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Q & A

Posted on Jul 09, 2017 @ 10:19pm by Captain Siobhan Reardon & Thomas Varn
Edited on on Jul 09, 2017 @ 10:19pm

Mission: Blue Planet

“Q & A”
(Continued from “The Guest”)

Location: Elandipole
Scene: Domicile Two Two Beta Charlie
Stardate: [2.17]0705.2322

The day seemed to lazily pass into a humid tropical night leaving Thomas Varn staring into the liquid swirls of his cup of tea. Starfleet’s engineers, while resourceful and efficient, hadn’t successfully set or implemented Elandipole’s weather monitoring systems allowing many on the blue planet to feel a naturally occurring weather system for the first time in their lives. The soothing sounds of waves lapping at the tropical shores filled the air only to fall on deaf ears leaving Thomas’ mind wandering elsewhere.

“Penny for your thoughts?”

Thomas blinked slowly looking up finding Sylvia entering the room, “oddly enough if anyone still had those it would be one of us.”

Sylvia’s eyes sparkled as for a moment, a brief moment, her Thomas began to show through. Leaning against a nearby wall she watched him play with the cup slowly allowing his fingertips to graze its smooth surface, “she really shook you up, didn’t she?”

“It’s not that,” his voice lowered softly, trembling as he closed his eyes, “I never thought…”

Sylvia’s hand had managed to find his, her fingers slowly intertwining with his. Her gaze remained fixed upon him, never wavering or shifting away. His voice seemed fragile, remaining soft, and slow as if every word was specifically chosen, “they would, visit.”

“Oh Thomas.”

“I’m just being honest.”

“I love you,” Sylvia mirroring the same gentle tone Thomas had used.

He mentally pushed her away even though he did not move a muscle. “I’m not the same man you loved, and you know it.”

“No, but you are *the* man I love. It’s a feeling stronger than all the changes in you. And I think you’d be surprised at the amount of people who once knew you are grateful for the chance to know you again, people like Sio.”

“It feels like the Eugenics Wars all over again. Man-made life or enhanced life being considered artificial and unreal. Some who would have once called me friend consider me an abomination, a freak.”

Sylvia looked annoyed. “We have been over this. You had as much a say in this as you did in your wings. The only thing that matters is what you do with what you’re given. And I think you’re doing important things. Teaching. Being a father. Researching. Just being there.”

“I know all of these things are important. But sometimes I miss duty. New civilizations. The hum of a warp drive decks below. Why does that feel as though it carries with it so much more meaning than this paradise?” Thomas said, gesturing to Sylvia and their child, their home, and the unspoiled land they were now calling home.

Sylvia smiled. “Because we are creatures of habit. And old habits die hard.” A pause. “How long did Sio say she was going to stay?”

Thomas Varn thought about it. “Another couple of days at the most. She said she had plans after that.”

“Why don’t you invite her to lunch, take her on a little tour and show her around? I’ll make some sandwiches for a picnic.”

The winged man kissed his loving companion. He was constantly amazed by her ability to make sense of things when he could not. “I’ll send a comm right away.”


Scene: Outside, within town limits
Time Index: Early afternoon

The sand glistened with a sugary champagne luster, and the water was a shade of turquoise mingling with cerulean, clear and bright. Several species of seagrasses covered the land in patches, and a few birds soared overhead.

“Once the colony really gets going, I can see this being a major tourist destination,” Siobhan remarked as they followed the wide footpath that led through the web of modest houses that formed the bulk of the settlement.

Varn nodded. “It’s a blank slate. There are plants and animals to study, an ecosystem to map, an infrastructure to build. But despite all that, the pace seems so free and easy.” He gestured to one of the benches that had been built every fifty feet or so along the path. “Let’s sit over there.”

They’d both independently decided to wear shorts and sturdy walking shoes; the weather was a little warm, but a light breeze off the water was enough to keep things from being sweltering. Sio wore the same sun hat from yesterday, along with a light yellow gauzy blouse that rippled in the wind. Thomas wore a light blue guayabera shirt Sylvia had replicated for him; it was a little longer and had broader shoulders than the standard design to accommodate his wings.

He began to unpack the food and handed his redheaded friend a sandwich. “Sio, I have to ask you a question.”

“Of course,” she said, biting into one of the croissants filled with chicken salad that Sylvia had made for their outing.

“Why did you come to see me?”

Sio chewed and thought, letting her gaze linger on the horizon. It was hard to tell where the line was between water and atmosphere.

“I didn’t offend you, did I? For asking?”

“No. not one bit,” she said with a smile. Caring about people meant complete honestly, as hard and imperfect as that could be. “There were many reasons.”

“For example?”

“I didn’t find out you were dead, well not right away. And then, almost as quickly, I found out you weren’t. I never got to say goodbye, so I wanted to make sure to say hello. Despite the circumstances, this is all pretty incredible. And I knew I had to see you with my own eyes.”

“Incredible would probably be the last word I’d use to describe it.”

Siobhan looked sad. “I’m starting to understand that.”

“What else?”

“I felt guilty about clearing you for duty, not because you weren’t ready. I knew you were, even though you didn’t think so.”

“You were right. Why feel guilty about your professional acumen?”

“But if you hadn’t been on the ship you wouldn’t have…” Her eyes watered. “This wouldn’t have happened.” She put her food down, losing her appetite.

“Siobhan, if there is one thing I know, it’s that you can’t save the world. Or the galaxy for that matter. Or me.”

The irises of his eyes swirled in calm colors with the expression of his truth, and she looked deeply into them, her face far more conflicted than his, and after several seconds of clenching her jaw and trying to settle herself, she began to cry harder.

Thomas wrapped his arm around her shoulder awkwardly while she let go. “I did not expect this.”

“I’m sorry.” Sio cried for almost a minute, seemingly without breathing, then sniffled, beginning to stem the flow of emotions which were inevitable, but most certainly not useful. “I couldn’t save Dex either.”

“Let me pose a question this way; if you had known what he was thinking when that last satellite remained, and so did the CENTURY, and you told him not to do it, would he have listened?”

Siobhan Reardon almost laughed. “No, he was as stubborn and unselfish as they came.”

“Then you already know you’re not at fault.”

“Then why do I still feel broken inside?” she asked, her voice meek and raspy. She rested her head on Varn’s shoulder as they both watched the sun begin to lower a few degrees in the afternoon sky. They shared the quiet sympathy of lives that didn’t quite turn out the way they had planned.

Eventually, Thomas spoke. “Sio, it’s because you’re taking all the energy you have to right wrongs that aren’t your responsibility. The fact is, the only person you can save is yourself. But not if you keep chasing things that never really existed to begin with. But I can’t tell you what you’re chasing. Only you know the answer to that.”

She looked up at him, her green eyes shining like wet emeralds. “Are you still chasing your old dreams, Thomas?”

“I don’t know,” he answered, ruffling a hand through the brown hair that still needed a trim. “I’d like to think I was making new ones a reality.”

NRPG: Part 2 of 3

A joint post by

Susan Ledbetter
Writing for

Siobhan Reardon
On leave


Justin K. Owens
Thomas Varn
Civilian Scientis


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