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A Friendly Ear

Posted on Wed Feb 28th, 2024 @ 9:45pm by Lieutenant Commander Alicia Kelea-Salik & Captain David Tonelly [Reece]

Mission: Season 6: Episode 4: Memory Lane
Location: Tonelly Quarters
Timeline: MD 6 / 1436 Hours
1632 words - 3.3 OF Standard Post Measure

Making her way to the Tonelly family quarters, Alicia paused at the door pressing the chime. She’d heard about Baeryn and wanted to check in with David to see how he was coping, being a new parent was hard, but it was harder still when something happened to leave you coping on your own. She was here to offer whatever help she could.

A few beats later, the door opened, revealing David standing there, a somber look on his face. When he saw who it was, he nodded slightly, as if to himself. "Counsellor, how may I help you?"

Alicia offered a comforting smile. “I wanted to see how you were. You know what the ship’s grapevine is like, from what I understand, something has happened. Would you mind if I came in to talk?”

David dipped his head slightly, then moved aside, giving Alicia room to enter. "Please come in."

"Thank you David," Alicia smiled warmly as she walked inside, moving across to the sofa, though she didn't presume to sit down until she was invited to do so. "How are you coping? it's hard enough being a new father, let alone trying to manage on your own."

As David stepped closer, he first indicated the sofa. "Please, make yourself comfortable. Would you care for any refreshments?"

"A cold Blackcurrant & Lemonade would be lovely thank you." Alicia smiled as she took a seat on the sofa. "If you ever need someone to help, or babysit, you can count on us. I'm sure there'll be plenty of other offers of help as well."

Moving over to the replicator, David placed the drink order. After it was produced, he picked up the glass and carried it over to Alicia, handing it to her when he got close enough. "Thank you, I certainly appreciate the offer of help. I'll probably take you up on it." He moved over to the overstuffed chair to Alicia's left, and sat down. For someone who barely needed to sleep, he suddenly seemed very exhausted. "Mostly, I'm feeling...numb. It's as if...a part of me, half of me, is missing. This is the first time, since we became mates, that I can't feel Baeryn, can't see her energy moving around space. It's as if she was just....gone."

Alicia nodded. “She’s not gone David, Sthilg isn’t going to let Baeryn die. Whatever caused what happened to her, she’s in good hands now.” She offered an understanding smile before pausing to pick up her her glass and sip her drink.

David nodded as he listened, though he was clearly still troubled. "I have no doubt he will, Alicia. However, that isn't what is...disturbing me the most." He took in a breath, then slowly released it, as he tried to gather his jumbled thoughts. "For an El Aurian, once a mate is found, and the bond is forged, they will always feel the other's presence, no matter the distance between them. The only thing that will sever the bond, is death. If that death is one that is planned on, like old age or a debilitating illness, then a ceremony is performed, allowing the bond to weaken some, thus granting the survivor some measure of peace when the passing occurs."

"However, when the couple is separated, or the passing is sudden, the separation is abrupt and painful. There have been times where the survivor ends up dying as well." He took another shaky breath. He knew that much of what he spoke of, few offlanders knew of, however, he knew that whatever he told Alicia, would be kept secret. "The only thing that is keeping me from going mad myself at this moment, is Samanthanna. She is the blending of Baeryn and my energies. While I cannot current feel Baeryn, because of the cryostasis, there is just enough of her in our daughter, that I am able to retain my sanity and health."

Alicia nodded. “I didn’t realise the bonding went so deep, I knew Vulcans had a bond that could result in the death of a surviving spouse, but I didn’t know that about El Aurians. Actually I know very little about El Aurians.” She offered a brief smile. “Is there anything you feel I can do to help where Baeryn is concerned?”

He considered her question carefully for a few beats, then shrugged apologetically. "I don't know. This is all new to me. In all my life, I've never been paired with someone, nor have I ever had any children." He paused, then continued. "I suppose I could use help in getting a schedule set for Samanthanna, so when I do resume my duties, I can do so confidently?"

“That’s your decision, most parents take some leave when they have children. It’s up to you how long you need, I’m sure given what’s happened to Baeryn, we could arrange more time if you want it. Similarly if you want to go back to work, I’m sure we can make arrangements for Samanthanna.”

David nodded. "Both The Commodore and the Colonel told me to take as much time as I need. And, if we were safe, back home, I'd probably transfer down to wherever Baeryn could get the best treatment." He sighed heavily, shaking his head. "However, we are not back home, and we are not anywhere near safe. This ship needs every warrior she has to protect her and everyone aboard. How can I just sit idly by, while others stand against the dangers posed to us?"

Alicia knew what David was saying was very true. “There is the ship’s Nursery, but if you’d prefer Samanthanna be cared for by other parents I can help make arrangements. Being a parent is hard, especially when you’re on your own, but it gets easier.”

He thought about it for a moment, then replied. "Mattias told me that the ship has a holonanny program, that he and the Commodore use for their children. Though, that would only be when she is sleeping." He shook his head. "The closest thing I have to family here, is Mattias and his little sister, Kara. I've known them both since they were very young. Should anything happen to me, while Baeryn is in cryostasis, I want Samanthanna to go to them. I trust them both to do what us best for her." He looked over towards the closed door, that lead into his daughter's nursery.

"I suppose, once I'm able to figure out how to go back to work, I will leave her in the the ship's nursery during my shifts."

Alicia nodded. “I can vouch for the teachers, and their assistants, they’re all very good.” She hoped to put David’s mind at rest a little. “Just...don’t rush. With Baeryn in stasis, your daughter needs you. Babies need to bond, so take your time and bond with her. They grow up all too soon, trust me I know!”

This caused an actual smile to briefly cross his face. "Oh, I'm not worried about that. Even as a hybrid, Samanthanna should live for at least three, four hundred years. It really depends on how she will live her life, and what medical technology will look like then." Then the smile faded and sadness filled his eyes. "Regrettably, using the same metric for myself....I'll probably outlive my baby by a few hundred years."

“I can’t imagine what that’s like” Alicia paused. “To outlive your own family, to watch future generations live their lives as well. It’s...amazing in some ways, but it’s harder for you.”

He nodded slowly. "If she was pureblood, then she'd probably live a little over a thousand years. But, I wouldn't change having her. She is the center of me universe."

Alicia smiled, "No matter what the age, our children are our universes. I'd be lost without Connor, N'Vea, and now Soral too. Anyway, back to you... is there anything I can do for you right now? Anything to help?"

"I suppose help in setting up appointments with the nursery workers?" David offered with a weary shrug. "Baeryn and I hadn't even gotten around to talk about it yet.

“That I can do” Alicia smiled. “I can accompany you too if you’d like? Though I’ll understand if you want to do it alone.”

He shook his head as he replied. "I'm not so proud that I won't take help. Whom do you feel I should talk to first?"

"How's about the nursery staff?" Alicia offered a curious look. "They'll be your first port of call when you get back to work. Getting to know them will put your mind at rest."

Nodding, David was about to reply, when from the nursery, Samanthanna started to whimper. "Ah. Sorry, she's hungry." He stood and moved tobthe small kitchenette, where he pulled a bottle out of the cooler. "Perhaps we could talk more, before I go speak to the nursery staff?" He then started to warm up the contents of the bottle.

“Of course” Alicia smiled. “Anyway I’ll get out of your hair and let you enjoy your time with Samanthanna.” She stood ready to leave. “My door is always open, call if you need anything.”

"Thank you!" He called out to her as he picked up the warmed bottle and started towards Samanthanna's nursery. As Alicia stepped out into the corridor, she could hear David start to talk to his daughter. "Well hello, my darling angel! Are you hungry?" Then the doors to the Tonelly-Whavi quarters slid shut.

Alicia smiled as she headed on her way, She had no doubt David was going to cope admirably.



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