU: I’m Alora.

:: Rune smiled and gladly accepted the handshake. ::

JOLARA: I must confess, I already knew who you were. I’m the new ship’s Counselor.

DeVEAU: Welcome to the Garuda! You came here to counsel plants?

::Alora gave a half grin.::

DeVEAU: Or did you just need a change of scenery?

::Rune shook her head and looked around. ::

JOLARA: Perhaps partially. But mostly I enjoy the peace I can only find here. It reminds me of my homeworld.

DeVEAU: Your home world? Where are you from?

JOLARA: Leya-I. ::She smiled but there was a sadness behind her eyes. For that one moment, she missed the home she would never see again.:: It’s always warm. I think that’s one of the things I miss most.

::Alora couldn’t miss the expression within what many earth poets had deemeed windows to the soul. It could be believed as emotions played themselves out so easily in the eyes.::

DeVEAU: Oh? So it’s like this? Lush and green with lots of foliage? Parts of Earth are like that too.

JOLARA: ::nodding:: It is. I believe you would call it tropic or sub-tropic.

DeVEAU: Very nice.

JOLARA: What about you? Where are you from?

DeVEAU: I’m from Earth. Terra. Whatever you wanna call it.

::And yes, she missed it, but Alora couldn’t deny the advantages of traveling and serving in Starfleet.::

DeVEAU: Do you miss Leya-I?

JOLARA: ::nodding:: I do. More than I thought I would.

::Alora tilted her head as if she were trying to get a better, or perhaps deeper, view of the counselor.::

DeVEAU: Why so down?

JOLARA: I don’t believe I will ever be able to go back.

::Alora straightened a little. Had something happened to the planet? The destruction of something like that wasn’t trivial. Surely she would have heard had something occurred - wouldn’t she?

DeVEAU: It’s...gone?

JOLARA: No, my homeworld is still there. As humans say, long story short, I am at odds with my people.

DeVEAU: Oh. I’m sorry.

::Odds with her people? All her people? Wow, that had to be hard. It was difficult enough being at odds with a single member of one’s family much less one’s entire race.::

DeVEAU: Do you mind if I ask in what way?

:: Rune thought for a moment how best to explain without making the Lieutenant uncomfortable. ::

JOLARA: I can not conform to what they consider acceptable thinking and behavior. They want to change who I am and who I am becoming.

DeVEAU: What are they trying to change?

::Alora had to admit there were certain traits that should be changed. For instance, of someone had a habit of being physically abusive, that was an aspect of that person that should be worked on and modified - for their good and the good of others. She doubted that was the case with the Counselor, however.::

JOLARA: oOShe’s human. She should understand the way Nikki put it.Oo They wish to change my sexuality. They tried once before but failed. I refuse to go through the process again.

::The way Rune said it, was very matter of fact. Of course it was much more complicated than that and only 3 other people knew the entire story. Make that 2 since LtCmdr T’Lea had lost all memory of any time aboard the Avandar, including even knowing Rune. That very thought dredged up even more unwanted thoughts and emotions which Rune tried to quickly brush aside.::

DeVEAU: Oh.

::Seriously? Try to change her sexuality? And exactly how did that work? Alora wasn’t sure she really wanted to know.::

DeVEAU: That sounds rough. I’m sorry...I hope the process wasn’t painful.

::Rune tried not to react to that. What had been done to her was not the attitude readjustment therapy she had been trained to administer to patients. She wasn't really sure what it was but it was very painful. But that wasn't something she really needed to share with Alora. After all, they had just met and, now, thinking about it, she had probably shared too much already.::

::Alora leaned forward and rest her arms on her knees, crossing them over each other. As she pondered, her lips pursed and she shook her head.::

DeVEAU: Sometimes we need to change - when we’re doing something that’s obviously wrong, like losing our temper all the time, or constantly stealing things. But when people want to change who we are when who we are isn’t necessarily anything wrong, well, those people are probably too short sighted to see how wonderful you are and too focused on how they think you should be.

::Alora turned her gaze and let it rest upon the counselor once more.::

DeVEAU: I say forget them and find people who appreciate you for who you are.

::She offered a rueful smile.::

DeVEAU: I know, easier said than done, right?

::Rune couldn't help but smile.::

JOLARA: That it is. But I'm sorry. I didn't really mean to ::What was the human term?:: unload on you.

DeVEAU: Nah, it’s okay. I mean, we all need to unload sometime, right?

::Alora had friends Did Jolara? What was it like being a counselor on a ship? It seemed a lot had trouble connecting with counselors. She didn’t midn them, knew they were necessary and good, though she had to admit she wasn’t going to go to them first. If she couldn’t get past her issues after talking with her friends then yes, definitely. Did counselors have trouble making friends? Her thoughts drifted to Calavera briefly. He’d tried so hard…::

JOLARA: ::turning the conversation around:: Do you miss earth?

DeVEAU: Yeah, I do, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t, but I love being out here and seeing new things and having the chance to discover new things. I can at least visit earth now and again.

::But what would it be like if she couldn’t go back? If she were in a similar situation to Jolara? That would suck.::

DeVEAU: What’s Leya-I like? I know you said it had a lot of flora. Is it rich in fauna as well?

JOLARA: Yes, we have a wide variety of fauna.

DeVEAU: I’d be interested in learning more about it. I’ve done some virtual exploration of Vulcan. Would you be willing to show me your planet?

::Rune actually liked that idea.::

JOLARA: I do have a holo-program I was given. I would be very happy to show it to you.

DeVEAU: Awesome. We have a couple more days of shore leave if you want to do it. I think there’s a special presentation tomorrow, but maybe after that?

::One of the reasons Alora had joined Starfleet was to explore. While using the holodeck wasn’t exactly the same, it was still nice, especially with someone who was familiar with the world and could educate her while they visited the sights.::

JOLARA: That would be perfect. ::smiling:: It really was nice to meet you.

DeVEAU: And it was nice meeting you.

::Rune moved to stand up. Apparently she had been sitting too long and her back protested, though she didn't show any outward discomfort.::

JOLARA: Oh, before I forget, would you mind coming by my office later? I'm doing a simple follow-up with those who transferred from Mercury. It shouldn't take very long.

DeVEAU: You are sneaky, you know that?

::Alora’s mouth quirked upward. At least she seemed a little more friendly than Calavera. Not that he hadn’t been nice, but he’d been...very stiff.::

DeVEAU: I guess I’ll see you sooner rather than later then.

JOLARA: ::grinning:: So I have been told. ::bowing her head slightly:: I will see you then. Fair day, Alora.

-----

Lt. JG. Alora DeVeau
Science Officer
USS Mercury

&

Lt. Rune Jolara
Counselor
USS Garuda

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