((Starbase 118 Ops - Holosuite))
DeVeau: Well, like I said, meditate on the four truths, striving for Nirvana, but they also care for the temple itself.
Alora paused then, wondering if Yael knew anything at all about Buddhism.
Yael: I’m a little jealous. Spending an entire lifetime in the pursuit of self reflection, or the unknowable knowledge of the universe. Or understanding something deeper of the Condition of Sentience. ::pausing:: In a more philosophical way than *we* do, of course… warping around space. ::pausing again, second guessing himself:: No laughing allowed, it’s just a romantic idea. But who can actually survive on dew and the energy of the universe?
Alora chuckled and shook her head.
DeVeau: Not me. Give me meat. Give me steak. And chocolate. I can survive on chocolate, that much I know.
Yael: Good to know. Choco-holic?
DeVeau: Oh yes, one of my favourite things - it’s the most important food group you know. What about you? What sort of things do you like to eat?
Yael: I’m actually a vegetarian. For moral reasons. But… ::he put up his hands in surrender::... no judgement for my fellow omnivores and carnivores. ::he paused and thought for a moment:: Actually, I am a fan of curries. I like about anything spicy.
He imagined she already knew that after the Hasperat they’d had earlier.
DeVeau: Oh yes, the spicier the better.
Alora was never afraid of spice - she loved it, and generally, she preferred her hasperat as spicy as the native Bajorans did.
DeVeau: Any other vices I should know about?
Yael: Caffeine. ::pausing:: Yes, I know it’s not *technically* a food group. But it’s the Energy of the Universe
DeVeau: I have a feeling quite a few people would agree with you.
Caffeine had never really affected Alora. While she hated coffee, at least the flavour, she’d had other drinks with caffeine with them, but never had they helped her stay awake, or kept her awake at night. Her physiology was just weird.
Yael: The poor monks probably had to get along on porridge and summer vegetables. Doesn’t it snow here?
DeVeau: It does, but it’s not usually much, nor does it usually stick. It’s lovely when it does snow, though. Would you like to see?
Yael: Oh. Absolutely.
DeVeau: Computer, shift program to the wintertime.
Immediately, the computer completed. Trees, which once had been decked in a colour worthy of an emperor’s court were suddenly devoid of their tresses. In their place, white clung to the branches. The area turned into a soft, desaturated hue save for the temple, which gleamed even brighter with the change.
DeVeau: This is it’s winter coat. Don’t try to walk on the water - it never gets cold enough to support any true weight.
When he breathed now, it turned into a puff of icy air flurried in front of him. The chill in the air turned brisk and pleasant. When a gentle snow barely gripping the ground was always the nicest time just *between* the extremes of the seasons.
Yael: ::quietly:: I always preferred the winters on Earth. It’s gorgeous.
DeVeau: If you ever have the chance, I recommend seeing it in person. And more of Japan besides.
Yael: If you were sent back to Earth, is this “home” for you?
DeVeau: Not Kyoto specifically, but Japan, yes. Tokyo, the current capital. Edo was its name originally.
Yael: Do you mind if I visit your program, in the future?
DeVeau: Not a problem. I have other programs set in Japan if you ever want to explore them. They’re open to the public, so you don’t have to come here with me.
Alora did, of course, retain copies for herself. Some people liked to change holo programs, and she wanted to preserve the originals just the way she had them. Plus, if she got transferred again, it was easy to take with her if she didn’t have to download another copy.
Yael: And you were promised a trip to Alaska. ::thinking for a moment:: Computer. Change to Skagway, Alaska. The Taiya Inlet, in early October, sunset.
The scene shifted and the shadows turned long. The building around them dissipated and they were deposited in the middle of the open street, but it was almost empty. The air was cold, but still and serene. A few buildings lined the single main street of the 3 street town in a straight line, the road continuing into the mountains and curving out of sight through the trees. The other end of the road ended abruptly at the large pier, ended by a two story ferry and a view of the water.
The small city was born from mining, but now attracted tourists for the views and nature, and was smack dab at the end of the Taiya Fjord, planted between two climbing trees and snow covered mountain sides a 20 minute walk apart. The sun illuminated one mountainside, the line of the light obviously traveling upward as it set behind the mountaintop.
Yael: This time of year, there’s only about 5 hours of daylight. It’ll diminish to about 2 hours at the lowest level… but the cold is frigid that time of year.
A shiver trailed its way from head to toe as the wintery Japan gave way to wintery Alaska, but complete with air temperature to match. Alora rubbed her arms and cast a rueful grin at the counselor.
DeVeau: I am not immune, unfortunately. May I?
DeVeau: Computer, winter clothing appropriate for the current climate, please.
Immediately, they were covered in thick coats, each trimmed with faux fur. Heavy pants adorned their legs and thick boots clad their feet.
Yael: It’s a 4 hour vehicle drive through the mountainside to the nearest town, White Horse, in Canada. And a 6 hour ferry ride to Juneau.
DeVeau: Wow, that’s out there.
Yael: You definitely feel like you’re the only person in the world out here. There are only about 250 year-round residents. And they tell time by when the town bakery opens for business.
And yet, Alora could understand a certain appeal to that. To be somewhere with fewer people? Well, she could sort of understand. While she loved people and being around other people, there were occasions - if rare - where having that type of isolation could be appealing. At least, out where there were /fewer/ people, those where everyone knew everybody. She’d probably only be able to stand it for a short period of time, though. Alora really did enjoy being with others more often than not, and the Starbase was ideal for her. She’d get too lonely too quickly, not to mention it wouldn’t be the same, doing what she did, researching, finding out more about life, the universe, and everything.
DeVeau: Mmmm. A bakery.
Fresh bread, non replicated bread. Now that might be worth staying in a little town like that for a while
Yael: The mornings, when the sun is down, the loudest thing in the entire valley is the bears trying to break into the anti-bear trash recycler on the edge of town. We would take bets how quickly they would tear off major components.
Alora laughed out loud at that, the image of a bear pawing at a big tank of a recycler, desperate to get inside in order to munch on whatever it could. Strange, comical and completely fantastical images popped up of one trying with tools of all sorts, as if it were more human than animal. That was nonsense, of course, but it made for some mental amusement.
Yael: There’s a trail leading up past the stream there. ::he gestured toward an ice box converted into an apartment:: Thirty minutes up is a lake, another hour is a second lake. All glacial run-off and crystal clear. And about 25 degrees.
DeVeau: That sounds downright warm right about now.
Alora didn’t want to think what it might be at its coldest. While she could deal with it when she had to, Alora preferred warmer temperatures for the most part. Tokyo was definitely on the more temperate side, with very little snow most winters, and while it could and did get below freezing, that was also minimal compared to the snow country - which she had visited, but never for more than a few days. Snow had been a big deal when it occurred, and most of the time when it did, it rarely stuck to the ground, melting almost as soon as it hit. On the occasions when it did stay, the entire city shut down, and children took advantage of the vacation.
DeVeau: It sounds lovely...but lonely. And yet, maybe good for a chance to get away for a while. How often were you here?
Yael: On and off, since I was about seven. My mother is from here.
DeVeau: How different is it from Denobula?
Yael: Denobula is… a mixture, like Earth. Temperate, with some wild swings to the seasons.
DeVeau: Maybe someday I can visit.
Maybe Alora would take some time next shore leave and actually visit German. It would be nice to see him, and maybe it would be an encouragement to him. She’d have to look into that.
DeVeau: What sort of things would you do here, in this little town?
Yael: We mush sled dogs.
DeVeau: Really? I’ve never tried that.
Yael: In the summer we run them on dirt sleds to keep them in top shape. Then the races happen in the winter. ::pausing:: Can I give you a tour of our little town? It’ll take all of twenty minutes.
DeVeau: Not if we take our time.
Alora grinned and started down the slope toward the sleepy village.
Ensign Ashley Yael
Starbase 118 Ops
Lt. Cmdr. Alora DeVeau
Starbase 118 Ops