SIM:Difficult Goodbyes (Post)
((Koloth's Former Quarters, USS Challenger))
Brenna rang the chime outside Koloth's former quarters on the Challenger, and, finding them unlocked, walked straight in, in case he felt the need to refuse her entrance. As she surveyed his quarters, it reminded her of just before they had boarded the Challenger to call her home, when they were half-packed on DS24. The deep scowling expression, however, was new. And even though it was directed at her, Brenna felt it was for something completely different.
Parker: ::dryly:: Heard you told off the Fleet Captain. ::she paused:: Again.
Koloth: Talk's cheap Brenna, don't believe everything you hear. You come to rub my nose in my transfer orders, or perhaps you've decided to side with the dear Captain as well?
Parker: No, I'm not going to take my turn to tell you off. I'm sure just about every senior officer, on duty or off, would enjoy it, right before you get up in their face for doing it. But I know better.
Koloth: Oh, and if its friendly advise you've got I've had about my fill for today.
Parker: ::shrugging lightly:: Not like you'd listen to me if I tried. You're too stubborn.
Coming from anyone else, it might have seemed like an insult, but Koloth knew Brenna and her tendency to bluntly relate the truth. It was her nature, just as stubbornness was his. Although she had her own fair share of stubbornness as well, and knew it too.
Koloth: Vulcan spice tea, warm, for two.
There was the usual hum as the two cups of tea materialised which Koloth took. Offering Brenna one of the cups he nodded to one of the storage boxes behind her and taking his cue they sat down opposite each other. Koloth took a sip of the tea, letting himself feel the warmth of the cup as he raised it to his mouth. The taste was unremarkable to Koloth, though he knew Brenna had a penchant for drinking it. He sighed.
Koloth: More than ever I feel like this was the wrong decision to make.
He unplucked the pip on his collar, and looked at it as if it could reveal the mystery that had led up to him deciding to join Starfleet.
Koloth: My initial enthusiasm, my desire to explore, it's all vanished with the realisation that this. ::He held up the pip.:: Is just a thinly veiled illusion, Starfleet is simply a military outfit guised as a scientific endeavour. Rank, protocol, yes sir, no sir, three bags full sir. It's beyond me to care about such things, and yet here I am trapped within its web.
Parker: That's always the problem with the military. Someone can have a fabulous idea that's shunned as ridiculous because they're a crewman, or an idiotic idea that's hailed as brilliant because they're a Commander. I have no intention of standing for that on this ship, and if they have a problem with it.... ::she shrugged:: I'll resign. Go back to my former life.
Koloth smiled at the thought of handing in his resignation. Somehow though it felt like it would be letting this place, this pip, win. He attached the pip to his collar again.
Koloth: I've lived that life, perhaps for too long. I wanted this to work, thought that people would be able to flex enough so that I could fit in. I'm too old to be able to be moulded into the shape of a Federation Officer that everyone knows and loves. I am who I am, and that's just the way it's going to be. On the Challenger I had the feeling that it would work. T'Pen might have a short fuse, but the way she's handled her career is something I can respect. But its Toni that won me over, ever since our time at the academy, I got the feeling that she would would be the one to stick her neck out for people like me. Would pave my way so to speak.
Brenna let him talk, taking a sip of tea when he did, albeit a smaller one (though hers were more frequent). She very much agreed with his words -- although not nearly as old as the Klingon, she was not a young, fresh-faced officer. She had been much older than her fellow Cadets, and it had shown. Here, Brenna blended more as long as no one looked at the pip on her neck, which apparently marked her out for 'young, dumb ensign' assumptions by the other officers. But she was who she was, and she wasn't going to conform to Starfleet's rules and regulations unless they made sense.
Koloth: The Steadfast is a different matter; an untested CO, a new crew, and a ship that was designed over thirty years ago.
Parker: ::thinking it over:: I suppose it'll be harder. No state-of-the-art equipment. But there would be no doubt who's in charge there, at least.
Koloth: Oh, I think you'll find T'Pen is quite in charge of things here. With deMarc gone it will be doubly so I think.
He reached out and enveloped her entire empty teacup in a single hand. He had often complained about the size of the dainty cups when she had ordered the tea for them before, but apparently he had enough other issues on his mind for the moment.
Koloth: Don't we have some kind of beach thing to attend? I had convinced myself into skipping it, but one last awkward moment with T'Pen might be worth the trip.
Parker: ::acting as though he were serious:: Confront the CO in front of ALL her officers, many of whom are saying their final goodbyes? There's no way I'd miss those fireworks. I'd probably see them from here, in my quarters, where I'm planning on staying. ::She had never pretended to be social in the past, so why should she start now?::
Koloth: If I recall you didn't even attend your own graduation ceremony, but who am I to argue? Instead I ended up being able to pick your brain on the finer points of endocrinology which I never really understood.
Parker: Well, you were telling me about the Klingon doctor Antaak and his work with the augment-- ::she caught herself in time:: the Levodian flu. The processes he went through to discover the cure, including infecting himself with a possibly lethal strain, was simply fascinating.
Koloth: ::Grinning.:: Sounds like it was a win-win scenario then.
Parker: Yeah. ::she was silent for a moment.:: I'm going to miss you.
She wasn't sure what made her say it, but after she had, she found it was true. Koloth was as close to a friend as Brenna had ever had, and even with his annoying and sometimes challenging attitude and her superiority complex and lack of social graces, they got along. It was because they conflicted with everyone else so much that they were able to deal with the same in one another.
Koloth found himself agreeing with the statement. He spent more time with Brenna that anyone else over the past decade and had come to value her blunt, robust and intelligent personality. They would share barbs at times, but it had never really been heated. The fact that she had beaten him in every exam they had taken together had been a bitter pill to swallow, but in the end their competitive natures made each of them stretch that little bit further. At least that's how it had been for him.
oO Not that I'd ever let you onto it though. Oo
Koloth: ::Smirking.:: I'm not going to have to replicate you a handkerchief am I?
Parker: ::back to a healthy grin:: Sorry. It just kind of slipped out. It'll never happen again, scout's honor.
Koloth: I've made a good effort at learning Vulcan and Earth sayings but that one escapes me. Scouts honour?
Parker: ::tipping her head to one side thoughtfully:: You know, I never really thought about what it meant. I don't even know what kind of honor a scout would have. They do kind of sneak around and spy on people. It's just something my dad used to say.
With a start, Brenna realized that she hadn't even felt the normal pang associated with the mentioning of her parents. It was kind of a nice feeling, to be immune to it again, like she had early on after the accident.
Koloth: Perhaps they share the same kind of honour as thieves do amongst themselves. It could well be a euphemism eluding to the fact that the concept of honour is one that is highly changeable from person to person.
Brenna shrugged as she looked around the room.
Parker: So, you want some help with all this junk?
Koloth: Steady on! This may seem like junk but is in fact one of the most complete collections of mineralisation you'll ever see. I just can't transport them from place to place like you do with that duffle bag of yours. Some of the formations can't even be transported due to their nature in scrambling sensor readings. Anyone can have a collection, but an authentic one, one that's never been transported, nor had its molecules otherwise rearranged, is a rarity.
Parker: ::Brenna looked around the room doubtfully:: Does that make it worth a lot?
Koloth: Ah, the Ferengi will put a price to anything. This collection is priceless to me, that said you can help me stack up the remainder of the boxes.
Tugging one another up, the odd pair got to work. Brenna balanced the boxes on the anti-grav cart, concentrating on not overloading the cart in one way or another. It had always helped her to cope, throwing herself into her work, be it lab work or a task as simple as stacking boxes.
They finished loading the unit. Brenna simply stood there, staring at the cart. An awkward silence passed between them as she tucked her hair behind an ear, not sure what else to say at the final moment of parting. Luckily, Koloth thought of something first.
Koloth: Thanks for coming and distracting me. You make sure to keep in touch via sub space.
Parker: ::nodding, going for brightness in her tone:: Sure thing. ::teasing:: You aren't getting sentimental on me now, are you?
Koloth: Yeah, yeah, I'll give you sentimental in a minute.
To her astonishment, the Klingon gave her a tight squeeze, one that almost crushed the breath out of her as she returned it. Just as suddenly, he released her, and with that famous straight-toothed smile, he began to push the cart out the door. Brenna made it out first and started to walk away in the opposite direction of the airlock, determined not to look back, as if to prove to herself it wouldn't be that bad. She counted her steps instead of thinking about it, but then Koloth yelled something to her and she had spun back around before she even knew it.
Koloth: ::In a shout.:: You know you're going to miss me!
Brenna: ::shouting back:: You'll miss me more! ::It was always a competition.::
Koloth laughed as he turned back to unit, and Brenna let a little smile grace her own lips as she returned to walking toward sickbay, her sanctuary, where she could again throw herself into work.
Ensign Brenna Parker
USS Challenger, NCC-12886
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