Idols of Fortune
Location: The Tin Goose. Starbase 417
Summary: Stephen discovers a background, Tabitha discovers a friend and Freya discovers bad news.
Timeline: Date 2399-09-02 at 0930
Stephen stepped from the turbolift onto the main thoroughfare of the Starbase , joining the hustle and bustle of another busy day intent on a half hour for coffee as he sorted his appointments for the day. His mind drifted back to yesterday's meeting with Valencia and Freya.
Their desire to see Freya's miniature painting in its permanent setting had resulted in a visit.He’d shown them into his apartment, led the way to the picture explaining as they went why it was there, adding again that he found it fascinating and had grown very fond of it.
Valencia was delighted, told Freya what a wonderful artist she had in her niece and asked Stephen if he didn’t agree. He had ofcourse with no need of flattery and Freya, colour touching her cheeks, had thanked them both.
He and Valencia had returned to the main room leaving Freya to study her work. Stephen had glanced at her through the open doorway seeing how she examined the picture closely as though searching for any flaws or something she could have improved upon. Finding none and being well satisfied with her accomplishment she had smiled to herself as she gazed at the graceful petals and turning away, met Stephens eye and the return smile.
Valencia too had followed his line of attention joining in the happy moment. They had left shortly afterwards with a vague agreement to meet again for lunch or dinner or a housewarming when Freya moved to her own place. He watched them walk away along the corridor arm in arm much more like two old friends than aunt and niece.
“I ‘haven’t’ forgotten! I’m sorry I didn't get it to you when I said but I’ll do it today..promise.”
He had recognised the voice even before he turned to it’s source and smiled now at the worried face looking up at him.
“It’s alright, it’s not hinging on anything.”.
“ I know. It's just that I ‘hate’ being late. “
Stephen knew this to be true and it rarely happened. His junior counsellor was organised almost to a fault, something that could be a blessing or a blight depending on how it was viewed.
“Whenever you get to it.” he reassured her. “Time for a coffee?”
“Thankyou.” She gave a soft smile having known he would take this line but grateful nonetheless adding: “ Ummm….yes..ok” in reply to his suggestion.
“I’m meeting with Robertson again today.” he told her as they set off together. “It should be a chance to resolve the matter…”
“Wow….” she breathed coming to a halt. Stephen stopped too glancing back at her to see her focus on something or someone in the passing throng.
“ I don't believe it!” She looked back at Stephen and raised a hand much in the way of rooting a dog to the spot with the command ‘Stay’
“ Excuse me a moment? Be right back.”
It was the call of “Freya!” that brought a perplexed expression to his face for surely Tabitha didn't know her too but stranger things happen.
In a moment of recognition he saw Freya stop, look at Tabitha and wonder dawn on her pretty face before they joined to hug each other, all smiles and excitement at the unexpected meeting. They spoke for a moment or two before heading in his direction chatting as they came.
“Stephen...please meet an old friend from the Academy days, Freya Sandison. Freya...this is my boss Stephen Jacobs.Freya is…”
“Hello again.” he said smiling to Freya
“You know one another?” an astonished Tabitha asked..
“Hi…yes we do.” Freya replied turning her smile from Stephen to her friend.
“We met briefly just once some years ago now and then again yesterday. My Aunt is Dr Valencia Helnir…”
“Riiiight.” Tabitha replied fitting pieces together. “Worlds get smaller don’t they?”
“They do indeed.” Stephen chuckled
“Now I know there is such a thing as coincidence. “Tabitha laughed.
“There certainly is.” Freya replied. “ So you’re a counsellor here?”
“Yes I am.” came a proud reply. “....and enjoying it..I think.”
“I’d feel happier if you sounded more certain.” Stephen chuckled and they all laughed.
“You’re here to visit your aunt?” Tabitha asked as Stephen apologised to someone whose way he was blocking.
“No, '' Freya replied, also stepping aside.”..well yes that too but I’m working here now. Ensign Sandison if you don't mind!”
“Hey! That’s great. Congratulations” Tabithas delight was obvious equalled by her friend.
Stephen suggested they all share this renewed friendship over a coffee
“How’s Phil?” Freya asked as they moved off already eager to catch up with her old friend. “ Got him trained yet?”
The lighthearted joke fell flat as she saw Tabithas happy expression change to confusion
“Ummm…he..umm…no…….He...he was aboard the Horus.”
Freya stopped in her tracks and caught her breath as she realized what that meant.
“Ohhhh...oh Tibbs I’m so sorry….I had no idea. “
She stepped forward to embrace her friend, all joy evaporated, whispering again that she was “ so so sorry.” and when she stepped back her eyes were filled with unshed tears.
“Thankyou...it ...well...it was a ..........”
Tabitha gave Stephen a fleeting glance then a weak smile to Freya.
“ Look..I umm…. I’ll have forgo the coffee.” she said ” Im already probably late but its so good see you and we must meet soon.What about this afternoon?”
“Absolutely...” Freya replied uncertainly, still reeling from Tabithas news.
“Why dont we ‘all meet up...a late lunch?” Tabitha suggested looking from one to the other but her gaze staying with Stephen. “Tin Goose again?”
Stephen held her gaze gave a nod and replied:
“Sounds good.Let me know how your meeting goes won’t you?.”
“ I will. ``She too made an effort to regain the lost happy atmosphere but it fell flat in a rushed exit.
.” Tin Goose then Stephen will arrange it see you there later.” and with a quick raise of her hand in a would be wave she left them, hurrying on her way.
They both watched her make a spurt for the turbo lift.
“ I wish I hadn't asked. “Freya spoke quietly watching her friend disappear then looked at her new companion.
“You didn’t know. Don’t blame yourself.” She didnt appear to be reassured. “Let’s get a coffee anyway.” he said and received a nod of agreement.
The Tin Goose was a favourite haunt of Stephens where he spent time ‘people watching’ an exercise that never failed to interest him. It wasn’t a large place but meals there were good, the staff friendly and not as stiff as in some larger establishments.
He held the back of her chair as Freya seated herself at the small round glass topped table to the left of the doorway still looking rather shaken at Tabithas unexpected news.
“ Are you ok?” he asked as he seated himself, concerned at how pale she was.
“Yes..yes Im fine…it was just a bit of a shock.”
His worried expression spoke for him despite his understanding.
“Good morning to you…what can I get you?” A young waitress appeared beside them with a cheery greeting to one of her best customers.
“Good morning Suzi.” Stephen replied glancing up at her happy face before glancing to Freya with a questioning expression.
Freya toyed with the idea of asking for a stiff drink but replied “Hot Chocolate please but without the frills.”
Stephen repeated the order adding “and my usual please Thankyou.”
Silence reigned between the pair. Freya took and released a long breath as she pulled herself together a little until Stephen sought to change her train of thought by asking if her new position meant an end to art.
“Oh no. I enjoy it too much.” she replied, grateful she could think of something else.
“ I had to admit that painting wasn’t a certain future no matter how much I wanted it to be but...having an interest in Biology...or more so in Botany and giving it lots of thought..well...its a career I enjoy too, there’s lots of opportunities ahead and I can still paint but as a hobby. I enjoy it too much to stop altogether. It works well.”
She spoke the truth as colour returned to her cheeks.
“Good.” he said with meaning. “It would be a great shame if you stopped creating such lovely things.”
Suzi arrived to place their drinks before them and was thanked twice that time.
“Does Tibbs really have somewhere she has to be? She left so quickly I wonder if….”
“Yes she does.” Stephen replied cutting off her worries in a quiet tone that matched hers.
“I wish I hadn't mentioned Phil..”
“Its natural that you did. You knew him too didn't you? Ofcourse you’d ask after him..”
Freya silently agreed with his reasoning and nodded as her memories returned..
“There was a group of us, different courses, different years and he was a part of it.” She paused then seemed to brighten a little.
“There was always something to celebrate it seemed.” She forced a ‘you know what I mean?’ smile which he returned in kindly fashion
“Was he a main stay?”
“Pretty much.” She stirred her drink reverting to thoughts again but looked up at her companion and said:
“To be honest I wasn't sure I liked him all that much at first.Not sure why, oh he was always charming, funny..I didnt ‘dis’like him.” she added hurriedly trying not to give the wrong impression but finding difficulty to express herself clearly.
“ He was very confident, self assured you know? He was successful, always had top grades or at the very least second now and then. It was as if he expected it as his due”
Stephen took a few sips from his mug.
“ He singled Tibbs out early on though. It was odd in a way because I wouldn't have said she was his type at all ....but then...she obviously was.” Freya gave a simple shrug and smiled as though to say somethings are just beyond reason aren't they.
Stephen mirrored her expression.
“ Such an end though.”
“It was. “ he agreed.
The episode in question was commonly known as The Horus Incident and, at the time, had caused a diplomatic situation with the Klingons. USS Horus had been lost with all hands and having been scheduled to rendezvous with a Klingon ship for a diplomatic exchange. Instead Horus, with her shields down, had been blown up without any warning.
At first the Klingons denied this was the case. The Federation pressed for a full investigation which the Klingons refused to do and the diplomatic situation deteriorated rapidly.
It was then revealed the Klingons had found and executed someone they believed to have been responsible laying the blame squarely on the exhiled House of D’Goh. This was the official line but many still believed there was more to it.
“She’s still very upset isn’t she?” Freya asked her Hot Chocolate. “ It’s understandable.though.”
“She chooses not to talk of it.”
“Her way of dealing with it?” Freya shook her head as she raised her eyes to meet Stephens gaze. “ I can’t imagine how you would get over something like that.”
“With time.” he replied. “Perhaps not ‘get over’ it...more ‘come to terms’ with it.”
They sat in silence, he watching her watching the bubbles in her frothy drink and she thinking of her friends unhappiness. When she looked at him again he smiled to her in a kindly way which she took comfort from.
“Meeting here for a late lunch then.” he said positively. “Celebration of an old friendship.”
“Yes, yes it will be that.” she replied echoing his mood. “Unless…”’
“Unless you don't relish the thought of two nattering women?” she added obviously joking.
“I don't mind that at all.” he laughed “.
She considered this for a few seconds then asked:
"What about three?"
***End Log ***