Tomaz gently and carefully closed the door behind him and crept slowly down the small corridor outwards the living area. The moment he crossed the threshold and felt he was in the safe zone, he walked normal and stopped tiptoeing.
The Barzan sighed carefully as he smirked at his guests waiting for him to rejoin their company. Sitting on one of the grey sofas was Samris and perched on one of the armchairs was T’Rani.
“Sorry about that guys.” Tomaz apologised as he sat down on the sofa besides his friend Samris. “Jeddie never sleeps through the night. I’m sure now he is down with Mexie it may help.”
Waving off the excuse, showing they weren’t bothered by the inconvenience, Samris told his friend not to worry. “It’s just nice to get out for once.”
“Agreed.” T’Rani added.
“It’s nice to have some adult company.” Tomaz included. “The last two months have been strange.”
“That’s an understatement, Tomaz.” Samris replied. He leant forward and picked up the glass of kali-fal that Tomaz’s synthesiser had created for him earlier that night. The aroma hit him and his nostrils flared up in reaction. “Hmm.” He responded with. “I really do keep forgetting this is not the real thing.”
Tomaz and T’Rani looked at one another and then on to Samris, both curious as to what he meant by that statement. Realising they were looking at him for further clarity he went on to explain how his parents had enjoyed the drink at gatherings and knew that real kali-fal, a fine Romulan alcoholic beverage, should forcibly open one’s sinuses well before the first sip. “This place can trick you into a false sense of security.”
“You’ll get no dispute from me about it.” Tomaz said as he reached for his glass of Saurian brandy.
Samris looked at his friend, “Fatherhood suits you.”
“As it does to you.” Tomaz returned and he looked at T’Rani, “the same goes to you for motherhood.”
“Thank you lieutenant.” T’Rani said in an almost formal tone. “It is odd that I have heard that phrase used more than two hundred and forty seven times since our abduction and forced guardianship of the Quierennal children.”
“It’s not as if we had much of a choice in the matter, T’Rani.” Samris said as he placed his drink down. “Captain Jyster forced the situation upon us and the captain didn’t have much choice in the matter.”
“Indeed.” She responded in her normal curtly Vulcan manner.
“Have either of you guys seen or heard from him lately?” Tomaz pondered.
Shaking his head, Samris replied. “Not directly. We’ve seen glimpses of him at the school when we’ve taken the kids to and from there. You?”
“The same.” Tomaz answered. “I just wished we knew if something was going to happen to get us back to Odyssey.” He had lowered his voice as he spoke. “That said, getting to know Jeddie and spending time with him, well it’s made being stuck here a lot more easier to cope with.”
“I concur with your assessment.” T’Rani shared. “If it was not for Mexie and the girls, this whole situation would be much more difficult to manage.”
It had been weird for all three of them. T’Rani and Samris had become co-parents of a sibling group of two girls and a boy while Tomaz was now a single father of a six year old boy. Luckily for him, the accommodation that Jyster had created for the Odyssey crew to stay in, she had placed him as a neighbour to the Romulan and Vulcan couple. Plus his “son”, Jeddie, was the same age as their eldest “son” Mexie. As a result in the last few weeks they had planned a number of play dates to support one another. Samris had thought his training as a counsellor would have helped him be prepared for parenthood, which was far from it, so he was learning it all by rope just as much as T’Rani and Tomaz were. All four children had found it quite difficult to deal with the situation they all found themselves in. All three adults had found it just as difficult too.
“I saw Max and Tobie earlier today.” Samris explained.
“Oh? And how are our first officer and senior chief doing with their adventure in dealing with adolescent dramas?” Tomaz enquired.
Chuckling a bit as he recalled the conversation he had with their superiors, Samris stated that they were fine. “From the sounds of it the sons of Captain Jyster are quite easy to get along with.”
“And I thought we pulled the easy assignments with our lot.” Tomaz commented. “What else did they say?”
“Max is still pushing on his idea that we are all going to, if we’re not already, suffer from a version of a human mental condition called Stockholm Syndrome.” Samris answered. “Basically how we perceive our captor in a different but more favourable light.”
“I do not believe many of the crew would place Captain Jyster in that category.” T’Rani countered back with.
“It’s more to do with the relationships being forced upon us with the children with the fact we are trapped in this situation where all of our needs are being met without significant harm being caused to us. We’re not chained up or being tortured as such.” Samris said. “I get where Max is thinking.”
“Really?” Tomaz questioned. “Do you honestly think none of us would have stepped up to look after these children if things were a bit different?”
Samris was taken back a bit by his friend’s question. “How so?” He challenged.
Tomaz took a moment to take a breath before answering. “Let’s say for instance, that Captain Jyster hadn’t captured us all. Instead Captain McCallister had negotiated with her an agreement where we would bring the children out of their stasis chambers and brought them back to Odyssey for treatment and care. Even if that had happened, I’m certain the crew would still have stepped up to the mark to look after these children. With that many alien children on the ship, regulation would have forced the captain to turn the Odyssey around and head back home. We would have been back in the Alpha Quadrant and passing them over to the Federation Displaced Person’s Agency and into proper foster homes by now.”
“That does sound like a logical chain of events.” T’Rani said, “it may still happen.”
Samris agreed with her before turning back to his friend. “You almost sound like you resent having Jeddie with you?”
Shaking his head and taking a sip from his brandy. “Not one bit, that kid makes me laugh so much and I’ve found myself enjoying having him around. I just wish we had met under better circumstances and that if I get the chance to see him grow up, I genuinely hope that he doesn’t resent me because of the situation we were forced into.”
“I get that.” Samris agreed. “This whole situation makes me think back to when I was placed in a refugee camp on Draken Four with my family. For a long time we had no idea what was happening, where our next meal was coming from and who to trust. It was unnerving.”
T’Rani stood and made her way over to sit next to Samris. She knew how difficult it was for him to share his past experiences of the Romulan relocation. Taking his hand into hers, she assured him. “Having that experience will give you the strength to ensure these young people we are caring for know they can trust us, even if we can’t be in control of what was going to happen next.”
“Absolutely.” Tomaz agreed, raising his glass to show unity in T’Rani’s comment.
Samris showed his appreciation with a smile to her and to Tomaz as he squeezed T’Rani’s hand back. “Thanks guys.” He added. “Anyway, I was saying about my chat with Max and Tobie. They said we should try and request more items to help the children feel more settled.”
“How come?” Tomaz asked.
“They didn’t say why, it was just something they were encouraging everyone to do. Tobie said to think big as well, especially as the Quirennal is powerful. So I was going to say if we could use it’s particle synthesizers to create a beach resort along with a huge pool. What do you think? I used to live by the Apnex Sea on Romulus, my parents used to take me to the beach almost everyday. We did so much there, especially in the hot summer. We could make it a big event for everyone.”
Tomaz considered the idea. “It’d be nice to see everyone again. Do you think people are going to want to party?”
“Max said he wanted to get everyone together soon. Why can’t it be this?” Samris wondered.
“Unifying the crew along with the youngsters may have its benefits.” T’Rani offered.
Agreeing that the idea sounded like a decent plan, the three officers spent the rest of their evening putting ideas together. They listed what they could do and who they could get involved in helping. If anything, for now they knew bringing the crew together would build a lot of broken bridges where people had been forced away from one another to deal with the situation they were forced into on the Quirennal. And if there was something that Samris knew, he knew that when he was on Draken Four, the time his people didn’t feel like aliens on a stranger’s planet was when they got together for some big event. His parents were normally the ones organising it, so it felt right for him to suggest this.