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Is it safe?

Posted on Sun Jul 14th, 2013 @ 5:18pm by Lieutenant Commander Soraya Delrisa

Mission: Part of the Team
Location: Holodeck
Timeline: Current

Feeling somewhat more rejuvenated than he could previously recalled, (though the five cups of coffee he'd consumed throughout the morning might have played a part it that) Counsellor O'Reily had finally located his favourite person on the ship, and her lovely mother too.

It had taken him longer than he'd expected to find Soraya and Annabella considering the little girl should be in class. For some reason he hadn't expected their tutor to take the class on an outing to the holodeck. Immediately he'd been envious since he didn't have such luxuries as a youngster.

That thought however evaporated the moment he entered the holodeck. The vast space was filled with a sun clinging sky, blotted with blue clouds but occupied with the sights and smellsof something less appealing. Nick wrinkled his nose at the sharp smell of animal waste and flinched at the unexpected bleating from a small creature in the pen beside him. He peered at the animal with horns, narrow pointed face, knobbly legs and thick woollen coat with confusion - he'd never seen a creature quite like it before and was equally surprised it could produce such a sound.

The Billy watched him suspiciously before bleating again hoping the stranger had something tasty to eat.

Surprised Nick sprang back, caught his boot on the uneven ground and toppled backward to the sound of gleeful laugher from the children.

He felt two hands on his head and opened his eyes to see Soraya next to him.

"Nick? Don't move quickly," she said softly. She scanned him for a moment and grinned as she clicked the tricorder closed. "So, I guess you've never seen a goat before?"

"Now children, we have the llama. Say it with me," "Llaaamma," the learning guide and children said as the group moved on.

"Was it that obvious?" he winced feeling his cheeks brighten with embarrassment.

The doctor laughed and the goat bleated again. A kid was next to her; Soraya reached into the pen and the kid eagerly sucked two of her fingers. It let them go and walked away.

"My father still keeps a few milking goats for cheesemaking," Soraya said, turning back to Nick. "Feeling better?"

Sitting up he rubbed his scored hands upon his thighs rubbing away the dirt. "Yay, just bruised and a little winded, though I think my pride's more wounded. Shame there's no cure for that eh?"

He watched the goats for a moment as they lost interest in them both and began to graze. "I guess they'll kinda sweet," he squinted. "Especially if you do this."

Soraya smiled and stood, offering the tall Betazoid her hand. "You've come to the holodeck on a fun day, the three-to-five years are having their petting zoo. The children are having a great time." She paused as Nick brushed himself off. "May I ask, have you had a chance to read the letter I wrote for Noran?" she asked softly.

"I did, yes." he replied having dusted off the worst from his uniform. "It's good so stop worrying about it. I know you've found it tough explaining it all in writing, but, honest its good. Though I think it might be a nice touch if you send an image of Anna and yourself too."

Soraya nodded, "Yes, at least an image of Anna. I still don't know how to tell her about her father, I was hoping you could help with that." The pair walked slowly, keeping a distance from the others. "I just hope I haven't made too big a mess of the whole situation."

"I'm not sure if something this personal and important should come from me Soraya," Nick explained. "Last thing we want is for Anna to become confused by it all. She's too young to understand...what do you call it? The bees and the birds?" he frowned realizing it didn't sound right but continued regardless. "But I do think she should know who Noran is before she becomes more aware of life and dislikes you for keeping the knowledge in the dark."

"You're right, of course," the doctor said. "I honestly don't know what Noran will think. He is a good man though, I have a gut feeling he will want to be in her life."

"Would you if the tables were reversed?" he asked. "You'll know the truth sooner or later."

Another farm animal meandered toward the pair, the fat hen clucked as she drew nearer pecking the earth for insects or other editable substances. The Couselour watched it warily, "That's not likely to peck somewhere unwanted is it?" he asked Soraya as the hen waddled closer still. "Or do something strange like bark at me, its safe, right?"

"Just a chicken, she's harmless," Soraya said. They stopped for a moment, watching the hen scratch. "I've waited too long to tell him. She needs a Betazoid in her life, a mentor. If he doesn't want to or cannot..." she left the unasked question hanging.

Nick smiled, relieved the chicken Soraya had called it appeared to be none threatening, at least for now anyway. His smile continued, "I'd be willing to help." he answered her open question and bravely took her hand. "I'd be happy to help both of you."

Soraya held his hand for a moment, tears threatening. She knew there was much her daughter needed to know about her Betazoid heritage that she could not help her with. Annabella was getting older; her mother could not wait to find out if Noran would want to be in her life.

"Thank you so much, Nick. I don't know how to raise a Betazoid," she said sheepishly. She was still struggling not to cry.

“I won’t pretend to be a master,” the counsellor replied honestly with a heavy sigh. “Both Sara and I are orphans but we’ll be alright.” He squeezed her hand feeling a wave of sorrow rise from her like a swift sunrise. “There’s still a lot I can teach you both.”

Soraya felt like a weight had been lifted. She did not trust herself to speak, taking quiet comfort in Nick's companionship.

"Ohh!" she cried out, jumping forward. A small pot-bellied pig had come behind her and nosed the back of her knee. It snorted and turned it's head, hoping for a treat. Soraya caught Nick's eye and they burst into laughter.

"So you're not the only one getting surprised around here," she said, laughing so hard she was crying.

“And I thought you said this is supposed to be for the children’s learning,” Nick chuckled. “I think we’ll learning a fair bit here too, especially when it comes to surprises.”

"I do believe you are right," Soraya said, kneeling down to pet the pig. Nick looked at her uncertainly, but the little pig was obviously enjoying the attention. "Do you want to touch her? She won't hurt you," she said to the tall Betazoid.

Unable to read anything from the holographic creature Nick had little choice but to trust Soraya as she continued to pet the barrel like creature with pink skin, wet, long snort and made snort squeal and snorts which could be interoperated as delight. With a slight creek in protest the Counsellor crouched beside the two and tentatively rubbed the animal smiling at his promise to help Annabel, whom judging by his lack of farmyard knowledge the experience would be educational for both.


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