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Log of the Month for September, 2016

A New Home
Posted on September 25th, 2016 by T'Kirr and Ian Blackthorne

by T’Kirr and Ian Blackthorne

T’Kirr shivered as the morning sun worked to warm her back and fight off the chilly air. She crouched down in the loose soil, focusing carefully near the small sticks she had placed in orderly rows. Despite the need to adapt, let it not be said she had lost her methodical way of doing things. Try as she might, though, she could not see any sign that the young seedlings were germinating. Sighing slowly in a way she found calmed her, T’Kirr rubbed her hands down her arms and looked out over the rest of her struggling garden.

The potato-like plants seemed to be doing well, but not much else. Some of the species that would have tall stalks would take more time, T’Kirr reasoned, but considering they were planning long-term, she had begun planting some of everything she could find as soon as possible. As far as she could tell, she and Ian had fortunately arrived near the start of the growing season, but until she had more experience with the local flora, it would be the application of logic, trial and error.

Her eyes turned towards the untilled patch that was next on her list. Well, these holes won’t dig themselves, she imagined Ian saying. There was much to do, and she wanted to start early to take advantage of as much daylight as possible. She really couldn’t complain as the days were very nice where they now lived, and the mornings helped to keep them cool while doing manual labor. Picking up the small shovel, she began digging.

The small garden wasn’t too much work, but other things had proven difficult without the tools they were used to having access to. She had even on more than one occasion selfishly wished Lieutenant Kuari had been stranded with them, lending her beast-like strength to their projects. Even now, just having her claws to dig holes faster would be immensely helpful.

After creating eight orderly holes for new seeds, T’Kirr straightened her back and looked out to the horizon. Her secondary eyelids flickered shut as the sun’s rays cast out across the ocean not far away. Dappled beams fluttered between the fronds of tropical plants that swayed in the breeze from the shoreline. It was a beautiful place, but it was wild. Ian and T’Kirr had relied heavily on their survival training, despite the sturdy but small prefabricated unit they were given to live in.

T’Kirr pressed her hand to the wall of their home, and she found herself thankful for what they had. She could feel the vibrations of the water wheel that used the building as a support on the other side, where the stream flowed by on its way out to sea. Ian and T’Kirr had built it to create electricity, something they had not been given. Their original intention was to have a way to power a transmitter, but it quickly became clear that they would not have the parts to build one. Over the past few months, it seemed the wheel would be necessary long-term as they found themselves settling into their new existence.

Life on Atlantis seemed to be so long ago, and would now stay firmly in their past. It ended literally with an explosion, her memory of it filtered through the transporter beam that had whisked her and Ian away at the last possible second. T’Kirr shut her eyes and pulled in a shaky breath as the terrible memories of what had been done to them invaded her mind. Their captors had wanted information, and they had forcibly extracted it directly from their minds. The pain had been traumatic, and it haunted her every day. Her only solace was that it would continue to heal over time as they combined their Betazoid and Vulcan empathic and telepathic techniques, and they would be together through it.

Ian had left right at dawn in search of a suitable tree to harvest that would augment their wood supply, and she could sense his imminent return over their bond. A few minutes later, a scraping sound heralded his arrival, and T’Kirr walked past the corner of their house to see him dragging a small log with a harness that he had finished making the day before. He smiled when he saw her, put down the axe he was carrying, then worked his way out of the rig. “The new harness works well, but I’m glad I stayed in shape, because that’s still really heavy.” Ian sat down on the log and wiped at his brow.

“You have earned yourself a rest,” T’Kirr replied as she approached the log, surveying its size before sitting down on it next to him. “This much should last us for some time.”

Ian gulped water from the canteen he carried on his belt, then offered it to her. “I hope so. I wanted to bring a larger one, but this is as much as I could pull.”

“Even with what you can pull, don’t strain yourself too much.” T’Kirr took the canteen. “Less wood is better than more wood and a hurt back.”

“I wholeheartedly agree.” He leaned back on the log, looking out at the sea, bathed in morning’s muted golden light. “How’s the garden?”

T’Kirr turned her head towards the frustratingly flat garden, pursing her lips in irritation momentarily before she chastised herself. As she had just recommended to Ian, she had to take each day at a time and couldn’t rush growth. “Nothing new to report. I plan to walk out to the southern valley and gather more later to complement the rations.”

Ian chuckled a bit at her tone, still so professional after these long months. He’d told her a while ago that they weren’t in Starfleet anymore and that he no longer outranked her. They had transitioned from a CO and XO team to only a normal husband and wife—equals, trying to survive together. Some of it must be Vulcan and the rest just habit, he concluded, before remembering something. “I know it is a bit more difficult for you, since you don’t eat meat, and the rations must be getting rather boring by now. I found a new fruit from the list, though, and it’s pretty tasty, so I brought you some.” He produced a few small, round, purple fruits from his pouch and offered them to her. Their captors had pre-screened the local plants and animals for any poisonous to them, and since they were left here with monthly supply drops instead of just being executed, he had no reason to distrust their report, which had been correct so far.

Pleasantly surprised, T’Kirr’s attention fixed to the fruits in Ian’s hand. She opened her palms to receive them and picked one up to get a closer look. Taste was the best test, however, and she was soon biting into one. It wasn’t terribly sweet, which she approved of, tasting nutritious and filling, and it reminded her of mencha from Vulcan. While she had only been able to obtain replicated versions aboard Atlantis for many years and this was actually fresh fruit, she couldn’t help but feel slightly melancholy about many of her favorites she would never again be able to have.

Shaking herself out of her thoughts, she nodded to Ian. “Thank you, it’s very good. Where did you find them?” Looking the way Ian had come from, T’Kirr hoped she could identify its source so that she could gather more later.

“A fair bit past the tree line, maybe a kilo or so, there’s a copse of them. I think I’ll throw some in the still and see how it affects the booze.” He smirked, squinting into the dawn, crow’s feet deepening around his eyes. “It’s not bad as-is, but what I wouldn’t give for a good single-malt scotch.”

It was comforting to know Ian’s thoughts were similar to hers in missing their favorite things. “I have yet to find a leaf suitable for steeping, too.” T’Kirr glanced at him, catching his eye. “While it is invigorating to an extent, I grow weary of having to discover everything anew. I find myself wishing to ‘take a break’ from it all and just have one night in our quarters with a replicator.”

“Yeah…” he trailed off. A few moments of silence later he added, “Of all the material things we’re missing, it ultimately comes down to tea and scotch. Rather appropriate, I suppose, but it does us no good to sit around missing our old lives when we can’t get them back.”

“Agreed.” T’Kirr sat up a bit straighter. “There are countless good ways to lead lives. One must merely overcome one’s attachment to past memories and embrace the present.” She eyed him fondly. “You did want to retire, after all.”

Ian laughed, nodding as he recalled their conversation while hiking on Risa. “That I did, but this wasn’t quite what I had in mind. This resort’s service is just terrible!” He scooted closer and put his arm around her shoulders. “It could be worse, though.”

“Indeed.” T’Kirr leaned into Ian’s side, gazing out at what they were beginning to call home. “I know Atlantis will get along without us. I know it’s very unlikely they’ll find out that we’re still alive, but I do find myself wondering if they yet know about the corruption within Starfleet.”

“They may not yet know, but if things continue the way they were, they’ll be faced with a conflict between following orders and doing what’s right. It depends on who is in command, of course, but I’d like to think they’ll do what’s right when the time comes to choose.” Ian let out a sigh before continuing, “Unfortunately, as much as I hate to say it, that’s no longer our problem. Then again, as selfish as it sounds against what may be happening to the Federation as a whole, it is somewhat freeing to only have two lives to worry about instead of over a thousand.”

While she would continue to be on Atlantis if she had a choice, T’Kirr had also given a lot of thought to what it would mean to compromise with Ian’s wishes of retirement. In this case, neither of them were given a choice, and the decision to leave service to Starfleet was thrust upon them. With it brought opportunities not otherwise suitably available to them, and the thought caused a warmth to spread through her body. “Would a third life encroach too much on that freeing feeling?”

“A third?” He wondered if she could possibly mean that—no, he would know, through their telepathic bond. Ian turned to face her, wearing a warm smile. “Are you asking if we should have a child?”

“I am.” T’Kirr met his eyes again briefly before looking around their slowly growing homestead. “If we work hard, we could make a good life for a child here, or wherever we decide to go. Practically speaking, it would be wise to have a younger generation to support us as we grow older.” She didn’t say that she would be left alone without him someday as she outlived him and would wish for further companionship, but she wouldn’t be surprised if he felt it from her anyway.

They had previously discounted the idea of having children because of the dangers their careers exposed them to, but now… well, Ian thought that it wasn’t a bad idea at all. There were, of course, considerations to be made for their situation, but he didn’t see anything that would be insurmountable. Ian had also always wished that he could have had a hand in raising his son, but that now fell under the category of things he couldn’t change. Ross had a good start and would do well, he imagined, and he’d at least gotten to spend some time with him in the past several years, but to be actually be given a chance to be a good father… he had to admit that T’Kirr may have found the real bright side to what had happened to them.

He tenderly slid his hand up to the back of her head, and leaned in to touch her forehead with his. “I think it’s a wonderful idea. We should give it some more thought, though, but I’m definitely open to the possibility.”

“Of course,” T’Kirr agreed softly, enjoying the moment close to Ian. “I am not quite ready, either. We need to settle in more first. But it is…something to look forward to?”

“It is, indeed. And things to look forward to have been in short supply, lately.” Ian could sense that she was pleased with his answer by the warmth radiating through their bond. “So, yes, by all means, let’s consider children when planning for the future in our new home.”


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