Literary Challenges : The Library Computer
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Join Date: Dec 2007
05-13-2011, 02:38 PM
<begin part 2>
Stardate 157479.17 -- June 24, 2480
Fleet Admiral Amara has consented to speak with me. As I am ushered into her office at Starfleet Command, I am once again struck at the "feeling" she gives off.
We all make assumptions about people. We expect them to act a certain way, say certain things, etc. This is a sort of mental short-cut that we have to do, because doing a detailed analysis of every person and every gesture would drive us mad with paralysis.
And I think that's what freaks people out when they meet Amara. Physically, she's Vulcan and she looks it. She may be well over 100 but she appears to be a human in her mid-30s, except of course for the ears and eyebrows. Her face, when set, looks like a regal, Vulcan face...until she cracks a huge smile and bounds over the desk to shake your hand. It's the wrong signal for what you expect. Her body language just confuses the hell out of your brain. And her reactions aren't exactly human, either; if anything, she's over-expressive. And hyper. A Vulcan with ADHD, can you imagine?
After a hearty "hello" hug she bounds back over the desk and into her chair, gesturing to another chair for me to sit in. I sit down and thank her for agreeing to meet with me. She smiles warmly.
Amara: Jeffy was a terrific friend. Anything I can do to help.
Me: Well, I don't know about "help" but I do have a question. It's almost certainly personal, so feel free to refuse to answer...but I hope you do answer.
Amara (warily): Go on.
Me: Tell me about the pebble.
(Silence. It drags on for what seems like hours, though I am sure it lasted no longer than a few seconds. Her eyes well up, and she sighs.)
Amara: I doubt it will make sense to anyone but me or Jeff.
Me: Perhaps, but I'd still like to hear the story. Was it related to the mission on Regulus IV?
Amara: You've been doing your homework, I see. Well. Yes, it does. But you have to understand that Jeffy and I were very close. Not in the salacious way some people implied; we were friends. Almost like siblings, but without the fighting. And he was excited about everything. Hell, the day he got his promotion to Captain, he came bounding into my ready room. "'Mara, 'Mara, guess what, guess what?" Like that.
(At this memory she smiles a sad smile.)
Amara: That closeness came very fast for us. Yes, we were on Regulus IV. It was one of the first real big missions either of us did. We'd met purely by random chance one day at Earth Space Dock, and before you knew it, we were teaming up to go protect Miral Paris.
At one point we're running across a beach, dodging fire from Klingons and Orions. Some stupid KDF lobbed a photon grenade at me. My personal shields were exhausted and I was hurt badly; that grenade would've wiped me out, or at least put me in the hospital for a very long time. Jeffy came running up and shoved me out of the way, taking the full force itself.
It's not as big a deal as it sounds. This sort of thing happens all the time on away missions. But we were young and scared. Anyway, I took that opportunity to wheel around and vaporize the munitions officer. Then I ran to check on Jeffy.
He slowly opened his eyes and looked up at me. I told him he probably just saved my life. He grinned and said, "You owe me, 'Mara! Your life! Or, in exchange, I'll accept your most valuable possession."
Possession? Hell, I didn't even own a holo-viewer. I sat down next to him and thought for a moment. Then I looked at the bottom of one of my boots and found a pebble jammed in the treads. I pried it out and handed it to him. "Here you go," I said. "Most valuable thing I've got. All yours. Treat it right, Jeffy, or I'll break your collar bone."
He took the pebble and looked at it with a solemn expression. He opened a sealed compartment on his belt, carefully placed the pebble inside, then re-sealed the compartment. He looked up at me and said, "I'll treasure it always, Amara." Then, after a moment, he grinned widely and shoved me so I fell over. Then he took off running.
When the administrator handed that pebble back to me the other day, I was overwhelmed. I had no idea he'd kept it all these years. Afterwards I tracked his daughter down.
(ARGH! Why didn't I think to interview his daughter? Bad Grbl3dor! Bad!)
Amara: She told me her father had shown her the pebble before. To him it represented a friendship so strong that it could last forever. Like stone. And he was returning it to me as an apology. "An apology?" I asked. "Yes," she said. "Dad was sorry that the friendship wasn't going to last longer."
Of course, you could hardly blame him. He lived to 106 after all; it's not like he was abandoning me. But I know that I'll never experience another friendship like that, and that's the saddest part of all.
Character: Admiral Starlin Jeffrey Hastings
Prized Possession: a pebble