The Astounding Adventures of Terri Cornelia Lee - Part 3 "Fast and Furious" (Flashback)
Posted on Tue Jun 27th, 2017 @ 9:26pm by Lieutenant Terri Lee
Episode 4 - Truth, Justice, and the Federation Way
Timeline: 2418, In A Future That Was
::2418, Commander Theo Dolarian's Residence::
Terri was feeling a lot better. Delicious homemade food and nice people always cheered her up. Comfortably sinking herself into the couch in the living room, she flipped on the wall-mounted view screen to see what's on the news. She liked to keep herself well informed of current events, just like her dad did.
". . . In domestic news," Announced the news anchor, "The Federation Council yet again failed to approve the budget. Grazerite Councillor Severn-Iber filibustered the bill in protest of President Jiv'ek's controversial decision to veto the Sedition and Security Act, which would have stripped the President of some of the emergency powers first granted to his predecessor by the Preservation of Public Tranquility Act of 2413."
"POPTA was enacted in response to the mass riots and unrest that had erupted on several Federation member worlds after Starfleet suffered a series of devastating and nearly simultaneous defeats in the Deveni Sector. In her daily news conference presidential spokeswoman T'Pel again denied the accusation that the emergency powers granted by POPTA were dictatorial and therefore unconstitutional, pointing to the Supreme Court's decision last year not to hear law suits brought by the United Earth government and several civil liberty organizations against the legislation.
"As it stands, the Federation government has been without a formal budget for nearly a year, relying on short-term appropriation measures for its daily operations and the funding of the war effort . . ."
Gustave had been walking by on his way to the kitchen when he overheard the news coming from the living room. He snorted, disgusted that the government just couldn't get it's act together. He entered the room, muttering obscenities about injustice and corruption. He plopped down on the couch by Terri, putting his feet up on the coffee table. "I just can't believe it, ya know? All of this time they're wasting over there with filibusters and pocket vetoes . . . And we can't do anything about it! They say our system is as good as it gets, but it's still pretty screwed up." He looked over at Terri, gauging her reaction.
Terri ran her fingers through her short and somewhat messy hair as she pondered how to respond to Gustave. Her dad always made a point of not discussing politics with anyone except for those closest to him and in private. He insisted that members of Starfleet stay clear of political debates in order to avoid the politicization of the military.
But Gustave was not just anyone. He was practically family. Surely her dad wouldn't mind if she discussed a little politics with him.
"I know," She said, inching a little closer to him on the couch. "It's pretty terrible. But on the other hand, we were the one who put those people in office, so maybe the joke is on us."
Gustave sighed and shook his head, "I s'pose that's true. I just wish that they'd do what we asked, instead of just trying to get their greedy little hands on some power. That's what they're in it for, power. Not for our interests. We need some people who actually CARE about the general population to step up. We need some REAL representatives in office. None of this power struggle BS."
He thought for a moment, then said, almost jokingly, "My mom should run for president. She'd set them all straight." He laughed, but he knew that she never would. She was just too quiet about her political views. Too bad, because the world could use a president like her.
"She'd make a great president." Terri said with a smile and continued to inch closer. "Besides, President Dolarian has a nice ring to it." By the end of that sentence she had closed the distance between them and leaned slightly into him. "And you can be her campaign manager, and I'll be in charge of all the tech. It'd be really fun."
Gustave threw his head back and laughed. "I'd make an awful manager of anything; I'd just yell at everyone and make 'em angry. Working with people, that's Meg's job. I could make pins and buttons for people to wear on their shirts." The couch shook with his laughter. He looked down at Terri with tears of laughter running down his face. This is what he'd missed about her; they'd had so much fun together as kids.
That's one thing Terri had always liked about him since they were kids, his laughter, so infectious, so warm. It made you instantly forget all the troubles in the world, even if just momentarily. Looking up at him, she smiled. She knew she should say something, but she just smiled, looking into those fearless and spirited dark brown eyes.
Gustave sunk back into the couch and picked up the remote. He flipped through the channels, trying to find something that wasn't the news. News made him pissy, and he was supposed to be nice with his house guest. He found a channel that was playing an action movie; Fast and Furious 73 or something like that. He suddenly noticed that Terri was sort of lying on him, and felt a bit awkward. He tried to shift himself out from under her.
As Gustave tried to shift away from her, Terri lost the support of his broad shoulder, and before she could say 'holy moley batman', she fell sideways and right onto his lap.
Gustave's eyes went wide with surprise, and he felt extraordinarily awkward. He felt bad for poor Terri, she was probably really embarrassed, so he started to chuckle in an attempt to lighten the tension.
Terri didn't plan for this, but when she saw an opportunity, she seized it. Adjusting her posture slightly, she made herself comfortable on his lap. If the dummy that was Gustave tried to move away again, she would so slap him in the face. OK, maybe she wouldn't, but she was not going to give up his lap without a fight. It's her lap now, and if Gustave knew what's best for him, he would let her have it. But again, he had always been an oblivious dummy since they were kids. So maybe she should slap him in the face anyway. But for now, she was content curling up on him.
"Hmm, I heard they are making another sequel." She said, completely ignoring his awkwardness. "They should so get rid of Fanel. His acting is terrible."
Gustave was a bit confused why she didn't get up, he thought she was embarrassed. *I guess not . . .* He thought. He replied to her question, saying, "I honestly think it's all bad acting, but when they all come together, the movies are just great. Or awful, I'm not quite sure."
"They should bring back Tanie Pel. He was one of the best they had in the franchise." Said Terri, but then her voice trailed off as a particularly romantic scene on the screen grabbed her attention. Once it's over, she wriggled a little. "My back is itchy. Scratch it for me, would you?"
Gustave felt even more awkward. *Scratch her back? Well . . . okay?* He obliged, running his stubby nails over her mid-back. "Better?" He asked, stopping the scratching, mostly because he felt uncomfortable. First, she started lying on him, and now she wanted him to scratch her back. What next?
"No, that's not it." Terri grumbled softly. "Up a little, a little more, to the left, no, the other left, back a little. Hmmmm, that's the spot" She purred contently
Gustave was taken aback by the purring. He thought only Catians did that . . . He just kept scratching and thought about how odd his situation was. He had many female friends in his lifetime, but none had ever acted this . . . close. They had never lay on him or asked him to scratch their backs. They had never purred, even his one Catian friend. He just chalked it up to Terri having been his friend for a long time. Maybe it was a good thing that friends could be comfortable around each other like that.
Just then, Meg and Marion walked in. Meg saw the scene, and abruptly stopped, causing Marion to bump into her. They silently turned their heads to look at each other, then crept to the side, crossing to the door on the other side of the room. Meg prayed that neither Gustave not Terri would see them, but Gustave turned his head. Meg cringed, and waved slightly before rushing backwards towards the door. Marion calmly followed, ever the formal and unfazed princess.
Terri thought she heard something. Lifting her head slightly from Gustave's lap, she looked to the source of the noise and to her horror saw Marion and next to her Meg waving at them awkwardly. Her cheeks flushed red faster than the Morian squirrel could run. She sprang up from Gustave's lap and did what her instinct always told her to do whenever blood rushed through her head and messed with her thinking: hit something, anything.
Before she knew it, she had slapped Gustave square in the face. And it was loud. Nay, it was resounding, literally.
Gustave stuttered. What the heck was this lady doing? Just one moment ago, she was lying in his lap and purring, and now she slapped him! What was going on? He stood up, throwing up his hands, "I give up!" He shouted, "You aren't making any sense! Just a moment ago, you were being all weird and snugly, and now you slap me! What did I do?" He stormed out of the room, kicking the coffee table as he went. "Women are so confusing . . ." He mumbled to himself. This chick was by far the oddest he'd ever met.
Terri was mortified by what she had just done, so mortified that a sheepish and barely audible "Gustave" was all she could manage as the boy stormed off. It was going so well. Heck, she even got him to scratch her back while lying on his lap. Why did she have to slap him in the face? Why?!
Meg stood there, mouth agape, and started stuttering. "I . . . uh . . . you . . . I'll just . . . okay." She had definitely not been expecting that. Love struck people don't usually strike the people they are struck with love over, at least that's what she thought. She turned around abruptly to leave, and ran into Marion. Meg pushed her sister out the door, and cast an apologetic glance over her shoulder. Marion whispered a "Bye" as she was shoved through the doorway and into the hall.
"Meg, Marion, uh, guys . . ." Dejected and still blushing, Terri tried to stop the twins and maybe explain to them what just happened, but they had already disappeared into the hall way, and more important, did she even know what had just happened?
Terri paced back and forth in front of the twins' room, struggling over how to explain to them what had happened earlier, but after a whole five minutes, she still had nothing. Finally giving up, she stopped and knocked on the door. Whatever happened happened. Yep, that's what she would tell them.
Meg opened the door, peeking her head out. She wasn't all that surprised to see Terri there; both twins knew she would come to them for advice on their brother eventually. She opened the door wider, smiling, "Come on in. We've got ice cream."
"Nice." Terri grinned at the mention of ice cream. "Do you have Andorian orange, or tropical lemon? I love those." She said as she followed Meg inside. "Hi, Marion." She waved at the other girl with a smile.
Marion simply waved before turning back to the holographic display showing a remake of The Notebook. Meg led Terri over to the huge queen bed, plopping down on it. "I could replicate a bowl of that for you, but for now we've got mint fudge brownie and vanilla." She held up the two containers for Terri, then placed the vanilla down so that she could scoop herself a bowl of the mint fudge brownie.
Terri nodded. "Vanilla is good, too." As she began to scoop herself some ice cream, she said, "So, listen, guys, about earlier, uh . . ." All the sudden, "whatever happened happened" sounded a rather dumb explanation. "I was, I mean, uh . . ."
Meg rolled her eyes. "Alright, we get it. You're desperately in love with my big brother. Now out with the details!" Marion pretended she wasn't listening, but the others could definitely hear her quiet chuckle.
Terri hurriedly stuffed her mouth full of ice cream as if that would excuse her stuttering.
"Wuduno, wut ditaals . . . "
Meg and Marion, in perfect synchronization, looked over at her with the same exact expression of 'you've-got-to-be-kidding-me-right-now' on their nearly identical faces. Marion folded her hands in her lap, and in a very therapist-like manner, said, "You clearly like him, and he's clueless. Just tell us about what happened, and we will see how we can help you out. Kapeesh?"
Terri thought about her predicament as the ice cream melted in her mouth and made its way down her throat. There was really no point of playing dumb and dragging it out, was there? She desperately needed to salvage the mess she had just put herself in.
With a small sigh, she said, "Well, you . . . saw what happened." She scooped some more ice cream into her bowl. "I don't know. I just freaked out I guess when I saw you two standing there, so I, uh, slapped him. I dunno. I mean, it's not not-normal, is it?" She was a little sheepish with that question, and soon began to stuff more ice cream into her mouth.
"But why? Honey, it's not like you needed to hide anything from us. We already knew about your crush." Meg just shook her head and turned back to the holomovie, "Well if you need to talk about it, or just vent, we've got all night."
Terri nodded and then sighed. "Gustave must hate me now." Some more ice cream. "But he can be so stupid sometimes that I really want to slap him so hard."
Meg snorted, "Believe me, I know. I don't think he hates you, though. He doesn't anger all that easily, but he was probably pretty confused." She smiled reassuringly.
Meg's words reassured Terri somewhat, but the ordeal was far from over. "So . . ." She looked at Meg and then Marion. "so, what do I do now?"
Meg took in a deep breath. "Well now, that's one whopper of a question. If I were you, I'd apologize. Say you freaked out when you saw us, you don't know what came over you." She then shrugged and added, "It can't hurt, right?"
No, it wouldn't hurt, Terri supposed, except for her pride, of course. Apology was a rare word in her dictionary, and truth be told, she would rather let Gustave slap her back than apologize.
"I dunno." She hesitated, aimlessly stabbing her bowl of ice cream with her spoon. "Maybe I should just let him slap me back. You know, even-steven, and stuff."
Marion sighed and turned to Terri, placing a hand on her shoulder. "You know Gustave isn't like that. I know it's uncomfortable, and he's probably confused, but just say you're sorry and that you just had a little freak-out." Meg nodded in agreement.
Terri was quiet as she thought about what Marion had just said. It made perfect sense, of course. But for her to actually go through with it, that wouldn't be easy.
A quiet sigh later and still dragging her feet, she said, "There's probably some mind control thingy somewhere in the basement where I work. Maybe I should just use it to erase Gustave's memory, maybe even plant some new memories while I'm at it." At that last thought, a small and goofy smile popped onto one end of her lips.
Marion and Meg gave her identical looks of disapproval, staring with raised eyebrows and tight lips. They were not going to back down until she agreed to apologize to Gustave. Terri looked so tough, and they wondered how she wasn't tough enough to just say a simple 'sorry'.
Terri was tough like her mother and smart like her stepmother, but she had none of those interpersonal skills and finesse that her father had in abundance. She would be more than happy to either punch her way through problems or think her way through - punching was always prefered - but talking her way trough them or simply apologizing was a herculean task for her. It's not that she hadn't tried over the years. There was nothing she wanted more than to be more like her dad, but it was just not in her. It was just not her. And sometimes she wondered whether her dad would perhaps love her more if she had been more like him instead of constantly reminding him of her mom.
Looking up from her bowl of ice cream, she caught the identical looks of disapproval in the twins' eyes.
"What? Memory reconstruction isn't hard. It's a lot easier than . . ."
Looking back down at her bowl, she stuffed her mouth with more ice cream instead of finishing her sentence.
Meg rolled her eyes and sighed. "Terri. Hon. Just say sorry. Nothing fancy. Don't think about it too much and get nervous, just say, 'I am sorry for slapping you, Gustave' and then wait for him to accept your apology, which he will, then it's all over and forgotten."
Terri grumbled inaudibly as she crammed more ice cream into her mouth. Some moments passed before she licked her bowel clean. Putting it back down, she sighed heavily.
"OK, OK, I'll talk to him." She conceded, if only to stop the twins from making her feel any more guilty.
"Finally," Marion said with a sigh of relief. "Now can we all be quiet? Bryan Rosling is about to make his entrance!" She said, pointing to the screen. Meg and Marion exchanged a momentary glance and smile, using their twin connection to congratulate each other on a job well done.
Terri was a little lost. "Uh, Bryan who?"
The twins looked at Terri, mouths agape. Marion said, "Uh, Bryan Rosling. Plays Noah Calhoun," she gestured broadly to the holomovie, "The Notebook." Then Meg made shushing noises at both of them, "Shhhhh . . . It's getting to a good part."
[To be continued in Part 4 . . . . . .]
Lieutenant Terri C. Lee
Researcher, Starfleet R&D
(NPC - Oliver)
Lieutenant JG Meg Dolarian
Engineer, USS Discovery
(NPC - Theo)
Lieutenant Marion Dolarian
Doctor, USS Challenger
(NPC - Theo)