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CWO Valaine & LtCmdr Blake, "The Ends and Means." - Part 2


TLea

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((10-Forward))

Valaine: From my fun...?

:: His confusion remained for another moment, but realization hit him. The span of days where he’d been... physically incapacitated... around the time of Xena’s birth. He hadn’t mentioned that to anyone, though he figured his reputation had taken a hit from the gossip from his attempted failures. This... was something else altogether. ::

:: It was a long moment he stared into his drink... before he began to lightly laugh. A hand came up to cover his eyes as it grew into a full laugh. ::

Valaine: *She* did that? Talya dosed me with... an anti-Chase hypo? You wouldn’t say it if you weren’t serious... I know you are, but... frack me, that’s messed up... *we’re* messed up...

:: Despite the words, he went on lightly laughing until he stifled it with a third large-scale intake of his liquor, which very nearly did the entire glass in for. Still chuckling, he tapped a fingernail on the glass to get the barkeeps attention for a second. ::

Blake: I suppose so . . .

Valaine: I assume you “heard” it from her. She wouldn’t *tell* you that.

Blake: I had her confess to it in a turbolift a day or two later. Honestly, I heard it from *you*. *You* told me what was going on.

Valaine: *I* told you...? Ahh... ::realizing::... I was confused... probably thinking waaaay too loudly for you to miss it.

Blake: Oh yeah. Your thoughts were ridiculous when I went to talk to you. You were so *bruised*.

Valaine: I do so like to torment you with my thoughts, but those I’d planned to keep to myself. So I could deny the rumors later.

Blake: Oh, sure. That’s what they *all* say.

:: Taking the last of his first glass down, Chase made a concentrated attempt *not* to quickly down the first drink of his second glass. Which failed, as he downed nearly a third of the glass, to the silent-but-clear displeasure of the bartender. ::

Valaine: ::eyebrows crunching together with annoyance:: Your face’ll freeze that way.

:: The bartender scoffed lightly at the remark, turning away to deal with other bar business. But it wasn’t smart to take on the barkeep, not in any establishment. ::

Blake: So, Mr. Drunk-

Valaine: ::correcting her:: I’m not drunk yet. I’m annoyed. Two more of these and you can call me drunk. I get that much for being drugged and put out of action. You have *no* idea who I disappointed in those three days. Very disappointed females all over the place.

:: Granted, as he took another long drink of his second tall glass, he would admit he was already feeling warm. Quite warm, with a stomach full of liquor and a body trying to quickly process it all down to simpler sugars. Not an easy feat when dealing with straight up hard alcohol. It was already making him ramble and exaggerate, though it was honest to say he was not one that held to the monogamy required of his wedding vows. ::

:: Reaching up to tap his neural node and activate his implanted computer system, his blue eyes flashed with light as the monitors in his cornea came to life. He keyed to his personal vital systems, bringing up the levels of intoxication. The number read from parts per million in his bloodstream was steadily ticking upwards. ::

Valaine: Frack, I love this thing. ::meaning his neural node:: I may as well have a mechanical heart implanted. Would match my profession, having a metal heart.

:: He didn’t mean for that to sound so introspective, but a cold heart made of metal was what he wanted. He’d never been able to achieve it, despite how nasty he got or what trouble he got into. But in his heart he was an engineer. ::

Blake: Oh?

Valaine: Engineering, it’s what I am. It’s all I’ve got, really. When a system comes up faulty, you disassemble, repair, redesign, and rebuild. My heart is faulty. I need a new one. One less likely to fail or fall apart... or give a frack about frack. A steady, mechanical organ that does it’s job efficiently and without regard for external stimuli.

Blake: Only to be knocked out should someone release an EMP.

:: The second glass came up empty as she spoke, and he tapped for a third. The barkeep gave him a look that translated roughly into “getting in a bit deep, aren’t we?” But the man made the third glass, delivering it to the annoyed engineer. ::

:: As he took it in hand, he realized something... then reached up beneath his other ear, pulling off the monitoring device located beneath his other lobe. The CMO’s heart monitor, giving sickbay a live feed. It would probably rat him out for drinking, too. ::

:: With a rather pointed motion, he held the device aloft above his drink for a moment, giving it a steady, angry glare... it was the device of the enemy... and he let it drop into the blue fizz. A drop splashed out onto the bar as it sank to the bottom of the tall glass. ::

Blake: Things have gotten pretty hard, haven’t they.

Valaine: Rock solid. And not in the good way.

Blake: Yeah.

::There was silence for a few seconds.::

Valaine: I never said I was good at this... but I’ve *tried.* You can’t say I didn’t try... Everyone wants to be this perfect person, but it just doesn’t work that way. Life happens. Sometimes things suck. Sometimes people aren’t good at things some people would consider normal, or natural.

Blake: You’re telling *me*.

:: Chase sent another heavy drink into his system, then his blue eyes keyed on her. This woman was an oddball herself, he’d learned enough about her to know that full well. Not to mention her abilities. ::

Valaine: I know you get it. You of all people should.

Blake: I have to put up with at least half a ship of thoughts. People tell me that if I complain about it, why don’t I just *stop*. The problem with being me is that there’s no “off” switch to my telepathy - if I want to stop hearing everyone, I have to get an inhibitor. But because of the way I am, I’m expected to be absolutely fantastic at my job, as if I’m meant to be able to predict when something’s going to happen. When I slip up at something like that, it feels like all fingers are pointed at me. ::She sighed.:: Sorry to rain on your parade, but everyone has their own problems.

Valaine: Yeah... ::eyes falling as deep into his drink as the medical monitor had::... so I’m whining at the choir, is what you’re saying. So then, why don’t you get your own drink. We can be miserable together.

Blake: See, unlike yourself, my days of getting smashed are over. ::She frowned a little.:: Especially since I have a Vulcan partner who would find it ‘illogical’ and give me a lecture on the dangers of alcohol.

::That wasn’t necessarily the only reason. She didn’t mention that half of the reason was because of Faith. It was illegal for Brekkian mothers to be above a certain alcohol limit when their child was a young age. Now that Sky was a mother, she could see why that was the case.::

Valaine: ::a fraction of an iota of humor returning to him:: Maybe I can still do you a favor. Flood out other peoples thoughts if I concentrate hard enough...

:: Setting his hands to his temples, he shut his eyes in concentration. He didn’t “yell” the thoughts, but he began to send rapid fire thoughts her way... not so innocent ones either. He was actually quite *good* at transmitting for a non-telepath. An organized brain could do that. However, the thoughts were as nearly-drunken as *he* was getting. ::

Blake: You can try . . .

::She could merely shake her head at the Terran’s attempt. He tried, but unless Sky willingly jumped into his head, his attempt was more or less worthless and pointless. She didn’t dare mention that, though. Besides, there were a couple of Trills in one area that were unintentionally making a racket.::

Blake: But the loudest people around would be on the Bridge.

:: Scoffing verbally, he finished yet another glass of the bright bubbly blue liquors, the bottom of the heavy mug clunking loudly as he set it down with less care than he had before. ::

Valaine: Bridgelings... *pfft*... figures they’d monopolize your brain. ::he eyed the bartender, who was facing the other way:: But then, I’d figure you’d key into Sabor. You know I’ve never met him, right? There’s something wrong with that. ::pause:: Not that Vulcans tend to appreciate my company.

:: Somewhat more powerfully than he should have, he lifted and clunked the heavy glass on the tabletop, causing the bartender to spin around with a touch of annoyance. Chase just gave him an equally annoyed look, pointing at the empty glass with a “What the heck is THIS about?” expression on his face. ::

Blake: Trust me, some people would think that not meeting Sabor is a blessing. ::She paused.:: You sure you want to get-

Valaine: Smashed. Smashed takes more. ::pausing:: What’s wrong with him anyway? He’s not ugly, is he?

Blake: Quite the opposite, actually. No, people just don’t like his problems.

Valaine: Problems... A Vulcan with “problems.” I think I like him already.

Blake: You might, if you appreciate cleanliness. He has a case of germophobia from a . . . traumatic experience in childhood, and OCD that built onto it. You should have seen him when I first met him. He was probably the only Vulcan who was brave enough to be a smart-[...] to me.

:: A new glass of blue bubbles was set before him, and he grasped it as he turned in his seat to look at Sky straight on. ::

Valaine: A smart-[...] Vulcan? Ohhh, this I gotta see. Or... meet.

:: The mischief in his expression was not subtle. Neither was the glaze in his eyes. The drink in hand, he was out of his seat and heading for the door without another word. ::

Valaine: Computer, where is Sabor, Mr. Smart-[...] Vulcan?

::Sky shut her mouth to avoid protesting and causing an argument that Chase would probaby just laugh off anyway. After those drinks, it’d be a miracle that he could stand. Besides, Sabor wasn’t really aggressive . . .::

Computer: Lieutenant Sabor is currently in his quarters.

Blake: Do you *really* want to do that?

:: There was a slight stumble, and a small glob of blue liquid plopped to the floor of the corridor. To solve the problem of spillage, Chase brought the glass to his lips and drank healthily... or unhealthily, as it was... to bring the level in the glass down to a less spillable level. But he didn’t stop, making a steadily worsening pace to the doorway he’d been directed to. ::

:: At the doorway, Chase didn’t bother hitting the cue. Instead, he wrapped his fist against the door in a solid, persistent knock. ::

Valaine: ::lacking volume control:: OPEN UP! This is security!!!

::Sky rolled her eyes, pulling out the battery from her phaser as she usually did out of habit.::

Blake: You know you only have to let me to the keypad, right?

Valaine: Do it, Chief of Security!

:: Stepping back to let her do her job, he wondered why she wasn’t more interesting in pursuing this dangerous smart-[...] Vulcan. She just didn’t know how to play along! ::

::Keying her code into the keypad, the door popped open.::

Blake: You know, you really need to learn to not be an idiot whilst drunk . . . or is that just a Brekkian trick?

Valaine: Why w’d I wanna? ::his obnoxious smile finally returning to him:: Now open up! I need to meet the man that’s wooing my Sky Blake!

:: Overly dramatic much? ::

Blake: oO This is not going to end well. Oo Right, well. Ladies first? ::She gestured for him to enter with a slight smile on her face.::

Valaine: Why thank you, you’re so kind. ::he bowed slightly, taking the lead into the door::

::Sabor had walked out of the hallway into the lounge as soon as Sky dumped her holster, drying his hands on a tea-towel, his eyebrow raised at the sight of Chase Valaine - especially in their quarters. He nodded once in acknowledgement towards the two.::

Sabor: Faith is asleep. I think we would both appreciate it if a “racket” was avoided.

Blake: It’s fine. Chase only came by to say hello.

Valaine: *PFFFT* “Hello...” ::he grinned at Sky, then spoke to Sabor:: Sabor! My Vulcan man! I’ve been told the most polite, clean facts about you. Nice to make your acquaintance!

:: He reached out, but remembered halfway into the motion that he was holding a mug of blue bubbly. So he held up a free finger with a suddenly serious expression. ::

Valaine: Wait. No germs, right? I can fix this.

:: And he proceeded to drink the entire remaining glass. ::

:: And throw the mug into the corridor, where it *THUNKED* several times before coming to a rest on the carpet. ::

Valaine: There. Germ free! Now, Sabor... ::he moved near the Vulcan and wrapped an arm possessively around his shoulders:: … we gotta talk. You and me. ::he jabbed a thumb toward Sky:: And her.

::Sky was suddenly glad that Sabor was wearing a long-sleeved shirt, otherwise he probably would have freaked out at Chase touching him. As it was, the Vulcan looked rather uncomfortable with the situation, especially after the display Chase had just made.::

Sabor: Perhaps I should-

Blake: I’ve got it. ::Sky smiled again.:: I haven’t seen Faith all day. I’m sure you’ll be fine until I get back?

Valaine: ::immune to Sabors discomfort:: Of course he’ll be fine!

Sabor:::Pulling himself out of Chase’s grip.:: Only for you, Skyleena.

::Sky let out a breath for a short second before retreating to her room to check on Faith - and to pick up the glass on her way. Yeah, this was probably not going to end very well.::

Valaine: Now, Sabor... can I call you Sabor? Great. Now, Sky and I, we’ve been chatting and she mentioned you impressed her with your smart-assery. I figure it takes a special kinda Vulcan to be a smart-[...], right? So you and me, we’ve gotta... I dunno. Hang. Or mind meld. Or something. Do you drink? Probably water, the germs, right? Right...

:: He made his way to the replicator after that rapid fire conversation. ::

Sabor: I do not require a beverage at this time, Mr. Valaine, and I am beginning to think that you do not require one, either.

Valaine: “Mr. Valaine?” Mr. Valaine was my *father,* Sabor. ::he paused suddenly:: Actually, he was Mr. Fairweather, and he was an abusive [...]. You wouldn’t have liked him. Anyway, “Chase.” Say it with me. “Chase.” ::to the replicator:: Where’d my glass go? Frack it... computer, an Adios.

:: The blue bubbly liquid manifested on the replicator pad, and Chase was quickly taking a drink of it. ::

Sabor: I do not believe that is a “good idea”.

::The Vulcan was starting to feel very isolated. This “conversation” was very one-sided. And what did the Terran want in the first place?::

Valaine: Who said it was suppose to be? ::giving the Vulcan a smile:: But enough about me. I want to hear about *you.* ::he plopped down onto the couch, set his feet up on the coffee table, and set an arm along the back, making himself at home:: Tell me about yourself, Sabor. Show me this smart-assery Sky bragged about!

Sabor: I am unsure what you mean. Are you referring to my attitude when I first met Sky? In my defence, she asked a question. I merely answered it.

::Well, it wasn’t technically a question. Sky had stated clearly that Sabor shouldn’t enter her office (at the time) unless he had some sort of Brekkian chocolate. He told her that unless she wanted him to ask the Captain to change course to the Delos system (Brekka’s system), there was no *real* Brekkian chocolate onboard. But as the conversation moved on, there were a few times where he had told Sky that her Armory was ‘dusty’.::

:: A pleasantly entertained grin on his face, he held it for a moment as he thought the Vulcan over in all his inebriated glory. ::

Valaine: Mmm hmm... ::the hard, glazed eyes stayed on the Vulcan, then eased up:: Isn’t that nice. Boring, but nice. We really need to get some alcohol into you. You’re more repressed than *other* Vulcans, and that’s saying something.

:: Chase was deliberately attempting to make the man a bit uncomfortable now, taking some drunken pleasure in making the germophobe nervous. Not that he was being cruel, he was genuinely curious and fueled by alcohol in his fervor. ::

Sabor: I only use alcohol for cleaning, *Chase*. ::He said curtly.:: I do not consume alcohol willingly. It is illogical.

Valaine: Willingly. Unwillingly. There’s little difference. Except for the force. Minor distinction. ::he kept right on drinking despite the Vulcan’s protest:: Have you ever *tried* it? Maybe Sky would appreciate if you let loose a bit, am I right?

:: The words were nothing much, but the tone was clearly suggestive in that entirely-lacking-in-subtlety manner that Chase had, and he wasn’t done yet. ::

Valaine: She’s just about the *only* female onboard who hasn’t enjoyed my company. You found yourself a genuine article, other mens wives aren’t so... dedicated. You should return the favor.

Sabor: Skyleena Blake is her own mind. Once it is made up, there is little to no chance of changing it. Her . . . “unwillingness” towards you may be because of her previous relationship with people like yourself. ::He turned around and washed his hands again.:: Besides, I am not required to be different around her. If I *was*, the relationship between us would not be as successful with all of the “problems” we have encountered.

Valaine: Ahhh, yes. The problems. She mentioned those. ::nodding seriously, then smiled again:: But wow, that was a zinger! “Because of her previous relationship with people like yourself.” I’m *almost* offended... but we’re on such a roll, I choose not to be. ::waving it off:: Especially since that’s the smart-assery I came to see.

:: Chase stood somewhat unsteadily, but caught his balance and moved toward the Vulcan again, but this time he didn’t envelope him in a close grip as he had before. ::

Valaine: Where did she get off to anyway? Who knows what trouble we could cause if she isn’t here to supervise. ::pausing:: So let’s do that! What do you do for fun? Do you do holodecks? Or does the idea of what other people do in those rooms in private keep you holodeck-free?

:: Yet again utterly lacking in subtlety. ::

Sabor: In a way. I prefer to avoid the holodecks onboard unless absolutely necessary.

Valaine: Then where do you spend your time?

Sabor: Mr. Val- *Chase*, my Armory is more sterile than any of the holodecks onboard.It is one of the few places where I am not disturbed. My expertise is with weapons.

Valaine: ::eyes lighting up:: The *Armory!* That’s perfect! We should totally do this.

:: A grip of fabric in one hand and Chase was tugging the Vulcan toward the door, clearly on a mission to get into trouble and invite Sabor along for the ride. The fact he was more than a little drunk didn’t deter him from his next motivation. The randomness of his desires were a clear distraction from his earlier troubles. ::

Valaine: You can shoot, right? Teach me everything you know. My aim *sucks!*

Sabor: Sky is a better shot than myself, I would suggest taking up lessons with her. I am the Armory officer because of my knowledge of the weapons. The best description of my job is similar to weapons development.

:: The grip on Sabors sleeve relaxed, and Chase almost seemed disappointed for a moment. ::

Valaine: I might have to break the news to Sky. She’s got no idea she’s dating a totally normal Vulcan. I figured you *had* to be *some* fun to keep her around.

:: It wasn’t an insult, but it did result in Chase doing his best to finish the drink in his hand before he jammed the glass back into the replicator pad nearby. ::

Sabor: What are you suggesting? That I am causing Skyleena to become the Terran equivalent to “bored”?

Valaine: Suggesting? Come on, Sabor. I am *totally* funned out here. ::the indication being the opposite, translated through his monotone reply and expression... which again morphed into something happier, the alcohol keeping his black mood at bay:: Coooome ooooon, you’ve *gotta* have something you’ve wanted to do, but you’re too chicken to do it without a drunken Terran to lead the way! And I’m your Terran!

Sabor: I do not believe that this is a ‘sane’ idea.

Valaine: Do it for Sky! I will do literally anything you want. Name it. No reservations, no restrictions, no boring Vulcan “sanity!” This is your opportunity!

Sabor: I do not have anything I wish to do currently. The only pressing matter to attend to currently is Veusa.

Valaine: Gesundheit.

Sabor: Veusa is the name of my younger sister. She is close to graduating the Academy. I believe *you* would find her likable due to her unusual amount of time spent among Terrans.

Valaine: ::instantly interested for another reason altogether:: Is she cute? I bet she has your cheekbones.

Sabor: She is my sister. ::Sabor repeated.:: There are few differences between us. The most major difference is her attitude and personality . . .

::Sabor frowned a little. Veusa did not have a short range of emotions, in fact, she was ridiculously like a Terran.::

:: Chase was undeterred by the sibling banter. In fact, he kept that smile as he came nearer Sabor, until they were rather close, well into the Vulcan’s personal bubble of comfort. Close enough to smell the alcohol rampaging through the Terran’s system. ::

Valaine: Forget your sister. What would you say if I was more interested in *you?*

:: Those fingers came out again to grasp the fabric of Sabor’s sleeve, giving it a light tug. ::

Valaine: Sky wouldn’t mind, would she? Maybe I could teach you a few things.

Sabor: It depends on what you wish to “teach” me.

Valaine: ::smiling slyly:: Oh... a few things...

:: Chase gave a harder tug, pulling them closer together, his intentions anything but veiled. It was the alcohol at this point, enhancing his brutishly frank personality flaws. Normally he’d know full well a Vulcan was beyond his reach. Not in *this* moment... in this moment he was impressing himself on Sabor quite openly, pushing closer to the Vulcan. ::

Valaine: There’s this one Andorian technique I happen to love, where you--

Blake: Am I interrupting something?

:: Chase turned his head to look at Sky as she returned to the room, slightly annoyed and clearly unsteady, save for the tight grip he had on Sabor’s sleeves. ::

Valaine: Only if you don’t plan to join in. Otherwise, yes.

Blake: Chase, you’re not going anywhere, not after the reading the computer gave me of your alcohol level.

Sabor: I agree. Actually, I would prefer it if you let go of me, now.

:: Either intentionally or not so intentionally, he completely ignored their pleas for sanity. Instead he pushed a mite bit closer to Sabor, his smile in place. ::

Valaine: Wha’cha gunna do? Nerve pinch me? Then use and abuse whilst your hostage is unconscious, eh? I *knew* you had a saucy side, Sabor!

Sabor: Skyleena, I am uncertain of what he means, but I am very uncomfortable right now. It is bad enough that my senses are heightened, let alone him pushing it.

Blake: Just take a deep breath. It’s not as if he’s going to do something to you.

::But Sabor did have a point. He was already over the edge as it was with Chase just touching him. If Chase pushed himself any closer to the Vulcan, he’d probably freak.::

Valaine: ::to Sabor:: Oh, I am *absolutely* going to do something to you.

Blake: Chase, sit down before electrocute you.

:: The glazed, altered blue eyes shot toward Sky, his expression suddenly gone pensive and a bit grim, as well as slightly annoyed, eyes half lidded and lips pursed for a moment. A hard moment later he dropped his tight hold of Sabor’s sleeves. ::

Valaine: Geez, *you* guys’re a *ton* of fun. Really. ::sounding rather like a flat fib:: But I’ve really gotta go find someone in’trested in my talents. ::he stepped back from Sabor, smile returning as he bowed, arms out with a dramatic and unsteady flourish:: If you’ll excuse me.

:: And he clearly meant not to be returning to his *wife* for those attentions, either. Not after the fight they’d just had. He turned for the door, hand landing on the nearby wall to keep himself on his feet as he made to leave. ::

Blake: Come on, Chase, do you really think you can make it out the door let alone catch someone else?

:: Chase only laughed at that, openly before he responded to Sky without turning away from his doorway-centric path. ::

Valaine: ::through the slur:: You act like I hafta *chase* them! I’ll h’ve you no, they come to *me!*

::Sky sighed, and Sabor merely shook his head.::

Sabor: ~~ May I drop him *now*? ~~

Blake: ~~ I don’t see another option. ~~

::And without any hesitation, the Vulcan stepped forward, closing the distance between himself and the Terran, who was insanely drunk by anyone’s standards.::

Valaine: ::stopping at his approach:: I tho’t you weren’t in’trested?

Sabor: I am merely making sure that you have a pleasant sleep.

Valaine: ::not catching on, nose turning up:: Sleep...? Not f’...

::It was then that the Vulcan applied the aforementioned nerve pinch.::

:: The hand that had come up to swat away the annoying Vulcan fell with the rest of the Terran, gravity taking hold where his consciousness had left him. ::

Blake: Right. He’s probably not going to be very happy tomorrow morning.

Sabor: Skyleena, I do not care at this point. ::He hauled up the Terran onto the couch.:: So long that he is a lot lower than his current level.

::Calling Talya to come here and pick him up or dropping him off was out of the question - especially since Sky had ordered her to relax with Xena. Freaking out about Chase was certainly not under the category of relaxation. So Chase would have to involuntarily spend the night here.::

::Getting a light blanket from the cupboard, Sky neatly threw it over the Terran and more or less tucked him in. She was suddenly glad that one of her mentors as a teenager was just as drunk as Chase was every Saturday night, so she had a good experience of dealing with situations like this - especially since Sabor tried to avoid any attempt to help her. Instead, he set down a glass of water and unwillingly removed the Terrans shoes. Fresh clothing was also there for the morning.::

::So, with the Terran on their couch, Sabor and Sky retreated to their room, but not before Sabor put restrictions on the replicator.::




JP by~

LtCmdr Sky Blake
Chief of Security/Second Officer
USS Avandar

&

CWO Chase Valaine
Engineer
USS Avandar

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