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Posted on Sat Nov 11th, 2017 @ 8:23am by Commander Akiva ben-Avram & Staff Warrant Officer Laena ben-Avram & Biynah
Edited on on Sat Nov 11th, 2017 @ 8:23am

Mission: Mission 0: Everybody Has A Story
Location: USS Vindex
Timeline: 2388

The dining table had seen better days. A drop cloth draped over its edges, protecting its veneer from the assortment of tools and components. Akiva leaned over one side of the table, tinkering with a box with a hyperspanner in one hand. His headband draped a digital monocle over his right eye to allow for precision work.

Focused as he was, he did not notice Biynah enter the room.

"Hello, abba."

Akiva startled at the sound of her voice. He slipped the headband off and turned to face her.

"Oh, hello, Biynah. I didn't hear you come in."

The android frowned. "Forgive me. I didn't intend to disturb you."

"That's quite all right," Akiva replied. "I'm almost finished." He set the headband on the table and took up his tricorder. "Just a little calibration and we should be in business."

Once he set the tricorder to run an auto-diagnostic, he set it down next to the headband in order to give Biynah his full attention.

"Were you able to complete a full bootstrapping session?"

Biynah smiled faintly at her father. "Yes. It was much needed." Her smile faded. "Yael said Amber's condition has not improved."

"You know, yediydah," Akiva said, his hand rubbing the back of his head. "I am very impressed that you're able to... communicate with the ship's computer as you do, but protected systems are that way for a reason."

"I haven't accessed classified data," Biynah said evenly.

Akiva arched his eyebrow. "You need to consider all medical data to be classified from here on out."

"Is that a directive?" Biynah asked. Her eyes a challenging look over hairline smirk.

"No." Akiva knew better than to issue careless directives to his daughter. If her programming could not reconcile all of his directives simultaneously, then it would put her at risk for a cascade failure and total memory wipe. That she would even ask irritated him a little. "It is wisdom. If you're deemed a threat to the integrity of this ship and the command structure it serves, I will not be able to protect you."

Biynah rolled her eyes. "As you say, abba. I'm returning to Sickbay."

"Wait." Akiva took her by the hand to stop her from leaving. "I had hoped we could sit together and enjoy a meal. We'll have company."

"Laena." Biynah deduced that almost immediately.

"Yes," Akiva said. "I think it's time we made this formal and official. We'll start with dinner."

Biynah crossed her arms. "As you say."

"Great," Akiva said, though he was unconvinced. His daughter's emulation of social cues was still a little on the nose, which did not make him supremely optimistic. Nevertheless, if they were going to be a family, he would have to try.

"I'm going to wrap up my little project in the other room. Would you put my tools away, please?"

Biynah said nothing as she did as he asked. Meanwhile, Akiva rushed to his bedroom so he could finish before Laena arrived. She was due any moment, and their replicated dinner would commence.

Laena stood at the door, not quite sure how she was supposed to announce herself. Part of her thought she could just walk in and Akiva wouldn't mind, but the smarter part of her knew she shouldn't do that just yet. Despite their relationship, things were still new. And there was Biynah to consider.

So she pressed her finger to the chime and waited.

Nobody called out. In a moment's time, the doors parted and revealed Biynah. She stood only a few inches shorter than Laena.

"Hello," she said. "Please come in. Father will be right out."

Biynah turned around without another word or delay. She walked past the dining table, which had three places set, to the replicator.

"What may I get for you?" To say the android was deadpan would be understating the matter.

Laena did her best to put on a sweet smile, "I'm fine for now, thank you," she said. "How're you today?"

"Better," Biynah said. "I finished my upgrade, so I'll be ready to stand vigil over Amber... once we have finished with dinner, of course."

"I heard you've been with her," Laena said, doing her best to ignore the guilt that had been forming in her stomach. She hadn't seen Amber since the fight in her quarters and she couldn't help but feel slightly guilty about the entire situation. "I'm glad she has someone as watchful as you in her corner."

Akiva came out of the far room and took Laena in his arms. "Thank you for coming. I've thought about you all day." He stepped back to take in her beautiful face. "Are you hungry? I have dinner in the, um, replicator."

"I am," she said, putting up her best smile as she forced her mind to not think of Amber right now. "How was your day?"

"Busy," Akiva said as he went to the replicator. He retrieved a bruschetta platter for the two of them to share. When he looked up to Biynah, she simply stared.

"I've already eaten today," she said in answer to a question that had not been asked.

"Of course," Akiva said.

It was true that Biynah did not consume her silicon materials only daily at most, but the undertones were uncomfortable.

"I would request that you remain with us at the table anyway."

Biynah folded her hands but said nothing.

Akiva turned to Laena. "Have you tried Mediterranean cuisine before?"

Laena shook her head gently, starting to feel a bit uncomfortable with the situation. It was obvious Biynah was not thrilled about this relationship.

"It's delicious," Akiva said, "though perhaps a little tart for the inexperienced." He prepared a dish from several samplings on the platter. "I programmed this one myself at the Academy."

He set the dish before Laena and prepared a similar one for himself.

"So I understand the two of you did a work study together."

Biynah nodded. "Yes. It was good." Her voice was a neutral monotone. "Laena is very good."

"Good" wasn't exactly the word Laena would have used to describe the interaction. So far the relationship between the two women was complicated and Laena wasn't sure if this new change in relationship status was making it better or worse. She picked up her fork but didn't dig in just yet. "Yes, I believe we both learned quite a bit. I'm looking forward to our next session," she said, giving Biynah her best smile.

"I did not anticipate another session," Biynah said, "after you left for a break and never returned." The silence that hung in the air was as awkward and palpable.

"Unfortunately, while on my way back to Stellar Cartography, I was called into my superior officer's office. I did not have a chance to dismiss you," Laena said, blatantly lying to the child's face. "I hope you weren't waiting long before you left."

"I went through your files until my time was up," Biynah said. She looked toward the door and Sickbay beyond. "I recall you were quite concerned about Amber and my father having dinner together. My conclusion was that I had offended you with hurtful information." She examined Akiva and Laena both before adding, "I am pleased to know that was not the case."

Laena reached out and put her hand on Biynah's, "You haven't upset me, sweetie," she said with a smile.

"But I am not pleased that you accessed restricted information," Akiva scolded.

"I know, abba," Biynah said, eyes opened wide over a pouted mouth. "And I have not done it since."

Akiva felt his anger melt away along with his heart. "Very well, then," he said with a smile. "I think Laena and I are nearly finished with dinner, so why don't you run along and check in on Amber."

The words were barely out of his mouth before Biynah was on her feet and halfway to the door. "Thank you, abba! I will be back in the morning."

Biynah's petite frame rushed out of the quarters, leaving the doors to close long after she left.

"Now, then." Akiva turned to Laena. "I have something to show you."

He led her by both hands away from the table, across the room and toward his bedroom.

"I know everything feels rushed and complicated." His eyes were lit up with an excitement that provoked a shy grin. "But after the other night... I know this was meant to be."

The bedroom door parted behind him to reveal darkness within. He turned around, still holding Laena by one hand, and ushered her through the door.

"Computer," he said into the dark, "display region file Laena-delta-five, magnify to the eighth degree and set time-lapse two half."

Light began to emit overhead from the center of the ceiling.

"And play musical selection Laena-alpha-twelve, please."

The computer's warble was replaced by soft piano music. Before long, single flashes of light grew into staccato bursts of multi-colored stellar events to the tune of Laena's favorite classical crescendo.

Akiva stared down at Laena's awestruck face that was illuminated by the final rainbow burst of the spectacle.

"In my heart, you are my wife," Akiva whispered in fear of spoiling the moment. "I understand if you need time to adjust to that idea. You can take as long as you need before moving your belongings into my quarters, but in the meantime I wanted to make my home feel as close to your home as possible." He cupped his hands on her cheeks. "I love you, Laena, forever and always."

Laena's eyes were glued to the ceiling as a a single tear rolled down her cheek. "Thank you," she simply said, her voice soft and meek.

"Do you like it?" The old familiar anxiety ratcheted his stomach and swirled up into his throat. "If not, I can recycle the holo-emitter and--"

"It's perfect," she said, interrupting the man's train of thought. She turned and looked at her betrothed and smiled, "It's absolutely perfect, Akiva."

Akiva grinned back at her. "I'm glad." Relief shifted the anxiety coursing through his body into desire. Hands still on her face, he guided her chin upward and met her lips with his own.

"I just want to make you as happy as you've made me," he said in a moment stolen between one kiss and another. "I'm sorry if I'm talking too much. I just..." His hands slid around to her back and held her close. "I don't know the words to express how wonderful this is."

As he held her even tighter, Akiva set his face upon the top of her head and took in the scent of her hair. A sigh of quiet joy and calm deflated the pangs of fear that had tried to harry him. He closed his eyes, tightened his embrace, and contented to simply stand there and be.

Laena's body formed into his as she sunk into the embrace. "I love you, Akiva," she simply said.


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