Obsidian Command

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One Way or Another

Posted on 09 Jun 2024 @ 10:29am by Chief Petty Officer Ibis Xeri & Major Porter Wallace

Mission: M4 - Falling Out
Location: Wallace Family Quarters
Timeline: MD23 AM - Following "The Future Unwritten"
1314 words - 2.6 OF Standard Post Measure

“I had a bad dream.” Ibis said in her thin remainder of a voice, thankful that she couldn’t be heard across their quarters where Olivia had pulled a chair up to the replicator so that Ikemba could stand up and the two of them could collaborate on their breakfast requests together. For the moment, life looked like a 'regular' day in the Wallace household, even if Ibis and Porter knew differently. Ibis buried her face against Porter’s chest as he walked into their quarters.

She was disheveled from an unpleasant night. He’d left before everyone else had got up for his early morning interview and had only just returned. Whatever he felt on the inside wasn’t reflected his crisp uniform.

He wrapped his arms around her. “Sorry. I should’ve been there.”

“I fell asleep on the couch, I guess.” She shook her head even as she had her face hidden. “It’s not your fault.”

“Want to talk about it?”

“It was Rachel. Her labor. All at once– the beginning and the end, and everything happening all at once. I don’t… time was… strange. Overlapping.”

He didn’t say anything, just held her close. It was best to let someone just get their dreams out without interruption.

“All I could do was all I had ever done. Attend. Laura was there and Jimoh. Fana was there, too.”

Wallace’s brow wrinkled inquisitively, “Who’s ‘Fana?’”

Ibis lifted her face and leaned back in his arms just enough to look up at him. She guessed she’d never really told him about the Betazoid religion. That was sort of just her parents’ culture. She’d only ever picked it up in parts and didn’t fully get it herself. “My mother’s patron goddess, where all her names and titles come from… But also my camp counselor in Shawangunk, New York… I… I had a camp counselor named Fanna, like the goddess Fana’s name on Betazed. And when I dream sometimes… It's the same person, Fana and Fanna. In Betazoid myth… she’s the midwife, of both birth and of death.” Ibis inhaled raggedly and exhaled shakily. “I asked her– in the dream, I asked her to take me instead of Rachel. She said that I wasn’t Ikemba’s mother, and that I couldn’t die for him. When she wouldn’t take me instead, I tried… to do it myself. In the dream, I cut myself open with Laura’s scalpel.” Ibis swallowed so hard it hurt like knives. “But I was empty.”

Wallace grunted. He hoped that she would talk to Agaia about all this; at the same time, he wasn’t about to suggest it. Sometimes people had to find their own way to that kind of help. All he would do was be here.

A softly climbing trill of a scheduling note started to sing from the key computer terminals. ‘Reminder: Olivia’s First Day of School’ scrolled across several of the otherwise blank computer displays.

Ibis gasped sharply, a hand went to her forehead. “I forgot! That’s today! I signed her up today.” Could she cancel? Would she be an even worse caregiver if she put this off? A myriad of half thoughts went circling around in her head.

“She should go,” Wallace told her. “We need to start getting to our new normal and let that ground us. God - er - Fana? Fana knows there will be bumpy times ahead.”

Ibis smirked softly at that, her matted hair flopping over. “Fana is the troublemaker. It’s Altha we swear by.” She felt better, a little, having shared the dream. Her shoulders fell with a slow exhale, forming a long sigh. “I’ll get cleaned up. I think they said her classes will go until three. Will you be able to watch Ikemba?”

“You’re going to stay there with her?” Wallace asked, a little surprised.

Ibis’ face quirked. "... I planned to." She stroked along Porter’s arm, pressing along a seam. The familiar shape of him was starting to fill out a Marine uniform jacket again. She tried to remember if he’d told her he was going back to work. Obviously she must have forgotten he’d said he had a meeting or something. He hadn’t put on the uniform since the parade reception for their arrival months ago. “Unless you want to go. She’s never been in a classroom.”

“It might do to give her a little space,” Wallace suggested gently. They’d been glued to these kids since their rescue and he’d noticed that Olivia was becoming a little more sullen as of late. She hadn’t enjoyed nearly the same level of freedom she’d had on Korix. “Besides, Warrant Officer L’Orss thinks she may have found us a lawyer. She messaged and said to expect them a little after lunch.”

“Oh.” Ibis bit her lip. This whole matter with Ikemba had to take priority.

Meanwhile, she watched both of the kids, their kids, trying each other's choice of breakfast; Olivia sampled Ikemba's cinnamon toast while she tried to make Ikemba use a spoon instead of his hands to try her oat cereal. Ikemba was unconcerned with her opinion. His way was best. When he put his fist into her bowl of cereal and milk, Olivia went on an instant tirade in Korinn, trilling and clicking and screeching as she got a new bowl of cereal from the replicator, finishing her opinion out in English and declaring the first bowl to be his now, since it was full of his own 'dirt and boogers'. And he'd better eat it, too, since 'we can't afford to just waste food.'

Ibis heard herself in the last of Olivia's berating. Those days were gone, but the impression remained. Olivia hated being corrected for anything, but when she was looking after Ikemba, she became the authority, in spite of herself. She was just a kid, looking for a way to feel grown up.

...Would Olivia be upset if she wasn’t at school with her, Ibis wondered? On the other hand, it was just as likely Porter was right and Olivia would want Ibis to stay out of her new school life, anyway. Like most things Olivia related, it seemed no matter what Ibis did or didn’t do she would probably be wrong.

As the kids quickly recovered from their tiff, she looked back to Porter. “Will the lawyer thing take more than a couple of hours? I want to be there when Olivia’s class lets out.”

“We’ll make that work, one way or the other.”

They could drop her off and pick her up. Ibis tried to let that be enough. “I’ll ask my dad to take Ikemba after lunch.” The boy understood more than he could verbalize and she didn’t want him frightened by any of the adults talking.

“Right. Good idea.” Wallace pulled away from Ibis. He started unzipping his uniform jacket, “I got to get out of this thing.”

“You’re finished? So early? With...?” she prompted, hoping he might remind her what it was she had forgotten he was wearing his uniform to, if he’d said in the first place. Not that it mattered. She had gotten back to work in the science lab so soon after their arrival on the station. If they were going to get back to some version of a 'normal' life again, then she was happy to see him checking in with the Marines, too. “Did you get called to something?”

“The meeting…” Wallace shrugged. He didn’t want to talk about that now until he could figure out exactly what he wanted. “It can wait. Let’s get Olivia to school.”


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