Page 6 of 9

Why We Fly

Posted: Thu Aug 04, 2016 1:39 am
by Luceo
by T’Lira and Kathryn Harper

Having been released from Sickbay, T’Lira intended to go to her quarters and try to sleep without the minor distractions of being in an infirmary, but decided against that. After a few minutes of wandering the corridors in an attempt to find something to do, she remembered that Captain Harper had requested a meeting. Logically, it would be prudent to do so as soon as possible, of course. So, she made her way to the bridge and quietly crossed the bridge to the ready room and pressed the chime.

Harper sat behind the desk reading a PADD containing biographical information on candidate pilots. Production of the Mustang fighters had resumed, and her ship’s offensive capabilities were incomplete without the fighter wing at full strength. She looked up when the chime rang and answered, “Come in.”

With a slight tug on her tunic, T’Lira stepped in. “You requested to speak with me once I was cleared for duty, Captain.”

The captain could not help smiling at the sight of the Vulcan woman on her feet again after such a tragic accident. “Yes, lieutenant, please come in and have a seat. I can not overemphasize how good it is to see you here instead of in sickbay.”

T’Lira nodded slightly as she entered and took a seat. “It is certainly agreeable to no longer be in Sickbay. One can only stand so much time in one place.”

“That, I understand,” Harper remarked, remembering her own stays in sickbay. After taking a moment to regard T’Lira across the desk, she continued, “Listen, T’Lira… Given everything that has happened, I do not wish to rush you, but I do have pressing concerns to deal with as captain of this ship. I must ask if you have had any time to consider whether or not you wish to return to flying fighters?”

“I… have given it some thought, yes. Had this been a few weeks ago, I would not have hesitated in instantly requesting to return to fighter duty. Now, I am not entirely certain,” T’Lira responded.

“I cannot fault you for your uncertainty; I must admit that I even went through a bit of it myself, but the decision was ultimately made for me.” Frowning as she recalled her own struggles following the battles with the Tzenkethi that left her fighter wing decimated, Harper could certainly commiserate with the lieutenant. She was unsure what a Vulcan would actually feel after both surviving such an ordeal and then losing her unborn child in a freak accident, but Kate could imagine her own emotions in such a situation would be ruled by fear and despair. She clasped her hands and gently asked, “May I ask what it is that has you hesitating?”

It took a moment to find the right words, but they came. T’Lira placed her hands in her lap and began to explain, “I have a son, on Earth. His name is Taril. He was an orphan after the Hobus supernova. He already lost both of his parents. I do… enjoy flying, greatly, but if something were to happen, he would be left alone. I do not know if I could risk that. Before, I would have been willing to. But now, I have… reevaluated.”

Harper nodded slowly in understanding, questioning whether she really wanted to try to convince T’Lira to return to flight, since she had never completely resolved that debate within herself before being promoted to Captain. Asking herself that question now, with the benefit of the insight gained from her therapy, Kate decided that she would choose to fly again, and owed the wing an earnest effort to persuade a skilled pilot to return. “T’Lira,” she began, letting the Captainly tone slide from her voice as she emphasized with the other woman’s position, “why do you put that uniform on?”

T’Lira blinked, confused for a moment, but she answered, “I do so because it is my duty. It is my duty to protect the ideals I stand for and to protect the Federation. It is also my duty to have a part in new discoveries that can expand our understanding of the universe. Why?”

“Because it is the same as climbing into the cockpit of a Mustang. The fighter is a tool that allows you to protect those values you hold dear by directly defending your shipmates, your wingmates, and the innocents that we all strive to safeguard.” Kate rose from her chair and walked around the desk to sit on it, facing T’Lira, and looked her in the eyes. “Last time you flew a Mustang, you likely not only saved Atlantis from destruction through your contributions to her defense, but you saved my life as well. Neither of us would be here had you not flown.” She left the unspoken implication that Taril would be just as alone to hang in the air between them.

T’Lira flicked her gaze to her hands before looking back up, “It is a… far riskier way to do so, however. I know that flying is something that I… enjoy and that I wish to continue doing, but I am unsure if that balances the risks.”

“The worst injury I ever sustained in my Starfleet career was taken when I was sitting right out there at the helm,” Kate said, gesturing at the ready room door as she felt the now-familiar tingle of phantom pain from those wounds in her abdomen. She dropped her hands back to her lap before continuing, “The price we pay for putting on the uniform can be high, whether or not we are in a Mustang or on the bridge of a mighty Sovereign-class. I have been shot down twice, and while I am not saying that there is no additional risk inherent in flying, you have a natural talent for it and pilots like you in those cockpits make us all safer.”

“I am certainly gratified that you are so confident in my abilities,” T’Lira looked back down for a few more seconds before continuing, “I know that there is something of a shortage of pilots at the moment. I will… do my best out there, should the fighters be needed. I have one request to make, however.”

“What is it?”

“The next time we are in the Sol system, I wish to bring Taril aboard, to live here. I wanted to ask your permission first.”

Kate smiled, sensing the emotional subtext that the Vulcan woman would not have even acknowledged existed. A starship was not the safest environment to raise a child, but it was not unprecedented, and besides, how could she deny such a request of a grieving mother? “Of course, T’Lira. I would be happy to see that happen.”

“Thank you, Captain,” T’Lira replied, with a very slight nod, “Was there anything else?”

“Not right now; it is simply good to have you back,” Harper answered. With a smirk, she then quipped, “Watch your ass out there, Sehlat, since you no longer have me to do it for you.”

“I will do my best, Captain.”

Re: CO Captain Kathryn Harper

Posted: Thu Aug 04, 2016 6:21 am
by Holly Kolodziejczak
Picking up emotional subtext from a Vulcan takes serious skill. Kate could write a book or give a TED talk or something. :iia:

Re: CO Captain Kathryn Harper

Posted: Thu Aug 04, 2016 10:43 am
by Einar S
I really enjoyed that :)

Re: CO Captain Kathryn Harper

Posted: Thu Aug 04, 2016 11:29 pm
by Luceo
Thanks y'all!

Re: CO Captain Kathryn Harper

Posted: Wed Aug 10, 2016 2:17 am
by Luceo
Drinking Buddies, Part Two, with Rodney Quinn:

Re: CO Captain Kathryn Harper

Posted: Thu Aug 11, 2016 12:47 am
by Luceo
The following log, Moving Day, takes place while Atlantis was still orbiting Sevrekia, with many of the crew on leave.

Moving Day

Posted: Thu Aug 11, 2016 12:47 am
by Luceo
by Alexis Wright and Kathryn Harper

Captain Kathryn Harper had stood in this very suite a day earlier, when it was still filled with the belongings of the late Vice Admiral Ian Blackthorne and Captain T’Kirr, left undisturbed since their deaths. She’d needed to see it for herself once more before giving the authorization to have it cleaned out, for all of their possessions to be put into storage ahead of eventual distribution to their families. It had seemed such a grim finality, a dismantling of two deeply intertwined lives, and the last goodbye to them.

She had found a book laying on their bed, out of place from the others, and at first, had incorrectly assumed it belonged to T’Kirr. It was an easy mistake to make, since the book was an original printing of Skon's The Teachings of Surak, but upon opening it, a neatly-written inscription corrected her: To My Bondmate, in an effort to aid your understanding of the Vulcan people and therefore me. Kate had taken that book as a memento, and now clutched it to her chest while standing in the same room that had once been so representative of them, but was now full of her things, unable to stop herself from feeling guilty for having disturbed the place.

It was while she was thus engaged that the door chimed, jolting her from her thoughts. Noticing that she had become teary-eyed at some point during her reverie, Kate ineffectually wiped at her face as she exited the bedroom, still clutching the book. "Come in!"

The panels slid open and Lexy stepped inside, but her immediate recognition of the subtle signs of Kate’s distress made her linger in the doorway, fearing that she was intruding. “Is… I’m sorry, is this a bad time? I knew you were dreading this, so I thought… we can talk later, if that would be better.” Her words were hesitant and accompanied by a gesture at the door, indicating her willingness to exit through it.

Lexy’s unexpected arrival coaxed a smile from Kate despite her still-wet eyes. “No, please, come in! It is just, well, difficult.”

Reassured that her presence was welcome and hoping to provide comfort, Lexy drew closer and silently held out her arms to offer an embrace, which Kate accepted. “This transition has been really challenging for everyone, you especially,” she offered softly, searching for the right words. “But the galaxy keeps spinning and life goes on, I guess, so here we are.” Her brows were drawn together in concern when she finally pulled back to look Kate in the eyes. “Is there anything I can do to help?”

“You already are, just by being here.” Looking around her new quarters, Kate mused, “It is fortunate that Commander Vallero was so patient in waiting for me to move out of the XO's suite. I delayed this for too long, since it seemed so final.”

“I’m sure he was sympathetic to your position. It was probably awkward for him, too.” Lexy smiled warmly and reached for Kate’s hands, but was surprised to find that one of them held a book; she hadn’t noticed it before, focused as she had been on Kate’s emotional state. Bending down to look more closely at the spine, she read aloud, “The Teachings of Surak? I didn’t know you were interested in Vulcan philosophy. I tried to read it once—” She stopped abruptly and stood up straight, a mortified expression on her face. “I’m sorry, I should have realized… this belonged to Captain T’Kirr?”

Kate reflexively clasped the book to her chest once again, then tilted it outward to show the cover to Lexy before opening it to the page bearing the inscription. “I found it on their bed yesterday. It was a gift from her to the Admiral.”

Lexy closed her eyes against a brief wave of sadness before leaning in to read the tender words written in T’Kirr’s precise hand. Seeing such an intimate side to the Vulcan conjured to mind an oft-imagined future in which she had actually worked up the courage to make an attempt at befriending T’Kirr, or at least to ask that she mentor Lexy’s doctoral studies… but these long-held dreams would now never come to pass, and only added fuel to the smoldering grief in her heart. Adding further to her regrets over companionship not pursued was T'Kirr's desire for the Admiral—Ian—to understand her, which echoed Lexy’s own wish for Kate's love and understanding. She wondered if such disconnects were universal to interspecies couples, or pairings between dissimilar personality types, or… perhaps simply relationships in general. With an air of reverence, she reached up and gently closed the cover of the book. “It’s like a little piece of them,” she said softly, lightly tracing the embossed letters of the title with her fingers before letting her hand drop back to her side. “It feels strange to trespass in their private lives, but I suppose it doesn’t matter, now. What will you do with it?”

“It probably should go to one of their families, but it represented them both in one object so perfectly, that I could not help myself. It may be selfish of me to want to keep it, but Blackthorne was a mentor to me, and a woman as accomplished and skilled as T’Kirr was just had to be admired. I wanted a memento, and it seemed only right that something of theirs should remain in these quarters.” Kate carefully pulled the book back to her chest before continuing, “I certainly never expected to be living in them.”

“It does seem strange, but if anyone has the capacity to adapt, it’s you,” Lexy said almost absently as she continued to study the book’s cover, considering the moral ramifications of Kate’s action. “As for the book… it’s a bit of a gray area, I think, but I do agree that it would have more value to someone who knew and admired them both. Though in retrospect I suppose you didn’t ask for my opinion.” Lexy tipped her chin upward and briefly met Kate’s eyes with a sheepish smile before craning her neck to look around the room for a way to change the subject. “Can I help you unpack, or have you already finished?”

“It is all done,” Kate answered as she turned away to place the book on the dining table. “What the moving crew did not take care of was minimal, just a few ends and odds. They did quite a good job of putting everything in a roughly equivalent place, though that does leave some gaps since these quarters are a bit larger. Let me show you the rest of it and you will see what I mean.”

Guiding Lexy on a grand tour through the more spacious CO’s quarters, she pointed out the sparseness of her own belongings. “This is everything!” Kate said as they returned to the living room. She gestured around her with both hands, then let them fall and clap against her thighs before wistfully adding, “It sometimes surprises me how little I actually own—the result of a military life, I suppose.”

“I find that people tend to behave like gases in their living spaces,” Lexy remarked as she stepped past Kate into the living room and studied the space appraisingly, “Expanding to fill the space available. I’m sure it’ll feel like home in no time. Have you considered perhaps a painting here?” She held her hands up to the wall in L-shapes to indicate a size and location, looking questioningly back at Kate over her shoulder.

“Actually,” Kate began, sensing a perfect opening into a subject that she had found herself considering quite a lot over the past few days, “I was thinking that something from your quarters would look nice there…” She trailed off, hoping Lexy would pick up on her meaning.

Lexy blinked, then turned back to regard the wall in front of her. After a few moments of silence, she began to nod. “Yes… Yes! I think that’s an excellent idea, and I have to admit, I’m honored.” Turning back to Kate with a sunny smile, she added, “I’d be happy to give you one of my pieces as a housewarming gift! Did you have one in mind? If not, I think the one of Tamolitch Falls—”

“No,” Kate interrupted, since her meaning had not come across correctly. She stepped forward to take both of Lexy’s hands in her own and then began to clarify, “I would like it very much if—” Biting her lip as she found Lexy’s eyes looking up at her expectantly, Kate hesitated as a realization hit her. Since she had stopped drinking herself into oblivion and been able to see their relationship with mental clarity, the reason she was now feeling comfortable enough with it that she found herself about to ask Lexy to move in with her came into focus. Her true feelings were probably obvious by human standards, but her own were a bit more rigorous, and even through her mind’s constant issues with the flowery idioms of the English language, the word to describe what she felt was suddenly unambiguous.

In anticipation of what she was about to say, butterflies flooded her stomach with an intensity that she had not felt since her first relationships as a teenager. Willing her knees not to buckle as she fell into those eyes, Kate finally confessed, “I love you, Lexy.”

With those words, the puzzlement on Lexy’s face was immediately replaced with radiant joy, like a flower opening to the morning sun. Thoroughly unable to formulate words, she squeaked with pleasure and threw herself into Kate’s arms, her elated exuberance proving somewhat detrimental to Kate’s balance and ability to breathe. She eventually pulled back her arms, instead reaching up to cup Kate’s face and look into her eyes, wearing the most incandescent smile of her life. Drawing Kate down toward her until their foreheads were touching, she managed a whisper, “…Could you say it again? Please? I need to make sure I’m not dreaming, this time.”

Having said it once, she now was eager to repeat it, or even to yell it, but Kate managed to keep to the tender tone of the moment. Her knees were still weak and her stomach continued to flutter as she softly repeated, “I love you.”

Lexy’s heart yearned to jump, to sing, to shout from mountaintops! But instead, she simply breathed, “I love you, too,” and found her lips inexorably drawn toward Kate’s as if magnetic, the resulting kiss so passionately intense that chills raced up her spine. She had thought their first kiss could easily be the most deeply satisfying she would ever experience, but this one was far and away superior.

Some time later, as they lay together in contented blissful relaxation at the end of a trail of haphazardly discarded clothing that led to the bed, Kate regarded her lover from under languid eyelids. “That was wonderful,” she purred, “and I wish I had realized it sooner, but I love you.”

With a broad grin, Lexy dropped the lock of Kate’s hair that she’d been idly twirling between her fingers and snuggled up against her instead. “I’m never going to get tired of hearing you say that,” she vowed, holding Kate close and reveling in the scent and softness of her skin. “Never ever ever. I’d be literally jumping for joy, if I was confident that my legs were functional yet.”

Stretching luxuriously, Kate answered, “It is good then, that there is no pressing reason to leave this bed.”

Lexy giggled, a mischievous glint in her eyes. “Anna will be expecting dinner in a few hours, I’m sure she considers that pressing… but that still gives us plenty of time before then to work on breaking in your new place, hmm?”

“Mmmmmm, yes, but there is still so much more of it to, as you say, ‘break in.’ If only we had even more time…” Kate trailed off, looking coy.

“O Captain, my insatiable Captain! I can just run down and feed her and pack an overnight bag, then we’ll have until morning.” Laughing, Lexy gave Kate’s backside a playful smack before adding, “I’m pretty sure I’ll be able to wear you out by then.”

“While that does sound like a challenge I am willing to accept,” Kate started before willing herself to not be distracted by the prospect, “there was something I intended to ask when I first told you that I love you.” She sat up in the bed and offered a welcoming smile before continuing, “But then I realized why I wanted to ask you this, and that made me understand my love for you. What I am trying to say is that I would like it very much if—” Kate took a deep breath and started again, finding the fact that she was so nervous to be quite odd, since she was usually quite confident in this aspect of her life. Butterflies returned to her stomach as she finally gushed, “Lexy, I want you to move in with me!”

“Really?” Lexy beamed, her eyes lit up with surprise and excitement that dimmed almost immediately as though a cloud had passed before the sun, bringing with it a more pensive mood. This was not the first time that emotional impulsivity had warred with scientific rationality within her, but it was rarely such a close contest. Aware of Kate’s flagging smile due to her lack of response, Lexy sighed. “Kathryn Harper, I love you more than I ever thought possible, and I can’t even tell you how happy I am that you love me back without using idioms like ‘over the moon’ that don’t make any sense, that’s how ridiculously thrilled I am about it.” Realizing that she was beginning to babble, she took a breath and forced herself to make her point concisely. “It’s because of this that I’m not sure moving in right now is a good idea.” Chewing on her bottom lip to keep herself from saying anything else, she watched Kate and worried over whether she had said the wrong thing.

Kate’s face fell, being as unaccustomed to rejection in romance as she was to nervousness. The sting was also evident in her voice as it grew quieter. “I do not understand, Lexy. We love each other, yes? At least among my people, this would be enough, but perhaps you are not ready?”

The pain in Kate’s tone cut Lexy to the core, and her hands hurriedly scrabbled for Kate’s. “Please, don’t misunderstand me,” she pleaded, panic creeping into her tone with the conclusion that she had indeed said the wrong thing, “I want this so badly that it almost physically hurts. It’s just that there has been a lot of change in the past couple of months, and introducing another variable at this stage is simply bad science. It’s so important to me to have this with you that I’m willing to wait until everything else settles down. Do you see my point? It kills me to do this, believe me, but… I think I should say no today. But please,” she begged, willing Kate to understand her, although she lacked an appropriate book in which to inscribe those wishes, “Please please please. Ask me again in six months and my answer will be different.”

Her initial reaction was to be hurt by Lexy’s response, and she even opened her mouth to voice a protest, but Kate forced herself to think a moment on the rationale behind it. While the scientific approach to their relationship as some sort of experiment with variables to control seemed a bit clinical for Kate’s tastes, she had to admit that Lexy did have a valid point. So much had changed aboard Atlantis and in their lives over the past few months, and perhaps it was best to let things settle down a bit first. The impulsive response faded somewhat as she concluded that Lexy’s reasoning did make sense, and Kate slowly nodded in reluctant understanding, despite herself. “That is… an incredibly rational and reasonable answer. I must admit that it hurts a bit now, but I do understand.”

“It’s not the answer I want to give you,” Lexy replied wistfully, intensely frustrated with how badly she seemed to be botching things, “And I never want to hurt you. I’ll freely admit that you have so more experience with this kind of thing than I do, so I really need you to tell me if I’m making a terrible mistake. I can see that ‘rational and reasonable’ wasn’t what you were looking for, but…” she gave a helpless shrug, “It’s… it’s all I know. This thing between us is so important to me that I have to protect it, you know? I just want to be careful.” She squeezed both of Kate’s hands, her eyes full of sincerity. “But we can do whatever you think is best. If you don’t think we should wait, I’ll go start packing right now.”

“No,” Kate answered, returning the hand squeeze as she closed her eyes. Despite having admitted that she understood Lexy’s reasoning, Kate still wanted this whether it was rational or not, but while unaccustomed to rejection from her partners, her insistence would not be fair, either. Throughout her life, Kate had always plunged headfirst into relationships, but none of her previous loves had ever lasted past the whirlwind romance. Her usual penchant for moving through a quickly-fading intense burst of hedonism and fiery passion had ultimately left her alone, until now. Perhaps she was being too hasty, and following her usual pattern while expecting a different result was not only unscientific, but doomed to failure. Kate didn’t want that again, not this time, especially not with Lexy, and even if there was just a small chance that she was right, it could be worth trying it her way.

Finally opening her eyes, Kate spoke softly and, in contrast to her voluble nature, slowly. “I appreciate that you are willing to defer to my experience, but upon reflection, I now think… that you may be right about this one. And I also think that we are fortunate, as a couple, that at least one of us is so rational about such things.” Somewhat ruefully, she added, “I never have been, about matters of the heart.”

Encouraged that the hurt in Kate’s voice had faded, Lexy now clung to a burgeoning hope that she hadn’t just destroyed the thing she held most dear. She’d been accused in the past of having no feelings, of being a robot… but Kate saw her relentless rationality as a positive thing? Never before had she been shown that kind of love and acceptance by someone outside of her immediate family. At that moment, she was filled with absolute certainty that she wanted forever with this woman, a fact that made her acutely aware of the sensitivity of the present moment. She swallowed awkwardly to combat the sudden nervous dryness in her mouth before speaking, but once she began, what felt like a million thoughts tumbled out of her in a rush before Kate could address any of them. “So… you’re okay with waiting? You’ll ask again? This doesn’t change anything between us? Please say yes. I don’t know what I’d do if I lost you.”

“Yes, of course I will ask again, and it certainly does not change anything between us,” Kate hurriedly responded while caressing Lexy’s cheek in an attempt to calm her girlfriend down. “When we became a couple, I promised to take a slower pace with you, but then things were immediately thrown into chaos. Somehow we are still here, but I apparently forgot that promise since I have fallen into my old habits. That I was still alone to make such a promise to you at my age shows how successful those habits have been.” Kate slid back down into the sheets and pulled Lexy close before adding, “Perhaps it is time to try something new—with you, my love.”

Lexy beamed happily, though somewhat surprised that this had ended so well. “I don’t see why I couldn’t start moving some things over before then, though,” she suggested, cuddling into Kate. “I really do think that would be a great place for my print of Tamolitch Falls.”

Re: CO Captain Kathryn Harper

Posted: Thu Aug 11, 2016 2:01 am
by Vanessa Brinkman
Well, the feels on that bus went round and round. Literally. Ups and downs. The feels were like a baby rollercoaster, I swear. How do you keep doing this?

Re: CO Captain Kathryn Harper

Posted: Fri Aug 19, 2016 6:11 pm
by Luceo
Three's Company, with Kuari! viewtopic.php?f=22&t=389#p6325

Someone Like Me

Posted: Wed Sep 07, 2016 11:20 pm
by Luceo
She longingly stared out the ready room windows, and instead of a grand cosmic display, found only the interior of a spacedock. Whatever answers starship captains would usually find in their long stargazing reveries would not be available to Kathryn Harper now, as her ship was confined to port. Atlantis had been ordered to stay at Starbase Vinland until an admiral decided otherwise, as an apparent punishment for resolving a situation peacefully. She had negotiated a historic treaty with the Romulan Republic, her crew had extended medical and technological aid to desperate refugees, yet here they were, grounded and waiting for the executioner’s axe to fall.

Kate turned away from the windows in disgust, wondering why she was even here. Days of anxiety had given way to elation when they had handed off the refugees to the aid ships dispatched from headquarters, but it had only lasted as long as her congratulatory speech to the crew. Immediately afterwards, she was in this room being chastised for what she’d committed the Federation to, an organization that she thought stood for the very same ideals she had praised her crew for demonstrating. In such light, her recent conversations with Lieutenant T’Lira and Commander Vallero about why they wore the uniform now seemed shallow.

The desk’s computer screen lit to indicate an unread message. With resignation, Kate sat down to view it, expecting to find the news of her court-martial or reassignment. Instead, she was surprised to see the name of a teacher whose primary school class she had once been in, decades ago. Ms. Erynd was also apparently still teaching, since the message was addressed from her entire level five class. It began with a neatly-handwritten introduction in her native language:

Captain Harper,

Or, as I hear you are now known, Kathryn, but that’s not how I remember you as a little girl in my class. An old teacher’s memories, though, are not important as the woman that girl turned out to be. News of your treaty negotiations with the Romulan Republic has made its way to Lunat Bay, and after I gave my students an assignment to learn about you, their natural response was to ask if they could talk to you, since you were once my student. The class put together the attached video with their questions and messages, and also wondered if the next time you found yourself in your hometown you would speak to them in person. Just the favor of your reply would be appreciated, of course, but if you lack the time for either while commanding a starship, we certainly understand. In the meantime, enjoy the video, and thank you—not just for inspiring these children, but also their teacher, and showing us all what heights our people can truly reach.

Yours, Ms. Erynd

Reading the letter had caused a smile to unconsciously spread across her face, and Kate started the video to find herself immediately treated to a succession of wide-eyed children extolling her accomplishments and telling her how they wanted to join Starfleet, become scientists, become pilots, or command starships when they grew up. Many asked surprisingly good questions about life in space, how the technology worked, and how to get accepted to Starfleet Academy. From these children, Kate also learned that she was the first female Risian to command a Starfleet vessel, and that the class had petitioned the town’s mayor to throw a parade in her honor when she returned.

A parade in her hometown was the last thing Kate had ever imagined happening to her, much less being the first to do anything. It was uncommon for her people to join Starfleet, being so devoted to their role as stewards of the premiere vacation planet in the Federation, but it did happen. She knew of at least one Risian to command before her, but had never noticed that no women of her species had ever done so. Several of the girls in the video, and even some of the boys, had called that out as a specific factor in letting them know that they could grow up to do something other than service tourists, like most would on Risa.

Looking back on her childhood, Kate at first found that sentiment to be strange, since she had never felt the pressure to go into tourism, despite her parents being in the field; they had always encouraged her insatiable curiosity, if not her disregard for their traditional culture. It was also not as if Risa did not have its own scientists and engineers, along with many other professions outside of tourism, but it was just rare for anyone to want to leave the planet. As a child, there had been a Risian starship captain in the news that Kate had admired, who she eventually was able to meet at his retirement ceremony some years later. She had met her childhood hero, just like the kids wanted to meet theirs, and it was suddenly her place to be a person that inspires the next generation.

While the children were likely blissfully unaware of the sexual nature of other species’ general perception of Risians, seeing them aspire to be something more uplifted Kate’s spirits. All of these boys and girls needed to see someone like them doing great things, and that she had gotten their attention reminded her that what she had done for the Romulans was not just right, but one of those great things. Her will renewed, Captain Harper vowed to carry on, as the awe-struck looks in the eyes of the children she inspired lent her inspiration in turn. “This. This is why I am here,” she quietly said aloud before beginning to record her reply.