(( Starbase 118 - Corridor )) oO Too early to be up, too late to nap. I thought the no win situations didn't start until the cruise. Oo :: He smirked at his own joke - it wasn't quite clever enough for a chuckle - and turned the corner of the hallway. :: oO Wow ... now that's impressive. Something here must sell coffee. Oo :: Cadet First Class Caleb Royce Alexander was staring out into a massive open space, bustling with activity even in the early morning. The shuttle crew called it the Promenade, and it was impressive even for someone who had docked at a few space stations in his time. :: :: A group of small children ran in front of him, giggling and laughing as they played about in their own little world - totally unaware of the realities around them. He smiled. :: :: Alexander wandered down the hallway - or was it more of a street? - for several moments until he spotted the terminal against the west wall. 'DIRECTORY' it proudly pronounced in Terran English. There were other markings above it and below it as well. Some he recognized: Terran Chinese and Hindi, Klingon, Bajoran; others were completely foreign to him. :: :: He walked quickly up to the directory and stared into the lifeless glass screen, focusing for a moment on his own reflection. His face was long and thin, with a nose that was just a touch too large, though he still thought he was handsome enough. He was clean shaven, and had close-cut sandy brown hair contrasting with lightly tanned white flesh. His eyes were brown flecked with a touch of gold - and they looked tired. He reached out and gave the display a touch with his index finger and the colors and images sprang to life, replacing his reflection. Several more quick taps and the Promenade food listing was in front of him. :: oO Subspace Cafe ... that sounds promising. Oo :: By the time Alexander reached the cafe he found it busy, though not overly crowded. A bar-height table ran the length of the back wall near an array of coffee presses and steamers, and to his delight there were still a few free stools. He sat down and dropped his bags, then flashed a tired smile at the waiter behind the nearby counter, a middle-aged human man with graying hair and bright eyes. :: WAITER (NPC): Morning, what can I get for you? ALEXANDER: Any chance you have Terran Columbian, something dark? WAITER (NPC): First time in here, huh? We have just about everything you can imagine. All hand roasted and brewed, nothing like that horrible replicator junk. ALEXANDER: Sounds perfect. WAITER (NPC): So, you just enlist? :: Alexander looked at the waiter and noticed his eyes on the duffel bags. They were the heavy, navy blue bags embroidered only with his initials - no logos. They were issued to the enlisted ranks only. He had the nice Starfleet Academy bags too, but he preferred to travel with the old ones. :: ALEXANDER: Oh, no actually. Starfleet Academy, here for my cruise. I was enlisted years back. :: Alexander pulled back the collar of his black overcoat revealing his cadet rank pips. :: WAITER (NPC): No kidding? Don't see that too often. Where'd you serve? ALEXANDER: USS Bondar. Akira class, Alpha Quadrant. WAITER (NPC): So what made you apply to the academy? ALEXANDER: Well ... that's a very long story not fit for a morning this early. :: The waiter set a black-colored porcelain cup on the table next to Alexander, a wisp of steam slowly curling up into the air. :: :: Alexander looked down at the plain black watch on his left wrist, it read 0422. He picked up his coffee cup and took a sip, recoiling slightly from the temperature. :: oO I don't even care if it burned me, [...] fine cup of coffee. Oo :: It only took Alexander a light tug on the delicate platinum chain around his neck to pull it free from his uniform shirt and coat. At the end of the chain was a gold ring with a large ruby adorning the top, inscribed on the side was 'Stanford University 238505' He rubbed the ring between his left thumb and forefinger, then quickly tucked it back into his shirt. :: oO I didn't finish the university program, I left the Bondar two years early to commission at the academy. He bit his lip gingerly as the realization weighed heavy on his mind. I'm not nervous about the cruise, I'm nervous about how long I last afterward. Is this finally going to fit, or am just restless down to my core? Oo :: Alexander took another sip of his coffee and found it cooled more to his liking. He stretched his legs from the stool down to the floor then have his torso a quick twist. He was about six feet and two inches tall - although he always exaggerated it to women - and a trim but not overly muscled one hundred and ninety pounds. He was also just lanky enough that a few hours in a packed runabout left him fairly uncomfortable. :: WAITER (NPC): So, how's the brew? ALEXANDER: Just about perfect. Best cup I've had since I left Earth. WAITER (NPC): A good cup of black coffee can solve more problems than you might think. ALEXANDER: I guess it's important to appreciate the little things in life, huh? WAITER (NPC): Yes sir, small miracles. Anything else I can get you? ALEXANDER: No, thanks ... I should probably start making my way toward the holodecks. I have that habit of taking the shuttle that arrives three hours early only to get lost once I'm there and show up late. :: Alexander allowed himself to chuckle at that one. He had a soft spot for self-deprecating humor - it had the marvelous ability to downplay an insecurity and make you smile all at once. And in this case, it was also completely honest. :: WAITER (NPC): Fair enough, and this place really is massive. Did they tell you administrative section? ALEXANDER: Yep, that's right. WAITER (NPC): You're looking for decks in the mid to upper four hundreds. If you take the type-b turbolift, about a hundred meters south from here, but in the same wall, you'll cut out a lot of travel time. ALEXANDER: Thanks, you've been a real life-saver. :: Alexander stood up from his stool, took a last gulp of his coffee, and hosted the two heavy duffels onto his shoulders. He gave a polite half-wave to the waiter and began to walk toward the door when a voice stopped him. :: WAITER (NPC): Good luck ... hope you don't it. :: Alexander smiled, though he didn't turn around, and exited the cafe. :: oO Ok, time to go finish this. Maybe after twenty eight years I really have found my calling. And if not, I can always see if the Subspace Cafe is hiring ... man that was great coffee. Oo OFF Cadet First Class Caleb Royce Alexander OOC: Been a long while since I've simmed, so I'm very excited to have found you all!