|USF Personal Log|
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It had taken Sayuri much longer than she imagined it should to pick through her personal belongings. The need to pare down created a conundrum that she simply didn’t want to face. With much sorrow, she parted with some of her clothes, keeping only the few items that had sentimental and historical meaning. Trinkets were recycled. She whittled her life down to one crate, a soft shelled violin case, and a small birdcage. The half-Betazoid nodded to the Andorian quartermaster with her thanks and she picked up the wire cage to place her tiny companion on the coffee table. The soft white ball of fluff was an oddity for the black spots on its back in the same pattern as the five on a six sided dice. Domino had been with the medical officer since being rescued on Europa.
The newly promoted commander lifted her gaze to study her new home. Her brows furrowed as she noted the lack of any personal items in the space. ‘I could have kept more of my things.’ She looked over the bare walls and sighed softly as she noted that her paintings would have fit perfectly. Sayuri shook her head and smiled when she saw the bonsai plants situated around the room. The wire birdcage was set on the small table beside the couch and she moved toward the tallest one by the porthole. Her fingers reached for the purple buds but she didn’t touch the flowers. The sculpted trunk leaned to one side and the petals reached in the opposite direction, as if trying to grasp the sun.
Miaka Anderson had her face behind a PADD as she exited the turbolift. Muscle memory took her down the hallway towards her quarters. The gravity of their situation had settled on much of the crew and there was quite a bit of trouble with assigning officers to rooms. They had no idea how long it would take them to find their universe or what trouble they would encounter, so all that could be salvaged from the Athena was put into whatever space could be found. There were a few lucky enough to avoid a third roommate, but most found themselves having to accommodate another body in already tight quarters. She hoped to alleviate the problem by changing Deck 18 into a habitable space, but it would require engineering to reroute the systems that took up deck. It would be a painful few months. She crossed the threshold into her private living space, not bothering to look up even as her fingers danced over the panel to enter her code. “Computer, mint tea, eighty degrees centigrade,” she commanded as she always did upon returning home.
“It’s beautiful!” she exclaimed to the captain when she heard the woman speak. Sayuri’s smile widened and she closed to the distance to the dining room table to inspect the second bonsai plant. Again, her fingers lingered close to the green leaves but she didn’t touch the evergreen. This one had a hooked trunk and the juniper-like conifer fanned upward. The Japanese woman inhaled deeply to familiarize herself with the soothing scent of pine. “This one is so soothing.”
She blinked twice and lowered the tablet when she came to a stop. Anderson had completely forgotten that her new first officer was to be her new bunkmate. It would not have caused much fuss if she had kept her quarters her own, but the Betazoid woman had thought it was necessary to serve as an example to her crew. If they were to suffer with having a roommate, then she believed she needed to soldier on in the same manner. Her mouth had dropped open to tell the Japanese-Betazoid woman not to touch the ancient plant - the only items she cared to call personal possessions - but it became clear that such a warning didn’t need to be necessary. “Uh, yes, I suppose it is.” She made her way to the replicator to retrieve the mug that had appeared.
The commander glanced over her shoulder as she straightened and her hands rested on her hips. “Why else would you have them?” Sayuri giggled quietly to herself. ‘Because they’re pretty,’ she monotoned in silence. She shook her head and made her way to the third bonsai plant on the captain’s desk. The medical officer tilted her chin slightly as she studied the twisted rock that supported two small manicured trees. Moss covered the porous stone and she hummed softly in appreciation of the art.
The captain took slow steps as she sipped her tea as muscle memory took her to her designated office space. Her gaze fell to the PADD in her hand but concern that Matsugami would somehow disrupt the growth of the bonsais had her looking up with a rarely felt fear. She was not attached to many things or people, but the bonsais had special meaning to the Betazoid. It set her apart from another who shared her face, who tended to live in a chaotic world of rainbows and glitter. “We will need to discuss sleeping arrangements. I’ve told the quartermaster to put us at the bottom of the list. He is overworked with getting the crew situated, so there is simply one bed in the bedroom. You will be taking the couch.”
Sayuri wrinkled her nose and turned to face the captain with her arms folded over her chest. “That wasn’t a discussion.”
“No. It wasn’t. Your skill for stating the obvious will come in handy as a first officer.” Anderson walked past her desk after depositing the PADD on the stack on the corner and took one sip of her tea before placing the mug on the surface. She continued her way towards the bedroom.
Her eyes rolled up to the ceiling and she shook her head. “It would help if you didn’t say one thing and then do the opposite. Don’t tell me we’re going to have a discussion and then dictate the outcome.” Sayuri let her hands fall to her sides and she made her way to the couch. If they’d bothered to have the talk about sleeping arrangements, the short woman would have been fine with sleeping on the plush furniture.
“This is not a matter for discussion. There is one bed. Do you intend to share my bed, Commander?” Anderson stopped to regard the woman. “I sleep in the nude.”
The medical officer shrugged. “Wouldn’t bother me.” She’d seen many people in their most vulnerable form. Sayuri didn’t have much exposure to her Betazoid heritage but she knew that her views on nudity were similar to the cultural norm. It just wasn’t an issue.
“Be that as it may, I am not comfortable with my first officer seeing me in the nude. Until the engineering teams and quartermaster can add a wall, this is the arrangement. In a week’s time, you will have a bed.” She continued to walk into the closet in her bedroom, shrugging off her uniform jacket and hanging it in her closet. She motioned to the walk-in storage space. “There is plenty of room for your clothes and the dresser is completely empty save for one drawer.”
Her head turned to follow the captain into her bedroom but she remained where she stood. The commander sighed quietly and shifted her gaze to the crate that had been left by the door. ‘I’ll do it later.’ Sayuri walked across the common area and she picked up the black soft shell violin case. She held the instrument to her torso and glanced around the room for somewhere that she could store it. Her dark brown irises lifted to the shelves that were empty and she walked to the bookcase. The old case was placed on the bottom shelf, where she figured it would be the most out of the captain’s way.
Quiet steps carried her out of the bedroom and made her way to her desk, where she removed the pips from her collar and let the golden circles fall into the small dish she used to keep them contained. The captain’s eyes followed the woman towards the bookshelf and she raised a brow. She opened her mouth to object to the placement of the instrument case but instead her lips formed a thin line to silence the complaint. Her gaze shifted around the room finally to see if any changes had been made. Aside from the crate by the door, nothing seemed out of place. Her chin slowly turned as her sharp irises surveyed her private living space. There was a hint of approval at seeing that nothing had been added. It was, however, immediately squashed the moment she saw the small cage on the table by her sitting area. “What. Is. That.”
She lifted her chin and pushed to her feet, her brows raised as she turned her head to look at Miaka. The Japanese woman hummed quietly as she followed the captain’s gaze. Sayuri smiled and glanced back toward the Betazoid. “This is Domino,” she introduced the hamster as her strides carried her to the table. The commander turned a delicate knob and tapped once on the door before offering her palm. The tiny rodent scurried onto her hand and she lifted the creature. She turned it so that it could ‘see’ her roommate. “Domino, meet Miaka.”
Anderson’s body instantly took a step back, instinct having her pull away from the furry creature. “What is that rat doing on my ship?” She paused, her eyes widening ever so slightly. It was the barest hint of emotion. “What is that rat doing in my quarters?”
She gasped quietly and curled her hands around the rodent to shield him from such profanities. Sayuri pulled her pet against her chest and tsked as she glanced toward the captain. “Domino is a Djungarian hamster.” Her tone was haughty, as if they were both insulted by Miaka’s characterization. “And he is in our quarters.” The commander turned her chin, her brow raised in silent challenge to the Betazoid woman.
“No. There is a standing order for the Ares and the Athena. No family. No pets. That was the case before we left base.
Sayuri shook her head slowly. “Captain Oakley okayed small pets. Ensign French had a demeril boa and Lieutenant Dorsey had a Denobulan tree frog.” The executive officer sighed softly and frowned. “You don’t have to worry about those, they died in the attack.” She opened her hands and gently caressed her fingers over the hamster’s soft fur. Her smile brightened when the creature appeared quite pleased with the attention.
The Betazoid captain growled softly. “Oakley, you weak fool,” came the flat comment. There was the slightest hint of derision to her tone. “Animals, especially vermin, have no place on a starship.” Anderson pushed forward and rounded her desk to approach her executive officer and the rodent. “You need to get rid of it.”
The half-Betazoid closed her hands over the hamster and turned slightly to protect Domino from the captain. “I need to do no such thing.” A warning flashed in her dark brown hues as she stared at the approaching officer.
“You will serve as an example for this crew. I do not need to go gallivanting through universes and having the crew suddenly picking up strays because one of their commanding officers decided to keep her pet rat.” She held out her hand wand her fingers curled in slightly to motion the Japanese woman to hand the animal over to her. “If you cannot handle its disposal then I can do it for you.”
“Touch me or Domino and I’ll have you thrown in the brig for assault.” Her chin lifted as her features hardened. “This is not some random rodent that managed to crawl into the ventilation systems. He is a cherished friend and more compassionate than you.”
“You cannot have me thrown into the brig. There is a standing order on this vessel that there are no animals. I can have you thrown in the brig for refusing to follow orders.” Her expression remained cold despite the flash of pained confusion. She continued on, deciding it was pointless to argue about compassion. “Rodents are not friends. They do not talk. They eat and defecate. They’re dirty and they smell. We will already be taxing our systems. We do not need to feed a rat.” Again, she curled her fingers, her hand still outreached to her roommate clearly expecting the discussion to be over and for the animal to be in her possession.
Sayuri stepped back and turned her shoulder to the captain in refusal. The petite woman still had fire in her eyes as she glanced toward Miaka. “He is not leaving my side.” Aside from considering the hamster her friend, she knew she could not bring herself to destroy Domino. The rodent was clean and she took care of his cage so that there was no smell. He ate less than a gram of food a day. The medical officer nearly rolled her eyes as she made the argument to herself.
“Then you will not be staying in these quarters.” It took all of her energy not to start screaming. It’d been days since the death of her colleagues, days since they found themselves floating in the middle of empty space in a universe that was not her own. She’d spent countless hours attempting to put into place a foundation where her crew could function before they attempted their journey. They were hopeful they would find home, but she knew better. Anderson knew all too well how she was regarded and it was a burden she was willing to take. It was not her job to be their friend. It was her job to get them home.
“Excellent. The cargo stored in my quarters will be better suited as your roommates.” Sayuri quickly bent at the waist and deposited Domino into his cage. The door was latched closed and she picked up the wire by the loop at the top. Her strides carried her to the bookcase and she stooped to pick up her violin. When she straightened, she faced the captain with a curt nod. “I’ll return for my crate.” She gave the Betazoid no room to argue, instead leaving the space in dignified silence.
She watched as the door closed behind her first officer, left alone in the shadows of her solitary living space. Her mouth dropped slightly as she prepared to call out to the petite physician. Instead, Anderson’s hands lifted towards her face and the pads of her fingers rubbed deeply into her eye sockets. She took several deep breaths to ease away the need to scream. “One. Two. Three. Four. Five.” She continued to count softly as she tried to find her center. It eluded her completely.