Shoreleave/ Headed into the unknown
<<New Orleans; Nash Family home>>
*Ria packed slowly. She dreaded this, dreaded taking Tom to see a wife in
jail, dreaded leaving behind a man she had come to love deeply*
Nate: *stepping in quietly, watching her for a moment before clearing his
throat softly* Need any help, petite?
Ria: *Swallowing the lump in her throat and turning to him slowly* No, thank
yo.... *With a soft cry she was in his arms, weeping softly*
Nate: *holding her tight* Hey nah... don' crah. *kissing away her tears
tenderly* Y' know Ah'm gonna come visit.
Ria: *Holding him tightly* =I know... but going back there alone... to bury
some of those that worked with me.= *She shivered and struggled to stop
Nate: *taking a deep breath* Ah know, cherie. Ah'm sorry Ah can't go with y'
rahght nah. Y' know Ah would if Ah could. Can't stand seein' y' crah.
Ria: *Wiping her eyes* =I could claim you were my assistant.= *She gave him
a trembling smile*
Nate: Yeah, but dat won' take care o' mah business here. *tracing her cheek
with gentle fingers* Ah wanna go, but Ah can't.
Ria: And I have my duty. (Let it go... be satisfied with a once in a while
visit) *she pulled away and continued packing, her every movement showing
Nate: *sighing heavily and moving to help her pack* Faster y' get packed de
more tahme we have t'gether 'fore y' leave. *he kissed her cheek tenderly*
Ria: *turning to kiss his lips softly* I will miss you Imzadi. *she looked
into her suitcase and with a smile handed him her favourite scarf, red, with
strands of silver through the silk like moon beams* Human females used to
give the men the loved favours, to give them courage and to remember them
Nate: Lahke Ah'd ever f'get ya. *He held the scarf to his cheek* Smells
lahke ya.... *He tucked it in his pocet carefully.*
Ria: *Colouring slightly* I am a fan of the stories of Knights and
Ladies.... *She closed the suitcase and rested her head on his chest* You
are my Cajun Knight.
Nate: *chuckling* As Ah r'call, knahghts had t' be all pure n' chivalrous.
Ah don' t'ink Ah qualifah.
*He was frantically trying to get Ashren's things packed. His own had been
pretty well packed the night before aside from a few things he'd need in the
morning. Ashren, on the other hand had kept pulling toys and things out of
his case and was still doing so. In fact, he was snagging two stuffed
animals from it as Tom turned to grab a pile of clothes to put in. He
scowled at his son when he saw he was UNpacking what he'd already packed.*
Nash: Lil man.... *giving him that "don't make me put you in trouble" look*
Ashren: *pouty* Noooo!
Nash: Ashren, baby, but de toys in de box, okay?
Ashren: *stomping his foot* NOOOOO!
Nash: *trying to be patient* Ashren, d' y' wanna go see Mommy?
Ashren: NOOOOO! *He screwed his eyes shut as he screamed*
Nash: *taking the opportunity to snag the animals and stuff them quickly
into the case* Well, too bad. Ah do. Me n' sissy're goin' t' see Mommy.
Ashren: *all out crying now* NOOOOO! MY SISSY!
Vince: * approaching Ashren from behind unnoticed, then swatting his rear
end before scooping him up with a stern look* Hey nah! Y' stop dat
Ashren: *kicking at him* NOOOOO!
Nash: *appalled* ASHREN!
Vince: *giving his son a staying look and popping Ashren's rear end a little
harder with an even more no nonsense look* Stop it! 'R Ah'll treat y' lahke
a lil baby 'stead of a lil man n' y' won' get t' sit in mah lap goin' home.
Ashren: *crying* My sissy!! Auntie! Nay-Naaaaay!!!
Nash: *taking Ashren from Vince* Ooooh... we'll come back t' visit, Ah
promise. *hugging him tight* But we gotta go home t' Mommy, okay?
Ashren: *face against his chest, muffled* No....
*Ria stepped in, locking her eyes with Ashren's. She soothed him mentally as
she moved closer. When she was close enough to touch she took his little
hand in hers*
Ria: All this is kind of scary isn't it? Sometimes big people forget that
little people get scared. *she leaned in and whispered* I'm scared too.
Maybe we can help each other not be so scared?
Ashren: *burying his face against Tom's neck* No....
Ria: *Hiding her smile* No is a funny word... sometimes it means yes. So you
are not scared Ashren?
Ashren: *pouty, shaking a little fist at her* NO!
Nash: *sighing* Ah t'ink 'e don' wanna go home. 'E feels safe here... *a
beat* so do Ah, f' dat matter. But ah gotta go home.
Ria: *Pulling Tom out of Ashren's ear shot* He will only be able to see his
mother through a force field. This will be very hard on him. She is
considered high risk. No physical contact with anyone outside of security or
medical. He will take this badly and we both know it.
Nash: Ah can' leave 'im here.... What'm Ah s'posed t' do? *running a hand
through his hair roughly* Ah'll get Kestrae out. Ah know she didn' mean it.
She'd never hit a pregnant woman under normal circumstances. Ah know dat. Ah
r'member dat much. *The truth was, he remembered quite a bit now and it was
making him ache inside. Part of him wanted to go home to Kestrae, part of
him dreaded it. What if she couldn't forgive him?*
Ria: (I do not think she is as gentle as he thinks....) Do what you must,
but do not think getting her out of custody will be easy. Fleet takes
assault of one of its officers very seriously.
Nash: *sighing* Aun' Ruth wan's us t' stay long enough t' have supper...
whah' doncha spend de tahme wit' Nate? Ah gotta be able t' handle Ashren on
Ashren: *fiddling with the locks of his case, still pouty faced* Dada...
Nash: *moving over to scoop him up* If Ah, give y' de bear, y' gonna leave
de rest of it in de case?
Ashren: *wiping at his nose with a little fist and nodding* Bear....
Nash: Awrahght den. *He nodded to Vince who took out the red bear Ashren
wanted, then passed it to Ashren* Better?
Ashren: *face buried against the bear with a shuddering sniffle* No....
Ria: It will get better Ashren.... *She moved to lean against Nate, looking
like she didn't believe her own words*
Ashren: *sniffling* Sissy....
Nash: Y' wanna go lie down wit' Sissy? *Ashren nodded sullenly* Awrahght
den. *He carried Ashren down to where Tiala was sprawled napping on a
blanket downstairs with Ruth.*
Nate: *shaking his head* Man... he's definitely hittin' dem "terrible twos"
ain't 'e Uncle Vince?
Vince: Ah s'pose all kids do... couldn' tell ya if it runs down de lahne 'r
not, though. *he sighed* Ah t'ink 'e'll settle one we get 'im on dat
shuttle. Lahkes t' flah....
Ria: Children adapt quickly. (I wish adults did.) *She pressed closer to
Nate, seeking a last connection with him, to steal some of his warmth for
the cold and empty nights ahead*
Nate: *whispering in her ear* Come t' mah place f' dinner t'nahght,
Ria: =Yes... but food is not what I hunger for Imzadi.= *Her mental voice
was filled with a desperate passion*
Nate: *lips against her ear* Ah know....
Vince: *looking at them* Best sneak out de back whahle y' got a chance if y'
wanna steal 'er away f' de nahght, boy.
Nate: *a grin* Rahght* With that he picked Ria up and carried her stealthily
down the back stairs and out through the kitchen*
* They'd boarded the shuttle in early evening, been ushered aboard the long
range transport a couple of hours later. Tom lay awake in the small bed in
the early morning hours, having slept little and staring at the standard
dull grey ceiling all ships seemed to have these days. In another couple of
days they'd be out to Taurus Base, but he'd already been told his family
couldn't stay there just yet. They were being housed on the planet instead.
*Ria looked over the list once more... all but one of her assistants had
died. She mourned them alone, no one there to share her grief with. She fled
her room in self defense, hoping to run into Vincent. Talking to the older
man made her feel better.*
*Vince was up early having taken Tiala for the night. While she had come to
tolerate being with Ruth, Nate or Ria for very brief periods, he was the
only one other than Remy who could keep her for long. He'd seen by Remy's
face that he was going to have a long enough trip already and had agreed to
see to the baby's needs for the most part. He tickled the cooing baby under
her chin as he walked with her toward the ship's mess hall.*
Vince: Ah shore hope Ah get t' keep y' f' a lil gran'daughter, petite. *She
cooed again* Yes, Ah do! *he snuggled her close and blew air against her
cheek, making her squeal. He looked up just in time to avoid crashing into
Ria.* Whoah! Sorry dere, Ria. Ah should know better'n t' not watch where
Ria: *Blushing deeply* It was my fault Vincent. *She looked up with eyes red
and swollen from weeping* I was not paying attention. *she paused, then
blurted out* Do you mind some company?
Vince: * a look that was rather penetrating and scrutinizing* We were jus'
headin' t' de mess t' get some breakfast. Y'r welcome t' join us. *Tiala
reached out a tiny hand and cooed softly* See? De petite agrees. *He gave
her a gentle smile.*
Ria: *Touching the tiny hand* How could I not with an invitation like that?
*Blushing again* Seems the counselor is in need of an ear this time.
Vince: Ah figured. *He shifted Tiala to the snuggy and then offered her his
Ria: *Taking his arm with a grateful smile* You remind me very much of my
own father, your gentleness and insight especially. *A deep sigh* I feel
foolish for falling in love with Nate.
Vince: Dere's nothin' foolish about bein' true t' y' feelin's, cherie. N'
dat's quite an accomplishment t' be able t' get dat tom cat t' admit 'e
loves you, too.
Ria: Vincent... I am not human! I will outlive him by many, many years. I
will still be young when he grows old. I cannot even have children for
Vince: But all o' dat don' change de fact y' love 'im. N' it don' change de
fact dat 'e's willin' t' change f' ya.
Ria: *sighing* No it doesn't. Nor does it change the fact that my life is
here and his is on Earth. Sooner or later the distance will take its toll.
Vincent: Only if y' let it. Lahfe is what y' make of it, cherie. *He kept
his face placid. Nate had talked to both him and Ruth about the situation
and he knew some things. But it wasn't his place to discuss them.*
Ria: *Letting go of his arm as they approached a table in the mess hall* He
deserves a woman that can be with him all the time... I cannot. *She sank
into a chair with a forlorn look on her beautiful face* I am afraid Vincent.
Vince: *settling with Tiala in his lap* Ever occur to ya that maybe he don'
care 'bout the distance? Don' know what ya did t' mah nephew, but y'
definitely made a change in 'im.
Ria: *almost to herself* All I did was give him my love.
Vince: *a gentle smile* Love's a powerful t'ing, cherie. Some say it's de
most powerful t'ing in de universe. (Not dat I'm any kahnda expert on dat 'r
Ria: When my husband died, I thought I would never love again. Then I met
Nate and he touched my soul. *She looked up at him, eyes almost black* I
miss him already.
Vince: Ah'm shore 'e misses you, too, cherie. (Can't spoil it....)
Ria: *Taking a deep breath* I need chocolate... in the form of chocolate ice
cream and fudge sauce. I am sure he misses me... but work and family will
keep him busy.
Vince: Trust me, cherie, when y' truly love f' de first tahme, y' t'ink
'bout 'em all de tahme n' matter how busy y' get. *a beat* Ah t'ink y'
better have some breakfas' 'fore y' drown y' sorrows in chocolate.
Ria: *A sad little chuckle* For my people, chocolate is a major food group.
Vincent? Tell me about Nate, why is he still alone at what is, for a human
anyway, full adulthood?
Vince: *shrugging* 'E's always jus' been a wahld one. Ruthie say 'e's de
reason she's grey headed already. 'E never wanted t' settle down... had a
different woman nearly ev'ry nahght. *he shook his head* Honestly Ah t'ink
it was b'cause 'e jus' hadn' made up 'is mahnd which way 'e should go.
Ria: Then he will soon forget me afterall. *The hurt in her voice was clear*
Vince: Ah don' t'ink so, cherie. Way he looks at you... very dif'rent from
how 'e was lookin' at other women. Way 'is ahs lahght up when 'e talks about
y'... no... y' different. *he took a deep breath* Jus' trust ol' Vincent,
cherie. Y' made a big impression on m' nephew n' 'e ain' soon gonna f'get.
*He gave her a reassuring smile as Tiala rooted against his shirt. He
chuckled* Ain' got de rahght equipment dere, bebe. *He pulled a bottle from
her bag and uncapped it for her. She suckled hungrily, eyes sparkling as she
looked up at Vince. He let out an almost content sigh.*
Ria: (Time for a subject change before I cry) She loves you and trusts you.
I can feel it from her. *a beat* She sees you as an extention of Tom.
Vince: Well, Ah guess we do kahnda look alahke... jus Ah'm de ol' worn out
version. *He let out a wry chuckle and Tiala's little hand gripped at his
shirt, clutching a wad of it in her fist.*
Ria: No. She sees you as a hero, a God. Just like she does Tom. To a baby,
the ones that love them are Gods of a sort. *She looked at the menu and just
ordered fruit, hoping she could eat it.*
Vincent: *keying in an order for coffee, eggs, sausage, biscuits and grits
and letting out a soft snort* Ah ain' no gawd, dat's f' shore. *a beat* Ah,
didn' get t' do dis wit' Remy much. She took 'im 'fore 'e was even a year
old. *a look of regret crossed his face briefly, then vanished as he wiped a
trail of slobbery milk from Tiala's chin.*
Ria: *touching the older man's arm gently* I am sorry for that. But look at
it this way, you still shaped the man Tom has become. And you have a chance
to shape this little one's life as well.
Vince: *a slight scowl* Still couldn' undo what she did t' 'im.... Dis whole
t'ing has set 'im back a long way. 'E's lost 'is confidence.
Ria: *Waiting until the worker set the food down before she spoke* He will
get it back. My only concern is his wife. Her hatred of the baby frightens
me. I want you to consider taking her if things go as I suspect they will,
if not... then I will take the child myself. (When did this happen? When did
I decide to take on a child?)
Vince: Ah'm hopin' Kestrae'll straighten out once Remy's on de road back t'
normal. It'd kill 'im t' have t' give 'er up.
Ria: *nibbling at the fruit, but not really tasting it* I can tell you this,
she scares Tiala, she can feel her hatred. *Gives up and shoves the plate
Vince: Ah know, but Kestrae ain' exactly 'erself rahght nah either. She's
stressed well b'yond what she normally gets. Gotta at leas' give it a
Ria: I will only step in if I see Tiala is suffering. I am trying very hard
to not judge the woman, but she hates so easily... and makes snap judgements
that quite frankly scare me.
Vince: Ah don' t'ink she'd purposely hurt a chahld. *He glanced down at
Tiala who had begun to doze, still suckling.* Nah, nah... no sleep eatin',
bebe. *He pulled the nipple form her mouth with an audible pop and shifted
her up to a towel on his shoulder to burp.*
Ria: Not physically... but hatred will damage her mentally and emotionally.
All I can do is wait and see. But I will remove her from the home if she
begins to suffer emotional stress. I want to think Tom's wife can see that
Tiala's mother was no comfort woman, but a victim that did what she could to
keep her little one alive.
Vince: *a sigh* She ain' seen de fahles Fleet sent ya yet. M'be dose'll
change 'er mahnd. *Tiala belched loudly and then cooed. He brought her down
to clean up her face.* If not... well... Ah been
t'inkin' 'bout retahrin' lately. Ah jus'... guess Ah been feelin' tahred.
N' Ah'd lahke t' be near m' son n' gran'son.
Ria: Maybe it is time to think more about yourself, Vincent. You are a
handsome man, maybe some time to find a partner would be a good idea? *She
smiled at him*
Vince: *a raised eyebrow: Me? Cherie, Ah'm too old f' all o' dat nonsense.
'Sahdes, Ah lahke bein' a bachelor. No one t' holla if Ah decahde t' put mah
boots up on de furniture.
Ria: *Laughing* Never say never, Vincent. *She paused, brown eyes looking
past him* Tom's still afraid... even after being assured she does not blame
Vince: *a heavy sigh* Ah know. Lahke Ah said... 'is confidence's gone. *He
tucked Tiala into the snuggy and began to eat his breakfast, running bits of
biscuit through the yolks of his eggs.*
Ria: She will help him in that. At least I know that much. *She ordered a
hot chocolate and when it arrived, sipped it slowly* I sometimes think I
should resign and go home. Stop dealing with people who hate me just because
I am a Betazoid counselor.
Vince: Cherie, we don' hate ya. Y've helped Remy a lot. N' Ah'm grateful f'
dat n' shore y'll continue t' help 'im.
Ria: *Waving a hand * Oh, I don't mean you or Tom. His wife, many others.
I'm just tired and *her voice broke* I miss my friends that died while I was
off being romanced.
Vince: *taking her hands in his* Y' can' blame y'self f' dat anymore den
Remy c'n blame 'imself f' bein' abducted. *looking into her eyes* 'N y' know
y' have people on de base nah tha' y' c'n talk to if y' need it.
Ria: *squeezing his hands gently* I know. I need time to re-center myself.
(Face it, I NEED Nate.) Forgive me for dumping this on you, Vincent.
Vince: It's no trouble, cherie. Ah'm here if y' need t' talk.
Ria: I know and I thank you for that. *She leaned back and smiled* What
about coming back to my room and engaging in a rousing game of cards? A
human friend taught me how to play Gin Rummy.
Vincent: You'll prob'ly whup me. Ah ain' played cards in a long tahme. *He
Ria: Oh, you never know. You might win. *She smiled*
Vincent: *working on polishing off breakfast* Ah don' 'spect Remy up f'r a
whahle, s' Ah don' see de harm.
Ria: Good. Maybe you can help me learn the game better. (And keep me from
crying myself stupid)
Vincent: Ah c'm trah, anyway. *He gulped down the last of his coffee* But y'
should take y' breakfast with ya. Gotta eat.
Ria: I promise I won't starve. *she smiled gently*
Vince: Good, 'cause Ah don' lahke watchin' friends waste away. (N' Nate'd
kill me if Ah let 'er do dat to 'erself.)
Ria: *Taking his arm again as they walked* I like your people, Cajuns I
mean. Especially your voices, so lilting, almost musical.
Vince: *laughing* Back on Earth, mos' people t'ink we sound stupid n'
Ria: Stupid? No, you sound like warm loving laughter mixed in with mischief
Vince: *chuckling* Well, Ah ain' ever heard it put quite like dat....
Ria: If a group of Cajuns were to go to my planet... they would all be
welcomed very... warmly.
Vince: *laughing* Den Ah better not go dere. Ah'd hate t' have t' break
Tothram Remy Nash
Civ Tech/ Shop mgr.
"Never been s' scared t' go home since mah mama abandoned me...."
"Gotta keep mah big mouth shut!"
"Love and duty; two things that never mix well"