Canopus Station
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Girl Talk, part 3

Posted on Tue Jun 29th, 2021 @ 4:21am by Lieutenant Commander Mara Ricci & Lieutenant Commander Meilin Jiang

Mission: S0E0: What Came Before
Location: Meilin's quarters

After having breakfast with Christoph, Mara had spent the rest of her day off just lounging around with Ravioli and doing a lot of nothing. Oddly enough, she still felt a lot of nothing when it came to Spires. This troubled her. Had she really spent five months with a guy she didn’t really care about? She refused to believe that. She came to the conclusion that the relationship had simply been exhausting and she was glad to be over it.

Or at least she hoped that’s what it was. Otherwise it meant she was repressing her emotions and she didn’t like the implications of that. Perhaps she would have to talk to one of the counselors on the station.

But not now. Now, she wanted to talk to Meilin. She hadn’t been ready to tell her friend that she had been right all along. But after a day’s ruminations, she felt ready to face the “I told you so,” even if it was only in the form of a facial expression.

So, at the end of the day, she left Ravioli in her quarters and went to find Meilin in her quarters.


When the chime rang, Meilin was splayed out on a yoga mat wearing a skintight tracksuit in the Pose Dedicated to the Sage Marichi. It was unlikely to be duty-related, as nobody had contacted her through the combadge. Few people who pay her a social visit, so she did not bother stopping her yoga in mid-session.

Mara was used to walking in on one of Meilin's numerous hobbies, so the sight didn't even phase her now. No, she just came in and took the most out-of-the-way seat available. "I'm sure you've heard the rumors by now," she said with no preamble. Neither she nor Meilin had much interest in small talk.

"'Nature says only a few words: To speak little is natural'." Meilin slid backward into Happy Baby. "I do not pay heed to rumors."

Mara replied with a cheeky grin. “You should,” she advised. “These ones are pretty funny. Basically, I had a row with Spires and kicked him to the curb. I’ve overheard people talking about it and they’re saying some pretty hilarious things.” She grinned again, indicating that these things had tickled her funny bone, but she did not elaborate.

"This is not the first time you have quarreled with Stephen Spires," Meilin pointed out from her back. "In fact, it often leads to you taking the very position I am in right now." She had her ankles pulled back.

Even Mara had to admit that was true. “Not this time,” she replied. “Usually it’s about stupid stuff. But this time, he cheated. Repeatedly.”

"Does this surprise you?" Meilin asked. She sat up, left one leg extended, placed the other foot next to the hip of her extended leg, and twisted her torso in the opposite direction. "It is his nature."

“Not really,” answered Mara, marveling at Meilin’s flexibility. “And oddly enough, I only feel relief. What does that even mean?”

Meilin stood up and placed her weight on one foot while balancing her other foot against her thigh. Her hands came together as she stood stock still as a statue without so much as a tremble. "It means you have finally stopped going against the flow," she said. "You resisted the Tao which separated you and Stephen Spires on your separate paths. Just because streams cross again does not mean they must be joined." Looking at Mara with her almond eyes, Meilin summarized it simply. "If Stephen Spires is going another way, then resisting that will lead only to suffering. And that is why I advised you to avoid resuming relations with him in the first place."

“Yeah yeah, I know,” sighed Mara, waving dismissively. “I guess I thought maybe I’d be a good influence on him. That I’d already been a good influence on him. And you have to admit, he’s a bit tamer than he once was. Or at least he was two days ago. I mean, at least he had the decency to try to hide his cheating.”

"Have I told you the story of the Serpent and the Farmer?" Meilin asked. "The Farmer was surprised when the Serpent acted outside its nature, and so he held the serpent to his bosom. For a time, it was good, and the Farmer reasoned he had tamed the Serpent. But when he laid down to bed, the Serpent bit him right over the heart. The Farmer asked the Serpent, 'Why did you bite me after all this time?', and the Serpent said, 'You know it is my nature'."

“That’s just the thing, though,” replied Mara. “I don’t believe it is his nature. I think it’s a skin he wears to protect himself from hurt. And he’s been wearing it so long, he’s starting to really believe it.”

Meilin shrugged. "Perhaps. Or he's a scoundrel and knows how to manipulate good women."

“That’s also possible,” admitted Mara. “Oh, well. He’s not my problem anymore.”

"We hope," Meilin said. "Venom's toxins can survive the serpent that injects them."

Mara's brow wrinkled at that. "Venom's toxins..." she muttered, but was unable to make heads or tails of it. "I have no idea what that means."

"Cutting off the snake's head doesn't drawn out the poison from the bite wound," Meilin explained. After seeing Mara's confusion, she simplified. "Stephen Spires can cause trouble for you even after he is gone." Thinking about it another way, Meilin stood to her feet and held up her hands with fingers splayed apart. "How many fingers do I have?"

Mara knew her friend too well to believe this was a simple question. "Something tells me the answer isn't ten. Or eight and two thumbs," she said.

"I have ten fingers," Meilin confirmed. "Suppose I were to chop one finger off this hand? How many fingers would I have then?"

"Still ten, until you throw the severed one away," answered Mara. "Or you could always have a cool prosthetic like me," she added, holding up her left arm.

"You still have an arm out there, somewhere," Meilin said, "its constituent particles have decomposed in our current quantum iteration, but it still exists. Your prosthetic does not change that. Even if you find another paramour, they will not erase the moments when Stephen Spires was depositing his semen inside your body anymore than your prosthetic can erase the moment when your natural arm was severed." With her yoga session ended, Meilin looked Mara in the eye. "You must come to terms with what has happened just as you did with your arm. Otherwise you will never get past it, not truly."

“I suppose that’s true,” Mara allowed. “Which is exactly what I told Christoph. More or less, anyway. Oh, right,” she added with a grin. “I ran into him earlier today. We had breakfast. I think my exact words were, ‘I don’t need a rebound guy right now.’ He agreed.”

Meilin nodded. "That is wisdom, my friend. I am relieved to hear you say so."

“I mean, I only feel relief that it’s over, but at the same time, I know how damaging it can be to just jump into another relationship so quickly,” Mara continued. “It’s disastrous more often than not. No matter how much I want to, I know it’s a bad idea. I just have to keep reminding myself of that.”

"As I reminded you when you tried to convince me to jump into Christoph's bed after..." Meilin blushed at the memory of the Hot Toddy Indiscretion. "You know."

"I was teasing you, Meilin," laughed Mara. "I knew you'd never do something like that, even drunk."

The look Meilin cast her was half suspicious. "So you say," she said with the makings of a smirk. "My perception was relatively impaired, so I should trust your recollection over mine, I suppose."

"Usually a good idea, unless of course the other person was also drunk," agreed Mara. "Which reminds me- I still have to put out that PSA about Xilosian bars."

"They have bars now?" Meilin asked, genuinely shocked.

“We’ll, not bars per se,” replied Mara. “But they definitely serve alcohol. Remember that time I argued with Spires over being drunk? I’d had two small drinks in one of their establishments and was the most drunk I’ve ever been. I can’t even remember the whole argument. Their alcohol is potent.”

Meilin lazily looked away with a slow swivel of her head. "I'm sure I wouldn't know," she said. "At any rate, I am glad that you have returned to your true path."

"You and me both," agreed Mara. "I only hope my little detour didn't set me back too much."

"That, dear friend, is up to you," Meilin said. "Now that I'm done with my regimen, let me change into something more appropriate, and then we can visit one of those places you always talk about."

"The Xilosian cafe for capies," replied Mara cheerfully.

"Capies?" Meilin raised an intrigued and slightly off-put eyebrow.

"You're going to love them."


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