STF

COO Quarters - A Home For Wayward Fungi

Posted March 2, 2021, 1:33 p.m. by Lindsay Bayes

Posted by Lieutenant Commander Daggum Hammor (Chief Operations Officer) in COO Quarters - A Home For Wayward Fungi

Posted by Lindsay Bayes in COO Quarters - A Home For Wayward Fungi

Posted by Lieutenant Commander Daggum Hammor (Chief Operations Officer) in COO Quarters - A Home For Wayward Fungi
OOC: This will be cross-posted to the USS Manhattan.

IC:
It had taken almost a week and the vast majority of his spare time… what there was of it… but finally Daggum leaned back and looked at the final draft of the mushroom house and smiled.

Designed to be built three-quarters below the ground in order to maintain temperature and humidity without the need for built-in climate controls, the botanist on the Athena he had talked with had estimated they building could turn out roughly a few dozen pounds of mushrooms in a given month… based on species and such. More, if less ‘exotic’ species were used. The part of the building above ground was designed off of what examples of Tracken architecture Daggum could find; thus it resembled a low stone and plaster house with round ‘windows’ (actually vented air vents since fungus needed darkness) and a bright red door. The roof was the standard low, ceramic shingles he saw in almost every picture.

Inside was where the resemblance ended. The entire enclosed space was set in an inward spiral that looked on the overhead plans like a cross section of a nautilus shell. The large opening at the front was where nutrients and supplies would be stored on a levered and tracked shelving system that would allow for fifty percent more storage in the same space. Each ‘segment’ as one went further in was a separate room, complete with its own ventilation and exhaust… all of which worked by air pressure and movement alone so that no power was needed. In order to exchange air, one simply closed the door to one room and opened the next, mechanical systems built into the door frames and walls opened and closed vents and forced air out and in, and the air was vented and fresh air brought in. This would keep spores from one of the rooms from crossing into another, and would allow Faye and her team to cultivate fungus that required different climates and such.

All of the parts for the beds were wood, and like the storage room shelves the beds were on a tracked shelf system so that one bed could be rotated down to be tended to and the others would stay out of the way. Each room had a total of twenty four beds, twelve per side. He looked at the replicator plans for the parts and saw that the detailed carvings were there. One bed in each room would have such a carving. On one was the Manhattan on one side of a tunnel made of stars and the Athena on the other. In another room, a bed would show two figures seated on either side of a table. In still another an unknown but well-detailed planet being eclipsed by another. The carvings were simple, but they conveyed the meaning. And unless you knew they were there, they were done in such a way as to be almost imperceptible.

Hammor nodded and then opened the comms to send a private message. The file for the message said simply “For you, Faye.” He attached the file and then started recording.

“Hey, Faye… I hope you are doing ok. I… well… I’ve been worried about you. You are on my mind a lot. And I just wanted you to know that I’m thinking about you and wish you the best in whatever you have going on…” and his voice trailed off for a moment and he looked away from the screen for a sec and cleared his throat.

Turning back and smiling he said “SO… I attached the plans for the mushroom house you and I spoke about. I tried to keep the power draw and infrastructure demands to a minimum, but that will mean that you have some basic mechanical labor to do. The beds all rotate on a track system, but that is done by a hand crank. The gear ratios make sit really easy to turn, though. I had two of the kids here try out a mock up and they had no problems. Same goes for the storage shelves. But I figure the extra storage and grow space will make up for having to turn a crank, right?” and he chuckled.

“I… uh… I had to do some research on you for an idea I had. Nothing invasive or anything… I just looked up where you were originally from. I hope that’s ok. If it’s not, you can change the outside to another style. I included some examples so you just have to plug and play, measurements are already handled…” and his voice trailed off for a second and his cheeks darkened as he felt the sense of embarrassment welling up slightly. Looking down at the desk, he said “Oh, and I… uh… I sorta added a few decorations inside for you. I doubt they would mean anything to anyone else, but you will have no problems knowing what they mean. And they should if I got my angles right, not be visible unless you know where to look. So… just something to keep an eye out for while you put the place together.” He then looked up and took a deep breath.

“So yeah… I, uh… I hope you like it and that it suits your needs. OH!” he exclaimed as a sudden something popped in his head. “I sent you something! I mean, other than the plans. I got my hands on some starter cultures for your beds. That will come in with your next resupply. Its a cryo-crate with your name on it. Just some various spores and such to get the beds going. I tried to find a broad assortment to account for most of the home worlds on the Manhattan, and I think I got about sixty percent. Let me know if you want something specific though, and I’ll try to get my hands on it for you.” He paused and nodded to himself slightly. He then looked at the screen and his face grew soft and he leaned forward slightly.

“Look, Faye… I know I am all kinds of hell and gone from you right now, but I just want you to know that you are important to me… ok? And that no matter where you are… I’m always here for you. Just… you know…” and he chuckled as he was about to say something and then caught himself and shook his head. “Just don’t be a stranger, Faye. Hope you are all right.”

“I miss you.” and he turned off the screen and hit ‘send’.

Hammor, Ops

It would be nearly a day later before a reply made its way securely through the wormhole and to the Athena. When it reached Daggum, it was encrypted (he shouldn’t have been too surprised) with a tiny note to do the same with a reply.

When activated, Faye appeared looking serenely happy, wearing a long sleeved top in a pale purple, with her hair pulled back.

=/\=Hey Daggum, I got your message and looked through the design.=/\= For a moment she was just speechless. Shaking her head, she tried to contain her emotions, but there was no way he wouldn’t see how delighted she was… to the point of tears. =/\=It’s incredible! I can’t believe you put so much time and thought into it. Thank you. I’m just so very touched.=/\=

Taking a deep breath, Faye’s eyes brightened even more. =/\=So… long week. Long, difficult week. But before I get into any of that I want to show you something really special that happened last night.=/\= She reached forward and then held up a small Starfleet decoration. Faye shook her head. =/\=The Starfleet Decoration for Valour and Gallantry. They gave me an award!=/\= She laughed. =/\=My usual indication is to say that it’s nonsense or something but… after everything that’s happened, after clawing my way back to some level of health, I deserve this, Daggum. I don’t know if I could have said that even a year ago, but so much has changed, and as a friend rather emphatically pointed out last night I’ve changed. I don’t entirely know the full of it, but I have and I think I like the changes,-/\= she said with a warm smile.

Gazing away for a moment, Faye picked up her mug and sipped before returning her focus to the screen. =/\=He’s alive… my handler. It was messy and he’s got a long recovery ahead of him, but he’s alive. So all of this was worth it. Not just for him though, but also as a way of saying no more. Those people who are interfering will not do so anymore. Not to me, not to this ship.=/\=

Take a moment to breathe deeply, she smiled, but it was much softer and thoughtful. =/\=My mom is staying for awhile, and there are some hard things to deal with. After all this time I’ve wondered about her and her life, if I ever even factored in. And after all this time I learn that we were just ships passing in the night. And it’s sad and a part of it makes me angry, but she’s here and I can get to know her again. She’s so different than I remember, Daggum, and yet, she’ll laugh and tease me back and it feels like nothing has changed.=/\= Her eyes were starting to well with tears. =/\=I’ve wanted this so much! This crew is my family, yes, but all this time I didn’t realize how much I needed her.=/\= Faye exhaled slowly. =/\=After struggling so long and so hard it feels like things are finally working in my favour. And it doesn’t have to break me into a million pieces in order to have a tiny bit of happiness.=/\= She shrugged but then steadied herself. =/\=So, confession. Our chat was wonderful and I loved it. But I was in such a hard and weird place, that I kind of broke down after and there are residual things from it that I will need to deal with. And I think it really did need to happen. So, thank you, I guess, for shining a light on my own loneliness and for being so sweet. I definitely won’t be a stranger. How could I be? Take care, my dear friend, and we’ll talk again soon.=/\=

~Faye Calloway (Data Specialist on the Manhattan)

Hammor let the message play several times over. Hearing her voice just made him smile; although he did frown when she said he had ‘shined a light on her loneliness’. That had never been his intention.

He waited almost a week before replying. He had just received confirmation that the cryo-crate had arrived. Sitting at his desk, he activated the recorder.

=/\= Hey, Faye! =/\= he said excitedly and even waved a giant green hand at her before realizing how stupid he probably looked and abruptly dropping it. =/\= Hope you are doing well. Congratulations, by the way! I am so super proud of you!! I’m going to look up the citation as soon as it’s posted. Really, Faye… I know you deserved that and more. =/\= and he looked at her (well, the camera) with a look of respect and pride in her achievement. =/\= So I just got word that the crate has arrived on the Manhattan. Let me know if everything made it intact. And I forgot to tell you last time. There is a vial mixed in there somewhere that says ‘Last Interior Bed’. =/\= and he looked visibly embarrassed and ran a hand along the back of his bald, green head. =/\= So, uh… that’s kind of a gift. F-… for you. The directions are in an optical disk in the lid. That is only for you to plant, and you’ll want to plant it in its own bed, ok? And in the furthest bed in the house to keep all light away from it. I think… yeah… I think you’ll like it. I saw one like it come through Star Base 1, and it immediately reminded me of you, so… there you go.=/\= and he paused and looked away form the camera and cleared his throat.

=/\= So I am settling in here on the Athena pretty well. Met a few folks, most are pretty open and welcoming. Which is saying something for what all they have been through. If you ever want some heavy reading, take a look at the Athena’s After-Action reports. =/\= and he shook his head. =/\= Hard core stuff. Hope I’m up to the caliber they need in their Ops section. I’d hate to let them down after all they’ve been through and done. =/\= He looked at the camera for a long moment lost in thought, then he simply smiled and really looked into the viewer, his emerald eyes sparkling.

=/\= You’re amazing, Faye. No amount of distance can change my view on that. I’ll talk to you soon, doll. Let me know what you think of your present. =/\= and he winked at her and shut down the message and sent it off.

Daggum

It was nearly a week later when a message came through for Daggum from the Delta Quadrant, but this time it was written:

||Hey Dag,
The mushroom house is being constructed as we speak now that I got to the top of the industrial replicator queue. The crate arrived safely and I’m taking good care of it until it’s time to plant it. Thank you. You have no idea how much any of this means to me. Or maybe you do. You did seem particular insightful during our chats, so I suspect you understand more than you let on.

Right now is… difficult. I’m going through something I’m not even sure I fully have words for. My instinct is not to tell you this part, because the last thing I want to do is hurt your feelings. But recently someone all but accused me of bulldozing through people’s lives without caring about the effect. But it’s not true! I never, ever mean to harm someone unless I’m throwing a punch and want to harm them. It’s so hard to explain but years ago after a particularly dark time in my life I was diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder. For some people that diagnoses would have been devastating, but for me, after all I’ve been through it felt like someone turned on a light. That I had been suffering and miserable for so long that I assumed it was just me. I was a terrible person and deserved it all. Some days, on the hard days, I still think that. But the rest of me knows it’s not true, knows that I just don’t always react the way people think I should, and that in my desperation to keep people close, or keep them away (depending on the day sometimes it’s the same person!) I do and say things I regret. Maybe not immediately, but later for sure.

I have so many regrets that I feel some days that’s all that there is after all these years.

I don’t tell you this to gather pity or even sympathy, I tell you this because I think you see me as I am, even though you don’t know all the broken bits and sad stories. I’ve been recently learning to tell people these stories because I never felt it was okay to. People knew surface details, like my parents had been Maquis, but never what they meant, never what that reality meant. And never how it made me feel.

The thing I haven’t wanted to admit since the day I boarded the Manhattan is that you remind me of someone. Someone I want to forget. Not because they were terrible to me and caused so much pain as others have, but because they were good and kind amidst a terrible situation. A situation they created. And so I am torn. Do I hate him? I don’t know. I should. But I can’t. And I hate myself for that. And if you remind me of him, then what? Like I said, I don’t want this to cause you pain, but that seems to be what I’m doing a lot of these days. So I’m sorry if that admission causes you pain. You are so good. So good to me. And I want to be able to accept all of this from you openly and freely. I’m trying, Dag, I really am. I hope you can believe me that much. I’m not there yet, but I’m trying. I am trying so hard.

I don’t know what I will find exactly when I go into that mushroom house, but somehow I know to expect something amazing. So, in advance, thank you.

I don’t know what you are to me, but you are important. I know that much. So if it’s not too much, if all I’m laying down in front of you isn’t too much, then… keep going. Keep sending me messages. Keep trying to be whatever it is we might be. I don’t know what I can offer, or what I’m ready to accept but I think if we both keep trying we’ll figure it out. Maybe. Or maybe I’m in denial. Haha! Anything is possible these days.

~Faye

That was all it included, just the written words for a lost woman trying to figure out where she was and who she was to all the people around her.

~Faye Calloway, Data Specialist, USS Manhattan


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