Settling in to the future
Posted on Sun Aug 30th, 2020 @ 1:06pm by Lieutenant Mona Gonadie & Hera & Commander Rita Paris & Lieutenant Commander Mnhei'sahe Dox & Lieutenant Commander Sonak & Jaeih Dox-t'Aan
Edited on on Sun Aug 30th, 2020 @ 1:07pm
The Bulikaya Particle
Location: The Paris house, San Francisco
The packing crates had all been delivered by transporter to the backyard, where the open space gave them room to move and sort things out. While they possessed few actual possessions, Rita Paris and Sonak had a house too full with furniture, and a rather wealthy and influential friend with a taste for the finer things in life. Thus they were now unloading a number of antique furnishings, unsealing them from the stasis lock in which they had traveled and carrying them up the stairs and in through the wide double doors that led out to the back deck.
It wasn’t the same design that she remembered, but she had time to change that. The walls would need painting, the furniture arranging, some repairs and patches made. But overall, Rita Paris was overjoyed to be settling back into the house on Bleeker Street where she had grown up- the Paris family home, circa 2230-2286. Courtesy of one Enalia Telvan, Queen of the Artan Trading Empire.
As a parting gift, it had been incredibly generous of Enalia. But then, Rita had always shied away from gifts from the wealthy pirate queen who was trying so hard to be a Starfleet captain. But as she had encouraged her captain to follow her destiny, the generous woman had decided to remove Rita’s agency and simply purchase the house, at a cost Rita couldn’t even imagine. After all, in the ‘moneyless’ society of the Federation, latinum still talked, and the house had been purchased and emptied in rather a hurry- Rita had checked the listing only a month ago.
Yet here she was, back on Earth. Smelling the tang of salt in the sea air as the breeze swept across the yard. The smell of the fresh-cut grass she had mowed before the cargo containers had arrived. The sound of the wind in the trees, and the distant growl of passing motorists. The excited squeal of a child in the distance. The feel of the sun on her face.
So far had she run from this place, so desperate she was to get ‘out there’, to boldly go, to be the Starfleet officer her father would be proud of at last. Along the way, she had met the most perfect, logical man in the universe, and experienced enough adventure for a dozen lifetimes. Bizarre transformations, unbelievable tales, and in the end, she had realized, what she really wanted was not to go further, to see more, to push that boundary of science and knowledge onward, ever onward.
Instead, she wanted to go home.
Watching Sonak as he seemingly effortlessly carried his end of the ashwood wardrobe they were maneuvering inside, she smiled. As he rounded the corner with the heavy piece of furniture to take the long hallway to the front stairs, his head peeked around the furniture to catch her gaze. Of course, he didn’t smile. But in his steel-grey eyes, she could see all she needed to see, and all she needed to know about how he felt about her.
His was a love that would traverse time and space, endure any risk or discomfort, for her. His devotion to her was without question, and the breadth of his love for her was enormous. Despite his lack of emotion as a Kolinahr.
Love was funny that way.
Grunting her way up the stairs with the load as she backed up, she was debating summoning her armor from the interdimensional space where she stored it, in the bronze bracers she still wore upon her wrists. But that was a crutch she needed to learn to live without. Besides, she could have grabbed one of the anti-grav pads to lighten the load, but noooo, she was still young and spry and she could do this.
By the time they got the wardrobe settled into place in the guest bedroom, she was beginning to reconsider her position on ‘doing’ this.
That was when a shuttlecraft landed in the front driveway, and a smile spread across her face. “Looks like the Godoxes have arrived, dear. Now we have a few more hands on deck!”
‘’Empathy and cooperation arguably are the most human of qualities,’’ Sonak agreed, his clear eyes scanning the incoming craft as if he was peering at it through the ship’s sensors. ‘’It brought Earth’s people from animality to civilization, and from the brink of planetary devastation to galactic prominence. It should prove adequate for our current predicament.’’
Of course, devoid of all emotions, he did not think he was being funny. He literally thought what he was saying. And that’s what made it so funny.
In the drive, a black and chrome shuttle roughly the size of a Type 6 Starfleet shuttle powered down as the side door slid open and a narrow gangplank extended down the 40 or so centimeters over the narrow nacelle. It was a private craft that Rita hadn’t seen before, but as she stood in her childhood home that Enalia had gifted her, it wasn’t hard to imagine how the family of pilots ended up with such a sleek family craft.
Excitedly popping out of the door onto the plush, green front lawn, the three half-Romulan, half-Miradonain chicks all but launched into excited rolls through the soft grass. They had been here on Earth now for about two weeks, but it was clear that the children were still in awe of being on an actual planet with fresh air and all the beauty of nature.
Behind them came the patrician Jaeih Dox, who was still wearing mostly gray and black, and with her tightly pulled back salt and pepper hair. As such, she looked like something out of the Addams Family on the sunny San Francisco street, as she corralled the children and looked around like someone expecting danger behind every bush.
Then, Mona Gonadie came out with a covered tray of assorted Miradonian cookies and cakes, wearing one of her yellow and pink jumpers covered in pockets and little neon green chick prints. On her chest she still had her Starfleet combadge. Where her rank pips normally were, was an Academy instructor’s badge for an engineering school in Tokyo.
Finally, Mnhei’sahe Dox emerged, closing up the shining, black transport. No longer an active duty Starfleet officer, instead of her old crimson uniform top she was wearing a high collared, light gray tunic with a white band across the chest where the black band was on a standard uniform. Instead of rank pips there were silver stripes on her shoulders and the familiar Starfleet combadge on her chest. It was a uniform representative of her new position training at Starfleet Command as a future ambassador.
The former pilot had never particularly liked Earth the first time she had been here in her teens, nor during her years at the academy. The somewhat pensive expression on her face showed that she was still more than a little hesitant. But she had a warm smile for the house as she looked up, knowing what it meant to Rita as the unconventional family unit made its way up to the inviting, wrap around porch.
Sliding down the bannister from the second floor to the landing, Rita sniffed the air appreciatively, calling out. “Hera? What are you making in there?”
In the kitchen, the goddess Hera had already been busy unpacking and provisioning. While Rita and Sonak moved the furniture in, Hera was making sure there were snacks and drinks available, even as she had a zucchini casserole in the oven. The reformed goddess and namesake of the USS Hera had agreed to accompany Rita Paris and her family back to Earth when asked, and while the details were still being worked out with Starfleet and the Asgardians, for now, Hera was ensconced in the home on Bleeker street already, making the kitchen her own. Which was part of why Rita had begged the goddess to accompany her- Hera would help the career Starfleet officer make the house that had been a constant of her childhood, into a home for her family.
“Chocolate chip and peanut butter cookies for the girls,” Hera called out from the kitchen as she organized an exotic spice rack. “They’ll follow their noses.”
Chuckling, Rita shook her head as she dusted off the baby blue long-sleeved t-shirt she was wearing which proudly declared ‘Make Starfleet Great Again’ and opened the front door in anticipation of their guests. Clad in beige capri pants and some running shoes, wearing a bandanna to keep her hair out of her face, she looked rather like a pin-up on her day off. Effortlessly glamorous, and a knockout even in casual clothes, she stood in the doorway with a million-watt smile as she welcomed her friends who were family to her home, for the very first time.
“Welcome!” she said brightly, her enthusiasm clearly on display. “Welcome to Paris House.”
Stepping up to the door, the family was largely all smiles, spare for Jaeih who simply offered Rita a slight head nod with the minor arching of an eyebrow. An expression Rita knew to be the woman’s more casual equivalence of a smile.
Dox, looking a bit uncomfortable in her new uniform, smiled more broadly than was usual for her as she replied, the children at her legs beginning to sniff the air with their copper eyes wide. “Rita! This is it? This is your family’s home? It’s wonderful!”
“It is!” the Starfleet siren declared, and somehow, her smile grew a bit brighter and wider. “She’s seen a little wear and tear and a few alterations from my day, but this is it. Come on in, I’ll give you the tour!”
Squatting down to get to eye level with the three chicks, Rita waggled her eyebrows. “I happen to know Hera is baking some cookies, if anyone is interested, she said you should just...” Rita watched as she spoke, and all three girls bolted for the kitchen, leaving her talking to herself as she finished, “Follow your nose.”
Rising smoothly, dusting off her hands, Rita embraced Dox, then held her out at arm’s length. “Corps diplomatique! It suits you well, Mnhei’sahe.”
Tugging on the uniform slightly out of habit, it didn’t feel like it fit quite yet for the generally anxious young woman who was blushing ever so slightly. “Well… hopefully it will suit me better with time and more training. It’s still… a bit overwhelming now that I’m here and it’s real.”
“Diplomatic immunity will give you the standing that you need to be able to operate freely on Romulus and still leave to come back to the Federation when you need to. It’ll fit you just fine... besides, you’ll have Mrs. Dox watching your back. That alone will stack the odds considerably in your favor,” Rita beamed a smile at the somewhat dour-faced Romulan matron, of whom she was overly fond.
“Indeed.” Jaeih said flatly, still looking around the area. With the inscrutable expression on her face, it was hard to tell if she was still disapproving of her daughter for this particular life plan, looking for potential threats, or simply judging the entirety of the planet Earth as beneath her. Either way, it was all quite familiar and quintessentially Jaeih.
“No physical harm will come to anyone in this family so long as I am capable. And it is my intention to use this time to… increase my capabilities.” She added, raising a brow slightly at Rita and smirking almost imperceptibly. “And, if anything, it is somewhat cathartic to see my former jailers at Starfleet Intelligence bristle somewhat at my new position as a diplomatic attaché.”
“Revenge is a dish best served cold, or so the Klingons say. Come in, come in., let us show you around!” At that, Rita Paris began the tour of the home, starting on the first floor, taking them up to the attic on the third floor she planned to refurbish as guest quarters, down to the basement in which someone had apparently dug a wine cellar. The children stayed in the kitchen ‘helping’ Hera, and by the time the tour was done, lunch was served.
A large oaken table was brought in from the cargo containers, the chairs were brought in as well, and the first meal in the Paris family home, shared amongst family, genuinely brought a few tears to the eyes of the human adventurer. It had been years since she had sat down for a meal in this house, and sitting with Hera, Sonak, and the Godoxes genuinely made her happier than she could remember being in a very long time. Paper plates and chopsticks were not exactly fine china, and plastic tumbler drinking glasses were all that could be found. But they made do, and the meal was shared, and seeing them all gathered filled the Earth girl’s heart with joy.
Afterward, Hera brewed a pot of coffee as the Doxes and Rita and Sonak carried the living room furniture in, setting it in the positions that were aesthetically pleasing to Rita’s eye and balanced by Sonak’s geometry to achieve an otherworldly feng shui with the bright room with the large windows that let in the light, and open as they were, the cool sea breeze as well.
Seated in the living room as they drank their coffee, Sonak and Hera both drinking spiced Vulcan tea, the children were running through the study, into the hall, through the living room and back through the first floor study again, playing tag in the circular path they had discovered within the house, laughing and squealing as the adults relaxed for a few moments.
“I haven’t contacted the Academy yet, but I think that’ll wait until tomorrow,” Rita declared. “I’m still considering starting in the spring semester and dropping out when I get pregnant, but I’m in debate over it, so I may chat with a guidance counselor to see what advice they may have for career planning. How about you Mnhei’sahe? How are the arrangements for diplomatic training going?”
“Rapidly.” Dox said with a bit of nerves in her voice. “Most of the Admirals I was debriefed with had to contain their excitement at the request. In the past week while Mona’s been largely focused on living arrangements, I’ve been in… a lot of meetings. With a lot of people.”
“Starting Monday morning, I begin the preliminary classes. A bit of a rush course that the Admiralty is enthusiastic about pushing me into. Civics. Quadrant Politics. Comparative culture. Refreshers on history and political theory. Mostly to get me caught up, then I’ll likely be joining you at the Academy at the beginning of next semester for a number of additional classes at advanced levels.” Dox continued, running through the whirlwind schedule she had been assigned.
That brought a smile to the anachronistic astronaut’s face. After all, she was a bit long in the tooth to be an Academy frosh again, and knowing Dox would be there definitely made her feel a bit better about it.
“Also, I finally had a holoconference with my grandmother this week to discuss the potentialities, now that I am officially in training.” Dox added, which caused Jaeih to visibly tense up ever so slightly, which she masked by taking a sip of her coffee. “So far she is enthusiastic, which is always more than a little disconcerting. But I expressed, in as direct a way as seems to be possible in official communications with our people, that we will not be moving forward until my diplomatic standing with the Federation is verified and secured. So far, it seems… positive.”
“More positive than her kidnapping you or holding you hostage,” Jaeih observed dryly.
“Well, hopefully diplomatic immunity will keep you safe, while Mrs. Dox keeps an eye out for all manner of nastiness, freeing you to focus on the peacemaking,” Rita tried to put a positive spin on it. “How about you two? I assume the Academy is excited to receive you both?”
‘’I am unqualified to judge emotional reactions to any given situation, apart from their external consequences,‘’ Sonak explained. ‘’However, the head of Starfleet Academy accepted readily enough my service proposal to support your hypothesis. I do not deny that the anticipated challenges in offering guidance to future Starfleet officers is quite stimulating.’’
He turned his grey eyes towards Rita.
‘’With this opportunity, there is also the undeniable benefit of beginning an enriching new chapter in our shared life, here on this most fascinating homeworld of my wife. I am looking forward to considerable growth for each of us, between us… and perhaps beyond. But then, this is what Rita has been to everyone who knows her; I am simply fortunate enough to be the most privileged among them.’’
In an uncharacteristic display, the Human woman snuggled against the stoic Vulcan male, as his words struck a chord and made her quite happy. While his praise was factual, that rendered it no less heartwarming for her to hear.
To normal eyes the Vulcan man was stoic and unreadable. To Mona’s Miradonian eyes the air around both Sonak and Rita was awash with something akin to a glow of what she could only describe as ‘love energy’ similar to her and Min’s own bond, radiating in waves from both of them and creating a nice little nebula around them.
With a slight blush, the brightly plumed avian woman cleared her throat and grinned as she too leaned into her own mate in an attempt to distract herself from the display. “The Academy is lucky to have the both of you. I’ve been accepted for half a day of classes for diplomatic assistant training while the second half of the day I’ll be remotely training robotics and engineering classes at a university in Tokyo.”
“THAT is a far safer direction than the both of you throwing yourself into this plan, Mona.” Jaeih said, expressing a bit of concern masked by a stoic facade.
“I’ll still be going to Romulus as well, however I’ll also be going to represent my own people and as a pilot and engineer,” Mona added with a grin.
“You are both insane.” Jaeih said, taking a sip of her coffee and sighing. “And I will have my work cut out for me.”
“Ohhhh, come on now, Mrs. Dox. All this time you’ve been cynically suspicious and cautious, and yet you still saw, you learned, and you grew. Do you have ANY idea how hard it was to keep you going without giving you any authority over others? You were an implacable opponent, Jaeih Dox. But it was so very worth it, because look at you- the stern, overprotective matriarch of a clan of diplomats to your own home planet. You get to go home, and they can’t say a word to you because you have diplomatic immunity.”
Holding up a hand, Rita shook her head and smiled. “Yes, I know, you’ll expect ‘accidents’, and that will keep it interesting for you. But you of all people... Mrs. Dox, I worked so hard to keep you happy and keep you going so that you all could get here together, but you... please tell me that you can see it all, and that you’re FINALLY happy?”
The smile and the tone of delivery were comical, so it was clear that Rita was exaggerating her frustration. Yet there was more than a kernel of truth in there, as well.
“Oh, can’t you tell by now that I am quite pleased? I am complaining, after all.” Jaeih replied with a slight smirk, which prompted Mnhei’sahe to have to muffle a snort of a chuckle as her mother continued. “That said, your efforts to channel my energies without feeding my baser ambitions have NOT gone unrecognized. Nor have they gone… unappreciated. You do have my thanks.”
“I’ll take it,” Rita raised her coffee cup in salute. “How about you, Hera? Mapping out the local farmer’s markets and making friends with the neighbors yet?” It was a far cry from the tyrant of Meroset 347, but so far, negotiations with Starfleet, the Asgardians, Earth and the local HOA seemed to be going well, and no one had stopped them from moving in.
“Oh, delightfully well, though I must say that a couple of the older ladies seem to be under the impression that they have years on me.” With a soft chuckle, Hera grinned mischievously over her mug of coffee. “They also have rather strange ideas of what should go into certain foods... I will allow them their misconceptions, however. After all, they have free will and who am I to say otherwise.”
“But I’m still picking the green grapes out of Doris’ macaroni salad. That woman has issues not even I can handle,” the matronly goddess added, punctuating the air with a finger. “Grapes belong in juice and wine - not cold pasta...”
“Well, we can have a backyard garden if you’d like a pergola to grow some grape vines over, Hera. At least, according to the HOA. I’m sure we’ll see something in one of the groups about that sinister shuttle in the driveway,” Rita grinned, enjoying the domesticity of the moment. Which of course moved her to speech. Raising her coffee cup, Rita stood and proposed a toast.
“We stand on the cusp of the 25th century. And as we do so, look at us- all finding our place in the universe, finding a way to effect change to the positive. Helping our people, actively building a better universe for our children,” she said as the triplets raced around her legs, playing slide tag on the semi-slick freshly-waxed hardwood floors. “Case in point. So here’s to us... the architects of the future!”
"Destiny is always left to be written; thus, the future can only be what we make of it today," Sonak agreed, lifting his tea cup in the time-honored Human manner.
With a bit of a smile, the redheaded Romulan woman who had gone from being a child smuggler to an ace pilot, an accomplished officer, and now to an ambassador in training stood up with her coffee mug in one hand, and her wife and bond-mate’s hand in the other. Raising her cup, she replied, “Ssiun’eisifv… towards tomorrow.”
With an expression that looked somewhat amused, Jaeih rose with her daughter and daughter in law, raising her own mug, simply bowing her head in a respectful nod.
Hera also stood and raised her mug, offering her own toast. “As we often said in my day... To the promise of Seven Generations.”
"Ssiun’eidifv; live long and prosper," the Vulcan said, obviously expressing the dream of unification by linking both expressions. Then he added; "As Rita’s people would say, in a quite logical assessment, the Future has yet to be made; so let’s make it a good one.’’