((Lt DeVeau’s Quarters, USS Garuda))
::There was a problem with being officially off duty - it meant it was difficult to work out of the eyes of those who had told her to take some time off. While Alora wasn't generally the sort to leave things undone, she also wasn't a workaholic either. Usually she knew how to balance work and pleasure and still participated in activities that would keep her busy. Alora couldn't shake the guilt, especially in light of her recent findings. Upon discovering the Chief of Science working against orders, she'd been ordered, again, back to her quarters, or the holodeck, or somewhere, for rest and away from the work that waited for her. She had spent some time in the holodeck, banging against the piano in fits of frustration with pieces that sounded similar to Stravinky's 'Rite of Spring', though far more cannibalistic in nature. Eventually she'd managed to snap a string on the holographic piano, and while that could have been taken care of easily, she retreated back to her room. An attempt to contact friends had revealed that the two she leaned most heavily on, Raissa and Aron, were not available, so she flopped on the couch and attempted to read a book.::
::Her eyes absorbed every word, every syllable, but her mind couldn't rest. Her sleep had been interrupted with countless nightmares, scenes of the vines that the Kindred had controlled wrapping themselves around their unsuspecting prey. Despite the more favourable outcome, the nightmares never ended happily. Every time, she watched as friends and colleagues were crushed and strangled one by one until she was the only one left, her body still captive, the voice of the Mother chuckling low in triumph. Sometimes, it wasn't the vines that were used but her bare hands, fingers pressing into the flesh. Sometimes, the vines expanded into an organism so vast that despite the lack of air in space, they burst from the ship to swallow it whole before continuing to fly through toward some other suspecting victim. The latter had more of a fantastical quality to it and was easier to handle, but the two former were far too realistic in the wake of what had really happened, and resulted in her waking only to huddle in her bed, sniffling.::
::Even while awake, images popped into her mind, unbidden, and as she attempted to find some solace in the fantasy of a good book, her brain refused to allow her rest. Fortunately, the chime of the door tugged her out of any downward spiral and she rose even as she called the computer to allow the visitor entry.::
::The doors slid back to reveal a tall, slender form, momentarily silhouetted against the brighter corridor. Stepping inside into the dimmer lighting allowed details to resolve; the familiar angular features, grey eyes and dark hair, the flowing Vulcan robes and, over his shoulder, a familiar bulky shape; his harp case.::
::As he stepped inside the doors hissed shut behind him. One long-fingered hand rose in the ta'al, the traditional Vulcan salute.::
Saveron: Sochya, Alora.
::He spoke quietly. It had been nearly a Terran year since they had last been face to face, and although he and his friend kept in contact during his year teaching at the Starfleet Academy on Vulcan and the Vulcan Academy of Science, even he in his Vulcan logic would admit that such communication was lacking.::
::He spoke quietly, for Aron had indicated that the past weeks had not been kind to Alora. That if ever there was a time when she needed a friend, it was now.::
::At the sight of said visitor, Alora froze. The form that stood before her was one that she had wished, time and time again, would return - especially after her most recent ordeal. The face, stoic and poised had come to mind on many an occasion along with the desire to have his
comforting presence in person rather than restricted to the screen as it had been since his departure. For a moment, she wondered if, perhaps, wishful thinking had thrust her mind into creating some sort of mirage, though she managed to croak out a soft,::
::He had learned that some species did not always believe the evidence of their own senses, but then most did not have the level of control that his own people did. The tone of Alora's voice suggested more than the expected level of surprise however, there was he thought a note of disbelief.::
Saveron: That is correct.
::And still she did not seem to quite believe him. A Terran might have offered her a hand to grasp in evidence, but no Vulcan made that gesture lightly, with all that it entailed.::
Saveron: My shuttle docked this morning. ::He paused, searching for appropriate words for alien sensibilities.:: I trust that I am not interrupting you?
::Never before had Alora had to exert so much control. Her first instinct was to run and throw her arms about the neck of the tall man, draw him into a crushing hug. She even went so far as to quickly close the distance between the two of them, but stopped just before him, hands twitching as she realised such contact was not Vulcan and would not be comfortable for him. Despite that, the evidence that she was quite happy to see him was soon evident in the way her mouth spread into a wide smile that, for the first time in days, reflected in her eyes.::
::Her expression indicated that she did not find his arrival disagreeable.::
DeVeau: You’re back…
Saveron: That is the case. ::He agreed. She seemed to have some slight difficulty with the concept.::
DeVeau: I didn’t know you were coming back...you didn’t tell me.
::In fact, her last correspondence had gone unanswered where Saveron was usually prompt. She had thought that he’d simply been overly busy and would reply as soon as he possibly could. She had not expected to see him at her door.::
Saveron: The notification of transfer required immediate action; I did not have time to write initially. ::He admitted.:: On further consideration I thought that you might find the ‘surprise’ agreeable; I understand that Terrans often do.
::Unlike his own people who abhorred disorganisation and the unexpected.::
Saveron: You… are not displeased?
::He would never accuse a member of his own species of emotion, but Alora always seemed quite ready to own her own feelings.::
DeVeau: On the contrary ::she admitted::, I’m extremely, extremely pleased. You have no idea how much I wished you were here...especially after…
::She trailed off, her smile wiped clean from her face.::
::The tall Vulcan cocked his head slightly to one side, grey eyes scanning her youthful features, now suddenly devoid of the previous, pleasant expression.::
Saveron: I am here now. ::He said gently.:: Will you tell me what happened?
::He knew nothing of recent events save what he had overheard from quiet conversations. Gesturing towards the couch in silent suggestion, he set his harp case gently onto the floor.::
::As she opened her mouth, Alora inhaled simply to take a breath with which to speak. Unfortunately, what exited wasn’t a word but a sob. Once it had escaped, it was quickly followed by another. Then another. Suddenly, Alora wasn’t able to formulate a single word but rather covered her face with her hands, body trembling with every sob without even a step toward the couch. How many times had she done that the last few days? Far too many, and she had thought it was out of her system, but with the arrival of a dear friend, she suddenly found herself breaking down far too easily.::
::An emotional response. Aron had not been incorrect in his summation of Alora’s state. It was disagreeable to witness, not for the emotionality which was a common feature amongst aliens, but for what it implied about his friend’s situation.::
::There was a rustle of fabric as Saveron moved quietly past her, a few faint beeps from the replicator, and a moment later a warm mug was pushed into her hands, the scents of milk and chocolate rising in the steam. He remembered that she favoured the drink. There was the faintest, momentary touch on her arm::
Saveron: Sit with me.
::He spoke gently, moving over to perch on the couch with that familiar, slightly stiff position of one accustomed to sitting on the floor. The scent of the chocolate mingled with the smells of exotic yet familiar herbs and spices that rose from Saveron’s own mug; his usual Theris-masu. They were familiar smells, associated with conversations and music lessons past.::
Lt. Cmdr Saveron
Lt. Alora DeVeau
Chief of Science