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Posted on Tue Nov 29th, 2016 @ 6:29am by Ensign Anastasia Bogolyubov
Edited on on Tue Nov 29th, 2016 @ 5:45pm

Mission: S1E2 - Unity
Location: Deck 10/Deck 8-Small Lounge
Timeline: Project Golem - Phase 2

As Anastasia strode down the corridor toward the turbolift, keeping close to one wall, she could not help but wonder what type of parent she would make. It was not a subject she had ever considered before, but when faced with Commander Avram's virtual intelligence, and his inability to interface with it in a way that he would consider productive, it made her thing of her own inability to properly interface with the world.

One crew member at a time. Jaya's job was never-ending, but she wouldn't have it any other way. After she left the holodeck, she looked in both directions for Anastasia. She spotted the ensign several meters down the corridor already. ~I wonder where she's headed in such a hurry~ Jaya thought. ~Or perhaps she's just naturally fleet of foot~

"Anastasia!" Jaya called out. She did not quite break into a trot. Not so much that she would appear undignified; she just knew that her feminine form was highlighted through motion, and there were far too many men about. "Anastasia! Hold up!"

Anastasia stopped at the sound of her name and turned. She stood perfectly still, not moving as Jaya caught up with her. "Jaya," she began a somber look on her face. "I know we are friends, but would we greet each other in our current environment with a hug, a handshake, or an exchange of verbal salutations?"

"That depends entirely on personal preference," Jaya said, stopping short with a smirk. "If you feel familiar enough with me in a casual location, like here, then a hug is certainly appropriate. A more formal setting, such as on the bridge or at a ceremony, would suffice with a handshake." She extended her arms in a welcoming embrace. "I'm happy to see you again as well."

Anastasia gave a curt nod, then stepped into Jaya's arms, hugging the other woman (not too) tightly. "I like how you feel when we hug," Anastasia remarked. "You feel accepting." Anastasia stepped back out of the hug and added, "There is a lounge two decks up that overlooks the shuttlecraft bay. I sometimes go there to contemplate. I would like to talk, but I understand that our friendship should be reciprocal, so I would also like to listen."

"Embraces are sacred forms of expression among Deltans," Jaya said, "so we only share them with those we like." She pointed in the direction of the turbolift. "When it comes to communication, we do not have to reciprocate at all times," she added as they made their way to the turbolift. "In one instance you may do all the talking while I only listen, and you won't 'reciprocate' until the subsequent instance. Long-term relationships allow for broader exchanges of give-and-take than allowed with acquaintances or other casual relationships." When they reached the turbolift, Jaya paused her conversation.
"Pilot's Lounge," she ordered.
While the 'lift hummed along, Jaya turned back to Anastasia and said, "Enough about that. What was it you wanted to share with me?"

"I have a new friend and she has a dog. I haven't met the dog yet, and neither has Prokhvost," Anastasia explained as the turbolift ascended. "My new friend has also met Prokhvost, and they've got along very well. I have decided to ask someone else on a date and..." as the turbolift door opened, Anastasia turned to Jaya "...I am considering the future possibility of having a baby."

Jaya nodded thoughtfully as they approached the pilot's lounge that was centered between the two primary shuttlebays, providing a side view overlook of both. "Sounds like you've been busy," Jaya replied. "If Prokhvost approves of your new friend, then I suspect her choice in canine companions will likewise be an approved friend as well--especially since Prokhvost seems to have similar tastes as your own. All in all, it sounds very exciting." She took a seat across from Anastasia. "So who's the lucky guy?"

"I had not considered the method of impregnation, or the source," Anastasia replied, as she stepped up to the replicator, ordering a cup of tea. "Commander Avram's project had only recently made me consider the possibility of maternity." Stepping aside so that Jaya could access the replicator, Anastasia asked, "When you asked who the lucky guy was, were you referring to a potential father?"

"Well, yes," Jaya admitted with the realization that she may have jumped to conclusions. "When you said you decided to ask someone else on a date, I thought you had someone specific in mind." Jaya decided to forego the tea. She felt the need to be focused in this line of discussion, and her enjoying a beverage might telepathically affect either one of their state of mind. "Reproduction is like a journey in that's just as much about the process as it is the result." She paused for a moment to think. "You might even say you cannot have one without the other," she concluded.

Anastasia nodded. "I have recently been considering my sexuality. Because of both my inabilities to interact appropriately with other, and my mathematical abilities, I believe those around me have actively sought to express the development of this aspect of my personality. Mostly this desire to do so was benign, for my perceived benefit." Anastasia paused, looked down at her tea, then turned her unwavering attention back on Jaya. "I do have a specific person in mind, to ask for a date. I do not know, however, if that person would eventually serve as a genetic donor for a hypothetical offspring. My primary concern would be to..." Anastasia paused, looking for the correct idiom "...have someone to spend Saturday nights with. And also to eventually to end my virginity."

Jaya chuckled. "That's quite the consideration. Let's tackle each point in turn." She thought for a moment. "Every culture values companionship." Jaya could not help but grin. "But virginity is an intriguing concept. I admit it is foreign to me, as my culture is polyamorous. I understand it is considered a sacred thing in many human cultures. Does it hold personal meaning for you or is it an extraneous value from your upbringing?" She smirked a little. "Same question for whether you wish to be romantically involved with your baby's father."

Anastasia stared at an empty spot in front of her as she continued speaking. "I had not planned to remain celibate to this stage in my life. However, those opportunities that have presented themselves to me for copulation would only have occurred if I allowed myself to be used as an object, since the individuals wishing to copulate with me made no real attempt to establish dialogue with me." Anastasia turned her focus back on Jaya. "I would like to have a romantic relationship with the genetic donor of a potential offspring, but I wonder if it would be wise. I witnessed the problems that Commander Avram had in establishing communication with the virtual intelligence. I do not know if I would be able to communicate with my own offspring."

"What the Commander is attempting to do is an aberration of the natural order," Jaya said, her voice taking a droll tone. "Between you and I," she whispered, leaning close, "let me just say that his homeworld does not look kindly on projects such as his." She leaned back and smiled. "Now, when any organism bears a natural offspring, there is an exchange of genetic material which all but guarantees similarity. That is probably the biggest hurdle facing Commander ben-Avram. Sometimes a child may take after one parent over the other, but the maternal bond is a phenomenon observed through virtually every sentient species in the galaxy. Babies are programmed, if you will, to love their mother." Jaya folded her hands and slanted her head sympathetically. "If the love and care you show for Prokhvost is any indication, you would make a wonderful mother."

The last line put a smile on Anastasia's face before a look of concentration returned. "Would you consider it within the natural order if I were to have a child without a partner? If there is a characteristics or a set of characteristics that would prevent me from establishing a long term intimate relationship, I believe I would still like to be a mother."

"Medically assisted pregnancies are pregnancies nonetheless," Jaya said reassuringly. "Your baby would be your baby whether he or she were inseminated by an organic specimen or a medical instrument. I happen to believe that a child's environment is just as crucial and relevant to their development as their biology; again, it's another paradox where one cannot exist without the other." Jaya smiled at her philosophical prose. "That is to say, nobody can do it alone. Find a solid support system to help you." She chuckled at her next thought. "Besides, anecdotes from many cultures assert the mother does all the work anyway." Jaya's grin turned provocative. "So who did you have in mind?"

"I have not made a decision yet concerning a potential partner for an offspring, though I believe I have a sufficient network of friends and family that I would have more than adequate support if I chose to raise a child," Anastasia announced. "However, concerning the person I wished to ask out on a first date, the criteria I used was to find an individual like you and my brother Roman. You both are patient and generous with me, particularly in helping me understanding the various norms of societal interactions. However, I hope to display my potential for emotional reciprocity in a relationship. That is to say, I hope my date will recognize that a relationship with me would provide more potential benefits beyond my mathematical aptitude and physical attractiveness."

"Anastasia, the best relationships are ones that are free from social norms." Jaya looked down and smiled, fondly reminiscing as she traced invisible circles on the table before her. "Before I joined Starfleet, I had a number of lovers, as those on my world are wont to do. My fondest memories are of the times when we didn't care what others said we were supposed to do. Such times are when the whole universe fades away and it's just the two of you living and doing and growing together without anyone or anything giving directions or expectations. Love flourishes when it is free." Jaya blinked away her ruminations, even blushing slightly. "Do you think," she asked pensively, looking up and pushing an emotion of encouragement into her question, "that you are ready for that depth of openness? Where the only rules and norms are the ones you make together?"

Anastasia's eyebrows furrowed as she considered Jaya's questions. "I don't know," she said simply. "I am aware that repetition is not always possible, and I accept this in the academic portion of my life. In my personal life, I am hoping for change that only comes incrementally. I like having friends in my life," she added, tentatively placing a hand on Jaya's arm, "But there is still an underlying structure in that. I ---" Anastasia removed her hand from Jaya's arm. "I do not know."

Jaya took Anastasia's hand and returned it to her arm, then placed her own hand atop it. "I am your friend, Anastasia. And you asked me to help you when you choose to fall in love. The key to every lasting romance is friendship; it is the canvas and foundation for every level of relationship outside of a one-night stand. Please do not mistake my encouragement as pressure to pursue any action that you are not comfortable taking. Love is a mystery that we get to experience and watch unfold. There's no hurry; in fact, rushing things can spoil them. All I'm saying is that when you feel ready, you should just go for it."

"In the event that my request for a date is rejected, may I come talk to you?" Anastasia asked.

"Of course!" Jaya's eyebrows shot up. "You needn't ever ask."

"Until then," Anastasia said, giving Jaya a bright smile, "Would you like to come back to my quarters for tea? Prokhvost will be happy to see you."

Jaya chewed one cheek as she considered the time. "I think I'm free. And I did promise to check up on Prokhvost, too. Lead the way."

Anastasia felt her heart lighten as she led Jaya back to her quarters. She still had uncertainties about dating and the thought of eventually being a mother was almost inconceivable to her. But she had her position on the Vindex and, more importantly, she had friends. For now, that would suffice.


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