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Into the Observation Lounge

Posted on Thu Apr 7th, 2022 @ 1:44pm by Lieutenant Adora (Addie) Hart & Captain Dirk Taggart & Lieutenant JG Emony Kyl & Lieutenant JG Vespa Kale & Lieutenant JG Camille Lévesque PhD

Mission: Team Building
Location: Observation Lounge

Captain Taggart led the way into the Observation Lounge, as he stepped in the smell of hot pizza and freshly popped popcorn filled the air. "All right everyone grab some pizza and a drink. There is a cup of straws at the end of the table, one of them is shorter than the rest, everyone will take until we determine who has pulled the shortest straw."

Addie trailed along with the rest of the group. She felt completely out of her depth, especially with so many unfamiliar faces around her. "Isn't drawing the short straw normally a bad thing?" she asked with a curious glance toward the Captain.

Taggart chuckled, "It really depends on the circumstances, think of this as an ice breaker of sorts." He walked over to a large metal container and pulled out a cold beer to go with his pizza.

Emony made her way in and chuckled a little at the councilor's rather correct question. "Well, I'll become concerned if it turns out there's orders for a suicide mission in with the snacks. Or if there are several unlabeled bottles of drinks."

She grabbed a pizza slice and opted for a carbonated beverage known as "orange soda", that was one she knew was her favorite and not Kyl's. It was sometimes hard for her separating what was her and what was a previous Kyl host's. She made a show of looking away as she reached into the cup for a straw. Once hers was selected, she found somewhere to let others at the table.

Camille followed Emony in line and took her own pizza slice, one that had to date been untouched despite the delicious ham and pineapple on it, as well as a cup of sugar-free cola. She drew a straw, but couldn't tell yet if it was shorter than the rest. She found a spot near the edge of the room to stand, and expertly held the edge of her plate and her cup in one hand, keeping the other hand free to pick up the pizza slice and eat. It was a skill she'd mastered at Daystrom Institute receptions after more than one night of being forced to stand at a table while others mingled freely. "This is too good, Captain!"

Vespa waited for Addie to get settled before she made her way to the food and beverages. Pizza was new, since the cheese was so... SO... chewy. As for the drink, some cola was on the menu since she didn't feel up for anything alcoholic. At the end of the line, though, there was the cup of straws. She only drew one straw, since well, she was only one being.

Another bite of pizza, and another prolonged chew. "How do you eat this?" her not-chewing self asked. Sharp teeth still tailored to tearing through meat was at the mercy of the soft, gooie pizza.

Addie smiled at Vespa's question. It was something so innocent, something that most humanoids took forgranted, something as simple as eating pizza. Setting aside her own drink and straw, she picked up a large slice of pizza. "Why don't you try folding it like this?" she suggested kindly, demonstrating using her own slice, folding it carefully before taking a tiny bite from the end. "The fold might give you something a little more to sink your teeth into." She set her pizza back on the plate and stood up before walking across to the replicator and ordering a side serve of coleslaw. It was only once she returned to her seat, she picked up her plate again and dumped all the coleslaw on top of her now unfolded slice of pizza before taking another bite.

"Folding it?" Vespa questioned, then watched the demonstration. It was so simple. She folded her slice in half as instructed and took another chomp of the slice, this time with much greater success. "Oh that's much better!" the one without the pizza commented, while the one currently eating the pizza still didn't have any words to say. She was content to continue eating.

"Still gooie, but it's so good..." eventually it was time for the pair to switch, and the speaker became the eater, while the eater enjoyed her post-pizza chomp bliss.

Emony had to take a moment to watch Vespa with the pizza and then Hart stepping in to help her, smiling to herself as she did.

"Sorry, to answer the question earlier, it's tricky to fully articulate being a Joined Trill." She said to Vespa, "I guess the best way though is...let's say I was paired with one person in this room. Each of us with our own minds, but we share the senses and memories of what we do. But then, the other person as the host, they pass away. I move on to the next person in this room and so on and so on."

"All the while, however, I'm sharing my experiences with the other people I pair off with as I go on. Occasionally, I forget who I'm with. But when I share those experiences, they're hearing it through me, like telling a story or sharing images and videos, but I can occasionally relay what senses were used there too - feelings. But only vaguely and sometimes only the most intense of feelings." Emony said.

"It's...contradictory at times, and there are times where I can't tell where I stop and Kyl begins. A memory will come up, an impulse or a sensation, but it won't be mine. But it almost feels like it was." She shook her head, "If this isn't making a lick of sense, don't worry. It's hard to put into words what's just been part of both parts of Trill since recorded history."

"One of the greatest challenges in communication," Camille added. "No one can really know the inside of another person's mind. Even telepaths bring with them their own mind's contextual machinery, and can't see inside another person's thoughts without bias. We may never truly know how another person's brain truly works. And that's fascinating, non?"

"It's very fascinating. Especially since, to the outside observer, I'm one person in two bodies where you are two people in one body." Vespa quipped. "Once you begin to examine the minutia, things get..."

"... vastly more interesting. I'm certain a lengthy chat between your people and my people would be a fantastic conversation to sit in on." she paused for a moment, "Thank you..."

"... for the insight. Day by day I'm learning so much. I'm just glad that this lesson is in a far more controlled environment." she offered with a pair of smirks. "Though I completely agree, the difficult is usually in..."

"... communication. How to properly express what I am to others. And believe me, I understand completely." the pair laughed in unison, "I've been a complete Dalacari my..."

"... whole life. Explaining binary instance life to single instance life is almost a recording I play back at this point."

"I wonder how that first conversation went," Camille mused. "The first time a Dalacari met a single-bodied species. By now you know how to explain it, but once upon a time, no Dalacari had to consider the possibility of anyone so significantly different from themselves." She took another big bite of her pizza, using the back of her hand to wipe some sauce from the corner of her lips.

"Well, according to the museums, the FIRST time we found single instance life we were convinced it was a fluke. A singular instance, if you would. The Second time..."

"... though, was when we realized that it wasn't life in the singular that was the fluke. The actual interaction was recorded for prosperity, and it went pretty smooth..."

"... actually. Well, as smooth as it could be expected. They had trouble comprehending us, we had trouble comprehending them, it's funny looking back." she continued.

"It wasn't until we met the Ts'usugi that we became effectively experts at explaining what we were. Lucky for us, they had been observing us for years trying to figure..."

"... out if we were a threat since we were so close to their borders. Imagine that... US? A threat?" she giggled. "We cemented our friendship in an alliance to last... oh what were the..."

"... words... Until the last star dies with the last witness to see it." she recalled. "But the Three Dawns Accord was when we really got the hang of explaining, well...... Us."

"The norms were quite shaken up around the Federation too. I think we kind of knew there was the possibility not all life existed as Trill do, the ratio of hosts to symbiotes is actually quite off kilter, well in favor of symbiotes. We have a government agency just to evaluate potential hosts and it's easier to get an early appointment into Starfleet Academy." Emony explained. She took a few bites of pizza and washed it down with orange soda before continuing.

"There's a lot that goes into it, and even if you pass, that's not a guarantee. You might just get put on a waiting list. And sometimes, you don't even know why you lost your spot - some subtle detail about you was found incompatible and you're out on your butt." Emony continued, "I was borderline - most Trill symbiotes prefer more intellectually inclined hosts. But Kyl is a real sucker for justice and a good mystery. Gravitates towards those types of hosts but that's rare."

Addie watched the conversation in silence for a moment, picking at the coleslaw sitting atop her pizza. Finally, after a few moments she picked up her straw and stuck it into her drink, taking a sip, continuing to just listen as they talked.

Vespa gave a nod at the full totality of the insight into Trill society. "That sounds incredible." she paused, almost forgetting about her pizza. "To go through all that, the waiting the training the enlisting... and then get told that..."

"... you're not a match. That must be heartbreaking, but I guess in the end at least you tried. Though, to those that make it through and are chosen, that's quite..."

"... the responsibility. A burden but a gift. That's incredible."

Captain Taggart observed the crew relax and begin to let their hair down so to speak. He was glad to see the newer officers engaging with the veteran officers. They would need to learn to depend on each other in the future. As he looked around them he was struck by a curious sight. The Counselor was eating coleslaw on her pizza. *She must have been hurt more than they realized to eat that combination* he thought to himself. He walked to her with his glass of sweet tea and asked, "Counselor are you really eating that?"

Addie looked up, confused by the question. "Eating what? Pizza?" She glanced around at the others still eating the same meal. "Isn't everyone eating pizza? Wasn't that the plan?"

"It is the plan, and I'm glad you're enjoying it, I've just never seen anyone eating it with coleslaw like that," Taggart explained.

Addie shrugged slightly. "It's like Gagh. Don't knock it til you try it?"

"I guess, but then again I was always a meat and potatoes basic kind of guy. I'll tell ya a secret, I only that other stuff at formal ceremonies so I don't upset anyone. Give me a steak and baked potato any day" he said with a laugh.

Tag Hart

"Mmmmm... steak." now someone had Vespa's attention.

Captain Taggart watched the party atmosphere begin to wane as everyone prepared to turn in for the evening, he stood on a chair in the center of the room and cleared his throat. "I wanted to thank all of you for re-arranging your schedule to do this, going forward we will have more events like this. In the meantime I'd like everyone to hold up their straws." Dirk watched the straws get lifted around the room as he looked he spotted the short straw.

"Usually drawing the short straw means that some ill fate awaits you, in the case of young Lieutenant Kyl it means she gets 48 hours of shore leave upon arrival to Tabula Rasa, enjoy those beaches and umbrella drinks Lieutenant. The rest of us will be taking turns maintaining a skeleton crew aboard the Penn."

"Oh." Emony blinked as she looked at the straw before chuckling, "Well, I suppose that's that then. Thank you, Captain."

But she paused for a moment, looking around the table before sliding it over to the ship's councilor instead, "While I am grateful, I've still got a fair bit that needs doing since my promotion to this position. And I think you deserve this more than I." She said to Addie with a genuine smile.

Emony's response took Addie by surprise. She found herself smiling back in return. "It's a very kind offer, thank you," she said softly. "I'd like to share it with Lieutenant Kale, if that's alright?"

"Aw, I'm jealous," Camille said with a grin. She was exaggerating though; being stuck in the Delta Quadrant prior to reactivating her commission, she and her civilian team had taken some time at approved R&R spots, in a vain attempt to boost morale while they awaited news of their prospective return to the Federation. So she wasn't due any beach time.

"You will get some beach time too, Lieutenant, when you're not standing watch. Unless you want to request full shore leave," the Captain said after overhearing Camille's comment.

"Non, no need for full leave," Camille replied. "But a nice beach will do us all good, I think."

"That can be arranged easily," Captain Taggart replied. He excused himself and stood at the doorway a moment enjoying the sight of the growing comeraderie, little did he know that the bonds forge on this evening would be tested so soon.

#The End


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