"I've made a mess of things." A young girl said, solid copper arms folded in front of her.
"You're, I think, you're Treve's little sister, aren't you?" Lili asked. "Yimar, right?"
"Yes. And you are a human, right? He's, the authorities have him. They, they explained to me. He's taken up with a human."
"I know her, Lili said.
"I don't even know why he's in custody." the girl said.
"Well, Yimar, I can't begin to tell you, Lili said.
"But you're a grownup." Yimar sighed. "I never wanted this. I am just a kid! But that, that human, she pointed to me at the festival and I ended up in, in charge."
"Then if you're in charge, you can pardon him, right?"
"I don't know. I barely even know what he's done. Polloria had said he had broken laws, but I'm confused. I know that she did. I know that Father did. But Treve? All he did was get away."
"I don't think Polloria exactly has a reputation for truthfulness, Lili pointed out. "Do you?"
"No, I don't suppose she does. And now she's on your side, anyway. I don't suppose what she says should continue to hold any water. Still, I hate that these things are my decision. I feel so unprepared."
"On the other side," Lili said, "my understanding is that it's more like a constitutional monarchy. The High Priestess is more of a figurehead. So they still find it odd that I suggested a multitude of priestesses, but the reality is, the High Priestess isn't a lawmaker at all."
"Huh. There is a government panel here, but I'm supposed to be running it. And I'd rather just be, well, doing anything else. And I'm being approached by men and boys."
"Oh? I think you're a little young for that."
"I know I am." Yimar agreed. "Telling me I'm pretty, when I know I'm not. I'm just a mass of arms and legs, I feel. I bump into things all the time. My mother was, she was graceful and lovely and I'm not that at all."
"I bet she was just as awkward when she was your age."
"You're kind, Yimar said, I know that Treve had a part in the human woman coming here. But that is our way plus, I don't think the human woman is too upset about it now. Father, well, Father and Baden, they were a part of harming Mother. Baden is gone to your side as well. It seems that only Father is accepting his punishment."
"They'll be punished on the other side, I'm sure. It's a lot for you to worry about. Maybe trust in the other side's, my side's, system of laws and justice."
"They should dole out the worst punishment to Polloria. I should have done it from the beginning, but I didn't really understand it. I think I understand it now."
"What's your worst punishment? Is it the death penalty?"
"No, Yimar said, We have, it's funny. When my mother was first being, well, let's call it what it was, poisoned, once the potassium got to a certain level, it had this effect: it cut her off from the night people. We speak to any and all on the night side. As a High Priestess, we often don't have someone special. I think it's that men can be a bit, well, star struck."
"Yes. I can barely imagine what it was like for her. Do you have famous, famous humans? The kind that you have crushes on and sigh about and think are wonderful but don't know you exist?"
"Sure we do. Artists, baseball players, that kind of thing. About ten years ago, I met Lefty Robinson at a ballgame. I was looking for his autograph. He looked at me with these big, green eyes and asked me who to write the autograph to. And I babbled and by the time I was able to take a look at the autograph, I realized he'd made it out to 'Lisa' and not Lili." she smiled. "He was far younger than I am and definitely not someone I would have enjoyed really spending a lot of time with, but it didn't matter."
"Well, I suddenly am one of those, Yimar said, It's a lot to take, and a cacophony of noise most of the time. I, I don't really have anyone to help me. At least, no one I can really trust, and my little brother is too young."
"What about Treve?"
"Maybe. But I think he's got his own concerns now, with the human woman."
"New couples can be so into each other that it's to the exclusion of almost everything else, Lili explained.
"I suppose I should find a way to, to pardon him, Yimar said, I just need to be able to tell the government panel that Baden and Polloria will be punished on the other side, and know it for certain."
There was a communications chime.
"Come in, Doug said, turning off Lili's PADD.
It was Malcolm, carrying a pair of sweatpants. "These are courtesy of Crewman Torres, who says you can keep them."
"Oh. Huh, College of William and Mary, Doug read off the front. "Off to the gym, are we?"
"Yes. Thought it would do us both some good. Waiting around can't be pleasant."
"That's very thoughtful of you, Doug said, changing and combing his hair back.
The gym was not too crowded. Hoshi was jogging on a treadmill. Brian Delacroix was pulling on resistance bands.
"Fancy some boxing?" Malcolm asked.
"Hmm. Let me start smaller. Got a speed bag?"
"Over there, Hoshi said, pointing during cool down.
"Thanks, Doug just thought about everything that had been happening. Every time he'd listened to someone yell at him and took it, every time he'd swallowed his thoughts, every time he'd been worried and hadn't shown it. All of this poured into punching. Over and over and over again, faster and faster. Connecting felt good, like he was flooding it out of himself. On and on, blurry hands hitting the bag, knuckles bleeding a little. He finally heard a loud pop and stepped back, shaking his head to break himself out of the trancelike pattern he'd been in.
The bag was shredded.
"Huh, that's never happ " he started to say, then stopped.
"You don't know your own strength, Hoshi said.
"Or you can't really control it." Malcolm added.
"I can, I can sometimes control it, Doug said, It's hard to do that all the time. Uh, sorry I broke it."
"There's another one in the back, I'm sure, Malcolm said, Have you, have you ever thought of training cadets in hand to hand?"
"Reed, did you not just witness this demonstration?" Doug said, What if that was someone's face?"
"Then you could demonstrate on a heavy bag." Malcolm pointed out. "You have talent. You could probably fell a Klingon or a Vulcan."
"Vulcans, yes. Klingons are wilier, at least on the other side, Doug admitted. "But, Reed, the thing of it is, I don't want to do this anymore."
"Do what?" Brian came over closer, eavesdropping.
Doug positioned himself between Brian and Hoshi and glared at the smaller man. "Uh, man, I don't think she's "
." It was Hoshi.
"Huh huh?" Mental cobwebs again.
"You were saying before?"
"Oh, yes, uh, hi Del. Um, well, I just don't want to do this anymore, Doug relaxed a little.
"If you ever reconsider," Malcolm said, "I think you could have quite a career doing that."
"No." Hoshi smiled. "I think that now Doug wants to be a lover, not a fighter."
"Yeah, Doug said, The rewards are a lot better. But, huh, I'll think about it. Maybe it could be something I do sometimes."
"Your counterpart taught hand to hand, and marksmanship." Malcolm pointed out. "I was, I was not so receptive to his instructions."
"Jay was a good teacher." Hoshi agreed.
"Wasn't that, um, Reed, Jay's service record it's got a warning in it. He was reprimanded for hitting a fellow officer, Doug said, Someone you know?"
"Yes. That would be me, Malcolm said, Not our finest hours."
The dream changed. "Treve?"
"Ah, you've returned."
"I can't really control where I go, Lili said.
"Oh, well, then I shan't flatter myself with thinking you're here because you're looking upon my proposal with favor."
"No, sorry. I saw your sister."
"Then you know that my daylight self is in a prison. Although at this point that seems hardly fair. Still, being warehoused here isn't so bad. At least no potassium injections. Shutting off the night is a horrific punishment, to make it so that one cannot even dream a prison cell away."
"I talked to Yimar about pardoning you."
"Well, that was good of you, but I do hope they don't want me back and trying for a diplomatic career. I'm finding I rather enjoy living out in the open and bringing down food with my bare hands and a knife. I should tell you, I am here because we brought the human male in for treatment. He was becoming difficult and a burden, and slowing us down, actually. Rather worrisome, that. They let Jennifer see me sometimes albeit not for very long and she tells me he is making progress but is still a tad delusional, poor fellow."
"Well, at least he's being treated."
"Yes, that's good. I the real problem is Polloria and Baden on your side of things. She, at the very least, will be plotting something. I do hope my counterpart is prepared."
The wall communicator at the gym chimed. Hoshi answered it. "Doug, it's Dr. Phlox."
"Just about finished here, said the doctor.
"I'll be there soon. Hayes out." he closed the comm link. "Del, can I ask you to do something?"