Alora DeVeau Posted November 22, 2020 Share Posted November 22, 2020 ((Deck 5, Hammer’s Bowling Alley, USS Thor - 0426, The night before the promotion)) Neither Wil, or his Captain, had achieved their primary objective yet. He held the bowling ball in front of his mouth, thinking about his technique. He thought about which of the guiding triangles he should aim for, as he sang quietly along with the audio that was filling the bowling alley. Ukinix/Audio: The man in-me will-do… near-ly a-ny task… With the grace of an uncoordinated horse, Wil took a few steps towards the white line. As he approached, he swung the bowling ball back behind him, before flinging it forward and releasing it from his fingers. After the sound of a large “thud” of the ball hitting the polished wooden floor, the ground rumbled as the ball travelled along towards the head pin. Wil made a fist in anticipated victory, before the pins crashed together, knocking almost all of them over - except for the furthermost outside two pins on the very back row. Computer: You have bowled a 7-10 split. Your score is 8 points. Ukinix: ::Single clap of hands:: Dammit! So close. Rahman: Tsk, tsk… forget the bridge simulator, you need to spend more time at the lanes. Wil looked up at Teller, who was suspended from the ceiling of the bowling alley by a bungee cord that was attached to a device with slowly flashing red lights. The device was wirelessly hooked into the bowling alley’s scoring system. Below the dangling suspended Teller was a large tub of a cream and gelatine mixture. And his dress uniform lay crumpled up in a pile next to the tub. Wil looked up at the newly minted Commander, and gave him a wink. Ukinix: Don’t worry, mate. ::Gesturing to Roshanara:: One of us will get that strike, we’ll get you down. Teller: ¡ʇuɐǝɯ noʎ ʇɥƃnoɥʇ I ʇɐɥʍ ┴ON sᴉ sᴉɥʇ uʍop ǝpᴉsdn unɟ ǝɯos ǝʌɐɥ oʇ ʇuɐʍ noʎ op pᴉɐs noʎ ǝɹǝɥʍ ɹɐǝʍs I lᴉM Roshanara looked up at the suspended and newly-minted Commander. Rahman: Do you mind? I’m trying to bowl here… Teller: ¡uᴉɐɹq ʎɯ oʇ ƃuᴉɥsnɹ poolq ǝɥʇ llɐ ɥʇᴉʍ ʇɐɥʍ noʎ ʇɔɐɹʇsᴉp oʇ uɐǝɯ ʇ,upᴉp 'ɹǝddᴉʞS ʎɹɹos ɯ,I ɥO His first CO gave him an approving smile before she took a few steps and launched the ball towards the pins. With a satisfying crunch, she managed to hit seven of them. Not enough to dunk him completely, but enough to trigger the device to give him a little shake as it dipped him closer to the tub. The line shuddered, dropping him a few CM’s closer to the frothy tub. He didn’t know how they’d convinced Darren Hammer, owner & operator of the lanes, to setup what looked like a large kiddie pool full of jello & shaving cream, but Geoff suspected bribery. He also suspected that somewhere, Taz Shandres was filming this, ready to make another viral hit on Fednet. Teller: ¿uoᴉʇᴉpɐɹʇ ʇǝǝlɟɹɐʇS ɐ sᴉɥʇ sᴉ ʎlʇɔɐxǝ ʍoH Wil furrowed his brow momentarily. For a split second, he could have sworn that with his friend suspended like that, it sounded like he had Wil’s accent. He shrugged his shoulders and shook it off as an odd, stray thought. Ukinix: Mate, stop whinging. All the greatest officers have been through the same thing. They did it to Spock when he became an ambassador. ::Under his breath:: Probably. ::To Roshanara:: Your bowl, Captain. The Kriosian nodded and held the ball up to her chin as she studied the lane like a starship tactician. The pins waited at the end as if they were a line of Tholian webspinners. Rahman: This one’s from Rosie. Teller: ˙˙˙˙ʇsnɾ plnoɔ ǝʍ ʞoo˥ The ball struck home with thunderous force and the line went slack. Geoff had a strange moment of weightlessness during which he considered many of the choices he’d made to lead him to this point in his life. His self-reflection was interrupted by his rapid descent and nearly explosive entry into the pool, which flung foam and jello like a geyser in every direction. Geoff struggled through the bizarre, coconut smelling soup, trying to pull himself through it. All he could hear was the splorp of jello moving and peels of laughter. When he finally was able to take his feet, Geoff had less than a second to realize both the Skipper and Wil were pointing strange sparklie tubes at him. With a loud pop, both spat an enormity of brightly colored confetti at him. He was now shirtless, pantless, and effectively glazed and decorated. Teller: I’m a damn cup-cake. Teller: oO They’re going to pay for this. Somehow. They’re going to pay. Oo Wil couldn’t stop laughing. He crouched down, before laying on the ground, on his side, holding his stomach. There was a mischievous snicker that he couldn’t stop. He looked back at glittery, gloopy Teller, and laughed even harder as he rolled onto his back. Rahman: Quit horsing around and get over here. Eventually, Wil got to his feet as his laughter subsided. On the nearby table were three essential items - a towel, a bathrobe, and a glass of White Russian. He picked them up, and handed the towel and glass to Commander Teller. Ukinix: There y’are, Geoffrey. Geoff took both items with deep suspicion, but with few other options he tried to clean himself up while taking a tentative sniff of the drink. Teller: The hell is this? Smells like a milkshake! Wil picked up his own half finished White Russian, and raised his glass in Teller’s direction. Ukinix: ::Holding up glass:: To Commander Teller. Geoff grinned and nodded his head solemnly before throwing the newly soaked towel back at Wil, catching him full in the face with a wet twok. Teller: Cheers, mate! Roshanara held onto the oversized beige bathrobe with both hands held out, taking care not to look too far down while she protected Teller’s modesty in front of any Prophets watching from the nearby Celestial Temple. Rahman: All right, let’s make sure you don’t catch a cold. Geoff glugged down the desert like drink, but caught the lingering bite of a sweet liquor. He suspected he’d be upside down again, without being tied to the ceiling, quite soon. The bathrobe was enormous and nearly went down to the floor, flapping past his wrists and into his tumbler. Somehow, a floppy belt really tied the whole ensemble together. Teller: Is this some kind of religious ceremony I’ve never heard of? Oooh, I know, can I be one of those Romulan lady sword monks?! The drink was already kicking in. Wil took a quick sip of his drink while eying Geoffrey in his ensemble. Ukinix: You look like a pimp. The captain went over to grab her own mug of coffee. It was rather early in the morning after all. She took a seat on one of the comfortable couches. Rahman: So… Mr. Teller. I suppose this marks a new chapter. You’re certainly no longer a young, wide-eyed ensign. Geoff smiled and accepted the compliment as graciously as he could manage while tripping over the edge of an oversized bathrobe. Teller: ::Geoff smiled sheepishly:: Thanks Skipper, that was...almost kind of you to say. Rahman: You’re fortunate you’re so irritatingly ingratiating. It’s the only factor I’ve identified that’s kept you from getting shot at more often. Geoff smirked and bowed with an elaborate flourish. Teller: All part of the service, Skipper. Ukinix: Captain, just give the man a hug, he deserves it. Roshanara looked back at a beaming Teller for a moment and then shook her head. Rahman: “Nah, I’m good.” Wil smirked and blinked a little at his Captain’s impersonation of him, before he turned to his friend. Ukinix: ::To Teller:: I’ll head to the bar and get us another round. He turned and made his way over to the long, luxurious wooden bar that was positioned away from the bowling lanes. Geoff nodded in thanks and produced the empty tumbler from under a frayed sleeve. Why the bathrobe already looked ratty and worn was beyond Teller, but it was surprisingly comfortable. Teller: It’s this brand of supportive abuse that got me where I am today - so in a way, Skipper, all of ::Geoff gestured to his fairly ridiculous self:: this...is on you. After her chief engineer went off to raid the alley’s stores of alcohol, Roshanara looked over at Teller sitting in the much-too-large armchair across from her. Rahman: You look adorable. Like that first time you sat in my command chair. Geoff’s eyebrows went up - it was a moment he remembered well. Teller: I was terrified, you know? Figured the seat was booby trapped or something. ::Geoff found his smile coming more naturally.:: I’m still not 100% sure it isn’t. She just smiled back coyly before she got up and took a seat next to him in the other chair, pulling her feet up and folding her legs under her as she sat. Rahman: So… how are you? Geoff mimmed strumming a guitar. Teller: Well, like you said Skipper - it’s been a long road. ::Geoff smirked:: But it’s been worth it. Rahman: Yes, yes… but I’m not speaking as a Starfleet captain to a commander in terms of the job you’ve done. I mean how are *you* doing? Geoff leaned back, considering the scope of the unexpectedly personal question. He noticed his dressed uniform, crumpled on the floor nearby, and the pips near the collar. Each represented missions, and people, and time spent or adventures had. He’d met friends, formed bonds, and grown as a person with each little bronze circle pinned to that jacket. Their significance had never seemed greater to him. Teller: Honestly...I guess I don’t think about it much - but I’m good. Really. The last year hasn’t been easy, but watching this crew come together has been..enriching. It was something I didn’t expect...and I didn’t expect to like it. I feel...older, somehow. And not just because my shoulder makes that crunching noise. She nodded as she cradled her coffee mug. Rahman: You’re someone others look up to now. Someone who models the kind of officer they hope to be. And someday, you’ll be someone else’s “Skipper.” Geoff tried to imagine that. Not the brash fantasies of the Academy, but a real time where a Captains chair was his and his alone. It seemed...more plausible now, a natural extension of the work he’d done. It wasn’t about personal glory, it was an awesome responsibility. It wasn’t about self-aggrandizement, but about leading others and letting their potential flourish. It was so much bigger than he’d ever imagined as an Ensign. Teller: I got lucky - I learned from the best, and ::Geoff nodded towards the bar:: I worked with the best. Shoulders of Giants. That should be the title of my autobiography. So much better than my other idea. Geoff got the least bit embarrassed. Teller: “Telling the Teller Tales By Teller.” Yeah, I know, it’s bad. She gestured to Wil in the distance as they both watched him rummage through the bar, still on the hunt for the evening’s next libation. Rahman: Still. It can be a lonely place at the top. And the friendships you made before you got there… are worth more than their volume in latinum. Roshanara herself had noted the change in her relationship to her shipmates when she’d moved up from chief engineer to XO. Being in a position of authority had required maintaining a certain distance, but that distance was created on both ends, from her and her colleagues--the latter’s effort being unexpectedly difficult to adjust to at times. Rahman: Have you gotten close to any of your new crew outside of a professional context? ::She grinned as she teased him slightly.:: Maybe someone special even? Geoff squinted and for a brief moment, heard his mother's laughter. Teller: What can I say - never found the time? Never found the right one? ::Geoff briefly reminisced about what had, and could have, been.:: Maybe I’m just a glutton for punishment? The question was as much to himself as to his friend. It was true he’d kept to himself since leaving the Veritas, letting his responsibilities and his position isolate him. It had become almost habitual, and it allowed him to narrow his focus. Perhaps that was something else he had to...reexamine. Rahman: All right, then what about just friends? Teller: Friends - yes. Colleagues I respect and admire, absolutely. But there’s nobody else I trust like I trust you, or Wil, or Addison. Veritas feels like the home I grew up in - the people there took me in when I needed them, and let me become part of their lives. It was...something I didn’t know I needed. They’ll always be family to me. Roshanara nodded and then glanced down a little at his left arm, the stylized tattoo version of herself hidden underneath. What was once a drunken souvenir had become a badge of pride, representing Teller’s admiration for his first ship and captain. Rahman: I know I once told you that no matter where you go, Veritas will always be with you. Teller: Yep. I keep her right over here ::Geoff thumbed towards his heart:: next to the Thor. Rahman: But I think you should know it only gets harder to form those bonds from here on up… She struggled with the exact words she was looking for as he looked back at her. Rahman: The command decisions you’re making these days... affecting not just a team or a department but the entire crew... Geoff nodded gravely. He’d felt that distance forming more than once and had fought to dispel it. He leaned forward, his drink forgotten for a moment, his attention focused. Teller: It keeps me up some nights. I’ll take any advice you’ve got to offer. She nodded sympathetically. Rahman: One strategy is to keep your distance. It can make those decisions clearer for you about what needs to be done for the mission. But it can also leave you feeling hollow. She paused before she let out a sigh. Rahman: I’ve asked a lot of you over this past year. And you’ve done it. For Duronis II, Starfleet, and the Federation. But promise me one thing? Teller: I’ve never lied to you - not going to start now. You’ve got my word. Rahman: Don’t let this job consume you. A life in Starfleet isn’t just about getting the mission done. You need that social support, even more so as you move up the ranks. Make your time in the service about the *people* instead of the missions. The friendships you’ll leave with will make far greater company than the service ribbons. Geoff felt the wisdom in the advice deeply. His hardest days in Starfleet had been those when he was most alone, and the new bonds he’d forged in the last year had as much to do with his success as any that came before. Teller: Honestly, the Veritas is the family I was born into. The Thor is the family I got to build. I’m proud of both, and I know these people have my back as much as I have theirs. You taught me how to make a ship a home, Skipper. Promise me you won’t forget it. She nodded and raised her mug, tapping his glass. Both rang, and their shared their drink in brief companionable silence. ((“Quark’s Bar”, Deep Space Nine - three hours later)) Wil leaned over to the Ferengi that was behind the bar - although from his point of view, after the large quantity of drinks that he and Geoffrey had consumed, it looked like there were two of them. Ukinix: ::Raising empty glass:: Mate. It’s a bit of a dry argument here. ::Burp:: How about another drink? The Ferengi behind the bar gave the Human a fake cordial smile. To’n: You’re lucky it’s happy hour or you’ll be paying off your bar tab as a dabo girl. Geoff wobbled a bit, the conversation only half heard over the din in the bar and the din in his head. Teller: I did it Wil, I got that big new job….DABO! With a smirk, Wil thought of something that he knew would further infuriate the Ferengi. Ukinix: ::Smirking:: You’d be a *fetching* dabo girl, Commander! To’n: ::Under his breath:: Sure. If I wanted to lose all of my business. Ukinix: What? To’n: ::Fake smile:: Nothing. What will be your next drink, gentlemen? Wil lifted his finger, and unable to keep it still pointed to some of the bottles behind the bar. Ukinix: Two more big glasses of the green ones. And another two shots of the pink one. Teller: And whatever that talkative guy at the end of the bar is having. ::Geoff gestured towards the ancient Lurian with the hollow leg at the end of the bar:: And one for each of his brothers and sisters! Ukinix: Why not! ::Slapping Geoffrey on the back, then turning to T’on:: *Four* more of the pink ones, thanks! The bartender tried to keep the smile off his face. Their elderly patron had seventeen brothers and sisters. The drinks were added to the tab, as requested, as he fetched the rest for the well toasted officers. To’n: That’s a deal. When the Ferengi returned with their drinks, Wil grabbed one of the shot glasses, and handed it to Teller. He then grabbed one of his own. Ukinix: Congratulations, Commander. I’m proud of you. Geoff may have been exhausted, sore, and inebriated - but at that moment he was mostly relaxed. For however brief a time it would last, all was right in his world and he had the rare opportunity to celebrate with a dear friend. Teller: Thanks knackers! ::Geoff finished his drink and procured one of the replacements:: And I mean that from the bottom of my heart. Ukinix: What should we drink to? Geoff considered and had a brief, lucid flash of a children's story he’d heard long ago, about a pirate who learned too late that friendship was the real treasure. Geoff smiled at his brother by bond and raised a glass. Teller: To the real treasure, my friend. Ukinix: To treasure! They clinked their glasses together, before downing the pink liquid. Wil flinched, and his whole body shook as the strong alcoholic beverage went down. Teller: Ugh, that’ll burn a hole right through ya…::Geoff leaned against the bar heavily, lazily wandering through his memory of recent missions::..I ever tell you I met a dragon? Dragons..s. ::Geoff found the word oddly challenging:: They were nice! Ukinix: I think…::raising finger::... that I may be really drunk. We should call it a night. Or a morning. What time is it? Geoff glanced at a wall chrono that was all but hidden behind a giant hoload for something called ‘Papa Zek’s Oomax Guide’ and sprang unsteadily to his feet. Teller: Ungh...I’m supposed to be back on duty in an hour. I’ll have to find the infirmary and get something to clear my head out...or I might be the first person to get promoted and court martialed on the same day. Wil smashed his hand to his chest, to press his combadge - but missed, without him realising. Ukinix: Ukinix to Transporter Room… uh… any transporter room. Two to beam up Geoff squinted, pretty sure Wil and the Captain had arrived by shuttle. Teller: Who are you even trying... Ukinix: Why aren’t they answering? Geoff hoped the infirmary had room for two. Teller: Come on, Vice Admiral Winning Pants. Adventure is this way. Unsteadily, the two staggered towards the infirmary and all that lay beyond. END ==== Captain Roshanara Rahman CO, USS Veritas I238705TZ0 & Commander Geoffrey Teller Executive Officer USS Thor - NCC 82607 Fleet Captain A. Kells, Commanding V239509GT0 & Lieutenant Commander Wil Ukinix Chief Engineer and Second Officer USS Veritas V239511WU0 1 2 Quote Link to comment
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