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Theo Whittaker

Lieutenant Commander Shayne: Divulging

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(Holosuite, DS26))

Shayne: Indeed. He is incredible. Whatever you did, sir, I thank you for it. ::Smiling slightly.::

::Awkwardness, ineffectuality, a fear of creating problems that bordered on impotence- this was the reality that Shayne had come to see in himself. His need to find fault in his own actions would have made Hornblower look like a guidance counselor in comparison. Of all these faults, and many more, however, there was one skill Shayne could not deny possessing.::

::He was very, very good in emergencies.::

::Leaving behind the insipid, quiet, and contrite individual in the face of danger or strife, Shayne could immediately- and painfully temporarily- become another man. Focused, attentive, steely eyed and able to spring into any role a situation required. And now, despite the fact that they were in perhaps the most pleasantly non violent environment conceivable, despite the fact that he and MacKenna both were surrounded by peers, comrades and compatriots who had already made their well-wishes known, Shayne felt his senses perk up. No, that wasn’t true- his senses had been quite perky; MacKenna had assured that, and though he was still digesting his feelings and attempting to think past the initial thrill of contact (literally and figuratively), a higher calling urged him. MacKenna was in pain- anyone with a similar constitution could see that. And if there was something he could do about it, he would. The ship might not be falling apart, but there was a way he could help. And this he’d never turn down.::

::So he had taken the unusual act of engaging others on his own terms- definitely a new sensation, especially with a fellow of conversation that bore as high a rank as Taybrim. Yet, he was pleased he had been able to. It allowed him to move past the ambiguous, if only for an instant, and focus on the concrete- a form of understanding in high demand for those as blatantly neurotic as he.:: 

Taybrim /Jolara: ? 

::He listened, interested, but his [...] boldness, momentary like the high of a drug, began to fade in his breast. The confidence deflated, the glow abated. He felt like he was falling, back into the monotony of himself. A glance at MacKenna gave him just enough of a bolstering to do what had to be done.:: 

Shayne: I’m sorry to break this up, but I must leave to attend to something. Commander MacKenna, I don’t want to impose, but if you have a moment, I could use your assistance.

::The words had not been considered and yet somehow, on autopilot, he’d made his excuses, apologies and requests with a minimal of bumbling. He’d even managed to sound appropriately officious- this mustn't appear to be anything but an unfortunately timed request for purely operational assistance.::

::Why though? He wondered for the briefest of moments. Would not Taybrim and Jolara sympathize and understand? But again, this wasn’t about them. It was about MacKenna. Any such understanding, even meant in the best interests of kindness and respect, would mortify the poor woman, if her previous behavior was any indication.::

::To his delight, the answer was not long in coming.:: 

MacKenna: ::Smiling slightly.:: I’d love to.

::Shuffling slightly, she began moving toward the door. Shayne casually followed- and in this case, “casually” meant “with a stiffness rarely seen before or since”.:: 

Jolara/Taybrim: ?

MacKenna: Have a good night.

::With that, both individuals exited the room, each doing their utmost to appear as natural as possible. Shayne had the impression that, despite his best efforts, or indeed because of them, he bore the appearance of a penguin with its [...] on fire. MacKenna, following behind, likely bore superior grace, if only due to the fact that she was not Shayne. In any case, MacKenna and the fraught second officer managed to escape the oppressive friendliness of their comrades and companions. For the first time, they could be alone.::

::Of course, instinct and practicality drove them to continue their march onward- the corridor was still a painfully public space. But even as the some of the doubt returned to Shayne, some of the apprehension took its familiar place in his chest, the slight decompression of MacKenna’s shoulders made it all infinitely worthwhile.::

::The silence was electric and tranquil- peaceful in its comfort and livid in its excitement. The anticipation was there, of course, the ambiguousness hovered, but it seemed like, whatever happened, the outcomes could only be good.:: 

MacKenna: Thank you.

::Her words! To him! With no one around! And most importantly, he’d been right! She did want to escape! Dear god! Shayne could’ve dissolved into tears right there, but he was slightly stronger than that. So he simply inclined his head in a slow, kind display.:: 

Shayne: You are most welcome. 

::Shayne had often heard the platitude, “be the change you wish to see in the world”. Well, he certainly wished that someone would have extracted him from social situations early in his career. Perhaps, for once, he was living up to that ideal.:: 

::They kept walking, the shared silence of two beings that didn’t require speech to speak to one another. Shayne had not particular route in mind- his gambit had been played. But MacKenna didn’t seem to particularly mind. As the wandered in the low lighting of the starbase, Shayne realized he wouldn’t mind doing this for a month at a time.::

::Finally, with an uncertain but smooth movement, MacKenna pushed back her mane of glorious crimson hair. Her pale face shined through, and for the first time he could get an unhindered look at the woman he’d saved from the torture of socializing. His breath stopped in his throat.:: 

MacKenna: I uh…well. What can I help you with?

::He stepped in slightly closer, making sure to keep a respectful distance. Shayne wanted her to feel protected and soothed, not threatened. And if he’d seen anything about her, it was how threatened she felt in the presence of another. He’d rather chew off his own arm than make her uncomfortable in any way.:: 

Shayne: You already have.

::He realized how true it was. Though he had learned, through struggle and error, how to survive such events, the fact was that didn’t enjoy them any more than MacKenna. She’d aided in his retreat, whether she realized it or not.:: 

Shayne: But. Um. There’s a… there’s a power fluctuation in…

::He stopped. It appeared that his fumbling was not gone, simply postponed. And now it reared its head when he could least afford it.::

::With a sigh, he surrendered.::

Shayne: Would- would you like a drink? I mean, not back in there. Somewhere… quieter? 

MacKenna: ::smiling again.:: Sure. That would be great.

::But they didn’t move from that spot. Their eyes locked. Shayne’s surroundings fell away, lost to the vacuum that left him and her immovable and intact. He was so tired. So utterly exhausted. How had he stood before? She kept him awake, alert, the expression of care and vulnerability on her face giving him every ounce of strength he had left.::

::She reached out to him, a gesture of intimacy Shayne would not normally permit or expect. He hated getting close to people. How was this happening? And yet, it felt right. It felt necessary. Designed. And he was too tired to fight against the will of the universe.:: 

MacKenna: Is everything alright?

::Even now, she cared. She felt. She worried. He wasn’t floating, but this came close.:: 

Shayne: Yes.

::His instinct was to lie, to protect, and to distance himself. It was what he was good at. But his diversion failed before it began. He knew the lie would not hold up to scrutiny. And besides, even if it did, Shayne knew that, wherever this relationship led and whatever it became, he did not want it based on lies. As painful as it was, he backpedaled.::

Shayne: It is… improving. Slowly. I… turned down the first officer position a few days ago. I think… I think that may have been a mistake.

::Or perhaps the right thing had been done for the wrong reasons.::

::And how did this suddenly become about him? And how did he simply reveal a huge fact like that to someone he’d just met? Was that even permitted?::

MacKenna: ? 

TAG/TBC…

Lieutenant Commander Randal Shayne
Ops Officer/Second Officer
USS Blackwell
NCC 58999
G239202RS0 

cleardot.gif
 

 

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I don't think I've ever read such a wonderful character study before. This is truly exception writing @Randal Shayne and you should be extremely proud of this!

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