SIM:Lieutenant Commander Karynn Ehlanii - Meet the... Who?

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Karynn meets Ethan's parents... Again, although this interaction occurred over a series of SIMs, the author thought it would be best shown in a single episode.

((Promenade, DS17))

::Karynn was on her way to Molly Mallone's. She had planned to meet Ethan at Twilight's Edge, but when she was done talking with Cody and looked around she couldn't find him. A quick glance at the PADD she had brought revealed the reason.::

Brice: <text> Change of plans. Molly's just got a shipment of Guinness. Meet me there. Love, Engineer <text>

::She smiled as she walked, remembering it. If there was anything she had learned years ago, it was that the man liked his Guinness. As the Irish establishment came into view, she remembered the night she had met Ethan. They had laughed over drinks in the other Irish establishment - O'Malley's.::

::She stepped through the doors of the pub and for a moment paused to drink in the ambience. It really was quite a different place than the one she had left. The lights were dimmer, the air was heavier, and the music was livelier. She smiled. From across the room, she heard her name and turned.::

Brice: Karynn!

::She waved back, to acknowledge that she had heard him, and then weaved her way through the tables, pausing to notice that Ethan was sitting with an older couple. Before she could really begin to wonder who they were, she was distracted by his warm smile and kiss. Through the tender gesture, she could feel his joy, which brought a smile to her own face. She kissed him back gently on the cheek. Turning toward the couple, she noticed that they had risen to greet her.::

Brice: Karynn, this is Jill and Anderson. ::he looked to his parents:: This is Lieutenant Commander Karynn Ehlanii, our Counsellor on the Independence.

Ehlanii: Jill.... Anderson. Pleasure to meet you both.

::The woman smiled and held her hand out to Karynn, palm up. The Haliian paused for a bit, unsure of what to do. On the one hand, she might seem rude if she didn't shake it - after all, it was a basic human custom. On the other, she could be accused of invading their privacy - and she hadn't expected to need her gloves so she didn't wear them.::

Gillian: Oh my dear, it is a pleasure to finally meet you. I would say Ethan has told us a lot about you, but he hasn't so I am looking forward to hearing it all from you.

::She forced a smile, covering the puzzlement she felt. Who was this woman? Making her decision, she shook the woman's hand. Unfortunately, only being able to sense emotions meant that the interaction wasn't all that helpful.::

Ehlanii: Hopefully I can accommodate you satisfactorily.

::She turned to shake the man's hand, noting that he was nodding.::

Anderson: Pleasure.

::There was an awkward moment of silence as the strange man sat down. She looked from the older man, to the woman, to Ethan... starting to note a similarity or two in physical appearance. She tried to recall the name of every relative and friend he had ever mentioned, but she was coming up blank. The engineer smiled slightly.::

Brice: So, what are we having?

::The man she didn't know waved his hand before standing. Karynn was at least grateful for the break in the silence.::

Anderson: I'll get them. ::he looked at Karynn:: Commander?

::She needed something, that was for sure. She was out of her element here, and had no idea what was going on - especially since she had expected an evening alone with Ethan.::

Ehlanii: Irish cream, please. Over ice.

::The older gentleman left and the woman clapped her hands together and sat down. The eagerness that exuded off of her was almost overwhelming, even when the Haliian wasn't touching her. She stood there awkwardly, unsure of what to do next.::

Gillian: So! Come sit down, Karynn. You must tell me all about yourself. Any children?

::Karynn was caught off guard. Who asked about children as the very first thing? Really?? Her brow furrowed slightly as she glanced at Ethan, pulling her forehead ridges together. She couldn't really avoid sitting either. Pasting on a smile, she chose one, hoping Ethan would sit next to her.::

Ehlanii: No... no children.

::She was relieved when the engineer sat down in the neighboring chair. But before she could communicate with him, the odd woman spoke up again.::

Gillian: Ah, so how is being a Counsellor on a starship? You know, I hear all sorts on Earth about starship sicknesses brought on by being away from shore for such a long time...

::It was all she could do to keep her eyebrow from shooting up. Starship sickness? Sure, people on a starship struggled with grief, depression, and odd personality quirks. But she'd never heard of mental illness from being away from a planet.::

Ehlanii: I like it. My job is multifaceted. I help keep crew morale up, advise the Captain on species we encounter... I even get to help with the diplomatic aspects of our mission. And with my training, I help in the science department. I've been serving as the acting chief science officer for the last few months.

::She longed to ask the woman who she was. Or better yet, ask Ethan. But that didn't seem to be polite... not that the woman she was talking to seemed particularly polite. She breathed a slight, quiet sigh when the elderly gentleman returned. She took the drink he held out to her, hoping it would provide the same boost the Whiskey Ethan had given her a few months back... What kind of courage had he called it?::

Ehlanii: Thank you.

Gillian: Oh dear, you're very welcome, so... ::she smiled again:: How long have you been in Starfleet? You don't look old enough to be in a command position already, very youthful.

::With one hand, she cradled the glass, taking an intermittent sip. The other hand had quietly slid under the table to rest on Ethan's knee, a silent plea to rescue her - or at least share what was going on.::

Ehlanii: I've been in the fleet for nearly two years. I'm not exactly sure how I advanced so fast, but I suppose my commanding officers saw something they liked.

::She squeezed his knee.::

Anderson: Hmm.

Gillian: I don't see why not, there should be more women in commanding positions. Oh well, I don't know whether I agree completely or not, I mean some women prefer to stay at home with their children when they're small then return to work afterward, but that would just be my opinion… Your parents, Karynn? What do they do? Did you live with them as a child?

::Her eyes flicked back and forth between the three at the table. She was lost. Completely and utterly lost. And frustrated that Ethan had failed to introduce who exactly these people were. She took a long swig of the liquid in her glass.::

Ehlanii: I grew up on Halii. My father was a structural engineer, my mother was a musician.

::She half wanted to ask Ethan to get her some whiskey... something stronger. But then... well, she didn't exactly know what these people would think of her if she drank down a glass of that quickly. She couldn't figure out quite why she cared though.... she just knew she did...::

Gillian: A musician!

::There was a pause. Karynn noted that the older gentleman looked up at Ethan. She, in turned, glanced at him, noticing that he wasn't even paying attention to the conversation. She sighed internally. So he was leaving her on her own on this one. Greaaaat.....::

Gillian: Well… that's certainly something. I don't think we know a lot of professional musicians, do we dear? No, I don't think so...

::It was worth a shot... she figured she'd try it out...::

Ehlanii: I don't think Ethan has told me much about you both either... Since you're getting to know me, I'd love to get to know you.

::The other woman laughed lightly. It was musical. Almost pleasant. Karynn hoped that it signaled a change in the tone of conversation.::

Gillian: There's not much to tell, at all, really. We raised two perfectly healthy boys and I went back to teaching primary education.

Anderson: Uh, aye.

Gillian: Of course, we were married when we had our first child.

::The other woman smiled at Ethan - creating a rather awkward moment, one not lost on Karynn. It seemed obvious that everyone at the table knew about Matthew. The fact that she would bring it up, in that way, told the Counselor quite a bit about the woman she was talking with. Karynn's partner looked up and inhaled deeply. All the Haliian could think was "Thank goodness he's engaging." As he set his glass back down, his hand found hers on his knee and he gave it a squeeze. Through it she could feel how awkward he felt with the situation. Well, at least she wasn't alone...::

Brice: Not everyone is nowadays.

Gillian: But, it is a tradition that is good to continue… is that something you would uphold, Karynn? Any plans on marriage or are you a staunch career woman?

::She couldn't help it. Her eyes shot open wide at the audacity of the woman. Such personal questions! She made a silent decision - deflect whenever possible until she found out who this woman was. She pasted a smile on.::

Ehlanii: I find that a well balanced life is best.

Gillian: Some women do consider children a burden though, especially in a relationship with someone who already has a young child. ::a look crossed her face:: How do you feel about that, Karynn? Are you getting along well with Matthew?

::It was all she could do to keep a shocked look off her face. She glanced at Ethan - who seemed to be oblivious again. What the hell kind of questions were these? Seriously?? Looking back at the woman, she chose her words carefully.::

Ehlanii: The last time I saw him, we got along quite well, Ma'am...

::She tossed in a more formal address - a passive-aggressive way to distance herself from the woman asking the questions. Apparently it was lost on her as she plowed on.::

Gillian: Doesn't it feel strange that he is another woman's son, which you will be taking care of? Are you ready for that kind of commitment? Have you both spoke about moving in together yet?

Ehlanii: oO That's none of your business! Oo I'm sure we'll work all of these issues out when it is appropriate for us to do so.

::She wasn't sure if she had said something to offend the other woman or she had just lost interest or she had gotten the answers she wanted... or she was about to spring another awkward question. At any rate, the older gentleman was standing up, and the older woman was looking at him.::

Gillian: Darling?

Anderson: Getting some fresh air, I should think.

Gillian: I'll join you. ::she flitted a look between Ethan and Karynn:: Excuse us. Back in a moment.

::The couple stood and the woman rubbed her hands together. It struck Karynn as an odd habit. She resisted the urge to psychoanalyze. As the older couple left arm in arm, Karynn looked at Ethan, who brushed her hand with his fingers. She stared at him as he finished off his mug of whatever he was drinking, completely baffled by what had just happened. Finally... he spoke...::

Brice: Wasn't that bad, was it?

Ehlanii: It was... I've never had an experience like it...

Brice: I didn't think meeting my parents for the first time would be that bad, really.

::Things started to click into place.::

Ehlanii: Your Parents!?!

::The question came out a little louder, and in a higher voice than she had expected or planned. It explained a lot though. The woman's tone with Ethan, her questions for Karynn...::

Brice: Yeah. Both of them.

::She shook her head, mouth slightly agape. The man really didn't realize what had happened. She lowered her voice to a harsh whisper, not wanting to cause a scene in the Irish pub.::

Ehlanii: You knew? You let me sit there, fielding awkward questions, and you knew? You could have at least told me who they were when you introduced them!

Brice: I wanted them to meet you, not the "this is my parents" you!

Ehlanii: Or you could have jumped in somewhere along the way and called her Mom... or whatever term you use...

Brice: Oh come on! ::His voice, which had been raised, lowered as he continued.:: I don't know what she was asking, I wasn't listening! I thought you would've picked up on it...

Ehlanii: I had no idea who she was. She was asking me strange, odd, and invasive questions, if not accusing ones, and I couldn't even figure out why the heck she wanted to know.

Brice: She can't have been that bad; she likes you, so she can't have been that bad.

::Karynn shook her head, still in amazement at the man. With a slight sigh, she began to realize that he just wasn't going to get it. Unfortunately, she noticed that the couple, his parents, were coming back, arm in arm. As they reached the table, his mother sat down.::

Gillian: Would you be a dear and get us all another drink? ::she looked to her son:: Ethan, go with your father.

::Karynn looked at Ethan, not sure whether to ask him to stay silently or wish that he were leaving. He squeezed her hand and stood up, following his father to the bar, leaving the two women to talk. Karynn turned her gaze back to the woman across from her, unsure of what to expect. She forced as natural a smile as possible. At least she knew who she was facing now. After the woman settled herself, she began speaking.::

Gillian: So, Commander… are you enjoying your shore leave?

::She nodded slightly. It was an entirely different tone - a fact that caught Karynn off guard a bit. She seemed suddenly... nicer. Her shoreleave had been busy so far: recovery from her injury, several meetings, and then this ambush.::

Ehlanii: It barely started, but I think so. I'm certainly looking forward to the plans I've made. What brings you and ::she paused slightly to recall a name:: Anderson here?

::She smiled genuinely.:: Gillian: We've dropped Matthew in the… day-care facility on board. Ethan mentioned you both wanted to spend some time with him and it gave us a chance to get off Earth for a change and out getting some space air, or whatever they call it.

::Karynn smiled and nodded. They had been trying for months to set up a way to see Matthew - she hadn't seen him since Rebecca had taken him from the Ronin over a year ago. Slowly her guard was dropping.::

Ehlanii: I'm glad you brought him. I've missed seeing the little guy. And I'm glad to be meeting Ethan's parents oO Even if he didn't tell me who you were. Oo

Gillian: How're things between you both?

::Karynn considered the question. At the moment, she was still frustrated with the man - but it was also beginning to sink in that his actions hadn't been entirely intentional. He hadn't meant to hang her out there to dry... Overall...?::

Ehlanii: They're good, I think. Sometimes during a busy mission we don't see each other as often as we'd like, but we've managed to carve out time for each other. We've gotten closer over the last ::she paused, realizing how long it had been...:: nearly two years.

::The situation reminded her a bit of asking Ben for his approval... but at least then he had known both of them. What woman ever measured up in the eyes of a man's mother.::

::She was so busy pondering the situation, that Gillian had placed her hand on Karynn's before the Haliian could move it. Through the connection, her fears were slightly allayed - she could feel the woman's approval. She could also sense confusion, although she couldn't determine the exact cause.::

Gillian: I do wish we had more time to get to know one another, Karynn, but I suppose we've got years for that yet.

::Karynn laid her other hand on top of the woman's. If there was one thing she could genuinely agree with, it was that she hoped they had years to get to know each other. She nodded.::

Ehlanii: I look forward to it.

::The moment of agreement between mother and girlfriend ended with the sound of clinking glasses as the men returned. Withdrawing her hands, Karynn caught Ethan's glance. As he sat, she took her drink in one hand, and placed the other one on his knee, giving it a reassuring pat.::

Anderson: Matthew needs picking up in half an hour.

:: Ethan picked up his drink from the rabble of glass on the table.:: Brice: I'll go get him, don't worry. He's probably having the time of his life with all the other kids.

Ehlanii: How long will you both be on the station?

Gillian: We'll be leaving tomorrow morning, dear. Bright and early.

Ehlanii: That's unfortunate. It would have been nice to have dinner together. Will you be returning sometime?

Anderson: Not bloody soon.

Gillian: Very soon, but we'll have to send a message about when and arrange a good time… ::she looked at the dark haired Haliian and smiled:: Anderson doesn't like flying, not that it's ever bothered me personally, but he's very against it.

Ehlanii: Do let me know. I'd love to make you all something from Halii.

Brice: Aye, you'll have to come up and spend a few days with us.

Gillian: We shall.

Ehlanii: ::raising her glass:: To new meetings and more chances to get to know one another.

Lt. Cmdr. Karynn Ehlanii
Ship's Counselor
USS Independence-A

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