JP: Lt. Cmdr. Foster & Lt. Cmdr. DeVeau - “New Beginnings” (Part II)

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Amanda Nordstrom

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Feb 11, 2021, 10:47:57 PMFeb 11
to StarBase 118 Ops – UFOP: StarBase 118
OOC: ICly this takes place early morning on Christmas Eve, before
“Christmas Comes But Once A Year”

((Starbase 118 Ops - Wyn’s Quarters))

Her expression shifted and Alora nodded solemnly.  She’d only been eight
when the Dominion War ended, and though she knew that had been a
worrisome time for her parents, she had very little memory of it beyond
snippets here and there.  There were shadows that lurked in the corners,
nervousness displayed in those around her, but her parents had always
comforted her and assured her that everything was all right.  They’d be
all right.  She’d be all right.  Of the conflict that had so torn their
galaxy, she had only vague impressions for the most part.

But then as she mulled over more of what Wyn had said, her brow furrowed
as she tried to connect the dots of his timeline.

DeVeau: Wait...isn’t your Dad still in Starfleet?  I thought I
remembered that he was…

Foster: Yeah, on the Constitution.

He kept it short and snappy, ready to deflect any specific questions on
that.  There were perfectly good explanations he could make that were
perfectly factual and yet left out key elements to the narrative.

DeVeau: Oh I see.  You served with him?  You were on the Constitution
too, weren’t you?

Foster: Yeah.  He’s friends with Commodore Jalana Rajel.

It made him wonder if Cade had known Jalana in a past Trill lifetime.

DeVeau: What was it like?

Alora had never served with any of her family.  Of her brothers, only
Alexandre had gone into Starfleet, and neither of them had ever shared
the same ship.  Adrien wandered the stars, and though he’d been on DSX
for a brief period of time, that was just it - he hadn’t stayed.  Nor
had he been an official member of Starfleet, simply a passerby, jumping
from one ship to the other.  If she’d had the opportunity, Alora would
have loved to have family nearby.

Foster: A little weird.  I mean I guess there’s plenty of species that
work in multi-generational situations.  But I was raised on Earth and so
it felt weird.  ::he shrugged::

How interesting.  Her father and eldest brother, Alain, worked together
in Starconn - so in a sense, that was a multigenerational situation. 
Was it really odd?

DeVeau: Was he the reason you decided to become a doctor?

That was easy.  The little blue guy nodded, tossing a stray kernel of
popcorn into his mouth and considering.

Foster: Yeah, he was.

Except as she recalled, Cade Foster was not a surgeon - which then
begged another question.

DeVeau: So why surgery?

Wyn shrugged gently.

Foster: It was hard.  Like really hard and I was focused and therefore
good at it.  I wanted to master the most difficult medical fields
possible and be the best at them.

DeVeau: Ah, so you enjoy meeting challenges?

Again he shrugged, thinking it over.  His dad had never really pushed
him to do that, but he had learned a lot about medicine growing up
simply from the proximity.  It was the thing he knew, the thing he felt
comfortable in.

Foster: I wanted the challenge so I wasn’t bored.  But medicine?  I
guess no one really pushed me.  I pushed myself.  It felt like it was
what I should do.  It felt like home.

Alora could commiserate with that.  As much as she loved being on the
stage, acting, singing, dancing, she had always had a love that
surpassed all of that - the field she’d gone into much to her mother’s
chagrin.

Foster: I mean what made you choose science?  ::He turned towards her
seeing if she had any insights into that.::

Another grin spread over her face as she finished her last bit of
popcorn.  Setting aside her bowl, Alora began to work on the fries,
tossing them in oil, then putting them over the fire.  Would it work? 
Well, they would soon see.

DeVeau: So, I’ve always been around plants.  My mom had a lot of them,
my grandmother even more, and there’s verbal stories of my mom seeing
her mom grow African Violets, who did it because her mom kept them, and
her mom kept them, and so on and so forth - I don’t even know how far
back. Then we had a garden, and my Daddy and I always worked in it
together - it was one of the ways he relaxed.  We’d go hiking and
camping and learn about the plants - even find what was edible, what was
not, and what would send you into a rash so itchy you’d want to strip
off all your clothes and just scratch your skin off.

Camping had been fun, though she had to admit, she’d never gone so
primitive as she had on Limbo.  Still, her previous experiences had
served her well - as had her knowledge, and her ability to observe.

DeVeau: And then there were the animals.

Foster: You had lots of pets?

Something Wyn couldn't complain about one bit.  He had somehow collected
a growing menagerie of random pets and had a license to breed and keep
tribbles.

Hooboy.  He had no idea.  In a country where space was at a premium, she
seemed to keep deducting that space by adding more bodies to it. 
Alora’s mother had made comments over the years about feeling like a
zookeeper.

DeVeau: Oh yes.  I always seemed to find the injured ones.  Baby birds,
mice and other rodents the cats would catch - if we were able to get to
them before the felines actually killed them.  Stray cats - which is how
we wound up with four and fostered many more.  Stray dogs, squirrels,
you name it.  Even a tanuki here and there.

Wyn’s brows and antennae furrowed in unison.

Foster: A Tanuki?  I’m not sure I know what that is.

He was a doctor not a veterinarian, after all - and the last vet he met
was a full Andorian who had nothing but sass for him.

She wasn’t surprised.  Most people on Earth didn’t know what a tanuki
was - nor of the mythological Japanese stories surrounding it. They were
a main character in quite a few of them.

DeVeau: It’s an animal native to Japan.  They’re called racoon dogs, but
they’re actually more closely related to foxes - though they don’t look
like it.  I’ve seen people keep them as pets.

Foster: Hm.  Sounds cute.  ::If people kept them as pets they probably
were cute.::

DeVeau: Anyway, so, yeah, animals and plants - always been my thing.  My
mom wanted me to become a singer or an actress or something along those
lines - and I do sing and act and all that. Love it...but science was my
true calling.  Botany and Zoology specifically.  And then the
stars...oh, to learn about not just what was on my planet, but on other
plants, or to even find new species. It’s just...exciting.  Then to use
that knowledge and maybe find something that could help others...there’s
nothing better.

Alora sighed softly, her smile still hovering over her lips.  She leaned
forward again, taking up a hot pad and a spatula so she could shift the
fries to encourage them to cook on all sides.

DeVeau: I’m glad you became a doctor.  You’re a good one.  I’m glad
you’re here too.

He tinged slightly navy at that.  Compliments were one of those things
he wasn’t exactly used to - unless he was bragging about something which
he also wasn’t nearly as good at doing as his Dad was.  He generally
accepted them awkwardly.

Foster: Thanks.  ::That was ok, right?  Not overly awkward.:: I hope to
help.  Big station, sometimes I feel like we’re all just small fish.

DeVeau: Big station, small fry?

Foster: ::He shrugged:: You know?  You’re good at science, right? And
from how you talk about it you have passion for it, too.  But as a
department head it’s not just about being good at a field and being
passionate about it, but you actually have to care about people and know
the social game enough to be able to motivate them and get them to do
what you want them to do.  That’s tough.

Alora mulled over that while she played the spatula over the fries
again.  Some were sticking, skins browning against the bottom of the
skillet.  Maybe she should have put more oil in there.  Turning them
over, she attempted to scrape the bottom as she pondered over what he said.

DeVeau: Doesn’t sound easy, especially in a place as large as the
station.  A lot to juggle.  Have you always been at Ops?

He shook his head.

Foster: No, I was used to small departments on Intrepid class ships. 
Heck, before this the biggest ship I had been on was a Galaxy class. 
::he paused and thought about that.:: I take that back.  I served for
two weeks on an Odyssey class ship and I think I scrubbed that entire
experience from my memory save that I thought that you could flood the
Apollo-A’s bridge with water and have one heck of a swimming pool.

He almost sounded serious about that.  Maybe someday he would stop
hating holodecks long enough to fulfill that dream without getting court
martialed.

DeVeau: I was on Deep Space Ten for a while, between that and the
Invicta.  This is my second Starbase.

Her third posting that wasn’t a ship - but Wyn already knew about that. 
He knew more about her story in some ways than others did - except for
Ashley.

DeVeau: I was actually assigned as a Medical officer for a brief period
of time.

Foster: You did?  ::he was curious:: For how long?

There was quite a bit of overlap between science and medical in certain
areas.  She wasn’t the first dual focused officer he knew.

DeVeau: For all of three months.  I was technically supposed to focus on
research, but I wound up serving in Sickbay as well.  I actually liked
it.  Medical and Science obviously overlap in so many ways, but with
Medical I was able to work with people - and I like working with
people.  That being said, I also like where I am, and I get to work with
people still, just in a different way.

Wyn on the other hand was a medical officer who had the sneaking
suspicion that it was the only thing he was good at.  He had been lucky
to stay in his comfort zone over the years.  But there was always the
fear he might be pulled out of it.

Foster: There’s a lot of roles in Starfleet. ::he looked towards her::
you have a lot of skills.  What would you do if you weren’t a science
officer?

Maybe he was curious.  He had no clue what he would do, but hearing
others talk about it was encouraging somehow.

DeVeau: If I couldn’t be purely a science officer, then I would
definitely move toward medical - it’s just a different aspect of the
field, a different focus.  I like that what I do can be applied to
medicine.  Some of the things we research and look into are for
treatments and cures, ways to better people’s lives and health. Even
ways to…

Alora froze, the spatula hovering above the pan, eyes staring at the
potatoes that simmered and sizzled within.  Licking her lips, she forced
herself back into motion.  Though they didn’t need it, she moved those
tubers around and around, something to do.

DeVeau: Just ways to make things better.

She finally finished.

Foster: Seems like you have found your passion.  ::he offered quietly::

Wyn on the other hand had always described his skill set as ‘fixing
broken people’. That was a far more pragmatic approach to medicine.
Still supportive, but always focused on fixing problems in the here and
now.

DeVeau: Anyway.  New subject.  Did you and your dad ever celebrate
Christmas?

She knew not everyone did.  Alora had managed to get a small tree in her
quarters, even decorated it.  She’d put up streamers and lights all
over.  Red and green and everything in between in a Christmas
wonderland.  Thus far, though, no one had visited.  Maybe she could
invite Tony and Ashley over for dinner.  Ashley and Tony’s gifts would
be given that day, along with the Captain, but she hadn’t set anything
for Christmas day itself.  It would be nice to hang out with them.

Foster: Yeah he did ::He nodded:: On Earth it was pretty quiet, but on
the ship he would dress up at the Grinch and scare people.  ::he
chuckled merrily::

DeVeau: Seriously?

Alora couldn’t help but let out a laugh and she shook her head. Imagine,
dressing up as the Grinch.  Idly, she wondered how many of those people
were kids.  It sounded like one of those things you do to sort of
traumatize, but hope they look back and laugh at it some day.

Wyn nodded, his gaze focusing in the distance as he thought about the past.

Foster: I was pretty little at the time, but from what I can remember
there was a whole cast.  Santa and Mrs Claus, a Christmas Angel, elves,
the Grinch, the whole nine.

DeVeau: Wow.  That sounds like a big deal.

Her own parents had always celebrated Christmas, and it had always been
a big deal.  Even in Japan the holiday was well loved.  Their house
would burst at the seams during the holidays, with an endless line of
people coming and going, a constant party for two days straight,
sometimes longer if it meant they could see someone who couldn’t
otherwise come.  Friends, family - well, if you were there, you were
treated like family.  Christmas day, though, that was for family itself
only.  That day was set aside for just them, to enjoy one another and
celebrate and give gifts.  In fact, her favourite part was the gifts. 
Not so much the getting.  Oh it was nice and all, but the giving, seeing
faces light up when they received something she’d really thought about,
poured herself into.  Knowing that they loved what she gave, and she
gave it because she loved them.  That was definitely the best part.

Foster: I think it was because we were on a dangerous mission.  We
hadn’t started that way - that’s why there was families onboard. But
when the Dominion War started we got caught in a bad spot, so we really
played up the good times.

DeVeau: Yeah.  In a situation like that, I can see where you need to
have that light to shine through the darkness.

Alora removed the pan from the fire, shifted the fries, then scooped up
a bunch to plop them onto a plate, then passed them over to the little
blue man.

DeVeau: Fries for a friend.

Wyn did a little bit of a doubletake.  That pessimistic part of him was
shocked that she so casually said friend.  But he wasn’t so broken to
deny it.

Foster: … Thanks.  ::That sounded weak.  He turned slightly navy,
accepted the fries and tried it again.:: I mean, thank you.

There was a bit of awkward silence and thankfully Alora picked up the
slack for him

DeVeau: It’s been hard being out here.  Christmases haven’t been quite
the same since coming out into the great wide galaxy.  I’ve not been
back home for one in seven years, and each of the last seven Christmases
have been spent on different ships or Starbases.

And none of them had been with her family.  They’d been with a different
type of family, but even that family had been changed. Looking back, it
was almost like she’d been on a merry go round, the thought of how many
places she’d been in what was really a short amount of time almost
dizzying.

Foster: That’s gotta be hard.  ::He drew in a slow breath:: I get it. 
I’ve been on more ships that I’d like to recount.

Home was elusive for many Starfleet Officers.  Wyn quietly admitted that
he was jealous of the ones who seemed to have found a home.

DeVeau: But you know what?  I have a feeling I’m going to be here for a
while.  That Starfleet’s not going to move me around again. At least,
not for a long time.  So...maybe I can start making my own traditions.

Foster: Maybe that’s what we all have to do.

He hadn’t admitted yet that he could make a home here.  So far Wyn had
been trying to get back somewhere else.  But maybe he didn;t need to be
somewhere else to be happy.  Maybe he needed to wake up and realize he
could be happy here.

DeVeau: Think you’d be all right being a part of my traditions?

Foster: Yeah, I’d like that.  ::He nodded gently.::

With a grin, Alora served herself some of the fries and seasoned them
with salt and pepper.  Lifting one floppy potato, she offered it in a
salute to the man across from her.

DeVeau: Well then.  Merry Christmas, my friend.  I hope we get to
celebrate many more together.

Slowly the little blue man matched her smile.

Foster: Merry Christmas my Friend.  The first of many, I hope.

Maybe it was a good time for new beginnings.

-----

A JP by:

Lt Commander Shar’Wyn Foster
Head Surgeon
StarBase 118 Ops
E239010ST0

~and~

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

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