Forgive and Forget?
Posted on Tue Apr 2nd, 2019 @ 11:04am by Lieutenant Kara Hoffman
Episode 1: Hell is a four letter word
Kara had wanted to talk with Estelle ever since she and Liorga has returned to the ship. The last time they had spoken, it was not under the best of circumstances and things had gotten a little heated to say the very least. Kara entered sickbay, and saw Estelle with her back turned, working on something. Since Kara knew that technically the argument was her fault, she had brought down a flask of tea, and a small present to apologise to Estelle. She wanted to mend things as best as she could. Keeping her distance until aware Estelle entertained her company, Kara spoke softly. "Estelle? May I speak with you?"
Estelle switched off the monitor she'd been reading from and turned around to look at the diminutive engineer. She knew this conversation had to happen, though she wasn't exactly looking forward to it. "Yes, of course. Let's go into the office." She led Kara towards Sthilg's and her office, where they had some privacy.
Kara followed Estelle into the office, feeling rather nervous. She closed the door behind her and put the flask of tea, with two small cups, onto the desk. "This is some tea, I thought we could share, if you like? Oh and there's this." Kara handed from behind her back, a small wrapped parcel. "It's hand made by me, I hope that you like it?" Kara had spent the last week, whenever she had a spare few minutes in the day, crafting together a pair of beautiful bracelets, each with a different colour scheme but with matching charms. It was an old family tradition, to give one to someone as an apology, and to keep the other. When the argument or fight was over and forgiveness on both sides was achieved, the bracelets were worn as a symbol to remind each of how precious friendships are.
"I do like it", Estelle said, even before opening the gift. She liked anything someone took the time to get for another person. "But no matter what it actually is, you're still not going to get out of the counselling sessions." She had talked to Gallia about their plans, and for Estelle to support them, the counselling was the most important factor.
Kara sighed. "I know, I'm not trying to get out of them whatsoever Estelle. I respect your professional opinion and I will of course go through the counselling. If it helps me to be better able to protect Gallia and Tay, then I'm all for it." Kara paused, sighing a little she uncapped the flask and poured the lavender coloured tea into each cup. The room was filled with the incredibly beautiful scent of lavender and honey, Kara was reminded of the sprawling fields of lavender plants by her home. "Here, it's a special recipe from my mother." She gestured to one of the cups.
Estelle took the cup and then a sip. "This is very nice", she agreed. "Well, I know you proposed to Gallia, and that she said yes for some reason. I've also told her I'd support her all the way, but warned her against it all the same. I didn't because I think you two would be a bad match, but because I think you need to work through whatever issues you're having, before you can take the legal responsibility of also caring for Tayalas. That's the issue I'm seeing. What if the grandparents come in and challenge Gallia's custody rights? If you want to marry her, you've got to make absolutely certain nobody will consider you a potential risk."
Kara sighed internally. This was frustrating. Kara however reigned herself back in, and stayed rational. "I understand exactly what you're saying Estelle. I've already spoken to Gallia's brother and his wife. They are both aware of what happened, and yet I managed to prove to them that I had Gallia and Tay's best interests at heart. I know that you're one of Gallia's closest friends, I respect that. I want to get along with you, I really, really do. However at the end of the day, this is Gallia's decision. Not yours." Kara sighed, "Look, I'm just trying to end this animosity between us. Even now, I feel frustrated and annoyed that you can't see how much I've already sacrificed for Gallia and Tay. Or how far for them I'd be willing to go. Everyone else sees it but you, at least that's how I feel." She sighed, and slumped into the chair, sat behind the desk hanging her head low. Taking the cup of tea from the table she sipped it carefully.
"In this day and age, marriages come and go", Estelle said. "They're a ritual, and essentially meaningless. Except, and that's where I'm coming from, where custody of children is concerned. It's not Gallia's decision, at least not entirely. It could be a court's." She took a sip to allow Kara time to let that sink in. "I'm perfectly happy to support your union, and I'm not angry with you. Yes, what you did was stupid, tremendously so because of the crisis we were in anyway. But I know you understand that, and I'm not one to hold grudges. I'm just worried for Tayalas, and by extension Gallia's happiness. I'm sure, and I mean that, that you'll be a great wife and mother, once you're sure you've worked through what got you in that bad situation."
Nodding she placed her cup back onto the table. "I understand. Our union will not be happening for quite some time however, probably at least a few months. Gallia and I agreed we'd need time to prepare everything, and also it's a good opportunity to allow her family and mine to accept our union. I'll also have time to work with the counsellor of course. There is however something else, that I have not yet spoken to Gallia about. You're probably aware, since you're privy to all medical information. The Doctor did some scans of me, and we found potential evidence that I'm not fully human, and that I am instead a half Klingon-Human Hybrid." Kara sighed. "I haven't yet accepted it, but the evidence, is overwhelming."
"I saw that", Estelle said. "And it makes me wonder who bribed the doctor who examined you before you were accepted at Starfleet Academy. That's not something you miss during an initial physical, even if you don't look for it. Routine shipboard physicals wouldn't necessarily turn it up, but the screening process to get into Starfleet Academy is much more thorough. I am not a naturally suspicious person, but I think there are shady figures in play here." She took a deep breath. "But before we delve into that, I need you to know something. I am not angry with you. You needn't apologise to me. Maybe it's even those Klingon traits surfacing all of a sudden that lie at the heart of the entire affair, I don't know. I do know, however, that I'm here to help you out in any way you might need, and that only full disclosure will guarantee the best possible assistance."
"I agree. There seems to be a lot more going on behind the scenes than first appeared. Seems someone has been working hard throughout my time within Starfleet to keep this a secret, even from myself. Until recently, when my apparent birth mother contacted Commander Taylor directly." She shook her head. "If she hadn't, this could have remained secret for a long time." Kara smiled. "Thank you Estelle, for forgiving me. I was such a bitch the last time we spoke." She stood and opened her arms, offering a hug.
Estelle smiled, despite how frustrated she still was by the situation, and pulled Kara in for a hug, even though it meant squeezing the other woman's face in between her boobs, considering how much taller Estelle was. "So, what did your mother say? Did she have an affair with a Klingon and wanted to hide it? Were you adopted as an infant?" Estelle was, if nothing else, curious.
Kara giggled as they embraced. As their hug ended, she jokingly took big gasps of air. "Next time, suffocate me more, why don'tcha?!" She winked and smiled. "Well, apparently her Klingon house is in some kind of peril. I was kept secret, but now someone in the Klingon council might use my birth as a political weapon, to steal power and the family's reputation away. If that happens, the house will crumble, and fall. Seems she wants me to return to Qo'noS to speak to the Klingon High council, or something. I'm not really sure of any other details." Kara sighed. "They apparently followed us, while we were rescuing Liorga, in a cloaked bird-of-prey. I've done the scans, their subspace wake does indeed follow us straight here to DS9. As soon as I step foot onto the station, they'll find me."
"Don't step onto the station, then", Estelle said. "And make sure you have security on guard at all times. You should definitely learn more about what's going on before you make any kind of commitment, and remember you're a Starfleet officer, and whatever it is you say must always be taken in light of the Prime Directive. Otherwise, you might land in some deep excrement."
Kara nodded. "You are absolutely right. I know it's ill-advised, but if she is truly my birth mother, I should at least hear what she has to say, right? To not at least meet her once, I'd regret it for my whole life, Estelle." Kara took another sip of tea. "Anyways, you gonna open that present now? I just hope you like it."
"Let her come here, where it's safe", Estelle suggested. "And in private, nobody will be able to report or represent anything you say." That was how she would handle the case. Estelle sat back down and started to carefully unwrap the present, much like a five year-old wouldn't. "Ooh, very nice, these. Did you make them? Oh, what am I saying, of course you did, you're an engineer." Estelle enjoyed making things but she always failed with the mechanical aspects.
Kara nodded. "I did. I grew up learning various arts and crafts from my pa-... parents on earth. I was due to take over both of their businesses, and merge them into one. Painting, sculpting, jewellery making, embroidery and tailoring. However, it wasn't the right path for me. Doesn't mean I don't enjoy using those skills now and again." She winked. "I'll be hand designing and making both Gallia's and my wedding dresses, but keep that a secret."
"You should come by my quarters some time", Estelle said. "Most of the furniture I've enhanced somehow, with patterns and colours, and I've got some paintings, too. I'd have been right at home in the arts and crafts movement, back in the day."
"That sounds wonderful!" Kara exploded. "We must spend some time together, a girls night. Get some wine good food with ice cream and relax." She giggled a little. "I know Gallia will be pleased, that we're getting along. I am too Estelle."
"I never wanted anything but help", Estelle said. "I mean, yes, I was angry for a few hours but... well, as you know, I had a lot on my plate. Worrying about Liorga, I was scared. I've never been this scared about anything before in my life."
"I understand, I'm so glad she's back safe and well. There wasn't much I could do. However, I've kept a closer eye on her while she's been present in Engineering than usual. I look out for everyone as best as I can." Kara smiled. "So, when are you next off-duty and can spend an evening in our Quarters for dinner? Liorga is welcome too of course!"
"Real, Scottish food, yes? None of that Klingon stuff?" Estelle asked. Her answer would sort of depend on that. "I'll ask Liorga if she wants to join, but she'll likely say yes. She loves to eat, I know that from personal experience."
"Aye. Real Scot's food. I promise. Both Gallia and I can cook wonderful dishes, you'll both love it, I promise." Kara frowned for a moment, thinking on that final comment from Estelle. "Oh, my goodness. Estelle, be-have! Dirty minds..." She smiled, and laughed loudly.
"Huh?" Estelle blinked. "Oh! No, I meant, Liorga and I met over me cooking in the mess hall. But yes, of course."
Kara pursed her lips together pouting, standing and putting her hands onto her hips. "Well, thank you for taking the time to chat with me Estelle." Kara held up her wrist, showing her own bracelet. "Let's stay dear friends." She turned to leave. "You can keep the flask of tea, anytime you want more, ask for Hoffman Sample 886 from the replicator. I already added it to your personal files. Also try the one called "A little something tricksy" I think you and Liorga will find that one most...stimulating." She giggled, winking back to Estelle cheekily. ~Yes, A little something tricksy. My very own aphrodisiac. Blue, bubbling with a blueberry taste. You can get a high just by inhaling the vapours alone. Thankfully it's not disallowed by Starfleet so.. they'll love it~
Estelle arched her eyebrows. "I shall, thank you." She closed her eyes and breathed out deeply. This could have gone a lot worse. Estelle was glad that Kara seemed to be a much nicer person under ordinary circumstances.