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Posted on Mon Sep 21st, 2020 @ 4:20am by Lieutenant JG T'Pruk & Lieutenant JG Brian Pendragon

Mission: Mission 7 - Aenerth for an Earth
Location: Pendragon and T'Pruk's Quarters
Timeline: 2296/02/29 - 1800

It had been a long day in science. Concentration was becoming much harder and T'Pruk knew it. She lit the candle to try and start her meditation but somehow the smallest details were starting to distract her. Silently, she wondered if she needed to tell Brian what she knew eventually would come out. With slight insecurity creeping in, T'Pruk was at a loss of how to proceed, all of the possibilities sorting through her mind.

Brian had had one of THOSE days. The sort of day where everything kept reminding him how well the ship's systems would run if it wasn't for People; people who didn't appreciate that they had standard processes for a reason and took shortcuts - using the wrong tool for the job because they couldn't be bothered to walk to the store to draw the right one - then taking the tool they had abused back to a different store than they got it from, making it harder to trace who had booked it in the first place. Those were the ones he wanted to reprogramme with the tool they had just broken. Sadly, that was not permitted, even if it meant the ship would run the better for it, so instead he was stuck gritting his teeth, despite the Nurse warning him that was the main cause of his headaches. It's not like the ship had anywhere you could go and have a decent primal scream either - not since that Ensign in Astrogation had decided that Conduit 4a was the perfect place to practise the bassoon...

The door knew it had been one of those days and, for once, decided it was in its best interests to cooperate.

Brian stomped in and flopped straight onto his bed, not even stopping to take his boots off, then lay there, so highly-strung as to be quietly vibrating.

T'Pruk could not help but wonder at Brian's reactions. What possibly could have caused him to behave like this? He did not even have the courtesy to say hello to her and Brian had always been previously been polite to T'Pruk. Cautiously, she moved closer to Brian's bed and softly said, "You seem to be disturbed today, Brian. I am able to act as your proverbial sounding board if you would like." She hesitated a moment longer before suggesting, "I could teach you how to meditate or perhaps, I could give you a massage to relax your muscles?"

Brian unknotted just enough to realise he had been frightfully rude.

"Oh, hey T'Pruk. I'm sorry - I was... a bit too deep in my head... Anyway, you've got a candle on - doesn't that mean you're... busy? Don't interrupt your meditation on my part. It's nothing that can't wait. Just... you know... people... though after you're done meditating, I have to admit, a massage would be awesome. I feel like my shoulders are coming out of my ears, the knots are so tight."

T'Pruk ignored the allegory, well aware the humans often spoke in similes. "I can assist you now with the massage. Perhaps I can meditate later." She omitted any mention that she was unable to meditate well for the last hour or even much of the last week. "I have always appreciated how considerate that you have been of my meditations. Now, let me assist you first and you can tell me of these people. Would you prefer to lie down or sit on a chair?"

"Um..." Brian really didn't want to put his friend to too much trouble, not now he'd realised he'd interrupted her. "Let's go for the chair. We can always switch if you find something that needs a bit more pressure."

He wasn't sure what he was letting himself in for. Obviously a Vulcan massage should be effective, but it might be ruthlessly so... Still, if it did the trick, he could stand whatever it took in the short term. Probably.

"I am aware that you may be a bit more delicate than myself," T'Pruk informed Brian. "Please let me know if I apply too much pressure." She then gestured to a chair and said, "It would probably be most effective if you had your front facing the back of the chair. I will be able to more easily reach your pressure points and knots."

"OK," Brian nodded, then regretted that straight away as the action triggered a crick in his neck. He definitely needed this. He pulled a chair out and settled himself in, leaning on the back.

Once Brian was seated, T'Pruk informed Brian, "It is important that you breathe deeply and regularly to receive the maximum benefit."

"Breathing - yup, I can do breathing."

Silently T'Pruk started applying pressure to Brian's back, simultaneously causing him pain but also causing knots to release. "You are storing stress in your upper back. It is referring pain into your neck and I will need to continue to work through the tightened muscles there, too. Do you wish to inform me of any specific issues? Is there a problem with which I could assist you?"

"I've always been prone to tight muscles in the upper back," Brian confirmed. "Dad used to tell me off for slouching, but Mum said it was where my angel wings were growing... Yes, it does feel like my neck needs it too, if that's OK. I don't have any... structural issues... so you should be good to be..." He broke off, crying out as she leant directly on a sensitive spot, "... yup... yeah, I was going to say firm. Yeah that's... that's firm. Oh boy. ...Yup... Hitting the spot there."

"You have exerted yourself too greatly, Brian," T'Pruk responded simply. "You are not Vulcan. Your limits are greater than ours," she informed Brian in her logical voice. From anyone else, it might have sounded like she was bragging but anyone that knew T'Pruk, realized that she was only making a statement of fact.

She continued to ease the soreness from the sore spot. As she leaned in, she whispered, probably to be more considerate of Brian's hearing. "Do you remember when we shared minds?"

Brian shuddered, recalling the circumstances that had led up to it, then hastily, not wanting T'Pruk to misunderstand his reaction, "It's hard to remember without remembering what came before as well, but yes. Yes, I do. It was like... a refreshing cool drink after being lost in a desert, or maybe a lifeboat for a drowning man. Or maybe a warm reboot... I... I don't know what I'd have done without you."

"Most likely still pining after a Caitian that you were allergic to," T'Pruk observed. "I do not know if you understand what a Vulcan experiences with a mind meld. Our minds became one for a period of time. What you felt, I felt. We became a single being of sorts for awhile. There is a...." T'Pruk paused while she pushed overly hard on a knot in Brian's lower back.

"Nyar..." Brian cried out before stuffing his fist in his mouth to stifle it. He didn't want her to think she was hurting him. It was just a massage and he didn't want to seem ungrateful, especially not when he was already starting to feel the benefit. He could take it... right..?

"Sorry, Brian. I am a bit preoccupied. This conversation is something that must be done but is...." T'Pruk hesitated for the word and finally settled on "uncomfortable."

Well, this was a thing. He didn't think he'd done anything wrong - well, aside from interrupting her meditation and she'd seemed pretty cool about that. It was one of the things he really appreciated about T'Pruk. She was so straightforward. If she had a problem with him, she'd just come out with it. None of that dumb making you guess business that most people did. This must be pretty difficult for her to find it this awkward.

"Sooooo. Is this the kind of uncomfortable that means it's easier to talk to the back of my head, or would you prefer me to turn around now so we can make eye contact? Either is fine for me, but if it's your conversation, that means you get to pick."

"It should not logically make a difference," T'Pruk told Brian to his back. "Yet, I must admit that I find this conversation particularly difficult and I am concerned for your reaction." She exhaled noticeably. Something that Brian would never have seen or heard before. If T'Pruk was human, he might have concluded that it was an expression of fear, exhaustion, resigning, or gathering one's calm. She stopped the massage and said, "I think that you might prefer to see me face to face for this, despite the difficulties."

Brian waddled backwards off of the chair, taking a moment to stretch before resettling facing T'Pruk. It was worrying hearing her bothered in this way - not her usual cool, calm and collected self. And to say it was his reaction she was concerned for..? Was it something he'd done? He thought he'd been pretty good with personal hygiene and he was sure he didn't snore, well apart from when his allergies had been triggered at least.

"Whatever it is, thank you in advance for broaching it with me. I do always appreciate your... candor... Stewing about things without saying something is often much worse than facing it, especially with a friend," he offered.

Slowly, and purposefully, T'Pruk chose her words, as if each one carried the weight of a thousand stone. "In a mind meld, there is a certain intimacy, a closeness that cannot be achieved by normal means," she started. "You are very observant for a human. You're logical. And, you are my rooommate, which complicates matters more." Normally, T'Pruk was much more straightforward about her discussions, but it was becoming clear that she was stalling. "I am certain that you have seen me meditating more lately." She shook her head lightly. "What do you know about Vulcans, Brian? That might assist me with this uncomfortable discussion."

"Well, I know its a popular fallacy that you don't have emotions and that in reality you have just as much, but are highly trained at keeping them in check and that the meditation is part of that technique..." Brian was trying to tread carefully. If she had been meditating more, that implied she had stronger emotions to keep in check. He kept his own voice level, trying his best to be as reassuring as he could, despite his mind whirling, trying to work out all the things he might have done wrong, ways he might have wound her up badly enough for her to need to have this, obviously uncomfortable, conversation.

"Look - if I've said or done something that has in any way caused you discomfort or upset, I absolutely apologise and will do whatever I can to..."

T'Pruk shook her head and put her hands firmly on both of his shoulders. "No, Brian. That's not it at all. Your conduct has always been thoughtful and considerate. The problem is me." She sighed lightly trying to figure out a better way to explain this.

Brian frowned. He couldn't imagine T'Pruk being a problem, but he knew saying so wasn't really going to help right now. He needed to speak to her in a way that would connect.

"Please take a deep breath and then endeavour to elucidate..." He hoped that was more inviting that it sounded to him.

"Perhaps saying the problem is me is not completely correct. The problem is my species. You are correct. Vulcans still have emotions. In accordance with Surak's teachings we are trained to suppress them in favor of logic. However, there is a price that is paid for this. It is not something that Vulcans talk about because we find it...." T'Pruk searched for an unemotional word. While "embarrassing" would be accurate, she still had enough control that she could think like a Vulcan. "Distasteful," she finally settled on. She wrinkled her nose more at her using a word that showed more emotion than she desired than coordination of the word with her action.

She paused for another moment to tell Brian, "I ask you not to discuss what I am about to tell you with anyone. The price is something called pon farr, Brian. Vulcans go through it every 7 years. It is when we lose control of our logic and have a biological desire to mate. It cannot be avoided. I have no choice but to experience it and Vulcan emotions are much more volatile than human ones, Brian. Because you are close to me, I know that you will experience the brunt of them."

"Seven years..?" Brian was already doing calculations in his head. "If that compares to the human menstrual cycle, that's a scalar factor of 84 to 1. That's got to be some heavy duty emotional baggage... but that's OK. We can... " at which point, a different part of his brain finally got a word in edgeways. "Hang on. Did you say... mate..?"

"Yes," T'Pruk replied simply.

It's common to refer to the automatic physiological reaction to an event that is perceived as stressful or frightening by the nickname "fight or flight", but that overlooks a reaction more common to prey animals - Freeze; the kind of reaction usually seen in rabbits suddenly caught in a beam of light and used to try to convince predators that see by movement that you are not there.

Brian naturally froze. After what was probably only a few seconds but felt like a lifetime, his speech centre started to reboot, starting with consonants.

"M... m... m...."

Nope, he'd have to go with a warm reboot for his whole system. He closed his eyes, taking a deep slow breath in through his nose, holding it for a count of three, then blowing steadily out through his mouth. Only when that was done did he open his eyes again.

"So... Can you outline for me what I should expect and how you wish me to handle that? I mean, presumably you're still of sound mind currently, but you are expecting that to change. So, based on your current feelings, if you later... well... er... demand to change the parameters of our... um... relationship..."

He had not run. That was a good sign, T'Pruk determined. "That is much of what I desired to discuss and admittedly, much of the decisions are yours." She took a calm, deep breath and exhaled. "As I said before, with our mind meld, I became rather familiar with you. In a sense, intimately so. I am aware that despite women throwing themselves at you, you have not been interested in any of them seriously, especially those of the Caitians and Huanni. I have no desire to put you in that position or make you more uncomfortable that you already are. This leaves us, again, mostly you, with these choices now that you are aware of my situation. First, I could request a change of quarters so that you would not be put into a position where you would have to cope with my irrational state when it comes. Second, we could keep matters as they are and you would have to cope as best as possible with my deteriorating rational states. This might put you in some compromising or uncomfortable positions. However, when it was completed and I mated sufficiently for pon farr, I would return to normal and our friendship, as well. The third option involves personal risk to both of us, but is one that admittedly intrigues me. It is much like the second. However, as I said in my Valentine's Day card, I do not find you wholly illogical and whether it is because of the mind meld or something else, I believe that I could be attracted to you. We could attempt to court one another and perhaps as I became more irrational, it would be more like you dating a human. Of course Vulcan emotions are much more volatile and I could not, even if a courtship resulted in more, promise you a relationship full of emotions like a human after my pon farr. But, it is a third option. If you can think of a fourth option, I will listen. However, these are the three that I see. Whatever you choose, I will respect your choice. You are my friend. I tell you all of this because I know you will keep it confidential regardless of your choice."

T'Pruk leaned forward and put her fingers lightly together. She said nothing more for the moment, waiting for Brian's reaction as she looked deeply into his eyes. Whatever happened next would likely determine the course of their future. "Of course, should you wish some time alone or elsewhere while you consider these choices, I can give you that as well. I know this is likely an unexpected shock for you."

She could pick from the whole ship. She could ask to be taken home, but she was asking him.

Brian smiled. "Let's take this one step at a time and see where that takes us. So... can I take you out to dinner?"

"You can," T'Pruk responded, perhaps a small note of pleasure creeping into her voice. "Now or later? I believe it is a customary dinner time."

Brian suddenly remembered, he'd just stormed in from work...

"I'd better grab a shower and fresh gear... half past?"

"I will be attempting to meditate here. When you are ready, let me know and we can go."


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