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JP: Lieutenant JG T'Ama & Ensign Quentin Beck - These Beautiful Things That I've Got

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@Quentin Beck & @T'Ama just don't kiss already

Jokes aside, this JP is delicate and vulnerable, I really enjoyed this, it's always a pleasure to give a glimpse into characters' pasts, old relationships and friendships between ships, well done guys!

((Outside Guest Quarters, Room 2001, Deck 4, USS Ronin))


He just kind of… stood there for a while, staring at the reprogrammable panel next to the door that displayed T'Ama's name and listed her as a special guest on the Ronin. Their whole interaction on the planet's surface had been… well, interesting wasn't quite the right word. It had stirred up a lot of old memories, old feelings he hadn't exactly forgotten about but had certainly put aside until she had unexpectedly come back into his life again.


That wasn't a bad thing, per se, but the last time they had talked had ended rather poorly. That had been his fault, not hers, though up until recently he had convinced himself it was the other way around. His time on the Ronin had taught him a few things about alien cultures, not the least of which being he had a lot of trouble separating them from human traditions. That often left him confused when they didn't respond in a way he'd expected, or when they seemed entirely too puzzled by what he'd chosen to do or say.


Quentin didn't like that he'd been so mad at T'Ama when she'd left before. He'd had a lot of time to think about it by now. Steeling himself, he reached up to tap the chime next to her door.


T'Ama: Enter.


The door cycled open after a moment and he still just kind of… stood there, for another long moment. Then he cleared his throat and took a single step into the guest room, clutching an item to his chest. He was dressed in a fresh, clean uniform - quite a bit different from the sheets of fabric he'd been wearing on the planet.


She was sat reading on the couch, which was oriented towards the large viewport showing a field of darkness and stars. The guest room was way nicer than the windowless quarters she shared with her roommate on Deck 19 of the Conny. After a moment she realized no one had actually come in and she looked up from her PADD to the door to see… him. Oh… She stared as he stepped inside.


Beck: Hi. I just wanted to, uhm… Thank you. For all of your help down on the surface.


She looked down and away, embarrassed. He’d still been mad with her and rightfully so and now it was horribly, painfully awkward. Not at all like how it used to be.


T'Ama: Yeah, well… ::she inhaled:: … What did you bring?


Beck: Huh? Oh.


He fidgeted for a moment before shaking the package in his hand, the contents shifting around inside.


Beck: I brought these for you.


Quentin handed the box over. She would find the box full of chocolate-covered potato chips - a treat he'd introduced her to at the Academy to which she'd taken a particular shine. He'd had no idea at the time how chocolate affected Vulcans, he'd just wanted to share a snack he enjoyed with a good friend.


She took the box and opened it in her lap and she gave him a lopsided half smile at her favorite Earth treat. She’d gotten drunk off her ass on them the first time, they were so good. The perfect combination of sweet and salty that made you want to keep eating them. They were difficult to find on replication menus.


T'Ama: Thanks.


She sat and stared up at him, box clutched on her lap, the tense moment stretching out between them forever. She desperately wanted to turn on that El-Aurian thing that made people want to talk to you so he could say something, anything, easier but apparently he had always hated when she’d done that. At the thought her face fell and she looked back down at the box of chocolate in her lap, one finger worrying the corner of it.

His brow creased as the silence stretched between them for longer than it should have, and he watched the play of emotions running across her features before she'd dropped her gaze to the box. The chips were symbolic of what he wanted to say… or at least, that's what he'd intended. An olive branch. But then, their whole friendship had nearly imploded because of a misunderstanding on his part, so he figured a symbol probably wasn't enough.

Beck: I owe you an apology.

T'Ama: ::surprised:: For what?

Quentin chuckled lamely, looking down at his feet before digging a toe into the carpeting on the deck plate.

Beck: For a lot of things, but… mostly for overreacting when you left. I've learned a lot on this posting, mostly that I have a habit of humanizing everyone rather than taking the time to learn about their cultures and how they respond to things. I thought it was good to see everyone equally, but it sort of blinded me to the realities of how different we can be.

She blinked at him, confused about what he was apologizing about. His reaction to what she'd done seemed perfectly valid to her - who wouldn't be upset? And all this about him humanizing everyone and being clueless about their culture was irrelevant. She liked that about him. He never treated her like a Vulcan. She could see why it would get him in trouble with others but she had found it so refreshing to just be herself. She gestured to the couch.

T'Ama: ::quietly:: Sit. We should talk.

He fidgeted again for a moment before nodding and crossing to sit on the other end of the couch, with some space between them. She twisted to sit sideways and face him.

Beck: The whole touch telepathy thing is weird for me to think about because I'm so limited in that regard. I imagine if humans had it, too, we wouldn't be quite so touchy-feely about anything. Wouldn't shake hands, wouldn't do… all the things we normally do with someone we care about. Like hugs. Or… more.

T'Ama: ::dryly:: Like kissing on a first date?

Beck: ::sotto voce:: Like kissing a Vulcan on a first date.

He hadn't figured it out until after seeing her again, despite the fact he'd been doing a lot of reading about Vulcans after his initial encounter with Is'Kah after the mission. Physical intimacy was fully scandalous, even in private, and to actually kiss was basically the same as dropping down on one knee and proposing marriage.

Sort of.

She closed her eyes to gather her thoughts and sighed, then realized she never had explained what happened, though he had in a weird way deduced it.

T’Ama: Look. That was my fault. I should have kept myself shielded especially considering what we were doing. But you caught me by surprise… ::she smiled sadly:: And I got a full hit of your mind and all your… expectations. And I just… I couldn't live up to that. I can't be all that for you.

She had broken the kiss by pushing him away, muttering something like “I can't” as the only explanation, and then running away. And avoiding him every time he tried to talk to her until she graduated and was posted to the Constitution. Oh he had every right to be mad.

Quentin had been… wrapped up in the future he could see with T'Ama, but then he'd always had pipe dreams that looked far, far into the future, and they were all unrealistic. Normally he wouldn't have been so obsessive over a relationship like that, mostly because he didn't quite understand them, but his friendship with T'Ama had been instant and had felt deeper than any other friendship he'd had up to then.

Beck: ::brow creasing:: It was a lot, I know. I only had one or two close friends growing up, and you know I was an only child, so… I kinda couldn't help the mental spiral into some imaginary future. I'm sorry I expected too much so soon.

T’Ama: ::in a small, weepy voice:: I'm sorry I avoided you. I shouldn't have handled it that way. I should have just talked to you.

She sniffed and wiped her eyes where a couple of tears had rolled down her cheeks. She had curled completely up into a ball and hugged her knees. He let out a heavy breath, leaning forward to prop his forearms on his knees and lace his fingers together.

Beck: I should've tried harder to talk to you, too. Shouldn't have given up so quickly, but I was still smarting at the time. After you graduated and I didn't hear anything, I figured that was it.

T'Ama: ::shaking her head slightly:: No, I was avoiding you. You have a right to be mad about that and about being rejected.

Quentin looked down at his feet, pursing his lips.

Beck: I'm not mad anymore. Well, not about that. Now I'm just mad we lost all that time to a stupid misunderstanding. ::shaking his head:: That's why I'm working on better communication skills. That includes educating myself when dealing with folks that aren't human.

She frowned at that, her brow furrowing.

T'Ama: Quentin, I like that you never treated me like a Vulcan. Don't go starting to now.

Beck: ::smiling slightly:: No, I get it now. I think maybe I would have then, too, if you'd explained it?

His gaze lifted to peer out at the stars.

Beck: I'm sorry for coming at you so hot at the club, too. I think I was trying to blame the El-Aurian thing for… everything.

She shifted her gaze from him to the tops of her knees, curling inward to protect something vulnerable. She was proud of that half of her heritage, and she couldn't bear to hate all of herself.

T'Ama: ::softly:: Yeah, that hurt. Did you actually hate it the whole time?

She thought he had been into it at the time. She never would have used it like that if he hadn't been.

Quentin shook his head.

Beck: No. I never did. I said it because subconsciously I knew it would hurt, and that was a dick move, so I'm sorry. I definitely didn't mean it.

She stretched her legs out across the length of the couch and they were just long enough for her to press her toes into his leg. Her own symbolic olive branch.

T’Ama: So… just friends? No romance?

He sighed and chuckled, tipping his head once in a nod as he leaned back against the couch.

Beck: No romance. I'm involved with someone right now, anyhow. You and I were always better off as friends, anyway. I'm sorry I complicated things.

T'Ama: ::smiling slightly:: I'm glad you're moving on. Is’Kah could not wait to tell me you were dating someone.

Beck: ::rolling his eyes:: Oh, I'm sure she couldn't. Queen of the rumor mill, that one.

T’Ama: Though what is up with her lately? She kept making weird pointed comments about you like she was jealous.

Beck: ::scrunching up his face:: I maybe sort of kind of accidentally went on a date with her.

If she had been drinking anything she would have done a spit take.

T’Ama: You went on a date with Is’Kah?!

Beck: ::sighing and rubbing his face with both hands:: Okay, but I thought she was joking when she first called it a date. Like we finished her medical exam and she asked if I wanted to join her for drinks and she said she would 'only find it logical' blah blah blah and she didn't call it a date until after I agreed.

T’Ama: ::swearing in El-Aurian:: She didn't tell me THAT part. That explains a lot.

Beck: ::sighing again:: I thought she was joking because of the way she said it but I forgot that Vulcany Vulcans are always so damn literal. So we went down to the Lounge and ate and it wasn't until we were done that she took my hand and said, uh… crap, how did she put it… 'I believe the next step in human courtship rituals is for you to offer me a nightcap in your quarters in a thinly veiled attempt to get me to remove my uniform'.

Her eyes went wide and she clamped her hands over her mouth and kicked him from across the couch in excitement.

T'Ama: Sweet Surak, noooooo! Did you die on the spot?

Quentin winced and rubbed at the spot she kicked, making a face.

Beck: I about choked on my beer, that's what.

Her eyes twinkled with amusement.

T'Ama: What did you do? What did you say??

Beck: I tried to let her down gently, but that went about as well as expected. I don't know if she's holding a grudge or anything, if she's even capable of that, but it was way embarrassing.

She snickered from behind her hands, eyes shining. She forced her hands into her lap trying to contain her grin and mostly failing.

T'Ama: If she's anything like my mother - and she is - she can hold a grudge. She'll tell you she isn't but she is.

The mention of her mother sobered her up some and she repositioned herself on the couch to sit in the middle next to him. Feet up on the coffee table, she considered the stars as the moment grew heavy and then passed when he changed the topic.

Beck: ::leaning his head back and staring down his nose out the viewport:: You like it on the Conny?

T'Ama: Yeah. Jalana is very casual, it suits me. Plus luxury liner and all. It's like being back on the Louisville. How do you like the Ronny?

Beck: Oh, I love it here. This place is nuts.

She raised an eyebrow and smirked like no kidding.

T'Ama: ::dryly:: Yeah, I noticed that. 

Barring her very first day on the Conny, these last few days on the Ronin had been nonstop insanity. It was quite the contrast. 

T’Ama: How is Alice? Did you get to bring her with you?

Beck: ::smiling warmly:: Oh yeah, she's here, too. She's adapted remarkably well to living on a ship. Though… hell, I still don't know where she came from originally, she could've been brought to Earth by a transport from the Martian colony for all I know. She's happy, though, at least I think.

T'Ama: She's a cat, she's probably from Earth. Though it's unusual to find a purebred randomly outside.

Beck: You should come say hello at some point. I'm sure she'd love to see you.

T'Ama: What, like now?

Beck: Just sometime before you leave. You could meet her in the Medical Lab if you want, she comes there a lot to spend the day with me if I'm too busy to go back to my quarters.

T'Ama: ::smirking:: It's a date then.

He made a choking sound at the back of his throat. Then scowled and crossed his arms, scrunching up his shoulders.

Beck: Oh, go to Hell. I lied, she doesn't miss you at all.

She threw her head back and cackled immensely at his reaction.

T’Ama: Ahhh, I have missed this.

Beck: ::scowling deeper:: I didn't miss you, either. Or this.

T'Ama: ::smugly:: Yeah ya did.

He pushed out his lower lip, screwing up his face a little more… then sighed, his shoulders slumping, and he raised an arm to hook over her shoulders, letting his head tip back against the back cushion again.

Beck: You're so damned annoying.

T'Ama: ::snickering:: You love it.

He gave her a firm sideways hug before detangling himself and letting his hands drop into his lap, kicking his feet up on the table next to hers.

Beck: Heh. This kinda reminds me, we sat like this after uh… oh hell, who was it that taught that Operations and Command Functions course we took together?

T'Ama: Professor Vinku? The Denobulan guy?

Beck: Yeah, Vinku! That one class where we had to give the thirty-minute presentation and he stopped us halfway through because he didn't like our take on the responsibilities of an Operations officer - he just wanted us to repeat what he'd told us in class without any changes whatsoever. Still gave us a passing grade on that project, but just barely, and we took the shuttle up to the orbital station and sat in one of the viewports all night, grousing over a bottle of Bolian ale.

T'Ama: Yeah and we cooked up ways to prank him so his face would puff up! ::she laughed::

Beck: That was… a good night. Not sure I've had one quite like it since.

T'Ama: Well… Turns out this guest room comes with a stocked mini bar.

She popped up from the couch and bent over to look into a lower cabinet, giving him a rather nice view. His eyes widened and his gaze flicked away, cheeks coloring slightly as he studied instead one of the seams in between panels in the ceiling. Thankfully the color drained before she stood again. When she straightened up she had several small bottles in hand and offered him the assortment after she plopped back down beside him.

T’Ama: No Bolian ale but there's, uh, all this stuff. ::turning a bottle to read the label:: Trill kahlua.

Beck: ::taking the bottle to look it over:: Wonder if Cap bought way too much of this and just shoved it in the VIP quarters to get rid of it. Heh.

T'Ama: Probably.

Shaking his head, he looked it over for a moment before twisting off the cap and raising it to take a sip. It wasn't too different from the old kahlua recipe he'd had on Earth - pretty sweet, tasted like coffee, but not quite like any coffee he'd ever tasted before. He smacked his lips before taking another sip, then held it out to her.

Beck: It's a little much.

T'Ama: Is it?

She took the bottle from him and took a sip herself, cocking her head thoughtfully as she considered it before downing the rest of it. It was only a little bottle.

T’Ama: It was alright. Try another one.

She laid out the other little bottles across their laps for him to choose from.

Beck: ::wrinkling his nose:: Lessee… this one is… ugh.

The small bottle was about half the size of the Trill kahlua and held a green liquid.

Beck: It's just called 'Green'. I've heard of this one.

Shaking his head, he twisted off the cap and took a tiny sip. His face screwed up and he smacked his lips a few times before taking another sip, then handed her the rest.

Beck: Oh yeah, that is green, all right.

She took the bottle and downed the rest of it.

T'Ama: ::surprised:: That does taste exactly how I'd expect green to taste.

He plucked up another little bottle, Aldebarian Amaretto, and opened it to sniff it.

Beck: Oooo, this one smells nutty.

She leaned over to sniff it too. 

T'Ama: I can barely smell anything with the nasal inhibitors. I bet that actually stinks a lot.

Beck: I probably shouldn't have too many of these, I'm supposed to take a duty shift in Sickbay this evening…

T'Ama: Well, good thing you're a doctor then and have free access to the hyposprays. Just give yourself a sober up one.

Beck: ::lop-sided smile:: I mean, that's what I was gonna do but those things give me headaches if I had too much to drink and I don't like doing a painkiller at the same time.

She grabbed her box of chocolate covered potato chips he gave her and selected a large chip to offer him before selecting a small chip for herself. She always liked to eat them smallest to largest.

T’Ama: Have something to eat with them then.

Beck: ::shaking his head and taking the chip:: Clever girl. Or maybe it's clever me, since I brought those for you.

She smiled and they clicked their chips together as if to toast.



Ensign Quentin Beck

Medical Officer

USS Ronin NCC-34523




Lieutenant JG T’Ama

Operations Officer

USS Constitution-B


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