SIM:Nadira, Chapter 4
The events in this SIM occurred in 2397. The SIM was originally posted on 5 May 2020 (stardate 239705.05).
((Outside Guest Suite, Kaitaama Palace, Krios Prime))
Jatann, the Kriosian royal staff member who’d successfully found the missing metamorph Nadira after 35 years, noted the beautiful spring day that could be seen from the open walkways of the palace leading to the guest suites. When he was a child, of course, this area had been strictly off limits, the palace walls rising like a fortress. Now, it represented something else entirely.
As he walked towards the guest suite doors, he looked over to see someone else from his childhood besides Nadira, the headmaster of the royal school for metamorphs: Sana. The stern-looking woman in her late 70s had changed remarkably very little in the decades that had passed, and even when he’d broken the news to her that they’d confirmed the match through medical records, the headmaster never broke so much as a smile.
Of course, Jatann remembered still to this day how upset Sana had been that morning when the school staff had discovered Nadira’s abduction from the homeworld.
Jatann: Headmaster, you must remember she knows very little of our ways.
Sana: And what does she know?
Jatann: From what I understand, just whatever’s been entered in the Federation databases. And we both know how inaccurate those are.
He smirked slightly as they arrived at the doors to the suite.
Sana: ...it’ll do for now.
The doors parted, and the two royal staff members were greeted by the sight of a Kriosian in a Starfleet uniform holding hands with some sort of alien. [Sana’s thoughts/narration]
Jatann recognized Nadira’s companion, a Rodulan engineer named Tristam Core. Core had been there on Earth with her human guardians when Jatann had tracked her down. The male metamorph clasped his hands together and gave a warm smile.
Jatann: Roshanara, it’s good to see you again. ::He carefully enunciated the strange pronunciation of her human name before looking over at her companion.:: And you as well, Mr. Core.
Black Rodulan orbs cringed a little in his place standing behind Roshanara’s shoulder.
Core: ...actually my title is “Daneil” Core outside of Starfleet.
Rahman: We’ve been waiting for several hours now.
Jatann nodded before gesturing to the older woman next to him.
Jatann: My apologies, but it was very important that I made sure Headmaster Sana could come see-
But the Headmaster interrupted as she stepped forward, as if inspecting the Starfleet captain. The older Kriosian didn’t hide how appalled she was at the sight before her.
Sana: What’s wrong with your face?
Roshanara stepped back as Sana leaned in, studying the scarring.
Rahman: I beg your pardon?
Sana: Your face. I demand to know what you’ve done to it.
Core: What she’s- What?
Years ago, Roshanara would have hidden the scars her exposure to plasma coolant aboard the USS Tempest had left her with to avoid the kind of questions and stares she was getting now, but she’d since come to wear them unashamedly. They were marks to be seen just as proudly as any service medal on her dress uniform, a testament to her service to Starfleet and the Federation, and if this woman couldn’t see that, then to Hell with her.
Jatann could sense the temperature drop in the room, and it wasn’t because of the weather outside.
Jatann: Headmaster, as I warned you, Captain Rahman-
Jatann: Yes, well. She suffered an injury fifteen years ago.
Sana: An injury? In battle?
Rahman: An accident.
Sana: And you’ve not repaired the damage?
The Rodulan interjected, stepping past Roshanara to be properly at her side, gesturing a hand between the two parties before the derailing conversation turned into an active trainwreck.
Core: Sorry- who are you again?
Jatann: Headmaster Sana runs the school on the grounds here that properly educate and prepare metamorphs.
Sana: Usually when they return to see us, they are still in pristine condition.
Tristam glanced to Rahman, eyes wide and wary as he sucked in a sharp breath. It wasn’t so much he was concerned for Roshanara’s wellbeing, but that he’d have to stop Roshanara from outright attacking this woman.
Or maybe it was better letting it be.
Rahman: “Condition?” Look here, Headmaster, I came here because Jatann requested that I do so--to help you end some mystery that as I understand it, is *your* fault. So if all you’re going to do is judge my “condition,” then I’m very happy to say farewell and never return again.
But the old bird beak merely looked to Tristam.
The Rodulan’s eyebrows fell, the bridge of his nose crinkling.
Core: “Well” what?
Sana: This is how she usually behaves?
Tristam gaped, looking to Roshanara for instruction. He received none -- ervami had already crossed her arms, eyes locked on the other woman.
Rahman: Why are you asking *him*?
Sana: Is he not your bonded?
Rahman: He’s my partner, if that’s what you’re asking.
Silence permeated the space between them. Sana looked to Jatann.
Jatann: Human mating customs vary across cultures, but sharing intimacy before matrimony is commonplace.
Sana: How decidedly uncivilised for a metamorph.
Jatann himself didn’t really disagree, but he also thought the Headmaster was being a bit harsh. What did she expect after all? Poor Nadira had been isolated away from her people, her customs, and an understanding of what she truly was--what she could truly become.
Of course, that was also why he’d asked her to come back to the homeworld. It would be his job in the coming days and weeks to show her.
Jatann: I’d ask that everyone here exercise a bit of patience if we can, yes? For the sake of a mutual cultural exchange and understanding?
Roshanara’s eyes remained glaring at Sana for a moment before she glanced over at Jatann. It was taking all of her Starfleet diplomatic training not to tell this Kriosian kenkt a piece of her mind. Tristam shot her a warning look because of the thought.
Rahman: Like I said, I offered to help you put this case to rest. After that, I’m leaving.
Jatann: Yes, well until it’s all settled, please enjoy the amenities of the Palace. If you would like to see other parts of the city, we can arrange that as well.
Rahman:::sarcastically:: If the rest of your people are as hospitable...
Sana: It truly depends upon your own behaviour.
Core: That’s enough. ::stepping properly between them.:: You’ve said your piece. And we’ve only just arrived. At least wait until dinner to poison the atmosphere.
Finally, the Headmaster seemed amused as she looked back over at the Rodulan.
Sana: I was wondering if you were of any worth to deserve a metamorph’s companionship.
The Rodulan narrowed his eyes -- one of the only few subtle expressions he’d made since arriving, his brow dipping ever so slightly. His silence was particularly telling, a thousand words conveyed in just the one dark look alone. First at the notion Roshanara was anything more than an object for him to own, the second being that he was unworthy himself. It left a bitter, sour taste in his mouth.
Yet he still remained silent -- possibly at the detriment to himself.
Jatann: ::clasping his hands together again:: Well, then. Dinner will be served in the main dining hall at sunset. An attendant will come to escort you both. And Roshanara, I look forward to speaking with you further tomorrow.
As the two Kriosian royal staff members turned and headed back out, Roshanara and Tristam just stared for a moment ahead as the heavy doors shut.
Now free of judgemental ears, the young Rodulan lost his temper.
Core: Pa *blest*’va kenkt.
As they walked toward the central building, past flowers and well-trimmed bushes, Jatann shook his head.
Jatann: You were quite harsh, Headmaster. She’s feeling defensive now--even defiant. That’s only going to make my job harder.
Sana: You underestimate Nadira.
The male metamorph raised a curious eyebrow.
Sana: Does she not remind you of someone?
When he failed to answer, the old woman rolled her eyes and walked away, leaving Jatann to ponder in the gardens.
Royal Staff of the Sovereign Guard
Headmaster, Royal Kriosian School for Metamorphs