((Wilmer’s Quarters, Deck 7, Cabin J9, USS Blackwell))
::Nate and Charlie sat at the dining room table. Each of them had their fair share of dramatic turns and bad delays. The mission had gone on slightly longer than expected. Nate had been injured, and dramatically and permanently scarred over his right eye. He had later been assigned to a very intimate fact-finding mission with his ex-girlfriend, much to Charlie’s chagrin. And as far Charlotte herself...well...she had only managed to vomit in front of most of the engineering team.::
::Quite a week, indeed.::
::Charlotte fidgeted with Nate’s scar, making a sad and somewhat concerned face, as she traced the J-hooked line with an outstretched index finger.::
Farnsworth: Does it hurt bad?
::Nate grimaced, hating to be the center of such negative attention.::
Wilmer: No, it only hurts when Voldemort is near….
::Charlotte’s face was a puzzle.::
::Nate dismissed his comment with a passive attempt at comedy.::
Wilmer: Sorry, obscure joke. ::He tenderly grabbed Charlotte’s hand and kissed her fingers.:: I told you Charlie. There’s nothing to worry about. It looks worse than it feels.
::Charlotte was a smart cookie. Nate knew her concern about his face had nothing to do with aesthetic reasons, and more to do with a subconscious guilt about her not having been there to protect him. However, space was a dangerous and infinite expanse. And though they were getting married soon, neither would be fully capable of suspending that danger, even for a nanosecond.::
::Nate smiled, and rested both his hands, atop hers, and placed them on the cool glass surface of their dining room table.::
Wilmer: Shayne will be here soon. Let’s not focus on the negative…
::Charlotte slumped in as if deflated by concern and possible letdown. Her body was always so expressive, so easy to read. Her emotions were always worn on her sleeve, and her face always told the tale before her mouth could speak it.::
Farnsworth: Do you think he’ll say yes? I was so hoping your friend Sarjak would say yes...but now…
::Nate shrugged. Starfleet was an ever-revolving door of comings and goings. It came with the trade.::
Wilmer: Jak’s got his hands full with diplomatic nonsense. But it was nice to see him again. And as far as Shayne, I’m sure he…
::It was at that moment, the door chime rang. Shayne was early. Nate should have expected as much. Nate’s reading of the man had given hints of a person who excelled at punctuality. Nate liked that. He hoped that behaviour would translate into the same efficiency at his upcoming nuptials.::
Wilmer and Farnsworth: ::simultaneously:: Come in!
::Nate and Charlie shot each other a sidewise glance of serendipitous glee. They were not even married yet, and already their brains were linking up like a pair of old married elderly people.::
::The doors to their cabin parted to reveal the visage of Lt. Cmdr. Randal Shayne.::
::It was the one complaint he had with the Starfleet uniform that he almost never took off. It was a smart looking thing, dignified and functional. But it was abysmal at allowing people to breath. Under the best of circumstances, it was irritating. But for someone as uncomfortable as he was regarding social interaction, it was downright miserable. He clawed at his throat, aching for relief. He stepped inside, immediately concerned by the fact that both Charlie and Wilmer were present. He could relate to Wilmer as a good friend, and a fellow pilot. He could relate to Charlie...somehow. Their relationship was still a bit of a mystery to him. But them both together? It was a dynamic he was unaccustomed to, and the image of them seated next to each other sent another painful pang of loneliness through him.::
Wilmer: oO Speak of the devil. Oo ::Nate thought with a smile.::
Shayne: oO Shakespearian, that was. Oo
::Charlotte being the consummate gracious hostess, stood and motioned for Shayne to enter their abode. Setting some of her garments and Nate’s discarded old dirty uniforms aside, she made a place for him to sit next to them.::
Farnsworth: Randal, please sit down.
Shayne: Hm? Oh, thank you.
::Rather sheepishly, he entered. He’d noticed early on that, to make an error, one had to actually do something. If Shayne refused to do anything without being invited to do so, no trespass could inadvertently be committed. A siege mentality, but it had worked for nearly 20 years of social interaction.::
::Nate smiled, following Charlie’s lead on hospitality.::
Wilmer: Shayne, can I get you something to drink?
Shayne: Uh, no thank you- that’s fine. ::Still unsure of what to expect.::
::Nate and Charlie sat next to one another, almost like a pair of conjoined siamese twins who were attached at the hip. Nate felt a sudden moment of giddiness, that somehow jumped into his fiancee with a joining of hands and they smiled.::
Farnsworth: I don’t know why I’m so nervous….
Shayne: oO Whoa, hang on. I’m the only person allowed to be nervous here… Oo
::Was was going on? Curiosity blended with mild terror, and a fair bit of joy- a result of the couple’s infectious mood- swamped together, creating a confusion quite unlike anything he was accustomed to. Their giggling excitement was obvious, and it took no genius to deduce that their upcoming event had something to do with the mood. But what? And what could Shayne possibly have been called for? He was more than willing to come, despite the discomfort it caused. Now it had gone from, “why me?!” to “why...me?”::
Wilmer: I know, it's like I’m asking my dad for permission to borrow the hopper…
Shayne: ::An inadvertently delighted beginning to grow on his face.:: What is going on here?
::Confound their happy mood! His stony visage was failing!::
::Nate sometimes had a predilection for not being able to get to the point. He decided to spare Shayne’s frayed nerves by getting right to the point.::
Wilmer: Shayne, I just want to say with our wedding fast approaching, and with my sense of family growing aboard the Blackwell…. ::Nate stopped, realizing he was still not getting to the point.::
::The joy was beginning to fall away. If Nate was stalling this insistently, he could make a few well-educated, equally disturbing assumptions about the nature of this conversation. Assumption one- it was a big deal. To the couple, at least, though perhaps whatever this was about would have ramifications for others. Assumption two- it was awkward. Shayne hated awkward- but, seeing as this was one of the few times awkwardness had been in play without him being the sole cause, maybe he could appreciate it, in a demented sort of way. Assumption three- Shayne wouldn’t want to be a part of whatever information was about to be revealed. Any way he looked at it, this was beginning to feel a little...frightening.::
::Naturally, Charlie then spoke, putting the neurotic helmsman slightly more at ease.::
Farnsworth: What he means to say Randal, is that his best man was intending to stand with him...but with Starfleet being Starfleet and all Sarjak was suddenly called away…
Shayne: oO Sorry, Charlie- you’re no better at this. Oo
::Nate completed Charlie’s thought, he wanted the request to come from him directly.::
Wilmer: ...well, I just heard about how you handled the situation with Charlie and her embarrassment in space, and...I was just wondering, from one helmsman to another…
Shayne: oO I’m going to kill someone if I don’t get an explanation, from one helmsman to another...Oo
::Charlotte grinned as if someone had engaged a gaggle of transporter beams full of happiness inside her brain.::
Wilmer: ...I was just wondering if you’d be willing to stand in as my best man.
::Shayne’s world stopped for a full two seconds. It was as if his mind simply shut down. “Sorry, we’re closed.”::
::Did that just happen? Had he been asked to be someone’s best man? His eyes widened slowly, in a daze. All the irritation, the uncomfortable sensations...they melted away. In their place, a single, sparkling surge of energy and happiness. The smile that quickly enveloped his face must have made him appear as a madman would.::
Shayne: Fan-tastic! Oh! I would be honored!
::Now it was Shayne’s turn to be giddy- a rarity for someone as restrained as him. His hands clasped together and he gave an odd little cackle. This was astonishing! He couldn’t get his mind quite round what had just occurred.::
Farnsworth: ::slightly giggling:: Wonderful!
Wilmer: Absolutely! Top man!
Shayne: This is...I mean, I can’t- I’ve never… Best man! Whew!
::Electric excitement enlivened his veins, and in the back of his mind, the slightest shadows of doubts slipped betwixt his hemispheres. It was almost like they were acknowledging his right to be unfettered in this moment. Later...later, they would return with a vengeance. But for now, maybe even the devil’s musings had some scrap of mercy in them after all.::
::With an accepting praise and warm smile, Nate clapped Shayne on the shoulder, and shook his hand.::
Wilmer: It’ll be great! You won’t regret it. And after all, I’m sure you’ve already got some great ideas for planning the bachelor party!
Shayne: Hmm? Yes, of course! I’ve- Shayne: oO -never actually been to...a bachelor party. Oo ::That was his job? Why didn’t he know things like this? Single people probably understood the nature of this role- why did it elude him so? A curious feeling of dread was whisked into the already churned mix of joy and surprise.::
Shayne: oO Add some onions and I’ll be an omlette. Oo
Shayne: Bachelor party. ::He repeated it, trying not to display the doubts cropping up.::
::Charlotte’s smile was infectious.::
Farnsworth: Well yes, as the best man, naturally it will be your job to plan something truly astonishing for Nate’s last day as a single man….
::Charlotte wasn’t joking and neither was Nate. The commitment to stand had suddenly developed into a social event extraordinaire with Randal Shayne as its newly appointed ringmaster. There was no backing out now. It was do or die time, and Nate had firm confidence that the cracking young helmsman had the chops for the job.::
::No pressure for him, then. Just the hopes, and the marriage ceremony, of two close friends hanging in the balance.::
Wilmer: Oh, and did I mention you have about 17 hours to make this happen???
::He felt his head beginning to spin.::
Shayne: oO Don’t tell me! You also want this to take place on an active Borg cube, right? Oo
::He felt utterly inadequate, but he had rarely looked forward to putting on a good show more.:: Shayne: Well, then, I’d best get cracking-
Shayne: oO Under the pressure. Oo
Shayne: oO Shut up! Oo Shayne: oO You don’t have to shout! Oo ::He stepped out, smiling all the way, and as soon as the doors closed, proceeded to sprint to the nearest computer console. He had some work to do!::
An awkwardly exciting JP as crafted by...
Lt. Cmdr. Nate Wilmer
USS Blackwell (NCC-58999)
And Lieutenant Commander Randal Shayne Helmsman/Ops Officer/Second Officer
USS Blackwell NCC 58999 G239202RS0