848: When the Time Is Right

by Lara Valera Ryn and Jariel Camen
Thirty Minutes After Full Swing

-=Adventurer’s Club Party Program, Holodeck One=-

“We are late, aren’t we?” Fleur asked, as entered the holodeck with Jariel Camen at her side, holding her arm. Her shoulders sunk, feeling guilty instantly for having been late to Zander’s party.

“Don’t worry about it, I’m sure you both have a lot on your mind,” Dabin said, as he handed them each a cup from the bar. “Zander’s been here about half an hour and he seems to be having a good time, as is everyone else, I hope. I worked my spots off on this!”

Jariel looked around the room at all the guests, some of whom seemed to have dressed up for the occasion. He had rushed here with Fleur, and hadn‘t even given a second thought to his attire, and neither had she.

Zanh Liis walked past, smiling and nodding to him, and hoping the reason they were late was because Le Marc had come to her senses. She peered at the French woman’s wrists and, upon not seeing Jariel’s betrothal bracelet, lost the smile on her face.

Fleur stepped directly up to Zanh Liis, and rubbed her wrist gently. She lowered her voice so only Zanh Liis could hear.

“Camen and I talked and, I left it home, for now, because this is Zander’s night, not ours.”

Liis nodded in understanding, and the smile returned to her face, as she stepped off to further mingle.

“I am having an idea Camen, I think I need to go replicate a flapper dress,” Fleur said. Camen grabbed her arm as she prepared to leave.

“Wait, Fleur,” His gentle and charming smile froze her in her tracks. “Just stay. I don’t want to let you out of my sight.”

“Just a few minutes, I promise. It will be worth the wait.”

“All right. A few minutes,” Camen said.

She kissed his cheek and slipped out of the holodeck. Camen spied Lair Kellyn across the room, and they exchanged a wave. He walked slowly through the crowd, familiarizing himself with the surroundings. Liis and Dabin had clearly put a lot of thought and planning into this.

Jariel approached one of the characters. “Good evening,” He squinted to read Dabin Reece’s handwriting on the nametag. “Lord Acton?”

“You must be Vedek Jariel Camen.”

“Well. You have me at a disadvantage, sir.”

“Your computer has provided me with the names of your crew.” Acton tapped the side of his head. “And a wealth of historical knowledge beyond my wildest dreams.”

“So you are interested in history?”

“I am a historian by trade, yes.”

“So what can you tell me about the French?” Camen asked, suddenly realizing how little he actually knew about the culture of Fleur’s people.

“What can you tell me about the Bajorans?”

“Well, there is so much to tell.”

“Then you understand my dilemma. The history of France is as old as civilization on Earth. Nearly two hundred thousand years old. But you are probably interested in the first French kingdoms that began to take shape around five hundred A.D. Where to begin?”

Camen nodded politely, and suddenly began to wonder if the man really intended to give him every details of French society from the last two thousand years.

He was not disappointed as Acton really began to relate the history of France in its glorious detail. While he could appreciate learning more about his beloved's people, culture, and history, there was a small part of him - patient as he was - that was glad that he could actually tell the computer to end the simulation.

Attentively as he was listening, Camen was also people watching, partially waiting for Fleur to return and partially to take in the scene. He recognized everyone, in uniform, in dress, or in costume, and was quite pleased to see that most people had come and were taking the time to relax and enjoy themselves.

As he scanned, his eyes happened upon someone he did not recognize. A young lady, who was not wearing a nametag, which indicated that she had to be a crew member. But she was one that he did not recognize.

She was dressed in a rather odd fashion, yet she seemed perfectly at ease with her attire. She wore a loose pair of khaki pants with a very pale blue Oxford cloth shirt tucked into it. Over the shirt was a well-worn brown leather jacket, though it remained unzipped, so that one could see a pistol attached to the holster on one side and a whip on the other.

On seeing the whip, Camen did a double take. There was no doubt, the girl was wearing a whip. And to top it off, her blond ponytail was sticking out from the sable brown "poet" fedora perched on her head.

The costume left an impression, that is for sure. And Camen's attention to it also caught the attention of its wearer. She smiled politely, grabbed two glasses of champagne floating around on a waiter's=2 0tray and walked over to him.

All this while, Lord Acton had continued to chatter.

"Lord Acton, Vedek Jariel, what a pleasure," she said as she finally approached them. She waved the second glass of champagne between the two men, though it was the former who grabbed hold of it.

"I'm quite parched from all of this talking," Acton stated as he took a sip. "Thank you, my dear."

The woman shrugged her shoulders at Camen, who smiled politely in return, and then said, "I'm clearly at a disadvantage. There are only three Bajorans aboard."

"Well, you are right, the nose does give it away. However, you're probably the only person with enough patience to listen so attentively to Lord Acton here go on and on and on."

The hologram of Lord Acton appeared mildly miffed as he turned his attention away from the champagne. He sniffed softly and craned his neck slightly in the woman's direction. "And you, madam, have a differing opinion of French history?"

"But of course. I'm an archeologist, can't you see," she said, winking at Camen.

“Do you plan on shooting your artifacts?” Camen asked coolly as an inclination of his head towards the pistol indicated why he had asked the question. Jariel steered as far away from hand weapons as he could. He had no use for them and generally preferred that they remain in the hands of those that did.

“It isn’t always as simple as a group of mild mannered university professors and students digging in a well controlled area. The more valuable the artifact, remote the location, and dangerous the competitors, the more you need this.” Lara said, patting the weapon on her hip.

“I see. So tell me how it is you already know my name despite the fact we have not met?” Lara looked around the room, saw February Grace reclining in the pink chair her husband had added to the program especially for her, and pointed. “Oh, well if February Grace has told you about me, then I can assure you none of it is true.” Camen grinned to punctuate the sarcasm in his statement. No doubt this new crewperson probably believed by now that Jariel Camen made the sun rise, and not only belonged in the Celestial Temple, but should be running the place.

“Then you aren’t the ship’s Chaplain, and you aren’t beloved by the crew?”

“I am the ship’s Chaplain.” He confirmed the factual part of her statement, and modestly left the subjective part for everyone else’s judgment. “And you are?”

“Lara Valera Ryn. Newly assigned to the science department.”

“Science? Then you are a braver woman than the pistol gives you credit for. And I take it by the third name that Ryn is your husband?”

“My symbiont,” She corrected. “I’m only half Trill.”

Jariel raised his eyebrows in surprise. The lack of characteristic Trill spots had left him with no expectations what so ever that Ryn would be, of all things, a symbiont name. “We’re you born on Trill?”

“No, Vulcan actually. My father was Trill and my mother human.”

Camen knew from his friendship with Dabin and February, and his own personal studies as part of his duties as ship’s Chaplain, that the joining of a symbiont to a host that was not fully Trill was virtually unheard of. There were only a few scattered reports, and they were the result of some sort of traumatic event that forced an unanticipated joining.

“Would you care to discuss it?” He could tell by the way she shifted with unease as she spoke of her mother and father that she was already growing uncomfortable with the direction the conversation was headed in. If there was some traumatic event that lead to her joining, she had likely already had to relate it to everyone that asked how it was she came to be joined.

If she needed a sympathetic ear, she would have it. But Camen also new the party was the perfect escape for things one wanted to for get for a spell. Depending on how she answered the question he would either offer his wisdom, or move on until to other topics that made her feel more at ease.

"Well," Lara said softly, "I'm smart enough to realize that eventually I will need to get over it." She did not specify what "it" was, but it was clear she was referring to the joining. "But I'm not smart enough to do that anytime soon. Let's just say that I am a glutton for punishment."

"I understand," Camen replied, in a somber, yet relaxed voice, his Bajoran Vedek voice, the one designed to put people at ease and let them know immediately that he was accepting of their choices and willing to lend an ear, when they were ready.

"But for now, I just want to have some fun tonight and get to know some of the crew better. So, perhaps if you'd be so kind..."

"It would be my pleasure." In an old-fashioned, gentlemanly way, Camen offered her his arm, which she graciously accepted.

"Oh, and if possible," she added mischievously, "I'd love to find some empty space around here to play with this whip. It wouldn't be a party, after all, without a little fun and games."

A question for another day ran through Camen’s mind, as he brought her to Salvek and Kellyn to introduce her to the First Officer and the Alchemy’s chief research engineer.

What exactly was she doing here?

He could tell just by her demeanor that she felt as if she were a fish out of water. If this Lara Valera Ryn had an interest in archaeology, she sure was not going to satisfy it here on a starship. He could not help but wonder what circumstances had led her to this place, but he also knew from her desire to simply have fun tonight that she didn’t wish to discuss it now. He could understand how she felt. There was so much he wished to discuss with Kellyn tonight, but it would wait for a more appropriate time.

When and if she was ready, he’d be willing to listen.

LT. Lara Valera Ryn
Science Officer
USS Serendipity NCC-2012


Jariel Camen
Ship’s Chaplain
USS Serendipity NCC-2012