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Topic: Day 07 [1730 hrs.] The Edge of Light (Read 207 times) previous topic - next topic

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Day 07 [1730 hrs.] The Edge of Light
Friday March 17, 2381
Stardate: 57569.37
1730 hrs.

[ Ens. Cameron Henshaw | Captain's Quarters | Deck 10 | Vector 02 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @Auctor Lucan
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She was given the most beautiful sights ever. Cameron Henshaw had lost faith in everything, lost her spirit, like so many others. She didn't know how some coped, but the young woman felt like she was at her limit. She was going to give up, end it all, she planned it out; drop her communicator, take on actual Aldean clothing and equipment, and slip into the crowds, never to be found again. She knew that Duornan Rex was going to do the same. The last engagement took an eye, both his hands and a leg from him. He had nothing left to give to Jien Ives and the Theurgy.

She didn't blame him.

But then she began to truly explore Aldea's depths and beauty, but none of the natural beauty could compare to what she found inside one building. After witnessing the miracle, the event, she broke down and cried, but she also laughed, really laughed for the first time in a long while. She smiled, and she felt her heart break again and again. It was painful, and it was beautiful all at once. And she knew then what she had to do, and who she needed to share the experience with. If the Theurgy was to continue, Jien Ives needed to be saved, and shown, or reminded, why they would go on.

She knew he would be taking a moment in his quarters around this time, since she literally handled his schedule. Being a Captain's Yeoman hath its privileges.

She chimed at the door, announcing her presence, and she spoke through the comlink, "Captain, we need to talk."

Well, that had to be the biggest cliché line ever. She idly wondered if Jien felt a constricting feeling in his heart, especially since it was a well known myth that things rarely ended well when a woman uttered those four words.
  • Last Edit: July 03, 2019, 11:00:03 AM by Auctor Lucan

Re: Day 07 [1730 hrs.] The Edge of Light
Reply #1
[ Captain Ives | CO Quarters | Deck 10 | Vector 02 | USS Theurgy ]
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While she had arrived to her quarters in her male form, Jien stepped out of her shower as a woman - her bare Chosen Form beaded in water. It had been well needed to take a moment for herself after the days on the Allegiant - having returned to Aldea just thirty minutes ago - so that she might reflect upon the development.

Rear Admiral Joseph Nerva Andersson had proven himself ready and able to provide additional crewmembers for Ives, and while the experience with Edena Rez and her undercover assignment aboard was close to mind, Jien couldn't quite look the gift horse in the mouth this time. Better yet, she had a feeling that she didn't need to, and that the Admiral truly had accepted the truth of the real Simulcast. Perhaps there was some more hope, all things considered.

She had just towelled her mimicked Human skin down when the chime could be heard, and by the time she had hung the towel back where it belonged, she had shifted her form to wear her uniform. She heard the voice, which was unmistakable, and thought of Cameron and how she'd stayed behind during Jien's short away mission on the Allegiant. It had given them both some time to reflect, separated, and Jien found herself feeling older than she used to feel in Cam's presence. The poor Yeoman had been through a lot, one personal loss after another, and she'd been trying to deal with it as best as she might.

Before the Battle of Starbase 84, she had - unasked - offered her body to Jien as a means of distraction and release, but never again since then. According to rumours, the loss of Ian and Trish Hawthorne having made her seek distractions elsewhere. With their short talk in the Arboretum - just before the Savi found the Theurgy - they had reconciled, even though it had been Ives who'd ordered her to confront Hawthorne on the starbase. Indeed, it was her orders that made Cam experience the trauma of learning that her adoptive father was an Infested, how he'd raped and killed Trish, and experiencing how he tried to kill her. Jien had understood how Cam had distanced herself from her, and had let the Yeoman take whatever time she needed.

Now, during the time after the Versant - because of her experiences in the Scion's Nest - Jien had found herself without any kind of physical desire towards anyone, so she could not do what Cam had done - seeing comfort in intimacy. Intimacy was, perhaps, ruined for Jien, and as the Commanding Officer, she could not resort to promiscuity in the first place. So, there was no expectation or hope for Cam to finally offer carnal distraction when Jien bid her to enter. It felt like a fickle thing of the past, nigh forgotten in the turmoils they'd both been through since then. That being said, the young officer was still dear to her.

"Enter," she called to Cam, and stepped into the main room - hair still wet from her shower. She gave her a faint smile.

"I see that the ship is still here after my absence, and that repairs are proceeding as planned. What's the status of the crew's morale? Are they healing yet, all things considered? Please, do speak your mind."

Re: Day 07 [1730 hrs.] The Edge of Light
Reply #2
[ Ens. Cameron Henshaw | Captain's Quarters | Deck 10 | Vector 02 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @Auctor Lucan
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When she entered, it was to find Jien in her female form, and in relatively good spirits if her quip was anything to go by. She gave a small smile and returned a light commentary of her own, "It was a near miss for the ship. The orgy planned by Lieutenant O'Riley and some Risians nearly blew us out of the system."

What other nonsense will you think of next? Cameron chided herself privately. Cracking jokes with the captain. But it was good, in her expert opinion. It was good that they found it in their reserves somewhere to put forth levity, after everything they had been through. The stay on Aldea was doing everyone some good. Jien was all business though, and whatever news she'd gotten from her trip off-ship, there was still a sense of something underlying. A mental sigh, of the grind ahead. And that was one of the matters that Cameron intended to address today.

"The crew is doing well, captain," said the brunette, "better than they've been in a long time. Yes, they are healing, and recovering, physically and emotionally. We needed this."

She let that statement sit for a moment, then continued, "Just as you do."

She did tell her to speak her mind.

Gesturing with a hand towards the captain, "I take it your mission on the Allegiant went well?"

She let the captain respond, and then continued, "Now you need to set that all aside for a short time. Even a captain needs down time, and you're going to need it before you try going one step further. Call it doctor's order. Literally."

She showed the captain a PADD with the signature of the chief medical officer and three counselors, including her own, strongly urging some days off to rest and recuperate. She let the captain see that and waited, with her arms crossed, her stance firm and set, just like her jaw and expression. She wasn't going to back down. She'd seen the captain just before the Battle of Starbase 84, and the outbursts she had. It was now or never.

Re: Day 07 [1730 hrs.] The Edge of Light
Reply #3
[ Captain Ives | CO Quarters | Deck 10 | Vector 02 | USS Theurgy ]
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When Cam jested about his time away, Jien found herself chuckling quietly and went to pick up her duffel bag with personal belongings, putting it on top of the table so that she might unpack. It was good to hear that Cam had retained or refound her sense of humour. "I'm glad to hear it's business as usual then."

With her back to Cam, Jien heard the question about the mission, and it was entirely expected. "All in all, the away mission was a success. I will compile my own report about it all and it would cross your desk on the way out to the Senior Staff anyway, but sufficed to say, we now have an ally in Starfleet Headquarters and we will make sure to utilise the man as best we're able without compromising him to the Infested."

She turned around, however, when Cam told her that it was time to put it all aside. She raised her eyebrows a little until she was given the PADD, and read the contents. A recommendation, it read, to take a few days off duty. 'Strongly urged' it said, and not any order from the CMO. Still, while other CO:s might take something like what she was reading out of context and feel attacked, thinking she was being told that she was undermining the safety of the crew, Jien believed she could understand the sentiment behind the text and the signatures. It was clearly deep concern for her, after the five months endured being persecuted across Federation space. This was not a reaction to misconduct, but that of concern for her wellbeing.

"Thank you," she said and smiled to Cam, seeing how she appeared to steel herself for a reaction that would go against the recommendation from Doctor Tyre and the rest. "I have enjoyed almost five days of being off the ship, on a small ship cloaked from detection, where I've been able to think and recuperate. I have enjoyed speaking with the new officers that were on the away team, and grounded myself after all that we've been through."

While she spoke, she walked up the Ensign and handed the PADD back to her. "A Captain is never truly off duty, the crew always coming first, but be that as it may, I will go along with this recommendation - barring some crisis or matter that demands my direct involvement."

The PADD back in Cam's hands she took a deep breath, starting to think along the lines of keeping Ranaan Ducote running things for a while longer. She was still sleeping with her lights on after the Savi abduction... but she was gradually finding herself at better health. Her morphogenic matrix had all but recovered from the time spent in the quantum stasis field.

"In that case, do you have any recommendations for how I should spend this evening after my return?" she asked, accepting the situation for her upon her return, with the report to be written as soon as she had unpacked. The Senior Staff needed to know the outcome, but after that, she would be free to comply with this initiative on her behalf - one that she was actually grateful for.
  • Last Edit: July 22, 2019, 01:36:36 PM by Auctor Lucan

Re: Day 07 [1730 hrs.] The Edge of Light
Reply #4
[ Ens. Cameron Henshaw | Captain's Quarters | Deck 10 | Vector 02 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @Auctor Lucan
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Cameron's eyes visibly brightened at the revelation that there were allies outside of the ship, and in Starfleet HQ itself! It would do wonders for morale and recruitment attempts on Aldea. But the revelations had to be carefully spread, and omit as much as possible as to the identity of this benefactor, considering how far the influence and spread of the parasites were (which brought to mind her adoptive father, something she desperately and quickly shoved back down hard), the last thing they needed to do was lose this tenuous support they had.

She resisted the urge to show any disapproval at the the light dismissal by the captain in regards to the strong recommendation signed by almost all the counsellors on board. The captain thought taking the yacht out for a clandestine meeting was a vacation? Sure, good news brought a form of relief on its own, but that was not a holiday by any means. Still, she understood the sentiment behind the Chameloid's response. Yet, it was still far too important, and possibly related to the both of them, and how they stood now. She knew there were things about the captain that wasn't...quite the same. After her abduction and torment at the Savi's hands, something in Jien Ives had changed. Cameron didn't need the woman to explain or tell her. The experience had scarred the captain, possibly even frightened her. It tempted Cameron to opt for the usual method of comfort, but...no. She couldn't even consider it now.

Like the captain, Cameron had changed in deep, profound and fundamental ways. Ways that were somewhat irreversible.

"I do, captain," said Cameron, fixing the woman with a penetrating gaze, "it's something very important, and something that I believe will help you, just like it helped me. We'll be using site-to-site transport a fair bit."

She stood up and clasped her hands in front of herself, "I recommend we proceed as soon as you have appropriated an alias and attire befitting Aldeans."

Re: Day 07 [1730 hrs.] The Edge of Light
Reply #5
[ Captain Ives | CO Quarters | Deck 10 | Vector 02 | USS Theurgy ]
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Glad to hear that Cam had a suggestion, and a very specific one at that, Jien smiled faintly and inclined her head.

"Very well then, I will meet you in Transporter Room 01 at 1830 hrs.," she said and resumed unpacking, "it will give me enough time to prepare and to forward my report about the mission to Ducote. I'll leave it to him to forward the information to the Senior Staff instead of you, so that we can go down to the planet. I already have an Aldean alias, and as for apparel..."

She changed... in to his male form, and he was now wearing a chlamys with red, gold and teal patterns of intricate detail. It hug his waist and shoulders in a fashionable way, he'd like to think, and it was one of the chlamys that he'd worn when he'd been an undercover operative on Aldea. Only back then, he'd worn a different face. He turned around to face Cam for a moment while he unpacked.

"My alias is Como Demera," he said with a small smile. "I'll see you in an hour."

[ Transporter Room 01 ]

Said and done, Jien stepped into the transporter room whilst "wearing" the Aldean clothing, and he inclined his head to the transporter officer. His oaken eyes soon sought out Ensign Henshaw, however, and he gave her a faint smile. "All set? Pray tell, where are we going?"

After the successful away mission, Ives was in quite good spirits, and especially with Cameron as his company when she took him to see something down on Aldea. Was it something intended as theraputic?

He had no idea.

Re: Day 07 [1730 hrs.] The Edge of Light
Reply #6
[ Ens. Cameron Henshaw | Captain's Quarters | Deck 10 | Vector 02 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @Auctor Lucan
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Cameron nodded slowly, a small smile on her lips. She got what she wanted, and she was glad that Jien didn't put up much resistance, but then, she pulled out all stops even before he could, just in case. She found his chosen attire very appealing, and gave him a wistful look, but she merely nodded her approval of his choice; it looked quite Aldean, and she'd be sporting something similar for their journey today. Once the captain dismissed her, she made her way to her own quarters to get changed and make final preparations for the evening's journey.

She realized now how on the nose the message she wanted to convey to Jien was, but even so, she felt she needed to follow it all through, for the both of them.

The young woman was already at the transporter room when Jien arrived, and he found her clad in a modest long red robe with long sleeves, completed with gold trim and accents. The leggings and boots were darker shades of red and brown. She'd tied her hair up in a loose bun, and small earings sparkled under the lights, showing off some diamonds that she'd replicated in the Aldean fashion.

"Four places in particular, Mister Demera," answered Cameron, and she nodded at the transporter officer, whom she'd prearranged the locations with, as well as a simple communications system to notify him when it was time for the site-to-site transportation. Over her left breast was a small golden medallion which doubled as a disguised combadge, "they were places I've visited during my shore leave or when I was off duty. The experience was nothing short of life-changing, and I felt it was important for you to see them all with me."

Moving to the transporter pad, she waited for Jien to join her, and she spoke to the transporter officer, "Please beam us to the first location, thank you. Energize."

She weathered the brief sensation of nausea, and in less than a second, she was standing atop a mountain with the captain beside her.

A cool evening breeze made the weather almost chilly but still bearable as she walked a short distance, and she smiled at Jien, "From here, you can see virtually everything. The city, the ocean, the valleys, you can see the civilization of Aldea as it thrives and continues."

She clasped her hands behind her and just basked in the cool winds and quietly studied the landscape before her, allowing Jien to take it all in for a moment, and let him formulate his responses, as well ask questions. She knew it probably wouldn't be completely obvious right away, what she sought to accomplish today. But he would understand when she was done, and hopefully, it would do for him, what it did for her, and both heal and strengthen their resolve, for what lay ahead for them all.

Re: Day 07 [1730 hrs.] The Edge of Light
Reply #7
[ Captain Ives | CO Quarters | Deck 10 | Vector 02 | USS Theurgy ]
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Looking at the vista before them, Ives took in the view while the breeze stirred his short hair. After a little time, having found no evident realisation or query, he still indulged Cam with his thoughts, seeing if he guessed her intent, and if he saw what she saw.

"Seeing this old home of mine - however adopted as it was because of my mission here - I am reminded about why this foe we face must be vanquished," he said, standing still with his hands at his sides. "Regardless their fault and challenges, and their choice of the Klingons instead of the Federation, Aldea is thriving. Rebuilding after centuries of atrophy caused the Custodian's flaws. Even when the sun was slowly killing them, they thrived. They explored science and the arts, excelling where other species wouldn't."

Jien turned his head to look at Cam. "I am reminded of why we must still fight. The Aldeans, as well as all innocent societies out there, are worth protecting. They are the reason why one has to fight still, despite personal hardships and the cost of duty. They, and the other societies out there, are the point. Even in their ignorance, they can't be abandoned."

He didn't know if Cam saw what he did, but these were the thoughts that came to him up there where they stood, overlooking it all.

"Do you feel the same way?"

Re: Day 07 [1730 hrs.] The Edge of Light
Reply #8
[ Ens. Cameron Henshaw | Aldean North Mountain Vista | Sector 26 | Aldea Prime ] Attn: @Auctor Lucan
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She was perhaps a touch more enigmatic and mysterious then she ought to have been with Jien, but the Chameloid came to his own conclusions soon enough, and it was an acceptable notion. "Yes, Como," said Cameron, using Jien's alias, "I do feel that way. But more than that...I'm no longer afraid."

She stepped closer towards the edge of the cliff, and balanced herself with one foot resting on a rocky outcropping. She looked over at the captain, "I want you to see what I saw, and to feel it." She walked down towards Jien, until she was almost about to pass him by, and then she pointed over to the shoreline at the base of the mountains, "That place is beautiful, both in the day and night..."

It was also where she had briefly attempted suicide before aborting the attempt herself by surfacing to breathe. But she decided to omit that from today's tour. It would do nothing but place more burden on Jien, something she was labouring hard not to do. Especially not today.

She tapped her combadge and had them transported to their next destination. This time, is was the city proper. They roamed the streets for a while, examining wares, goods and sampling small dishes and food native to Aldea. She explained it simply to Jien as, "We can't separate ourselves from the ones we fight to protect. We can't be afraid to let them in, just as they let us in. We cannot be afraid to get close. This is their fight too."

She led them to a secluded spot designated for transportation out of the city, and brought them to the shoreline she had pointed to earlier. Cameron grinned up at Jien then, and took him by the hand fearlessly, leading him right to the water, and there she did the strangest thing, as she squatted right at the edge as the waters lapped at her boots, and she stirred the waters with a hand, and sang. It was almost completely wordless, but rather more of a tune, expressing herself with unspeakable wonder, even a hint of joy and hope. But in between, she had interjected words in Aldean. And soon enough something approached them, its fin stirred the surface of the water not more than thirty meters out, and it was coming straight for Cameron like a missile.

It slowed down as it neared and it was soon right before the young woman, who giggled and placed her hands right under the creature, but she was gently caressing it rather than trying to lift it out. It looked rather like a fish, with a white body and no eyes. It bore a strong resemblance to a Terran carp fish, but without any distinctive markings, and more fins than any Terran fish ever had, along with hands and feet! The hands gently and wildly touched Cameron's hands, even lifting out of the water to reach for more. It's mouth opened and closed non-stop, as it were eating or drinking the water unceasingly.

"I don't quite know what it is, but it's actually semi-aquatic, even amphibious in nature, and can leave the water when it really wants to," said Cameron, "but it really prefers to stay submerged. It only recently appeared and was thought to have been living deep underwater in caverns. This particular fellow seems quite taken to me. Aldeans thought them to be extinct, but his presence suggests otherwise. Also, there are signs of evolution and variation to the existing records of them in comparison to...do you think I should name him? Anyway, he's...evolved to better handle the climate and living conditions of Aldea today. He's proof of how life will find a way to go on, no matter what."

She looked up at Jien wonderingly, curious now about how he would take it. There was one more place to visit after this. But she was rather glad the sea-hopper had responded to her "call". She wanted Jien to see this.

Re: Day 07 [1730 hrs.] The Edge of Light
Reply #9
[ Captain Ives | CO Quarters | Deck 10 | Vector 02 | USS Theurgy ]
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That Cam would have been afraid of something wasn't anything Jien had considered. No longer afraid? He traced her movements with his oaken eyes, both when she neared the edge of the precipice and when she returned - soon pointing towards the sea.

"Yes, it is," he said when the Ensign said that the seaside of Aldea Prime was beautiful. He'd spent many years on Aldea and the area was quite known to him. He smiled faintly, glad to hear that she found the place suiting for this shoreleave. One well earned. What it was that she tried to show him escaped him entirely, but he supposed it was about the fears she'd harboured during the mission. She switched location, this journey with her taking them to the market places of the city proper. After some time, though, she said something curious about not separating themselves from the ones they were protecting. He had no comment, unsure what she meant. Perhaps her words illustrated how she had found merit in being closer to the Aldeans. If she meant in general, and not just the Aldeans, it might have meant anything. Did she mean sharing the knowledge they had of the parasitic threat and the battle they fought with the public of Aldea, even though it might compromise the Theurgy's hidden location? This was not something Jien was prepared to do. It sufficed that those with the security clearance for the shipyards were privy to the identity of the Federation starship in drydock repair. The innocent were not able to fight this threat because they wouldn't. They cared for their own first. Their duties were to their families. They were not even a part of the Federation, and if they knew that Cam and Jien weren't Aldeans, they would certainly not treat them as they were. Starfleet had failed Aldea. It was common knowledge. That was why all the Klingons were there.

Jien made no comment until they reached the shoreline, another transport taking the to the edge of the ocean. There, he smiled faintly when the creature appeared. He crouched down next to Cam in wonder, for the sea-life had yet to quicken when he'd been on the planet, many years go. A curious creature, amphibian and believed extinct.

"I don't think he'll mind if you give him a name," he said, tilting his head a little bit as he looked at he critter from the sea, "and yes, life has a way of going on."

Unless this devouring darkness consumed everything, after having perverted their existence beyond recognition. Then, life would not find a way any more. "We fight to let life go on."

Re: Day 07 [1730 hrs.] The Edge of Light
Reply #10
[ Ens. Cameron Henshaw | Aldean North Mountain Vista | Sector 26 | Aldea Prime ] Attn: @Auctor Lucan
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Cameron smiled wistfully at the sea-hopper as she gently stroked the top of its head with her thumbs, "Marcel," she said, "I'll call him Marcel."

The creature seemed to respond by stroking her palms and wrists more eagerly, as if it appreciated the name given to it. Or it just found tasty particles on her hands to eat. She frowned as she considered Jien's replies, and shook her head slightly. She felt like she wasn't quite explaining herself properly, or this was getting too convoluted for him to understand. "Of course we do fight," she said evenly, as she considered privately that it was because they were forced to. If they didn't, she wondered what would happen, "but what I'm saying is, we don't have to despair even if we're no longer here. I don't mean to cheapen what we're doing. All I'm trying to do here, is to let you know, you can let go of the pain too. I finally have. Even if we ultimately die trying to stop these parasites, we do not need to be afraid. Life will ultimately find a way to go on. We won't be the only ones to awaken to the danger and put a stop to it."

She watched Marcel swim back into the depths.

Turning to Jien, she took him by the hands, "For the longest time, I've been so..." she looked up at him, brown eyes meeting hers. She would have to tell him everything. "...Lost."

She smiled wanly, looking more vulnerable and exhausted than she'd ever let anyone ever see. It was as if years suddenly added on to her face out of nowhere. "You remember when I offered to help you work off any stress with me?" she asked abruptly, hinting to the conversations after the events of Theta Eridani IV. "I lost my sister, and instead of working out my grief the way people should, the way any counselor would advice me to. I threw myself at someone, anyone."

She rolled her eyes, and looked away from Jien for a moment, "God, I turned into such a nympho. I didn't...heal, I didn't work my issues out. Instead, I started breaking...inside. I put my grief aside to work on the mission, and to take care of you." She let go of his hands and raised her hands as if in surrender, "I know, I know, you're not made of glass, and God knows how much experience you have over me on these things. And I'm being presumptuous, but it's the truth. And I'm not blaming you, okay? I'm just telling you what's been going on with me."

She shook her head whilst looking at him, "Obviously, I can't keep going the way I've been going. I'm...broken. Definitely not objective, especially when it comes to you. I...love you, Jien. I'm not going to lie, and even if...even if we can never be, I'm always going to love you." She gently traced her palm over his chest, studying his form, drinking it in, as if she would never get a chance to do so again. "Ever since the battle of Starbase eighty-four...I'm sure you've noticed how...I just...can't be with you anymore. But not for what you might think..." she looked up at him worriedly, "...I don't blame you. I blame...me. There's a void inside...like a black hole. It's been growing bigger and bigger with each family I've lost. You're all I've got left. But if I keep trying, I'm afraid I'm going to just suck you right in. I would destroy you and anything that I try to build with you will be destroyed."

She turned her back to him then, wrapping her arms around herself as she studied the waters. "Regulations, positions and rank be damned, anything I do try to build with you, is built on loss, fear. I can never be sure that it's real, or that it's like a rebound. Hah!" She laughed mirthlessly, aware of how quickly she'd lost any self-control, and how weak and tired she really was, but she persevered. She'd come this far, it was time to see it all through.

She turned once more to look at Jien, "I'm sorry, I'm being a terrible tour guide for your shore leave. Heh, I had this really ridiculous plan to show you around, and spend time with you, and slowly break it down for you, but I think it all got lost in translation somewhere. Better to just say it as it is, hmm?" She placed her palms against his chest, but kept her gaze locked on his eyes, "I saw you, before we went to Starbase Eighty-Four. I saw you with your guard down. I appreciate the trust, but now that you know the pure simple truth about me, and why I can't be the one to help you any longer, please, hear me on this: You need to speak to a counselor, one that isn't me." She smiled wryly at that, "Hope remains, which I've tried to show you, and life goes on, but you need to learn to appreciate the victories, like the one against the Borg, don't hold on or dwell on regrets and guilt, even the one you feel about me or my family, or any of the losses we've suffered since. No captain can function normally with all that. Okay?"

She watched him for a moment, and then added, "Be honest, but do you really think I should continue on board Theurgy? After all I've told you? Or should I stay here, on Aldea? Try to build something new? Don't answer me yet. Think about it, and let me know. Or don't...it...I guess it doesn't really matter." She sighed, wondering if she'd overstepped, but she hugged him without warning, and tapped a signal to the transporter officer. And they both appeared inside a building, in a private room. She knew where they were. It was the last place she wanted to show Jien. Smiling up at him, she took him by the hand and led him out. it was a medical facility of some sort, but she led them towards the maternity ward.

There, they stopped at her intended destination. She glanced up at Jien with a bright smile, and then turned to look at the babies in the care center. All of them were newborns. She rested her palm against the glass, and stared at the tiny wriggling, crying beings. It was to her, the most beautiful thing she could ever witness. She smiled up at Jien after some time, and then quietly let go of his hand, allowing him to think over everything she'd told him, and when he wasn't watching her, she slipped out of sight, disappearing. She decided to roam the streets for a while, lose herself to the crowds and consider all that she had been through, and what her next course of action would be.

Re: Day 07 [1730 hrs.] The Edge of Light
Reply #11
[ Captain Ives | Aldean North Mountain Vista | Sector 26 | Aldea Prime ]
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After Marcel left them, and Cam began to talk about where her heart was at, Jien wished to speak on numerous occasions, but being a former counselor himself, he soon realised that if he would interrupt her, he would stop her from being as earnest as she was right then - telling him just how hurt she had been when her sister died at Theta Eridani IV.

Standing there, hearing her pain being emitted into the evening air as a bare confession, Jien wanted to tell her about how he had lost Nicole Howard when the Calamity first attacked them. A relationship had begun to grow between him and the Chief Engineer, but she taken a phaser bolt for him on the main bridge. She had leapt between him and the Cala hologram, and while she had been put into stasis, her death had been inevitable. In fact, since Jien had to endure loosing her a second time in Sickbay, the day before the Savi dreadnought attacked them, it would have been more merciful for both him and Nicole if it had ended with the first time. It would have spared Nicole the fear, anxiety and pain of awakening without the ability to walk, bedridden and suffering from amnesia. Jien, on his end, wouldn't have to endure loosing her once more, and seeing her in that fragile state.

He'd felt guilt over her leaping in his defence the first time, but the second? He'd ordered Nicander to attempt to resuscitate her, against the Doctor's recommendation, so he had subjected both himself and Nicole to a nightmare that had lingered - even on the Allegiant.

So, when Cameron said she was trying to mitigate her loss with love, Jien recognised himself in her words, only in entirely different context. It was because he'd lost Nicole that he had allowed Cameron to offer herself as a distraction. Just like he'd allowed Skye Carver to make advances when they'd had that holographic shoreleave in Suraya Bay. He'd believed he'd find forgiveness in the arms of the willing, for all the dead he'd failed to protect.

Seeing Cameron before him, baring her soul, made Jien's face drawn with a myriad of emotions, ranging from guilt to compassion for her. He did not love her, not in the sense she said she did, but while Cam didn't know if her own feelings were real or just springing from her wounds, Jien knew himself enough to say it was the latter for himself. With the weight of the mission on him, and the losses suffered, he'd been susceptible to her compassion, but wasn't ready feel as he had for Nicole.

He needed to speak with someone else than Cam, clearly, and this he would.

Standing there in the maternity ward after she left, wondering if the infants were gestalts or not, he knew what he would say to Cameron, eventually. The mission wasn't their choice, but as Starfleet officers, they had an obligation to address the threat upon the innocent. It wasn't a matter of volunteering. It was Jien's duty to see the mission to its end, and take his crew home. She, however, didn't have to stay if she didn't want to, even if he wanted her to.

Cam had shown him what he had to do. And he would.

Hopefully, she would agree to stay by his side as his Yeoman. Naught more.

- FIN