99227.48 // 00:43
The Trill groaned from deep within a mess of fabric providing only meager defense against the electronic chirping noise that threatened her hard-won slumber. By the time the comm system had played its fourth notification, the damage was done.
“Computer,” Neema croaked out, just before finding an escape route for her face through the blankets, “Accept message.”
“I’m sorry to bother you, Ambassador,” came the voice of Jerod Matos, the Consulate’s off-hours administrative assistant, “You have a transmission holding from Paris.”
A frustrated groan escaped the groggy Ambassador’s throat. “You can tell that DCA blowhard that we’re already committed, and calling me 85 times a day is not going to conjure up more Irreo colonists.”
“Uh, ma’am. It’s the Secretary’s office.”
99227.52 // 01:04
Perim leaned back in her office chair as the monitor on her desk switched off. Her hands moved to her face, briefly covering tired eyes and giving her a moment’s silence to collect her thoughts.
“All right,” she said after blowing out a breath and righting herself in her seat, “Start calling everyone in, when this hits the news we’re gonna get swamped. I also need a meeting with Admiral Aluk, as soon as he’s available.”
When there was no response to her instructions, the Ambassador did a double-take towards Jerod. The normally hyperattentive Bajoran didn’t seem to have even heard her; his attention was, instead, absorbed by a report on his PADD. “Matos?” she prompted, gently.
“Hnh?” came the man’s almost startled reply. It was only then that the Trill noticed all the color had drained from his cheeks at some point. “Prophets, y-you need to see this.”
99228.23 // 07:17
Sleep had come surprisingly easily for the Ambassador, after abandoning the ancillary staff to their prep work, returning to her quarters, and sobbing into her pillow for an indeterminate amount of time. At least, it felt like it had been easy after the fact as she was halfheartedly preparing for the day.
“Yeaaah, I guess you’re right?” Coby said, glancing over the railing to the Risian waterfront beyond, “I wouldn’t want you to feel awkward about people knowing you’ve got a Starfleet Captain for a stalker.”
“Of all my many stalkers,” Neema answered, placing her hand over her heart, “You are my very favorite.”
As she made the walk from her quarters to the Consulate, Neema barely noticed the movement of the station’s other denizens around her. Whether it was actually more quiet than any other day, or simply a product of her distracted mind, was up for debate.
99228.51 // 09:44
There were some 64 faces arranged in a grid on the large comm screen in the Consulate meeting room. The main speaker was Ambassador Sugihara, providing a more longwinded version of the briefing Perim herself had received earlier to the full staff of not only the DS13 Consulate, but various other embassies and FDC teams throughout the quadrant.
“That’s a problem for future-Coby, at any rate,” the man said, offering a faint shrug and a brief glance out the restaurant’s window.
“Hey!” the Trill objected with a chuckle, “Be nice to future-Coby! I’m pretty sure I’m gonna like that guy.”
Coby followed her over with his eyes, smiling and gave her a firm nod, “Well, I’m certainly not going to argue with… the soon-to-be greatest, and of course prettiest, ambassador in the Federation.”
“Come on, Cap’n,” Neema said, suppressing a grin, “Stay at the hotel with me 'til you have to leave?”
“Couldn’t think of anything I’d love more!”
“… that elected to leave have done so using their own transport, and should not impact the overall …”
The Human clicked his tongue, “I actually think we’ve missed something but, I’m sure it’ll be fine.”
“Right, sure,” Neema teased, narrowing her eyes as she mixed the allegedly confectionary concoction. “I’m not exactly an expert, but … the sugar, maybe?”
Coby frowned towards the table. “Suuuugar,” he started, then quickly repeated, “Sugar! Of course. Right.” It took him more than a couple seconds to locate the bag of sugar and snap it up with both hands. “I think it’s about, half the amount of flour we put in - but you’re the expert.”
“Hey, remember,” the she chuckled, “You still have to eat this too!” She tipped the bowl in his direction for ease of ingredient-adding.
Coby held the bag in his right hand, his left finding its way up to the top and trying to open the little sealed crease. It was not easy, apparently, as he soon moved the supporting hand to the top too and gave a biiiiig~ tug. The bag happily yielded a spread of the sweet stuff everywhere. There was a sprinkle over the table, over Coby, and of course some was sent towards the Trill. She squeaked and squeezed her eyes shut, choking down a laugh and shaking her sugar-coated head.
Coby made some little noise from the back of his throat. He didn’t apologize, merely keeping his eyes on the bowl as he slowly began to pour the sugar as if nothing unusual had happened. “Ahem.”
“… naturally, this is all covered in your continuity of government packets, but to summarize briefly …”
“… you’d still be on your ship. It’d be visits and… leave time, and…”
Coby dipped his head, then tilted it a fraction as he smiled faintly. “I know,” he said before his eyes drifted away once more. “I wouldn’t be able to forgive myself if I didn’t…” He paused and turned to look at the Trill fully. His lips were parted, but it was as if he’d lost the words he was about to say. “Sounds like the start of a plan, though, to me!” he forced with a chirp.
Perim only hesitated for a moment before turning to meet Coby’s gaze. “Okay,” she eked out quietly, offering the man her hand over the bench, “Where to first?”
Coby smiled warmly, almost playfully, until he moved his hand over to take hers gently, “The future.”
He snorted suddenly, exhaling a laugh. “No, sorry. That was awful.” He sniffed and tried again, “Anywhere as long as it’s with you.”
“… and our allies are working to that end. It is vital that we urge both citizens and foreign contacts …”
Neema inhaled sharply, unprompted, drawing a number of looks from those present in the meeting room. Hoarsely, she whispered an “Excuse me a moment,” and adjusted the comm focus onto Consul Bozgid in her stead before quietly retreating to the privacy of her office.
Once safely alone, the PADD she’d been carrying found itself launched across the room, bouncing first off the surface of the desk and then skipping off into the far wall, sending a few other objects clattering to the floor in the process.
Perim herself did not quite make it all the way to any piece of furniture intended for sitting, instead abandoning the concept of uprightness and parking herself on the ground against the interior wall.
“Stupid,” she muttered for her own benefit.
99228.99 // 13:57
Thanks in part to a well-timed soup delivery, which also served to remind the Ambassador that she had missed a lunch appointment, Perim recomposed and returned to the meeting room just in time for the end of the FDC briefing. She spent a few minutes addressing those of her staff that were physically present after the comm ended.
Her short speech was blessedly succinct after Sugihara’s ramblings, simply a few words of sympathy, a reminder of the importance of local stability, especially in the face of tragedy, and permission to try to reach out to friends and family in Sol.
Even before the group dispersed, there were a handful of concerned-looking people waiting at the walk-in entrance and several messages holding for the next available diplomat. It was going to be a long day.
99229.37 // 17:16
“Councilor, I understand your position, but at this point I don’t have any more inf–”
“Useless!” The burly Cardassian man on Perim’s monitor cut her off mid-word, “We have nothing more to discuss!”
“As soon as–” was all she managed to say before the comm ended. “Stars,” she muttered, lowering her face to the surface of her desk and resting it atop her folded hands. It was the fourth such frustrating comm in a row she’d fielded from borderline-irate high-level foreign representatives, unable to use their usual channels via Sol.
Finally, she thought to herself, as the moments passed and it became clear that there wasn’t another comm holding for her. With a heavy breath, she dragged herself back upright and logged back into her console, pulling up the 38th’s casualty report for the 103rd time.
For some reason, in that moment, all she wanted to do was stare at it. It wasn’t rational and it certainly didn’t make her feel any better, but the interruption that soon followed stung like a phaser burn and elicited a response in kind.
“Ambassador, do y–”
“NOT NOW, ULRICH!”
99229.67 // 19:54
[19:54] RatherBePowerboarding: Hey, sorry about lunch.
[19:54] RatherBePowerboarding: It’s been
[19:54] RatherBePowerboarding: a day.
[19:54] RatherBePowerboarding: Are you okay?
[19:54] RatherBePowerboarding: Did you get through to Brian or parents?
[19:55] ksedai.argo: Hey.
[19:55] ksedai.argo: Yeah, it’s
[19:55] ksedai.argo: I haven’t been able to reach my parents, no. There might be… too much going on. But the Ponderosa is in Denobula, so
[19:58] RatherBePowerboarding: I’m coming over. Got food.
99230.08 // 23:30
After a long session of dinner, crying, and ice cream, Neema departed the Counselor’s quarters and headed home. Or at least, that had been the intention. Alone again with her thoughts the moment she stepped into the corridor, she quickly found herself near-aimlessly wandering the station’s halls.
The man flashed a grin which turned sheepish for just a second before he continued, “But it’s not the same without you, y’know, just down the hallway.”
Neema’s expression neutralized to match the more somber topic. “I know,” she agreed. “It’s strange. But, we move on, right?” She forced her smile back as she climbed to her feet and offered out her hand - refusing to let the evening end.
Coby pursed his lips, “I always struggle with change.” The half-moment between the end of his sentence and his movement to take her hand and rise to his feet, to Neema, seemed to last an eternity. The fear of letting change mean ending was almost panic-inducing.
But take her hand he did. As their fingers interlaced she gave his hand a squeeze in relief, followed by a light tug towards her intended direction of travel. “Well,” she started, combating anxiety with a determined playfulness, “Better get used to it! Because I’m going upstairs, changing out of this dress, and getting into bed.”
A new smile formed out of Coby’s pursed lips. “But you look so pretty,” he halfheartedly objected before offering a dip of his head. “Room for one more?”
“Mmmmm-hm,” the Trill droned cheekily through closed lips, tucking herself against him as they started off towards the room.
Neema’s daydream of the past ended as she rounded a corner and stumbled upon the growing memorial wall for the recent losses. She stopped in her tracks, paralyzed by the realization of what she was looking at.
Whether it was the effect of seeing the fleet’s mourning process so prominently on display, or just the day’s jumbled emotions coalescing into a coherent thought, she finally turned to head back to her quarters in earnest.
Home at last, the Ambassador proceeded to the PADD laying on her bedside table.
CAPT_MILKSHAKE is offline, they will receive your message when they next log in.
[23:59] RatherBePowerboarding: I love you.
[00:00] RatherBePowerboarding: I really don’t know what I was waiting for.
That helped, she tried to convince herself, before climbing into bed.
(There is absolutely no way this could backfire for her.)