Evans was in his quarters weathering the flu. And he was not terribly pleased over getting the flu during mourning. Doctor Cameron had applied him with a hypo that sped up the flu which required Evans to be in bed for the remainder of the day and Nurse Pallet was the one who would take care for the sick man. His eyes were glassy, wet, had a clogged up nose, and his throat was sore.
"Doctor Cameron," Spock said. "I believe you should check on Leonard's condition."
"Who is Leonard?" Cameron asked, as she took out a hypospray. This was specialized specifically in Vulcan Hybrids.
Spock appeared to baffled.
"Leonard McCoy." Spock said.
"Bones?" Cameron said, tilting her head slightly. "Why?"
"His memory is failing him." Spock said. "He recently alarmed me."
"That is part of being old for humans,Ambassador." Cameron said.
"He wouldn't forget names that easily," Spock said. "Years, on the other hand, is highly a problem for him." She came over applying the hypospray to his neck. "He forgot the name of my daughter." She lowered the hypospray down off his neck as he resumed talking. "In the time I have known Leonard, he has experienced problems with his math which is logical for his age."
"Will you be comforted if I gave Bones a brain check up?" Cameron asked.
"There is only one of us in the relationship who should be afflicted with memory problems, and that should me." Spock said.
"I will take that as a yes." Cameron said, about to turn away when she came to a full abrupt stop. She looked over toward the Vulcan half in surprise, and half in disbelief, while he got off the biobed rubbing the side of his neck. Did she really just hear Ambassador Spock say 'In a relationship'? Damn, the charge nurses were right. Their developing relationship was the subject of discussion in the first fifteen minutes of lunch and then to other typical topics were discussed afterwards.
Spock made his way out of Sick Bay with cane in hand. Since the snow has been melting and the warm, cool temperature has been returning outside of the building the doors to the balcony had been opened more often. Especially at night. But tonight Spock was rather concerned about that. He could have an episode. Right in front of Leonard. Two other patients entered Sick Bay to get their shots. Spock could hear a rerun of Law & Order: The Original Series playing while he was in the hall. He knew that because he could hear Sam Waterston's voice. These days, they did not have court dramas because courts were eliminated such as crime for that matter. Crime was eliminated on Earth. But certain obsessions for certain crime procedural shows remained and found a way to evolve with the times. They were like cockroaches. Cockroaches apparently still existed on Earth and have withstood the wrath of time including the numerous attempts to send them into extinction.
Spock recalled the chess game that he and Jim had not completed. It felt like yesterday they were playing chess, rather slowly, watching the human's eyes dart in different directions rubbing his chin contemplating his next move. He went past the small group watching the episode coming to a conclusion. Spock went outside then came to the left hand part of the patio that had the chess on a table near the wooden railing. Spock moved his final chess piece capturing the queen. Spock muttered the comment, "Check mate." trembling. A alone tear came down his cheek as he briefly closed his eyes. They had stopped playing because it was time to retire to their quarters. He opened the drawer within the chessboard. He slowly placed the chess pieces back into the compartment. He had to delete the Flamingo program and the Cherik program. They never really concluded the Cherik program or talked about it. It was Spock's fault. Jim had been busy with other things. And Spock, too, had forgotten about their first holodeck program. Spock only remembered it because of the chess board. His knuckles ached grabbing the small items. Spock wiped the tear off.
Junior was in between Larken and Koren who were sitting on the grass playing whodunnit, the classic game of all time. There were surprisingly more older people of different species outside than there were inside. Floor 1 (Aka the lobby) had a indoor pool, a morgue, a lounging area,medical staff mess hall,a rather large sick bay that had a transporter,a hangar for vehicles to be towed in and repaired by the veteran engineers, the waiting room, a long hall that connects to the green house, a unisex restroom, and a holodeck. Floor 2 consisted of the mess hall,the sonic restroom,two holodecks,the death ward, and fifty-three quarters. Floor 3 consisted of sixty quarters. Floor 4 consisted of a recently moved to exercise wing that was permanent,thirty-five quarters,and ten other rooms that served for the purpose of holding different classes. There were four turbo lifts installed around the building. It was looking to get an expansion to widen it out further for the residents. Spock closed the drawer into the chess board.
Our scene moved into the inside of Sweet Hill.
"Welcome to Sweet Hill Nursing Home,Miss Charvanek." Harden said, greeting the old female Romulan.
Our view panned back from Harden to reveal a gray haired Romulan woman with her white hair braided left on her shoulder. She had laughter lines around her brown eyes. Lines around her mouth. She looked graceful in her older age. She had big pointy ears that had more wrinkles than her face. Her eyebrows were white as snow. She was in a unique black,blue, and green dress of some kind that harkened back to a style popular a hundred years ago. Spock came through the patio holding the box. It was striking how familiar she looked. The Enterprise incident, that one dream where Jim became a Romulan, and Spock genuinely grew feelings for a Romulan Commander. They had not met in this lifetime. It would be illogical to introduce himself to her. And he did not feel like talking with Charvanek, anyway. As exotic as she was and how gorgeous she looked, this Romulan was not for Spock. He could befriend her later after she has settled into Sweet Hill.
Spock looked over to see that there was a rerun of E.T. Exter-Terstial playing. This was Spock's favorite. This was the original E.T Exter-Terestial. The sequel to the movie, via book form, was a interesting read. E.T The Exter-terstial was perhaps one of Spock's favorite movies from the 20th century. The Vulcans eventually had to make their own version of E.T Exter-terstial shortly after first contact. Which took exactly fifty-five years, ten months, ten days, four hours, and ten minutes. The movie was called E'Tallen The Vulcanian. It was set on Earth in the year 2032 regarding a lone female Vulcan being left behind by her crew while they were being chased by human soldiers. She escaped them, narrowly, and met up with a human boy. Bonded with the boy, had a near death experience, came back, and left Earth. The movie was considered a classic. The Vulcans were plagued with many questions upon their arrival to Earth. There were still evidence of those questions in the historical recordings. "Did you visit us before?", "How long have you been visiting earth?","Did you help make the crop circles?", and "DO YOU HAVE YOUR OWN ENTERTAINMENT?" and most of them were answered with the answer: no. Which was a lie. It would take fifty years before Vulcans and humans worked together to make the first movie with a living, breathing Vulcan. Funny enough it was for a Frankenstein remake. All the other times Vulcans were used were when humans dressed up as Vulcans. Their portrayal was rather sloppy. Vulcans ignored that sloppiness for fifty years, six months, thirty-three days,four hours, and thirty-three minutes.
Spock placed the box on the table then sat down into a chair to watch the old classic. Spock really did like the movie, honestly, and the history behind the movie's production was a rather fascinating one. There was one time during his time as captain of a scouting vessel. It was the USS Deforest. Ten years he spent commanding USS Deforest. In those ten years there were many oddities that were came across. Spock experienced warm, fuzzy feelings at the mere thought of the starship and the four hundred twenty-nine people aboard not counting Spock. The times then for Spock were much simpler. When people looked up to him for answers. Our view turned from Spock to the Romulan woman at the counter.
"Hello." Charvanek said,looking around the building appearing to be stunned to see Ambassador Spock, of all Vulcans, in the nursing home. She appeared to be quite alarmed. She looked over in the direction of Harden. "Why is the Ambassador here?"
"Ambassador Spock?" Harden asked.
"Yes." Charvanek said.
"Because he wanted to," Harden said. "That is why everyone is here. They wanted to be in others company and to be cared about." She sounded very sincere. "But. . ." She paused, briefly, her hands together with her elbow on the table. "We recently suffered a loss so it may take awhile for the others to warm up to you."
"They must have lived life to its fullest." Charvanek said.
Harden was trembling.
"Not many people get to come here," Harden said. "Admission is currently at a standstill." She handed the much older Romulan a pad. "You sent the request earlier and it has been verified. But you have to give your medical information to us including your family information." Charvanek took the pad including a pen. "Just when you need someone to properly dispose of your body."
Charvanek looked over toward the Andorian raising an eyebrow.
"Do you all ask this?" Charvanek asked.
"Not always." Harden said.
Charvanek looked down toward the padd then jotted down filling out the empty lines, the check boxes, and indicating how long she will be staying. She could feel the atmosphere around her was not as welcoming. It had taken a little over three weeks and two days to get here from where she had been which wasn't Romulus. She was undergoing a treatment for her hallucinations which was conveniently located on Aura. She had been taken care of by her grandson Terzen,the right hand advisor to Sela, for a few years now. Old age has been wearing down on Charvanek. Terzen had been barred from joining Sela during the fatal meeting last year on the Enterprise D. The Romulan Senate had agreed that Sela, and Sela alone, to speak with the Ambassador alone due to her prior experience with humans and her background with them. Charvanek, personally, felt envy toward her. It should have been Charvanek to speak with someone like Ambassador Spock. He was a legend within the empire. But apparently the senate believed that new should face off the old ideals of Vulcan. Which apparently backfired with their plans in mind for what they wanted in return for accepting Federation help. Sela, a well respected captain, was compromised by the emotions of a Vulcan. It was unheard of. Begrudgingly they had to accept the Federation's hand. It was thanks to Charvanek's grandson that a well respected Romulan was going to a Federation approved Nursing Home for help. The treatment was in its testing phase and the Romulans had to be monitored.
Charvanek filled the pad out then handed it to Harden.
Her treatment was controversial so was including a Romulan. Initially she was to be living outside the nursing home within the city range so she could arrive, get her treatment, then return home. But the sudden death of a resident had changed that. She had been informed by the head director of the nursing home that they had a slot open for her. On this planet, she didn't feel as paranoid as she did. She felt relaxed, content, and calm. A feeling that was as alien as enjoying icecream to Romulan. It was highly improbable to turn a Romulan into a pacifist, impossible, even. There was a saying for many figure of speeches that involved "Looked like they could turn a entire army of Romulans into pacifists" or something like that because of the impossibility. That was quite alarming to Charvanek.
"Thank you for the patience," Harden said. "And don't be panicked. This planet is well known to sooth anyone."
"Sooth." Charvanek said, in a tinge of disgust.
"Yes, it's good for people to be comfortable." Harden said. "Mister Sulu, where is Nurse Gilbert?"
Sulu had came out of the hallway leading to Sickbay appearing to be surprised.
"He is holding clay class." Sulu said.
"Oooh," Harden said. "Oh." She looked toward the Romulan then back to the human. "Can you take Charvanek to her new quarters? She is sharing her room with Koren." Sulu nodded replying, "Of course, Liz." "Thank you, Mr Sulu."
"Do you need help with the luggage?" Sulu asked, referring to the two luggage's that had wheels right beside her legs.
"No," Charvanek said, grabbing the handles of both luggage then lifting them up against the floor. "I can take care of it myself."
"Suit yourself," Sulu said, with a shrug. "Follow me, Charvanek."
"Who died?" Charvanek asked, following the Asian man.
"Jim." Sulu said.
"Jim who?" Charvanek asked, raising an eyebrow.
He had been used to calling the man by his nickname for so long. She did not know him as he did, nor as everyone knew him. It was heavily confusing to mention his nickname in front of a complete stranger. He could have called the man out, be answered with "Yes?" and said, "That's Jim." while the captain waved at them watching a rerun of his favorite show. But now he was gone. It was surreal to Sulu. He could just be taking another power nap then walk in on the group startling them with a least trivial question. One time he came up on Sulu and McCoy encouraging plants to grow. They had not expected Jim to be bright eyed and bushy tailed so quickly. Jim, without much insistence, visited the green house whenever he could. He stopped four days ago, which was alarming to Sulu and he had approached Doctor Cameron only to be told, "The captain is fine. We checked him two hours ago." He never did come back.
"James T. Kirk." Sulu said.
"I. . ." Charvanek did not know what to say at first, following the man. "He was a unqiue opponnet."
"Wait, you were that Romulan Commander?" Sulu asked, in amazement.
"Yes," Charvanek said. "Fooled by a Andorian. . . And a human. I should have expected that."
"I wouldn't have," Sulu said. "If it happened to us. . . I honestly believe we wouldn't have known."
"You are not that niave." Charvanek said.
"Back then we were," Sulu said. "These days, thanks to the Dominion war, and those Borg, it is not that easy to fool us."
"I never thought the captain would stick around so long," Charvanek said. "I thought he had died over ninety-five years ago."
"In some ways, he did, and then he was resurrected." Sulu said.
"I find it hard to believe that a terran lived that long," Charvanek said. "Most humans his age are bundles of skeletons."
"Not true." Sulu said. "If you look around you'll see most of us still retain healthy skin and body fat."
"Your kind is rather . . ." Charvanek said, trying to find the word to describe them.
But she could not find the word.
"Sterotyped?" Sulu finished, with Charvanek's head turned toward the Asian man with a short lived nod. "21st century always guessed too far off how the elderly would look in science fiction tv shows."
"I met a Russian doctor decades ago and he was very fragile," Charvanek said. "He treated me for a poison that was administered by a enemy of mine. The doctors name was . . . Doctor Leland, I believe." There was a flicker of fondness in her eyes then there was doubt and unsure to it. "Or was it John?. . ."
"Russians don't have English last names." Sulu said.
"He was a Russian." Charvanek said.
"I find that hard to believe." Sulu said. "Most Russians have last names that don't sound . . . typical."
"I met beings with names you cannot wrap your head around." Charvanek said.
"Give me a shot." Sulu said.
"Leu'ehci'eifkj." Charvanek said.
"Lieu'ehchin'elf fijiki." Sulu said.
"You are embarrassing yourself." Charvanek said, with a smirk as they walked into a turbo lift.
"What kind of being is that?" Sulu said. "Floor 3."
"A herd of space goats once stampeded my ship and it turned out they were a mere space legend," Charvanek said. "It came from the Romulans who feared of being attacked by Klingons and Federation with any way they could. One of these . . . idiots. . . decided to strike before the enemy struck first."
"Oooh my." Sulu said.
"Two hundred was reproduced." Charvanek said. "And they vanished after destroying the lab."
"Two hundred. . ." Sulu said, in shock.
"Since then we had many reports of them appearing on Romulan colonies eating metal and then vanishing once reaching the surface." Charvanek said. "Legends say there are over a thousand of these goats. But it has been centuries sine they were last seen."
"You mean to tell me there are goats capable of going through space, through the planet atmosphere, and capable of eating metal?" Sulu asked. "Goats are not meant to do that. Whose idea was that?"
"Doctor Beyon'ce." Charvanek said.
"I don't suppose they are dead." Sulu said.
"Of course they are. It has been two hundred years since their time." Charvanek said. "Before I was born."
"So why don't the Romulans take care of their problem?" Sulu asked.
"There is a snag in that," Charvanek said. "They cannot be found. They can become invincible as I told you before."
"That does put a snag in population control," Sulu said, as the doors opened. The pair came out of the turbo lift. "For all we know they could be outside grazing the field and we wouldn't know except if they left poop behind."
"We find their poop all the time on our colony planets." Charvanek said. "We had our scientists figure out at first what they were before becoming convinced they belonged to the Leu'ehci'eifk. They had metal inside the specimen. Pieces of grass. Federation classified shirts intact, at least twenty of them that were torn at the sleeve. Several science tricorders. And other healthy food. I have been informed they are much like the quadrupled animal you call dogs."
"Yes, they are." Sulu said. "So if you found the poop all the time . . .I can see why they are legends."
"The only evidence of the original herd was poop and a destroyed lab." Charvanek said. "They left large quantities of their poop behind for getting off the ship. It is a mystery how they manage to live in space." There was the smallest of all smirks on her face that was beaming with pride. "It is a inside joke that when we lose anything on our ships it is the Leu'ehci'eifk fault."
"Is there bed time stories about them?" Sulu said.
Charvanek eyes widened.
"A great many," Charvanek said. "They are worse than the stories about the Sehlat."
"That is quite interesting." Sulu said. "We have stories about the boogeyman."
"The boogeyman?" Charvanek said.
"Insignficant." Sulu said.
"Tell me." Charvanek said.
"He hides in the closet. There are many movies about him. Then there is freddy kruger who haunts nightmares and kason the chainsaw killer who haunts the campgrounds. And Slendermen who helps children to safety and then there are some negative versions of Slendermen that take place in the horror genre featuring a Cardassian as Slendermen lacking a face."
"I never heard of this Slendermen." Charvanek said.
"There's another Slendermen, but he is all flashy and colorful. His name is Splendor-man."
"That sounds . . . rather nice." Charvanek said.
"And unlike Slendermen he doesn't act as children protector." Sulu said. "Slenderman does that for his brother."
"Protector?" Charvanek asked, with a look of disbelief.
"Child protector. But for adults, well, that's a different story." Sulu said, with a shudder.
"What about Splendorman?" Charvanek said.
"Splendorman makes everyone happy, except for the creepypasta. They are immune to his mood boostenor." He looked in both ways then back toward the aged romulan. "When I tell you that they are not real, you have to believe, because if you believe they are real. . . then well, you screwed everyone over. Trust me when I say they are not real."
"How can I trust you when I just met you?" Charvanek asked.
"Just don't think of Slenderman." Sulu said. "Actually, don't trust him."
"That can be done." Charvanek said.
"Hey Hikaru, did you see Darkrai yet?" Watslow asked.
"Not yet, Watslow." Sulu said.
"I am still winning!" Watslow said, going right past them. "I saw a shiny Charizard!"
"Lucky man." Sulu grumbled.
"What is that about?" Charvanek asked.
"We have a pokemon dream cloud." Sulu waved in the air with his index finger. "You'll enter our club if you see a pikachu."
"I have never heard of this pikachu." Charvanek said.
"Pokemon go?" Sulu asked. "Have you heard of that?"
"Pokemon g--" Charvanek started to say but then stopped as a bubble of laughter started to come out. She put one hand on her chest coming to a stop. It became apparent. She recalled her ship coming across a Klingon Vessel that claimed it was searching for Po'key'mun Go claiming there was a Pri'a'em'pe on her vessel. Sufface to say, a battle broke out, and the Klingons retreated. It happened many times and many of the names were greatly exaggerated or so she thought. Now hearing it clear as day from Sulu made sense. "My apologies. I had experience with the resurgence of Pokemon Go in my prime."
Sulu shook his hand dismissively.
"I will admit to accidentally going over the neutral zone for a Torchic." Sulu said. "And several of my crew were chasing after the pokemon." The two resumed walking. "It is a very fond period of my command."
"I would have been alerted." Charvanek said.
"We hid behind planets and stayed clear out of Romulans path then made our way back into Federation space." Sulu said. "Not our finest hours back then."
"Words cannot properly tell how I feel." Charvanek said.
"We lied our asses off on the logs." Sulu said, with a laugh that was light hearted. "We did. . one time. . . Have to take in a Romulan deflector but thaat is about it."
"There was a Romulan Deflector?" Charvanek sounded shocked. "That is startling."
"No more startling than it was to my crew and me." Sulu said.
"Who was it?" Charvanek asked, curiously.
"I am not inclined to tell." Sulu said.
"Surely you can," Charvanek said. "This is a new era after all."
"Sorry if this sounds rude," Sulu said. "But we just met. I will reconsider in five years, if I am still around."
"So I take it over your dead body." Charvanek said.
"Precisely." Sulu said, once he came to a stop at the quarters. "These are your quarters."
"Thank you for the talk," Charvanek thanked him. "It was considerate."
"To get to Mess hall, you have to go down the hall, take a turn to the left, past four doors,turn left to the statue of President Roosevelt. . ." Sulu said, earning a raised eyebrow from the aged Romulan. "The one who was wheelchair bound, then go straight. That is if no one is outside at 12:45 PM. Lunch begins at 1:00 PM. Dinner is at six. And by the way, it took me a while to adjust from military time to 21st century time."
Sulu went back the direction they had came. She entered the quarters to see one half had Bajoran decorations and the other did not. The two sets of luggage wheeled behind her making small rolling but creaking sounds until she came to the side of the bed on the right hand side of the room. She placed both luggage on the bed then unzipped them. She could feel that someone was right behind her. No one was in the room with her. It was her imagination. Much like the hallucinations she had been encountering for the past year and six months. She opened the luggage up. She opened the drawer of the cabinet. She took out the hair suppressor from the luggage then placed it on the counter. She slowly made her way toward the Romulan robes. It would be uncomfortable to be naked in the same room with men and women of different species.
"Greetings." It was a stoic voice. She could hear the female tone to it.
"Greetings." Charvanek said, putting her rolled up attire into the drawer. "I am Liviana Charvanek."
"My friends called me . . . Pring." Pring said.
"That is the Vulcan naming equivalent to the season Spring." Charvanek said.
"Affirmative." Pring said.
"I was unaware the Ambassador was not the only Vulcan in this facility." Charvanek said.
"I mostly keep to myself," Pring replied. "The Ambassador and I do not talk as used to." She came over to the Romulan's side. "You should not be afraid to open yourself." She sat on the edge of the bed that creaked under her. "It is highly illogical to be afraid of others who do not feel the need to denounce you."
"You are not real." Charvanek said.
"Not true," Pring said. "I am real." She placed her hand on the Romulan's hand. "I am bisexual."
The word was unusual as the Romulan snatched her hand back. Frightening, and new at the same time. Bisexual? What was that? She had never heard of the word in her time in the Romulan Empire. Her eyes turned toward the older Vulcan lady who had her gray hair up in a unusual hair style. It was in the hairstyle compared to what she had seen long ago of terrans in her hayday, in a bun almost, but not that quite. Charvanek had a confused expression spread on her face. She had never heard of this Vulcan before. She appeared to be so relaxed and stoic at the same time. There was a certain shade of kindness to her face. She was dressed in casual wear namely being a type of Vulcan dress that Charvanek had never seen before.
"If you are real. . . How come I was not aware I was being followed?" Charvanek said.
"I come from the other room." Pring said.
"I did not hear the doors open." Charvanek said.
"Put aside reason, Charvanek." Pring said. "And accept no one wants to hurt you. That's the first step of conquering paranoia." She put one hand on the Romulan's hand in a comforting manner. "If I were your imagination, would I say the opposite?"
"Of . . . course." Charvanek said.
"Then I am real." Pring said, taking her hand off the woman's shoulder. Charvanek resumed unpacking. "I recommend you do not coop yourself inside your quarters as it is unhealthy for a Romulan your age."
"Unhealthy?" Charvanek said, with a hiss. "I am the image of healthy."
"Near perfectly healthy." Pring said.
Charvanek rolled an eye at the Vulcan.
"Meditation is safe to do at my age." Charvanek said.
"Romulans, meditating, don't pull that bullshit on me." Pring said.
"That is unusual." Charvanek said. "Vulcans do not swear."
"Ambassador Spock has taken a liking to swearing. Must because of the doctor." Pring said.
"Doctor Cameron?" Charvanek asked, alarmed.
"I was unaware there was more than one." Pring said.
"You must be around the ambassador more than anyone else." Charvanek said.
"Negative. I am around equally everyone else. My favorite is the greenhouse. Unlike everything else, ninety-nine point thirty-three percent of the plants cannot speak back." Pring said. "It is the most silent place to be when you need time alone to consider the day."
"You speak as though you had personal experience." Charvanek said.
"Every now and then I do." Pring said.
"Hm, I am not surprised for a Vulcan." Charvanek said, opening the second drawer. "Your kind prefers silence for comfort."
"That is true." Pring said, watching the Romulan unpack her luggage. "But the most significant part of our days is being with our partner. Rather we like being bonded to them or not." Charvanek's pace slowed down. "What about you? What happened to your mate?" Charvanek continued moving her belongings. "Klingon battle?" She took another pair out. "Accident?" Her hands came to a stop on a small bundle of clothing. "I grieve with thee."
"Five years ago." Her hands were trembling. "The pain has become easier to live with."
"I understand your pain." Pring said.
"Really?" Charvanek turned her head toward Pring, her eyes watery, with doubt on her face. "You understand my pain?"
"Emotionally, yes," Pring said. "It is a tightness in your chest, there is a pain that won't leave you, you feel as though you want to sleep all day, be under the blankets, and sit around doing nothing. You watch seasons pass feeling tired and lethargic all the time. You feel as though your mate is with you. You can feel them but you can't see them. Everything reminds you of them." She resumed unpacking. "Your heart feels like it is being squeezed. You think about them and how they would react to seeing you this way. Then the grief cycle restarts."
"You have experience." Charvanek said.
"I did not go through the same process," Pring said. "I was not lethargic. Besides, it would be illogical to be lethargic in my youth."
"On the contrary it would be logical." Charvanek said. She didn't really like speaking with logic but it was indeed reasonable. The whole process over the loss of a loved one. Just getting out of the process would take help, and real, genuine effort. You must have gone through a version of the process."
"Indeed." Pring said. "I will wait for you outside. There is a indoor pool a floor down."
"It has been too long since I relaxed in the water." Charvanek said.
Pring stood up from the bed then walked out of the room leaving Charvenk to resume unpacking.