Two Questions in the Ready Room
Posted on March 1st, 2020 by Linxi Jude and Kathryn Harper
by Linxi Jude and Kathryn Harper
Linxi had quickly tidied herself up, before she walked up to the ready room, after all the festivities with the bears. She exhaled and bleeped the door chime.
“Come in!” came the captain’s cheerful answer. As the doors parted, Captain Harper was revealed to be seated behind her desk, looking expectantly toward the doors to see who was coming to visit her.
Linxi walked in, and took a seat in front of the desk. She nodded slightly, and exhaled, “Sooo, that bear party was… trippy wasn’t it?”
With a laugh, Kate answered, “That is one way of putting it, yes. It was unlike anything I have ever experienced, though, and I am glad they shared that with us.”
“I am used to the telepathy thing, obviously, but all the colors swirling around felt a bit like hallucinations. Logically, I know there was no harm, but I still wasn’t a fan,” Linxi briefly explained. She adjusted her posture, sitting straighter in the chair. “So, one of the reasons I wanted to talk to you was that I have been thinking for a while on this, and… I was thinking of perhaps joining the Sharks.”
The captain nodded, taking a moment to gather her thoughts on the young lieutenant’s request. “Alright,” she answered as she stood and moved out from behind the barrier of the desk to take the seat next to Jude. “That is a big decision. Why do you want to be a fighter pilot?”
“I’d like to do more, y’know, increase my own usefulness. I’m not saying that my position as just a science office isn’t useful, not at all. It’s just that I’d like to… expand myself.”
“That is admirable,” Kate said as she tried to put sudden thoughts of other eager, fresh-faced applicants to the fighter wing out of her mind, memories of people she had personally recruited to fly that had died in combat. “I am sure you are aware of the risk. After all, we risk our lives every day out here.” She met Linxi’s eyes before continuing, “But I would be remiss if I did not remind you that the life of a fighter pilot can be a short one.”
“Yes, I’m aware of the risks. I also talked to Suzuki a bit at the party and I’m positive this is something I want to do.”
They had all answered that way. “Okay,” Kate said as she clasped her hands and forced herself to move on. “Do you have any piloting experience?”
“I had in the Academy, yes. I didn’t do bad, if I say so myself,” she smirked.
Flashing a smile at Jude’s assessment of her ability, the captain dipped her head a moment. Of course, Kate already knew about her piloting experience and ratings at the Academy, having read her transcript when she joined the crew, but wanted to hear Linxi’s evaluation of herself, in her own words. “Alright, if that is what you wish to do, then report to Lt. Commander T’Lira for training.” Tapping the gold wings she still wore beneath her commbadge, she added, “I look forward to seeing you earn your wings.”
“Aye! Will do.” Linxi lifted herself from the chair a tad, then rested back down in a more relaxed position. She cleared her throat, “And erm, there was the other thing I wanted to bring up. Considering you are married, I’m assuming you uh, know something about relationships.”
Kate threw her head back and laughed for a few seconds, then answered, “I am, shall I say, a work in progress? Before I met Lex — Commander Wright, my long-term relationships ended disastrously. Even now, I am still learning, so it is fortunate that my wife is so patient with me. Are you sure you would not prefer to ask Counselor Endilev about this?” Without waiting for a reply, she rose and headed for the replicator. “Tea?”
“I’m sure, and no thank you. Well, I… have kind of given up on the whole… Wolfe thing, considering, y’know. But uh, deities I’m so useless, what I’m trying to ask is, how do you actually let another person know you are interested in them. Cause for somebody who’s species is so stereotypically open about literally anything and everything, I am totally useless with this stuff.” Linxi awkwardly chuckled.
After returning to her seat with a cup of tea, Kate settled into it, holding the cup and saucer just below her chin. “You know, Linxi, among those of us not blessed with empathic abilities, that is quite common. On Risa, however, we do not engage in the coy dances of other species, at least not when it comes to romance and sexuality, so body language alone usually does the trick. But that meant that I certainly had a lot to learn when I first got to Earth! Learning those coy dances can help, but sometimes the only universal way is to simply tell them how you feel.”
“I am just worried that something would change in our relationship if she doesn’t feel the same way. We’ve only been talking through subspace comms, and I can’t exactly feel her emotions this far away, so… I don’t know. And not knowing is something that… terrifies me.”
“If she does not feel the same for you, and if she is truly your friend, she will be flattered by you admitting your feelings for her and not destroy your relationship over it.” Kate sat her tea down after another sip and leaned forward before continuing, “Linxi, there is always a risk in laying your heart bare before someone and trusting them not to rip it to shreds. Sometimes, they will take advantage of your vulnerability, and you will get hurt. But other times, you will be rewarded ten times over for your trust. We cannot always know what the outcome will be, but trying is part of living.”
“Yeah, I know… And she knows I wouldn’t do anything to devalue our friendship in any way. I just tend to find myself having a hard time developing any romantic feelings without a… history. Kinda hard to get into a romantic relationship when people who want that don’t really want to take the friendly route first. Gotta say, the whole romance thing is so much harder than the whole… no strings attached thing.”
“I have done both, and you are correct, romance is harder,” Kate answered. She regarded the diamond on her left ring finger for a moment, then softly added, “But, with some luck, it can be worth it.”
Linxi looked down at the floor and nodded. That did sound nice — healthy relationships, that is. It was not until she got assigned to Atlantis that she went to therapy and recognized unhealthy behaviors. If only she knew that as a teenager, when she was being emotionally abused by her boyfriend at the time. Heck, it explained why she had such a hard time opening up to people her first year at the Academy, and still has trouble trusting herself at times.
It wasn’t that she actually wanted a romantic relationship, which she had not yet recognized, but more healthy relationships like the one with her old friend. Although Linxi was still getting to know the crew of Atlantis, their hand in offering positive and supportive relationships had been instrumental in Linxi’s path to emotionally healing.
Linxi stood, and put her hands behind her back. “Thanks for the talk. It was nice.”
Wearing a genial smile, Kate also rose, hoping that she had been of some help to her young officer. “You are welcome, Linxi, and please, feel free to come talk to me anytime.”