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“The Arboretum”

Posted on Wed Oct 9th, 2019 @ 8:02pm by Chief Petty Officer Rick Vann [zh'Zheles] & Lieutenant Doctor Ayasha Laith D.V.M., M.D. & Sylestia Laith C.G.CA/U, C.PSA, C.ESA
Edited on on Wed Oct 9th, 2019 @ 8:06pm

Mission: Episode 2: Fresh Faces
Location: Aurboridum
Tags: Sylestia Laith, Sylestia

Ayasha and Sylestia were walking side-by-side down a corridor. Sylestia had needed a break and she’d suggested the holodeck recreation program was losing its luster, she wanted to feel real grass under her pads, so after a quick stop off at their quarters, and a change for Doctor Tamara out of hir uniform and into hir quadruped form – with the added feature of hir own UT commbadge and collar – the roommates soon entered the arboretum.

As the door slid open, one of the first people they would see would be a crewman in red collared uniform lounging in a section of earth pine. He stood leaning against a wide cedar tree. A scientist chided him for leaning against it once, talking about the bark and ‘keeping order.’

Crewman Rick Vann had told him that the tree was ‘made for leaning.’ It was here he once again stood. When the doors open, he peered towards the newcomers almost anxiously. It had been a long day and he was hoping to unwind.

Sylestia came bounding in freely. She looked around and loped over to the nearest shrub, nose to the ground. Attempting to keep pace behind her, Doctor Ayasha Laith wondered in. Gazing about, s/he scented the air, and quickly detected the scent of another. ~Be careful little-one, we’re not alone, keep your instinctual side just a little more at bay until we’re sure of the social expectations.~

Sylestia had already made her way over to the coy pond, and was crouched at the edge, gazing into the pond at one of the large orange-and-white speckled fish. Like a typical teen, she had paid no mind to whatever it was her ‘mom’ had said.

Ayasha closed hir eyes and began to wander. Nose to the air, s/he slowly followed it, until s/he came upon the Earth Pine, =/\=Oh, hello.=/\= Neither Ayasha in hir feral form, nor Sylestia had vocal cords complex enough to allow them to speak in humanoid tongues, so they had acquired at some point, commbadges specifically programed by the first ‘Beastinoid’ to join Starfleet after first contact with the Federation. It was through this, which the device was detecting hir animalistic vocalizations and body language now and allowing the Ailurian/Felinoid Hybrid to speak in this form. =/\=We’re sorry, are we disturbing you?=/\=

“Not at all, sir,” Rick replied to the female officer. He moved almost quickly in response, having been slightly startled at their appearance. He hadn’t been watching them come in and was staring away from the door at the lush greens and tall trees. Dealing with officers also required adherence to protocol, so Rick wasn’t one to leave titles out of the way. “Just enjoying the manufactured landscape,” he said with excited undertones in his voice.

He had never seen people like them before but didn’t want to sound rude by inquiring. “What brings you to the Arboretum?”

=/\=Sylestia just needed to go for a walk, and she’d wanted a change of scenery. The holodeck does quite a good job, but in the back of one’s mind, one still knows the trees and shrubberies are just tricks of the light. The smells just aren’t quite right sometimes.=/\= The hermaphrodite doctor said. S/he took a deep breath and hir tail began to wag.

Meanwhile Sylestia was still over by the pond. She pounced with a tremendous splash then more splashing as she chased through the shallow water making pounce after pounce.

Doctor Laith began to seem partially distracted as s/he was trying to ignore what s/he thought might be going on just out of site from where s/he was talking with the young man. =/\=…so what about… you, what… brings you to this neck of the…=/\=

Just then what amounted to just a colorful carp plopped on the ground in front of hir. It began flopping around comically, gasping in the oxygen rich, thin low-pressure environment outside of its pond. =/\=I did it!=/\= Sylestia announced proudly and dripping wet.

Crewman Vann looked over at the excited youngster happily. He wasn’t quite sure how the fish was brought up since he’d been looking away. His mind was still on the thought of the landscape around them all. “I know what you mean,” Rick said about Ayasha’s comments on the holodeck. “I think a lot of the holodeck’s novelty is starting to wear off. That’s stuff from the 60s and 70s,” Vann added. “It’s 2389.”

“I just had to get away. Enlisted life is a little different from the Starfleet most officers know.” Rick was still upbeat about his work while he spoke. He just needed somewhere quiet to unwind. “Which field do you work in? Medical? Science?”

Tamara glanced at Sylestia, ~put it back before it expires.~

~Aww…~ Sylestia whined in Tamara’s head with the accent of an audible animalistic nasal whine.

By now the pair of quadruped ‘Beastinoids’ means of communication might start to seem more ‘normal’ and one’s brain might just start forgetting the artificial source in which they generate speech, so one might just start to hear it as their normal speech now; “Little-sister, you know someone must have been putting great care into that pond; how would it look if the ship’s CMO who is also trained in veterinary medicine were to approach them with a dead fish.

Sylestia scooped up the fish gently and slinked off. Rick watched the entire incident with a half-smile and a slight chuckle.

Tamara looked back to Vann, s/he leaned in and whispered, “You know I hear this ship is one of the first to get the new Holo-suite 5.O upgrades.” S/he leaned back, “so yeah, I’m the CMO, I’m in medical. Sylestia is my aid, and therapy assistant.” The hybrid doctor thought it might be nice to find a place to sit and began glancing around. “What about you, what department are you in? I’d be interested in hearing about your Starfleet experience too.”

“Tactical,” answered the crewman. “Most people think it’s a really risky field. It’s really more about maintenance,” Vann said while turning back out towards the fields. “I’m looking forward to the Devonshire’s holodeck.” With a slightly more serious look, he added, “Hopefully these holodecks won’t be as wonky as the older ones.”

Stories about holodeck incidents have been making their way around Starfleet for some time, including those which took place on the Enterprise-D.

Tamara realized there wouldn’t be anything unusual – given hir present form – for hir to just sit on the ground, so relaxing a bit, s/he lowered hir tail-end to do just that. “Well the Corps of Engineers seemed to have learned their lessons, and as long as we learn from others’ mistakes, I’m sure we’ll be fine. Besides, some of the rumors I’ve heard almost come across as manufactured problems by someone in order to get some interesting anecdotes to tell a story about. Who knows maybe even The Great Brid of the Galaxy caused them to happen itself?” Tamara suggested lightheartedly, tail wagging friendlily.

With a nod, Rick chuckled slightly. Maybe the doctor was right.

Sylestia returned, bounding playfully about. She had found a stick and was carrying it proudly in her maw. She may be four already, and technically considered an adult, but that didn’t mean there was anything wrong with a bit of fun. The thylacinid soon plopped down laying next to her caretaker. She gazed up at the male humanoid with doe-y female adolescent yes. Part of her thought he was cute, but she also just hoped he’d want to throw the stick for her.

The hermaphrodite doctor leaned into hir adopted daughter lovingly, all the while considering Mr. Vann. “What do you like to do in the holodeck?”

“Eh. It’s really more about training nowadays,” Rick said. “I run a few programs. Simulations.” He glanced towards the newcomer. He really didn’t want to ask too many questions. These people were very different from him and he didn’t want to offend them. Rick didn’t even remember reading about such people in the manuals.

“Does the younger one enjoys the holodeck too?” Rick offered a faint smile towards the other. He didn’t plan to toss the ball for anyone, seeing them as people first and foremost. Rick wouldn’t just treat someone like an animal, even if it were part of their nature.

Sylestia perked up. -=/\=-What me?-=/\=- She asked, the stick crunching between her teeth. -=/\=-Who doesn’t?-=/\=-

Tamara wagged hir tail. “We like to play tabletop games, and sometimes the ones with more of a bit of story, we like to play them out in a holodeck adventure.”

Crewman Vann laughed a bit at the younger one’s response. “I bet you do,” Rick replied. He didn’t want to leave them out of the conversation. His thoughts drifted back to the idea of holodeck stories. “That does sound interesting.” His skin carried gold undertones. His features softened with warmth, but there was a gruff look about him. Calm eyes showed the 194cm redshirt was mostly a gentle giant. “What types of adventures have you gone on?”

Rick was becoming more curious about the newcomers. They did seem friendly. He was so new here and barely knew anyone. This was likely why he had previously been standing alone among a bay of trees. There was still comfort of the scent from a group of nearby conifers.
Tamara was beginning to develop a liking for this male human s/he and hir adopted daughter had just met. S/he appreciated how he’d found a way to include Sylestia. They were both beginning to appreciate how others could enjoy the smooth, bronze skin. S/he was slightly concern for his lack of curiosity, however. Then again, maybe he was just openly accepting of anyone and everyone for who they were; which would be a good thing. Had he met someone from Barnum Prime before? S/he hoped their primal-like state didn’t put him off; and perhaps he’d open up more as he got to know them. Ayasha watched hir daughter get gleefully excited over the large man’s question.

The female thylacinid opened up; -=/\=-Oh we’ve gone exploring a mysterious island for secret hidden treasure before the island could sink back into the sea.-=/\=- She stated, describing “Forbidden Island.” -=/\=-Then we nearly escaped with the treasure in an air ship, but we crashed in a massive desert and had to find the scattered pieces to our ship before the cursed sands swallowed them whole.-=/\=- she continued as she described “Forbidden Desert.” -=/\=-…but we were finally able to get our airship rebuilt but before we could escape into orbit, we had to stop at a hovering waypoint to hunker down during a violent wind storm.-=/\=- The quadruped exchange officer finished with a description of “Forbidden Sky,” – though, she whimpered, she wasn’t quite sure if she’d gotten quite all of the details correct on that last one.

Rick was feeling more and more comfortable with the thylacinids by the minute. His only discomfort may have been any worry of possibly offending them. Crewman Vann was a product of 24th century humanity. He saw every species as people, no matter how they appeared. The story made him even more curious. “Oh, that’s an adventure all right”, Rick said almost ironically. “That sounds amazing.” The tactical crewman paused for a moment in thought. “Sometimes I feel like I was born to go on adventures like that.”

Vann laughed a little, hoping the doctor would consider them if they happened upon another such trip.

Doctor Tamara smiled. S/he had been hoping hir and her daughter might meet someone on this new assignment whom might be interested in some of their hobby together, but s/he never would have thought something like this could happen so soon. “Well then you might enjoy Crypts & Centaurs, we try our best to play just the two of us, but we could really use one or more additional adventurers.”

Rick laughed a little on mention of the game. His facial features brightened up. His eyes cast downwards, likely lost in old memories. “You know… People don’t figure me one for playing that. Tried it at the Academy though.” The broad human paused to grin. “It was addictive and really fun. Let’s put note to PADD and set up a time for this. I bet it could become THE big game aboard ship.”

The young little quadruped, Sylestia heard this and gave an excited yip as she pranced about excitedly.

Tamara eyed this Rick person thoughtfully for a moment. “You’ve played this before? On Earth at the Academy even? Well isn’t this exciting, I think we’d both appreciate it.” S/he leaned in as if telling a secret. “(Just between you and me, I don’t feel like I’m such a good Crypt Master.) What time do you feel would be good for you? Can you think of anyone else who also might like to get involved?”

Rick Vann pondered for a moment. “Time? Maybe this can become a Friday night thing. I’ll have to check with some people... Maybe get to know some others.” Crewman Vann was still quite new on the Devonshire. “I tell you what. Let’s see what we can get going.” Rick smiled while glancing towards the doctor. He could tell this would be the start of something new.


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