Where we Stand
Episode 3: Such as we are made of, such we be
Location: Main Engineering
Timeline: MD4 - 19h00
Liselle Qwyyn blew out a heavy sigh as she stepped off of the turbolift at deck 38. Her mind was afire with a thousand fluttering embers as she made her way into main Engineering. She wasn't entirely sure what she was doing; but she had reached a point where her building notions of second guessing herself had finally overwhelmed her self-doubt.
Standing in Engineering now, she held her PADD to her chest as she turned about, looking to catch a glimpse of him.
Matias was thinking of Liselle. Why was he so attracted to her? They seemed to have been going in circles trying to meet, but never had gotten around to it. But then, there she was. "Welcome to Main Engineering, Commander." he said.
"Lieutenant," she greeted him with a nod. "I -- um -- before you were -- there were these flight assessments? What I mean is that I wanted to show everyone -- I mean, I need to assess everyone for flying -- not the ship, but you know...the shuttles? Gods, of course you know the shuttles --" she took a deep breath, releasing it slowly. "Sorry," she said sheepishly. She hugged her PADD tightly to her. "I get like that sometimes when I'm nervous. What I was trying to say was -- is there maybe somewhere we can talk?"
The Commander saw she was nervous. He had made it a point according to the custom of his people never to look a superior in the eye, as that constituted a challenge. He wanted to put her at ease, as she was usually very confident. "Of course, Commander," he said. "Let's go to my office." He led the way. He also felt nervous, but tried not to let it show.
For her part, Liselle didn't understand his unwillingness to look directly at her. All the better that she had come down here in the first place. Her suspicions were obviously correct, and it was time to say something to him about them. "Lieutenant," she began slowly. She set her PADD down on his desk and turned back to look at him -- though still he avoided eye contact with her. "I want to tell you something, and it's not going to be easy for me to say."
"Please, go ahead," he said. He wasn't a telepath or empath like some races, but with his animal nature, he could read another's body language very well. It was often a matter of survival for his kind. He saw his habit somehow made her nervous. "Forgive me, Commander, it's bred into me never to look another, especially a superior, in the eye. Among us Grral, it is considered very rude unless we wish to challenge them. But please, go ahead." He leaned against the desk waiting.
"On Risa. During the away mission," she began, "you remember how I suggested that we pose as couples? Of course you remember that. What I mean is -- what I'm trying to say is -- I just wanted to apologize to you. I have a hard time reading people sometimes. Okay, all the time. Naturally, it's an extra challenge when it's with a brand new lifeform like yourself, and I got the sense that you were uncomfortable. Really uncomfortable. I hope you realize that it was just for the sake of the mission, and that I didn't mean to disrespect you or anything," she said. "I just don't want us to get off on the wrong foot in our professional relationship."
Matias looked down on the floor. "I understand," he said. "But it wasn't you I was uncomfortable with. It was me. It was reminding me of the mate I lost in death back on Grral. I miss her so, and it is why I left my home to start anew here in this galaxy and on this ship. I was trying to forget, but you remind me of her. It awakened feelings I had forgotten. I know you weren't trying to disrespect me." He looked up and at her for a brief second before looking away again. Tears were in his eyes. "It taught me that I have to face my feelings and not run away from them as I have been doing. It's the only way I can recover. Forgive me for as humans say, baring my soul to you. I know it was just an act, but it was becoming real to me, and I was afraid." He wiped his eyes on his sleeve.
He continued. "This won't get in the way of our professional relationship, however, not unless you want it to be."
Liselle blinked. She swallowed. Something was happening here, and she wasn't at all certain how she felt about it. She swallowed again. She needed to talk to someone, to help her understand what was happening, what she was feeling. She needed Dyhei or Phoenix. "I - I don't know what to say," she finally managed. "I actually mean that. I'm terrible at saying the right thing. Expect me to say the wrong thing any moment now." She was hugging the PADD so close to her now that she nearly thought it possible she might break it. What was he saying? What wasn't he saying? "I didn't mean to bring up painful memories. I seem to do that to people a lot lately. I ask too many questions. I want to ask you a thousand questions right now, to be honest. I find you absolutely fascinating. I've never met anyone like --" She stopped herself. She was going to mess this up, and she didn't want to. She looked away from him. "I should probably go."
"Sit down, please," said Matias, sitting down himself in a chair and opening his hand to another. "You are safe with me. I felt safe to confide in you about my feelings. He was trying to make her comfortable. "It appears we both have a lot to talk about, but I won't press you. I find you fascinating as well. And you're doing fine. I don't find you saying anything wrong." He couldn't have her go in that state. He hoped to get her composed. "If you want to go, you can, or stay if you prefer. Just take it slow, and you'll be all right."
She couldn't help but blush as she sat. Though Qwyyn desperately felt the need to fit in, and tried much too hard to do so most of the time, she just as easily found herself feeling uncomfortable, awkward even, whenever someone made an effort in that regard for her. She tucked a loose lock of hair behind one ear, and she looked up at him. "You haven't been in this galaxy very long, or even on this ship for that matter. I'm sure everything here seems new and exciting. Gods, I remember what it was like when I finally got off my homeworld," she said with a nostalgic sigh. "There are a lot of things you don't know about me -- things that in my people's experience often doesn't sit well with a lot of other species. More than that, I'm worried that you might be latching on to some of the first people you've met here. Which is not a problem. I mean, that's good. We all like you. I...like you. But...I don't know if I'm the person you think I am."
"That is what I would like to find out," said Matias. "I've been around too much in my galaxy and yours to rush into anything. I'd like to take it slow. I've been cautious myself, and I have been unsure whether I fit in around here. I would like to get to know you, and maybe you could get to know me in time. You should have seen how long it took for me to get to know my beloved Mrranno. People thought we would never get together. It's like this ancient Terran song I recently heard.
We've been traveling in circles
Sucn a long long time
Trying to say hello...
I'll meet you halfway
It's better than no way
we have find some way to get together..."
He didn't share the rest of that Partridge Family song, but went to the main point. "I'm willing to take my time as I'm sure you want to."
Qwyyn wore an ear to ear grin as she listened to him recite the lyrics. When he had finished she closed her eyes and nodded. "That was very sweet," she said genuinely. "I wish I had some gesture equally as touching to offer you. Actually, there is this --" she took her PADD from her chest and turned it around so that he could see its contents. "Flight assessments," she explained with a laugh. "The oldest damn excuse that flight control has in its book to start a conversation. I really did want to talk to you. I had to force myself to just get my butt down here and start talking. And I'm glad I did."
Matias saw it and laughed. "K'rrama zogath murrrr," he said, quoting a Grral proverb. "Let any event spark a renewal." as he translated. "I'm glad you did come so we could bring this out in the open. We have some things in common already. Some of my Engineering crew call me the big bad wolf. I hope to show you that I'm not." He grinned.
She shared the smile. "I promise to give you a chance to escape all of my preconceived notions," she agreed. "But whatever you may or may not know about the Trill, I want you to hold off on reading anything more. The Starfleet dossiers on my world are a little...clinical. Off-putting, to say the least. Promise me you'll let me explain what my people are all about."
"I will. And too getting to know me, when so little is known about the Grral, will be interesting. Getting to know each other, not just stories about each other is half the fun." He patted her hand as he said it.
Lieutenant Commander Liselle Qwyyn
Chief Flight Control Officer
Lt. Commander Matias Grronkil