Author Topic: Halley's Complaint  (Read 12160 times)

Offline sero

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Halley's Complaint
« on: October 13, 2009, 09:37:16 am »
|Department Head Meeting
|0800, Mission Day 1

1) Arrivals

Captain Gregory Blake strode into the briefing room just a few minutes before Alpha Shift was due to start.  This made him early for the department head briefing, but only just as people had already started to file in behind him.  He stood behind his chair at the head of the table and waited for everyone.  It was the first time he'd seen some of them in a month as he'd only returned to Kepler yesterday afternoon.

Lt. O'Brien walked into the briefing room, still scrolling through her PADD to catch up with new arrivals on Kepler.  "Hey, Captain," she said absently.  "Welcome back."

Justin walked in and nodded to Blake. "Captain." He sat next to Liesel and leaned his head back, closing his eyes.

Mike slipped nervously into the room. He nodded at the people who had already arrived, muttered something that might be a greeting, and took a seat. He had a hundred other things that needed doing and really didn't want to be anywhere but asleep in bed avoiding them all.

It was a wonderful scene of people that greeted Rae as she entered the room.  Except for the captain, she quickly ascertained that no one felt their presence was actually needed in the meeting.  However, being a new arrival to the station, it wasn't her place to comment on the poor posture or the despondent looks - yet.  She took her seat near the head of the table without comment.

Cat was next into the room and she studiously avoided looking at Greg or anyone else, taking her seat at the far side of the table. In her pocket was her resignation, all written out and ready to hand over. The sooner the better as far as she was concerned, for all parties involved.

Alex followed behind Cat and took his seat. He continued reading a couple of padds he had until the meeting started.

David was last in, which while unusual, was how he preferred things at the moment. He glanced once at the Captain and nodded his head in silence then took his seat. The temptation to glance Cat's way was only tempered by the knowledge he was here at least partly under duress.

If Cat stiffened slightly as David walked into the room she was quick to hide it. Her training took over and her body relaxed, a soft and professional smile curving her lips. She looked and acted relaxed and anyone with a shred of intell training would pick up she was anything but.

2) Introductions

Gregory remained standing while he addressed his department heads.  It wouldn't hurt them to look up at him.  "I want to quickly acknowledge the two missions that happened while I was on leave.  They might not have been what Starfleet would classify a success but they did provide us with valuable information that various departments can disseminate.  Thank you to Doctor O'Brien and Captain Shard for ensuring marines and sciences worked well together and to those who interacted with the Havians."

"We have two new people today.  Ensign Makani Freitas, Acting Chief Science Officer," Gregory continued and nodded to the blonde man before looking to Isis, "and Lieutenant Isis Rae, Acting Executive Officer.  If you two could introduce yourselves?"

Rae flashed a glance at Blake, less than grateful for the opportunity.  "Isis Rae," she announced.

Mike tried to perk up. "I've already met several of you, but for the rest, Mike Freitas. Specialties in Xeno- and Marine-Biology. Looks like I'll be herding cats in the the Science department for a while. let me know if there's anything we can help you with."

Liesel grinned at Mike and mouthed 'you'll be sorry!'

Lieutenant Roberts noted that the new chief sciences looked far more jovial and friendly than the old one. He nodded his head in greeting to the two relative newcomers and waited for Greg to take over again.

3) Resignations

"When I came back yesterday," said Gregory as he moved the meeting along to the next item on the agenda, "I found a lot of resignations and transfer requests that had been filed over the past month.  It has Starfleet Command worried.  So worried that they're leaning on me to do something about it.  So with Starfleet's encouragement, I'm putting a temporary freeze on all resignations and transfers off Kepler for the next few months.  Unless there's an emergency or a medical reason, we're stuck with each other," he informed them grimly.

"What about those which are already in process?" O'Brien asked, knowing that Justin would be reaching a boil in about 3 seconds if they didn't get that cleared up right away.

Gregory glanced at Shard before he answered O'Brien, "I've pushed yours through and it's already approved."  To which he now owed someone a favour.  It always surprised at how corrupt the Admiralty was, he just hoped it was only the little things they succumbed to.  "You can leave tonight if you want."

Mike's head whipped up. He looked at Liesel and mouthed 'What?' She was one of the few people he'd gotten to know well on Acheron that he could still talk to. He couldn't believe he'd just heard she was planning to leave.

Liesel winked at Mike.  "Thank you, Captain.  If it isn't inconvenient, we'd like to spend a couple more weeks on the station, at least.  There isn't a ship scheduled to dock with Kepler that's going where we need to go.  If you need my . . . our . . . quarters, we can move into transient OQ."  She reached for Justin's hand.  "We thought we would get married here, where we have made some friends.

"But you're saying there will be no resignations accepted by Starfleet in the foreseeable future?" she asked.  "Isn't that a little . . . draconian?"

"Apparently rats are jumping from Kepler like it's sinking," Gregory explained, "Command wants me to find the leak and plug it.  We shouldn't be losing crew after only being operational for over a month."  He agreed with blocking transfers off but denying resignations was taking it too far.  Still you had to pick and choose your battles and this wasn't one of them.  He was still under probation and needed to prove he could be an adequate officer again and in just under two years he'd be a rat jumping as well.

Of course, David reflected, some of the rats were being blackmailed to stay, but things could be worse.

Cat's lips pursed slightly. She'd been outmaneuvered on the resignation had she? There were other ways to skin a cat though, she just had to find them. She cleared her throat slightly to get attention, "It might just be me but doesn't a block on resignations violate several sentient rights as granted under the federation charter?" She shrugged as Greg glared at her. "Just saying is all."

"We're in the Delta Quadrant.  Things take longer," Gregory told her.

4) Comet

Gregory decided it safe to sit down now.  He'd only been on his feet in case the reaction to Starfleet's decision on transfers and resignations hadn't been met well.

"Ensign," Gregory said after glancing at a padd to find out what was next on the agenda.  "You have a comet?"

"Uh, yes sir," Mike grabbed his PADD. He called up some slides on the main viewer. There was a small dot on a starfield. The picture expanded and a trail and projected course overlaid the dot while Kepler station appeared on the left of the screen. "This is DCP-163, and that's the best picture we have of it so far. We've taken to calling Halley II. It's a cometary body, but it doesn't seem to be orbiting any particular star, rather it's orbiting a stellar cluster centered 16 light years from here. Obviously it's orbital path is extremely large. This circuit is going to be bringing it quite close to the station, even in galactic terms. Stellar cartography and astrophysics are very exited. They've proposed a number of tests and observations that will need some of the stations sensors repurposed."

"Will it be visible here on the station by naked eye, Mike?" Liesel asked.  "Are you talking about a high display cometary tail?"

"It will be visible from the station with a little help," Mike admitted, "but there won't be much of a tail if any. Tails are produced primarily by outgassing. That's why comets have their tails in planetary systems; as they approach the star, they warm up and gasses start coming out. We're pretty far out in this system, and the comet is tangentially skimming past the far edge of the system. I doubt there will be much of a tail, it'll still give us all sorts of information about the space between stars, though." He grinned at her. "Sorry about going all professorial on everyone."

"I did ask," O'Brien responded.  "So no spectacular light show.  There go the tourist dollars," she quipped.

Gregory cut into the conversation to keep things running to time.  "Repurpose the sensors," he said giving permission and glancing at Winters at the same time.  "If you need a closer look you'll need to talk to the marines.  Harbinger is en route to SB900 and Tribulation is on a shakedown mission.

Alex made a note on the padd he had in front of him, and gave Greg an agreeing nod. It wouldn't be an issue.

5) Departmental Updates

"Departmental updates," Gregory said.  "Anything we should know?"

"Science is getting a new archeologist, an Ensign named," he checked his PADD, "Aaron Ingles. I guess most of you have heard one of our archeologists died on Acheron. Dr. Marissa Despard died in a fall in the abandon city she named Cyrus." The memory sobered him. It brought up too many memories of his own. He resolved to talk to Jon'a soon, and steeled himself against the impulse to see Dessan. Especially since Marissa's death he'd wanted to talk to the man, but he didn't trust himself not to break down and do something stupid.

"As long as our resignations are already accepted, I'll be turning Sickbay over to the new surgeon, Michael Harris.  He's already been in, getting to know people.  I'm sure he'll keep everyone healthy," Dr. O'Brien said, also thinking about events on Acheron.  That was a mission which hadn't turned out quite as expected . . . for anyone.

"Nothing new in Engineering or Operations. The station is running much better than it was over a month ago. There are still minor repairs going on but nothing major." Alex said. He hoped this meeting would be over soon.

"Intell is exactly the same as it was prior to these incidents, seeing as I'm still the only staffmember." Cat crossed her arms over her chest. "As always I'm keeping my eyes and ears open and monitoring the airwaves."

"Security is a shambles at the moment," Lieutenant Roberts pointed out, "The Havian incident cost me people who quite frankly never should have been on that ship. The good news is that, under the guise of resigning,  I was able to take control of Tribulation without arousing suspicion of either the Havians of any station staff. Had I not, there would have been more deaths, I can almost guarantee it. Perhaps that will give solace to the families of the men and women I lost, but I doubt it."

It seemed obvious to Gregory that the younger man was bent on destroying his life and career.  What wasn't obvious was why Gregory kept offering second chances.  "We'll talk about that later," Gregory said and closed that topic for now.

"I've put in all the paperwork to put Lieutenant Ivanova in charge of the Marines after I leave. I'll make certain that the transition is smooth for her. The Marines will be ready to support Security in any way needed." Justin said and nodded to David.

6) Misc.

Gregory looked around the table once more.  He knew everyone wanted to get out of here and back to their duties and meetings weren't a favourite of his either.  Yet it seemed to be all he was doing for the rest of the day, broken up only by signing things.  "Anything else?" he asked and waited a few seconds in case there was.

"You already know what I think, so I won't bore you with a repeat," David smiled. It was difficult to get rid of the seething feeling beneath his skin, but that was life. "Security stands ready."

Gregory nodded at the man and seeing that no one else had anything to chip in, he thanked dismissed them all.


Evil dept head JP brought to you by:

Captain Gregory Blake | Commanding Officer
Lieutenant Isis Rae | Acting XO / Second Officer
Chief Petty Officer Alexander Winters | Chief of Engineering / Operations
Lieutenant David Roberts | Chief Security / Tactical Officer
Makani ‘Mike’ Freitas | Acting Chief Science Officer
Lieutenant Liesel O'Brien | Chief Medical Officer
Chief Petty Officer Catalina Jayce | Intelligence Chief
Captain Justin Shard | Marine Commanding Officer
« Last Edit: October 14, 2009, 07:02:51 am by Gregory Blake »
Former CO Gregory Blake


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Re: Halley's Complaint
« Reply #1 on: October 13, 2009, 08:45:57 pm »
|0915, Day 1

Little Molly Sigismund entered sickbay nearly an hour earlier, full of tears, screams, and absolutely terrified.  Her name wasn't actually Molly; it was Morlais, but most five-year-olds couldn't pronounce that, so she became known to all and asunder as Molly.  Molly was afraid of Sickbay because two years earlier, she had broken three bones during a really nasty fall which could have been prevented if only she had listened better to her mother, and if her mother had been paying closer attention to Molly while shopping on the Promenade of a different station.

Molly didn't remember the fall, and she didn't remember the initial emergency visit to sickbay.  What she did remember was the consequent visits of physical therapy and the constant antibiotics used to treat the following infection.  Mostly, she remembered that it was painful and that the Mean Doctor smelled like moldy licorice and bad eggs.  Today, she had been minding her own business, playing dolls in her bedroom.  One doll (Kera) had gotten mad at another doll (Brenda) and decided to take revenge... with a knife.  Unfortunately, Molly got in the middle of the argument and cut her hand sort of bad.

First, she thought no one would notice.  She quickly found some tissue to take care of the boo-boo.  But the tissue wasn't enough and she tried a bunny-shaped wash cloth next.  At this point, she realized Mom would be fairly upset about the dolls playing with knives, and so she went to hide the evidence.  Zaan, her horrible older brother, was in her room though and ran to tattle on her the very instant he saw the knife.

That brought Dad into the mix and Molly tearfully explained what was going on between Kera and Brenda and that, really, she had nothing to do with the situation other than she was trying to keep them from killing each other.  That didn't fly with Dad, and he dragged her through the station to feed her to the Doctor.

One of the aides was the first to see Molly.  He wasn't too scary until he said he was going to get Doctor Yale.  Molly could hear the ominousness in his voice as he left the room.  She cried some more.

She thought Doctor Yale was actually another one of the nurses or aides when she came into the room.  "Hi Molly, can I see you hand for just a minute?" were the first words from the lady.  And, since she thought that she wasn't a doctor, she reluctantly held out the blood-soaked bunny washcloth.  It took about five minutes for her to realize that no one else was coming into the room - that the doctor wasn't coming into the room... and that she had stopped bleeding... and that the "nurse" was actually the doctor... and that what the doctor was doing didn't actually hurt.

Maybe it was the conversation that had so distracted her, Molly wasn't sure.  But they had talked about painting in school for a couple of minutes, and now they were talking about the most hated food in childdom, brussel sprouts.  But, most importantly, the Doctor wasn't hurting her, and it wasn't so bad.

Cassi crouched down to Molly's height in the main sickbay area.  She held a tantalizing treat up.  She was done talking to Dad, and it was time to address the patient directly before sending her on her way.  "Hey Molly, it was a pleasure meeting you, but next time we meet, I want to see you with all your pieces intact and where they belong.  No more bleeding, okay?"

Molly smiled, tentatively reaching for the lure.  "Okay.  I'll let Kera and Brenda know not to play with knives anymore too."

"Perfect," she handed the treat over and playfully tapped Molly's nose.  "That is exactly what I wanted to hear."

Molly gave her a quick hug, then walked out of sickbay with her Dad and her stupid brother who had to wait outside the room for them.  Her hand was thickly wrapped with a bandage, despite being fully healed from the regenerators.  The bandage served as a psychological reminder, Yale had explained to Dad, and he was more than satisfied with the reasoning.

Cassi returned to her full height, picking up the PADD from the ledge.  Turning, she ran into Harris, standing directly behind her.  She stopped before actually making bodily contact, but just barely.  "Whoa, did not see you there.  Where did you come from?"

Michael’s hand snaked out instinctively and found the small of her back.  The touch was ever so light, but he was worried that in her effort not to run into him that she might have fallen over.  When it was obvious that she was in no danger, his hand went behind him and was met with the other one in short order, and he stepped away from her.

“I am sorry,” Harris gave a warm smile. “I should have announced myself.  I was just checking to see if you needed any help.  Seems that you had things well in hand though.”  He paused before continuing. “You have a way with people.  It is a gift.  Anyway I will leave you alone.” His smile turned playful. “Unless you didn’t want to be alone, then I could hang out and compliment a bit more before I had to run my tests.”

Michael chuckled, turned, and headed further into sickbay.

Cassi watched his retreat for a moment before deciding to follow.  "If I had needed help, I would have called for it a lot sooner than the patient's release."  She tucked her hair behind her ear as she caught up to his side with a look that said, "Real reason?" without her actually having to ask it.

He looked at her and then performed a double take as he saw her look.  Michael retrieved a PADD from the table where he had left it when he took off, and a few commands had the computer transfer data about the experiment being run.  He looked at her again and gave her a sheepish grin.

"What?" He said in an amused tone and chuckled. "Okay okay." He leaned back against the table and thought for a moment before he answered her unasked question. His features took on a warmth. "What if I wanted us to go get a drink together after we had finished up here today?"

Cassi pushed her hair back behind the other ear this time.  "Hypothetically, you mean?  What do - did you change your mind at the last minute?  In theory, I probably would have said sure."  It didn't occur to her that his question was laced with the tension of non-work related interest until after she spoke.  But she did notice the slight change in his appearance as - was it hope? - glimmered in his eye.

Her safety net was to play oblivious and immediately discounted her analysis of his reaction as a false positive.  Obviously, his question was aimed at getting to know co-workers better.  She silently scolded herself for over-analyzing the question.

Her brushing her hair behind the ear had an almost adorable quality to it.  Michael silently wondered if she knew about what the effect of how she made the movement and the movement itself was.  Not only about the hair itself, but about how it brought the attention to those marvellous eyes.  He dismissed such thoughts quickly and found that for some reason he had to clear his throat quietly.

“Uhm,” Harris continued, the warmth meeting his voice. “No mind changing here, so let’s throw away the hypothetics.  When we are finished here today, I would love to take you out for a drink, or two.” He paused and stood up from leaning on the table and a playful glint lit his eye. “But I must warn you.  If you try to get me to dance too, I can’t dance.” He started making for the doors to go to one of the lab spaces and spoke over his shoulder. “Well I can but it is comical and rather painful to watch.” He turned back briefly big grin on his face. “So what do you say?”

"To the drink, okay; no to trying to make you dance."

“Excellent.” Michael winked at her. “Catch you in a bit then.”

Cassi offered a quick smile.  "In a bit," she agreed.


An important JP production brought to you by:
Michael Harris and Cassiopeia Yale

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Re: Halley's Complaint
« Reply #2 on: October 17, 2009, 04:35:08 pm »

The tests had taken Michael longer than he might have wanted them to, but he was happy with the results nonetheless.  People came in, got results, a few more patients visited, and all in all it was a good enough day.  It was the kind of day that made one smile.  No one died, the base had not been attacked, and sickbay had not been overrun with two foot rodents.  Who could have asked for anything more?

So, Harris reclined back in a seat in sickbay proper, feet kicked up on a desk, finishing up the last of his notes for the day on a PADD in his hands.  Throughout the day though, there had been a pause every now and then.  Even at that moment, the same thoughts entered his mind that had invaded it at various inopportune moments throughout the day. The blue eyes that would look into his, the way that loose hair was brushed behind an ear, the way her lips moved when a smile had suddenly come upon her.  He dismissed the images from his mind and continued to try to finish his work.  He had no idea why the images had haunted him all day, but dismiss as he had tried to do, they always returned.

The muse who had inspired the imagery appeared suddenly on the other end of sickbay, doing something or other which would most likely mean the end of her day as well.  Instead of calling out though, Michael sat silently and watched her for a moment before finally finishing off the rest of the report he had been taking care of.  One part of his mind kept telling him to go over to her, yet another more or less unknown part of his mind proposed the possibility that she might not have been serious in the first place.  So instead of doing anything, he just stared off into the distance silently while his mind warred against itself.

Time passed in this daydream state, though how much couldn't be exactly determined.  She had disappeared from his direct line of sight, but the far off image remained etched in his vision so that when she appeared at his door, she startled him.  Cassi had removed the animal-printed lab smock she had worn that day, replacing it with a coral colored hooded sweater which she left unbuttoned.  "Ready?" she flashed an inquisitive look straight to him.  "Or do you still have loads of work?" she offered an alternative to him as he fumbled with the PADD and dropped out of his casual recline.

Harris seemed to come too at the sound of her voice.  He looked over at her, and the sight of her seemed to warm him.  For a long moment he just seemed to look into her eyes before a wide smile came to his face.  The PADD went over his shoulder in a smooth motion as he stood from the seat.

“Work?” He chuckled and looked around himself. “Shame on you for suggesting that at such a moment.” He winked, moved close to her, and his eyes lit up. “Lead the way my lady.  What shall it be, Orchid’s, or maybe a café on the Champs Elysees, or something with a view of the Nile perhaps?”

"For just a drink, I didn't think anything too complicated was necessary."  She played with the edge of her sweater near where the hood attached.  "The Orchid will be fine."  She took the first step toward the door, grabbing Harris' sleeve and pulling him in tow.  "So, what do you normally do in you off time - other than collecting large, ornate boxes, I mean?"

Harris allowed himself to be pulled in tow and chuckled as much at being pulled along, as the question.  The sight of something other than the last few hours of sickbay was something that brought a little spring to his step as he came along side her.

“Boxes is the main thing I am afraid.” He said walking along towards their destination. “Really though, I try my hand at all sorts of things.  Poker won me the giant paperweight down in the morgue.  Hiking is always fun, as well as fun in the snow of all kinds.  Love the feel of the stuff.” He paused to consider. “Some of the extreme sports angle is always good for a few laughs after the realization that you are still alive.  In more introspective moments though I could be caught with a good book, enjoying art of all types, and even sampling fine cuisine from just about everywhere and anywhere.  A nice meal, a glass of wine, and the view of a wonderful star filled sky is always a good thing to enjoy.  Only thing that beats that is when you can enjoy that moment with someone else.  All the little things in life.”  He looked over at Cassi. “What about you?  What kinds of things do you enjoy?”

"Generally avoiding talking about myself," she answered with a casually innocent glance in his direction.  "One of the most popular questions people ask is 'Why did you choose to be a doctor,' with the next popular one being, 'Where are you from?'  And the thing about that is, those are rather personal questions, you know?  Brings up all sorts of issues from the past that, most of the time, I'd like to forget about.  And the thing is, the people don't actually care about the answer.  They're just asking them so that they have something coming out of their mouth, and when you answer, you have something coming out of your mouth - and it sort of resembles a conversation."

They rounded a curve in the corridor and approached their destination.  "But, to answer your question seriously, I try to spend my free time out of the way of others, normally with a sketch book."

They approached Orchid’s, and Michael let her enter first.  A light rich tune drifted over them as they entered, and it seemed like they had entered another world.  There was a waitress on hand and she led the way deeper into the establishment to a table for two.  He smiled while he motioned Cassi to go ahead of him after the waitress.  They reached the table and Michael sat slowly.

“Scotch on the rocks please,” Michael said to the waitress. “Something to the tune of twenty years or so if you have it.”

Cassi sat at the edge of her seat, looking at the table as if that would give her an answer to what she wanted, then looked up at the waitress to order a smootie, "Peach melba maybe, if you have that."

He looked over at Cassi while the waitress nodded then retreated from the table, and spoke in a warm tone, “I am honoured that you didn’t decide to spend your time after work out of my way.  Thanks for coming out with me.” He paused. “I wanted to ask, and keep in mind that I ask as someone who actually does care, but did you ever consider that there might be some people that actually cared about stuff that you had to say?”

Cassi smirked as she pushed herself further back onto the seat.  "Well, sure, I've considered the possibility.  But... I've come into contact with hundreds of people as a doctor on a fairly regular basis.  And there's a difference in the quality of conversation when I talk to people as a doctor - and when I talk to them on a social level.  I probably just lack the social skill to tell when a person is genuinely interested in things I have to say..."  A slight pout crossed her lips, "People don't necessarily take me seriously all the time."

"Well all things considered," His voice took on a playful tone. "There is only one thing I want to know right now.  The most important thing to know about you, and then I can talk away enough for the two of us.  You can ask anything you want and I will just keep blabbing as I try to amuse the both of us." A chuckle escaped him. "You ready?" He paused for dramatic effect. "I want to hear about your art, your sketching."

"It's mostly doodling," Cassi answered as the waitress made a detour with the drinks.  "And normally animals: cheetahs, zebras, dolphins... and sometimes, when I'm feeling nostalgic, horses or goats.  Nothing worthy of being framed on a museum wall - or anyone's wall for that matter."

Michael smiled, "Still art in the end.  The most I can manage," The waitress sauntered into the conversation and dropped off the drinks. "Thank you." He nodded to her and then focused on Cassi once more. "Sorry, most I can manage is a stick man.  When I want a horse I have to do a bent over stick man with a tail." He chuckled and raised his glass. "To non-stick men art."

Cassi rose her glass to that.

A post by Michael Harris and Cassiopeia Yale
Lieutenant Commander Isis Rae
Executive Officer
Kepler Station

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Re: Halley's Complaint
« Reply #3 on: October 17, 2009, 04:46:54 pm »

Gregory and Isis were the last two to leave the briefing room after the meeting with the department heads.  "Come with me," he told her and led her back to his office.  She followed without complaint or comment.  "What do you think?" he asked her once the door had safely cut them off from the giant ears in the station's command centre.

"I think there is a serious lack of discipline and a great deal of whining going on throughout the lot of them," Isis answered.

"Didn't help that I ran off for a month," Gregory said shouldering some of the responsibility.  He gestured to a chair and took a seat behind his desk.  "Some shit hit the fan while I was away and Lieutenant Roberts butted heads with the XO.  I don't agree with how he handled it.  His temporary probably made things worse, especially for his department.  He and I also got off to a rocky start before that.  Which will probably get worse before it gets better.  But I'm handling that," he told her with a worrying half smirk.

"What should we do with the rest of them?" Gregory asked her.

Isis studied the captain momentarily, then replied, "It's your station.  If you don't mind the poor posture, the laissez faire attitudes and penchant for complaining, I won't mention it again."  She quickly added, "I understand that there are a lot of civilians aboard, and a regimented regime isn't an ideal set up.  However, the attitudes implied a serious lack of respect - to you specifically - during what should have been a serious staff meeting.  Regardless of interpersonal relations, a mature officer would have left those feeling behind when reporting for duty.  So, the question is, what do you want to do with them?"

"Encourage them to resign and start again.  But since that isn't an option..." Gregory said and trailed off.  He scratched at his beard and considered a more serious answer.  "I'll address it in tomorrow's meeting.  I had a ship with a good, tight knit and disciplined crew and I want the same here."

"If you think the message would come across clearly through a group of people... it may be easier to address the problems individually at first.  That way, each individual issue can be addressed rather than making a broad generalization which may or may not be heard by resistant ears.  With the exception of the science officer Freitas, the angst was thick enough to cut with a knife."

"Individually it is," Gregory said.  Usually he enjoyed a good confrontation, these however he was not looking forward to.  "How was your first night in a tree?" he asked, easily changing the topic.

Isis shook her head slightly.  "Knowing hardly anything else about you, you are a man with a strange sense of humor.  At first I thought some wild creature was running loose in the arboretum, There was drool and tufts of fur all over the place - but then I realized the janitorial staff didn't clean up after the previous occupant.  But the view is nice and it appeals to my instincts; so I like it."

"I'd forgotten about that damn dog," Gregory told her.  "Have Ops send some crewmen to clean it.  Anything else?"

Isis gave a slight shake of her head.  "Nothing else sir."

A post by Gregory Blake and Isis Rae
Lieutenant Commander Isis Rae
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Kepler Station


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Re: Halley's Complaint
« Reply #4 on: October 18, 2009, 05:56:43 pm »
[Crew Quarters]

K`rilim sat back in his chair, his face splitting in a large yawn.  He'd been finishing up one of the many reports he'd send back encrypted to the Agency.  It was rather boring work, really - Nothing happened on this station that required his specific "services".  Trying to play the "research assistant" role was actually rather taxing, and it was beginning to take it's toll on the Cait.  Groaning, K rubbed his eyes and just stared down at his report.  The last time he'd been this exhausted was several months ago on the Starfarer.

His eyes closed slowly as he thought about those ridiculously tense months on board the wayward vessel that plummeted through time and space.  Many good people had been lost on that trip - a true testament to the old "best laid plans of Caitans and Men".  Sighing, his thoughts turned to the one other survivor of the disaster.  Lieutenant Commander Kate Larson had been an unlikely friend of K's during those months.  They had come together to pull through the voyage, though in the end it seemed all was for naught.

He gave a brief chuckle as he remembered one of the many arguments they had - all over bathrooms.

[Crew Deck, USS Starfarer]

Kate Larson glared up at the cait that she was squished against.  They had taken refuge in her bathroom together while the rest of the ship was being flooded with a low level radiation to remove an infestation.  It had seemed like a good idea at the time but now she wasn't so sure.  "Was that your tail?" she demanded.  "Cause if it is, if it keeps that up we're gonna have to get married so my father won't kill you when we get home."

"Hush, woman," K huffed, "I'm the one that should be upset - At least I know where my tail has been.. I can't speak for your-"

Kate dug her elbow into his gut and said in a low and threatening voice, "If you value your whiskers you will not finish that sentence."

"Oof!" K doubled over slightly at the jarring elbow to his midsection, "Easy! If we're both going to survive this, we need to work together.. Do you have any food in here?"

As soon as he asked the question, the Cait sighed inwardly - Who keeps snacks in the bathroom?

"I have alcohol," Kate told him brightly.  She turned at the waist and to the fresher where two bottles stood neatly on the floor, in the corner.  "And if you're lucky there might be some crackers."

"Why am I not surprised?" K rolled his eyes, "So is this where you and that Duncan-Delgado fella spent your time?"

"No," Kate glared back at the cait.  "This is my alone place.  My refuge.  I'm not letting that bastard fake marine back in here."

K tilted his head at "back in here", but didn't pursue the subject - Obviously it was a sticking point for the Starfleet Officer.  He, along with everyone else that had been left, had learned that the supposed Marine that spent so much time with Larson had been a phoney; a wolf in sheeps clothing, so to speak.

Frankly, K`rilim could relate.  He wasn't exactly innocent of pretending to be something he wasn't either.  That, of course, had landed all of them in the mess they were currently in, though he felt it  was indirectly associated.

"Well, for what it's worth," K gave a small smile to Kate, "Thanks for letting me 'bunk' with you in your 'alone place', and for not leaving me out there to melt."

"You didn't give me much choice," she reminded him.  He had come running towards her, picked her up and tossed her into her own bathroom with him.

He sighed, rolling his eyes - leave it to Kate to ruin a moment, "So where do we go from here?  When do you think the deck will reach a normal level again?"

"How long have you known me?  Can you pinpoint the moment I turned into some science geek?" Kate asked him and poked a finger at his chest.

K shrugged, "I don't know - I'm just hoping we can pull through on this one.  Remember that run-in with the Rabbit-Spider-things?  Who would have figured it'd be milk that set them off!"

A smile warred for control of Kate's face as she recalled the incident.  K had tried to feed on and the thing had practically exploded all over him and the galley.  But the damned things were crazy for the stuff, like it was an addiction.  In the end they'd just let them gorge themselves and spent a week cleaning up the resulting mess.  "I'll never forget that look on your face," she said and burst out laughing.  "You were covered in... oh... hurts... to laugh!  Can't... stop..."

K chuckled to himself at the memory.  It had not been his finest hour in the least - it had taken him a week to get everything out of his fur.

"Well, it couldn't have been any worse than when the Cave Man stumbled into your closet," K grinned toothily, "Tell me.. Was that standard issue in the Fleet?"

"A girl sometimes likes to feel pretty when off duty," Kate informed him after sobering from her uncontrolled bout of laughter.  She frowned and added, "And apparently so do primitive Betazoid males."

The Cait laughed, "The look on your face - it was priceless!"

He laughed for a moment longer before sombering once again.  Despite their brief levity, their situation had not changed.  Still they were locked in a bathroom with nothing but a bottle of wine, crackers and a towel.  Certainly not the best of situations.

"So," He gave a half-hearted smile, "I hope it's a red.. I can't handle whites - I just die."

"Ah..." Kate said and reached for the two bottles.  Arse up in the air as she examined them.  She couldn't be expected to remember what she self medicated herself with.

K flicked an ear as he glanced over at the woman's raised rump.  She wasn't all that bad to look at, he decided - certainly could have been cooped up with someone far less attractive.  He'd been with his fair share of humans.  Some of them were rather freaky that way.

"Looks like clear and... what colour do y'reckon tequila is?" she asked him as she came back up with a bottle in each hand.

"Er," he tilted his head at the question, "I think it's usually amber or something.."

"Then let me introduce you to my friends.  K, this is Mr Vodka," Kate said and held the bottle containing the clear liquid close to his muzzle so he could have a moment of intimacy with it.  Once satisfied that they were now well acquainted, she replaced it with the other, "And this is Senor Tequila.  He's my favourite."

K would have stepped back from the sudden appearance of the liquor bottles right in front of his face, but due to the cramped quarters all he could do was put his paws up in mock defense.  He cleared his throat and took hold of the tequila.

"I guess we won't go thirsty," he gave a small grin, "You sure enjoy the hard stuff, eh?"

Kate didn't let go.  "Mine," she told him and pulled the tequila away.  "Mr Vodka is your friend tonight."

K rolled his eyes, "Yes ma'am."

He took the bottle, twisting the cap off with as little effort as possible in the close quarters.  He had no intentions of breaking a wrist or arm on a vanity in such circumstances.  The bottle itself was near half empty, but otherwise sufficient.

Inclining it towards his female counterpart, the Cait gave a sheepish grin, "To.. ?"

"To... getting home in one piece.  Bottoms up," Kate said and lifted her own bottle.  She didn't wait for him to repeat the toast, just upended the bottle against her lips and chugged back a mouthful.

"Getting home in on-" K began to respond when Kate took her large swig.

With a shrug, the Cait took his own large gulp, cringing at the taste, "Jeez, woman.. What kind of Vodka is this?  Battery-Acid Vintage?  Strong enough to make my tail fall off!"

"Mr Vodka is for particularly bad nights, or guests," Kate told him and licked her lips free of alcohol.  She suddenly glared at him and growled, "Speaking of tails, you're gonna lose yours if it keeps doing what it's doing."

K got a perplexed look on his face, "What are you talking abo-Oh!"

With a blush that could almost be seen through his ebony fur, K quickly swished his tail around and away from it's once precarious position, "Sorry about that. A little booze, and it just gets carried away."

Kate gave him a skeptical look and muttered, "Men... Cait... cait-man-things."

[Back in reality..]

K chuckled quietly as he finished up his report.  He actually had one or two fond memories of Kate, but unfortunately the two of them seemed to butt heads more often than not.  Sadly, he wished he had someone like her to talk to on this new assignment.  With a quick thought of "I wonder what she's doing now..?", the Cait closed up his PADD and left his quarters.  On to the next 'adventure'.

JP brought to you by:

Lt Cmdr Kate Larson played by Captain Greggory Blake



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Re: Halley's Complaint
« Reply #5 on: October 19, 2009, 07:28:08 am »

Marine Briefing Room
Day 1

Taking one last draft of her coffee, Emileen set the mug down and addressed the suited and booted flyers in front of her.

"Good Morning, gents.  I trust you all had a productive evening, last night?"

"Well for Fred it was more like reproductive..." one of the pilots quipped.  Ripples of laughter.  The most common conversations in this room revolved around sex, flying, food or booze; the order never mattered.

"At least I got some!"  Fred shouted back.  Another ripple.

Emileen smiled at the exchange.  She was no stranger to blue language, but  right now there were more important things to do.

"Alright, settle.  This morning is a standard patrol.  Assignments: MacDonald is element lead, Wiggums number two; Sevek will lead the second element and Ripper you'll will act as his wingman."

The Vulcan nodded slowly at his duty assignment.  A Vulcan fighter pilot?  Emileen had always been struck by the contradiction of those two ideas.  One of these days, she'd ask him why.

"Right, departure vector for today is 122, return approach vector is 302;  Training ordinance maybe authorised, but I'll check back with you on that.  Moving on, NOTAMS; the science bods inform us that there will be a comet passing close to the station in the next few days, so keep an eye out; we'll get more info on that as soon as we know.  

Next, I've received a complaint from flight control that some of you are buzzing the shuttles and scaring the pilots; now, I know it's tempting, since they're not marines.  I know they are easy targets, but please stop because I'm tired of the FCO shouting at me and if you crash I'll have more paperwork than I can handle.  

Lastly, recycle your used mugs, don't just leave them lying around after briefing; the support staff are sick of cleaning up your crap, we're pilots not janitorial staff.  If you don't, the coffee will have to go away. Okay?  If there are no questions, you're dismissed.  Don't forget to check the charts before you leave."

The familiar rustle of bodies, slurping of mugs and business chatter ensued.  Briefing was over, it was time to go to work.


Tag: Anyone
« Last Edit: October 19, 2009, 07:31:25 am by Emileen Carlisle »


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Re: Halley's Complaint
« Reply #6 on: October 20, 2009, 06:17:16 pm »
Chief Warrant Officer Fred "Farmer" MacDonald was lead pilot for the Combat Area Patrol, or CAP.  He'd been with the advance elements of the squadron when VMF-86 was sent to protect Starbase 919, known as Kepler Station, and had been part of the watch-and-watch rotation for the first few hectic weeks, until the rest of the squadron arrived.  On the whole, he preferred the current arrangement, but the experience, now safely in the past, gave him ammunition for space stories.  "Let me tell you how it was in the beginning," he'd say, and wax poetic about how much easier the new pilots had things.

Farmer glanced down at his MFD, checking the position of his flight.  His wing, Chief Warrant Officer Bart "Piggy" Wiggums, was where he was supposed to be, fifty kilometers behind and fifty to starboard of Farmer's fighter.  At the speeds Valkyrie fighters were capable of, the two were practically on top of each other.  The other element, Ripper and Points, were almost a light-minute sunward.

Farmer moved his thumb on the throttle, opening coms with the flight.  "Thank you for flying MacDonald Aerospace," he quipped.  "This concludes the regularly scheduled portion of today's flight.  If you will direct your attention to port, however, you will gain a lovely view of the frozen ball of ice Science would like us to look at."

"Huh," said Piggy, over coms, "looks like ice."

"Maybe they're having a cocktail party, and need something to keep their drinks cool," Ripper added.

"It is meaningless to speculate on the possible value of the object without first examining it," Points added.  He'd received his call sign, not for the pointed ears and eyebrows all Vulcans had, but for the fact that, in flight school, he'd always been at the top of the points board.

"Roger that," Farmer agreed.  "Y'all keep on keeping on; Piggy and I are going to go and have a closer look at this thing."

"Roger," Ripper said. 

Farmer came left smoothly, flying a coordinated turn, balancing his vectors so that his direction of advance always pointed through the nose of his spacecraft.  Behind him, Piggy did the same.

"Activating scan," Farmer said over coms, as the two ships closed on the commet.  "Looks like..."  There was static, and nothing further was heard.


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Re: Halley's Complaint
« Reply #7 on: October 21, 2009, 06:27:02 am »
|Kepler Station
|Late Evening

The quarters set aside for the Marines on Kepler were certainly more spacious than the ones he'd had on Acheron, but Ling would give anything to have that cramped two-man tent back if it meant he could have Makani again.  Two weeks had passed since their break up, and it seemed like forever. 

Every hour of every day dragged.  He did his job with his usual efficiency, spent twice as much time doing drills in the holosuite, on top of the unit drills, and he still wound up with extra hours..... hours that were emptier than any he'd ever known.  He didn't know what he'd done to fill them before Makani.

He glanced at the chronometer on the wall.  Prophets, only 5 minutes had gone by.  2200 hours and 8 hours to live through before morning drill.  Damn!  I'm not staying in bed for another sleepless night!    He threw off the sheet he'd had over his nakedness, and ordered up clean jeans and an olive green sweatshirt with the Marine emblem on the front.

He left his quarters on Deck 13 with no particular destination in mind.  He nodded at the duty officer near the turbolift.

"Out for a little relaxation, Gunny?" the man asked idly.

"Yeah, sick of the faces down here," he joked, absently.  "Any suggestions for a place to find a quiet drink?"

The corporal mulled it over.  "Yeah, maybe.  It's not my kinda place, but up on Deck 9, across from some of the bars we low-class types frequent, there's a place called Orchids & Jazz.  Nice music I hear coming out of there.  The girls don't mingle, though.  They just serve."

"I'm not looking for a date, corporal," Ling answered wryly.  "Thanks, I'm familiar with it."   Maybe he'd run into Ivanova again.

Ling got in the turbolift and heard himself say, "Deck 9."  He didn't have to go to the jazz place.  The corporal had mentioned other bars.  Nevertheless, when he walked down the corridor circled by a variety of establishments, he was struck by how much most of them reminded him of any world he'd ever served.  A little military-service town always sprang up ...... bars, whorehouses, restaurants, souvenirs. He'd often found his partners in them. 

He looked down the curve of the walkway and found that nothing like that appealed to him tonight.  In fact, he couldn't muster any desire for anyone but his Makani ...... who wasn't his any more. He turned to look at the entrance to Orchids & Jazz.

There was a throaty feminine voice singing a song he'd never heard, but it was soothing and there were no raucus sounds from inside. When he entered, he saw the darkened tables and wished, just for a minute, that he'd brought Makani ... Mike ... here late at night like this.  Maybe he could have done that for him.  He knew it wouldn't have been enough, but it might have ......  No, it wouldn't have.

He sighed and turned away toward the bar.  Several of the tall stools were filled, but at one end there were 3 empty ones together.  Knowing that people don't usually want to sit right next to a stranger, he walked over and took the middle one. 

Posted by:


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Re: Halley's Complaint
« Reply #8 on: October 21, 2009, 06:53:41 am »
|Kepler Station
|Orchids & Jazz

Jade saw the Bajoran enter.  It was too dark to see his aura clearly, and that told her that he was particularly sad, probably a dark blue .... feeling fear of the future; fear of self-expression; fear of facing or speaking the truth.  As he drew closer, his sadness practically screamed at her.  She found herself moving down the bar in his direction without realizing she'd decided to reach out to him.  She shook her head at the bartender to indicate she would take this one.

"What can I get for you?" she addressed him.

Ling was surprised that the owner of the lounge would be working the bar.  Last time he'd been in, she'd been talking to customers at the tables.  He didn't know why he asked, "What do you have for a sleepless, broken heart?"

"Ah, like that, is it?  Tell me, are you normally a drinking man?"

Ling thought about that.  "No, I don't think I could claim that.  Why?  Does it make a difference?"

"Definitely," she smiled at him.  "Sweet or not?"

"Not," he answered immediately. 

"Be right back."  She went back into her office and came back with a bottle of Dom Pelligrino from Epsilon Ceti B II, also known as Risa.  She kept this stocked for Cat, but Cat hadn't been in lately, and she had several bottles of it.

"Now this is not something to guzzle, Gunny, so plan on a slow slide into oblivion," she smiled at him.  Popping the cork, she poured a glass for each of them.  "This one's on the house.  Tell me what you think of it."

Up on the stage, Robson Dale was playing one of his own compositions while the singer took a break.  It was more like a jam session of the musicians than scheduled entertainment, but the customers liked it, so she didn't interfere.  It sounded like the one he'd written for Caroline, Jade thought.

Ling took a cautious sip of the drink.  It smelled a little like spiced apples, but the taste was nut-like with a little vanilla finish to it.  "Not bad," he said, taking another sip.  "What is it?"

"It's a sparkling wine from Risa, Dom Pelligrino.  '82 was a particularly nice year," Jade sipped from her glass.

"Must be expensive, coming all that way," Dessan said to make conversation.  Her voice was a soothing alto, and she had the tiniest accent that most probably didn't notice.  He found it diminished his tension.  He twirled the glass.

"Favors given, favors returned," Jade shrugged.  "What's breaking your heart tonight?"

The sergeant snorted in derision.  "Only one thing can break a heart, isn't there?  Love gone wrong," he took another sip.  The taste was growing on him.

"Ah.  Your girl left you?"  It was a common story around the universe.  She seemed to be the only one on Kepler Station who wasn't involved in either falling into or falling out of love.

Ling glanced at her, and maybe it was the alcohol already swirling through his system, but he told the truth for once.  "My guy," he admitted.

Jade nodded, leaning back against the mirror behind the bar.  "Hurts the same, doesn't it?"

He looked at her in surprise.  "Yeah.  Yeah it does.  Hurts like a son of a bitch."  He pushed his glass toward her.  "My round this time, you keep track." 

She refilled his glass, but hers was mostly full still.  If you owned a club or a lounge or a bar, and you got into your own stock too much, it was a recipe for disaster.  She pushed his glass back.

"How long?" she asked.

"Since he broke it off?  Five days and,"  he glanced at the chronometer on the opposite wall, "thirteen hours, 58 minutes, give or take a few seconds."

"Sounds like he was really important to you, if you're keeping track like that."

Even though she'd told him to drink it slowly, Gunnery Sergeant Ling had never been one to do anything slowly ...... except make love with Mike.  He tossed back half the glass.  "I'll be keeping track for the rest of my life.  Hating myself every hour for being such a coward."

"That's a little harsh," Jade commented.

"What would you call a man who professed to love you, but wouldn't be seen with you in public?  What would you call a man who put his career above your happiness ....... not to mention his own?  Who cared more about what other people thought of him than what you thought?   I call him a coward."  He remembered the things Mike had said, and how he hadn't listened.  A week had given him a different perspective on things.  But it was too late.

"I'd call him a man who needed more time to think." Jade said.  "Time to consider all the implications, to adjust.  Sounds like you've had that time  now."

"Yeah.  20/20 hindsight.  Old Earth saying," he said at the question on her face.  "It means that looking backward ...... I can see so clearly what I should have done.  What I should have said.  What's really important."  He drank the rest of the second glass.  "But he's moved on, so what can I do?"

Jade poured him a third drink.  Sometimes getting drunk was the solution, and she thought this was one of those times.  This was a fast hitting intoxication, and tomorrow he wouldn't have a hangover.  A night of rest might make things clearer.  At the least, he'd have released some of the pressure of his emotions, and be able to handle the hand he'd dealt himself.

JP by:

Gunnery Sergeant Ling Dessan
Broken-hearted Marine



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Re: Halley's Complaint
« Reply #9 on: October 21, 2009, 07:03:52 am »
|Kepler Station
|Orchids & Jazz/Caroline Post's quarters
|2300 hours

Ling sipped at the new drink, then looked into Jade's eyes.  "So, now you know my sad tale.  Man finds love, man is stupid, man loses love."

Caroline slid onto the stool next to Ling.  She heard the last statement.  "You don't have the corner on that kind of stupidity," she told him.

She lifted her chin at the bottle.  "Can anyone join the party?  I'll buy the next round, if you let me in."

Gunny turned to look at her.  Another pretty woman.  He sighed.  He should have learned to appreciate women more.  "Sure, join us in my pity party.  The more the merrier."  He was starting to feel the effects of the excellent sparkling wine.  "You have a broken heart, too?"

Caroline laughed,  "Not right this minute, but it could come back at any time."  This was a week she and Robbie were actually talking like humans to each other, and had even said some things she hoped were true.  She just wasn't holding her breath yet.

"You see that handsome guy up there playing the piano?  He's mine, part of the time," she said wistfully. "When he isn't busy running away."

"Running away. Yep.  Lot of that going around.  I'm no better than your penis,"  his face heated.  "Uh, pianist, I mean ..... the guy playing the piano." 

Caroline smiled knowingly at Jade,  "Yeah?" she asked, tasting the wine from the glass Jade had handed her.  She nodded her head at her friend.  "So who are you running from?"

"Not running any more.  Mike isn't interested in chasing, no point in running," he said sadly, beginning to feel truly morose.

"Mike?  Mike Freitas?"  Caroline asked.  She'd noticed he didn't seem himself lately.  Was the Marine NCO the reason? 

"Yep, Thass the one."  He slumped over the bar a little, taking another hefty drink.  "Ma-ka-ni, most beautiful man in the universe.  Love him, hurt him.  Dint unnerstand, ya know?  Takes time to unnerstan."

"Yeah," Caroline said softly.  "It takes time."  She finished her drink, the only one she'd had in the short time she'd been in the club.  "Come on, Sergeant.  Let's get you home."  She hopped off the stool and drapped his arm around her shoulders.

She held up her thumb to ask about the bill, but Jade shook her head.  "We'll worry about it next time."

"Tell Robbie I'll see him tomorrow, then."

Caroline led the Marine out of Orchids & Jazz.  It occurred to her that if he showed up like this on the Marine deck, he might lose a lot of authority with his men.  "We'll just let you sleep it off at my place," she muttered, stumbling into the lift with the big man.

"Cara .... Car'line, right?  Yeah, Car'line.  Whattamy gonna do?  Love that man.  Can' sleep, can' eat.  Work, jus' work alla time.  Thass thonly thing,"  Ling said mournfully.

Caroline pulled him off the lift at Deck 6 and got him into her quarters and then the bedroom.  "Gunny, let's get your boots off.  Here you go.  Sit right here.   Let me help you."  Ling fell back on the bed.

"Doan know what to do.  's too late.  He doesn love me any more.  Stupid!  Stupid!  Stupid!  What good is anything without him?"

Caroline felt entirely sorry for the sergeant.  She knew exactly how he felt, even though their circumstances were different.  "I ask myself that question every day, Sergeant."

He peered up at her owl-eyed.  She thought he was good looking in a battle worn way.  She wondered if Freitas really had quit loving him.  He was kind of like a sad little teddy bear right now.  Make that big teddy bear, she amended.

"Are you sure he doesn't love you?  You still love him, why couldn't he still love you?  Sometimes people who love each other don't communicate very well."  Yeah, here I am, master of hundreds of thousands of words, and my communication skills leave a lot to be desired, she thought derisively.

"No, doan think so," Ling said mournfully.  "Did ever'thing wrong, Car'line.  Ever'thing."  He knew he'd lost control.  He didn't know this woman, or the one in the club, and he'd poured his heart out to them.   He just didn't care.  He was tired of keeping all his pain inside.  He tried very hard to enunciate the next thought.

"I'd give it all up, you know.  The Marines, ever'thin.  Give it all up for my Makani."  He curled up on top of her quilt and was asleep.

"You poor schmuck," Caroline said, sighing.  She went to the trunk at the bottom of the bed and took out two more quilts.  She laid one over the sergeant, and took the other into the living room.  She'd slept on the couch before, and she could do it again.  She wondered if Robbie would be mad that she didn't hang around to talk to him.  It would be just her luck that he'd seen her as she left the club, and taken the wrong idea.  She smiled.  Yeah, Robbie, get jealous over a man who doesn't even want a woman, let alone me.

"Computer, alarm at 0500."  She went to sleep thinking about her own man, not the one in her bed.

JP brought to you by:

Caroline Post
Good shoulder to cry on

Jade Lantz
With a fine stock of wine


the  Whiner who needs it


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Re: Halley's Complaint
« Reply #10 on: October 21, 2009, 09:12:18 am »
|Assistant Chief Engineer's Office

Pili wandered down to the Engineering section. He knew Cade didn't care for him just dropping in, but he was...well, not exactly desperate...determined. His father was unhappy about something, something big. Pili knew it had something to do with love and loss, but he hadn't pushed for the details. He'd hoped to have more time to arrange this, but it didn't look like that was going to be an option.

He checked with the computer to find that Cade was in his office. He pushed the call button and steeled himself for covert action.

"What?" Cade yelled.  He took his feet off his desk and knocked a pile of PADDs off his desk in the process.  "FUCK!" He exclaimed, frantically trying to stop the rest from falling off his desk.  He half succeded.  He idly wondered if there was someone whose job it was to pick PADDS up off the floor and sort them out.

Pili didn't laugh, but it was a close thing. Smiling he continued as if nothing had happened. "Hey there. I was wondering if you'd stop by later to have a look at my mural. I'd like your opinion on the changes I made after the last time you saw it." He smiled winningly at Cade, "Your comments about perspective really helped, I think."

"Despite the fact that I technically get off shift in 20 minutes," said Cade, pointing to the mess on the floor, "I have to sort that shit out, deliver half of it to the Chief, and figure out why half the turbolifts stop on deck 8 for no reason.  Art isn't really high on my list of priorities right now.  Or ever, for that matter."

"No problem!" Pili said. His smile never wavered as he came forward and started picking up some of the fallen PADDs. "This would actually help you out, I think. I mean, I remember you muttering something about your boss ordering you to take time off from work, didn't I? This would be perfect. It's definitely out of your office, and my dad just found out he's going to be the acting Science Chief, so I bet your boss would hear something about it. Nothing like getting credit, right? It'd be a real shame if you didn't take time for a personal life and got into trouble because of it...not fair at all in my opinion."

"That was a month ago," muttered Cade.  "Besides," he said, "that mess is going to take me at least another half hour to sort out.

"Perfect, I'll make something for dinner. Don't worry, there'll be more than you thought I didn't notice that, right? Anyway, that'll give you a real break. I was going to show off a bit tonight and make coffee like you taught me, so there's even something in it for's fresh Kona, just came in with the last transport." Pili was prepared to keep at Cade as long as it took, he just hoped it wouldn't end up be too much of a battle. If Cade was really pissed when he got to their quarters it would be a lot harder in the long run.

"Okay," Cade grudgingly agreed.  "Find the maintenance schedule in that lot and pass it to me.  Go throught he rest and find the ones I've tagged to go to the Chief, and put the rest over there." Cade indicated a corner of his desk.  "You do that, I'll start compiling a diagnostic program for the turbolifts, and when we're done, you can go cook.  I'll start the diagnostic, then I'll come over.  But the coffee better be good!"

"Aye aye, sir!" Pili smiled to himself and started flipping through the pile of PADDs. Things were coming together nicely...

This JP brought to you by the crafty little Pili-bastard (Played so devilishly indeed by Ensign Makani Freitas)



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Re: Halley's Complaint
« Reply #11 on: October 21, 2009, 09:21:28 am »
|Freitas Quarters

Cade wadered over to the kid's quarters.  The food had better be worth it, he really wasn't feeling up to a big art critique right now.  Running his hand through his hair, he reached out and banged on the door.

Pili had been humming to himself ever since he'd gotten home. He'd gotten his dad to go change into something more civilian while he made dinner. He'd only said that he'd asked someone to stop by who'd been helping him with his studies  while Mike was gone.

He checked to make sure everything was pretty much ready when he heard Cade knocking. "Dad! He's here!" He called. He went to open the door in person since Cade had chosen to knock. "Welcome, come on in. Dinner will be ready in about 5 minutes."

Cade stepped into the room.  Something smelled pretty good.  It wasn't coffee, though.  "What're we eating?" he asked.

Pili laughed, "At the table of course, just like last time." He looked at the expression on Cade's face, "Damn it. Dad doesn't usually have coffee until after dinner...I should have thought about it. I'll start some right now. Dad's on his way out, so just stay here." He bounded into the kitchen area.

Mike came into the living area expecting to find another teenager, instead he met a very adult looking petty officer. "Um, I'm Mike Freitas, Pili's father. You can't be his study partner. You must be, what, a tutor?"

"No," Cade said.  "I'm the Assistant Chief Engineer.  He's the brat that keeps following me around.  He wouldn't stop, and he kept bringing me terrible coffee.  Which he learned how to make from you."  Cade glowered.  Crimes against coffee were unforgivable.

Mike was taken aback. "Uh, well, sorry if interest offends you. I'll be sure to have a talk with him about it."

Pili came back in about then and sensed the tension. "Dad, this is my friend Cade. he's the one on the Tribulation that pulled us all out of the Havian ship. And he's been teaching me about coffee. And he helped with the mural, too."

Mike calmed down a bit; he also felt a little embarrassed about the mean things he'd been thinking about the man in front of him. "That was you? Thank you, really. I...I should have been here to protect him. I'm glad someone was." He straightened up. "Let me start again, I'm Mike Freitas. Welcome to our home."

"I'm Cade," Cade said.  "And all I did was operate the transporter console.  Actually, I told them not to go there in the first place, but apparently no one listens to engineers these days."

Cade turned to glance at the mural, then said to the kid, "Good.  You fixed the perspective."

"People don't seem to listen to fathers these days, either," Mike raised an eyebrow at Pili. "It's actually kind of comforting to know it's not just me he selectively hears." He turned to look at the mural with Cade. "I guess he does at least listen to suggestions about art, though. This really is one of his best murals to date."

"Dad!" Pili sounded a bit peeved, "I listen to you, you just weren't clear. 'Stay out of trouble.' What kind  of instruction is that? There's no way I can know what will or won't end in trouble."

Mike rolled his eyes and looked at Cade. "Now you see why I'm secretly thrilled when he goes out and starts pestering other people, right?"

"It's not nearly as bad now that he can make a decent coffee," Cade said.  "Speaking of, you're going to need lessons too.  I've tasted the swill he says you make yourself, and I honestly have no idea how you drink it."

"He loads it with sugar or chocolate," Pili chimed in. "Cade says you can't appreciate coffee if you put stuff in it, Dad."

Mike raised an eyebrow, "Is that what he says? He's probably right, but I can appreciate the chocolate and the sugar just fine."

"He doesn't get it," Pili said  to Cade. "You'll have to teach him how to make coffee like you taught me."

"Oh, I will," said Cade.  "Only bad coffee needs sugar.  And chocolate...  How do expect the chocolate to complement the coffee when you're essentially piling chocolate into a big old cup of shit?"

"Good luck," Pili laughed. "He's a sugar fiend. Promise him something sweet, and you can just about make him do tricks."

"Oh really?" Mike turned to face Pili. "Then why are you still doing double chores? Just haven't gotten around to replicating some pie yet?"

"As a matter of fact," Pili quipped, "there's key lime for dessert." He leaned around his father to talk directly to Cade. "Don't let him fool you. He talks like a big grizzly, but he's really a teddy bear." Addressing them both again he said, "Alright. The coffee should be done by now. Dinner's ready so let's all sit down."

Cade walked over to the table and threw himself into a chair.  "Let's have it, kid," he said to Pili.

Pili brought things out to the table with his dad.  There was teriyaki beef, rice, stir fried vegetables, water, juice, and of course coffee. Just as they were about to sit down, the comm sounded. Mike excused himself to the kitchen. He came back out in a minute. "Pili, that was one of the waitresses from Orchids and Jazz. She said something about the 'schedule' coming apart? She sounded pretty frantic. What's going on?"

"Damn!" Pili looked worried. "You remember I'm trying to organize an amateur night, right? The schedule for the first one was supposed to be finalized tonight. That's where I was all morning. I'd better get down there and try to calm her down...I mean, may I go take care of this? It's really important to me."

Mike could feel the anxiety that Pili was leaking. "Fine. Go. But you are NOT to be out late. Do whatever you need to do, then straight back here. Understood?"

"Thanks, Dad," Pili kissed him quickly on the cheek. "Sorry, Cade." He grabbed a PADD and ran out. In the hallway he slowed down, smiling to himself. That waitress was wasted serving drinks. She should be on stage with the performance he knew she'd given his dad. He started whistling to himself as he headed down the corridor. He figured dinner and a little work on the amateur night ought to be enough time for whatever was going to happen to happen.

Back in their quarters, Mike sat down across from Cade. "It's probably nothing. I'm betting he'll be back long before I'm ready, so i'm going to grab the peace and quiet while I can. I guess we shouldn't let all this go to waste. Dig in."

A JP brought to you by:  The annoying little Freitas, the spunky middle Freitas,

and the big old meanie down there.


  • Guest
Re: Halley's Complaint
« Reply #12 on: October 21, 2009, 09:53:23 am »
Continuing from last post...

Cade glared after the exiting teen, then turned to the food.  Or, rather he turned to the coffee.  He downed it in just a few sips, then looked at the food.  He guessed he could eat that.

"So," he asked the man sitting opposite him, "does he abandon his dinner guests often, or is it just me?"

"I couldn't say, really," Mike started filling his plate. "You're the first person he's invited over. Before this I don't guess we'd had anyone but family over, a long time. I'm really sorry you're stuck with me. I'm sure he didn't mean to abandon you; this amateur night is just really important to him."

"It's the first I've heard of it," Cade said, filling his plate with rice and strips of beef.  He wanted to eat and get out of here.  Being stuck making small talk with a stranger was not his idea of a productive evening.  He'd much rather be fixing the turbolifts.  At least he'd made the kid do all his filing.  No need to mention that the PADDs had been just as disorganised on the desk as they were on the floor.

"So," Mike tried to figure out how to bring this up. "I'm sorry about being so...short with you earlier, but I'm a dad. It's my job to worry about my kid. You seem like a good guy, though, did you two meet?" He just couldn't imagine how this man and his son could have ever just struck up a conversation.

"He was walking down a corridor and I fell through a broken maintenance hatch," Cade siad.  "But don't worry, I fixed it."  Cade paused to chew a strip of beef.  "Next thing I know, he starts leaving me food and really bad coffee."

Mike  smiled, "You fell out of the roof on top of my son and you thought I'd be worried about the hatch?" His smile broadened, then he started to laugh. "I would have given anything to see his face. It's not often Pili actually gets surprised. It's actually kind of annoying."

"You're not worried about being fallen on by an engineer?" Cade asked.  "But he did look pretty funny."  Cade wanted this discussion to be over.  falling through the roof was not something he really cared to remember.  Landing on a kid half his age, even less.  He shoved another bite of beef into his mouth and chewed it grumpily.

"I've been fallen on by far worse than an engineer," Mike quipped. The look on Cade's face threatened to bring on another laughing fit, so Mike decided to change topics. "So you've been giving Pili advice on art? I have to say this mural of his is good. It seems like a real advance for him. Where did you learn about art?"

"Parents," Cade mumbled around a mouthful.  He really didn't want to discuss his upbringing, let alone with a complete stranger.  He swallowed, and changed the subject.  "He should put a nudibranch in it," Cade said, waving his cutlery at the painted wall.

"Don't be so hasty," Mike pointed to some coral near the left side. There was what looked like a rose made from a pink ribbon wrapped around itself. "That, my friend, is a clutch of nudibranch eggs." Mike speared a bit of broccoli from the stir fry on his plate. "You should try some of this. It's my mother's recipe. Best you'll have outside her kitchen. Promise."

"Mother's recipe or not, that," he said with disdain, "is still a vegetable.  A very green, very nasty, very vegetable-y vegetable.  I'd rather drink replicated coffee than eat that."  Cade pulled his worst face, glaring comically at the piece of broccoli.

"By the way," he said, "I don't like vegetables."

"Ridiculous," Mike said. "You just haven't found ones you like yet. Tell you what, try just one bite of this, and I'll let it drop. I promise. If you don't, I may have to set the dogs on you...which would consist of giving Pili free rein to seek you out anytime he feels like it."

"Ah," said Cade.  "You're threatening to let your kid keep doing exactly what he already does.  Also, there's no way in hell I'm ever going to eat anything green.  I'm afraid you'll have to come up with a better threat, and a different coloured vegetable."

"If color is the problem," Mike pulled out some red bell pepper, "your wish is granted. If the threat is the problem...well, I don't know what I can do about that. Turning that boy loose is really pretty much my nuclear option." He smiled at an old memory of Pili pestering his brother, Kip. he set the pepper back with the other vegetables. "I was really only kidding though. I just felt obligated to stand up for my mother's stir fry. She'd disown me if I didn't at least try. Are you at least enjoying the beef? That one is all mine, mom's isn't half as good."

"I always like beef," Cade said.  He retrieved the piece of pepper,
screwed up his face, and shoved it in his mouth, then quickly followed it with another piece of meat.  He pulled another face as he swallowed, then asked, "happy now?"

"Huh," Mike was suddenly shocked. he wasn't exactly happy, but he realized he'd actually stopped thinking and worrying and obsessing about Dessan since forcing himself to make conversation. "Happy? Not exactly, but maybe I'm getting there. You're a good person, Cade. I sometimes need to remember that there are good people out there. Thank you."

Cade all but winced.  He hated when people got sappy.  He knew there was another reason he didn't eat vegetables.  "Oh, please," he scoffed.  "I swear all the time, I specialise in pissing people off, hell, I even made a Vulcan cry.  The fact is I'm a complete bastard, and I know it.  So you can take that 'good person' crap and shove it in the reclamator with the broccoli."

"Oh please," Mike scoffed. "You may be able to fool most people with that, but you're forgetting my 16 year old ace in the hole. Pili likes you. He thinks you're worth getting to know, and he values your opinion. Bark and growl all you'd like, but you know you can't fool an empath that easily."

Cade stopped moving.  A chill ran down his spine.  "What did you say?" he asked, his voice dropping towards a whisper.

"You mean..." Mike paled a little at the sudden change in Cade's tone. "Oh crap!" He struggled to figure out what to say. "It's not something we advertise to strangers, but as much as he talks about you and hangs out with you, I assumed he'd said something. Lonus, his other father, was Betazoid. Pili's half Betazoid. He'd never intrude, Cade, I swear, but he'd certainly know if you were some kind of monster. He really likes you, he talked about you all the time over subspace, he went on and on about how much he thought I'd li...that little shit!" Mike finally realized just exactly was going on here. Pili had once again arranged for a 'blind date' for him. He sat back speechless for a moment.

Cade took in everything the other man was saying, his rage growing with every word.  He couldn't take this any more.  He pushed back from the table violently, and sent the chair skidding across the room as he stood.  He stormed towards the door, and was nearly at a run as he left.  Empath.  Half Betazoid.  No.  Fucking.  Way.

Brought to you by the same crazy bastards


  • Guest
Re: Halley's Complaint
« Reply #13 on: October 21, 2009, 10:00:31 am »
|Freitas Quarters and Orchids & Jazz

Mike sat staring at the door for a few moments after Cade left. “That little brat,” he swore, thinking of the person responsible for this fiasco. He tossed his napkin on the table and headed out to find the culprit. He had a very good idea where to find him.

He’d feared the walk to the jazz club would have cooled his anger; it hadn’t. Mike walked in and scanned the place, waving off the hostess that approached. He saw his son sitting near the front listening to the musicians on stage. An audience? Fine! he thought.

He was only a few tables away when Pili sensed him and turned. “Uh, Dad? What happened?”

“What happened?” Mike said through clenched teeth. “What happened is my son set me up. He deceived me, and he deceived an innocent man. You swore to me you’d talk to me before doing something like this again, that you wouldn’t try to manipulate people like they were characters in one of your stories, so imagine my surprise when I found myself in the middle of one of your little dramas all over again tonight.”


“Do NOT interrupt me again, Pili, or this is going to be much worse for you.” Mike knew they were starting to draw stares, but he didn’t really care at this point. “I thought I could trust you. I left you alone without a babysitter while I was away because I didn’t think you were a baby anymore. Now I’m not so sure. I love you, Pili, but right now I don’t like you very much. You’ve disappointed me. That’s something you and I are going to have to talk about a lot more before it gets better.

“You’re going to have plenty of time to talk to me, though. As of this minute, you’re confined to quarters. If you so much as step outside for anything less than an evacuation, you’ll find yourself on the next shuttle out of here headed for military school. Art and music will have to wait until after you prove yourself by graduating. Am I clear? Yes sir or no sir.”

“Yes sir,” Pili whispered. Mike knew he was almost crying from the anger his father was directing at him. It was killing Mike, too, but he knew he had to do it.

“Good,” Mike continued. “There are dishes waiting for you at home. That’s your first chore. As long as you’re going to be there for the foreseeable future, you’re going to work to earn your keep. And before you ask, yes, you’re still working for Caroline, and yes, you are still coordinating the amateur night, but no, you will not be coming here to see or perform in the show. After tonight’s little bit of theater, you’re cut off until you can prove you can handle it.

“Now, up!” Mike helped by all but lifting Pili out of his chair. “March!” He guided the boy out of the bar with one hand on his shoulder. In the corridor he stopped his son and pulled him into a more private spot. “Pili,” he said in a softer tone, “you know I love you. I will always love you, but you can’t keep doing these things. I know that sometimes we just feel so connected that it’s hard to understand, but I am my own person. I have my own hopes and dreams and fears, and they are not yours to deal with, they're mine. I know you’re trying to help. I even know that what you do, you do it out of love for me and concern.”

“I do,” Pili started. Mike could tell the emotion was overwhelming him.

He took the boy in his arms, “I know, I understand and can always forgive you, but you hurt someone else tonight. You hurt someone that doesn’t understand and thought you were his friend.” He separated the two of them and held up his hand. “Let me show you what happened after you left.”

Pili took Mike’s hand and reached out to his father. Mike showed Pili how upset Cade had been, how angry and betrayed.

Pili’s pain was clear to Mike, too. He hugged his son close again. “It’s okay, baby,” he whispered as Pili shook. “I understand, and I think he will, too. He’s just going to need time.” He rubbed his son’s back as he continued. “I want you to go home and get to work, alright. And no matter how good an idea you think it is, no matter how much you want to, do NOT contact Cade. He needs time to cool off and process, okay?” He felt Pili nodding against his shoulder. “I’ll talk to him. I’ll try to explain, but you’ve got to give him time.”

He held his son for a few more minutes, then let him go. “Are you alright?”

Pili nodded. “I think so.”

“Okay,” Mike rubbed his shoulder. “Go on home. I’ll be there in a while. I need to decompress for a few minutes, then talk to Cade. You just leave things alone, alright?”

Pili nodded again. Mike kissed him on the forehead and gave him a nudge in the right direction. He knew Pili needed some time alone to process things, and that just left him with Cade to deal with. He headed back into the bar first. He decided a drink might not be such a bad idea.

Intermission, with Yelling


  • Guest
Re: Halley's Complaint
« Reply #14 on: October 21, 2009, 10:32:46 am »
|Cade's Quarters

Cade sat on the floor, knees drawn up, elbows resting upon them, hands cradling his head.  He peeked up, surveying the damage.  One of the packing crates he used as furniture was nearly useless.  Another was obviously buckled.  Hell, he'd even managed to dent the wall.

His breathing had slowed since he'd first flung himself to the floor, his rage had quietened.  He couldn't believe that kid had done this to him.  He felt cold, but was too drained to reach for the uniform jacket he had discarded earlier.

The door chimed.

Cade took a shaky breath.  "Come in."

Mike stepped inside. He could see the remains of several storage crates strewn across the room. Damn it, Pili, look at this, he thought. In a more even tone than he'd expected, Mike said, "Cade? I think I have a lot of apologizing to do. Can we talk?"

Cade ran his fingers through his hair, then nodded.  He was still shaking a little, but he probably owed this guy an explanation.  After all, he had practically left a hole in the door as he left...

"Yeah," he breathed, the word catching in his throat.

Mike was standing over the man. Cade was in just a white tank top with his uniform pants and Mike found himself thinking the man had nice arms. Then he started slapping himself mentally. He wasn't sure he was ready to start anything after Dessan yet, and he sure as hell didn't want to give Piili the satisfaction of finding him someone to date. Still, the man was nice to look at.

He reached out a hand to Cade. With a small smile he asked, "You want to look for some intact furniture, or would you like me to join you there on the floor?"

Cade took the offered hand, needing the help to get up off the floor.  Once he had hauled himself up, he quickly dropped Mike's hand.  Without saying anything, he turned around.  He started grabbing armfuls of clothing and other bits and pieces from a large pile and throwing them into a corner.  Gradually, a couch revealed itself.  Cade flopped on to it, and gestured for Mike to take the other seat.  He took a deep breath in, held it, and exhaled.  He had absolutely no idea how he was going to explain this one.

Mike sat next to Cade, turning to face him. He took a deep breath, "Please just let me get this out. I...I have to apologize for my son. He will not be bothering you or anyone else again for quite a while. I've confined him to quarters until further notice.

"He should have told you he was an empath, but we've never really advertised that fact to the public. Many non-psychics are uncomfortable enough with adult empaths and telepaths. I don't know if you're familiar with Betazoids or not, but most don't become telepathic until puberty. Pili was born empathic. It's been harder for him feeling all the emotions going on around him all the time. We did everything we could to help him adjust; that's why I left Starfleet after he was born. He's had a lot of training and therapy and practice. I may be biased, but I think he's turned out pretty well adjusted," Mike smirked at that, considering why he was explaining all this to Cade.

"Anyway, it's still hard for him sometimes and even harder for him to explain this all to people. Right now you're one of only 3 or 4 people on Kepler that knows, in fact. He never invaded your privacy; I made sure of that, though I never seriously thought he would have. I hope you'll forgive him eventually. I know he's very sorry he's upset you. It wasn't his intention...quite the opposite, in fact."

"As for his little stunt tonight," Mike reddened at this next part. "It sadly isn't the first time he's done this, though every time I hope it will be the last. He won't be trying it again with you, I promise you that, too. I've warned him that I'll send him straight to a boarding school on Qo'noS  if he does, and I mean it. And, I'm sorry personally for not figuring out what he was doing sooner and stopping it." He had worked through everything he had to get out before he'd signaled Cade's door. He was pretty sure he'd covered everything.

Cade took another deep breath.  "I..." he started, "look...  I have a problem with people who can get into my mind.  Wher I grew up...  I was raised in an artists' commune.  Everyone shared everything...  There  was no privacy..."  Cade took another deep breath, and tried to stop stammering.  "The only privacy I ever had was in my own mind.  Having that threatened - that's not something I can handle."

Confession over, Cade felt the need to break the tension.  "Coffee?" he offered.

"That sounds great," Mike nodded. "And I know how you feel. I was with Lonus, a pretty powerful telepath, for 17 years. And I've had a son who knows how I feel better than I do for 16 years." He realized how that sounded and added, "Lonus and I never blocked our emotions from Pili. It was actually important for him to have that stability as a baby and young child. He's never intentionally invaded our or anyone else's thoughts without their permission, though, even now that his telepathy has started kicking in."

"He won't get permission from me," Cade hissed as he stood up.  He began to make coffee, his hands knowing automatically the movements needed to grind the beans and tamp them into the handle of his espresso maker.  This one was an antique, a cafe style unit from Earth.  He'd plumbed it to the water supply himself.  The coffee took very little time to extract and flow down in the cups.  He stopped Mike's two thirds of the way through, stirring several spoons of sugar into the viscous liquid to make an almost sickening syrup.  A ristretto, prepared the traditional way.  He retrieved his double short black, and headed back to the couch.  Making coffee always felt better.

Handing the ristretto to Mike, he asked, "what happened to him?"

"Lonus?" Mike asked. "He died. A little more than a year ago. He was killed in a ridiculous shuttle crash. Apparently the triple fail-safes weren't quite enough. He was returning from a conference off world; he crashed on the pad there in San Francisco. We'd gone to meet him there. It happened right in front of us."

He always thought that it would be easier to tell the tale the more times he told it; it wasn't. He took a sip of the coffee and was surprised at the sweet elixir. It offered him a chance to break his depressing train of thought. "I thought you were the one that said sugar ruins coffee."

"Shit," said Cade.  "I shouldn't have asked."  He took a sip of his own coffee, then explained, "ristretto is traditionally drunk like that.  I wasn't sure you could handle my regular coffee, but you're welcome to try it," he said, proffering his own cup.

"You tried my vegetables, I guess it's only fair I try black coffee, eh?" Mike grinned at Cade. He took the cup and looked at it for a minute. He scrunched up his face and took a sip. "Huh, that's actually pretty good. It's not bitter at all. I mean, as much as his big 'emergency' tonight was a lie, Pili was brutally honest about my love for sugar. If 17 years with a doctor couldn't cure me of that addiction, I doubt one cup of coffee on a teenager's ill-conceived notion of a blind date is going to do it, right?"

"Gimme that back," Cade said, grabbing at his coffee cup.  Internally, he was groaning.  He'd been set up.  Set up with a man whose partner of seventeen years had literally exploded in front of him.  And Cade had ruined the 'date'.  No way was he into men.  No way in hell was this ever going to go any further.  But the man at least deserved a decent experience tonight.  He decided to turn things around.

"I never asked," Cade said, "but what do you do?"

Tentative tendrils of temperance


Makani Freitas