Endings And Beginnings

Posted on Fri Feb 19, 2021 @ 12:47am by Danielle Mercursi-Mallory & Lieutenant Commander Arrda

Mission: The Nanjing
Location: Arrda and Danielle's Quarters

Every new beginning comes from some other beginning's end. Those were the words of a song from the early 21st Century, and they floated through Arrda's head as he entered the quarters he shared with his wife. The Mission From Hell -- okay, in his case, the second Mission From Hell -- had ended, and word had come down that the Triumphant crew were being reassigned... again.

The mission had somehow devolved insanely quickly, and he had found himself on the run with the commodore and others. Thankfully, Danielle had been with them. And thank the Mother Creator she was unharmed. But now they had to pack up and move again. Hadn't they just gotten here? Sometimes it seemed like a lifetime they'd been here, and other times it seemed like no time at all.

Entering, he took off his uniform jacket and folded it in his hands as he moved through the quarters to change out of the uniform and into something more comfortable. He did not see Danielle in the outer room, so he moved on to the bedroom. "Honey? You in here?" he called before reaching the bedroom. She had told him that he stealthed on occasion, so he was trying not to sneak up on her, especially after what they had just endured.

"In here!" Danielle called out from the other room where they had stored most of the things they had collected on their travels across the galaxy as she slowly and carefully packed each item up.

Arrda smiled at the sound of her voice. They had been through a lot, but they had come out of it together. He quickly changed into comfortable clothes and then joined his wife in the other room. Coming up behind her, he slid his arms around her, drawing her to stand as he embraced her. "How are you holding up, my Love?" he asked softly.

"Oftaa," she muttered, her acronym for when she was really annoyed. "You?"

He could feel the tension in her and wanted to ease it. At first, he didn't say anything, just showed her how much he loved her and how much he was glad that she was still here with him. Gently, he turned her to face him, then leaned down and kissed her deeply. After that kiss, he smiled. "Like you. But the upside is this day is nearly over." He was trying.

Danielle returned the kiss and laid her head against his massive chest. "What's next, Arrda?" she asked quietly. "I was really hoping this assignment would last more than a few short years."

Arrda sighed, resting his chin on top of her head and just holding her close to him. "I know. I really do like this ship and crew. It's a shame that Starfleet is splitting us all up." He sighed softly, though there was an emotional weight to that sigh. He remained silent a moment, then took a deep breath. "We could accept another assignment. Or" he paused, wondering if she would see his next idea as 'retirement' and balk. He decided to plunge in anyway. "Or we could return to either Earth or Marai. I have a home on both of them. Or, if you have ideas, we can discuss them as well." He was just spitballing here. He had no plan; his plan had been like hers, to stay here for a good while. So he was scrambling.

"What would you like to do?" Danielle asked, knowing he was an Enforcer at heart and always would be.

Arrda took a deep breath and let it out slowly, thinking. "I have been an Enforcer a very long time," he said softly, thoughtfully. "Before that, I was an Artist. I do sometimes miss the Art." He tilted his head so that his cheek was against the top of her head, feeling the soft hair brush it gently. "I can do either, but I want you to be happy to, my Love."

"How about you break out your old ship and we go gallivanting around righting wrongs and saying screw the Prime Directive if it means saving a planet?" she suggested.

Arrda chuckled. "So you want to be the two-person galactic Justice League?" he teased lightly. "I could get behind that." He had said it like a joke, but he was also half serious. Enforcers were all about justice, and sometimes the Federation's rules made it impossible to seek that justice. But if they were independents, they would have only their rules. "If you need help, and if you can find them..." he joked, hoping she would get the reference but seriously doubting it. Hell, she probably hadn't gotten the Justice League reference.

"What's a Justice League and why does it sound appealing?" Danielle asked as she looked at him. "And I know there's more than one group out there that isn't satisfied with how Starfleet does things. We could form up to be some kind of guardians of the galaxy."

If she had known what Justice League was, he might have suspected the last was done on purpose. However, her not knowing almost made it more funny. He chuckled. He should likely explain them both to her. "Now you're just doing it on purpose," was what actually came out though, and he shook his head, chuckling. "Okay, I'm sorry. I should explain that reference. Justice League was a group of meta-humans who went about saving folks. And Guardians of the Galaxy were... a bit less scrupulous but ended up saving folks anyway." He shrugged a bit. "But you're right. That would be a good use of our skills. And I do have the ship for it."

"Doing what on pur...oh. I didn't, really. I thought guardians of the galaxy sounded better than Justice League," She laughed.

Arrda laughed with her, placing a soft kiss to her forehead. "I know what you meant. That was unfair of me. I apologize," he said, the smile still in place though. "Now the question is... were you serious or playing with me?"

"I'm down with everything or anything that you are and you know that," Danielle said with a smile. "Or you should long before now."

He chuckled softly. "I know, Love. I just have always believed that life-altering decisions should not be made unilaterally. But if you do want me to decide, I like your idea of taking my ship and traveling about, helping people. Of course, it means we will have to take on crew, but that's no problem. You will, of course, be my right hand." He paused and smirked, playing with her as he added, "Unless you want to be in command."

"Oh hell no," Danielle said. "I have no desire to wear red at any point in time unless it's that red lingerie you like, and I'll be damned if I'm wearing that on the bridge."

He laughed softly. "Oh, stop that!" he chided lightly. "You know perfectly well that Marai doesn't use that color scheme for duty uniforms." He had to chuckle at her assertion though. "You won't? Aw, damn!" he grumped playfully. "Not even if I beg really cute?" Now he was just playing with her.

"That's when I replicate one of those old fashioned printed papers, roll it up and thwap you with it," she said with a laugh.

He laughed too. He had wanted to give her the 'puppy eyes' and whimper like a puppy, but that just didn't work out. "You would, too!" he poked verbally. "All right, you win. No red lingerie on the bridge." His expression became mischievous again. "But what about the lounge?" He knew better; it was still a public venue, but he had to tease.

"That won't do at all," Danielle said with a frown. "That's where I plan on lounging naked."

Arrda chuckled. "Oh, well then that certainly won't do," he agreed. "Well, we'll just have to think of somewhere else then." He gave her a squeeze. For a few moments, they had been able to disconnect themselves from the reality of what was happening, but reality would not be denied its affect on them, and he looked around the room then back to his wife. His demeanor had become serious once more. "I really had thought that we would be here for years to come." A pause. "Mother will be surprised." But that statement made him smile again, and the glitter returned to his eyes. "That's the first thing we should do, Love. We should go to Marai and surprise her with a visit."

"I can live with that," she said. "Then we can go back to Earth and who knows where after that? Get a rag tag crew and go do some real good where it's needed."

Arrda leaned down and placed a soft kiss to her lips before pulling his head back to look into her eyes again. "I can live with that," he said, and meant it. In some ways, Starfleet restricted his need for justice, his need to protect the innocents in a more direct way. "Do you need any help packing?" he asked as he looked around them again, for the first time really taking in the state of the place.

"Not really," Danielle said. "But if you lug the heavy stuff to the door, I'll admire you and take a few holo shots."

Arrda chuckled and kissed her softly before disentangling himself. "As you wish, My Lady," he said with a deep bow and a grin. "Which ones are you finished with?" When she pointed them out, he took the first one, lifted it, turned, gave her a little waggle of his butt, then carried the container to the front door, setting it off to the side before turning to return for another. He was still grinning at her.

"Well, ship dip," She muttered. "That one had the holo imager in it. We may have to do a few outtakes later to get the perfect shot."

He paused halfway to her, shifting his expression to one of mock distress. "You mean I did that butt wag for nothing?" he protested in a playfully distressed tone.

"No," Danielle said with a smile. "I enjoyed it quite nicely."

Arrda chuckled, returning to where she stood. "Well, then that's all that matters," he asserted, going to the night table and opening the drawer. It was empty. He looked back at Danielle. "Honey, where did you put the things that were in here?" he asked. "I need the comm that was in here to summon my ship to meet the Triumphant."

"It's in your personal kit," she said. "On top of the dresser," she pointed. "Along with your favorite Enforcer"

Arrda playfully scowled at her reference to his Enforcer gear as toys, but he wasn't really upset. It was a running joke between them. "You know me too well, Love," he commented with a smile. "I think you should be worried." He moved to the dresser and retrieved the comm from the kit.

"If I was, you'd be in a force field containment area that I designed before I resigned," Danielle said. "You know, the Arrda proof one."

He chuckled. "You know what? I believe you." He activated the comm and spoke into it in Marai. A few seconds later, a male voice responded in Marai. Arrda gave some information, and the other said something that was most likely acknowledgment since right after that, Arrda closed the channel and looked back at his wife. "We have an hour or two to finish packing." He looked around. "But it looks like you were almost finished when I came in and interrupted you."

"Life in Starfleet taught me to pack fast and travel light," she said a bit wistfully.

He didn't miss the tone in her voice and approached again, resting one hand on her cheek. "You miss it?" he asked softly. He could understand, and he suspected he already knew the answer. But he wanted to show her that he paid attention to all those tiny details, as if she didn't already know that after this long. He mentally shook his head at himself.

"Nope," Danielle said. "I want more stuff instead of having to pack everything up with each new ship and send most of it home. Hell, I don't even know where home is anymore."

Arrda understood what she meant, but he couldn't help but feel bad. Unlike the Enforcer Guild which might send you on a Mission lasting years but then give you several years or even decades at home with family, Starfleet just kept you moving from ship to ship, mission to mission, as if the only home you had was whatever ship you were on and the only family you had was Starfleet. He hugged her again, leaning down to whisper in her ear, "Home is anywhere we are together, My Love." He held her just so for a moment, then leaned back a hair. "Home is also wherever you want it to be. Earth? Marai? Some other planet I've never heard of? It really doesn't matter to me as long as we share it." And he meant every word.

"I feel the same way," she said. "And wherever you are is home for me."

*Oftaa = One Fucking Thing After Another