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Stardate: 1704.03 [03 April, 2017]
The Dragon Returns
- J.R.R. Tolkien [The Hobbit]
The gods were cruel. No sooner had he started getting close enough to Marielle to ask her out did the security officer find out that Erik Frakking Vaeros was returning to their lives. On board the Aldrin. As an exchange counselor. Gideon stood in the transporter room, his arms folded over his uniform tunic as he watched the doors to the transporter room. The half-Bajoran furrowed his brows, his entire body tense as he thought of how Marielle would take the news. The questions came flooding back. Did she love him? Would he still love her? No doubt he would want to ask her out, would she accept? He’d only needed a little more time! Sighing softly, the breath passing his lips in a near whine, Gideon shook his head. At the same token, Henrik Niels Rocha was a piss poor excuse of a counselor and Erik Vaeros at least knew what he was doing. Grumbling softly, Gideon relaxed his stance as the transporter officer nodded in his direction. The security chief put on a neutral face and looked on as the doors parted. “Ensign, I’ll take over escort. See that Counselor Rocha is safely on board the T’Ret.”
He glanced at the young security officer as he scampered away before looking towards the security chief. The Draconian stood tall, thick calloused fingers rubbing at his defined chin before they moved to ruffle through the thick strands of his dark maroon hair. The points of his ears hid under the longer strands. The long scar over his left eye, the skin slightly more pale than his tan olive complexion. His lips pulled at the corners, a smile threatening to break the normally grumpy façade. He stepped forward towards the familiar Betazoid mix. “Fabio.” His husky baritone voice filled the hallway. “Glad to see you didn’t do anything stupid and are still alive.”
Gideon tilted his chin down and to the side as his gaze remained locked on Erik. ‘It’s gonna be like that, then.’ With a slight shake of his head, the security officer hummed softly in response. “Plenty of time for that, Doc. This is a warship.” In an attempt to maintain some sense of decorum, the half-Betazoid stepped forward and offered his hand to shake.
“Really?” he gasped in feigned surprise. “Holy crap! I must have read the wrong frakking file. I thought it was a pleasure cruiser.” The Draconian reached out, his hand easily gripping the security chief’s forearm and giving it a good shake.
“Good to see you, too.” Gideon smirked a bit, appreciating the firm shake with the same pressure before pulling back and sweeping his arm toward the door as he moved to escort the Draconian toward the turbolift.
“My stuff make it?” Erik glanced about, his eyes taking in the tighter hallways. The grey was richer, the lines more defined. He decided he appreciated the vessel far more than the Legacy or Galaxy class. This one had character.
The half-Betazoid nodded as he stopped in the hallway, turning to face Erik. “Waiting in the cargo bay until they’ve cleaned Rocha’s quarters. We weren’t expecting you until we got back to Sol, so expediting his return to Tellataine Prime has been painful.” With a nod, Gideon led the way down the corridor toward the turbolift.
Erik snickered. “You mean you didn’t throw him out of the airlock?” The Draconian walked easily beside Salieri, the atmosphere friendly. Their experiences didn’t necessarily bring them together as friends, but there was mutual respect there.
Gideon scoffed as he shook his head. “El couldn’t stand him. No threat there.” His cobalt gaze found the Draconian from the corner of his eye.
The news of Marielle not enjoying anyone’s company came as a bit of a surprise, and Erik didn’t bother hiding it. “Bright Eyes couldn’t stand him?” he asked, clearly uncertain if that was truly the case. “She likes everybody.” Still, he couldn’t help but laugh. He had been worried something would have come of that. Henrik didn’t exactly hide his attraction to the engineer. He seemed just like her type - nice and brainy, what any good woman would want.
“I guess she would have to clarify, but I saw no threat. The man is a boil to mankind. Gives us a bad name.” Gideon shook his head as he smirked.
Erik laughed heartily. “I’m surprised. I thought he would have fit perfectly with you lots - all nice and kind. Singin’ by the fire and passin’ around a feelin’ stick.”
Gideon chuckled softly. “No, Ryan wanted to push him out the airlock after what happened in Engineering.” The reference to his relapse brought a shiver to his spine, but the security officer easily hid it with a shake of his head.
“I heard about that,” the Draconian grumbled under his breath. There was a pause. “How have you been since then? Any more relapses?”
He grew quiet for a moment and shook his head. “One more. Klein was killed in front of me, I thought it was Drikaana again.” Gideon averted his gaze and glanced over his shoulder as if to make sure no one was listening in. The security officer sighed softly before looking back at the Draconian. “Sleeping is still rough, I’ve just taken to using the luenalin instead of bothering to try and get to sleep naturally.”
At the news, Erik paused and took a moment to look at the half-Bajoran. There was no smart comment. Erik simply nodded and huffed slightly. “We’ll work on it. Figure out a new exercise and a new routine for you.” There was judgment in his gruff tone. “You’ve got ways to go. I ain’t about to go easy on you. You’re on a different ship now, Fabio. Can’t have you checkin’ out cause you got the heebie jeebies about your past.”
“Yeah, yeah,” he muttered in quiet exasperation. “Other than that, I’m doing all right, I think.” Gideon slid his hands into his pockets, cobalt gaze focused on the carpet in front of his toes. ‘Would be better if I could just get right enough to tell El how I feel.’
“Soul’s not red,” the Draconian offered quietly. He held his suitcase in one hand, the other buried deep in his lab coat pocket. “So that’s something.” He entered the turbolift and glanced around the space. “Where we goin’?”
“Still stained?” Gideon turned and called out to the computer. “Deck 3.”
“I’d say it’s carved into that rock face, but it’s just part of the scenery now. Smoothing out, not as sharp.” Erik nodded in approval and support. “Good things.”
The corner of his lip pulled up as he lifted his chin to look at Erik. “My soul’s a rock face, huh?” Gideon chuckled at the thought, pulling one of his hands from his pockets and flexing his bicep to show off. The idea of knowing what his soul looked like had him smiling. “I saw El’s subconscious. It’s amazing,” he offered.
He’d been about ready to tell the half-Bajoran that Erik could see a whole beach when Gideon’s words hit him. “You saw her soul?” The Draconian looked at him in disbelief. “How the frak did you manage that?”
“A telepath had contacted her, must have opened her pathways and when I touched her, I fell in.” There was a bittersweet smile on his features as he recalled Dylan and all the trouble the alien had caused. Gideon considered how he and Marielle had fought over his protectiveness, the memory pushed aside as he focused on the moving orchestral piece that played from Pathos and the images from behind the heavy door labeled Eros.
“Huh.” It was all the Draconian could offer. He wasn’t sure how he felt about the revelation. It had been selfishly his, his species’ abilities allowing him a chance to see what most did not. “You hear it?” he asked quietly.
The security officer gave the counselor a lopsided grin as he nodded. “Heard it change when she saw me.” Gideon rolled his eyes up to the ceiling as the melody played in his brain. “I’ll never forget it.” He sighed with contentment and lowered his gaze to look at the Draconian.
Erik’s lips formed a thin line, but he did not say a word. He’d been away from the chief engineer for months, his confession left lingering despite how they kept in communication. There was friendship there, a deep and long-lasting affection that he knew she felt, but he certainly believed there was the possibility for more. ‘Frak. Did I screw up by leaving?’ The ship’s counselor stepped out of the turbolift, his footsteps quiet as they moved over the carpet. He managed a few meters away from the lift when he stopped at an intersection, and he glanced around. A smile pulled at his features, breaking the normal grumpy lines on his face. He stared down one particular hallway in the fork, watching the farthest end intently. He could hear it. The sweeping motions, the orchestra that lulled the demon deep within him.
Gideon had been so intent on the sound that played within Marielle’s subconscious that he missed when the counselor was no longer at his side. He slid his hand back into his pocket, glancing over his shoulder when Erik stopped. “What is it?” He turned around to look.
The sound carried easily down the hallway. The loud ear-piercing delighted squeal. Her strides came fast and long as she stared at him from the end of the corridor. “Erik!” Marielle screamed out, her bell-ringing lilting laugh filling the hallways as she ran towards the Draconian. She threw herself into the air as she closed the distance, her arms wide open. She giggled as he caught her, her arms wrapping tightly around his neck as she buried her head into the side of his face.
Gideon had jumped slightly, his hands tensing to come out of his pockets when Marielle launched herself into the air. Quickly he relaxed and stepped back, taking a deep breath as his eyes averted to the side, though he still watched in his peripheral vision.
He laughed. The suitcase was dropped and his arms opened wide to receive her, wrapping around her thin waist. As he twirled her, Erik took in a deep breath. Her scent - the bright and warm fragrance of summer - surrounded him. Gods, how he had missed the amalgamation of citrus and floral aromas. When the sound of her giggles filled his ears, he could only hug her tighter. He moved his lips to kiss her, but Marielle’s head turned in time that he caught her cheek.
Marielle giggled softly. “Put me down, you ass. I’m mad at you.”
Erik snickered. “If you’re mad at me, I’m definitely not putting you down.” He guffawed when she started to wiggle out of his grasp and when her foot came into contact with his shin. “Dammit, Bright Eyes. You’re worse than a wet fish.”
She laughed as she was placed gently on the ground. Marielle beamed brightly up at him as she punched the Draconian hard in the arm. “You didn’t tell me you were getting here early! I thought I was going to see you once we got to Earth.” The engineer turned to look at the escorting security chief. “Allô Gédéon!” She gave him a bright and warm smile before turning her attention to the Draconian.
He had a warm smile for her, as always, as he nodded in her direction. Gideon opened his lips to say something, but stopped when her attention reverted to the counselor. “Ciao, El,” he greeted instead. ‘Let her get the excitement out of the way, she didn’t let him kiss her.’ The security officer bit the inside of his lip.
“You were in my neck of the woods. Seemed to make more sense to just head in your general direction,” Erik explained. “Besides, couldn’t wait to see you.” He didn’t bother feigning an injury as her fist came into contact with his bicep. He continued to stare down at the woman as he committed every detail of her face to memory.
Marielle laughed softly. “Heading to your quarters?” At that, she blinked and turned to Gideon. “Aren’t the counselor quarters on Deck 4?”
Gideon nodded, clearing his throat. “Quartermaster hasn’t gotten to cleaning them yet. Cantankerous is getting VIP for a few days.” The half Betazoid grinned toward the engineer.
The engineer wrinkled her nose. “He’s like a damn cockroach,” she grumbled under her breath. “Good riddance to stupidity.” She shook thoughts of Henrik away and turned to nod at Gideon. “VIP quarters then. If Erik was going to one of the empty quarters, I was going to say you could just drop him off at my place.”
Erik’s grin only grew wider. “Screw VIP lodging. I’d take you up on that offer, Bright Eyes.”
Marielle turned to the Draconian. “Seriously? The VIP quarters are way nicer.”
Gideon curled his fingers within his pockets as he leaned his chin back, his eyes focused on the ceiling as he fought against saying anything. He licked the inside of lip and glanced back toward the pair.
“Sure. You cookin’ dinner for me every night? I’d call that VIP treatment.”
The engineer giggled. “It’d make moving you into your quarters easier. Henrik’s right across from me.” Marielle turned to Gideon. “Do we need to do anything for the switch? I don’t mind taking over your escort duty until he gets all settled.”
The chief of security shook his head. “Erik’s things can remain in the cargo bay and I’ll just let the Quartermaster know.” His heart was pounding in his chest and Gideon fought to keep a neutral expression on his features.
Marielle grinned at the half-Betazoid. “Thanks Gideon.” Her attention moved back to the Draconian. “Come on. I’ll show you to my quarters.”
Erik picked up his suitcase as he threw his arm over her shoulder. “I get to sleep in your bed, right?”
The engineer scoffed as she nudged him with her hip. “In your dreams. You get the floor. You’re too damn tall for my couch.” She walked with him towards the turbolift.
“I get a damn bed in the VIP quarters!” the Draconian grumbled, gruffly arguing with the petite woman by his side. Despite the tone of voice, he smiled as they entered the turbolift. The doors closed them into the lift.
Gideon fell back against the wall, his head hitting the panel hard as he winced. ‘Cazzo, fanculo questa gelosia stronzate,’ he sighed at his inner monologue. “Computer, what’s the time.” He hummed softly at the response. An hour and fifteen minutes until the end of his shift. “If there’s a holodeck available at 2200, reserve it for me.” The security officer was going to need some serious anger therapy for the next several nights.
Copyright 2017. All works involving Mariëlle A. Deniaud, Gideon M. Salieri, and Erik J. Vaeros 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.