In the Aftermath
Location: Debbie's Diner
Timeline: Mission Day 2 at 1900
[The Kolari Qajal]
[The Eighth Thakolarivaj/Twelfth Orionic Empire, Ur'eon Qolaar]
[5,844 BCE (8,243 years ago)]
"Welcome my Cousin-Traveler. Sha-kalai." In balletic fashion, a woman of warm green skin beheld in exquisite nudity, knelt. Her svelte athleticism displayed in her shorn and smooth body- from head to toe- of the Joc-Qolar fashion. Her knees bent out while she went onto her toes in a modified Plie. Her eyes bat away in first strength and deference, the allure of her epicanthic fold graced with burnished copper tattooing. The Mark of the Qajaedi. Her hands formed what was, to Timmoz, such a similar motion of a Ferengi's thanks: wrist together in an open offer. Her fingers, though, poised outward like petals.
Timmoz returned the motion. He decided that was the program for later- after their mission on Talbeethia. "How may I bring your Fire to Ecstasis, Cousin-Traveler?" She asked with a smoldering look below her eyelashes.
Timmoz smiled his Cluros smile into his cheek. "Work before pleasure, Qajaedi. Computer end program." A look of amused but bitter distaste epiphanied on the Orion's face. "Saxa.... where did that thinking come from." He snapped his fingers and waggled one errantly into the air. "Mmm. Ashke. Computer save program, book for my slot at 0900 hours."
His choice made, Timmoz decided to let his stomachs lead him to Debbie's Diner. His liver was far too intact and pleased with itself for his liking. Tugging on the one-piece fit of his Skant, the Orion approached the replicator. An errant glance at Kaheedi's cubby for cooking led Timmoz to only the briefest wonder if the Human had the real thing he wanted- before he decided not and spoke. "Pimbral Kanar. Malted. Room temperature." Swishing and swizzling lights coalesced into sprites and, finally, into a fluted glass with a rounded bottom. The liquid was dark and viscous with a frothy head. Timmoz's lime fingers lifted it and cupped it's rounded bottom in his palm.
Timmoz turned and leaned into the bulkhead. He put his foot up and folded limbs over his stomach to survey the scene.
Kennedy found himself in Debbie's Diner. In the corner of his eye, he saw Debbie quickly lift the PADD off the front counter when she saw him and stuck it underneath her arm. He found himself smiling, recalling his first face-to-face interaction with her on his own. She did it with love and not malice as she offered him a playful wink. He looked around and spotted the Orion.
His cheeks turned a reddish tone of pink recalling that he had passed out in his quarters at the time when he had a case of mistaken identity for the Chief Helmsman for another Orion but that felt like an eternity. This was the first time he had decided to dine at Debbie's alone following the evening that Irynya had told him about the beach with Noah. He told her he needed more space. They dined together but in this time she hadn't come to his quarters. He felt like he took a few steps back and was now at a loss.
His mind was a thousand lightyears elsewhere.
In those light-years, the Orion had seen the Irishman. A bemused sip of salty, malty, umami Kanar and Timmoz had pushed off the wall. He headed for the Doctor. The waft of his Orion scent arrived seconds before he did. "Good Evening, Taoji." Timmoz said. The tall and lanky one sipped his drink: its contents coated the flute of glass it was in. "That's Botchoki for Doctor. Tao, living, present tense. Ji suffix, one who keeps." Timmoz mimicked two words with pinches of fingers.
Kennedy snapped to reality when he heard the unfamiliar word usage that managed to escape the universal translator. He slowly looked over to Timmoz. He skittishly nodded his head then remembered the two men had reconnected the day after. He rose an eyebrow then realized that he had noticed that his mind was elsewhere, "Yes.. uh.. yeah.. my mind was elsewhere."
"No shit," Timmoz said in his Cluros-bemusement via the translator. The words out of his mouth was something about booska. And where did it take you?" He followed up.
Kennedy gave the Orion an uncomfortable yet shy look. He wasn't certain if Irynya had spoken to him about their recent setback in their relationship. It was a rocky few days, "My... My thoughts..."
Timmoz sipped his Kanar again. It was a poor approximation. Humans. They had no taste or understanding of Kanar. It was Kanar replicated to please a Human palate. He smiled again with playful cat and mouseness, "I'd assume they were your thoughts, Taoji. If they were someone else's, I'd have to ask Blackstone to search your quarters for a Thought Taker." His eyes danced in their dark, night reflection. "That's illegal Syndicate technology."
Timmoz set the drink down. It displeased him, not that he would allow that displeasure to break his Basa. "Come out, come out, from your thought-travels, Taoji." He said with a soft clearing of his throat and a swivel of his gaze back to the man. "Unless you want to share."
"That's really a thing?" Kennedy raised an eyebrow with slight skepticism but after being attacked by mining drones there were farfetched technologies that felt very real. He finally shook his head, "No. I'm pretty sure they're my own thoughts." He took in a deep sigh as he found a chair nearby and sunk into it. His face fell sullen, "I..." his voice broke as his eyes gazed away from Timmoz' to his boots. In this moment he realized during emotionally charged moments he always looked at his boots. He returned to look at the Orion, "I may sound foolish here but maybe I am. And I don't know what to do."
It was real. And Timmoz decided not to burden the ideals of young Humanity with the knowledge of the ancient Goeiyas. The fact that the Syndicate used them raised eyebrows even among Orions. The fact that what came out of it was less sapient and more like soup trapped in meat was... disturbing. When the Human flopped into a chair, the Orion more elegantly swayed into its adjacent rather than across the table. Timmoz put his arm across the seat that Kennedy sat in.
"Speak more, Taoji?" Timmoz's smoky husk of a voice encouraged. "Do you need lubrication to get it out?" He added, signaling for a waiter.
He looked over at Timmoz while he placed his arm across the back of the seat he sat in. He was a social drinker but maybe a libation in the form of liquid courage will help him tell the Chief Helmsman more. The waiter came by, "Yes?"
"A Singapore Sling, please?" Kennedy asked.
The waiter nodded and turned to the Orion, "And you?"
The failure of the Kanar was still a fresh sting. Timmoz halfheartedly considered the possibilities. It would be rude to not imbibe while the other did. But this replicator was decidedly lacking in pleasant alcoholic savories. "Michelada," he said off the tip of his tongue. He only vaguely remembered trying one on Risa and it hadn't been too terrible. The waiter nodded and stepped away.
"You were saying?" Timmoz said to the Human.
"Why are feelings so complicated and can be so overbearing?" The younger human inquired, "Irynya and Noah did something on the Holodeck did something that's not..." 'It was a very Jamaharon-type experience… Not formally Jamaharon, of course… but… Jamaharon-type experience…' her words from that night were still vivid in his memory as he closed his eyes. "I feel foolish because its a very Risian thing, Timmoz." His eyes drifted up to match the Orion's brown eyes, "but I also feel very hurt. They're two of my closest friends on this ship. But I feel like I'm not enough for her that she sought after someone else. It's my own fault because I've been closed off."
Kennedy fell silent when the server came back with their drinks. Kennedy realized he had brought up the majority of it without the aide of alcohol like the night Irynya and him shared when he told her his true feelings. He took a long sip from the straw of the drink's contents while he waited for the Orion to provide him an answer.
It was a two-part revelation. Timmoz listened. His Orion ennui he had to check: Humans were so much more... sentimental... so much younger than Orion culture. It was like a culture of angsty boys talking to their grandfather. Humans hadn't had enough time to build what was- to Orions- a mature society. It was all still "puppy love." So idyllic and based on expectations against their natures.
"Taoji," Timmoz began with a patient edge. He adjusted his posture to fully sit up. "Yes it is true that you have chosen..." His brows popped, "An advanced choice of mate for your first interspecies relationship. Like walking into a pleasure market and choosing the most endowed courtesan yet you are a tight virgin. But sometimes the courtesan chooses you and you must adjust. There will be pain and failure. But that is natural. But you have won the attention of that advanced model. You have a partner and a teacher."
He took a sip of the spicy umami, tomatoey drink. "So... you chose her. But she chose you. Together you've done one of the hard parts. You have seen each other across the room and chosen to dance. But what dance do you dance? Who leads? Your head says a waltz. Hers says a merry group dance," he raised his hand, "Granted with you as her center player. The one who will get the final dance."
Timmoz moved into Kennedy's space to speak near his cheek and ear. His breath rasped near his cheek, "If she gives the tight little cadet a once around the floor but her eyes are still on you... imagine how much power that gives you. Her eyes are on you." He emphasized. "You are her final dance. You're still learning how to dance. So she is waiting for you Taoji. But while she waits she must still enjoy the Masque. But as long as her eyes stay on you, you have won." He waggled a finger, "We never besmirch our dancing partners for enjoying the Masque. You should also, in your own way. What is important is you go home together for that last dance."
Kennedy had closed his eyes as Timmoz was the uninvited interloper into his personal space. He didn't understand the riddles that the Orion Chief Helmsman was speaking. He had briefly thought that maybe they had found their cultural translator but the riddles made no sense to him, "Can... you... repeat this all again... but not in riddles? Because I'm not following."
"Maybe you need more of your drink then," Timmoz said with a gesture to Walsh's Singapore Sling. Putting distance between them, he breathed in and imbibed more of his- unvoiced or not, he left the need himself. The Orion questioned why he was getting involved in this lover's spat between a Risian and a member of a naive species. But perhaps it was because he cared about these V'draysh.
Timmoz puckered his lips while he set his drink down. "Try again, Taoji. I find it hard to believe a man trained to break down and diagnose obscure diseases and vague medical conditions is struggling with a simple dance allegory. " He said directly. His eyes narrowed and he studied Walsh's face. "Perhaps it is not that you don't understand it, perhaps you don't want to understand it."
Kennedy brought the straw to his lips when the Orion Flight Controller indicated and took a longwinded sip. When he stopped he felt slightly lightheaded and out of breath. He frowned at the final revelation that Timmoz had presented that it was something he was choosing not to understand. He knew that was the truth and it stung. It hurt and felt too close to home. His voice fell silent when he spoke, "Yeah... you're... right... Timmoz. I've always been like that... I choose not to understand..."
The Orion's brow rose. "If you are going to be with a Risian, you need to think about it. Hard, Taoji. At great length," he emphasized with a sip of his strange drink.
Kennedy took a longer sip and he finished. He popped it on a server's tray as they walked pass. He signaled for another one as well. His eyes fell over to the Orion. God, he's attractive... is that the pheromones? I'm sure of it.... He wondered if the Orion had caught his glimpses. "I should have seen the signs that Gosia was more interested in me.... but it wasn't what I needed at the time... I lived a very sheltered life, Timmoz. When I lived on Earth. In Ireland. With my Mam and my Pa. My siblings. Then when I joined Starfleet, my life changed. For the better. But these roadblocks have constantly been there. I've never had a truer friend until I got two. Irynya and then Noah. And of course, Doctor t'Nai." His voice shattered when he spoke the first two names. His heart felt like it broke into a million pieces.
"You haven't lost those people, Taoji." Timmoz corrected. "But you are not on Ireland-Earth and you are not with your birth family. You are going on and soul-wrenching yourself over something as normal to Risians as healing is to you. If you have the illusion that you are the only person that Irynya has engaged in Jamaharon with- or will in the future." The Orion tilted his head matter of factly, his mouth twisted with a note of concern, "Then you should end it. Her engaging in Jamaharon or affection with others has nothing to do with you. Her... time... with the cadet is no reflection on what she feels for you."
The Orion's jaw flexed in a swallow. The glances, he'd noticed. Those kinds of glances weren't unknown. They were common. And it was an illusion. It wasn't feeling. But it was sensation. They felt it even if it wasn't, per se, real. "She wants to be with you, Taoji." He tapped the man's forehead. "She can't stop being Risian for anyone, either. If you want her like she wants you, then then you must accept that intimacy to her is healing to you. But she will save receiving Jamaharon for you." His brown eyes looked into the other's. "Can you live with that?"
"Doctor t'Nai was right. We needed a cultural translator," Kennedy reflected on what Timmoz had said. "I know everything you've said to be true but am I allowed to be hurt? This is my first adult relationship with anyone. And I don't know how to make this right. How do I? Can you help me, Timmoz?"
Timmoz pursed his bottom lip. "I'm going to challenge you on this and say... no. Taoji you have no reason to be hurt. She hasn't done anything intending to hurt you. If you are feeling hurt, it is because, maybe, a fantasy in your head is gone." He tapped the Human's neck, "If you are going to be Irynya's lover, you can't tie your concept of trust to your Human concepts of exclusivity. That cannot be your foundation because what you want in that exclusivity is how Risians behave with their friends and family. You are going to have to uncouple your trust and let it be trust without conditions."
Timmoz sighed gently. "Go to her of course. Go with an open mind and be willing to talk about anything. As a Human, your instincts say you are not in the wrong per se. The wrong was a cultural mistake, You cannot assign Human meanings to Risian culture. Show her you are still learning but that you trust her."
"I've never wanted exclusivity for her. I just wanted to take things slow but you are correct here, Timmoz that I cannot impose human meanings onto her own." He fell quiet, "I'm afraid of intimacy. I'm worried that I won't be any good enough for her and live up to her expectations."
Timmoz chuckled, "What do you think her expectations of you are?" Timmoz shook his head, "Does she even have them? Risians don't love with those kinds of conditions." He gestured, "Now with intimacy... you are going to have to confront that. But I am not sure you could get a better teacher."
The server had brought them their refills. Due to Kennedy's pace he had brought over two and another for Timmoz. Kennedy raised an eyebrow while glancing over to Timmoz if he had indicated he wanted two drinks or the one. He didn't want to correct the server as they walked away. Kennedy picked up his second Singapore Sling of the evening. He emptied the glass to the halfway point before placing the glass on his knee, "You... mean... Irynya?"
"For the practicum," Timmoz clarified. "But if you have questions, here I am."
Kennedy downed the rest of his second Sling, placed it down on the small table with his other drink. Then picked up that drink and brought the straw up to his lip. This time he only drank a small amount because he had already felt a buzz coming along. This was the night with the nurses repeating all over again, "How... do I tell her... its something I want?"
"Show her," Timmoz said. He returned his half-drunk liquor to its spot after suckling down some of it. "Have you touched her recently? If you haven't, start there. Touch her every day. See it as a daily renewal." Timmoz pushed some of his ringleting curls behind the shell of his cool green ear. "Go to her quarters. Sit with her and touch. Sometimes touch says more than words."
"I haven't touched her for quite some time. I'm worried that maybe too much time has passed because of my own volition..." Kennedy took a small sip from his drink. "Should... I go to... her... now? In this state of inebiration?"
Timmoz chuckled again, "Maybe stop into your Sickbay and get an alcohol inhibitor. Then go." He reached for his drink one last time and finished it off. With a clatter, the Orion set it down. He stood up, tugging on his uniform and freeing Kennedy for easy egress. "If it's been a long time, then I wouldn't delay."
"Alcohol inhibitor... Gotcha," Kennedy in a very unlike and poor fashion gave the Orion pistol gunhands. "Don't delay... first... Sickbay... and then... Irynya..." Kennedy stood up and brought the glass up and finished the rest of the drink. "Thank you, Timmoz. For being... a friend. What's friend in your, tongue?"
Timmoz considered following Dear Taoji- tailing him rather than by escort- to make sure he actually got it to Sickbay. He smirked at the double guns. It reminded Timmoz of Human Kurosawa films, and their Spaghetti Westerns. Both had fascinating character archetypes. He answered, "Jenze. Or Jenzi." He said with minor changes in the end-inflection.
"Jenze," Kennedy then tried the other, "Jenzi." He wasn't quite sure if his pronunciation was correct. He was curious what the Orion preferred out of the two. He finished the Sling and set it down, "Which one sounds better from me?"
"Jenze," Timmoz replied. "Jenzi is the feminine version." Did Orions have their equivalent of "gurl?" Timmoz didn't elaborate. "Either have their uses, depending." He eyed the doors of Debbie's Diner. "Your lover awaits," he said, extending an arm to the doors.
"Thank you, Jenze." He graciously nodded his head and lightly gave him an awkward side hug before finding himself stumbling out of the diner. And the door closed.
A Joint Post By:
Chief Helsman and Cultural Translator
Lieutenant Kennedy Ryan Walsh
Chief Medical Officer and Loverboy