<< Again, another piece of Landon's back-story. To catch up or review, see the first four: http://www.usscharon.com/index.php?title=Die_Tonight,_Live_Forever:_Chapter_I . It's been slow in the making I know, but I have nothing else to do right now; expect to see it finished. >>
=/\= Trillian Civilian Ship (TCS) Nodlan, SD 240605.01 =/\=
After showing them his ship, which in a moment of uncertain cleverness he'd named the "Nodlan", they promptly launched in the direction of some unknown destination. Neyes knew exactly where he was going, but he had refused to divulge that to his colleagues.
They hadn't been in space for an hour before the counselor started in on her tirade about protocol again. As the collected and oh-so-proper voice rang out its disapproval of his activities, Landon's eyes slowly rolled back and closed in annoyance. He was resisting the urge to lock her in the sleeping quarters, and every second he didn't was a second he regretted. She had first found the ship itself to be something less than appropriate for someone of her status. As if being a counselor afforded her special treatment on a non-sanctioned mission of his own personal interest. Secondly, she protested his continuing unwillingness to be a part of her counseling activities. Now... he was flying too fast. As if he had any control over the dynamics of warp travel.
"Please." He sighed. "Just... Please, Counselor." Landon's voice was tired and withholding.
"You are getting a little out of control, Odalla."
The Trill counselor immediately let her frustration be known as she slammed down her PADDs onto the rear controls. "HOW am I supposed to get any work done with you, Ensign?! You refuse to talk about anything other than this shuttle, and even then you color it with alien terms neither one of us can understand? Have you forgotten the Trill language altogether?" She fumed, arms now crossed over her chest.
Landon smiled, probably with more satisfaction than he should have. "Actually, I probably know it better than you do now. I just don't care to show it off to everyone."
Her mouth opened in protest, stricken by his back-handed comment.
With a resigned roll of his eyes, Neyes let her attitude slide. There was no point in exchanging repartee with her for the next few days. He felt silly trying to speak his feelings to her, and especially in front of his closest friend. Greg was really alien to all this. Odalla and Neyes were both from Trill. She was particularly 'comfortable', being a counselor who handles newly joined officers on a regular basis. Greg had to at least feel a little out of place, and Landon didn't want to make it any worse for him. He felt it wasn't necessary, and anything she had to say to him was something he was going to figure out on his own eventually anyway. He'd managed for the last 700 years or so without a baby-sitter...
"I'm here, but someone's watching everything I do. The weird part is that it feels like it's me who's watching. I'm watching myself. It's hard to explain. How's that? That helpful? Can you get some work done now? We've got another four hours of traveling ahead of us, so you'd probably be better off if you made it stretch." He looked over his shoulder towards her in the back. He gave her a warning and incredulous wink as she stared back at him.
Odalla remained silent for a moment as she gathered her devices and snapped back into her professional mode of attitude, suddenly charged with renewed purpose. "Oh well, I see you've wanted to talk all this time." Her voice rang with an self-important slight. "I knew I'd eventually manage to get something out of you."
"You don't have to try that hard." Landon said as he continued to work the controls. "You just have to try not to be such a bitch. After that I'm sure you'll go places." He smiled.
Greg snorted a quick laugh and immediately stifled his surprise at hearing Landon say 'bitch'.
An uncomfortable silence filled the cabin, with both the men realizing they may have crossed some unseen line. Odalla was many things, but meaningfully hurtful wasn't one of them. Her demeanor slowly solidified into a stonewall, as she quietly excused herself from the main cabin and moved into one of the aft quarters. The doors slid shut with an almost palpable attitude, and both Landon and Greg sat in the quiet of their thoughts for a moment before either one made any kind of motion. With no one really knowing what he was up to, Landon understood why tensions would be high. Greg was tagging along out of trust and loyalty to his friend, and Odalla felt pride in doing whatever was necessary to do her job. If that meant she followed her charge on a crazy space ride to an unknown destination, so be it. He respecter her for that, but it wasn't going to be enough to get in his way.
Greg stood and walked up to the co-pilot's controls at the front of the small bridge. Taking the seat, he activated the panel and tapped a few buttons. Neyes already knew what was going on. "I can't tell you where we're going, Greg."
"But why, Donny-
"Don't call me that."
Landon looked over when he heard Greg slam his fist down onto the control panel. It fizzled then went black, a similarly dark and frustrated expression covered Greg's face. "That's the most immense load of bullshit about this so far, Landon."
Neyes looked down then continued to work the controls, deciding he'd just let Greg have this one.
"I'm your best friend. I have been since we met at the mixer when we were accepted to the Academy. You were weird, unsure and sickeningly ambitious. Now you're cocky and arrogant and know how to do things no one should know. You're name's different and you don't act the same. You're still Donny to me, though, Landon. You're always going to be fucking Donny until the day you die. You've been Neyes for barely a week, practically. I know you don't feel the same, or whatever, but I don't understand. Shouldn't someone like you just GET that I need to hold onto my friend? Aren't you wise beyond all measure and know the secrets of living forever? I need you to keep being Donny. Or else we're not friends anymore. We might as well be strangers if I can't at least hold onto that, don't you see that?!"
The words stung a little. For what he knew, Landon was familiar with just about every feeling someone could know. They still hurt though, even after everything he could recall happening to him. This never got easier. "You're right, Greg."
"Goddamn right I'm right." Greg said, rubbing his hand angrily.
A little grin turned up the corner of Neyes' mouth. His voice caught for a moment as he tried to compose himself. "Call me whatever you want." He turned at looked straight at his friend. His best friend. "I'm still me. Realistically, anyway. I remember that guy you're talking about, and I feel like he's a part of who I am. But... Greg. I know things..." Neyes' eyes belied a hint of fear as he spoke, as if the words would strike out at him for simply uttering the sentence. "I know so much about things I can't even begin to describe to you. There are secrets about the world we live in... I can't be the same guy you knew before. I'm going to be Neyes whether either one of us can handle it or not. Sometimes I wish I could go back home and forget about all this, but we both know it's not possible and we have to deal with the way things have happened.
"I'm still me though, and we're still us. Greg and Donny, unstoppable force of nightmares." Landon grinned, holding out his hand in a familiar fashion.
Greg looked at him for a long moment. The look on his face made Landon think perhaps his expressions of honesty weren't enough to win his friend over. They had been friends for a good deal of Landon's life so far, and he felt like it was important to at least try to hold onto something stable right now. Partly because he wanted it, and partly because he needed it.
With a sigh, Greg also held out his hand. They shook like normal, then proceeded with their secret handshake. A wiggle of the fingers, some odd motions and a whistle. It was odd, but it had almost always made Landon laugh. This time was no different.
=/\= TBC =/\=