"Spinning Wheel" by Captain Rhiannon Morrigan and Ensign Cyanah Kaelyre She stood at the door for several minutes without moving. No one was in corridor to give witness to the fact that the Queen of Cool was slightly disheveled, her hair hastily and sloppily braided, her uniform rumpled from her recent nap on the couch in the security office. She was unaware of anything but the burning desire to know something, anything to make sense out of what had transpired in the last six hours to turn her world from an orderly and pristine citadel to something out of the pages of a recent space age soap opera. Morrigan drew a ragged breath and raised her hand, usually strong and sure but now trembling, to ring the chime of the quarters of Ensign Cyanah Kaelyre... the catalyst of her discontent. Cyanah was reclining on her couch reading the latest issue of the Starfleet Astrophysics Journal, clad in her usual off-duty attire. This time it was a black version of the casual Delosian sundress type garment that she favored so heavily, but with an interestingly-tailored cut to the neckline and bottom hem. She had taken up reading the SAJ after her duty shift to clear her mind of the turblolift snafu with Captain Morrigan. Cyanah could scarcely believe that she had survived the encounter, much less was still a Starfleet officer, and because of her continued life she had reason to suspect that the Captain may have actually enjoyed the kiss. Nevertheless, she could not allow herself to dwell on it. Cyanah had made the move, and if Morrigan wanted anything else to come of it, she would respond in her own way. The only thing Cyanah could do was to wait and immerse herself in her work so that she wouldn't kill herself with the hopeful anticipation. Cyanah was surprised when the door chime rang, as she wasn't expecting any visitors. It's probably Sara, she mused to herself, coming to complain about Josh and Tony's latest fight over her. Smiling at the thought of conversation with her friend, she answered the door and was quite startled to see a disheveled Captain Morrigan on the other side instead of an exasperated Ensign Crusher. "C-Captain!" she said. "Please, come in!" She hurried back into the room and attempted to clean up the assortment of PADDs that littered her coffee table. Rhiannon entered the ensign's quarters and watched the flurry of activity. In the past, it would have amused her to see a lower ranking officer so rattled by her very presence. Presently, it just made her more aware of the woman's obvious distress. Without speaking, she crossed to Cyanah and laid a hand on her shoulder. "Don't go to any bother; I'm not here to inspect your quarters. I only want to talk to you... is now a bad time?" Her grey eyes flickered over the ensign as if seeing her for the first time. The diminutive frame and fiery hair had a dramatic effect, creating a picture of helplessness and strength that anyone would find appealing if they looked at her outside the confines of duty. So now would be the "chat about it later" that the Captain had mentioned in the turbolift. Cyanah was acutely aware of the woman's hand on her shoulder as she examined Morrigan's appearance and decided that she wasn't there to kill her after all. In a reversal of roles, Cyanah smiled warmly, hoping to put the Captain at ease during what was obviously an emotionally trying time for her. "Of course, Captain. Please, have a seat." She swept a couple of PADDs off the couch onto the floor, sat down, and gestured to the empty seat next to her. "No," Rhiannon asserted as she sat gingerly at one end of the couch. "At the moment, I am not Captain. Call me anything you feel comfortable with, but that." In an effort to appear more accessible, she turned towards Cyanah at an angle, tucking one leg beneath herself. "Just because I happen to be in uniform at the moment, does not mean I am here on any sort of official capacity. I am here... I want to know..." She sighed and shook her head. "Ens... Kaelyre..." she stopped herself again. "May I call you Cyanah, or is there some other name that you prefer?" "Rhiannon," she said, easily using the Captain's first name since Delosian culture was more relaxed on the use of titles and surnames. She would now be referred to on Delos as Lady Cyanah, but rarely would the name Kaelyre surface in daily usage. "Please, call me Cyanah," she continued, keeping her warm smile even though she was concerned about Rhiannon and this breach in her usual armor. "Cyanah," she said gravely. "I want you to know that I am not harboring any ill will towards you in respect to our incident in the turbolift... and if I said or did anything afterwards that may have caused you distress, I do apologize. It was rather sudden and I was taken quite off guard." She looked at Cyanah for some indication that she had not hurt the woman's feelings. The reason I am here, however is that... that..." She sighed and closed her eyes as she pressed the tip of her finger to the space between her eyes. D'nalls had done what no one had been able to do for her before... relax her, but the effects were wearing thin and the tension was returning. Cyanah exhaled in relief, glad that the Captain would not hold the incident against her, but then quickly resumed her supportive attitude. The woman was obviously in turmoil and needed something, but Cyanah could tell that even Rhiannon had yet to figure out what that something was. Cyanah remained silent and waited for her to continue, not wanting to interrupt something that was difficult enough to say. Morrigan opened her eyes and caught Cyanah's gaze. She took a deep breath and held it for a moment before releasing it. "Let me start at the beginning. With me. I am Captain Rhiannon Morrigan of the USS Banshee. Before that I was Commander Morrigan of the Fighter Research and Development unit. I have always defined myself this way... by what I did. It became who I was." A frown puckered her eyebrows. "I'm not saying it is right. It is the way that it is." Rhiannon surprised herself with her own honesty. "Much to my mother's dismay, I have had no interest or desire in exploring or discovering my more... more... human side." A ghost of a smile lifted her lips. "I am...at a loss... to tell you exactly what I am... feeling at this moment." A woman more accustomed to action than words, she stood suddenly and stepped over the scattered PADDs. "Have you ever had a hamster, Cyanah?" She had turned her back to the ensign and was looking at some artifact on the wall without really seeing it. Cyanah blinked once in surprise at the sudden change of tone, but replied, "Not a hamster in particular, but a small animal, yes." "They seem to live their whole life running on a wheel. They don't go anywhere, they just run, and seem happy in their running. Then one day someone comes and gives the wheel a spin and the hamster loses control. They turn upside down and hang onto their wheel for dear life and when the wheel stops turning, they are disoriented and confused." She turned on her heel and looked at Cyanah once more. "Do you understand what I am trying to tell you?" "Your wheel has been spinning." "Metaphorically speaking, yes." Rhiannon tapped a fallen PADD with the toe of her boot. "There are a lot of things I don't know, Cyanah. About myself. But something happened in that moment when our lips met, and my life is not the same, nor will it ever be." She smiled. "If you had the nerve, you could probably ask Commander Andros. I'm sure they were running some sort of pool at the academy as to whether or not I had blood, ice, or circuitry running beneath my skin." Cyanah laughed, her face brightening from the heavy atmosphere their conversation had generated so far. "Just so you know, Rhiannon, I wasn't nervous around you because I was afraid that you'd barbeque me like the other ensigns are." "Oh, really?" Rhiannon quirked an eyebrow in amusement. "The thought of standing in my ready room and getting a tongue lashing doesn't fill your very soul with terror?" Cyanah shook her head. "Though I'm sure it would be an experience, no. I'm not in Starfleet for anything but the science, which I could just as easily do elsewhere. Now that I'm an officer and can study science in the field, promotion means nothing to me. I mean no disrespect, of course, but I had my own reasons to appear nervous." A throaty chuckle escaped her as she shook her head. "That makes two of you now who fear not the wrath of Rhi. Three if I count Andros." A contemplative look crossed her face. "Cyanah, I'm going to be brutally honest here. As far as sexuality goes... I'm a first year cadet." She crossed back to the couch and sat. "I don't know who I am or what I am in that area. I don't know if I'm interested in men, women, hamsters, nothing, or everything." Rhiannon shrugged to hide her nervousness at revealing so much. "I never had the time or the interest to pursue it... and with everything that is going on with the ship... I'm not sure now is the best time." She paused. "But is there ever really a best time? I am beginning to doubt that this is something I can schedule into my career... it just happens." "No, it's not normally something you can plan, but a vital part of growth as a person, nonetheless." Cyanah took Rhiannon's hand and gave it a reassuring squeeze. "Rhiannon, it is of course up to you to decide what to do next. But if you wish for me to be a part of it, even a small one, I will." Morrigan sighed deeply in relief. "Thank you, Cyanah. I appreciate it. Young Crusher could learn a lot from you." She looked at their clasped hands for a moment and gave a gentle laugh. "Do you know... that next to you, I feel like a giant?" Cyanah joined Rhiannon in laughter. "When I said, 'a small part', my height is not quite what I meant." Rhiannon's lips lifted in a full smile as the weight of her unease began to fall away. "My mother would love you, Cyanah. You are a lot of what her Goddess embodies." She stood without releasing the woman's hand, pulling her up with her. "I would be honored to have you make this journey with me." She hesitated for a moment before raising her free hand up to Cyanah's chin, tilting it upwards. "No mixed signals here, Cy." She lowered her head carefully and brushed her lips against Cyanah's as if asking a question. Not sensing any negative response, Rhi pressed her lips more firmly, savoring the full, soft feel of them before gingerly deepening the kiss to taste her mouth. Time seemed to stop as she allowed her senses to feed on the moment. Reluctantly, she pulled back and straightened, allowing her hand to stroke Cyanah's face before returning to her side. She smiled softly. "Good night, Cyanah... and thank you." Her voice had turned husky and dark like a well aged bourbon. Cyanah reached up to caress Rhiannon's cheek and locked eyes with her. "And thank you, Rhiannon, for accepting me as a traveling companion." The two women stepped apart and Rhiannon wordlessly exited with a glance over her shoulder. Cyanah was pleased to realize that her foolish antics in the captain's presence had come to an end.