"Liquid Memories"
[previous "
Learning Curves"]


Setting: USS ANUBIS, Black Hole Lounge
Stardate: 30147.1830

The laughter from the table filled the entire room. It had felt good to laugh this way, a feeling that Jayson had actually forgotten. His life had gone from sadly depressed to constantly busy, leaving no room for the simpler joys.

His eyes were suddenly drawn to a new arrival to the Black Hole. There was something mysterious about the woman, and that she wore the grey on Intel had only added to that aura. Hair as black as night, skin as white as snow, and her dark red lips left him wondering.

He watched as she carefully selected a table out of the way. Why come here if her intents had been to be alone? Maybe it was just the way of that department, searching for solitude in a crowded room.  She ordered a drink with a single short word that left the waiter unimpressed. Now he was curious, was her beverage of choice as mysterious as she was?

Without saying a word to his drinking buddies Jayson stood and went to the bar to fetch the drink that had been prepared for her. Clear and cold without any smell, had she ordered nothing more than water?  The mystery thickened leaving him to want to find out more about the dark haired woman.

Her gaze bore into his mind as he approached, making him feel as if she had been there in his thoughts.  Jayson just smiled and placed the cold glass on the table.  "There you go Miss."

"Thank you Ensign Stark."

How did she know his name? His eyes glanced over her collar to note her rank and be reminded of the department she worked in. Intel! She likely knew everyone on the ship by name, or at the very leas knew everyone on the senior staff.  "You have me at a disadvantage, Miss."

"Ensign Shar'El," was all that she said in return as glimpses of the memory of his meeting Leena for the first time hung on the edge of his thoughts.  She could feel the thrill and excitement that he experienced at meeting someone new as well as the nearly overpowering guilt he was about to give into. His wife had been everything to him, and to approach another woman has he had bordered on betraying her memory.  "Sit and join me," the ILO added giving the OPS officer the excuse he needed; she had invited him as a fellow shipmate.

His mind was filled with fears and memories. Counsellor Dalziel had helped him accept his situation by giving Leena her own time in his thoughts. That had helped him focus on his work, but this was different.  All he could do was to remember how things had been and imagine how Leena would have wanted for him to not stop living because of what had happened.

"Counsellor Dalziel would likely be very proud right now," Shar'El said as the memory of Jayson's last meeting with the Counsellor crossed the man's mind.  The ILO realized too late that her words would be interpreted to mean that she knew things about him that she should not have known.  "She had been after me to be more *social* with the rest of the crew."

Jayson grinned.  Leena would have more than likely approved of him helping someone from his own crew in this way. "So, as the head of the Intel department, is there anything that you do not know about me?"

Shar'El returned the man's grin.  As the head of the Intel department, as he had put it, her knowledge of the crew had been extensive.  As a Ullian though, she had been discovering more about the OPS officer with each passing moment. Unlike the Admiral who had long ago learned to control his memories and thoughts, Jayson was a historical playback set on fast forward.  In mere seconds the ILO had learned of his parents, his struggles both before and during the Academy and most important about the toll that the accident that had taken his wife and unborn child had taken on him.

"I know that I do not know the most important parts of what makes people who they are," Shar'El replied.  "People, like their memories, are fluid and able to flow from one state to the next. Some are frozen in the past, locked in a single moment of their lives which might have taken place decades before. Others are carefree and happily move from one state to the next, only holding onto the positive aspects of what they have experienced."

"You don't sound like any Intel Officer I have ever imagined," Jayson said having found the mysterious woman even more puzzling now.

"Sometimes you have to listen to *how* people say things instead of *what* they say," the ILO said, realizing again too late that she had repeated a line from the man's memories, a line that had been spoken by none other than his late wife.

Jayson froze as he looked into Shar'El dark eyes, trying to make sense of what he had just heard.  After a few seconds his stance relaxed ever so slightly, and seconds after that he actually grinned.

"Tell me more about yourself. I am sure that you rarely get to do the talking and am ready to bet that you have a lot of interesting things to share." Stark said before he ordered a drink from the waiter, one that matched that of the ILO.

It was Shar'El's turn to smile.  Maybe there was something good about this socializing after all.

Jayson Sousa

Ensign Jayson Stark