The trip had been uneventful. Fly to Phobos, change flights, board a shuttle for Jupiter Station, check in to the ship leaving for Starbase Bravo, settle into her temporary quarters, meet her temporary roommate and enjoy/endure the trip.
Once in range of the starbase, and being the only cadet being dropped off at this particular time, the shuttle ride was a bit lonely; just Heriah and the pilot. She sat in the back with her luggage and studied a PADD.
“You do not appear to be one for counseling,” said the pilot. His voice was the first thing to break the monotony of the hum of the shuttlecraft and the minute beeps from the console.
“Excuse me,” Heriah looked up from her PADD. Displayed was a crew manifest and everything she would need to know about the crew. The starbase had a massive complement; too much to take in all at once. Heriah had the past few weeks to retain what she could. Still, there was nothing like being on board and meeting the crew face to face. “What was that?”
“You don’t seem to be the type to be a counselor.” The shuttle was on autopilot for the starbase, leaving the pilot to whatever duties that needed tending to. Apparently not a thing at all. “Perhaps tactical. Or maybe even security. From what I see, that would be the profession I would see you going into. Everyone could use a fit and athletic woman looking after them.”
As he carried on with his compliments and his shy way of hitting on her, Heriah realized this was going to be just like all the other occasions where she found herself alone with a lone someone for any length of time. Situations like this would always happen from time to time. She just needed to get used to it or deal with. She could listen, flirt back a little, completely ignore him, act like his words mean nothing, wrap her hands around his throat and choke the living…
‘Stop it Rex!’
“That is all I am really saying. You know, someone with your…” he broke off.
“My looks,” she smiled at him somewhat seductively, choosing the flirtatious approach. She could see him redden and tense up. He had to turn back to his console. “Believe me, I would have stayed my original course if it were not for the symbiont.”
“So you are joined?”
“I am. Became a new person at that moment and turned to security briefly. Something,” Rex, “inside me just wanted to hit the gym and then enforce the law. Believe me, it took a bit for me to settle on a focus. I studied Tactical, Security, Intelligence, won in the bantam-weight combatives competition, but felt more at home in counseling.” That last bit was, only a little bit, a lie.
“A regular polymath I see.”
“Well, being joined grants all the memories and interests and knowledge of the hosts before.” There came a sudden rush of a feeling to break something, a neck perhaps. Or change the subject. “How much time to do spend on this thing? Flying back and forth?” she asked.
He tapped a few buttons without even looking. He knew this shuttle well. “I have spent three years now performing the same routine, shuttling people about. All because I crashed a simulator. A simulator!”
“And you have not gone back and tried talking to anyone, redeeming yourself?”
“Oh I would not dare. Captain Dungheap said he never wanted to see me again. I am happy to oblige.” But those words did not seem very happy.
“Sounds to me like he may have forgotten the whole thing. Forgotten about you even. Out here flying this shuttle.”
“Now there is a dreadful thought.”
“When you get back you should bring up your service record, apply for another assignment.”
“I think I will do that. There she is; Starbase Bravo.”
Heriah got up and went to the front, sat beside the pilot. “Beautiful isn’t it?”
“Oh yeah. Nothing the likes I have not seen a bajillion times.”
Heriah turned to him and smiled. “At least I am having a good time. And you’re the pilot. In a sense, you’re showing me a good time.”
“Tell me,” he cleared his throat after a nervous choke-up, “When do you plan to be back this way?”
“Oh I don’t know. But when I am back though…”
“Wait. If I were to ask for a new assignment then…”
“Trust me. You will have an easier time finding me out there than waiting here.”
He smiled then went back to piloting though the shuttle was still on autopilot.
“Stand up.” Heriah was standing, motioning him to do the same. “Stand up. Come here.”
He finally did and Heriah was quick to embrace him in a hug. He hesitantly wrapped his arms around her after a moment’s quest for answers.
“It is my experience that everyone needs a hug now and then.”
“Perhaps you will make a great counselor.”
The console started beeping. He retook his seat. “Proximity alert. Time to start our arrival. Please return to your seat. I will have you on Starbase Bravo in a few minutes.”
“I thank you. I am sure you will make a great starship pilot.”
“With all this experience, who would not?”
The shuttle arrived and docked. Heriah and her pilot exchanged their goodbyes. With a packed-to-capacity Starfleet issued duffle in each hand, she made her exit. The duffle bags seemed no trouble at all for her.
The station had a lot to take in; tourist stops/traps, widespread commerce, civilians and personnel from various disciplines. There was no reason for her to stop and take in the sites at the moment. Heriah just wanted to get her quarter assignment and drop her luggage.
Heriah made her way through the corridors of the starbase, greeted some of the Starfleet personnel she crossed paths with, nodded and regarded many civilians, and even decided to make a purchase at a local shop. She had to submit to a thumbprint identification, retina scan identification, voice print identification for final admittance aboard the starbase and for quarter assignment.
A turbolift ride and slide of a door later and Heriah was on the residential decks for Starfleet personnel. A corridor console on the wall was already displaying the path she needed to follow to get to her quarters.
After dropping her duffle bags onto her bed, Heriah was quick to tear into them, unpack and start setting things up.
Her uniforms and clothing was easy. Everything was already ranger-rolled and tightly folded so as to hang and put away without the worry over wrinkles and the like. Socks, bras, undgarments, and undershirts had their respective homes in the drawers by the bed. In the closet hung her uniforms.
It was the décor where Heriah took her time and patience. Removing a twin vase, formed from a singular base, indicating the bond between host and symbiont, she made sure it was free of dust and blemish. Placing it on her nightstand, Heriah replicated some Trill lilacs (one red and one black) to insert into the vase.
The colors of the lilacs generally represented something to the owner. Pink normally represented newness of life, white was purity, blue would have meant freshness, and green for the fullness of life. Various color meant various things to the joined owner and they always picked two colors which would speak volumes about the Joined Trill. Trills rarely picked red and black for their colors yet Heriah found herself more at peace with that arrangement.
After arranging the flowers, she set up a stand to display her bat’leth several feet from the door. A glowing and slowly animated picture of Trillius Prime hung on the fall wall with a pair of sharpened ushaan-tors opposite of that. She set up her incense diffuser which wafted the perfume of the wild Trill sabrebeast into the air. Though many found the smell and the sensation soothing and calming, something Heriah was going to need as she performed her duties as counselor, the scent was generally emanated by the sabrebeast to ward off other animals downwind as it was about to tear into the prey it has been stalking.
Essentially, it meant ‘I am about to kill something. Stay away lest you may join the dead.’
Sensations versus true meanings. Heriah smiled gleefully at the irony and hopped on her heels as she stepped back toward the door to look at her living quarters and workspace. She hummed out a pleasing sound and enjoyed the result of her arrangement.