Signature Required

Within the bowels of Deep Space Thirteen’s diplomatic facilities an ops officer enters the staging area just shy of the entrance to the office of Ambassador Neema Perim, held precariously under his left arm a vase, then on his right a small PADD he’s studying vigorously. His attention goes to the waiting room’s table, to his PADD, then to the table again. The officer arches a brow as a drawn exhale escapes his now parted lips, lowering the vase as carefully as he cared to, dropping from it a small folded piece of paper.

He sighed again, needing to muster the effort now to bend down and reach under the table for the lost note. As he stood he played with the folded paper between his fingers, once again studying the PADD in his right hand; following yet another slow exhale he placed the note against the vase, lifting his PADD and snapping a picture of the pair present on the table.

With that sorted, he glanced around for someone’s signature.

The note's all wrinkled, but a heart has been sprinkled. It's been torn from a small book, hope no one else takes a look. Look poetry isn't his thing, alright.


Some time later, a pair of Klingons exited the Ambassador’s office, trodding through the reception area paying no mind to the waiting gift. One of them did pause and release a warrior’s sneeze upon passing it, but they quickly proceeded with their exit, without comment.

The Ambassador herself followed a few steps behind them, just far enough for the door to have had to swish closed and then back open for her. “Let’s set something up next month for Minister Korrn, with one of the others,” the Trill said to the assistant at the reception desk. As she finished the sentence, her eyes drifted idly towards the flowers on the table.

The Bajoran also looked at the flowers, responding with an understated smirk across his face, “That bad?”

“Apparently I am without honor, today,” she said with a sigh, “It’s a burden. What ah-- what’s that?” She nodded towards the vase.

“Well it’s not mine,” the man answered with a not-so-innocent shrug.

A comically awkward pause ensued, during which the Ambassador and the assistant traded looks between the flowers and each other, before she worked up the courage to stroll over and pick up the note. A sharply surprised laugh left her as she took her first look, followed quickly by a rising blush as she heard snickering from behind the desk. Maybe it was just a reflex, to laugh because someone else was laughing. Surely nobody else in the office would have picked up the note and read it while she was in her meeting. Right? Guys?

Ahem,” she murmured, before raising her voice back to normal volume, “You know, I’m actually not feeling very well, today.”

“Oh nooooo, I bet it’s–”
“Shut up.”
“Yes ma’am.”

After a short detour to move the flowers into her office, the Trill began her own exit towards the turbolift. She paused just past reception and suppressed her grin to make a show of rolling her eyes. “Cookie dough?” she asked, without context. The Bajoran made a zipper-motion over his mouth, wordlessly accepting the bribe.

Neema chewed on her lip as she arrived at the popular ice cream spot a short while later, with an almost nervous bounce in her step. The game was on. She started a casual-looking walk around the seating area for any obvious clues, before venturing to the counter. (Or more likely, the line to the counter.)

The plaza was busy, perhaps a little overly so, as most tables were stocked with customers occupied fully with gleeful cheer and ice cream enjoying delight.

As the Trill joined the queue for the counter there were several folk ahead of her. Two Andorian’s, another Trill and a small trio of humans right at the front conversing over the counter. With how busy it was there really wasn’t anything that stood out during her quick patrol forward, there were four or five potted plants decorating the deck, with several stemmed pots containing a similar bouquet to that Neema had received.

The queue began to move, the other Trill was up next at the counter. She was a tall woman, dressed in a grey blazer, smart black trousers of some kind and her hair was in a ponytail shuffled off around the scarf she wore around her neck. The sundae artist from behind said counter narrowed his gaze, almost- almost as if he recognised the woman. Had he served her before? No? Well. He probably had, but that wasn’t it. His fingers snapped, he sent a glance over his shoulder as he inspected the back bar. “What’s the password?”

The Trill blinked, “I’m sorry? Oh, heh. Well, can I just get a-”

“Password,” he bellowed, laughing, but his voice’s timbre only made it creepy. “I need you to say the password.”

If it wasn’t her confusion, it might’ve been impatience “I’m… I don’t… there isn’t usually a password? I just want a scoop of pistachio cherry? Please? Please, it’s been a really long day.”

The ice-creamist(™)’s face immediately turned horrified as the realization kicked in, stumbling a little and grabbing his scoop- all the while beginning to make his sincere apologies for his apparent password-related outburst.

Neema PerimThe other Trill’s foot tapped, unconsciously, impatiently, as she waited in line. The bubbling of excitement over the adorable scavenger hunt was insidious, turning the mundane task of queueing into an exercise in nervous anticipation.

She did the typical shuffle-steps forward with the line as the humans departed and the Trill moved up to the counter. Her attention, scattered as it was, was still on the room itself, eyes scanning tables and walls and flowers, looking for anything out of place.

It was easy to filter out the start of the strange conversation at the front, but the Sundae Artist’s second laugh-riddled password request was enough to draw the chat into focus.

“I need you to say the password.”

Neema leaned to one side, appraising the other Trill’s appearance with a critical eye. She mouthed the word ‘password’ as the poor confused doppelganger suffered, and then quickly snapped her hand to her mouth to cover a child-like giggle. That Coby had roped the ice cream guy into this somehow made the whole thing feel even more elaborate and mysterious.

As the Trill finished getting her pistachio cherry, and through the orders of the pair of Andorians, Perim just fidgeted, basking in the fun of it, and quietly reveling in how lucky she felt.

Surely there wasn’t anything more useful she could have been doing with that time. It wasn’t until the literal moment that there was no one in line ahead of her that the thought finally hit her.

Oh stars oh #@$! what IS the password?

“Hiiiiiiii~” she said aloud, timidly stepping up to the counter and raising an open palm in greeting, waiting for the prompt.

Sundae ArtistThe ice cream guy finished up wiping his scoop, exchanging it for a small little towel as he wiped his hands. He was still a shade of red, fidgeting as he was still working on his re-composure, with his eyes still on his palms to ensure they were cleansed enough.

“Hullo!” he beamed, as cheerfully as he could, “What can I-” his voice cut dead as his gaze finally traveled up to this other Trill customer.

He wasn’t going to be caught out and embarrassed again, surely, not in the space of a few minutes. His eyes narrowed once again, though this time he’d ensure he had the right one.

“What can I get you?” as the man straightened, folding his arms.

Neema Perim“So…” she started, pausing briefly to consider how to introduce herself, “I think … I might be, uhm … you know,” She smiled sheepishly, restarting, “Did someone leave something for me, by any chance?”

Sundae Artist“Oh! You must be the Trill!” his posture softened just a lil’ bit as his smile grew, “Yes. Yes well, someone did leav- no wait, no I’m sorry I can’t deluge that information to unauthorised personnel. You’ll have to give me the password, just so we know we’re on the same page.”

The man paused, his smile grew a little sheepish as he leant forward “We’ve had a few false starts.” he admits.

Neema PerimNeema’s shoulders rose apologetically to match a guilty slant in her smile. “I heard,” she said with a couple nods.

There was a pause, then, as she slowly rocked up onto the balls of her feet then plopped down on her heels. “…right, uh. So, the password. Is it … Neeeeeema?” She gave an overly-toothy smile, before it disappeared in defeat as she continued rapid-fire under the assumption that her guesses were bad. “Cringelord? Massive cringelord? Milkshake? Milkshakemilkshake! …Captainfriend?”

Sundae ArtistThe man blinked, he’d taken in the barrage of of potential passwords, but apparently one of them had secured his belief. Was he disappointed? His face might have said so, as he shuffled behind the counter and quickly scrapped a piece of teared paper into his palm- discarding it off to the side in it’s now-ball form.

“Neema Perim.” he said, while his voice was flat he held his smile, “Well. Okay.” and he then reached behind him for something once again under the counter. “I’ve been told to give you this… I mean, I was told it wouldn’t be as simple as that, but, you’ve gone through that password like it was a slab of warm butter, so here you go.”

The Sundae Artist offers forward another folded piece of paper.

“Handsome chap, said you’d breeze through it easy enough. Y’know, he’s laid out six flower pots with clues to that password, but… clearly you didn’t need them.”

The man paused.

“Well, what can I get you, anyway?”

Neema PerimUpon seeing the note, Perim let out a squeak and hugged the piece of paper.

Thank you,” she said to the ice cream man/co-conspirator, before nodding, “Right, yes. A scoop of vanilla, and a cookie dough. Both with lids please?”

She bounced on her toes once again, “Mind if I uh, look around? I know I don’t need the clues, but since he went to the effort…”

She glanced towards the flower pots, as much an explanation as a genuine peek, and once the order was taken, she’d head that way to investigate more closely.

Sundae ArtistScattered around plaza among the bustle of custom were an array of flowers and pots, though perhaps standing out from the crowd were six bouquets, they had a more personal touch and less for the interior decoration. Some nuzzled among crew, some stood on the tables.

Sundae Artist

Sundae ArtistThe closest sat simply on the counter, though off to the left in the sole protection of the Sundae Artist, and the man simply smiled while he prepared the Trill’s order- a large warm smile and a hand gesture indicating the start of the hunt, within a hunt.

Sundae ArtistEach bouquet was accompanied by a small folded, by now familiar looking, scrap of paper torn from a small note book. Six vases, six notes. They weren’t difficult to find nor were they difficult to get to, though a couple might’ve required a polite ‘excuse me’, or simply just a shove, to get to.

Sundae Artist

Sundae ArtistShould the Trill have managed to collect all her little scattered clues, she’d surely - especially now after already having correctly guessed the password - be able to easily arrange the small pieces of paper with scruffy sketches into order.

Sundae Artist

Neema PerimCollect all the notes, she did, skipping quickly from one to the next. After the first two she realized where it was going and paused briefly to kick herself for being wrong about which of her guessed passwords was the correct one. Still, soon enough she was claiming a recently-vacated table to spread the cards out and look at the whole picture.

She muttered to herself, laughed, and held her hands to her chest looking down at the finished image. She gave the ice cream guy a wave, in case he wanted to peek at it, but at least to thank him for playing along.

She gathered up the pieces of paper, adding them to her growing stack and tucked them away. That one had a bit of residual ice cream stuck to the back from the tabletop escaped her notice as she headed out to the turbolift to head down to the hospital complex.

Arriving at main sickbay, the Trill hesitated briefly at the door, considering how she was going to explain herself, walking in without an actual medical problem. Surely it won’t be that weird, she thought to herself, and sickbay wasn’t that different from a public shop on the promenade. Maybe.

Armed with a handful of potential excuses, she righted herself and strolled on in…

CMDR Soa’ zh’LindreskoSickbay was surprisingly quiet, or at the least this ward was. The soft little bleeps and bloops of the computer systems ticking over was almost all the company Doctor zh’Lindresko had.

The half-andorian was at the far end of the room, adjusting a biobed’s arch with some sort of hypospanner. The woman had these almost comically oversized goggles on strapped firmly around the back of her head.

There was a couple of patients occupying beds, though none of them looked as though they’d be there for much longer, most evident of that was a Bolian already slipping straight back into his duty tunic.

The room was sterile, as it would be, not a hypospray misplaced nor an unfolded blanket anywhere.

Whether the Doctor hadn’t at first noticed the Trill stepping through the ward’s doors or was simply finishing up her adjustments, she made a little clicking sound with her tongue, lowering her device onto the biobed and turning her comically large goggles straight at the Trill.

Neema PerimNeema stopped awkwardly just shy of the room’s center, before retreating back against the wall, casually looking around for Clues ™️ .

On noticing the googly-eyed Andorian’s attention, she subtly raised a hand and waggled her fingers a little. Was she in on it? Were all the patients in on it? Was the clue simply sitting around somewhere and no one was in on it? She had so many questions.

CMDR Soa’ zh’Lindreskozh’Lindresko neck tilted into her right shoulder, she sort of just stood there watching the newly arrived Trill waggle her fingers at her. Who waggles their fingers at Soa’~?, at Me she thought.

She’d been taking note with Commander Jarnefelt on these breathing exercises she’d been ordered to do, so whatever slow building annoyance had traveled up through her veins dissipated with a mutter under her breath from across the bay.

She stepped over, taking over her goggles with a schlopp of the elasticated strap pinging off from her head.

“… Ambassador?” she started, “Is everything alright, is there something I help you with?”

LT BrutlaThe Bolian began popping on his duty shoes, cheerfully getting himself ready for an apparent shift ahead now his stint on a biobed had come to an end. He was whistling, and if he’d caught Neema’s eye, he’d have winked at her as he began folding his medical gown.

Neema PerimNeema smiled as politely as she could manage at the Bolian, without literally saying the words ‘don’t wink at me’. She can waggle her fingers at whoever she damn well pleases, though, of course. Her attention is quickly drawn to the doctor. “Ah, yes, Commander, hi.” She paused a moment, the continued with a somewhat dumb expression, “So I have a little heartache-- no, sorry, uhm. Has Captain Morton been through today, by chance?”

CMDR Soa’ zh’LindreskoBreathing exercises Soa’, breathing exercises. The Andorian considered for a moment as her attention floated to the deck floor, those eyes of hers darting somewhat as she ran through a conversation with herself- snapping her attention back towards the Trill.

“Captain Morton? Yes, he came in earlier.” she paused, “He asked me for a medical report of his from a few years ago, he didn’t really explain why. Asked for a serial number of one of the biobeds too.”

The Andorian had already unclipped her tricorder, pulling out the medical instrument and holding it out towards Neema’s chest. Soa’ rolled her eyes, “Bit peculiar, in honesty. Why’d you ask, Ambassador?”

LT BrutlaAnother change of tune with his whistle, he was now puffing up his pillows of the freshly-changed-himself biobed. He caught a glance from Soa’, but his whistle’d chirp simply continued.

Neema PerimWithout the benefit of chekhov’s gun, Perim payed little mind to the cheerful Bolian, unless his tune was particularly catchy or familiar, of course. She cleared her throat, “Part of a, uhm, investigation, is all. Probably not gonna let me peek at that record, huh? What about the biobed, do you know which one?”

CMDR Soa’ zh’LindreskoThe tricorder lowered in her pal, “I’m afraid patient files are of course confidential Ambassador, even if said request comes from a former CO.” the Andorian almost seemed apologetic. “- if it’s a matter of urgency or investigation, with proper clearance I would of course relinquish any and all information.”

She glanced to her medical instrument readings, to the Trill’s chest, then finally back to the Ambassadors face. Oh. she thought to herself, perhaps understanding something she hadn’t 10 seconds ago.

“The biobed, though? I can tell you what I told him, we would’ve replaced that one a good year or two back, though I’m a doctor, not a bookkeeper. He said he wanted to have a browse around, anyway. I let him have at it on the end there. Didn’t realise he was that interested in them. He’s always been a strange man.”

LT BrutlaWas, now, noticed or not, just sat leaning back on the biobed minding his own buisness. Or was he? He probably was.

Neema Perim“He is, isn’t he?” she answered with an overly big grin, as though Soa had said something exceedingly juicy and they were just gushing over it. It was really an odd reaction, given the circumstances and passing familiarity.

It was a solid moment before she realized that she was in her own little world there and returned to the conversation with a small wince, “Thank you, but no, it’s uh, nothing official, purely personal.” Her eyes tracked over to the biobed in question, and the Bolian of course. “I’m sorry to have bothered you,” she said with a change in pitch towards something more sane and genuine, “I’ll just uh, have a look myself as well, if that’s okay.”

CMDR Soa’ zh’LindreskoWhy are people like this today, floated around her head as she arched a brow at the Trill. Other’s would have totally found the reaction cute no doubt, just not her. The doctor nodded once, raised her non-tricroder-holding hand out and waved it vaguely towards an empty biobed at the end of the lineup.

“I appreciate your apology, Ambassador.” was what she said in the end, replacing her goggles back over her head and setting off towards her station.

LT BrutlaThe Bolian was doing his best not to draw attention for the moment, now. But maybe that drew more? He was just chilling there now, no interference.

Neema PerimThe thought did briefly cross Neema’s mind, as she nodded her thanks to the doctor and started moving towards the unoccupied bed, that it was a little weird for the Bolian to be just standing there after being released, but hey people are weird, maybe he was waiting for someone, or still sick, who knows?

Regardless, when she arrived at the designated biobed. Unless there was a note in plain sight that she’d missed from across the room, she began her hunt. Perhaps she’d find it tucked into the mattress, or behind the headrest, or under the back part, or in the mechanism underneath. No stone would be left unturned!

LT BrutlaHaving averted his gaze casually, but not too casually, the Bolian officer side glanced the Trill as she’d begun her hunt through the biobed.

The biobed was completely bog-standard, nothing distinguished it from any of the others. It’s the sort of thing you want to double check with the person who’d just sent you over here? As it stood, the biobed revealed no secrets. Well no secrets left by Coby, anyway.

“Whatcha’ doing?” the officer asked aloud suddenly, a prying gaze falling over the piece of medical equipment.

Neema Perim“GAH” was the yelp, followed by a thud as some part of the Trill made contact with the exam table in the process of jumping half way out of her skin. More than just surprise at the sudden voice, some part of her had begun to feel silly upon not finding anything, almost as though considering fully dismantling a biobed to find a scavenger hunt clue that may or may not actually have been there was not ‘normal behavior’, and as though she’d been caught in the act of preparing to do just that.

“Oh, me?” She asked, turning around and faking composure after suffering the jump-scare. “Just, uhm. Routine. Checking for Breen Helmet Lice.” She gave the biobed a double-pat on top with her hand, this baby can hold so many helmet lice “You’ll be pleased to know it’s come up clean. Nothing to worry about.”


“…what’re you doing?”

LT Brutla“Oh, y’know, I’m just waiting for… uh. I’m just wait in’ for a mate.” There was a slight squint in his eyes, he watched her carefully for a moment and grew an amused smirk. Setting off from his lean, he closed the distance between the two biobeds and came to a stop just short of the one Neema had been examining.

“Breen helmet lice? Is that likea’ common thing around here? I’m pretty new. Sounds serious.”

Neema Perim“Well … no. Not really. But you can’t ever be too careful.” She lifted her shoulders awkwardly and then dusted her hands off. Job well done, apparently." She was sus’ now though, so eager to move on without sparing a thought for how it might sound if she was wrong, “So, who’ya waitin’ for?”

LT BrutlaThe Bolian bit into his lower lip, looking vaguely off to his left in thought. “No, no that’s absolutely true. Can never be too careful. Thorough. I like that.”

He shifted against the newly-close biobed, tilting a glance back towards the Trill but turned a forward lean facing away from her. “Oh, I’m sure they’ll be along inafew!” over his shoulder, his hands rustling with something ahead of him, but shielded from view.

His tone questioning, “It’s… ah, it’s Ambassador Perim, isn’t it?”

Neema Perim“Yes!” she chirped, “That’s me! Nice to meet you.”

LT BrutlaThe man shuffled again, though appeared to pocket something, turning and swapping his lean against the biobed to now face the Trill.

He grinned a sleazy grin, “That’s amazin’, might’ve not been here long like, but definitely heard that name about. I’m Alo Brutla, the pleasure is all mine, let me assure you.”

The man swallowed, “I…” the man took a gamble here, but just as the Trill had done similarly, he’d try his luck. For whatever reason it was. “… know Ulrich! … your boyfriend, right?”

Neema PerimThe Ambassador narrowed her eyes, letting her expression fall conspicuously neutral. “Uh, no, just a coworker. He a friend of yours?”

LT BrutlaShit, was the sort of look the man gave as his eyes widened above a now turning-awkward grin. Though, it was slowly turning playful? “Ah! Oh, sorry. Right. Well, his loss really isn’t it.”

The Bolian slowly nodded twice, “- yeah, yeah Ulrich and I go way back.”

His hand returned to his pocket, something returning with it inside his palm as he tried to be as subtle as he could reading it.

“I don’t suppose you’d like to go for a drink?”

Neema PerimThe Trill nodded slowly, folding her arms. With the Bolian having either missed the cuteness mark, or genuinely made a pass at her, she felt content to skip to the finish line. Her tone turned distinctly hostile-adjacent, like one might speak to a particularly incompetent underling, or a worker when asking to speak to the manager, “Yyyyyeah, so you’re in on this, right? Bungling a script or something over there?”

LT BrutlaLieutenant Brutla held a look on the Trill for just a moment longer, it was a long shot but apparently his nefarious seduction had failed. His cheeks flushed a fraction purple, but his entire persona simply deflated following a heavy sigh.

“Look, I found thi-” he corrected, “Someone dropped this, over there. I take it that’s you. Here,” the man hands over a rather tatty (since being scrumpled in his own pocket) scrap of paper forward between him and the Trill.


LT Brutla“I… I need to go.”

The Bolian made to leave, quickly.

Neema PerimThe paper was violently snatched from the blue hand the moment it was feasible to do so. “Mhm,” she agreed with his assessment, uttering a muted, “Jackass,” after he’d left earshot. Safe from alternate suitors for the moment, she uncrumpled the paper and read it. A laugh escaped at the expected moment, before she too made her exit, folding the paper neatly away as she walked.

“What’s South on a space station?” she asked herself.

CAPT Coby MortonMeanwhile back in the reception of the Ambassador’s office, a human Captain strolled nonchalantly towards the front desk with both hands pocketed.

His playful smile almost practiced but none the less genuine, withdrawing a hand towards the assistant on duty with a palm wave.

“Hello. Hope I’m not interrupting. Captain Morton for Ambassador Neema Perim, is she in?”

Jerod Matos“Hello sir,” the Bajoran man at reception answered cheerfully. Perhaps more so with this particular visitor at this particular juncture than is the standard. “I’m afraid the Ambassador’s out for the day. I can try to fit you in with one of the consular officers, if you’d like. Or perhaps an appointment with the Ambassador another day?”

CAPT Coby MortonThe human simply held his smile, offering a polite shake of the head towards the Bajoran. “Oh nono don’t worry, thankyou, um…” the human glanced past reception towards the office, “… I thought she might be in, is all. Is she on official business? I’ll have to try and catch up with her myself. Sorry for interrupting.”

Jerod MatosHe seemed a little confused by the question, perhaps assuming Coby should have known better than he where she was. “Ah… no,” he decided to say, “she had a … personal matter to attend to today. It’s no trouble, sir. Good luck!”

CAPT Coby MortonWith a soft dip of his, Coby turned to depart from the desk at reception with a final glance over his shoulder to offer an appreciative single wave of his palm.

She’s actually doing it now? he grinned to himself. He could have been wrong of course, but was feeling optimistic.

His stride ended just a few more steps away, just short of the lobby’s waiting area where the Trill’s flowers would have been delivered, he smirked.

“Computer, locate Ambassador Neema Perim.” he called, tapping his chest with that audible little click.


Ambassador Perim is on Deck 53, Section 12, sickbay corridor.

CAPT Coby MortonMorton smirked to himself, the whole thing had been a bit silly but with him being away and always having his sketchbook tucked away somewhere, he was actually proud of himself for trying something new. Something silly.

He brushed off his tunic, the trouble with Coby can be the fact he’s found himself increasingly impatient these days, whipping out his drawing implement with it’s nib protection now gripped between his teeth. His little book, looking considerably more shabby considering the lack of pages within it, spread open as he began to mark the pages.

His walk towards the nearest turbolift hastened until it was finally a bit of a panicked sprint- “Sickbay, Deck 53!” he called.

CAPT Coby MortonAs the turbo lift wound to a stop, the doors slid open much to his surprise, the shock almost as if the man had never used one previously. The pencil dropped from his mouth, he exited quickly checking the corridor leading onto the next.

As with most starbase layouts, he eye’d the opposite corridor’s turbolift that was broken up only by the leading path towards sickbay in between. With a lick of his thumb, dabbing it against the scrap sheet, he pinned the paper onto the outside bulkhead to the turbolift doors.

It was 50/50 he reckoned, if the Trill were to use this capsule and not the other. As the sheet was folded, it’s content wasn’t visible until if/when opened.

CAPT Coby MortonAnd then, just as quickly, he darted back into the capsule himself. “Deck-” as the doors slid shut.

Neema PerimOnly mere seconds saved the Captain from being discovered as the Trill stepped into the hallway junction. She looked to her left and then to her right, mouthing the word ‘South’ before looking again. The choice of turbolift didn’t matter, she told herself, but–

–well, maybe it did matter. Was that another clue?!

So down the hall she jogged, giddy at continuing the quest, unknowingly closing the gap between her progress and Coby’s preparation. She snapped up the sheet and leaned against the bulkhead to unfold it, thankfully waiting to press the lift’s call button until after she’d read it.

CAPT Coby MortonThe note of course has no concept of the near miss Captain Morton just underwent, or vice versa the catch Ambassador Perim just unknowingly narrowly let escape.

It’s scribble, to someone with a trained eye or caring, might be able to notice it’s haste, otherwise didn’t stand out from any of the previous clues. Almost as if he hadn’t decided to throw an extra one into the mix, very kind of him really.

The turbolift doors slide open revealing a Morton-less capsule.

Neema PerimNeema squinted at the drawing this time. The fireplace was pretty recognizable, but the other part had her questioning her sanity. Was it a Bajoran nose? What an odd thing to include, she thought!

“Welp,” she said aloud to nobody as she stepped into the turbolift, “Embassy lounge it is!”

Upon reaching the station’s cozier section, she proceeded past the turn-off to her own office area and around to the larger hall leading to the big lounge.

1 Like

CAPT Coby MortonThe straight hallway ahead into the lounge was it’s usual self, the standard contingent of Starfleet security, it’s usual everyday bustle, everything was just as it should be. That theme continued straight into the chambers themselves, the cosy ambiance, the murmurs and tame conversations that filled it.

Morton stood facing the fire, hands in his pockets with a very slight lean on the nearest chair. His silhouette glowing from the apparent flames. Of course he wasn’t meant to be here for this, he’d even scrapped an extra clue, but no one would know. He just wanted to see her.

His attention ahead of him, the table beside had a neatly folded piece of all too familiar writing paper and an empty white mug sat neatly in a corner propping it up closest to him.

But, perhaps more noticeably from a distance a colorfully wrapped rectangle, a single purple pointed flower head and a small bowl.

Neema PerimTo look at the colorful rectangle would have been tempting if not for the presence of Coby himself. The Trill nearly gasped and bounced her way down the short stairs and then power-walked the distance.

In lieu of greeting or conversation, she introduced herself to the scene by extending her arms to wrap around the Captain from behind, allowing a possessive surprise-hug to speak on her behalf.

CAPT Coby MortonWith his attention deep on the flickers and spirals of the flames ahead, the wrap-around greeting came as a momentary startle until a second later when the man realised there could be only one culprit.

Coby smiled, wriggled out both his palms and sort of give the Trill’s arms an affectionate squeeze, before attempting to spin.

“Neema!” he grinned, “… so you got my note?” he asked semi-knowingly, because if she hadn’t and it really was all just a coincidence would’ve been remarkable.

Neema Perim“I got so many notes,” she reported proudly, easing up enough to let him move. “I’m a collector now. I’m gonna get frames.”

It was at that moment, for whatever reason, that Neema’s expression wavered with the realization that she didn’t actually pick up the ice cream she’d ordered. Oops.

Putting the thought of it quickly out of her mind, she continued. “Aaaand,” she tapped her fingers against the man, indicating Coby himself, “I found the best prize at the end!”

CAPT Coby MortonThe Captain snorted softly, dipping his head gently into a couple of bobbed nods. “You’re too adorable.” he started with a warm chuckle, “… and you’ve made record time!” he paused, “I mean this has been the only Captain Morton’s Legendary Scribble Hunt, but you’ve still set a great record.”

The man glanced over his shoulder towards the flames, then a little finger point and a nod towards one of the comfy, cost chairs. “CM… L … S L number one. For short. It’sSoGoodToSeeYou, thanks for following my stupid trail.”

Neema Perim“There has never been a better excuse for a day off than CMLSL. Camelsluh. Wait.” Her head bobs once, then twice, then three more times. “CMLSH. Camlesh.” Yep. That’s a thing.

“It was a lot of fun,” she restarted, “What brought this on?”

CAPT Coby MortonCamlesh.” He just had to repeat questioningly through a smirk, followed by a gentle shake of the head.

“I’ve been a little wrapped up this last week, so if I couldn’t be here, I thought a… uh,” he paused and clearly looked for a new phrase with an upwards stare, but settled on the already tested “-scribble hunt would fill in any sillyness void in my absence.”

He chuckled, “And then I was suddenly not wrapped up, so came to see you anyway.”

Neema Perim“Well I’m glad you did,” the Trill answered, her voice briefly quieter before suddenly jumping back to normal volume, “So! Wanna help me finish it?” She nodded towards the table where the items sat, “Looks like I’ve got a few more clues left to follow!”

CAPT Coby MortonThe man smiled softly, nodding and peeling himself away from the Trill as he indicated the table with a little slanted nod. “I’d love to.”

He leant as much as needed to collect the small piece of paper sat by itself, reading through it himself with a little chuckle escaping. He shook his head, dismissing the note as he handed it over, “I’m such a good poet.”

CAPT Coby Morton

Neema PerimNeema’s face steadily reddened as she read the poetry, her finger settling on the heart-i in the corner. Her shoulders rose giving the appearance of her neck retreating into her shell torso.

“I guess you’re okay, Morton” she teased in a lowered tone, before pressing her lips into a sheepish smirk. “You know,” she continued, “I was starting to feel a little undeserving, but I thiiiiiink I’m gonna make up for it with this elaborate surprise. You’re gonna love it.” With that she motioned to the mug, bowl, flower, and wrapped box. As if she had left the surprise for him. And not, y’know, the other way around.


CAPT Coby MortonWith a grin, Captain Morton eye’d the table for a few seconds silently, something was ticking and he eventually let out a laugh as the man’s head bobbed a nod.

Leaning over he collected the wrapped box, it even has a tiny little ribbon-bow in a corner, and he offered it towards the trill as it rested on both his flat palms from underneath. “Open it,” he started with some softer timbre to his voice. “Do you know, the last two years, I’ve done a lot of thinking. I mean it’s a long time, isn’t it? You’d imagine at some point the average person would have a think.”

As he babbled with a growing nervous edge to his smile his eyes went from the wrapped gift straight to the Trill’s face. His pause wasn’t actually that long, atleast not as long as it takes to read this paragraph, but just lasting enough to see if Neema would begin to unwrap the package.

With it mentioned, the bowl could be seen into from where the pair stood quite easily. It was filled with thin pieces of paper. Not torn, tatty notebook paper. Nice coloured strips all softly muted in colour ranging from pastel blues to yellows; nothing about it seemed out of the ordinary though really? The human drawing no attention to it.

Neema PerimPerim seemed happy to focus on the object in her hands instead of the bowl of confetti(?), for the moment. “Sure,” she answered humorously suspicious as she tugged on the wrapping to start removing it, “Everybody thinks, right?”

CAPT Coby Morton“Everybody thinks.” He repeated, “I’m really awful at thinking and talking. I’m really awful at a lot of things. I’m really awful at us.”

The human snorted at himself, pursing his lips yet again “-a year ago I thought of something Katriel once told me, she was making these little stars. She let me fold one. It was quite cute, really.”

As the Trill unwraps the … wrapped box, through the first layer is a thin sheet of soft tissue paper, barely masking the shape of a melted-flat bottle of some description. Inside it, an array of folded in half strips of coloured paper. In comparison, it absolutely looks similar to that bowl of confetti, however the creases could betray an older age to them.

“So, rather than talk, or reach out. I made the stupid decision to write what I would have said to you, instead. Every new nebula, pirate skirmish, diplomatic conference, every absolutely-drawn-out ceremony of some description. I wrote a sentence or two, and popped them in this jar.”

He made a face, frustrated almost, but his tone probably indicated it was at himself. “That jar, quite literally, is full of what my heart feels when I think of you. But it’s a jar of mistakes. It’s a jar full of things that I should have just told you. I don’t want to lose you again Neema, I don’t want to make the same mistake again.”

Neema PerimThe Trill stared down at the jar, first listening, then lingering. When she looked up, her expression was one of watery-eyed bewilderment. Her voice cracked when she spoke, “You’ve–you’ve been doing this … the whole time?”

CAPT Coby MortonThe Starfleet Captain’s eyes went wide, planting a palm on the Trill’s hip, “It’s beyond stupid, isn’t it. I wouldn’t expect anything other than your contempt for it, I just… wanted you to know, I’ll never make that mistake again. We knew it’d be difficult, I was just a coward.”

Neema Perim“N-no, I-- I mean-- Coby, it’s not stupid, it’s, sweet. You’re always–,” she stopped a moment, withdrawing a hand to remove an invisible tear from her eye. “I had no idea. I really thought you’d moved on.”

She raised the jar of notes a little for emphasis and because, of all the emotions it evoked, for some reason confidence was the strongest reaction. “This is incredible. Sure, I wish we’d pushed through this whole time, but we’re here now, and we’re gonna do better.” Sniffle, “Both of us. I didn’t write any adorable little notes to prove it, but I never stopped wishing things had been different. You’d pop into my head all the time.”

“…quite rude of you, actually,” she added, lifting her hand again for a gentle swat at his chest that she let linger even after the joke had passed. “We’ll make the time. Date nights, holodecks, comms, fake diplomatic emergencies, whatever it takes.”

CAPT Coby Morton“How could I ever move on?” the man’s glance went south for just a second, soon rising to meet the Ambassador once more “- I think about the first time we met, all that time ago. In the lounge, you were sat with Katriel. We didn’t speak, really. In fact, I was thinking about how much I missed the station and then, she introduced us. We only said hi. I’d popped over to just say hello to her, and you suddenly glanced up and said- ‘hi’. A single word, before I’d even finished stepping over.”

Coby sniffled a little himself, just a little single sniff. “Seems like a different life time ago. But I wouldn’t change any of that, nor how I felt. I just wished…” the man trailed off softly, simply shaking his head with a faint smile.

“Fake diplomatic emergencies?” he laughed.

Neema PerimShe moved her hand upward to the side of his face, briefly smirking at the repetition of her willingness to invent excuses before resuming a more tender expression, “Just wished what?” she asked.

CAPT Coby MortonThe man’s face leveled somewhat with his lower lip parting from his upper just a fraction as it twitched. “That I’d never let you down.” quite simply, some deeper base in his voice as he regarded the jar with an almost mourning look.

Neema Perim“Hey,” she said simply, before shifting up to give the man a perfectly PG-13 kiss.

Afterwards she paused a second to regain her voice, then continued quietly, “We were both pretty bad at the talking-to-each-other part of the relationship. I-” she let out a small chuckle, “being honest, I guess always have been. So. Here goes: I adore being with you. Even when we have to be apart, I want us to be together. I don’t care about the distance. You’re worth it.”

Her eyes trailed downward to indicate the jar, “You don’t need this anymore, if you…” she let out huffed breath carrying the ghost of a laugh, “if you feel the same, then I want every word of it. Every stupid stray thought you would’ve written, we’ll make the time.”

CAPT Coby MortonMorton’s mouth curled into a faint, appreciative smile as the pair parted, those eyes of his coming away from the jar and back to the Trill with a glisten. She didn’t have to say any of that. She didn’t really have to speak at all, but she certainly didn’t have to ask him if he felt the same. His face said it all.

The pair who’d exchanged command of Deep Space 13 eight years ago, who’s first conversation was a shared, shy single word greeting- and who’s third first date was about to begin, found themselves stood before a roaring fire tragically lacking any ice cream.

“We’ll make time.” he confirmed conclusively.