Kamea stood in the middle of the room that had been designated as hers, but she knew it never would be. Hoshi explained that it had belonged to one of the crewmen who worked in engineering and had died during the Xindi attack, and for some reason none of the new recruits had wanted it, so it remained empty.
After Hoshi had left, Kamea set about making the room a little more livable and less like a tomb. She knew that the captain would allow her to remain on board, at least temporarily, since her visit to the launch bay had revealed that her ship was in a thousand pieces. She got the sense that Archer did not care for Vulcans much, which was probably some deep-seated resentment not biased to the fact that she had been raised as a human. His dislike hadn't been palpable during her interrogation, but she concluded as much, given that he'd ordered her ship to be dismantled and her belongings to be examined while she was still unconscious in sickbay.
The first thing she set up was her surfboard, recovered from one of the panels of the hull, which she had lugged from planet to planet in hopes of finding a halfway decent beach. Gallus Prime had provided, but she'd had to leave it after only eight months, and she hadn't found another one since. She displayed several wall hangings that had once belonged to her father and hung her mother's rosary above the bed. The lei Commander Tucker had been wearing she draped over the desk chair. She laid her father's blanket at the foot of the bed. She stacked her collection of books on the shelf above the bed, determined to organize them later; right now, she just wanted to be unpacked. She'd been living out of her chests for four months.
She was in the process of unpacking her clothes when the doorbell chimed. She sighed; she'd been so preoccupied with the task at hand that she hadn't even heard anyone approach. Perhaps her senses were wearing a bit thin. "Come in," she said.
It was the captain. He remained in the doorway. "Am I bothering you?"
Kamea shook her head. "No. Please, come in."
He glanced around the room and was instantly drawn to one of the wall hangings. "T'Pol has one that looks exactly like this."
"That's the symbol of our family," Kamea said. She finished putting away the rest of her clothes and turned to face the captain. "I found it among my father's possessions. He never displayed it, but the fact that he kept it… Well, it showed that he wasn't as angry as he led me to believe."
Archer put his hands in his pockets and continued to gaze at the wall hanging. "How long have your parents been dead?"
"Almost eight years. I left Earth after they died; I haven't been back since."
He turned at that. "You haven't been to Earth in eight years?"
She shrugged halfheartedly. "There wasn't anything there for me. My mother was the last remaining member of her family, and it's not like I had anything keeping me there." She looked out her window at the stars streaking by. "I miss it, though. What I wouldn't give for just one day back at the cove."
Archer stared at her for a long moment, then noticed the surfboard. "You surf?" he asked, walking over to it.
She bit back a sarcastic response and simply nodded. "I used to. Sadly, there isn't much surfing to be done in space."
He smiled. "I surf a little. Not as well as I'd like."
She eyed him curiously. "Was there something you wanted, Captain?"
He didn't look at her when he spoke. "I've talked it over with my senior officers, and they're all for giving you a chance."
She raised an eyebrow. "A chance?"
"You're from Earth, Kamea. And you're American. You're already up there in my book. We don't much run into people from home in this line of business, you know, being the first and everything. And I think you could benefit from some time back among humans. I'm sure it's been awhile since you've been with any." He turned to face her. "So I've decided to give you a chance."
The second eyebrow joined the first. The explanation he'dgiven her made absolutely no sense, as if he had just made it up as he was speaking."And everyone agrees with this decision?"
"Well, no, the decision wasn't unanimous," he said, averting his eyes, and she knew it had been T'Pol who protested. "But most of the senior officers agree that having you aboard could be very beneficial to us."
Kamea allowed herself a small smile. "I'm sure I'll prove useful, Captain."
There was an awkward moment of silence as Archer fumbled with his sleeves. "Phlox says you should get plenty of rest. You're still weak from hunger. Take a couple of days, get used to the ship, and we'll see if we can find a place to put you."
"Mahalo. Thank you. Good night, Captain."
"Good night." He walked over to the door and opened it. He took a step and then suddenly turned. "Welcome to Enterprise, Kamea."
And then he was gone.
Kamea sank onto the bed and looked around the room. Then she smiled – a smile that would have shocked everyone, seeing it on someone who so resembled a Vulcan. It was a smile that had not graced Kamea's face in nearly eight years, a smile that went all the way to her eyes. It was hard to dwell on past events when, for the first time in a long time, she felt safe.
A/N: And so ends the first installment of the Kamea Chronicles, to be continued in "Adjusting", which will be up as soon as I get off my butt and upload it.
Thanks for the continued reviews! I very much appreciate it.
Anyone confused about the surfboard detail - there is a hidden compartment in one of the wall panels of her pod, which iswhere she keeps it, because remember, she lives on an escape pod, and it isn't very big.