((Starbase 118 Ops - Alora’s Quarters))
What a question. It was one Ruwon squirmed around, picking his words with care.
Ruwon: The supernova was a huge shock. It took things that should have been eternal, and reduced them to dust. Once you’ve lost that illusion of permanence, it’s difficult to get it back. ::He smiled slightly.:: That’s the clinical answer, anyway. In practice the feeling isn’t quite so...clearcut.
Best way to lie was to sprinkle it with truth. That was, indeed, one of his concerns. It was simply the minorest of them all.
DeVeau: Can you clarify?
Ruwon: I mean - imagine if the Federation’s core worlds vanished overnight. Can you imagine a world with the Federation just gone? It was like that. The Empire was this grand, terrifying, eternal thing. It was as much a part of life as gravity. And then - ::He snapped his fingers.:: Gone.
Once more, Alora sent the wine in her glass spinning, then let it stop long enough to take a light sip before restarting again. She watched the motion, watched it twirl frantically, then slowly come to settle down into a calm pool of red liquid.
DeVeau: Honestly, no. I can’t. The idea is...as terrifying as the Empire was to you.
Alora’s gaze lifted back to the Romulan counselor. It was, perhaps, an odd thing to some people. A Romulan. A counselor. The two didn’t seem to make sense, but Alora knew better than to assign stereotypes. She’d known a Klingon counselor. That didn’t seem to go together either. Yet, both of them were good at what they did. Both of them were great people. She hadn’t known T’katt for that long, but she’d gotten to know him well enough that she knew he was a great counselor. She’d left the Za before she had the chance to get to know Ruwon as well as she would have liked, but now they had been thrust together once more. She hadn’t lied to him when she said he’d been easy to talk to - it was just what he wanted her to talk about was so difficult.
And he was having a difficult time talking about something himself. Alora didn’t have to be telepathic to recognise that. To see that he wasn’t being quite so forthcoming. He’d given an answer, but it was a veiled one. Cautious. Incomplete.
DeVeau: What are you afraid of, Ruwon?
She asked again, her green eyes remaining locked on his dark ones.
Ruwon’s gaze met hers, not impassive, but shielded; his dark eyes had a spark to them that didn’t feel entirely real. He clicked his tongue.
Ruwon: Ah, ah. You got one answer out of me; I get to ask now, no? ::His smile was playful, still.:: What are you afraid of?
Alora’s lips lifted in a rueful smile, then she sipped again at her wine. It wasn’t exactly true. It wasn’t exactly false. If she thought too hard about things, even little things, there was very real fear that ran as an undercurrent. But even so, most of it was illogical or easily dismissed.
DeVeau: Now it’s your turn to answer.
Ruwon: You’re cheating. ::He took a long sip of wine, pausing to refill his glass as he drained it.:: You can’t be scared of everything. ::He took another long sip, eying her over the top of the glass.:: That’d make you scared of plants, too. And I refuse to believe that.
How little he knew. Ruwon hadn't been on the Garuda when the incident had occurred with the Kindred. Although she had immediately started to rebuild her collection, it had taken a lo g time not to looks o er her shoulder, and it had taken a lo g time for the nightmares to fade. Alora simply took a sip of her wine and leveled a sharp, unwavering gaze at the counselor.
Ruwon: Fine, fine. I’m scared of megafauna.
DeVeau: Megafauna is a rather generic term.
The Romulan grinned.
Ruwon: Giant carnivorous creatures. I was born on a planet full of the things - big jawed buggers who’d hide under the river silt and lunge. S’always stuck with me.
Alora could think of a couple of creatures that might fit that description, but they were not native to Romulus. So much she wished she could have found out about that planets ecological system, but the supernova had wiped out any chance.
DeVeau: Why was the empire so terrifying to you? You were a citizen.
It was a sudden question, one that came from previous statements made.
Ruwon: ::He chuckled.:: A citizen of a highly policed dictatorial state that views loyalty as black and white, yes. The concept of a loyal opposition wasn’t allowed to exist.
Alora mulled over that as she twirled her wine then finished it off. Leaning forward, she elected to take one more glass, but that would be her last. Even in the confines of her room, she refused to drink to oblivion. Her occasional indulgences were always limited to two.
DeVeau: it's not like that here.
Ruwon: I know.
Once more, Alora's eyes locked on to Ruwon's.
DeVeau: You're one of us now. Whatever troubles you, whatever you're afraid of, we've got your back. We don't abandon our own.
His smile gained a tinge of sadness at that, despite his desire to seem happy. He raised his wine glass.
Ruwon: Same goes for you, you know.
Alora lifted her glass toward the Romulan.
DeVeau: I appreciate that.
More than he knew.
But Alora wasn’t ready to divulge anything more. She liked Ruwon, she connected with him much better than she had Karen, at least in that sense, but she still couldn’t delve that deeply with him. Not yet. Maybe eventually. Maybe. For the moment, though, she was grateful he had cared enough to seek her out.
The wine continued to be drunk, just not by her. She had her limit, and it wasn’t much, so she didn’t go beyond that. Ruwon however didn’t have that inhibition - either that, or he was trying to drown his own demons. When he was finished, he attempted to leave, stumbling to his feet. Alora didn’t let him get more than two steps toward that door - there was no way Ruwon was going to leave in that kind of state. She managed to convince him to stay and watch a movie with her.
“Into the Unknown” was a romantic space mystery set on Rigel II. They never finished it. Ruwon fell asleep about a third of the way in, so Alora just turned it off. She eased the man back onto the couch and slipped off his boots, then retrieved a blanket to pull over him. Straightening up, she gazed down at him, a soft, rueful smile cast over her features. After a moment ,she reached down, gently brushing a strand of his hair off his forehead, then patted his shoulder.
DeVeau: Good night, my friend.
She whispered, then turned to make her way to her own bed, to her own land of slumber.
As played by
Starbase 118 OPs
Lt. Cmdr. Alora DeVeau
Starbase 118 Ops