USS Valkyrie
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Hugging it Out

Posted on Tue Jul 18th, 2017 @ 11:44am by Lieutenant Rafan Kel
Edited on on Tue Jul 18th, 2017 @ 11:44am

Mission: Deep Space 12
Location: Caves of Mak'ala, Trill

The roughly hewn walls of the Caves of Mak'ala were drab and belied the live that they sheltered deep with the milk pools where thousands of symbionts resided being cared for by the Guardians. Rafan was pacing the small space, alternating his path this time to be a straight line back and forth instead of following the uneven perimeter of the walls. He was nervous, not because he was here at Mak'ala and when he had become a candidate for joining, he had learned about the pools and even visited them once. No he was nervous because he didn't know what to expect or even what to do when he saw Hysio, should he be hostile? Neutral? Friendly?

He was so nervous that he could remember the Earth religious text quote about striking the right hand or cutting it off or if he was even remembering it correctly. He hated that, he prided himself on his eidetic memory, the exquisite recall that it provided him and coupled with his ability to read 1500 words per minute, there was very little that he couldn't recall that he had read. Though he quietly reminded himself as a Trill that did not make him exceptional, such gifts would make a Human exceptional, but he was not Human. His gift merely marked him as a better possibility for joining over others vying for the limited pool of available symbionts. He stopped pacing and frowned at he remembered the words of his docent, they had not been harsh or mean-spirited, but unequivocal statements of fact.

Whatever his natural abilities or talents, they did not mark him as special and did not guarantee him anything more than he could earn for himself. His desires and his dreams were second to the enrichment of the symbiont he would be host to if he passed the program, that his concern must always be for the best interest of the symbiont. He let out a heavy sigh and clasped his hands behind his back, wondering what his docent would think of him now. He had been a strict man, fair and even in his assessments, but unyielding to a candidate's ego.

While he never attempted to crush Rafan's personal aspirations, he had drilled into him daily over the years what it meant to be a host, that his responsibility was to the symbiont that he inherited from one who had come before. It was about duty and honor. Honor for having been chosen and remembering to be humble in the knowledge that though he was now a favored child of Trill, he was carrying the duty of caring for one of his people's most precious gifts.

Though as he began to thinking about precious things, he found himself thinking about Yara and how she had been quite annoyed over the fact that she was going to have to wait in the complex built to house the Guardians. He also knew she was likely making someone's life miserable not out of spite but merely because of who she was and how she tended to deal with people.

Not to mention that she was still a bit salty with him for tricking her into sleeping on the beach and there being sand everywhere. Which she had been more than willing to point out to him as his fault for most of the trip to Mak'ala.

He was drawn from his thoughts by a person clearing their voice softly.

"The pool has been made ready, Lieutenant Kel." The Guardian said as he watched Rafan, who turned and nodded gently before moving to follow, descending stairs worn smooth by the feet of many Guardians past. He found himself wondering what had drawn the man before him into this life; Was it duty? Was it the honor of being a Guardian? Caring for the symbionts? Or was it a life that he had been groomed for?

The air became more humid the deeper they went, a rich, earthy sweetness filling the air as they heard gentle splashing and the sounds of electrical discharges. They were close.

A few steps more and Rafan was looking over the milk pools, or at least a few of them that this portion of the caves housed.

It was certainly a humbling feeling to stare at the pools that had given birth to Kel and the scientist in him couldn't help but wonder if symbiont genealogies were tracked? Did she come from a prestigious lineage or was she merely a new line, with no hosts of true fame that would make her of any note? Was he being arrogant in assigning the values and mores of humanoids to the symbionts?

He didn't have long to ponder as the Guardian indicated the pool that Rafan could use before stepping away to leave him in privacy. A moment's hesitation was all that he gave himself as the white robed Trill lowered himself into the pearly white water, feeling the robe clinging to his body as he stopped upon feeling a tingling coming from within him before he witnessed the creeping fingers of a harmless electrical discharge spread out into the water and dissipate at the far side. For a moment there was nothing, but then Hysio took shape and smirked at Rafan.

That expression made Rafan sigh and he wondered what the man's contemporaries had thought about him and if they had found him to be arrogant and slightly entitled? It was a question that he would have to wait to have answered as Rafan took a step forward and Hysio moved towards him.

His heart was beating hard, so hard that he was afraid that it might cause the roof to collapse down on the pools, it was a ridiculous thought, but this was the man that had been haunting his nightmares for years. Had made him afraid to trust himself and to open up to Kel, but he had to move past that. He had to heal.

"Hysio," He began and wrapped his arms tightly around the apparition of the other Trill. "I embrace you and I accept you, you were Kel as I am now."

For a moment nothing happened.

He held tighter to the apparition, doing his best to not will him away, to accept his tormenting spirit.

His Jacob Marley who had come back to show him the past. "We are Kel."

That was when he felt the gentle tingling again, passing over his spots, following them all along his body before disappearing as swiftly as they had come. When he opened his eyes again, Hysio was gone and he was alone in the pool and feeling for the first time in years as if he was whole again.


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