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Doctor Ryla Drett

Started by Jen, June 05, 2009, 11:24:13 AM

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Jen

Character's Name: Doctor Ryla Drett

Field: Chief Medical Officer

Rank: Lieutenant Commander (newly minted)

Species Of Origin:
Joined Trill

Age: Her symbiont 'Drett', born 2087, is 300.  Ryla was born 2357 and is 30 years old.

Joined: 2 years prior to assignment to Tiberius.

Previous Hosts:
Kabric (male)—A doctor who died at thirty-five, scaling the Tenaran Ice Cliffs.

Felahras (female)—an artist who made her living painting the portraits of bureaucrats. Lived to see her great-great grandchild before she died.

Ameel (female)—a musician who taught at the Tenaran Music Academy until her death seventy years later.

Omaurra (female)— a curator at the Devritane Museum. She raised five children, three of which grew to adulthood.

Jaunairim (female)—a botanist who discovered several rare plant species, one of which was later used in the vaccine that cured Ooperat Disease. Jaunairim died unexpectedly from an allergic reaction to a fruit she discovered on Flaxia's third moon.


Ryla Emarrin and the Drett symbiont's  Place Of Birth: Trill Home World

Gender: Female

Hair: Medium length blond hair that is often worn up while on duty.

Eyes: Hazel-brown in color

Height: 5' 5"

Weight: 110 lbs

Skin Tone: Fair complexion with two rows of spots that run from forehead to toe

Telepathic and Empathic Status: None

Body: Light, athletic build

Face: Oval shaped, friendly face. Dimples, which she hates, form when she smiles.

Marital Stats: Happily Single.

Children: None.

Habits: Twirls her hair when she's focused.

Quarters: It's organized chaos, yet her office is somewhat neat.

Likes:
Children and challenges (which often go hand in hand).

Dislikes: She doesn't care for rude people or tube grubs...yes, she's actually tried them. She dislikes the terms, 'bubbles' or  'blondy'. Both of which have been used to describe her.

Ambitions and Goals: To visit all the planets inside and outside the Federation...She knows it's impossible for her to achieve that goal, but it's worth a shot. Maybe Drett will one day.

Temperament: Daring, witty, committed, chronically late, slow to anger—has a long fuse with regards to her temper. There are few people who press her buttons, but one crew member has a talent for it.

Hobbies: Talking. Dancing. Wild cave exploration.

Family

Mother: Marul Tinnose

Father: Albrit Emarrin

Siblings: Three older sisters: Allim Emarrin, Bretti Tinnose and Zoa Emarrin.

Character History


Drett was joined to Ryla while the host was attending Starfleet Academy. Her best friend Galdar was the only individual allowed to witness the joining.  Her first assignment, was on the USS Tiberius as a medical officer. She later became Assistant CMO. Ryla was instrumental in discovering a cure for the Lucas Virus, a pathogen created by the Cheif Medical Officer, Doctor Lucas.  Two years after the destruction of Tiberius, she accepted a post as Chief Medical Officer on Arabella.
Founding co-host of the Anomaly Podcast
AnomalyPodcast.com
@AnoamlyPodcast

Jen

Joint backstory by Jen and Feathers

Cadet Galdar sat at a quiet table in the corner of the cafeteria, trying to remain inconspicuous as he worked his way through a fairly generous helping of tube grubs. The place was quiet at this time of day, which was exactly why he was here. There were ten other people present in a facility that would seat many times that number, but none of them paid him any attention. It would be unfair to say he was 'having problems', but there were a few 'unresolved issues' that he needed to find a way through. Apparently it was supposed to be character building, but sometimes it was simply easier to avoid flash points. In this case, he was not prepared to change his diet, nor retreat to his quarters to dine so eating alone at odd hours seemed to be the best compromise even though it severely limited the possibilities for social interaction with his fellow first years. The old-style swing door crashed open, breaking into Galdar's reverie and making him jump. His pulse quickened perceptibly as a noisy bunch of primarily third year cadets entered. It looked like this particular form of 'resolution' has just failed spectacularly. The Cadets, mostly human but with a Bolian and a Trill in their midst, stopped at the replicator bank while some of them ordered. After looking round the room, they moved in mass toward the Ferengi and took the next table.

"Galdar," said one in pseudo-respectful tones.

"Young," nodded Galdar in reply.

Cadet Young didn't look away after the greeting, but continued to watch the Ferengi as if waiting for something. Galdar sighed nervously. It always went down like this, no matter what Galdar did. He assumed it had started as general distaste at the prospect of eating live food, but it had grown from there into what he was sure was a great joke for the older Cadets but something that was beginning to unnerve him terribly. Slowly, the other members of the group turned and stared at Cadet Galdar, waiting for him to take a handful of grubs. If he ate, they cheered. If he walked away, they booed. If he did nothing, they simply watched and waited.

They wouldn't talk to him other than in greeting and they never got bored. I bet they wouldn't try this with a Klingon eating Gagh, he thought as he steeled himself to continue with his meal. Ryla Emarrin turned back from the Ferengi to stare at her plate. She picked at it uncomfortably as the group laughed at Galdar. Danny Young's attitude toward the newcomer had become a source of contention between he and Ryla. The human was her boyfriend, though she wasn't really sure why. He was tall, dark and handsome...and rather pompous at times. The group laughed again as Galdar took another mouthful of tube grubs. The Trill sighed, shoved her chair back dramatically and rose from the table with her plate in hand.
The group turned to glance up at her. "A bit unappetizing isn't it?" Danny laughed.

The Trill flicked her eyes at Galdar and noticed that he was watching them. She couldn't ignore their cruelty anymore. " Yes...your treatment of a fellow cadet turns my stomach." Without another word, she strode out of the cafeteria to eat alone in the quad.

In the ensuing silence, Galdar turned his attention briefly back to his bowl and took an especially large handful of live grubs. Waiting until he caught the eye of the Trill's erstwhile friend, he opened his mouth wide and deposited the wriggling mass squarely in the centre of his tongue before closing his mouth and chewing vigorously. When that cadet eventually looked away, he turned his gaze to the occupant of the next seat and continued to eat.
Founding co-host of the Anomaly Podcast
AnomalyPodcast.com
@AnoamlyPodcast

Jen

#2

Joint Backstory By Jen and Feathers


Galdar blinked as he left the confines of the Academy building and entered the relatively bright light of the surrounding grounds. As soon as he was clear of the doorway, he stepped to one side, taking himself out of the flow of people...and 'other' people. He smiled as he realized that he was reacting to the sheer number of different species, in this place where he himself was an alien. It amused him, but also saddened him in a way he couldn't quite define.

He made his way slowly across the neatly clipped grass to a patch of shade beneath an old oak and lowered himself to the ground. He had an hour until his next class and not a lot to fill the time with. On such occasions he had taken to sitting outside with a PADD and looking across the well-tended lawns and flowering shrubs, enjoying the simple lack of rain. Weather control was a marvelous innovation!

"Ryla! Wait up!"

The shout from behind him almost deafened Galdar and his hands jumped automatically to his ears; he clamped down hard with his jaw to contain the screech that was fighting its way out. The person who had shouted, oblivious to the discomfort she'd caused him, jogged past Galdar and down the path toward a Trill who'd stopped and turned at her call.

"Oh... Hi Kate," said the shorter, spotted female with yellow hair that was worn in a little 'tail'.

"Where have you been!?" Asked the hew-mon, black hair pouring over her shoulders.

"Studying... I have an exam on Vulcan physiology in a few days."

"If I were a Vulcan, I would tell you that studying for exams is superfluous. We all know Ryla Emarrin learns everything she knows through osmosis or something... You never make less than a 4.0 in any subject."

"That's because I study, Kate," Ryla's words were accompanied by a dimpled smile.

"Not this much! There's something else keeping you away... Are you still mad at Danny? He's been moping about ever since you bailed on us at lunch last week."

"Good..." said Ryla in a victorious soprano.

Kate gave her a friendly shove, "you know we were just having a little fun..."

"...at another cadet's expense. I'm sure it wasn't fun for him," interrupted the Trill as she looked up at the hew-mon.
Kate changed the subject, "Are you going to the Sadie Hawkins dance?"

"Not with Danny," replied the spotted female in a tone that Galdar assumed was intended to be cold.

"Oh, come on...this is silly. If you don't come, I'm going to be the only woman in our group to go."

"Make sure you save a dance for Danny," said the Trill as a Bolian cadet brushed past them. Galdar was distracted by a polite throat clearing to his left. Turning, he found himself staring up at the same rotund Bolian, who was smiling nervously and extending a hand towards in his direction.

"Cadet. Excuse me. I was wondering if you might spare me a moment as I'm in the middle of studying the second year economics module and have reached the point of examining some of the specific commercial practices within the Ferengi Alliance and, being not so much of an expert in these areas as perhaps some others of my race are, I was wondering if you might be able to spare me some time to discuss some of the politico-religious ramifications of the..." The cadet broke off from his break-neck delivery and stopped in confusion as Galdar simply grinned at him. The Ferengi levered himself to his feet, took the proffered hand and shook it hew-mon fashion.

"Galdar." he said. "First year."

"Rolan", said the Bolian. Galdar assumed that was his name.

"Well, Rolan, I'm not the best Ferengi to speak of the workings of the economic and religious systems behind the Alliance, nor are they my favorite topics for discussion...but I have a free hour and would be happy for the company. Sit..." Gesturing to the grass beside him, he sank back down.

The Trill glanced over the Kate's shoulder and noticed Galdar. She had been meaning to make amends for the behavior of her 'friends', but hadn't found the right time to approach him. The last thing she wanted to do was embarrass him further by mentioning it around other cadets.  "I'll talk to you later, Kate..."

Ryla made her way toward the Ferengi, pausing only briefly to offer Boothby a kind word. The old gardener presented her with a daisy and a smile before she continued to Galdar's oak.  "You're sitting under my favorite tree, Mr. Galdar... But I'm willing to share it if you are," she couldn't hold the straight face for long. The dimples she hated soon appeared in her cheeks and she offered him an outstretched hand. "Cadet Emarrin. Second year. But you can call me Ryla."

Galdar looked surprised for a moment, but quickly stood again. Bowing his head slightly, he took her hand and shook it gently. "It appears you know me already...Ryla," he said, still slightly hesitant, then nodded at the blue figure beside him. "This is Rolan. If you're happy to share the shade, feel free to take a piece of lawn...I was just expressing my desire for some company for a change."

"Oh...I'm perfectly willing to share." Said the Trill before lowereing her voice to a hush and glancing from Galdar to Rolan, "it's not really my favorite tree." The petite woman then pointed to a Trill Elm, "that one is...it reminds me of home."

Nodding to one another, the Ferengi and Bolian admired her tree from a distance as she sat on the grass beside them, "I'm pleased to meet you both," she said.  "I hope I'm not interrupting."

The Bolian shrugged, a gentle, almost graceful movement in one so large. "Not at all Cadet Emarrin. I was asking Cadet Galdar to help with a study I'm conducting of some of the more difficult aspects of the..." he tailed off as he had earlier, looked down then back at the others with an embarrassed grin. Taking a deep breath, he started again. "No problem. I was asking Galdar's help with a study topic, but I have plenty of time to complete the assignment. I need not do it today."

Galdar grinned again. Rolan rushed out his words as if they might bite him if he didn't get through them quickly enough. Glancing at Ryla, he saw that she too had picked up on it and his grin widened in response. "I'm happy to give you some pointers Rolan," he said, still smiling. "But I should warn you that in my education on these topics I was a severe disappointment to my family." His smile slipped as he spoke and he lapsed into a melancholy silence for a moment once he finished.

A breeze rustled the leaves above his head and someone laughed gently behind them at a whispered endearment he wasn't supposed to hear. He glanced from Rolan to Ryla and the unexpected company was enough to shake him out of his mood. "So", he began slowly, "Rolan has an interest in macro-economics, I'm here to fly things and Ryla...is...a doctor." The surprise in her eyes brought a laugh to his voice as he tapped his right ear with an orange finger and said simply, "Vulcan physiology."

"I'm impressed," she said with a grin. "I just assumed you noticed the division insignia on my jacket.... Oh, I'm not a doctor yet, Mr. Galdar, but I will be." She looked up at the oak's massive canopy to watch the sparrows chittering above them. "I haven't had the honor of meeting a Ferengi until today, and I consider myself to be well traveled." She turned her gaze back to Galdar, " How about you? Has your love of flying taken you to many places?"

"Not yet...although I hope to be able to change that in a few years. No, at the moment, I think the sum of planets visited stands at...four." He solemnly raised four fingers of one hand and began to count them off as he talked. "Not counting Ferenginar itself, where I was born, I've visited Irtok, which is in the Alliance so probably doesn't count, Fellibia which is an...interesting place, Altair VI and now Earth." Folding his last finger, he dropped his hands to his lap, idly toying with his forgotten PADD. "How does that compare with the planetfalls of a 'well traveled' Trill? Or a Bolian, Rolan?"

Rolan blinked a few times and shook his head, "that's why I enrolled in the Academy."

"I'd say that's as good a reason as any," said Ryla as she stood and brushed the grass off her black uniform. "Well, this well-traveled Trill has a lecture to get to," she added with a wink.

As she reached for her bag, Galdar touched her wrist briefly, causing her to look back at him as he sat. "Thanks", he muttered, embarrassed now that he had her attention, "for..."

Ryla shook her head slightly and cut him off with another smile, "I'll see you around."
Founding co-host of the Anomaly Podcast
AnomalyPodcast.com
@AnoamlyPodcast

Jen

#3
Joint Backstory By Jen and Feathers


Everyday, weather permitting, Ryla Emarrin had her lunch beneath the large oak with Galdar and Rolan. It had been a couple of weeks since she first met the cadets, and afterward she decided that their company was much more enjoyable than that of Danny and Kate. For starters, her new friends were interesting. Galdar could recite the Rules Of Acquisition at the drop of a hat and Rolan had the unique ability to choose obscure words and use them in complete, rapid-fire sentences. They were characters who had character and Ryla was never bored, embarrassed or offended by them.

"It's not a done deal by any means," said Ryla with a melodic chuckle. "Host initiates must pass all required tests and have their application approved by the Symbiosis Commission in order to become joined. And the competition is stiff... there are more hosts than symbionts... there's no guarantee that I'll be selected."

Galdar struggled to contain his feelings but some of them leaked into his voice as he spoke, "But to let them put some...thing inside you. How can that be a privilege? It's like..."

Rolan leaped onto the end of sentence finishing it before the Ferengi could dig too big a hole for himself, "It's like strangely colored people eating live food!" he exclaimed, pantomiming a disgusted face at his friend before collapsing into laughter. A blue tinge rapidly climbed Galdar's cheeks, the blush spreading to his neck as he rewound the conversation in his head. "Sorry," he said contritely "What little I know of Federation members is what I've learned here at the Academy. I guess we haven't reached the Trill yet."

"What do think your chances of selection really are?", the Bolian inquired once he'd recovered his composure.

Though Ryla was emotionally sensitive, she was not easily disgruntled; her slightly faded smile did not fall away completely at Galdar's comment. He was simply inexperienced with regards to other species. She patiently addressed Galdar before answering Rolan's question. "The symbionts are sentient beings, not 'things' and our two peoples are made whole when we are combined." Ryla turned to the Bolian and shrugged, "there are only 300 symbionts available for hosting each year. Because there are many more humanoid Trill than symbionts the chances that I would be chosen are very slim."

Color returning to normal, Galdar tried to redeem himself. "Can you...talk to your...partner once joined? Do they become 'you' or do you take it in turns to use the shared body?"

Rolling his eyes, Rolan looked at Ryla. As a member of a Federation native species the Bolian had a leg up on his Ferengi friend but by no means did he know everything about every member race. "It's called 'joining' for a reason, Galdar. From what little I know, both host and symbiont remain but not as individuals. More as a sort of 'blend' of the two characters. My uncle explained it to me once, he worked with a joined Trill for a while."

"I didn't know you had such an ample understanding of the Trill, Rolan," said Ryla with a broadening smile. She turned her hazel-brown eyes back to the Ferengi, "I'm still learning about it all myself."

A shadow fell across the petite blond as another cadet approached them. Without a word, Cadet Young gestured for Ryla to follow him. She leered at him a moment before getting to her feet. "Excuse me," she said to Galdar and Rolan, "I'll be right back."

She wandered a few feet away to hear what Danny had to say.

"What do you want?" Asked the Trill in a lowered voice.

"You've ignored all my communiqués and avoided me for days. Since you haven't told me whether or not your going with me to the Sadie Hawkins dance, I figured you were mad at me about something..."

"...You think?"

Danny smirked, "I hoped that you would accept my apology and let me to take you to the dance next week."

She glared up at the much taller cadet, "You don't owe me an apology. You owe Galdar one."

He laughed, "If that's what it takes to get you to talk to me again, I'll do it right now!" He turned on his heel and strode back to the oak tree. Clearing his throat he looked down at the Ferengi, "Cadet Galdar, I've been informed that I owe you an apology.... I'm... sorry." He forced the latter sentence out with great effort and flicked his gaze to the Trill. "Will you go to the dance with me?"

"You're too late," she replied nonchalantly. "I already told Galdar I was going with him." Ryla glanced at the Ferengi with an expression that he quickly translated as: 'just play along'.

Young looked down at the orange cadet and read the smile tugging at the corners of his mouth as confirmation of Ryla's words. Galdar raised a hairless eyebrow in a Vulcan-like inquiry but kept silent. After his slip-up about the symbiont, the least he could do was follow her lead. Besides, he'd heard most of what she'd said to the hew-mon despite their moving away and appreciated the point she was making.

What he wasn't so sure about was the dance, nor did he understand why Young seemed so insistent on talking Ryla to it. Over the past weeks he'd come to admire her for her personality and strength of character but those weren't characteristics that normally got one invited to parties.

Danny's face instantly turned beet red with frustration, "You're serious?!"

"Yes," she replied smoothly.

Cadet Young stared at her in shock a moment longer before storming away. Ryla watched him go in silence then turned back to Galdar. "You can dance... can't you?"

Looking at Ryla, Galdar slowly shook his head, the smile still tugging at his lips "I've never had the need to learn." he said.

She smiled, "By the way, thank you. You don't have to go, I was just trying to get out of going with Danny. I'd be happy to teach you both how to cut a rug... It could come in handy in the future. There will be instances where, as officers, we will be expected to attend formal events—dancing may be a part of the festivities. It's not required, but it's always more fun to take part rather than watching everyone else."

Galdar got to his feet and stood in front of Ryla Emarrin. Putting one hand flat on the top of his head, he moved it over toward the Trill to illustrate the height difference between them. When his hand touched her chin, he dropped it to his side having made his point. "I'm not sure I'm cut out for dancing", he said, "but I'm willing to learn if you're willing to teach."

"You'll be doing the Tango in no time."
Founding co-host of the Anomaly Podcast
AnomalyPodcast.com
@AnoamlyPodcast

Jen

Joint Backstory by Jen and Feathers

"Ouch! Careful where you put your boots Galdar..." said the Trill as she and her dancing partner clumsily moved about his dorm room. "Computer, pause music." The waltz abruptly ceased. "Don't watch your feet...it will trip you up. You have to look your partner in the eye and anticipate her moves." They began again without the music, "There you go...see...you can do it."



The Ferengi nodded but didn't speak, so hard was he concentrating on what he was doing. In truth, he didn't think he was too bad for a beginner and was surprised to find the lesson holding unexpected appeal. As a pilot and navigator, coordination of movement, direction and speed, was where he specialized and in an abstract sense, dancing was nothing more than a different expression of this discipline.



"But boots are maybe not the most appropriate footwear for this exercise", Galdar muttered as he struggled round the room and looking down at his feet again. Realizing he'd spoken aloud, he looked back up at his partner "Sorry...stray thought."


"Not at all...actually many people dance in boots and have no problem at all doing so. It's just going to take a bit of practice, that's all. Before long, you'll be leading and I'll be following!"


"Whew! Let's breathe for a minute, I can feel muscles tightening that I didn't know I had. If nothing else I seem to be getting a good workout!" So saying, Galdar released Ryla and collapsed into one of the chairs that they'd pushed to the side of the room. Catching the disapproving glance from his teacher, he raised a hand. "Really, I just need five minutes."

Founding co-host of the Anomaly Podcast
AnomalyPodcast.com
@AnoamlyPodcast

Jen

#5
Joint Backstory by Jen and Feathers

Five weeks later the Sadie Hawkins Dance had arrived. A very good holographic representation of the Glenn Miller Orchestra, was playing swing music on the stage within the great hall. "Sun Valley Jump" echoed in the hall as dancers shuffled past Ryla and Galdar's table. The Trill's smile spread as the trumpet and sax solos dueled one another for dominance in the piece. The rhythm was so intense that it seemed to pound in sync with her heart, but it didn't seem to bother the sensitive Ferengi. He was tapping the toe of his boot to the beat and patting his knees in time with the drums.

Many weeks of practice had made Galdar fairly confident. When "I want to Be Happy" began to play, he wasted no time in hauling Ryla to her feet and escorting her to the floor—spinning, dancing and laughing as they went. Almost instantly they began to a draw the attention of fellow cadets, distinguished guests and professors alike.

"I guess they've never seen a Trill and a Ferengi strut their stuff?" Ryla shouted over the cacophony of horns and drums. It wasn't necessary, what with Galdar's exceptional hearing, but she could barely hear her own voice. The fast pace required concentration so their chat was held to a minimum. They hardly noticed the fact that no one had followed them to the floor.

Their feet were a black blur of stomping and shuffling polished boots as they spun about one another, sometimes close, sometimes at the full length of their outstretched arms. Galdar grinned, exhilarated by the sheer freedom of the motion and surprised at the ease with which he'd thrown himself into it. It was one thing to practice in private, quite another to 'perform' in public.

It was probably the thought of performing that caused him to look about the room and discover their lone status on the floor. Stumbling briefly at the impact of the realization, he caught himself quickly and continued the dance but the surprise in his eyes soon communicated itself to his partner.

Ryla shrugged as they shuffled apart before dancing back together again. Their hands met and the Trill was spun then lifted and flipped backwards over the Ferengi's head. That was the moment that the applause erupted and the spotlight found them. The grin slowly returned to Galdar's face—he was beginning to enjoy the attention. Dimples accompanied Ryla's quick smile and she winked at her friend. The big finish was coming and the crowd anticipated a spectacular ending. They inched closer together, palms up and shaking to the beat. Galdar and Ryla counted, waiting for the proper timing for their finale. "1, 2, 3" they mouthed in unison. Ryla aided his leap with a quick boost which allowed him to spring over her in a somersault. He pivoted and met his partner again before ending the dance with a dramatic dip. Ryla's hair swept the dance floor as she stared at the applauding crowd from her upside down vantage point. From that position, through the haze of the spotlight, she watched as Galdar nodded to the clapping spectators. An instant later, her eye began to track a round object, silhouetted by the light, that was rapidly growing in size as it sliced through the air. Ryla tried to pull herself up from the dip to avoid the projectile, but the object struck her in the face and splattered all over her partner's crisp dress uniform. The cheering instantly turned to sympathetic moans...
Founding co-host of the Anomaly Podcast
AnomalyPodcast.com
@AnoamlyPodcast

Jen

Joint Backstory by Jen and Feathers

Cadet Galdar slipped quickly into Cadet Emarrin's quarters and waited for the door to fully close before speaking. In truth there was no reason why he shouldn't be there, or why he should be sneaking around, but something about the task they were about to undertake had brought out his hitherto unknown melodramatic side.

"I've got the tricorder," he announced as the door finally sealed itself. "and the access codes weren't that difficult to crack. We're good to go if you want to." The room's occupant lifted her head from her PADD and simply looked at him.

"What?" Galdar asked innocently, "Yes, I'm a Starfleet cadet...but I am a Ferengi Starfleet cadet." Putting down what he was carrying, he allowed a note of uncertainty to enter his voice and asked the question he'd tried to suppress. "Ryla, are you sure we should do this?"

"He deserves it, Galdar. I know it's impossible to prove to the Admiral that he is the culprit, but it was Danny who threw that fruit at us...I'm certain of it. He's bragged about pulling stunts like this before...and he was very angry at me for going to the dance with you instead of him." She harrumphed as she crossed her arms. "I'll admit, I'm a little nervous about doing this, but I refuse to be a victim Galdar. It's time Danny Young learns a little lesson in humility."

"Yes, but are you really sure it's safe? I don't want to injure anyone." Galdar still looked worried but Ryla's usual confident air, even slightly dented, was restoring his own strength of will.

"Trust me, all we have to do is tune the shower to the proper frequency. It won't harm anything but his pride. Danny won't know the results of our little operation until he wakes up the next morning as bald as you are.... not that there's anything wrong with that mind you," she paused her nervous pacing and gave him a quick apologetic smile before continuing. "Consider our response a sonic strike on the rapidly spreading empire known as 'his ego'." She stopped before Galdar and lifted her chin, "he won't know what hit him..."

A Ferengi grin is never a pleasant sight, but this one had an edge to it that Ryla hadn't seen in her friend's face before. Running a hand over his head, Galdar moved toward the door once again. "Sharing some of my beauty with another cadet, particularly one as ugly as Danny...why that's such a generous act." he announced. "Let's do it!" Glancing back at his co-conspirator, he plucked his com-badge from his chest and threw it into one of her chairs, gesturing for her to do the same.

Slipping out of Ryla's quarters, the two left the building and headed across the campus to Danny's accommodation block. Above them, the sky was a deep blue-black and many stars were visible. Some clouds appeared to be lurking out toward the ocean but for the moment, at least, the sky above was clear and dry. On another night and with another female this could be quite romantic, Galdar thought.

Entering the block was easy enough but getting to Danny's room was a little more tricky. The tricorder Galdar carried was emitting a wideband interference signal such that the standard Academy security systems ought not to be able to detect them. They couldn't walk through walls, however, and they couldn't scale buildings so they had to risk the doors and the lifts. It would be recorded that they'd been used, but hopefully nothing would remain on record to reveal who'd used them.

As they approached the door they wanted, a burst of laughter from in front stopped them in their tracks.

"Great...it's Kate and Danny." The laughing couple rounded a corner as Galdar and Ryla tucked themselves into an adjoining hallway. The Trill watched as her former gal-pal kissed her ex-boy friend, the spots on her forehead elongating as her brows pushed them into her hairline. "This an interesting development," she whispered.

"Shhhhhh," came Galdar's reply.

"Well...they are better suited I supposed. Both of them are pretty shallow," she said in a voice that would be indiscernible to any but the Ferengi standing near her. A moment later, the new couple proceeded in the opposite direction, clearing the way for Operation Sonic Strike.

"Come on Galdi...let's get this over with," said Ryla as she slithered in towards Cadet Young's quarters.

Following in her wake, Galdar listened for any further sounds of approaching company. This was one of the most exposed points in their plan as any passer by could easily identify them. While they hadn't done anything worthy of note yet, that wouldn't be true for much longer.

Ryla nodded at Young's door as she passed it but continued walking until she reached the next turn in the corridor. Galdar stopped at the door, crouching in front of the access panel, and carefully entered the override code he'd obtained earlier that evening. The wait for the command to activate was agonizing and the Ferengi could feel the perspiration cooling on his neck as he waited to be discovered. Finally, after what felt like an eternity, the door opened and the orange cadet slipped inside, his spotted companion following closely behind him.

"Right, you're sure about the frequency and the period we need to configure?", the Ferengi hissed as they moved into the room. "From what you said, I assume we need to hit him with a controlled burst but leave the shower to function normally for the remainder of the time?"

"Affirmative," Ryla snapped crisply as she wandered through Danny's messy quarters, crinkling her nose at the dirty laundry strewn about his room. "It seems he became a tad bit messier after we broke up...what a pig."

"No offense, but with regards to cleanliness your own quarters are just a step above this mess. " replied Galdar.

She frowned at the comparison, "Ppplease...there's a huge difference between my quarters and this cesspool...I organize my chaos into little piles."

The chronic neat freak returned her frown as he made his way toward their target. The door to the head hissed open for them and Ryla gestured with a flourish for Galdar to enter.

With an exaggerated nod, the Ferengi ducked past her and knelt to remove the shower control access panel. Opening his tricorder, he checked the interference field was still operating before placing it, open, on the top of the counter. "It'll squeal if someone comes anywhere near us.", he told his companion as he bent to his task.

Once the shower interface was accessible, it was a simple enough job to access the functions he needed to change. Having already worked through these sequences in his own quarters, his fingers tripped quickly over the required controls.

"Can you program it to return to its original settings in 12 hours?" Ryla hissed, trying not to interrupt his concentration. Galdar simply nodded and carried on working.

After what felt like an age to the Trill but was only two and a half minutes on the clock, Galdar sat back with a satisfied sigh and started to restore the room to it's original state. "Done.", he whispered, "It's set for a thirty second burst five minutes into the cycle with a repeat after ten minutes. It'll stay in that configuration for twelve hours and then reset to standard operating parameters." Pocketing the tricorder, he found it hard to resist the temptation to giggle inanely.

"This time tomorrow, bodily hair will be a completely alien concept to Cadet Danny Young...and anyone else who may use his shower!" Looking round the room again, another funny thought struck him. "You know, we could have configured his plumbing for a Bolian...THAT would be something I'd PAY to see. I suspect the medical attention he'd require afterwards would move the attempt from a prank to an assault, however."


Silently, the two cadets moved back to the entrance, scanning the corridor from inside before opening the door and slipping out.

It took only ten minutes for them to get back to Ryla's quarters. After they entered, the Trill turned and offered her friend a hand, "It's been a pleasure doing business with you, Mr. Galdar. I have no doubt that our little venture will pay off tomorrow. I suggest that we have our lunch in the dining hall in order to savor the fruits of our labor." After a brief silence her serious expression failed and a boisterous laugh escaped through snorts before erupting into uncontrollable laughter. "I'll see you tomorrow," she managed to say between her gasps and giggles.
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Jen

Joint Backstory by Jen and Feathers

I'm honored to be chosen and between you and me, more than a little afraid," Ryla said faintly as she and Galdar made their way to his oak. Only one in one thousand Trill made acceptable hosts and Ryla had met all the requirements. After surviving the demanding selection procedure, and then going on to receive a recommendation from her field docent, she had been chosen to accept the Drett symbiont...the very one that she had requested. Drett had a long history and many hosts; Ryla would be gaining all of it's memories and adding her own to the symbiont's rich tapestry. It was indeed an honor, and a transition to another state of being—one which frightened Ryla.

Looking at his friend, Galdar smiled slightly. The thought of Ryla being afraid was a new one to him and not one that fit well with what he knew of her. From what she'd explained thus far, he could understand that she might be concerned...but surely not afraid.

Reaching the oak and stepping into the shadow of its branches, Galdar turned to face her. "I know this is a big step for you...for any Trill, but surely it's an honor, something to be proud of, not something to be afraid of..."

"I think what I fear the most is the fact that I could walk away a completely different person. The sum of Drett's memories and experiences may dramatically alter my own persona. My docent explained how it all works. She said that the ability of a host to retain their original psyche depends on the strength of their personality. If mine is weak...I could be overwhelmed by the symbiont. Ezri said she's sure that wouldn't happen, but part of me is afraid she's wrong."

"Then part of you is wrong!", Galdar stated firmly. "Ryla, your strength of character is the reason we became friends. I cannot imagine anyone or anything being strong enough to overcome that."

"I hope you're right," she replied stoically. After a moment the serious expression melted away and she turned a bright smile toward the Ferengi. "You're a good friend Galdar...actually, you're my best friend." The Trill absently fumbled with the PADD she held in her hands, "I am allowed to invite one individual to attend the joining as a witness. I've given it a lot of thought and I think I want that person to be you."


Not knowing what to say, Galdar took a step back, bowed his head and raised his hands with fingers curled in the traditional greeting of his people. It wasn't wholly appropriate to the situation at hand, but he trusted that the formality of the gesture would carry the moment.

"If that is what you want," he said quietly, "then how could I refuse? I would be honoured...delighted to be there." He gestured to the grass beneath the tree where they had taken to sitting, talking and studying in silence together.

As she sat he cleared his throat and looked a little awkward for a moment. She looked up as he shuffled his feet, waiting for him to resolve whatever internal debate he was having. Finally, he spoke again. "Ryla, my answer to your request stands but...I need to be sure that this is what you really want. You know many people, you have family..." he tailed off and lowered himself to the ground beside her.

Ryla nodded in understanding as she considered her friend's unsettled expression. "Yes. I'm sure. Don't worry, my parents will understand my decision. I know they will agree that you are a proper representative of the Emarrin family... whose numbers are obviously greater than one," she added with a modest smile.

Glancing across at her, a mischievous glint now appearing in his eye, Galdar grinned.

"Never allow family to stand in the way of opportunity", he stated with mock gravity, "Rule of Acquisition number six."
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Jen

Joint Backstory by Jen and Feathers

Change is constant. It's the way of the universe and none can resist it, yet it is often uninvited. In contrast, Ryla Emarrin initiated the change she was about to undergo. The petite young Trill, clad in a white gown, was helped onto a table and laid back against its surface—her long, blond hair spreading over the pillow as her head came to rest upon it. She felt a glowing warmth, yet it wasn't the temperature of the bright ceremonial chamber that caused the sensation, but the bitter drink she was given in preparation for the joining.

Despite the rigorous initiate training, Ryla was uncertain what the result of the joining would be. But, the host was an eternal optimist, even when the little voice of doubt inside her uttered its pessimistic concerns. She turned her head as Galdar stepped closer—he looked worried. Reflexively, the Trill gifted her friend with a smile of reassurance. Grinning in response, the Ferengi nodded once and schooled his face to a relaxed, confident mien. He would not again forget who was here to support whom.

She slowly rolled her head toward the woman positioned beside her own table. Jaunairim Drett's expressionless face was serene. Ryla studied her aged features and tried to imagine her in life, with happy blue eyes that transitioned to crescents when her round cheeks were pushed upward by a readily displayed smile. She was an old woman, but it was not the endless march of time that had taken her home. The Trill experienced an allergic reaction to a fruit she ingested. The poison had killed the host, but the symbiont was more resilient. Fortunately, Jaunairim was discovered quickly and her body was kept alive in order to save the symbiont. Ryla felt a mix of emotions as her gaze rested on Jaunairim...but the med student understood that death was a fact of life and Jaunairim had lived a long and happy one. The young host whispered a quiet goodbye to the elder woman and moved her eyes to the joiners bustling about them.

Keeping to one side, Galdar stayed within Ryla's field of view but separate from the ordered activity of the ceremony. The attendants were working with the...other host but the Ferengi cadet did not watch, respectful of the life that had gone before. Looking down at Ryla, he gave an exaggerated wink and tapped at an ear. Her all but silent farewell had had at least one witness.

A soft word from the individuals, informed Ryla that they would be making the incision. She nodded in response as they loosened the gown and prepped the area. Ryla felt no pain as the surreal events played out before her. Time seemed to slow as the joiners moved with care between the two hosts. After a while, the symbiont's shapeless form was brought into view above her. She noted how the glistening being scarcely moved in the gloved hands that cradled it; was Drett alive? The symbiont squirmed as if to answer the unspoken question, causing the new host's eyes to widen in wonder and fear. The little voice of doubt within instantly returned to whisper of unwanted changes. The Trill's face reflected the thoughts that raced through her mind...would she leave the table someone completely different?

Galdar stood silent, a soft and reassuring smile held on his face for his friend. Quietly, almost surreptitiously, unsure of what protocol allowed, he reached out and touched her shoulder in a gentle sign of affirmation and friendship. But as he watched the ceremony, the first of his race to do so, he couldn't help but wonder whether they would still be friends once it was over. All he had learned told him that they would, all that he feared said that the friendship of this woman to whom he owed so much and with whom he'd had so much fun, would be lost to him.

Ryla could not hear the ceremonial words that were spoken for she and Drett, for the course of blood in her ears covered the chant with a rapid pounding. She forced herself to watch as the symbiont was lowered into her center. A moment later, Ryla Emarrin exhaled sharply, then...she drew her first breath as Ryla Drett. The fear was gone.

As the youth merged with the ancient being, a flood of memories spilled into her mind. For some time, her glassy eyed stare remained fixed on the ceiling high above. Just when Galdar was beginning to wonder if something horrible had happened to his friend, the new host's hazel-brown eyes blinked...then blinked again. A smile framed by dimples slowly formed. "What a ride," she whispered.
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Jen

Joint Backstory by Jen and Feathers

As the lights came up, the surroundings dissolved, and Galdar found himself standing on an empty hologrid. The Ferengi blinked a couple of times and shook himself. Still in full Captain's uniform, he turned and watched 'his' crew get up from the floor where they'd landed during the maelstrom. There were some grins between them but also some sober faces.

Catching Ryla Drett's querying expression, he gave her a small smile and a short nod. He was OK.

With a base whine, the Holodeck doors slid open revealing Admiral Roberts...and 'Commander' Paul Gibson.

Gibson simply nodded at his Captain but Galdar hurried across the intervening space and shook him by the hand. "I'm...sorry", he said, quietly.

Ignoring this exchange, Admiral Roberts marched briskly to the centre of the room and waited for what little noise there was to die down. "Computer, debrief," he called.

With an obliging bleep and a twinkle of transporter effect, the hologrid disappeared and a Galaxy class starship briefing room materialized. With the wave of an arm the Admiral indicated that they all sit. Galdar took the head of the table while Roberts took the seat on his right. Paul Gibson sat to his left with Ryla next to him.

Once everyone was settled, Roberts picked up a PADD from the table and settled his eyes on Galdar. "Captain Galdar. Well done."

The Ferengi looked up in surprise, this wasn't quite the start he'd expected. "Sir?" He queried. "I lost the ship, Sir." His hand once again crept to the four gold rank pips pinned to his uniform and unconsciously caressed them.

Roberts nodded and a sad smile of understanding briefly crossed his face. "Yes you did...but as you must be aware, so has just about everyone else who's taken this test." The far away look that passed across his face told a story all of its own.

He looked down at the device in his hand before continuing, a more formal tone entering his voice. "This will be the initial debriefing following the Kobayashi Maru mission. A more detailed brief will be held tomorrow when everyone's had time to reflect." He waited for the nodding and murmurs of agreement to die down then turned to the bald Captain.

"Sending a shuttle to investigate the distress call was an interesting option, Mr. Galdar", he said quietly, "but I must say that it's not one that's preferred by Starfleet. In a real situation it could easily have impeded the operation or cost enough time that the Kobayashi Maru would have gone down with all hands without any help from the Romulans."

It was Galdar's turn to nod. "Sir, I realize that. My thoughts were on the rescue of the passengers on that ship, but I also had a responsibility to the crew of this ship. To simply push into the Neutral Zone following such a convenient distress call seemed...risky. Thus, I thought to lead with the shuttle rather than a starship." His eyes drifted to the starfield through the port over Roberts left shoulder.

"You were scared?"

Galdar attention snapped back to the officer as the sting of his question hit hard. "No! Not at all, Sir! It was my intention to pilot the shuttle myself! By taking it into the Neutral Zone I sought to try and draw out any threat that might exist and so save the ship and crew. That is not a plan driven by fear."

Roberts eyed the other Cadets round the table, looking at each of them in turn. Finally, he settled his attention on Ryla. "Lieutenant Commander Drett, You were closest to Captain Galdar during the mission. How would you assess his emotional state when he first realized the nature of the task? Specifically, was his cautious approach motivated by fear?"

Ryla tried not show her displeasure at being asked such a question. She kept her posture rigid and her unaffected gaze set on the Admiral. The symbiont gave her wisdom beyond her young years—and she drew on it for the first time during the meeting with Roberts. "I think it would be fair to state that Captain Galdar's crew was under a great deal of stress...And I believe that is the purpose of the simulation, sir."

The admiral frowned as he crossed his arms over his chest. "You didn't answer my question Lieutenant Commander. Was Mr. Galdar afraid?"

The Trill dipped her chin slightly as a reply came to her.  "Sir, permission to speak freely?"

"Granted," said Roberts after a moment.

"As you know, I'm not an empath nor am I a counselor. My testimony as to Captain Galdar's emotional state would only be based on speculation."


"Then speculate, Drett. You're the Chief Medical Officer. It's your duty to keep an eye on your Captain's condition and relieve him if and when he poses a risk to the ship," snapped the Admiral.

She nodded slowly, "Yes, sir."  Through her own experiences she had discovered that fear was a healthy emotion. Surmounting such an obstacle would develop character. She glanced to the Ferengi with a softened expression that offered apology for the statement she was ordered to give.

"Well, doctor?" prodded the Admiral.

Ryla turned her eyes back to Roberts, "The Captain was afraid, sir..."


Galdar jumped to his feet, ready to shout a protest but the look in Roberts' eyes quelled his anger. Deflating, he looked down at the table and shrugged minutely. "Yes, I was scared. The simulation is very...compelling, but I stand by what I've already said. Fear was a motivating factor in any of my actions." He briefly locked eyes with the Admiral then turned and shot an angry look at Ryla before dropping back into his chair.


"You said your plan was to 'draw out any threat that might exist and so save the ship and crew'. If that was so...then your plan failed, Captain. As you said, you lost both your ship and your crew." Roberts leaned forward as he spoke.


The Ferengi shook his head and Ryla saw some of his spirit returning.


"With respect, Sir", he said, sitting forward himself and meeting the Admirals steady gaze, "My plan was a success. The threat was revealed and the surprise was neutralized. It was in the manner of its implementation that I failed."


Admiral Roberts nodded and his tone softened as he spoke again, "True, Captain. Your shuttle sprang the trap as you had hoped but Commander Gibson paid the price for your gamble and you hadn't prepared yourself for that, had you? So you still took the Venture into the Neutral Zone."


Galdar examined the fine grain of the wooden table before him. He traced some of the pattern with one blue nailed finger while carefully considering his response. When he spoke, it was clear that he had retained his composure once again.


"From the moment I let Commander Gibson convince me that he should pilot the shuttle, my plan was wrecked," Roberts nodded agreement but no one noticed. "I didn't see it at the time," Galdar continued, "but once that decision was made, there was no way I could avoid taking the Venture into the Zone behind him. Had I been the one in the shuttle as I planned, that problem would never have arisen." Galdar sat back.


Roberts looked thoughtful for a moment then put his PADD down on the table and slid it across to the Captain with two fingers.


"Loyalty is a fine thing Captain, but it sometimes comes at a heavy price. If you take a look at the PADD before you, you'll see how the scenario would have played out had you insisted on taking the shuttle yourself."


Picking up the device, Galdar looked questioningly at the Admiral but soon turned his eyes to the data before him.


There was silence for a full two minutes before Galdar looked up again.


"So you see Captain...the same outcome WOULD have arisen," Roberts sad quietly. "The self-sacrificial Captain has been catered for in the simulation and the result is very much as you witnessed this afternoon. The only difference is that you would have been stranded in a shuttle powerless to do anything except watch the destruction of your command first hand." Roberts caught Galdar's eye. "Be grateful you allowed Commander Gibson to talk you out of taking that path."


There was silence for a while longer as Galdar digested what he'd read. His initial stab of disappointment at the fact that the computer would have ruined his perfect plan even if Paul hadn't, quickly gave way to a feeling of wry humor as he realized how completely he'd been outmaneuvered.


Seeing the twitch of his lips, Roberts spoke again. "You took the helm yourself at one point I believe?"


"Yes Sir."


"Would you like to justify that decision Captain?"


Galdar sat back as he considered his answer, eyes drifting down the table from face to face until they found Ensign Skooda. The Ensign smiled slightly and nodded quickly.


"As you know Sir, my primary training is in piloting." Roberts nodded. "At that point in the engagement, it had reached the stage where I could see a number of possibly navigable routes from the engagement but to have to put all of that into words would have been...wasteful," that was the word he wanted, "I don't want to belittle the skills of Cadet...sorry, Ensign...Skooda but equally, Sir, I felt we needed the best pilot in the room flying the ship." There was a little bit of defiance in his voice as he completed the explanation, tinged with a little bit of pride.


Roberts said nothing until Galdar felt the edges of his self-assurance start to crumble. Something must have shown on his face since the Admiral finally smiled and sat back fully in his chair.


"It happens that the panel agreed with your assessment Captain and commends you on the way you managed to fly the ship and maintain firm command of the situation." As Galdar started to swell slightly, Roberts went on, puncturing his ballooning self esteem. "You lost it at the end though, didn't you?"


Galdar sagged and nodded quietly. "Yes Sir."


"You could at least have called 'abandon ship', particularly as you selected a Galaxy class. A family ship," he chided gently.


"Sir." Galdar lapsed into silence again.


"Still, you did creditably Captain. Two enemy kills and a confirmed hit on the third bird. That maneuver of dropping the ship while lowering the shields was an inspirational tactic - I've not seen anyone perform in a similar manner, certainly not in this test. That one maneuver bought you a guaranteed kill."


"Thank you, Sir."


The Admiral looked at the collected officers and nodded. "Very well," he said as he retrieved his PADD from before Galdar, "As I said at the start, this was only the initial debrief. Formal debrief and analysis will commence at 1300 tomorrow. Captain Galdar, you and your crew may stand down. Cadets, return to your duties. Well done everyone...dismissed."


As Roberts stood and walked to the door, Galdar rose as did the other cadets. As the briefing room dissolved around them, he headed for the exit avoiding all eye contact and looking to neither left nor right.

Ryla followed him into the corridor, "Galdar...Galdar wait..." When her friend continued on his path, she jogged to catch up. The Trill fell into step beside the Ferengi as he wove his way through the busy hallways. She stared in silence at him as he kept his deadpan eyes set straight ahead. When he didn't acknowledge her presence, she slowed her pace and allowed him to storm away. In that moment, she had no trouble assessing his emotional state; Galdar was furious. He was furious at her and she had no idea how to make amends.

"What's the matter Ryla?" Rolan asked. She hadn't even noticed that she had stopped in the center of the hallway, or that the Bolian had appeared at her side.

"...I think I just lost a friend." Her heart sank as she spoke the thought aloud.
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Jen

Joint Backstory by Jen and Feathers

Ryla dropped a slip of latinum in Galdar's hand as she entered the door of his quarters. His quizzical expression prompted an explanation on her part,  "My admission fee for entering your home," she said in a formal tone. For a total of two minutes, a day after she was left standing alone in the hallway outside the holodeck, she seriously considered whether his friendship was worth the stress. Despite his attitude and selfishness, it hadn't taken her long to decide that being his friend still meant a great deal to her and she would do whatever was necessary to offer recompense.

The culture and traditions of the Ferengi people were opposite from that of her own people. During the last couple days of persistent rejection, she decided these differences had kept her from communicating on a level that her former friend could understand. If he was going to be self-absorbed and inconsiderate then she would have to think like a Ferengi to get through to him.

Galdar's hand had closed around the slip almost out of reflex, his thumb running back and forth over the contours of the metal as if assessing its quality. He'd had half a mind to hand it straight back to her but she had entered his home and latinum...was latinum. He pocketed it.

"What can I do for you...Cadet?"

The Trill wandered about, examining the few knickknacks he kept on shelves within in his central living space. "I have been reading up on Ferengi tradition and have learned that your people practice a ritual known as 'plea bargaining'." She stopped to study a statue of a clothed Ferengi male standing beside a naked Ferengi female. Ryla's raised brows denoted the recognition of yet another cultural difference between their two peoples. After a moment, she turned her gaze back to her former friend and continued, "If an item of importance is taken by another Ferengi then the article in question shall be delivered to it's previous owner if the culprit is offered something of equal or greater value in exchange."

Galdar inclined his head, accepting the validity of her words. "Then you are here on business? You have a transaction you wish to propose?"

"Well, I'm not here for the grand tour," she said sarcastically; another trait that the symbiont honed. "I want to bargain. I will give you back your pride by supplying you with the apology you have demanded. All I require in return is forgiveness and continued friendship."
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Jen

Backstory post by Feathers

Galdar sat beneath 'his oak', the early evening autumn rain soaking and chilling him in equal measure. The tree offered some protection but many of the leaves had fallen now and those that were left were brown and crisp, water rolling off them far more easily than would have been the case in summer. The impact of the drops on his orange scalp reminded him very much of Ferenginar and all that he'd walked away from and for the first time, he missed both the planet...and his family.

It had been light, dry and clear when he'd come outside to read up on some engine specifications and test reports for tomorrow's lecture. It had been a little cold for his liking but it had been quiet.

A week had passed since he'd taken the Kobayashi Maru test and four days since he'd talked with Ryla Drett.

It had taken him three days just to work through his anger at his friend. Three days of self-righteous indignation...and misery. Eventually he'd reached the point of accepting that she'd had no choice but to answer the Admiral's questions, but he was not ready to accept the answers that she'd given. She'd made the mistake of coming to see him at about that time and while things had started out OK, both of them being fairly guarded with their words, it had ended...badly.

It had been another three days before he finally realized what had actually gone on in the holodeck and when he did so, the structure of his moral indignation and self-righteous justification came crashing down around his ears. He smiled sadly at the metaphor. Quite appropriate for a Ferengi.

She'd been correct in her assessment, of course, and he'd admitted as much on that day but he'd hated being pushed into it by Ryla even if the Admiral had been pushing her in turn. What he hadn't understood, in fact what he'd completely missed, was how important that admission was.

At the time it had seemed out of character for the Admiral to peruse one fact so hard. Until then he'd been fairly understanding, but on that single issue he'd gone in like a terrier after a rat.

What Galdar had finally worked out was that Admiral Roberts had deliberately pursued Ryla on that issue, not to find something out, but to get Galdar to understand and accept his own reaction to the scenario— a lesson that the Ferengi now conceded was a valuable one that he had obviously needed to have rammed down his throat.

Galdar would never have accepted the assessment of his fear from the Admiral, he'd have found some way to justify things to himself, but from a fellow cadet the observation was much more potent. It was 'unfortunate' that the other cadet had to be his best friend.

Galdar had come a long way since joining Starfleet and entering the Academy, but none of that had made him invincible and this had been Roberts' way of making him realize that. It had given him a night to reflect on his performance in the light of his true feelings before the full debrief and, Galdar realized, had led to a more honest self-appraisal of his performance.

It was this realization that led him to the undeniable conclusion that not only had Ryla been right, but that she needed to have been the one to tell him. Of all the cadets Roberts could have chosen to point out what he needed to know, he had chosen the very best...and the very worst.

The problem now was one of putting things right.
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Jen

Joint Backstory post by Jen and Feathers


Within five minutes he was at her door, standing in a brightly lit corridor in a pool of water all of his own making. A passing Bajoran cadet looked at him reproachfully, but was somewhat reassured by his uniform so said nothing.

His finger hovered over the chime but was unable to activate it. He was afraid, he admitted to himself, afraid to find out whether the death of a friendship he had spent a week blaming her for, he himself had now provoked.

Closing his eyes, he touched the panel. The door opened to reveal the spotted female. She assessed the Ferengi a moment as he stood dripping in the hallway outside her entry. Galdar resembled a wet cat...and by the look on his face, he felt like one too. "What can I do for you Cadet?"

Silently, Galdar extended a single slip of latinum to the Trill, the entry fee he'd accepted from her the last time they spoke.

"Please, come in." The smile the Trill had been fighting won out as he moved past her in a sopping mess.  He roamed her small living space a moment in mock interest. She managed to wrestle the grin away just before his gaze met her own.

"Would you like to purchase a towel?" She inquired with a hint of wryness.

"Um. I have no more latinum. Well not with me...I mean...", he shrugged awkwardly as his words tailed off. Deliberately ignoring the chairs, not least because he didn't want to get them wet, Galdar stood in the middle of the room and looked at the blonde woman before him and thought how easy it would be to pretend nothing had happened between them.

"Cadet...Ryla, I think we need to talk," he stammered at last. "...at least I think I need to talk and I'd like you to listen...but you don't have to if..." Breaking off again, he took a deep breath.

"I'm here to reject your business proposal." Lifting a hand to forestall any interruption, Galdar continued, "I told you when you proposed it that the transaction was unnecessary and I stand by that assessment. You were following orders during the interview in the same manner as the rest of us and I can't fault you for it.

"What I was unable to accept then, but have come to," he paused, "respect now that I've had time to think about it, is what you actually said.

"You were perfectly correct in your assessment and you fought your hardest not to have to express it in front of everyone, but what the Admiral knew then and I have come to realize now is that I needed to hear it and I needed to hear it from someone I respect and trust." A drop of water fell from the end of his nose, rather spoiling the effect he had hoped for.

"So I reject your proposal that I plea bargain, on the grounds that you took nothing from me. That said, I would like to make a counter offer to you. The second Rule of Acquisition states that 'The best deal is the one that brings the most profit', so I would like to propose something that I hope will profit both of us....an exchange of friendship, something I seem to have forgotten the value of recently."

The Ferengi extended a hand to the Trill and waited.

Dimples escorted a smile that reappeared on Ryla's face. Forgetting the fact that Galdar was still soaking wet, she bypassed the outstretched hand and enveloped him with a friendly hug. "It's a deal," she replied.
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