Obsidian Command

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Tomorrow and the Next Day and the Next

Posted on 02 Sep 2023 @ 4:10pm by Chief Petty Officer Ibis Xeri & Major Porter Wallace
Edited on on 06 Feb 2024 @ 10:10pm

Mission: M4 - Falling Out
Location: Obsidian Command, Wallace & Xeri's Quarters
Timeline: M4 D1 Evening
1584 words - 3.2 OF Standard Post Measure

Despite her protests, Olivia had fallen asleep quickly. Ikemba had never woken. Wallace told the computer to ease the door shut, none of the familiar woosh. The alien sound, so comforting to him now, would be an odd noise to add to the dreams of the sleeping kids. He watched the door inch close, the computer mindful of his orders.

He looked around the quarters and let out a breath he didn’t know he’d been holding. So, this was home. As Agaia had promised, their window looked not into space, but out across the environmental deck. Wallace was glad. Somehow, the idea of just staring at the black inkiness of space seemed too much, too soon. He’d rather have some landscape to look at. Across the darkened living quarters filled with standard low-slung furniture, the light to his and Ibis’ room cast a ray of light that guided him safely through the new space.

Ibis was singing softly, brushing her waist long hair. Wallace shut the door – this time allowing it to woosh! – and leaned against the frame. “Now what?”

She set the brush on the side table, thankful that it wasn’t full of shedding hair, and twisted to pat the mattress, a simple invitation. He’d been laid up in sickbay and they hadn’t been able to share the small family quarters on the ride back. “Try it out. Your back is going to love this.”

“Oh, I don’t know,” Wallace carefully pushed down on the bed to test its softness. “Seems a touch soft to me. If I hadn’t been drugged up, that bio bed they had me in felt soft. Nine years of sleeping on a mat, I feel like anything short of marble might be too soft.”

“Ikemba thinks beds were designed to be trampolines. He slept in his, but I think it was just because he wore himself out jumping. Olivia called it the ‘sleeping table’.” That had been on one of her tirades when Ibis had tried to shut off the padd and tell her to rest. Which was fair. The closest things they had to beds had been the operating table in the clinic, and the shelf like beds in the sick shacks. “Try it.” she pressed, tugging on his hand. “If you hate it, we can always spread a blanket on the floor until we can get a marble slab installed.”

He eased himself onto the bed and stretched out on his back. It was soft. Comfortingly so. “Okay. You win. I’ll try it. For tonight.”

Wallace propped his head up on an elbow and looked at Ibis. “You know, we’ve never actually shared a bed. It’s new territory for us.”

Ibis took a moment to arrange the pillows. She hadn’t had anything more than a roll of seaweed to support her neck with for a long time, but she’d adjusted to having pillows again very quickly. “Our sleeping mats overlapped.” She smirked. “I think it counts.”

“But we didn’t have blankets. It was always hot and muggy. Elizabeth always said I was a blanket hog.”

“I’ve been similarly accused.” Ibis finished fussing with the pillows and laid down beside him. “We’ll have to see who wakes up with the bigger half of the blanket.”

He settled down onto his back. Before Korix, he’d been a side sleeper. The hard floors put an end to that. His hips would ache for days if he didn’t sleep on his back. Wallace supposed he’d have to find out what kind of sleeper he was in a soft bed again. There’d probably be some sleepless nights. “Ibis…” he said haltingly, “...have you thought about…what now?”

“Everytime I try, I… I don’t know where to start. Each tomorrow is as far as I get.” She stared up at the soft glow along the ceiling’s lighting track, thinking about what she wanted and not getting very far. “Now that we’re here, I’m going to call my family tomorrow.”

“Yeah. I better send a message to Marcus. That could get…awkward.” Wallace scratched his ear. “How about we get married?”

Ibis turned on her side to look at him, sure she’d misheard. “What?”

“You didn’t answer me before.”

“Is that what you were mumbling about in your sleep, on the Pathfinder? I… Didn’t think you were really talking to me.”

“I mean, I was really out of it. I get it. And then I wasn’t sure if I’d actually asked and I’d been waiting around…” Wallace brushed a strand of hair back from her face. “We can make what already is official.”

She put her hand over his against her cheek as he brushed back her hair. “I’ll stay with you. You don’t have to marry me for that,” she said, sure that he was just trying to be considerate. “I know that Elizabeth is… it’s important to you. Your first family.”

“If Elizabeth were to burst into existence and discovered I’d not even tried, she would reign unholy hell down me.” Wallace paused, feeling like he was fumbling the moment about his deceased first wife.. He tottered up to his feet and moved around the bed to Ibis’ side and got down on his knees so that his face was level with hers. Ibis, anticipating Wallace was intent on something, sat up and swung her feet to the floor as he knelt.

“There was no future on Korix, beyond the next day. Now we have a future. I don’t know what tomorrow or the next day might bring. The only thing I’m sure of is tomorrow there’s you and the next day there’s you. And the day after that.”

Ibis was tearing up. Word for word it was like he was able to express her own feelings.

“A lot has happened the last few days. So. I don’t expect an answer tonight or tomorrow. I just want you to know that all you have to do is say ‘yes’ at any point in the next rest of our lives and I’ll find us a priest, or priestess, or captain, or clerk, or whatever. I’m already your edamame.”

She laughed lightly. “Imzadi. It’s Imzadi.”

“That’s what I said. You just couldn’t understand it because of my Earth accent.”

Ibis brushed away tears between more laughter. “I had thought about it.” She admitted, remembering the wedding video she had watched with Olivia, and considering how wrong she’d been about what Wallace would want. “And I think we’ve waited long enough, Edamame.”

“Then it’s settled,” Wallace heaved himself up off the floor and kissed Ibis. After a minute he settled onto the bed next to her. “I hope all our future planning is this easy.”

She curled into his arms. “Now I have even more news for my parents tomorrow.”

“As if being alive wasn’t enough,” Wallace said dryly. “How do you think she’ll react?”

“My mom?” Ibis shrugged, unsure what her family had already gone through while they were missing. “I think she’ll be happy to have me back. She’s going to be upset for me losing my telepathy. And… I don’t know what she’ll think of you. She’s… Whatever she thinks, she’ll say it, outright. My mother… doesn’t have a filter.”

“Good. I don’t like beating around bushes. And you didn’t lose your telepathy on purpose. Laura didn’t really understand what your illness was in the first place. Surely she’ll be able to understand that.”

“Maybe. After she employs the leading experts on Betazed to evaluate me.”

“If you want,” Wallace added. “Only what you want. Everything else you’re marrying me. If our last night on Korix proved anything, I will literally engage in a hopeless battle with an eight-foot monster for you. How tough could your mother be?”

“She can read your thoughts. Be careful. Not that it will matter until you meet her in person. Even if she left Earth tomorrow, it would be a couple of weeks from now. If they even still live on Earth. My dad is probably retired. Maybe they went back to Betazed.” She smiled and reached a hand under his sleeve to scratch his shoulder. “You’ll get along with my Dad, I think. He would always help me when Mom was… stifling.”

“I have experience with Betazoids reading my thoughts when I don’t want them to,” Wallace stated confidently, “You use to do it all the time. I’ll just get my best scowl ready and be prepared to use it with both my internal and external voices.”

Ibis rested an ear against his steady, mechanical heart, remembering snatches when she had seen him with his guard down, a tender poet's heart, broken. And then he would see her coming, and his emotions would rise into a confusing resistance— scowling inside and out. Now he would just tell her his feelings, she didn’t have to guess. Or read his mind. “You did used to keep me shut out. Look where we are now.”

“Funny what being stranded on a planet will do.”

“Funny,” she repeated as her eyelids grew heavy.


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