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Brimstone: Birthday Boy

USS Aldrin Personnel Recordings


by Lieutenant Commander Gideon Salieri & Lieutenant Commander Marielle Deniaud
[Stardate ]

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He sat on a rock in front of the formation that was his station in the mines.  The former security chief had long learnt how to exert the barest of energy in order to appear to be working.  He was constantly in a state of bliss due to the Grave Dust that Fregg gave him every morning and during the day.  Gideon wasn’t aware of the exact date, but he knew it to be around his birthday. The thought of spending more birthdays in the underground prison kept him from daydreaming.  Instead, a memory replayed with vivid clarity.

Marielle paused in the hallway.  She turned her head in time to see movement and her smile pulled at her lips.  “Allô Gédéon!” she called out as she quickly took the left side of the fork.

He turned his head to the sound of her voice, the irritation melting slightly from his features as he regarded the chief engineer.  “Ciao, El,” he greeted as he paused his momentum toward the bridge and diverted his course to Marielle. The PADD was held in his hand at his side.

The engineer stopped and grinned up at him.  “Looks like we’re on another strange mission,” she offered as a point of conversation.  

“Par for the course,” Gideon nodded in agreement as he stood close to her.  His features twisted slightly in annoyance.

“Well, I was going to wait until tonight, but you know how our missions run.  There’s no way to know if we’ll fall into some space anomaly, or get attacked by some rogue species, or get called away by some telepathic stalker.”  She hid her giggle behind her fingers. “Would it be possible to steal you away for fifteen minutes?”

He raised a brow as he regarded her and a soft hum rumbled in his throat as he nodded.  Gideon shrugged one shoulder as he nodded his chin toward the bridge. “Winnetka’s got it covered.  What did you need?”

The nod was all she needed.  The engineer grabbed his hand and simply pulled him down the hallway towards the turbolift.  Her strides were long and hurried. “Come on!” she complained as she looked at him from over her shoulder.  “Stop dragging your feet, mister! Fifteen minutes isn’t a long time, you know.”

“Are you kidnapping me?” he laughed lightly as he picked up his pace and entered the turbolift with her.  Gideon gave her a wry grin and then shook his head as he adjusted his fingers to interlace with hers.

“Deck four, alpha vector.”  She practically bounced in place as the turbolift took them to their destination.  Once the doors opened for them, she dragged him out into the hallway and towards her quarters.  “Clearly kidnapping you on a starship wouldn’t exactly work. They’d find you.” Marielle stopped in front of her quarters, her hands dancing over the panel as she entered her code.  The engineer pulled him into her living space and stopped just in front of her dining room table. “Stay here and close your eyes!” She disappeared into her bedroom, her playful giggle following in her wake.

He smirked as he shook his head.  Gideon rested his hand on the back of one of her chairs and let his eyelids fall closed.  “Eyes are closed,” the security chief informed her.

“Keep them closed!” she screamed from her bedroom.  The engineer jetted out of her bedroom and quickly ran past him into her kitchen, stopping briefly to leave a box on the dining room table.

He turned his chin to follow the breeze of her darting past him.  Gideon raised his brows slightly and then shook his head again. “They’re closed,” he reassured her.  “What are you doing?”

Marielle returned from the kitchen, her steps much slower and careful as she approached the dining room table.  She placed two half-filled champagne glasses and a small glass container on the surface. “Okay. Open!”

One eyelid pushed open, almost giving him the appearance of wincing as he turned his head to face the engineer.  Blinking, Gideon opened his other eye and chuckled. A single candle was lit and placed in the center of the sweet treat.  His brows raised.

“Happy birthday!” she exclaimed with a bright mellifluous laugh.  She wrapped her arms around his body, her embrace locking his arms to his sides.

He laughed lightly as he settled his arms around her waist and held the engineer against him, surprise easy to see in his expression.  “Aw El, you’re sweet!” He smiled down at her, kissing her forehead. “Thank you.”

The kiss caused a blush to creep into her cheeks.  She released him from her embrace and picked up the small glass container tiramisu.  Turning to face him, she held it up and simply smiled up at him. “Make a wish,” she instructed softly.

The Betazoid mix lifted his hands to cup her hands in his palms and steady the plate.  He watched her for a moment and then smiled. With a wink, Gideon leaned forward and blew gently to extinguish the flame from the candle.  “How soon will it come true?” he teased her with a quiet chuckle.

She pulled the candle out from the center of the dessert.  She hummed at the question as she picked up two of the silver spoons, offering one to the security chief.  “I guess it depends on how hard you wished for it.” Marielle turned and lifted the glass dish a bit higher for him.  Her spoon dug into the tiramisu, the silver cutting through the delicate layers and she offered the morsel to him. “Birthday boy gets the first taste.”

His hand remained over hers to hold the plate steady, his smile growing wider as he nodded.  Gideon leaned forward slightly and took the bite from her spoon. He hummed in appreciation. After swallowing, he shook his head and cut into the piece with his own spoon, the bite offered to the engineer.  “This is heaven.”

Marielle smiled before leaning forward to steal the offered bite from his spoon.  Her tongue licked away the lingering cream that clung to her lips. Her hand came up to cover her mouth as she pointed her spoon in the direction of the two boxes.  “Big one first,” she told him.

He cut through another bite of the tiramisu, bringing the piece to his lips to enjoy the Italian cake.  Pink creeped up his neck. Gideon rested his spoon on the plate and reached to pick up the ribbon wrapped box.  He turned to face Marielle and leaned back against the table as he pulled at the wrapping. After pulling the lid from the box, his lips pulled into a wide grin and he chuckled as he nodded.  “I’ve been waiting months for another pair of these,” he teased her with a wink. The security officer lifted up a pair of handknitted socks, appreciating the feel of them before draping the footwear over his shoulder.

The engineer smirked as she stole another bite of the tiramisu.  She only shrugged as she ate, choosing not to speak until she’d swallowed.  “So odd to have you ask for socks and only socks, but whatever floats your boat.”  Marielle giggled.

“I’m easy to please,” he offered with a shrug, grinning at her as he lifted the tissue paper in the box.  His gaze focused on the item inside, his brows furrowing as he picked up two plastic disks. Gideon blinked as the one on top chirped when he touched it and he watched as a hologram appeared.  His features brightened dramatically when he saw the image of his grandmother as she began speaking to him.

‘Soraya renga, Nipotino.  Peldar Murenga! Ah kost von jaldan a aka.  Ah ankayah aka. (Hello, Grandson. Happy birthday!  I’m so proud of you. I love you.)’

A disbelieving chuckle eased past his lips as he glanced at Marielle, his brows raised as he looked back at the images that played in a slideshow.  There were a couple of him and Nonna at the beach, at her cabin. Gideon watched in silent awe, his smile nearly splitting his face as he recognized the landmarks in the scenery pictures.

“Your grandmother is awfully nice,” she told him as she watched the photographs that appeared.  “Oh! You were a cute baby!”

“If you ask Giancarlo, I grew out of it real quick,” he retorted with a laugh, shaking his head.  The security officer pressed a button on the device as he set it behind the one he hadn’t activated yet.  Gideon glanced toward the engineer as he pressed the button. “And if you ask my mother,” he paused with a smirk, his mouth opening to continue but the thought was silenced when the holovid began playing.

“Allô Gédéon.”  The engineering’s holographic image flickered on the center of the hexagon disk.  She was dressed in a pale yellow summer dress, her hair pulled back and tied with a thick red ribbon into a low ponytail.  “I’ve known you for almost a year now, and you’ve become one of my closest friends.” She chuckled. “I’d even say one of my best friends.  I guess that means you’re stuck with me now because I don’t really let go of my best friends. Joyeux anniversaire, Gédéon. Allons faire des souvenirs plus heureux ensemble, oui?  (Happy birthday. Let’s make more happy memories together, yeah?)” Her message ended as a few images played in a slideshow - a collection of their outings together.

Her head leaned to one side as she looked up at him then shrugged.  She turned her gaze away from the moment her message played, appearing to find more fascination in the tiramisu than the holovid disk.

The playback on the disk stopped and the security officer watched it a few moments before lifting his chin to look over at Marielle.  His smile was lopsided and shy, affection easy to see in his features. Gideon pressed the button to keep it from replaying and laid the disks on the table as he straightened.  He reached for the plate of tiramisu, setting it on the table as well as he drew the engineer into a hug. His chin lowered to press his cheek against her temple while he held her.

She squeaked as she was suddenly pulled into a hug.  The engineer chuckled quietly, her free hand settling on his back and the other hovering in the air to keep from staining his uniform with her spoon.  “One more gift, silly,” she reminded him softly.

“My wish already came true,” Gideon informed her as he released the diminutive woman, winking at her.  He picked up the plate of tiramisu, sliced a bite with his spoon, and took it into his mouth before offering the rest of the cake to the engineer.  He leaned back against the table and reached for the second ribbon wrapped box, grinning at Marielle as he worked at the wrap. When he lifted the lid, the security officer smiled and nodded before shaking his head.  “You sure know how to make a guy happy.” He picked up wrapped plates, one with zeppole and the other with chocolate chip cookies.

She took the glass container of tiramisu from the security chief and placed it on the table, the last bite left untouched.  She took his spoon and dropped it into the dish with hers. Marielle lifted both champagne flutes. “I hear it’s all about the stomach,” she mused with a chuckle.  She offered him a glass. “Happy thirtieth birthday, Gideon.”

After setting the box aside, he took the champagne flute and smiled.  “I couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate.” The security chief winked and touched the rim of his glass to hers before lifting to sip of the bubbly wine.

The engineer finished the small amount of champagne in one easy sip.  Her glass was placed on the table. “Alright. If we’re lucky, I get to walk you into your surprise party tonight.  If not, well, let’s just hope we get to walk you into your surprise party tonight.” Marielle giggled as she tugged at his arm.  “You can leave everything here. Come on. Let’s get you to the bridge.”

He’d finished the glass and then appeared annoyed.  Gideon shook his head. The security officer chuckled quietly and raised his brow.  He resisted her tug to scoop the last bit of tiramisu from the plate, biting half of it and offering the rest to Marielle.  “Ead id o ahm nod leabin.” He knew she would refuse the last bite unless he twisted her arm.

“Come on, you goof.”  She giggled at him as she shook her head at the offered bite and tugged at his arm yet again.

Still resisting, the security chief held the spoon in her direction as he chuckled.  “Ah god de ast ide in mah mouf,” he insisted, threatening the laugh out loud. Gideon held his hand over his mouth to keep from losing the bite in his mouth.

A bright peal of laughter escaped her.  “Oh, my gods! Turn thirty, and you’ve already gone off the deep end, old man.”  Marielle winked at him. “Come on! I’m pretty sure I’ve exceeded fifteen minutes.”

He grumbled playfully and shoved the rest of the tiramisu in his mouth before following her quick steps to the door.  Gideon held her back before she reached the proximity sensor, pulling the engineer into another hug as he kissed her cheek and whispered in her ear.  “Thank you, El.” His hand found hers before she could react and he pulled her into the hallway.

Gideon found himself frozen as the memory faded.  His breathing had slowed and his reality slowly came back to him.  The taste of tiramisu on his tongue made his mouth water but the air that surrounded him was cold, stale, and earthy.  He blinked and found himself in the cavern of ore from which they mined dilithium, not on the Aldrin B with Marielle.  His chin turned and his chest began to heave with the ache that steadily grew in his chest.  “She was so good to me,” he whispered.

He closed his eyes and the pick slipped from his fingers, clanking on the stone floor of the mine.  The half-Bajoran raised his hands and hunched over, as if he could hide from the reality. “Why did I ever think she would betray me?  It was me, it was always me. I hurt her,” he whimpered with realization. His hands slid along the back of his head and a sob caught in his throat.  “I’m so sorry, El. Oh Gods, what have I done?” He straightened slightly and dropped his hands to stare at the calloused and cracked fingers. They were the same ones that pummeled the light from the researcher.  Gideon blinked and looked mortified when he saw blood dripping from the thick digits. He quickly stood up and held his hands away, brushing them quickly on his pants.

His chest heaved with the panic that overwhelmed him.  He gripped and wrung his hands as if he could clean off the blood that he was sure remained on his skin.  “Fanculo,” he whispered with desperation. Gideon glanced around quickly as sorrow crashed over him. He had no idea what to do.  He couldn’t apologize to Marielle, yet there was still some part of him that didn’t believe he deserved to be in Rura Penthe. “What do I do?” he asked himself as his eyes rolled to the ceiling.  He whined at not being able to see the sky. The half-Bajoran slowly sank to his knees and curled on himself. Quiet sobs echoed in the chamber as grief overwhelmed him.

Marielle had loved him and she was gone.

   
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