SIM:Lieutenant Commander Karynn Ehlanii - Subsequent Shocking Surprises

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After her surprise in the briefing room, Karynn believes the shocks of the day or over. Ethan, however, has a different idea. Author's note: this is a compilation of "Shocking Surprises Shun Suspension" and "Don't Be Late".

((Briefing Room, USS Independence-A))

::As he left, she turned toward the door, now the last one in the room. There were still a number of officers gathered in the corridor, but as she slipped out quietly, there was one in particular who caught her attention. He was leaning against the wall, chewing on the inside of his cheek, and reading a PADD. Maybe he could help her sort this all out.::

Ehlanii: ::hesitantly:: Ethan?

::His smile lit up the corridor around them. There were other people there, but they seemed to be fading away. She saw him, and that's what mattered. He pushed himself off the wall and indicated to the turbolift down the hall.::

Brice: You taking a ride with me, First Officer?

::Her brow furrowed slightly as the title made her think again. He was an officer with more experience. He held a higher rank. Would he be upset? He'd been in Starfleet a lot longer than she had... And what might he feel like, having to report to her?::

Ehlanii: Are you sure you're not... upset?

Brice: No… ::grins:: I'm really proud of you.

::Her look softened a bit, and she tried to smile in response, but it didn't seem to be quite genuine. She still had way too much to sort through on this.::

Ehlanii: Thanks. ::she paused and nodded, a delayed response to his first question.:: I'd love to share a lift.

::She followed him as they weaved their way through the crowded corridor. Thankfully the others were so engrossed in their own conversation that no one stopped her. Perhaps, once she had thought this through, once it had really settled home with her, congratulations and well-wishes would make more sense. But right now, they just deepened the fog she was walking in.::

::Soon they had arrived in the lift, said their destinations, and were off. They stood in silence, Ethan thinking about something, and Karynn pondering her new position. It was simple, really, if she could just get it through her head. The Haliian trusted Captain Mar's judgement. That much was certain. And Captain Mar had judged that Commander Cody was a good officer, complete with his own appropriate decision-making skills. Enough so, that she had made him her first officer. And when Commander Cody looked at all of the officers aboard the ship, he had decided that the best person to be his own right hand was Karynn. He had said that she had earned it. So... she'd have to trust him on this one. And live up to the faith he was putting in her. A voice broke in.::

Brice: So, think this is going to be perilous? Full of adventure and intrigue?

::Finally managing, at least for a bit, to break through the fog, she smiled at the man. Whatever happened, she had Ethan, anyway.::

Ehlanii: Adventure and intrigue, perhaps. I'm hoping not perilous... although on a starship, I suppose that is never far off.::

::So what did a First Officer do? She had a few assignments. Choose an away team... she could get to that a bit later. Get the ship out of dock... that was a bit more immediate. Once she had cleared her head, she'd get to that. Talk to medical, give them assignments... that could come after getting the ship underway and before picking her team. She'd call a meeting. And then the paperwork... given the amount of paperwork she had both read and submitted as a CSO, she shuddered to think of the paperwork that would await her in her new position. So what else...::

Brice: Computer, halt turbolift.

::She looked up at him, question in her eyes.::

Ehlanii: Ethan?

::The turbolift slowed and stopped. Ethan's eyes flicked from Karynn, to the display on the wall, then to the floor. He leaned on the wall, running his hand over his face. The Haliian studied him, trying to figure out what was going on.::

Brice: We need to talk.

::Oh... that didn't sound good. She knew from both her experience as a counselor, and her experience in the past that beginning a conversation with the phrase "we need to talk" was at best... serious. She didn't like the idea of having some sort of serious talk now, but before she could really figure out what to say, she was inviting the conversation.::

Ehlanii: :: hesitantly:: About...?

Brice: I don't know; I've been thinking about… making a change.

::A change. So... non-specific. His quarters... his job... ships? Maybe he didn't like serving under her. She thought back... how had he started telling her about his transfer to the Independence? Had he said they needed to talk then? Maybe she should stop this conversation. They could have it later. But again, her mouth disagreed with her brain and the conversation continued.::

Ehlanii: ::quietly:: A change? What sort?

Brice: Just with us being in Starfleet, is this the right decision? I mean, are we going down the right road here? Anything could happen to either one of us – is that what we're willing to go through? Is it worth it? I really don't... ::he cleared his throat:: I really don't know the answer to that anymore.

::Her heart dropped to about the level of her knees. What was he saying? Her brain struggled to process it all. They faced danger, yes... but what was he saying? Whatever it was, it was taking on a decidedly unpleasant tone.::

Ehlanii: ::confused:: Ethan?

::He sighed and looked at her. She saw his jaw tighten and release, like he was setting himself to do something he didn't want to. She wanted to stop him. Whatever it was, did she really want to hear it now? No... But then again, now that this was started, she'd be dreading and wondering until it came up again. He spoke::

Brice: I want you to know that I love you, Karynn. That's all I've ever really wanted you to know. Since Ben's wedding it's just grown exponentially.

::Wait... he set his jaw, like he had to do something unpleasant... and then he told her that he loved her? What the... The woman was so confused. He ran his hand across the back of his neck.::

Brice: I just want to be... be around you all the time, it's ludicrous. ::he exhaled a laugh:: Conduct not befitting an Officer in the `Fleet… and its not like I can talk to a Counsellor about it, it'd be defeating the point quite a fair bit.

::So his love... was a bad thing? Her ridges pulled together again. She wasn't following this. Since when was love a bad thing? Sure, she wanted to see him too... and they managed to do that despite their busy schedules. What was he saying? She couldn't figure that out, much less figure out what to say to the man. He dropped his hand.::

Brice: I spoke to Ben about it and it seems there's only one solution, so we can both get on with our duties and sort this out or else I'm just going to keep feeling like this and it's not going to get any better.

::Ben? He had talked to Ben? She had talked to Ben. Ben said he liked her... well, liked that Ethan liked her. Ben wouldn't... Ethan's eyes found hers and as he looked her over, she searched his eyes and face for some hint of what he was getting at. He wasn't making any sense to her. Maybe it was her brain fog. She was still confused from the briefing? Maybe he was making sense and she was too slow to get it. She searched his face, question in her eye. He was holding a box. What did that mean? A box...::

Ehlanii: Ethan?

Brice: I've been carrying this round with me for days, it just never seemed like the right time or the right place… I don't know what you do on Halii and I haven't had the chance to check the library for culture references to do this in the right way, if there is a right way to… ::another sigh:: I can't express enough to you how much I love you, Karynn, words sort of fail me when I try so this is really the only way I can without tripping over myself.

::As he flicked the box open, with it facing her, she blinked. He loved her... he wanted to do... what was he trying to do?::

Brice: Will you marry me?

::For the second time in less than an hour, the universe screeched to a halt around the woman. Time stood still and all she could see was a man, the man she loved, holding a box with a ring. What had he said? Did he say what she thought he said? Or did she imagine that. Had he broken up with her and her brain just filled in something different? Or had he really...::

::Her mouth gaped open, much like it had in the briefing. She didn't know what he had said, much less what her response would be. It opened and closed a few times, and finally a question came out.::

Ehlanii: ::whispered:: What?

Brice: Will you, Karynn Ehlanii, allow me to marry you?

::Her mouth opened silently again, this time to inaudibly reform his words, to make sure she got them right. Tears wet the woman's eyes... but not tears of sadness. She nodded her head, still entirely speechless at the whole thing. A smile spread across her face, and in two steps she crossed to him, her arms wrapping tightly around him.::

::Looking up, she whispered - the only tone of voice she could produce.::

Ehlanii: Of course. Absolutely.

::Pulling back slightly, she found his green eyes with her own, and held them for a minute. Then, she remembered the box.::

Ehlanii: So... what's that for?

::He moved the box in question to the space between them as she stepped back slightly. She examined the ring that he removed from the box: it was silver, a pair of hands holding a heart topped with a crown. She studied the detail, admiring its complexity and beauty.::

Brice: It's an engagement ring; Humans like to mark the situation they're in with a ring to show it… well, to show they're no longer available to the world, if that makes sense.

Ehlanii: ::nodding:: So where did you get this one?

Brice: I used to have one, but it got lost on a mission when I was a JayGee. ::he smiled:: Instead, it was my mother who decided that this should be the ring for us. She would've given you hers, considering she never had a daughter and you are the closest thing now, but always good to do the new thing...

::Karynn smiled at the thought. Her first interaction with Ethan's mother had started out a bit rough, but once Karynn actually knew who the woman was, they had come to an understanding. She looked up at the man as she ran her index finger across the ring. It was hers now. She looked up, and her green eyes connected with his again.::

Ehlanii: So... do I wear it on any finger, or is there a traditional one?

::A wide smile broke out across his face, and he exhaled a short laugh. His hand took her left hand gently, and he wiggled her ring finger.::

Brice: Usually there, but wherever you like. Now you're FO, somewhere out of the way might be best.

Ehlanii: I might get a chain eventually but... ::she took the ring and slipped it on the finger he had moved:: for now, I'll wear it here.

::And then, their moment was interrupted by another voice.::

Garrick: =/\= Main Engineering to Turbolift Two, is there a problem? =/\=

Ehlanii: =/\= Everything's fine. But you can send the lift to the bridge now.=/\=

::The lift lurched and resumed its course, carrying the happy couple. Karynn snuggled closer as Ethan kissed the tip of her nose and slipped the box back into his pocket. Through his embrace she could feel his happiness, his relief, his elation. She smiled, allowing her own joy and contentment intermingle with his.::

Brice: So, feel like celebrating tonight?

::She leaned back, his hands clasped behind her back to support her, and looked up.::

Ehlanii: What about Matthew?

Brice: Andy's already offered, he's picking him up later on leaving just me and you to go and live it up for the evening.

::She stretched up and kissed his cheek.::

Ehlanii: Then, in that case, I'll meet you at Free Spirit, all dressed up. 1900 hours?

::The door began to open and she pulled away, a glimmer in her eye.::

Brice: I'll be there, shirt and cuffs.

::She stepped out of the turbolift backwards, but her gaze said it all. "Don't be late" As the doors shut she turned, a wide smile still on her face. Perhaps it wasn't the best way to start her shift on the bridge, but at this point, she didn't care. She walked around the rail and stood beside the command chair, addressing the young woman at the Helm.::

Ehlanii: Please open a comm to all Independence personnel.

Mallory: Yes, Sir.

Ehlanii: =/\= This is the Independence to all ship personnel. Please prepare for departure. Alpha shift report to your stations. =/\=

::Karynn nodded and the red-haired woman and the comm dropped.::

Lt. Cmdr. Karynn Ehlanii
First Officer
USS Independence-A

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Lt. Commander Karynn Ehlanii
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