Tis the Time of the Season - Crew Christmas Party (open)

Posted Jan. 21, 2021, 3:49 p.m. by Lieutenant Corinne Dalton/SARAH (Ships AI/Avatar) (Lindsay Bayes)

Posted by Ensign Kalani Kāne (Science Officer) in Tis the Time of the Season - Crew Christmas Party (open)

Posted by Lieutenant Commander Jarred Alindor (Chief Engineer) in Tis the Time of the Season - Crew Christmas Party (open)

Posted by Lieutenant Corinne Dalton/SARAH (Ships AI/Avatar) in Tis the Time of the Season - Crew Christmas Party (open)
Posted by… suppressed (11) by the Post Ghost! 👻


“Care to have your fortune read,” the woman spoke to Natasha beckoning for her to take a seat.

“One second. Dante…Dante,” she waved for him to come over with her. It would not be a fortune telling session if he wasn’t there pointing out the flaws in the system but this year like every year, Nat would store every nugget and use it a ammo for all the events of the next year.

Natasha Knight So happy she got a tree.

“You sure you can use thins thing?” Dante grinned. “Remember the time in the Academy we went to one of these things, and the woman reckoned we would have six kids by the time I got my first command? I told you I could smell tequila on her breath.”

-Captain Knight

DaVinci rounded the corner to see Bruce the Lizard sitting in a pile against the bulkhead with a look (as far as he could tell) of annoyance.

Don’t even start. I am having a bad day, Bruce’s tongue flicked out of his mouth passing briefly to wrap around the tip of his nose before slowly being retracted. It was his annoyed stare. Looking at the officer in front of him, Bruce let out the equivalent of a sigh which caused a burbling sound to escape his lips. This DaVinci was a smart man and observant…for a human. The look he was giving Bruce made the lizard feel a kinship as if somehow the man knew what was on his mind.

“You get kicked out of the party already, Bruce? That wasn’t very nice of them. You should get to enjoy Christmas as much as the rest of us.”

DaVinci you are so right and you have no idea how hard it is to be only eighteen inches high. People always complaining I am underfoot but if I am not underfoot how am I supposed to be in middle of everything. How about you doing a guy a solid and punching that button on the control pad so I can get back into that hanger. I have on my list to talk to that Jarred guy about dropping the entrance pads to the doors on the high priority rooms. You know the ones like the mess hall, rec center, saunas, pool, and that sweet little vivarium the hot science chick built. Lemme tell you DaVinci that place is like a lizard heaven. Water…heat lamps…snacks....when that Kalani is not looking of course. Besides she is studying Darwinism so if the Bajoran Swamp frog is no match for me it’s not my fault. Bruce felt better talking to DaVinci even if the man could not literally read his mind. But you are right....I should get to enjoy Christmas as much as the two-legged sugar-coated kids of the rest of the crew.

He knelt down in front of the lizard and pulled something from behind his back. “I know you like to play ball, but this is a different kind of ball. It’s my favorite kind of ball. It’s a football and you can have a lot of fun with it. I always did.”

Wait a minute now. You have a ball you say. You have been holding out on me Colter my friend, Bruce’s eyes got glassy and his tail started a slow wag back and forth indicating a level of happiness. Bruce stared at the oblong leather toy and then back up at Colter. While it had a similar shape to the greatest shape god ever created, the ends poked out in a way that made Bruce wonder about the rollability index of the toy.

Colter looked to the doors of the hangar bay and then back to Bruce. “I was going to give this one to your little brother, but he might be just a bit to little to appreciate it, so . . . . ” The hangar doors swooshed open and he tossed the ball into the middle of the large bay. The ball bounced and floundered in awkward rolls and angles, “If you can get it, it’s your.”

Bruce did not wait nor thank Colter for the gift. He couldn’t remember his manners now. Not when a ball that defied the very laws of Einstien’s Rules of Rollability seemed to exist. You task me. You task me and I shall have you! I’ll chase him ‘round the moons of Nibia and ‘round the Antares Maelstrom of me taking off this sweater later and ‘round perdition’s flames of that Christmas tree that before I give you up! Oh round device o’ the devil you are mine! Bruce monologued as he chased down the rolling an flopping leather ball Colter had tossed into the melee of people. It flopped end over end. It slid across the floor. It rolled around people’s feet and Bruce kept up the chase.

His tongue flapped like a flag in a breeze outside as Bruce entered the deathmatch with the football. It was going to be him or the brown monstrosity. Never had Bruce felt that alive as he pounced on the ball rolling with it pinned to his chest under a table.

Colter (CIO)

Bruce vs the Football.

After ten minutes Bruce flopped to the ground keeping his one good eye on the football as he rested from the workout. Luckily he was not like the lesser creatures of the animal world like humans that sweat and smelled after a workout. If he had been unlucky enough to be a humanoid that perspired his already hideous sweater would be stuck to him like a wet towel. Bruce however was a reptile and far more evolutionary advanced to have to worry about such trivial things. As he let his gaze scan the room it fell back on Sinclair.

So we meet again my rabbit food loving friend. How is that cauliflower, Bruce thought. If one could read his expressions they would see a smug smile gracing his lips.

Sinclair ignored the cacophony of juice starting up around him, but did see the gkare from the lizard and smiled as he made his rounds. “Just you wait, my sclay friend. When you come to your senses you’ll be back, and then…” and he lifted the whole roasted turkey leg from the airtight container and set it on the wood feeding tray Royal had embossed with a burned Celtics knot pattern and “THE BRUCE” along the bottom; along with an inlaid tartan of the Sinclair Modern Hunting pattern.

The room seemed to pause. All noise was sucked into a void as the smug expression slid from Bruce’s face. Sinclair was holding the mother of all delicacies. Meat…glorious meat and not only a piece as was often offered at the dinner table but the entire leg of a turkey. It was then he noticed the tray. BRUCE but not only BRUCE but THE BRUCE. A title of honor and dignity. Bruce had misjudged Sinclair. For the first time in his life, Bruce wished to have the trivial water issues of a human. If he had tears, they would be streaming down his cheeks in pure joy mimicking how his mom looked watching the Galaxytime Movie Network. Sinclair not only was offering him food but had hand engraved a platter just for him. There would be no sharing or stealing of morsels. All that ventured to the table would see that that plate belonged to him. With glassy eyes and a dopey smile Bruce charged towards Sinclair.

My brother. My brother I have wronged you. As he reaching Sinclair, Bruce wrapped his front arms around the large Scottsman’s ankle hugging it tightly. You are one of us. I had only dared hoped but then I realized the carrot that crossed your lips was only to appease one of those veg-a-terrorists that fill out plates with fodder. You had to suffer for the both of us my brother and for that, Bruce looked up, I bow to your sacrifice. Laying his head down slowly on the large man’s foot, Bruce genuflected to his brother in food battle. Not only had he secured Bruce the tastiest morsel, he also wadded through the war of green and orange to protect those around them from the foul leaf sprouting spawns of Satan.

Finishing up the Egg Nog, he poured the almost three gallons of drunken caraousing- inducing festival libation into a crystal bowl and began laying out cups and a ladle.

Sinclair, CoS

Dad....Dahhhh…duh, Ralph’s legs kicked out a bit as his hands carefully pawed at the death grip around his neck from the crook of Lizzie’s arm. He loved when Lizzie snatched him up and took him places. They always got there faster and often had far more excitement than his sister Maxine did hanging with his mom or Jarred. Still, there were times like this when a nice palm under his butt helped his respiration.

God can you stop embarrassing us. You always have to cause a scene and this is the first time we are coming as a family to something official. Stop making that sound, Maxine chastised her Fennec Fox brother. She fluttered her wings a bit making sure to keep her head straight. Lizzie had placed a bow on her head that matched the one the little girl was wearing. Luckily Jar…her new father had come in and found a way better than a rubber band or staples. It was secure with a twisty tie but still, she didn’t want it to fall. That was why she opted for Jarred to bring her to the party.

Hey I am not embarrassing us. Dad tell Maxine to stop saying mean things to me, Ralph barked back finally getting higher on Lizzie’s arm to that he could vocalize.

Dad tell Ralph to stop screaming like he got his tail caught in the door again. It’s embarrassing, Maxine let out a softer but still firm few squawks next to Jarred’s ear.

“Oh my god Daddy they did bring Bruce,” Lizzie squealed darting off with a bobbing Ralph in her arms. “Bruce…Bruce....Hiya Bruce,” Lizzie yelled and waved weaving between the people as if seeing someone she had not seen in forever.

Jarred and Kalani came as Elizabeth lead the charge holding tightly Ralph in her hands as she stopped to see bruce, the joy in her eyes as she meets the Captains “son” was clear as Jarred stopped Kalani a bit as he looked on his pocket which held Maxine the fruit bat whom Jarred had grown a fondness to as he took out a piece of fruit and let her eat it as he looked at Kalani. “You sure Bruce won’t try to eat them?” he asked with a worried sound to his voice. He wasn’t surely bringing the animals was wise, even if Natasha had requested it.

Alindor, CE

Hannah watched Dr Knight and the captain with a grin on her face. Hannah was a hopeless romantic, though she tried to keep that to herself, so the scene unfolding before them all made her extremely happy for them, but she felt like it deserved privacy. She turned away, deftly side stepping around a wobbling football, without thinking about it, and walked over to the table with the eggnog. She poured just a bit into a glass, smelling the not subtle at all smell of whisky. She sipped it, grinned happily and added more to make a full glass. Then she stepped slightly away from the table to let the next person have room while she scanned the crowd for anyone she knew.
Lt. jg Asimina, Doctor

OCC: Fixing a split.

Bruce finally raised his head after a very long and perfectly timed bow of reverence to Sinclair. Seeing Hannah next to him, he decided to try and help free her too from the evil ways of the veg-a-terrorists loaming in every corner. Hello Hannah I think we should talk about how yahhhhhhh, Bruce never got to finish his sentence before Lizzie slide into his side with all the precision of a professional baseball player scoring the winning run.

Hannah had just about reached down to give Bruce more attention when he was grabbed by a very enthusiastic young girl. Hannah chuckled, took her eggnog and moved out of the way of the building jumble of child and animals.

“Bruce Merry Christmas,” Lizzie hoisted the lizard up into the other crook of her arm on the floor so that she had Bruce in one arm and Ralph in the other. The two animals noses were mere inches apart as Lizzie began to kiss Bruce on the head.

Bruce, Ralph greeted his reptile friend. He was a bit cross-eyed as Bruce was too close to really focus on his friend’s face clearly.

Ralph, Bruce replied back closing one eye as he received a kiss.

“You sure Bruce won’t try to eat them?” Jarred asked with a worried sound to his voice. He wasn’t surely bringing the animals was wise, even if Natasha had requested it.

“Monitor lizards are carnivorous, eating eggs, smaller reptiles, fish, birds, insects, and small mammals but I don’t think it is a problem. He tends to only eat the things in my vivarium and not his friends,” Kalani waved off Jarred’s concern as they walked toward Hannah and Sinclair. Most parents might be hesitant to have their children rolling around with a lizard that weighed and was as tall as their child yet Bruce was not exactly a wild lizard. “Besides he is wearing a sweater and plays with a ball. The worst that can happen is you have to wrench open Bruce’s mouth and drag Ralph out.”

“Merry Christmas,” Kalani hugged Hannah when she reached the table.

Hannah looked a little surprised, “Oh, Merry Christmas.” She laughed a little, happy and a little embarrassed. She had no idea who this woman was, but she smiled genuinely anyway. She back up out of the way for the woman and the man with the Scottish brogue.

Moving to her right, she did the same to Sinclair but had to rise onto her toes. “Merry Christmas. Got a wee nip for a thirsty lass,” she teased him.

Kalani Kane

Sinclair grinned and said “Oh aye… you can be the first to taste.” He half-filled a glass cup with frothy and aromatic yellow-bronzish liquid. “Egg Nog… in the traditional style, of course.” the big Scot said, his brogue sending the words out in a baritone tone roll of old-world charm. “And be careful, lass… if I did it right, it’ll pack a kick.” and he winked and chuckled.

Sinclair, CoS

“Oh my god I love this stuff,” Kalani happily took the glass. “Most people don’t know it but it gets cold up in the mountains at night and pretty much anywhere in winter. Not hat and scarf cold but most of our homes don’t have heat. We rarely need it so we tend to have fireplaces to take the chill off. When we were home for the holidays my dad would make a fire and,” Kalani happily shared her story as she took a large swig of the cold creamy beverage. Abruptly she reached her hand out grabbing Jarred’s forearm. “Jesus Mary and Joseph is there any egg in this or just nog.” Kalani’s mouth puckered as she blinked rapidly.

“It’s guhd,” she coughed out a response. “Not expecting it but it’s good. Just need to sip…it..a bit. Not chug…sip.” Kalani could not help but laugh at how ridiculous she must have looked. The egg nog was exquisite but the large Scottsman did not skimp on the booze. “Is there…a hint of…peach,” she asked feeling a warm sensation already spreading through her body as if she had done half a dozen shots in a row. She would definitely have to pace herself of Jarred would be peeling her off the floor.

Kalani Kane

“Well, it isn’t a Christmas party if someone doesn’t get sloshed while drinking the punch and end up mounting the inflatable reindeer carrying mistletoe over their head as they try and get people to give them a good sleigh tonight…” Jarred said with a sly smirk as he took a drink as he had a slight kick and smile “Woooo… that just might be me tonight now that I had a nip of this, need you to go find me some mistletoe Lani and I’ll hunt down a reindeer.” he said with a smirk as he went back for another sip as he felt the warmness flood slowly over him.

“I wonder if we can do karaoke… we can find out how well everyone can hold a tune… or how fast we can clear a room with the sounds of screeching Talarian mating calls.” Jarred said with a bemused look, he was having a good time as this was the first party with Kalani and Jarred as a married couple. It felt good to just be out and enjoy the friends they had grown to call family.

Alindor, CE

Hannah chuckled and looked at Sinclair. “I promise not to attempt any karaoke, but I’ll take a glass.” Hannah couldn’t sing, she loved music and could listen all day, but sing was not something she’d ever been able to get her voice to do. But she was all for watching everyone else attempt it.
Lt. jg Asimina, Doctor

“Drink more than two of these and we might start the can can with the karaoke,” Kalani filled up her glass again. “So Hannah how are things in medical. Nat tells me you guys had your hands full with that Kevin McBalister kid that shoved not one but two marbles up his nose. Why do boys always seem to want to shove things in holes?” Kalani rose up on her toes looking for Elizabeth. It was not like she could get lost on a starship but losing sight of a five year old was never a good thing.

Kalani Kane science

DaVinci had been strolling past on his way to the bar when he overheard Kalani’s last comment. “I think it has something to do with our libido,” he interjected before disappearing like a wisp of smoke.

Colter (CIO)

Kalani looked around busting out in a full laugh at who added to the conversation but did not stay. With the swirling masses it was hard to keep track of anyone that was not immediately in front of you

“I love medical. It’s refreshing to be in a new sickbay.” Hannah’s voice might be mistaken, with it’s strange accent, for being slurred from the eggnog, but it was just her normal voice. “Oh, well it seems to be typical of children to get into things they shouldn’t.” Hannah wouldn’t comment. Anything having to do with a patient fell under the Federations HIPPA laws. Hannah would not violate a pateint’s privacy no matter how hilarious the incident might have been. She saw the woman looking around and had seen her enter with the small girl who had tackled Bruce. “If you’re looking for your little girl, I saw her over there near the food table with Bruce a few minutes ago.”

“Doesn’t surprise me,” Kalani relaxed a bit. Jarred always seemed far more laid back in these situations with Lizzie than she was. It was probably because she was still adjusting to being a mom. “She keeps begging us to get a lizard like Bruce but I keep reminding her that Bruce is a one of a kind lizard. I am not sure what Dante and Kelly did to make him like a dog but I have a helluva good time studying him.”

“If you want to study giant reptiles and mammals, you should visit Catawba colony some time. We have amazing study blinds there that you can watch the prehistoric wildlife. They are really beyond stunning. Much more intelligent than paleontological studies previously indicated. Of course the lizards on Catawba make Bruce look like a baby,” Hannah commented.

“Sounds like an amazing place for a working vacation,” Kalani could not help but struggle to contain her interest. After the Vespa trip, she promised no more working shore leaves but it wasn’t like Catawba was as desolite as Vespa.

Hannah grinned, “Not really. If you go to work, you work, you don’t have access to much other than the research blind. But if you want to vacation there is an amazing nature preserve as well. There is a couple of cabins but mostly places to pitch a tent.”

“Dude who can not have a fun weekender in a research blind,” Kalani looked at the woman as if she was crazy. “I mean Jarred and I had an amazing first weekender on Vespa. We lost all our supplies, most of our clothes and found a semi-sentient species that we did not expect. We also came back with this vine,” Kalani rose up on her tiptoes looking for either Dante or Teller to be within earshot. Not seeing them she dropped her voice just to be safe. “This thing can grow from three inches to six inches with barely any stimulation. Only one thing seems to halt its growth. Oddly enough I found out when I spit on it suddenly,”

“Hon… not sure anyone wants to know about… vine length.” Jarred said as he patted her arm softly. He felt warm in the matching family sweaters he and Kalani wore. What was worse was how she had put their daughter, Ralph, and Maxine in the same style. The fact that the animals hadn’t revolted and tore them off instantly was a testament to how she handled them and their love for her. Only a pet that truly loved you would tolerate Christmas sweaters. “

Is this thing argala?” he asked as he was tugging at the sweater more before venting the collar some. The sweater was garish, dressed like a present with a boy that had a to/from tag that read TO: Jarred From: Santa (Lani)

“Anyway, I think Catawba sounds amazing. We need to check it out babe,” Kalani tapped Jarred’s arm absently. She had no idea why Jarred cut her off from the story but maybe he noticed Dante or Graham’s approach. The vine was still a semi-secret side project. There was not enough space on the Saracen to do a proper test but her friend Lexi Robbins was on a mythology ship with an arboretum. Once Lexi ran a few tests, Kalani would share the results of the vine and its applications with the science team.

Hannah was fiercely protective of her home and the work they did there. The idea that this woman was going to use the research blind for a ‘weekender’ made her gut churn. “If you are looking for a weekender, I suggest the nature preserve. There are natural hot springs too.” And what was that about a super growing plant?

“I think weekender is a bit much from what happened. We studied a planet before being attacked by the native tribesman, chassed by spiders, and taught them how to dance to Earth Wind and Fire… wasn’t really planned to be in that order either. I would love to research that planet more but it’s now warded off and protected by Federation law to protect those natives.” Jarred said, who couldn’t help but miss the people. They were odd and primitive but they seemed fun despite the language barriers.

“Earth Wind and Fire? I haven’t listened to them much. Did the natives seem to enjoy it? I think music is universal, no matter who you are.” Hannah really loved music. Like she’d told Cori, she loved to feel it, even when she couldn’t hear it.

“I’ll never forget Harry… I still owe him a life debt… wonder how long they live?” he said as he took a sip from his cup.

“A life debt? That sounds serious.” Hannah wondered what exactly happened, but it probably wasn’t her business.

“So are you liking the ship,” she asked Hannah

Kalani Kane

Hannah nodded, “I am. This transfer has been much more than I imagined it would be. I’m really happy that I took the transfer when it was offered. How long have you been on board?”
Hannah Asimina

“Almost two years,” Kalani replied. “Before that, I was on the USS Darwin. There was an incident with poachers on an away mission. I only survived from dumb luck. When the poachers open fired on the base camp they hit me in the hip and I fell back into the tent. Hit my head off a crate and knocked myself out cold. They saw the blood and me not moving so they took what they needed and moved on.” A small pawing at her leg forced Kalani to bend down and pick up Ralph. “That is where I met this guy.” Scratching behind his ears Ralph flattened them out and wore what could only be described as a sheepish grin. “He was in the crate I took out with my forehead. He was barely two weeks old. They took his momma so I became his momma didn’t I.” Kalani’s voice took on a high pitch that was so often associated with talking to a small child or baby.

“Aww he’s sweet. What’s it like having a pet on board. I always wanted one, but it seems so unfair to confine them to quarters all the time.” When Hannah was a child there had been talk of getting her dog to help her because she was deaf, but it never happened. “May I?” She held out her hand, a couple feet away so as not to startle the fox. But she would love to pet him, but she respected that it was Kalani and her fox who got to decide that. “What’s his name?”

“Ralph,” Kalani held him up by the arm pits like a sack of potatoes toward Hannah. “You can hold him if you want. I would say do it now when he is sleeping because he is a handful when he is awake.

Ralph blinked several times trying to focus on what his mom was showing him.

Oh hi, he flattened his ears and pulled back the sides of his mouth. The effect was that his expression was one of contentment and happy. I love when you get me right behind the ears, he yawned as he spoke. The woman before him had a nice smile and soft voice. Ralph liked her instantly.

Hannah didn’t take him but she did mummer in soft airy whispers and scratch him behind the ears. Animals tended to love her and she adored them.

“He and Maxine go everywhere with me. Her story is not as colorful as Ralph’s but the end result is the same. I tried numerous times to refamiliarize them with their own kind in the hope of getting them back to the wild yet no luck.” As Kalani talked she let Ralph settle into her arms for a quick nap.

Like I am ever going anywhere they don’t serve pizza Ralph thought to himself as he let out a long yawn. Keeping up with Lizzie was a full-time job. Since she was off playing with some other kids, now was the time to get a quick nap before something more interesting happened.

“He looks very happy and content to be with you, so I would say it all worked out the way it should.”

“Is this the first time you have been away from your family for the holidays?” Kalani had no idea if the woman even celebrated Christmas but since she had shown up it was a good chance she participated in the festivities of the season on some level. “Even if you don’t say you do to get some of Nat’s vodka. She gives it out as Christmas gifts from her and the captain. I don’t know how she does it but try to get the yellow-colored one. It is infused with cinnamon and pears.”

Kalani Kane

Hannah shook her head, “We don’t celebrate anything like this on Catawba. It’s more respect for the cycle of the day and seasons than anything carried over from Earth. The first time I ever participated in anything like this was when I got to the Academy, but it was more out of curiosity than anything. But this will actually be the first time in 5 years that I’ve celebrated with friends.” And maybe family, she thought to herself. Daniel had said he was never going to let her be away from him, like that, again, and she believed him. But they hadn’t really talked about what they were, now, or how much they wanted the crew to know. He was part of the command staff and she didn’t know how much he wanted to crew to know about his personal life. But either way she was happy to be here with him. More than happy, everything was perfect now.
Lt jg Asimina, doctor

“This is the first time I have been away from my family for the holidays but we did just spend our honeymoon in Hawaii and have leave scheduled over Easter to go back. being without family is hard,” Kalani said softly. “I am an only child so I feel like I am abandoning my mom but my dad said not to worry. The holiday is only one day and he would make it work that we could still be a family even if we were light years apart and I had a family of my own.”

“I was an only child too. I’ll call my parents soon. I haven’t called them since before my transfer. I’m sure they will be happy to hear from me, but they stay busy. I don’t think they will ever slow down.”

“So are you single or waiting for someone,” Kalani asked seeing Hannah looking around the room.

Kalani Kane

Hannah smiled, but didn’t laugh, it made her self conscious. “No I’m not single.” Before it was always hard to answer that question because others just didn’t understand how she could stay in a relationship with a man that she wasn’t even sure he was alive. But that was all different now, Daniel was alive and he was here, they were both here and it seemed that, for the moment, life was the way it should be. “More just looking. I’ve only met a couple of people outside of sickbay, and it’s nice to get to see the whole crew.” Hannah didn’t observe a room based on conversation and ambient sound but by body language, the physical feel of a room, and the pattern of movement. “And the one person I might want to find, I won’t see until he wants me to.” It was cryptic and made her smile. And then she spotted Cori.

“Well surprised you two hadn’t met yet. My god Kalani practically lives there during her breaks with Natasha… you must have really gone out of your way to never spot her during shifts, or do you do nights?” Jarred asked, he knew how much Kalani spent between her office and sickbay, or as he liked to go it her second office. If she wasn’t there she was in the terrarium he was building cross deck for studying purposes.

Hannah took a breath, he didn’t mean that like it sounded, surely. He wasn’t implying she was unobservant because she was deaf and had implants. ‘Don’t jump to conclusions, Han. You’ve not been on board long enough to really meet anyone.’ She smiled genuinely, “Of course I’ve seen her, I see a lot of people in sickbay, I’ve just never actually met either of you. I haven’t been on board that long, and yes I work Beta shift.” She explained, making sure to clearly enunciate her words around her strange accent. She’d seen Kalani talking to Dr. Knight several times on her way into sickbay for her shift, but she’d never had a chance to be introduced. It really didn’t bother Hannah, she was there to work and making friends, so to speak, was hard when you were trying to get pertinent medical information out of a sick or injured person. It wasn’t exactly a conducive setting.

“Well I think I have been on this ship longer than most, if you ever need any guidance or help I would be more than happy to help.” Jarred said warmly. He didn’t often get out to meet people, but since his marriage to Kalani he couldn’t help but be dragged out more and more. Social events were not something Jarred did much of.

Hannah looked around to see if she saw anyone else she might know. She didn’t know many of the crew, and normally large gatherings didn’t bother her, but she was eager to get away from these people who might try to coerce her into singing and she absolutely did not want to do that. She saw Cori and excused herself. “If you’ll excuse me I see a friend and I should go say hi.”

Jarred looked at saw she was looking at Cori as he smiled. “Oh, Cori? We need to go see her too. I’ll be around her in a bit I do think I should check to make sure Elizabeth hasn’t destroyed anything” Jarred said as he looked around wondering where their daughter was.

She wasn’t sure what the clothing protocol was like for such an event but the beauty of her existence is that she could dress however she liked and change it on a whim if she cared to. So it was with a confident swing of her hips that Cori stepped into the party wearing a long black velvet gown with a generous V-cut neck and back. It hugged her torso and hips before flaring out slightly, the dense fabric waving slightly as she moved. Her raven hair was long and straight and she surveyed the scene with her electric blue eyes.

And it wasn’t that her confidence dissipated exactly as Cori found herself in a social situation she hadn’t been for an exceptionally long time. When was the last time she had been around so many of the crew? Certainly not anytime recently, and not since she had ‘returned’ from the ether, escaping from her prison the Douwd had crafted within the Saracen’s computer. But she decided that regardless of who was here and how they might or might now perceive her, she was going to treat this like a little game. She could play a role, like an actress and see if anything felt okay. And if it became too much, she would simply slip away and she doubted anyone would be the wiser.

Moving through the space, Dalton was slightly nonchalant, though she was keenly aware that there was the potential for awkwardness with a certain element present, but this wasn’t the time or place. At least she didn’t think so.

~Corinne Dalton

Hannah walked up and smiled, “Cori, I’m glad you’re here!” Cori’s body language looked a little…apprehensive. She didn’t want to make the woman more nervous, but what were friends for other than to help add a buffer to odd and awkward situations. Of course the one person she was hoping to see she hadn’t spotted yet. “What do you think? The captain certainly planned a grand affair didn’t he?”
Lt jg Asimina, Doctor

At the sight of Hannah Cori gave a genuine smile. “That he did. This looks great. Not that I ever celebrated this particular holiday but the nice thing about essentially being the computer is that it takes no time to look things up,” she said with a gleam in her already electric blue eyes.

~Corinne Dalton

“I never celebrated it either back home. The first time I heard of it was at the Academy. But the first time I actually celebrated it was,” she smiles, her gaze far away in the memory, “5 and half years ago.” She sips at the eggnog, “Okay so I don’t know the guy who made this, but too much more and the whole crew will be so intoxicated we could be boarded and no one would know for 3 days.” She grins though, “It’s really good. Nice to know someone can make a decent drink. Did you bring an ornament for the tree?”
Lt. jg Asimina, Doctor

“Ornament?” Cori said, her face screwed up in confusion. “Oh! Yes, I did,” she said, reaching into discreet pockets in her velvet gown. She puled out a ceramic pair of ballet slippers hung on a white satin ribbon.

“Cori that’s beautiful, and so you. We should go put it on the tree.” But before she could wander off, they were joined by DaVinci, and then by Kalani and her family.
Lt jg Asimina, Doctor

DaVinci slid up behind Hannah in silence and wrapped his arms around her. Leaning over her should, he gave her a kiss on the cheek and said, Merry Christmas, sweetheart. I didn’t see you come in and had to run back to my quarters for something.”

Most people would tense up at the way Daniel snuck up on you. Hannah found it soothing. He slipped into the world of silence, where she was most comfortable, so easily. She could hear but she always felt a little like a stranger on vacation with the world of sound. So when he moved so silently rather than being startling, he was meeting her half way, where she felt most comfortable. Despite that though, she knew, the moment his hands touched her, it was Daniel. He never wanted to startle her; His finger brushed lightly across the small of her back before his hands smoothed around her waist and his arms settled securely, steal bands, around her. No one did that, only Daniel. So she knew it was him and leaned back against him, relaxed and happy. She turned in his arms giving him a quick kiss in return. “Merry Christmas, Crixus,” she whispered to him. And then signed, the pulse of my heart.

She grinned, “You only missed me because I got here before you. You should have come in when you tossed that foot ball for Bruce. He looked like a mythological dragon hording his gold when he finally caught the thing.”

He truned his attention to Cori. “Good evening, Lt. Merry Christmas to you too.”

Colter (CIO)

“Commander,” Dalton said with a tilted bow of her head.

He’d had to go back for something? Hannah wanted to go digging in his pockets for it, excited, but she refrained, but the Daniel could tell she was curious and excited. There was a gift from her to him under the tree. She’d had it for three years now, and it had taken a lot of digging to get it. She’d gotten it for herself, but really he should have it. She wrapped her arms around him and whispered, “I got you back, that’s all I care about.”
Lt. jg Asimina, Doctor

Finding the way back over Jarred held Elizabeth in his arms as Kalani and he came over as he nodded politely at Cori and the rest. “You always did have a way with the color black.” Jarred said with a large smile at Cori. Their relationship wasn’t perfect, but he had hoped to find a balance with her and be friends like they once were, or at least not feel awkward if they were around each other.

Alindor, CE

Cori couldn’t help but give a lopsided smirk. “What can I say, I go with what works,” she said to Jarred before giving a smile and nod at Kalani. Okay, yes this was still awkward, but less so than she was expecting. Then again, in actress-mode, you could make anything work.

~Corinne Dalton

Lizzie wiggled in Jarred’s arms not trying to get down but clearly bored just standing around staring at a group of adults. The more she wiggled would cause her dad to one of two things: set her free or take her somewhere else. Looking around the room she spied all the kids darting in and out of the small buildings in the Santa village that was set up. That was where she wanted to be. She just needed to find a way to get back there. Why she even came out of the gingerbread house when Jarred asked her to now seemed like the dumbest move in the world. The houses were built small so all the adults had to yell through a window or door to get the kid. Once he set her down she would not make the same mistake again.

“Merry Christmas Cori....Daniel,” Kalani said with a smile as she looked at Cori and then DaVinci extending a greeting.

“You look stunning,” she complimented the woman. She and Cori worked on and off together from time to time on projects being in the scientific division but so far it was more of a co-worker friendship than let’s go drinking and I will be your wingman relationship.

Cori flared her hands out slightly and dipped in a tiny curtsey. “Thank you. The gown is such a hit I might just keep it the next time I appear on the bridge. I think it might end up being more popular than the white grecian one I sported for awhile,” she said with a wicked smile.

“I debated about dressing up but I was outvoted.” Motioning to Jarred, Lizzie, and then herself, Kalani could not help but laugh at their outfits. Everyone in the Alindor household was wearing a derivation of a Christmas present as a sweater. “Lizzie liked the matching sweaters and getting Jarred into a tie is a herculean feat but that is the way with most men. I think the last time I suggested you wear a time you called it the ‘noose’,” Kalani looked at Jarred with a smile and a shaking of her head indicating she had accepted her defeat.

“I never said they were a noose!” Jarred said as he looked over at Kalani with his eyebrow arched up.

“You wore a clip on to our wedding,” she laughed looking at him with a smile.

“Well that’s cause who has time to keep that thing one when I knew in 3 hours it would be honeymoon time, ain’t nobody got time to figure out how to undo that noose.” Jarred with a smirk as he nudged Kalani playfully in her side.

Kalani Kane

“I… was going to comment on the sweaters,” Cori said with a chuckle. “I feel like I’m missing something. Some sort of tradition?” The holographic woman wisely kept Jarred’s previous dressing up adventures to herself. Besides, she somehow didn’t think Jarred took Kalani to the ballet and it had been their special thing. She was allowed to keep it that way.

~Corinne Dalton (who wants to snip the thread more but is really not sure how/where to)

“This munchkin here…” Jarred said trying to wrangle Elizabeth he still wasn’t happy as she saw Bruce and Ralph chasing Maxine who seemed to have run away with the last piece of pepperoni rolls. “She wanted something special our first Christmas altogether and this…” he said as he gestured at his shirt as he did an almost curtsey, “Was what she wanted,” he said as he got Elizabeth to stop as he began to tickle her some.

“Peanut, this here is Cori I wanted you to meet her. She is an old friend of daddies, she even knew your mother.” Jarred said as the little girl paused for a second as she looked at Cori with a wide-eyed look.

Oh no, he didn’t, did he? Of course he did. Because Jarred wasn’t thinking about anything but his family. It wasn’t being introduced to the little girl at all either, but how dare he bring up Lilly under these circumstances! Inwardly shaking it off, Cori gave Elizabeth a smile that was only a tiny bit forced.

Lizzie suddenly felt nervous. She was a very observant kid namely because of her past. The woman her daddy introduced her to did not seem happy and joking like all the other adults at the party. Her smile seemed like a smile someone gave when you had to instead of chosing to. Her Pa Pa called it the grin and bear it smile. Lizzie had seen it a lot in her short life and was able to imitate when she had to. Things were not smooth as it had been for so many other kids. It was only recently she was able to come live with her daddy and not only see him on a screen or every few months for a visit. Her life was finally like the other kids with a mommy and daddy in the same house. She didn’t have to make up excuses of why she was living with her Nana and PaPa or defend from other mean kids that her parents loved her.

Lizzie also didn’t like that Jarred mentioned Lily. Now that she had Kalani she had a mommy. Looking at the woman, Lizzie pretended she was Esmeralda from her favorite Disney movie. Esmeralda was strong and brave and wasn’t scared to tell anyone what she thought but these were adults she was talking to not other kids. Lizzie leaned in a little more towards Jarred’s chest for comfort as she talked. She hoped her daddy wouldn’t get mad at her. “Lily is not my mommy. She left me and never came back. I don’t want to talk about her. Kalani is my mommy.” Turning to look at Jarred, Lizzie suddenly felt like crying. Why did her daddy mention Lily and is that why the woman in the black dress seemed upset too. “Don’t call her mommy okay?” Her eyes were large and Lizzie blinked furiously. She couldn’t cry or could she? Right now Lizzie didn’t know what to do as she looked at Jarred.

Jarred looked at Lizzie as he felt his heart sink. He knew he has messed up, he just wanted to try and bring things back to normal but in his circles but it didn’t seem to be working. It was becoming harder and harder to please everyone, and perhaps he didn’t need to try so hard.

It was then she remembered her manners.

“Hi…” she said shyly before she moved into Kalani’s arm as she rested her head in the crook of Kalani’s neck.

“Sorry, she is a bit shy around taller people she doesn’t know. The animals she loves though, she could chase them all day.” Jarred said as he looked over Kalani and Elizabeth with a soft smile. He felt a warmth at that moment from there, it was a feeling of home.

Alindor, CE

Lizzie didn’t want to play anymore or talk to the adults. She didn’t like anything to do with Lily because Lily made everyone sad. She sat very still on Kalani’s arm letting the woman rock her.

“Shyness is allowed,” Cori said with a wink in Elizabeth’s direction. “But if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go hang my ornament,” she said, the ceramic ballet slippers held loosely in her holographic hand.

Slipping away, Dalton was a swish of black velvet as she sought space from a situation that would only ultimately end badly. At least the tree gave her a good excuse. her back to the group, she let her expression fall.

~Corinne Dalton

Hannah had no idea what the story was, but body language told it all. She turned to Daniel, “I know you brought an ornament. Come on, let’s go hang it. And you can look for mine,” she grinned and tugged on his hand. She followed after Cori, something was wrong and Cori was her friend, and she knew she didn’t like large groups. She’d promised she wouldn’t leave Cori to face the masses alone. Approaching Cori from the side, she tapped her shoulder letting the other woman know she was there, but didn’t say anything while she hung her ornament. She turned back to Daniel, waiting to see what he had brought, hers, an image of a behemoth from home, hanging about half way up.

“Anyone for more eggnog,” Kalani said not sure how to react to the situation. Cori was acting like she has to walk on eggshells around Jarred, and at times Kalani, because of some unrequited love she still held for Jarred. The truth was she had been gone for two years before she was able to come back. While Jarred had moved on he did try and help her reintegrate back into her life. The story was as classic as any Galaxywood film. Cori wanted life to be like it was but for Jarred that life had died and he found a new one. Jarred could not change the fact that he had changed, but he didn’t deserve to be stuck apologizing for a life that had passed. Cori didn’t deserve to be in the situation she was in but this was the way it was. Kalani hoped that Cori would eventually come to terms with Jarred moving on. She had to though because there was nothing else to do but pine away like a ghost for a life that was never going to be hers.

Kalani Kane

“Give me a moment…” Jarred said with a deep sigh as he kissed Kalani on the cheek as he left her side to go follow Cori by the tree as he stood next to her as he took a deep breath.

The look said this was going to be a private conversation so she moved away grabbing a box from under the tree and rejoining Daniel, she handed it to him
Lt jg Asimina, Doctor

“I’m sorry… I have been trying for sometime to find a way to mend these worlds…” Jarred said as he looked over at Cori as she put up the ornament as he mulled over just what to say.

Cori glanced at him with a slightly confused look.

“When you died… I had to move on though, I had to learn to finally get sober… how to function and find a way to live without you… and then you were back.” Jarred said as he reached out and looked at the ballet slippers as he smiled softly.

“I know,” she said softly, letting him hang the ornament for her. He didn’t yet understand that that little ornament was representative for a whole lot of things going on in her world right now.

“I had to become a different person, one for my daughter and one for myself. I did that without you… but you are here now and I don’t want you to feel awkward around me or my family… but I don’t know what you want either. I can’t go back and change my mistakes, but I like who I am now and I proud of what I became… it took death and failed marriages and lots of heartache and whiskey to find I am better now than I was then… but that doesn’t mean I can’t be there to help you when you need it, it just means I am not the man you fell in love with. I hope you can get to know the new me though, cause he still remembers the fact that you were there during a tough time in my life… and he never wants to belittle what that meant to him… me” Jarred said with an awkward feeling but one he hopped would be a good start to a new beginning.

She was about to say thing but he kept going.

“If you want to talk more, I will have my office always open..: but I did promise to finish frosty… and Lizzie is mean if she doesn’t get her way” Jarred said as he began to make his way back to Kalani, unsure of what might happen next but good that he said what was on his heart.

Alindor, CE

Cori stood there mouth slightly agape as he walked off and didn’t even give her a chance to speak. He just dropped a speech on her and walked away. If ever there was a sign that the two of them were vastly different people now, there it was right there. With a shake of her head, she turned away and looked at the tree, wondering if coming tonight had been a terrible idea.

Jarred took a deep breath, he could almost feel a burning sensation in the back of his head as he turned around to face Cori once more. “Also…seriously, always open… you don’t need to ever schedule when you need my help or want to talk… you do have an open-door policy,” he said with a smile as he took a deep breath, he said what was said cause he needed to get past anything that still was fractured there. He was married raising a young girl but his past brought him to the point he was in now, and he loved his family and who he was.

His eyes searched his face for a moment and then Cori gave a small nod. “Alright.”

Nodding Jarred began making his way back, he knew Kalani would be wanting things to get better. He had talked about how it felt like there was no room to move forward but in the end, they both had. Time had made sure things changed.

“Open up. Bigger…bigger....biiiiiiigggger,” Kalani teased Lizzie as she fed her a huge meatball. Lizzie leaned back with her mouth open testing Kalani to see how far her mom would reach to give her the meatball. The moment was insignificant and routine for anyone with a family but when it was your family, it was the type of moment where you knew the world was right.

As he saw Kalani feeding Lizzie meatballs then tossing one at Bruce he couldn’t help but smile. His life felt good and he had friends too. “Save those for me!” Jarred said shouting as he came running over to get some meatballs.

Alindor, CE

Lizzie sat up hearing Jarred’s voice. Spinning around she waved frantically like there was no way he could ever see them in the mass of people.

“What do you say? Do we give Daddy the meatball or make him get his own.” Kalani held up the small brown circular chunk of meat waiting to see who was going to eat.

Me....Mom…Meeeeee, Ralph jumped up and down like a pogo stick desperately trying to grab the morsel even though he was no where close to it.

No way. Mom is not going to give you that and have you farting all night. It’s Christmas Eve and not Sundays when you and dad watch those games and he feeds you sausage Maxine fluttered her wings as if to blow away a cloud of imaginary noxious air.

Mom, Maxine is embarrassing me, Ralph began to bark at her feet at the small flying bat near the back of the chair.

Lizzie looked at Jarred and immediately chomped down the meatball off the fork with a huge grin on her face. A dollop of sauce cling to her lips giving them a rosy glow.

“So things are copasetic,” Kalani asked tilting her head up for a kiss.

“Good! Let’s wrap things up here and get these guys off to bed so Mrs. Claus can get to work helping Mr. Clause get all relaxed and ready before a hard nights work.” Kalani gestured for him to take Lizzie off her lap.

Kalani Kane

OOC: I edited my previous reply a bit.
~Corinne Dalton

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