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[Deniaud/Kirk] Collaboration Log
Stardate: 1612.31 [31 December, 2016]
Tea with the Queen
“Drink your tea slowly and reverently, as if it is the axis on which the world earth revolves.”
-Thich Nhat Hanh [The Miracle of Mindfulness]
The private garden was reserved for the reigning monarchy. The lush and lavish space was filled with rare flowers and plants. It made the air delectably sweet and calm. She sat, poised and statuesque, on the small wooden chair. An empty one was directly across from her, with an elaborately set table for two between the seats. A delicate teapot sat at the ready, fragrant tea leaves steeping in the hot water. A layered three-tower platter was filled with bite-sized sandwiches, scones, and sweet desserts. Her Majesty, the Queen, Lila Kirk sat quietly in the center of her garden as she waited for Marielle Deniaud to appear. It had been several months since they’d arrived on Atlantis, and finally a calm had been achieved after the madness that came with a monarchy’s transition. It would be good to enjoy the company of an old crewmate.
Marielle smiled as she was escorted into the gardens by one of Lila’s many ladies-in-waiting. Her dress dusted the ground, the thin layers of her dress rustling with each step she took towards her destination. She curtsied out of respect before Lila waved her hand to the empty seat across from her. “Good afternoon, your Majesty,” she greeted with a smile. The engineer did not know Lila very well. Their circles never really interacted and so the invitation to tea had come as a surprise - albeit a happily received surprise. She offered the helmswoman a sheepish smile. “Do I call you Queen Lila now?”
Lila smiled at the engineer, her head shaking with a bit of amusement. “You can just call me by my name when we’re alone.” She watched as Marielle lifted the teapot to pour tea into her teacup before the engineer filled her own. The queen nodded in appreciation as she took the dainty cup into her hands. “How do you like your chambers? I tried to ensure it was like that of your home world.”
The engineer leaned back into her seat, though her back remained straight as she brought her filled teacup to her mouth. Her eyes closed briefly to enjoy the aroma of lavender that was masked by bergamot. “It’s lovely,” Marielle replied with a smile. “My view of the lake greets me every morning, and it is a highlight to watch the sun set over the horizon. You have a beautiful home world, Lila.”
The two women shared a companionable silence as they enjoyed their cups of tea. The sounds of nature filled their ears. The birds sang softly as they flew overhead, and the grass rustled with the cooling breeze that swept through the garden.
Marielle lifted the teapot once more and refilled Lila’s teacup. “How have you been since we left the Hermes? I can only assume you’ve been fairly busy these days, especially with the coronation fast approaching.”
Lila lowered her cup as she released a soft sigh. “I have been good,” she replied softly, “but yes, I’ve been very busy.” The helmswoman looked out into the garden, her eyes sweeping over the blossoms that dotted the verdant foliage. “I really miss the Hermes. How do you think they’re doing without us?”
The engineer chuckled slightly behind her teacup as she looked up to the sky. The blue seemed richer on Atlantis than even on earth, hazy white clouds added texture to the heavens above her. There was something to be said about the fabled world of Atlantis - it certainly felt like paradise. “According to Gideon’s, Erik’s, and Cana’s letters, they’ve done well. Plenty of missions to keep them occupied.” She chuckled. It’d be some time before she receives Gideon’s letter. The last she had sent was regarding one Talador Ren. The dinner with him had been odd, to say the least. “But, you know the Hermes. I’m sure they’ll find a way to have a typical mission and fill it with lots of strange twists and turns.”
Lila laughed at the quip, her own head shaking as she recalled her own adventures with the Legacy class starship. “I wonder how my niece, Jane Smith, is doing. She replaced me as the Space Fleet officer on the Hermes.” She paused as she looked down at her tea. “All my Starfleet stories go back to the day when I first met the Commodore, when he was a Commander. It is what got my niece interested in Starfleet.” She smiled at the memory. “I had just arranged for her to arrive on the Hermes without notifying the Commodore. A surprise.” She chuckled. “The Doctor was the very first person spoke of to my niece as a baby.”
Smiling, Marielle lowered the teacup. “That sounds lovely, Lila.” Her eyes drifted to her tea and she took a mindful sip. “So. How are you adjusting? You must be excited, with your coronation coming up in such a short amount of time.”
The queen and former helmswoman thoughtfully nodded. “I’m slowly adjusting,” Lila admitted. “It’s been difficult going from wearing pants and traveling in space to wearing dresses and staying on a planet.” She chuckled lightly. “Though, I’m very excited about becoming queen.”
Her head bobbed in Lila’s direction. “It’s very becoming on you, your Majesty.” She laughed with the helmswoman. Marielle could understand. It had been a bit of a transition for her as well, but it seemed as if she had finally found her footing with the Atlanteans. She placed the teacup on the table, her hands resting on her lap. Her fingers found their way to her engagement ring and she began to play with the stone. The sight of it had been an adjustment, but the engineer was starting to find herself growing to like the ornate piece of jewelry. Perhaps Marcus had picked well after all. “Do you know if you’ll be applying for the Federation soon after your coronation?” she asked, hoping to break the silence.
Lila chuckled as she nodded. “Yes. I had the bill written up and ready to go before the Senate as soon within the first month of our arrival,” she explained. “Before you joined me for tea, I was told that the bill had passed.” Her smile mirrored Marielle’s. “I plan on handing it to the Commodore before the coronation. A gift.”
“Oh that’s wonderful news!” Marielle exclaimed. “He’ll be very excited!” Her eyes drifted out to the garden as she considered the Atlanteans joining the Federation. While they were technologically advanced, there were still aspects of their society that were counter to the doctrines that was at the very heart of the organization’s existence. “Do you think Atlantis will have any problems joining the Federation? I’m not entirely sure how they look upon having Wolfen slaves seeing as the Federation abolished slavery centuries ago.”
The queen lowered her teacup and she quirked a brow at Marielle. “My Wolfen aren’t slaves,” she explained simply. “I free them once I’ve bought them and put them to work in the mines or factories. They are paid.”
Marielle’s smile was strained, but it remained on her lips as she nodded in response. “Of course,” she offered with an apologetic tone. Her thoughts were her own as she stared out into the quiet garden.