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A Long Expected Party


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#1 Lt Benjamin Elias

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Posted Star Date 22010.07 @ 02:58 (02:58 AM)

==Chief Engineer’s Quarters, USS Artemis, Delta Quadrant==

 

Benjamin sighed as he walked through his quarters. Nearly a month since he moved in, and despite Cera’s suggestions on how to arrange the place, he still didn’t quite feel at home in the large, lonely space.

 

Sure, he was excited to have space to spread out some. He had a table against the wall where he had his models spread out, paints on a rack in the corner with his brushes, ready to work whenever he had time. His bookshelf was on display with a number of texts he loved to read some, and a couch and chair were set up to talk and read in. His bedroom was just for sleeping again, rather than being a multipurpose space like in every other place he’d lived since… well, since he was a kid.

 

But he missed being close to other people. The only time he’d actually had single quarters – even if they were barely more than a closet – had been on Harkens’ freighter, and that hadn’t exactly been the best time in his life. He had set the still back up in the replicator here, moving it under the cover of repair work to the replicator system, and though he kept running it he hadn’t exactly been thrilled that it was there.

 

He’d been working on quitting his drinking, but was ashamed that he hadn’t been able to do so. Was he drinking anything close to what he had been? No. But he still couldn’t get to sleep at night without at least a taste, and he hated it. He didn’t mind the actual drinking – especially in a social setting – but the fact that he couldn’t simply choose not to was beginning to get to him. At least you’ll have something to talk to the counselor about next week, he thought, trying to find a bright side.

 

But that was for another day. Today, he had a bottle in his hand and a pair of tumblers in the other, and he set them down on the table in the living area. He’d broken out the good stuff for this – a bottle of whiskey he’d gotten from… somewhere. He unstoppered the bottle and took a sniff. Okay, so the alright stuff, he thought as he put it back. It was better than the rotgut he made, at least.

 

It had been far, far too long since he’d sat down with his friend and just… talked. He’d moved out with barely a word; they had spoken maybe three times before the whole asteroid base situation, and he could count on two hands the total number of minutes those conversations had spanned and still have fingers left over. He was disappointed in himself for it, but all he could do was try to make it up to him.

 

To that end he’d invited him over now that they were, if not settled in the Delta Quadrant, at least out of the immediate crisis. If nothing else, they just needed a chance to talk, to clear the air. Fortunately he was supposed to show up soon; the worst part was always the waiting.


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#2 Lt (JG) Nathan Ramius {Coleman}

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Posted Star Date 22010.10 @ 01:48 (01:48 AM)

Just go already.

 

Perpetually early for everything, Nathan wasn’t yet late, but if he hesitated any longer, he would be. An ocean of emotions stirred beneath his rather stoic face that gave no hint as to turmoil that roiled beneath. However, it was also the absence of warmth in his demeanor that would have given away that something wasn’t quite right, at least to those that knew him. It felt a bit odd, hanging about near the Turbolift, but that was better showing up on his friend’s doorstep, feeling at odds with the entire situation.

 

I’ve heard more about Ben from Whitby than I have from the man himself.

 

Beneath his right arm, a rather plain wooden box seemed to gain weight with each passing minute of indecisiveness. Of course, it wasn’t the box itself that was the gift, but instead it was the means to transport it. Among Nathan’s growing list of hobbies, woodcarving was quickly becoming the go-to way for him to pass time, and even sort of meditate in an odd way. It was better than what he had been doing, which was sulking and doing nothing. It allowed him to make things, to create, and work his problems out in a healthier way. But, he had struggled to figure out just what it was that he’d make for Benjamin that the man didn’t already have, or have access to, with whatever relationship it was that he had with Cera. The thought had run through Nathan’s mind to just bring Ben a bottle of something expensive, but that just didn’t feel right for many reasons either.

 

Oh yes, and giving him this hand-carved combination cheese-appetizer-tapas-board is something he’ll find a lot of use for? Everything is replicated on a platter anyway. This is so cheesy… he paused mid-thought and frowned at the unintended word play.

 

It wasn’t the first time Nathan considered dematerializing the work, but he reminded himself that it wasn’t the function or even the use that Benjamin might get out of the item. It was the thought that should count. It was meant to be a housewarming gift, not a practical one. Not that Nathan even knew what kind of practical gift he could get Ben anyway that he didn’t already have.

 

A monogram engraved onto a deluxe hyperspanner to make it personalized? Either that, or maybe one with a wrist strap so he doesn’t lose it, there was a chuckle, followed by a headshake and short sigh.

 

Then long sigh escaped him. And another. Finally, some kind of impetus struck him, and his feet started to move. One foot, other foot; left foot, right foot. It almost felt like he was marching, and Nathan felt bad about it. He was going to see his friend, and here he was feeling like it was like a parade march... if casual jeans and a t-shirt were somehow a uniform. There wasn’t any time for him to go over those sensations and thoughts, for as quickly as he had decided to leave the Turbolift area, he’d managed to cover the ground needed to reach the Chief Engineer’s Quarters.

 

Cracking his neck twice, Nathan let out a final sigh, put on a smile, and pushed the call button on the console.


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#3 Lt Benjamin Elias

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Posted Star Date 22010.13 @ 01:07 (01:07 AM)

Benjamin was relieved when the door chime rang a few minutes later. He had begun to get worried - the man was typically early to everything, and with the appointed hour approaching it had gotten him just a touch worried. No, he just got caught up doing something, he thought. Though what he could have gotten caught up with... that was anyone's guess.

 

Walking over to the door, he opened it with a smile. "Come on in," he told Nathan. "Grab a seat; I got some of the good stuff if you want it, or whatever else you'd like." He waved over at the living area, the two glasses already set. "I didn't think to get any food out, but if you're hungry..." he shrugged. "I'm open to suggestions."

 

He sighed heavily as they walked over to the chairs. He hadn't wanted this to be awkward, but inevitably it had gotten there. Why? he wondered to himself. They were friends; nothing about that had changed. And yet here he was, unsure even where to begin. He turned and looked at his friend, and saw the box under his arm. He chuckled. "You didn't have to do anything," Benjamin told him. "You're my friend; all I need from you is..." he sighed. "Just to know you still are."

 

Sinking heavily to the chair, he started to pour - both the whiskey and his words. "I'm sorry," he started. "I didn't mean to just leave like that. The captain gave me the new job, the quarters got reassigned, and before I could think we were on those trials for jumping the fleet. Then I had to figure out how to manage a department, keep the ship working, and before I knew it it had been weeks and I still hadn't found a chance to talk."

 

He picked up his own glass and took a sip, savoring the - relatively - smooth taste before he continued. "I could make excuses. Work kept me busy. I've developed a lot of terrible habits the past few years. I didn't know what to say. But the simple fact is that I didn't make the time when I should have, and I'm sorry. You're probably the best friend I've got, and I treated you badly."

 

Another sip, and he leaned forward on his knees as he looked across at Nathan and that box - had he built that himself? he thought. "I never even took the time to ask you about Michelle," he thought, "or how your parents took the idea of you heading out into the Delta Quadrant. I'm sure they were okay, but I am curious about her."

 

Whitby, despite being a gossip after Cera's own heart, had sternly refused to tell Benjamin anything about Nathan. "You have got to talk to him," she would say instead. And he couldn't help but agree, even if he never quite found the time for it. His own family had questioned the wisdom of heading so far out deliberately, but had wished him well - his sister had even sent him a long playlist of her band's music to tide him over - so he presumed it was a similar story from Nathan's family.

 

But Michelle... last he'd heard, he'd proposed, but he hadn't heard anything since then. Given that she wasn't on the ship, he just hoped that she'd taken his departure alright.


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#4 Lt (JG) Nathan Ramius {Coleman}

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Posted Star Date 22010.18 @ 00:41 (12:41 AM)

Walking in, everything felt a bit odd to Nathan. The room was too big, and didn’t at all have the same vibe like their old Quarters had had; there was far more on display than what the old Casa did when they were rooming. Models, books, all sorts of things filled the space in an area that was actually a functional living room and not just a sort of shared foyer. Two factions drew into battle formations within Nathan’s brain; one of envy and the other muditā. Mostly, the latter was the stronger emotion of the two, with Nathan decidedly being vicariously joyful for Benjamin, knowing that the man had more than earned his spot as Chief Engineer. And as Ramius thought more on it, the begrudging side of him seemed to melt away.

 

Finally, he moved from the door and toward one of the proffered seats.

 

“I could do some snack type stuff maybe, though I’m not crazy peckish at the moment,” he responded, while eyeing up the bottle on the table, a slight eyebrow raising upward.

 

Whiskey and not the still stuff? Hmm.

 

"You didn't have to do anything," Ben’s voice broke his concentration on the minute detail, "You're my friend; all I need from you is... Just to know you still are."

 

“Not at all,” Nathan had responded reflexively, though then realized how the statement could be taken, and added to it,

 

“I mean, about the box. I couldn’t very well come without a housewarming gift…” he paused, “er. A Quarters-warming gift.”

 

Ramius had purposefully left out commenting on the second half of Ben’s statement. There were plenty of words that were sitting at the tip of his tongue, and few of them seemed civil enough for the beginning of a conversation. In the past, he might have just said those things, though now he kept his mouth in check more often than not. Placing the gift on the table, he then looked to Benjamin and the way he sunk into the chair, and Nathan knew there was more to be said. While Elias started to pour, Ramius motioned for a splash in his glass as well. He listened carefully even as he grabbed for the libation, bringing it up to his nose to take in the aromas.

 

"I'm sorry,” Ben said, and it echoed in Nathan’s ears.

 

Sitting quietly, the young man tried to keep a stoic face. There were just too many emotions in him that whirled about like a fire-devil spinning about in a sea of ash and soot. Just hearing Ben talk about it dredged up many things that Nathan had been busily burying in his subconscious since his ex-roommate had done a midnight run, except never came back. But as Benjamin continued, a different vein of feeling was struck, especially as the words ‘best’ and ‘friend’ were uttered. A mix of thoughts and sentiments washed over Nathan’s face, before he quickly covered it back up; though it didn’t stop the emotions themselves from rushing around.

 

It was at that point that Nathan took his first sip of whiskey, enjoying the flavor that hit his tongue, while the heat that emanated afterward was welcomed too. It didn’t burn like the rotgut did, but there was actual flavor beyond just pure ethanol.

 

"I never even took the time to ask you about Michelle…”

 

Nathan froze. Unmoving, he had missed the entirety of what Benjamin had asked next; he could have been a statue as even his breath was held. The name brought immediately the recollection of her face, and it was something that he couldn’t shake, at least not right away. As his breathing returned, forced by his brain to do so, he finally managed to blink. Slowly, the rest of his faculties came back, but Nathan stayed quiet for a long while after. How long, he didn’t know, but it was long enough for his fingers to turn slightly white in places from the pressure that he’d held onto the whiskey glass with. Releasing the grip a bit, he brought the glass up to his lips and took a sip again. There was a sort of heaving sigh as Nathan tried to get air back into his lungs to catchup on the lost oxygen from before. His brows furrowed together harshly, though his lips were pulled down into a more sad looking sort of expression.

 

“There is… a lot, to unpackage.”

 

Placing the glass down onto the table, Nathan then sat back in the chair and steepled his fingers in front of his mouth, as though he were about to say a silent prayer. And, perhaps, he was. The cogs turned, as he considered how he wanted to approach it all. Ben had done an excellent job in defusing the bulk of Nathan’s frustration and anger by being so upfront with the apologies. There was a lingering resentment at the bottom of that barrel, but nothing that couldn’t be covered and eventually forgotten over time. And then the pain that still traced its way through his veins made itself known too. But, mostly, it was lessened significantly. Finally, he dropped his hands, and looked directly at Ben.

 

“I can’t imagine what you’d have to do to not be my best friend, Ben. We’ve fought and bled together. I consider you a brother.”

 

There was a pause, and Nathan broke eye contact for a moment. Taking a deep breath in, letting it settle before releasing it, he returned his gaze.

 

“But I won’t lie that I… I’m hurt. I felt abandoned, not once but twice over. Both from people that I trusted the most. More than I ever thought I’d be able to trust. I don’t… I… suffice to say that **** got dark as **** for me. I’m still reeling from it all. It was like I was stuck on the wrong side of a weir, just tumbling over and over, getting a gasp of air but slowly drowning just the same. I’d grab onto anything just to get some stability, and maybe I’m still flailing,” he stopped himself suddenly, realizing that he was rambling.

 

Reaching forward, Nathan grabbed his glass and took a good swig, finishing off what had remained there. The empty glass was gently placed back onto the coaster.

 

“I know… I know that you know all that. You wouldn’t have invited me here, and wouldn’t have offered apologies otherwise. At the time I didn’t quite understand it all. But I’ve come to realize that you were caught up in things, and hearing you say it just reaffirms what part of me believed and knew from the very start; Chief Engineer isn’t an easy job. Less so when you’ve gotta monitor a system that hasn’t exactly been stress tested they way it was for our jumps. I mean… I knew all of that, but at the time… it, it just didn’t set. So… I guess that was just a long-winded way to say, I accept your apology,” Nathan chuckled, though it faded quickly.

 

Again, he leaned toward the table and picked up the glass that had just been refilled by Ben. This time, it was a more measured sip. He closed his eyes, forcing himself to taste and enjoy the drink instead of just throwing it down his gullet. Nathan’s hand still held the glass as he opened his eyes, which were now fixated on something across the room.

 

“She had said yes, you know. It was a yes. I’d never been so happy in my life, I think. But it was also the shortest span of happiness I’d ever had too,” another sip occurred.

 

“I hadn’t told her about the next upcoming Megasphere mission. Never mentioned it because… I dunno, there were a lot of reasons. Even just for the sake of operational security I probably shouldn’t have told her. But, I did. We argued some. I can understand her anger now, but at the time I thought she was being irrational... like the dumbass I am. There were words exchanged, the placing of guilt onto people… and then I confessed that I had volunteered for it.”

 

There was another long silence as he stared off. In reality, he was reliving every moment in his brain, as though it was all happening again.

 

“I don’t know why I said it; I have a compulsion for being honest, I guess. That was the nail… in the… and she said that security was already scary enough, and why would I go and volunteer for something like that? She couldn’t understand it. I couldn’t understand why she didn’t understand. There was plenty of misunderstanding.”

 

The seconds ticked on, as he kept going through the motions of those memories. But something snapped him back, bringing him into the present. He could feel his eyes welling a bit and he suddenly felt ashamed. But then he decided that Ben would likely understand. Still, he wiped his eyes so that he didn’t blubber completely.

 

“It didn’t help, everything that had happened on the planet before… er, the Megasphere. I mean, that didn’t help the situation, because I think it shook her some. Eroded her confidence in herself. In her choices.”

 

Yet another sip, and this time he held it in his mouth and swished it around before tilting his head back to gulp it down.

 

“She left that night. I don’t know how she got the transfer request in so quickly, but something tells me Tyra signed the orders the moment she saw them. There was no love lost there after the mission, I think. I don’t even know where… where…” he sighed heavily, gritted his teeth, and forced himself to say her name, “I don’t even know where Michelle is, or if she is okay. And I’m terrified to even find out…”

 

The last sentence sort of fell off, and Nathan went quiet. Only a moment passed though, before he suddenly looked up, straight into Ben’s face, and said,

 

“…but I still ******* love her, and I don’t know if I ever won’t love her.”

 

There were plenty of unasked questions in Nathan’s face then. The kind that, if answered in a certain way, would reassure him. But also the kind that, if answered truthfully and honestly, would give him little succor though might shorten the length of time it took to heal. Perhaps he already knew the answers too, but even after a month of asking himself, still didn’t accept or understand them.


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#5 Lt Benjamin Elias

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Posted Star Date 22010.21 @ 01:17 (01:17 AM)

Benjamin released a breath he didn’t know he had been holding when Nathan accepted his apology. He had been sure he would, but he hadn’t been sure. Things were tense, on both sides, and they hadn’t done anything until now to try and relieve that; to hear him talk about how tough his own journey had been these past few days and weeks made Benjamin realize just how much this had been needed, and weeks ago.

 

He smiled and nodded, taking a sip of the whiskey as Nathan savored some of his, eyes closed. When Nathan opened them again, he wasn’t looking at him anymore, eyes fixed across the room instead. “She had said yes, you know. It was a yes.”

 

Benjamin felt his heart sink as Nathan kept talking, a little rambling as if he hadn’t really told anyone else. How did I miss this? he scolded himself. To know that Nathan had first hit the high of getting engaged, and then Price had just… just left him. He heard Nathan try to justify it, saying the trauma of the Megasphere mission might have caused it, but Benjamin just couldn’t agree.

 

By the end, the words were just barely getting out of his mouth, coming out of a nearly clenched jaw. “I don’t even know where Michelle is,” he finished, “or if she is okay. And I’m terrified to even find out…” He fell silent for a moment, before looking straight up at him, catching his eyes. “…but I still ******* love her, and I don’t know if I ever won’t love her.”

 

Benjamin sighed, recognizing the look on his friend’s face. He’d seen it far too often, though it was years ago from his own face. Most often, he’d seen it in the bottom of the glass, staring back at him in judgement. He knocked back the rest of what was in his glass, and then got up for a moment. Walking to his hobby desk, he got a couple of paper towels and brought them back over, setting them down on the table in front of Nathan as he walked the other direction.

 

After what felt like enough time, Benjamin returned with a clear, unlabeled bottle full of some liquid. He took the spare paper towel he’d stuffed in his own pocket, wiped out his glass along with Nathan’s empty one, before pouring some of the rotgut into each glass. He sighed, and smelled his glass a moment as he settled back into his chair, head looking down into the glass for a moment while he thought about what to say.

 

There were two options, to Benjamin’s unfortunately experienced eye. The first, and the immediately kinder option, would be to reassure him. Obviously, Michelle was a ***** and wasn’t worthy of him in the first place. Or maybe go with yes, the Megasphere broke her, and you can blame the Borg for taking away your chance at happiness with her.  Something along those lines. It would take the sting out, and would help him hold it together for a while.

 

But that wouldn’t help in the long run. It might redirect his anger outward, but it would manifest somewhere, somehow. Combined with his tendency to wear his heart and emotions on his sleeve, and to speak his mind, it wouldn’t be long before the captain lost patience with him and he was at minimum off the ship, and possibly out of the service completely.

 

And Benjamin had already been there and done that. He took a sip of the alcohol he’d poured, reminding himself of what the result of that kind of despair was.

 

The second, and more painful option, was simply to go to the truth. It sucked, he was well aware. But if any one of multiple people had been honest with him eight years ago, it was likely he never would have fallen in with Harkens and his smuggling crew. He’d be without a lot of scars he had now, both physical and emotional. And maybe he wouldn’t be here in Star Fleet now, but he’d be lying if part of him didn’t wish he’d had that chance.

 

Maybe I’m not where I wish I could’ve been, he considered as he saw his reflection ripple in his glass, but maybe I’m where I’m needed most.

 

“I wish I could tell you why it happened,” Benjamin said, still looking down. “The only people that can answer that question are you, Michelle, and God.” He took a breath, and looked up at his friend, locking eyes for a moment before loosening up his gaze.

 

“As much as I’d like to blame the Borg,” he continued, “from my position as an outsider, I don’t think that’s it. Contributing maybe, but that’s not the reason. The reason is simple: you were both moving fast, and with you going on the away team she was scared. It wasn’t a decision she would make, and it highlighted the major difference between you – that you were always one to leap into the action, while she wasn’t.

 

“She was scared not just of losing you, but of having to feel that terror over, and over, and over, and over again.” He took a sip, swallowing hard to make sure it went down, before continuing. “As much as you love her – and she loved you, from everything I saw – she couldn’t handle that, and ran.”

 

He looked back down into the glass for a moment, before setting it down and looking back at Nathan. “I wish I could say some words to make it easier, make it hurt less. But I can’t. There are no such words. All I’ve got is time, and for you to know that no matter how much it may feel like it at times, you’ve got to remember one simple thing.

 

You’re not alone in this,” he finished. “I’m here, and I’ll do my best to not drop off the face of the earth again like I did. You’ve got Eliana still there, as well. We’ll help you get through it, alright?” He smiled a genuine, if a little wan, smile. “Just know there won’t always be alcohol involved.”


Edited by Lt (JG) Benjamin Elias, Star Date 22010.21 @ 01:28 (01:28 AM).

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#6 Lt (JG) Nathan Ramius {Coleman}

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Posted Star Date 22010.24 @ 03:35 (03:35 AM)

There was little that Nathan could say or do in the silence that followed his obvious revelation, except to attempt to stifle the welling of tears and onslaught of emotions that stormed his mind. He’d heard Ben sigh and get up, but didn’t recall him coming back. Somehow, in the intervening time, paper towels had been set before him. Grabbing up one, he patted his face which was wet; a surprising discovery as Ramius didn’t feel the waterworks start. His heart lurched, pummeling the ribs in front of it as though it were in a prison, demanding the jailors to release it. A hand came up, to press against the part where it hurt, even if it did little to dampen the ache. Meanwhile, his stomach churned and roiled, threatening to make him sick. The alcohol had sat heavy, and Nathan could feel it still in the back of his throat as though he’d just drank a sizeable swallow.

 

The scent of paint thinning ethanol struck him, knocking his brain from the cycle of thoughts and memories tumbling about in a chaotic fashion.

 

Rotgut, a thin smile spread out for the merest of moments before disappearing, though the comfort from the vile smelling substance remained.

 

Ben looked thoughtful as he stared deeply into the glass in his own hands, and Nathan had realized how stupid he’d been not to try and seek out his friend earlier. Even when Ramius wasn’t in trouble with something, Ben was always a steadying force for him. How far ahead could he have been had he just asked Elias for a night to hash out thoughts? It was easy to ask that, as things had just been settled, Nathan considered as the hindsight kicked in.

 

“I wish I could tell you why it happened,” the rich voice was comforting, and Nathan listened intently even as he leaned forward to grab his newly filled glass of poison.

 

Hearing Ben say her name caught his attention, and he looked directly toward his friend, while clutching his glass close into his body. How the man across from him was able to boil it all down seemed wizard to Nathan. And he agreed with much of it. There was a dichotomy to relationships, and as Ben went on with his analysis of everything, the truth of the matter became clear to Ramius: that getting into relationships was simple, but staying in them, well that was the trick. Whatever had clicked initially didn’t always mean that the entire picture was considered. Pulling back, and seeing the puzzle that was a person in all their complexity, often revealed truths that were never brought to life in the early passionate days of a fledgling romance.

 

“She was scared not just of losing you, but of having to feel that terror over, and over, and over, and over again.”

 

That statement resonated loudly with Nathan. Mostly because of how concretely accurate it was. She had never been happy with how much risk was involved in his job, and even less so when he willing pitched himself into the fray. That would never change, unless Nathan switched Departments. Was that something he should have considered, a Department change? Those were the kinds of questions that could drive someone mad, he knew, and it was too little too late anyway.

 

The finishing statement that Benjamin said, made Nathan chuckle and nodded knowingly. Though, almost in an act of defiance, he took a good sample from his own glass. The burn was immediate, rageful in its reintroduction to his tastebuds, yet somehow so incredibly consoling; a dangerous trait when it came to the substance.

 

“I know. I should have reached out somehow. And hearing you say it, I feel almost ashamed that I didn’t tell you or Eli just how ****** up I was. But, being deep down in that abyss. It just swallowed me up. Wouldn’t let me up for air. Would’ve sank a message in a bottle too if I would have thought of that.”

 

Shifting to find some comfort in his seat, Nathan sighed loudly.

 

“It’s funny in a way, when I look back at everything I ever considered a ‘serious’ relationship in the past, whether that was way back, or even just at the Academy. There were real feelings in all of those relationships. They had all hurt when they ended. But none of them. Not one of them, could rate anywhere near to what I’m feeling now. They almost seem like base infatuations in comparison. And I just don’t know how I ever could have been so stupid to have fallen so completely for her. Never once did I ever consider that we might not be compatible, or that something like my job would ever get in the way, particularly with both of us being Fleeters.”

 

Sipping the clear ether-like liquid, Nathan’s face screwed up slightly. Another shift in the chair failed to find him any relief, though he did consider his discomfort wasn’t physical to begin with anyway.

 

“I hadn’t been with her that long had I?” he looked to Ben now.

 

“I just want to know when this’ll stop. Or at least eases. Cause I feel like a damn mess and an idiot.”

 

Nathan laughed then. Straight up nearly howled, before getting control of himself.

 

“I mean, I feel like more of an idiot than usual,” another round of chuckling rolled out from him as he took a sip to steady his senses. And steadied they were, like a slap to the face, the alcohol hurt him just enough to bring him back.

 

“I’ve tried all the old tricks. Working out until I can barely move. Taking tons of extra duty shifts to keep me busy. Chess, puzzles, cello… I’ve even been trying my hand at the guitar. The only thing that has been really working is the wood working,” he nodded to the box on the table.

 

“Something about it; keeping my hands busy and my mind focused, while creating something tangible when I’m done. It’s about the only thing that really keeps me from turning inward toward my thoughts.”

 

There was a pause, and Nathan took some time to look at the bottom of the glass.

 

“I need someone to tell me what to do. Because I’ve never been here before. Feel like I want a new heart cloned and transplanted, if that’d even help,” he shrugged, sipped, then sighed.

 

“After all this time, there should be a manual on heartbreak, right? It’s twenty-four twenty damnit.”


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#7 Lt Benjamin Elias

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Posted Star Date 22011.08 @ 23:35 (11:35 PM)

Time seemed to drag out as Benjamin listened to his friend. He understood why Nathan hadn’t come to him, or anyone else for that matter. Pain like this was so deep, so personal, that it was almost impossible to go to anyone for help. He didn’t blame him for that. Hearing him blame himself for falling in love with her in the first place was a bit harder to listen to, but not uncommon.

 

The laughter when he called himself an idiot was infectious, even if Benjamin didn’t agree with him. Sure, he’d stuck his foot in it right out of the gate. Sure, he’d made a hash of things at first on the pre-Megasphere. Sure, the less said about Pomn the better.

 

… okay, so maybe we’re both idiots, Benjamin corrected, and joined in the laughter, if not as boisterously. They both took a sip of their drinks, and he just let his friend keep going. He was glad that the woodwork was helping, and he was getting to be fairly decent at it from what Benjamin could see.

 

The last bit, though, weighed heavily. “I need someone to tell me what to do,” Nathan said. “Because I’ve never been here before. Feel like I want a new heart cloned and transplanted, if that’d even help.” He took a sip of his drink and sighed. “After all this time, there should be a manual on heartbreak, right? It’s twenty-four twenty, dammit.”

 

Benjamin, for his part, returned the sigh and took a drink of his own, leaning down on his knees as he looked across at Nathan. “I wish I had one to give you, some ‘So She Broke Your Heart’ pamphlet with ten easy steps to get you to the next phase of your life.

 

“Unfortunately, anyone who’s offering one is stealing your money, your time, and your hope. The only way out, for better or worse, is through.”

 

He looked around the room, and saw instead the miserable little closet he’d had back when he’d worked for Harkens. He hadn’t cared much about how big it was back then; it’d had a bed, a toilet, and somewhere to make and keep his alcohol, which was all he’d needed then. He’d hit the bottom after Iris left him, and while he didn’t think that Nathan was in danger of going that far, he was also going to make sure he didn’t.

 

“What you are going to do,” he continued as he looked back at the present and his friend, “is you’re going to live your life and do what you love. Maybe you need to do some reassessment, and see if you actually like being in security. That’s fine, but don’t do that alone – talk to me, Eli, or even your department head.” He stopped for a second, head quirked to one side as he lifted his glass towards his lips. “I guess technically you could talk to Braggins, but something tells me that wouldn’t be the most useful of conversations.” He chuckled and took a sip before continuing. “Whatever you do, for a while at least, don’t make big life-changing decisions on your own.

 

“And in the meantime…” He sighed, and looked Nathan in the eyes again. “You’re going to think about her. Maybe it’ll be all the time, and it’s going to hurt. But eventually you’ll realize that it’s less, and less, and less. And while it won’t stop hurting, it won’t be as bad.

 

“The human body is an amazing thing. Over time, even the worst of pain can become almost commonplace. Even something as painful as broken limbs can eventually be ignored, at least for a while.” He smiled, and leaned back in his chair, glass held by the top and resting slightly unsteadily on the thin arm of the chair. “The mind’s the same. Hit it with the same painful thought over and over, and it won’t be so bad after a while.

 

“Now, I don’t recommend that you go sit in a dark room and think about Michelle for hours until it stops hurting. That’s a recipe for making a terrible, terrible decision.” He sighed, and pushed away his own memories. “But just remember – it’s going to hurt for a while. It’s supposed to hurt for a while.

 

“Because that means it was real.”


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#8 Capt Tyra Crawford

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Posted Star Date 22011.09 @ 03:13 (03:13 AM)

It was hard to remember those years but there had been a point in time where her department heads had been officers she had risen through the ranks with. There was a camaraderie to sharing the same battle scars and knowing the same stories that transcended rank and department. In those days, it had been common for her senior staff to be in and out of her quarters without invitation and without much purpose beyond visiting a friend and maybe, sharing a drink. That was the level of comfort you achieved when you had no one but each other to rely on and while she wouldn't wish the desperation and isolation of war on her young, soft crew, she missed the trust, loyalty and closeness that came with the horrors of conflict.
 
However, she was slowly learning to navigate the realities of a crew that was from a different generation and a different stock. And one of those realities was that she couldn't expect them to come to her with their burdens and their problems, not when they viewed her as the captain on high, and that had been something she struggled with how to deal with. She wasn't use to having to breakdown that particular barrier as she had never been just the Captain before but that was another perk of having department heads that had seen you when you weren't the Captain, when you were the overworked FO with a drinking habit, who was barely keeping herself from laying hands on a very frustrating CO. Or, for some, even further back, when she'd been the boots on the ground, the Captain's sledgehammer for annoying problems.
 
Now though, she was working through how to build that level of trust and the simple answer seemed to be making an effort to check in with her senior staff, instead of expecting them to come to her. If she did that, she'd never work beyond the professional relationship and while she would certainly take a better working relationship with certain department heads, she would prefer to progress past that to an actual level of trust that did not involve uniforms or ranks.
 
Cera, ever the meddler but only in the best ways, had suggested that she start with Elias. She'd resisted initially as there were longer serving or higher ranking department heads she should probably start with but the more she had thought about it, the more she had considered that it might be the best place to start. He was a new department head so he wasn't set in his ways and outside of the Rogue Planet, she'd argue their interactions were fairly positive. Plus, it never hurt to check in with an officer after their first mission of wrangling the circus and honestly, he had done well. 
 
For as high as Tyra kept her standards for her officers, she would argue that Elias certainly deserved a drink from the bottle of Old Forester 1897, a personal favorite of hers, that she had slipped under her arm before leaving her quarters. And to make the point that it was an informal visit, she had dressed in jeans, boots and a sweater, though it was a decision she was beginning to question as she passed yet another crewman that seemed perplexed by her in civvies with alcohol. Clearly, she was not being true enough to herself if this was a surprise to anyone...
 
I think you took the "this is how a CO acts" lecture a little too much to heart... she mused as she came to a stop outside of Elias' door, having already checked that he was home.
 
It was only knowing that Cera would squash whatever nonsensical rumor came out of this outing that allowed her to smile as she reached for the chime.
 
== Tag guys! ==

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#9 Lt (JG) Nathan Ramius {Coleman}

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Posted Star Date 22011.11 @ 07:44 (07:44 AM)

A genuine chuckle leaked out from between Nathan’s lips when Ben responded with the ‘So She Broke Your Heart’ pamphlet. With a slight shake of his head, he took another swig while listening to his friend. And as he did so, he realized how much he had missed it. It was apparent, all too readily, just how much he’d taken for granted the accessibility of their friendship when they had shared Junior Quarters together. While it wasn’t that far of a walk to see Ben, the sudden separation had been what kept him at bay. Something in his mind reminded him to remember the moment; that in the future, distance and accessibility should never stop him from reaching out to those he kept within his inner circle.

 

“Unfortunately, anyone who’s offering one is stealing your money, your time, and your hope. The only way out, for better or worse, is through.”

 

Nodding at Ben’s wisdom, it was the answer that the young man had expected to hear, not just from his friend, but anyone. Time was the only salve. There was no magic, nor technology, no guide, nor potion, that could help heal a broken heart. It was common sense, though not to the one wallowing in the hurt. However, it really wasn’t the option he’d hoped for. A bit of a frown furrowed Nathan’s head for a moment, as he wondered briefly to himself if he was a bad friend for pigeon-holing Ben into the ‘Relationship Survivor’ category. With all that Elias had been through with Iris, Nathan did assume that maybe there might have been some trick he’d learned. Another pang of guilt struck through Ramius’ gut, as he considered that the real trick had been the booze; it was no trick at all really, just an escape pod from the feelings, from time-to-time.

 

Perhaps here and there is fine, but I can’t let it be the way I deal with this. I can’t let it rule me. Just like I can’t just sit in my, admittedly fantastic, pity-party.

 

Nathan looked up about the same time as Ben looked toward him as the Engineer explained some semblance of a plan. Reassessment featured large as Elias continued to speak, and his mention of reconsidering Security caused Nathan’s brow to raised up to what felt like his hairline. It had been some time ago, but Ramius had done that once already, right after the ‘Augment Incident’. He hadn’t considered doing it ever again if he was being honest with himself. And to hear Benjamin suggest it struck a bit of a blow to Nathan. A litany of insecurities seeped back under his skin. Was there something that Ben saw that Nathan didn’t to suggest reconsidering Security again? Or was it in consideration of moving to a Department that was, a least to some degree, safer; as that had been the primary reason she had left? The security officer both hoped and assumed it was the latter.

 

“…I guess technically you could talk to Braggins, but something tells me that wouldn’t be the most useful of conversations…”

 

They both chuckled to themselves, though there was a moment where Ramius stopped himself to actually consider that option. Jenny, aside from Tyra, would be one of the few people likely to give advice to him straight. There’d be no bull**** or sugar-coating from her, and if he asked for an assessment, Jennifer Braggins would no doubt gladly give him a grade. In fact, she once did, which was why he’d went to Bishtavrath with her.

 

Ben matched eyes with him again, and even though his friend hadn’t used her name, a heat hit Nathan’s heart as though it had been pierced. Even as he listened, Ramius hoped that hurt would diminish soon. That is when Nathan took another sip of the ethanol special, holding it in his mouth and focusing on the burn there instead of the one that gripped his chest.

 

“Now, I don’t recommend that you go sit in a dark room and think about Michelle for hours…”

 

The mention of her name caused Ramius to swish the alcohol in his mouth like a wash, covering every susceptible surface with the burning spirit.

 

You’ve got to stop reacting like that. Are you going to grimace and bite your tongue with every woman you meet with that name?

 

Thankfully, Ben still had more wisdom to administer. The pain, while torturous, did show that the relationship hadn’t been surface level, and that the feelings were real. For a time, whatever Nathan had with her, it had been real. It was that, that he’d have to hold onto, even moving forward. And perhaps, he considered, that might be the easiest way forward: accept that it had happened, that it had been real, and reminisce the good things.

 

“You’re right,” Nathan started, standing up carefully from his chair to stretch his legs.

 

“I think I’ve been trying too hard to run from it. To hide from what happened instead of facing it. I’ve been wanting to forget it, and everything in my body and soul is rebelling against that kneejerk reaction. It won’t be easy…” he started to walk a bit, as he so often did when he was talking through his thoughts.

 

“…but if I can find a way to just accept that it was real, honor the memories and all the times that were good, maybe that’s the first step to being… sort of okay with it?”

 

Instead of fighting against the tide, accepting it. Or, at least, not expend energy swimming against it. What do they say for rip tides? Swim parallel to shore until you leave the current? Maybe that is what I do. Like Ben said, don’t just sit in a dark room for hours, but accept that it is going to hurt, and take steps to make it easier…

 

The chime rung just as Nathan neared the door, snapping him from his thoughts as he pulled a stupid face. He looked to Ben immediately, who responded with a similarly puzzled ‘I’m not expecting anyone else’ sort of look. A list of people that might visit the Chief Engineer rattled through Nathan’s brain like lightning, before an impish grin set upon his lips.

 

“Ah! I know exactly who it is. The mystery guest behind door number one is…”

 

Nathan pushed the button on the console, the door swishing open, before exclaiming,

 

“Cera!”

 

Blood instantly withdrew from his face as he gazed upon the ice blue eyes and red hair of none other than the Captain herself.

 

Hey,” he blurted out with almost a squeak, as all the blood that had rushed out suddenly came rushing back into his cheeks,

 

“Tyra!”

 

There was a blink, then he attempted to untie his tongue,

 

“I mean, Captain,” he regarded her casual attire, “or, Tyra?”

 

Stepping away from the door so that Benjamin could see, Nathan’s brain went into overdrive to try and cover what he had exclaimed before.

 

Tell her you were talking to Ben about the Old Earth Song, ‘Que Sera Sera’. Yeah, that’s what we were talking about when you screeched like a loon…

 

“I… we were talking…” he sighed, looked to his friend, then back at Tyra, “…I can’t lie. I thought you were Cera, obviously. Not that you aren’t good. You are good. I mean, you are great! But, I, well… I wasn’t expecting you at all. Not that I should. This isn’t my place…”

 

A rapid head-turn back to Elias, and Ramius quickly mouthed the word,

 

*Help*


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#10 Lt Benjamin Elias

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Posted Star Date 22011.17 @ 03:46 (03:46 AM)

Benjamin didn’t blame Nathan for getting up to pace. There was a lot of nervous energy to work off, especially with these types of discussions, and from the way he was talking it seemed like he was taking it all well. Maybe not perfectly, but then again he wasn’t running off to drop into a bottle. So he’s doing better than I did.

 

They both were perplexed, though, when the doorbell rang. Nathan, who was near the door, turned and stared at him with a puzzled expression, one that he returned. He hadn’t been expecting anyone else; he’d known that there was going to be a lot to talk about, and had wanted tonight to be as much like when they were bunking together as possible.

 

So when the grin slowly spread across Nathan’s face, Benjamin was even more confused for a moment until he announced that he knew who this just had to be. “Who...” he started to say, before Nathan pressed the door release and declared exactly who it was.

 

“Cera!” he announced. Benjamin was certain he was wrong even before the door opened, if only because she usually called; they were both busy, so finding them by randomly dropping by either of their quarters was a losing proposition.

 

The fact that the opening door soon revealed not only someone much taller than Cera, but also a full head of red hair, put paid to Nathan’s assumption. For a moment, Benjamin’s brain struggled to think of why Tyra would want to visit his quarters, but then he registered her civilian attire about the time that Nathan’s brain also caught up and he squeaked out her name.

 

Maybe she wanted to talk for a moment? he thought, though he wasn’t sure what it could be about. For a brief second, he wondered if Tyra thought that he and Cera were dating, and intended to make sure he treated her right. But then again, the captain would likely sit back and watch Cera take him apart if he did anything terrible, and Tyra had brought some alcoholic libation which made threatening him seem less likely.

 

He didn’t get much further in his train of thought, though, because his ears demanded attention instead. He could only sit there and spectate as Nathan dug deeper and deeper in his awkwardness. Whether it was the alcohol, the sudden cutting of the previous tension, or just the tiredness of the past few days, it took all of Benjamin’s willpower to swallow down laughter.

 

All the up until Nathan turned and mouthed the word “Help” to him. The proverbial dam broke, and the laughter spilled forth. He fell back into his chair, trying to cover his face with his hand even though there was no hope of hiding it, and knocked his glass off the arm and onto the floor. Fortunately there were only a few drops left in it, and the carpet was fairly soft in this area, making cleanup hopefully easier. Not that he cared about that right now.

 

He tried to wave the captain in, though he was afraid it looked more like a dying seal flailing than any sort of coherent gesture. He eventually gathered himself again, and then gathered up his glass and walked it back to the kitchen as the captain walked in. “Grab up the glasses over there, Nathan,” he said to his friend – still struggling to maintain his composure – and got a new set. “Don’t want to reuse those with the new stuff.”

 

Standing on one side of the table, next to the shelf with the glasses, he turned back to his guests. “So, what brings you down here today, Tyra?” he asked. “Checking in on your problem children today?”


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#11 Capt Tyra Crawford

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Posted Star Date 22012.20 @ 03:23 (03:23 AM)

Tyra didn't have to wait long with the door opening only a few moments after she had pressed the chime but she was met by an unexpected greeter and an even more unexpected greeting.
 
"Cera!"
 
If she hadn't known that the blonde powerhouse in question wasn't sitting on her own couch with the littlest of the Crawford clan wrapping her around her finger, she might have been concerned that she was walking into some sort of awkward situation. Unless Cera had purposefully poked and prodded her to stop by for her own twisted pleasure, which was not something she would entirely put past the puppet master, but given how discrete Cera was regarding all things related to Shadow, she didn't think that was likely.
 
Regardless of what actually was going on, there was much amusement to be had in watching Nathan sputter in a most ungraceful way. Fortunately, it didn't last long as he managed to recovery, or, at least, the blood managed to return to his face. She didn't think she'd gotten a reaction that strong since she had caught two crewman getting handsy in a storage closet shortly after taking over COS from Dayune but it was good to know that her reputation was still intact.
 
“Tyra!”
 
The hand that held the bottle made a discrete motion as if to say 'use your words', even as her manicured eyebrow arched up in question. What are you two up to that has you so nervous? Oh god... is this your idea of a rebound?
 
“I mean, Captain,” he regarded her casual attire, “or, Tyra?”
 
"Whichever you can manage to get out is fine...I mean there is a definite preference for when I'm out of uniform but at this point, whatever you can manage, hun," she said, probably biting back a 'bless your heart' and a shoulder pat.
 
“I… we were talking…” His sigh was audible and his floundering was back in full force “…I can’t lie. I thought you were Cera, obviously. Not that you aren’t good. You are good. I mean, you are great! But, I, well… I wasn’t expecting you at all. Not that I should. This isn’t my place…”
 
Before she could comment, whatever plea for help was made to Elias was met with a reaction that Nathan probably wouldn't find helpful. Her blue eyes moved from Ben and then, back to Nathan before she just shook her head.
 
"Just.... just stop digging. The decks aren't that thick and the last time you fell through a deck, you nearly killed me so take a deep breath and have a drink... you haven't had enough yet it seems," she said, offering him the bottle that was in her hand.
 
With that instruction given and hopefully followed, her blue eyes shifted to Ben, whose arm was flailing like some sort of inflatable contraption and who was laughing like a teenage girl drunk on rom coms and sugar. She didn't know what in the world she had walked into but it somehow wasn't the strangest interaction she had had with the trouble brigade.Fortunately, Ben seemed to manage to gather himself and give Nathan a direction to flail in before turning back to Tyra.
 
“So, what brings you down here today, Tyra?” he asked. “Checking in on your problem children today?”
 
The redhead chuckled. "Well, I didn't know I was getting a two for one special but I am trying to be a little better about checking in on people, especially after they take on new responsibilities," she answered before looking at Nathan. "Or make progress in the right direction. Admittedly, when the bar is set at 'don't steal a Kazon ship', it shouldn't be hard but progress is progress," she said, the last punctuated with a wink.
 
"I'm not interrupting anything important, am I? If I am, tell me and I will go find other drink partners -- Jenny can demolish a bottle in no time."
 
== Tag guys! I'd make apologies for the wait but... well, y'all know the deal! ==

Edited by Capt Tyra Crawford, Star Date 22012.20 @ 03:25 (03:25 AM).

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#12 Lt (JG) Nathan Ramius {Coleman}

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Posted Star Date 22012.24 @ 03:20 (03:20 AM)

A sheepishly mixed vexation hit Nathan as he watched Benjamin turn into a cackling wacky waving arm flailing horror; no doubt delighted in Ramius’ misfortunate embarrassment. Eyes narrowing, the young man let out a huff in response as he cracked his neck. Tyra’s response was equally unhelpful, if not more damaging though, as she brought up a particular incident he longed to forget, and that he also hoped that she might eventually as well. Not that she would, in all likelihood. Ramius knew that the only way was to bury that particular recollection deep down below a whole host of different, if hopefully more positive, memories. However, the event had buoyancy, and would require years to sink properly. It was a goal that was both long-term and almost Sisyphean.

 

Much more Sisyphean than I want to admit to myself.

 

Quickly, he marched over and grabbed more glasses, one for each person in the room. Then, he carefully poured out doubles for the tenacious ginger, and hysterical engineer. With the other two conversing, Nathan followed orders and took a shot for himself, though took time to enjoy it. It certainly was much tastier and enjoyable than the rotgut that they had been having. Then, he poured himself a double as well, before carrying the lot including the bottle back over.

 

Handing over a glass to Tyra first, Nathan then meandered his way over to his friend, and considered for a moment whether he should actually hand over the glass or not. With a shaking head and a smirk, Nathan did give Ben his drink before coming about and listening to Crawford’s response.  

 

"Well, I didn't know I was getting a two for one special but I am trying to be a little better about checking in on people, especially after they take on new responsibilities," she answered before looking at Nathan. "Or make progress in the right direction.”

 

The last part had Ramius’ expression changing instantly from beleaguered to almost cheerful, right up until she continued,

 

“Admittedly, when the bar is set at 'don't steal a Kazon ship', it shouldn't be hard but progress is progress.”

 

Placing the bottle between the parties, Nathan tried hard to hide the wince that Tyra’s words drew. Though that reaction was offset by a chuckle. It was hard to imagine digging a hole as deep as Nathan had managed to in so short of a time. And for the second phase of hole-digging, he had brought Ben in along for the ride as well. How they obtained the Bird of Prey wasn’t at all funny, but there was something odd enough about how everything played out that it was humorous… in perhaps a darker context. That, and it was hard to see how they could potentially up the ante from there, as Tyra had so clearly pointed out.

 

Kinda wish Tyra had let us keep the thing. Would have been fun to have a cloakable ship to bomb around in whenever we manage to get back to the Alpha Quadrant.

 

"I'm not interrupting anything important, am I? If I am, tell me and I will go find other drink partners -- Jenny can demolish a bottle in no time."

 

“No, not really,” Nathan replied wistfully.

 

“Ben and I were catching up; first time since leaving the AQ honestly. Then I was lamenting about my most recent failure. Specifically, under the banner ‘matters of the heart’. Thankfully, that particular fiasco has little impact on others, unlike the scenarios you’ve been witness to Tyra,” Nathan winked and snorted a bit, before taking a sip of the whiskey.

 

“But, honestly, we can… should, talk about anything else. Er, or rather, just about anything else… no diplomacy for me please,” there was another chuckle as he stole a glance toward Tyra.


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#13 Lt Benjamin Elias

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Posted Star Date 22012.27 @ 00:26 (12:26 AM)

Benjamin took his glass from his friend, still trying to fight down a smile. He felt bad, as Nathan looked hurt – not something he could blame him for. After all, he had just nearly pulled a muscle in his side laughing when Nathan had actually needed some assistance. He mouthed “Sorry” back at him, and knew that he’d have to do something to actually apologize later.

 

But for now, we have a guest, he reminded himself. "Well, I didn't know I was getting a two for one special but I am trying to be a little better about checking in on people, especially after they take on new responsibilities," Tyra answered with a chuckle before looking at Nathan. "Or make progress in the right direction. Admittedly, when the bar is set at 'don't steal a Kazon ship', it shouldn't be hard but progress is progress.” She winked at him, trying to help soften the comment, though he wasn’t sure it got through to the security officer as he set the bottle down on the table in the living area.

 

"I'm not interrupting anything important, am I? If I am, tell me and I will go find other drink partners -- Jenny can demolish a bottle in no time." Nathan answered her, telling her to stay before Benjamin could, and explained a bit about what they’d been up to before taking his own sip of the – very nice, if Benjamin was any judge – whiskey.

 

“But honestly, we can… should, talk about anything else. Er, or rather, just about anything else… no diplomacy for me, please,” Nathan stumbled, chuckling a bit as he looked over towards the Captain.

 

“Yeah,” Benjamin agreed. “Nothing to interrupt, just trying to catch up since we’ve been so busy.” This was, to tell the truth, the first night he hadn’t spent catching up on paperwork since their arrival at New Talax. “Just trying to make sure that this one-” he indicated Nathan with a careful wave of his glass “-doesn’t let things get to him, mostly by using myself as a case study in why not.

 

“So how are things with you?” he asked, trying to move the subject along as Nathan had asked. “Hopefully not too crazy, though I figure there’s a lot of paperwork involved in reducing our flotilla by one.” With Callisto having been sent back home – too damaged to stay out here, though repaired enough to head back to Earth – the rest of the ships likely had to pick up the slack. Benjamin assumed so, anyway; his head had been either in a mound of padds or in a maintenance shaft ever since they got here, so he wasn’t entirely sure.

 

“Evie and Thom—the Admiral—er, your husband doing okay?” he added, stumbling for a minute. He hadn’t actually met her husband, and for just a moment, his brain decided to short-circuit on what to call him. Way to go, Ben, he scolded himself, but wisely decided to just leave his mouth shut and let her answer, rather than continuing on and digging himself even deeper.

 

==Tag, Captain!==


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#14 Capt Tyra Crawford

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Posted Star Date 22012.30 @ 19:42 (07:42 PM)

Nathan was surprisingly the first one to answer, seemingly have recovered from his momentary stupor and her less than helpful barbs.
 
“No, not really. Ben and I were catching up; first time since leaving the AQ honestly. Then I was lamenting about my most recent failure. Specifically, under the banner ‘matters of the heart’. Thankfully, that particular fiasco has little impact on others, unlike the scenarios you’ve been witness to Tyra,” he winked and snorted but she suspected the sudden sip of whiskey masked the more honest reactions.
 
Around the time Price's transfer orders had come across her desk, Cera had mentioned that the doctor and Nathan had fallen apart. She had alluded to the possibility of an ill-timed proposal and a failure to tell the other party of a certain suicide mission, which had all sounded like stupid things Tyra had done in past lives, but the blonde half-Betazoid hadn't been able to swear by the accounting. Regardless of what the truth was, Nathan was obviously blaming himself, whether right or wrong. Admittedly, Tyra was extremely biased when it came to Nathan's former love but she also knew that the path Nathan was walking, as a security officer, had more pitfalls than most and they were oh so easy to fall straight into. For a moment, she considered commenting on the situation but decided not to. Yes, she was incredibly practiced as an older sister with giving such advice and walking people through those minefields but as a captain, that wasn't advice she needed to necessarily be dishing out on command. And now wasn't the time anyway.
 
“But, honestly, we can… should, talk about anything else. Er, or rather, just about anything else… no diplomacy for me please,” there was another chuckle as he stole a glance toward Tyra.
 
"Yes, not that, please," she agreed with a pointed finger in his direction.
 
Ben agreed with the assessment of no interruption before continuing. “Just trying to make sure that this one-” he indicated Nathan with a careful wave of his glass “-doesn’t let things get to him, mostly by using myself as a case study in why not."
 
"I think most of this crew, myself included, could be used as a case study," she said in agreement.
 
She chuckled as Ben made a move for a new topic, stumbling a little before righting himself. Admittedly, he wasn't the only one that didn't know how to deal with or speak about the retired admiral on board and more often than not, Tyra had to remind said retired admiral that he was very much retired and if he tried to meddle unneccessarily, she was likely to beat him over the head with the family cast iron. 
 
"Just Thomas, please. Someone needs to remind him that he's retired every now and then," she said with a grin before it muted into something more genuinely soft. "They're good. It's nice having the full family together for once, even if there's some growing pains and inevitable difficulties with being so far from everything."
 
She took a sip of whiskey, letting the smokiness sit on her tongue before swallowing. "As for me, I'm good but busy. If Star Fleet ever offers you a position with more responsibility and no better benefits, just say 'no'. It probably won't be worth the headache of being responsible for more people and to be blamed for all of their ineptitude. On the bright side, we just finished all of the personnel shuffles and I have one less ship to worry about so I'll call that a victory for the day."
 
She took another sip, swirling the cup gently as she swallowed, before fixing her blue eyes on her companions. "How are you two doing? Are you settling into the new jacket, Ben? And Nathan, are you feeling better about being in security now, with a decent boss in place and some order to the madhouse?"
 
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#15 Lt (JG) Nathan Ramius {Coleman}

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Posted Star Date 22101.03 @ 04:41 (04:41 AM)

Unknowingly, Nathan’s head bounced in agreement when Tyra had replied about the diplomacy dig. There was still interest of the subject in his veins, but after having dealt with Neelix, the blood had gone a little cool. One day he’d warm back up to it, he knew. And not that Neelix had been all that bad at all either. It was the combination of having to be there, but not necessarily participate; if Nathan was honest with himself, it had bored him beyond even some of the worst Midshipman duties he had done. Though getting another mission under his belt where he hadn’t been a problem, was a good thing. All-in-all, Nathan considered his luck 'even' on the subject.

 

Sipping the whiskey again, the liquid lingered on his tongue for a while. Before coming aboard the Gettysburg, Nathan would have never described himself as a drinker. Perhaps for social occasions, like the odd party or hangout with friends. His brain stopped for just a moment as he realized he had always been a social drinker. But since being aboard the Getty, then the Artemis, he certainly had picked up a glass more often than before.

 

“Just trying to make sure that this one… doesn’t let things get to him, mostly by using myself as a case study in why not.”

 

The timing was impeccable, as ever, from his friend. Though Tyra’s additional comments caused his eyebrows to leap up in surprise. It wasn’t that Nathan thought the Captain an angel, and he knew that she wasn’t by any means. There was plenty in her past, Ramius assumed, that would be left out of an autobiography; perhaps, even the location of a body or two.

 

Honestly, I know so little about Tyra and what she’s been through. All I can sense is that some of it has been hard fought wisdom. Though, much could be probably said for just about anyone who has made it to Command. I really should find a way to start gleaning some of that knowledge from her… not because I’ll be in a command situation one day, an inner chuckle spread through his brain, but because I could avoid other pitfalls that I don’t need to add onto ones I’ve already stumbled into.

 

As Nathan snapped back to the conversation at hand, Ben had managed to move the topic along, asking after Evie and the Admiral. Ramius smiled and let out a puff of air through his nose at Tyra’s comment about Grayson. In her presence, Nathan might call him by Thomas, but if he ever sat down at a table with the man, it’d still probably be sir or Admiral. Hell, the security officer couldn’t even call Crawford by her first name to her face yet, let alone her husband and a retired Admiral.

 

I’ll work on it I suppose.

 

It was then that Nathan got to see the softer side of Tyra. It was a rare occurrence. Their talk after his assessment on Pioneer had been similar, and he had been happy for it. Something tickled his brain though, as he tried to reason what it was exactly that Tyra saw in him. There had to be something, a soft spot of sorts, about Nathan that kept her from just axing him… what seemed like ages ago to the man. Though, he did admit to himself that there was some affinity beyond what he could readily explain, and he was lucky for it.

 

When Tyra had taken her next sip, Nathan unconsciously followed suit, his eyes jumping back up from the glass when she addressed them. She had spoken to Ben first, but Nathan felt compelled to answer when she asked about Security.

 

“Lieutenant Coleman has a different style for sure, and I think is just more... specific about how he likes to run things than Bryan,” he said tactfully, “though I think they both share the same hatred for paperwork as each other.”

 

There was a light chuckle before Nathan continued.

 

“Sometimes it still gets a little crazy though, with shifts changing as Coleman tweaks things. I’ve been picking up a lot of split shifts and extra hours for people. Been spending an inordinate amount of time training too. Though that might be for other reasons we’ve already discussed.”

 

A quick glass raise, a sudden sip, and a gulp settled that.

 

“Overall, things are good, and generally quieter than what I expected it would be like once we got to the Delta Quadrant. Though I’m enjoying that fact, as I’m sure that there will be plenty of days ahead that I’d cuss myself out for taking the quiet time for granted,” he smiled.

 

“Been wondering how you ever managed it…” his mouth soundlessly formed the word ‘Captain’ before saying her name proper, “…Tyra. Running a Security Department on ships as big as the Getty and the Arty? Does seem quite a task keeping a hundred-plus people pulling in the same direction.”

 

Nathan paused for a moment, before looking over to his friend.

 

“Actually, that’s pretty much what you are going through now isn’t it Ben?”


Edited by Ens Nathan Ramius, Star Date 22101.03 @ 04:46 (04:46 AM).

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#16 Lt Benjamin Elias

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Posted Star Date 22101.04 @ 01:34 (01:34 AM)

Benjamin chuckled as she answered at first, before simply nodding along as she talked briefly about her family. He could well imagine the difficulties with having a family separated by interstellar distances for long periods of time, and was glad that Tyra didn’t have to worry about that for this mission further than any crew had willingly experienced. He was glad that he’d resolved things with Iris, even if that relationship had been dead for longer than he’d been in Star Fleet.

 

He looked down into his whiskey as she kept going. “If Star Fleet ever offers you a position with more responsibility and no better benefits,” she advised, “just say ‘no.’” He offered a lopsided smile at that, noting that if nothing else, at least his promotion to chief engineer had come with his own room, so maybe that qualified as a benefit? He still wasn’t entirely sure on that, but was letting it be for the moment.

 

She asked a question just as he took a swig of the whiskey, and fortunately Nathan took the question first, giving him the time to swallow before he tried to answer. Evidently Security hadn’t been insulated from the craziness involved with the flotilla’s arrival, and the changes that just naturally came with a shift in leadership, it seemed.

 

“Overall, things are good,” his friend said, “and generally quieter than what I expected it would be like once we got to the Delta Quadrant. Though I’m enjoying that fact, as I’m sure that there will be plenty of days ahead that I’d cuss myself out for taking the quiet time for granted,” he smiled. Benjamin laughed at that one, as well as when he tripped over using the captain’s given name as he asked how she managed being a department head.

 

He paused for a moment before turning to him. “Actually, that’s pretty much what you are going through now isn’t it Ben?”

 

He chuckled and set his emptied glass aside. “I guess so,” he said. “The jacket’s nice, though I don’t get to wear it as much as I’d like. I’m usually either stuck filling out paperwork or actually fixing something myself, and I may as well just leave the jacket off when I’m doing that.”

 

He sighed and briefly considered getting another glass before pushing the notion aside. “Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like that’s going to change soon,” he added. “We’ve got a lot of our stuff here figured out, but there’s still more repairs on the support fleet, and I’ve got a daily meeting scheduled to discuss options on the Slipstream situation.” He started massaging his temple, watching as the static in his eye started firing off on him and thanking whatever stars smiled on him that it was just static and not electric shocks.

 

He sighed, a quick shake of the head clearing things away as he sat back up and looked at his friends. “But that’s tomorrow’s problem,” he said. “The department is doing well; my shift leads are doing a great job, and everyone’s got their heads down and focused on getting things done. I’ve got good people around me which helps with the organization.” He laughed again, a quirk of the head and a smile. “Not so much the paperwork. I swear, I’m filling out 709-A forms in my sleep these days.”


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#17 Capt Tyra Crawford

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Posted Star Date 22101.17 @ 03:56 (03:56 AM)

As Nathan hinted at a potential deep dive into overworking, Tyra forced herself to keep the comments to herself by way of taking a mouthful of whiskey. After all, she probably wasn't the best one to speak against overworking as a coping mechanism/escape from other problems. While she had managed to curb some of her far unhealthier coping mechanisms in favor of more productive and beneficial outlets, she had never quite managed to shake the workaholic route -- part of it was because it wasn't as destructive as some of the others so there was little reason to shake it as long as she kept some semblance of balance with Evie and Thomas and the other was that it was nearly impossible to run a large department, much less a large ship, without working far more than her paycheck suggested.
 
“Overall, things are good, and generally quieter than what I expected it would be like once we got to the Delta Quadrant. Though I’m enjoying that fact, as I’m sure that there will be plenty of days ahead that I’d cuss myself out for taking the quiet time for granted,” Nathan mused.
 
He probably missed the slight head shake as she took another sip of whiskey. Has no one taught you not to use the 'q' word on assignment? That really needs to be a section in Security 101 before shiny green midshipman start getting decked by crusty NCOs for using the word at the wrong time....
 
She paused to consider when Nathan asked how she had managed a larger department back in the day, her thoughts allowing for Ben to comment on how his foray into the world of department heads was going. She, honestly, wasn't certain how she had managed it initially, given that she had been made a department head in a department that she wasn't even entirely comfortable with. Yes, she had proven capable in tactical prior to the move and had gone through months upon months of training but whatever idiot had thought it would be a good idea to have an officer lead a department that they had never slogged through the mud in was a special kind of stupid. She had somehow managed it though or she liked to think so as her shift back to Chief of Security upon Aaron's departure had been voluntary. It had also laid a very important and crucial groundwork for her second stint as a department head, no department head would be successful as a solitary island of self-dependence, and had she not been thrown into a department where she had no choice but to rely on the experience and knowledge of others who had slogged through the mud, she suspected she might have tried to carry the weight of security on her shoulders all by herself. And that would have been a slow but unavoidable train wreck. 
 
“The department is doing well; my shift leads are doing a great job, and everyone’s got their heads down and focused on getting things done. I’ve got good people around me which helps with the organization.” He laughed again, a quirk of the head and a smile. “Not so much the paperwork. I swear, I’m filling out 709-A forms in my sleep these days.”
 
"And that's the key to your question, Nathan," Tyra chimed in before chuckling. "To clarify, not the 709-As.... those things are atrociously redundant and if I ever find whatever bureaucrat got promoted for create that monstrosity, I'll have to find a very creative way of thanking him," she said with another chuckle.
 
"The key is the people. If you have good people and are willing to trust them with delegation, managing a large department is do-able in day to day operations. Now, that doesn't happen overnight and sometimes, you have to do a lot of set up and re-arranging to get the department to how it needs to be done but it gets easier after about the third or fourth department re-build. There will still be surprise disasters that overwhelm your readiness or my personal favorite, unnecessary drama that truly makes you questions whether you're supervising grown *** adults or teenage girls."
 
"Strangely enough, I've found that both the elements of running a successful operation and the prevalence of unnecessary drama stay the same as you climb the ladder so just think of a ship as one huge department with lots of delegation and a lot of disagreements about priorities," she mused, taking a sip of her drink.  "The drama, at least, makes for some good stories..."

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