Mission 2: Heaven On Earth
Location: Gallia and Kara's Quarters
Timeline: during R&R
Everything was finally starting to settle down and Gallia was finally able to have Feyth and Sedi over for lunch and play time. She was dressed down, not feeling pressured to impress anyone for the first time in what seemed a very long time, running her hand through her hair to tame it a bit before getting Tayalas out of her high chair and wiping her mouth, setting the sprog down in her playpen, "Oh, look at ye, yer a right mess with Auntie Liorga's cookies all ovah ye face."
"Yorga!" Tayalas exclaimed happily, in her language she was both Auntie and Cookie and loved in equal measure.
"Yer gettin' ta be a right big garl, Tay." Gallia said proudly; the little blueberry was finally getting to be the right size for her age, "An' now ware gonna have Ms. Feth over ta spend some time with us an' her little garl, Sedi."
"Sedi?" Tayalas said, puzzled.
"Aye, an' yar parr mum's hopin' yar gonna be besta friends." Gallia answered.
"Sedi." Tayalas replied, smiling as she was pretty sure that word mommy used meant 'someone to play with' and she was all for that, "Sana!"
The sound of the door chime filled the room.
"That must be them now, darlin." Gallia grinned, opening the doors via remote.
When the doors parted Feyth hefted Sedi, adjusting her hold on her in her arms. Shaking her head incredulously, the Bajoran woman sighed. "I don't know what's gotten into her. She's been absolutely miserable all day. Maybe we should do this another time...?"
"Bah! It'll be fine!" Gallia laughed, walking over to Sedi, "Well, didnae ye get big in an awful hurry, l'il miss? An' pretty as sunset o'er the loch. Come on, meet yer new friend." She set the baby in the pen with Tayalas, "Tay, meet Sedi. Sedi, this is Tay."
"Sedi!" Tayalas clapped, happy to have someone to play with.
For her part, the young Bajoran baby merely stared. And then, miraculously -- impossibly -- she smiled and then burst into a loud squealing giggle.
Feyth watched from the doorway, eyes wide.
"See, not gonna be bad a'tal." Gallia promised, "Dinnae fash yourself, darlin', let's have some tea an' summa these coopcakes Ah picked up at the Starbase."
"Prophets hear me," Feyth said agast. "That's the first time I've seen her happy all week. Honestly, I thought she was coming down with that Andorian flu virus that had been spreading around DS9 she was so miserable. That settles it, she has to live here now."
"Th'ar right adorable." Gallia grinned, "By the weh, Ah got us a greht new flight sim comin' soon. Air battle o' the Pacific. Car-sairs versus Zaaros an' the like. Dinnae cost me a dime, naither."
In the playpen Tayalas was showing her various and many toys to her new friend, holding up her ducky and saying, "Stell." before repeating the process over and over, the horsey was Sib, the bear Sana from whence he came and the cute stuffed baby, previously unnamed, became Sedi since she looked like her friend.
"That sounds amazing. I haven't been to the holodeck in..." Feyth's voice faded into an unexpected silence "...months? Has it really been that long? I didn't think that much time had passed." She shook her head. "I thought I'd be well on my way to the Elysium's squadron training program by this point in my -- Sedi! No! Don't put that in your mouth!"
The Bajoran woman ran in quick steps to the playpen where she fell to her knees, and into a struggle to pull a stuffed animal foot from inside her baby's mouth.
Sedi's response upon losing her 'meal' was to immediately start screaming. That was until she leveled eyes with Tayalas and the scream miraculously transformed into raucous peels of laughter.
"On second thought, maybe I'll take Tayalas home with me," Feyth said, incredulous. "I think you have a future counselor on your hands. She has a gift."
"Doan-she doh?" Gallia laughed, glad the children were getting along so well, "Ye know, mah mum hoped I'd be a canceller, too. Buh she gave up all hoop a thot when she saw meh playin' wit a wrench an' re-payting some... engineerin' tarms whot she told mah dod not ta say 'round meh. Said shay knew then Ah was jus' another enginair waitin' ta hoppen."
In the playpen Tayalas had just brought out her favorite snack, small chilled raisins, and was now offering them to Sedi, "Sedi... snack?"
Sedi immediately set to screaming. Her chubby little arms reached out for mommy even as she started into a fresh set of wails.
Feyth gave Gallia an exasperated look. "There's the girl I know," she sighed. With three steps she reached the playpen and scooped her daughter up. "What? What is it?"
Little Sedi thrust a finger to Tayalas. "Zhi'na! Zhi'na!!" she managed.
"Bugs?" Feyth looked to Tayalas and the mysterious 'bugs' in her hand, and then to Gallia, giving her an apologetic look. "I'm so sorry. I'm afraid we don't eat a great many insects on my world."
"Those arenea bugs! They're raisins." Gallia replied, hiding her insult at the fact that this woman apparently thought she and her child ate bugs.
At this point Tayalas had begun to cry, too, it seemed her new friend didn't like her any more.
Gallia scooped up her sobbing child, holding her close, turning away from Feyth and Sedi to remind herself this was simply a mistaken identity thing and not to take it personally, Well, not from the child, anyway. Feyth, clearly was not a child, she should be able to see those were obviously raisins and not bugs... That what kinda mum shay thinks Ah am? Raisin' mah sprog in filth? So much far makin' a new friendship here... It was only then that Gallia realized she was herself crying.
Feyth felt an unexpected sense of panic begin to overwhelm her as she stood in the center of so many crying people. It took another moment for her to register the fact that one of those people crying was Gallia.
"Oh no!" Feyth said, her voice thick with worry. "It's okay. Really. I'm sure the bugs are delicious. It's just new to us. Look.“ The Bajoran woman snatched up some discarded bugs and popped them into her mouth, unable to suppress a shudder as she did so. "See? They're actually quite good for the most part!"
Gallia was now seething with rage, this woman was really continuing to take shots at her and pretending to try to make nice? "With all due respect, Senior Chief, as I've already told you, these are not bugs, they are raisins, they are dried grapes and they are my Tayalas' favorite snack, which she tried to share with her friend." Gallia spoke slowly, in moments of intense anger her accent vanished, sort of like the calm before a storm, "The fact that you think I'm the kind of woman who would feed my child an insect is frankly insulting and I would like very much if you and your child left and we keep all interactions from now on strictly professional. I had hoped we could be friends, but I see now that that's impossible, so we're now merely shipmates. Please leave. You've insulted this family quite enough."
Feyth was in utter shock. She didn't know if it was because of how quickly things had spun out of control, or if it was from hearing Gallia speak so clearly. Ordinarily the Bajoran had to struggle to understand the full meaning of what the Operations Officer was saying to her, trying desperately to listen to her through her accent (and it was only through context that she got most of it). Now, suddenly her apparent misunderstanding of exactly what specific species of animal this was -- a reyson -- had turned out to be some grand cultural faux pas that was completely unforgivable. Well, Feyth had done more than her part to try to make up for her daughter's mistake. Prophets alive, she had even eaten a dried greyps reyson without a second thought!
To hell with her.
With Sedi nestled tightly in one arm, Feyth crouched down to gather up her diaper bag, and she slung the strap over her shoulder. "I'm sorry my daughter and I have destroyed your family's honor," she spat with acid. "I hope that someday your descendants will find it in their hearts to forgive us. Until then: Paja tam za rol pah zo!" If the meaning of the old Bajoran curse wasn't clear, the sneer she gave Gallia was. "Come on, Sedi. We're not welcome amongst the all mighty Earthlings anymore."
"Ye accuse meh of fadin' mah child boogs an' now ye haff the audac-tee ta call meh a racist?" Gallia fired back, "Ye moost be daft, lady! Mah child offers yers a pace a fruit as a gesture of frenshup an' ye sit there an' assume thot Ah'm such a shite mum that Ah'm lettin' mah child live in filth an' ate boogs! Ah get it that ye've got it mar together than me when it cooms to raisin' kids, but Ah'm doin' the best Ah can an' I cape a bloody clean hoose! How dare ye? Ah've been nothin' but noice ta ye an' this is whot thot got me... First Ah'm a shite mum, now Ah'm a racist fer standin' up foor mah child. Fer tryin' ta be yer friend... Last bloody time ah try thot wit' anyone hare..."
Now Feyth's eyes were filling with tears. She expected that would come, she'd only hoped she would make it out of here before it did. She was too angry, too embarrassed, to even hear what Gallia was saying anymore. She just wanted to leave.
And so she did just that.
Without another word, Feyth marched out from the Ops officer's quarters and into the nearest turbolift.
Gallia set Tayalas back in her playpen, slumped on the couch and bawled, this has been such a disaster... She resolved to never attempt to start a friendship with anyone on this ship again, she knew now what everyone here thought of her and wasn't about to be hurt like that again.
For her part, Tayalas merely looked around in utter confusion, whimpering "Sedi?" as she tried to figure out where her friend had gone.