Operation: Peace or P'Jem
Location: Starbase 21| Arboretum
Timeline: 2394 -- Couple weeks before SB Arrives
As far as arboretums go this one was special. It was like a permanent running holodeck. The massive cargo bay had been converted to hold trees, flowers, dirt, grass and even had a small pond that gently rippled. Oriana was impressed.
She stopped and closed her eyes letting the artificially generated wind wash over her. It felt so good on her skin. Smiling she carried her picnic basket and blanket under the tree by the pond. She quickly set out the blanket and set the basket aside. Lowering herself to the blanket covered grass she slipped her shoes off and picked up a book.
It was so peaceful here. She hadn’t set up her quarters as she would be here only a short time so she hadn’t set up her meditation area but she needed some calming. This morning she’d woken with a sharp pain in her chest. It was no worse than the times before. It was a pain she knew well from childhood so she was used to it but it had lasted a little longer this time. She rubbed the area above her heart in memory of the pain. Oriana took a few deep breaths and tried to relax; it was over now.
Oriana lay back and closed her eyes letting the breeze and the scent of the water wash over her. This felt calming, like heaven. Suddenly a wave of loneliness engulfed her. It was a feeling she was also familiar with. She’d been lonely ever since she could remember, ever since childhood. Oh, she’d had a home, parents, siblings, but…she’d always been lonely, she’d always dealt with life alone and her family seemed to be happy to allow that. She was the odd one out and she accepted that early in life. In fact, it had spurred her to leave home at 15 and fend for herself. She’d done a great job of it too. She’d gotten her education, gotten a job…of sorts, and she’d pulled herself through some dark times.
A sense of melancholy filled her. “Not today,” she told herself.
The familiar voice sent a shiver of pleasure through her. Her eyes popped open and she sat up a little leaning on her elbows. “Oh…it’s you.” Those intense green eyes, they seem to devour me…or is that just my fantasy? Oriana smiled. “I see the Goddess of Fate has caused our paths to cross again.”
Hayashi adjusted the collar that seemed suddenly too tight. “More like a faulty room weather controller.”
Oriana raised her eyebrow in a fashion that would have made a Vulcan proud. “Oh?”
Hayashi motioned around. “The wind, it’s not supposed to be here.”
Oriana pouted. “That’s too bad. I enjoyed the cool wind caressing my skin.”
Hayashi blushed. Could it be…I never get flustered, I never feel… this way. Flirting is a way of life for me but when she’s around I seem to forget that or even how to flirt, I feel like the hunted rather than the hunter.
“Do you have to fix it now? Can you not leave it for a while longer?”
Hayashi shrugged, “I…guess I could wait a while, there is nobody here.”
“But you and me,” her voice dropped low causing Hayashi to shiver again and blush. She brought forward thoughts that…were always dormant in Hayashi.
“I have a picnic and I did make a little too much perhaps you can join me? It is about lunch time is it not?”
Hayashi swallowed hard. “I guess.” There was a small pause. “I never caught your name.”
She laughed again, the sound was melodic and arousing and hypnotic.
Why the hell am I sweating? Hayashi dropped the tools to the side and sat down. “I guess I could have lunch. Can I ask you something?”
Oriana turned to the basket and began opening it. “Sure.” She pulled out some juice and sandwiches and desserts, a feast.
“What’s your name?”
Oriana laughed again. “This is only our second meeting. Perhaps if we meet again, we can exchange names.”
Hayashi chuckled. “You sure as hell are a mysterious one.”
“A little mystery can be fun.”
Oriana stopped her companion from saying more by pressing her fingers to warm gentle lips. “Shhhh, no names. Not yet. Not as long as there are secrets between us.”
Hayashi’s heart began to slam. It was her touch, her voice, the way her eyes saw clear through all that was Hayashi. “I…”
Oriana pulled back. “Tuna sandwich or a salami club mix?”
“The second one,” Hayashi said.
“Cheese or no cheese?”
Oriana started putting together the sandwich with cheese, lettuce, and a salmi mix; a little mustard, mayo, butter. Hayashi’s mouth watered.
“That looks good.”
“Hmmm.” She said handing Hayashi the sandwich. “Fruit juice?”
The two ate in companionable silence looking out at the lake. Hayashi, for the first time in a long time felt comfortable, safe. What was it about this woman? She had a mysterious way about her that seemed to call to Hayashi in a way that touched every crevice of the soul. It was like she knew the future…or saw things that Hayashi couldn’t. She awoke a yearning in Hayashi that … had not been there in a long time.
“This is a nice place,” Oriana said.
“Yeah…it’s a favorite of mine.”
“You like the water?”
“Yes. I love to swim or just be near water and the trees but … I think I like being amongst the stars best.”
“There is an old legend that those called to the stars are made of stardust and were formed by the Gods themselves.”
Hayashi gave a nod. “It’s a Betazoid legend.”
“Is it?” Oriana said. “Are you Betazoid?”
Hayashi choked on the bit of sandwich and had to drink juice to get it clear. “How…did you…”
“When we met previously you were able to sense my emotions…you described how I felt and I feel like my soul knows you.”
Hayashi’s eyes widened. “Um…you are a strange lady.”
Oriana laughed, “Am I?”
“Perhaps,” she said. The silence stretched between them, a comfortable one full of promise. When they’d eaten their meal, she pulled out dessert dumplings. “I hope you like apples. “These are baked apple dumplings with brown sugar.”
Hayashi took a few and was surprised with the first bit into it; there was a sweet and spicy cinnamon center. “These are great.” Hayashi turned and was surprised at how ravenously she ate them. He laughed. “You really like those?”
She smiled, “Oh…sorry that wasn’t very lady like but they are my favorite. They were the first food I learned to cook.”
“You made these?”
“I did. I have them every day…which explains the need for exercise.”
“There is nothing wrong with your figure,” Hayashi blushed and then laughed again. “Amai Gyoza.”
Hayashi stood picking up the tools that were earlier discarded. “Amai Gyoza, is Japanese for Sweet Dumpling. You won’t tell me your name and I found out today that they are your favorite food so I will call you Amai Gyoza.”
Oriana blushed, “I think I like that. Maybe I won’t ever tell you, my name.”
Hayashi laughed. “Well, I should go. Thank you for lunch Amai Gyoza, until next time.”
She watched Hayashi walk away. He speaks Japanese…he’s Betazoid…I want to know more. “Until next time Anata.”
Hayashi stopped and turned. “You…speak Japanese.”
She smiled, “I speak seven languages.”
Anata, It was a term of endearment in Japan it meant, literally you but it was more than that. It was used to represent an intimate powerful love…a woman often addressed her sweetheart this way. “I…”
In the time it took for the shock to wear off from Hayashi she’d packed up her basket and taken up her blanket. “Until next time,” she said as she walked past Hayashi stopping in front of him.
What am I feeling? Why does she make me feel like this? Why does my soul feel like I’ve known her before?
“You have some cinnamon on your lip.” Oriana reached up gently using her finger to remove the drop of cinnamon. She licked her finger. “Until next time, then.” She walked away leaving Hayashi standing slack jawed with a heart that threatened to beat clear out of the chest.
Damn… Hayashi thought.
Just when she’d reached the door she stopped and turned, “I forgot.”
She tossed something at Hayashi who managed to catch it in midair.
Oriana grinned at the facial expression Hayashi pulled upon realizing what it was. Oriana laughed and said, “A weather regulator. You’ll need it for the fix. Sometimes the Goddess of fate needs help.”
She planned this? Hayashi stares as the woman walked away realizing she’d created an opportunity for this meeting. Hayashi grinned. “Until next time sweet dumpling.”