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SD241805.12 | JL | LtCmdr. John Smith & Lt. Ra'lin Sha'mer | "A Quiet Corner"

Posted on 242005.12 @ 12:56 by Lieutenant Commander John Smith & Lieutenant Ra'lin Sha'mer

Mission: Lacuna

Being around people hurt. Ra'lin's angry mindblast had done more than giving some people a nasty headache, she had also quite effectively ripped her own mental shields to shreds and rebuilding it would take some time. So, for the time being she tried to avoid any areas with people in it. She'd picked the smallest observation lounge, located deep in the belly of the ship, as a temporary office and spent most of her time there. It had the bonus of minimising the risk of running into Amelia, too. Seeing her again was the last thing Ra'lin wanted. She was too afraid of what would happen if she met her again.

Outside the observation lounge, John pulled up short, padd in hand.

"Computer, confirm location of Lieutenant Sha'mer." he said, staring skeptically at the door label, which seemed to insist this tiny patch of nowhere was some sort of lounge.

"Lieutenant Sha'mer is in the observation lounge on this level."

"Confirm location of observation lounge on this level."

"Entrance to lbservation lounge on this level is three-point-zero-two meters from current position."

"Does anyone even use this lounge?"

"That command was not recognised."

John sighed at this, wondering why their state-of-the-art computer core was unable to figure out colloquialisms. Especially in this day and age.

"How many people have visited the observation lounge on this level in the past six months?" he enunciated, carefully using formal computer-command syntax.

"One. Lieutenant Ralin Sha'mer."

"Of course."

"That command was not recognised."

"End command chain." he instructed the computer, which beeped in response. Command chaining could be useful when you didn't want to preface every sentence with the word "computer", but it could make you crazy in a very short time. You ended up using formal syntax with people, and that's how nicknames were born.

John stepped up to the door, which refused to budge. He prodded it experimentally, and it continued to stay shut. Peering at the little control panel that sat next to the door, he saw that the chime was illuminated. For some reason, this observation lounge seemed to think it was some sort of restricted space. Like an office, or someone's quarters. He wondered, was the Yeoman sleeping down here?

A diplomatic finger pressed the door chime, requesting entry with the usual ditty.

Ra'lin had, of course, sensed the mind long before the finger touched the chime, and sighed. She could hardly just hang a sign on the door saying 'KEEP OUT', even though it was sorely tempting. The door had been keyed to admit only a few people straight away, and you'd think that hiding down here this way, people would get the hint. Rubbing her temples, Ra'lin sighed and ordered the computer to admit John.

She forced herself to smile as the man entered, but she feared it was hardly a convincing one. "Commander," she said softly. "What can I do for you?"

"Morning Lieutenant." John replied, seeing her tired smile and politely deciding not to mention it. Whatever was bothering her, she had enough to worry about without Commanders asking prying questions. Ultimately it was the Commodore's duty to handle such matters, since Ra'lin was her direct report, and he decided to bring it up with her in private later on.

"These are the preliminary reviews for the Diplomatic department personnel, as well as the workspace assessment. There's a short list of furniture requisitions at the end." he told her, activating the padd he carried and holding it out to her.

Ra'lin accepted the padd, taking great care not to touch him in the process. The last thing she wanted was to get another blast of memories and emotions from someone. Who knew what dark events were buried in other people's past? She would, if she wasn't careful – and she didn't want to know. "Thank you," she said, skipping the reviews for now and going straight to the furniture requirements. There was nothing in there that really stood out, except one. "I can sign off on these, no problem," she added. "I just don't understand… why the hammock?"

"Because Elaysians would float out of a bed." John explained, repeating what he'd been told after asking Chief Petty Officer Kobor (after *he'd* asked Research Team Lead Ensign Amelina, and *she'd* asked research team member Crewman Talas).

"After the briefing, we put out some calls to nearby systems, asking whether there had been any recorded shipments of kava nuts and rippleberries; a Vorta's favourite foods. While we didn't get any results, a senior official from one of the Elaysian colonies indicated he wanted to visit the Vindicator as a show of good faith and solidarity between our cultures." he added, unfazed by the level of formality that could be evoked by a simple comm message from a Starfleet Crewman. John had wondered if anyone from Starfleet had ever contacted the man's tiny colony before.

"Anyway, one of my research team dutifully followed through on the man's requirements, and apparently every Elaysian in that colony uses a silksteel hammock for sleeping. In case he decides to show up unannounced, we figured it was better to be prepared." he explained.

"Ah…" Ra'lin said weakly and keyed off the request. "Fascinating people, the Elaysians. We had one of their race on Trilista when I was growing up. Fighter pilot. It's one of those places I'd like to visit one day, just for the sensation of floating in zero G in a natural environment." She made a copy of the reports and transferred it to one of her own padds, to be read and summarised once John was gone, then handed the one she was holding back. "There you go. I apologise for the inconvenience."

"No trouble." he assured her, accepting the padd. John turned to leave, part of his mind already moving onto the next task, but curiosity stayed his feet. He turned back and inquired, in a casual tone; "I think I might have more reports later today, and another tomorrow. Should I direct all of them down here?"

Ra'lin began to rub her temple when he began to leave, but when he turned around again, she lowered her hand. She could avoid the whole hassle by continuing to wear the mental blocker, but that had other drawbacks. It made everyone around her seem unreal, like holodeck spectres: flat, two-dimensional, gone when you closed your eyes. No. Better to stay here, holed up for a bit. Her shields would be restored soon enough to a functional level. But not today, and probably not tomorrow, either. "Yes, please."

"As you wish. Take care." said John, backing away from the topic. Normally he night have stayed and pressed the yeoman for more details, but memories of his behaviour from a few nights ago had come back to haunt him. The Captain must think him a drunken fool after that mess, and he had absolutely no intention of bringing that sort of unprofessionalism to his day duties. It would be more prudent simply to speak to the Captain and express his concerns to her in private.

Not that it would be easy, he admitted to himself as he walked towards the door. The broken, incoherent mewlings of a diplomat shattered by a simple meal with the Empress must have been downright painful to listen to. He cringed as he recalled bawling into his fingers, whining about the unpleasant food. Of course none of that would have happened if he hadn't tried peeling an eyeball at a royal dinner table, something he simply shook his head at in disbelief.

No, he wouldn't dwell; he'd be better. He resolved to face the Captain and leave this entire mess behind them. She wouldn't hold it against him, he was certain. She had offered him the drink, she'd even offered to feed him; something that made him suspect, in hindsight, that *she'd* been drinking. Somehow this made him feel better about himself. Everyone had a bad day, and the key was to learn from it.

He *would* be better.

"You too," Ra'lin said softly. He looked like something was bothering him, but he also didn't seem to be in the mood to chat. Then again, neither was she.

It was only after he left that Ra'lin realised that though she had sensed his presence when he arrived, that was really all she caught. There hadn't been any spillage at all. Just the sense of 'someone being there', nothing more than that. No thoughts. No emotions. No unexpected flashes. Restful. Quiet. Nice.

She resolved to ask him about it. Sometime later, once she felt herself once more.

=^= End of Log =^=

Lt Cmdr John Smith
Chief Diplomat
USS Vindicator


Lt. Ra'lin Sha'mer
USS Vindicator


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