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Silent Goodbyes

Posted on Sun Jul 22nd, 2018 @ 1:40am by Lieutenant Xiulan Song & Deacon Kane

Mission: Stranded
Location: Long Range Sensor Suite USS Valiant

Deacon rested his chin on his arms as he looked at the three dimensional display. It was amazing how far the technology had advanced in the past twenty odd years. It was also amazing that the LCARS, in many ways, was just an overlay on top of an archaic operating system, one that he could convince to give up a password or two with the right amount of prompting.

Smiling he brushed his fingers through the tiny figures running around the open field, disrupting them momentarily. Little Andal and Renna were playing futbol with their friends. Io, their dad, jumping up and down on the sidelines under uneven glow of the incandescent lights. Deacon's mouth broke into a melancholy smile watching them play. Renna's ball handling had improved so much in the past year, she was racing past the other players, still remembering to pass the ball back, so her little brother could try for the goal. "Shot...score!!!" Deacon could almost hear the announcer over the grainy image. He'd hacked the ships tertiary sensor. According to the logs it hadn't even been online in months, he knew he could've gotten a better picture with the other sensors, but even he wasn't crazy enough to blind the ship that just rescued him.

He heard the hatch open behind him. Twenty-three minutes, not bad he thought. "Don't suppose you'd believe I was just brushing up on some old skills?" he asked not wanting to take his eyes off the image.

"Eh?" came the confused reply, then was shortly followed by a 'tap tap tap' that drew closer. Then the petite Asian woman in Operation yellow was standing beside him, holding what looked to be a white cane. "Oh, you must be the hitchhiker we picked up," Xiulan said with a lopsided grin as she stared blindly ahead. She took a strange looking PADD out of her duty jacket then placed it on the console. It had no visual output, but rather a raised surface, and after taking a moment to run her fingers over the textured surface, she then entered a few commands onto the LCARS display and suddenly Deacon had full access to the long range sensors. "Just wondering what was going on down here; carry on and make sure you secure the station once you're done," Xiulan said as she retrieved her strange looking PADD.

Deacon snorted slightly at being called a 'hitchhiker.' The title was as good as anything else. "Thank-you Miss." Deacon replied warmly, and genuinely surprised at the officer's reaction to his presence. Whoever she was, Deacon saw that she was a good half-a-head shorter than himself. She appeared to be young, even by human standards, with a genuine calming smile that seemed to emit from her air of self confidence as much as her face. "Just scanning Janos III, making some recordings of a personal nature." he admitted not wanting to repay kindness with deception, "I'll leave a copy in the log for your review. I'm Deacon, Deacon Kane, by the way."

"Yeah, I know who you are," Xiulan replied with a wry chuckle as she returned her strange PADD to the pocket inside her jacket. As she turned to address him, he could clearly see that her eyes were not normal, a far paler green than was typically natural for humans along with mechanical components, and she never looked right at him, her gaze was always off. "Lieutenant Xiulan Song; I was in Communications and Linguistics, but I was recently promoted to Chief of Operation," she introduced herself. "So I was familiarizing myself with all the Valiant's systems, noticed your activity and thought I should come check it out. Ain't no harm in what you're doing, so just ask next time."

"Anata no yasashi-sa wa anata no ōmu o tataemasu, Your kindness honors your parrot " Deacon replied to the linguist, "Sorry about commandeering sensor array, was afraid we'd be too far out by the time I had permission. Be assured I will ask next time." sighing he shrugged, "I'm a bit of a 'Bull in a China shop.' as you human's say." he added looking at Xiulan's eyes an glancing down at her cane. "Though why a large animal is more clumsy in China than a shop anywhere else in your world, I'll never understand. Must be an Earth thing I guess."

Xiulan snickered at his poor translation but made no attempt to correct him. "Yeah, 'bull in a china shop' actually ain't true; back in the early 21st century a few guys built a make-shift shop with cheap china in a bull pen and released a bull, and it was surprisingly agile and careful; the only breakage they experienced was because the shelves weren't built that well and the swaying knocked a few things over," Xiulan offered in return. "And don't worry about the sensors; there's no harm done and I can retroactively file an approved request for you so you don't get into any trouble."

Deacon smiled shyly, thinking he embarrassed her which made her kindness all the more endearing. "Well I stand corrected on a human idiom, Lieutenant," he nodded and suddenly wondered about the woman's curious eyes. "If you don't mind me asking Ms. Song, I noticed you have ocular implants, fairly advance ones from my perspective. Have they not come back online yet?"

"Oh no, they're working," Xiulan affirmed with a candid nod. She wasn't embarrassed, hell, she didn't even think she was being 'kind'; Xiulan had always done things her own way, and letting him have some time on the sensors just happened to fall into that nebulous 'way'. "The problem's in my brain; when I was a cadet a training console exploded, the overload arced to my implants and caused massive damage to the visual center of my brain. At the time I got new implants, but it was too risky to attempt to repair the brain damage; now it's possible, I just never had it done. I can process heat signatures and a few other non-visual signals, and this helps me to get around easily, but in Communications and Linguists my ears were far more important, and I can use my hands to pick up the slack just fine where my eyes fail me, and so far my superiors have been okay working around my condition, so truth be told I'm happy how I am."

"You're lucky then, Ms. Song," Deacon replied sincerely, as he recorded various places around Janos III, "Very lucky indeed, to be happy as you are. I thought I found that sort of happiness," he added settling the sensor sweep in a grave that was lovingly tended, "But turned out just to be a very fortunate weigh station." Sighing he logged out of the station, "Sorry waxing metaphysically while you're talking corporeal. 'Apples and Oranges' as someone wiser than me pointed out. Anyway, I owe you one for letting me get some high definition motion capture. Makes it easier to close out this chapter for now." Then the reptilian part of his mind assessed the woman in front of him. "You know very few people would ever take you for starfleet..."

"Ain't the first time I heard that," she remarked with a smirk. "And I don't believe in luck, at least not for anything like happiness," Xiulan said in her usual blunt tone as she folded her hands over the hand of her cane. "Happiness is a choice; everyone around me always bemoaned the fact that I was born blind, treating me like I needed to be protected, but I chose to embrace my condition and live my life on my terms. Now you, you can sit around and dwell on shitty circumstances, or you do something about it; if you were happy on Janos III, you could choose to retire and stay there, or you could find a way to bring that happiness with you, or you could choose to find something new that makes you happy. It really all depends on you and what you want."

Deacon laughed, laughed hard until tears fell for his eyes, "Please, please don't take offence Lieutenant, I'm not laughing at you." he insisted wiping the tears from his eye, "In fact that is sage advice, and I'm amaze to find it in one so young, which brings me to a not so simple observation. You're easily underestimated, a rare and wondrous quality in my line of work. But I'll get back to that momentarily," the Rigellian assured her, "As to happiness, I agree, It's a choice."

"Didn't mean to sound so maudilan." he shrugged, "Saying goodbye to the family that adopted me, and that I helped raise, little sad. I was happy there, and could have stayed, but after I buried my wife it became... alien for me again. Felt restless, wanted to feel gravplating under my feet, I guess." Part of Deacon wondered why he was justifying himself to this stranger, until he realize he was more explaining it to himself, "So I'm taking what I can with me, which you were very helpful and again I thank-you. Happiness will be found along the journey as it tends to be with my people. We love the surprises and the unexpected the universe invariably serves up. Which brings me back to you," he added fixing the human with a critical eye.

"You've iron in you, and don't suffer fools." he said reassessing the young woman, "I'd expect you'd smack me upside my head with a hyper-spanner if I gave you cause." Deacon narrowed his eyes, "I misread you, Lieutenant Xiulan Song; Communications and Linguistics expert, recently promoted to Chief of Operation, and I don't often do that."

"Now why the hell would I risk breaking a perfectly good hyperspanner over your head when I can do more damage with my feet?" Xiulan countered with a laugh. "I grew up in a Hung Gar temple, I know how to kick someone's ass. And don't feel bad about misreading me or underestimating me, you ain't the only one; to be honest, I kinda like it that way..." She offered him one last lopsided grin, then tapped her cane to the ground once as she adjusted her hold on it. "Well, I've got things to do. I'll be around if you need anything."

"Catch you later, Lieutenant." Deacon replied to the retreating figure. As Song disappeared down the companionway he made a mental note to pitch for her being assigned to the next clandestine insanity they came up with. A blind super ninja that nobody would give a second thought to had it's advantages.

 

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