Sun Ritual Research
Episode 2: Inevitable
Location: Diplomatic Suite, USS Defiant
Veronica had been in the Diplomatic Suite for the better part of the day, drafting her next message to the Ambassador from the Growilth. The people were fascinating to study, but it was proving a bit more tedious to understand all of their diplomatic customs. She'd been about to get up and go for a walk around the deck when she noticed a man in blue enter. Ensign Edwards usually stuck to his archeology labs, so it was a pleasant surprise to see him up and about. The curious part of her brain couldn't help but wonder if he was working on an anthropological study of some sort. That would explain why he'd need access to their archives.
She gave a wave as he entered. "Ethan, good to see you. Working on anything interesting?"
Ethan smiled. "Veronica, always a pleasure to see you again. I'm researching stories about how ancient races worshipped their suns...what rituals they had."
"Sun worship. Always a popular topic. You'll want to check over here, under mythology and religion," Veronica replied, point toward one of the particular work stations as she walked that way. "There's not exactly a shortage of sun rituals though. Any specific types of rituals? Or regions where we should be looking?"
Ethan walked alongside her. "The rituals varied with the culture. For instance, if there was an eclipse, the villagers would go to the local priest or medicine man, and ask his guidance. A majority of the cultures would pick a sacrifice of some sort, either an animal or in some cases, a human sacrifice, usually a woman, probably a virgin, to appease the gods. Some cultures considered an eclipse as a harbinger of good fortune...they would have a good harvest. A majority of cultures studied would have festivals to welcome the solstice." He stopped speaking. "I'm sorry, am I rambling?"
Veronica smiled in reply. "Rambling? No. But not quite narrowing the field of search. We have records on dozens of each of those kinds of rituals. Depending on what you're trying to compare these against, we might want to make the search a bit more specific."
"I'm not sure what I am looking for." He stepped up to the console and asked the computer to display all categories available.
Ethan moved to grab a padd, and he brushed against her hand.
Veronica’s hand pulled away from his reflexively. She seemed to assess the situation for a moment then set the padd down on the console rather than hand it to him. She took a few steps back toward her desk. “The console should be able to walk you through the search. I hope you find your legends.”
"Are you alright?" Touching her hand was an accident....he knew that she was afraid to get involved with him or any other man, so he always tired to keep their "relationship" as friendly. "Did I do something wrong?"
"I just..." She controlled her more immediate reaction. "You touched my hand. It felt pretty intentional. You know that I'm in a sensitive place right now emotionally. Please don't push those boundaries. I'm happy to be friends but...but I need that space, ok?"
Ethan was surprised by her comment. "That was a total accident. I know your rules and I said that I would conform to them. I want to be your friend, but, truthfully, I think I would like to move beyond friendship...but I'm not going to push you into something you are not ready for. So take all the time and space you need....I don't want to lose you as a friend."
Veronica let out a sigh as she tried to figure out a way to respond. He'd just confirmed her suspicions. "Ethan, I think you're a nice guy. But I don't want to have to think about moving beyond friendship. With you or anyone right now. My last..." She swallowed, doing her best to keep the emotions under control. "I lost someone I cared a lot about, having to watch him sacrifice himself to send me to safety. I am not interested in thinking about a relationship right now, and I don't want someone hovering around waiting for me to be ready. That's not because I'll feel bad for them. It's because that will put a lot of pressure on me and I'm already going through enough. If we're going to be friends, I need you to move on."
Ethan stood silently. He was....disappointed, of course, but he made an attempt and it was rebuffed. Only option left open was..."Then move on I shall. I will no longer try to..." he tried to think of the proper word.."pressure you into a relationship. I will only think of you as a friend and colleague. I hope not to lose your friendship."
Veronica gave a small smile. "Thank you. I appreciate that. And your friendship." She gestured back toward the console he was next to. "If we're alright, then I could help you look for those rituals."
"I would like that." Ethan responded.