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AT/D03-10 - Crew Quarters


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#1 Capt Jennifer Braggins

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Posted Star Date 22012.15 @ 14:29 (02:29 PM)

==


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#2 Ens Beka Sydesh

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Posted Star Date 22012.18 @ 01:09 (01:09 AM)

== During Shore Leave ==

 

The door to the rooms slid open and Beka dragged herself through. Shore leave was supposed to be a time of relaxation but the redhead had actually stepped up the intensity of her workouts. With very few people for company in the gyms she had been able to really push herself to her limits and see how long she could keep going.

 

There’s always a new bar to reach she thought as she picked an isotonic drink off the replicator pad and chugged the lot. I don’t think I’m ever going to be happy with where I am. Feeling like I’m giving it my best shot is about as close as I’m ever going to get!

 

Chucking the sweat-soaked towel onto the pad along with the empty glass, she replaced them both, taking the new full glass and the fresh towel and sinking onto the couch. The exhausted doctor wiped down her face, arms and legs as best she could, her all-lime green workout gear as vivid as ever.

 

The door chime sounded as Sydesh took a long swig from her drink.

 

“Who is it?” she called. There was no answer, just the chime ringing again. “Fine, be mysterious,” she said loudly, shifting position to face the door. “Open.”

 

When she saw who it was, she had already drawn in the breath to order the door closed again. Caesha Ast held up a hand, the almond-skinned woman quickly getting a foot in the door. She wore a plain black dress that hugged her lithe figure, long-sleeved and thigh-skimming, with a pair of heeled knee-length boots.

 

“Hey, I know you want to slam that thing in my face again,” she said. “Please don’t. Hear me out.”

 

There was an almost audible growl from Beka. 

 

“Give me one good reason why I want to do that,” the redhead said. “You wore out your welcome when you ghosted me. Left me chasing shadows for weeks.”

 

“Because… Because that hurt me too,” Caesha said. “I know you won’t believe me but I really regret doing that. I need to tell you I’m sorry.” She smiled, chocolate brown eyes lighting up. “Plus, we made some magic that night.”

 

“Yeah. Yeah we did.” The hostility in Beka’s eyes hadn’t so much as flickered. “Which is why it really hurt when you took off. I went to sleep thinking we were at the start of something special. And then I woke up to find you gone. It was your damn bed and you’d still run off! No word, nothing, until you reappear without a word of warning and want another go-round, no strings. And you were actually surprised when I closed the door.”

 

“I’m sorry, that wasn’t fair of me.” Caesha exhaled slowly. “Look, can I come in? Can we talk?”

 

“What do we have to talk about?” The redhead shrugged. “I’m good with this being it.”

 

There was an awkward pause, and then Caesha stepped inside anyway. The door hummed closed behind her as she sat herself down on the other end of the couch. 

 

“I want to explain myself,” she said. “And if I have to risk that ginger temper of yours to do it, then so be it.”

 

Beka shook her head and sighed. 

 

“Fine. Say your piece,” she said irritably. “Then you need to go.”

 

“And I will, if you still want me to,” Caesha said. She ignored the dismissive snort from the redhead and pressed on. “But you… You’ve been on my mind the whole time since that night. You came into my world like this fireball I never saw coming. And we connected on so many levels… The things you made me feel… I didn’t know how to handle it. Still don’t, really. It was just so... intense seeing you there after. And I’m so ashamed that I ran away but I didn’t know what else to do.”

 

“Stay and tell me any of this?” Beka shot back. “That would have been better. And coming back to talk to me first before propositioning me. Do you know how cheap that made me feel?”

 

“Once I made the mistake, I didn’t know how to undo it,” Caesha said. “I should have come back. But then once I’d hidden away for one day, I didn’t know how angry you’d be. And one day became two, became a week, became two weeks…” She sighed. “I was wrong to come back and ask that of you, but I thought you might be more ready to forgive me after another night to remember.”

 

An uncomfortable silence settled between the two women. 

 

“What do you want me to say?” Beka asked, her voice soft. “That all is forgiven? I can’t say that.” She let out a heartfelt sigh. “What you did… It played to every insecurity I have. I was absolutely convinced I’d scared you off somehow, that it was something I did. That connection between us is something I’ve craved for so long.”

 

“Me too.” Caesha reached out tenderly, taking Beka’s hand in hers. “I don’t want anything casual with you. I want there to be an us.”

 

“You’re way too late for that.” Beka pulled her hand away. “I’m in a relationship.”

 

The other woman laughed softly. 

 

“No, you’re not,” she said. “You’ve said it yourself, at that Talaxian party.”

 

“How do you know about that?” There was a sudden flare of anger on Beka’s face. “That was a private conversation! It was absolutely not fodder for this ridiculous Support spy network! And I am not single.”

 

Caesha sighed. 

 

“I hate to say this to you, but you really are,” she said. “Nathan dumped you and you know it.”

 

“OK, that’s it,” Beka snapped. “Get out. You know nothing about me and Nathan, not a damn thing!”

 

“Honey, I do,” Caesha said pleadingly. “You’re over until some unspecified time in the future where he may or may not want you back. That’s not a relationship. That’s not even the friend zone.”

 

“Get. Out.” The words left Beka’s lips like gunshots. She glared at Caesha until eventually the teacher threw up her hands.

 

“Fine. I’ll go,” she replied, standing up. “But you know I’m right. And I know you’ve got the same feelings of regret that I do, that we might be missing out on something amazing. I’m not going to give up on us.”

 

The doctor said nothing, her hostile glare talking for her until Caesha finally turned around and left. When the door closed behind her, Beka so wanted to find something to throw. Her arm went back with the drink in her hand but she let out a frustrated yell and put the glass down on the table instead.

 

“Damn her…” she murmured, her head hanging from her shoulders as she sat forward.

 

Truth be told… I don’t know that I can argue with a single thing she said. I don’t feel single. But is that me just clinging onto forlorn hopes? Nathan patently wasn’t ready for us. Oblivious as I am, I know that now. Will he ever be? And down the road, is it me he’ll want when he is ready again?

 

With those thoughts running through her mind, she kicked off her training shoes and headed for the shower to clean up.


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#3 Ens Beka Sydesh

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Posted Star Date 22101.01 @ 01:00 (01:00 AM)

== Ens Nat Okehampton, Security NRC. During shore leave ==

 

Unlike her roommate, Nat had been doing her best to try and unwind during shore leave. Right before the break she had been given her Ensign pip and she had never been so relieved to be handed anything in her life. From the start she’d had, to be able to turn it around enough to get that promotion felt like a huge achievement.

 

I was getting so tense she thought to herself. When all the pips were getting handed out and I didn’t get one… That was so tough!

 

The Security officer was curled up on the corner of the couch in a black bodysuit, her long hair hanging loose, reading a story on a PADD. She had the place to herself for the day, with Beka away on her Security training course. There was a big image of a crackling fire on the room’s viewscreen to remind her of home. It helped her to relax.

 

The peace was shattered when the door chime sounded. Sighing, Nat laid the PADD down on the couch and went to answer it. When the door opened, a dark-skinned woman in a short dress looked almost shocked to see her.

 

“Er, hi. Is… erm. Is Beka in?”

 

“No, she’s not,” Nat replied. “She’s a busy girl at the moment. A lot to do.” The brunette tilted her head. “I know you. Caesha, right?”

 

“Yeah,” the other woman said. “Did she talk about me?”

 

“Yes. Yes she did.” Nat’s formerly amiable expression had chilled, her eyes positively icy. “You’re the one that likes to play with people.”

 

Caesha looked taken aback.

 

“No, that must be someone else…” she started.

 

“I’m not wrong. It’s you.” Nat folded her arms and stood square in the doorway. “You ran out on her before and now you’re trying to manipulate your way back in.”

 

“You don’t know what you’re talking about,” Caesha replied, looking defensive. “What we have is…”

 

Over.” Okehampton interrupted with an air of finality.

 

Caesha laughed nervously.

 

“Honey. No, it’s not,” she said.

 

“Yes it is. I don’t think you’re understanding me clearly enough, so let me spell it out.” Nat unfolded her arms, holding them loosely by her side. “You may think Support have the best networks, but it’s nothing compared to Security. I know all about you, Caesha Ast. I know about the strikes on previous ships for suspect relationships. And I know the word we normally use for people who convince others to sleep with them on false pretences. It’s not a nice word. But if I ever see you again, I’m going to make sure it’s forever associated with you.”

 

The colour had drained from Caesha’s face.

 

“You wouldn’t dare…” she whispered.

 

“Try me.” Nat held the woman’s frightened stare.

 

“I… I just…” Caesha mumbled. “Tell her I’m sorry.” She gave Nat a last despairing look and left without looking back.

 

The Security officer watched her go then closed the door. She took a few uncertain steps and then sank to the couch, the frosty expression replaced with a wide-eyed horror.

 

I did that far too well… I’m a monster…

 

Nat really wasn’t a natural when it came to threatening people. Her hands were shaking as she picked up the coffee cup and drained it.

 

It had to be done, or I’d be picking Beka out of another depression in a few days. The worrying part is, I hadn’t actually done any looking into Caesha. But she set off that policeman’s sense. And turns out I was right. I can only hope I’ve scared her into behaving, because if she turns her tricks on someone else and they get hurt I’m going to feel so guilty...

 

With a deep breath, she calmed herself down and picked up her dataslate again.

 


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#4 Mid Edward Alken

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Posted Star Date 22101.17 @ 10:45 (10:45 AM)

== Ethan Sanderson , Nurse, Temp NRC ==
 
== Alken / Sanderson Quarters ==
 
Ethan and his date were sitting comfortably on the sofa, his arm over her shoulder, the scent of her perfume distracting. They each had a glass of wine each in their hand, the bottle sitting on the knee-high table just beyond them. 
 
“What’s wrong with him?”
 
Sanderson motioned his hand towards the center of the room. By engineering design the compartment had once been subdivided into two bedrooms, a shared washroom and a communal reception area. Now it appeared to have one additional separation, a faint white line that ran across the floor of that communal area. 
 
“The old man’s erected a miniature bloody neutral zone in the middle of the compartment… Operations will have a field day when they see what he’s done.”
 
It was as he said it that her eyes opened to a room's layout that had been halved down the middle. A noticeable transition could be felt between the decorative touches on each half of the room. Standard furniture assigned to every residential quarter made up the core of the room's pieces. Conveniently for Ethan the sofa had fallen within his boundary. Inconveniently for Ethan, the replicator unit happened to be behind enemy lines. 
 
On the nurses side it was minimalist by Sanderson’s design. A picture of himself with his brothers, standing in uniform onboard that must have been just prior to deployment. Within the photograph, his mother stood amongst the boys, his father having taken the picture. Next to that was a saxophone, a prominent point of confrontation between the pair of roommates. 
 
“Be glad he didn’t erect a forcefield,” the woman joked. 
 
Ethan laughed half heartedly. 
 
“Every time I want to use the replicator I’ve got to assault the Romulan Empire... The man complains every time I practice my instrumentals… And to top it all off, he is half way to creating a jungle over there.” 
 
It was true. Whilst the nurses side was minimalist, the man he shared a berth with had managed to fit dozens of plants into the small space on his side of the neutral zone. A selection of reds, blues, pinks and greens - some flowering, others towering. In certain places it was difficult to see the bulkhead behind with the plants now so tall. They had under careful attention only taken months to grow. 
 
“At least he doesn’t work the same shift cycle as you, and he’s probably going to retire soon.” 
 
At that Ethan sipped his wine, soaking in her words. 
 
A conversation about a damn botanist wasn’t how he had planned this date progressing. 

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#5 Mid Edward Alken

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Posted Star Date 22101.17 @ 18:23 (06:23 PM)

== Alken & Sanderson Quarters == 
 
He had almost stumbled into his quarters, the walk doing nothing to relieve the pain in his right leg. If anything the limp had become slightly more obvious. Through traffic on the deck had been minimal, and to those who recognised the science officer he had offered a stern look which seemed to force them into retreat. The adrenaline wearing off had soured his mood somewhat, no longer compensating for his pain. 
 
“What the hell happened to you?” 
 
The doors had barely closed behind him as his roommate found his way to his feet, clearly recognising that the Midshipman was looking worse for wear. 
 
Still sitting, but looking far from comfortable was a young woman with red hair. In both their hands Ed recognised wine glasses. The occasion had all the earmarks of a date - not that the science officer had experimented with romance after the collapse of his marriage. Without a second thought Edward had relieved the nurse of his. The action was met with a frown. 
 
“A little accident involving the bicycle, but could be a lot worse.” 
 
He poured the glass’s contents down his throat, quenching his thirst but ultimately in the hope that the alcohol would relieve his aches and pains. When a glass proved insufficient he reached for the bottle on the table.
 
Sanderson had protested, immediately transitioning from romantic pursuer to qualified nurse. Edward failed to take in much of what he said in, but medbay, pain relief and proper examination all featured. The botanist’s refusal was followed by claims of stupidity and stubbornness. Edward had drowned out his complaints with the contents of the pair's bottle of wine. 
 
“Less concern about me, and more concern about your patient doctor.” 
 
He motioned to the woman who, glass in hand, was still watching from the sofa. 
 
“A sonic shower will soothe my pain, certainly your voice hasn’t. 
 
Edward limped to the washroom, and its door closed promptly behind him. 
 
From outside the door came a loud shout in the familiar tones of Ethan Sanderson;
 
“Bloody moron.” 
 
The midshipman moved to the sink, grasping both sides firmly with his hands to steady himself. He could feel the effects of the wine start to lighten his head. The mirror that towered in front of him revealed an older man than Edward would admit, but it wasn’t him that had given out, it was the chain. This was a Midshipman still rearing for a fight. 
 
You’ve had worse than this Ed. No need to surrender to the white coats just yet. 

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#6 Mid Edward Alken

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Posted Star Date 22101.23 @ 17:53 (05:53 PM)

== Temp NRC - Sanderson, Nurse ==
 
== Alken / Sanderson Quarters ==
 
The lighting within the quarters had been dimmed, Ethan’s efforts to add some romance to the occasion that had been interrupted rudely by his roommate. 
 
“Do you think he’s alright in there?” 
 
Ethan looked towards the young woman who remained seated. He could tell she had sincere concern for the botanist who had been thrown off his bicycle and had now locked himself within the washroom. She had continued sipping on her wine, as if the date had not been interrupted in the slightest, but rather enhanced by the drama. Her curious look betraying a playful attitude, as if she found watching Ethan in his role as nurse to be excitable, if not alluring. 
 
“He’s likely in there drinking some herbal elixir to restore young life.” 
 
Muttering under his breath was enough just for her to hear. She smirked at his joke. 
 
No one in the galaxy had uncovered such an elixir, and as Sanderson’s concern for the man increased, his patience declined, to the point of demanding entry.
 
Thud. Thud. Thud. 
 
His clenched fist hit on the metallic door, loud enough that a man lost in a herbal trance could hear his demands. 
 
“Midshipman… Let me examine you. It’s important.”
 
Silence was the only response to the nurse’s demand. He could force his way in with medical emergency overrides, but if the botanist was not as bad as the nurse thought, it could lead to a disciplinary. The nurse had never employed his medical overrides, and found himself unwilling to do so now.
 
“Old man, would you open the damn door.” 
 
 Then he heard it. 
 
Thud. 
 
This time not from his clenched fist smashing against the metallic door, but from within the washroom itself. As if something, or someone inside had crashed against the floor.  
 
“What was that?” 
 
His inquisitive date’s concern could once again be heard, Ethan’s eyes still focused on the doorway. As if he was processing a decision. It was the silence behind the washroom door that disturbed him most, no hum of the sonic shower or rustling sounds of someone within. 
 
Damn you Alken. 
 
If he dies in there I’ll get a disciplinary. If I open it and he’s okay, I’ll get a disciplinary too. 
 
It was decision time, and Sanderson followed his gut. 
 
“Computer. Release the washroom's lock - medical emergency.” 
 
Sanderson knew the action would flag an alert to security, and the thought that from this moment onwards his actions would be judged, he peered inside. It was with an uncomfortably deep breath that he breathed a sigh of relief as the door parted, revealing that his gut had been right. 
 
Before him was Alken, mumbling on the floor of the washroom as if barely conscious. His upper uniform half undressed, the man halfway towards the sonic shower. The nurse could see the formations of  early bruises slowly manifesting on his chest. 
 
Sanderson had found himself on his knees next to the Midshipman, his fingers finding his pulse. 
 
“What’s wrong with him?” 
 
At the discovery of Alken the woman had found her way to her feet, standing in the doorway surveying the scene. The nurse responded to himself, too focused on his patient.
 
No idea, but we need help. 
 
“Stay with me old man.” 
 
Alken mumbled something incomprehensible, and at that the nurse tapped his comm badge. 
 
“Sanderson to Sickbay. Medical emergency in my quarters.” 

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#7 Ens Beka Sydesh

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Posted Star Date 22101.23 @ 23:16 (11:16 PM)

== Alken / Sanderson Quarters ==
 
The response came through from Sickbay near-instantly.
 
[Acknowledged. A doctor is on their way.]
 
== Okehampton / Sydesh Quarters ==
 
Things were relatively serene. Nat had managed to persuade Beka to hand over her ornate but broken Tal’Shiar disruptor, for the Security officer and armourer to see what she could do to try and breathe new life into it. She had tools spread out across the table as she did her best to crack it open. From the doctor’s bedroom came the sounds of soft breathing - she was taking advantage of shore leave to have a nap before her evening workouts.
 
The peace didn’t last long as the voice came over Beka’s commbadge. 
 
[Medical Complex to Sydesh. Emergency call, please respond.]
 
Nat looked around and saw the badge sat on the arm of the couch. She sighed and levered herself to her feet.
 
“Hey Beka!” she shouted. “You’re being called.”
 
There was no answer until the commbadge sounded again.
 
[Medical Complex to Sydesh. Doctor, this is an emergency.]
 
This time Okehampton opened the bedroom door. She slapped her roommate repeatedly on the thigh until finally the redhead’s eyes opened.
 
“Whuh…” she managed.
 
“You’re being paged,” Nat replied, tapping the badge to acknowledge the message and then throwing it to Beka. 
 
“Sydesh here,” she replied, rubbing her eyes as she sat up. 
 
[Finally! Emergency callout. We’re routing the details to you. It’s from Nurse Sanderson, about his roommate Midshipman Alken. Please get your kit and get there as fast as you can.]
 
“Understood. I’m on the way. Sydesh out.”
 
Of course the callout comes when I’m dead to the world. Every damn time… It’s like this ship doesn’t want me to have any sleep, I swear. Still. That’s how it works when you’re designated emergency specialist I guess.
 
Beka forced herself up and off the bed. She pulled on the nearest uniform in a hurry, tied her fiery red mane back in a messy bun and grabbed her callout kit from the room’s desk. As she headed out, Nat was waiting and handed her a double espresso that the doctor threw back. She nodded to her friend with a grateful smile and a friendly pat on the shoulder before she was out the door and running, following the pathfinder illuminations that would guide her to Alken’s quarters.
 
== Alken / Sanderson Quarters ==
 
It was a short distance from Beka’s quarters to Ed’s, especially at a sprint. A couple of minutes after the acknowledgment from Sickbay, the door to the botanist’s shared rooms opened.
 
“Hey, I’m Dr Sydesh,” Beka said to the awkward-looking woman sat on the couch. “Where’s the patient? Through here?” She followed the looks towards the washroom where she found Sanderson sitting over Alken.
 
“Hey Ethan,” the doctor said, dropping to one knee and throwing open her kit. “What happened? Do you know?” She plucked out the tricorder with a well-practiced ease and started scanning the prone scientist. 
 
== Tags! What’s our resident Chris Hoy done to himself then? :) ==
 

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#8 Mid Edward Alken

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Posted Star Date 22101.24 @ 17:39 (05:39 PM)

== Temp NRC - Ethan Sanderson, Nurse ==
 
== Alken / Sanderson Quarters == 
 
Slap.
 
A tingling sensation climbed from his fingers and along his hand, a physical reaction to the impact of his open palm colliding violently with the Midshipman's cheek. It felt good, exuding a frustration that had been building for weeks as cold war tensions had climbed in the shared quarters. This wasn’t the last straw of Sanderson’s anger, but rather a medical intervention of sorts. Alken’s drifting, barely conscious state was of grave concern. Had the botanist been allowed to drift into unconsciousness without a diagnosis it would have been dangerous. 
 
“Stay awake.” 
 
It sounded like an order, and because Ethan was the ranking medical officer in the room, it was. 
 
“He’s spilt the red wine.” 
 
The woman's voice interrupted once again. Her silhouette, thin and slender, the black dress she adorned distracting to the nurse. She had stood imposingly in the doorway as Sanderson had declared an medical emergency. Within minutes the doctor on duty from sickbay would be relieving the nurse of his medical command, but for now the situation was under his authority. 
 
He followed the woman’s hand to a red substance on the floor. Next to it was large shards of broken glass that had once formed the replicated imitation of the red wine they had started drinking at the beginning of their romantic evening. Alken, on entry to the quarters had commandeered first the bottle, and then the wine - at great offence to Sanderson. 
 
Sanderson dipped his finger in it, raising his fingers to examine it more thoroughly; it glinted under the lighting overhead, much more concentrated than the atmospheric lighting that they had set in the lounge itself. 
 
“Too thick to be wine…”
 
The observations were startling… 
 
“It’s blood!” 
 
Sanderson immediately placed a hand under the man, gently feeling the muscles. His fingers felt warm and damp as he tried to physically examine the man.
 
“Help me.” 
 
He’s got to be bleeding somewhere.
 
He commanded his date, who, standing in the doorway looked unsure, glass still in hand. 
 
“Put the damn glass down and get over here.”
 
She did as she was told, getting to her knees. Her attire for the evening was far from suitable for the task at hand, but at Ethan’s bidding she moved to assist. 
 
“Hands here.” 
 
He guided her hands towards the botanist's bottom. She was reluctant at first, but given the situation she did what she was told. Ethan placed his own gently under the back of the man’s chest. 
 
“On three we gently tilt, but gently, not too much, we can’t afford to cause any further damage. I need to see underneath.” 
 
On three they proceeded to tilt, revealing a large piece of glass impaled into the scientists back, blood slowly pouring out from the wound. 
 
Oh crap. 
 
As they lowered the patient back down, Ethan’s date removed her hands from Edward’s bottom, the blood smearing her dress. She had found her way to her feet, retreating back to the lounge, upset by the turn her romantic evening was taking. No longer was this thrill and excitement, but with blood on her clothes, it had become troublesome and grotesque. 
 
Ethan heard noises of doors opening, brief conversation unfolding, and then standing in the doorway he saw a familiar redhead, Beka Sydesh. Over her shoulder was the emergency trauma kit. Even her presence allowed Sanderson a sigh of relief, the situation was getting serious and he was no longer the medical authority within the room. 
 
“He complained of a bicycle crash which resulted in pain. The extent of that injury remains unclear. He’s been in and out of consciousness. Bruising to his chest, a bottle of wine in his bloodstream, and in an act of absolute stupidity...” 
 
The man realised he was being biased and toned it down. 
 
“...he has managed to collapse, resulting in a stab wound to his back from the fractured remnants of a wine bottle.”
 
He looked towards Edward, then towards Beka; 
 
“I can only guess he suffers from chronic stupidity.” 
 
==
 
GM Input in PM's

Edited by Mid Edward Alken, Star Date 22101.24 @ 17:39 (05:39 PM).

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#9 Ens Beka Sydesh

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Posted Star Date 22101.25 @ 00:09 (12:09 AM)

“For ****’s sake…”
 
Beka couldn’t stop the curse escaping from her lips as she listened to Ethan speak. Alken had managed to do a number on himself on several levels and now it fell to the medical staff to put the pieces back together again. 
 
“I keep hearing that the higher the IQ, the lower the common sense. Case in point here,” she murmured under her breath. The tricorder chirped to itself as it assessed the damage and then processed the results for the doctor. 
 
“Nothing serious. Right. I can probably fix him here, but I’m going to need your help, Ethan,” Sydesh said, looking up at the nurse. “Can you get me a dish or a cup or something? First priority is that cut and there’s glass shards everywhere. I have to clean it out.”
 
With the scientist face down on the floor, Beka checked to make sure his airway was clear. There was no sign whatsoever of a head injury or trauma on her examination or the tricorder’s scans, so the fact he was flitting in and out of consciousness was likely the result of the bottle of wine and elevated blood / alcohol levels.
 
The doctor reached into her case for the dermal regenerator, putting a temporary seal on the major blood vessels around the glass shard so that she could remove it. Donning a pair of gloves, she slowly eased the piece of bottle clear, then mopped up the gentle spurt of blood. 
 
Sydesh picked the tweezers out of the kit and then looked around for Sanderson. Her intention was clear - as she picked out the pieces of glass, he was going to need to hold that container steady for her to dump the shards in.
 
== Input received!  :D To you... ==
 

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#10 Mid Johnner Asil

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Posted Star Date 22101.25 @ 17:40 (05:40 PM)

==Ramius & Asil Following the Campfire Festival=
 
The doors to his quarters opened and Asil stepped through to a common area between two identical bedroom doors. His head swam with the laughter and songs from the colony below.  He removed his jacket and he took a moment to smell it.  The smoke from the fire had penetrated deep into the fibers and the scent brought first brought him back to a camping trip when he was a teenager.  Asil closed his eyes and was transported to an Argelian mountain ridge, on which he and his friends were camping.  Another deep breath and he was on Mars in his junior year of school and although the faces were different, the feelings were the same. he sat on the couch and removed his boots and sat back for a moment. In his buzzed state the change in orientation caused a mild wave of disarray and he had to raise his head back up to regain his senses. 
 
Oh, boy I need to lay down and get some sleep.
 
He picked up his clothes and boots and headed to the door to the bedroom, but instead of opening, the door remained and Asil walked right into it the.  He laughed as he took a step back and rubbed his head.  He hadn't been moving fast enough to hurt himself, but he was startled and confused.
 
What the hell? did I lock the door? 
 
He shook off a bit of his buzz a bit and now in command of himself, he heard music coming from the other side of the door which stopped abruptly. Asil heard movement before the door in front of him opened.  A man, tall, almost his height and build stood at the threshold with a questioning look on his face.  Asil's brain took a second or two to work out he was probably at the wrong door.  Instead of apologizing and retreating to his room he figured now was the time for more introductions. 
 
"Hi! I'm Asil," Asil smiled "I just got on board today, can I interest you like a drink?"
 
 
==Tag Ramius==

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#11 Lt (JG) Nathan Ramius {Coleman}

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Posted Star Date 22101.29 @ 03:51 (03:51 AM)

== demeure d’Ramius et d’Asil ==

 

The entire day had revolved around making himself scarce. Which, for Nathan, meant hiding away in his Quarters as much as humanly possible. Even if he had been feeling at all social, which he hadn’t, and even if he hadn’t broken up with Beka, which he had, going to a Christmas related event was strictly out of the question for him. The memories were already hitting him like a freight train going downhill in the Alps with no brakes. While he might have turned to drink in order to quell the disquiet, Ramius had decided to try and be as productive as possible instead.

 

Various incarnations of bowl-types, and half-completed miniatures lined his desk. Many of the woodworks just weren’t up to his own, very critical, and exacting standards. Even though Nathan was still very much the amateur in the new realm he was dipping his toes into, he simply couldn’t allow himself a break. Even as he followed tutorial after tutorial on trying to make figurines, Nathan couldn’t figure out the proportions correctly: every wood piece looked like a statue from Easter Island. It had got to the point where he had grown so frustrated, that Nathan stabbed one of the creations in the chest, impaled on the desk.

 

So, when carving hadn’t worked out, Ramius moved on to several of his puzzle books that he kept around. Those eventually dried up, and he moved to his console. Pushing aside the failed carvings (save for the impaled one), knocking several to the floor, he dove into a couple of computer generated 4-D sudoku compilations. The young man hadn’t taken into account how much of the previous frustration lingered however, and soon that emotion spilled into his problem solving. Stubborn, he continued. Hours passed, and slowly he made some headway, though not nearly fast enough for his liking. When the computer showed him how far behind he was from where he usually was in the timeframe allotted, he cursed loudly. Then, he yawned.

 

With his brain finally tired, Nathan had made his way to his bed. The hope was that, with an exhausted mind, he’d be able to put in for a nap; something he rarely did, but needed with the lack of sleep he had been getting. It wasn’t to be, as there was only one person Nathan could think of. A waltz filled his ears despite the room being completely silent. Images of her came upon his closed eyes unbidden, and soon enough his heart was pounding.

 

That is when Ramius had leapt from his bed, quickly dressed himself, then ran over to his instrument case. Had he timed himself, Nathan would have beat any previous records for tuning his Cello, so great was his desire to fill the room with music that wasn’t related to his memories.

 

Feverishly, he worked on the most classic of concertos first, Bach’s Cello Suites. Though, the rhythm wasn’t what he had wanted, and so he moved on. Dipping in and out of sonatas and concertos from the Baroque, Classical, and Romantic eras, he thrummed rather zealously and off-time. When the computer had chided him for the umpteenth about his improvised notes, Nathan was nearly about ready to turn to a bottle he had squirreled away. Instead, he convinced himself to work on another time period; songs from the Twentieth and Twenty-first Centuries.

 

Playing alongside three other instruments in a string-quartet, Nathan lost himself in the dulcet tones of the converted-to-string notes. There, in covers of songs, he could improvise to his heart’s content. That was, until he heard the incredible thud against his door.

 

Immediately, Nathan rose and headed to the portal, cello-bow still in hand.

 

I’m not expecting anyone. Certainly not at this hour.

 

When the door swished wide, the smell of smoke and a slight hint of alcohol permeated his nostrils. There were many people Nathan might have expected at his door. Yet, somehow, the six-three Argelian holding a pair of boots and a jacket wasn’t one of them. For a moment, they seemed to stare at one another, with Ramius unsure what to say to the intruder. Then the other man fixed that issue for the both of them by making introductions.

 

Standing rather still, Nathan’s eyebrow raised up at the mention of a drink from Asil. The polite side wrestled with his inner hermit, of which the former won out as soon as Ramius felt the aching pain from his overworked fingers.

 

“Suuuure. Just a moment.”

 

Popping back inside his bedroom, Nathan returned the bow back to the case, being sure to release the tension on the hair before storing it.

 

I don’t remember being told I was getting a roommate. Maybe Cera forgot to tell me? he thought briefly, before looking to his console and realizing he hadn’t actually read any messages for the day; instead ignoring the outside world as much as possible.

 

“Hmmm. ****,” Nathan said under his breath before turning around, and heading back out into the shared living room.

 

Again, the smell of smoke from a campfire filled his nose, and it took him back to a relatively recent memory in the mountains of Colorado. It was odd, to Nathan, to have a fond memory of that time. Though he shrugged and accepted it regardless, as his brain was quickly running out of room for negativity.

 

“Hello again. Ah, I'm Nathan. And sorry about that. Had to put the bow back in its case,” his hand motioned back toward his room, while his thumb pointed.

 

“Smells like you had a good time Asil,” a grin formed on Ramius’ face, his hand returning to his side, “a little booze and campfire?”

 

“Don’t suppose you got to meet your boss down there? Or better yet, don’t suppose you ran into any of the lovely ladies of Artemis?”

 

The last bit was more for Nathan’s benefit than anything. A subtle way to discover just who had went to the surface for the celebration that he had skillfully avoided.

 

 

== tag Asil! ==


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#12 Mid Edward Alken

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Posted Star Date 22101.29 @ 11:56 (11:56 AM)

== Sanderson / Alken Quarters ==
 
== Temp NRC, Ethan Sanderson, Nurse ==
 
Sanderson had his orders, he needed to source a container for the shards of glass. Beka’s experience and instinct was something the nurse was without. He had instinctively wanted to help and in doing so had forgotten he needed concern for himself. Hidden in his thoughts, Ethan could hear his instructor at Starfleet Medical calling out his mistakes;
 
Nurse Sanderson. You’ve rushed into care for your patient without checking the hazardous surroundings the patient has collapsed within. Rushing to act has put you and everyone with you in danger of suffering the same injuries as the patient. Think before acting man. Your negligence could cost someone their life. 
 
He concentrated on the task at hand, choosing to drown out his own criticism.
 
“Computer. Lights.”
 
At his command the atmospheric dimming of the lights retreated to make room for the standard setting on the lounge. He had expected to see his date still perched on the sofa, but the room was empty.
 
Find a container Ethan.
 
His eyes skimmed the room searching for something suitable. In sickbay he’d have reached for a surgical container, designed for the task. Here the choices were limited. The glass and bottle lay smashed on the floor of the washroom, the second glass his date had taken with her on her departure. On Ethan’s side of the neutral zone there was nothing but photographs. The man turned his attention towards the botanist’s side of the neutral zone. His eyes scanned what remained.
 
Plants. Just his damn plants… 
 
There was a brief pause, as Ethan came to the inevitable realisation. 
 
This isn’t going to help diplomatic relations. 
 
The nurse grabbed hold of the nearest potted plant - a crimson and yellow petalled flower of some kind. Ethan knew nothing about it, other than it was one of many weapons employed against him by his roommate. Upending the pot he shook it hard in an effort to dislodge the plant material. After the shaking proved ineffective, he resorted to employing his fingers to pry the plant out of its home. With ease it dropped to the floor, the soil scattering itself further than the crimson leafed plant whose roots were almost as deep as the plant itself was tall.
 
Rushing back into the washroom he found himself at Beka’s side, presenting the plant pot as a vessel for her to deposit the glass shards. 
 
“It’s all I could find.” 
 
He averted his eyes away from Beka and Alken, as if not making eye contact allowed him to escape judgement. Ultimately Ethan knew that both the doctor and the botanist would have something to say. 

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#13 Ens Beka Sydesh

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Posted Star Date 22101.30 @ 21:50 (09:50 PM)

As Ethan disappeared, Beka ran another detailed scan of the wound on Alken’s back and then set the tricorder down next to him where she could see it, before cracking open the sterile tweezers and trying to settle herself in a position where she was at least vaguely comfortable and able to work.
 
When the nurse returned, he presented the dirty plant pot and the doctor sighed.
 
“You know what, I’m going to let you explain that one to him,” she said, not unkindly. “Keep your pot where I can reach it, we’ll soon have him sorted out.” Sydesh smiled encouragingly and nodded to a spot on the other side of the fallen scientist.
 
Once Sanderson was settled, the redhead went to work. There was a near constant plink, plink noise as she plucked out the broken shards of glass and dropped them into the pot. 
 
“You’re doing great,” Beka said to Ethan, her eyes never leaving her work. “This kinda thing is always harder when the patient is someone you know, and you’ve got to keep battling away with your emotions whilst trying to concentrate.”
 
She paused to dig out a particularly long piece of glass. The doctor was an oasis of calm in the middle of the chaos. Compared to some of the places she’d had to treat patients, this was a serene paradise. The long shard clattered into the pot with the others, and she glanced up at Sanderson to get a read on him. 
 
“Often it’s even harder when you really don’t like the person,” Sydesh said. “Pressure just ratchets up on you. If you make a mistake, they’ll claim you did it on purpose and you’ll never be able to prove you didn’t. And that really sucks.” 
 
More glass rattled into the pot.
 
“Did I ever tell you? Second day with my roommate, she thought it would be hilarious to see what I’d do if she came at me with a knife,” she said, trying to calm the nurse down by taking his mind off things. “Not sure what she was thinking. Try and scare me I think. I had her in an armlock for what must have been ten minutes before she calmed down. Go figure, we’re close friends now. We go beat up bad guys in Catacombs on the holodecks at least once a week. Full costume and everything.”
 
She ran a deep tissue scan with the tricorder, just to confirm that all the glass was out. When she saw the confirmation, Beka went for the dermal regenerator and started to close the wound. 
 
“OK, we’re pretty much done here,” she said. “I’ll close up and once you’ve disposed of that glass, you can give me a hand turning him over. I want to wake him up and get him to the couch so I can check out that ligament injury properly.”
 
In a few passes of the dermal regenerator, the wound was closed and circulation restored. Another pass of the tricorder confirmed all was good. Beka cleared the floor next to Alken, and then she beckoned Ethan over. Between the two of them, they managed to roll the botanist over. 
 
“Now is the time to get your excuses ready about that plant,” Sydesh teased Sanderson gently, before she picked out a hypospray from her kit and pressed it to Alken’s neck to bring him round. 
 
== Tag Ed! ==
 

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#14 Mid Johnner Asil

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Posted Star Date 22101.31 @ 20:32 (08:32 PM)

=Ramius & Asil = 

Asil smiled and took a moment to go to his quarters to stow his belongings.  Now this looks my room... he thought.

He left his doors open to hear when Nathan returned to the common area.  He replicated a few glasses and met his roommate.  He sensed that Nathan’s question was more than simple curiosity about the party, but until he knew more, there’s no harm in being honest but let’s have a few drinks before getting into that.

 

"It was nice down there,” Asil answered as he mentally roll-called the folks he’d met on the surface.  “I got the impression attendance was encouraged but not mandatory, so we had a few department heads, Eli from security, Ben from Ops.. I mean Engineering, Commander Gregg from Science. Robin and.."  When he recalled meeting the young Doctor Sydesh, his hand ached a little "A doctor named Beka, from medical.  She nearly crushed my hand!"  He chuckled a little as he operated his hand and the sensation subsided.  

 

Uncorking the bottle, Asil released the sweet aroma, it rose from the amber liquid like a genie.  He was He filled the first glass and handed it over to Nathan then one for himself.  "I must say the Talaxians." Asil stopped to take a sip, "Can throw a good party, I didn’t care for for their music but they certainly can make potent potables.”

 
=Tag Nathan=

Edited by Mid Johnner Asil, Star Date 22101.31 @ 20:35 (08:35 PM).

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#15 Lt (JG) Nathan Ramius {Coleman}

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Posted Star Date 22102.03 @ 02:05 (02:05 AM)

== Asil/Ramius Quarters ==

 

Finding a seat in the chair of the common room, Nathan purposefully left Asil the couch. Both were comfortable, as the quarters weren’t nearly as spartan as one might find aboard a frigate or scout. Yet, the couch would let someone relax, which after a night of drinking, might be something his new roommate would want to do.

 

Politely, Nathan listened as Asil spoke about the party. Nodding at the informality and voluntary nature of the event, it was hard for Ramius not to hide a raised brow at the mention of Eliana being a Department Head; but for all intents and purposes, Eli was a very senior officer within the Security department, so he let it slide for the time being. It did though, upon hearing that Eli and Ben were down there, make Nathan feel a bit bad for not attending. In the end, Ramius reasoned he would have been a downer anyway, and likely to reduce the cheer of a festive time.

 

"A doctor named Beka, from medical.  She nearly crushed my hand!"

 

Nathan laughed along with Asil, nodding and tilting his head to the side.

 

Yup, that is Beka for sure. I hope she was doing okay. That would have been an awkwa…

 

The sound of the cork coming free from the mouth of the bottle interrupted Nathan’s thoughts and recaptured his attention.

 

“Thank you,” Nathan snuck in as he accepted the glass, before matching Asil and taking a sip too.

 

It was sweet, and though it was a beverage from another world, it had a familiarity to it. The scent and taste transported Nathan away for a brief moment, to another time, where he was sitting and chatting with someone. That time it had been Jennifer Braggins. Thankfully, the circumstances were completely and totally different from the one that he now was in with Asil.

 

“Mmm. Is this mead? You should save a glass-worth of it and hand it off to Commander Braggins. She loves the stuff, and it might curry some favor with her; if it is even possible to do so,” Nathan chuckled and smiled, trying to play off the commentary as joking.

 

“As for Beka, that is unsurprising. She is a…” there was a pregnant pause from Nathan, “…strong woman.”

 

He took another sip before continuing,

 

“Sounds like you met most of the major personalities of the ship down there then. And it is good to hear the Talaxians are back on their feet. After seeing them on the Asteroid Colony, I was beginning to wonder how they’d deal with transition. Apparently, they kept the stills in good working order. They have the same priorities as the Artemis does then,” he raised his glass to take in the color of the beverage.

 

“Enough about them though, tell me about yourself! Favorite beverage? Hobbies and past-times? Anything that might show up in a Security report?” Nathan said the last part teasingly, as he looked at Asil from just beyond the rim of the glass that was up to his lips once more.

 

== tag again Asil! ==


Edited by Ens Nathan Ramius, Star Date 22102.03 @ 02:07 (02:07 AM).

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#16 Mid Edward Alken

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Posted Star Date 22102.05 @ 11:46 (11:46 AM)

== Alken & Sanderson Quarters ==
 
== Temp NRC, Ethan Sanderson, Nurse ==
 
Together they had set about tending to the Midshipman’s wounds, Beka’s bedside manner setting the nurse at ease as she talked him through the textbook procedure. Extracting glass shards of various sizes, Ethan’s role had been to assist in supporting the patient's weight, and holding the plant pot within reach for her to dispense the fragments. 
 
He laughed at the tale she shared of her problematic roommate, reflecting on the prospects that in the doctor's experience friendship had been possible even with the worst of beginnings. More than relieving the tension, Ethan’s imagination had run wild with pictures of Alken galavanting around the quarters with gardening shears. 
 
“I’m not sure the botanist and I are ever going to be the best of friends” 
 
His eyes dropped to the red pot now filled with a mix of glass and blood. 
 
“... But I’d settle for peace between the Federation and Botanist’s Empire.” 
 
Almost on cue Beka had gently pressed the hypospray against Edward's neck, warning as she did so for the nurse to prepare his excuses.
 
 
== PRC - Midshipman Edward Alken, Science Officer ==
 
The glare from the washroom's bright white lights was overpowering, to the extent that with each attempt to open his eyes, Edward found them retreating each time, his eyelids shuttering the light from view. On each occasion that his eyes briefly withstood the imposing rays, he could make out the silhouettes of two figures leaning over him. 
 
“Can we turn the damn lights down?” 
 
The familiar voice of Ethan Sanderson bellowed a command, and following his words the lighting within the washroom dimmed. 
 
Suddenly Edward could hold his eyes open for longer than a few seconds, focusing intently on the ceiling that towered above him, until the two figures peered over him once again, blocking the metallic ceiling from view. 
 
A redhead, whom the botanist recognised as one of the ship's medical officers, was present, accompanied, true to his discernment, by the nurse Ethan Sanderson whose voice he recognised earlier. 
 
“I must have fallen over… If you just excuse me I’ll let you two get back to your romantic evening.”
 
The Midshipman had obviously mistaken Sydesh for the woman that had been there when the middle aged man had first arrived.  
 
Placing his hand down on the cold floor, he tried to lift himself up, only to feel the pain shoot through him. 
 
Ouch that hurts more than I remember…”
 
 
== Tag Sydesh ==

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#17 Ens Beka Sydesh

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Posted Star Date 22102.06 @ 22:35 (10:35 PM)

== Alken & Sanderson Quarters ==
 
“... But I’d settle for peace between the Federation and Botanist’s Empire.”
 
That one drew a smile from Beka as she activated the hypospray to wake up the fallen Science Officer. 
 
Interesting analogy. How does that fit for me and Nat? After initial border skirmishes between the Ginger Republic and the Prim Proper Hegemony, we are now at a state of pizza and holoprograms.
 
Listening to how the other roommate situations panned out often made Sydesh appreciate how things with Okehampton had ended up. It was difficult to find two more different people in pretty much everything. Upbringing. Academy experience. Outlook on life. Temperament. Skillsets. Their differences meant they’d sparked off each other at first. But eventually, after peace offerings were made on both sides, the two of them had turned that to their advantage. 
 
If it hadn’t been for her, I wouldn’t have made that time for things I actually enjoy, traded some gym time for some rest time. She was right on that one, it’s calmed me down no end. And I like to think that having me around has forced her out of her comfort zone, and she’s gone from catching grief to getting promoted. It really has worked out. Almost like whoever sets those assignments knows what they’re doing…
 
Alken’s eyes fluttering open brought the doctor back to the present. She carefully watched his reactions, checking for anything that might indicate a head injury, but she didn’t see any of the telltale signs. 
 
“Can we turn the damn lights down?” he asked, prompting a shout from Ethan that was loud enough to make Beka flinch.
 
“Did you have to do that? I’m right here!” she said to the nurse, biting down the temptation to let loose with a stream of vitriol. The redhead settled for a pointed sigh and a shake of her head. 
 
“I must have fallen over… If you just excuse me I’ll let you two get back to your romantic evening.” He tried to lift himself and failed miserably. “Ouch that hurts more than I remember…”
 
“Yeah, that’s not a surprise,” Beka replied. “I’m not Ethan’s date, I’m the emergency medic that got called after you blew out your knee, drank yourself into a stupor and then passed out on the broken remains of the wine bottle. Wrong ginger, but I can understand why you’d rather I was the other one.” 
 
There was a wry smile on her lips as she delivered her cutting summation.
 
“Now, I think you’ve been lucky and not done yourself any permanent damage. But I need to get you up on that couch so that I can check you over properly and look at that knee of yours. You think you can get there with some help?”
 
Sydesh rose and held a hand down. She was easily strong enough to haul the botanist to his feet if he took the offered hand, and just tall enough for him to lean on her to get across to the couch.
 
== Back atcha! ==
 

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#18 Mid Johnner Asil

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Posted Star Date 22102.11 @ 00:27 (12:27 AM)

Asil finished the contents of his glass and he began to refill it.

 

“Coffee is my beverage of choice, I’d have to say since I arrived on board the first ship I “served”  Asil made air quotes with his free fingers, “Such a rich drink, bitter and sweet at the same time, and it spread through the Alpha Quadrant on Starfleet ships and became a part of the daily routine for many species.  As for hobbies, I enjoy cooking real food, When I was in school, I’d get five or six classmates over game night, I’d usually cook while blasting some music, and then we’d settle into some simple board game; something that didn’t require a holodeck or neural interface to experience.” 

 

Asil smiled and finished his second glass, “deciding he needed to wait until Nahan finished a second round before he moved on to a third.

 

He took a deep breath and began telling a summary of his younger life, touching on the Argelian occupation and the role he played in its liberation.  He tried to keep the conversation as light as possible, this was not time to revisit that situation.  He steered his story to his time at Jupiter Station and the Academy, much happier memories. He moved on to his time in University and the Jupiter Station and finally the Academy. 

 

“Most of my time at the Academy felt like a refresher, I pissed off more than a few instructors when I corrected them on some specification they got wrong.  When I got assigned to the Jupiter, just before arriving out here, that was fun.  After being out of the shipyard game for two years I got to get dirty in the bowels of that ship with the rest of the engineering team.  I was only there for a few months before I got orders to Artemis so I didn’t really have a chance to get to know anyone.  Now that I’m here, I’m going to hit the ground running.  That’s why after meeting with the Captain, I went down to the party.”

 

Asil brought the bottle over to Nathan offing to refill his glass “The music from your quarters, were you listening or playing?”

 

=Tag Nathan=

==OOC My apologies on this most tardy of responses,  I have been busy setting up the apartment and job hunting, I am getting back into a more normal routine now"

Edited by Mid Johnner Asil, Star Date 22102.11 @ 00:29 (12:29 AM).

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#19 Mid Edward Alken

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Posted Star Date 22102.11 @ 15:35 (03:35 PM)

== Alken / Sanderson Quarters ==
 
== Mid Edward Alken, Science Officer ==
 
No sooner had Beka’s summary concluded than Edward was poised ready to protest in defence of his own actions up to this point. A confused expression was written across his face as he realised she was not the nurse’s date, but rather the doctor assigned to that shift’s emergency team.
 
“Young woman.. I must protest… When I departed the holodeck all that grieved me was some minor scratches and bruising.” 
 
The man was not being exactly factual.
 
“Had there been anything of it, sapphire lotus petals, brewed in honey to a round 50 degrees celsius would have been sufficient to have softened my ailments and reinvigorated my body. I grant you that it would have taken ten hours to properly prepare the concoction - but all was in hand before the young man here panicked unnecessarily.” 
 
He minimised the extent of the injuries and minimised their medical experience with repeated references to the youth of both the physicians. The only thing emphasised amongst his ravings were the wisdom of his own experience. 
 
“Edward. You managed to impale yourself with glass from the wine bottle.” 
 
Edwards' eyes met Ethans’ who had interrupted him in an effort to discredit the older man’s irrational conclusions. The crimson pot was still in his hands, but the Midshipman was too distracted in his own justification to notice. 
 
“I grant you, sapphire petals and brewed honey are not a reasonable treatment for lacerations. I was indeed just on my way to Sickbay when you both interrupted me.” 
 
The doctor had ignored his justification up to that point, indicating to the pair of roommates that she needed Alken to be transitioned from the washroom floor, through the jungle of plants, across the neutral zone and safely repositioned upon the sofa that had only thirty minutes before had been designated for entertaining guests. 
 
She had offered a hand to the older man, to which Alken detested. A helping hand was proof of his frailty and weakness, and with so many officers younger than him, Edward was keen to avoid being sidelined by his age. 
 
With reluctance, his hand clenched hers. 
 
“If you insist.” 
 
He felt himself drawn forwards, his weight once again on his feet. His leg protested at movement, once again throwing a sharp pain through his body, but Beka had taken much of the weight, allowing the Midshipman to relieve pressure from his own foot.
 
Sanderson had proceeded before them, moving the coffee table with ease across the neutral zone in order to allow the pair who were limping forwards the most direct route towards the sofa. Sanderson had placed the crimson pot down on the table. 
 
Edward was too focused watching each step. 
 
Then he saw it, soil by now worn into the carpet of the lounge. Following the trail across the floor and deep into his own territory was the uprooted remains of a crimson petalled, yellow stemmed flower that had once occupied a crimson pot. The man’s eyes were no longer on his feet, but skimming the room for further evidence, until they fixed upon Sanderson. More accurately, they fixed upon a crimson pot that rested upon the coffee table next to Sanderson. Its crimson texture disguised the blood within, but the shards of glass could easily be identified from this angle. 
 
“Sanderson! What the hell have you done?” 
 
Beka had continued the journey regardless of the unfolding drama, and before the whimpering nurse could respond, the patient had been thrown strategically down upon the cushions of the sofa. The descent was carefully managed to stop the man's wounds reopening, but still firm enough to set the tone for the conversation to come. Sanderson had done no wrong in his intervention, but it was unlikely the Midshipman would view it that way. 
 
Edward’s eyes were still locked upon his roommate. 
 
== OOC: Permission was given for Beka to make the journey in this post. ==
 
 
 
== Alken / Sanderson Quarters == 
 
== Temp NRC, Ethan Sanderson, Nurse ==
 
Where are the Sanderson gang when you need them? 
 
Ethan amusingly pondered to himself in an effort to disarm his discomfort at the scene that was unfolding. Thinking of how his brothers and the family bonds that united them comforted him. They had stood up to much adversity together in their youth and even now aboard the Artemis. The nurse had always found relief from strength in numbers, but here in the lounge of Ethan’s own quarters, his only comfort was that his superior Beka was present. He’d struggle to find a tougher and more understanding partner to endure the botanist’s attacks. Beka was surely stronger in character and determination than all of the Sanderson gang combined. He admired her, and in that Ethan found courage. 
 
“Edward. Truly…” he tried to sound sincere, for he was. “I’m sorry about the plant, but we needed to extract the glass from your back, and this is all I could find to assist the doctor.”
 
He looked to the crimson pot that rested on the surface of the coffee table, and then towards the remains of the uprooted plant that rested on the carpet. 
 
“It’s been thirty minutes. I’ll replant the damn thing for you. Neither you, nor the plant thankfully are terminal. Both will live to fight another day” 
 
At least the plant isn’t. 
 
Edward’s stare faded, and in a moment the botanist had thrown his head back onto the pillow, as if he was ignoring all that Sanderson had said to justify his decision. Whether they had moved on was difficult to know in the awkwardness of the silence, until that silence was broken. 
 
“Okay Doctor. You heard the nurse. Let’s get this over with.”
 
Ethan leaned in once again to assist the nurse, his thoughts still analysing the old man's response. 
 
I guess this means a truce between the great powers. Alken will live to fight another day. 

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#20 Lt (JG) Nathan Ramius {Coleman}

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Posted Star Date 22102.13 @ 21:08 (09:08 PM)

== Before Recall, following the Campfire Festival ==

=== no need to apologize, it is all good! Totes understand! ===

 

“You aren’t the only one who loves coffee!” Nathan laughed, “You’ll fit in well with the entire ship for sure. If it isn’t coffee, it is Raktajino, or that Firenut blend stuff that the Talaxians have shared with us now.”

 

Then, as Asil started talking about cooking, Nathan perked up even more. It sounded like Asil was the far superior chef between the two of them, as Ramius only considered himself an amateur at it. Though he too enjoyed the actual act of cooking, and not just materializing a meal. There was something to it, the creation aspect of it, it was an art. Ephemeral, but art all the same.

 

It didn’t take long for Nathan to notice that Asil had once more finished off his most recent refill. That caused one of the young man’s brows to raise up in interest.

 

Looks like I’ve traded in one roomy that likes the drink, for another of the same.

 

Not wanting to keep his new roommate from being thirsty, Nathan tossed back what was in his cup, and leaned forward, ready for a refill when Asil finished his history. It was a bit surprising, to be trusted enough straight away to be told so much background, Ramius felt. But at the same time, it was obvious that there were bits that were glossed over, as much for Nathan’s sake as it was for Asil he wagered. After all, Nathan wouldn’t want to recount every single detail of his past life either. Not just because it might have been stress-laden (or, in Ramius' background, embarrassing), which there was plenty of moments that were. However, reliving those moments would have brought the mood down from jovial to cheerless.

 

“The music from your quarters, were you listening or playing?”

 

“Playing,” Nathan responded quickly before raising his glass, “thank you. I have played the cello since I was a kid. My parents were big on having a sort of classic education. I’m glad that they did introduce me to music though. It helps me focus, and provides an outlet too.”

 

“With the kind of jobs we have,” using his glass, he pointed between himself and Asil, “it is a life-saver. That and physical exercise. I do a lot of that. Goes with the job, but... I use it as stress relief often too.”

 

Then, Nathan went into a little bit about himself, expanding more upon his statement about the sort of classic upbringing he had referenced earlier. While their early lives had been pretty much on par with one another, there was no way to compare to what Asil went through during the Argelian Occupation. With that in mind, Nathan tried to keep most of his remembrances of adolescence short; his trials and tribulations seemed petty compared to what Asil had to endure.

 

“And then, there has been my service aboard the Gettysburg and the Artemis. But for that background, I’m going to need more to drink,” there was a chuckle, but Nathan’s face remained serious.

 

Finishing off his second drink, he leaned forward for a third.

 

“We might need another couple of bottles…”

 

== ETL with Asil’s permission ==


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#21 Ens Beka Sydesh

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Posted Star Date 22102.13 @ 23:57 (11:57 PM)

== Alken / Sanderson Quarters ==
 
Beka listened to the diatribe about lotus petals with a raised eyebrow and a pointed expression. 
 
“I grant you, sapphire petals and brewed honey are not a reasonable treatment for lacerations. I was indeed just on my way to Sickbay when you both interrupted me.”
 
“If you try and use any of that folksy **** on this ship, I will have you sectioned,” the doctor said. She was not known for her patience and Alken was skirting very close to the edge of her tolerance. “Now. I’m going to ask one more time. Can we get you onto that couch?”
 
She held out her hand again, and this time he took it. With a sigh of relief that just maybe things could get back on track, Sydesh pulled the botanist to his feet, and let him lean on her as they made their way unsteadily across the living area. 
 
I’ve never seen this many plants in one set of quarters. It’s like that really bad TV show Caz made me watch back in catch-up school. Triffids was it? Something like that.
 
With a resigned expression on her face, the redhead completely ignored the blazing row about the evicted plant that went on around her. Her focus was on getting Alken to the couch so that she could treat his injury and then get the hell out of there, and she made sure he kept moving instead of stopping to have his argument. 
 
Will you come on already. Once you’re in recovery, then you can start trying to tear strips off a guy who was just trying to help.
 
Beka carefully lowered Ed to the couch, and then headed over to retrieve her kit from by the washroom as Ethan made his plea. 
 
“It’s been thirty minutes. I’ll replant the damn thing for you. Neither you, nor the plant thankfully are terminal. Both will live to fight another day.”
 
After a moment’s silence, the botanist answered. 
 
“Okay Doctor. You heard the nurse. Let’s get this over with.”
 
“Thank **** for that…” Sydesh murmured under her breath as she got back to the couch and dropped to one knee. “Hold still. You’ve ruptured a knee ligament. I can fix it here but you must keep it still. Otherwise it’s Sickbay and surgery. And given how you’ve behaved so far, I can’t promise I won’t just punch you in the face to knock you out.”
 
She rolled up her sleeves, revealing more than enough muscle tone to make good on her threat, before settling down to work.
 
“Ethan?” Beka asked. “Do me a favour. Keep the tricorder where I can see it please. I need it focused on that knee.”
 
Ligaments required careful work. The doctor had one eye on the tricorder screen as she worked with the dermal regenerator, making precise adjustments on the field depths to knit together the tissue to save her having to open him up. If there were any more testy exchanges between the two roommates, she wasn’t paying them the slightest attention. 
 
After a few minutes that seemed like an hour, Sydesh gently took the tricorder from Sanderson and ran a series of deep tissue scans to confirm her work was good. She nodded and then passed the scanner back, before recalibrating the dermal regenerator and clearing up the bruising as best she could. 
 
“Right. You’re done,” she said. “One more thing. That knee is going to need a brace around it for 72 hours. I don’t care if you feel better or that it’s uncomfortable. It has to stay on to make sure everything heals properly.” Beka looked over at Ethan. “Could you replicate me the brace please? Standard lightweight should be fine. And if you catch him trying to run around on it, you call me and I’ll be straight over.”
 
There was the slightest hint of a mischievous smile playing around her lips now that Sydesh had had time to calm herself down. 
 
“Any questions from the patient?” she asked, rising to her feet. 
 
== Tag! :D ==
 

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#22 Mid Edward Alken

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Posted Star Date 22102.24 @ 17:13 (05:13 PM)

== Alken / Sanderson Quarters ==
 
Edward’s eyes were focused on the ceiling of the compartment, the metallic pattern of the panels eloquent in their simplicity. The patterns reminded him of the patterns often found in nature. His intention had been to distance himself from the medical procedure that was unravelling between Beka and Sanderson. 
 
The Doctor had been firm with his leg, the hum and familiar noises of a tricorder could be heard as she proceeded to mend Edward’s leg. The Doctor had also been firm in her bedside manner, allowing none of Edward’s nonsense, at the protest of the botanist. 
 
He had been just about to interrupt when Sanderson had been dispatched to replicate a brace. 
 
“Is the brace necessary? It will heal naturally now that you’ve set it.”
 
Ed quizzed, reluctant to have his leg contained with a brace. His eyes followed Sanderson as he crossed the neutral zone, traversed the jungle and eventually arrived at the replicator. Seconds later he was speaking commands to the computer. The man's body was a wall separating Edward from a clear line of sight of what the man had replicated. It was only when he turned around he revealed a medical device that would brace the midshipman’s upper thigh. 
 
“Sanderson, I trust you’re not about to break your oath and inflict torture on your patient and roommate!” 
 
It didn’t sound like a joke.
 
Sanderson ignored him, and with Beka’s help slipped the brace onto the Midshipman’s leg. 
 
“You ruined my date Alken, time for some penance.”
 
The nurse sounded sincere. 
 
He pulled the botanist to his feet, allowing Edward to try the brace that wrapped around his leg. 
 
Beka had obviously concluded that the medical emergency had been addressed, and in traditional fashion for a medical officer started to pour medical directives on the aftercare, before asking if the patient had any further questions. 
 
Edward smirked.
 
“You people should have invented a stealth brace by now. This is going to attract attention.” 

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#23 Ens Beka Sydesh

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Posted Star Date 22102.27 @ 23:36 (11:36 PM)

== Alken / Sanderson Quarters ==
 
The feeling that went through Beka as she lined up the knee brace with Ethan’s help, was pretty similar to the one where she’d agreed to go on a double date and hers didn’t show. That sense of her presence being little more than a distraction to the other two.
 
“You ruined my date Alken, time for some penance.”
 
The redhead’s eyebrow raised at that one but she let it go.
 
What’s that awful phrase, boys will be boys? So much testosterone in this room I can’t blame the date for running.
 
“You people should have invented a stealth brace by now. This is going to attract attention.” There was a smirk on Edward’s face. 
 
“We’ll get right on that. As soon as you work out how to have a stealth bike crash,” Beka threw back instantly. “For all the grief you’ve given us, if it was up to me, this damn thing would make wearing trousers impossible, carry foot-high flashing lights and scream announcements like ‘warning, clumsy eejit approaching’. But instead we’re behaving, and you can just dress over it like a normal person would.”
 
She grinned as she packed up her kit. 
 
“So can I go now? You think you two can get through the next few hours without needing a referee?”
 

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#24 Ens Beka Sydesh

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Posted Star Date 22104.14 @ 22:54 (10:54 PM)

== During the timeskip, following on from holodeck post ==
 
Beka crashed down on the couch and sighed. She grabbed the pint glass of Bajoran cola that was on the table and downed it in one. The meeting with Lt Coleman had been brief but intense, as the COS had held the key to whether or not the doctor would be able to keep her old disruptor now that Nat had restored it.
 
“So? You going to keep me in suspense or what?” Nat asked as she came out of her bedroom, holding the black gun box. “What did the Chief say?”
 
“He signed me off,” the redhead replied with a smile that was mostly relief. “I’m allowed to keep the disruptor, subject to it being secured when not in use and no taking it on official ship business. I’m glad you talked me out of taking the gun to the meeting though, because you were right, that would have been an automatic fail.”
 
Okehampton grinned broadly. She brought the box over and laid it down in front of Sydesh before flopping onto the couch next to her. 
 
“There you go then,” the Security officer said proudly. “That’s now officially all yours. It’s an ornament no longer!”
 
Beka leant forward, flipped the box open and drew out the disruptor as she sank back. The weight of it in her hand was still as reassuring as it had always been. It was shaped like a classic revolver, with a heavy stock and long barrel, and the charge pack mechanism in the centre where the chamber would have been on a slug-thrower. The power setting and safety was set on the rear where it could be operated with a thumb, but had never worked before.
 
“So how did you come by this?” Nat asked. “I don’t know that I’ve ever asked you. But hundred-year-old Tal Shiar disruptors aren’t exactly common.”
 
“Yeah…” Sydesh turned the weapon over in her hands. “I was… 16 I think? Hadn’t been on the Riftrunner long by that point. We found this Romulan transport ship adrift in the Alteran expanse. It was trashed and the air was all long gone. Whoever attacked that ship did a real number on it, but we went in anyway because the captain was pretty desperate for a find.”
 
The redhead chuckled. 
 
“We were clumping around in these ****ty suits and ridiculous helmets. The one they gave me had actual tape wrapped around the arm to maintain integrity, and it stank so bad in there… Anyone complaining about the Star Fleet suits should have to go out in one of those. Anyway. We split up and they sent me to the infirmary with Tox. He was the ship’s doctor but I don’t know that I’ve ever known a worse person than him. Total, utter ****bag. We break through the bulkhead and there’s two bodies in there, which doesn’t phase him in the least but they made me jump. He tells me to gather up everything, all the supplies I can physically carry, which I do. And then when we’re heading out the door…”
 
There was a real thousand-mile stare on Beka’s face as she spoke. She looked uncomfortable but she ploughed on.
 
“Tox snuck up behind me. He grabbed me and flung me against the bulkhead so hard my visor cracked. And then he pins me down, pushing his finger on the crack in the glass, telling me I’m worthless, that I’ll never take his place, that he should just end me now and do the galaxy a favour. Back then I couldn’t fight back, I just had to wriggle free, and ran head-first into one of the floating dead Romulans. This disruptor was in his holster and I drew it, spun round and pulled the trigger. First time it did nothing, second time it glowed, then the third time it fired this full-power blast that flashed straight past Tox’s head and blew a hole in the wall. I was too terrified to really appreciate the look of just total ******* shock on his face… But yeah. He made me pick up all the supplies I’d dropped when he hit me and we went back to our ship.”
 
Nat was wide-eyed. 
 
“What a bastard!” she said. “Did anyone do anything about him?”
 
“Nope.” Sydesh shook her head. “He was the sawbones, I was just a kid who had to earn my keep. But I always kept that gun with me. I didn’t get an actual bed at any point so it wasn’t as though I could tuck it under a pillow, but I fell asleep in my hidden corners of the cargo bay with it in my hand pretty much every night. That crew… None of them were much better.”
 
The redhead held the disruptor out and sighted down the barrel, before laying it reverentially back in its box. 
 
“It was temperamental as all ****, kicked like a mule and chewed through charge packs pretty much at random. But that gun was the only thing that ever made me feel safe enough to sleep.” Beka sighed and stroked the copper-coloured metal. “Even when it packed up completely, I’ve never been able to let it go. So yeah. It means a lot to me to have it in proper working order. Like more than I can say.”
 
There was a lump in her throat at the memories, and she angrily wiped a tear away and covered her face. It was too late though, the experiences rushing through her mind and overwhelming her even as she tried to keep everything bottled up. 
 
Nat saw her struggling and moved in quickly, wrapping her arms around her roommate and rubbing a soothing hand down Beka’s back as the doctor wept.
 
“Ssh. It’s OK,” the brunette whispered. “Those days are long gone. You came through. And there’s nobody going to do that to you here. Not whilst you’re under my protection.”
 
Sydesh tried to laugh, and hugged Okehampton close. At that moment she could have kissed the other woman for reminding her just how far she’d come. It was enough to help her calm herself down, take a few deep breaths, and then lean back to wipe her face.
 
“Thank you. I mean that, I really do.” Beka squeezed Nat’s hand.
 
“My pleasure,” came the reply, along with a warm smile as Nat squeezed back.
 

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#25 Ens Beka Sydesh

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Posted Star Date 22105.04 @ 00:10 (12:10 AM)

== During the jump to the current location. Sydesh / Okehampton quarters. ==
 
It would have been difficult to describe the sounds that were coming from the rooms as Beka tried to follow the singing lessons that Nat had left for her. The redhead was learning to harness her voice but it didn’t come as naturally to her as it did to the likes of Robin Mayfair and Nat Okehampton, both of whom had absolutely beautiful voices and could turn them to anything. Hers was very much a rock singer’s voice. It growled and it rasped and there was the potential there to hit the high notes, but she just didn’t have the control yet. 
 
And judging by the attempts so far, she had some way to go before she got any. It seemed that Nat’s pithy comment still rang true. Beka’s voice was a lot like a photon torpedo with a broken guidance system; so much power but no chance of hitting what she was aiming at.
 
Eventually Sydesh reached the end of the exercises, and slumped down onto the couch with a sullen look on her face. 
 
“Computer, program off,” she said. She was wearing a really baggy grey sweatshirt that was several sizes too big, some comfy but brief shorts and that was pretty much it. She was therefore completely unprepared when the door slid open to admit both Nat and Ensign Reeve, both of them in full duty uniform and holstered phasers at their hips. Beka curled her legs under herself defensively and frowned at the two Security officers. 
 
“OK, this is new,” the doctor said guardedly.
 
“Ensign Beka Sydesh?” Reeve said formally, sitting himself down next to her. Okehampton leant against the back wall, her expression flitting between serious and amused and back again. 
 
“Yeah…”
 
“I need to ask you some questions please. This is not on the record, but there has been a complaint against you that we’re obliged to follow up on,” the square-jawed Reeve intoned. 
 
“A what now?” Beka didn’t know how to respond to that, and she tried desperately to think of anything she’d done recently that might have landed her in hot water. 
 
“Bek, can we ask you our questions please?” Nat asked from the back. 
 
“Fine. Not like I could stop you anyway. What’s this about?” Sydesh replied. 
 
“Do you know a Tarja Valassis?” Reeve asked.
 
“Tarja Valassis?” Beka thought for a second. “Oh, Tarja! The kid? Yeah, I know Tarja.”
 
“Can you tell us about the interaction you had with her yesterday evening after your shift please. Anything you said to her, anything you showed her.” Reeve leant back and pulled out a PADD from a pocket. 
 
“Well…” the redhead started. 
 
== Flashback. 10 hours previously, ship’s gym ==
 
The speed bag rattled against its backing plate again and again as Beka worked on her jab. Her speed of movement was another level, and it was what made her so dangerous in a one-on-one fight. Recently she’d lost around 8lbs in weight after deciding that all the extra weights and bodybuilding was hindering her rather than helping. The extra strength was not worth how much the weight slowed her down. She was happier now, still toned and muscular, but not to the point where she ‘hulked out’. 
 
After a while, the redhead felt like she was being watched. She turned off the music she was listening to and looked around, then looked down. There was a young girl standing about 10 feet away in workout clothes not unlike Beka’s own - shorts, vest and training shoes - with blonde hair and keen blue eyes.
 
“Hey muscley lady,” the girl said. “Can you teach me how to punch?”
 
Sydesh did a double-take, crossing her arms across her body to stretch off after the intense workout. She walked over to the girl and dropped to one knee, curiosity getting the better of her. 
 
“So my name’s Beka,” she said. “What’s yours? Do your parents know you’re here?” 
 
“I’m Tarja Valassis,” the girl replied proudly. “My mummy is still at work and my daddy is asleep. And so I came to see if I could punch and you punch much better than I do. And there’s a boy who keeps picking on me and I really want to teach him a lesson.”
 
The redhead did her best to cover up the grin on her face, but she didn’t do that great of a job.
 
“Y’know what Tarja? You picked the right muscley lady,” Beka said. She fished her commbadge out of her pocket. “I just need to tell your mum where you are, and that I’ll bring you back home later. Can I do that?”
 
Tarja nodded, and Sydesh put the call in. Lt Valassis was very apologetic but was happy that Tarja was safe, and Beka promised to bring the girl back. With that out of the way, she got the girl a tiny pair of fingerless protective gloves, switched the speed bag for a lightweight punching bag, and lowered it down so that Tarja could reach it. 
 
“OK,” the doctor said, kneeling on the other side of the bag. “Show me what you’ve got. Give it a real whack!” 
 
What the little girl lacked in technique, she certainly made up for in enthusiasm. She rained big, wild swings at the bag, missing more often than hitting, but she was beaming the whole time. 
 
“Woah, woah, woah, time out!” Beka said, laughing. “Right. Let’s do this nice and slowly. What hand do you write with?”
 
“My left.”
 
“Correct answer. Southpaws together!” Sydesh held out a fist and Tarja bumped it. “Just show me a punch. One big one. Hit that bag like it just told you no ice cream tonight.”
 
A tiny fist thumped against the bag, and Beka nodded. 
 
“OK. Not bad. But you know how you’re punching now? You’re just swinging with your shoulder.” The taekwon-do black belt demonstrated. “That’s fine, but girls like us, we need to use all the muscles we can. So when you punch again, try straightening your arm at the same time. Bring your elbow into it. Like this.” 
 
Beka threw 3 punches to show what she meant. Tarja watched with her head tilted, and then when it was her turn, she tried to copy the blow. 
 
“Good!” Beka said enthusiastically. “Try it again.” She nodded as her tiny training partner landed another couple of blows. “Good! You’re getting it. Try to keep your elbow down though.” 
 
Gently, she held Tarja’s arm as the girl punched. After a couple of times she had the motion better, and then after a few more she was clearly getting the hang of it. 
 
“Right. You look ready,” the redhead said. “How about we make you even stronger? Put your back into it too. When you punch, straighten your arm, and then lean into it. Like this.” 
 
Sydesh snapped into a few punches, and she encouraged Tarja to punch along with her. The girl was a quick learner - her technique was far from perfect but she was doing so much better. 
 
“And now, last thing. Your feet and how you stand.” Beka stood up. “You’re standing straight on. What you should do is go side-on. You’re left-handed, so you lead with your right, and you stand like this.” She took guard, left foot back, right foot forward. “Try it. Stand like me.”
 
After a couple of goes, Tarja got the stance right, and the doctor nodded. 
 
“Excellent! Right. Now, when you punch, push off with that back foot. Throw your weight into it. Like this.” Beka’s fist hit the bag in a textbook shot. “This is quite hard, so let me guide you through it.”
 
The two of them were there for another 15 minutes, but by the end of it Tarja was red-faced and really proud of herself. 
 
“Thank you Beka!” she said happily, leaning in and wrapping her arms around the much taller woman’s waist. 
 
“You’re very welcome,” Beka replied with a warm smile. “Now, how about you let me take you home, so you can show your daddy what you’ve learned?”
 
== End flashback ==
 
“...And that was pretty much it,” Sydesh said. “I took her home, handed her over to her dad, told him the story, and then he thanked me for looking after her.”
 
“I see.” Reeve finished taking notes, and then slid the PADD into his pocket before fixing the doctor with a measured stare. “What would you say if I told you that Tarja broke the nose of a 13-year-old boy in class this afternoon?”
 
“I’d say, good on Tarja,” Beka replied. “If he was picking on her, then he just learned a valuable lesson about underestimating girls that will stand him in good stead in his future life.” The redhead was completely unrepentant and met the Security Officer’s gaze easily.
 
“And how about if I told you that the boy’s parents made a complaint against you for teaching Tarja how to do that?” Reeve added. “She was very keen to tell everyone about her new friend Beka with the bird tattoo.”
 
The doctor couldn’t help but smile at that. 
 
“Then they should be working on parenting their son so he’s not bullying a little girl,” she answered. “I’m damn proud of her for standing up for herself.”
 
“Yes. Ensign Okehampton thought you’d say that.” Reeve stood up. “And for the record, we all agree. We will be having a word with the family about trying to put the blame elsewhere for their son’s misfortune. I just had to get your side of the story before I dismissed the complaint, no case to answer. Although, if I may. Were you to run some self-defence classes, I think you’d be surprised at the turnout.”
 
Beka laughed and rose to her feet. 
 
“More so when I show them the footage of me and you in that exercise?” she teased gently. 
 
“No comment.” For the first time, Reeve smiled. “Well, I have nothing further, and we’re now off-shift. Thank you Doctor Sydesh, you’ve been most helpful.” 
 
“Always happy to help our guys in gold,” the doctor replied, showing Reeve out. When the door closed behind him, Nat burst out laughing as Beka rounded on her, finger raised.
 
“You cow!” the redhead said. “You two scared the **** out of me with that! I thought I was genuinely in trouble, but it was just a box-ticking exercise! You could have ******* told me!”
 
Nat was still doubled over before she eventually managed to stifle the giggles. 
 
“I’ve waited so long to get proper revenge on you, that I wasn’t going to miss this chance,” the brunette replied. “Your face when we came in!”
 
A cushion flew across the room and bounced off Okehampton’s shoulder. 
 
“Ha ******* ha,” Sydesh added, before she broke out in a grin too. “OK, I gotta admit. You got me good.”
 
“You know it!” Nat smiled broadly. “And for the record, spreading the girl power to a 9-year-old is about the most on-brand thing I think I’ve ever seen you do.”
 
Beka’s grin widened. 
 
“Yeah, alright. I’ll take that as a compliment,” she said. She laughed, shaking her head. “You do realise this means war, right?”
 
“Bring it on,” Nat replied, beaming.
 

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