Zero Logs

Forum for the U.S.S. Hooke, running every Thursday at 2000 UTC. Talk about your missions and your crewmates here, or feel free to post your logs for everyone to read.
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Departure Pt. 3

Postby Robert Wright » Wed Feb 12, 2014 8:58 pm

A'an sat across from the review board, doing his best to keep his cool. The elderly staff officers muttered amongst themselves, occasionally looking back to him with the usual overdeveloped sense of entitlement the admiralty seemed soaked in. Despite knowing the disciplinary review had been devised as a means for his "departure", A'an couldn't completely contain his growing ire. Being judged by fleet officers engendered by politics made him boil, though experience helped him keep better control today.

The lead in the "review", and Admiral Poshe turned his pale, flabby face towards A'an and fixed him with his best stern gaze. A'an had to fight to keep the sarcastic scoff from blurting out and waited for the hammer to drop. Bolitho had pulled strings to stack the review with members who's judgment would be easy to sway, ensuring A'ans removal and disgrace, paving the way for his practiced tirade and very public dismissal.

"Captain, let me first state that I take no pleasure in these proceedings. Your record, though....colorful, marks you as an excellent officer and honorable man." A'an's eyes narrowed instinctively, knowing what would follow the Admirals bland attempt to appear empathetic. "However, after the events that followed your initial suspension from command, you have shown an inability to maintain a healthy command structure. In addition, your continued flaunting of Starfleet regulations regarding personal relationships between Commanders and their officers is unacceptable!"

Poshe paused as if to let his admonishment sink in, then squinted and ground his teeth as A'an rolled his eyes as if bored. Admiral Poshe turned to the elderly woman to his left, her red hair pulled into a bun behind her thin, hawkish face. The review continued their admonishment and grandstanding for another 20 minutes before handing down their decision. A'an removed the pips on his uniform, then his combadge and stared at the items in his palm that represented the achievements of the last 15 years of his life.

With a flip of his hand, he tossed them onto the table in front of the review board, the careless scattering serving to increase their indignant scowls. With a few more choice words for the panel to ensure their ire and seal the performance, he effectively walked away from his life.

------------------------------------
"What the hell is this...thing?"

The ship was definitely Klingon, or at least it had started out its life that way. It had the configuration of a bird of prey, but visible modifications marked it as something completely different now.

"Well, if you're going to be working for me from the shadows, you're going to need to get around. " Bolitho started as they walked around the hanger. "Besides, it already came with a crew of established scoundrels. " A'an watched the ships small crew move about preparing the ship for departure. He turned to Richard, "Your people?" Bolitho nodded, "Every one recruited for this just like you. Not to mention given explicit orders to keep this operation a secret." Richard stopped and turned to face him. "speaking of which.....did you talk to her?"

A'an stopped and fell silent for a moment, then nodded. "I did."

"And?"

"She didn't take it well."

Richard nodded and remained silent for a moment as well. "I know this isn't easy, like I said, I wouldn't have come to you if I hadn't needed to....but if we succeed..." A'an cut him off, "WHEN we succeed, she'll understand. That's what you were going to say." Bolitho pursed his lips and nodded, knowing full well that was wishful thinking. "She'll understand, of that I have no doubt, but let's not pretend this isn't the end of any chance she and I will ever be together again."

A'an fell silent again, then nodded his head, "It's ok though...she needs this. All I ever wanted was for her to be alive, to be happy, even if in the end it wasn't with me." A'an turned and watched the crew preparing the ship for a moment. "Truth is, we damage each other. She compromises herself for me and it tears her up...she needs to be done with me, it's that simple."

Richard nodded, not sure who A'an was trying to convince. "It's a sacrifice I can understand, believe it or not. I had to leave my family for a very long time, and I....well..." Richard trailed off. After all, they weren't men of words, and he doubted he had any that would make it easier for his soldier. Richard clapped A'an on the shoulder, a fellow soldier to another.

"Let's go, we've got a galaxy to save."

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Re: Departure Pt. 2

Postby Aoibhe Ni » Thu Feb 13, 2014 12:21 pm

Robert Wright wrote: "Despite what I feel for you, what we feel for each other....we're toxic." A'an stopped, choking back the lump again and shaking his head in regret. "Prophets I wish it weren't true."


Ouch, hit me right in the gut!
Anyone else thinking this is the harshest Dear Jane letter ever?

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Intentions

Postby Jack Lucas » Sun Feb 16, 2014 2:07 am

Ensign D'Mera - USS Hooke


D'Mera stood alone in the turbolift, impatiently tapping her middle finger to her thumb at her side, ticking away the seconds until she'd be able to exit the lift and sprint across the Spacedock corridor to her final training mission.

She had conflicting schedules for the last one, and had promised her professor she would make this one - but here she was, on the brink of being late. Everything that could go wrong this morning, had. A power surge in the Academy Dormitories had reset the Computer, and disabled all alarms - but only in her wing. Then, the sonic shower managed to reset its acoustic inverter, resulting in both a high pitched shower and a splitting headache.

Then, she had unfortunately caught the Dormitory transporter room during shift change, which had resulted in a short queue. Finally, she had arrived on Spacedock 20 minutes late, with an empty stomach and a throbbing headache.

The turbolift lurched, then stopped.

"No." She bemoaned.

A beat, then D'Mera's communicator beeped.

"Ensign? This is Engineering. Your turbolift has stopped."

REALLY. She thought to herself. Sarcasm had no place in Starfleet, her Father had told her.

"Yes, can you beam me out? I'm very late." She sounded desperate.

A moment.

"What deck?" The Engineering Officer replied.

"Sixteen, please." She sighed heavily.

"Just a moment." The kind Officer was trying to help. She couldn't snap at him. "Prepare for transport."

The blue light surrounded her as her molecules were divided and ordered and sent throttling through the computer's buffer, to be reorganized and reconstituted on the deck she should've been transported to in the first place. Ridiculous policy required all transports from the Academy arrive in the transporter bay, however.

She materialized in the corridor of Deck 16. "At least I'm here." She snarled as she started shuffling towards the training holosuite.

Admiral Davies was standing in the archway, observing with a few other Officers.

"Cadet! Why are you late?" He shot.

"I apologize, Admiral. It's a very long story."

"And I've a very short temper, this morning. Get in there. You'll be assigned to..." He looked down at his PADD "...Navigation, the Bridge."

She nodded and brushed past him, the archway door opened into Engineering.


===========

The Simulation did not go well, for D'Mera, at least.

===========

"Listen, Blueberry, I dont' need any advice from you." She rolled her eyes as she walked away from the well-meaning Bolian. She folded her arms across her chest in protest as she swept out of the holosuite. She'd certainly garnered some stares, but she didn't care.

This had been the worst day.

"Computer, where is Instructor Haden's Office?" She said aloud as she briskly walked towards the turbolift.

The computer responded, "Instructor Haden is located at Starfleet Academy-"

She cut the computer off, "Is he in?"

"Instructor Haden is not in his office." The Computer stated.

"When are his office hours?" D'Mera said, as she stopped in her tracks. The turbolift was surrounded by Engineers, still broken.

"Instructor Haden holds office hours for upperclassmen from 1600 hours until 1800 hours." The Computer kindly replied.

D'Mera shot off in another direction, towards a hopefully functioning turbolift. "Computer, what time does my shuttle leave?"

"Ensign D'Mera, your shuttle leaves at 2000 hours."

D'Mera stopped dead in her tracks.

The Computer had called her Ensign D'Mera. She had been promoted. The official notice must've come in while she was in the simulation. She couldn't help but sneak a smile. She composed herself and rubbed her dark eyes, preventing any moisture from appearing.

"Computer, is there a shuttle that leaves for the Hooke any sooner?"

"A shuttle bound for the USS Hooke, designation NCC-28735, leaves at 1200 hours."

Well, let's take that one, she thought.


===========

She found her way back to her dorm... Eventually.

===========

"I can't believe you're leaving so quickly!" D'Mera's Bajoran roommate smiled, sadly.

"I know, but after today, I'm just ready for a fresh start." D'Mera held her friend in an embrace.

"We didn't even get to celebrate your promotion!" The Bajoran lamented with a short laugh. "Let me take you for a drink and some domjot before you go."

"I can't," D'Mera stepped away, picking up the PADD on her desk, "the shuttle is waiting for me."

She looked down at her collar and grasped her single golden pip. She smiled at her Bajoran roommate... Her former roommate, now. They both stood awkwardly for a moment until D'Mera broke the silence.

She inhaled deeply. "Well, here I go." She tapped her combadge, "Ensign D'Mera to the shuttle 'Philadelphia' - crewman and cargo ready to beam up."

She smiled, the first time today, as the blue light enveloped her once again. Her two small gray crates, Starfleet supply, vanished as well.


===========

The cabin was cramped. It was a Type 7 Shuttlecraft, typical among Nebula and Galaxy Class starships... Well, typical 20 years ago.

The pilot had offered her a seat up front with him, and he was nice enough, but she wanted some time for herself, so she'd found a quiet corner in the back with the cargo. The foldable bed was blocked by two large crates, so she'd sprawled down on the floor of the shuttle.

Her replicated prune juice was warm, but she shot it back anyway. She held the PADD up and examined the notes from today.

NOTE FROM INSTRUCTOR HADEN: YOU WERE TO REPORT FOR INSTRUCTION PER ADMIRAL DAVIES ORDERS.

"Computer, record response." A beep followed. "Instructor Haden, I was unable to report as your office hours are from 1600 to 1800 hours, and my shuttle left at noon. I will submit for remote training in a holodeck once I'm aboard the Hooke." A beat. "Send." The computer beeped again.

Haden didn't like remote training, and would likely forget about the whole thing. She'd managed, so far, to avoid any black marks on her permanent record. It would be a bad way to start her career as an Officer, by pissing off both an Admiral and the Academy's head instructor.

No more, she thought, setting down the PADD.

"Computer, create a personal log entry, today's date."

Two beeps.


Ensign D'Mera, Personal Log, Stardate 11402.15

Today was difficult. My first day as a real Starfleet Officer, and I snapped at a Lieutenant, got railed by an Admiral, and blew off an ordered meeting with an Instructor.

I'm ready to start fresh on the Hooke. I'm excited to meet my commanding officer, Lieutenant Sumner. He's the Chief Tactical Officer aboard the Hooke, and he's supposed to be very professional, from what I've heard.

I'm really hope he likes me. I can't handle another Ensign Grace or Lieutenant - what's his name - Lieutenant Targ Milk...

I feel bad for the Bolian I yelled at after the simulation. He had good intentions, and was very good in command. I guess I'm a little jealous - trading my cadet red for tactical gold. I hope one day to serve with a man like him, who took time after a training mission to pull someone aside who was struggling... I just couldn't admit I was struggling. Not today anyway.

I'm going to brush up on my navigation skills. The console had me completely confused.

That's it, I guess.

Oh, I sent a subspace message to my Captain, today. I hope she doesn't ask me to wear my pheromone inhibitor. I know that it's a safety measure on the part of Starfleet, but you'd think that after 4 years in the Academy, not to mention 2 years in Academy Security, that they'd trust me by now... Trust is... Forget it.


"Computer, end log. File."

Two beeps.

She looked at the crates around her, and the cup that no longer contained prune juice. I hope it's a short trip, she thought.
________________________________________________________________________

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Re: Intentions

Postby C. J. Short » Sun Feb 16, 2014 4:15 am

Jack Lucas wrote:... and he's supposed to be very professional, from what I've heard.


Ohhh, did she hear wrong :D

Looking forward to playing with you, Jack!
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Re: Zero Logs

Postby Andrew James » Sun Feb 16, 2014 7:09 am

What a brilliant log, Jack!

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Re: Intentions

Postby Aoibhe Ni » Sun Feb 16, 2014 12:00 pm

C. J. Short wrote:
Jack Lucas wrote:... and he's supposed to be very professional, from what I've heard.


Ohhh, did she hear wrong :D


Haha, yup. Kesh said "very experienced" on purpose. Sumner is not what she'd call... professional. :)

Great log, Jack. Really looking forward to playing alongside you!

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CO Capt Kesh Suder - Zero Log - Supplemental

Postby Aoibhe Ni » Sun Feb 16, 2014 12:43 pm

"Communiqué, to Ensign D'Mera, en route to USS Hooke.
Ensign, as per your request..." Kesh began, looking down at a PADD that contained both the new Ensign's request, and her personnel file, "... I expect you to wear your pheromone inhibitor while serving aboard this vessel." D'mera was young and quite beautiful, Kesh noticed. "That includes off-duty hours and Away missions. Any malfunctions must be reported to Sickbay immediately."
Suder guessed she'd have enough trouble keeping male eyes off the younger woman as it was without having to deal with her unfortunate abilities to boot. No sense in adding to the risk.
"Suder out. Computer, log recording and send communiqué"

Kesh dropped the PADD and pursed her lips, staring at D'Mera's picture. "They get younger every year..."

---

Dark eyes stared back at her from a familiar face. The intentionally harsh lighting picked out every line around the eyes, the years of experience and hardship beginning to show around the lips, and she noticed as she reached out and slid her fingers slowly through gently waving golden hair that some strands were beginning to turn white.

She frowned heavily at her reflection, deepening the fine lines and turning them, on closer inspection still, into bona fide wrinkles. She blinked and stepped back from her restroom's mirror and shook her head, still holding her reflection's eyes in harsh scrutiny.

There had been a time when she couldn't work a single shift in Sickbay without one patient or another admiring her. There had been a time when being asked out was a common occurrence, and even later still, there had been a time when SFIntel had recruited her as much for her mind and her fighting skills as for her angelic face and attractive form.

"We need you, Lt."
"I'm just a doctor, sir", she'd said, unsure what was happening.
"You have skills more useful to us than medicine... We are sending you in as a shiny bauble. Use any means you can to keep the target distracted while beta team extract the data we need."
"A shiny..." she had started to protest, her life's work being reduced to a nonce before her, but the admiral had raised a hand to silence her.
"We use what weapons we have", he had said sternly and she had nodded.

Those days were over, she knew.
Not that she missed them. Not as such. Attractiveness was a matter of opinion, and if given the choice she'd have kept her years of wisdom over a smooth face any day... But... we use the weapons we have. And staring into that mirror, it occurred to Kesh Suder for the first time, that time was slowly, inexorably, disarming her.

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Re: Zero Logs

Postby James Greenman » Tue Feb 18, 2014 3:40 pm

CMO Cmdr Kymar Dremel & TAC Ensign D'Mera Joint Log, Stardate 11402.18

Dremel sat at one of the biobeds in Sickbay onboard the U.S.S. Hooke. A sigh left his lips as he put the plasma infuser down and picked up a phase inducer instead, reaching into the open panel on the side of the bed and continuing his work. He'd only been onboard a few days and had already found ten similar faults and no less than twenty issues with his equipment. For whatever reason Engineering didn't feel this was a priority - obviously none of them were sick - so he was told to wait over a month before a team could get around to it. So...he did it himself.

"I'm an Engineer AND a Doctor."

Smiling at his own stupid quip, he kept at it for a moment more until the sound of the Sickbay doors opening turned him from his work. An Orion walked in, quite obviously the new Ensign D'Mera - there weren't exactly a lot of Orion officers in Starfleet and the green skin gave it away.

"Ensign, welcome to Sickbay, I'm Doctor Kymar. How can I help?"

She sized him up fairly quickly, trying to hide a well apparent frown. She held out her arm. Halfway up her forearm was a large plastic cuff, roughly 14 cm long, it covered the majority of her left forearm. It fit over her uniform, but obviously had bits that sunk through it, into her dark green skin.

With no interest in chit chat, she started right into him, "Hello, Doctor. Captain Suder has ordered me to wear my pheromone inhibiting device while I'm onboard 'her ship' - and I haven't had to wear it in almost two semesters, and it's become a bit... snug." D'Mera said grumpily.
She was obviously very unhappy to be wearing the device.

The Doctor smiled kindly regardless of her attitude and gestured her over, then to his array of tools laid out on the biobed. "Good thing I've got just the equipment. Let me take a look." He waited for her to step her way, offering her arm out without a word for him to take.

He turned her wrist over gently with one hand and a nano magnetic constrictor with the next, make a few delicate adjustments while he spoke. "Oh, yes I see what you mean. This is one of the second generation models, there have been a few revisions since. When was the last time you wore it?"

She paused for a moment. She didn't expect him to be so gentle. Most of the Doctors she had met in the past, at least in this situation, were nervous or unsettled by the device, knowing that it was the only thing between them and her biological curses.

"I don't recall. I think I had to wear it for Junior exams, maybe a year ago? I think my arms grew-" she flapped her other arm a bit "-from the Mok'Bara or Suus Mahna, I guess."

She suddenly found herself a bit embarrassed by her sudden gesticulation. Her cheeks flushed a dark green, accenting her cheekbones. A Starfleet Officer shouldn't flap her arms about or show off...Oh goodness, she thought to herself; I hope he doesn't think I'm trying to impress him or make a spectacle of myself...

Dremel smiled ruefully, glancing up for a moment from his adjustments to watch D'Mera before turning back to his work. They seemed to get younger every year.
"Don't worry, Ensign, I won't tell anyone. As for your inhibitor it seems to be in good working order, but there's a subdermal implant which a lot of Orions are using these days. It's less bulky, obviously, and probably more...condusive to fashionable attire." He looked up again with a grin on his face this time.

"I'm not looking for anything that permanent." She suddenly seemed to snap.
Her expression turned sour. "So you're just like the Captain, then?" She posed to him with a deadly serious face. "The uniform isn't enough, I need an 'implant' to be as loyal as you?" Her face twisted with accusation.

The Doctor's face dimmed as he looked up at her, none too impressed, and silently finished his adjustments a few moments later before putting his tools down and gesturing to the chair opposite.

"Sit down, Ensign," He watched her for a moment, he could see the urge to just walk out behind her eyes but stubborn sense won out and she sat down without a word - Clever.
"I'm going to assume from this point that you didn't take the Comparative Xenobiology courses. Do you know why we require pheremone inhibitors for all Orions, male or female?" It was a simple question, and he could see her wanting to accuse him of something again but wisely she just shook her head.

"The Orion pheremonal response is autonomic, which means that the structures in the brain that control it aren't largely conscious. There's a fifty-fifty split between Orion children who can gain control of their pheremone glands and those who can't. See, there are certain key gene sequences that-" realising the detail wasn't needed, he quickly stopped delving into the genetic information and carried on "-Regardless, what this means is that while you do have a large amount of control over your pheremone glands you may not have complete control and in situations of heightened emotion, or stress - such as during exam simulations or on the bridge of a Starship - you could be a slave to those autonomic functions."
He watched her for a moment and let it sink in. "That inhibitor is with you for your protection as much as everyone else's, it has nothing to do with loyalty."

She paused, considering the Doctor's comments. She knew he was being earnest, and it was obvious now that he wasn't judging her.

"Doctor, I grew up on Earth, to human parents." she started, very calmly, "But even then, the other parents would warn their children, 'don't trust D'Mera'" - she took a mocking tone.
She stopped, and looked at the device on her wrist. "Orion women aren't really slaves, you know." D'Mera was almost whispering. She held up her forearm to him, "Well, most of them aren't. Do you know that in my entire time at the Academy, not once did any of my instructors or superiors ever see my abilities as a benefit? Vulcans have purged emotions, but Starfleet doesn't require them to feel joy or pain to work with their crew. Betazoids and Deltans are telepathic and empathic, but they're allowed on starships, even on the bridge."

She rolled her eyes up in her head, trying to keep her emotions in check. A wetness had found its way into the bottom of her eyes. "Doctor, my latent abilities, when I'm not wearing the device, would more likely improve the moods and performance of the crew around me, because my only goal, my only interest - is in being an effective Starfleet Officer."

The wetness in her eyes had welled up and spilled onto her cheek. She wiped her face with the edge of her uniform and turned away from the Bajoran doctor.
"I'm sorry, Doctor." She wanted to stand up, to escape. But she had nowhere to go.
He let her have a moment, silently watching her. It was so difficult to explain, trying to tell someone who so earnestly wanted to help. He tried a different approach. "I have medicines here that improve hand-eye coordination, that can keep you awake for 72 hours straight, that improve latent telepathic abilities...Why do you think It is that Starfleet doesn't have me going around injecting the crew with those all the time, Ensign?"

She tilted her head and gave a half smile, a sly acknowledgment of his point. She pressed the cuff of her uniform to her eyes, then looked back at him.

"That's not the same, and you know it. They make me wear the cuff because of what other Orions have done. Not me. I'm being..." she was searching for a word "...held back, by Starfleet, because they assume my biology is inherently evil. Every race has pheromones. Humans are particularly susceptible to pheromones, mine or yours. Why should you be allowed to sweat or breathe if I can't? Why is my body so dangerous that it has to held in check? Because my body is designed to be more effective at it?"

"Bajoran pheromones don't allow me to control people, as far as i'm aware." He smiled slightly, using her own words. "It's not the same, and you know it. In a stressful situation on the bridge, when every single person needs to be dedicated solely to that one task, the last thing that anyone needs is a sudden desire to do everything you say." His words were soft, trying to make his point clear without being accusatory.

Her eyes have dried, and her face has become quite serious. She's dropped the accusatory tone, and adopted one that's almost pleading.

"I dedicated my life to Starfleet, and they slapped a chain on me."

"Not a chain. A precaution. You've graduated the Academy, D'mera, you know what it means to be a Starfleet officer and you know full well that this is a precautionary measure for abilities that haven't become fully realised yet. Starfleet would be negligent in it's duties to every crewmember if they didn't take those precautions. Have you even used your pheremones before? Do you know what effect truly stressful situations have on your glands?" He softened his features. He could tell this was a touchy point for her; something that she'd obviously had trouble with for all of her life growing up amongst humans who may not know or understand.

"There are medical procedures that we can do, tests we can perform to see how far your level of control goes. But it takes time, and I won't put the lives of this crew in any possible danger until I know for certain that this is an ability you can fully control."
She felt defeated. She knew he was right. "I know that I can suppress it. I've been doing that since I hit puberty." She started to chuckle a bit, "You think the Vulcans have it tough? Ever observed an Orion going through puberty?"

"I haven't really used my abilities; I've only held them back. Honestly, I don't know, really, what they might do." She suddenly became somber again. She realized she knew less about her body than this Doctor. Her pride was stung, as years of sureness were suddenly dashed. No one had really ever asked her if she had used her abilities... Most of the time she was just being reminded not to.

He smiled reassuringly and nodded. "Well, that's certainly a start. When you come in for your physical i'll take some baseline readings and run a full organ functionality sequence to see just what we're dealing with. In the meantime, I’ll see if I can find some resources on holoprograms that help with this sort of training. If not, then I'll just have to program something myself."

D'Mera looked up at the Doctor, and for the first time since she'd come onboard the Hooke, she smiled. "Thanks, Doctor." She was grateful, and yet there was work ahead of her. She almost yelped, "I'll put in a request for some Holodeck time now." Calm down, she thought... She stood.

He nodded and dismissed her, watching her leave before he turned back to his biobed and finished the repairs. It wasn’t all about mending bones and suturing wounds, being a Doctor, sometimes it was just about giving someone a chance where they didn’t have one before.
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Re: Zero Logs

Postby Einar S » Tue Feb 18, 2014 11:03 pm

Tony sighed as he walked into his apartment in the lower Manhattan and took off his uniform jacket before throwing it at the coat hanger, missing by a longshot.
"Long day, dear?" Niamh asked from a corner seat as she glanced up from a book she was reading, a glass of wine in her other hand.
Tony was mildly surprised to see her and it showed. It had been a week since she had been called to supervise a run to Alpha Proxima with a bunch of promising cadets.
"I got back early. Let myself in." She smiled up at him warmly. "Brought back some saurian brandy, though", she added as a consolation.
She stood up from her seat and frowned a little. "I thought you'd be happy to see me..." she said outright. "I was gonna do a whole bit about dinner being in the replicator, and the kids being in bed already...." She put her wine down and walked over to him.
"Just had a very long day of tests....and a disastrous meeting with the Captain"
Niamh winced. "What happened?"

Tony winked and grabbed her waist and pulled her close before planting a kiss on her lips, tasting the wine, then let go and continued on his way to the bar. "The big chair apparently."
"Hasn't dampened your spirits too much,' she observed, following him to the bar after a detour to pick up her wine. "That chair is a lot of pressure, Tony..." she added as she sipped her wine and propped up the bar. "They say you feel the weight of every pip, but that last one may as well be leaden. Why do you think I work so hard to avoid it?" She smiled and caught his eye.
"Oh I don't know....if you ask me, they should stop worrying about the Captains and give some thought to the engineers sometimes," he said as he finished his wine in one go and leaned in to kiss her. "Why are you so irresistibly cute? I'm trying to be all heavy here."
She shrugged a little smugly. "I don't like you being all heavy." She hopped up on the bar with grace and reached forward, curling her fingers into his waistband and pulling him closer. "I bet she just didn't take to your clean-shaven face."
Tony smirked "That must be it."
"Mmhm," she agreed, and kissed him softly, feeling him return the kiss in kind. She reveled in the moment, the intense calm that came with a kiss from this man. It was a relief after almost a week in shuttles with hot-shot cadets dying to show off their untested skills. She leaned into the moment, threading her fingers through his hair, snaking her arm over his shoulder and pulling him close, sighing as their lips pressed harder. His hands found her thighs, hips, lower back, and he lifted her off the bar. He smiled at the squeaked note of surprise she uttered, knowing it was no real surprise at all.
"Bedroom, now" he said.
She laughed into his mouth as she broke the kiss for a moment. "I give us a 50/50 shot of making it."

"Challenge accepted", he chuckled as he carried her towards the bedroom. She returned to the kiss, revelling passionately in the heat of his lips and the taste of wine on his tongue, determined to distract him from his course. She was feeling playful.
Tony just grunted and threw her against the living room sofa. "Fine!"
She laughed as she dragged him down with her, kicking her shoes off and pulling her hair loose of its clip. Her fiery hair lay streamed down around her face, framing her face as she looked down at him, her smile softening. In a moment of calm everything seemed to change subtly. She examined his face closely, wondering at him. She blinked as she realised what had probably just occurred to him. "When do you bug out?" she asked, holding her expression as neutral as she could. But, she had never been good at poker, and it showed.
"I don't... but the ship needs an experienced engineer."
Confusion traveled across her face. "You don't...? You don't what?... You're not going?" she felt a wave of relief sweep over her, a smile parting her lips.
"I'm going....she needs me. Now more than ever, even if she doesn't appreciate that" he said, examining her eyes. "But I....this....whatever this is, I don't bug out....." he grunted and pushed her off of him. "I'm not good with words."
"It's OK, Tony..." she said reluctantly, avoiding his gaze as she sat up. "This was never meant to last anyway. You don't have to make me any promises." She turned her head away. "It was just a bit of fun, right?" she tried for a smile.
"Right" he said and cleared his throat. "But it really wasn't".
She snapped her head around. "What?"
"No, er- I mean....it WAS fun...it IS fun" he ran a hand through his hair nervously. "You could always join me?"

She stood up suddenly, surprising herself with the movement, realised she didn't quite have a plan of action here and decided to sit back down again. "I can't do that. I don't... settle well..." She looked at him and bit her lip. "I wish I did..."
"So....then what?"
"I dunno..." she said, quietly. "I don't normally stick around even this long."
Tony wrung his hands "Neither do I...and it's been a while since I was this....I wanna say happy, but it makes me sound like a lovesick teenager", he looked up with a smile on his face and caught her eye.
"I know what you mean..." Niamh said softly. This had gone so far beyond her usual MO, than no decision felt right to her. She did know neither of them would be able to endure a long-distance relationship. She'd not stop him finding comfort elsewhere, and she'd have been insulted if he'd expected similar from her. So, she made the decision. She leaned forward and kissed him softly, lingering there with her lips close to his as she bowed her head. "See you 'round, Tony."
"It doesn't get to end this way" he said matter of factly, his mind racing. "It can't."
She stood up reluctantly. "Tell me how you see this continuing?" she asked, her eyes sad. "You'll be off on the Hooke, I'll be back on the Hamburg, or here, or wherever they send me next. Tell me how long you think it'll be before the jealousy sets in? Or we stop comming each other? Or worse, we get so wrapped up our ships suffer?" She bit her lip and turned to him. "This was never meant to be serious... I don't know how..." She folded her arms, comforting herself.

Tony sighed and placed his head in his hands. "I know...." he looked up once more. "Perhaps some day"
"Some day..." she echoed, offering a hand to help him stand. He took it. She smiled a little. "But in the meantime," she said, raising a hand to his chest and brushing a crease out of his uniform tunic, a strangely personal gesture despite all the time they had spent together, "have fun..." Her voice caught in her throat.
"You too... see you around"
Niamh raised herself onto her tip-toes and started to lean in, intending to press a kiss on his cheek, a final gesture, but she thought better of it and leaned back once more. Instead, she turned away a little awkwardly.
"Stay safe out there..." she said, and left.

Tony just watched as she left his apartment, the glass of wine still on the bar and her perfume still in the air made the scene hurt more than these things normally did....or perhaps it was that for the first time in years, he had actually loved someone.
Captain Jonathan Rome
Commanding Officer
USS Hyperion

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