[BELOW] Ensign Yogan Yalu — The old that is strong does not wither

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Sep 30, 2020, 6:22:52 PM9/30/20
to USS Resolution – StarBase 118 Star Trek PBEM RPG

((Night Garden, Starbase 118))

Yogan had spent a fair bit of time at Starbase 118 in the past, but for all of his visits to the Promenade, he’d never got round to visiting the Night Garden.  Feeling introspective due to synthehol and the late hour, he strolled the paths aimlessly, taking in the scents of the night-blooming flora.  The way forward was illuminated by the dim, yellow glow of sparsely positioned lanterns, and as Yogan’s eyes adjusted to the darkness, the environment around him seemed to come to life.  And so did a memory.

((Flashback))

((Grodor Regional Municipality, Trill — 2392))

Yogan adjusted the strap of his travel bag as he stepped off of the transport vessel.  Looking around the centre of his provincial hometown, everything was just as he remembered it.  A silly observation to make, really, considering he’d only been away for a few weeks.  But, oh, what a few weeks it had been.  He’d been visiting home when the call came from the Symbiosis Commission, that a symbiont had been selected for him and he must report to the Institute right away.  Two days later, he’d was Joined, and after a period of close observation and adjustment, he’d been given the all-clear to begin his new life as Yogan Yalu.

The two intersecting avenues that formed the backbone of the town centre bustled with midday activity, and Yogan felt energized by the liveliness going on around him.  With an added spring in his step, he continued onward, the road narrowing and sloping slightly uphill as it passed through the edge of town and entered the hinterland.  Twenty minutes later, Yogan turned off the road and walked up the winding path that led to his family’s home, tucked away in the foothills.

((Yogan’s Family Home, Trill — 2392))

Aydam and Haned had never been particularly demonstrative parents, so Yogan was taken aback by the warmth and the emotion of his reception.  His father had met him outside, threw his big arm around Yogan’s shoulder and practically dragged him into the house.

Aydam:  Welcome home, son.  I hope I didn’t knock you around too hard.

Yalu:  No, I’m fine.  It’s good to be back.

Haned:  ::hugging Yogan excitedly::  You still recognize all of us, right?  We’re not just random faces swimming around in your memory?

Yogan appreciated his mother’s attempt at humour; it had the desired effect of breaking the tension Yogan felt about his homecoming.  None of his relatives had ever been Joined, but everyone knew that it didn’t work that way.

Yalu:  ::good-naturedly:: No, Mother, of course not.  Where are Neddo and Keja?

Aydam:  Your sister is upstairs, talking to that boy.

Haned:  You can call him by his name, you know.  Stephen happens to be a very nice young man.

Aydam:  ::grinning:: For a human.

Haned landed a playful slap on her husband’s chest and signed in faux exasperation.  Yogan set his back down by the door and followed his parents into the sitting room, bemused by their uncharacteristic jocularity.

Haned:  And your brother is in town.  He’s giving a performance later.

Yogan sat down at the large farmhouse-style table, within a rectangle of afternoon sun that poured in through the home’s many windows and skylights.  He took a mug from the service at the center of the table and poured himself some tea.

Yalu:  He is?  What time?

Haned:  ::joining Yogan at the table::  Later this evening.  So, what are we supposed to call you now?

Yogan wondered whether all families reacted this way, or it was peculiar to his own.  That Yogan was to be Joined wasn’t exactly a surprise.  He’d spent four years as an Initiate and another year waiting for a symbiont, so his parents’ sudden enthusiasm felt awkward.

Yalu:  Yogan Yalu.

From over in the kitchen, Yogan’s father exclaimed.

Aydam:  Yalu!?  ::entering, spatula in hand::  Not that senator, the one who just died?  ::absently tapping the spatula against his apron-covered tum.::  What was her name, Lira?

Yogan:  ::nodding::  Eira.  That’s her.

It felt strange saying her name.  Up until a few weeks ago, Eira was Yalu, and the memories were still so strong.  Yogan had received years of training to prepare for moments like these, but even with all of the preparation, saying his previous hosts’ name aloud made him feel not himself.

Aydam:  ::departing back for the kitchen::  My son, Joined to a senator.

Yogan:  What time is Neddo’s performance?

Haned:  Are you feeling up to going out?  I told everyone you were coming back today and I know they’d love to see you.

Yogan:  I’d actually like to go watch Neddo read his poetry, if you don’t mind.

Yogan’s brother had always been a master of language, and as a poet, was beginning to attract the attention of Trill’s premier cultural institutions.  In the past year, Nedal had begun performing, rather than just writing, his poetry, and everything seemed to be taking off for him.

Haned:  Oh.  Well, yes, of course.  Whatever you want, Yogan.  ::beat::  I just know how much the neighbors were looking forward to seeing you.  They were waiting at home all day in case we dropped by.  And your grandmother was so excited when I told her we would visit her tonight.  Your grandfather has been cooking all day.  He told me he was making kazhen ko because he knew how much you liked it.  Oh, and there’s...

Yogan listened to his mother continue, rattling off an ever widening circle of relatives, family friends, and casual acquaintances who, apparently, would be gutted if they didn’t get to see him today.  Yogan decided not to play into the guilt trip, a reaction which, frankly, surprised him.  Even as an adult of thirty years, he generally deferred to his parents’ wishes, and had seldom given it a second thought.  It was what children ought to do, right?  But now, he noticed things he hadn’t before.  He saw parallels between his parents’ behaviors and individuals from the lives of his previous hosts.  Zedro’s first wife.  Edanne’s father.  Keroga’s ex-husband.

Haned:  Yogan, are you listening to me?

Yogan’s attention returned to his mother, whose posture had morphed into that of someone in a confrontation:  shoulders square and leaning toward him, as if proximity could add credence to a specious argument.

Yalu:  Yes.  Thank you, Mother.  ::standing::  Maybe Kejana would like to come with me.  I’ll go up and ask her.

As Yogan left the dining room and started for the stairs, he somehow knew that the conversation wasn’t over.

Haned:  ::throwing her hands up, shouting after Yogan::  It’s a real shame you know.  After all those years to prepare, they could have at least joined you to someone good.

((End Flashback))

Yogan chuckled ruefully at the memory.  He’d always thought that his relationship with his family changed when he’d become Joined, but that wasn’t accurate.  Joining had made him aware of the dysfunction that had already existed, and persisted, throughout his life.

He and his sister had gone to Nedal’s performance that evening, but their mother was waiting for them when they got home, and the conversation continued late into the night.  Yogan thought often about this particular incident, and those that preceded and followed, to try to place his mother’s current illness in some kind of context.  Were they related?  Was her behavior an early symptom?  Could any of them have known that she would decline so rapidly?

MacKenzie: =/\= This is Commander MacKenzie to all hands. Shore leave is hereby canceled and all hands are required to report back to the Resolution immediately. =/\=

Yogan fished his communicator out of his pocket and double-tapped it to acknowledge the message.  With no answers to his questions, and no immediate need to find come up with any, he walked Night Garden’s paths back to the entrance, symbolically leaving them to remain in the darkness until he was ready to take them back again.


End of scene.


Ensign Yogan Yalu
Helm Officer
USS Resolution NCC-78145

Justin
D238804DS0

Night, field of stars above us.  I pick one and name it for you, and all who are to come.


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