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Log of the Month for June, 2019

Acacia Out
Posted on June 20th, 2019 by Emilaina Acacia

The night of Atlantis’s 22nd anniversary party…

Emily laid in her bed staring at the ceiling, a frequent feature of those sleepless nights when her mind was racing. Her heart was torn half way between joy and sorrow, her arms wrapped tightly around the pillow she had hugged to her chest.

The party had been… a lot of fun. Too much fun, maybe. She’d worn a pretty dress for the first time in years, watched a bunch of psychic bears crawl all over her XO, and danced with a boy she liked. Of course, that was the problem–or at least the source of her gnawing guilt.

A part of her wanted to talk to someone, but it wasn’t the sort of thing she thought she could talk to her sister about. Or her dad. Or Riley, or Wright, or.. anyone, really. So instead she just closed her eyes, letting her mind flip between good and bad feelings, waiting, hoping for it to stop.


Over a decade ago, Earth…

Emily was sitting at a lunch table at school. She was almost done with her first year of middle school, and until that point she’d done a fairly good job of avoiding the question. Usually she could slip away or change the subject, but as Emily and her peers got older, they got more insistent on this discussion.

It was something on everyone else’s minds. Like thirst for water or hunger for food, most of the people around Emily thought about this sort of thing every day. Of course they assumed everyone experienced the world the way they did, as all kids do. It only became inconvenient when the subject was unavoidable.

“Who do you like?” Maya Williams, bubbly blue eyes and blonde pigtails, asked the girl sitting next to Emily. As Darcy set down her fork and turned bright red, Emily felt the pit of her stomach drop.

Maya and the other girls at the table squealed and prodded at Darcy while Emily was desperately looking around the room. She knew based on the way the conversation was headed that the question would come to her next, so she had to pick a name, and quickly. She thought of her friends, but immediately realized that giving any of those names was likely to make things awkward.

Her eyes settled on the half-Vulcan boy who attended the school, her shoulders relaxing a bit. Morton Byler was quiet, unassuming, probably not interested in rumors, and not someone Emily knew well… perfect.

“Come on!” Maya squealed, “We won’t tell anyone. We just wanna knooow.”

“I don’t know,” Darcy droned, looking between the three eager, prying faces. After a pause she gave up and sighed, blushing ever more, “Alright, fine,” she lowered her voice, “Morton.”

“Morton!?” Maya squealed, and Darcy flailed both arms to shush her. Maya lowered her voice as well, needling her some more.

Emily’s eyes widened, and she was becoming increasingly pale. This wasn’t good, and she only had a limited amount of time to come up with something else.

“Well.. Emily~” Maya finally relented on Darcy, turning to the panicked half-Betazoid, “You next. Who do you like?”

“Uhh…” Emily reflexively deflated. That was the wrong answer, though, because it made Maya even more excited.

“Ooh! Is it someone we know?” as Emily again looked around the room in a panic Maya gasped, mumbling, “Is it a girl~?”

Fortunately in the twenty-fourth century whether someone was into boys, girls, or others didn’t really matter to most people. The problem was the assumption that it was, by default, someone, when in truth Emily had always been much more interested in math than people.

“No one,” Emily mumbled in a feeble attempt to fend them off with honesty. The problem was, of course, that was exactly what she’d say if it was a lie to fend them off.

“Come ooon,” Maya grinned, bouncing excitedly.

Emily swallowed, then sighed. She’d summoned a name from the back of her mind, the boy she’d sat next to in science the year prior. They hardly saw each other anymore, so she figured it was a safe bet he wouldn’t be upset if he heard about it. It came out more like a question, “James Ano?”

Emily sunk into her chair, bitterly relieved for it to be over as the girls squealed their excitement.

Two years later, The Acacia Family Farm…

Emily had been actively searching for the right time for over two months. It had to be a time when her father was home, which narrowed the potential opportunities considerably, but she’d also already let several opportunities pass her by out of anxiety.

At fifteen going on sixteen, Emily was pretty much certain that she had figured out her sexuality. She knew, both from what they’d told her but also from picking up psychic signals, that the people around her all felt something she didn’t. The lingering fear keeping her from taking the plunge wasn’t a fear of rejection, rather that her parents might say something, well… ignorant.

Darokkatan, her father, sat in one of the plush chairs in the farmhouse living room reading from a PADD, the girls all sitting on the floor around the coffee table on which a mostly forgotten card game sat half-finished. Their mother Janessa was bringing finished plates of food back to the kitchen two at a time.

There was quiet, and Averi and Tori were both staring intently at Emily as they could both feel the dark cloud hovering over her head. Their father was ignoring it–he didn’t want to put pressure on his kids to share their emotions. Still, it was obvious to everyone in the room that Emily was stewing over something.

Tori reached over and grabbed Emily’s arm, giving it a squeeze. Emily looked at her smiling face and managed a small smile of her own, soaking in the silent encouragement. Finally, she stood up, taking a deep breath.

“There’s something I have to get off my chest,” Emily began slowly, choosing her words carefully. Janessa paused behind Darok’s chair to listen, and Darok let out a soft sigh of relief, setting his PADD in his lap.

“I’m asexual,” she blurted out.

Darok was the first to react, simply raising both eyebrows, nodding once, and replying in a definitive tone, “Ah. Alright.”

“What does that mean?” Janessa asked, trying not to sound worried, though her expression gave her away.

“It means she doesn’t experience sexual attraction,” Darok answered, picking back up his PADD to resume reading. As he thought about it he realized he pretty much already knew, he’d just never wanted to linger or think much on his children’s sexualities.

“Ohhhhhh,” Averi gasped, and Emily looked at her with a worried expression of her own. Seeing her sister’s distress, Averi immediately felt the need to clarify, “No, like.. I knew you weren’t straight, I mean.. I just assumed you were gay. That’s cool too, though.”

Emily relaxed visibly, letting out a breath she’d been accidentally holding, a small smile creeping onto her face in response to her sister’s reaction.

“Oh.. but you’re so young, you just haven’t met the right person yet. You don’t have to decide something like that now,” Janessa tried, in good faith, to be encouraging. Emily twinged and the other empaths in the room felt it too, all three of them turning to look at Janessa simultaneously, an often unsettling feature of living with your alien children.

“Dear,” Darok’s tone had changed slightly–the way he spoke when he was making it clear that you will listen to him was a bit closer to the voice he used with patients. He was gentle but completely firm, no one daring to interrupt him, “I’ll provide you some reading materials, okay?”

“Yes, I’ll..” Janessa trailed off, waving her hands to dismiss the thought before going over to hug Emily tightly, “Well you know I love you, no matter what.”

Emily returned her hug, then another much later that night when Janessa burst into her room to tearfully apologize for her initial reaction.

Starfleet Medical Academy, ‘College’ years…

Emily saw a therapist throughout college, a requirement for most medical degree tracks to help mitigate the adverse mental health outcomes associated with being a doctor. Everything Emily had that she’d call ‘a relationship’ through high school and college ended roughly the same way, and at a point it started to grate on her.

“The hard part is when.. and how… to have.. you know, ‘the talk’,” Emily picked at her fingernails, frowning as talking about it made the thoughts surface.

“How have you usually done it?” Joran, her therapist, prodded gently. Emily cringed.

“I mean.. I know I could do better, it’s just–”

“Woah, no, it’s not about you needing to do better,” Joran cut her off to pull her back out of the self-deprecating spiral she was trying to slip into, “These conversations are hard. There’s really no right or wrong answers, just how well it works out and what we learn from it.”

“Well…” Emily sighed, “the first one I waited.. about a week. I didn’t mean to wait that long, I just kept worrying about it and I could never get it out,” she leaned back in her chair slowly, “I’ve only had.. two people not dump me as soon as they found out. There was.. Harris, he wasn’t that great, we only lasted I think three weeks anyway. And.. Violet, the longest, almost six months. She thought it would be fine and we were for a while but I guess… she realized it wasn’t.”

“Have you considered a dating service or event specifically for asexual people?” Joran asked genuinely.

“I mean.. I haven’t found any, if you do let me know,” Emily shrugged meekly, “And online dating is usually a, uh… unique minefield for asexual people.”

“I can imagine,” Joran expressed sympathy, taking notes, “Well. It is an important discussion to have, and the earlier the better because things like sex, whether or not you want kids, basic.. funadamental lifestyle stuff is a big place you find incompatibilities that can’t be worked around.”

“Right,” Emily sighed, nodding lightly.

“It can be very helpful to just.. state what you want, outright. Can you put to words what you want?” Joran prompted.

“I mean.. ideally? Long term? I guess… You know, a relationship.. a partner, someone I live with, love, cuddle.. just… without sex involved,” Emily shrugged, “That’s just such a weird thing to.. say to people.”

“Have you considered some sort of outward visual signifier? I know some people have worn a black ring–”

“Nobody knows what the ring means,” Emily interrupted him without even realizing she had, “I wore one for most of high school, it… yeah. It may be old, but it’s obscure. I don’t really think there’s a good way to visually…” she trailed off, waving a hand to say ‘you know’.

“You know.. odds are slim you’ll face much discrimination for being open and out. As you know, Starfleet doesn’t allow any sort of discrimination so you could deal with anyone who gave you actual trouble administratively,” Joran pointed out, noting her apprehension at talking about this openly. He then checked his watch, sitting up a bit.

“It just feels like… something not worth mentioning, or weird and awkward to bring up, unless it’s.. you know, important. But then, when it is important, I end up agonizing over it and I just never want to bring it up,” Emily groaned.

“Well we should definitely talk about this more next week,” Joran nudged.

The night of the party…

Having thoroughly failed to get to sleep, Emily found herself sitting at the desk in her quarters, flipping through old notes on the console. She’d had an idea and wanted to see if the computer could do it for her, since she hadn’t the slightest idea where to begin in making clothes for herself.

She found a 3D image of a dress she liked the cut of, using her finger to turn it to get a look at all sides. She sat askew in her chair, one knee pulled to her chest and one arm wrapped around it.

“Computer.. overlay this pattern with the asexual pride flag,” she instructed, and the image flickered. The dress re-appeared in evenly sized stripes of four colors; from top to bottom black, grey, white, and purple.

Emily tilted her head, musing thoughtfully, “Hm… add sleeves. No–shorter sleeves. And taper the hem to be longer in the back…”

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  • Kathryn Harper Kathryn Harper says:

    A very good log with a touching treatment of a good topic! I especially liked her father’s reaction, which I truly hope would be the norm when someone comes out 400 years from now, if coming out is still even a thing.

  •  Alexis Wright says:

    A great log! I really liked the detail of how her mother clearly didn’t understand at first and then finally came to understand. I love all of the ways you’re developing your character. Bravo!

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