((Starbase 118 - Taybrim’s Office))
Taybrim: I have not. ::he admitted, feeling that was an oversight on his part.::
Immediately, Alora’s eyes lit up and she leaned forward, her smile increasing in its brilliance as she thought of the country that had adopted her as its daughter.
DeVeau: Oh it’s beautiful. You really should go visit. I have several holo programs though. It’s not exactly the same, but it’s beautiful. I’ve taken friends that way so they can experience it even if they can’t actually get to Earth.
Taybrim: I would like to return again, perhaps if we go you will show me around?
DeVeau: You bet I will.
DeVeau: In the meantime, you can use my holo programs. Or...I could take you on those. Do you ever use the holodecks at all?
Taybrim: Not much, but I have nothing against them.
Some loved holodecks - some to the point where they became a compulsion. Some hated holodecks and avoided them at all costs. Sal was neither. Holodecks has their benefits, but as an empath holograms struck him as oddly hollow.
DeVeau: What sort of programs do you like?
Taybrim: I prefer ones that show me new places, scenery and relaxation or tourism. I’m not much for the adventures - I find I have enough adventures in real life. ::he chuckled good naturedly.::
It was then their food arrived, and Alora leaned back, allowing more room for the waiter to set down the dishes at will. Hers was a variety of vegetables and beans with an entire palette of colours, a veritable rainbow on a plate. Taking up her fork, she attempted to figure out where to start, or whether she should start at all. The food was so beautiful, it was almost a shame to eat it.
DeVeau: So can I ask you a random off topic question?
Taybrim: Certainly ::he nodded amicably::
DeVeau: What are your favourite colours?
That was a good question, And not one Sal normally thought about. So he paused for a moment, taking some time to think back to his quarters, his off duty clothing, his office decor and he realized they all had a pattern.
Taybrim: I tend towards greens and browns, with highlights of red or orange. Any reason why?
DeVeau: Oh. Just curious. She was not about to delve into why - that was her little secret, and he’d find out soon enough. Alora poked at her food, finally dared to scoop up a bite and actually /eat/.
What greeted her was as much an explosion of flavour as it was of colour. Tangy was underscored with a heated spice that warmed her mouth, but didn’t overwhelm. The barest hint of bitterness cut off that spice when it seemed to become too much - though it wasn’t even close to too much for Alora - and then faded to simply allow that warmth to pleasantly linger behind.
DeVeau: Oh this is divine…
That got a grin from the Captain. It was much the same as his first reaction to the food here.
Taybrim: I find it is always interesting.
Alora allowed herself another bite, studying the captain a moment.
DeVeau: So how have you been holding up? Taybrim: Well enough.
True, but vague. Alora was not the sort to leave it there either. Ashley was quite familiar with that. DeVeau: Come now, Captain. I know we’ve had some time to distance ourselves from it, but the last mission wasn’t easy. Especially on you as the one who led it.
He nodded, using the slow savoring of the food to give him time to compose his answer.
Taybrim: We have had missions that were professionally challenging. Ones where we faced tremendous odds against us, that required sacrifice. This was personally challenging. Navigating the tempestuous waters of an unintentional betrayal has been draining.
DeVeau: It sounds like it’s been difficult for you.
And on more than one level. Alora had her own personal feelings about what had occurred. German had been a friend. Maybe not among the closest friends, but still a friend, and one she had looked forward to spending more time with, solidifying that friendship, cultivating it. Now, they weren’t going to have that chance. At least, not for a long time. What he had done had been inexcusable. She really hoped he was able to heal and grow past it. She hoped he was able to return.
Taybrim: ::with a soft smile:: I am a counselor by training. This isn’t the first tempest, nor will it be the last.
DeVeau: It isn’t the first for most of us. Nor will it be the last for any of us.
Taybrim: I find keeping faith in others is a delicate balance between helping them see the path and trusting they will walk it safely on their own.
Alora nodded, reaching out to take up her glass and sip at her water. She had faith in others. While they had lost faith in German, others were not German, and even faith in him could be restored. It would take time. It would take effort, but she believed that he could heal. She made a mental note to call him, check in with him. Encourage him.
DeVeau: People are going to disappoint us. That doesn’t mean we have to lose faith in others, but we should be ready to remember that no one is perfect and we all make mistakes. And mistakes can teach as long as we’re willing to learn from them. That’s what’s important. A willingness to learn from them.
Taybrim: That is good advice. The only way to grow is to rise from mistakes and keep going ::he nodded, thoughtfully munching on a spicy rice and vegetable dish that was both bright orange in color and equally flavorful.:: I admit I’ve made my fair share of mistakes.
DeVeau: I’ve made way too many to count. I can’t be unwilling to forgive others when I’m way too guilty of my own faults.
Taybrim: Agreed ::he nodded.:: Enduring struggle gives one empathy for another’s journey.
DeVeau: I hope so. We all need grace and empathy at times.
Taybrim: ::He nodded, contemplating the lightly floral tea that was served with dinner.:: I think moving past mistakes we also have to consider goals, desires, how we can reach what we want.
An eyebrow arched upward at the captain. That was an interesting thought. Oh sure, people had goals, but a Captain? For many, that was a goal. For some, they wanted more than that. Alora? She had her own, but they didn’t aim quite so high.
DeVeau: What if you don’t know what your goals are?
Taybrim: ::He chuckled gently:: That is true. Knowing what we want can be harder than getting it sometimes.
Deveau: Do you have goals? I’d be curious to know what they are.
Taybrim: My primary goal is to see this station stay safe and this sector bond together better with peaceful intentions that keep their innocents who live here safe.
DeVeau: I had a feeling you were going to say something like that. But what about personal goals? Things you want for yourself. You’re a Fleet Captain. Do you strive to go further? Or do you want something else?
Sal thought about it for a moment, dark eyes sparkling
Taybrim: I suppose one day I’d like to take over Commodore Kinney's role, undo all the corrupt decisions he made, settle down on a lovely planet, get married, spend every morning walking the beach with a loved one. ::he smiled. It was a good dream and one not out of his reach in the upcoming decades::
DeVeau: That sounds lovely.
Not the undoing corruption. Oh it was a good thing, definitely, but the other part. Getting married, walking on a beach with someone beloved. Yeah. That was definitely a good dream.
DeVeau: Please tell me that doesn’t mean any time soon.
Taybrim: No I’m a long way from retirement- or desk-tirement for that matter ::he chuckled:: I haven’t explored the whole of StarBase 118 yet and that’s certainly on my bucket list!
DeVeau: You and me both! Every time she went out, it seemed as if there was something new to discover about the base. Alora sometimes wondered if the base was alive changed things around just so people didn’t get bored.
Taybrim: what about you? Your goals and hopes and dreams?
That was a loaded question. One that Alora could answer truthfully. At least partially.
DeVeau: I’ve reached mine.
And not so truthfully. She dropped her gaze to focus on her food, her smile dimming somewhat, a bit wistful. A bit sad. She didn’t let that linger though, forcing it back up and allowing herself a bite.
Taybrim: ::he paused, empathy taking a read of the emotions behind the answer. His next words were soft.:: So what is your big goal?
DeVeau: Chief Science Officer. That’s always been my goal.
And her dream? Her dream had been shattered. That ship had sailed, and there was no way to go back.
DeVeau: I have no plans to become a Captain. Or a Fleet Captain. Or a commodore. This is what I want to do.
Taybrim: There’s nothing wrong with that. ::he assured:: coming to a comfort point in your career opens up doors to explore other aspects of your life.
DeVeau: Other aspects?
Taybrim: Community, family, personal achievements… I think all are equally valid and wonderful.
DeVeau: They are.
Alora was trying to find community. She /was/ finding community, it was just difficult to get to the point where she had been before . Those types of relationships took time to develop. She couldn’t expect the same level of intimacy as what she had with Riassa, Chy, or Aron overnight - or even the course of weeks . As for family - well, that’s what they were, but they were not present, and too recently…
DeVeau: Anyway, what are your plans after dinner?
Taybrim: Probably taking a walk and sitting on my patio and falling asleep early. Seems dull?
He chuckled, dark eyes sparkling.
DeVeau: Honestly, I don’t think you take enough time to relax. You have one of the hardest jobs around here. Herding a space station full of cats.
Taybrim: Herding a station full of cats? ::that got a laugh:: haven’t heard that one before. I like it!
She had made him laugh! Laughter was one of Alora's favourite things to hear. Laughter meant joy. There needed to be more joy in the universe.
DeVeau: Oh, I’ve been meaning to invite you - I’m putting together a biweekly dance get together. Really informal, just in one of the holodecks. It seems there are a lot of us who like to dance and want the opportunity to do it more often. Thought you might be one of them.
And hey, it meant she and Meeks got to go across the floor more often . Now if only she could convince Ashley…
Taybrim: That sounds lovely! You’ll have to let me know when!
DeVeau: I will. It will be soon, so keep an eye on your messages.
Taybrim: Not only is dance a wonderful diplomatic skill, but I think the creative expression is good for the soul.
Alora reached out to pick up her drink and sip at it before nodding.
DeVeau: Oh I agree. Sometimes they allow us to express ourselves when we couldn't otherwise.
Taybrim: Sometimes when words fail, thoughts and actions are profound. ::he offered sagely, an easy statement for a telepath::
DeVeau: So what creative endeavours do you pursue to express yourself?
That was a good question. Sal didn’t indulge in his hobbies as much as he would like meaning that he had only nascent skill in some of his favorite activities.
Taybrim: Beyond walking and exploring the station, I enjoy cultivating the plants in my quarters and keeping up with the updates in artificial intelligence.
DeVeau:. What got you into that?
Taybrim: ::he smiled lightly:: it was my civilian job before I joined Starfleet. Artificial intelligence research.
See also the reason he ended up as a science officer for a year despite training in counseling and why he was remarkably adept at handling whatever stream of information his Science officers threw at him.
DeVeau: There seem to be a lot of creative people on this station.
Taybrim: There are! ::he smiled:: There’s a growing community of artists and crafters and hobbyists.
Deveau: Oh, I know this is going to see off topic, and it is, but I just remembered something I need some help with. I was hoping you might be able to assist.
Taybrim: Oh? ::he queried, curious::
Alora leaned forward, finishing her bite as her expression turned thoughtful, eyes focusing on something other than the companion who sat across from her.
DeVeau: I’ve been wracking my brain, but I can’t come up with any ideas, and as someone who works with him every day, I thought perhaps you might be able to give some ideas.
Taybrim: I can certainly try.
DeVeau: If I wanted to give a gift to the station’s first officer, what would you suggest? I have absolutely no idea what he would like. I don’t really know him very well.
Well, not very well, but well enough to know there were certain aspects about him that Alora struggled with. Nijil wasn’t exactly like him, but there were enough similarities that he seemed to...trigger her. She hated it. Hated the way she seemed to fall into the darkness when she was around him sometimes. That didn’t mean she hated the man himself, and she wasn’t going to leave him empty handed.
Taybrim: Hm… that is a good question. ::he paused to think:: I know he likes good food and drink.
DeVeau: Hm. Yes, but those were...just...normal things. Alora would give something like that if she didn’t have any other options, any other ideas, but she wanted the gift to be meaning for the person she was giving it to.
DeVeau: Do you know of anything else he might like?
Taybrim: Specifically? I’m not sure… but I know who would.
DeVeau: Oh? Who?
Taybrim: Lieutenant Alize Sorenson is the base’s Coroner and she happens to date the First Officer. ::he said as if that was a secret. It wasn’t.::
At the name and why the woman he mentioned might have an idea, Alora brightened.
Taybrim: I imagine she knows all sorts of things about him.
DeVeau: Oh yes. Yes I would imagine she would. Perfect! I’ll definitely ask her. Thank you, Captain.
Taybrim: You’re very welcome!
He almost asked Alora to share what insights she got from Alize, but he also figured that he could figure that out himself. Alora was right - figuring out Nijil was a challenge, but nothing insurmountable and at the end of the day everyone would be a little closer.
Fleet Captain Sal Taybrim Commanding Officer StarBase 118 Ops E239010ST0
Lt. Cmdr. Alora DeVeau
Starbase 118 Ops