SIM:LtJG Ayelet Kadosh: Old Friends
Author's Note: The original sim "Old Friends" is available here. Below is an edited version that compiles the complete scene as told through additional sims by both the writer for Marine medic/pilot Seargent Zeet "Knight" Tidari and myself.
The events in this SIM occurred on stardate 238805.01.
((Medical Lab, Sickbay, USS Independence-A ))
::The small crowd around Ms. Whale dispersed upon Dr. Sampi's orders, and Nurse Ayelet Kadosh and Sergeant Zeet Tidari went off together to the medical lab where the nurse had been working.::
Kadosh: That certainly made the night interesting...
::As Ayelet moved back to the desk, stacking the remaining samples left to categorize, Zeet gave a wry chuckle. He seemed distracted.::
Zeet: ... so, hey, um. Sorry about...
::Ayelet looked up from her work with a puzzled look until the Caitian made a swatting motion. Ah, so he remembered...::
Zeet: ... you know. That night we all got very, very-...
::Ayelet wasn't sure exactly how far she should let him dig himself into a hole. While it was certainly amusing watching the man backpedal, she didn't want to be cruel. As the man tried to explain, he chuckled. Perhaps out of nervousness, Ayelet wondered.::
Zeet: Well, let's just say I had a lot more to drink than I probably should have.
Kadosh: Oh, and here I just assumed it was a... "marine thing." The ones I knew on DS17 seemed to enjoy showing their camaraderie amongst each other through that and other crude ways. Just one of those..."manly" things you men like to do, right?
::She tried to say it with a straight face, but was unsuccessful. The Caitian snickered back, shrugging his shoulders.::
Zeet: Eh, well, anyway. I just wanted to say sorry for it all.
::After letting a final giggle escape, Ayelet took a sharp breath in.::
Kadosh: I appreciate your thoughtfulness. I'll be sure to keep a closer eye on how much you drink next time...
::She tilted her head slightly and raised an eyebrow.::
Kadosh: Now you better not be thinking that just because you've made me aware formally about alcohol's effects on your inhibitions that you then have a free pass to try again. Ahem.
::Her look of seriousness soon fell to a playful smile.::
::The Caitian man gave a broad grin.::
Zeet: I'd never dream of such a thing... uhh, from now on.
::He did his best impression of a faux-innocent whistle.::
Kadosh: Hmmmm...my honorable knight, indeed.
Zeet: I'm your knight in shining armour, ma'am... but I agree it could use a little polish.
::Still grinning, Ayelet returned her attention downward to the samples on the desk. She removed the markers from each sample as she worked through the pile.::
Kadosh: Truthfully, I should thank you for accompanying me that night. It had started rather rough, unfortunately...
::Tidari nodded, bobbing his black head.::
Zeet: Given how much you'd had to drink, well, I figured something like that had happened.
Zeet: Not too bad, was it?
Kadosh: Just revisiting old friends... unfortunately, sometimes the people who can hurt you the most are the ones closest to you.
(( Four years ago, outside Huah Tidari's Shared Quarters, USS Iowa ))
::Cancelling his leave a week early, Marine Private First Class Zeet walked up to the door to the quarters he and his mate shared, a bouquet of flowers in his hand. A surprise for his mate, to be certain, but the surprise was his when the door didn't open as he approached. ::
Zeet: Computer, open door.
Computer: Unable to comply. Door is currently locked.
:: Who had locked the door to he and his mate's quarters? Frowning, the Marine put his hands on his hips. The flowers dripped water onto the deck. ::
Zeet: On who's authority?
Computer: Marine Private First Class Rawel Crawde.
:: Rawel? Caali's best friend? What was he doing locking their door? ::
Zeet: Computer, unlock the door. Security override Zeet Tidari, Alpha zero zero zero zero.
:: Tidari was never really good with complicated passwords. If it wasn't super simple, he would just forget it. The door slid open. Zeet barely had to look for a second to see two forms asleep in his mate's bed. One was Rawel, by his scent, and the other... well, that was equally easy to tell. ::
:: He stepped back, letting the door close. Hours later, he'd filed for transfer. A week or two spent sleeping on a friend's floor, and then he was on a long-range shuttle to Deep Space 17, to join the crew of the Kumari... ::
(( Flashback ends ))
Zeet: I wouldn't know.
:: He smiled. ::
Zeet: I hope things got better...?
Kadosh: Hmmm... it's all good now. ::She looked back up at the marine briefly and flashed another smile.:: We kissed and made up.
::She was only half-joking.::
:: Zeet wasn't sure how serious she was, but at least she was in a good mood. ::
Zeet: Well, then everything worked out grand!
Kadosh: But anyway, speaking of old friends, what about yourself? I saw you come in the other day with Lt. Tan when he went to say goodbye on Tenzin's last day. You were both stationed together before the Independence, right?
Zeet: We were, on Devenon IV. I was assigned there from the Marines on the Kumari, but Tan was there voluntarily. Mad bastard.
::Ayelet paused her work.::
Kadosh: I see...
Zeet: I was set to guard the Vaadwaur, which was interesting in and of itself. They proved to be a pretty... uncooperative bunch, but eventually Turner, Tallis and Tan won them around. Kinda. There were still plenty of fights between the Marines and the Vaadwaur, but... well, fortunately, not too many. Fortunately when our Captain called Alleran back, I figured I couldn't let that spotted idiot go without me to watch out for him, so I went with.
:: A broad grin. ::
Kadosh: Sounds like it was...um...
::Now Ayelet was struggling to find the right words. If Starfleet had ordered her to Devinon V, she wasn't sure if she'd been able to help the Vaadwaur so quickly after she had seen them bring so much death and misery to her friends and colleagues on DS17.
No, that's not right; she did know the answer to that question. She would have refused. Fortunate, then, that Starfleet hadn't given her those orders.
A brief feeling of shame crossed Ayelet's mind. She knew it was wrong to have such prejudices, but she couldn't help it. She couldn't forgive the Vaadwaur just yet.::
((Flashback: Deep Space 17, SD 238708.23 - Day 70 of the Vaadwaur Occupation))
::Marine-turned-insurgent Jennifer Brockton wiped the tears from her eyes with her prosthetic arms, her knees drawn up against her chest. She sat in one of the rooms in the lower decks, acting as watchman after the Vaadwaur had stepped up their patrols. The insurgency, led by then-Lieutenant JG Msafiri Bakari, was able to hide from internal sensors by some technological trickery she didn't really understand. Thus, the Vaadwaur were forced to hunt them down on foot.
Lately, they were getting better at it.
Jennifer sat alone, quietly crying her brown eyes out. Alone... or so she thought.::
Kadosh: Dinner time! I hope you're hungry for-
::Ayelet nearly dropped the tray of food as she looked down at the barrel of a Starfleet phaser rifle pointed up at her.::
Kadosh: Whoa, Jennifer! It's just me!
::Startled, Brockton dropped her phaser rifle with a clatter. Relaxing when she saw who it was, and remembering what she was thinking about, she looked away angrily.::
Brockton: Shouldn't sneak up on a Marine like that! I could have...
::She motioned at the phaser rifle, which sat laying uselessly on the ground.::
Brockton: ... could have... have... *sniff* well, you know.
::Ayelet looked at the rifle on the ground with widened eyes and gave a deep sigh of relief.::
Kadosh: Yes, I'm very thankful you didn't.
::Jennifer became quiet now, looking back to the dark corridor, avoiding meeting Ayelet's gaze.::
Brockton: We're kinda screwed, aren't we?
Kadosh: What? Come on now, we've made it this far. We just need to hold out a little longer until Starfleet can-
::Ayelet's friend gave a dismissive wave of her hand.::
Brockton: Nah, we are... we are. You know. I mean, Rais is good- he's GOOD at what he does... and when I saw him... he looked at me... in a way I've never seen it.
::Radi Rais had been a marine stationed on DS17 when the Vaadwaur attacked. Unlike many of his fellow marines who were killed during the initial battle, Rais had been captured along with Ayelet by the Vaadwaur.
But while Ayelet had simply been forced to provide medical care to the other Starfleet prisoners, the Vaadwaur had more sinister plans for Rais. Using a form of mind control technology, they had turned Ayelet's fellow prisoner--and Jennifer's lover--into a loyal soldier of the Vaadwaur.::
Brockton: We've served together for years, but... now... I didn't recognize him. Sucks, but, the worst thing? He... he recognized me, you know? He knew who I was. But... but he saw me as an enemy. Not as... not as me, but as someone he hated. He's in there... he's in there, and he just... wants me to die. He just wants to serve the Vaadwaur.
::Jennifer cried again. Ayelet placed the food tray down and sat down next to her friend with her back leaning against the wall.::
Kadosh: We'll get him back. We'll get them ALL back. We'll find a way.
Brockton: I mean, maybe it's just for the best, you know? Rais and I weren't going to be together forever... I mean, phhh. That's just... I know he SAID, but...
Kadosh: But what?
::Jennifer held up her arms. They looked fleshy and human, but they were replacements. Prosthetics.::
Brockton: When I was wounded, I lost both of these. Kidney, liver... both ovaries. I can't have any kids, you know? They're just- they're both just GONE. And... that means, well, long term... how can Rais and I ever really have a future? I mean, date, have fun, sure- but in the end... he'll want to get settled down, you know? Have some kids. And I can't... so... so- so why would he stay, you know? Why would anyone stay?
::She slammed the prosthetic hand into a bulkhead. It made dull metal-on-metal *clank*.::
Brockton: Argh! It's just not FAIR. A life... a lifetime in service, wounds, friends dead- all for what?! So my partner can hunt us down like rats and kill us?! Is that what fate's given me as my reward?!
::Her voice rose to a very uncharacteristic shriek at the end of the sentence. Ayelet put her arm around Jennifer, letting the marine's head rest against her shoulder.::
Kadosh: ::softly:: We'll get through this, Jennifer. And we'll save him, too.
::Ayelet smiled weakly as she remembered the cake Jennifer had so daringly--and in truth, a bit recklessly--obtained for the nurse's 34th birthday the previous week.::
Kadosh: Besides, you promised me a chocolate cake next year, remember? I'm holding you to it.
::Unfortunately, it was not to be. Nine days later, Jennifer would be dead.::
::Ayelet cleared her throat.::
Kadosh: ...sounds like...interesting work.
::She tried to change the subject.::
Kadosh: Perhaps you'll be participating on the upcoming away missions. Rumor has it that the ship's been ordered to help set up a colony for refugees.
:: He nodded. ::
Zeet: Heard the same thing. Don't know what the Air Group can do to help, but... I guess we'll see. I'll work with the Marines aboard, I guess, or whatever I can to help out.
Kadosh: Actually, I believe you're the last marine onboard. The DS17 marine contingent requested the medical transfer files for the Independence contingent a few days ago... guess you'll just have to find a way to make yourself useful, then.
::She smiled as he gave a loud laugh. A thought had occurred to him.::
Zeet: ... wouldn't it be funny, right, if I'm assigned to dig holes, while Tan stands guard? It'd be an interesting... uhh, switch, I guess.
Kadosh: You're good with your hands?
::He grinned. Ayelet almost laughed herself. She hadn't meant for her question to come off sounding...like that.::
Zeet: Well, I don't know. But I can only do what I can to help. We'll just see where it goes, I guess.
:: Zeet frowned slightly. ::
Zeet: To be honest, though... Romulans. Urgh. I thought the Vaadwaur were bad enough...
::Ayelet frowned as well. So perhaps she wasn't the only one with such shameful inclinations.::
Kadosh: Yeah...you've had some bad experiences with them?
:: He shrugged. ::
Zeet: I dunno, just, well, everyone knows they're villains, right? They can't be trusted.
Kadosh: I... I don't know if I would call them villains. I don't think the universe is so easily divided between good and evil. Yes, there certainly are those on either spectrum, but I suspect most of us are just victims of where fate puts us...not that understanding any of this makes it any easier when we've been placed on opposing sides. I don't think I'd have been able to do what you did for the Vaadwaur...because of my own prejudices unfortunately.
:: The nurse paused for a moment. ::
Kadosh:: War is tragedy. Even the supposedly "good ones" like the Dominion War. I remember reading an article once reflecting on the anniversary of the war's end. The journalist quoted his grandfather, who said you'd think in a universe filled with infinite wonders, there'd be more than enough room for everyone to live peacefully.
Kadosh: Just a few centuries ago, you could find humans killing each other over a few square kilometers of rock. When we ventured into the stars, we thought we had changed, but maybe it's just the scale that's changed. Maybe there just never will be enough room.
Lieutenant JG Ayelet Kadosh
with contributions from the writer for Zeet "Knight" Tidari and Alleran Tan