USS Potemkin NCC-76927-C
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Assumed Innocence

Posted on Sun Jan 9th, 2022 @ 10:28pm by Lieutenant Nydia Holt & Lieutenant JG Ezrin Ezee
Edited on on Sun Jan 9th, 2022 @ 10:29pm

Mission: Sim Logs
Location: Science lab, Arboretum, and Holt's quarters

Ezrin bounced around in the science labs, happily playing around with what appeared to be a hunk of pale wood connected to several wires, whistling a cheerful tune as they worked. They were not technically on duty, and were thus wearing a brilliant yellow jumpsuit that looked like a cross between a wetsuit and a sundress. A pendant with a petrified purple leaf encased in resin hung around their neck on a braided leather cord.

Nydia was, as usual, in her corner of the lab, quietly humming away to herself as she carefully spliced two plant stems together. “That’s a lovely shade of yellow,” she said, barely looking up from what she was doing. She gave Ezrin a small smile before looking back down at her work. “What’re you working on today? …wait… aren’t you off duty??”

“We are,” Ezrin chuckled, “but we are liking playing with our things.” Ezrin looked up at her. “Ezrin wonders when plant-friend is being off duty also?”

Looking at the chronometer, Nydia tilted her head. “Uhm… twenty minutes ago…? I guess I was really engrossed in my new project. I can’t wait to see if it works out! I’m trying to see if I can combine a lemon and a pomegranate!”

“Ezrin hopes you are being successful! Ezrin is liking trying new fruits,” they chuckled.

“That reminds me! I should check the arboretum. I have a new plant growing in there and I want to see if it worked. I tried to combine blackberries and apples! I don’t know why, it just seemed like a good idea.” Nydia carefully potted the spliced stems in a root-promoting medium and placed it on her table under a grow-light.”Wanna come with me to check?”

“Ezrin agrees!” They put down their project and skipped along with Nydia.

Giggling, Nydia led the way out of the lab and down to the arboretum. “We really need to stop working beyond work hours,” she said teasingly. “Hey, do you think Raife is off duty now too? We could maybe pick some other fruits and veggies and bring them to your quarters to try to make something with?”

“Ezrin says sleeping-room-friend is sleeping,” Ezrin giggled. “Ezrin was...keeping him awake last night with our projects. Ezrin says we were making more fires by accident!”

“Oh Ezrin! You and those fires!” She giggled and shrugged. “Ok, we’ll let him sleep then. If you want, we can go to my quarters? My kitchen set up isn’t as good as yours, but Seymour loves when you visit!”

“Ezrin agrees,” Ezrin chuckled. “We are liking small-blob-creature also!”

“Great! There should be plenty of things to harvest, we could make an afternoon of taste testing new things!” Nydia bounced as she walked a bit, excited over the prospect of spending the afternoon with her friend trying out the things she had created.

Ezrin looked absolutely delighted with that prospect. “Oooh, Ezrin likes this plan!” They agreed, linking arms with her and skipping the rest of the way.

Leading the way through the arboretum, Nydia was reminded of her childhood best friend as they skipped along the paths. “There! The vegetable patch is quite full! And look, several fruits are growing on the blackberry-apple tree!” She was nearly vibrating with excitement at the literal fruits of her labours on display before them.

Ezrin giggled at the expression of sheer joy on her face. “Ezrin will help harvest if plant-friend is helping us making meal later?” They offered, almost shyly.

Giggling, Nydia nodded. “Of course! I can’t expect you to do all this work helping me and not repay the favour! Besides, you’ve been getting really good with your cooking and I really enjoy the treats you’ve been giving me lately!”

“Ezrin is starting good at cooking!” Ezrin grinned, “but we are getting better.” They acknowledged. “We are also enjoying making tasties for sharing with other beings.”

“Well, this being definitely appreciates your tasties,” Nydia said as she handed them a basket from the foot of a nearby tree. “Which would you like to do, the vegetables or climbing the tree for the apples?”

“Ezrin likes either!” Ezrin answered brightly.

“Hmmmm…. Well, I guess we can both do both,” Nydia nodded and grinned at Ezrin before hooking her arm through the handle of her basket and starting to climb the tree, though it wasn’t large, the fruit was still too high from the ground for either of them to pick without a ladder or climbing.

Ezrin watched her from the ground for a moment before following. They were not graceful, but then, climbing was not about grace.

“Careful, this branch here,” she tapped one above her head, “isn’t very sturdy. But the rest should be ok. But, then you probably knew that already… your world is covered in plants isn’t it?”

“Ezrin does! Ezrin misses Armellia-home-trees.” Ezrin declared from below her.

Nodding, Nydia pulled herself up a branch higher and hung down a bit with her legs wrapped around the thicker branch so she could pluck the blackberry-apples from the weaker branch. “I’d love to see your home-world one day! It sounds like a beautiful place!”

“Ezrin is hoping to be bringing potemkin-home-crew for Turning festivals!” Ezrin answered brightly, helping her to pluck the ripe fruit.

“Turning festivals? What are those?” She asked as she looked down at Ezrin from above. She giggled as she stretched down further to pluck an errant leaf from Ezrin’s hair.

“Ezrin says is festival celebrating harvests and artist creations! Is also time for Turning of moons.” Ezrin declared happily.

“Ooooh, that sounds amazing! I hope we can get there for this festival at some point!” Nydia sounded truly enthralled by the idea of this festival. She carefully pulled herself up and climbed slightly higher. “Oh, the fruits up here aren’t as ripe, we’ll leave them. How’re you doing down there?”

“Ezrin is done,” Ezrin answered brightly.

“Great!” Nydia said as she climbed down again. “Time for the veggies, and then we can go taste test and make a meal together!” The excitement for both harvesting the vegetables and cooking with Ezrin was clearly evident in Nydia’s smile and the fact that she was practically vibrating as she said ‘make a meal together’. Good food, spending time with friends, and new experiences were all definitely ranked high in Nydia’s top ten favourite things to do.

Ezrin giggled at their friend’s obvious enthusiasm, and simply let go of the tree, landing lightly on their feet. “Ezrin enjoys also!” They declared happily.

Skipping along the slight path, Nydia made her way to the vegetable patch and began plucking ripe veggies from their vines and plopping them into her basket. She hummed a song as she did so.Once done, she stood up and brushed the dirt off her knees. “I think this is good enough, shall we?”

“Ezrin agrees!” Ezrin bounced on the balls of their feet, dusting dirt off of their yellow jumpsuit, having been collecting vegetables at, shall we say, an enthusiastic rate.

Giggling, Nydia hooked her arm through Ezrin’s and led the way out of the arboretum. It didn’t take long for them to get to Nydia’s quarters. She opened the door and stepped through. “Excuse any messes, Seymour gets bored and throws things around from time to time.” Despite her warning, the only thing amiss in the room was her pillow was sideways on the bed instead of in the right orientation. “What shall we do first?”

Ezrin was looking around. “Ezrin has been wondering, how are you keeping small-unbolted-objects from being in places-not-away?”

“What do you mean?” Nydia asked, tilting her head to one side. “Oh, like, how do I keep things clean with Seymour around? I keep any important items hidden away, and try to make sure that he’s well entertained. Usually he only gets bored if I haven’t taken him out or played with him in a while. So I make sure to take him to the holodeck for adventures often. And sometimes he comes to work with me, but it’s harder to keep him from being spotted now. I should look into building an entertainment center of sorts for him…”

Ezrin giggled. “Ezrin thinks small-blob-creature would be enjoying this, but this is not what Ezrin was meaning. Ezrin and sleeping-room-friend are not having creature-friends but we are not being able to be keeping small-unbolted-objects from being in all-places anyways.”

“Hmm… well, I do tend to make sure I put things away at the end of the day, and at the end of the week, I do a big clean,” Nydia bounced slightly. “Is Raife messy? I can’t see him being messy… or is it that you’ve been using an item and get distracted and forget to put it away?”

Ezrin flushed a deeper green. “Ezrin does this. Ezrin tries, but we are not being very good.”

“That’s ok. Not everyone can be clean. To be honest, it tends to be an anxious reaction from me. I need to have my space organized in order to feel comfortable, but that stems from having far, far too many very messy and gross roommates. Like, one would leave food containers and dishes under their bed for weeks.” She shuddered and shook her head. “But, if you would like some help, I’m happy to stop by once or twice a week and help you get cleaned up!”

“Ezrin says leaving old-nasty-food is not being safe.” Ezrin shuddered themself. “Ezrin says we are being messy but we are not being that messy.”

“I’ve seen your quarters, you’re not really messy,” she said as she placed her basket on the coffee table and picked up one of the blackberry-apples. She examined it for a moment, noting it had the outward appearance of an apple, though one with a dark blueish-black skin, and the firmness of an apple. Carefully, she took a knife and sliced through it. “Oooh, that looks so cool!” Nydia held the two halves up for Ezrin to see. The interior looked like a bunch of circles had been tightly packed inside of it. “I hope it tastes as good as it looks!”

She sliced it up into smaller chunks and then held one up for Ezrin. “Here, try a bite!”

Ezrin bit into it curiously, and a slow smile spread across their face. “Ezrin likes! Ezrin thinks is only tasting of sweet-plant-foods, but is having squishy-bubble-texture!”

Grinning as she also took a bit out of her own slice, Nydia nodded along with Ezrin’s description. “Definitely tastes more like an apple, but has the texture of the blackberry. Which is odd considering how firm it feels when holding the whole fruit. But I love it! It’ll be a great addition to a fruit salad or pie!”

She looked down at the rest of their gathered items and tilted her head. “Hmm.. what should we make with the rest of this? There’s a lot of possibilities. I think we could make a vegetable roast, or a shepherd’s pie if we had the meat, or a meat-substitute…hmmm… anything else you can think of?”

Ezrin thought about it. “Ezrin is thinking to be making uurnnk. Is being big pan filled with tasty-growing-things, and also juicy-spicy-meats! Ezrin says is being good for lists-of-making that are needing to be having many things inside.”

“Sounds amazing! Can you teach me how to make this uurnnk?” She gave Ezrin an almost pleading look. “Teach me to cook like you do!”

Ezrin grinned, no beamed. “Ezrin does! Ezrin is loving making tasties!” They declared, happily bouncing.

“Amazing! Let’s get started! What do you need me to do?” Nydia asked, bouncing on the balls of her feet.

The rest of the afternoon was spent making uurnnk, which turned out to be a time-consuming process of slowly roasting three different kinds of meat in the juices of half the vegetables, with some peppercorn, butter, and thyme, and then layering it in thin slices with the rest of the vegetables, sliced thinly and baked. As it was baking, Ezrin said, “Ezrin says earth-planet-herbs are being strange but many are being similar enough to be making uurnnk. Ezrin says there is not being specific list-of-making for uurnnk, since is being made with all-things-tasty so is being different each time.”

Nydia nodded along as she tried to remember all of the steps, but then she lit up. “Oh! If we could get some plants or seeds from your homeworld, I could make a corner of the arboretum up for you, and grow some spices or foods from there too!”

Before Ezrin could answer though, Nydia bounced over to the secondary sleeping space, which was consumed with a living space for Seymour and a plant shelf, since Nydia had somehow managed to score a double room with a broken second bed, which was never really fixed, nor reported since the supposed officer assigned to the quarters with her had moved in with their lover and thus abandoned this room. She bent down and rooted around under the plant shelf for a moment, before coming back up with a notebook.

It was encased in leather and looked very worn. “Here, write down the names of the plants you wish to get most, and I’ll make sure that we acquire some as soon as possible!” She thrust the journal out to Ezrin with an excited flourish. “This way neither of us forget!”

Ezrin took the notebook, but they did not write anything down. “Ezrin is happy you are thinking of this, but Armellia-home-plants are not being a good idea to be growing outside of science lab. Ezrin says ninety percent of Armellia-home-plant-species are being carnivorous and are growing big enough to be eating beings. Ezrin says other ten percent are being invasive or not being tasty.” They informed her regretfully.

Nydia pouted and looked quite sad. “Oh,” she said after a moment and then wrinkled her nose. “Ok, well, are there any edible plants that we don’t have here you would like to have? I mean, you can get most things from the replicators, but it’s not the same as fresh, right off the vine, produce…”

“Ezrin agrees, but we are liking experimenting with planets-not-home-flavours!” They declared brightly. “Ezrin says we are liking trying new-fun-things!”

Giggling, Nydia nodded. “Well, I’ll make whatever you want for plant combinations! You just let me know what you want from me! I love experimenting with you!”

“Ezrin likes also! Ezrin thinks plant-friend is being fun!” Ezrin looked across at Nydia with bright interest and something a little less identifiable in their eyes.

Giggling and bouncing in place, Nydia grinned at Ezrin. “You are fun too, Ezrin. I love spending time with you!” She said as she tilted her head to the side. “Soooooo…what should we do while the food cooks?”

“Ezrin is not knowing. Ezrin wonders what plant-friend is wanting to be doing?” Ezrin asked brightly.

“Uhm…… want to watch a movie? I found this new one that’s about a plant that eats people? But it’s a musical and kinda funny, apparently,” Nydia asked. “But, uh, the only space I have to sit is my bed….”

Ezrin chuckled. “Ezrin says is always being this when living on home-ships-small-sleeping-rooms. Ezrin says beings are being lucky if they are having spaces to be cooking proper tastings!”

“Yes, we are lucky to have kitchenettes, and I’d take that over a couch or chairs any day!” She giggled and moved her pillow, then rolled up the blanket to make comfy backrests. “So… movie?” She gave Ezrin a half grin.

Ezrin settled on the bed. “Ezrin is being ready!”

“Yay! I’ve been wanting to watch this one!” Nydia bounced around the room getting things set up so they could watch the movie together. Once that was done, she settled on the bed beside Ezrin and sat cross-legged. “Be warned, I may sing along with some of the songs if they’re really catchy and repetitive,” she said as she started the movie up.

And sure enough, as the movie progressed, Nydia did indeed sing along. But she also got sleepy and slowly sank back and sideways, eventually ending up with her head on Ezrin’s shoulder.

Ezrin watched the movie with their usual bright curiosity, putting one arm around Nydia’s shoulders when she leaned on them. Once it was over, they checked to see if their companion was still awake.

Feeling Ezrin move their arm around her, she stirred and looked up at them. “I’m so sorry!” she said softly, “I have a habit of falling asleep during movies….” she added sheepishly, turning slightly red as she looked up at her friend.

Ezrin looked at her and smiled. “Ezrin says is fine, two of our parental-beings are doing same when we are seeing jrkns!”

Blinking, Nydia tilted her head slightly. “Seeing what?”

Ezrin thought about that for a moment, trying to find words in Standard to explain. “Ezrin says is being many beings dancing in front of other beings, with musics and singings being done all at same time. Ezrin says is not being same as weird-plant-music-pictures,” they gestured at the antique television set, “Ezrin says there is not being story behind happenings, but is being same enough for us to be thinking of.”

“Oooooh… ok, I think I know what you mean,” she said. “Also, you’re comfy,” she giggled as she finished saying the last word, then snuggled into Ezrin a bit more. “...Oh… I got carried away again… I can move if you’re not comfortable with me cuddling you?”

Ezrin smiled and squeezed her shoulders. “Ezrin is not minding. Ezrin is missing comfortable-being-touch.”

“Me too,” Nydia said with a sigh as she got more comfortable. “It’s been a while since I was last able to just cuddle with someone or be this close.” She wrapped her arms around Ezrin and gave them a squeeze. “I’m so glad you came to hang out today!”

“Ezrin is being glad also,” Ezrin declared, quite comfortable.

Nuzzling in slightly, Nydia sighed happily. “I’m so glad you’re my friend, Ezrin,” she whispered. “You’re a great person and I love being around you,” she added, giving them a kiss on the cheek before she realized what she was doing, but when she did, she turned a bright red.

Ezrin also flushed a deeper green, but they did not seem displeased. “Ezrin likes you also, plant-friend. Ezrin is feeling...comfortable, when we are being with you.”

“I feel very comfortable with you,” Nydia admitted, looking up at Ezrin again and smiling.

Ezrin half turned on the bed so that they could look at her better. “Ezrin...” Ezrin trailed off for a second, looking away, before they straightened their spine (as much as one could whilst horizontal on a bed, anyway) and looked Nydia in the eye. “Ezrin is feeling affection and also fear, because we are wanting to be walking-through-life with plant-friend-being but we are not knowing if you are wanting this also.”

“I…. yes… I would like this,” Nydia sounded slightly hesitant. “But you should know that I like having more than one partner. I mean, not all at the same time, but I’m what we call polyamorous, so I’ve dated two or three people at the same time.”

Ezrin blinked and grinned. “Ezrin says is being strange to us that strange-ways-Terrans are choosing-most-often only one other parental-being in family-units so we are being happy to be hearing this.”

“Oh, your people have multiple partners? That’s neat!” Nydia grinned. “I love learning about other cultures, and yours never ceases to amaze me…. Neither do you, to be honest. I think I learn a new thing about you every day.” She moved her arms up a bit, so instead of being wrapped around their lower torso, her hands were now flat against their mid back. WIth this movement, she moved slightly closer to Ezrin and gave them a slightly wicked grin. “Sooo… walking-through-life partners?” She giggled.

Ezrin flushed a deeper green again, and looked across at her, their eyes full of interest and uncertainty. “Ezrin is thinking plant-friend-being is needing to be knowing that we have not been having beings-walking-together before.”

“Really? I’m surprised at that, you seem so…. Confident with others,” she said softly. “But that’s ok, honestly, everyone starts somewhere with relationships like this.” She looked like she was thinking for a moment. “And since I’ve never met anyone of your kind before, we can learn together what a relationship like this will be like. We can go at your pace. And I promise to listen to you on what you like and don’t like,” she added. “Communication is always key in any relationship, so, as long as we’re both open and honest with each other, I think we can make this work!”

“Ezrin can be doing this, Ezrin says we are being honest all times anyway.” Ezrin chuckled, then looked a little more serious. “Ezrin says...that Armellian-beings, when deciding to be walking together, are using beings’ third namings to be referring to each other when being alone. Ezrin says ours is being Ezza.”

Nydia wasn’t sure what she felt, but it was definitely a good feeling. She let the name bounce around in her head for a moment before smiling. “Ezza... I like that name.” She giggled. “We don’t have specific names that we save for partners,” she sounded almost sad about this. “But often my people will choose nicknames for their friends or partners. My full name is Nydia Elaine Holt. Most of my friends call me Nyds. Some people call me Holt or Holty. But, if you’re comfortable with it, I will let you choose what you would like to call me when we’re alone.”

“Ezrin says that third namings are being built with a being’s play-name, and are being secret until told to...” Ezrin paused, struggling with the translation, then just shrugged, “rndels. Ezrin says is meaning ‘dancers of skies’ but it is being what we are calling beings who are walking with us but have not decided to form family-unit yet. Ezrin says your play-name is being Nydia, so you would be choosing either first half or second to be using as beginning, and building rest on what is sounding best to you. Ezrin says is not being a naming that another being can be choosing for you.”

“Ooooh… ok…” Nydia said softly, then placed her head against Ezrin’s chest for a moment, thinking about what they could call her that no one else ever did. There weren’t many good names that came to mind, but as she stayed there, still, listening to Ezrin breathe and the beating of their heart, though it was quite muffled and not easy to hear. She stayed still like that, the most still she’d ever been in their presence, for a while before lifting her head and smiling. “Nyx,” she said softly. She hadn’t been called this, ever, in her life before, and while it meant ‘night’ it was also the name of the only Goddess that Zeus was ever afraid of in Greek mythology. She didn’t want to be feared, except by anyone that was as womanizing and plain annoying as Zeus.

Ezrin smiled. “Ezza is glad to be meeting you, Nyx.”

“And I am glad to be meeting you, Ezza,” Nydia replied, smiling warmly. She looked up to them, wondering what next. The food should be done by now, but she wasn’t really interested in that anymore. She was more interested in learning more about Ezrin, or now to her, Ezza. Without thinking, she moved closer and gently kissed Ezrin.

Ezrin was surprised, but did their best to reciprocate, a part of their mind fascinated by the experience and the other simply content in the moment.

Breaking the kiss, Nydia moved back a bit and giggled. “So that’s what you taste like,” she grinned playfully.

Ezrin cocked their head. “Ezr--Ezza wonders what this is being?” They asked curiously.

“What? Kissing?” Nydia also cocked her head to the side, somewhat confused. “You… your people don’t kiss?”

“Ezza is meaning taste,” Ezrin chuckled, “Ezza has been seeing strange-ways-Terrans sharing faces before!” They added brightly.

Giggling Nydia shook her head. “Everyone tastes different,” she said after a moment. She chewed her lip thoughtfully for a moment, trying to figure out the best way to describe it. “It’s hard to describe, but it’s like different foods. Some may look similar, but they taste different. Like potatoes and sweet potatoes. They’re very similar in appearance, but taste very different. Does that help or confuse you more?”

Ezrin chuckled again. “Ezza is meaning we are wondering what we are tasting like, we are understanding concept of sharing-faces-tastings.” They answered, amused.

“Ooooh…” Nyds blushed and hid her face for a second. “Uhm… also hard to describe… but kind of… earthy… like a fresh root vegetable… but also a hint of sweetness, kind of like… honey?”

Ezrin nodded as if this made sense to them, then looked at Nydia curiously. “Ezza wonders, why are strange-ways-Terrans sharing faces?”

“Uhm… it’s one of the ways we show affection?” She wasn’t sure how to explain this really. “And a way to bond, I guess, with the one or ones you love. How do your people show affection for their life partners?”

“Ezza says we are sharing musics together, sometimes being with same instruments which are being made for four graspings, or...” Ezrin paused, trying to think of translations, “feeding-tasting-pieces to our...partners?” They looked at Nydia to check if they’d used the correct term for a rndel.

“Interesting. We do the feeding of small food items or pieces of food too,” Nydia nodded. “But not everyone does the music thing, I don’t even think a multi-user instrument, aside from something like a piano, exists in our culture?” She paused and stretched slightly. “I’m used to using physical attention, like kisses, touching, hugs, snuggling, and um… other physical connections…. To show affection….” She went red again.

“Ezr--Ezza says this is being strange, but we can be getting used.” Ezrin shrugged, then smiled. “Ezza wonders if Nyx is wanting to be learning to be playing lyrrl?”

“Of course! If it’s important to you, then I will at least try it,” Nydia nodded. “And, well, it means I can spend more time with you, Ezza.” She grinned.

“Ezza is thinking same,” Ezrin giggled, then looked around. “Ezza is smelling crispies.... Ezza is forgetting tastings!” They flailed to their feet and ran to the kitchenette, pulling the uurnnk out of the oven. “Ezza says is being only small amount crispies,” they declared somewhat sheepishly.

Nydia jumped when Ezrin did and ended up falling off the bed, but landed in a sitting position on the floor. “Only slightly burnt is ok,” she said, watching them with amusement.

Ezrin giggled at Nydia on the floor, and took a few steps towards her before remembering that they were still holding the pan of food. After hastily putting this down, they came up to Nydia to help her to her feet.

Giggling as well, Nydia gladly accepted the help. Once she was on her feet, she bounced slightly. “So, do we need to let the uurnnk cool before eating, or can we share it now?” She said the strange-to-her word slower than necessary, but she wanted to try to pronounce it properly. Maybe one of the ways they could spend more time together could be Ezrin teaching her more of their language.

“Ezza says we can be eating now,” Ezrin announced brightly, portioning it out onto plates and handing one to her with a fork stuck upright directly in the middle.

Taking the plate, she examined it before plucking the fork from it and carefully scooping up a bite-sized piece. “It smells divine,” she said, holding the fork up in front of her for a moment before popping it in her mouth and savouring the flavours that exploded upon her tongue. “OOooh… sooooo goooooood!” She murmured as she chewed slowly.

Ezrin beamed, obviously pleased she approved, and tasted it themself. They closed their eyes in pure bliss at the harmony of flavours--even slightly burnt it was still delicious--and then looked at Nydia shyly. They took another forkful, and offered it to Nydia, with a hesitancy and tenderness to the action that reminded Nydia of her own emotions before kissing.

Watching Ezrin taste the uurnnk, Nydia couldn’t help but smile. Then they offered up their fork to her and she remembered their words. Carefully, she leaned forward and took the offered bite off the fork with a smile. As she savoured the flavours again, she too picked up a forkful. Then she offered it up to Ezrin with the same tenderness they had shown.

Ezrin took the offering with a sweet smile, thinking that this new aspect of their relationship was, while new and untested, still going to work out just fine.

 

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