((Starbase 118 - Captain’s Office))
DeVeau: Yes you are. Any plans?
Taybrim: I was thinking of heading down to little Risa and taking a walk on the beach at night. It’s quite lovely, you can take your shoes off and dig your toes into the warm sand.
Which was a decidedly tactile pleasure.
That did sound nice. Alora couldn’t even remember the last time she took a walk barefoot on a beach. She’d been on it when she had first arrived, but that had been brief. She hadn’t really been back long to take a stroll, much less one without shoes.
Taybrim: There’s a pleasant, relaxing peace to watching the central lake at night. Listening to the sounds of the districts in the distance and enjoying the scent of the water. ::he smiled. In some ways he was a simple person, and simple things made him happy.::
Alora leaned against the desk, studying the captain for a moment. She was always so busy, but she imagined the captain must be even more so. Of everyone on Starbase 118, he was one who probably had the smallest amount of time to himself - save, perhaps, for the fleet admiral. Captain Sal Taybrim always looked out for his people - how often did he indulge in such sweet, simple pursuits? She mused over the options, wondered if she dared to ask. Perhaps this was time he wanted just to himself. Perhaps he would resent someone attempting to take up that precious time. Yet, she hadn’t really had the opportunity to get to know him. Did she dare attempt to intrude upon that? Alora decided to take a chance.
DeVeau: Care for some company? I won’t be offended if you say ‘no’.
Sal was, first and foremost a people person. The sort that didn’t turn down an offer of companionship.
DeVeau: You sure?
Taybrim: Completely sure ::he gave an encouraging smile.:: We even had a lift ready ::he gestured to the one tucked at the back of the room. The vaunted not-so-secret Captain’s lift.::
Alora’s face brightened with her smile, the light reflected in her eyes. She pushed herself to her feet, glad that the Captain was going to take some time to relax, and honoured that he was willing to do so with her. It would afford her an opportunity to get to know him better.
DeVeau: Then by all means, let’s go.
Alora waited until the captain joined her on the other side of his desk, then allowed him to lead her out the door. As they approached, the turbolift opened immediately, as if it had just been waiting for their arrival. Inside, the gentle hum was the only indication that they were moving, and Alora glanced up at the ceiling, then over at her companion.
DeVeau: Have you ever actually been to the original Risa?
Taybrim: Yes, once on a diplomatic mission. ::he thought back with a smile.:: It was business mostly but it was just long enough to see the wonders of the place. ::he turned towards her:: Have you been there?
DeVeau: I haven’t yet, though I hear it’s beautiful. What we have here is beautiful.
Taybrim: They are both beautiful in their own ways. LIttle Risa was a labor of love, authentic not in its specificity, but in its heart and soul.
The turbolift came to a stop, and once more, Alora waited for the captain to go before her, though she settled into step beside him as they set their course. The evening spurred some to return to their homes, having finished their shifts, passing through the area on the way to the turbolifts that would take them to the quiet of their quarters. For others, the evening afforded time away from their jobs, but also out of those homes, a chance to wine and dine, perhaps spend time with those they didn’t get to see often, or just to do something different. No matter what time of day, there were people, though certainly more milled about at certain times than others.
((Starbase 118 - Little Risa))
Little Risa was a fairly popular destination, but there was plenty of room for everyone. As they drew on to the beach, their feet sinking into the sand, she dropped to her knees and removed her boots. When she rose, she inhaled deeply and turned her face toward the horizon. The holographic sun had already dipped down below the edge, just enough to toss out pinks and purples into the blue that dominated the sky. It may not have been real, but it was beautiful. Her toes wriggled underneath her, causing them to dig a little in the sand, then she motioned down the line of the beach that extended away from the bars and the noise of the groups that descended upon them.
DeVeau: That way?
With a faintly mischievous smile that reached into his dark eyes making them sparkle, he waved her down a well-hidden path.
Taybrim: This way.
Alora nodded and let the captain set the direction and pace,then stayed alongside him. With each step, her feet dug a little into the sand, though it was soft and smooth, pleasant to tread through. A breeze flitted about, teasing their hair and Alora couldn’t help but smile. Whomever had designed the place had certainly thought of everything.
DeVeau: I really should come here more often.
The back path led them to a placid stretch where one could get a good view of the city and the sailboats on the lake. Lights glittered against the water as darkness fell and you could hear the sounds of opera and Klingon music mingle with the peaceful tolling of the Bajoran temple gong.
Taybrim: With all those projects you have planned you’ll need to fit in some down time!
DeVeau: Oh I make sure I have some down time. I have a lot of interests. I keep busy. Tilting her head, Alora cast a sidelong glance at the ginger haired man who was the overseer of everything on the base. He was so different from her previous captains, but likeable in his own way.
DeVeau: What about you? I mean, I know the base keeps you busy, but other than growing flora and taking walks along beautiful beaches, what sort of things do you like to do for fun?
Taybrim: You mean I need more? ::He chuckled brightly.:: Actually in my life before Starfleet I was a computer scientist so I keep up with the field now and then. And I like talking to people, getting to know them better.
DeVeau: You don’t /need/ more, but I was wondering if there /was/ more. Like you, I like getting to know people.
Taybrim: I can ask the same! ::His dark eyes twinkled.:: Beyond gifting violets and planning parties, any other hidden joys for you?
The sand slid beneath her feet, cushioning each step and Alora glanced over at the water. The purple and pink reflected darkly in the liquid mirror, adding serenity to the evening.
DeVeau: Oh lots of things, actually. Music is a big part of my life, studying Aikido, reading, going on holoadventures. She turned, her grin making its own reflection in her verdant eyes.
DeVeau: And, like you, spending time with people. Do you have any other hobbies you haven’t mentioned?
Taybrim: Oh yes! I do believe that taste testing delicious pastries can be counted as a hobby!
Sal was, in fact, well known as a connoisseur of pastries. Rumor had it that he knew all the best bakeries on the station.
DeVeau: Is that so? I can’t say that I’ve particularly participated in an event that allowed me to test pastries.
Taybrim: Well then I will have to bring a sampling to the next morning meeting!
DeVeau: I think you’ll win the most popular captain award.
Food was the best way to win someone’s heart, so the saying went, or something similar. Like music, food could be a universal means to indicate a desire for camaraderie. A silent request of friendship. Partaking and sharing together of something that was delightful to both parties.
DeVeau: I imagine though you must be very busy.
Taybrim: Busy enough ::He nodded:: There seems to be a never ending amount of paperwork after missions. ::A chuckle:: I try not to think about it.
DeVeau: I have to admit, I was surprised you let me come along rather than to have the time to yourself. That’s probably rare too.
There was that odd-edged sword of being a sensitive empath - he could feel the StarBase at large, but it was better to connect with one or a small group. When alone sometimes the feelings of the whole base would filter in and Sal would wonder and worry if they were all safe.
Taybrim: I like the company ::A soft smile.:: It’s good to connect with someone close by.
DeVeau: I agree.
An idea began to percolate in Alora’s head. A wonderful, beautiful idea. It started with the simplicity of something very familiar to her, and it whirled around, taking one form, but with the potential to morph into something more.
DeVeau: How do you do it all? Alora asked quietly, her smile fading, not from displeasure, but from thoughtfulness as she broached the question.
Taybrim: You know… ::he gave an honest chuckle.:: I’m not really sure. I think I just got used to it over time.
DeVeau: Does it ever feel like it’s too much?
That was a good question. Sometimes you didn;t know if something was too much until you were in the middle of it.
Taybrim: Not yet - at least nothing has stopped me yet ::he smiled softly, but with a tinge of sobriety.:: But there have been hard times. We worked very hard to ensure this station was safe from outside threats and that makes me proud. But I worry that there are elements lurking out there that want to see good people - not just the Federation, but Gorn civilians, Klingon civilians, Romulan civilians, honest officers and people who care - to see that twisted into war. Sometimes we see a taste of that.
He frowned, his voice softened. He didn’t enjoy witnessing violence.
Alora nodded slowly. There always seemed to be something, someone out there trying to do their best to make things difficult, to overpower, to seek their own gratification at the expense of others, or in the name of some misguided or even malevolent reason.
Taybrim: So far it has made me more committed to making sure decent innocent people on all sides stay safe. But I do worry ::He admitted quietly.::
Alora turned on the ball of one foot, a motion swift and smooth, practised and easy for her. She didn’t pause, didn’t even slow down, but continued to walk, though backwards, her eyes studying her companion.
Taybrim: I don’t like to play by luck. I don’t want our luck to run out.
DeVeau: You’re always looking out for everyone. Always watching over them. Who watches over you?
Taybrim: Would you believe I have odd friends in odd places? ::He offered a light smile.:: I seem to keep collecting friends over the years.
This was true, from an odd old mystic they rescued from a mining planet to an ex-criminal with a host of useful skills to a fantastic crew Sal had come by quite the collection of unusual, but wonderful people to be friends with.
DeVeau: Says the captain to the scientist who made friends with a cyborg spider queen.
Taybrim: Then I’m in good company! ::he grinned.::
Alora laughed lightly and shook her head.
DeVeau: Trust me, I know about odd friends in odd places. I have them myself. I would say /I/ am in good company. It’s nice to know you have so many people you can turn to. In your position, you don’t have it easy.
If she were honest, no one in Starfleet had it easy. No one joined Starfleet to have it easy. The job was rife with risks, and those risks were certainly communicated from the beginning, even if such warnings didn’t quite hit home with the reality when things did happen. Still, no one walked into that type of job without knowing what /could/ happen to some extent. That didn’t make it less difficult when life in Starfleet decided to run you over with a spaceship.
Taybrim: Generally I trust people unless they give me a reason not to.
Even with German, he had trusted him. And in a way he still did, though that trust had changed in its form after the last mission.
DeVeau: I hope I always prove you can trust me.
Once more, Alora did the half turn, taking up a forward position. She pondered over what the captain had said. He had friends. People to watch over him. Who did he trust, though, more than others? Did he have those? Did he have people he could just bare himself completely with? She really hoped so. She knew far too well how difficult it was when, even if you did have friends nearby, they weren’t the ones you could totally and completely bare your soul with.
Taybrim: I hope to always be able to give that trust freely ::he offered back with a soft tone. A smile.::
Fleet Captain Sal Taybrim
StarBase 118 Ops
Lt. Cmdr. Alora DeVeau
Starbase 118 Ops