OOC: The shirt she gave can be seen here:
((Starbase 118 Ops - Solaris’ Quarters))
Day was done. Well, not fully done, but the work day was done. Alora’s shift was over, though she had worked a little late to sign off on some things and make sure files got sent to the proper people. After that, however, she had /plans/. A little late meant she had to hurry to get those plans put into action. Within the hour, Alora found herself in her quarters. As quickly as she could, she changed out of her uniform and into pants and a simple t-shirt, then grabbed a small, neatly wrapped package and tapped on her comm, which now was pinned to her new clothing.
DeVeau: =/\=Computer, location of Commander Solaris McLaren.=/\=
Computer: =/\=Commander McLaren is in her quarters.=/\=
Perfect. That meant Alora didn’t have to go hunt her down. Hopefully, she arrived before the woman left - if she had plans, which considering what day it was, was very possible. Catching the next turbo lift, Alora made her way to the commercial sector, hopping off the internal transit and jogging over to a little shop that specialised in certain baked goods. A few minutes later, she’d left, hopped back on, rode to the stop that was the closest to Solaris’ quarters. A few minutes later, Alora found herself above a bar and, after checking with the computer to be sure the other woman hadn’t gone somewhere else, she pushed the button to let the intelligence officer know someone had arrived.
Most days off resulted in Sol spending her time out on walks or reading one of the many times she owned. This particular day was no different, which made the door chime going off all the more confusing.
Sol set her book down, hauling herself up out of her chair. She was dressed casually, in a nice simple dress. She pulled the door open, surprised to find Alora at her door.
McLaren: Hey, Alora. What’s up?
Immediately, Alora lifted her arms above her head, package in one hand, box in the other, though careful not to drop either.
DeVeau: Happy birthday!
Sol blinked. Was it? She looked back and glanced at one of her terminals. It was. She turned back to Alora, before stepping aside to allow her entrance.
McLaren: Oh… thanks.
Solaris didn’t look particularly happy. For Alora and her family, birthdays were a time of celebration, a time to enjoy the person and be grateful for their presence, grateful that they were a part of the world, of the universe.
McLaren: I don’t normally tell people… I'm surprised you knew.
DeVeau: Well….I may have peeked at your file.
That’s how Alora had found out about all the birthdays of those whom she worked. She had read up on everyone after meeting them for the first time, and then made notations of birthdays. She liked remembering people. She liked celebrating them.
Sol led her into the apartment proper, offering her a seat. The apartment was cozy, with a nice living area that let plenty of light in and had a long balcony that wrapped around the building. A kitchen was nearer the door and both an office and bedroom were further into the apartment, opposite the door.
Alora set both packages down on a table. The first one, she undid, revealing a cake covered in white frosting and decorated with blue and yellow flowers. Taped to the side were four candles, which Alora undid, then set each into the cake.
DeVeau: I didn’t know what flavours you like, so I went with plain vanilla.
McLaren: That's fine.
Pulling out a lighter from her pocket, she lit each candle, one after the other, then stood back.
DeVeau: Make a wish!
Sol took a moment, then blew out the candles.
DeVeau: Want me to sing to you?
McLaren: No, that's ok.
Alora laughed, then turned and motioned toward the kitchen.
DeVeau: If I may?
DeVeau: So you haven’t done /anything/ for your birthday?
DeVeau: Why not?
McLaren: After a certain point, it's really just another day. I’ll talk with my parents later, but other than that, I didn't plan to do anything.
That was kind of sad. Alora thought it was nice to celebrate people, to celebrate their birth. Each individual was unique, special, and without that individual, the universe truly wouldn’t be the same.
DeVeau: That doesn’t sound like much fun.
McLaren: Don’t get me wrong… I appreciate the thought… but I've never liked being the center of attention.
DeVeau: Well, maybe not, but a day like today is to celebrate the awesomeness of you.
After opening a couple of drawers, Alora found cutlery and plates. She took two small ones, two forks, and a knife then moved back over to the table. Sitting down in a chair, she carefully sliced a rather large piece of the cake, put it on one plate, then passed it to Solaris. A second was cut, about half the size and Alora picked up her fork and leaned back to enjoy it.
DeVeau: Now give me a good reason why you shouldn’t be celebrated.
Sol took a bite of the cake.
McLaren: I'm really not all that special, Alora.
DeVeau: Not convincing. Everyone is special. You’re special. Come on, why don’t we go out and do something, even if it’s just to walk around and enjoy the sights, walk down the beach. Oh! We could make a sand castle!
Sol tried to imagine herself building a sand castle, but couldnt see it. She shook her head.
McLaren: Really, Alora… I'd much prefer to just spend the day like a normal day.
Alora wasn’t really surprised by the rejection. Sand sculptures weren't exactly a ‘grown up’ activity - and it seemed she was in the minority of those who actually enjoyed making them. Still, maybe there were other options, something Solaris /would/ enjoy.
DeVeau: Isn’t there anything special you’d like to do?
McLaren: I'm far more comfortable spending a day at home than going out to do anything anyway. :: Not that she didn't go out, but it was hardly her first choice. ::
DeVeau: So...would you like to do something fun here? Or just have me leave you alone?
At least Alora had been able to bring her cake. That was something. Something to show Solaris that /someone/ thought she was special.
Sol tilted her head to the side. It would be rude to just ask Alora to leave, especially after she had been so considerate. She took another bite of the cake, using it to buy herself just a bit of time to consider.
McLaren: I don't know….
DeVeau: Well...why don’t you open your gift first. It’s not much, and I wasn’t sure what you’d like, but...well, I hope you like this.
The gift wasn’t particularly big, the box wrapped in shiny kelly green with a golden bow. Alora ate off of her cake while she waited for Solaris to open it. Inside, folded up, was a dark grey t-shirt with a simple outline of a trombone in white, words beneath telling the world to ‘let it slide’.
Sol accepted the gift, unwrapping it. She held up the shirt looking at it. It likely wasn't something she would ever wear, not really being her style. It was times like this where she was grateful for her training as an Intelligence operative. In the span of the second she had looked at the shirt she processed it all and then smiled.
McLaren: Thank you!
And there it was, that smile that was polite, but it didn’t particularly carry any sort of excitement. Alora had taken a chance, and it had fallen flat. If she’d known Solaris longer, maybe she would have known what sort of things she liked better - but all she knew was that the woman was intelligent, capable, and a musician. A shirt was a small thing, and for some people it might have been well received, but she could tell that wasn’t the case with Solaris.
McLaren: It's very thoughtful.
Which pretty much confirmed the idea that it wasn’t a present she really would have liked. Oh Alora had no doubt the intelligence officer appreciated it, but appreciating a gift and liking it were two different things. Alora wanted her to like what she was given, not simply accept it because someone gave it to her. It was just motivation to spend more time with her, get to know her better, figure out what made Solaris tick.
DeVeau: Is the cake okay?
Sol nodded. It actually was. She didn't normally eat it, but she did enjoy it occasionally.
McLaren: It is.
DeVeau: You sure you don’t want to do something? Could watch a movie - do you like movies?
Sol had to give it to Alora. She was persistent.
McLaren: Not really… :: Sol bit back a sigh, feeling a bit bad that Alora had gone through so much effort for her. :: I could give it a try I guess…
DeVeau: Well, what would you think you’d enjoy watching?
McLaren: I don't know… you pick…
Her pick. The thing was, Alora had already failed in doing something that Solaris would enjoy. What sort of movie would she like? There was a brief moment of silence as Alora pondered that question. What did she know about the woman? Not much. She was a musician, that was true, but there was more to her than that. She was an Intelligence officer. Maybe she should swing that way.
DeVeau: There’s this really old film that’s just excellent in my opinion. It was directed by a guy who was famous during his time, Alfred Hitchcock. It’s called “North by Northwest”, Want to give it a shot?
DeVeau: Great. I hope you like it.
And, Alora hoped, that her attempt hadn’t been a complete disaster.
Lt. Commander Solaris McLaren
Director of Intelligence
Starbase 118 Ops
Lt. Commander Alora DeVeau
Chief Science Officer
Starbase 118 Ops