Federation Embassy

Cardassia

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Young Hearts

Posted on Sat Sep 28th, 2019 @ 5:34pm by Soit Emla & Sean Wyatt & James Gallagher

Mission: E1: The Price of Unity
Location: Starfleet Medical Center, New Lakarian Campus
Timeline: Mission Day 8 at 1200

The green flash, the agonized last call. Pevit was a virtual stranger to Soit but that didn't matter. Soit flinched away from it toward the dull, real ebb of healing pain, his mind behind closed eyelids not feeling safe anymore. But he was tired. His body was knitting itself back together at an accelerated rate and it didn't feel great. Still, he dutifully lifted his arm and held it, then raised again over his head as he'd been instructed. He had range of emotion, though he still felt an old ache deep inside where they'd had to repair him.

"Like this?" Soit turned to the Human putting him through the motions. He stood in the center of an examination room, upon a warm white glowing circle of a medical sensor.

"That's it," James told Soit with a warm smile as he looked down at the boy. "You've already got a good range of motion back, but it still isn't at 100% yet." He stood examining the boy's movements and then nodded his head, satisfied with the results. "Now, sit down on the floor and we'll work on your legs next."

Soit's nod had hesitance, the kind that comes from the skeptical around physical therapy. Most of the pain came when he lifted his shoulder and that must have been what James was talking about. The Cardassian looked at the Human with a sideways glance- internalized xenophobia or fact of incidental genetics, but this person looked a degree like Sean to Soit. Enough that he wondered if they were related. He wasn't confident enough to ask.

Instead, Soit did as he was told. He winced as when the cold sensor touched on his bare back. He squared his shoulders and put his long, thin arms down the plane of his body. He blinked and waited to see what the Human insisted he do. Dark eyes studied the Human, building a database of what Humans seemed to look like.

James lowered himself down in front of Soit and carefully took hold of his right leg. "Just relax and move with me. If you feel any pain or discomfort, let me know," he told the boy as he slowly began moving his leg back and forth. As he moved, he watched Soit's face for any reactions to the movement.

Soit gave his silent nod of assent, but the discomfort on his face was more toward the chill on his back scales. He sighed softly, his eyes wanting to close but he feared what he'd see. He instead fixed his gaze on the physical therapist's. He had brown eyes. Soit glanced away as James began to ease his knee into a bend. Sean had blue eyes. In Cardassian culture, blue and gray eyes were identified with clarity, will and intelligence. Soit always thought his own dark eyes were rather dull.

Soit let the Human finish his leg motions: he studied the Ensign's face and shoulders with few signs of pain. It was hard to tell, but Soit figured he was older than he was by ten years. Why didn't the Humans have have neck bones? How did they cool down when the temperature got too hot? Did they only sweat? He'd wondered the same the day he and Sean had gone swimming in Sean's family holodeck. Humans were strange beings. Pink and... odd.

"Are you from Earth?" Soit broke his silence. "What does one," and he pointed at James' rank pip, "Mean?"

"Yes, I'm from Earth," James replied as he finished with the right leg. "One pip means I'm an Ensign, lower than the other officers but higher than enlisted staff. I believe the Cardassian equivalent is a Dalin, but I'm not entirely sure." James noticed a few signs of pain from the boy, which was expected from his condition. "How did that feel?" he asked.

Soit's head nodded, his eyes down: so this one was from Earth too. Did Humans colonize other worlds? Like the Cardassians had their systems? Before Soit could ask, he felt a strange electric seize. He hissed and tensed when James moved him- though it wasn't part of him that was shot, the Doctors were clear the neurological trauma would take time to recover from.

"A Gil's at the bottom," he said. "It feels weird..." he added. Soit pushed up onto his elbows. "When will they let me go?" He asked- Soit didn't mean to be terse but hospitals weirded him out. He wanted to go home- though he was not sure he even knew what that meant anymore. It was more he wanted to go to solace, where he could finally think about what had happened instead of a bunch of aliens asking him about it.

"I'm not sure," James replied. "That's a bit above my pay grade, I'm afraid." Seeing Soit tense up around a certain trigger point, James slowed the motion down to feel out exactly where it was bothering him.

Soit sighed a fitful sigh, like frustration bubbled up under his reptilian surface. He pushed it back down, his eyes lulling closed in a long blink.

Sean had some time off shift for lunch so he decided to pay Soit a visit, since he was still in the building. He didn't want to come empty handed again, so he found an old, declassified tricorder technical manual that he though Soit would enjoy reading. As he turned the corner to walk into Soit's room, he saw something that peaked his interest.

Of course, Sean didn't want to disturb the doctor's process, so he stood in the doorway observing Soit's physical therapy. Once it looked like they were about finished, Sean knocked on the wall as if he just stepped inside. "I hope I'm not interrupting?" he asked. With bright overhead lights in the center of the room, there was only one source covering the doorway and Sean was directly under it. While he wasn't an actual officer, the Chief of Engineers allowed him to wear a standard duty uniform without any rank pips.

"Not at all," James replied, turning to the boy and smiling. "I think we're just about finished here," he said as he lowered Soit's leg back to the floor. He lifted himself off the ground and extended a hand to Soit to help him stand up.

The Cardassian flushed mauve-gray and mumbled a Hello, feeling exposed and vulnerable on the floor when the air shifted from healing to visiting. He dug in his heels, wanting to swat away the Human's hand to help him up. But even so it was the Human that got the skinny boy up. Soit set a line to his mouth and he nodded thanks at the Ensign. He looked at the floor and rubbed his neck.

"Oh, don't let me stop you," Sean said as he slowly walked deeper in the room, flashing another smirk to the Ensign before suddenly remembering why he was there. Holding the PADD in one hand, he ran the other through his hair and refocused on Soit.

At first Soit felt shy, crossing his arms over his chest once the Human Ensign helped him up. He smiled at Sean but the other's eyes were on the one with the blue turtleneck. Soit felt his neck scales prickle and he pushed his fingers gently into the Ensign's shoulders, "Thank you," he applied a little urgent pressure, trying to get James out of the room.

"My pleasure," James replied to Soit. "I'll be back to check on you late. If you need anything, just give a shout, I'll be right down the hall." With that, James turned and began walking towards the door. As he passed Sean, he eyed the boy a bit longer than he should have. He knew exactly who Sean was. Everyone's been talking about how the Ambassador's son fell into a bit at one of the construction sites. He let out a small chuckle as he turned the corner from the doorway.

Hearing James exit, Sean turned his head slightly and raised an eyebrow before looking back at Soit. "How're you feeling?" he asked, moving closer to the Cardassian. He gripped the PADD and moved it in front of him, holding it with both hands now.

Soit's pale clay skinniness stood before the Human, the soft white medical sensor below him highlighting the undersides of his body. Soit's face went from one of neutral to conflicted. He turned his back to the Human and reached for the t-shirt with Cardassian neck accommodations they'd provided. "I'm..." he pushed out a breath and just decided to pushed his head through the hole. Then he worked arm through the alien garment and then rolled it down his body.

Soit tilted a slight smile. "I'm alright," his dark eyes settled on the Human and he fidgeted, "I have a lot of bad dreams." He trusted Sean with that. Wrapping his arms loosely, he came to stand close to the Human boy. Nibbling at his bottom lip, Soit sniffed and tucked a long wave of hair behind his ear, "Can we go for a walk? I've been stuck in here... except when this giant man came and took me to..." he popped his brows and sighed tersely, "Talk." He looked behind Sean, his eyes narrowed, "Did you know him?" He meant James.

"Who? The Ensign?" Sean asked, tilting his bead back to see if he was still within earshot. "No, I don't know him, but I'd like to." He let out snicker before raising the PADD up to Soit. "Before we go for that walk, I brought you something that might help take your mind off those dreams. It's a technical manual for an old version Starfleet tricorder. It's a bit outdated, but the simplicity makes it pretty easy to understand and the fundamentals are pretty much the same." He offered the PADD to the Cardassian boy and half-smiled at him.

Soit's nose wrinkled, confused, and he too looked out the door. It was a futile action- he didn't have the right angle- but Soit tilted his skinny body to try and look past Sean. "... Why?" He asked, genuinely mystified, the contortion on his face like a younger kid not processing why a friend would like a girl. He didn't want to talk about James. He wanted to talk to Sean. His life almost felt stable with the Human around.

Sean shrugged, "I don't know, there's just something about him," he replied, not wanting to share his true feelings and intentions. While he was friendly with Soit, he wasn't so sure the boy would understand human emotions and feelings. And if he did, he wasn't sure what the Cardassian view of such feelings were.

Soit looked at Sean's outstretched hands, then shifted his dark gaze down to the present. Like he was offered a small treasure, Soit took it, flipping it in his hands to look over it. His overbite slipped sideways like he wanted to say Cool in an incredibly geeky way, while he pushed his wavy hair behind his ear again. His eyes were alight and he scrolled through it with a soft churling sound coming from the device. "I've seen your 2373 model," he said up to the boy with his large coffee colored eyes. He jabbed a finger at the PADD, "But this has the Type I declassified bioneural pathway units and the paired-parallel quantum-rotation processor the Catullans were working on." He raised the PADD and scrolled again, "That's going to change everything in another thirty years."

In the dance of Soit's eyes, he was almost giddy. It was enough that he moved and he actually hugged the Human with one arm, tucking his chin into the nook of Sean's neck and shoulder. He held it close to his chest once he pulled away, "Maybe we can build one together?" His hopeful look slid into a sarcastic breath, "If they ever let me out of here."

Soit knitted his brow. He'd been doing all the talking. He felt... selfish. The gift was nice but he had nothing to offer back. He blinked and lowered his head, turning off the PADD and resting it against the front of his pants. "Thank you." He curled his hair back again and checked another futile glance to where James had left. His voice was soft and he shrugged, "If you want... I'll tell the One-Circle," he pointed at his neck, "You want to be friends." Soit offered as a gift back. If it was something Sean wanted. "Just..." Soit stalled and his cheeks puffed out a breath. He walked over to his medical bed and slid the PADD under the sheets, afraid someone might take it. There was always that threat in Soit's world. He was used to older boys taking the things he wanted.

"Sure, we can build one. We can easily replicate all the parts," Sean told Soit. When he mentioned James, Sean smiled and blushed. "No no, it's okay. It isn't that serious," he replied. It wasn't that he didn't want to be friends with the other officer, but he needed to approach it in a different way – his way. He watched Soit hide the PADD, which was a bit odd, but Sean understood how protective Soit was. If the PADD was lost, Sean could easily retrieve the information from any computer terminal. The PADD was just a device to carry it around with. He shrugged it off and looked at Soit. "Ready for that walk?" he asked.

Soit nodded. "Yes," he murmured. As easily replaced as the PADD was to a Human, it was treasure to Soit. They hadn't given him footwear, so Soit planned to walk out in his bare feet. They'd given him pajama-like bottoms. Soit moved away with a last, sort of reverent glide of his hand on the bed and he turned to face the Human. He didn't press about James. Soit didn't understand why Sean would seem so interested one moment but didn't want help the next. But then... maybe Sean wanted to handle it himself.

Soit moved for the door and opened it with a touch of the control pad. He smiled his withdrawn smile at Sean and gestured for him to go first. Soit followed, walking close but not intimately so. Soit could have tapped his shoulder to Sean's had he wanted. But for now he just strode. "Are you okay?" He asked first. But he was sure he'd already asked that. "Did you get in trouble with your, uh, Mom?"

"Nah, I think she was more curious than anything," Sean replied as he matched Soit's pace while they started walking down the hall. "She's very understanding and she always wants to help. This whole thing made her really busy, but I think it's connected to something they were already working on. I'm not totally sure, they don't tell me anything, but I hear whispers here and there." They walked along the floor housing the intensive care unit, passing human and Cardassian families alike. "What about you?" Sean asked. "How'd everything go with their questions?"

Soit half turned to his friend and shrugged, "Scary at first... they walked me down this long hall to this weird room. Then this woman came in and pressed me about the things I've seen and heard in the Old City." Soit shrugged again. "I was trying not to panic. I was afraid if I said something wrong, I'd never get out of there." Soit blinked dark eyes and looked up at the window they approached. "They said I could have something called asylum if I wanted it... but I have to decide soon." He shook his head, "They said you were at work?"

"They offered you asylum?" Sean asked, surprised at first. He wasn't sure whether to be happy or nervous at what that meant, but at least the Federation would guarantee Soit's protection. "They've got me busy working with the Corps of Engineers. I'm actually on duty today, they just gave me some time for lunch." Sean glanced out the window at the city below and then turned back to Soit. "Are you going to accept their offer?" he asked.

Soit stared out at the obscured city like a boy in mourning, and trying very hard to mask it. He was a boy in way over his head, having to make decisions that made adults blanch. He absorbed- and he understood- that Sean had been busy, though a nebulous feeling inside Soit had wished he'd been there. Fear of what happened probably. Soit shook his head, "How can I?" He whispered, "I-I know it would keep me safe, but I'm no Cardassian if I can't be on Cardassia." He shrugged one shoulder, "If I accept, I can't say I am anymore." He blinked and looked at the Human, his eyes soulful and sad. "Could you leave your home behind?"

"I did leave my home behind," Sean started as he glanced at Soit and then back out at the skyline. "I moved across the galaxy to be here. Where you are doesn't define who you are. No matter where I am, I'm still human and I'm still a California boy at heart. Nobody can take that away from me, and I couldn't change it even if I wanted to. Don't let perception guide your reality, just do what's best for you."

Sean paused and looked down at the streets below. "Cardassia is a beautiful place, but there are thousands if not millions of planets out there. Now I'm not telling you what to do, but being part of the Federation opens doors that not even the Cardassians have access to."

Soit's eyes shifted to simple space between them, unfocused. He didn't seem sure, and he was paused with the same thoughts that paralyzed his going forward. The Human boy made excellent points, but to a Cardassian that was also utterly alien thinking. A Cardassian, Soit understood, was no Cardassian if he could not return to Cardassia. As enticing as thousands of worlds were, where was the glory if one could not come home after? "I suppose," he said noncommittally.

Soit looked out at his world, "It's as beautiful to me as your beach is to you." He sighed and hugged himself, "Do Humans enjoy heat?" The Cardassian asked, his nearly black gaze looking at his new friend. "You took me to your paradise. I can take you to mine."

"Yeah, we do," Sean replied. "We have these rooms called saunas, which are basically heat rooms that are said to remove all the toxins and negativity in your body by sweating it out. It's a pretty popular form of relaxation." He nodded his head at the boy, "I'd love to see what Cardassians call paradise," he said with a chuckle. "And you can use the holodeck to simulate pretty much anything."

Soit smiled a weary smile, a small breakthrough of happiness inside what he'd been through. "Sow...naw..." he attempted in the Human's tongue without the aid of the UT. "I would like to go to a Sow-naw with you." It sounded pleasant. "Are they dark places too?" He asked with a quirk of his head, one scaly eyebrow raising.

"They can be," Sean said with a chuckle. "Do the Cardassians have anything similar?" He really hoped Soit took the asylum offer. Soit deserved much more than being some unknown boy roaming the streets of New Lakarian City by himself. Joining the Federation would open up endless possibilities, including joining Starfleet.

The willowy Cardassian nodded at Sean's question, "Yes. I'll take you there." He twisted some to look at the hospital, "When they let me out of here." Soit grinned coyly, "Or I'll sneak out. And find you." But he did know he still had a massive decision to make. Even if he did, he knew he could not give up Cardassia easily. He'd needed to stow away.

"I'd like that," Sean said as he laughed. Watching a transport fly overhead, Sean remembered he was still on duty. "Oh shit," he said as he stepped back from the window. "I just realized I have to get back to the Engineering Lab. Commander Zarr is gonna kill me if I'm late." He felt bad that he cutting their walk short, but he was happy with the options Soit had. "Can I walk you back to your room?" he asked.

Soit pushed off the window, his own dark eyes following the quickly obscured hull of the transport passing through the dust. He wasn't eager to lose company, but he was to play with the gift Sean had opted to pass to him. Playing with some Federation technology, even if it was somewhat out of date, appealed. He nodded at Sean's offer. He swayed some, like he was deciding, something pensive he didn't share, then Soit started walking back, bumping his shoulder with the Human.

 

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