Canopus Station
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Girl Talk

Posted on Thu Feb 13th, 2020 @ 11:47pm by Lieutenant Commander Meilin Jiang & Lieutenant Commander Mara Ricci

Mission: S2:1: Into The Drowning Deeps
Location: Ricci's Quarters
Timeline: MD 2 | 01.25

Meilin should be sleeping. The next day would prove challenging in any number of ways, yet there was a nervous energy keeping Meilin on her feet. She had just spent the evening giving the new Carcosian envoy a tour through many parts of the station and serving as an attache to Commander Calida, the station's diplomatic officer. Yet the evening had taken a turn for the unexpected. Calida had been largely silent, leaving Meilin to assert herself in dialogue with the striking Forward Commander Larkin.


That tended to happen at the thought of the man. It made Meilin tremble, whether in angst or something else she dare not consider for long. Why couldn't she control herself? An hour of meditation did little. Wandering about was a futile distraction. What she needed was a friend, especially after the... whatever it was Calida had offered. If Meilin didn't know better, she would have thought it taunting.

In time, Meilin found herself circling back to the senior staff section of quarters. Mara's wasn't far from her own. Maybe she was awake. There was little expectation that Mara would do any good. Meilin just felt unsure of herself, and a little company was hard to pass up.

Once she'd arrived, Meilin hesitated for a moment. Once she rang the chime, she would be committed. She might end up discussing and facing things about herself she'd rather not. But isn't that what being in Starfleet was all about? Isn't that why she followed the Tao? Regardless of what truth she might find on the other side of that door, Meilin was compelled to see it through.

It was late.

Or was it early?

It didn't matter. Either way, Mara should be asleep after her activities with Spires earlier in the evening. However, she was wide awake. She had tried to lull herself to sleep by listening to Spires's rhythmic deep breathing, but to no avail. Eventually, she had decided to just give up and read or something.

And so, she had dragged herself out of bed, slipped on a pair of oversized, colorful pants and a T-shirt- her preferred pajamas- and headed out to her sofa for a bit. No sooner had she sat down than her chime rang. Who in the blue blazes would be coming here at this hour? She pulled herself off the sofa and went to manually release the door. "Meilin!" she said when she saw her friend standing there. "Is something wrong?"

"I apologize for disrupting your evening," Meilin said, turning to go. "Forgive me."

“It’s okay,” Mara replied. “What are friends for? Come in. Do you want something to drink?”

Meilin hesitated, then nodded and came inside. "No... well, yes. Water, please, 60 degrees." She wandered inside and stopped just beyond the threshold unsure of where to go next.

Retrieving the water from the replicator, Mara then led Meilin to the sofa and motioned for her to sit. "So I don't suppose you'd turn up at..." she glanced at a chronometer, "0130 just for a chat," she said, handing her the glass of water and taking a seat next to her.

"I don't know..." Meilin let her words trail off as she drank the flavorlesshot water. Sitting it down, her eyeline fluttered about the room before settling on Mara. The typically self-assured woman's armor was speckled with cracks.

"Mara, I might be in trouble. This evening I gave our new guests a tour. It turned to a deep conversation with the Forward Commander, and I made a fool of myself, babbling one minute and being abrupt the next." Once she got rolling, her eyes avoided contact with Mara. Her throat made a sound between a cough and a nervous chuckle. "I don't know what came over me. No...yes, I do. I just don't know why I could not control it."

When she finally looked back in Mara's direction, it was with faint blushing in her cheeks.

Realization was slow, but eventually, an understanding grin spread across Mara's face. "You're attracted to him," she said. "Sometimes, attraction can't be controlled, no matter how much you want to. I know that well," she added, forcing herself not to glance at the bedroom where Spires was still sleeping.

Meilin rolled her eyes at Mara, but she couldn't argue. "Control is an illusion. I know this. Energy cannot be denied, but... if I acknowledge it, what if there is no reciprocal energy? It would leave me imbalanced, unable to perform my duty... it could even affect formal relations between Carcosia and the Federation." She heaved a sigh and pressed her hands over her face, breathing through her fingers like a filter. Why couldn't she be better than this?

"I don't think it will affect formal relations, Meilin," Mara said gently. "But, at least you'll know. Wouldn't knowing he doesn't reciprocate be better than wondering whether or not he does?"

"No... yes... no." Inner conflict was not something Meilin had truly known before. "It's not like anything can come of it. He belongs to the Carcosian Navy. I'm a Starfleet officer. It would be better just to let the... storm... pass over me that I may be rid of its stupidity."

“That would be sad,” replied Mara. “And maybe it could work! You don’t know. Since he’s the one who made first contact with us, it’s likely Carcosia would pick him to continue relations. You might see him an awful lot.”

Meilin did her best not to roll her eyes at her friend, so she just smiled wanly. "To what end? He is as unlikely to leave his people as I am to leave mine. It is a foolish venture that is doomed to disaster."

"Okay, that's a fair point," replied Mara. "I wish I knew what to tell you, Meilin."

"Tell me the truth," Meilin said. "No matter how harsh it might be. I will yield to it."

"I wish I knew the truth," Mara said. "I don't think there's an easy answer here. Long-distance relationships are tough. On the other hand, so is not knowing how the other party feels. I suppose you just have to decide which one is harder."

The conversation was making it worse. Meilin took a slow, deep breath through nose, and then exhaled. "It is not difficulty which binds me, but purpose. Why can I not dismiss these feelings as I have in the past? Does that not speak to purpose? Yet what purpose could there be? We have settled in numerous ways the folly of... of..." Meilin bit down on her lip and fought back a whimper. "The harder I fight desire, the stronger and more inescapable it becomes."

“Maybe the purpose is to learn something,” Mara suggested. “Greater patience or something. I wish I knew more about your personal beliefs; it would make this so much easier.”

That made Meilin smile. "To follow the Tao is to seek immortality. Metaphorically, perhaps. It is living one's best life through longevity exercises, cessation of conflict, and commitment to peace by recognizing the oneness of all living things. We may be divided as individuals through opposing constructs and energy forms, but those divisions are not immutable. In many ways, we are one." She looked up and to the left, then shook her head. "No, I'm explaining it all wrong. Suffice it to say that life is meant to be enjoyed rather than fretted or fought. That can mean avoiding a pointless conflict or it can mean embracing an unstoppable cataclysm. Either way, we overcome the universe by yielding to rather than wrestling with it." As if that was perfectly clear, Meilin said, "Now perhaps you see my dilemma."

It certainly was complicated. But, in an odd moment of clarity, Mara had the answer. Or at least an answer. "You have to sleep with him," she said. "Hear me out! So you can't have a long relationship with him. Does that mean you can't enjoy the here and now?"

Meilin actually gasped at Mara's brazen candor. "Mara... That... That is so"

She could not frame a proper argument against it, not with the tingling quiver that started near her navel and shot lower. What if...

"No," Meilin said, shaking her head. "No, I don't know..." Her voice nearly descended into a whimper.

"See, even you can't come up with a good argument," Mara replied. "If he's willing, I say go for it. One night stands can be fulfilling, too. I mean, I've only had one and that was for the exact wrong reasons, but I've heard from others that they can be just as good as long-term relationships, under the right circumstances."

Even the thought of Larkin's strong limbs enfolding her while she enfolded his... no, no matter how square his jaw was nor how perfectly his pants bulged, Meilin could not seriously consider this. Could she? She rolled her eyes at Mara. "How would one even initiate something like that? I'm sure I wouldn't know." Despite her protest, the conflict was rife on her face.

"You know, you flirt," Mara explained. "You'll find most men will take what's offered to them. It's not hard to get them interested. Laugh at their jokes, lean towards them, smile a lot. Hang on their every word. Compliment them. You know, 'oh, you're so smart!' and 'I've never laughed so hard in my life!' Piece of cake."

"But what about mature men who aren't lecherous man-children?" Meilin shot a glance toward Mara's bedroom door, suspecting just who was back there. "I can't imagine behaving that way with Forward Commander Larkin or having him respond favorably to it."

"Hm," laughed Mara. "No, perhaps not. Although, you'd be surprised how effective that is even with mature men. They tend to see through it, though and know exactly what you're up to. And sometimes they call you on it." She grinned. "Okay, so maybe they always do, I don't know. I've only been with one guy like that. His name was Bela. Is Bela," she corrected. "He's still around, as far as I know. Anyway, yeah. So I tried that on him and after about three minutes, he said, 'Mara, are you trying to sleep with me?'" She grinned. "So I guess it worked after all. In a roundabout way."

Meilin could only shake her head. "You are one of a kind, Mara." She chuckled softly at her friend's recounting of her misadventures in love. "I'll consider your advice, but I make no promises."

"You don't have to promise me anything," Mara pointed out. "I'm not the one pining. Also, this could be terrible advice. I don't have a lot of experience with men. Wait, let me rephrase that: I don't have experience with a lot of men." She grinned.

Though they came from different worlds and remained worlds apart in their ethos and perspectives, Meilin still appreciated the time Mara had given in the middle of the night. "Thank you, Mara. I'll leave you to your rest. Perhaps I may find some as well."

“Good luck, Meilin,” Mara replied. “And remember, my door is always open.”

"Thank you," Meilin said. She bowed, enfolded her left fist inside her right hand, and offered Mara three vigorous shakes. "I am in your debt. An Dao." She exited without further imposition.


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