Saya's Solitude.

1. Hidden to All But Her.

Water slowly drained through the tiny perforations along the bottom of the tub, a luxury afforded to senior officers, guests of status and now ambassadors in residence, of which she was one. A foot and then another stepped over the side of the tub onto a mat made for the purpose. She flexed her toes against it, and then relaxed them again. Moisture beaded against the supple flesh that covered her ankles, drops trailing downward collecting there. And then a hand with thin wet fingers reached for a towel off the rack, leaving one remaining. This towel swiftly wrapped around the parts of her head where her inky close cropped black locks sprung from, a subtle tuck holding the thing in place. A single droplet managing to escape before slowly traveling along the contours of the Vulcan’s back. She reached for the other towel softly, and began to use it for its purpose. Finally she knelt, to dry her still-wet feet one by one, before wrapping it around herself and leaving the refresher.

By the time Saya had made her way to the more public areas of her quarters she was wearing one of her preferred silk night robes, it hung loose, the belt ends slack and dangling behind her. It was as blue as her eyes, and as thin as the façade of Vulcan stoicism she wore on a daily basis. Those that really knew her, and admittedly the list was short at this new place, knew that time and duty had worn down the veneer that all Vulcans shroud themselves in. Still, she wore it somewhat proudly. The walk from her bedroom to the open space on the floor she chose to meditate at was short, but she milked the time by walking slowly, deliberately.

Her hand dipped into the robe’s pocket, pulling free a hypospray and a silver lighter, setting them next to a rather large and half-melted candle, its wax was also blue. She knelt down, the robe barely providing the most basic amount of modesty, one knee hitting the deck, and then another. She ran a hand through her damp strands and pulled them from against her brow, then taking a moment she ran a thumb over both her brows to dry them slightly better than she had already. She moved her hand to the hypo first, pressing it against her chest where the robe failed to cover. After setting it aside she then latched on to the lighter, and with a subtle turn of her wrist and flick of her thumb she brought its flame to the wick of her meditation candle. The flame took a moment to find a home, but eventually the wax below it started to pool as the heat melted it slightly.

She took a deep breath and held it in a long moment before letting it go slowly, her eyes closing as she sought to find calm, “Computer, start Ambassador’s personal log, Saya of Vulcan.” And an instant latter the computer bleeped its compliance. “I haven’t done this in fourteen years’ time; this will be my first personal log as ambassador of the Aldebaran sector.” She paused, opening her eyes slowly, “I am intoxicated, specifically due to the effects of a make-shift version of the traditional earth cocktail known as Long Island iced tea, only concocted with rihannsu ingredients, making the effects all the more pronounced. I have just partaken of the detox hypo, but I wish the at least start this log while I can still feel the effects of the alcohol, as it’s providing the initiative to even file this log.”

“I find myself at a curious crossroads in my life and in my career. The last time I had found myself stationed on a Starfleet base was my Cardassian assignment, and this place is nothing like Deep Space Nine. And I am different person now, five years on mol’Rihan have influenced me, and I feel the influence pronouncedly here. Now I find myself living and working in the same location as my daughter for the first time in either of our lives, T’Rara seems most able in her duties, and I am fulfilled by that. Still, I can’t help but consider what my choices have done to her on levels neither of us is willing to admit fully.”

Saya bent her neck slowly to the left until an audible pop can be heard, then rolled her head slowly around that neck, allowing a slight sigh to escape her lips.

“Would it have been better to stay with her, to assist Arev in her rearing more directly? And if I had, what sort of person would she be now? And does she resent me at all for the choice to focus more on career than family? The Rihan subcommander, her human captain and their child, was this an example I needed to see four decades ago, before Arev and I chose to have a child ourselves? Would it have been fair to keep them both on ships as I saw to my duties? So many questions, pointless now, but they linger and will not fade from my mind.”

She pulled her right arm across her chest and held it there by hooking it with her left, giving it a tight squeeze. After a moment she let her grip go slack and then repeated the process with the left arm held tight.

“And Neema…” The thought trailed off before picking up steam again, “…T’Rara never knew that I took interest in officers for the purpose of mentorship, I hadn’t told her she served under my longest such focus. Perhaps that was for the best, it may have been awkward for her. There was a time I felt my child more in control with her emotions than myself, but that seems less and less the case now. As for Perim, it had been five years since I’d last said farewell to her as she left Deep Space Nine for her new assignment as Captain of the Saratoga. We had found a good rapport, and had considered her a friend, and perhaps a peer of a sort. There is no longer any doubt, she is now every bit my peer, achieving more in her Starfleet career than I had, and in far less time. She commands thousands, she is second officer of an entire fleet now, and what further advice could I provide her? I suspected the dynamic would be different, and it is. I have to deal with her on a professional level now, every lesson on how to deal with diplomats in negotiation and deliberation turned towards me with the skill I suspected she had when I first met her as the young, eager and thoughtful Trill cadet who asked all the correct questions. Still, the rapport we’d built remains below the surface and shows itself in the more personal interactions away from her subordinates.”

She nodded her head thoughtfully and pulled her legs out from under her, bending them into lotus position with little struggle. The candle flickered, and this caught her attention for a fleeting moment, before she found focus.

“And of rapport, I’ve built it with a few of the officers here at the station, one of them a rihan, the supplier of my current inebriated state. Another, the human who wishes to win her fancy, despite the odds and the obstacles. I can’t fault him, or judge him too harshly I suppose. And yet another, a captain who has reminded me of the softness I tried to hide so much, and who has seen me unguarded and has not rejected me for it. For a person who has never made friend easily, to find such an embarrassment of riches in that regard is somewhat surprising and humbling.”

She lifted the tips of three fingers to her lips, pressing them there for a lingering moment, before letting them fall free again.

“My professional life is far less complicated talent and skill, experience at these tasks for over a decade. It is my personal affairs that have always been far more complex and troubling. Aspects hidden for good reason, secrets kept close, and shared rarely. I told T’Rara and she did not take it well, but it was time, she is old enough to recover, and mature enough to eventually understand the reasons. I owe her at least that much, the truth. Perhaps in time I will no longer feel the need to keep this secret so close.” She took a deep calming breath, “Sobriety has found me again, end log.”

Saya shifted her tired eyes back to the flame that had already pulled at her focus, her pupils contracting to the light then slowly dilating as she finally started to find herself entranced by it, falling almost vacant as she slipped into the mindscapes hidden to all but her.