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Side Sim: Friends and good food -what else does one need?

Posted April 16, 2021, 6:31 a.m. by Lieutenant Kiama Naim (Chief Science Officer) (Silke Fahl)

Posted by Lieutenant Faye Calloway (Mission Specialist) in Side Sim: Friends and good food -what else does one need?

Posted by Lieutenant Kiama Naim (Chief Science Officer) in Side Sim: Friends and good food -what else does one need?

Posted by Lieutenant Faye Calloway (Mission Specialist) in Side Sim: Friends and good food -what else does one need?
Posted by… suppressed (2) by the Post Ghost! 👻

(snip)

Everything inside Faye went suddenly still. It would be different to talk about this with Kiama. Her experience had so far been one where she glossed over things and people just sort of nodded and moved on. Except for Alex, who had his own unique brand of conveying understanding (as maddening as that sometimes was).

Her gaze still on Faye, Kiama waited in silence for her friend to speak again. Giving her all the time and space she needed.

Holding the fork in her fingers still, Calloway exhaled. “Very long story short, before I came to the Manhattan I had been on special assignment with Intelligence. I did a covert mission on the other side of the border… in Romulan space. I can’t talk about all the details, but it ended when I was caught in an explosion and being somewhere I wasn’t supposed to be, the Romulans arrested me. I was tried, convicted and sentenced for the deaths of the Romulans in that explosion even though I had nothing to do with it.” Faye pushed the emotions attached to those visceral memories aside, but she knew all too well that Kiama was aware of them. “I spent nine months as a prisoner of the Tal Shair. You can imagine how much fun that was. As it turns out my mother was undercover there and it was her who helped me escape.” She set the fork down with a shake of her head. “Still processing that one. But suffice to say when I dragged myself back over the Federation border I was nearly dead and it took me a year to recover enough to be back on duty full time. I stayed on the ship where I had bene recovering but this has been my first real assignment since then.”

~Faye Calloway

For several more moments Kiama remained silent. Before she could say anything she had to sort through the emotions she was feeling, separating Faye’s from her own. She could tell that Faye was pushing those emotions away, but she could still feel them. The positive ones, the love in particular, surprised her, while the pain and fear and everything else threatened to overwhelm her. Closing her eyes, she took a few deep breaths and focused on reinforcing her mental shields. Not because she didn’t want to know what Faye was feeling, but because she wanted to be there for her friend and she couldn’t if she got too overwhelmed. Though she quickly found that closing her eyes was a mistake and snapped them open again. For even though Faye had given no details about what had happened to her while she was imprisoned, Kiama’s mind managed to conjure up images on its own. It made her sick to her stomach, adding an unpleasant layer to her emotions. She was angry, but she also felt very protective towards Faye. And there was gratitude for Faye being willing and able to share with her even a little of what had happened. At the same time Kiama found that certain things about Faye began to fully click into place.

Taking another deep breath, her dark eyes on Faye’s stormy-grey ones, Kiama finally said softly, “Thank you for trusting me enough to share this with me. I …” She shook her head and then started again, “No one should have to endure something like that.” She didn’t know what else to say as everything that came to her mind sounded hollow, like a platitude. And those helped nobody. So she fell silent and gave Faye the space to say something, if she wanted to.

~Lt. Naim, CSO

Folding her arms on the edge of the table, Faye was quiet for a moment, attempting to chose her words carefully, even if her emotions would betray her anyway. “No… they shouldn’t. But… a lot of things happened as a result of it, or were part of that experience and though I’m still working through some of it, it made being here on the Manhattan possible and of that I’m truly grateful.” She chuckled and looked at Kiama. “I mean, let’s be real here. The chances of my surviving that were exceptionally low. But I did. Surviving is something I’m actually really good at. But living Kiama? That is a skill I’ve only just started to truly explore since I’ve come to this ship.” Faye gestured between the two of them. “This? Never would have happened before. I’ve changed and I am only just starting to realize how much.” At that she could smile softly.

Kiama returned Faye’s smile and nodded. “I’m grateful, too, that you’re here and that our paths crossed. I care about you a great deal and I’m here for you. If you like, maybe we can figure out this living thing together,” She suggested. “In some ways I’m still trying to figure it out myself.”

Faye nodded with a small smile. Whether they knew it or not, the friends she had made on this ship were all her coconspirators in this rather unusual experiment she was going through. “Sounds like a plan.”

“But yeah, starving for months on end and losing a lot of weight tends to do strange things to your body. Don’t recommend it. Bad for your tastebuds,” she added with an amused gleam in her eyes.

~Faye Calloway

“It sure does and from a neuroscientist’s point of view it makes sense that it messes up your taste buds,” Kiama mused. Tilting her head slightly, she asked curiously, “But I hazard a guess that it had no permanent effect?” In her mind she went through everything she knew about starvation and severe weight loss and both effects on a person’s body. It wasn’t something she knew a lot about, but she had some very basic knowledge.

~Lt. Naim, CSO

Faye rolled her lips inward and pressed them together slightly for a moment. “Ummm, well, mostly. I have regained my tastebuds but it’s only been more recently that I’m getting nuanced flavour. I still like hot food but I find I can handle really hot food, which is good or bad depending on who your dinner companion is,” she said with a light laugh before she went more serious again. Those that knew about her time with the Tal Shiar tended to know the rest of it. Kiama didn’t and she wasn’t sure where her orders fell on this, especially given Kiama’s specialty and their friendship.

“I can handle slightly spicier food, but this is my preferred heat level,” Kiama replied with a slightly lopsided smile.

Faye inhaled slowly for a moment. “They did stuff, Kiama. They used me as an experiment for which the outcome was never known. All I know is that most of the time I was unconscious or in terrible pain, or so drugged out of mind I can recollect things clearly. So much of those nine months are a blur. There is some damage to my amygdala which makes my emotional stability a tiny bit worse but there were other effects.” And then it dawned on her exactly how Kiama could help. ‘If I can get permission from the captain and other higher ups to bring you into the fold, you actually might be able to help me understand everything better. If you’re interested. But fair warning, if I bring you into the know, it’s complicated, messy and… unpleasant at times.” It wasn’t fair to invite her to know all the details without that caveat.

~Faye Calloway

Reaching across the table, Kiama placed her hand on Faye’s and looked her friend in the eye. “I’d be willing and honoured to help you in every possible. I can handle complicated, messy and unpleasant. And I know my own limits and when to ask for a break if needed.” She gave Faye’s hand a gentle squeeze. “Thank you for your trust. I know that I don’t even know half of what you’ve been through in your life, and that is okay, but I can imagine that it doesn’t come easy. Which makes your trust and our friendship even more precious to me.” Smiling softly, Kiama pulled her hand away and reached for a her glass as she let silence fall between them again. She had an idea how she might be able to help and she was willing to do, no matter how difficult it might be fore herself. She’d just have to prepare and put a few more of her own safety nets in place. Then she should be fine.

~Lt. Naim, CSO


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