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AUTHOR'S NOTE/WARNING: CONTAINS CRUDE LANGUAGE.
[Deniaud] Personal Log
Stardate: 1604.23 [23 April, 2016]
Into the Storm: Gale Warning
A warning of 1/10-minute sustained surface winds in the range of 34 kn (63 km/h) to 47 kn (87 km/h) inclusive, either predicted or occurring and not directly associated with tropical cyclones
Marielle hummed a soft tune as she turned the corner. Her eyes remained on the PADD in her hand, irises moving swiftly over the words as it floated on the notes of her tune in her head. Muscle memory led the way, keeping her strides even and carefree as she moved towards her destination. The early morning had been quiet as she went about her routine – the long and tedious miles, the frigid ice bath that helped her muscles recover, the protein heavy yet light tasting breakfast, and few hours of quiet as her hands worked the yarn over her knitting needles while she stared out the window to consider the latest hump in her research.
It had been a good day, and Marielle was enjoying the peace that came with her new routine in her new home. Home. There was such freedom in the word, one that she relished with absolute delight and affection. Her mug of freshly pressed coffee touched her lips, and her eyes never darted away from the surface of the PADD. The familiar bitterness washed over her taste buds before the soothing richness overtook her senses. The aroma alone had her sighing. The soft hiss of the doors opening finally had her looking up and she took a quiet deep breath as her steps carried her deeper into Engineering. A peaceful smile couldn’t help but make its way to her lips as she took another sip of her coffee and stared at the warp core that spanned the four decks of the open floor plan. As always, the room felt alive. She felt it in the very vibration of the air – the steady and soothing thrum of the warp core that made the air just a little different from the rest of the ship. It was in the soft tenor-like whirr of the engines. Her heart beat eased into its rhythm to match the overpowering hum and she relished in the steady rhythm as it resonated to her bones.
She was only a few steps deep into engineering when her senses hinted at something amiss. Marielle’s steps slowed as she tried to determine exactly what was off in the department that day. Her teeth worried her lower lip, as it always did when her brain set off to work out the clues that she may or may not have noticed. Marielle’s brow furrowed as the realization hit – the only sound she had heard upon entering Engineering was the familiar purr of the warp core. The ever-present murmur of the engineers who cared for the heart of the ship had come to an abrupt end at her arrival.
Her eyes moved over the deck, and she offered a kind smile to the engineers who were scattered at various stations. All of them had paused their duties or their respective conversations to throw a glance in her direction. No one returned her smile, their eyes darting away whenever her bright eyes met theirs. The smile on her lips struggled to remain in place as Marielle made her way to the lift, her strides quick as a sense of foreboding overwhelmed her. Her peripherals caught several anxious glances to catch a glimpse of her before timidly – or was it excitedly? – snapping their eyes away.
Marielle stared up at the levels of engineering as the lift descended to the lowest deck. Heads peeked over the railing, watching her intently. Her eyes moved down, watching as her destination came into focus. The corners of her mouth never dipped past its usual grin, but the emotional cluster of chaos that was Pathos was locked down on high alert.
Her eyes caught sight of the yellow brick-like pattern that decorated the normally dark tone-on-tone grey carpeting. Two-dimensional houses lined the path, bright and shiny with glitter paint. Each house was meticulously designed, some made to appear as if built with candy while others were just colourful and elegantly designed. She took a step off the lift as it came to a stop, the yellow path pulling away from the carpet as it stuck to her boots. Marielle glanced down, noting with mild interest how the carpet was not tarnished by the colour. Painted trees in the shape of candy canes and lollipops added to the atmosphere, and even those seemed to sparkle with a light shimmer. The windows of her office were covered in paint, swirling colours blending together to effectively cut off her ability to see into the enclosed space. Her eyes narrowed dangerously as the realization hit that her meticulously written equations were erased to allow for the colourful artwork.
Her steps came to a stop, and she stared intently at the image that stared back at her. Through an open window of a particularly dazzling orange and blue house, her face had been attached to a cardboard-like material. Her smile had been adjusted to take over the lower half of her face, white teeth bared with a blinding brightness that stood out despite the neon colours of the house. The artist had decided to take liberties on the glitter, as the entirety of her face was covered with it. Frankly, the caricature was creepy, but she supposed that was the point to the whole thing. Marielle’s eyes moved over the houses that lined the yellow path, finding several more images of her throughout the scenery. Her legs felt unsteady as they continued down the route towards her office. The doors opened with a hiss when she approached, and her hands instinctively cupped her ears to protect her eardrums when the cacophony hit her square in the chest.
“We represent the Lullaby League, the Lullaby League, the Lullaby League. And in the name of the Lullaby League, we welcome you to Munchkinland.”
Marielle jumped back, allowing the doors to hiss shut and effectively cut off the high pitched tune. The sound of laughter and snickering filtered from the decks above, and her eyes immediately darted to the decks above her where the on-duty crew no longer hid their interests in her reaction. Her eyes narrowed as the engineers jeered openly, but her sights settled on the smug face of Lieutenant Peterson. The look of derision and contempt was enough to pick out from the amused faces of their colleagues. Her smile tightened as her jaw clenched, and she steeled herself before taking a step towards the doors again.
It took far more control than Marielle was willing to admit to take the sauntering pace into her office. It wouldn’t do to let him know that his prank had done its damage. The assault on her senses was immediate – the high pitched song blasting over the speakers of her office, the ancient movie playing on the large wall display behind her desk, and the insanely coloured decorations burning into her retinas. Rainbow streamers dangled from the ceiling, swaying as the environmental controls circulated air through the room, and a dusting of glitter covered the entirety of her office carpet. It was the several dozen miniature caricature images of her, however, that had Marielle’s heart sinking to the depths of her stomach. They lined the walls, sat in her chair, and peeked from between the pages of her books.
“We wish to welcome you to Munchkinland. We welcome you to Munchkinland.”
As soon as the doors shut behind her, she allowed her smile to disappear and she stormed deeper into her office, her PADD and insulated coffee mug dropping to the floor only to be covered by the thin layer of glitter that it released from the fibers of the carpet. Her hand reached up to yank an offending green streamer from the ceiling and Marielle nearly screamed as the tips of her fingers barely brushed the frayed ends. “ALICE, please shut that damn thing off,” she barked as the next verse began. Her heart pounded against her chest as her eyes started to glisten at the edges.
“We represent the Lollypop Guild, the Lollypop Guild, the Lollypop Guild.”
ALICE’s voice never answered her request, and Marielle could only assume that Peterson was able to do one thing correctly for once. Somewhere, deep in the back corner of her mind, she made a note to find out how because such a thing should have never happened.
“And in the name of the Lollypop Guild, we wish to welcome you to Munchkinland.”
The lack of response had Marielle telling herself that she would not cry. She would not cry over something so petty and so cruel. The words struggled even with her inner voice, the mantra broken with the emotions that numbed Pathos.
“We welcome you to Munchkinland, Tra-la-la-la-la-la-la.”
As Marielle hurried to the panel on the wall, her hands plucked the mini versions of herself from between the pages of her books. Her slender fingers were quick to pry the panel’s covering off its latch. When she tossed it to the ground, glitter floated on air and dusted the bottom of her pants and boots. Her eyes moved quickly to locate the sound controls, and her fingers navigated through the inner workings of the panel to effectively rip the proper combination of cables from their connections. The jingle stopped immediately, filling her office with the gentle muffled purr of the warp core. The softest echo of laughter mingled with the oscillating hum. Her fists clenched as she closed her eyes tightly, her arm coming up to wipe any possible tears against the fabric of her uniform sleeve. She tried to focus on the soothing sounds of the engines – told herself not to focus on the laughter and not to focus on the cruelty behind the prank.
A soft chirp from the computer on her desk had her sighing. “I don’t have the energy to deal with my family right now,” she muttered as her finger went up to instinctively pinch the bridge of her nose. She turned from the open wall panel and moved towards her desk, brushing the surface free of the miniature versions of herself that were placed there. Marielle unceremoniously flopped into the leather chair, her body suddenly tired, and stared at the source for her communicate. The emotions that threatened to overwhelm her only seconds ago disappeared in a flurry of excitement and joy. Her fingers danced over the display quickly. “Lexie!” The very exclamation was enough to lift her spirits.
The beaming face of her best friend, Alexia, appeared on her screen. The brunette with light hazel eyes exclaimed with equal excitement, “Maddie!”
They shared a carefree giggle, and Marielle propped her elbow on the edge of her desk before she rested her chin on the open palm. Green eyes moved over the image of her friend, noting that the woman seemed a little more aged and a little more wise. When her eyes briefly brushed over the lieutenant pips, Marielle’s heart sank just a little. There was no end to the constant reminder that she had delayed her commission; her peers had advanced through Starfleet while she was just beginning. There were days when it was hard not to feel a little left out, especially when she had just walked into a room of glittery munchkin mayhem. Marielle did her best to push such thoughts out of her mind, her tone light and airy as she addressed the woman on her screen. “I haven’t spoken to you in ages. You look fabulous as always.”
Alexia remained silent, blinking as her eyes remained focused on the wall behind Marielle’s head. “Uh. Maddie, dear, is that the Munchkinland scene from The Wizard of Oz playing on repeat behind you?” She paused, her head tilting off to one side as she tried to determine if what she was seeing was actually real. “And, are those, uh, lollypops? And, are those tiny photographs of you? Why are they so sparkly? Do you have glitter on your face?”
“Practical joke,” the tone flat and numb. Marielle turned her head to look behind her and sighed. She stood up briefly, swiping her hand over the wall display and attempting to remove the offending scene from view. When her attempts failed, her eyes twitched and she flopped back into her chair to face her friend, taking considerable effort to place her head just right to block Alexia’s view. A small puff of glitter flew into the air and her eyes grew wide with loathing as they settled over her uniform. “That limp-wristed colon wiper,” she seethed as she tried dusting the offending mess from her lap. “I’m going to frakking murder him. I’m going to rip the nails from his fingers. Slowly. One by one. I’m going to rub salt into those open wounds and shove them down his throat. Then, I’m going to drown him in lemon juice.” The lithe laughter from the computer halted her verbal rampage just as she was about to start on a string of expletives.
“Making friends, are we?” When Marielle didn’t respond, Alexia only smiled kindly as she leaned forward towards her computer, her arms folded neatly near the edge of her desk. “Your usual perky self is annoying the living daylights of them, then?” she mused with a giggle.
Marielle could only shrug. “Just one of them, I think.”
The brunette could only chuckle. “Oh, Maddie.”
Taking a breath, Marielle forced a smile as she leaned towards the computer screen. She folded her arms neatly on the desk and enjoyed the companionable silence they shared. For the duration of the call, she would believe that her office was back to normal, that her morning had been peaceful, and that she wasn’t alone.
“So. Did you make Chief Engineer, yet?”
At that, she truly laughed. “Wow. You have quite a lot of faith in my abilities,” Marielle paused to wink. “Give me a few months at least.”
“A few months?” her friend mockingly scoffed. “You’re growing soft, Maddie.” Alexia stopped as her eyes glanced around the span of what she could see on the computer screen. “Wait. You’re not in the Fishbowl? Where are you?”
Marielle’s head tilted to the side, a bit confused by Alexia’s confusion. “My office.”
“You already have an office?!”
“Temporary. I may have commandeered the CEO office?”
Alexia’s laughter filled the room, deep and roaring laughter that made Marielle’s heart soar. “Oh,” she tried to breathe through her substantial amusement. “Oh, Maddie! Oh, I love you! I really do!” She continued to laugh, words somehow managing to filter through the breathy sounds. “You would! You really would!” Her hands reached up and wiped the tears from her eyes as the laughter started to pinch at her sides.
The smile on Marielle’s face only grew as she watched her friend laugh. When Alexia began to clutch at her side, she couldn’t help but join in on the hilarity of what she had done. Marielle could still remember the commander’s facial expressions. It wasn’t until after the fact that she had realized what the commander had meant, realized what her inability to see past her own stubbornness to remember the importance of protocol. She took a breath to ease herself out of the laughter. “So. What do I owe the pleasure?” she asked finally.
Alexia took a single breath as she released one last chuckle. She sat up a little, rubbing her side to ease the cramp that had resulted from her merriment. “Got some news,” she began.
“Your eggo is preggo?”
The brunette only scoffed as she lifted her hand and wiggled the ring-clad finger, a giant grin illuminating her face.
“My question still stands,” Marielle teased, winking as she asked her question. When Alexia’s face fell in a fake pout, she laughed. “I’m just kidding. Obviously, I think it’s about damn time!”
“When‘s the wedding? How did he propose? Wait. Are you even having a wedding or are you eloping? I hear that’s a thing. Are you having it on Earth?” Marielle squealed as excitement overwhelmed her.
“Not sure yet. He took me on this amazing walk through the arboretum when we were docked at Starbase Everest and had a candlelit picnic ready for us. He did the whole spiel, which made me cry, and I said yes by tackling him to the ground and kissing him senseless. Wedding, probably on Earth. Eloping may happen if it gets insane; I know that’s a thing. A trip to Outpost Utopia on Venus would be easier, to be honest.”
Marielle laughed at the string of responses Alexia was able to give without so much a breath.
“You better be in the Alpha Quadrant when I get married. I can’t have my maid of honour missing my special day.”
“Is that your twisted way of asking me to be your maid of honour?”
“Who’s asking?” Alexia laughed. “What made you think you even had a choice?”
The laughed together, and Marielle relished at the ease of their friendship. Alexia knew her and accepted her so readily. She leaned against her chair and immediately sat up as her back crunched against another mini caricature of herself, one that she had missed through the torrent of emotions that moved rapidly through her. It was enough to break the bubble of joy that had distracted her from the state of her office. Her arm bent at an almost inhuman angle in attempt to reach the offending item from her back. “I swear to you, Lexie! I’m going to frakking murder him!” she growled, her chair turning as her upper torso twisted with her reach. It felt like she had somehow become the proverbial dog chasing its tail, and the very notion of it had Marielle seeing red.
Alexia grinned, watching as her friend suddenly released another creative string of expletives. Her eyes flickered to the movie that played behind Marielle, where a line of short elflike munchkins kicked their feet in song and dance. The brunette wasn’t quite sure what had happened, but she knew she was thankful to be clear across the universe. There was just no telling what Marielle’s imagination was conjuring up at that very moment, but it didn’t matter. Alexia knew that a storm was brewing, and she pitied the poor soul that dared to stand in Marielle’s way.
Copyright 2016. All works involving Mariëlle A. Deniaud, including character biographies and published stories, are the property of the United Space Federation and its author. It cannot be reproduced, imitated, and copied without written permission from the authors. All rights reserved. This is a work of fiction using aspects of the Star Trek universe as created and copyrighted/trademarked by Gene Roddenberry, Paramount, and their affiliates.