SIM:Ayiana Sevo & Kael Tam - Familiar Spots
|Crew of the USS Gorkon|
|Lt. Commander Ayiana Sevo|
(( Sto'Vo'Kor Lounge, USS Gorkon ))
:: The recent mission had left Ayiana physically and mentally drained. She needed some time to unwind, and with the Gorkon warping away from the catastrophe that is Astrofori One, Ayiana thought she’d have a nice drink and meal - something to clear her head. As she was off-duty, Ayiana was dressed in a red T-shirt, black skirt, and sneakers. ::
:: While it was named after the Klingon afterlife, regulations prohibited the place to be designed like a Klingon establishment. It had the usual Starfleet paint job with standard chairs and tables. Large models of Chancellor Gorkon’s ship, Qo’noS One, and the Gorkon itself hung from the ceiling. The walls had portraits of Gorkon, Azetbur, & Chang, along with other influential people of the Khitomer Accord era, including Federation President Ra-ghoratreii, Captain Kirk and crew, and Captain Sulu and crew. Additional paintings and photographs consisted of the Enterprise-A, Excelsior, and Qo’noS One, as well as planet Khitomer and Qo’noS itself. All-in-all, the lounge did an honorable tribute to Chancellor Gorkon and the Khitomer Accords without anyone feeling like they just walked onto Qo’noS itself. ::
Sevo: :: She wandered up to the bar, then asked the bartender. :: Give me something...I don’t know. Something to make me forget about the other day.
Bartender: Yea. I heard what happened to you guys over there. :: Ducking below the counter, then popping back up with a bottle of something. :: Here, try this. Pure alcoholic; no synthehol. I think you need the kick.
Sevo: Thanks. :: Taking the glass and looking at it. :: Its...green. What is it?
Bartender: Take a swig, tell me what you think.
:: She took a gulp, and almost spit it back out. The taste was alright, but it was really strong and burned on the way down. She liked it. ::
Sevo: :: Her throat momentarily hoarse. :: Smooth. <Cough>
Bartender: Aldebaran whiskey.
oO Meh. I prefer “the green stuff.” Oo
Sevo: Thanks. Think I’ll just chill here for a while.
::As she stood there, another person joined her at the bar. Tall, broad-shouldered and with a mop of dark hair, the spots running along his hairline and down his neck marked him out as another trill. He was in his uniform, but the jacket was open and the teal collar unfastened.::
Tam: Lida juice, please.
Bartender: On it.
::While he waited, he turned to look at her, offering her a warm smile that reached his twinkling eyes.::
Tam: Ayiana, isn't it? Congratulations on your awards -- well-deserved from what I've been told.
:: Ayiana recognized the man from the disastrous night. He was talking with Captain Reynolds when Ayiana entered the program. Now, as then, Ayiana felt a sudden surge of...something. Anger? Loathing? She didn’t know why. She had never met this man before. ::
Sevo: Thanks. Tam, isn’t it? Kael Tam?
:: The name didn’t sound familiar. It wasn’t any Symbiont name she recognized. ::
Tam: That's me. Mind if I ask how long you've been joined?
Sevo: :: Taking a sip of her drink. :: Let’s see… :: Thinking for a moment. :: It’s been about three years now, I think? Wow.
Sevo: It's just...three years. It feels like a lifetime already. Several lifetimes, actually.
:: Despite the feelings Ayiana kept having, she tried to maintain neutrality. She was sure she never met Tam before. ::
Tam: I suppose it is, in way. After all, how many lifetimes has Sevo had?
Sevo: Ayiana is my fourth host. My last one was Vereesa, a material chemist. :: Taking a drink. :: You? I don’t recognize your name.
::He gave her a long, evaluating look -- much like the kind of look a doctor gave his patient when they suspected they weren't quite telling the truth about their symptoms. Then he smiled and carried on as though nothing had happened.::
Tam: Oh, I'm not a host. Just a plain Trill.
Sevo: I see. Sometimes I envy you Unjoined. Life was a lot less...complicated back then.
::He smiled and continued amiably chatting away, thanking the bartender as he was presented with his requested drink.::
Tam: My sister's Joined, she says a similar thing. But it never really appealed to me.
Sevo: It didn’t for me either; not at first. I had often thought about it, but didn’t pursue it. An early Academy instructor convinced me to finally apply. I already had good grades and a few awards, so I guess that helped. Now that I think about it, it was a pretty quick application turnover. I remember my previous hosts spending many years working on their applications.
:: Ayiana poured a fresh glass from the bottle, then took a sip. She still had a nagging feeling about this man. Now was a good a time as any to get to know him. ::
Sevo: Did you work for the Commission?
Tam: Well, I was a Guardian once upon a time. But that was decades ago.
:: Ah, the Guardians; an eccentric lot. Ayiana always heard rumors about them; the lifestyle they chose. The Guardians surrendered any opportunity to be Joined, and even living among normal society to live in the Mak’ala Caves, tending to the Symbiont pools where they are birthed, and eventually return. ::
Sevo: Oh, sorry. :: Suddenly realizing that wasn’t what she meant. :: I mean...it’s just that the Guardians usually work in the caves the rest of their lives. Why are you here? Erm...I mean, why did you quit?
::He looked awkward for a few moments. It was not a look he wore often, and it didn't sit well on his face.::
Tam: The Commission and I… we had a disagreement. We mutually decided it was best if I looked for a different profession.
Sevo: You were fired?! From Guarding?! :: That was almost unheard of. ::
Tam: ::He chuckled.:: I wouldn't go so far as to say they nudged me off the homeworld, but I don't think they were too disappointed when I decided to enter Starfleet.
Sevo: I guess you don’t want to talk about it, then.
::It was moderately busy that evening, with many of the tables and couches filled with crew taking the opportunity to take it easy and catch-up with friends. A game of 3D chess was taking place in one corner, the first match in the first round of the Gorkon's first ship tournament. The atmosphere was relaxed and calm, the conversation soft and unintrusive. Ayiana had forgotten how cool the lounge was.::
Tam: It's not that I mind talking about it, but it's all long in the past. ::He smiled.:: I've moved on, I have a long career in Starfleet. There's a human phrase I'm quite fond of -- "let sleeping dogs lie".
Sevo: I still have memories of being in the pool. Its weird. I mean, I know it wasn't really *me*, but it was. It was me as a Symbiont. It's a strange feeling.
::Kael nodded, taking a sip from his juice before answering. He seemed to be enjoying her company, from his easy smiles and relaxed posture.::
Tam: You're not the first to say something like that. I remember one man I worked with describing it akin to an out-of-body experience.
Sevo: Yes. That describes it perfectly. :: Pause. :: The strangest thing to happen to me is that I acquired claustrophobia after Joining. It turned out it was from when I - Sevo - was still in the pools. It had a traumatic transfer from the pools to its first Joining. It's...a long story.
Tam: ::He sipped at his juice, raising his eyebrows.:: Something you want to talk about?
Sevo: Mmm, not now. I talked about it enough with my Victory counsellor. Another long story with her. Suffice to say, I quickly discovered being Joined is more complicated than it's made out to be.
Tam: It certainly is, at that. ::He paused.:: Have you undergone your Zhian'tara yet?
Sevo: Not yet.
:: Every Trill knew of the Zhin'tara ritual. It was a way for the current host to literally "meet" their previous hosts through the memories carried by their Symbiont, with the help of a telepathic Guardian and some very nice family or friends, who “loaned” their bodies. ::
Tam: How do you feel about it?
Sevo: I'm kind of looking forward to it, actually. I remember being those people.
Tam: Even when they were nervous beforehand, the Trill I worked with enthused about the ceremony afterwards. They learned a lot about their past hosts, and so, themselves.
Sevo: Not sure when I'd be able to do it. My family would help, but that’s way out on Trill. I don’t know if aliens would be okay with basically "loaning" their bodies.
Tam: If you choose to undergo it out here and need volunteers, I'd be happy to play host for a while. I've never been on that side of the ritual.
Sevo: :: Smiling. :: Thanks, I'll think about it.
::He returned the smile, warm and genial as ever.::
Tam: You're welcome.
:: An awkward silence ensued for a few seconds as Ayiana poured another glass of her drink. ::
Sevo: So what was the person you worked with like? I mean...can you talk about them? Y'know, doctor-patient confidentiality, and all that.
Tam: Well, there were a few. It's not too dissimilar to what I do now, now that I think about it. Lots of people to look after at the same time, for lots of different reasons.
Sevo: Don't suppose you can give any examples?
::He cocked his head in curiosity, taking a sip of his juice.::
Tam: Was there something specific you wanted to know?
:: Ayiana *did* have this burning question. More of a feeling, really; ever since she saw Tam's face. When she did, something deep inside her stirred, like remembering a dream you had years ago. ::
Sevo: Um...this may be out of the blue...but you treat anyone for war? You know, after the Dominion War?
::He watched her, wariness and interest lighting in his eyes, and he nodded slowly.::
Tam: I did.
Sevo: I'm not sure how to say this, and I hope you don’t get offended. It's weird, but ever since I saw you, I've felt this...I don't know. Feeling. Hatred? Loathing? Loathing; specifically for you. I don't know why. I swear I've never seen you before.
::This time he hesitated, and caution bled into his easygoing demeanour.::
Tam: I think we may have crossed paths.
Sevo: N-no. Not any of my previous hosts.
Tam: Who was your last host?
Tam: Well yes, you're right. I didn't ever meet her. And I'm certainly not old enough to have bumped into the rest. ::He smiled, but this time it didn't quite reach his brown eyes.::
Sevo: Huh. Didn’t think I knew you earlier. I guess you just remind me of someone else I can’t place.
Tam: It's not uncommon. Several lifetimes means there's a lot of people you've met in passing.
Sevo: Probably. There’s a lot rattling around up here I'm still sorting through. :: Ayiana pointed to her head. :: I doubt you’d know my symbiont Sevo, huh?
::He hesitated again, draining his glass and staring thoughtfully at the bottom of it before answering.::
Tam: I did know a Sevo. A few years ago, when I was a Guardian. His host was Toran.
:: That was strange. Ayiana was pretty sure she hadn't seen a Guardian since Vereesa's zhin'tara many, many years ago. ::
Sevo: Huh. I'm pretty sure I’d remember. Maybe it was a different symbiont. I don’t think same names would be all that uncommon.
:: Deep down, though, a part of her didn't believe that. Somehow, Ayiana knew Tam from somewhere. It was a constant, nagging feeling she wanted to get to the bottom of. ::
Tam: ::He paused, watching her with guarded interest.:: What's the last thing you remember as Vereesa?
Sevo: I...she was in a Commission hospital, getting Sevo removed. She was old and dying. I...she lived a good, long life.
Tam: And can you remember *when* that was?
:: Ayiana put down her glass and dug through her memories; trying to remember a specific date. None came to mind.
Sevo: Can’t remember a specific date; one generally doesn't think of the calendar on one's deathbed. If I had to estimate...somewhere around 2388.
::Kael hesitated, staring down at his empty glass in a rare display of indecision. Then he looked up at her and shook his head.::
Tam: 2365. Vereesa passed in 2365.
:: That one statement sent shivers up Ayiana's spine. She dropped the glass of her drink loudly on the counter, to a frown of consternation from Kael. That was impossible! Ayiana came right after Vereesa! Besides, Ayiana was born in 2366! ::
Sevo: N-no. That’s not right! Sevo was placed in me right after Vereesa. I've been Joined for about 4 years now, so it must be 2388.
Tam: Toran, he sometimes spoke to me about his past hosts. Vereesa, she was a chemist. And… Lizara, I think it was? He used to laugh about her purple hair.
Sevo: oO Oh. My. Gods! N-no! It...its not possible! Oo That...that’s impossible! W-what about the second host? He wasn't a chef, was he?
:: Kael accompanied the word with a slow, cautious nod. Ayiana's mind started to race, her concentration lapsing. ::
Sevo: I...Yes. That’s him--er--me-- :: pressing her fingers to her temples:: --I mean, yes, that was my second host! oO Wh-what is this?! Some kind of sick joke?! Oo
::He placed his empty glass of juice down on the bar, pushing it to the side, his attention entirely focused on her.::
Tam: ::Gently,:: Suppressed memories aren't unheard of in symbionts. ::He paused, a faint grimace creasing his face, worry colouring his eyes.:: Perhaps you should get in touch with the Commission.
Sevo: N-no. Th-this is a joke! Some sick, depraved joke! What’s wrong with you?! :: Ayiana bared all of her anger on the poor Trill man. ::
Tam: It's not a joke, Ayiana. I wish it was, but I'm not that cruel.
:: Ayiana’s hands started to shake; she could feel her heart racing. Sounds in the room started to feel distant and muffled, as if someone placed earmuffs on her. Sweat started to bead up on her forehead and neck. ::
Sevo: I-I… :: She leaned on the counter, as if to steady herself. :: ...I don't feel well. This-this can’t be right!
::He reached out to her, then seemed to think better of it, his hand not quite completing the journey and instead hovering in mid-air between them.::
Tam: Just take a breath. Focus on the act of breathing.
:: Taking the muffled words to heart, Ayiana sat back down on the barstool and slowly but steadily breathed in and out. Touching her wrist with her index and middle finger, Ayiana could tell her pulse was slowing down a bit, but still racing pretty fast. ::
Sevo: Th-thanks. Sorry.
Tam: ::He shook his hand, withdrawing his hand.:: Don't apologise, it's fine. It's a lot to take in.
Sevo: :: Sighing :: You-you *must* be wrong. How could I possibly forget an entire life?
Tam: It's rare, but it's been known to happen. ::He opened his mouth, about to say more, then thought better of it.::
Sevo: I--this, I need to check all this out. This can't be right.
::He looked at her for a long moment, then his words came with an exacting reluctance, a recommendation he really did not want to make.::
Tam: Contact the Commission. They'll be able to help you.
Sevo: E-excuse me, Tam. :: Ayiana stood up to leave. :: And...uh...sorry.
:: Ayiana carefully walked out of the lounge. Her mind was still swimming in random images and thoughts, she had a headache, and the noise and lights were confusing and painful. She almost tripped and fell on the floor as she walked out. She tried not to show it, but Ayiana had rivers of tears running down her face as the lounge’s doors closed behind her. ::
Lieutenant Ayiana Sevo
Chief Science Officer
Lt. Commander Kael Tam
Chief of Nursing