Deck 24, Arboretum B
Being from an ice world, when Izi needed some alone time, she normally spent it in one of the holodeck rooms. She would recreate some winter scenario and enjoy the frigid temperatures, walk through snowy woods, or even do some snowboarding. At other times, she would run a combat training program, mostly practicing with her ushaan-tor. Today, she was sitting on a bench along one of the paths in the arboretum in a summer environment. She just didn’t feel like doing battle with another holo character.
Izi had a strong and fiery personality and things rarely bothered her, but about two weeks after the Colony 159 rescue mission, she still couldn’t shake the memory of Murphy from her mind.
The man was a coward, something he admitted. By being afraid to fight, people died. He failed to protect the children under his care as school principal. By Andorian standards, he was worthless to the clan. In confessing that to her, was he actually looking for forgiveness and redemption? When he ran into the burning building, was that his way of cleansing himself from his sins, while Izi, as a Starfleet officer, would go in after him and save the day?
She would never know, for after gathering the courage to enter the building, a strong, iron grip pulled her back.
It was past Izi’s time to report in, so Commander Sorek went looking for her. Seeing what she was about to do, he stopped her. At first Izi was angry, yelling that she was trying to save a life. In retrospect, the commander was right, as the flames were too intense. Once damage control parties put them out, there would have been two charred bodies instead of one. Letting out a sigh, her drooping antennae perked up when she sensed someone coming up the path.
“Hey, Iziraa. I haven’t seen you for a while. How are you?”
It was Debbie, the girl Izi helped, along with her brother, when the Death entity had taken control of parts of the ship.
“I’m fine. I’m just taking a break.”
“You don’t look fine. You helped Ed and me, so it’s my turn to help you.” Debbie sat on the bench next to Izi, causing her to scoot over to make room. “Why are you sad?”
Izi wrinkled her nose, her antennae moving in slow circles. “Who says I’m sad?”
“When I walked up, your antennae were all droopy. We learned in school that means an Andorian is sad or unhappy about something.” Debbie smiled.
Izi had to admit the girl was perceptive.
“Is it about all the bad stuff that happened on the colony? Stories spread all over the ship about how bad it was.”
“Yes, it’s about that.” Izi didn’t want to tell just how terrible it was. At Debbie’s teen age, she didn’t need to have things like that in her head.
“You can tell me. I’m fourteen. I’m old enough.”
Izi chuckled. “All right, as long as you don’t say anything to your mother.”
“I won’t.” Debbie’s pretty face lit up with excitement.
“What we saw down there was bad. Damaged buildings. The injured that were crying and afraid. People looking for their families. It was heartbreaking anyone could be so cruel.”
Debbie didn’t say anything, but Izi could see her face changed from excitement to a serious expression.
“I shouldn’t say any more,” said Izi.
“No. I want to hear. I’m going to join Starfleet when I’m old enough. I need to prepare now.”
Izi studied Debbie, her antennae leaning slightly forward. The girl was sincerely curious and seemed to be mature for her age.
“All right, but just a little.”
Izi wondered if she was doing the right thing. If she wasn’t, it wouldn’t be the first time she got in trouble. “There was a man named Murphy. He was too afraid to fight the Romulans, so he hid. He was the principal of the school, so he put the children in danger. He felt so ashamed and guilty, he ran into a burning building and died. The fire was so bad I couldn’t go in after him. I blame myself, because I should have been able to help him. The worst thing was, I never bothered to learn his full name.”
Debbie’s lip trembled and her face was pale. After a short time passed, she placed her arm around Izi and rested her head on her shoulder.
“You did the best you could. If you would have died in that fire, my antennae would have been droopy, too.”
Of course Debbie didn’t have antennae, but Izi understood what the Human girl meant.
Without saying another word, the two sat on the bench, enjoying the beauty of the life around them.