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Forever Young

Posted on Wed Apr 14th, 2021 @ 12:55pm by Captain Tan'ato Tejera

Mission: Tempus Fugit
Location: Who knows
Timeline: Out of continuity

Captain Tan’ato Tejera entered his quarters on the USS Nightingale. The lights came up without him calling for them, and the big Orion stopped in his tracks as the door closed behind him. Seated at his work desk was an older Human male in a tuxedo. He had a thin moustache, more dark gray than black, and his dark, receding hair was liberally streaked with the same dark gray. A red rose was pinned to his lapel, and...was that a cat in his lap?

“Who are you? And how did you get into my quarters?” the massive Orion demanded.

“Think of me as your...fairy godfather,” the man said in a gravelly voice. “No, no. This will not do,” he said, looking Tan over.

Tejera reached to tap his combadge and call Security, and found it was missing. Instead, he found himself touching some kind of small flower arrangement pinned the lapel of a black tuxedo jacket that swelled over his broad, muscled shoulders and arms.

“Much better,” the stranger’s voice gravelled.

Something fell in Tan’ato’s eyes, a lock of black hair, and he reached up, running his hands through a thing mane of black hair, brushed and swept back, curling over his neck and ears, instead of his normally shaved bald head.

“What did you--”

“And you’ll need this,” the man with the cat said, and Tan found himself holding a plastic container holding another small flower arrangement, this one on some kind of lacy bracelet.

“Now off you go! Don’t stay out too late, and don’t do anything you don’t want to tell your priest in the morning.” The old man winked.

And then he was gone. In fact, Tejera’s entire quarters were gone, and he stood in a large room, illuminated only by low light. Above him, some kind of spherical mirrored ball rotated, shooting off sparkling light in all directions around what appeared to be some kind of gymnasium. The basketball hoops had been raised up to the ceiling out of the way, and the entire place had been hung with streamers and colored lights. A stage at one end held a band playing music, and a banner that read

FOREVER YOUNG
CLASS OF ‘85

Tan blinked. He had graduated from Starfleet Academy in 2385, but...well, the people here looked entirely too young even for Starfleet Academy. He wasn’t necessarily a good judge of Human ages, but none appeared to even be twenty. Currently those near Tejera were all standing in line at the entrance to the gym. All the boys were dressed in tuxedos or black suits, each with a flower arrangement pinned to their lapels, the girls in brightly colored dresses with poofy sleeves with a matching flower arrangement on their wrist. As they entered, they stood under a wooden lattice arch bedecked with flowers and an older adult Human male pointed a device at them, which flashed with blindingly bright light, before the couple moved into the converted gymnasium.

Music came from inside.

Now I've had the time of my life
No, I never felt like this before
Yes I swear it's the truth
And I owe it all to you.


Tan found himself standing there, befuddled, holding the container with the flower arrangement and looking around in confusion.

***

One moment Amaya was staring at the duty roster for gamma shift -- and working out in her head how that would match up with the arrival of a freighter, the SS Shorthalt -- the next she felt like the room was spinning and there was music being piped in. She opened her mouth to ask who had overridden the Ops comm system when she realised she was no longer staring at the Ops hub in Obsidian Command. Instead she was...where was she?

It took a fraction of a second for her to notice that she was no longer in her duty uniform, either. Instead it was replaced by pink. Lots and lots of pink. And ruffles that went from her right shoulder all the way down to her opposite hip. The dress she was now wearing fit her perfectly, so it appeared, dropping all the way down to the open-toed heel shoes she was now wearing on her feet. The PADD in her hand was replaced by a compact mirror, in which she could see that her hair had been styled into huge curls, and her lips painted with a pink shade that matched her dress.

"What in the world..." she murmured, trying to take in not only her own appearance but the world around her, now something that resembled the Starfleet Academy gymnasium, except decorated for a party. A themed one, from the looks of it. She turned to look around, but stumbled in her new footwear and fell into the arms of someone else, whose big arms caught her easily.

"Oh!" she exclaimed, embarrassed and surprised. He was, for lack of a better word, enormous by comparison to her, even with the added height the heels gave. "Excuse me. I...I think I'm lost. I'm very confused by...all this."

Tan’ato held the smaller Human woman in his arms, looking down on her. He smelled her perfume. “I am confused, as well,” Tejera said in his rumbling basso voice, helping her to right herself. He raised an eyebrow. “Have we met before?” he asked her. “You seem...familiar.” He looked at the plastic container in his hand, then the flower on his lapel. Both were pink, very pink, the same shade as her dress. “I...think this might be yours,” he said, opening the container and removing the wrist corsage.

Amaya felt herself blush another shade of pink as the corsage appeared. She was almost compelled to hold out her wrist daintily for the big Orion to slide it past her fingers. "Amaya," she said softly. "My name is Amaya. Commander Amaya Lance." The strangeness of this place was making her giddy again, as though it was designed to make her feel young again. She'd never been great in these social situations, but this was something completely different. On one hand, her scientific mind wanted to understand the reasoning behind it, but on the other hand she felt compelled to just let herself go and enjoy the moment. Maybe that feeling of being torn was part of it. "I don't know where we are, but the music is nice."

“Is it?” Tan’ato asked. “I don’t know much about Human music,” he admitted, looking around. Everyone here seemed half his age, late teens. “I’m Captain Tan’ato Tejera,” he introduced himself. “So if we’re both Starfleet, that must be where I know you from. We met...sometime?” he questioned.

"Seems likely. I don't know where or when," she replied. "Nor why we're both here and now. 2385 doesn't hold much significance..."

“C’mon, you big lug! Line’s moving!” someone called, and Tan realized it was their turn to stand under the flowered arch for the man to point the device at. He quickly stepped forward, his large hand at the small of Amaya’s back to guide her along.

“So this is a Human custom?” Tan’ato asked as they moved under the arbor.

“Smile!” the man with the device told them.

Amaya did an awkward squint and smile thing that probably looked horrible as the flash temporarily dazzled her. She leaned into Tan for a fraction, feeling mildly unsteady.

"Oh. Sorry,” she mumbled. "I think we're at a graduation prom, right? I guess that means we must be each other's date. The whole corsage and picture thing makes sense." She looked up at him. She probably wouldn't have picked out such a man to date -- the size difference was certainly a factor -- but he was big and strong, and the muscular physique wasn't something she'd complain about. "If this is like any of the other events I've seen, there's food, and music, and...dancing..."

Tan’ato blinked away bright spots from his eyes as they were moved along into the gymnasium. “I see,” the big Orion mused, looking around. “It seems we do not...stick out.” Everyone seemed Human, and young. “We should blend in and try and figure out what has happened. Would you care to show me this...dance? I am not very practiced,” he admitted, but looking around, it didn’t seem to be much more than couples shuffling back and forth on their feet while they held each other -- sometimes very closely, and sometimes with their hands in each other’s inappropriate areas. He saw one couple exchanging tongues in a corner.

Amaya took the lead and indicated how they should be holding one another, moving his hands down to her waist as she put hers around his shoulders. It was easy to just sway gently to the music for a minute. And despite the over-eager couples around them, she felt strangely calm and relaxed about just dancing.

They remained in silence for a few minutes in that way, just enjoying the music and the gentle rhythm of movement.

"Ugh!" a voice declared, a man she didn't recognise -- but Tan maybe did -- sitting on the edge of the stage. "Boring. C'mon, I set all this up and all you do is sway in silence? What's wrong with you?"

"I don't..." Amaya felt herself withdraw from Tan.

"Not exciting enough? We can make it exciting." The man snapped his fingers. The music warped and distorted a little into something a bit more slow and sinister. The guests that had previously been necking and cavorting turned their necks awkwardly to the couple. Gruesome cybernetic implants became visible along their faces and arms.

"B-Borg...?" Amaya whispered, her breath catching. She looked at her date for ideas.

Tan’ato had enjoyed holding Amaya in his arms. He wasn’t sure what all this was about. But then the old man with the rose on his lapel interrupted again, and their fellow dancers turned with red and green laser eye beams flashing out from their cybernetics.

Tan scowled, easing Amaya behind the bulk of his body. “Stay behind me,” he warned her, looking around for a weapon of some kind.

Amaya instinctively followed his instruction, but she herself was looking for a way to defend herself -- or a way to escape. What had begun as a quite romantic and relaxing interlude had been sharply transformed into a nightmare.

"We're outnumbered, and unarmed," she gasped. "Fighting might not be the best solution here."

“Have you ever known the Borg to be diplomatic?” Tan’ato asked. He grabbed up a microphone stand, wielding the heavy base at the advancing Borg.

Music started playing.

Domo arigatou, Mister Roboto…
Domo arigatou, Mister Roboto…


“I’m willing to hear any suggestions,” Tan admitted to Amaya as the beat picked up.

"What if--" She spotted the tuxedo-wearing man sitting there sniffing the rose on his lapel. This was some sort of game, maybe an illusion, but they couldn't take the risk that it was all holographic. If this was for his entertainment then they needed to find out what would be entertaining for him. "What if we do what he wanted?" she urged, grasping Tan's arm. "He wanted something...romantic?" She tried to see if her words were causing a reaction from the stranger.

Tan glanced over at the man, and then down at the attractive Starfleet officer in the puffy pink dress. “I...am willing to try,” he said. His massive hand came up. With surprising gentleness, it cupped Amaya’s cheek, lifting her face up as he came down. Gently his lips brushed hers, and he let free with his Orion pheromones for a bit. They weren’t as strong as a female’s scent, and had none of the mind controlling properties, but they could still stir the blood. He could at least make the experience pleasant for Amaya.

She melted into the kiss -- surprising, since she'd not exactly harboured a strong attraction to him -- and let herself slip away for a few seconds with her arms up on his big shoulders. When they separated, there was a lingering tingle on her lips. She'd never felt anything quite like that from a kiss before. Maybe it was normal for Orions to trigger that sort of reaction. A very quiet contented sigh escaped before she blinked back to the moment.

The Borg were gone. In fact, the two of them were standing in a dark space lit up only by a bright spotlight from somewhere above.

clap...clap...clap

The tuxedo-suited man stepped into the light nearby.

"Bravo." He touched his eye with his pinky. "Beautiful. Romantic. Wonderful. I'm impressed."

“Glad you were pleased,” Tan’ato told the man wryly, still holding Amaya protectively in his arms, the taste of her lips still on his own, the scent of her filling him. “I suppose you send us back now?” Part of him wouldn’t have minded more time with the lovely woman in his arms, but he didn’t want to push anything.

"Will we...remember?" Amaya asked.

The man smirked at the pair. "Maybe. Or maybe this is all a little dream. Who knows?" He chuckled, straightening his cuffs. "Maybe one day you'll cross paths again and be blissfully reunited by fate. Or not."

Before either of the two could answer, he snapped his fingers and the world flashed to white.

Tan’ato reappeared in his quarters. He was back in his uniform, but the boutonniere was still pinned to his chest over his comm badge. He sighed, getting a lingering scent of Amaya’s perfume as he tapped his comm badge.

“Tejera to Security,” he said wearily. It was going to be a long night of useless reports now, followed by disruptive dreams of what might have been with a beautiful Starfleet officer.

 

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