Overdue Family Reunion (RP Log)
|13 Mar 2014|
- Saith & Soah Coffeehouse [Deep Space 9]
- The smell of coffee and chocolate overwhelms the senses as you enter through the glass doors from the station's promenade, a little brass-colored bell attached high on the door dings whenever it is opened-- a purely novel gadget, surely. This is a small place, quite modest in appearance and setting. No more than three small tables sit overlooking windows to the bustling commerce area outside, windows that are partially obstructed by a display of boxes of tea and large bags of gourmet Rihannsu coffee.
- Artwork hangs on walls, bookshelves between the canvases hold a variety of well-worn Rihannsu literature and wooden bins of custom tea and coffee varieties. A little further back in the shop, a glass counter showcases no less than a hundred different types of chocolate confections, from the mundane to the extravagant. A row of clear glass containers sit atop the counter, also filled with sugary treats. This is one of those hidden gems that most visitors will pass by without a second glance; the sweets are heavenly and the coffee is ground and brewed as you wait. There hardly ever seems to be more than a few people in the shop at any given time. It is obvious that a place like this is about more than its wares. It is about relaxation and companionship, it is about unwinding from a long day and laughing with friends.
Astor-Cross is sitting at her normal table. There is a cup of coffee but it is cold. The Bolian is standing just watching her. He shakes his head every so often and then looks at the door and then back at Aly. The woman in question seems to be frowning as she seems to be concentrating on something.
Entering the shop, Senka raises an eyebrow as he takes in whatever seems to be up between you and the Bolian. Collecting both a fresh coffee and Romulan latte plus the attendant eclairs, he crosses to your table and sits down. "What appears to be the difficulty, Lynn," he asks mentally? Her concentrated focus doesn't waver but in her mind you hear her replying, "I don't know Sen. Something is going on, or something is wrong, or something huge is about to happen. I don't know. My senses seem to be on overload right now."
You feel Senka assessing the state of your mind. "Are you concerned about your husband?" He's wondering if Adam is giving you reason to worry, a logical question.
Astor-Cross frowns and shakes her head, "No" is finally said verbally. "It isn't Adam but it is something. I just can't get over this feeling." Senka sips his latte. "Are you perhaps alarmed at the Cardassian withdrawal from Deep Space9?"
Astor-Cross shakes her head, "No. It has nothing to do with the Cardassian's." She sighs frustratingly, "I wish I knew what it was. This is driving me crazy." And you would sense that in her mind. It is working to try to figure out what is going on and is getting frustrated with not being able to figure it out.
Senka steeples his fingers before him. Wordlessly, he extends the offer of a mind meld. If anyone outside of your own mind can help you sort out your mind, he thinks he may be qualified. you sense his concern and caring.
All of the sudden Aly's eyes shoot toward the door and then search the area. She sits up straighter in her seat, placing her hands on the table. In her mind you will notice she is frantically trying to place a voice, or a presence she has felt. It is coming nearer and you can feel her pulse and heart rate accelerating in anticipation of the arrival of this person.
Senka's hand drops to his phaser and he draws it, keeping it hidden under the table. you feel his mind going to a level of alertness you've rarely noticed.
Senka draws Type-2 Phaser (50103).
Astor-Cross shakes her head and says sharply, "Put that away." She watches the door and one word keeps going through her mind, "Orthen". You sense relief in Senka's mind. He was never happier to follow an order, and he holsters his phaser as discretely as he drew it. "Your brother," he murmurs mentally.?
Astor-Cross nods slowly, "Yes. I can feel him. That is what I've been feeling all day but I didn't realize it until I heard him. He sounds older." Now she is nervous thinking, "Does he know I'm here, is he looking for me? Will he even want to see me?" You sense Senka projecting calm reassurance into your mind. "Logically," he murmurs after a mental beat, "if he is here, he likely knows of your presence and wishes to speak with you."
Her mind reaches out. It is open enough that you can hear what she is saying, "Orthen?" She waits and then replies to him, "Please. I'm in the coffee shop." She waits for a reply or something.
The doors to Saith and So part, and a middle-aged Betazoid mail, about your age or a couple years older and with a head of black hair shot with grey and black eyes similar in shape to yours, stands in the doorway. He wears a green and gold tunic, black trousers and rather nondescript shoes. He glances around the room, and his mind suggests a high degree of mixed apprehension and anticipation. After a beat, he steps through the doors, allowing them to close at his back.
Astor-Cross sits and watches the man walk in. She doesn't say anything at all and then finally stands, showing her uniform completely to the man. She waits. If there is going to be a first move, it needs to be on his part.
The man stands there for a moment, both fear and anticipation rising in equal amounts. He clearly does not know what sort of greeting or welcome he should expect, and he's bracing himself for anger, but hoping for welcome. Being telepaths, there's no need for an, "Alynn, it's me, Orthen," moment, because you know it and he knows that you know it. He starts across the room to you. "It's been ... a long time." Lame, yes, but a start. His eyes take in the Vulcan officer sitting at your table, and he wonders briefly about him before mentally dismissing the man as unimportant to this scene, which, for the moment, he may be. For Senka's part, you feel his mental shielding going up. His thoughts are your business, not anyone else's in this room, though you know his mind well enough to read past his heightened shielding without much effort. Indeed, Senka considers it a privelege to be here at this moment in time. It's another pivotal life event he's had the honor of sharing with you. Finally, you sense his offer to withdraw.
Astor-Cross takes a deep breath and replies, "Over 30 years Orthen." She looks at her uniform and then at the man, "A lot has changed." She smiles slightly for the first time, "You look so much like Dad." Any telepath in the room would feel the pain in her heart at the mention of their father. "Do... do you want to have a seat?" She remembers Senka sitting there and says, "Lieutenant Senka, this is my br ... brother Orthen Astor. Orthen, this is my best friend Senka."
"Greetings, Welcome aboard, Mr. Astor," Senka murmurs in Betazoid, discretely pulling a third chair up to the table. Orthen looks quite surprised. Whatever he expected, a Betazoid-speaking Vulcan wasn't it. "Hello, lieutenant, ... Lieutenant Senka," he replies in standard. "You're a friend of Aly's, are you?" He seems nervous. Senka nods. "Indeed," he replies, signaling to the Bolian who brings over a third coffee and eclair. All that settled, Orthen turns back to you. "I'm not sure how to begin. But I was here because of the Cardassian business and I decided ... well, this business has got to end. I wanted to see you." Obviously, since he's here. But for him it's a frank and open admission.
Astor-Cross takes a seat and nods as her hands wrap around her coffee cup. "I ... I was on my way to ... I wanted to see all of you. I was on my way back to Betazed." She shakes her head and picks up her coffee mug, but her hands are shaking so badly that she puts it down again.
"Were you?" Orthen seems mildly surprised. "I mean, what do you mean, you were on your way? Why didn't you--" "A pressing interstellar incident intervened in the commodore's travels," Senka interjects smoothly. While Orthen can't really read his thoughts and isn't trying, you sense Senka's intent to save you from a painful and unplanned recitation of one of the nastiest events of your adult life.
Astor-Cross looks at Senka and offers a slight smile, "I was on the way and my runabout was attacked. My pilot and I were captured and held for a few weeks somewhere. I still don't know where we were." She looks at Orthen, "I had to find out if all of you were ok. I wanted to see you all."
You sense that Orthen wants to ask more about this, but doesn't. "We ... that is ... there've been some changes back home. Things aren't ... well, they're not what they used to be." He seems relieved at that. "I mean, how else could I have wound up as secretary to a diplomatic liason? Not what we talked about growing up, was it, Aly?" He smiles at you, the first one he's managed since he arrived. Senka quietly observes, sipping his latte.
Astor-Cross shakes her head and replies, "You mean you aren't working for the family or another one? What about Alder? Mom? Dad? Are they... still working? I want to know everything Orthen. Are you married? Do you have kids? I heard from Russell that Alder was married and had two children." She then asks, "Have you seen or heard from Russell?"
A laugh, a bit too loud of one as it bleeds off nervous tention. "Me? Married? I couldn't imagine the woman who'd marry me when I was 15 and I still haven't." This doesn't seem to bother him. "Alder's the family man." A beat. "Mom and Dad are pensioned now. I mean, they're not young, past it as far as working life goes. But they're ok. The family seems to think it owes our parents a debt, so at least they're not destitute." Another beat. "I haven't heard about Russel. Actually, being Starfleet, I was hoping you had, little sister."
Hearing the words 'little sister' Aly almost bursts into tear but she keeps them in check. "I'm ..." a gulp and a sigh, "I'm glad they are all doing well. I haven't heard from Russell. He stopped by the station when I was CMO here and said he was heading home. I thought he would have gotten in contact with someone, but I guess he knew that it would only cause trouble to bring up my name so he didn't." She looks at her cup again and this time, one tear is allowed to fall, but only one.
From one side, Orthen's hand finds your shoulder and squeezes. He wants to reach out to your mind; he's not sure he should yet, as that's quite personal. Still, he sends what reassurance he can through the touch. You sense his surprise as the Vulcan across from you opens his own mind and begins transmitting waves of comfort to you. If Orthen's thought that he spares for that moment were in words, it would be, "where the hell does a Vulcan learn to do that?" "It's no trouble anymore. You know, you would have been home a decade ago, but ... guilt ... pride ... who wants to be the first to say I'm sorry. ... So, hell, I guess I will. I'm sorry, little sis." The man's on the verge of tears, himself.
Astor-Cross looks over at Senka with a smile and then back to her brother. The tears are now falling, "Thank you Orthen. I know that you and Alder hated that I choose to go Starfleet." She places a hand on the rank at her neck, "But Orthen, look. I made a name for myself. I did good. I made it." She then shows the ring on her finger, "And I married a wonderful man who holds my heart, my Imzadi."
"You two are married?" He glances between you and Senka. It wouldn't surprise him. For the moment, he's either forgotten that you called Senka a best friend, or assumes you were holding off on the married bit.
Astor-Cross shakes her head, "No. Senka is my best friend. I married a terran. His name is Adam Cross. He is..." she hesitates for a minute, "He is the Commanding officer of the station here."
"Oh," You sense profound imbarrassment from your brother. "Sorry, no offense." A beat. "I look forward to meeting him, your husband. But um, I thought the captain here was a woman?" You sense genuine puzzlement, and of course, he picked up on your hesitation. Senka quietly continues observing.
Astor-Cross takes a deep breath and then offers, "An incident happened and now he is under investigation by the IG. We are hoping that everything is settled soon." In her mind it would be seen that the subject of the investigation is off limits.
"Of course, of course," Orthen says aloud. Though what he's saying is more in response to your mental notice that the subject of the investigation is not for discussion. "So, uh, Lieutenant Senka," he says, turning to the Vulcan. "Tell me. What kind of officer is my little sister now?" Steepling his fingers before him, Senka murmurs, "A most confident and capable flag officer, and a skilled physician." Vulcans don't go in for flattery, and neither of you can doubt that not only does he mean it, he can back it up.
Astor-Cross looks slightly embarrassed at the compliment, "Currently I hold the title of Chief of Starfleet Medical." She takes a drink of her coffee, her hands are much steadier than they were before.
Orthen looks, mentally, from the Vulcan's mind to yours. Finally, he offers his verdict. "I can't say I'm surprised. Not a bit." Astor-Cross quirks a brow, "Oh? And why is that big brother?"
A grin plays at his lips. "Because you never did take no for an answer, not usually. So I figured it's no surprise you made it to the top. And I bet you're a hell of a doctor." Your brother clearly means all of it.
Astor-Cross shrugs, "Maybe lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time." She opens her mind to her brother, shields up around certain parts of her life however. "I'm happy Orthen, but I've missed all of you so much. When I was headed back, I kept telling myself that even if none of you wanted anything to do with me, at least I would know that you all were alive and well."
Orthen lowers his mental shielding to you after a beat. You sense his pleasure at seeing you, his guilt, which may be part of a larger collective family guilt, for making it so that you didn't think you were welcome to return, and his desire to do what he can, what miniscule, fractional thing he may be able to do in a small way, to make amends and actually get to know the person you've become. With the close mental contact, he reaches out and hugs you, saying nothing.
Astor-Cross returns the hug, laying her head on her brothers shoulder. She closes her eyes and just rests there with her brother. You sense Senka's satisfaction in this moment. It was more than a year ago that he first asked you why you hadn't returned, and while the family reunion isn't taking place exactly where, when or how he predicted, it is taking place, and it seems like one of the most right things to happen to you in his opinion in the last three decades. He feels honored to simply be observing it. For his own part, Orthen pats your back, a bit awkwardly since he's only a few decades out of practice, a huge grin spreading across his features.
Astor-Cross sits back and says, "Are you going to tell the others you've seen me?" It would be noted that she is indeed worried about this. She is still fearful of being rejected.
"Of course I am," Orthen will have none of it. "I'm going to take holopics of you and me back to Betazed. Hell, I'm going to arrange for you to get there, or I'll drag them here. But yes, I'm telling them." You can tell that your brother doesn't think you need to be worried. Not anymore.
Astor-Cross laughs, "And what do you think the family will think of me being married to a Terran with no telepathic ability other than our Imzadi link?"
Orthen shrugs. "I don't know. I can't imagine it mattering though. It doesn't matter to me." He smiles.
Astor-Cross chuckles, "Good because frankly if it did matter to you or anyone then ...." She shrugs and says, "Things would continue much as they did until a hour or so ago. Adam is my life and if you love me, you love him. Simple as that."
You sense that this presents no problem to your brother. He nods, sipping his coffee. "What else do you want to know, little sister?"
The door leading to Out slides open.
Eilonwy arrives from Promenade - Section B.
Astor-Cross shakes her head, "Nothing. You are all safe and alive. Russell said that I'm an aunt twice over. That is all I need to know."
The door leading to Out slides closed.
Eilonwy hasn't been seen on Deep Space 9 in months. Not since she walked out of the infirmary without being released. Not since she and her husband, hand in hand, transported back to the Snail Kite and left Deep Space 9 in the dust. As a result, there's some trepidation as the woman strides into the coffee shop, a small babe wrapped tightly to her front. But she had to stretch her legs and get out of the small B'rel. And, last but not least, get some caffeine into her system. She and the babe immediately get in line.
Senka's eyes shift to his erstwhile patient, and he offers her a respectful dip of the head. You can all see that he's choosing not to bother her, but waiting to see whether she requires or desires anything of him. Most of his attention remains on the conversation at his table. "You should see them," Orthehn says quietly about Alder's kids. "In fact," a hand digs into a pocket and he pulls out a pair of round, flat, metallic disks. Activating both, you see in one, a pair of children maybe 10 to 13 standard years old from younger to older. In the other, you see Alder, looking about 55 or so, with a plain-looking but pleasant woman of the same age and the same two kids, now maybe 19 and 22 or 23 respectively.
The door leading to Out slides open.
Shintu arrives from Promenade - Section B.
The door leading to Out slides closed.
Astor-Cross looks at the pictures, noting Eilonwy as she comes in and of course the baby swaddled against her. She looks at Orthen and quirks a brow, "I think you need to get some newer holopics Orthen. Alder looks too young in these to be current."
Eilonwy takes another step forward in line, currently behind someone else ordering a number of drinks, as her arm cradles the sleeping baby that is swaddled so securely to her with the maternity wrap. Her eyes fall on the Vulcan Doctor only a moment, sharing a brief flash of eye contact, before her attention goes back on the queue. She inhales slowly, exhales even slower.
"They are a few years out of date ... I just keep losing pics. You should have seen me scrambling around my cabin to find what I had." Orthen offers a slightly imbarrassed smile. Senka sips his latte, still quietly observing.
Shintu enters the coffee house quietly, padd in hand as he reads it. A glance upwards is given to the small line that has formed, brow quirking a little. "Wow.." He mutters as he steps in line.
Astor-Cross gives her brothers hand a squeeze and asks, "Then you knew I was here." She looks at Senka and says, "That must have been what I was feeling. Anticipation of Orthen coming."
"I heard you were, yes," Orthen replies simply. "Knew for sure when we docked." Meanwhile, Senka nods to Alynn. "A logical conclusion," he murmurs to her.
Eilonwy, after waiting for the guy with his five drink orders, paid on two different credit chips, and using variations of Cardassian soy milk and Betazoid goat cream, finally gets to the front of the line. "Raspberry half-caff mocha, please," the Princess requests, then pays the barista before putting a tip in the jar. Her order being out of the way, she now waits to the side for it to be made, along with mister quint skinny machiatos. As she moves into the other waiting section, she spots Shintu and offers him a small nod.
Taking the money and finally getting approval from his chip scanner, the Bolian mutters something about Betazoid goats, their cream, and how well it mixes, or in this case not, with Cardassian soy milk. The man waiting for the five drinks seems oblivious.
The line slowly begins to back up with the order of drinks;especially the one who decided to order five flavors of coffee. Shintu sighs, arms folding across his chest as he waits, eyes glancing around the small shop before settling on the Princess. He nods in return, giving her a half of a smile.
Astor-Cross smiles at her brother and then offers, "I'm glad you found me Oro." For the first time she uses her nickname for her brother, "How long are you here? I want you to meet Adam and I want to just spend time catching up."
You sense joy at your use of his childhood nickname. "I guess I'm here as long as this Cardassian whatever it is keeps us here. But listen, when I'm not working, you get me," Orthen says, smiling. "I want to meet your other friends and your husband." He means it.
Eilonwy finally has a chance to take her mocha, being produced on the counter for her. Taking it, she takes a slow sip, careful not to burn her tongue or spill its contents, then starts towards one of the unoccupied tables near the entrance. The little baby, just a few weeks old, begins to stir and she calmly pats the bundle before the youngster can fully rouse.
Astor-Cross hasn't stopped grinning for a while as she looks at her brother, "Then tomorrow when you are done working we have plans." She looks at her padd and says, "I hate this Oro, but I have to go. Promise me you will come find me as soon as you are done working. Promise."
A laugh. "If I didn't, you'd send someone after me. Wouldn't she, Lieutenant," he grins at Senka. "A distinct possibility, Mr. Astor," Senka replies mildly. Orthen leans over and hugs you tightly. "Don't worry. I'll be there." There's more emotional depth behind those words than any non-telepath might expect. He kisses your cheek and straightens up. Turning to Senka, he raises one hand, fingers parted in a Vulcan salute. "Live long, and prosper," he says in Vulcan. Orthen's pronunciation is terrible, his accent, even worse. But it was an attempt at politeness and Senka takes it as such. "Peace, and long life," Senka replies, choosing to deliver the Vulcan ritual reply in Betazoid along with his own salute. A last smile in his sister's direction, Orthen heads quietly out.
Astor-Cross looks at Senka and smiles, "I'm going to walk him out and then go see Adam." She stands and calls, "Oro, wait!" and quickly walks after him.
The door leading to Out slides open.
Astor-Cross leaves for Promenade - Section B.
The door leading to Out slides closed.
Continued in Dealing with Repercussions (RP Log)