[USS Tempest] Friends and Gifts

Friends  and Gifts
by Senek  Menkara, Miranda Craig, & Nan Ecitsuj
 
 
No matter how  many times he explained that he would be perfectly safe and, 
more importantly,  that she and Kaiidth would be well protected if he needed to 
leave the ship, it  wasn't until he'd asked his father to come stay with her 
and the baby that Aylin  was somewhat mollified.  Senek couldn't blame her at 
all, even  though was illogical anyway.  tr'Cruak had no chance in hell  of 
getting aboard the Georgetown but the horror of what he'd threatened was  
enough 
to keep Aylin afraid. 
And he had to  attend to ship's business, too.  He could have passed it off  
to someone else, claiming illness, but that seemed irresponsible to  him.  
Aside from which, he felt better than his usual death  warmed over if only 
because of the temporary relief from the balms Aylin had  rubbed into his 
joints.  
The fact that the scent still  lingered was also very helpful.  It kept him 
from irritation  at the officiousness of the people he saw at the Fleet liaison 
office on the  station.  Once he was done there, though, he had other  plans.  
There were things both Aylin and Kaiidth could  use... 
When she was  younger, on those rare occasions when Lindsey was home on her 
birthday, they  always did something special together just the two of them. 
They'd go riding and  have a picnic, or get up early and have breakfast, or 
have 
lunch at the kids  place in Dallas. Those were always the best part of 
Miranda's birthdays, and she  wanted to get back to those moments so she'd 
decided 
they were going to spend a  whole evening alone for Lindsey's birthday. She'd 
reserved the holodeck so they  could see Lindsey's favorite band's latest  
holo-concert after  she'd made them dinner.The only thing left do to really was 
to 
buy a present,  and that was always the hardest part because Lindsey was the 
most difficult  person in all the world to shop for. 
If it had been  the market place at T'LingShar, Senek would have known just 
what to get and just  where to go.  Even the one at ShiKahr was equally  
ordered.  DS9, however, was an illogical melange of everything  from Earth to 
the 
Delta Quadrant.  It was  irritating.  He supposed that the baby and children's 
shop  where he and Aylin had gone the first time would do for a start.  
Absently, his hand felt for the sidearm he'd been authorized to  carry.  "God 
help 
the man if he shows his face again," he  muttered under his breath. 
When was the  last time she'd seen Lindsey in anything but her uniform? 
Miranda couldn't  remember if it had been days or weeks? Smirking to herself as 
she 
lifted a soft,  pale green button up shirt from a rack. "It would be nice to 
see her in  something other then red and black." 
Granted it was  the voice that caught his attention, the sound of it making 
him cringe in  remembrance.  Then it was where the speaker was: a shop that  
sold a variety of items, including children's things.  That,  plus his small 
tinge of mischief that still existed, made him  pause in his travels.  "It's 
not 
your color, Ensign,"  he said dryly. 
"Not my style  either," she replied as she turned to look at the tall 
irritating Vulcan. "I'm  trying to find a gift." 
"Ah," he said  simply as he stepped inside.  "This would seem to be an ideal  
place.  I'm actually here for the same reason since the Fleet  liaison office 
seemed to want me out of there as quickly as  possible." 
She smirked at  that. "That's because you're a Georgetown officer, y'all 
about as much a ship of  lepers as we are. There are people who don't like John 
any more than my  sister." 
One brow went up  slowly at that.  "I rather thought it was because I was, as 
my  father says, looming.  I am apparently an intimidating height  for 
certain species." 
Miranda looked  him up and down and then shrugged. "Yeah, I can see how you'd 
freak out short  people." 
"It comes in  rather handy at times," he said with a minute shrug.  "I think  
I even frightened my wife when I first met her." 
"Oh yeah," she  smirked. "I head about that and the baby, congrats." 
"Thank you," he  said quietly even as he looked around, looking for spying 
eyes and  ears.  "She is small but thriving.  I've  come to get things for them 
both." 
"They have cute  stuff here," Miranda said as she pointed out a part of the 
shop with baby items.  "I was going to get my friend Tawny's sister's baby 
something but it's bad luck  in their customs to give a child gifts before it's 
born." 
"Many Human  cultures have that custom, believing that it would go against 
the will of God,"  he said distractedly as he lightly touched a tiny teddy 
bear. 
 "which is patently ridiculous to think that a mortal could change what  
already is." 
Miranda titled  her head to the side for a moment and then replied, "Lindsey 
says it makes more  sense when you think about how the mother would feel if 
she'd lost the baby, to  have those things around." She shrugged then said, 
"Religion makes about as much  sense as logic." 
"Are you  trying," Senek asked deadpan, "to kill two birds with one stone?  
Though offense is illogical and emotional, I find I am prone to it upon  
occasion." 
"Just callin' it  like I see it," the young woman replied. 
"You ought to  know that I am perhaps one of three Vulcans who practice the 
faith, Ensign, in  conjunction with c'thia," he told her. 
Miranda smirked  as she leaned her weight to one cowboy booted foot. "Didn't 
say there was  anything wrong with that, Commander. Was just sayin' that from 
my point of view,  it don't add up to much." 
"Yet," Senek  said as he picked up the bear, "you will not buy something for 
your friend's  future niece or nephew out of respect for their beliefs." 
"Nephew," she  said as she nodded. "Just cause I don't believe it stuff like 
that doesn't mean  I don't have respect for those who do. It's just I'd rather 
put my faith in the  people I trust, my parents, my grandparents, and my 
sister." 
Senek hmmphed  softly.  The bear for Kaiidth most certainly.  "Now if I did 
not do that myself, I would not be here right now but I  simply believe there's 
something more, the faith comes from  somewhere." 
Miranda picked  up another shirt to look it over as she shrugged. "My 
grandfather would say it  comes from the heart." 
"I prefer to  think otherwise," he said with a painful shrug. 
"Why?" she asked  honestly as she turned to look at him. 
"Because," Senek  said, looking directly at her, "I believe.  It is that  
simple.  My wife has issues with that but all will be as it  should." 
She thought  about it a moment and then asked, "So you going in to it  
blindly?" 
He mulled that  over for all of a second.  "Yes, absolutely," he said  
simply.  "As did my father." 
Miranda wasn't  sure what to say to that, she'd never had blind faith in 
anything but her  sister. 
"That, Miss  Craig, is why it's called faith," he said with no small amount  
serenity.  "Hence my daughter's name: Kaiidth, which means  'what is, is.'" 
Miranda smiled,  "That's very pretty, and really great advice. What is, is." 
"It is the  founding tenet of Vulcan philosophy," he began even as he 
wondered what pretty  and soft things he could get for Aylin.  "spoken by Surak 
 
himself."  Then his expression softened just slightly, though  he didn't dare 
smile. Of course it was pretty.  This was his  Kaiidth they were speaking of.  
"And thank you.  It matches her." 
"It's a name she  can be proud of," Miranda nodded slightly then drifted off 
to a collection of  real books. "That's important, to like your name and be 
proud of  it." 
"Yours is  Miranda, is it not?  Might one assume one of your parents is a  
fan of the Bard?" he asked. 
Miranda thought  about it and then shrugged, "No idea." She didn't really 
know all that much  about her parents to be honest. "Lindsey named me. Miranda 
Ariel from the  Tempest. It's her favorite." She smiled softly as she picked up 
an old copy of  'Stranger in a Strange Land'. "I still have the worn old copy 
she use to read to  me from." 
"Keep  it.  You will treasure it even to use for reading to your own  one 
day," he said quietly, peering at the books to see if there were anything  
Aylin 
might like.  "There are few real books on Vulcan so my  parents and 
grandfather tod us stories from memory: tales of the Forge coupled  with the 
lives of 
Egyptian gods.  There would be one reason  why, as my friend Nan says I am not 
wrapped too very tight." 
She couldn't  help it, she laughed. "You are a rather strange Vulcan,  
Commander." 
One eyebrow went  up slowly.  "I do know that, Ensign," he said with a  
completely still face.  "If you remember Chief Ecitsuj,  realize that he is my 
closest friend.  That ought to give you  a clue as to how very odd I am." 
"Odd isn't a bad  thing," she replied as she picked up another book. "Who 
wants to be like  everyone else? That would get pretty boring, or you'd end up 
like those 001100  aliens." 
"The Bynars?" he  asked.  "Interesting people if you can get them to talk to 
you  and their music..."  He trailed off as he found and old  leather bound 
diary.  Its pages were blank,  unused.  Something for Aylin to use for her 
herbal  things?  "And no Menkara is boring.  You  have not met my parents quite 
obviously." 
She shook her  head then chuckled, "Maybe at the next GT/Tempest thing." She 
scanned the room  and smiled when she spotted a table in the corner. Walking 
over she picked up a  Betazoid music box and opened it. A lovely little tune 
played while soft,  colorful lights danced from the box. "I have one of these. 
Lindsey sent it to me  first time she'd been on Betazed." She looked at the 
shopkeeper, pointed to the  box and nodded. She then held it out to the 
commander. "A gift for  Kaiidth." 
It was fortunate  the thing was so light and delicate.  Anything larger than  
what he already had in his hands would have been more painful than he could  
bear.  He listened to the music briefly before closing the  top.  He didn't 
smile yet his expression  lightened.  "Thank you," he said quietly.  "from my 
wife and from me." 
Miranda smiled,  "You're welcome." 
He was unaware  of it but, until he slowly straightened up, Senek had been 
slouching  slightly.  As he did straighten, he heard pop that had to be  
audible 
in his estimation.  "That actually hurt," he said with  a rub at his back.  
"I may have to call  Nan." 
Miranda's smile  turned quickly into a look of concern. "Are you alright,  
Commander?" 
He bit back a  sigh.  There was no use in explaining the entire reason for  
his pain but his lack of control demanded an answer.  If this  were his parents 
or Aylin then they would have known.  So,  too, would have Nan and his lady.  
"Believe it or not, Vulcans  are not always the very model of health," he 
said dryly.  "There is a family history of, as my father says, a bad  back." 
"Do you need  help getting back to GT or should we call your Chief and have 
you beamed back?"  She replied as she slipped her comm. badge out of the pocket 
of her  jeans. 
"One moment,"  Senek said easily before slowly lifting his arm to tap his own 
comm  badge.  "Menkara to Ecitsuj." 
"Ecitsuj  here." 
"Nan," he said,  already letting him know with that that it was not official, 
"it seems I require  some assistance and I would rather not have certain 
people notice me using the  transporter." 
"Ah, right," Nan  said, clearly having no idea who he meant.  "I'll be right  
there.  Ecitsuj out." 
Miranda raised a  brow but said nothing. It wasn't any of her business that 
he didn't want to be  seen transporting. 
"He will be  quite amused to see you," Senek said wearily.  "I do recall  
your encounter with his now fiancee." 
That made the  girl laugh, "I haven't had much luck with GT crewmen." 
"You've had  trouble other than Lieutenant McKay and I truly do not consider 
that trouble,"  he mused. 
"A run in or two  with some security ensigns over the domjat table." Miranda 
said easily. "Your  lot doesn't lose well." 
"Considering  that I do not engage in gambling or games of chance, I cannot 
begin to speculate  how badly they lost.  It wasn't Mr. Pax was  it?" 
She shook her  head, "No, just some losers I knew from the Academy." Then she 
smirked, "And  Domjat, like pool, is a game of skills not chance." 
Senek hmmphed  softly.  "I will have to tell T'Leara to watch them closely,"  
he told her.  "Skill and chance are often the same  thing.  Those games are 
just too easy." 
"Yeah and you  play chess with the witless because you're bored," came a 
sunny  voice. 
Miranda snorted,  "Well, pool and domjat aren't anywhere near basketball, but 
they're far from  easy." She looked over at the voice and smiled, "Your 
strange friend here threw  out his back shopping. If he's married now, he's 
gotta 
build up his stamina or  his wife is gonna need a shopping buddy." 
Nan grinned at  Miranda, offering her a theatrical bow, before turning those 
pearlescent black  eyes onto his friend.  "The same?" he asked in the 
whispering  tones of his native language. 
"As ever," came  the reply.  "And, Ensign, before I've come to the state I'm  
in, I've played baseball.  It outshines all three of  those." 
Miranda snorted  again," Yeah, you hit a little ball with a big stick then 
run around in  circles." 
"A diamond,"  Senek said archly. 
"And he is the  only man I know who's actually aimed hits," Nan snorted even 
as he took Senek's  items. 
"Babe Ruth used  to," Miranda said and then shrugged. "Sports are huge in  
Texas." 
Nan looked at  Senek to confirm the answer and received a slow painful shrug 
in  return.  "Ensign, I've only ever seen the game played at my  time at the 
Academy and then when they would play on the Wilderness.  They used to use a 
particular set of rules when this one and the first  officer deigned to join 
them.  There was something about  letting big men hit missiles.  Personally I 
just  watched." 
Miranda smiled,  "I'd rather play, even if it's baseball." 
"We have nothing  like it on Ninitchik and I have never been able to convince 
my friend here that  skiing is enjoyable," Nan said, knowing it would bait 
Senek into a  reply. 
"If the average  temperature is so low that it snows, I have no wish to ski," 
Senek  retorted.  "Nor could I." 
"Do it on the holodeck  where you can make it warm and still ski." Miranda 
offered with a smile. "I'm  from Texas, can't stand the cold, but love to  
snowboard."
 
Nan snorted in  amusement.  "No, he really can't but even if he could, the 
man  is too  stubborn to anyway."

Miranda just shrugged. "There's always sitting by a  fire with hot chocolate 
covered in whipped cream." She blinked a moment then  smiled, "Oh that sounds 
good."

"Playing chess," the two said at once  before Nan went to make sure the shop 
owner was compensated for the  purchases.  Senek straightened slowly, rubbing 
the small of his back.   "He knows me too well now."

"That's part of being best friends," Miranda  explained. "You know each other 
better then you know  yourselves."

"Wonderful," Senek said dryly.  "My chosen brother  knows what I think and 
talks too much to tell me what I can say in one  word."

"If you both talked in single words your conversations would be  short and 
dull." Miranda laughed.

"I heard that," Nan said as he  returned, the items neatly bagged.  Amusement 
lit his complexion and he  laughed out loud.  "Oh, Senek, I'm sorry but 
that's too funny. Especially  when the first non-work related words he ever 
said to 
me were basically 'shut  up.'"

Miranda laughed, "I guess that has a logic in it, short and to the  point, 
though that's really two words not one."

Senek's glare spoke  volumes but Nan just chuckled.  "I think we ought to go, 
my  friend."

"I should go too," Miranda said with a smile. "Need to finish my  sister's 
birthday stuff."

"Congratulations, though, Ensign," Nan said  mildly.  "It usually takes a lot 
longer to irritate him."

Miranda  beamed brightly, "Lindsey says I have a gift."





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