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What you take with you

Posted on Tue Dec 6th, 2016 @ 12:42pm by Lieutenant JG Bertram 'Bert' Engels Jr.

Mission: Anarchy in Alcatraz
Location: Memphis Island

There was a time for Bert Engels, Jr. that the epitome of living had been New York City. The art, the culture, the mixing pot of ethics and cultures and priorities and drama that blended old and new in constant, continuous harmony touched a place within him that was so much greater than the little neighborhood that he'd grown up in. It was vibrantly alive at all hours: a city with a personality and soul even if every single person up and left one day. The relics left behind alone could convince future archaeologists that it was an empire all onto its self. For many years, Bert had convinced himself that he'd never belong anywhere else. But then came Rhode Island and all of the peace and beauty wrapped up in the coast, the woods, the green pastures and lighthouses..

Over time, he'd learned to fall in love with some peace of everywhere his feet had taken him, whether it was the personal nature of the culture on Bajor, the tiny shrine to the fallen on Starbase 70 with incense that smelled of cinnamon and dark earth, or morning coffee in San Francisco watching seals playing in the sun-dappled waters. Some piece of every place stayed within him, adding to the mosaic of 'who is Bert Engels' that he saw in his thoughts when asked that question. The newest piece drawn from his first day on Memphis Island had to be the smell. Warm ocean breezes pulled in the smell of salt and hot tropical flowers that grew in riots all along trellises surrounding the small patio adjacent to the landing shuttle landing pads. The view of the lagoons and pristine spires of buttes and sweeping escarpments all covered in vibrant green was breathtaking, but the smell.. that promised paradise in a way that he’d never encountered. Fresh, new, clean and exotic. Living, but without excess and distraction. Pure. Wild.

Decidedly unStarfleet, he’d decided the moment his elbows hit the railing in order to lean for a moment and just feast on the view. For as much beautification went into their structures where long term habitation was the end goal, there was always that super sanitary mix of metal and plastic that greeted you for every piece of green purposefully placed. This was more like the structures built and the people placed moved in quietly in the night and built up around the natural beauty, mindful of their place instead of conquering the wild. The effect was beautiful and moving, at least for someone used to seeking out those subtle signs such as Bert was. Form, function and purpose all blended beautifully.

“What a sight, huh?” A young woman in cadet grays to his right more breathed than said as she stared out at the water, just as enamored as he was. “It’s hard to believe that there’s still places like this out there sometimes.”

Her accent was the unmistakable mix that was typically associated with spacer/station standard: a kid that’d grown up without region, but exposed to all. Pale skin that probably rarely saw true sunlight.. Boy, she’d be in for quite the surprise if nobody warned her about sunscreen. “Without having to be rebuilt and recovered, yes. People and nature don’t tend to mix in ways that nature benefits from. I take it you just came in off the shuttles, too?”

“Yeah, do I look it? All starry-eyed and excited. I-“ turning to finally look at Bert, the woman’s expression crumpled just a little when she noted his uniform. “Sorry If I’m speaking to you wrong, sir. I was just to caught up for-“ The word apparently escaped he since she just shrugged her shoulders helplessly.

For a moment Bert didn’t understand either until he realized that she was looking at his uniform, not so much him. “Oh, no. No no no. I haven’t worn this long enough for any sort of deference, and even if I did, this is a symbol, not a me. I’m Bert, miss, and I’m simply enjoying the view just the same as you are.”

“Hailey,” she responded, sticking out a hand to shake. “Are you one of the instructors?”

“Oh, no. I’d be a terrible instructor. I’m a tad too pedantic to be allowed near a lectern, sadly. If I look the part of scholarly, though, I’ll take that as a compliment.” A hopeful smile lit up the man’s face, only to dampen a bit when she laughed.

“Not with that hair, no.” Hailey answered apologetically.

“The cowlicks, yes. I’ve a bakers dozen of them and they’re impossible to keep too short, too wild to grow too long. I like to think that the scruff adds to my charm,” he quickly countered with a good-natured grin. “Good luck with your studies, Hailey. I think you lucked out getting to train here. I still need to check in. Maybe explore a bit after that. See some sights if my ship isn’t in yet.”

“Good luck to you, too!” She gave a little wave before Bert turned away and headed back inside. The familiar bay smells of coolants, fumes and metals chased away the lingering paradise that wafted in on his heels.

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LTJG Bertram 'Bert' Engels, Jr
Assistant Chief Diplomatic Officer
USS Gladiator

 

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