Fleet Captain Kells & Lt. Cmdr. DeVeau - "I'm Alive"

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Amanda Nordstrom

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Sep 24, 2020, 10:38:56 PM9/24/20
to StarBase 118 Ops – UFOP: StarBase 118
((Starbase 118 Ops - Alora’s Quarters))

Alora had been settled in a while, and had made calls to all her friends
that she hadn’t touched base with in the past year.  All but one.  That
last one was a certain Aron Kells, who she found out, had managed to get
himself made into a FLEET Captain - which made her squeal in delight. 
Of course, she was just going to /have/ to congratulate him.  That was,
if she could get a hold of him.  Many attempts had been made, though
those attempts had been stalled due to the mission.  Now that it was
over, she could try again.

During the course of her year away, Alora had put her and Aron’s most
trusted administrator in charge of their joint business. She had, of
course, touched base with T’Lia about their venture. The Vulcan had
certainly kept things well in hand, and Alora was grateful that she’d
had such a fantastic person at the helm during her absence. Since then,
an opportunity had come up, and that made two reasons Alora wanted to
touch base with Aron.  The biggest one, though, was that she missed her
friend.

As soon as she got the chance after the mission, Alora attempted another
call.  There was a delay, and she wondered if it would once again be in
vain.  Suddenly, his image appeared on the screen and she immediately
broke into a brilliant smile.

DeVeau: Hello stranger!

Kells: Alora?

Aron couldn’t believe his eyes. The computer had given him the origin of
the comm call -- and he’d wondered who he knew on Starbase 118 these
days, a decade after he’d last served there -- but now that he was
presented with his caller’s identity, he didn’t trust his senses.

She held her hands out to her side, ‘presenting’ herself to him.

DeVeau: I’m alive!

Kells: You’re alive! And also calling me!

His initial shock hadn’t worn off, and he found his mouth hanging open.

DeVeau: I’ve been trying to get a hold of you!   How are you?

He gave himself a mental shake. It was Alora. He started to settle into
the reality that he was, in fact, talking to Alora.

Kells: Oh, I’ve been keeping well. Captaining again, if you can believe
it, after the Invicta.

He winked, sure that she’d remember all the pomp that had gone into that
particular assignment.

DeVeau: I heard about that, congratulations!  And I’m not surprised. 
You are a fantastic captain.

Kells: (with a smile) That’s really kind of you to say. I do alright, I
guess.

He felt his face heating. He wasn’t trying to fish for compliments,
really -- as Del had so recently demonstrated, Aron was not the best at
remaining humble. He preferred to talk about his accomplishments as
accomplished facts, not because they stroked his ego. But humility, he
thought, was often a delicate balance to strike.

Even as he became lost in his thoughts for a moment, Alora’s words
echoed. “I’m alive!” He looked into her eyes (or the representation of
the same on his monitor) with concern is his own.

Kells: Alora, should I be concerned that you needed to clarify that you
were alive?

Alora hadn’t even thought about it.  The words were so often flung out
nonchalantly, that it wasn’t until Aron seemed to put some weight into
them that she realised how...accurate they were. Immediately, her smile
faded, and she wished she could go back and time and rephrase what she
had said.  Even though she didn’t verbally answer him, Aron seemed to
realise that, yes, there was more there.

Kells: Well, you’re also on Starbase 118, which is a good start. Let’s
work backwards from there.

He leaned forward with his chin on his hands, eager to hear what she’d
been up to -- and hoping that it hadn’t been too dangerous.

DeVeau: Well.

Alora cleared her throat.  Where should she start?  She managed to get
her smile back into place, but she knew the light that had been there
before had faded.  She glanced away, uncertain what to say.  Start from
there...start from where she was.  That was safe enough.

DeVeau: I’m on Starbase 118.  A little disappointing because you aren’t
my captain, but Captain Taybrim seems really nice. I’ve...not really
gotten much of a chance to interact beyond reporting to him for duty and
during our most recent mission - and my first.  Ah, yes, that was
interesting.  We ran into the Nimitz.

Kells: (shocked) You did? (beat) Not the same--?

His mouth snapped shut. She would remember as well as he did.

DeVeau: Yep.  That one.  The borg there...they weren’t like the borg we
see in the cubes.

Kells: What do you mean?

DeVeau: They were sort of focused on…’healing’.  But their version of
healing was basically assimilating so…

Kells: What did they do?

Shocked and appalled though he was, Aron also found himself fascinated.
The Borg didn’t “heal,” not in the biological sense, or at least not
without a good reason. At least, not as he understood it.

DeVeau: They were basically trying to assimilate any ship they found
that had some sort of...distress, usually involving illness or
something.  This one was a medical freighter carrying medical supplies. 
It was attacked and had to flee /into/ the Romulan neutral zone.

Kells: But what was the Nimitz even doing there?

DeVeau: From what we can gather, it’s just been going around,
assimilating into its stand alone collective, but they called it ‘healing’.

Again he was shocked, but he tried a small smile to lighten the mood.

Kells: So it’s been business as usual for you back in the fleet, has it?
You haven’t been able to escape the past at all! (beat, grin) I’m
surprised you even wanted to talk to me after all that!

Alora clicked her tongue.

DeVeau: You’re getting your missions mixed up, Aron.  The Mercury
encountered the Nimitz over a year before I was assigned there.  I got
drop kicked in the middle of the mission to 83 Leonis. Remember? 
Saveron disobeyed orders.  You assigned me with the task to see if the
aliens were related to a previous race that had been warp capable.

Kells: Have you talked to anyone else from the old days?

DeVeau: Some.  I contacted Raissa and Chythar before the mission. They
actually answer their calls.

Alora’s eyes gleamed.  She wasn’t /really/ made at him.  Aron Kells was
a Fleet Captain and extremely busy.  She knew he couldn’t be blamed,
which made her all the more grateful that he’d taken the time to answer
her most recent call.  That didn’t mean she wasn’t going to tease him
about it though.

DeVeau: But from the Mercury?  No.  I haven’t. Not for a long time -
except for you, of course.

Kells: (with a smile) Current company excepted, of course. (beat) But I
don’t either these days. When Del was on Veritas, I saw Roshanara and
Blake and Raissa and Evan Delano and the rest serving there, but Thor is
a whole different crew now. So it’s just you!

His smile widened, but he felt a small pang as he spoke, too. Was it
true that he hadn’t talked to anyone from those days for months? Yes,
and unfortunately. But that was the nature of Starfleet, wasn’t it?

DeVeau: I’m glad I’m so loved.

Alora paused, sighing softly.

DeVeau: Unfortunately, I don’t have any of my really close friends here.

There was another pause before she added quietly.

DeVeau: I really wish /you/ were here.

Or she was there.  Or somehow they could be in the same room at the same
time.

Kells: And I wish you were here. Listen, though, this has happened
before. I’m sure we will end up serving together in the future, even if
it’s not right away.

He didn’t understand.  It wasn’t just serving together.  Oh, Alora would
have /adored/ having him as her captain again, but she had been placed
on OPs.  In such a short time, it had become home, and she couldn’t
imagine leaving it.  At the same time, she was struggling, and while
Raymond was helping, what she really needed was her brother in heart
there with her.  Yet, trying to communicate that to him  -  she
struggled with that as well.  She didn’t want to upset him, didn’t want
him to feel bad.  She just wished, somehow, distance wasn’t a factor.

DeVeau: Yeah. ::Her words were soft as she attempted to keep the ripple
of emotion out of them.::  I hope so.

Kells: Well, and being a fleet captain has some perks.

He gave her a wicked smile. She knew him better than to take him
seriously, but he still laughed to show he was joking.

His expression and laughter helped to push away the desire to cry and
spurred a smile to take its place.
DeVeau: Okay, Aron, what’s going through that mind of yours?

Kells: I suppose I could show up at Starbase 118 with a taskforce and
insist that Captain Taybrim hand you over. (beat) But I was thinking
that I might just put in for your transfer.

That made Alora pause.  A transfer.  She could transfer.  How tempting
it was, but the gut wrenching feeling that no, that wasn’t the right
decision made her stomach twist.  Such a notion didn’t happen often, but
there were times when something was...off.  Didn’t feel right.  Wouldn’t
be right.  It caused a reaction that was far too palpable to ignore.  No
matter how much she wanted to be with someone she cared so much about -
and oh she wanted that so badly - something was telling her no. 
Something was telling her that her place was there, on Ops.  Why?  She
had no idea, but she had long ago learned to trust that feeling.

DeVeau: I would love that, Aron but...for some reason, I feel like I’m
supposed to be here.

She knew it didn’t make sense, and it didn’t help that Alora couldn’t
really /explain/ why she felt that way.  Some might indicate it was some
sort of premonition or telepathic ability, but no.  There really was
just no explanation behind it - it just was.

Kells: No, no, I never would, not without your consent. Besides, I’m
sure even the Thor’s facilities couldn’t compare to a starbase’s. (beat,
then another smile) I don’t recall exactly, but I expect you could have
entire decks devoted to plants there, as opposed to one measly lab or
arboretum here.

DeVeau:  True.  I have to admit, those very attractive qualities about
the station.  Be careful, I might start growing so many more plants that
I send you a dozen way out on the Thor.  Better make room.

Aron laughed.

Kells: I’ll keep that in mind. (beat) And speaking of, do you remember
that time? With the giant plants?

Alora winced.  She’d come a long way since her experience with the
Kindred.  She no longer felt like she was responsible.  It had been
them, not her, that had taken control and caused the pain and havoc. 
That didn’t mean she found the memory particularly pleasant.  In
addition, that pain had also been replaced by something far worse.

DeVeau: I’ll never forget.  Be careful, I might send more giant plants
your way, turn your quarters into a greenhouse.  They’ll be nice ones,
though.

She was not going to have a repeat of the Garuda.

DeVeau: Anyway.  ::There were other topics she’d rather talk about.:: 
So when are you going to come visit me?

Kells: As soon as I can! You know, Starbase 118 does see a fair bit of
traffic, and I’m sure that I could find a way to take a mission around
there.

DeVeau: You did say being a Fleet Captain has perks.  Isn’t that one of
them?  I suppose I could request to come visit you.

Kells: You could, and that would be amazing! But if you can’t, I do
think I can make a visit to Starbase 118 work.

In fact, Aron thought that the Thor and her crew would be due for some
time back in the heart of Federation space -- or nearer the heart than
they were just then, anyway -- after being trapped in slipstream.

DeVeau: Really?  That would be...oh Aron that would be wonderful.

Alora barely managed to keep the ripple out of her voice.  The smile on
her face brightened at the thought of seeing him again - in the flesh. 
A holographic interaction over space might be the next best thing, but
the knowledge that the person wasn’t actually /there/, that what she was
seeing and feeling was an illusion, it wasn’t the same when you just
needed the actual person there, no matter how realistic it was. 
Especially when the rest of reality seemed hell bent on throwing
everything at you and then some.

Kells: We’re all the way out at Deep Space 9 now, and our next mission
will take us through the Bajoran Wormhole and into the Gamma Quadrant.
But after that…?

Then, he thought, he might be able to pull some strings.

DeVeau: After that.  After that, I hope we can see each other in person.

In person.  In the flesh.  She needed that.

Kells: Oh, and I just remembered, I received your gift.

Aron’s words made Alora pause.  For a moment, she wracked her brain,
trying to sift through what in the world he was talking about.  Yes, she
had sent some gifts out - one in particular to Nara who had managed to
escape years of working with Alora without receiving an African Violet. 
After returning to duty, that had dawned upon the science officer, and
she had sent one to remedy it.  But Aron...Aron had already had a couple
that, hopefully, had survived whatever the Thor had gone through, but
she didn’t remember sending him any more…

DeVeau: Gift?

Kells: (with a grin) The one you sent along with Geoff Teller. You’re
sneaky, madam. And I think you thoroughly embarrassed him.

Aron, however, had appreciated the gesture -- and he was sure that Geoff
had been happy as the medium in the exchange. He just hoped that he
would get the opportunity to see Alora in person, and sooner rather than
later.

Alora’s eyes brightened and she laughed.

DeVeau:  Oh yes!  /That/ gift!  Be warned, Aron, I may send more, and
I’ll use Geoff if I have too.  Though….I’d much rather give them myself.

Kells: (with a smile) Me, too. It’ll happen soon, trust me.

DeVeau: Promise?

Kells: I do. Before the year ends.

And, he realized, they were on to 2398. It was very strange to think
that the new century was almost there. What would it be like to no
longer live in the 24th century?

DeVeau: Then it’s a date.

A date without a specific date, but sometime in the future, and Alora
would be looking forward to it.

Kells: Listen, Alora, I could talk, probably forever, (beat) but this
mission awaits, and I have to get the Thor out of drydock and ready to go.

DeVeau: I’m sure you do. No rest for a fleet captain, huh?

Kells: Well, too much recently, if I’m honest.

Between his time on the Tharsis when the Thor’s crew was in trouble, and
the repairs at Deep Space 9, Aron was feeling like he’d been cooling his
heels for too long -- for the first time in a long time. He was ready to
get back out to the Thor’s mission of exploration.

Kells: But we’re about to get back to it.

DeVeau: All right.  I suppose I’ll let you go then.

Alora paused, taking a deep breath and letting it out slowly.  It had
felt so good to talk to him, even if it was only for a few moments. 
Still, there was that shimmer of hope, that she would get to actually
/be/ with him, if only for a little while, sometime soon.

DeVeau: Call me again when you’re free.  Okay?  I’ve...I’ve missed you. 
A lot.

More than he’d ever realise.

Kells: And I you. I will. Don’t worry, I’m only a monitor away...

Alora watched as the screen went blank.  Soon. Hopefully.  If not in
person, then maybe at least in this venue.  It was better than no
contact at all.  With a sigh, she pushed herself to her feet. Time to
get busy.

******

Fleet Captain Aron Kells
Commanding Officer
USS Thor
V238208LV0
&
SB118 Captains Council Magistrate (so ask me anything!)
he/him/his (character & player)

&

Lt. Cmdr. Alora DeVeau
Science Officer
Starbase 118 Ops
M239008AD0

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