((OOC: This takes place during Kivik's 6-month leave between nir posting on the USS Veritas & Amity Outpost. In this scene, PNPC Halin will be simmed by Deliera, aka Tristam Core))
((J’naii - Thorem Outpost, 2,000 km from South Pole))
As Kivik disembarked from the shuttle and felt the cold winds snapping at nir face, ne was thankful for the cold weather gear ne had outfitted nemself with before departing for Th’orem. The journey from the warm and sunny Wendaii Capital City on the planet’s populous J’naris continent to this frozen scientific outpost on the planet’s frigid southernmost landmass was a swift - but jarring - one.
Aside from the gnawing cold, a crowd of scientists had also gathered to pick up supplies carried in by the shuttle and Kivik was grateful to be protected from them as well - nir features obscured by the gear ne wore. The last thing Kivik wanted was to be recognised by some former colleague - or worse, by nir family.
Kivik moved briskly through the crowd, following the geothermally-heated passenger tarmac to the stairs which led into the massive geodesic dome that covered this portion of the outpost. ‘Outpost’ really didn’t do it justice - or so Kivik had always thought. Th’orem was a city in its own right now, albeit an experimental cobbled-together city. It had been constructed only recently, with advances in J’naii technology allowing for the construction of the massive domes that protected the scientists and their families from the harsh conditions outside.
The sight of the dome filled Kivik with an unusual mix of emotions - stirring a deep bittersweet longing. This was nir home - the place where ne had grown up, first discovered a love of science, and where ne had met Halin.
It was also the place where ne had made the decision to leave.
Pulling the neckwarmer ne wore up over nir nose, Kivik entered through the massive airlock - a synthestone and glass structure which served as the entrance to the city for up to twenty individuals at a time. The airlock allowed travellers to adjust to the dome’s internal climate and also functioned as a decontamination chamber - keeping unwanted biotics out of Th’orem outpost. Despite the climbing temperature, Kivik kept nir face covered.
Kivik stood by the window, rocking nervously back and forth on nir heels as ne stared out at nothing in particular. Despite nir best attempts to feel - or at least appear - calm and collected, the wait was excruciating. oO What will Halin say? Will ne be angry? Will we be able to talk or will it be too uncomfortable? Oo
The lab secretary returned at last. It had felt like an eternity. Kivik strode back over to the reception desk, expectantly.
Secretary: Director Halin will see you. You can go in - just stick to the designated ‘public’ areas and follow the white lines through to the inner courtyard.
Kivik: ::Sighing in relief:: Thank you. I appreciate the help.
The Secretary nodded and returned to nir work. Kivik grabbed nir things and stepped through the sliding glass doors and into the laboratory. The lab was a maze of twisting corridors linking together various frosted glass-walled cells, each peopled by scientists studying a variety of natural phenomena. Korten Institute was one of the planet’s most prestigious and technologically-advanced scientific facilities - it was also Kivik’s alma mater - and the place where nir life on J’naii had fallen apart.
Reaching the inner courtyard, Kivik found that it had barely changed. A sprawling chamber in the midst of labs and classrooms, filled with all manner of plants - local and exotic - that grew in synthestone planters which lined the pathways and gathering spaces. Above, the chamber was open to the sky - or at least, the dome far above - and a gentle breeze carried down the distant sounds of the city beyond. Ne had only just sat down on the edge of one of the planters when ne heard Halin’s familiar voice from behind.
Halin: I can hardly believe it.
Kivik: ::Standing abruptly and turning to nem:: Halin, I-
For a moment, Kivik felt as if nir voice had escaped through nir open mouth and flown away. Ne had been thinking about this moment during nir travel here, mulling over what ne would say and dreading it. All those thoughts were now gone. The silence was palpable. Ne took a deep breath and tried again.
Kivik: I- I know it’s been a long time.
Halin stared back at nem. For a moment, it felt as though ne would’ve turned and walked in the opposite direction. But nir glassy eyes focused on Kivik, unyielding in their portrayal of what might have been bitterness.
And yet… ne spoke softly as ne fidgeted.
Halin: You’ve a lot of courage returning here.
Kivik: Yes… I can’t imagine you’re very happy with me.
Kivik watched as Halin paced. Ne always did that when ne was anxious. Kivik felt an urge to reach out and take nir hand, to calm nem - an old lingering remnant of the relationship they once shared. But that was a long time ago and now the space between them, only six feet or so, felt like a hundred - far too wide a gap to reach across.
Halin: I’m not certain it’s wise of you to speculate. ::beat:: Why are you here?
Kivik: I came because I thought that you deserved the chance to say anything to me - anything you wanted to say then that you’ve been holding onto. I left on my terms and that wasn’t very fair to you. I recognise that and I’d like to make things… oO There’s no making things ‘right’ Oo … better between us. If I can.
Halin: What a thrill that must be, determining what is “fair” to me.
Kivik: That wasn’t my inte-
Halin: Need I recount your actions for you?
Heads turned to the pair as nir voice raised. Halin closed nir mouth, lips pressing together. Ne raised a hand, two fingers pointed at Kivik’s torso.
Halin: I recognise you intend to do what’s right. A small part of me even appreciates it. But your submitting to my verbal lashings does little to undo the hurt you caused me.
Kivik sighed softly, letting the staring eyes burn holes into nem. Their opinions didn’t matter. Halin’s did.
Kivik: I know. I didn’t come here to change the past. We were presented with an unfair situation and both did what we felt was right. ::A moment passed.:: oO At least ne’s talking with me. Oo I’m sorry for leaving. I can only imagine how hurt you must have felt…
Halin: “Hurt” doesn’t begin to describe it.
CONTINUED in Part 2…
Ensign Kivik (ne/nem/nir)