Skip to main content
Topic: A Most Cordial Correspondence (Read 7394 times) previous topic - next topic
0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

A Most Cordial Correspondence

[ Enyd Isolde Madsen, Masters Student | The Metternich | Shi’Kahr | Vulcan ] @Tae

Enyd looked out the window of her office. Back home at Yew Valley Farm, they'd be preparing for the harvest festival and the mornings and evenings would have a decided cold quality, whereas here, the weather was much the same, and if there was a harvest festival somewhere on the planet, she didn't yet know about it. Sighing in contentment as she took a long sip from her spiced herbal tea, Enyd looked back to the letter she'd composed.

Dear Mister vanVinter,                        

I certainly hope that this is THE Mister vanVinter who survived the perils of an adventure with me some months ago on Vulcan. I only ever exchange missives like this with my grandmother, and knowing my luck, this has instead fallen into the hands of a Mister von Vinter or some other misunderstanding. If that is the case, would you be so kind as to direct this letter to Petty Officer Victor vanVinter on the USS Thunderchild. Thank you.

If, however, this is “my” Mister vanVinter, then let me begin with an apology. I have been terribly remiss in following up with our promise to keep in contact. Soon after you left, the overwhelming nature of finals caught up with me, and I was sucked into sleepless nights and haggard days for some time.

It took me another nearly chaotic adventure to the region of Kir to recover from the stressors of the tests. I say “nearly” only in that the Ferengi gentleman I told you briefly about, Dotax, somehow managed to be in Kir at the same time as myself and my fellow finals survivors. He again insisted upon dining with me, with us, and suffice to say I sincerely hope I am never called upon to serve long term with Ferengi if they are all as dexterous as Dotax. I won’t bore, or horrify, you with the details.

Aside from surviving my finals, having another “diplomatic encounter” with the Ferengi, and starting my next round of courses, I have nothing remotely exciting to report in my life. I checked in with the Vulcans who helped rescue us back in Farruk village and reported that no one else has been attacked since you. Curious, no? They couldn’t offer a logical explanation for it either, in case you were wondering.

How are you doing? What sorts of things have you seen in the time onboard? How do you like your shipmates? Is the promotion still sitting well with you? Where are you going next—if I may know?

I’m sorry; I’m sure that line of questions fired off so rapidly brings to mind a bright overhead light and a grumpy investigator. Know that they weren’t meant that way. I am curious about how your life is and what sorts of adventures you’ve found yourself in, and I eagerly look forward to hearing back from you at your earliest convenience.

I’ll close for now as I cannot remotely think of anything interesting to share with you as I’m almost certain you’d rather I not recount to you the lectures I listen to in the day or the school gossip shared with me at night. One new thing you might find interesting, I started a new ancient Earth story that details the trials and adventures of a group of men trying to journey to the center of the Earth. It is most fascinating, and I highly recommend it, if you like the sort of stories that require the use of a strong imagination.

I hope this finds you in good health and spirits. Until I hear from you again, keep out of trouble—if possible—and don’t lose that bright smile of yours.


For a moment, Enyd allowed the fond memories of her adventure with Victor to fill her with equal warmth, as did the tea. She tried to imagine what sort of life he would be living on the Thunderchild, but found her own inexperience with starship life to be a hindrance to her imagination in that regard. Enyd shrugged before pressing send. He would inform her soon enough.

Re: A Most Cordial Correspondence

Reply #1
PO2 Victor vanVinter | USS Thunderchild | Andoria Sector | Attn: @Ellen Fitz

October 10th, 2371

Victor was shocked when the Thunderchild made port, and an actual letter had reached him. The very fact that he was given a physical letter on paper was highly unusual. Seeing the name on the letter made sense why he hadn't received a message in an electronic format. So, it was going to be like that then, weeks and months between correspondence. But of course. "Enyd Madsen, you harbinger of chaos. My diminutive valkyrie, you wrote a letter."  He couldn't help but laugh at that. It was such a quaint, delightful, and caring sentiment that he was simply charmed by her.

Over the next month, Victor practices his handwriting through the act of writing out the letter. The first few examples were absolutely terrible, his handwriting illegible even to him. He does finally come out with a response to the letter a month later. The following letter is in an odorless plasticky envelope containing a letter written in blue ink with an unsteady hand on too thin paper.

November 11th, 2371
My dearest Miss Madsen

Your letter finds me well, and you have indeed found the correct Mister VanVinter. The one with whom you did certainly enjoy a chaotic adventure with on Vulcan.  I can safely say that the memories of the events around that night will be safely enshrined in my memory for all time, the memories of the following day their special place in my mind. And for good or Ill, I will always hold our time together near and dear to my heart. I will always thank you for spending time with me on our perilous excursion. And for saving my life, (even though you may not agree with the sentiment) I will always be in your debt.

The incident that you had with the Ferengi seems to be unfortunate. I am quite sorry that you experienced an "encounter" with them, as you put it.  I do, of course, wish you the best with your continuing courses. Of course, I congratulate you on finishing the prior coursework and wish you a wonderfully vibrant academic career. I am quite sure that you will be able to do so. When I think of you, miss Madsen, I can't help but think of the vivacious energy that you possess. You are a delightful person, and I feel truly honored to have made your acquaintance, and I do wish it to continue. Nothing would bring me greater joy than continuing in earnest our delightful companionship.

I cannot say that I am surprised by myself being the only one attacked by said creature.  I can honestly say that I have never been the sort that animals enjoy being around. Growing up as a child, even the hamster on board the ship would not play with me unless my face was smeared with cheese spread. It is with shame and regrets that I write this and confess the failure of my countenance. It brings both myself and my family shame; indeed, there is dishonor on my cow.

My time on the Thunderchild is settling into my new position, head of Spaceframe and Structure for the embarked fighter wing. These Akira class ships are all new, and there are numerous kinks to work out. Fortunately, I do not have to work the kinks out with the entire ship and merely with the wing I am responsible for. If the ships are new, then the Peregrine class fighters are entirely different from the shuttles that I've worked on previously. I dearly hope that the Peregrines will never be tested in combat, but I am prepared to do whatever it takes to divine the operational capabilities of these new fighters. More importantly, I am striving to learn how best to keep the pilots safe while pushing the fighters as hard as they are likely to.  These are indeed a new ship, and I've flown nothing like it before. I wish that I could bring you with me on a flight. It truly is exhilarating breaking in and sometimes breaking these beautiful ships.

I do not and never will mind your questioning of me. Yours are significantly sweeter than those of Starfleet Security. I would instead enjoy a question by your lovely words and visage than any other person. I am more than welcome to submit to such questioning in the future and further correspondence.

Yours in delight and wonder.
Victor vanVinter
Petty Officer 2nd Class, USS Thunderchild

Re: A Most Cordial Correspondence

Reply #2
[ Enyd Isolde Madsen, Masters Student | The Metternich | Shi’Kahr | Vulcan ] @Tae

November 27, 2371

Enyd recognized she’d been a wee bit less than polite to her housemate with how vehemently she’d declined the invitation to visit the art museum. However, the letter burning a hole in her pocket refused to be ignored any longer. Enyd had received it earlier, just after the third session, and had seared through all her willpower just keeping it unopened in her pocket until returning home for the evening. Now there could be no further delay.

It wasn’t surprising that it had taken so long. In truth, Enyd was amazed it was possible to still write and receive paper letters. The personnel she’d handed the first off to had thought she’d gone completely daft, and she was almost certain Victor had received similar expressions when sending his reply.

After changing into a more comfortable outfit reminiscent of some of her favorite ancient Earth shows, Enyd poured herself a small glass of Vulcan brandy. She felt like being decadent this evening, holding a real letter in hand, knowing that inside was another clever adventure penned by her friend. Curling up in the Earth-style armchair drawn up to the window in her room that faced away from the hustle of the city, Enyd sipped at her drink as she read the letter. Her lips moved from neutral to smile and back and forth as she read the contents. More than once, she giggled. By the time she finished the letter and her brandy, Enyd moved to the desk in her room and immediately pulled out her ancient letter-writing materials. Enyd had collected these materials piece by piece over the years. Some items had been in the family for centuries, while others, Enyd had had to keep a keen eye out for.

She’d been less careful with the first letter, not wanting to waste all the time it took to write in the fashion she preferred if the letter wasn’t even going to arrive at its intended destination. But now that she knew, Enyd smirked. She would take the time to use the proper materials this time.

A hearty hello, Mister vanVinter,

Enshrined, shall they? My dear Mister vanVinter, you do enshrine the oddest things, but I’m not one to stop you or to judge. For I too hold special even the painful parts of those memories for knitted together, the pain and the pleasure, comes out to be the tapestry of our adventure, and I am thankful to hang that on the walls of my mind.

And you are most correct in the assumption that I won’t feel as if I ‘saved your life,’; however, if you keep insisting that you are in my debt, then rest assured that sentiment WILL come back to haunt you. One of these days, knowing my luck and that vivacious energy you profess to appreciating, you’ll get a PADD with vague coordinates and a plea to bust me out. Then you’ll find that Dotax has taken his revenge, and I am held captive in his tower on some lonely planet. In which case, best prepare to rescue a damsel with averted eyes for Ferengi don’t like it when a woman wears clothes. Would you still count it such joy to be my friend then, Mister vanVinter, facing off with pistols at dawn or better yet a saber duel to the death over my honor against a frothing Ferengi?

Now that you have had but a glimpse into the chaotic workings of my imagination, let us move on to the absolute dishonor you have brought to the family cow. That is most unfortunate, Sir Cheese Face, how animals seem to have not taken as much of a liking to you. While I am no enchanted charmer, I’ve never had a notable disadvantage with animals. I grew up with my fair share, in fact, being on Yew Valley Farm in Montana. Either rescued wild animals or farm animals, I’ve had an animal of some sort on the periphery most of my life. It is only since coming to Vulcan that my exposure to animals has grown limited. Should we ever find ourselves both available for a visit, I believe my grandmother would have a few steady animals to introduce you to with whom you’d make fast friends. Believe it or not, one of them is an old mountain lion my grandmother and I nursed back to health years ago.

Bless you, but I had to research every last one of the terms you used when describing your precious ships. As I’m sure you remember, I’ve never been much for ships beyond they get me from point A to point B. I would enjoy the flight with you as a pilot, so long as we aren’t flying near any animals, because then, as you and I both know, some sort of chaos would undoubtedly happen. But even without knowing all the details of the ships, I could read your determination in your words, and I’m certain you are exactly the man for the job.

Speaking of chaos, I nearly created a diplomatic incident at my v’shan class the other day. In case you are unaware, v’shan is a Vulcan martial art that focuses on utilizing the pressure points of your attacker whilst incorporating dance-like moves of evasion and attack. I have always been told I was a natural, considering my own background in gymnastics and dance. I also take ponn-ifla classes, but as that is considered more of a child’s martial art, I am decidedly the eldest, though not the tallest. Ponn-ifla is not too much different from the old Earth martial art form, judo; I’m not sure if you know of it either, but in short, it capitalizes on using the opponent's weight and strength against them. We can both agree I am in great need of knowing something like that since I tend to attract chaos, and I’m also the size of a tall Ferengi—Dotax was kind enough to tell me this.

In any case, during one of the v’shan classes while I was assisting an Andorian friend of mine in the newest move, our instructor broke down for us, a new member of the class, a human male, swaggered up to us and slapped my rear before moving on to his actual sparring partner. Now, I know enough about my home planet to understand that gesture is just one way some individuals encourage others when performing highly physical tasks. It can also be a way of expressing physical interest. I know that as well. I chose to interpret the gesture as the former, not the latter, considering the man hadn’t made a pass at me or looked at me like I was a piece of meat in all the time we’d known each other—a grand total of three classes. However, my Andorian friend did NOT know this about Earth customs and very nearly had his antennae ripped off when he attacked the human man to defend my honor. To make matters worse, once everything was settled, my instructor grew abrupt with me since I am the only one in the class studying at the Metternich to become a diplomat, and I was chided at not applying my lessons to the real world. Ah, such is life.

Oh, I wanted to let you know that an old family friend of mine—well, more of an acquaintance, okay rather my parent’s old boss in Starfleet—has informed me that should I score high enough on my final exams, he would be happy to sponsor my application to officer candidate school. Can you imagine? Me, an officer in Starfleet. That is still some ways away, mind you, but I wanted to let you know of the surprise since it is quite literally only days-old information for me at this time.

My hand is growing tired, and I’m sure by now you’re squinting because my handwriting is showing the fatigue. I hope this reaches you in good health and spirits. Until our next adventure, or your next letter detailing your adventures,

Ever yours in affection,
Enyd Isolde Madsen

Enyd dusted the paper with sand, plentiful here on Vulcan, and as she waited for it to soak up the excess ink, Enyd moved to her refresher. She came back with a bottle of her perfume, a light mixture of larkspur and primrose. Enyd rarely wore it, but when she did, it was always so subtle that so far, none of her Vulcan associates had complained even when they’d noticed. When she wore it, she liked to put one small drop behind each ear, which was enough for her own enjoyment—and in her opinion, that was enough reason to wear it.

After shaking off the sand, Enyd placed one drop of the perfume in the center of the paper, between two lines of her heavily embellished writing, and watched as the paper absorbed the liquid fragrance. Not satisfied, Enyd lit one of her meditation candles and used the flame to melt the wax for her seal. Oh yes, she was doing it right this time. Her smile grew when she pulled her seal away, the cursive E.I.M clearly seen embedded in the dark green wax used to seal shut the thick, brown parchment style paper. Enyd wished she could record Victor’s face when he received the letter, because she was certain he’d be surprised.

Re: A Most Cordial Correspondence

Reply #3
PO2 Victor vanVinter | USS Thunderchild | Typhon Sector | Attn: @Ellen Fitz

December 17th, 2371

As shocked as Victor had been surprised to have received the first letter, getting a second one was unexpected. Surely the effort of sending them would be too much? Of course, they weren't, though. But Victor's receipt of the second letter was cause for renewed rumors among the crew of the Thunderchild. This time they were liable to persist, especially after he wrote an eventual reply. The very fact that the letter had smelled faintly of perfume had been a particular point of discussion among his fellow deck crew, mostly behind his back, but not too loudly since he was a department head.

Again, Victor takes plenty of time to practice his penmanship, with many drafts of the letters discarded for numerous reasons. But now, he's more selective with the stationery that he'd used. Doing some research on letter writing centuries past had led to some interesting conclusions. The result of his research had led victor to try his hand at some essential design work. The result of this was dense yellow bordered envelopes and letterhead with the ship-patch in the top left corner. Sure the computer had done the job of making it happen, but he now had something more personal than plain white paper and envelopes. Victor's special touch wasn't a perfume or a cologne, but instead a greasy smear down the center of the page with a faint orange-reddish tint. The aroma of sesame oil, paprika, chilis, and some more traditional Bajoran spices. The effect made for something personal to him at least, though it would take eventual explanation.

His handwriting had improved again. The style that he'd settled on was an almost hurried rushing hand where his letters had a heavy natural slant to them and a practically angular appearance. When the correspondence is mailed out, it is sealed with a similar wax seal in a honey yellow, but not of the Thunderchild, but of a Peregrine class fighter in top-down profile.

January 1st, 2372
My dearest Miss Madsen

Please allow me to begin by wishing you a happy New Year. May the year find you well, and I truly and dearly wish that you'll achieve everything you set out to do in the coming year. I dearly hope that your studies bring you the educational and career joy that you are worthy of.  While my support for your officer candidacy may not count for much as an Enlisted serviceman, I will be most pleased to voice my support for your admission to the Academy. Your intelligence, quick thinking, and professionalism are quite worthy of becoming an Officer.  I can assure you, my dearest Miss Madsen, that I will make every effort to attend the assured graduation if you do become an officer. Please, forward me the name of the contact that may refer you to the Academy. I dearly wish to voice my support as well.

Regarding the "incident" that you experienced in the martial arts class saying that you happened to be the cause of it would be merely disingenuous. The man that slapped you was the one that caused it, and you should feel no shame in defending bot yourself and your honor. Anyone that says the opposite in such a thing, my dearest Miss Madsen, is not worthy of your time for any longer than you must spend with them. I will always believe that you had the proper reaction. Honestly, in this day and age, he seriously should have known better. To assume otherwise takes us back to the dark ages. Though while your Andorian friend may have gotten into difficulties due to his antennae, your instructor is an ass. I say that plainly because I can think of no other thing to say regarding him.

I do, of course, apologize for the dense terms used when speaking about my career. It can be challenging to recall what different ships look like, especially these newer ones. Few ships can be as iconic as the Constitution, Excelsior, or Galaxy-class ships. The Akira class ships will find their place, to be sure. Suffice to say that I enjoy the work and find it endlessly fascinating. I will admit that I find more personal expression and style in my cooking, which I must share with you someday on shore leave. I simply must share with you some of my favorite dishes.

Perhaps, we could enjoy each other's company in Montana as you suggest. I can share my cooking with you, and I may experience animals that are not small rodents or cats suited to spacer life. I will admit that myself needing cheese sauce, while hyperbole is undoubtedly a comic image. It is hard to deny that, to be quite sure. That leave will have to wait quite a while, I'm sure, as I do not doubt that you will receive a position in the Academy.

Should Dotax take his revenge upon you, I shall indeed meet him with pistols at dawn, though I do much prefer a rapier. Perhaps I shall even begin practicing in earnest for the day that I must defend your honor. However, you are more than capable of such in your own right. I shall be prepared if you ask me to do so or It becomes necessary that I must do such a thing. It is pretty likely my dearest Miss Madsen that you have given me a new hobby. After all, the rapier is a significantly more elegant weapon than a 40mm spanner.

I wish that I could tell you about all of the fantastic things I've seen while on the Thunderchild, but frankly, space is big and empty. We've been performing drills and maneuvers with other ships lately. I've had my hands full with keeping the fighters running, but I've still been managing to log several flight hours a day myself. Always when I am supposed to be off duty. It helps make me more aware of what the fighters need, how they handle, and how better to understand the needs of the pilots. Those are, of course, the excuses that I happen to use. I would include pictures from some of my flights, but there is nothing to see other than stars in the distance. We don't want anything that may cause collisions while practicing. If we do anything near any stellar body, I'll be sure to include pictures for you miss Madsen.

Yours in delight and wonder.
Victor vanVinter
Petty Officer 2nd Class, USS Thunderchild

P.S. The aroma of your letter was most intriguing. I included one of my own, a smell that I hope will become quite familiar to you.

Re: A Most Cordial Correspondence

Reply #4
[ Enyd Isolde Madsen, Masters Student | Eridani Beach | Shi'Kahr Region | Vulcan ] @Tae

Sesame…chili…Enyd frowned and sniffed again. Definitely, there were more spices involved in this smear down the middle of the letter, but they were foreign to her senses, and Enyd couldn’t pinpoint their names or origins. Perhaps they were from Bajor or some place Victor had recently visited and hoped to take her. His letter had instructed her to grow familiar with them, so she was certain they’d show up again in their correspondence or when they could see each other again.

It was not lost on Enyd, Victor's efforts to improve the letter-writing experience and the finished product now in her hands. She smirked. It seemed the man liked the challenge her own letter had wordlessly thrown at him and risen to match it. Touche. She wasn’t about to up the ante and include exploding confetti, but it was good to note for future reference that he liked to match if not surpass efforts.

Enyd could not respond as soon as she received the letter, although she devoured its contents as soon as she was able upon snatching it out of the ever-confused-to-be-delivering-a-paper-letter delivery man’s hands. It took her a full day and a half before she had the peace and quiet to settle down to write a reply. In that time, she’d packed, traveled to her vacation destination of Eridani Beach, settled into her temporary home in a secluded no-modern technology beach bungalow right on the lakeshore, and gotten accustomed to the local area before finding a suitable letter-writing spot: a small garden attached to her bungalow was tended to by the owner in between visitor stays. It seemed the owner of the bungalow was a tea fanatic as all the bushes, trees, and flowers found in the garden could be converted into materials to make teas—and Enyd had already taken advantage of that twice by the time she had time to write a reply.

The white-washed walls of the plaster-like bungalow gleamed bright in the orange glow of the setting suns when Enyd took a fresh cup of tea and her letter-writing materials out into the garden. She’d spent the day exploring the nearby towns, splashing in Lake Yuron’s gentle waves, and lounging around the bungalow like a princess. She had decided that as her last official vacation before the last set of finals for her master’s program, she had better be safe than sorry and take it easy on the adventure. Enyd had no tours planned and no itinerary to follow, and that had taken quite a bit of struggle on her part to stick to that plan. Her go-to was a constant running to and fro, discovering and digesting everything possible. This time, however, she was going to intentionally be slow and spontaneous.

Enyd kept to the stepping stones that dotted the ornately patterned sand patches that made up a good portion of the garden. The stepping stones weaved in and out of the various garden beds on a meandering tour before eventually wrapping around to the backside of the house. They had erected a wooden gazebo of sorts with a large table and benches situated under its shade. The view was out over a portion of the garden and beyond to Lake Yuron itself. Sitting at this table, staring out at the deep blue of the lake, it was almost possible to completely forget one was on Vulcan at all, it appeared so like areas surrounding the Aegean Sea on Earth.

It was here that Enyd took up position to write her reply, armed with her inkwell and pen, a large cup of tea, and plenty of fodder with which to pull out a reply for her friend.

March 3rd, 2372

Dear Mister vanVinter,

I am currently sitting at a smoothly hewn wooden table beneath a rustic gazebo in a secluded garden next to my bungalow along the shores of Lake Yuron. There is a slight breeze bringing to my senses the smells of the various flowers and bushes in the garden that I used to make the steaming tea sitting next to this paper (if you find spots on the letter, it would be from the tea drips). Even at this distance, I can hear the constant lapping of the waves on Eridani Beach, and the combination of smells, sight, and sounds has lulled me into a near stupor of peace.

I came here alone and without an itinerary to prepare myself mentally and physically for the final round of final exams for my master’s course. They occur at the beginning of the next month, and by the summer months, I will ship out to my first posting in the Officer Candidate program on Psi Upsilon III. As a future Starfleet diplomat, I am required to take courses at all Academy branches, so I will rotate from Psi Upsilon III to Tellar and from there to Andoria and will finish out my training on Earth. I’m uncertain if it is because I lack any background in Starfleet or if it is because of the complexities that go with being a diplomat, but my projected program will last three years, with half of the first year being on Psi Upsilon III, the second half on Tellar, a full year on Andoria, and the final year being on Earth itself. So if you’re in the neighborhood of Earth come 2375, you’re cordially welcome to my graduation—of course, that is, if I make it that far. It is not that I think I’m “that good” that I’ll make it but more that I come from a long line of tenacious, stubborn ox’s who don’t know when to quit. So yes, 2375, see if you can make room, yes?

I’m not certain why it took so long for your letter to reach me this time, but I was most delighted when I received it, as I was also appreciative of your New Year's well wishes. Would you be so kind as to tell me the dates of the important holidays you hold close to your heart? I know not every culture and race out there celebrates the year's changing, and assuredly not in the same fashion. So if there are any holidays and traditions your family kept you’d like to share with me, I’d be honored.

And your support, regardless of your position in Starfleet, is also greatly appreciated. Your stalwart belief in my abilities is humbling and gives me much to live up to in finishing my courses here and preparing for my future studies.

Oh, as to the family friend, you may or may not know him as Rear Admiral Joseph N. Anderson. I was never so close to him as to call him Uncle Joe or anything, but he has always been a ready fixture in my life, both before and after my parent’s death. I am humbled by his belief in my abilities as well, and assuredly have plenty to live to up for the legacy left by my parents and the expectation he undoubtedly has on me as well.

Thank you also for the “dumbing down” of terms when discussing your work. Now that I will be entering the Officer Candidate School program of Starfleet, I will have to become acquainted with a number of things about ships and the like I never thought I’d need. So, don’t be surprised if I beg you for help with my homework in the future if asked questions about the mechanical workings or designs of something. I will rely on your expertise and know-how to get me through.

I must ask, what were the spices you used in the letter? I detected a few that we use on Earth, but there were others I can only assume are alien to Earth. Was it something you used in a dish you made? I prefer baking desserts myself and experimenting with mixing drinks—not always the alcoholic kind. We will have to exchange recipes, though I’ll be sure to keep in mind that you are on a ship and may not be able to get the real deal on some items—which truly does influence the taste, though I’ll admit I’m a snob in that regard. What is your favorite dish to prepare currently? I’ve recently mastered a complicated Vulcan spice tea recipe that seemed to impress my Vulcan roommate well enough to accept a second serving when I offered. And I goofed off with baking recently and made some Andorian ale sugar cookies that I gave to my Andorian friend. He adored them and demanded the recipe. Sadly, when I play in the kitchen, I rarely write things down, so I had to make another batch with him there taking notes. Not that either of us minded another batch of cookies to eat while drinking the spice tea. Let me tell you, eating those cookies and drinking that tea with an Andorian and Vulcan cordially trading stories with one another felt like a personal diplomatic win when taking into consideration their culture’s long history of animosity.

If you take up rapier fencing, then perhaps we could spar together someday. I do not claim to be anything more than a novice, but I’ve always liked the looks and feel of bladed weapons. I know, given my stature, a ranged weapon would keep me alive far longer than facing off with an opponent with a blade; however, I can’t stop my affinity for the shinies. Of course, I do so hope as a diplomatic officer I won’t often be needing either a ranged weapon or a blade. We try to solve problems with our words and body language, though I’ll admit there’s a time and a place for a good brawl to make a point depending on the culture. A diplomat needs to be adaptable enough to recognize that fact and move to meet the cultural needs instead of remaining rooted in Earth-centered ethics. I know I’m a minority in that regard, sad to say, but at the same time, that was one of the reasons Anderson requested I join Starfleet, said the Federation needed more cowboys. Still unsure if that was a dig at my Montana ranch roots or my style of diplomacy.

My hand is starting to cramp again. Perhaps the height of the table isn’t as suitable for letter writing as I’d originally thought. Tomorrow, after sleeping in as late as humanly possible, I’m going to read a delightfully terrible novel about a murder on a train in ancient Earth. I hope this letter finds you in good health and spirits.

Until next time my dearest friend,
Enyd Isolde Madsen

Re: A Most Cordial Correspondence

Reply #5
PO2 Victor vanVinter | USS Thunderchild | Denobula | Attn: @Ellen Fitz

April 9th, 2372
Victor was pleasantly surprised to get a response from Enyd just over a month since she'd sent her last one.  That alone was cause for a little bit of a celebration. That and he needed to toast Enyd's success in making it into the Academy. He'd certainly hoped that the letter he'd written to the selection board had helped at least a little bit. He wasn't sure if it had or not, but having heard that she would be a Cadet, that brought a smile to his face.

Victor entered one of the lounges onboard the Thunderchild with a small pouch of spices, a heavy fountain pen made from aluminum decorated with the name and registry number of the Thunderchild, his stationery, and a bottle of whiskey.  Ordering an empty glass from the bar, he takes a window seat with a view of Denobula. Seeing the M Class world beneath him certainly inspired him slightly. But victor begins by taking a finger and wetting it in the whiskey before dabbing it in the spices and dragging that across the page before he even starts writing. This time, he'd write the letter all the way through, in a pleasant and steady hand that still had a heavy tilt to it.

Once the letter is sent, it would be in a thicker envelope with significant weight to it. The letter was composed of the same well-made stationery and envelope from the last letter. However, this one contained an aluminum fountain pen with a shiny polish. And the name and registry number of the USS Thunderchild along the back half.

April 9th, 2372

My dearest Miss Madsen

The stains of tea on the previous letter were most welcome, my dearest, and they show your continued love of the beverage that we shared on the dock. That was a night that I shall never forget and will always cherish, much as I will these letters. As I write this, I am celebrating your status as a Cadet with a glass of Kendra Whiskey, from home where my mother Dona happens to be from on Bajor. She recently returned home with my father, and they plan to make a life on Bajor, at the very least, maintain a home in the Kendra Province when they are not in space aboard the SS Winter, their ship. I cannot say that I have ever met your family friend, as Starfleet is a big place, and we may have met in passing, I could not say. As Enlisted personnel, I am very often tucked away from the 'brass cupboard.'

I can assure you, my dearest, that I will attend your graduation wen, not if you graduate. I don't go home very often, and I currently have several months of leave saved up. You could say that I am married to my job, and it is a demanding partnership at the very least. Anyway, to the first and easiest topic to discuss. The spices that I imbue these letters with are paprika, turmeric, garlic, chipotle pepper, and several spices from Bajor that my mother has always used and refuses to tell me what they are. To me, these are the scents of my home Miss Madsen. Growing up on the SS Winter, these were the always present smells no matter what cargo we carried. I close my eyes, and I am transported back there, to home. I dearly hope that with these smells, you will think of me so fondly.  These are quite literally the spices of my life. I hope that you understand the significance of sharing them with you. I find myself at a loss for words to express how much sharing these means to you. I think that I may be growing to love you and your magnificent letters more than I already do.

I can assure you that I have indeed taken up rapier fencing as a hobby. I am not sure if I am any good at it, but practice makes perfect. And I am getting a very great deal of training when I can do so. Though I will admit, it comes second to my studies of the Peregrine and space combat. While I will be ready to defend your honor should it ever become necessary, I do not doubt that you shall protect your own most brilliantly.

As to the holidays that I keep dear to my heart, with our shared human heritage, First Contact day is one that I often observe, though I place slightly more importance on it being in Starfleet and serving on a ship with a majority of fully Human crew.  My father placed little importance on most Earth holidays, though he did seem to care about Valentine's day a great deal, but few others, if I am honest. He would claim that since most of the time was spent traveling from star to star, every day except load in and load out were holidays. My mother, however, was more devout. She made sure that we would celebrate the Peldor festival every year. And recently, there is talk of minor celebrations to mark the birth of the Emissary.

In that, I find myself somewhat conflicted. The Emissary happens to be a Starfleet officer, a once Commander Benjamin Sisko, soon to be Captain. The promotion lists came out recently, and he has been selected to become a Captain and very likely will be by the time you read this letter. What has me conflicted is that with the discovery of the Celestial Temple, there is proof that the Prophets are real. That our 'gods' are real. So I find myself conflicted, and I have been on a profoundly spiritual level since discovering the Celestial temple. And the conundrum for me is that theoretically, Commander Sisko could issue an order to me, and I would have to follow it. But he is also a religious figure among my mother's people, and he may also issue a command (he hasn't so far) that may put my people's religion at odds with my Starfleet duties.

I can hope that I will never be put in such a situation. More likely, though, would be the act of meeting him. I know how to behave around a Captain (politely ignore them by being busy if possible), but he is also the equivalent of... I can't put what he is the equivalent of into words. I don't have them, and I am quite sure. But I am not sure how to properly pay my respects to the man should I meet him. I do not feel, deep in my pah, that giving him the respect due a Captain would be sufficient.

Yours in delight and wonder.
Victor vanVinter
Petty Officer 2nd Class, USS Thunderchild

P.S. I made this pen in my spare time for you. Please think of me fondly whenever you use it, my dearest Miss Madsen.

Re: A Most Cordial Correspondence

Reply #6
[ Enyd Isolde Madsen | Quarters | Psi Upsilon III Academy Branch | Psi Upsilon III ] @Tae

The newest envelope had greater heft than its predecessors. Enyd had returned to her quarters after another grueling day of training to find the envelope already waiting on the shared table in the common area. Her roommate must’ve returned earlier in the day and received it on her behalf, leaving it on the table for Enyd to find. Enyd smirked. No doubt the Caitian had had to fight feline curiosity to keep herself from clawing the letter open to see what was inside, as it wasn’t every day someone received a paper letter. She would have to thank M’murr later, perhaps with a tangible gift of her own. Enyd knew she was lucky to have a non-human roommate as it helped her soundboard her homework off a non-human perspective, and she also knew she was lucky to have a polite and considerate roommate as well. Of the friends she’d made in the program so far, nearly half of them seemed to have roommates from hell, and most of those horrific roommates were human. Fascinating turn.

After taking a long shower, well earned after the late afternoon survival strategies course leaving a layer of grim on her body from her “not correct, yet not incorrect, innovative solution” to the survival problem they’d been given. Enyd smirked. Her grandmother would be so proud of her for being the only one willing to use animal feces to survive the situation. Dressed in her sky blue satin nightdress with a silken white robe, Enyd collected the letter from the table and carried it with her to the desk near her bed. She missed her letter-writing desk on Vulcan, and her plush armchair, but at least she’d been allowed to bring her letter-writing paraphernalia with her and could take comfort in the feel of the pen and paper against her fingers.

Enyd sniffed first, a smile pulling at her lips when she immediately detected the same spices as before, this time accompanied with an almost sweet scent. She pressed her fingers against the envelope, testing the contents, and her smile grew. Victor had given her gift, by the feel of it, and unless her fingers were slacking on perception, it seemed to be long and slender enough to be a pen, or at least something in the same shape as one. Unable to contain herself any longer, Enyd used the letter opener her grandmother gifted her at Christmas to open Victor’s letter and watched in fascination as a pen dropped onto her desk alongside the letter. The silver-colored pen had the markings of Victor’s ship on it, and as Enyd’s eyes traveled over the familiar spirals and curves of Victor’s writing, her joy doubled. He’d actually made the thing himself. It was a shame she hadn’t a bone in her body capable of doing the same in return. Sure, she could sew something together, but that would take a much longer time than Enyd had the patience for in replying to his delightful letter.

The door to her quarters swished open. M’Murr quietly padded in, sending Enyd a friendly smile when she spied her at the desk.

“Thank you for leaving this for me, M’Murr.” Enyd turned in her seat to face her roommate. “And to answer the unvoiced question, the letter is from a dear friend serving on the USS Thunderchild.”

Enyd heard a growling sound her roommate had long before explained to be the Caitian equivalent to a laugh.

“Only a ‘dear friend,’ dear Enyd?” M’Murr didn’t wait for a response before disappearing into their shared bathroom. Enyd had no doubt the woman would make a fine counselor one day, as was the Caitian woman’s goal.

Amused by her roommate and still delighted by Victor’s letter, Enyd dipped her pen in the green ink she’d bought just last month, and set about composing her reply.

May 22nd, 2372

Mon tres cher ami, Monsieur vanVinter,

Forgive my use of old Earth French, but I have discovered that I much prefer to express the deeper nuances of my emotions through music—listening to it, not playing it—art—finding and appreciating pieces that represent my feelings, again not creating it—dance—actual dancing, not just watching it—and language—using phrases or words from languages not Federation standard that I feel convey greater emphasis for what I am trying to convey. I am so humbled and appreciative of your sharing memories with me, insights into your family, your difficulties, your hopes. I can honestly say that I have not had a truer, more dearer friend to love and cherish than you have come to be, and for that, I am grateful to whichever gods or prophets you ascribe to.

With each letter filled with remembrances I receive from you, I feel as if the strand that first formed between us on Vulcan grows thicker, stronger, and in time over this strand, even without words, I believe we will be able to convey our thoughts and feelings. Never to the degree of true empaths of the likes of Betazoids, but I know from ancient Earth stories, that kindred spirits exist, that is a soul alike to your own, dwelling in another’s body. Here is a quote from a recent novel I read, an absolute delightful romantic drama set in 19th century Earth, that I believe helps to convey what it is I am trying to say, “I sometimes have a queer feeling with regard to you - especially when you are near me, as now: it is as if I had a string somewhere under my left ribs, tightly and inextricably knotted to a similar string situated in the corresponding quarter of your little frame. And if that boisterous channel, and two hundred miles or so of land some broad between us, I am afraid that cord of communion will be snapt; and then I've a nervous notion I should take to bleeding inwardly.”

Perhaps not so dramatic as that, Mister vanVinter, at least not yet, but I hope you understand as much as words on a page can convey how much you mean to me.

Now, emotional frivolity aside, thank you ever so much for the pen. It is gorgeous! I am not yet using it for letter writing, I’m so used to my own still, but have no fear, I will employ it soon enough. If you made it in your spare time, and it is so well made, it makes me wonder if they have given you enough work at all over there on the Thunderchild, if you have so much spare time to make me a pen, then truly, what are you up to?

You’re a whiskey man, eh? My favorite Earth alcoholic drink is a cocktail called a Tom and Jerry. Supposedly it was invented in the 19th century by the “father of mixology,” Jerry Thomas, or by a British journalist named Pierce Egan. Either way, I’m not particular about the inventor and instead adore the taste. To prepare it, you have to whisk an egg and mix it with brandy and rum then top it with a frothy mixture of sugared milk with cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, anise, and I like to add a touch of cayenne pepper to give it an extra kick. We typically drink this around Christmas time since those spices are also very popular in our house for Christmas-time baked goods. If you’ve never tried it, you definitely should, unless you can’t stand eggs, or milk, or cinnamon. If you don’t like the latter, we may have to reevaluate our friendship in all honesty, as I am an absolute fanatic about cinnamon.

I am not at all surprised to read that you’ve taken up rapier fencing in truth. I’ve been so swamped with my studies here that I haven’t the spare time to keep up with my preferred martial arts or dance classes I’d been studying on Vulcan. I thankfully have a mixture of practical application classes mixed with theoretical courses for the time I am here at Psi Epsilon III. My most loathed practical application class, surprisingly, is hand-to-hand combat training. Not only because it is the first class of the day and an inconsiderate hour of the morning, but also I keep annoying my instructor. I frustrate him because I keep bringing in techniques from the martial arts I learned on Earth and Vulcan while mixing it with moves I learned from dance and gymnastics. He keeps telling me I need to learn the actual basics first before I add in my own flair of creativity, and he’s not wrong in that, but it is so damn hard to keep myself from using a little extra tenacious flexibility to get out of a hold instead of sticking to the rulebook. My most loathed theoretical course is, I’m sure you’re not surprised by this, fractal calculus. I’ve always been passing fair with math, finding certain elements of it fascinating if marginally fun, but spending this much time on equations while watching my instructor nearly glow with excitement as she pitter-patters about the classroom gushing with love for the topic has my head spinning, making me almost look forward to the disappointed look on my hand-to-hand combat instructor. I’m sure it also won’t surprise you to find out my favorite class, so far, is interstellar ethnology. I buzz with energy when I leave that class and, I’m not trying to brag, I was told by veterans of the class, that they’ve never seen the instructor so taken with a student before. I hope it is for positive reasons, and not that I’m so terrible in the class she can’t help but want to pat me on the head like a child.

Oh, yes, Captain Sisko. We’ve spoken of this in a few of my classes, namely discussing it from a diplomatic perspective and not a religious one, and while many of my peers have strong thoughts on this subject, I personally have no opinion on the matter. I too hope you are never put into the position you wrote about. From what I know of Captain Sisko, I do not believe he would ever deliberately place Starfleet or Bajor into such an existential crisis. However, being a pragmatic realist myself, I believe it would be pertinent of you to continue to soul searching you’ve begun, to see where your line is drawn. Sometimes, a court-martial is a more worthy endeavor than violating one’s cultural heritage, and sometimes one’s cultural heritage needs to be set aside for the greater good.

While I feel strongly about my heritage, both the known and the alleged parts of it, I also very passionately believe that my feelings and beliefs should never come before the ethically and morally correct path. Now, of course, what is ethical or moral has long been debated even on Earth, not forgetting that the definition differs from one planet to the next. So at times this path may require syncretism, and at times it will be readily clear, however, I know for certain I cannot and should not be the only guiding “light” so to speak on a decision. I am but one of a collective body of perspective—thinking of future postings either on a planet or on a starship—and it would be foolish of me to assume that my experiences, cultural heritage, and biases are enough to go on in order to know the correct path. I would much rather be challenged into understanding things from a new perspective than to always have my assumptions grasped as truths.

Sorry, you may not have been wanting or expecting my own musings on such philosophical matters. Suffice to say, I cannot understand precisely what it is you are going through right now as there is no equivalent life experience for me to equate it to, but with that said, know that I am here to listen without judgment, to be a sounding board for your concerns or fears, and to give you as objective insight as is humanly possible.

Now on a clerical note, when is your birthday? You mentioned Valentine’s Day, and it made me smile because that, believe it or not, is also my birthday. On a further clerical note, I will be stationed here until October, then they will transfer me to Tellar to finish off the year. I hope to receive another letter from you long before that transfer, but just in case something happens to delay, forward the letter to the program on Tellar and they’ll find me easily enough. No doubt I will be filling my letter with all sorts of stories of ridiculous arguments once I’m integrated into the local culture there. To tell you the truth, I’m very excited about the prospect. Many of my peers are dreading it and think I’m mad to look forward to it, but none of them have met my grandmother, and if anyone taught me to enjoy a good debate, it was she.

I have to get up early tomorrow for more fun in the sun with my hand-to-hand combat instructor, so I will bring this letter to a close. I hope you are in good health and spirits and that your days are filled with laughter and nights pleasant dreams.

With the warmest affection,
Enyd Isolde Madsen

P.S. The floral scent that accompanies my letters is a perfume mixed from larkspur and primrose, two flowers native to the area near my family ranch. They’d still be in bloom this time of year if you were on Earth. The larkspur stalk blooms range from white to purplish-blue, and the primrose is an unassuming palish yellow blossom. Standing with my father surrounded by fields and fields of wildflowers and wild grass waving in a soft morning breeze just as the sun comes up over the hills…this is one of my fondest childhood memories.

Re: A Most Cordial Correspondence

Reply #7
PO2 Victor vanVinter | USS Thunderchild | Denobula | Attn: @Ellen Fitz

June 17th, 2372

Victor was pleased to have gotten the letter from Enyd, even if it had taken a while for him to receive the following letter. The orders that they'd been receiving had him on edge. While there had just been rumors mostly, the only things that were verifiable were that they'd been running more combat patrols and flight practice.  Enyd's letter brought him a decent reprieve from the standard monotonous patrols.  As usual, everything about her letters put him at ease and sitting in his quarters on the deck where NCOs were berthed, and he was thankful to have a small desk and a modicum of privacy. And only three other roommates, all of a similar rank.

Victor picked up his pen and was about to reply when Red alert sounded, and he had to leave the letter and the writing utensils on his desk. Swearing mildly, the NCO grabs his uniform jacket and starts pulling it on again as he runs out the door towards the Fighter Bay. The letter and relaxation fall by the wayside for the next few months. It isn't until early august that Victor can pen a response.

August 5th, 2372

My Dearest Miss Madsen.

Please, allow me to begin this letter with an apology. It has been of course some time since your last letter reached me. I cannot say precisely where I am or what I've been doing since I wrote the previous letter, you'll have to forgive me for that. Suffice to say that I've been in the Bajoran sector, and the Thunderchild has been quite busy. Over the last few months, there have been rumors of storm clouds on the horizon, and I would suggest that we all need to be prepared for whatever is to come. We are doing whatever we can to be ready for what is going on and what may happen. I should say, Miss Madsen, that I am glad that you are becoming a Diplomat. You will have your work cut out for you, especially if the worst happens. As a result of the increased tensions we are dealing with, I am unsure if our current mod of correspondence will remain tenable soon. We've had more than one mission already where we've had to run silently. I feel safe in assuming that we will have many more.

I do apologize that I cannot go into any details. These letters are, of course, not encrypted. So please, accept my apologies that I cannot and will not go into further information specifically about where I am and facts about just what I am doing. Apologies and excuses aside, I can say that I am pleased that you think of me in far more poetic a fashion than I have been able to put into words. You are a wonderful woman, my Dearest miss Madsen, so I thank you kindly for everything you say since I cannot put those feelings into words either as beautifully or as succinctly as you have. However, I wish you to know that they are reciprocated with all of my heart and love.

The next time we meet, I will cook you something special using the spices that I am sure you will grow to know so well.  With the previous matters being put aside, for the time being, I do want you to know that I have grown to enjoy the rapier. I do find it to be an elegant weapon, and while I am unsure of the practicality of it, I can honestly say that I enjoy the theatricality of it. I find that it is a different sort of finesse than what I require when working on starfighters. I'm more used to working with my fingers and hands than any dexterity involving my wrist. It is still relatively new, and I enjoy it a very great deal.

The way you've described the Academy reminds me of my brief tenure there. If you would like help with mathematics, I am certainly able to provide some assistance there via more modern communications. However, I've no doubt that you'll pull through in the intervening time. I am not quite a Whiskey man. However, the bottle is one from home, and so it has an aroma that pairs well, at least thematically, with my cooking. Your Christmas drink sounds excellent, and I look forward to enjoying it. Thank you for telling me about it, I may have to try some varieties of the Madsen family Egg nog.

It is a pleasure to write to you again Miss Madsen. For the foreseeable future, though, please address all future letters to Deep Space 9. While I cannot provide few details, I can easily receive letters from there, whether my ship is in the area or not. I will get them.

Yours in delight and wonder.
Victor vanVinter
Petty Officer 2nd Class, USS Thunderchild

P.S. I do hope that you enjoy the pen, and it was only a small effort for me.

Re: A Most Cordial Correspondence

Reply #8
[ Enyd Isolde Madsen | Quarters | Tellarite Academy Branch | Tellar ] @Tae

Although Enyd was basking in the delightful glow she always experienced after using subspace communication to receive her math tutoring, she couldn’t help but feel a measure of anxiety for Victor's safety. She’d seen the lines in his face, rigid lines he most likely wasn’t even aware of, but that resulted from long, tense hours of duty. In both their more frequent subspace communication and the last letter he’d sent, Victor had alluded to the increased tensions in the quadrant. Though she was far from his assumed position, Enyd was aware of the machinations occurring in and around the Bajoran wormhole. Some within her program were already predicting outright war, whereas others were still hoping that they could have a diplomatic solution to the whole affair. Her Tellarite hosts were very opinionated on the matter and had nothing polite to say about anyone involved.

Smiling at the memory of her most recent round of insults traded with one of her instructors, Professor Gruhg—a round she’d won—Enyd pulled out her writing kit, and Victor’s pen, and set about finally replying to his letter. Soon after receiving it some two months before, she’d been so desperate for help in her maths that she’d foregone the letter writing and gone straight to subspace communication. Victor had been surprised at how quickly she’d taken him up on his offer, and without a written warning that she would, but he had been far from upset by the surprise. He hadn’t always been as available as either of them would’ve liked due to the sensitive nature of his work, but for the rest of her time on Psi Upsilon III, they’d stuck to subspace and he’d worked a miracle and gotten her through maths.

She’d been on Tellar for two months now and while they still communicated via subspace, Enyd didn’t want to give up the letters. Not yet. She had a sinking suspicion that those calling “war” would be correct and in that case, it was unlikely they could continue the letters in this archaic fashion. In which case, they would have to switch again to subspace, though no doubt even then it would have to remain written since if skirmishes were to happen, Victor would be even less available than he already was. Settling the pen in her hand as it hovered over the paper, she intended to keep the subject light, informative, and hopeful.

November 28, 2372

Darling Mister vanVinter,

I believe you will qualify for an honorary degree once I finish this program. I could not have survived those maths without you, and that is not an exaggerated truth. Although, yes, I agree with your assessment, I will be far more instinctively equipped to handle the Statistical Mechanics class over the previous mathematical horrors, I hope that isn’t your polite way of getting out of our tutoring sessions. It is such a treat to see your face and hear your voice. Although I hear your voice in my head reading your words with every letter I receive, it does not compare to the real thing. Thank you again for your time and efforts in supporting me in my program through those sessions. Though they do center mostly around math, I hope they bring a little extra pep into your step as they do for me.

Speaking of pep, I must say that I love Tellar and the Tellarites! I have no interest in retiring here, mind you, but I am enjoying it a far cry more than most of my peers—as I thought I would. Tellarites are so wonderfully cantankerous! And with them I get to voice out all the rudeness and scathing remakes my grandmother would box my ears for. Case in point: I was awarded extra credit today in my Interspecies Protocol class when I told my professor that for a dankish, white-livered, pontificating lump of hairy flesh celebrating his seventy-fifth birthday, he looked absolutely stunning. If crickets existed on Tellar, you would’ve heard them in that classroom. But after a moment of staring, Professor Gruhg laughed and said that for a human I was passably fair. I’m on cloud nine still!

My most notable courses so far are Communications—taught by a Vulcan, now there’s a laugh, Interstellar ethnology—taught by a Zaranite, Politics of the Prime Directive—human taught and boring in some ways but useful information, and of course the aforementioned Interspecies Protocol with the Tellarite. If you are ever having trouble sleeping just let me know and I’ll read you some transcripts from my Politics of the Prime Directive class and you’ll go right to sleep, just like half of my class. I sit in the very front so it is impossible to sneak a nap in, not without alerting the old hag who teaches the class. For all my poking at it, I do appreciate the class and the “hag,” for they are helping me in preparing for the future.

I have taken up gymnastics again in my free time, which I do have marginally more free time here than on Psi Epsilon III. I don’t know if I ever told you about my gymnastics days of my youth, but my roommate is a famed gymnast from Trill and I couldn’t resist learning from her for both a cultural exchange as well as to learn some techniques from another planet. I am quite sore, just so you know, but I haven’t broken anything aside from my pride as of yet. Perhaps I’ll teach you a few of these new moves and you can teach me some of your rapier skills next time we meet in person.

Now that I think about it, we are accruing quite the list of things we’ll need to do in person next. I hope you’re up for THAT adventure when it comes.

I know time is precious now more than ever so I’ll refrain from further waxing eloquent. I am aware of growing difficulties where you are and so am assuming that one of these days we will need to switch to subspace only. While I appreciate the convenience of that form of communication, I wanted to keep sending you letters as I know for myself they bring a certain type of joy with them that cannot be readily had from other methods of communication.

I do so hope, and pray to your prophets, that this letter reaches you in good health, in safety, and with a tenacious inclination to believe that there is a better day on the horizon. Until the next subspace communication math session, or your next letter, keep smiling my dearest friend, and do not lose hope.

With affection and love,
Enyd Isolde Madsen

P.S. I hope you enjoy this little gift I made. I’m not the best at embroidery, my grandmother likes to remind me of that, but as I said earlier, I have more free time now than before. I didn’t know what your favorite colors were so forgive me for using a few of my own.

Enyd slipped the blue silken handkerchief with the dark green initials V.V.V embroidered with flourish within her best rendition of the grey outline of the type of ship he was currently serving on. Her grandmother would indeed blush at the results of Enyd’s efforts, but Enyd was almost proud of it. At least you could tell that it was a starship and not just a blob of thread outlining his initials.

Re: A Most Cordial Correspondence

Reply #9
PO2 Victor vanVinter | USS Thunderchild | Denobula | Attn: @Ellen Fitz

December 31st, 2372

The Thunderchild was docked at DS9 just before the new year, but Victor hadn't come up for shore leave on the station yet. He'd have to wait another day for his name to come up in the rotation for that. So It was a bit of a surprise when he gets called to the airlock to receive a letter.

Taking the envelope from the confused crewman, she waves them off and chuckles. "I have a very dear friend that sends me these. Thank you for delivering this. I'll buy you a drink when I can finally take leave, thanks." He smiles, waving the Bajoran crewman off before heading back to his quarters to read the letter and write out a response. Honestly, he needed the time to relax and sit around. With all of the operations they'd been doing in the Badlands, everyone was frayed around the edges. Most of his coverall uniforms had various burns and stains on them, far worse than the usual stains that he managed to get.

Victor begins by preparing the mixture of the spices and smearing them on the paper, leaving a deep red streak across the page's left border. The paper is allowed to dry before he writes on it, the scent of the spice blend hanging heavy in the air even after Victor does start to write. In the course of writing, Victor's hand smears the spice blend from the left edge of the page slowly over to the right, creating a soft reddish gradient all along with the page, as if Victor had dusted the page in spices. Once the letter is finished, Victor applies another streak of spices and oil over the top of the last one only after the ink has thoroughly dried.

January 1st, 2373

My Dearest Miss Madsen, I wish you a most delightfully Happy New Year, my beloved.

And I don't know how to continue this letter after writing those few words. I'm sitting here writing these following words with a smile on my face and a flutter in my chest that I have put those feelings to paper. I feel much the same as you do regarding these letters. They bring a sheer joy that I simply cannot put into words. It is through these letters that I know that I love you. The anticipation and desirability of your reply are entirely impossible to wholly or correctly elucidate no matter the language or eloquence of the writer. Everything that you have sent to me has been dear beyond words. The soft scent of your perfume, the words themselves, and this silken handkerchief are genuinely delightful. Everything you've done for me has been an honest delight, and I will do everything that I can to reciprocate your most wonderful affections appropriately.

As it is the New year, I shall make this resolution, My love. A resolution that I shall wait with bated breath for whenever we are able to see each other again in person. When we do, I do not doubt that we will breathe in the scents of each other as we breathe in these letters that our hands so inexpertly show as part of the affection that I know we have for each other. We will enjoy a feast of food and company that I've never shared before. I hold myself in anticipation of this, my dearest and most beloved Miss Madsen. Of course, I hope that you were given some slight reprieve during the Holiday season, but as you are not on Earth, I don't know if you would. Free time was a precious commodity for me while I was there. I hope that you make excellent use of it in the best ways you can, and not merely pining for more letters. (I know you wouldn't, you're far too self-motivated to pine away.)

I must admit your recounting of the birthday greeting for your professor was one that I would never have thought to have issued. I have a small amount of experience with Tellarites, but that is undoubtedly a lovingly crafted insult. Though I will admit, I do not understand the particulars of Tellarite idiomatic insults. I have found, and have the bruises to prove it, that some insults are insults. It is maddening, especially when any alcohol derivative is added to the equation.

As to the instruction in gymnastics, while I will not say no to an enjoyable exhibition that you may put on, I would warn you, my dearest, that I am slightly over two meters tall. At my height, my bodily extremities are as much weapon as they are a liability. If you still wish to undertake such a hazardous endeavor, I will not stop you. But please, allow me to state that a warning has been issued in advance.

I would like you to know that I shall never tire of you waxing eloquent with me. So long as the loveliness of your prose never fades and the delightful way in which you write never fails to bring us both joy, then your letters shall assuage me that you are indeed the genuine article. At the same time, I do feel that one day Miss Madsen, you may be called to serve in more clandestine capacities, if only because of a combination of your keen intellect, diplomatic skill, and unassuming stature. Even in such a scenario, your wonderful way with written words wreathing a well-wielded wealth of writing could never be adequately imitated.

While I cannot say for sure how often I hold with my mother's faith, I have begun to hold closer to it. As I now know that the Prophets are real there are times when I do find myself sending them a prayer. However, I will never be devout, and I doubt that I will ever wear any sign of my faith, should my understanding ever rise to the level of religious belief. I know that Captain Sisko is a figure in my religion, and to be honest, I would love to schedule some time to speak with him, but I doubt that he'd have the time to talk to a Mechanic such as myself. To be honest, Miss Madsen, I feel that if there would be one person who would understand my crisis of faith, it very well might be him. I have more concrete things to concern myself with. If there's one thing I can say for the Peregrine, it is that they have "robust" construction. However hard a Tellarite skull may be, I assure you that it would still give way to the structural bulkheads and frame on these.

That all aside, again, I wish you an excellent start to your year, and may you rise to meet any challenges that you encounter.

Yours in delight and wonder.
Victor vanVinter
Petty Officer 2nd Class, USS Thunderchild

P.S. Enclosed are two pictures and an isolinear chip. The chip has copies of the pictures on them as well. And allow me to introduce you (in picture form) to my parents Markus vanVinter and Sira Dona.

A description of the pictures:

The pictures: One is of Victor in a nice suit in what looks to be a Bajoran style. The suit is a Sage green, paired with a dusty red sash. Victor standing on a balcony somewhere on Bajor, a lush valley behind him. he is smiling pleasantly, if wearily.

The second picture is of Victor in the same suit, at the same location. He is flanked by a Human male with red hair, green eyes, and much paler skin, wearing what is by all accounts a genuinely terrible Christmas sweater. His jaw and cheeks bear a striking resemblance to Victor. On his left side is a lean Bajoran woman with the same shade of brown hair as Victors, and the same brilliant hazel eyes, wearing a similar color scheme. She appears to be slightly exasperated with the grinning man on the other side of Victor, her eyes clearly on the fuzzy Santa on the man's expansive stomach.

Re: A Most Cordial Correspondence

Reply #10
[ Enyd Isolde Madsen | Thoris Café and Hostel | Agrara | Andoria ] @Tae

"Just as long as you don't pull a Talbot," her friend Ishrev raised 'his' glass of ale in Enyd's direction, saluting her good-naturedly, "you have my full support."

Enyd shook her head before sipping at her own Andorian wine. "I've no interest in following in the footsteps of that arrogant imbecile. I still can't believe he didn't consult a cultural specialist before sending his response to the Charulhans."

"In truth, we've come to believe that few pink skins are anything less than arrogant." Saraa giggled over 'her' punch. "And so far, you haven't proven that belief wrong."

Enyd rolled her eyes and hid her amused smile behind another, longer sip of wine. Ishrev, a chan of the species, and Saraa, a zhen of the species, were of the same clan and had become acquainted with her on the strategy and tactics test she took some weeks past. Enyd knew enough of Andorian culture to know Saraa was in jest and that Andorians respected a good dose of arrogance the same way Vulcan respected displays of logic. No wonder the races got along, as well as oil and water.

"So, guess what?" Enyd looked up to see Ethis and Ezori approaching their booth, the thaan and shen, respectively, both looking delighted with themselves. Ethis clapped 'his’ hand on Enyd’s shoulder, leaned over to drink the rest of her wine, earning a playful swat from Enyd. While pretending to be cowed by her hit, ‘he’ signaled the bartender for another before revealing the answer to ‘his’ earlier rhetorical question. “We’ve secured a booking in the Hevassa mountain ice climbing competition. We leave tomorrow.”

Ezori feigned a sneer in Enyd’s direction, reaching out and running ‘her’ hand down Enyd’s arm. “Are we sure we want to enter the competition with this weakling?”

The five of them laughed as the very recent memory of Enyd besting Ezori ‘herself’ in a wrestling match readily came to mind. What Enyd lacked in muscle mass attached to her bones, she more than made up in tenacity and innovation when it came to fighting.

“Come, let’s dance!” Ishrev polished off the last of ‘his’ drink and helped Saraa to ‘her’ feet, the two of them quickly moving to stand next to the already eager Ezori and Ethis. The music from the live band was enticing and carried a playful beat to dance to. However, if they were leaving in the morning for Hevassa, Enyd knew how best to spend her evening.

Waving her friends on without her, Enyd shook her head. “I desperately need to reply to my friend’s letter before we leave tomorrow. You all go on without me. Once I’m done, if you are not back to our room, I’ll come back to join you.”

The quad group shrugged and hurried off to the dance floor. Enyd smiled as she watched them go. She counted herself lucky to have been assigned Ethis as her Andorian partner in her interspecies ethics class and through ‘him’ to meet 'his' shen Ezori. That on her own she’d met the other members of ‘his’ quad group through that blasted test was still delightfully surprising to them all. Still smiling at her good fortune, Enyd finished her second glass of Andorian wine, thanked the bartender, then retired to their shared room. It indeed a fascinating experience, being the “third wheel” to an Andorian quad group and being able to see intimately many of the features of Andorian society that most others were denied if they came here and didn’t make efforts to integrate.

Pulling out Victor’s letter along with her own writing gear—both purposefully brought on this brief R&R excursion—Enyd shook her head again at their earlier conversation. They’d been discussing a fellow member of her program who had gotten into quite a disagreement with Enyd in their tactical analysis class. In her venting to Ishrev and Saraa, the pair had compared Enyd’s peer to a former human diplomat assigned to Andor. Enyd had read about him in her diplomacy program back on Vulcan, but to hear again about him from Andorians had been an additional humbling eye-opener.

Reading back through Victor’s letter, even though she had it memorized, Enyd set her pen to the paper Ezori had made fun of her for and lost track of time as she composed her reply.

March 13th, 2373

My dear Mister vanVinter,

I apologize for the delayed response. I didn’t receive your letter until February and by that time I was just about to transfer from Tellar to Andor. The transition has not been difficult, just quite busy and involving of my time and attention. This is my first breather from course studies and field tests, where I had the time and space to reply to your letter. I am writing to you from the Thoris Café and Hostel, named after the first Andorian diplomat assigned to Earth, just before forming the Coalition of Planets. I forced my friends, traveling with me on this excursion, to stay here even though there are other hotels in the area with better service, and I’m sure you can guess as to why I’d force them to stay here. The scent you may be detecting is a mixture of Andorian wine and my normal perfume. I didn’t realize in his enthusiasm for stealing the last of my drink, my friend had dripped some on my sleeve, and I have since smeared that all over this paper—hence the slight reddish hue to some of these lines.

This trip is a much-needed break, in all honesty. Nearly all of the courses I am currently taking that are not directly related to diplomacy are related to command, tactics, and strategy. I adore all of them, and so far, my professors have appreciated my ‘out of the box’ thinking—once I was even compared to Captain Jonathan Archer in my proposed solution and I chose to take that as a compliment as I highly respect that man. With this said, all of these classes are taxing on my mind as they require me to think on multiple levels all at once, and while invigorating, they are exhausting. I’m learning a lot and appreciating the lessons gleaned from failure, but yes, I have fallen into the trip with glee at the mental break.

Another reason I’m thankful for the break is because I need a little space to recover from the mental and physical taxation as a result of a field test in my strategy and tactics class. I had to get a group of us from La’Len’s trail down through the wilds to a base on the edge of Smathl Lake. We were given no supplies and no devices to use in our efforts, and the basic rules were to, as expected, use strategy and tactics to make it from La’Len to Smathl all in one piece. Each of us had a badge we could activate if it got too difficult, but I’m happy to report no one activated their badge. That test is how I met two of my friends currently on this trip with me. I utilized locals and their assistance through forming relationships and bartering to secure necessary resources for survival and for insight on the best routes to take. Without meaning to, I also managed to convince a surly old Andorian to act as a guide, and in short, we were the first group to make it to the lake. My group got full points, I’m happy to report.

Aside from this present excursion, I do not have as much free time on Andor as I did on Tellar, which is interesting considering I will be here until 2374, whereas I was on Tellar only for months. The calm before the storm, I suppose. I will accrue at least two more leaves before the end of my time here on Andor, but aside from that, I will only be granted emergency leaves if necessary and must make do. Other than the mental and physical fatigue, I’m adoring my time here. The Andorian culture is such a delight, though in a far different way than Tellarite culture or Vulcan. Having spent so much time on Vulcan, and with some shared ancestry with Vulcan, I find it even more fascinating to be studying among the Andorians now. They have teased me for my ears more than once, but their jests are their way of showing verbal affection, I’ve discovered. Suffice to say, with my own tendencies towards teasing, I come across as quite the flirt here, which is a ready change from nearly every other culture I’ve lived in.

This brings me to a somewhat serious line of thought/question. We have both admitted to a strong connection, a form of love shared between us, and I have faith in that bond as it is now without pressuring for more—please believe me on that. However, I have a very traditional grandmother living between my ears asking me questions already, and I haven’t even talked to the woman in reality about this yet. Her “imagined” questions have to do with the concept of family, intimate relations, and marriage. This is not me soliciting you for your hand in marriage, perish the thought, Mister vanVinter, but it is my tentative question of your thoughts regarding the concept as a whole, even taking me in particular out of the equation? While I am somewhat familiar with Bajoran concepts of family and marriage, that does not automatically mean you hold the same traditions in your heart, and it would be fairly Talbot of me to assume that—you should read up on St. John Talbot to understand that reference. The same goes for intimate relations shared between a man and a woman. What are your thoughts on that? I have become closely connected to a quad group of Andorians, and watching and listening to them in their relationship has also fueled my curiosity regarding us. What are we, where are we going? I have no end goal, mind you, and am content to let things continue as they, but I had to voice the question. I hope you understand that.

Thank you for sharing pictures of your parents. I deeply enjoyed seeing them, and I must say they both look like they have a great sense of humor. You will have to wait until you visit our farm in order to see pictures of my parents. I can’t say much here either, but they worked for Starfleet in a unique manner, and tossing their pictures around is never acceptable. However, I can describe my grandmother thusly: imagine a circle, now add arms and legs and a head topped with curly grey hair that perpetually looks like she’s been in a wind tunnel, and you’ll be picturing a version of my grandmother. If you can believe it, she is shorter than me, but that is mostly from age. She was a bit taller than I am now in her prime, so I have that to look forward to. Though she appears soft and cuddly on the outside, she is a force to reckon with when crossed, and she has a way of cutting you verbally where you don’t even realize this sweet old lady has cut you do tactically until many months later in the dead of the night her words will come back, and you’ll realize how foolish you were and it will set in that you can never have the last word with her. Yes, that is my grandmother, and I adore her! She is also genuinely sweet and well-intentioned, and I am grateful for her, for I would not be who I am or where I am without her, for she raised me on her own after I lost both my parents.

I know times are tough right now, so I won’t fall into the bittersweet nostalgia of my past to end this letter. Instead, I will wish you well, tell you how much I miss you, hope you are keeping in good health and spirits, and remind you that you are loved.

With all my love,
Enyd Isolde Madsen

By the time Enyd looked up from her cramping hand and scribble-filled sheet, she noticed her friends had all returned, piled into bed, and lay intertwined as they slept, their heavy breaths of sleep reminding Enyd of the hour and their fast approaching early morning. Shaking her hand out once more, she folded the letter, sealed it, then crawled into bed, content. 

Re: A Most Cordial Correspondence

Reply #11
PO1 Victor vanVinter | USS Thunderchild | Denobula | Attn: @Ellen Fitz

17th May, 2373

Victor had been quite busy as part of the Thunderchild's crew for the last few months. They'd been under radio silence since the moment that shore leave had ended back on DS9 way back in January. The six-month combat tour had been challenging on him and the crew. There had been casualties and losses. Victor had seen more than a few fighters and pilots broke by enemy action or the operations in or near the badlands. While the skirmishes hadn't been part of an officially declared war just yet, no one was under the impression that the official peace would last very much longer. The one bright spot had come shortly after sending the last letter, and Victor got promoted to Petty Officer 1st Class. And he'd seen Chief V'Kul Transferred off to another posting during one of their joint operations with part of an actual task force.

The months that they'd spent away from Federation space running classified missions had left Victor drained and needing more of an outlet than the fencing practice or time in the flight simulators had given him. When the Captain had announced that they'd be ending their mission early and returning to Federation space, he'd been pleased. But then he'd taken one look at the remaining inventory of fighters, and he knew why. The Thunderchild had lost over half of their fighters to combat or anomalies in the Badlands. Of the ones that were remaining, only a tiny fraction were still combat-capable. Even the ones that were had been patched up, about half of them by him. That's how few of the Peregrines were left operational, and Victor could personally check the forms on those birds and know that he'd signed off on more than half of those personally at one point or another. And not in the administrative capacity as Acting Deck Chief. He'd done work on them, making them flyable. That's how stressed and depleted the crew had become.

When the order had come to return to Sol for a six-month refit, the entire crew had sighed with relief. If war were on the horizon, the whole of the Thunderchild would need to get refreshed. The ship needed to get resupplied and rested. So it was during the beginning of May when the Thunderchild came into port at the Utopia Planitia yards around Mars for a refit. So by the time, Enyd's letter reached him, it had taken months to reach him due to the combat patrols. When the courier arrives, Victor is in the R&R sector of the station, and he couldn't help but smile when the confused Tellarite hands him the letter.

"What is this anyway, Bajoran? Are you Too good for subspace messages?"

"It's Petty Officer to you, Crewman. And I'm not, but your ..." And Victor falters, not being able to think of a proper response to the Tellarite. He never was good with the insults. So he'd left there with a letter, a Tellarite laughing at him, and a room full of curious eyes on him. Victor tucks the letter into his uniform jacket and walks out, heading to his temporary berth to read the letter, taking in the sweet scent of the letter for hours before opening it. He hadn't seen or heard from Enyd in months due to the radio silence, so this was something he'd cherish.

1st, July, 2373

My Dearest Miss Madsen

I am writing this from my old posting on Mars at the Utopia Planitia yards. Mars was my first posting after I graduated from basic training. I don't know if you've ever been to Mars, but you must take a trip sometime. Climbing Olympus Mons is a feat that positively takes your breath away. I was here for a full two years and was even present during the initial Borg incident. I can certainly say that when that ship blew through our defense perimeter and continued, we all breathed a slight sigh of relief. And then it went to Earth. To this day, I thank all of the Prophets for the Enterprise.

My prior history aside, my dearest Miss Madsen, The Thunderchild, will be here for refit and repair for the next several months. I do, of course, apologies for my general silence these last seven months. I was unable to send or receive any messages because of the nature of our previous missions. I hesitate to inform you that I didn't even receive this until the seventeenth of May, and as of the time of this writing, it is the first of July. I do pray that this letter will reach you. If it does not, you should receive this via subspace, but you have this to look forward to receiving.

I am astonished that an instructor compared you to Archer. He was a fascinating individual. I always felt he was more of an Engineer than a proper Captain. I will admit, I do have a fondness for the clean lines of the early Cochrane-Archer spaceframe designs. That was an age where we made do with the absolute minimum of materials and managed to do amazing things with them. I will admit, for as staid as he generally was, there were times he showed innovation in leadership. He wasn't half the 'Cowboy' that Admiral Kirk was, which is something for which we should all be fortunate. If he had been, I'm not sure if the initial treaties would have worked. Sometimes I wonder why Starfleet promoted Kirk past Commander.

I cannot say that I fault you for not finding or making Free time on Andor. From what I know of the world, it makes Mars look like a tropical paradise. It is a world that I hope never to visit the surface of. Being a Spacer, I'm far too used to the pleasant temperature-controlled environments of a spaceship or station. I can thankfully say that I've only ever spent little time on a planet for a duty station. Mars doesn't count, and It isn't like it has any weather patterns in any event. More importantly, I am glad that you're having an excellent time with your education, my dearest Miss Madsen. I do not doubt that you'll be a commissioned officer in but a few short years.

I'm glad that you enjoyed the picture of my parents. I understand yours, especially with this format, and it would be a delight to visit them.  I'll be here in the Sol System for the next several months, so if you're somehow able to manage a break between semesters, we should set something up to visit them. Partly to do with the next part of this letter, regarding my intentions towards you.

And now the letter brings me to the crux of your previous letter. If I've been less than effusive previously, this is why. The response to this section is where all of the emotional weight belongs. At the same time, I am, of course, joyful that your experiences have been excellent. You've given me many things of my own to think about, things that I've never considered before. My previous dating experiences and I use that word intentionally, were simply that. They were dates with partners of male, female, and assorted non-binary and non-Human/Bajoran. But none ever progressed to the level of physical intimacy, if only because while I view myself as a panromantic individual, I also consider myself as asexual. That is not to say that I am repulsed by carnal actions, merely that I've never desired to indulge in them, ever.

However, my most wonderful miss, Madsen, she who brings me delight with every smile, joy with every penstroke, and a blush with every quick-witted barb. With you, my dearest, and beloved, I desire to be to you what you need me to be. Thinking of you as I write brings a smile to my face and a flutter to my heart. While I might, in the deepest part of me, wish for more between us, you are the only one that has ever sparked in me such a desire, something that I believe is true romance. This feeling of pure romance, love, is not a thing I have felt desirous for anyone else, marriage, or courtship in any long-term capacity. However, I do note that you have no end goal and are content to keep things as they are. To that, my response is thus.

I would be most delighted and accepting of however you feel that we should continue. And with your permission Miss Madsen, I would like to proceed with our relationship along whatever lines it should develop. Though I will admit that as alluded to earlier in this letter, I would wish to, pending the blessing of your parents, begin a formal relationship with you should I receive their approval to do so. You'll pardon me for ending the letter here, I find myself shaking with delight in having penned those last words, and I fear my writing shall become illegible.

Yours in delight and wonder.
Victor vanVinter
Petty Officer 1st Class
Acting Deck Chief, USS Thunderchild

P.S. Take note of my signature line in this one notice the difference?

OOC note: The paper version of this letter, if received has the same blend of oils and spices that Victor always uses.

Re: A Most Cordial Correspondence

Reply #12
[ Enyd Isolde Madsen | Academy Mess Hall | Laikan | Andoria ] @Tae

C’Riss wore his mane in an elaborate set of braids that undulated like Medusa’s snakes when he moved his head from side to side, his gaze flickering between his companions. Enyd had more than once clenched her fingers into fists to keep from reaching out and touching his mane. She knew her curiosity would not offend the Caitian, he had already allowed her a few “pets” earlier in their acquaintance as peers in the program, but she was at least attempting decorum as they shared a part of the mess hall table with individuals of other races. He was from the mountainous regions of his home planet, and his enormous hands and feet, shorter muzzle, and dark grey pelt could be attributed to this fact. M’Murr, her old roommate on Psi Epsilon III had been from the jungle regions so it was quite a treat for Enyd, the overly inquisitive woman that she was, to work with another member of the Caitian race who was assuredly different from M’Murr in a number of ways, and none of them negative.

His tail curled and looped behind him in the air, drawing Enyd’s momentary attention. Sitting beside him afforded her greater opportunity to observe his body language and so far she’d learned that this sort of behavior denoted amusement, and the current quivering of his ears and whiskers was likely attributed to excitement over discussion shared amongst their small group. Enyd forced her eyes away from C’Riss tail back to Yaleya, their Bolian tablemate who was finishing a story from her childhood that a story shared by Dimares, the only Ariolo attending the program, had prompted. When C’Riss let out another growl-like purr of a laugh, Ariolo her own snorting one, in response to Yaleya’s dramatic finish, Enyd joined in on the mirth, though she’d allowed her mind to wander completely away from the details and couldn’t recall a thing of what Yaleya had shared.

Enyd’s gaze moved to Sonik, their Vulcan tablemate, and her mirth sobered a bit. Undoubtedly his mind was still on a discussion they’d had in class earlier regarding roots of cultures and shared traditions. While C’Riss had engaged in the discourse with good humor and a respectful demeanor when it’d been brought up the shared roots of the Caitians with the Kziniti, Sonik had been less than delighted, even for a Vulcan, to likewise engage when the focus had moved to the Vulcans and Romulans. The class had then gone through a diatribe on discussing the “flip side” race, if there was one, for every known race in the galaxy. Dimares had been the one to suggest in good humor that humans were the Romulan/Kzinti version of Betazoids, to which Besul their Betazoid tablemate--not joining them this evening due to a family emergency calling him away from dinner--had nearly snorted out a lung in laughter. Enyd had thought it hilarious, other humans in the class less so.

She was just about to chime in the conversation, an attempt to draw Sonik out of his brooding, when a tap on her shoulder gave her pause. She recognized the letter being held out towards immediately and felt a rush of peace and joy flow through her at the sight. Her eyes traveled past the letter to the letter holder and the warm, fuzzy feelings stopped immediately. It was Lieutenant Tebiath, one of the Andorian instructors, and a real pain in Enyd’s arse. It seemed the chan had been gunning at Enyd ever since her arrival and from the look of disgust on Lieutenant Tebiath’s face it seemed Enyd had still not won respect in the chan’s eyes.

“You will tell Petty officer first class vanVinter you will be unable to send or receive a letter for the remainder of your time on Andoria. If he wishes to communicate with you, it will be through subspace messages only, and even then, you cannot communicate with anyone starting next month because of the blackout operation field tests slated in your training.” Lieutenant Tebiath dropped the obviously opened and read letter into Enyd’s lap with a sneer. “Such frivolous waste of personnel resources is disgusting.”

Behind her, Enyd heard Yaleya murmur something to Dimares about Lieutenant Tebiath’s lack of respect for privacy and while Enyd somewhat agreed, seeing the expressions on the lieutenant’s face and taking a step back to think about everything else that was happening in the Federation, it made Enyd blush with shame. As much as she enjoyed these letters, it was true what the lieutenant said. Though they were small compared to the grand scheme of freightage moved to and fro, that they were sending letters in such an unstable time did invite ridicule.

“Don’t let her judgment cloud your enjoyment,” C’Riss laid a warm and heavy hand on her shoulder, drawing Enyd’s attention back to the table, “what you are sharing in those letters is not detrimental to the Federation even if it is being shared in an archaic fashion.” He purred out a sound of affirmation before letting go of her shoulder and turning back towards the others. “It is quite romantic, really. A correspondence such as yours in this century.”

“Illogical as well.” Sonik added, earning a thumb in the shoulder from Yaleya and a disapproving snort from Dimares. The Vulcan appeared unruffled by their disapproval.

“Thank you,” Enyd nodded to her tablemates and friends. “I think I’ll turn in early tonight.”

When she read Victor’s letter in her quarters later, the earlier sense of shame dissipated and was replaced with delight and tenderness for Victor. Using his gift, Enyd penned her last letter from Andoria to him.

August 4th, 2375

Congratulations Petty Officer 1st Class, Acting Deck Chief, Mister Victor vanVinter!

I know you cannot tell me all of your adventures and near-misses that would lead to an advancement in rank, as I will assume it not just an aged into position but one of merit. I know you will continue to serve with honor and distinguishment.

As to the Utopia Planitia yards on Mars, no I have not yet been there. It is on my ever-growing “must go” list, but that list had to take a backseat while I focused on this program. I’m glad that you’ll be on your old stomping grounds for the next few months as a reprieve from whatever it is you’ve been facing out yonder that rendered you silent for so long. I completely understand, in all truth, and must warn you that this will be my last letter of this sort for the remaining duration of my time on Andoria. They have informed me that next month I’ll be going black for a few months on field operations and beyond that I was chastised for the inappropriate usage of personnel and resources in the sending and receiving of archaic letters. I do not mind the dressing down before you seek to rise to my defense. My lieutenant made good points, though she did it out of malice, not to encourage my growth. So most likely you will not hear from me again until I am posted on Earth. Before the lieutenant hand delivered the letter to me in the mess hall, for the explicit purpose of chastising me in front of my tablemates, I had received the subspace version of this but had purposefully waited to read that until I knew for certain if this version would arrive or not. I’m glad that it did, and that was very clever of you to send a subspace copy just in case.

Suffice to say, the lieutenant who reprimanded me would not make an additional comparison between myself and Captain Archer, and I very much can see her point. Growing up, I used to play pretend with the ranch hand’s children, often choosing the early days of warp exploration with Captain Archer as our imaginary focus. I saved many lives, stopped many wars, and in general an amazing diplomat in those adventures. We also traveled forward in time in our adventures where we served aboard Captain Pike’s Enterprise, and Captain Kirk’s as well. I sense a bit of disdain towards Kirk on your part, and I can see why many would feel that way towards the man. I, however, hold no such derision. He was a man of his time and the same with any others who lived in different contexts than my own. I cannot judge them according to my context. That is something that we’ve had drummed into our heads in more than one course, but truly, that is a concept that my father taught me in my youth.

Oh, about my parents. I never made it clear in prior letters what I meant when I referenced “losing” them, did I? I was eight when my mother went missing in action on some assignment I could never know about, and my father likewise disappeared on assignment when I was thirteen. They both served in Starfleet Intelligence and while they were and still are presumed dead, understanding the nature of Intelligence and the missions those in that branch are ordered to go on, I would not be surprised if either of them were somehow still alive somewhere in a prison camp or still in hiding amongst an unknown enemy. I don’t, of course, pine away for them. Admiral Anderson himself forced away my days of waiting by a console for any sort of message from them, or being the first to open the door when someone came to call. In those early years of my father’s disappearance, Anderson came by once in a while to check on us. My grandmother never particularly liked him, as she blamed him for both her daughter and son-in-law’s disappearances, and she was none too keen on my becoming involved in diplomacy either—more than once threatening to knit Anderson a death shroud if he kept on encouraging my interests in the field. When the Admiral put forward my candidacy for the Academy, my grandmother somehow found a way to visit him and I’ve no clue what she said to him but the next time he visited the ranch, he brought flowers and chocolates and she no longer threatened death shrouds. Instead, she knitted him horrific looking socks, a new pair every year, and to his credit, every time he visited, he wore the dastardly things.

The person you would meet at my home would be my grandmother then, as she is the head of our household, and runs the ranch as well. As I mentioned before, she is a strong, opinionated woman who should never be underestimated, though she is of small stature. Much like the Earth mythological creatures dwarves, she is of strong mind and body and when she has made up both mind and body, it will take an army to move her. I don’t share that to scare you, dearest Mister vanVinter, but as an insight into why she may respond to you as she does. She does not dote on me, and she’s made her peace about my being a part of Starfleet. But she may not show the warmest welcome from the start to anyone I dare to bring home to meet her. Any further risk to moving her the only living part of her daughter away will not be accepted easily.

Thank you for sharing your experiences and perspective on the concept of romance and physical intimacy. While I am far from experienced, I’ve been on a grand total of two dates, and have been kissed…never…I know for a fact that I am heterosexual and that I do have physical desires. The lack of physical intimacy shared with others has mostly been out of my other abilities to confuse others and create chaos, as you’re very well aware of my abilities to do so. It is never intentional, but it seems the fates are against my physical desires, and any time a situation has built to a point where I could finally share in what you call “carnal actions,” something outlandishly ridiculous has occurred, and typically as a consequence of something I innocently said or did leading up to that moment.

With that said, I would never ask you to go beyond what you feel comfortable offering. If ours is to be a shared love of minds and hearts, but not of body, then that is what I accept. I cannot assure you, however, that will always be enough for me. I am no Orion with an interminable appetite, well at least I don’t think I am, but I know myself well enough to know that when I envision a life shared with someone it is a sharing of all aspects of who I am, my mind, my heart, and my body. I am not certain if you would be interested or willing to share that part of me with someone else, I’m uncertain you’ve ever thought of that, same as I’ve never quite thought of what it would mean to love one man with my mind and heart, and another with that and my body as well. This is a new concept to ponder for me as well. Perhaps it is something best discussed in person when we meet on Earth?

I should be at the Academy by late January of next year at the earliest, but cannot guarantee my availability for visitors until I’ve had a chance to settle. I will write to you again when I am able. And until that time I hope you receive this letter in the bravest of spirits, the healthiest of body, and the greatest peace of mind knowing that wherever you go in this wide galaxy, you have my love and my friendship.

With love, hope, and affection,

Enyd Isolde Madsen

Re: A Most Cordial Correspondence

Reply #13
PO1 Victor vanVinter | USS Thunderchild | Denobula | Attn: @Ellen Fitz

Utopia Planitia Shipyards, USS Thunderchild, December 7th, 2373

Victor was pleased that he'd finally had time to respond to Enyd's last letter. The Thunderchild was nearly done with the six-month refit. Sure, it was late and the lighting in his quarters dim, but Victor was still in uniform, having just gotten off an exceptionally long shift working on the complement of Peregrine class Fighters. Most of them still needed far more work, though. He grumbles slightly and flops down in the chair right in front of his console. And he gets out the writing implements that he'd grown to love. Victor didn't want to place a call to Enyd at this hour, unsure of what time it was, plus he was tired—having decided against the more logical course of action. Victor opens a subspace channel to Enyd, the woman he knew that he dearly loved.

Once the link opens, he smiles into the camera, knowing that even if Enyd didn't get the message now, she would later. Viktor takes up his pen and begins writing while giving dictation.

"My Dearest Miss Madsen."

"I'm writing this in the last few days of our refit here at the Utopia Planitia yards, and we should be back in action by next week at the earliest. You have my most profound apologies that I've not responded to your previous letter before now, and I regretfully inform you that mail has been slow with the War and the constant struggles to get the ship back in working order.  There is a great deal that we've got left to do."

"I'm sorry to hear that you're receiving some chastisement, even if in good nature. The Lieutenant that proposed this method is a woman that shall receive my eternal ire. While I will, of course, cherish the sound of your voice and the loveliness of seeing you, I."

Victor stops when the lights in the room begin to flash red, followed shortly by the general alert. "Red Alert, All Hands, Battle stations, this is not a drill, say again, all hands Battle stations, this is not a drill. Commander Eisenhower out."

The Subspace link is severed shortly afterward, the last image one of Victor grabbing his jacket and flashing a smile to the screen.  "Whatever happens, Enyd, I love you." Victor tried to smile then, but clearly, he was worried. A red alert so suddenly in the Sol system that was most troublesome.

Starfleet Medical, December 31st, 2373

Viktor had finally been released from treatment and rehabilitation, learning how to use his new eye. He'd gotten the word that he'd be released back to active duty in the next few days, but like the other ships involved in the battle, they'd all been given a few weeks for debriefing and recovery until after the New Year. Heading to the closest public terminal, Victor logs in and inputs Enyd's identity code to forward his message to her. His appearance had changed somewhat. The left side of his face was heavily scarred and injured. The injuries he'd received had necessitated that his eye was replaced with a cybernetic one. For a long time, Victor doesn't say anything. He just stares at the screen and the window showing what he was broadcasting. There was an almost haunted look to his face then. When he does finally speak, it is with only a shadow of the formerly ebullient tone.

"My Deartest Miss Madsen."

"I want you to know that I love you and couldn't contact you sooner because both Starfleet medical and Starfleet Security wouldn't let me. I hope that they informed you of my status and that I was alive. If you have as of now received no word about me, I ask that you not hold it against me. Things were beyond my control. You deserve answers, my love, and I'll give them to you as soon as I can in person. I'm on Earth for the next few days, but I can extend that a few weeks with some leave. If you can get some Emergency leave or will be transferred to Earth by January 20th, we should be able to meet up, and I will be able to provide you with the answers that you so sorely deserve."

"I apologize for not addressing every point in the previous letter, but my time is limited here. I needed to contact you as soon as I could. Once again, Enyd, I love you dearly and with all of my heart. As always, I am yours in delight and Wonder, Victor."
Victor ends the message with a smile, doing his best to appear cheerful. It hadn't been a fun few weeks for him, and engaging the Borg and the consequences of that had taken their toll, that alone was easy enough to read on his face.

Re: A Most Cordial Correspondence

Reply #14
[ Enyd Isolde Madsen | Medical Recovery Hall | Laikan | Andoria ] @Tae

Enyd fought against the urge to thrash while the nurses continued with the therapy. She’d been told it was a miracle she’d survived, but from the pain she’d felt consistently ever since she’d woken up in the medical recovery hall, Enyd was curious if it really was a miracle. Lieutenant Tebiath’s face had been the first Enyd had seen, and instead of her typical dressing down, the Lieutenant had instead commended Enyd for her innovative thinking and told Enyd that if she hadn’t acted quickly, not only would Enyd have died but also her partner Sonik. would have as well

“Where did you learn such a tactic would increase our chances of survival until extraction?” Sonik had asked her a few hours before when he visited.

He would also need to undergo many days of skin graft therapy to replace the damage by frostbite and chilblains, but at least he wasn’t temporarily partially blind from a corneal burn and hadn’t formed ice crystals in his sinus system and lungs like Enyd had. Of course, he’d fared better because he’d been the furthest inside the makra, and Enyd’s body at the entrance seam had blocked most of the elements that were still a threat to them during the storm.

She’d had to type out her answer as her vocal cords still needed additional therapy before she could use them without the threat of permanent damage.

“Legend back in Montana, where I’m from. Stories said if you could, slice open a big animal and crawl inside until the worst of the storms pass and you can continue to help, or help comes to you.”
Enyd had grimaced then, finding it painful to smile. “I honestly didn’t think it would work. When you got clawed by that thing and went down, I thought for sure we were both goners. You for blood loss and me for not being able to haul both of us back to safety.”

Sonik had thanked her again before leaving Enyd to her therapy. The story of her “heroics” was apparently making the rounds among the other cadets. And more than a few Andorians had come by to congratulate her on becoming an adult, as apparently killing a makra was a rite of transition for them. Or at least it had been traditionally before society shifted to other means of transitions’\.

Enyd didn't feel heroic in all actuality; Sonik took most of the brunt of what could be called heroics. They’d been cut off from the rest of the group as part of the training, so no surprise there. Only a terrible storm had come in faster than anyone could’ve guessed, and at greater proportions than even the Andorians had thought possible. Then Sonik had surprised a young makra and went down trying to defend Enyd when the beast had lunged for her out of the mouth of its chosen retreat from the storm—a small ice cavern barely big enough for its hulking size. Even injured from its mauling, Sonik had weakened the beast with a few well-aimed slices from his standard-issue dagger into its hide. Then Enyd finished it off with the ushann-tor issued to her for this exercise.

This was where her “innovative thinking” kicked into play. The storm was nearly on them by that point, and with Sonik quickly passing into unconsciousness for a meditative healing stance, Enyd had no choice but to go with hometown legends. After treating Sonik for his injuries to the best of her ability with what she had, Enyd set to work cutting open the roughly two-meter long makra. Enyd cleared out its guts, cut out its trachea, then stripped Sonik and herself and placed their clothes in a dry bag in the gear bag she secured to one of the makra legs. Then she shoved Sonik in as far as his frame could go before crawling in after him, doing her best to close up the seam while using the trachea as a breathing tube for the both of them.

It had been hell, trying to hold the seam closed and block the elements from Sonik and herself, hence the cornea burn, ice crystal damage, and frostbite and chilblains. But it’d worked. The last thing she remembered was lying naked in the sticky innards of the makra with a heavily breathing Sonik pressed against her back. And yet, Enyd counted this present skin graft therapy as nothing in comparison to what Victor had been through. One nurse had been kind enough to play his transmissions for her once she’d been made aware of their existence. Arrived during the blackout exercises.

Enyd hated she couldn’t see clearly still, but a few more therapy sessions were all that was needed, or so the doctor kept reassuring her that was the case. Yet she could see enough to note the scarring on Victor’s face as well as what looked to be a cybernetic eye, the haunted and fatigued look in his eyes when he spoke of his coming leave to Earth and the loose references to all that he must’ve gone through to look as he did. Her heart hurt to think of all that must’ve happened to Victor for him to look and sound as he did.

The nurse had to help Enyd record a reply, as her hands were still too damaged to be of much use. Enyd was self-conscious of the healing frostbite and chilblains scattered across her face, primarily on her nose and cheeks, but took comfort in the reassurances of the doctor that all would be made right once the therapy was finished.

January 5th, 2374

Darling Victor,

I am so sorry to hear and see evidence of the great trials you have weathered through. You need not fear my misunderstanding the silence, or lack of answers. Until this moment, I could not reply because of the blackout exercises and recovery. It seems Andorian weather doesn’t take kindly to Madsen skin, as I’m sure you can see in this transmission.

I will be transferring to Earth for my final year of study within the next few days, or so the doctor says I can once I’m stable. I’ll still have to finish off therapy for recovery once I’m on Earth and have standard check-in measures to deal with, but I should be available to meet up by the 20th or later. There is a lovely café bistro near the historic district of San Francisco called The San Francisco Belle. I’ve always liked it because it plays music from ancient Earth and decorates with authentic memorabilia from Earth’s history as well. Let’s meet there for dinner on the 21st? If that doesn’t work, let me know, otherwise, I will plan to be there by that time.

Please keep in good health, my darling, stay safe, and until we meet again.

With all my love,
Enyd Isolde Madsen

[ Enyd Isolde Madsen | The San Francisco Belle | San Fransico Belle | Earth ]

Enyd wore her hair wavy about her neck, loosely pinned up at her temples with two pearl hair clips. She didn’t mind showing off her ears while on Earth, especially not near the Academy, and had chosen this hairstyle intentionally, as she felt it was important for Victor to see visually the reminders of her heritage. Not as a barrier or as an encouragement, but as a factor in the equation nonetheless. Around her neck was a simple gold necklace, a recent gift from her grandmother, and on her wrists were golden bands intermittently studded with pearls. Her high-waisted salmon-colored wide-legged pants fit comfortably, and she always liked wearing this button-down long-sleeved cream blouse as it allowed easy airflow and gave a hint to her feminine curves, giving nothing away immodestly. The outfit blended in perfectly with the café atmosphere. The music played by a live band in the corner coming from an era of Earth history where men and women banded together to fight a common enemy in one of the World Wars was fitting for such a time as they lived in now. Much would be sacrificed in the coming days to fight against the tyranny threatening the Federation, and it would take all of them working together to see it through to the end.

Sipping at her drink, a period mixture called a Shirley Temple, Enyd allowed herself to be swept away by the present song as she waited for Victor’s arrival. Her eyes closed, lips remaining around the top of the straw as she lazily sipped, Enyd’s body subtly swayed to the music as the band changed the song but kept to the theme of the café in their selection.

Song One:

Song Two:

Re: A Most Cordial Correspondence

Reply #15
[ PO2 Victor vanVinter and Cadet Enyd Madsen | The San Francisco Belle | San Fransico Belle | Earth ]

This joint post brought to you by the unholy blending of Regency drama with Star trek.

Victor had managed to extend his medical leave with some actual leave, he'd certainly more than earned it, and the Thunderchild was in dock until February anyway, needing repairs after the encounter with the Borg. The crews of all of those ships required some time, but there was a war on, so they'd get a few weeks and then back into action against the Dominion, probably. And then there was the meeting with Enyd, and he was in a daze, a full and complete one. First came the worry of seeing Enyd injured as she was, which had to have been frostbite. If it left scars, that wouldn't matter. She was a lovely woman, mind, body, and soul. A few scars wouldn't change that in his eyes. And that still hurt to think about, and in fact as well. There was some times when the burns still twinged, and his eye was something to get used to. Even if the doctors said it was the exact dimensions, it just felt different.

Finally arriving at the meeting location, Victor adjusts his suit, a more modern one than the 20th century decor would prefer. Still, the suit was actual fabric, not Replicated, and that counted to him. This one actually fit him too, the fabric in rich shades of grey and a silvery blue, with a white undershirt lined with similar colored accents as the jacket and pants. Spotting Enyd, his heart skips a beat, and he bows before taking a seat next to her.

"Thank you kindly for saving me a seat, my Dearest miss Madsen, and I apologize for keeping you waiting. I shouldn't have." After the greeting, he sits there silently, a muscle in his jaw twitching as he smiles. Victor was nervous about being here, how Enyd would see him, and if she'd still want him at her side. There was a rising panic in his eyes that he was fighting to keep under control with a deep, steady breath.

Enyd jerked out of her thoughts, once carried away on the music, when the familiar timbre of Victor’s voice sounded across from her. He didn’t give her any time to respond to his greeting or sudden presence before he took his seat across from her. His suit accented the color of his eyes and fit his physique well. The new markings on his face, and his cybernetic eye, were startling to take in now that they were in person, but at the same time seeing them in the flesh also helped to smooth over the strangeness of their presence.

In his transmission, they’d looked far worse and more glaring, and yet now they gave him an almost roguish appeal and Enyd decided then that she liked the addition. Of course, she wouldn’t voice it that way to him, not now that the pain of healing physically and mentally were still so fresh, but maybe one day she could call him “mon corsaire” without the endearment bringing harsh memories.

As for her own injuries, she had two more treatments and then it would be as if they’d never been there. For now, faint outlines of the wounds could still be seen on her face, primarily on her cheeks, forehead and nose. Even if they never went away, which they kept assuring her they would, as if they believed her to be vain enough to care, Enyd looked upon scars of survival with pride. Most likely a genetic imprint from the pioneering members of her ancestors, where only the strong survived, and those survivors always bore in their flesh the sacrifices necessary for that survival.

It took Enyd a full three seconds to process Victor’s presence, his words, and observe the scars and the shifting emotions on his face. She knew that he was not as keen towards physical displays of affection as she, and yet the urge to touch him, to soothe his anxiety physically, was overwhelming. Without a word, Enyd pushed back from the table and rose. With deliberate movements, she rounded the table until she stood beside where he sat. She was careful with her movements, always giving him time to stop her or shy away. Reaching out, she smoothed a hand lightly over the side of his face and down to gently cup the bottom of his chin, then, leaning down, she placed a featherlight kiss on his forehead, just above his brow.

Once she stood to her full height again, reluctantly pulling her hand away from his warmth, Enyd finally smiled and nodded, “You’re worth waiting for, Mister vanVinter.”

Victor was taken by surprise with the gesture from Enyd. He probably shouldn’t have been though. It was delicate and demure, just like anything that he’d expected from Enyd with any sort of social engagement. The gentle touch on his cheek from her delicate hand alone brought a smile to his scarred face. And then she kissed him on the brow, that alone was enough to make him nearly miss the first words she said to him in person since that chaotic day back on Vulcan.

Victor manages to keep his jaw shut as those words process, but a tear comes to his eye then as he regards Enyd and the sentiment that she had for him. His breath caught in his throat then as he tried to find the right words. Not fully able to process his own words, Victor answers on instinct, the only three words that could possibly come to mind.

“I love you Enyd.” and there it was, said for the first time face to face, and his roguish features slowly turn into a handsome grin, his haunted eyes shining as he looks to her, the fears and uncertainties in his life slowly melting away as he looks upon the woman he knew that he loved.

Enyd cupped his face with both hands and placed another light kiss on his forehead, just between his eyebrows, drawing back with a smile on her lips.

“And I love you too, Victor.”

She traced her fingers lightly over the scarring before shifting on her feet to return to her seat. The music had shifted once more to another melancholic song about a boy named Danny and it struck Enyd as fitting as she knew enough about the song to remember it spoke of returning home at one point. Enyd was subtle in her movements when she pulled the chair around from facing directly across from Victor to being perpendicular, desiring to be closer to him now that he was here. The waiter had left a pitcher of water on the table and she was quick about filling his glass and her own. The sugary sweetness of her earlier drink needed washing down.

“Now tell me, Victor,” it was delightfully strange to use his given name but it seemed stranger to revert back to his surname now that they’d confessed in person to their feelings for one another, “everything it is you’ve been wanting to tell me after all this time apart.” Finishing with the water pouring, Enyd set down the pitcher and picked up her glass, holding it lightly between both hands as she leaned into the table, her attention fully on the man beside her. “Only tell it to me slowly, so that it will take a very long time.”

Victor got all choked up at that, finding it hard to even think of the words while looking to Enyd. His heterochromatic gaze takes in everything about the woman across from him. The elegant features, the bold way she carried herself. When she returns his words and places a kiss on his brow, he can’t help but grin like an absolute idiot.

He reached for the pitcher but found himself a bit slow on the draw and Enyd had already filled both glasses. How did he respond to that request? ‘Tell it slowly and make it take a long time’. He smiles wanly, looking to Enyd, feeling a bit of his rogue nature taking hold. “My dearest miss Madsen, this is a restaurant in public, and not a beach in private. I could take the next several hours speaking to you here, but to do so would be to run afoul of decency. After all I think we would be the only ones in the area wishing to hear me say how entrancing I find your heart and soul. Or how beautiful I find you, the gentle curve of lips when you smile, that beautiful sparkle in your eyes when you look at me. Everything about you is worthy of poetry and song, to do any less to to denigrate your complete beauty.” Victor had gotten lost in his descriptions to the point where he didn’t notice the waiter standing next to them until the man coughed gently, to get their attention. Victor blinks slightly and goes red, looking at the waiter. “Hasperat if it’s fresh, if not, then whatever you’d recommend.”

Enyd blushed at Victor’s gushing. He really was too much sometimes, and she loved him for it. The waiter moved his expectant gaze to Enyd and she pointed to the menu, “I’m afraid I don’t know how to pronounce this dish, but the description has me salivating at the thought.”

“Ash-e Reshteh,” the waiter politely sounded out the foreign word for Enyd, “This soup noodle dish comes from the ancient Earth country of Iran. Most pleasant taste, and quite exotic.” He glanced at Victor and bowed his head, “Though it is no hasperat. Your orders will be out directly.” Turning on his heel, the waiter disappeared through the maze of tables and chairs to the kitchen.

“The more popular chef here is Edosian and not only does he cook the food quickly, but to the cultural preferences of the patron who ordered.” Enyd leaned back in her chair to try to glimpse into the kitchen when the door swung open then closed again. She shook her head, “Can’t tell if it is him or not today.” Shrugging, she took another sip of water and smiled, “Either way, good company makes a good meal.”

She let the swell of the music to fall in a brief silence between them before she spoke again, “Now I was not earlier requesting accolades to my features or character, Mister van Vinter. And rogue that you are, you are quite aware of that fact.” She shot him a playfully disapproving look but was unable to maintain the faux frown for long and instead her lips melted back into a smile. “Truly, dearest Victor, how are you?”

Nodded along with the menu suggestion, having little experience with Earth Cuisine, having grown up mostly with whatever his parents had cooked, usually heavy on the Bajoran spices. Whatever he was given, he was sure that he’d enjoy, but the company was why he was here. He smiles then, regarding the woman before him after the waiter leaves. What was there to say really? With all that he’d been through, how did he put it into words.

A look crosses Victor’s face, one that’s hard to define, even for him. “Honestly Enyd, to say anything but how I feel about you first would be a disservice.” He gave a wan smile then, and slumps back in his chair slightly. “How do I tell you about the War? I’ve seen people I’ve worked with go out and then not come back. I’ve seen more fighters go through the hangar than we actually have stationed on the Thunderchild. Honestly Enyd, I’m not wholly optimistic.” His words were honest, and he had a worried expression to him. Maybe it was just having his ship shot up again, or the accumulated stress of seeing so much frontline combat for the last year, but he was less than optimistic.

A heavy followed by a sip of water then. “I’m sure that we’ll manage to pull through. We’re gaining experience on how to fight the Dominion, and we’re doing better. It’s hard to say though, how much longer things can keep going this way. But from what I’ve seen on the ship..” He shakes his head then and closes his eyes for a moment. “And that is probably not what you wanted to hear I know, but that’s how I feel."

Victor spoke with great pain and though she'd not experienced it first hand, Enyd felt keenly his pain as if it were her own. She reached across and lightly touched the back of his hand, offering a kind smile of reassurance.

"I almost feel as if my past woes aren't worth telling about, really." She waved away a protest before one could be had. "All my injuries and frustrations have been connected to training, not front line or just about missions." Enyd shook her head then. "No need to ask me about my injuries or woes then. I am made of sterner stuff than I appear. The Madsen bloodline is full of resilient creatures of unexpected talents. So far I bounce more than I break and I reckon so long as I keep my chin up, it'll continue to be that way."

The waiter returned with soup of the day and a side salad, standard for this hour of mealtime. The salad dressing was tangy and the soup a strangely sweet salty. Very telling of the diverse staff manning the menu. Enyd found them pleasant as she tucked into them, careful wolf it down and scare Victor entirely.

"I hope this isn't a difficult subject to address," Enyd spoke some time later, "but I believe we had some questions or topics we promised to address in person. Is now a good time or should we wait?" Enyd paused in her eating to take a sip of water. "I am content either way and in truth would rather you dictate the pace. Your posting verses mine, well, I believe your preferences take precedence this time."

Victor shook his head then in between spoonfuls of Soup. “Enyd I love you dearly but you’re so old fashioned. And this time not in an endearing way. While the experiences might not compare, as a friend of mine from the Academy said, “This isn’t the pain Olympics.” Your hurts and complaints are just as valid as everyone else. Your mental and physical health are just as serious as my needs are, more so since I’m down an eye.” He smirks pleasantly at the self deprecating humor.

Rolling her eyes Enyd smiled, “Very well, Polyphemus, we’ll play by your rules then.” She wasn’t certain how well versed Victor was in ancient Earth mythology but she found the reference to a cyclops amusing for he own benefit at least.

He finishes the soup, enjoying the chef’s take on ‘white chili’ finding the blend of spices familiar and unique all at the same time. After the soup is consumed, he sits back, looking thoughtfully to Enyd. “I do want to hear about what happened to you by the way, but maybe it’s not good dinner conversation, mine certainly isn’t. As for the more important issues.” He pauses then, fidgeting with his salad fork, twirling it about in his fingers. “I do want to tell you what happened, but by now I’m sure you’ve heard the rumors. Yes, the rumors are true about who attacked, and who saved us. As for the other rumors, I couldn’t say.” Clearly he didn’t want to get into the details of the Borg attack, not while they were surrounded by Civilians. “I’ll tell you that in private, but here and now…”

“I understand,” Enyd nodded, her eyes also traveling over the patrons at the tables nearby, “either on our walk after dinner, which by the way you are walking me back to my quarters,” she winked, “or in correspondence again. I know we will continue to share our stories, the good and the bad.”

A brief pause in his line of thinking, having planned for more, and he looks wryly to Enyd, actually rolling his eyes at her. “Of course I’ll be walking you home Enyd. We are both delightfully old fashioned in some of the best ways.” He very nearly laughed at that, thinking about how to spend the most time together on the walk back to the academy. “In fact, I know a delightful little park only a few kilometres from the grounds, I'm sure you’ve passed through it on a run. It’s right by the water, generally fairly empty.”

It was Enyd’s turn to laugh, “Run? Dearest Victor, do you think I ever purposefully run? Heavens, no. I do NOT. I walk with enough speed to get me to my destination promptly, but never at a run if I can help it.” She shook her head. “And not for propriety’s sake either. I simply hate running. I’d rather dance or perform martial arts for hours on end than run. But you’re right, I have noted that park. Never really stopped before, so that will be a delightful detour.”

Victor smiles then, ceasing his fidgeting, and he leans forward, looking Enyd directly in her eyes. “Over the years we’ve shared correspondence, I’ve fallen in love with you, in such a way that I cannot truly put into words. You’ve been the most delightful companion I could ever ask for, so now my dearest Enyd, you who always holds me in delight and wonder. I would like to ask you if it’s alright if I ask your grandmother for permission to propose to you. I don’t expect an answer to that now, but it is worth thinking on. With our lives, with how much is happening in the quadrant right now. I cannot imagine someone that I’d rather spend my life bonded to. You who bring life to me as a spring breeze ripples through fields of wildflowers. You who bring starlight with your every glance, who’s voice is music to rival the sweetest of songbirds…”

And he got interrupted by the waiter coughing politely holding their meals, interrupting his soliloquy. Victor blushes and sits back as his meal is placed in front of him, something prepared with a winter squash, yams, and a green vegetable he couldn’t place, probably collard greens by his estimation. And something yellow and grilled that had to be endive. For now though Victor was speechless and found that he had no words with his head of steam stoppered shut.

Enyd didn’t notice when the waiter placed her meal in front of her, too stunned and staring dumbfounded at Victor to pay much attention to his additional question if she’d like additional pepper. She must’ve nodded, mutely, for the smell of the pepper grinding so close to her nose had her rearing back and lightly pinching it to keep from sneezing. Enyd smiled and nodded to the waiter before he disappeared again, leaving Enyd with Victor’s proposal and her meal sitting on the table between them.

“I don’t quite know what to say, Victor.” Enyd didn’t pick up her utensils, still too focused on his earlier proposal to think of eating just yet. “I agree with the depth of our connection, and truly believe you to be a kindred spirit born in the flesh.” She tipped her head to the side and nibbled on her lower lip in thought before speaking again, “But there are still so many questions we haven’t addressed yet. For example, my affinity for physical affection and my desire for sexual intimacy,” she blushed then and ducked her head down, having for but a moment forgotten that they were in a crowded restaurant, “well, I know where you stand on that and I respect it, but with your knowing where I stand, how will we cope with that? I’m not certain if your culture or mine is very accepting of multiple partners in a marriage, or accepting of an open marriage either. I’ve never been placed in a position to ponder such things before this.”

Finally picking up her fork Enyd let out the rest of the breath she’d been holding and offered a little smile, “Besides, we had better get our answers to those questions before my grandmother asks the same things. She’s not the type to shy away from a difficult and invasive question and you’d best prepare yourself for all sorts of invasive questions if you truly want to pursue nuptials.”

With roguish wit and charm, Victor winks at Enyd’s final question that she has for him, and gives the cheekiest response possible. “I do.'' He lets that hang in the air for a moment taking a few bites of his meal, enjoying the way the flavors paired, and he almost gets distracted. But he did have more pressing questions to answer.

“So long as we maintain communication Enyd, sex is sex, it isn’t love. If You want to have sex with someone else, by all means, have fun. Just please let me know, before the fact if preferable, after if it happens spontaneously. Relationships like ours, the long distance kind can only work based on trust. And I think that we love and feel for each other, no matter who gets added into that mix physically, there won’t necessarily be that love.” He wasn’t naive enough to believe that Enyd couldn’t fall in love with someone else, long distance and proximity always had those effects on people. “I am not Odysseus, and you’re not Penelope, I don’t expect that you’ll be chaste and loyal for twenty years without seeing me. Just like I’m no Polyphemus with an insatiable appetite.” He winks his eye, the cybernetic one, and grins, showing that he did get the previous reference.

Enyd swatted at his hand playfully but remained silent, aware that he had more to say.

“As for intimacy between us, to put the matter as simply as possible. I love you, and I want to share what makes you happy. Just as I assume you’ll do the same for me. I love you and I trust you Enyd, but for any encounter like what you’re asking about, you’ll probably need to be the one that takes the lead.” He smiled then, and thought about the question of multiple partners in a marriage, and how it applied to his culture. “While I draw most of my roots from Bajor, and the others from here on Earth, I am a spacer first and foremost. I’ve never asked if my parents have multiple partners, but frankly Enyd, they’re not us. So I don’t much care about traditions as they relate to sexual lives. And yes, I do acknowledge the irony in even asking you for permission to ask to propose with all of that being said.” Now though, his meal was getting cold, and he did seem to quite enjoy what had been served to him. If he was ever on Earth again, he’d have to make his way here for a meal on a more regular basis.

Enyd nodded, weighing his words as she tested the food in her mouth. It was delicious, just as his words brought comfort.

“I think it will take me some time to wrap my brain around that sort, or this sort, of arrangement as it is so far outside the norm of what I was raised to expect.” She nodded again. “I agree that we are not our parents nor are we particularly bound by the traditions of our cultures, but as much as we strike out to be different from those if desired, they still influence us and I believe acknowledging the influence is healthy.”

She blushed when he spoke of her taking the lead if they were to have any physical encounters, “I definitely will need to work into the mental concept of taking the lead with physicality. I mean, I know I initiated just now, here, but,” she leaned back and nibbled her lower lip as she gathered her thoughts together into coherent sentences, “I guess I would also like to be pursued, physically I mean. To be wooed and desired for my heart and body. That is, I suppose, a connection to my cultural influence or perhaps my personality preferences.” Enyd sighed. “I would never expect you or demand you to do anything outside of your comfort, though, Victor. I love you too much to make such demands on you.”

Gave a pleasant enough smile then, doing his best to come up with the words. “I don’t know if I can pursue someone for their body.. I certainly am drawn by your heart, mind, and pah. To do or to say otherwise would be disingenuous of me. But for you my dearest Miss Madsen, I will make the effort to sweep you off your feet, and share with you the joys of our love together.” he pauses then, taking a few more bites of his meal. “Though some foreplay to let me know you’re interested wouldn’t be remiss.”

Enyd took another sip of her water as she further thought through the line of conversation, her mind whirling in every which direction and back again. Finally she spoke, “What if, after you speak with my grandmother, a tradition I whole-hearted support just so you know, if she agrees to it, we remain engaged until after my first posting? I don’t know where they’ll send me after graduation, and with the current circumstances,” she lowered her voice as her eyes traveled over his scars, “I think maybe waiting until things are more stable for a full-scale wedding would be prudent of us.”

Victor nodded then, giving her a gentle smile, reaching across the table to take hold of her hand gently. The strong calloused hand, wrapping around Enyd’s. “You and I are on the same wavelength with this. To do anything while you’re still a Cadet would distract you from what you need to be focused on right now, which is earning your commission. After the war we can plan the wedding of your dreams.” He pauses and smiles again, chuckling slightly. “I say your dreams, because I’ve never considered contemplating such, and to be honest, the entire thought of doing so is new to me.”

“Well,” Enyd laughed, “I’ll be honest, I never quite got around to imagining a wedding. My imagination rather skipped that part. I was conquering worlds and taking names as a single woman then suddenly I was married with a family, and bringing them along with me on the adventure. There was no in-between focus on the actual marriage.” She gripped his hand tighter, and placed her own on top of his. “We can plan it together, channeling all our shared stories and hopes into the organized chaos that I know it will be.”

The band struck up another lively tune and this time Enyd giggled, “I won’t take no for an answer, Victor.” She stood and used her grip on his hand to tug. “You’re joining me on the dance floor even if you have eleven left feet and no sense of rhythm.”

Couldn’t help but grin at Enyd’s enthusiasm to get him on the dance floor, finding himself pulled from the chair, he doesn’t even have time to give his thoughts and opinions on wedding planning. While Victor wasn’t great with dancing in general, at the very least there were what appeared to be holographic couples positioned to show people what the dances looked like.  So that was how he found himself dancing with Enyd to a lively Benny Goodman piece. With one eye on the holographic examples, and the other on Enyd herself. The height difference on the dance floor made him smile, but that gets no comment.

He was entranced by dancing with Enyd and taking her in his arms during a dip, figuring that Enyd had sent a signal, Victor leans in planting a kiss on her lips at the end of the fast paced song with a dance that certainly left him breathless form trying to keep up with the nearly impossible dance.

Enyd placed a hand on her chest while keeping a hold of Victor’s with the other. Her face was flushed and she was as breathless as he, and for what seemed to be the same reasons. The kiss had been as spontaneous as the dance and both had left Enyd feeling warm and alive in a fashion nothing else had ever left her feeling. She laughed, the effervescent joy she felt being held by Victor radiating from the smile on her face.

“Who knew you could be so smooth on the dance floor!” She tugged at his hand again, leading them back to the table for a much-needed respite. “Must be all the fencing you took up, to defend my honor from brigands.”

Laughed breathlessly as he walked back to their table. Once there he pulls out Enyd’s seat for her, and then plops down in his own chair, smiling like an idiot. “That dance was new to me, but my mother was fond of dancing. Though dad often demurred, if only to see me make a bit of an ass of myself.” Victor smiled once more before taking a long swig of his glass of water. “To be fair, learning the rapier has indeed helped with my footwork. Though i doubt you'll need me to defend you from brigands.”

He winks politely to Enyd, and looks once more at the menu. “Should we get dessert, or do we need to be heading back to the Academy soon? I’m not quite sure how long we’ll spend talking on the way, and I'd hate to saddle you with any demerits for tardiness.”

“Mon Corsaire, there is ALWAYS time for dessert.” Enyd grinned, immediately choosing the most decadent confectionary that featured chocolate when the waiter came to take their order. She added a black coffee, needing the bitter to balance the sweet.

Once they were alone again, Enyd nodded towards the door of the restaurant, “When do you think you’ll be able to come back? As you know my graduation is around May or June-ish of next year and you already committed to coming for that, but do you think you’ll be able to squirrel away any time in addition to that?” Though there was greater clarity in what Victor expected or wanted from the relationship, as well as his boundaries of acceptance, Enyd knew herself well enough to know it would take a few more intimate discussions to truly wrap her brain and heart around the matter.

Glancing over the dessert menu and finding something that sounded interesting, Victor had no idea what the language even was, maybe one from Earth? Victor was unsure about that, but still. “A slice of the pina trees leeches cake?” Yep, that was how Victor managed to butcher the pronunciation of ‘Tres leches’ the poor man having no skill in any language other than the Dutch of his father, and Bajoran of his mother aside from the Federation standard trade tongue which he thought was once English, but wasn’t sure at the moment. The point was, his Spanish was terrible. “I have no idea when I’ll make it back to Earth, if I do it’s because the Thunderchild needs another set of major repairs or a refit, or I’m coming back for reasons worse than that.” He grimaces at that, and frowns deeply.

“I’d love to try making it back for your graduation, and I'll make a point of doing so, war permitting. But I’m expecting another six month combat tour followed by another after that? I’m not sure.” He shrugs at that, smiling slightly when the waiter brings their dessert, Enyd’s looking far more appetizing than the apparently soggy mess that was his. It looked like it was sitting in… “Waiter, is my cake soaked in milk? Was there a spill?”

The waiter almost laughs at the question, but shakes their head and smiles. “No sir, that’s how it comes, it’s a traditional Mexican dessert from here on Earth.”

Victor blinked at that,and poked at the saturated jiggling mass of pineapple and caramel flavored sponge cake, an eyebrow rising slightly. “I’m not sure I’m this adventurous, have you ever had this before Enyd?”

Enyd was laughing as she pushed her molten chocolate cake across the table and took his unwanted sweet without asking, “Yes, I have, and yes, I will.”

It wasn’t her favorite type of dessert but combined with the bitter coffee she sipped at to wash it all down, the
dessert was quite pleasant overall. She gave a little torso sway of delight, something she’d done as a child whenever she really liked something she was eating, and winked at Victor across the table.

“I understand the difficulties and will never pressure you to neglect your duty. Soon enough, I too will have duty pulling me in one direction while we might both prefer it to be another.” Setting down her fork and dabbing at her mouth with her linen napkin, Enyd offered Victor a soft smile of reassurance. “There is no need to rush, be it here over our dessert, the walk home, or our relationship. If we start rushing here then I fear the pain and anxiety that exists outside the boundary line of our kindredship will seep in and we’ll grow haggard from the inside and out.”

They finished their dessert and coffee, listened to one more song and commented on its lyrics, then made their way unhurried from the restaurant both looking forward to the time they could do this again. Enyd was not shy about taking Victor’s arm, tucking her hand in the crook of his elbow, as they meandered down the streets of San Francisco. Only once they were away from the potentially listening ears of fellow patrons, and secure in their isolation in the park Victor had mentioned, did Victor finally reveal the entirety of the story behind his scars and cybernetic eye. Enyd listened with an ear out for emotional distress, reaching out and taking his hand while maintaining her hold on his arm when he worked through the difficult portions. She gave him a warm embrace and another kiss on the cheek when he finished and they resumed their journey towards the Academy.

Enyd made Victor laugh more than once as she regaled him with more tales from her training previously unshared due to censorship or timing. He in kind leaned forward and kissed the tip of her nose, earning an amused smile from Enyd, after she told him the harrowing story of near-death during the black out training on Andoria. And it felt as if they’d both lived a lifetime and but a moment in the time it took for Victor to escort Enyd to the Academy. They were both reluctant to let go, to turn away, but with both Enyd and Victor understanding and accepting the necessity of duty, they eventually found the gumption necessary to have one last hug, one last kiss, and one last lingering look of farewell.

Re: A Most Cordial Correspondence

Reply #16
[ Cadet Enyd Isolde Madsen | Quarters | Starfleet Academy | Earth ] @Tae

There had been a flurry of activities prior to Victor's departure that left even the more energetic and multi-tasking capable Enyd feeling fatigued. Overall, the introductory meeting between Victor and her grandmother had been a positive one, and considering her grandmother hadn't yet knitted Victor's funeral cardigan was further proof that eventually she would be amiable to the engagement. As it was, though she had found Victor engaging and charming, she had demanded that Victor start up a line of correspondence directly with her for at least a few months before she felt comfortable giving consent for the engagement. Instead of being appalled or put off by the concept, Victor had insisted that her grandmother write him every month even if he could not always respond as readily, welcoming any and all questions she might have for him regarding his "intentions" towards Enyd. He earned himself a giant hug and another kiss for that.

Sadly, soon after their meeting, Victor had to return to his ship and Enyd to the Academy, and they were back to communicating via letters. Soon enough, once he was back out into the unknown areas he could not talk about, they would have to return to recorded subspace messages, saving the letters for a time when they were back in a position to receive them. However, for the time he was in "casual" space and not yet back on the front lines, they could revert to their preferred methods: old-fashioned letters.

Enyd smiled to herself as she pulled out her own letter writing kit. All the events of her life that surrounded the use of this kit came back to her as a flood. For a moment, Enyd sat at her desk and merely stared at the decorative box containing her writing paraphernalia. So much life had been lived and shared through the contents of this box, and there was still so much more to share. It was thrilling, and a little intimidating, and only intimidating because of how difficult it could be to summarize the entirety of a day, a week, a month into the span of a page. What did you choose to include, and what did you leave out?

Well, based on the day's earlier lecture and encounter, Enyd knew exactly what she would share in this first letter to Victor.

February 8, 2374

My darling Victor,

I certainly hope you've been keeping up your end of the deal and writing grandmother! Or else next time you are in a port near Earth, she will find out and hand-deliver some sort of horrible-looking knitted clothing item and demand you wear it any time you are in her presence. Need I remind you of Anderson's fate?

All jests aside, I also hope this finds you in good health and spirits as you resume your duties and tackle the new challenges the ship's upgrades and new recruits will offer you. You're tenacious enough to overcome anything life throws at you, and with your own flair for the dramatic….I mean your own flair for complete and total seriousness, of course. You could never be classified as dramatic. Never. Ever.

As for me, well, I must confess, I have a penchant for drama, and today was evidence of the fact. I was thrown out of class today, Victor. Of course, I would like to paint a picture of victimization along with images of a burly Orion thug launching me through an Academy window; however, that is not the case. I walked out of the classroom on my own two feet after being ordered by the lecturer to leave. For what, you might be asking yourself? Well…it seems I am a minority in some regards when it comes to thoughts on diplomacy methods, Federation protocols, use of propaganda, and nativism.

My absolute calm and acceptance in the middle of a diplomatic grey area; my ability to point out Federation errors and side with the "enemy" or promote ideals held by those outside the Federation; my distrust of any entity's belief that they have all answers and their methods are the only correct methods; and my belief that there is an appropriate time and use for politically aligned propaganda got me thrown out of the class, but also got me a new friend.

He is not a lecturer or a student but was a member of the Anthropology Division at the Daystrom Institute for many years. He was quite young when they accepted him, for his age is not much different from yours or mine! You may or may not have read about the Tamarians or the Mintakans, or even more recently the Boraalan's, but my new friend worked directly with expeditions for each culture and his work on their cultures, and how Starfleet handled those situations, is considered both groundbreaking and controversial. It is because of the latter that we became friends, in fact!

He was in the class today observing the lecturer, as our current lecturer is on "loan" from the Institute, and his former superiors requested Marlowe to give feedback on the lecturer. (Oh, his full name is James Hudson Marlowe.) I love moments of synchronicity! Marlowe later told me he had no intention of following through with their request as he's preparing a freelance expedition to Bajor actually and didn't feel he had the time to do the "nitty-gritty" they were asking of him, but at the last moment, he followed through and voila! The day I'm thrown out of class is the day he observes. How delightful!

Oh, although he didn’t give me all the juicy details, he said that he is no longer officially affiliated with the Institute because of a difference of opinion on a number of past incidents; however, the relationship is not so terrible that they don’t ask a favor of him now and again—hence his presence today. Marlowe explained he has his own “society” of anthropologists and archeologists who still publish their findings in “respectable” circles.

In any case, shortly after I was asked to leave because I was becoming belligerent and uncooperative—the lecturer's definitions of these words are quite different from the standard—Marlowe chased after me and offered to buy me dinner. You would absolutely adore him, dear Victor. He is clever, insightful, and just as "belligerent and uncooperative" as you and I! Because of these qualities and the fact that I got thrown out of class was why he sought me out. He shares many of the same ideas and feelings as I do, and after spending a delightful evening with him, I believe the trio of us would solve all the quadrant's problems in no time at all if we were given carte blanche control of resources.

I told him about you, and he hopes to meet you someday, be it on Earth, or Bajor, or anywhere else in the galaxy fate seems to place us. He fences too, mon corsair! When I told him about our efforts to improve in fencing and blades, he seemed enchanted by the prospect of a proper duel in the future, again should we ever cross paths again. After dinner, we exchanged communication details, and he will try to keep in touch as he’s able, but he did warn that he’s notoriously horrible about keeping in touch with anyone about anything.

Now that I sit back and read over the letter again, I realize I spent nearly all of it talking about another man. I do so hope that does not bother you or make you jealous. While Marlowe is also charming and appears to have the same penchant for chaotic adventure as the two of us, he is not you, nor will he ever be you. I hope you have not found cause to doubt my love and genuine affection for you, as I’ve shared my equally genuine joy in finding another kindred spirit.

I believe it prudent that we remain open about such things, as you mentioned in the café that you were acceptable of such things but would appreciate being informed. Oh goodness, I just met the man, and there’s nothing there except common interests and the beginnings of friendship, and I’m gushing over my fear of bothering you. I’ll stop for now, on that subject, and wait for your reply. I get the feeling I’m making a mountain out of a mole-hill and deserve whatever well-intentioned chastising you give me when you reply.

Aside from that incident, my life at the Academy on Earth is in many ways far more tedious than at the other branches. Being surrounded by mostly humans has its pros and cons. As someone who gets a thrill from the unknown and is governed by an insatiable curiosity, I at times struggle with feeling unchallenged when surrounded by individuals who look the same as me. But that is something I will need to contend with, of course, as I readily recognize that just because it looks like a duck and acts like a duck, that doesn’t mean the duck is the same as any other duck.

Goodness me, I’m rambling. It is late, and although I had a lovely time with Marlowe and was for a time energized by our conversations and wanted to share it all with you, the hour is catching up with me, as is the inevitable dawn and morning PT.

I love you, Victor, I miss you, and I look forward to hearing from you soon!

With all my love,

Enyd made sure to spritz the letter with her perfume before enclosing it in the traditional parchment envelope and, with a swirling script, addressed it to her soon-to-be fiance. She fell asleep immediately after, not even bothering to change out of her clothes.

Re: A Most Cordial Correspondence

Reply #17
PO1 Victor vanVinter | USS Thunderchild | Near the Bajoran sector | Attn: @Ellen Fitz

Victor smirked to himself, reading Enyd's letter for the thirtieth time before finally responding. Once, he finally picked up his pen to respond, writing a paper letter that he'd put in storage. He'd get started on the letter that would actually get sent via subspace, complete with a video to go with it so that Enyd could read or listen to the letter, whichever she'd prefer. The very moment that victor takes up his pen, the words fly from his fingers and onto the page.

April 17th, 2374

My Dearest Miss Madsen

As I told you before, I am not Odysseus, and you are not Persephone. I will not object if you wish to pursue a liaison with this Mir Marlowe. I merely thank you for letting me know that he is a man that strikes your fancy and allows you to meet the needs that I cannot at present. I surely hope that he is a student enough of anthropology to understand the nuances of relationships that are not buried in centuries of dust.  I would not be so crass as to lay 'claim' to you in any manner that would be seen as possessive. I simply wish to state that your acceptance of my proposal will be a moment that shall always bring me the most boundless joy.

It is said that Agamemnon launched a thousand ships to retake Helen from the Trojans. I can understand in part that feeling of possessiveness, for I feel so strongly about you, my love, that I would stride among the stars with naught but a can of air for a thousand parsecs if I was to but lay my eyes upon you one last time. Say that we shall never part and that our love shall never die, and I shall take it as a vow so unshakeable and sure that the prophets themselves could not tear it asunder. Your happiness brings me a joy that the Bard himself could not put into words, and I myself can do but a pale imitation of in narrating his own actions.

Bring to me the spice of life packaged and tied with a bow, and I shall proclaim it the works of Enyd whose cheerfulness knows no bounds. Whos's razor wit could alone parry with the most skills of blades. I shall be here, and I shall sing your praises in thousand tongues and a thousand more if I could but continue to prove my worthiness to you, my fairest and most dear. There are essays that have been written and vow proclaimed about true love for as long as we have walked upon the worlds of our birth, and I would say them all a million times more for a million more years if I were to hear but the three most dear words to me, "I love you."

 Those three words from your most beautiful lips and delicate tone are a symphony that I would strain for an aeon to hear. To hold that tender hand again with fingers as seemingly delicate as spider silk with the same innate steel. My love, you are a woman whom none can grasp if they had a thousand lifetimes across a billion years. You are You, my dearest Enyd. And I thank you for letting me into your life. My life is complete having spent but one second in your presence. I live the rest of my life content knowing that I have been in your embrace. And I shall live the rest of it hoping that I shall see you again.

I find myself looking back at the words that I've written, and I ask myself, 'is she amused by my poetic ramblings' and I know without a doubt that the answer must be unequivocal. How could I feel this way about someone that doesn't reciprocate in kind? Someone that I know and trust with all of my heart. Whos soul I am bonded to and will be. While we may not have become wed as of this writing, I know that it is bound to happen.  I will always be here for you, no matter how far away or how close. I look forward to seeing your commissioning, and I hope that your first assignment will be one that is worthy of you.

There is a fire deep inside you, my love. Use it, nurse it. But never let it burn you. I know that you wield this flame of yours as a master painter wields their brush. Never allow it to burn you, my love. I will be there for you if it should happen, you know that. But if I have one worry, it is that you may become an Icarus, flying too high and too close to the sun. Never lose sight of the ground, or forget what the fall will be like. I will always be there to catch you, no matter what, but again, I am no Odysseus.

Yours in the purest of delights and wonder
Victor vanVinter
Petty Officer 1st Class
Acting Deck Chief, USS Thunderchild

Re: A Most Cordial Correspondence

Reply #18
[ Cadet Enyd Isolde Madsen | Yew Valley Farms | Montana | Earth ] @Tae

“You’ve gotten slow on the draw, Mz. Madsen.”

Enyd laughed and nodded her agreement to Teddrick Withers, one of her grandmother’s ranch hands. “It seems Starfleet has invested more time in honing the muscles of my brain than the muscle memory of my quick draw with a gun, Withers.”

“’fraid they wasted their investment.” Chuck Laraby, the grizzled foreman of Yew Valley Farms, muttered as he came back from the end of the shooting range to display the affected target. About a half dozen of them with the day off had come out here to the far range nearest the river gorge to play around with some of the ancient guns Laraby collected. “I thought the challenge was to cluster the shots on the head,” he pointed to the line of shots Enyd had put through the target's neck, “you just decapitated this poor fellow.” He pushed his old-style cowboy hat further up on his head and whistled through his teeth. “I could say you lost your head, but it seems this bloke did first.”

Enyd laughed harder, enjoying the jostling and jesting that existed between the ranch hands and herself. Most of these men and women were like family to her, so long had they been at the ranch, and those who were new typically settled in quickly after a few rounds of mirthful teasing, or else they ran scared without unpacking. They typically attracted the eclectic spirit, the resilient but gruff of soul, and the misunderstood but genuine mind to Yew Valley Farms. Nowadays, their ranch was populated with workers from over a dozen Federation planets, though most were still from Earth and descended from those associated with Yew Valley Farms for decades.

At one time, back when the Eugenics Wars and then World War 3 were getting terrible, and people had to flee the cities to avoid purges, it had been a haven for the intelligencia. Folks from all over, all walks of life, had pooled together and lived in a community here, with the Madsen’s acting as makeshift leaders in the efforts to survive apocalyptic times. As a child, Enyd had been to the unearthed cyro-vaults just off the edge of their ranch, in the borderland with some of the wildest country Montana still offered. Her ancestors had built them with the scientists and engineers who’d lived on Yew Valley Farms at the time, and as legend had it, at least a dozen people had drawn lots to be placed in cyrosleep hoping to wake up in a better tomorrow. The “forgotten one” of her ancestors, Elonat Madsen, had supposedly been amongst those, but none of them could be certain. So much had been destroyed in the Wars and, if Elonat had been in the cryo chamber, or if she’d been killed, were both equally likely at this point, though Enyd preferred to believe that her ancestor had survived.

A bell rang in the distance, alerting all that dinner was just about ready, and they’d better haul their tails back to the ranch house, or else her grandmother would box their ears. Jessup, the young Martian recently arrived, let out a thrilling whoop as they all scrambled to pack away the gear and get back on their horses. Without a word, the outing had turned into a race, and one by one, they each took off back towards the ranch house as if hell itself was on their heels, the air above their heads filled with half part laughter and half part yips and yowls of delight.

Enyd adored the thrill of letting her horse, a metallic grey Akhal-Teke Andalusian mix named Gryphon, run at full speed. A stallion with more spirit and fire than a pissed-off Klingon, Gryphon hated losing races, and he didn’t give a damn if Enyd stayed on his back or not: he was going through, over, on, or under anything possible, that might allow him to win. Enyd was quite literally just along for the ride, and she loved it. Letting out her own peals of laughter and hoots of joy, she clung to Gryphon with her knees and hunkered down in the saddle to keep from getting her head taken off should he choose to deviate under some trees as he’d been known to do on occasion.

In a cloud of dust, the lot of them flew into the ranch yard, their horses stomping and jostling for position, the adrenaline from the race still high for them. Gryphon reared a few times, letting out a tantrum at being second, before finally settling enough for Enyd to get off and lead him to the barn. She nursed his pride with an apple after removing the tack and brushing him down. She was chatting Jessup about his time so far on the farm when Milly, Chuck’s wife, and the head cook, came out on the porch with her arms crossed.

“Not a one of y’all are gonna come in here looking and smelling like that. This here is Thanksgiving dinner, for pity’s sake, not some barn-raising barbeque. Now go on,” she shooed the ranch hands with her apron, “get cleaned up and back here in your finest in under an hour, or Grandmother Madsen will tan your hides!” Jessup took off back to the bunkhouse, leaving Enyd alone under the scrutiny of Milly. “A letter from your almost fiance came in the mail today, and it’s waiting for you in the bath, where you will also clean up and look a might less shameful for your grandmother.”

Enyd knew Milly was more bark than bite and so wasn’t afraid for her life when she bent to kiss the woman’s cheek on her dart past her. She heard the half-hearted grumblings of the cook in her wake, but in taking the steps two at a time, Enyd was out of earshot and in the privacy of her second-floor room in a matter of seconds. Enyd tore into the letter without changing, reading through it with laughter and love, but waited until after she bathed before she sat down at her desk, hair drying in haphazard waves about her head, and penned a reply. It was shorter than she would’ve liked, but Enyd knew her grandmother would indeed drag her out by her pointed ears if she didn’t get to the table and its feast on time.

Thanksgiving Day, 2374

Darling Victor,

Happy Thanksgiving from Yew Valley Farms! I’m including with this letter a sketch of our ranch house Milly’s daughter, Martha, made a few weeks back. She said she wanted you to have it. You remember how she was all doe-eyed with you, right? Well, Chuck and Milly want to know if there will be a shotgun wedding in the future or…just kidding. They say hello as well, though they don’t include sketches or anything. Grandmother also sends her regards, and also included with this letter are a pair of socks. She tried her hand at Bajoran symbolism with some of the patterns, though she made no apology if they aren’t quite right.

I was able to take leave for this holiday, desiring this one instead of Christmas, and high-tailed it out here for the week allotted to me. It has been a wonderful time! We have a few new ranch hands that are still learning the ropes, and as per tradition, we hosted a rodeo earlier this week as a “shakedown” for their skills. Most of them weren’t half bad at calf wrestling and cattle roping, but none of them could stay on for the full eight seconds of the bull riding. Chuck about bust his head off his body, his face was so red, but Milly’s lemonade set him right again—that stuff should be ranked with Romulan ale in potency. I’m terribly out of practice, but I came in third with the barrel riding. I didn’t try any of the trick ridings like I used to do, as not only am I out of practice, but my old trick riding horse, Noona, died last winter, and I haven’t been home long enough to bond with or train another one. Something to look forward to in the future.

Grandmother invited half the county, it seems, to our Thanksgiving feast today, and I apologize for the shortness of this letter as I have only a few more moments before I need to get down there, “or else!” I do so wish you could be here, and I look forward to the day when my husband can join me at the table, charming the family with his jokes and filling my heart with such joy and delight.

Though I understand your meaning, and I love you for the analogy, I am glad you aren’t Odysseus, as I found him to be a selfish bastard. He plays around with all the goddesses and sorceresses in his journey while holding his wife to a separate standard of behavior? He tests her fidelity with the ‘bed test,” and then his story “ends” with him lamenting that he’s now stuck at home and longs for more adventures? Ugh, I wanted to throw the PADD when I finished the Odyssey, I hated him so much! I much preferred Hector in the Iliad, and don’t get me started on Achilles! I suppose the depth of my hate and love of these characters comes from the fire you mentioned in your letter.

I do so hope this reaches you in good health and spirits. I know without you having to tell me how hard it is for you and the crew right now, and my thoughts are with you. I love you, dearest, and I miss you. Please stay safe, keep alert, and come back to me.

With all my love,


True to her assumption, Enyd’s door rattled with a warning knock from Martha within milliseconds after she folded the letter and set it aside to finish preparing for the delivery man later. Enyd chuckled to herself as she threw on her grey knit sweater and plaid trousers, hurrying to join the family at the dinner table. A portion of her mind remained with the letter in her room, or at least with the letter’s writer, and she truly wished he could be with her now.

Re: A Most Cordial Correspondence

Reply #19
PO1 Victor vanVinter | USS Thunderchild | Near the Bajoran sector | Attn: @Ellen Fitz

Valentine's day 2375

Thanksgiving and Christmas had come and gone by the time the Thunderchild cleared radio silence again. The ship had engaged in heavy combat the last several months, the appearance of the Breen as part of the new alliance with the Dominion, they'd been getting pressed hard. The entire crew ran ragged, all of the Federation's losses,  the retreats, and falling back. There had been very little respite, but the Thunderchild had emerged from the fighting bloodied but still able to carry on. It wasn't until February that the War had started to turn in their favor. By the time Victor had a moment to compose a response to Enyd, it was already Valentine's day.

So it was with a weary body, a tired soul, but a glint in his eyes that a dirty and unkempt Victor recorded his latest missive for Enyd. He wanted to talk about the War, but Victor couldn't share over an unsecured channel like this. So the face that greeted Enyd was haggard, unkempt, and for once unshaven.

My Dearest Miss Madsen, I want to wish you a Happy Valentine's day.

You have my apologies for my silence over the last few months. I dearly wish that I had been able to respond before now, but I know that you understand what we're all going through. And I'm fulfilling my duties. Times have been busy here on the Thunderchild, and I doubt that I'll be able to attend your graduation this coming May. I also wish I could have been there for your Thanksgiving day feast. I heard about what happened at Earth when the Breen attacked. I can barely imagine what It must have been like. I hope that your classmates and friends made it through. Of you though, I never doubted your survival. I will always have supreme confidence in the lovely Enyd Madsen.

I wish that I had some better news to share about what we're up to, but we're being effective with our missions. That is practically all I can say on the matter. Again, I know that you understand. I hope that my absences caused by combat do not cause you pain. You know that I never intend such. If they do, I must make it up to you as soon as I am able.

Following our current rends and how the War is going, I doubt that they'll keep you to your studies much longer. So the next time I hear from you, I have no doubt that you'll be an Ensign. I look forward to sharing stories in person someday soon. I'm being told that I have to cut this short, Captain's calling Red Alert. I love you Enyd, and I'll always be with you in spirit if not in body.

In the haste of the sign-off, Victor's message lacks his usual sign-off and instead has a hastily made file attachment, a song.

Re: A Most Cordial Correspondence

Reply #20
[ Enyd Isolde Madsen | USS Basie | In-Transit | Cardassia-bound ] @Tae

November 2375

It is my turn to apologize for the long silence. Yes, we had the Breen attack, and sadly, I lost a few professors and classmates in the attack, and that took a lot of time and effort to recover from with schedules being altered while new professors were recruited. They actually brought in James Hudson Marlowe to teach a few classes; they were that desperate. He found that amusing, and while I didn’t have the pleasure of taking any of his classes, his presence on campus brought a certain cheer to my days so soon after the chaos of the attack. We made a habit of taking lunch together, and if that had to be skipped we would grab a cup of coffee afterward, going to that café I took you to in old town San Fransisco. In some ways, his presence next to my grandmother at my graduation in June felt like he was representing you as well, sitting in the seat you would have been in had you been available. It was comforting seeing him there, feeling as if you were with me in spirit.

Again because of the attack and loss of life, after my graduation ceremony, they asked me to remain at the Academy for a time to help train and teach until my orders came through in September. That was enlightening on how I must’ve been as a student, and now I feel we need to create a new medal for teachers and instructors for putting up with our silliness without murdering us. I had a brief leave at home in Montana at the beginning of November, though we were all disappointed I couldn’t celebrate Thanksgiving at home as my orders had come through. We celebrated early, though it felt odd to do so, and soon after the celebration, my grandmother escorted me all the way to the station where I boarded my current vessel.

So, dearest Victor, if you are in the area of Cardassia, look me up, for that is where I headed. I am part of a task force to assist in post-war efforts for government stabilization. If my letter comes across as less effusive than normal, it is because my mind is already awhirl with all the things I will be confronted with once I am there. The briefings we receive every morning while in transit have been startling, and I can only hope I don’t make things worse with my “greenness” in the field. I’ve been assured and reassured by my officers that I was chosen out of the graduating class for this posting because of my commendations from professors at every school branch, even the ones I thought had hated me. So that was a surprise, and it is a bit reassuring that they believe in my abilities enough to give me this sort of high-profile assignment just after I finish the program.

I’m not certain what things will be like once I arrive, what my schedule will be like, or how easy it will be to send or receive letters, but know you are always in my thoughts and heart, and I always eagerly look forward to your letters. They are a ray of sunshine in my days. Be safe, dearest, and keep ever-present your penchant for humor and glass-half-full attitude.

With all my love,

Re: A Most Cordial Correspondence

Reply #21
CPO Victor vanVinter | USS Thunderchild | Bajor sector | DS9 | Attn: @Ellen Fitz

Victor was settling into post-war life, he'd been promoted, and his position was formalized as Deck Chief now. He'd managed to transition from the 'acting' position to it formalized rather quickly since he'd been doing the job for most of the war. And now that it was over, he was getting more hands-on time with the 'new' Valkyrie fighters. They were a drastic improvement over the Peregrine, a fact that was bittersweet for the man. And it looked like Bajor was finally going to join the Federation, at least that's what the rumor mill was saying. There were many things to celebrate and time to rebuild. So it was a vivacious Victor who sat himself down in front of his terminal to finally respond to the last message from Enyd finally.

For the longest time, Victor doesn't say anything as his pen is paused and stilled over the stationery on his desk. He was sitting cheerily at the desk in his Dress whites, the shiny new CPO tab on his collar. His scarred face in a brilliant grin, as he just stares at the camera happily for a long minute. The curved docking arms of DS9 seen through the window in his quarters.

December 30th, 2375

My dearest Miss Madsen

This will be the first time you've seen me in my Dress whites, but It is for a reason. If your eyes are keen enough, which I know they are, you'll notice the Chief petty officer tab on my collar. I got promoted, and I have formally received my promotion to Deck Chief. It has been a big day for me, my love. However, it has not been anywhere near as big as the day that I proposed to you. That day still shines in my memory like your emerald eyes. I close my eyes, and I think of you always. While again, I am no Odysseus, and you are no Penelope, I see in you, instead Circe.

I do not mean the depiction in the Odyssey, but how others have envisioned her. A woman is very much in control of her own life and well aware of her abilities and mind. It is she who has entranced me and bewitched my heart. I find that when I think of you, I genuinely am bewitched, to say nothing of bothered and bewildered. Though the only bewilderment I see with you, my love is the difficulty in setting a date. I know that you will be busy for years to come with the Cardassians and other diplomatic kerfuffles in the future. And I will be busy with these new fighters, but we must make time at some point in the near future. It is a topic that we should discuss in person when we're able to take leave again.

I hope that you'll not judge my pace glacial or my desire indecisive on this. But you genuinely have captivated me in a way that no one else has. I am sure that someday I will finally come to terms with my adoration for you. Thank you for everything that you have given me in my life.

As to your Career and Cardassia, I will state that you should be safe and write to me when you can. But I will most certainly understand if you cannot write on a regular basis. However, I can emphatically state that aside from meeting you, the whole of the Thunderchild will wish to stay as far from Cardassia as possible. We were there at the end of things, and I've no desire to see that planet ever again. I know that the Captain never wants to be ordered there again. So if we do ever return to Cardassia... suffice to say that the circumstances would be less than ideal. For now, I count myself lucky that I will be 'home' to celebrate the New Year with my parents here on Bajor. We're docked at DS9 for a few days, and the family ship just so happened to be in the neighborhood.  I'm glad that they both made it through the war without getting pressed into service. The joys of piloting an ancient J-10 class. The ship is nearly a derelict but don't tell my father. "it's an antique" after all.

Your leave in Montana sounded lovely, and your Grandmother sent me pictures. She really is a sweet woman and seems to be most approving of us. The loss of Thanksgiving to your assignment is unfortunate, but I should have you know that I raised a glass in your honor here. So at the very least, you have that going for you. The toast from an Enlisted man and accolades of your professors seem to have thrown you into the deep end of the pool diplomatically. So smile, be polite, and make sure to have a knife up your sleeve and another down your boot. I can say with certainty that many Cardassians will be thankful to see you, just as many will hate you. War is an unfortunate business, and not all wounds heal. My own face is a testament to that fact. So keep up your swordplay, and I will keep up mine. The next time we meet, I look forward to enjoying time hacking through some holographic enemies with you by my side.

I will endeavor to remain your sunshine, your only sunshine, and make you happy when skies are grey. For you'll never know dear how much I love you.

Victor vanVinter
Chief Petty Officer
Deck Chief, USS Thunderchild

Re: A Most Cordial Correspondence

Reply #22
[ Ensign Enyd Isolde Madsen | Federation Embassy | Cardassia ] @Tae

Finally finding some time to reply to Victor's last letter amidst a growing number of briefings, debriefings, meetings, letter writings, and some sleep thrown in, Enyd put pen to paper and spilled out her rambling thoughts.

January 17, 2376

Darling Victor,

Many congratulations and salutations on the promotion, dearest Victor! I am so very proud of you and I know you will continue to awe your superiors with your know-how and skills, rising even further in the ranks! Also, with your reference to Odysseus again, it makes me wonder who or what WOULD be your Penelope if I am Circe?

Good save, with your explanation of why I am Circe. You’ve made me want to read the epic again, looking at her as a heroine instead of as a temptress villain. And yes, you are so right, we really do need to think of dates. Though the war is over now and things seem to be more routine and stable, you are also very correct in how swamped I am over here. Post-war Cardassia is…difficult. I have not yet seen the full extent of the situation, as I’m still in the process of getting settling, meeting the team, establishing a good report with my C.O., but I’ve been told that within the next few days they will take us on an official “tour” of some of the more devastated areas of the capital city. Once my life here also becomes more established and routine, if you can even use those terms for a place as ravaged as Cardassia, then we can re-enter talks on dates.

Come to terms? Heavens, Mister van Vinter, there’s no air up here on this pedestal! I am human, at least mostly so, and I very much err and make mistakes. Please do not mistake me for an angel or even a sorceress. You have given me so much joy, love, and consideration already, the effusive adoration could threaten to drown me. In truth, though, Victor, I love you too and am so very thankful for you.

That is such great news about celebrating with your folks! How long has it been now? Please give them my love and a hug and kiss from me, too.

As for your feelings for Cardassia and its people, I do not blame you or any of the others. Your assumptions on my reception among the Cardassians are also true. Thus far, I have been welcomed diplomatically, and almost genuinely, by Alon Ghemor, the head of the Reunion Project. His head aide, Javec Praar, has been cordial but enigmatically distant, so far. My orders are to work directly with this project to assist in the reformation of an organized government, one that has strong diplomatic ties with the Federation. There already seems to be some cloak-and-dagger esque goings-on, but mostly it is just long talks and lots of clerical duties. I have only met a few Cardassians who spoke more than what was necessary and from what I can tell they are a very complex society, easily misunderstood, and not so different from humans. Now, those sentiments may not be welcome in a dialogue between us, so I will do my best to keep my “work” sentiments and our discourse separate. I do not want to cause undue pain or bring back painful memories for you.

I have and will continue to keep up my swordplay, and will seek out local fighting techniques--as is my habit as an avenue through which to connect to a new culture—and if you are interested, I’ll be happy to share insights or techniques with you as well. And I love your face, Victor, scars and all. They just make you more roguish and now you are devilishly handsome instead of merely handsome.

Oh, my associate just informed me Praar is looking for me in the lobby looking all sorts of annoyed that I’m late for our meeting. I’ll have you know we have no meeting scheduled. I just think he thinks I’m adorable. Ha! Sorry, I had to make myself laugh to ease the stress. In any case, I do need to go, if only to deescalate the misunderstanding. I look forward to hearing from you again soon. I miss you with every fiber of my being, and I hope you are in good health and spirits.

Much love and a shipload of hugs and kisses,

Enyd Isolde Madsen

Re: A Most Cordial Correspondence

Reply #23
CPO Victor vanVinter | USS Thunderchild | Tellar sector | DS9 | Attn: @Ellen Fitz

February 7th, 2376

My Dearest Enyd

Allow me to begin by stating that this is the one and only time I will say such a thing: my love, my most wonderful Enyd. You're mistaken, and I am not placing you on a pedestal to raise you to lofty heights. I am putting you up on a pedestal to raise you to the level of my lips, because my dear, you are most diminutive.

There, I said it, the one and only short joke I will make in our relationship. At least now you know "what the air is like up here," as the usual tall joke goes. I know that you make mistakes and that you are human. There is no way around that for either of us. At the very least, love, you allow me to write in gushing verse in a way that I enjoy, even if I have laid it on relatively thick lately.

I trust you and believe sincerely that you'll do everything possible to make peace last on Cardassia. Your work there is essential, and I trust that you will find success. I do regret to say that I have little desire to discuss that world or its people. There are some bitter memories that I have from my time on the Thunderchild. The battles we fought, the people we lost. While I hold no ire for Cardassians, at present, it is too tricky yet to distinguish them from their government during the war. I know that theirs is a culture full of beauty of its own, but that isn't easy to accept for me. You'll understand if I do not need to elaborate on why. Or even on why some of my people may have felt that it was well deserved. I know that those thoughts and emotions are unbecoming of a member of Starfleet, but by the Prophets love, It is hard to...

You'll have my apologies for the ellipses there, but I was about to tell a story belonging to my mother and not to me. I love you, and I will believe and support you in what You're doing on Cardassia. I hope that one day our nations may be joined.

I hope you will forgive the letter's brevity this time, but I've been busy working on the new Mark 2 Valkyries. And they are terrible, in my estimation. The armament is an improvement over the originals, but these new Valkyries reek of 'design by comittee.' I have nothing good to say about any of these, and I can only hope that these are an intermediary step and will be replaced quickly. Honestly, work has been a nightmare, and I'll be sure to tell you more when I can, but in person.

Victor vanVinter
Chief Petty Officer
Deck Chief, USS Thunderchild

P.S. A happy Valentines day my love. I send you my best love and regards.

Re: A Most Cordial Correspondence

Reply #24
[ Ensign Enyd Isolde Madsen | Cardassia Prime Medical Recovery Ward | Cardassia] @Tae

Enyd tapped her knuckles against the glass framing the door to the private recovery room. Waiting until its occupant looked up from studying the PADD in his partially bandaged hands, Enyd shyly tucked a lock of hair behind her ear before moving into the room.

“What brings you here, Ensign Madsen?” His voice, as per usual, had her stomach knotting and the hairs on her skin pricking in awareness. How was it legal for a man’s voice to sound like liquid honey that could wrap around her senses and leave her shamelessly weak at the knees?

Fighting the blush that was already threatening to spill onto her cheeks, Enyd cleared her throat and forced an air of casual amiability, “I wanted to check on my hero.”

“Your hero?” Javec Praar, Castellan Ghemor’s aide, lowered the PADD onto his lap and tipped his head to the side as an expression of incredulity settled itself on his handsome features. “The last we spoke, you were throwing accusations of xenophobia, racism, and sexism at my face. Unless the definition of a hero differs for a human, I’m not so certain I follow.”

Enyd rolled her eyes. Coming to stand next to his bed, she held out the handwritten card she’d been working on all morning. Though his movements denoted a reluctance more from the bandages restraining movement than from an emotional one, Enyd noted a slight hesitation in his reception upon first seeing the card. He now held it in his hands, staring at it as if it were about to explode.

“What is this?” He pulled it closer to his face and, to her surprise, gave the paper a quick sniff. Out of habit more than anything, Enyd had spritzed the paper with some of her favorite perfume, and this time the blush won out altogether as she watched Javec’s eyebrows rise and again his head tip to the side in confused skepticism.

“You can read, can’t you?” Enyd hid her embarrassment behind verbal jabs, feeling an ounce of confidence return when the hovering note of confusion receded from Javec’s eyes. “That is a card.”

“I see it is a card. What is it for?”

Enyd sighed, “It is an old Earth custom to give cards for various occasions, and I figured your saving my life merited at least that.”

“Ah,” Javec snorted, “is that why you’re here? Is that why you labeled me as a hero?” He set the card aside, tucking it carefully under his PADD, before returning his gaze to Enyd. “I was merely preventing further rioting and protests. That’s all the Castellan needs, the inconvenience of a naïve Starfleet Ensign getting killed during one of his speeches.”

Enyd tapped her foot, calculating how to respond. She could pretend to be offended and take his words at face value. Or she could dare to press things further. During the seconds she’d been cocooned in his brawny arms, the only thing protecting her from the shrapnel of the rioter’s blast, Enyd had been granted the opportunity to challenge her preconceived notions of just what Javec Praar was to her. Or rather yet, just what it was she felt towards him. In the months that she’d been on the planet, she’d been forced to work more closely with him, and during that time, they’d gone from mere acquaintances to verbal sparring partners to whatever they were now. Her studies of Cardassian culture and courtship practices clued her to the reality that Javec found her attractive and worthy of his attention despite his words. Of course, he was likely speaking an element of truth, in that his motive for protecting her had been connected to preventing further unrest. But Enyd decided to believe that something else had motivated him as well.

Closing the distance, Enyd leaned forward and placed a quick kiss on his cheek. Javec held very still until she stood to her full height next to the bed again. Only after studying her for a few moments did he move, reaching down to pick up the PADD. He held out to her, and when Enyd hesitated in taking it, Javec laughed.

“Have you ever read the enigma tales of Shoggoth?” Enyd shook her head at his question, earning a sly smile in response before he added, “Well, then, you should enjoy reading them to me.”


[ Ensign Enyd Isolde Madsen | Quarters | Federation Embassy | Cardassia]

Enyd felt she was in the clouds by the time she returned to her quarters, readied herself for bed, but stopped by her writing desk before crawling under the covers. She had yet to reply to Victor’s letter, and now, especially considering how spending time with Javec made her feel, Enyd felt almost traitorous. Taking a long sip of her native Cardassian spiced tea, Enyd pulled out the paper necessary for the letter, glanced over Victor’s last one, and set about composing a reply.

March 13th, 2376

Dearest Victor,

I will not concern you with the details, understand that things are not all roses and sweets here on Cardassia. Despite the efforts of certain groups of dissidents who oppose the Castellan’s efforts to rebuild a pro-Federation central government, I am well. In truth, there was an explosion at an event today and if it had not been for the efforts of one of the Castellan’s aides, Javec Praar, I would not be sitting in my quarters drinking tea and writing this response to you. It would be me, instead of him, recovering in the hospital, or worse yet, my body being sent back to Earth. I do not write that to garner concern or worry from you, for just as I chose not to fret over your safety during the war, I trust you to do the same during my posting here on Cardassian in this post-war chaos.

I must confess, dearest, that my thoughts regarding Javec are most complicated. If I recall correctly, the last I mentioned him was about his consistent annoyance at my work or his assumptions against my timeliness in particular. Since then, we have had to work closely together, and in that time, we have been debating more often than we have been agreeing on things, and only recently did I discover that that is a method of flirtation for Cardassians. I have since been confronted with the growing reality that I find him physically attractive and mentally stimulating. I did not readily recognize this development until just today, after he chose to protect me instead of his fellow Cardassian aides. I wanted to tell you directly, as we spoke once long ago of honesty and transparency in any such developments. I’m not even certain if there is anything “here” between Javec and I aside from a mutual attraction, but I wanted to tell you nonetheless.

My grandmother wanted to know your favorite color, since it seems she’s working on some sort of knitted gift for you. She said she’d tried to contact you directly but never seemed to catch you at the right time. All is well back at home, just so you know, and grandmother also wanted me to remind you that you’re always welcome to visit even if I’m not in tow.

Your work on the new Mark 2 Valkyries sounds intense and…occupying. I know you’re doing a spectacular job, even if I don’t readily grasp the details of what it is you’re doing. As for me, because of the delicacy of the situation here now, I will not be getting leave any time this year and so unless you are able or willing to travel to Cardassia—which you made fairly clear you did not intend to do—I’m afraid we will have to celebrate the remainder of this year’s holidays via subspace communication.

I miss you so much and long for the time we can dance together again. As a fun activity, how about you “challenge” me to learn something of your choice in your next letter. It can be a skill, a topic, whatever, and I look forward seeing what you throw my way. Until that time, keep in good health and spirits dear one.

Much love,

*NOTE: Javec Praar resembles Michele Morrone, just, obviously, Cardassian version.

Simple Audio Video Embedder