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A Whole New Meaning to Lonely

Posted on Wed May 5th, 2021 @ 3:25am by Lieutenant JG Aurelia Garrett & Lieutenant Eklisa

Mission: Side Posts
Location: Lieutenant Elisa's Quarters
Timeline: Following Rumplestiltskin

Aurelia Garrett lost track of the amount of wine she had consumed, especially when she decided to forego the glasses all together and drink directly from the bottle. In the middle of the night, a few hours after her brother Alijah had departed her quarters Garrett found herself stumbling down the corridors of Deep Space 12 in a drunken stupor still wearing the fancy pantsuit, how she had made it to Eklisa's door drunk and in heels would forever be a mystery. When she looked down to see she still wore the shoes, she removed them nd used one to knock on the door. Then like a toddler who cant stay still she started to twirl in the hall.

Eklisa wondered why someone would knock rather than chime her, so she got up, set Cruncher in the dirt of her planter, and opened the door herself to look out. It had, so far, been an almost uneventful night. She got off shift, ate dinner, and did her personal work, writing her daily observations on the plankton she had in biocontainment on her desk, watering her plants, and playing with Cruncher- who was getting more and more used to being held, despite his early reservations.

"Aurelia? You alright there?"

Aurelia looked up at her friend and frowned. It wasn’t like Garrett to bring her troubles to her friends doorsteps, she almost apologized for bothering Eklisa and went on her way but then she said, “No.”

"Why don't you come in and sit down? I'll get you some water." Eklisa was a firm believer in water after wine.

It was out of character for Aurelia to be stumbling drunk with some problem, as opposed to stumbling drunk from revelry, and Eklisa had no doubt that she needed someone to talk to. Many times, drunkenness brought out more authentic and less guarded versions of her non-denobulan friends, allowing her to see into the life that denobulans wouldn't bother to hide. Many times, it was the very revealing of their personal issues that helped them feel better, and they knew a denobulan wouldn't judge them for their flaws.

Garrett's lips formed a thin firm line as she nodded in agreement to come inside. She wasn't thrilled about the water, knowing it would soon reverse the numbing relief the wine had given her but she also knew that being in the denobulans presence would be worth it. She followed Eklisa into her quarters and immediately went to the living area taking up a space on the couch. "I'm sorry to bother you so late Lis."

"It really is no problem. You know I don't have to sleep at night." Eklisa set a glass on the low table in front of Aurelia and then grabbed Cruncher out of the ferns. He should probably be here for this too, as a fellow earth native he might help center Aurelia. Even if he was just a turtle. "What seems to be the problem, dear?"

"Alijah- My brother. My whole family and their idiotic immutable traditions." Aurelia picked up the glass of water and took a small sip, she held the glass in her hands if for no other reason then to keep from fidgeting. Her anger and frustration was causing her to want to run 10 miles around the station, or go head to head with a Klingon. But she knew that would only be a temporary fix, a band aid on the situation, an excuse to ignore what was really wrong. "He came here with an agenda, NOT because he cared enough to visit me. A complete waste of my time and energy. I dont know why I had hope or expected the visit to be anything but."

"Why would someone travel all this way if not to spend time with their family? That's disappointing. And who values their traditions over the people around them?" Eklisa still wasn't sure what exactly was wrong, but she could empathize heartily and let Aurelia vent. She set Cruncher in her lap and sat on the floor near her couch.

Aurelia gave a heavy sigh. She had never vented about her family in this way. It she wasn't appreciative of everything she had, knowing well enough that she was gifted more then most people and to complain only made her seem ungrateful. But somehow this time it was different, her family crossed a line this time. Aurelia set the glass down, not trusting herself to hold it for this next part.

"Alijah is unable to sire an heir." she paused feeling shame for not taking more pity of her brothers situation. Maybe she was wrong she thought. "The orchard and estate have always been passed down from Garrett to Garrett, with my brother unable to have children, it was decided that I would birth a child....and....they... they didn't even ask me before planning and preparing. They just assumed I would have a child for him. That I would be the one to carry on the line. Like it was my duty to do so given my brothers situation. Like its what was expected of me." Garrett kept her eyes averted from Eklisa for fear of what she might see in her friends expression.

"As unfortunate as it is that he is unable to have a child himself, it seems incredibly cruel to expect you to have a child for him. If you ever want to have a child, it should be yours. If you never want to have a child, that's your business. Duty be damned." Eklisa knew something about pressure to have children, but definitely not to this extent. This seemed bizzare. "Do they care about blood so much that adoption is not valid?"

Denobulan families were extensive to the point that trying to track a bloodline was impossible, impractical, and frankly unnecessary. Family names weren't even kept and the idea that an orchard would go to the first born child, and not just whoever of healthy age who lived nearby and wanted to take over it seemed like a poor system.

“Adoption has never been an option. You see.... there was once a period in time on my planet where royalty reigned over a country, or sections of land. Those titles were then passed down to heirs, a bloodline chosen by God. Hereditary succession is what it’s referred to as. It was long outweighed and forgotten by the 19th century but when my family build their ‘kingdom’ they took on the belief that it needed to be passed down by bloodline.” Aurelia stopped for a moment and reflected on how incredibly outdated her family was.

“My family still believes in that tradition. Actually they’re just scared to be different, to do something other then what’s been done. That’s why they resented my decision to join Starfleet. They would rather I be some princess locked in a castle. I wanted more. I wanted to be different. I don’t care what Alijah says.... I deserve to be different.....” Garrett’s green eyes started to glitter with moisture.

"Woah, hey, now, you're right. You deserve to do with your life what you will, and that extends to your entire life. You have no obligation to let them use your womb or choose your career path. Family can be a lot of responsibility, but you are as much a member of your family as your brother or your parents and you should get to decide what one quarter of the family does with your time. If they have no notion of their duty to support and accept you, you do not need to care for their opinions. I have sixteen siblings by my parents and their spouses. Many of them would prefer I was closer to home. But they know what I want and that I will listen to them, but I do not have to change my life for them any more than they have to change their lives for me. Hereditary succession sounds stupid to me, it shouldn't be more important than your wishes. I suppose I lack context for it." Eklisa held her turtle close to her chest.

How a family this small could bear to dismiss the wishes of one of their own puzzled her.

Looking at her friend seated on the floor with a turtle made Aurelia smile, she was beyond lucky to have someone like Eklisa to confide in, someone who she never felt judged by, no matter her actions. She slid off the couch to a spot next to her and held out her hands for the turtle. "I wish Banks was here." Thinking back to the cat that roamed the near desolate manor home back on earth. "Do you want children someday?" The question blurted out of her before she even had a second to register she was curious about it.

Eklisa plopped Cruncher into Aurelia's hands, thinking. "I suppose I've never thought about it. I'm good at taking care of children, and I have no large anxiety about pregnancy or childbirth, but I guess I always figured I'd cross that bridge when I got to it, if I ever did. I think if any of my spouses wanted me to carry their child I would, but I have no strong desire to have children or avoid it. Outside of your family's request, would you want to have children?"

Aurelia shrugged. “It always seemed like I had so much time before it became a reality. Like there’s still so much more I want to do.” She ran her fingers over the turtles shell, it didn’t seem as scared of her as she assumed it would be. There was a comfort in holding something small in her arms. “Does that make me selfish? Do you think my decision to not help my family is selfish?”

Eklisa considered for a moment. "Maybe! 'Selfish' is a vague term, though- If you can't be selfish about your body, what can you be selfish about? I don't think you're outside of your rights to refuse them the use of your body. I don't think you're less helpful, loving, or moral for refusing to lend your womb out to anyone, even your family. No one has a right to your blood, even if they're dying, no one has a right to ask you to carry a child because they can't produce one. Self-respect and self-determination are a major tenet of Denobulan ethical philosophy, even with our hypersocial nature. If Geshix asked me to have a child because he was sterile I'd punch him. If your parents can't get over a tradition of bloodlines, then the tradition should die with them. I don't know if that sounds harsh, but the world is too vast and diverse for someone to force outdated ideals onto their children and you do not deserve to feel guilty for wanting to remain childless for the moment or your entire life."

Garrett tried to hide her flinch when Eklisa mentioned the tradition dying with them. “Is Geshix one of your brothers?” Aurelia gently placed crusher in her lap and picked up the glass of water, downing half of it. “I think if I ever left Starfleet I’d move to Denobula, I’d never have to worry about being alone.” With the pad on her index finger Aurelia lightly pet the turtles head.

"Geshix is my next older brother by my birth parents, he's on Risa right now studying tropical fungus. He had a baby by his first wife a few months ago. He's the sibling I'm closest to, not just in age, we pretty much grew up as one person. I'm sure, if you did move to Denobula, my family would be there to help you settle in and get used to the culture." Eklisa looked up to think for a moment, "You'd be accepted as a new daughter-in-law without question, even though you haven't married into the family. You'd like the orchard, and most of my grandparents would love you."

“Who studies fungus while on Risa?! I’m convinced that’s just his cover!” Aurelia chuckled. For a minute she was lost in a memory. A rare moment when she was no more then six, chasing her brother in the apple trees just outside the manor house while they’re grandfather walked behind them. There was a pang in her heart. Swallowing she looked at her friend. “Only most of your grandparents would love me huh?!”

"I also believe it's a cover, don't worry. I do have fifty-two grandparents, you know, and I don't know all of them that well, and three of them have passed away. Five of them live at the orchard, though, and they'd love you a lot. Kaava, Leali, Gerth, Feakl, and Fex, they send me messages often begging me to come home and introduce some of my friends so they can decide if they trust me to them- and they will, you're too cool and cute for them to ignore, not to mention they'd trust me to anyone with the slightest concern for my health. They'll sit on that porch and peel fruit for the wine vats and tell you to eat more, dance more, climb more trees, and offer to introduce you to my cousins, siblings, neighbors, and friends." Eklisa rambled for a moment, then looked back down, "It occurs to me you have no idea how big my family is. I have a hundred and sixteen siblings by marriages, if you count them all up."

Garrett eyes shot open," That's... so... I mean I knew you had a big family, but that's colossal! How can you even keep track? I'm going to need a cheat sheet for sure...." Aurelia moved to face Eklisa and set Cruncher down on the floor between them. Redirecting him when he went the wrong way. "I'm looking forward to meeting them, as many as I can that is. With so many siblings I'm shocked their aren't more in Starfleet. Oh wait, not many leave your home world right? I bet we could fit your entire family into the manor house!" Aurelia laughed, but she knew she wasn't really joking.

"Denobulans have a better developed social cortex in our brains, most humans can only really be familiar with about five hundred individuals at a time, but with Denobulans it's closer to five thousand. Or so the theory goes, since it isn't a whole separate lobe or anything. Most of my close family lives in about five acres on Denobula, and only about thirty of them have left the Denobulan system, mostly my mother's children. Community is very important to Denobulans, so it's strange for any of the species to be out of the star system for more than a few months at a time, and theoretically damaging due to being away from their community. Also theoretically, you could argue that building a community outside of that solar system would work, and it's been tried with mixed results. Your family's manor house would be a little big for my family, but for a reunion it might get full enough to be comfortable." Eklisa laughed softly, remembering the big, empty entrance hall. Who even builds rooms just to come into a building into?

"Or we could turn the manor into a refugee home, you know like a starter home for families misplaced by war. That's what I always wanted to do, you know so it wouldn't be so lonely." Aurelia paused looking up at her friend. "Thank you by the way, I don't know what I would do with out you. I doubt Menun would have tolerated me showing up at his door in the middle of the night in my current state. I like to think he would have found some petty reason to lock Alijah in the brig. " She chuckled at the thought.

"Refugee homes are always needed somewhere, and it's a noble goal to keep one open. Menun would probably toss Alijah somewhere. As it is, I want to toss him in the brig myself, I just don't have the authority. You could always introduce us! I know a few things about veiled insults and polite disapproval, Kaava was my grandmother after all." She smiled all the way, "I'd appreciate the chance to protect my friend in the best way I know how." Eklisa wasn't much of a fighter, despite her relative strength, but socially she could parry with the best of them.

“The plan was to introduce you, I was even foolishly excited about it. Albeit I don’t think I would be able to restrain myself if my brother were to insult you, his actions have a way of speaking for him. I wish I didn’t feel that way toward Alijah, but I also would like to shove him out the nearest airlock.” Looking back down to Cruncher who was nearly to Eklisas legs she added,” You don’t get alone with all your siblings right? If I remember correctly?”

"It would be incredibly difficult for me to get along with all of my siblings, between feuds between them, our childhood slights, and the way I've left home, I would say most of them have a few disagreements with me. Alijah, and correct me if I'm wrong, seems the kind of person I'd have to learn the to analyze. If he insulted me I'd prefer to know." Eklisa waited for Cruncher to reach her, then plucked him up, "If anything, a night in the brig would teach him not to come bother you with this."

A tear slid down Aurelia's cheek, she quickly wiped it away. "Lis, do you think I could stay with you tonight?" She wasnt ready to be alone just yet. Every time she opened her heart to a male they seemed to crush it with little remorse.

"Of course you can stay. We'll dim the lights and get you a blanket for the hammock." Eklisa didn't sleep, but she could be quiet for someone who did. Denobulans were more of nappers outside of hibernation.

"Are you sure? I don't want to be a burden. Plus the couch is fine, you don't have to go to the trouble at all. I would just rather be here, with you, and not somewhere too quiet."

"You are never a burden, and if you were I'd be glad to carry it."


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