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Katrista was grateful to have someone to talk to. She had been on the Hermes for a while now but still didn't have any close friends. It wasn't that she disliked any of her crewmates, she actually really liked them. It was by no means their fault. They had made every effort to include her and to get to know her. She was the one that was having a hard time letting her walls down. She'd never been outgoing. It took her a while to get to know people before she trusted them to be her friend. It was probably because she lived on so many different starships. Both her parents were in Starfleet. Her mom was now a captain but frequent promotions meant frequently changing ships and frequently leaving friends. Sheâd learned early on not to get too attached. It wasn't until the Academy that she'd made close friends.
But, Dr. Durandus was different. Katrista had only met her recently and she already believed that the kind doctor could be trusted. She'd only felt this way about one other person and he had died before they could be married. ~~Stars, I miss him.~~
Katrista took a long sip of her cafe latte and made herself focus on the present. âSo, Doctor, how are you settling in? I bet it's odd having another you on board?â
âHonestly, youâd be surprised how often I run into copies of myself.â Kay huffed a laugh, looking both amused and annoyed. âThere are three versions of me now. Last I checked, one of those is a Hologram now.â Her hands were wrapped around a warm mug of cappuccino, the thick layer of creamy white foam was swirled into a flower then sprinkled with some sort of spice she didnât recognize. âApparently I REALLY like it here,â she continued, smiling. âMy theory is that the Hermes is some sort of temporal magnet. I know Starfleet Intelligence has an eye on her, too. Although I suspect itâs because no one trusts Jerrid as far as they can throw him.â She looked down at her beautiful beverage, debating whether drinking it was worth destroying the artwork on top. She finally decided it was and took a sip, licking the foam off her lips as she set the mug back down. ~~Oh Hermesâ¦ you sphinx.~~
Kay despised the ambivalent relationship she had with this ship. Part of her hated it. They were constantly getting into trouble. It felt like every mission resulted in someone getting injured, abducted, or killed. What's more, every horribly tragic experience she had up to this point was on this ship. She was trapped in a Neelon prison, forced to be a Cardassian mistress, fell in love with a Prince thanks to a mysterious drug then watched him die a horrible death, and she was fairly confident she literally died more than once, although she didnât have the medical records to prove it. The icing on the cake was the death of her Imzadi, Thelaris. Thatâs why she left. She blamed Jerrid. She had no good reason to, except that he was Captain. She hadnât been on this ship since Stardate 1303.14. In fact, she could have gotten Jerrid impeached when she testified against him on Stardate 1404.08. If sheâd been the revenge-seeking type she would have, but despite all the pain and suffering, this ship was home. The crew was her family.
Kay took another sip, her mind still sorting through the conflict. She sensed Katrista was dealing with her own history. It was a amazing either of them could hold a conversation with how preoccupied they were. She decided to try and bring things back to a lighter note. âTo be honest, the oddest part is seeing myself makeout with Jerrid.â She gave a mocking teenage grimace.
Katrista laughed, the type of laugh that is uncontrollable and from deep inside. She set her cup down before she spilled it and wiped tears of laughter from her eyes. âThat was not at all what I expected you to say.â Katrista was slightly embarrassed by her outburst. âIâm sorry, I guess I needed a good laugh.â
âIt is the best medicine after all,â Kay said with a smile. A soft breeze caressed the open countryside as they both enjoyed the moment away from reality. âSoâ¦â she said finally, returning to her drink, having developed a rather lustful relationship with espresso. âSo how is the crew treating you so far? Gotten into any good trouble lately?â She grinned, reminiscing of her first few days on the Hermes, which happen to involve alcohol and some choice garments from the Captainâs wardrobe.
âMe, trouble? Never. I did diffuse a bomb. And, from what I understand, I ate part of Dr. Swiftâs face, but you know about that and it wasnât really me. The crewâs been great.â Looking down at her latte, Katrista pondered telling Dr. Durandus the truth. She looked the doctor in the eyes and decided she wanted this woman as a friend and that she could trust her with her baggage. âThe truth is, doctor, that I havenât really put forth the effort to get to know the crew. Before I transferred to the Hermes, my fiance was killed. We were both assigned to the USS Asimov. He was in security and was in charge of the hadn't evacuation efforts when the ship was destroyed by the metal eating nanites. He and many others didnât make it. The first ship I was assigned to was destroyed and my fiance was gone, so I jumped at the chance to leave it all behind when Commodore Billings offered me a position in engineering. I boxed it all up and tried not to think about it. I didnât want to dwell on the emotions so I walled myself off. I think Iâm ready to try to remove those walls, though.â Katrista looked back down at her drink and nervously took a sip. She hoped she hadnât overshared and overwhelmed Dr. Durandus. She didnât know why she felt so comfortable with this woman.
~~Wow~~ Kay thought to herself, not really expecting her to share so much. Honestly, she picked up on some of it on her own, but in general she tried to make an effort not to intrude on peopleâs privacy. She watched her silently for a moment as she stared at her latte uncomfortably. âWell Iâm glad that you are. Your experiences, good and bad, make you who you are, and youâre beautiful.â She meant it in a purely platonic way, but hoped it didnât come across too forward and make her even more uncomfortable. She gave a subtle sigh, sensing her emotional reactions before continuing. âIâve done the same thing. In fact, I spent the last few years away from the Hermes, barricading myself with alcohol.â
Katrista was relieved she hadn't scared the doctor away. In fact, it sounded like the doctor needed a friend to talk with, too. She listened to Dr. Durandus with an empathetic ear. Another reason Katrista was cautious about choosing friends was because she cared deeply about her family and friends. She felt their emotions, their joys and sorrow, their ups and downs, as if they were her own. She often wondered if she was related to an empath somewhere in her genealogy. Her father had been adopted, so it was possible.
Kay gave another soft, reassuring smile, hoping to reassure her that their friendship could be trusted. âIf itâs any consolation, I can tell you that the most loving, respectful, and loyal friends Iâve ever had have been members of the Hermes crew. I still am proud to call them family.â She watched her as she looked down at her drink, clearly deep in thought as she processed her emotions. âMy hope is that maybe youâll be able to say the same thing.â