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Chocolate, sprinkles and unicorns - Part I

Posted on Friday, 29 December 2023 - 5:45pm by Commander Soral & Lieutenant Alex Kingsley

Mission: Operation: Lobes & Liberties
Location: Station
Timeline: Post arrival at the station


Sparkling under the lights, Severine watched in the mirror as the silver necklace was carefully placed around her neck. Her finger moved to touch the locket, the intricate design complete with a baby pink jewel recognisable as one edge of a heart. This one split not in two but three. Turning it over in her hand, she admired the workmanship with a critical eye, before turning away from her reflection to face her grandmother.

“I do not understand,” she admitted. “It is not my birthday nor a special occasion. Why…?”

Laura Kingsley smiled patiently as she admired her own necklace, albeit her own with a blue jewel rather than pink. “Sometimes, you just need some retail therapy,” she explained with a shrug. She followed Severine’s gaze to the growing pile of shopping bags and offered a small apologetic smile, “and sometimes you need a lot of retail therapy.”

Severine took her grandmother’s hand. “I believe it would be more helpful for you to speak to a therapist.”

“So we should return the clothes and the gifts?” Laura asked with a frown, realising she may indeed have gone too far.

“I do not believe I said that,” Severine interjected hastily. “Besides, it would be rude to return gifts before we have even delivered them… do you think she will come to dinner?”

Laura immediately understood who ‘she’ was and sighed, shaking her head sadly. “I don’t believe so. And I could not offer her many reasons to go, beyond our amazing company of course-“

Severine nodded sadly, a small pout on her lips. “I understand.”

Which she absolutely did not. Not really. What her extended family had become was …. Unusual. Which was an understatement. Indeed she was almost relieved that Laura had demanded this impromptu shopping trip. It was surreal to come face to face with your older self and siblings…

“Which is why I thought we could have some hot chocolate and go ice skating on the promenade instead?” a familiar voice suggested from nearby. Dressed in form fitting jeans, boots and an oversized sweater, Alex offered a small wave before Severine almost knocked her into the next quadrant, hugging her fiercely. Hiding the pain as best she could, Alex hugged her back, kissing her forehead before smiling over at her mum. “Been busy I see?”

“Oh well, just a few bits and bobs,” her mother smiled before speaking to the assistant to finalise her purchase. That settled she collected her bags and headed for her daughter and granddaughter. “How about some hot chocolate first? I could use a seat for a few minutes.”

Taking some of the bags from her mother, Alex offered Severine her arm as they set off towards the promenade. “You’ll need a ship just for the shopping if you keep this up,” she teased her mother.

“It’s called retail therapy dear, you should try it,” Laura replied, “I mean I know Starfleet has a uniform for every occasion but really, don’t you have some extra wardrobe space?”

Alex rolled her eyes, causing Severine to stifle a giggle and try to disguise it behind a cough.

“Thick as thieves you two,” Laura concluded as she ushered them into a booth. “I know when I’m outnumbered… oh, three hot chocolates please, a cookie assortment plate and erm… oh yes, marshmallows and sprinkles too,” she rhymed off as a waitress appeared and then promptly retreated.

“I wish you would come to dinner, Alex, please,” Severine said quietly. “For me?”

Alex was speechless for a long moment, unsure of what to say. She was spared by the sound of a baby crying which seemed to cut to her very core, making her turn in her seat at warp nine. Her eyes zeroed in on a man she would recognise anywhere, although never had she seen him attempting to sooth a crying baby while negotiating his way through the crowd while seeming to dictate notes to another person she recognised. Bella.

“It’s father,” Severine declared, which Soral clearly heard for he looked immediately in their direction. She thought she saw a question in the few nanoseconds their eyes met and she gave a small nod. Severine would after all never believe they were parting on good terms if they avoided one another completely.

Soral held Alex's gaze as he walked over. "Hello..." He said somewhat unsure.

“Hi…” her reply was drowned out by Severine. Gesturing at the assortment of bags, she confided, “this is retail therapy father. Perhaps I can teach you? Grandmother is very good at it, she even bought me this. I have a piece of the heart … why is the baby crying?”

Laura smiled, “they do that. Quite often.”

“Indeed,” Bella concurred from a short distance away where she watched over Aria. It would have been easier to leave her on the ship but Soral was keeping to his word and seemed especially attached to the infant. “Vulcan and Romulan children are not normally so … vocal. She refuses to sleep.”

“There are many tricks to help with that,” Laura smiled. “Why don’t you let me try a few and you can join us? Hot chocolate and cookies?”

Soral tore his gaze from his mother in law...or rather former mother in law. "Any help would be appreciated." He looked at Alex. "I do not wish to intrude on your day."

“It’s more of a small interlude before I have an appointment,” Alex clarified, gesturing to the empty chairs while her mother moved to scoop up the swaddled infant and began fussing. She saw Severine watching it all, her expression worthy of the most well trained Vulcan’s. Alex offered the girl a warm smile, sure it must be strange to see Laura looking after someone else. “Hopefully tricks one to five work before she starts si - nope, there she goes….”

Pacing back and forth, Laura quietly sung a lullaby while gesturing for the waitress to come take another order. On a half turn she stopped abruptly as she almost collided with Bella who had opted to stay standing near the table, hovering. “Sit dear, there is plenty of room,” Laura chided gently.

“I presume your appointment is not official business Lieutenant?” Bella observed as she sat, eyeing Alex’s attire.

“An astute observation,” Alex replied coolly as the first order of drinks and cookies arrived. “What brings you both to the station? Other than trying to soothe the baby… mother she really doesn’t like the singing, maybe another trick?”

“Every baby loves my singing,” Laura protested as she came to join them at the table. “Even Vulcan’s appreciate music…. But yes, do tell? Is there anything you need me to arrange before dinner?”

"No, nothing of the sort. We are making final arrangements to take on Vulcan healers to New Romulus as well as some architects that are...interested in aiding Shar of Vulcan. They are to build hospitals and proper housing on New Romulus, the ship will be docking shortly. We are to pick up some supplies that will be needed." Soral looked up at Alex. "Will you be joining us for Dinner?"

Alex shook her head, “despite Severine’s best efforts, no. I -“

She glanced up as her mother all but sat in her lap. “Listen to that…” Laura said with a smile, “she heard you two and now she’s as happy as a clam.”

“Or perhaps she really did not enjoy your singing,” Bella observed.

"The child recognizes her mother's voice." He said. "In any verse."

“An interesting hypothesis father,” Severine said as she held her hot chocolate cradled in both hands just like Alex did beside her, “but it is also possible the child has simply grown tired of making such a fuss, is it not?”

“Absolutely,” Alex agreed while at the same time her mother muttered, “unlikely.”

Sitting down with Aria cradled in her arms, Laura looked across at Soral, seeming to see past so much of the mask she suspected he wore. “Soral, it seems you have much planned already. Is New Romulus prepared for you?” she kept her tone light, to ensure he knew she was teasing him.

"Perhaps not. I am not an easy person to prepare for. However, once we raise New Romulus to former glory we shall see if the bridge between the Federation and the Romulans can be mended." He studied Alex. "Do you wish to hold her?"

To Be Continued...


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