Taking Time – Taking Time for...Family
by Rear Admiral Iluvar

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Post Details

Title   Taking Time for...Family
Mission   Taking Time
Author(s)   Rear Admiral Iluvar
Posted   Wed Jan 20, 2010 @ 9:41am
Location   Holodeck 3, USS Tethys
Timeline   Shoreleave 2, 2018
ON: [[Holodeck 3, USS Tethys, Shoreleave 2, 2018]]

The campfire crackled and popped, sending tiny, glowing embers into the air that faded as they cooled in the growing dark. In the sky above, tiny points of light began to appear. Iluvar sat on a nearby log, watching the flames lick at the wood as they flickered back and forth. He and Aris (NPC) had reached their campsite late in the afternoon and, after gathering some water and firewood, had started preparing for dinner. Clean-up hadn't taken all that long and now they were simply enjoying the remainder of their evening around the campfire.

Aris sat next to Iluvar, a cup of hot cocoa clutched in his hands. While his eyes watched the flames, his thoughts were on their hike to the campsite. Planning the outing had been an exciting experience, the anticipation increasing with every moment. Aris had thought about where they would go and what they would bring. He had imagined what they would see as they hiked and what he and Iluvar would talk about. The actual hike had exceeded his expectations in almost every way, making it one of the most enjoyable experiences he had ever had. But they hadn't talked much on the hike. Sure, Iluvar had pointed out interesting features or passing wildlife, but Aris didn't feel as if he knew Iluvar all that much better than he had before. While doing his research, he'd seen notes in 20th and 21st Century Earth literature about how camping was supposed to be a good way for fathers and sons to bond, but so far, he hadn't seen any of that.

"It's going to be a nice night," Iluvar commented, glancing up at the stars that were growing in number, "I don't think we'll have to worry about sleeping under the stars."

He smiled and turned to pull his pack toward himself. Digging around inside for a moment, he brought out a small bag of white cylinders and a container with light and dark brown squares. Carefully, he balanced the bag and the container on the log while he pulled out two collapsible roasting sticks before setting his pack aside.

"What's that," Aris asked, confused. He hadn't remembered packing the items that Iluvar had just brought out, nor had he recalled even putting them in the inventory.

"S'mores," Iluvar replied, opening the bag and withdrawing one of the white cylinders.

"Some more what," Aris asked, still very confused.

"Not 'some more'," Iluvar clarified with a chuckle, "S'mores. On Earth, when people go camping, they usually sit around the campfire and eat S'mores." He speared the cylinder with the roasting stick and held it out for Aris to take.

Cautiously, Aris grasped the handle of the stick, eying the white object at the other end, then glanced at Iluvar for more instructions. Iluvar quickly made up his own roasting stick, then smiled and said, "First, we roast the marshmallows. People like theirs all different ways, but I prefer a nice golden brown. Just hold it above the fire and turn it carefully."

Aris watched as Iluvar held his roasting stick over the campfire, turning it slowly so that it would cook evenly. He lifted his own roasting stick and, mirroring Iluvar's movements, held it over the flames, trying to turn it at the same time. It was definitely an activity that required patience. Any attempt to speed up the process would likely end up resulting in a charred marshmallow.

As the two of them sat there, roasting their marshmallows, Aris glanced over at Iluvar, who had remained rather quiet. "Iluvar," he began hesitantly.

"Hmm," Iluvar replied, keeping his focus on the roasting marshmallow.

"Why did you...you know...leave Ba'ku," the boy asked, somewhat unsure if he was broaching a forbidden topic. Iluvar had told him about the Ba'ku of this universe and how they were different from the mirror-Ba'ku, but the man never really talked about why he had chosen to leave.

"To come back to Starfleet, you mean," Iluvar said, clarifying the question. He paused, eyes still focused on the roasting marshmallow. For a few moments, he didn't say anything as the fire continued to crackle. Aris almost began to wonder if he shouldn't have even asked when Iluvar spoke again. "It wasn't an easy decision," he continued, "I spent a long time thinking about it. Starfleet was still trying to rebuild from the Dominion War and the Tholians were starting to become more aggressive in their territorial claims near the Briar Patch. Sufficed to say, they were pressuring me to come back. Admiral Necheyev (NPC) is a very persuasive woman, but I did not think I was ready to return to Starfleet."

"What convinced you to go back, then," Aris asked, realizing that he hadn't turned his marshmallow consistently and frowning as he realized that one side was already more well done than the others.

"In the end, it was Artim (NPC) who helped me to realize that I was needed in Starfleet," Iluvar replied, thinking back to the conversation that he had had with one of his closest friends among the Ba'ku.

It was unusual for Iluvar to miss a meal, but he had done so quite frequently the past few days. Artim noted that Iluvar would also spend lots of time out in the foothills of the mountains, though he never talked about what he did out there all day. This strange behavior was starting to worry Artim, though Sojef assured him that Iluvar probably just needed some time alone. After four years, there were still times when the Iluvar would suddenly become consumed with thoughts and memories from the past. Artim knew that there was still a lot his friend had to figure out about what had happened and how he was going to deal with it.

As Artim stepped out onto the porch, he looked toward the low bridge leading out of the village and saw the familiar form of Iluvar walking slowly back toward the house. The young Ba'ku waited silently until Iluvar had reached the steps to the porch. "Where have you been," Artim asked, not sure if he should expect a reply.

"Out," Iluvar replied simply.

"Seems like you've been 'out' a lot lately," Artim said, "What is that expression you use? Penny for your thoughts?" He could tell that there was definitely something on the man's mind. The two had known each other since Iluvar had first made an emergency landing on Ba'ku.

A small smile pulled at the corners of Iluvar's mouth at the sound of a Ba'ku using a very human expression. These last four years among the Ba'ku had been a welcome relief from all that was going wrong in his life after the destruction of the USS Valar. He could not imagine ever leaving this wondrous paradise, yet that was precisely what Admiral Necheyev was suggesting he do.

"They've asked me to come back to Starfleet," Iluvar explained, leaning against the railing that marked the edge of the porch, "Admiral Necheyev says that the Tholians are striking deeper into the Patch, making bolder raids on our colonies in the region. There's also the Tzenkethi and the pirate raids that issue from their space." He paused and took a deep breath. Glancing up at the growing darkness, he closed his eyes and tried to organize his thoughts, though it did him little good.

Artim watched his friend closely. He knew the man well enough to know that this was a very difficult decision for him. Although Iluvar hadn't spoken much about things Offworld in his time with them, it was clear that Iluvar had a passion for knowledge and helping others. As much as it pained Artim to admit it, perhaps now was not the time for Iluvar to remain on Ba'ku.

"Maybe you should go," Artim suggested, causing Iluvar to turn and give the young Ba'ku a strange look, "I can see that this is really hard for you, but Ba'ku will still be here when you get back...so will Sojef and Anij and I. It sounds like Starfleet needs you right now. You're the kind of person who feels compelled to learn and to help others, Iluvar. If that means that you need to return to Starfleet for a little while, then that's what you need to do."


"Iluvar," Aris said, eyes focused on the flaming marshmallow at the end of Iluvar's roasting stick, "Iluvar! Your marshmallow's on fire!"

Aris exclamation brought Iluvar out of his thoughts and he calmly turned his attention to the black, carbonized sugar at the end of his stick. Giving a mental sigh, he chuckled a little. He dipped the stick into the fire to burn off the excess and, once it was clean, withdrew it so that he could try again with another marshmallow. Keeping a closer eye on his own marshmallow, Aris wondered what Iluvar had been thinking about that had distracted him from the campfire.

"So that was that," Iluvar said, continuing the explanation he had left hanging earlier, "I returned to Starfleet and, within a few months, had earned my own command. Three years later, here we are."

"What do I do now," Aris asked, pulling his marshmallow out from over the fire. Seeing that Aris' marshmallow was almost finished, Iluvar set his own roasting stick aside for a moment to prepare the other ingredients for the S'more. He opened the container and withdrew two light brown crackers and a dark brown square of chocolate for each of them.

"Alright," Iluvar began, setting the chocolate on what would become the bottom cracker of the S'more, "hold out your roasting stick and try not to move it around too much." Aris did as he was told, which allowed Iluvar to use the two halves of the S'more to slide the toasted marshmallow off of the stick. Iluvar squeezed the two halves together so that the marshmallow spilled out the sides, then handed it to Aris, who held it tentatively, not quite sure what to make of it.

A moment later, Iluvar had a S'more of his own made up. He took a bite and had to use one hand to break the sugary strands left behind by the marshmallow. Following Iluvar's lead, Aris also took a bite, noting that it was a very messy snack to be having. Iluvar started to laugh and Aris could not help but join in. After all that they had faced since Aris had first seen this man who looked just like his father appear at the edge of his home village, something about sharing in this strange Earth tradition seemed very...familiar.

It didn't take long for either of them to finish their small snacks. Aris had been surprised at how much he liked the taste of the small sandwich. Licking the sticky marshmallow from his fingers, he smiled and glanced over at Iluvar, asking, "May I have S'more?"

OFF

Aris Ibanya (NPC)
Crew Family Member
USS Tethys

Played by

Rear Admiral Iluvar
Commanding Officer
USS Tethys