city canyon

some thoughts about jaylah the magnificent

- Within her first week at Starfleet Academy, Jaylah hacked into the environmental controls and security systems of her dorm– because she was bored and twitchy, because she didn’t know what to do with a home she had not taken apart and re-wired herself. 


- She broke into the cafeteria after hours and told herself it was just to see if she could. She skipped class to go wander the streets and build a map of the city, of these concrete canyons and glass-and-steel cliff walls, of which way she would run if she needed to. She played her music too loud. Kirk wrote her from deep space, further and further away as the months and maydays of their mission moved on, to ask if she was trying to beat him in demerits earned in an Academy tenure. She took that to mean he approved.


- Jaylah had had a big brother, once. Elah had taught her about engines, about how to wrestle, and a lot of really terrible jokes, once. But Scotty walked her through the Enterprise’s engines, when she was rebuilt and shining. They got grease and fluids all over their overalls. Kirk and Spock sparred with her while they waited for the Enterprise’s next mission to come through– Academy martial arts and Vulcan holds and corn-fed Iowa brawling tricks. Uhura provided the bawdy humor, parsed out smugly at the edges of social gatherings. 


- They had set the ruins of the Franklin up as a museum, tucked into the floating bubble of Yorktown. Schoolchildren would take field trips to wander the halls of her house. They invited her to the opening ceremony, cut the ribbon while she and the Enterprise crew were still wandering, limping, through those clean curving streets, but she did not attend. 


- Instead Scotty showed up at her doorstep with a bottle of Scotch stolen from Chekhov. They played her music so loud it shook the walls and earned them a dozen pissed off texts from Bones and a single sternly disapproving note from Spock. They ignored them all and toasted the Franklin, a good lady, a fine home. 


- When Jaylah boarded a transport ship for Earth, for California and San Francisco and the Academy that lived in the shadow of that golden bridge, the whole surviving crew of the Enterprise came out to the loading dock to wave her good-bye. It had been so many years since she had known any faces so well, living, other than her enemies’. She pressed up against the window and watched them– peach and blue and brown and black and green– disappear. 


- No matter how hard she fought and hoped, she had thought she would never get off that planet. The moment she saw her father go down, she had thought she would never be able to survive that stab in his gut, that light that went out of his eyes. She had been small, willow limbs and shaking hands, and she had thought she would never see another sky again. 


- She got up early on cold mornings and walked through the swirling San Francisco fog. She greeted the sun as it climbed up over the Bay and burned the sky back to blue. 


- The crew pooled their credits and bought her a motorcycle for her next birthday, to replace the one they’d left on the planet. Jaylah had left a lot of things in that boneyard. She drove the steep streets on her humming bike and felt like perhaps she had not left everything. 


- When Jaylah took the Kobyashi Maru her final year, she watched her classmates complain and rant afterward about unfairness, about no win scenarios. She did not speak up, just took her results and left. The lesson was one she had already learned, already buried in herself. Sometimes you cannot win, no matter how good you are, no matter how brave, no matter how much you love your daughter and want to live and live and live for her. Sometimes all you can do is die the best way you know how. 


- (When the ruckus had finally died down on Yorktown Base, after the smoke had settled, after the crowds had parted, Jaylah had seen Demora Sulu run to her father’s arms. She had seen Hikaru kneel in the rubble and lift his daughter into his lap and hold her safe in his arms. She had thought, I would have died for this. I am alive, and I am glad, but I would have died for this, I would have, I would have died for this)


- (Her little sister Jessy had been about Dem’s age, the last time Jaylah had seen her alive). 


- She didn’t declare an emphasis in her Academy studies for two years. Scotty thought she should go into engineering, because as a traumatized, escaped child she had reverse-engineered repairs on the Franklin that could only be matched by his own genius. Kirk thought she would make an excellent command officer. Uhura, impressed by how she had taught herself Federation Standard from the Franklin’s logs, made sure the communications department paid friendly attention to her. 


- Instead, Jaylah took the introductory classes for every field of study in the Academy, ignoring the disapproving cries of her guidance counselors. In combat she was years ahead of her peers. She found languages easy, but their technical underpinnings were unengaging and confusing. In engineering she was gifted, but decades behind the state of technology. Scotty had happily dragged her through the Enterprise’s rebuilt engines, but her heart and her blackened fingers would always belong to engines lifetimes older.


- The Enterprise crew were on their second five year mission when Jaylah graduated from Starfleet Academy. They gathered in the main mess hall, all the crew that had survived the Enterprise’s first death, and the new crew members who had heard stories of this adopted daughter of the ship for years. They live-streamed the ceremony. Scotty wore a ‘PROUD BIG BROTHER OF A STARFLEET GRADUATE’ shirt Sulu had hand-lettered for him. Bones opened a bottle of good ol’ Earthside bourbon and pretended not to tear up when her name was called. 


- She wore medical blue.  


- After years of Academy schooling and medical training, Jaylah stepped onto a Starfleet ship, her badge pinned to her chest. The corridors curved into the distance. The lights hummed and lit up as the ship floor murmured under her feet. It felt like coming home. 


- But there were no rocky hills out her shipboard window, no dull sky, no shimmering shield to hide her from her enemies. There was just space– black, cold, endless; brilliant, star-studded; full of discovery and danger and things worth dying for. She was ready to boldly go. She was ready to bravely go. She had thought she would never see another sky and here she was, older than her oldest brother had ever gotten to be, with hands that could defend lives and save them and heal them. The universe was spreading out before her, endless stars lighting the skies of endless planets. She was ready. 

Music Series: Olivia by Canyon City

Thank you for the request, Anon! I hope you like it! You can listen to “Olivia” by Canyon City, on Spotify, HERE.

xo

Shelli

*******************

“Hey, did you hear she’s back?” Harry’s mate told him as they left to get in the car. Harry looked at him in surprise, knowing exactly who he was talking about.

“How do you know?” Harry asked, a bit nervous in his asking.

“I saw her…talked to her,” the friend answered. “She looks good, man.”

Hello, old friend. Are you in love with love again?

Whispered to my reflection. Have you forgot just how it ends?

Good bye, good dream. It sure was nice to fall asleep thinking of you

But now daybreak screams so loud. I understand you have to leave

“Yeah, I, uh…our social media accounts are still connected,” Harry nodded. “She’s always looked good.”

“Still miss her, don’t you, H?” his friend asked gently, knowing you were a touchy subject with Harry.

The two of you had dated for two years. You did everything together. But when both of your lives became busy, your relationship slowly fell apart, and you mutually decided to split up. It wasn’t a nasty, messy breakup. You both loved each other, both as friends and as lovers, it was just a lot of work on both your parts to make it work. Time and work that neither of you seemed to have at that point in your lives, with Harry’s solo career taking off nicely, and your career moving in a different direction. It just seemed better for both of you, to just be friends.

“Yeah,” Harry finally answered. “I still miss her.”

But there’s one thing or two

I’ve been thinking through

And need to slide off my mind

So if you find a little time

I wrote a note that goes something like

Harry’s heart nearly jumped into his throat when he saw you. At first he wasn’t sure it was you, standing outside of a small vacant building in a neighborhood he sometimes shopped in. Your hair was longer, maybe even a slightly different shade, but as soon as you turned and he saw your smile, there was no further doubt in his mind. It was definitely you.

Harry pulled his car into a parking space and watched as you stood outside the empty business, talking to someone in a suit. Harry noticed how good you looked. Your body was still the same, perfect in his eyes, and he could never forget one inch of it. He watched as you shook the man’s hand, he placing a “for sale” sign in the front window, and both of you walking inside of the building, then a few moments later, the man left as you smiled at him and walked back inside.

After sitting in his car for what seemed a lifetime, Harry finally mustered enough confidence to leave the safety of his car and walk to the little shop, peeking into the glass front and seeing you standing with your back to the front windows, writing on a paper attached to a clipboard. After another moment, Harry tapped on the glass.

I don’t blame you for the winter

Or the way I feel when I’m alone

And I won’t hold your smile against you

Or write your name into a song

Olivia

Honestly we could be happy

If we first taught our hearts to stand

But just so long as I need to need you

We’re two left feet going dancing

You turned and looked toward the tapping and was shocked for a moment to see your ex, standing peeking and waving in through the glass window. You smiled sweetly and walked to unlock the door.

“Harry?” you said, unbelieving that he was standing in front of you. “What are you doing here?”

“I…saw you out front, a moment ago,” he stammered over his words. “I thought I’d come…say hi.”

You looked at him, still surprised, then smiled and leaned to him, kissing his cheek and wrapping an arm around his neck.

“I’m glad you did,” you said sweetly. “Come in. It’s been a long time.”

Good news, new day

The sun has chased the dark away

I do have one favor to ask

When everybody’s gone could you just stay

A few minutes past

News spread quickly among your friends that you bought a building and would soon be opening a new business. You were excited to finally use your college degree and business experience to do what you were trained to do, and you were looking forward to building your business from the ground up. You had worked hard to get to where you were, and you intended to find success in it.

The day Harry saw you and stopped in to talk with you, it was a bit awkward, but after talking for awhile, the two of you loosened up and were able to chat comfortably, even with your history. The two of you had practically lived together, spending all your time together. But it had been a little over a year since you both decided to end it to move forward in both of your professional lives, and you had fallen out of touch.

You explained to Harry that you moved back to start your business, and was happy to find such a great little building, that would allow you to live in the upstairs loft until you found something more suitable. He was proud of you, that you were doing so well, but mostly that you were back and maybe the two of you would have the opportunity to spend time together again. He thought of you often over the past year, as much as you had thought about him, but you both knew that at the time, it was for the best, and there were no hard feelings.

As Harry was about to leave to run some errands, he was happy to see a text from you.

Painting party, free pizza and drinks, this Saturday. Could use all my friends help if you’re free! I have all supplies needed, just need all of you! xo

Harry saw the text was to him and about a dozen other people who were friends of yours and his. Harry thought it sounded fun and texted you back.

Wouldn’t miss it for the world! Count me in! xo

You smiled as you read the reply back from Harry. It meant a lot to you that he, especially, had agreed to come. Truth be told, you missed him a lot. Probably still loved him. You knew you did. But you also knew that the breakup had been for the best. Your only regret was that the two of you had gone over a year with no contact, but even that, you knew, was probably for the best. You supposed you could live with just being his friend, even if deep inside you missed having more with him. But a year had passed, and you knew he had no doubt moved on, and you had accepted that.

Just so long as I need to need you

With every twirl we’ll fall

So if we can’t move on from this

Well

I won’t blame you for the winter

Or the way I feel when I’m alone

But I might hold your smile against you

And fake your name in a song

Olivia

Greeting each one as they walked into your new little building, you felt so loved that you had such good friends who were willing to give up their Saturday to help you. As you looked around at them, standing around talking and laughing with one another, you realized how much you had missed being a part of that group of people. Smiling, you clinked the metal of your ring against your glass to quieten everyone and get their attention.

“Hey, everyone! I’m so glad you all came today to help me usher in my new business!” Everyone cheered and applauded, happy for you in your new venture. “With all of us working, I think we can bust this out quickly. If you have any questions, just ask. Pizza will be arriving in a few hours, and I have a huge cooler on the counter filled with a variety of drinks, so please help yourself. By the time we finish, we may all be slobbering drunks, but at least the walls should look interesting!” Everyone laughed and agreed as you finished your little speech. “Thank you all so much. You don’t know what this means to me. I’ve missed all of you so much the past year I’ve been away, and I can’t wait to spend time with you and catch up. I love you all! Now, let’s get painting!”

Harry thought as you spoke those last words of your speech, that you may have been speaking more to him than anyone, but the way you were looking at him. Maybe wishful thinking, but he could hope.

For hours, you and your friends all painted, talked, drank, had pizza, and enjoyed the company of friends. Scads of photos were taken, some plastered on social media, and you were happy for the memories.

As you stood back, looking at the area you’d been painting, you felt someone step up behind you.

“It looks great, love,” Harry said next to you, kissing your cheek. “What a great idea this was! So much fun seeing everyone and getting your building ready.”

“I appreciate you coming, Harry,” you said, smiling. “I know you’re a busy guy. It means a lot to me that you’re here.”

Harry hugged you sweetly and smiled.

“It’s so good to have you here again,” Harry replied. “I hope we can spend time together. I’ve…” Harry hesitated, looking around and seeing the two of you were alone. “I’ve missed you, love. Very much.”

“I’ve missed you, too,” you smiled.

The two of you hugged again, then happily returned to your work. By the end of the evening, you were hugging all of your friends, thanking them for everything, and looking around at the finished walls and paint supplies lying around. As you crossed your arms, looking at what had been accomplished, you heard someone walk in from the back.

“Oh! Harry, I didn’t realize you were still here!” you laughed.

“Yeah,” he smiled. “Was just washing out some of the brushes in the back.”

“Thank you, I appreciate that,” you nodded.

“Let me stay and help clean up,” Harry offered.

“That’s okay, I don’t mind,” you grinned. “You did a lot of work today. Go home and rest.”

“No, I’ll stay and help. Not sleepy anyway,” he said as he shook his head. “Where are you staying tonight? Can’t sleep in the loft with the paint fumes.”

You smiled a huge smile and raised your eyebrows.

“Wanna see?” you giggled as he chuckled at you, following you to a back stairwell, right behind you as you lead him to a door, the two of you walking out onto the roof. Harry saw where you had set up a bit of a makeshift camping site on the roof of your building.

“Are you serious?” he laughed. “You’re going to sleep up here tonight? Sweetheart, it’s the roof of a building!”

“Yes?” you asked, not understanding why that was so strange but giggling. “It’s a beautiful night. Look at all the stars out! The front of the building will be locked up, and I’ve opened windows to allow the fumes to vent outside, and there is a bathroom just inside. I have pillows and a big sleeping bag, the cooler with drinks and ice and water, and I even have music. I’m set!”

Harry laughed and shook his head.

“You’re crazy!” he joked.

“Been said before,” you nodded. “I’ll be fine. Worse that could happen, I suppose, is…rain…or…fire in the building, but there is a fire escape off the back of the roof, and I have a phone if I need the police. It’s all good.”

Harry grinned at you, then sat down on the sleeping bag.

“What are you doing?” you asked him.

“Am I not invited?” he chuckled. “Would be awfully lonely on this roof without company, wouldn’t it?”

You smiled. “It would, yeah. Thanks.”

“Want to make sure you’re safe, love,” Harry said, sincerely. “Besides, It’ll be fun.”

“How about,” you smiled, “if we go inside, clean up the mess, you can have the shower first, there’s still pizza if you’re hungry, and we’ll get this campout started?”

You offered your hand to Harry to help him up, and he stood in front of you and moved closer.

“I’m happy you’re back, babe,” Harry told you, kissing your cheek sweetly, lingering for a moment, still holding your hand.

You leaned to him again and softly kissed his lips, feeling his other hand find the back of your head, holding your lips against his for a moment longer. You finally stood looking at each other and smiled, as Harry spoke softly.

“Missed you more than you know.”

Cus honestly we could be happy

If first we taught these hearts to stand

But just so long as I need to need you

We’re two left feet going dancing

Just so long as, I need to need you

We’re two left feet going dancing