One Big Happy V'Draysh?
Sojourners of Time
Location: Deck 4, Junior Crew Quarters
Timeline: Mission Day 6 at 2100
[Mission Day 6]
The pad of bare feet on the spartan carpet made a rhythmic tattoo across the floor of the common area. At first, Irynya had paced, fuming. Her anger and agitation echoed in the tempo of her footfalls and in the lines of tension in her body. Anger was an emotion that Risians acknowledged was necessary, but avoided whenever possible. Now, though, it felt unavoidable.
I am the newcomer everywhere! The Antican's voice, cutting off as the doors of Noah's... no... of their shared quarters closed echoed in her head on repeat.
"We're all newcomers," she muttered under her breath. "Everyone is new sometime. Everyone."
Still, she knew that wasn't the point the smaller woman was making. And it galled her. How dare she insist that her own experience be an excuse for her behavior? How dare she make a play for pity?
Agitated footsteps turned more measured, matching tempered breathing as she worked to calm down. It had been her protective anger that had made Noah run from the room and she didn't want to be angry when he returned. One breath in. Hold. Out again. The Risian paused, debating sitting to wait for Sheldon and Noah to return. She settled on the couch, but only for a moment, as her knees bounced and her feet twitched. Sitting still wasn't going to be an option. So she returned to pacing.
It was, at that moment, that the main door to the quarters swooshed open, a tall, lanky body striding through. Resplendent in a Sojo t-shirt, sweatpants, and unicorn-horn festooned slippers, Sheldon strode directly into the main living area towards Irynya, eyeing the door leading into Noah and Margarar's quarters before making eye contact with the Risian. "Noah isn't far behind. We kind of ran into Lieutenant Timmoz, who decided to come back here with us, too. They'll catch up in a sec but uh...how are things here? Anyone dead?" he smirked, keeping his voice low. His eyes flicked to the bedroom door again, wondering if Margarar might pop out at the sound of the door.
For a moment, the Risian's features grew stormy. "No," she said with a sigh and a wrinkling of her nose, "I was good. Not sure anything I said made any difference, though." She wrapped her arms quickly around the taller engineer and squeezed before stepping back. "Thank you for going after him."
"I'm sure," Sheldon returned the hug affectionately, "that whatever you said, it was apropos. And of course," he nodded deeply to Irynya's thanking. "You've all become a little family to me. And I heard somewhere that family means no one gets left behind."
The doors, with a hushed whisper, opened again. And in strode the equally tall and lanky Orion. He looked back over his shoulder and more tentative and coltish, Noah stepped inside the threshold of the door. Timmoz sidestepped some and eyed the black-eyed Human. "Remember what I said Balsam. Say it."
Noah's eyes jerked to Timmoz and then tentatively to Irynya. "Um, what's mine, is mine."
Timmoz bobbed his head affirmatively once. A bevy of Ferengi Rules of Acquisition, amusing anecdotes, and parallel thinking to many Orions, rolled through his head. He could have plucked at a number of them. Rule 85? No. Noah didn't seem the competitive sort. Rule 217? Ah, but which one was the fish in need of freeing? "Rule of Acquisition 219, Balsam," Timmoz mused in his Orion husk. Noah swallowed, not following. "Possession is eleven-tenths of the law."
Irynya's eyes moved between the two men standing just inside the door, expression probing. "The Ferengi Rules of Acquisition?" she asked Timmoz with a tone that said something between Are you kidding me?" and That's not the worst advice you could give. It took another moment for her to break from her position, giving up any impression of self-control and making a dash for Noah. She snaked her arm underneath his and around his skinny waist, tugging him against her in a sort of half side-hug.
"I'm sorry," she said quietly.
"Who knows about property rights better than the Alliance?" Timmoz asked the Risian while she'd rushed toward the skinny one. Timmoz pursed his bottom lip and folded his arms over his chest. His eyes shifted to Sheldon- then to his feet. "Nice slippers." He said with an agreeable nod. In his peripheral vision he saw Noah and Irynya combine and she whispered something. "So... new roommate issues?"
The skinny one had braced for collision when Irynya dashed at him and wrapped him. His ranginess enveloped her in a hug. What Timmoz was saying about Rules of Acquisition was a little lost on him. He'd never even met a Ferengi. Noah looked down. "I-I'm fine... I don't like when people fight around me is all. Not your fault." He tried to assure the Risian.
The shorter woman squeezed, before releasing the cadet. She kept one arm around his waist, resting her head against his shoulder while the rest of her twisted outward so that she was facing Timmoz and Sheldon.
"Understatement of the year," she said in response to Timmoz's statement.
"Mmm," Timmoz subvocalized acknowledgment of that. "Small ship, small space." He quipped dryly. "And where are they now?"
Iry picked her head up from Noah's shoulder a moment to incline it toward the far room with the door near the end of the couch. "In bed, if her insistence that she needed rest is any indication," she said dryly, the edge to her tone taking on a bit of frustrated sarcasm. She tugged with the arm she had around Noah's waist squeezing him again as if she needed to make sure he was extra sure of her affection for him before tilting her head up to look at him. "I can stay with Kennedy tonight, if you want my bed."
Noah looked at Timmoz, then at Irynya and Sheldon. "I-I should fight for what's mine." He said even as he started to stress-shake out his hands. His brows jerked up, "Whi-which is really hard..."
Timmoz had, meanwhile, smiled that the cadet was at least parroting his advice, if obviously not feeling it. He pushed away from the doorjamb and sauntered to the wall and door that Irynya had indicated. His glance back at Irynya was impish in it slime green cast, the tilt of his lips that edged a nuance of canine. He rapped his knuckles rhythmically on the door. "Housekeeping..." he announced almost lyrically.
Almost immediately after the Risian had left Margarar, she had curled up into a ball on the bed and fell asleep. Being "on duty," for much more of the time than normal was exhausting. And having to room with prey was even more exasperating. The Risian had surprising spirit, which pleased her but defending that cadet-prey was incomprehensible.
Years of fight or flight responses did not allow the Antican to sleep through unexpected sounds. With a start, she woke up to the call of "Housekeeping." Instantly alert, she asked the computer, "How long have I been asleep?"
The computer called back, "You have been asleep for thirty-three minutes and 28 seconds."
Margarar growled back at the door in annoyance. "Whoever is waking me had better have a good reason!"
While Timmoz had stepped off toward Noah's room, Iry had turned back to Noah. "Fighting for what is yours is reasonable," she said, "but so is protecting your wellbeing." The Risian's eyebrows knit, preparing to argue her point if need be. The idea of Noah sharing a room with anyone who viewed him the way Margarar did made her stomach twist. She looked to Sheldon, popping her eyebrows to indicate he should back her up.
Noah faltered with gazes cast about the occupants. "C-can't let her win." But his guts twisted at the very idea. "Or maybe I'll just share with Sheldon..."
"I'd be delighted to have you as a roomie," Sheldon tried to smile at Noah with warmth, hoping it came across. Looking to Iry, the engineer nodded. "Let's keep that as a backup plan, hmm? A temporary one until we figure things out. Or until whatever he," he jutted his chin towards Timmoz, "does plays out."
Dark hair flew as Iry turned her head sharply toward Timmoz, fixing him with a look somewhere between wary amusement and alarm. "What did you do?" she stage whispered at him.
"Housekeeping," Timmoz whispered conspiratorially to Irynya as he beckoned Noah closer. Timmoz then pressed the entry key. The evening's warm shade of light bathed onto Margarar and Noah's shared space. When the lanky Cadet hesitated, the equally rangy Orion extended himself. His feverishly warm hand wrapped Noah's bicep and tugged him inside. "I understand we have a personnel problem," Timmoz said. "This one doesn't feel safe around you." Timmoz looked at the Antican. "Please, explain."
The Antican looked back at the Orion tired and confused. "That one?" she looked at the cadet and back at the Orion, as she stood up, showing her entire five-foot tall frame, nearly a full foot smaller than Noah. "That one is clearly in need of a medical check-up, then. I do not know why you have interrupted my sleep. I am not on duty and would appreciate that my sleep go uninterrupted." She put her hands on her hips, her eyes showing signs of redness.
"Then let us be brief, so we can all go back to bed as one big happy V'draysh." Timmoz returned. He looked back at Noah. "Say your piece."
Noah glanced at the Orion and the Antican, and back to Irynya. "The whole computer core control room saw... you-you singled me out. To bully. My food, my-my intelligence, my time a-at Academy, my work, e-even me trying to show you respect." He gestured at the room. "Then in here... tr-treating me like I don't exist. And something about having to be downwind of me..."
Timmoz glanced at Sheldon and Irynya, "Anything to add?"
Irynya shook her head. She'd said her piece earlier and didn't want to take the attention off of Noah saying what needed saying. She gave the cadet an encouraging smile and tilted he head back in the direction of Margarar as if to say keep going.
Knowing that Margarar was, for all intents and purposes, his boss, Sheldon wasn't exactly quick to pile on to the list of grievances. He, like Iry, also didn't want to steal any of Noah's thunder in finally getting a little assertive. So instead, he simply said, "Our quarters should be the one place we aren't stressed out. I'm all for whatever it takes to make that happen." Even if it meant shaking up who roomed with who, despite how much he loved sharing a room with Iry.
A clouded look from Timmoz glanced away from the others. "Lieutenant. Your turn. Please," he gestured at the diminutive Antican. "Tell your new roommates what you need so you and Mr. Balsam can come to an agreement and cohabitate."
"What I need is sleep," the irritated Antican replied gruffly. "Not being rudely woken up." She then turned to the cadet, narrowed her eyes at him, and said, "It also is not a good reflection that a cadet who was not properly doing their job or giving me information feels the need to use that as an excuse to start a problem here, which is what happened both with these suitemates and you. As to the remainder, my nose is more sensitive than most of yours. He needs washing."
"I am not dirty," Noah protested softly, his eyes unable to lift from the floor while his eyebrows did. "And I was doing my-my job. The Chief called me into the Kernel to help him. There-there wasn't a deadline for the Talbeethian ULT patch. And-and that does not mean you can attack me." His fingers poked at his chest, "Me. You attacked me, n-not my work. You attacked my-my intelligence, you attacked my education. At-at Daystrom."
Timmoz folded his arms behind his back. His Cluros smile thinned but stayed. He simply did not know enough about Antican philosophy, or Antican psychology. He could only make guesses- guesses based more on Klingon behavior. But somehow the boy had made her angry. He leaned to sniff Noah and quasi-frowned as the cadet shrunk with some surprise at the Orion's move. "I don't smell anything but I'm not a Vulcan. Or an Antican." He sighed. Of the quad in the room, Timmoz was by far the most aromatic.
"You are V'draysh," Timmoz said to Margarar. And he nodded at Noah, "And you are V'draysh as well." His voice hardened, "Get along." He gestured at Margarar, "She is your superior officer. Learn to work with her." He looked at Margarar, "Personal attacks are a poor mark of leadership. Treat your cadets well. He is learning." He nodded at both, "Good evening." With a slight bow and a spread of hands, Timmoz turned and left Noah and Margarar's shared quarters.
Irynya had stiffened listening to the exchange, anger boiling high again, but she held her tongue, hands balling into fists and the lines of her shoulders going taut. There were any number of reasons for her to remain silent, but in the end it was deference to Timmoz that held her tongue. As he brushed past she caught Noah's eye hoping she could convey in a look her support and encouragement and then, she too, turned and followed Timmoz back into the common area.
Parsons, meanwhile, had retaken his seat on the couch, fluffy unicorn slippers up on the table as he rested his feet. "Lieutenant," he nodded to Timmoz as the Orion re-entered the main area of the shared quarters. Watching the man go, his eyes flicked to Iry, wanting to say more about the whole situation but knowing -- with the door to Noah and Margarar's room still open -- he'd be overheard. So instead, he shrugged at the woman and then leaned back against the soft surroundings of the couch, trying to resume his evening. The PADD he'd been reading made its way back into his hand and Sheldon began, once again, to read his book.
Margarar did not know what Timmoz meant by saying "V'draysh," but she could easily assume that it was not good. As to the comments about poor leadership and personal attacks, Margarar growled and then looked hard at Noah. How was a cub to learn if the cub did not follow their leader and do as expected? The entire thing was ridiculous to her and she felt her authority had been undermined. She looked at Noah and growled in a soft voice only meant for the cadet's ears, "I will remember this day."
Noah moved over to his bed with a wary eye on her. "I'm-I'm going to keep track of everything you say," he said while he addressed some things on his bed before the evening's unpleasantness began. "And the m-minute you start treating me like I'm just a bug to you, I'm reporting it." He pressed to his chest some laundry he'd been folding. He secured it in his drawer bins. "Don't tuh-touch any of my things and doh-don't touch me. And-and stay out of my personal space. Not like you tried to hurt me before.. Just stay on your side of the room." Even then Noah was looking at the line of the room where he could potentially install some intrusion detecting lasers.. or maybe even a passcode-protected containment field.
He picked up his Dalek model and the small jars of paint. He sat down at his desk, hunched and started to paint. "And," he said over his shoulder. "If you decide I'm-I'm maybe something to be nice to, I'd be OK to try." Noah went back to his painting.
"Threatening a superior officer by stating you're going to keep track of everything does not endear you and will not help you," Margarar replied with a menacing smile. "Do as you choose. Just remember the parable of the boy that cried Galkah."
"It's called keeping a record of engagement," Noah snapped over his shoulder, a very uncharacteristic thing for the Enceladan. "Look it up." He sighed tersely and shook his head. No. There would be no friendship with this one. Noah battled that as he painted, finally giving up as his divided attention wasn't bring his A-game to his skills. Instead, he disrobed and climbed into bed. Picking up his PADD, he tucked his arm behind his head and turned the device on. He yawned. He was tired but he wasn't sleepy. He went for his earbuds to at least offer his new roommate the respect of keeping the music to himself.
"Computer direct music to audio device 4-Balsam. Restart playlist Music Study Eighties from last score." He turned his head and looked at his arm. A shiver shimmied his spine as it reminded him of the green pilot's raw and barely tamped-down, animal sensuality. His memory could recall the scent. Noah chose to fold his pillow and set his arm rigidly to his side as he scrolled through the schematics of the old Warp-Delta class.
A Post By:
Acting Chief Engineer
Lieutenant JG Irynya
Assistant Chief Helmsman
Ensign Sheldon Parsons
Midshipman Noah Balsam