USS Adelphi


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Post 23 - Backpost: 126 Days

Posted on Tue Dec 29th, 2020 @ 8:05pm by Lieutenant Emni t'Nai

Mission: Episode 2 - The Next Phage
Location: Earth - San Fransisco
Timeline: 2387 - 12 Years Before the Present Day

[An Academy Dorm Room]
[San Fransisco, CA, Earth]
[2387 - 12 Years Ago]

Her room at the Academy was small and spare. Although it was Emni t’Nai’s second year of enrollment she hadn’t bothered to do a great deal of decorating. Somehow that felt too much like building a sandcastle on the shore just before a tsunami rolled in to wipe away the entire beach.

In 126 days Eisn was expected to go supernova.

126 days to pack up whole lives--precious memories crated together with the boring minutiae of everyday survival. Photos and towels. Hand soaps and antique family heirlooms. All a jumble of things that make up a life in a place.

126 days to breath in the air and memorize its weight and smell--the particular feel of a breeze on a warm cheek and the way the leaves turned over on trees that were about to become extinct. That same time to revisit places full of memory. Locations made sacred not by their existence, but as totems to actions taken. A first kiss. A wedding. Broken promises. Deaths.

Emni rubbed the bridge of her nose absently, a headache starting to form behind her eyes the way it always did whenever she began to consider the destruction of her homeworld. A place, at this point, she would never see again. What on earth had ever possessed her to leave?

The jovial emotional fingerprint of Y’lena Kurtzov was a jarring reminder that Emni shared a living space with a much younger and less emotionally encumbered human. She could hear laughter in the common room between their two sleeping spaces indicating that Y’lena had returned with friends in tow. Two young women in the engineering program that her roommate had begun spending time with if their emotional signatures were to be believed.

And they were. They always were.

Their laughter, light hearted and followed by a wave of joy tinged with self satisfaction washed over her, confusing the encroaching dark hopelessness that her thoughts had begun to take on lately. The result was a dull grey malaise.

Breathing deep through her nose, Emni worked to center her own emotions, untangling them from the girls in the next room. She shifted in her chair, an old wooden contraption, causing it to creak. The sound caused a very sudden lapse in the laughter next door and a flurry of whispers.

The new friends weren’t particularly comfortable with a Romulan nearby--even one who could only claim that heritage by half.

Emni sighed, resuming her breathing.

“Computer,” she murmured, “play Emni Alpha 5.”

The sound of an old lullaby filled the space helping her to block out the raised anxieties in the next room. After a few moments she was able to focus fully on her own emotional state, relegating capricious human girls to the back of her mind.

A resounding beep on the console in front of her rang dissonant with the music.

“Computer, end program.” she barked out, sitting up in her chair and tapping the controls in front of her to bring up a visual of her grandmother.

Kaleh t’Nai’s visage was a holdover from an earlier time in the Romulan Star Empire. To any outsider her gaze would be interpreted as imperious. She literally looked down her nose at anyone around her. Those who weren’t immediately cowed by her expression would have found their eyes seeking someplace else to settle purely based on the way in which she carried herself. And Emni loved every inch of her face.

The distance was a loss, though. Where Emni would normally have been able to sense her grandmother’s emotions, here she relied on conversation and physical clues alone. Anytime she spoke with someone back home Earth felt so impossibly far away from Romulus.

“Emni!” Her grandmother exclaimed, warmth infusing her voice and eyes even as her face held the disdainful expression so many outside of the Empire associated with Romulans. “You look thin. Have you been eating?”

Emni grinned despite herself. “Of course I have, hru’nanov,” she said, addressing her grandmother in Rihannsu. “But there is quite a bit of exercise as part of my Academy training.”

Kaleh t’Nai clucked her tongue at her granddaughter, a smile crossing her features infusing additional warmth where one might not expect to find it. “Well they certainly aren’t feeding you anything good,” she sniffed.

“The food is fine.” Emni assured her. “It’s not your cooking, but it’s fine.”

Her grandmother harrumphed at that. “You should come home. I have a bag of osol twist with your name on them.”

Emni’s heart dropped. As much as she was glad to see her grandmother’s face the conversation was always the same. Kaleh would ask Emni to come home--sometimes through a guilt trip, others a vague suggestion, still others a demand of obedience. Emni would remind her that in so many days there would be no home to return to and ask when she was leaving. Neither of them left the call satisfied.

“Do we really need to have this conversation again?” Emni asked.

“Apparently.” Kaleh replied archly. “Considering you are still wasting your time on Earth when you should be here with us.”

So it wasn’t going to be a subtle attempt this time.

“Hru’nanov, you know full well that Eisn is going to nova. There will be no Romulus to come home to. Please,” a note of desperation entered Emni’s voice, “I still have connections at home. I can get you a transport offworld.”

Kaleh t’Nai shook her head, disappointment stamped across her features. “No, child. There is nothing for me offworld. Romulus is my home. It’s where I’ll stay. There is still time. Our scientists are working on the problem and there are some promising…”

Emni cut her off. “The scientists are trying to avoid panic, hru’nanov. There are no solutions. Nothing can be done in four months that hasn’t already been tried. Please…” she felt her eyes glisten as tears sprang to the corners, “I don’t want to lose you this way.”

“I’m hardly lost,” the elder Romulan woman countered. “You know right where I am. If you’d come home this wouldn’t even be a discussion.”

Emni sighed, knowing they had reached an impasse again. “I need to study hru’nanov,” she said, resigned. “We’ll talk tomorrow?”

The image of her grandmother nodded. “Tomorrow then.”

Emni moved to close the comm, but paused when her grandmother spoke.

“Jol-ao au, Emni.” she said, a deep sadness twined through the affection in her tone.

“Jol-ao au, hru’nanov.”

Emni closed the connection, her grandmother’s face disappearing from the console leaving her feeling hollowed out--like the deep trench of the shore after the tsunami had washed back out to sea. Exhausted by the emotions of the exchange she lay her head on her arms propped in front of the console as she might have done in her grandmother’s lap as a little girl.

126 days.

It wasn’t enough.


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