Previous Next

Do we ever really know who we are?

Posted on Wed Apr 13th, 2022 @ 4:45am by Commander Finchley Kerr & Lieutenant Niali Korial MD

Mission: *CD*
Location: DS9
Timeline: Current.

The shuttle had docked, Karadis had been told by Finchley to go and check on updates regarding the Sunfire's progress on the new nacelle being fitted and any other updates.

Finchley looked round at Niali. She had been quiet for the most part on the return journey and it was a little at odds to him on how she'd been prior to this whole journey.

"Is everything ok Nilai, you've hardly said anything on the way back?" he asked her.

She smiled, “just tired and a little bewildered about the last 24 hours. I have all these waves of visions now from my symbiont, things he did, things I did. I’m not complaining but it’s a lot to process.” She sighed. “I guess I was hoping to spend some time with you as well.”

"When you have situations such as the one we found ourselves in" Finchley began "the real character in us all comes to the forefront I believe. It begs the question I suppose of do we ever really know who we are? I'd really like that, yes, did you have anything in mind for us to do?"

She took his hand in hers. “I want to get to know you better, find out about you, family, what little Finchley was like, what drives you now…and what you want out of life? You know I would like to have a picnic in the arboretum or….or in your quarters. I want to be alone with you if that does not sound too forward.”

Finchley flinched slightly as she took his hand, he was still in Section Twenty mode.

"Sorry" he said, taking her hand "I wasn't quite ready for something like that just yet. To be honest, I'm kind of quiet about my past...I don't really speak about it, possibly because nobody's actually asked me about it from a personal perspective. I do like the idea of the picnic though, peace and quiet, a chance to..." and he stopped there for a moment before carrying on, "Yes, a picnic in the arboretum sounds lovely, I'm not quite ready for intimacy right now Niali I hope you can understand."

“I didn’t mean intimate, intimate, although I must admit to wanting to see more of my dashing knight. I think a picnic would be just right. I will get a basket together and meet you there if you want, is there anything you don’t like?”

He reached up his hand, as though to run it down the side of her hair between his fingers, but then slowly lowered it again "And I'd like to get to know M'Lady better, but you must learn to woo me first...curry favour with me, win my heart as well as my affections" he said, barely concealing his want to burst out laughing "also I'm not keen on salad cream!"

“She laughed, “well wooing will be another learning curve for me but..” she paused..”but since you already saved me I am in your debt.” She bowed low in front of him. “Your wish is my command wooing on the double sir…but…what the heck is salad cream?”

"Being in my debt could be dangerous, you never know what I may ask in payment" he winked "as for a learning curve, I think we've started on that already. Salad cream, it's...kind of, like a white creamy dressing for placing on the salad, but it tastes awful."

“Well now I have to try it now don’t I? I suggest you find somewhere quiet under the trees and I will join you shortly with the requisite provisions. I will check in with Sickbay as well, I will meet you in say half an hour?”

"Can we make it forty five minutes please, I'd like to shower, change, quickly check in with my office and then come and meet you" Finchley replied.

After checking in with her department Niali packed a basket with fresh crusty bread, a light salad, fruit, almond croissants and pain au chocolat. She also placed some cheese and a selection of cooked meats in followed by fresh lemonade and hot coffee. On the promenade she also found a small shop in which she was able to purchase a large soft rug. Setting off for the arboretum she arrived following meeting several colleagues on the way who almost managed to invite themselves to the picnic.

The arboretum smelt fresh and there was a slight breeze along with the sound of birdsong. It looked like Finchley had found the perfect place and was lying back resting with his elbows behind his head. A wave of tiredness washed over her as she spread the blanket on the ground placed the basket down and planted herself on it. “Are you asleep Finchley?” She asked softly.

He slowly shook his head and replied "No, I was just lying here listening to birdsong. I was wondering when it was the last time I'd done that...seems like an eternity ago."

Niali lay back propped by her elbows. “Sometimes the best thing we can do for ourselves is just to be still.” She was quiet for a minute listening to the birds and the breeze, however artificial, in the tree tops. She hoped he might have a doze there and then to give him some much needed rest. She surmised that he did not sleep well most of the time. She smiled, at least Karadis was not with them.

Finchley looked out the slits in his eyes towards Niali. He was so very tired, physically and mentally that it was the best he could muster at that moment.

"Being still" he mused sleepily "yes, you're right there Niali. Would it be terrible for me to ask if M'Lady would like to cuddle up for a moment before we begin this feast you've prepared?" he asked, opening his arms welcomingly.

She sighed sleepily, “this doctor is always up for a cuddle.” She shifted over into his arms and put her head on his chest happy to be listening to his heart beat intermingled with the birdsong. “This is just what I would have ordered for both of us my Lord.”

"My father was once offered an honorary rank by the Klingons you know" Finchley said. "He'd been asked to mediate between them and the Romulans over some dispute...I can't remember all the details, I was quite young at the time, but he managed to see to it that the Klingons won the dispute. They offered him the rank of Sa'...a General, and place in one of the great Houses, the House of D'mon. He said no, and that his reward was to see that the Klingons were happy with his services. Still, the Klingons did say that if ever there was a time they could honourably repay him or his family, we just needed to ask. So as much as I'm not an actual Lord, I do have the opportunity to join a Klingon House...a Great Klingon House, I can."

She cuddled closer watching the sunlit shafts creating shadows of the leaves on the ground. “What makes you remember that at this moment?” She asked softly.

"It's funny, when you just said 'my Lord', it made me think of it, how, if I wanted to be, I could be an actual Lord...well, I'd be joH actually, joH Kerr" he said wistfully.

“You have not been happy for a while have you?” She looked up at him, the question on her lips.

Finchley looked down at Niali, "No" he replied "No, I've not...though being with you makes me happier. I'm sorry, that may not sound right Niali, and I apologise if it came out all wrong, but being with you makes life worth living again."

She gently caressed his chest with her fingertips. “Don’t apologise to me,” she said softly. “Is it the ship, the crew, the job or just general dissatisfaction with it all?”

He enjoyed the feeling of her touching his chest, and absent mindedly softly played with her hair “If I’m genuinely honest, yes” he replied.

He sighed heavily “It feels like there’s little or no accountability Niali.”

They were silent for a while just listening to the sounds around them. “I am sorry for that, accountability is key in any organisation and should apply to everyone within that organisation. It is difficult to live with if oneself believes in it.”
She could feel a palpable sense of pain inside him and she ran her fingers over his face massaging the side of his temple in the hope of relaxing him further.

“Are you seriously thinking of leaving the ship?” She asked barely wanting to hear his answer.

The massaging of his temples felt wonderful and he felt himself beginning to drift off, and as he did he sleepily answered "That depends upon the outcome of a few things. What about yourself, how do you feel?"

Just at that moment the breeze brushed her face and the sunlight albeit artificial shone warmly on her. “I feel fine Finchley, better than fine being here with you. Go to sleep for a while, I will watch over you, get some peace from the world even for just a few minutes.”

"That sounds like a wonderful suggest..." Finchley almost completed as he drifted off, safe in the knowledge that Niali was watching over him.

Glad to see he had gone to sleep she lay within his arms listening to the peace around them, so different from where they had just been. Thoughts began to run around in her mind. If he really was going to leave what would she do? he was becoming far too precious to her to let him go. Would he ask her to go with him? Would she say yes? Would he stay for her? Perhaps these questions would be answered in the fullness of time.

Now, well there was just the now. She watched as the lines of stress began to clear from his face making him look younger and she could see a time in him when there had been none of this, no Sunfire, no Section 21 just a young man with all his life ahead of him. Tears began to slip from her as she mourned the young man she would never know and the man she might never do.

Finchley had opened his eyes and looked down at Niali. He once again reached out his hand and began stroking her hair "Why the tears Niali?" he asked.

She brushed them away, she wasn’t about to try to force him into any decisions because of her, it wasn’t even as though they had a real relationship. “Oh, nothing really, just thinking about life.”

"Is life that bad that it's making you cry?" he asked curiously, "as it stands...or lies as it were right now" he joked, "I think it's rather wonderful. We have food, wonderful surroundings...and each other" he finished, smiling at her.

“Do you want some food yet?” She asked changing the subject and pulling the basket towards them. “I brought crusty bread, cheese, meats, a salad with no cream. Almond croissants and pain au chocolate. Coffee and fresh lemonade and just plain water.”

"I'll have some water, crusty bread, cheese and ham please" Finchley answered, then said "You deliberately avoided answering my question."

She filled his plate and handed him a bottled water, then turned to him. “If you must know Finchley Kerr I am in love with you and don’t want you to leave. Is that an answer to your question?” She bit savagely into her crusty bread sending crumbs everywhere.

"That's that piece of bread shown who's boss then!" he joked, then looked at Niali seriously "I love you to Niali, but you know there's two versions of me, you saw it. On the Sunfire, I'm the Chief of Strategic Operations, the guy who wants order, see's that things are done by people accountable for there actions and see's that things are done in order, that's the person I think you fell in love with. Elsewhere, I'm cold, callous and get results no matter what it takes and no matter what the cost is, personal or otherwise. Right now, on the Sunfire, I no longer believe that things are done to accountability. The situation with Commander House shows that. His so called punishment for shooting Captain Savar without proof he'd been taken over, of being reduced in rank for only six months, or until he proves himself otherwise meaning he could actually return to Commander a hell of a lot quicker, yet still remaining as Executive Officer when he's a Lieutenant Commander is proof to me that this ship runs on belonging to a clique! That no matter what you, how wrong it is, so long as you're in that clique, you'll be alright. Everyone else can go to hell, they're incidental, they get walked over. THAT isn't somewhere I belong Niali, and it's been shown to me time and again I'm not part of their clique, I'm not in their gang, I'm simply incidental. The question you have to ask yourself is this...who do I choose?"

She sat hugging her knees. The beautiful moment gone, even the birdsong had become muted, flat, as though the weight of his words had struck their voices with inexorable sadness.
“I don’t think that things are as black and white as you say, but I agree with you on the unfairness. I am the Chief Medical Officer on the ship yet no one has asked me my professional opinion on the situation, I am never included in meetings or discussions and I feel my decisions are not respected. The Sunfire is a broken ship and life is too short. If you are leaving I will leave also. Even if you do not want me to be with you.” She savaged her bread again.

“Why do you keep saying things like that Niali?” Finchley asked “Quite clearly I want to be with you or to have you be with me otherwise why would I have gotten you to come on the Joran trip and why would I be here now. As for them overlooking you in both the LT Vali and Commander House situations as CMO and instead only calling in Dr Wilsons opinion, again, you’re not part of the clique, you’re not “in the gang” as it were, but clearly Dr Wilson is, hence choosing her over you to give an opinion and evidence. Obviously you were involved personally in both situations whereas Dr Wilson was involved in the afterwards, but you’re viewed as being only incidental on the Sunfire, same as myself. They don’t want someone who was personally involved to give evidence on Vali and House, to much chance you’re evidence would stop them from giving their laughable ‘punishment’ and have to actually discipline them formally…and they can’t have that, no! Things are as black and white as they seem Niali.”

He walked away from her, his frustration at the situation with the cliquiness of the Sunfire Senior Staff evident. Finally he turned and said “Whilst I was in the questers given to me after we got back, I received a message saying an opportunity has been offered to me to join the Polaris team, and I’m going to take it. They need medical staff as well, come with me Niali” he asked, holding out his hand.

Without hesitation she stood and took his hand. “Yes” she said. “I will come with you if you kiss me, right here and right now?” She waited to see what he would do.

He moved close to her and slowly brought her to him. Moving his head towards hers, his lips met hers and he kissed her softly, then with a little more passion. He didn't want the kiss to stop, he wanted time to stand still and for them to become one. When finally their lips parted, he looked into her soul and said "Thank you...M'Lady" then brought her hand up to his lips and kissed it, smiling.

Holding him close and feeling his lips on hers felt so natural and she wanted to be with him forever. “She smiled back. “Forever then, through black and white, night and day.”

"Then we agree" he said, still smiling at her "Let's go back to my quarters and I can message back to say that we'll both be taking the posting."

He packed up the uneaten picnic, they could have it back at his quarters.

[Kerr's quarters]

They arrived back at his digs and showing Niali inside he went to the PADD he had in one of his bags. Taking it out, he turned to her and said "This is it, this is where I send the reply back. Are you absolutely sure you want to come along, I'll miss you if you don't, but will completely understand if you want to stay on the Sunfire."

“Send it, I want our new lives together to begin.”

Finchley tapped in the reply and hit send, "Well, let's get this show on the road M'Lady" Finchley smiled warmly.


Previous Next