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A Fresh Breath

Posted on 10 Dec 2017 @ 8:20pm by Captain Harvey Geisler & Senior Chief Petty Officer Mila Rasputin

Mission: Crossing Over
Location: Arboretum - Deck 14
Timeline: MD 7 || 1400 Hours

Mila left Administration and headed to the nearest turbolift, eager to be away from the flow of data, of handing out orders, or retrieving messages to pass along and of the constant buzz of officers and enlisted to all seemed to think they were the most important people on the ship. They were actually all important in one way or another, but the most important person on the ship was the one she served in her official capacity. The Administration Complex may have been the heart of the ship, but Captain Harvey Geisler was the brain of the ship.

She entered the turbolift and chose deck fourteen instead of deck nine because she had yet to see the Arboretum in anything but the deck listings of the new Century Class ship and decided it was time. While in the turbolift, her hand rose to the stylized Starfleet emblem on her chest and tapped it without even consciously thinking about it. She had Aidan in mind, but when the beep indicated that the comm was open, she heard her own voice say. =^=Rasputin to Captain Geisler. Are you being occupied?=^=

The doors to Science Lab Six had just closed behind Harvey the moment his combadge chirped. While the crew was working on a solution to entering the zone, Harvey still found himself visiting the old probe every day. It was not unusual for him to take personal interest in a project, but it was nice to get his hands on this infernal machine himself, testing what he could for bacterial or other organic material to see if there was anything at all he could learn about what fate had in store for them. At the sound of Mila's voice, Harvey found himself tapping his badge to reply, "Geisler here. What's going on, Mila?"

A glance at a wall terminal and the Russian Yeoman instantly became crestfallen, especially with the business-like tone of the Captain's voice. Just because her shift had ended didn't mean his did and add the fact that he was the Captain meant he was always on duty even when he wasn't. Now she was committed as she had contacted him, but wondered how she would put her request. =^=If you are not being busy, would you care to be joining me in Arboretum? I am understanding if you are busy.=^=

Harvey noted that this was an unusual request. He was known for capitalizing on most of the day with duty and managing the mighty Century-Class starship. Yet, even with all of his breakfast and lunch meetings, and long hours on the bridge, and now still getting nowhere with the probe, Harvey felt like he needed a change of pace, if only to catch a fresh breath of air to rejuvenate his stale mind. Still, he wondered what the yeoman had on her mind. "I'll be right there," he called back over the comm, before tapping his badge to close the channel.

A smile graced Mila's lips but she still hoped she wasn't wasting the Captain's time as she had no ultimate goal in mind. Indeed, she hadn't even meant to contact him, but what was done was done and she planned on making the best of it. Lately, all she had seen of the Captain that she had come to think of as a friend was when she was delivering the morning reports and rarely out of his uniform. Given the current circumstances and how cloistered and untalkative the senior staff had been, she knew that something big was coming.

Minutes later, the doors to the arboretum opened, permitting Captain Geisler to pay his first visit to the starship's nature reserve. He always found it interesting, the desire to cultivate plant life aboard a starship with artificial light, nutrients and more. As a researcher, he always enjoyed the arboretum as an experimental ground, studying how different bacteria and viruses behaved in an environment. As a captain, he'd rarely paid a visit to another one. Harvey stopped just out of the door's sensor range and looked around for Mila.

The Yeoman was crouched down with her profile presented to the door, a purple and gold flower still attached to its stem held to her nose. She looked up, a flush creeping up her cheeks when she saw it was the Captain and she hastily released the flower and stood as if he had caught her in an act of vandalism instead of appreciating the wonders of the Arboretum. "Hello, Harvey," she said with a smile as she dusted her hands even though there was no dirt on them.

"Hello, Mila," Harvey replied, a small smile on his face. He could tell by her informal greeting that this meeting was not meant to stand on ceremony. "Taking a moment to smell the roses?" he asked, nodding to the flower she so quickly abandoned.

"If that is being rose, then I am being Bajoran," she said with a light laugh. "But I am taking time to explore. How are you being?"

"A figure of speech, actually," Harvey stated, surprised that he'd have to explain that to a fellow human. "I'm glad you called. I certainly needed a break."

"You are working very hard, Harvey," Mila said as she turned towards a path that led between some young trees and the sound of a brook. "On the Moon, places such as this were luxury. We were not being without parks and such, but space was needed for many other things. I am glad that there is being a place here where we can relax."

Harvey found himself in total agreement, though a stroll around the arboretum was not his idea of relaxation. Nevertheless, he followed her and even gestured politely for her to lead the way. "I visited the lunar colonies once, during the Academy.

She smiled and headed along the meandering path, pausing a few times to exam small signs which told of a specific plant or flower. "It was unique experience for me," she said. "Growing up in New Berlin, that is. Thing I am remembering most is watch Earthrise. That beautiful blue cloud swathed marble that was being birthplace of the Federation is what inspired me to join Starfleet the most."

"Did you ever think that you would be this far from home?" Harvey asked, reading the same signs as Mila as she led the way. "I don't think I've ever had the pleasure of watching a main body rise from a satellite. Though, the sunrises on Betazed certainly are a spectacle."

"Nyet," Mila said with a shake of her long dark hair. "Gamma Quadrant is as far as I have ever been, unless you are counting other universe we were in for short time. I have been many places and seen many planets since my first ship, but I am knowing that this ship is being my home no matter what we have gone through." She paused and looked at him. "And you are the only Captain I am ever wishing to have again."

Harvey's paranoia kicked in there for a moment, wondering if the Senior Chief knew something he didn't. He tried to shake it off, explaining to himself that she was just expressing her feelings, nothing more. "The Black Hawk is home," he confirmed. "And I hope to keep the family together for as long as I can."

"It has taken me eleven years and four ships to make me realize that it is not the ship, but the people on it that makes it a home," she said as she bent to smell a slightly glowing green flower which released a cloud of pollen into her face. She sneezed and fell on her backside, then laughed.

The Captain couldn't help but grunt and chuckle. He extended a hand to her, offering a chance to aid her return to her feet. "Indeed it does. We've been through a lot together. Hell, death, even resurrection."

Mila took his hand and came to her feet, then wiped her face which served to spread a greenish glow over it without her knowledge. "I am hearing stop to be smelling flowers, but is first for flower to be smelling me," she said before she sobered up at his words. "That we have and it has brought us all closer together. I am being very proud to be serving under your command and to be calling you friend, Harvey."

"I am proud as well," Harvey confirmed, but he couldn't avoid that sinking feeling in the back of his mind. "I've always known you to be sentimental, but not this much. Is everything okay?"

"Da," she said with a smile. "I am just getting a fresh breath and taking a moment to enjoy things which I should not be taking for granted. If life on Black Hawk has taught me anything, it is that something or someone who is here today may not be here tomorrow. I only wish to express gratitude and thanks for that which I am having."

Harvey couldn't help but nod. If only he could stop and smell the roses, but his mind was clearly fixated elsewhere. For Mila's sake, and probably his own sanity, Harvey would try. "Nothing is ever guaranteed," he agreed. Except for destiny, and until recently, Harvey had never thought it could be so within reach and yet unobtainable.

Mila watched him, sensing the change or the attempt at change and his distinct lack of response. She knew something was wrong with him but she didn't know what and for something to be wrong with the commanding officer of a starship could only put the crew in danger. "You are being aware of my duties as your Yeoman, but I am also offering my friendship and discretion if you are having something more on your mind, Harvey."

He sighed, turning to look at a patch of sunflowers that were still fledgling. "There's so much uncertainty," Harvey told her. "I feel like the next year of my life is written for me, but I don't know if I should walk that path, or if I should take a detour. Then again, that detour could also still be the path that is written for me."

She thought for a moment before she tilted her head. "If you are not being able to change past, why are you thinking you could change future?"

"I've always been told that the future is whatever you make it," he told her. "My father always told me to make it a good one. When I lost Alison, I thought that life had it in to punish me. Just as I got over it, I feel like I'm right back where I started."

"How are you being punished by being with Joey, having new ship, and having friends who are being here for you, Harvey?" Mila asked. "While I am believing in fate, I am also believing that we are being able to write our own stories to some degree. Every choice is different page. We are not knowing how choice we are making today is going to be affecting tomorrow, but it is still choice. If you do not make choice today, you will have no choice tomorrow."

Harvey turned to look at her for a moment, a quizzical expression on his face. He wondered where she'd been for the last month, and then it dawned on him. She, like everyone but the senior staff, were in the dark. Most of the crew knew that their mission was to enter the zone. None of them knew why. For a moment, Harvey was impressed with his senior officers. Not one had spilled the beans.

The Captain's eyes looked around the arboretum. There were other occupants, naturally, in the area, and Harvey couldn't risk them overhearing. "We need to go somewhere more private," he told her, hoping she'd know just the place.

"Da," Mila said, wondering how much stranger things were going to get. Even some of the reports which had came from the senior officers had been command locked or Eyes Only material. Captain's Yeoman or not, she didn't have that kind of clearance and didn't need to know. "If you are to be following me?" she asked as she turned and headed back the way they had came until she exited the Arboretum.

He did so without protest, walking beside her down the corridor. With every step, he wondered if he really should be doing this.

Once he joined her, she headed for the turbolift and looked over her shoulder. "My office is being one of most secure places on ship," she told him as she pressed the panel to summon the 'lift.

"Of that I have no doubt," he remarked. It would be a short journey to her office, but he had a suspicion that his not saying anything along the way would make it feel like a five-year voyage.

Mila stepped into the turbolift and requested deck three, then turned to him. "Please be telling me if I am overstepping my bounds, Harvey," she said. "But I am only being concerned friend."

Harvey shook his head. "No, there are no bounds to overstep." Clearly to him, that was a lie, but a necessary one. "If anything, I need you to be more aware of the scuttlebutt than ever before."

"Now I am thinking you are being full of it," she said as the turbolift came to a halt. "If such was case, I would be asking all kinds of questions, but I will be respecting bounds of friendship." She stepped out into the Administration complex and her office which was nearby.

The complex was not void of activity as two other members of her team were present. Harvey, therefore, kept his mouth shut until they were secure behind her office doors. "What do you know of Science Lab Six?" he asked her.

Mila brushed by the other two aides with a gesture that she wasn't to be bothered and keyed the pad on her door before it opened and she entered. "It is being Physical Sciences Lab according to what I am seeing concerned with study of inanimate natural objects, including physics, chemistry, astronomy, and related subjects."

Harvey raised an eyebrow, surprised by the response. "No word that it's been isolated or that its been otherwise declared off-limits?"

She gave a brief nod. "And all communications from there have been encrypted for Command only," she said as if it were a matter of course. "My job is not to be prying into what those reports are saying, but to deliver them. Now what butts am I to be scuttling?"

The Captain sighed. "What I'm about to tell you is classified. I tell you only to keep an eye on things and an open ear throughout the ship."

"Computer, deactivate recording and lock doors, authorization Rasputin Two Nine One," Mila said and waited for the computer to comply a split second later with confirmation.

"Science Lab Six has been restricted to command personnel," he began. "It contains a probe, one we obtained from the Finneans, which was confiscated from the Vasco da Gama, which retrieved it from the Convergence Zone."

She was going to point out that she was Command personnel, but brushed it off since it wasn't in her duties to be involved in such things. "A probe which came from Convergence is reason for all of this security?" she asked, raising an eyebrow. "Have not other things came from Zone before now which is known?"

"The probe is over one hundred years old," Harvey told her, focused on what he had to share. "It's a standard Federation design, one currently in use by Starfleet. And I'm the one who launched it."

Now Mila blinked and forgot what she had been going to say. "Are you saying that you are to be violating Temporal Prime Directive to be sending this probe back from where we yet have to go?" she asked. "No...you have already done so or we would not be having probe here now, which means we are in temporal causality loop now. What is importance of probe in relation to Zone and personnel?"

"It warns of a danger, a great danger to the Federation." Harvey shrugged and sighed. "But that's it. Whatever data was on it has been corrupted and unrecoverable. Even isolinear chips last so only so long. The only way to know what awaits us, to see how great of a danger it is, is to go inside and see for ourselves."

"Federation has been in danger many times, but we have always pulled through," she said. "If we are not knowing what danger is, then all we are able to do is prepare, but knowledge is being power and preparation means we will be ready for whatever is coming."

She paused for a moment, then went and picked up a PADD from her desk to check it before she handed it to him. "Lieutenant Langston said that Ensign Khan reported information she found on Deep Space Fifteen that something is coming. Could it be related?" In her haste, her Russian dialect changed and became more standardized as she read off the report which had been sent to all department heads the night before.

"Poss..." Harvey started to answer before hearing the sudden change in her dialect. In that instance, he could not remember if he'd heard her speak like that before. Another voice popped into his head, his own tone, again warning him not to trust anyone. With a sudden action change like that, Harvey couldn't help but wonder what other secrets she possessed. "Possibly. The Selubassari didn't share much. But I wouldn't discredit rumors just yet."

"You are getting hundred year old message warning of great danger. Ensign Khan is getting rumor of something great and terrible coming. I am not thinking this is coincidence, Harvey," Mila said. "I am thinking that we are in need of preparing soon. Are you to be alerting Starfleet?"

Harvey shook his head. "Of course they're connected," he said in a defeated tone. "I just don't know how other than by the obvious. As for alerting Starfleet... who do you think sent us on this mission?"

"Is a given, but why are they not sending more ships?" she asked him. "If something is to be coming and we are sending message from hundred years.....past or future....is warning enough to be needing reinforcements, da?"

"Nine's still rebuilding from the Consortium," Harvey replied. "The Task Force is barely at eighty percent, and Deep Space Fifteen needed more than Admiral Archer thought to help the planet recover. We get to go at this alone."

Mila started to say something and then stopped. "Da...I am not to be thinking right. If we were having reinforcements, would we not have them when we are sending message?" She paused again. "That is to be hurting my head. Has Department of Temporal Investigations been notified?"

Harvey nodded, letting the nonverbal action answer her question. "Starfleet's still not fully rebuilt from the Consortium Crisis. They're stretched thin everywhere. If they could spare more, they would have."

"Why is it seeming like such things wait for us to be at weakest before it is showing ugly head?" she asked as she went to the replicator and ordered a chilled shot of Zyr vodka before she looked back at him. "Would you be liking one?" she asked.

Though it was only half a second, Harvey stared at the chilled shot for what felt like an eternity. He rarely drank, and he never did it on the job. Today, however, seemed to be a good day to break one of his few rules. "Sure," he told Mila.

Mila replicated a chilled shot for him and handed it to him with a smile and held her glass up with her free hand. "Zazdarovje!" she said, the Universal Translator interpreting it as 'Cheers!'.

Harvey accepted the shot. He held it up as Mila had, though instead of shooting it back immediately, he just lowered the glass and stared at the colorless liquid. Temptation in a glass it was, an elixir, if one consumed enough, would force one to surrender their inhibitions and reservations. With what he knew, and didn't know, Harvey required all of his wits about him. Any slip up could spell disaster for him and the crew. Well, probably just for him. Finally, he sighed, thinking one shot couldn't hurt all that much. Harvey raised the glass to his lips, softly muttered, "Cheers," and knocked it back.

She watched him and listened to his nearly fatalistic toast and wished there was something more she could do. "Is there anything you are needing me to do, Harvey?" she asked as she tossed her own shot back and set the glass on her desk. With synthohol, anyone could think themselves sober at will, but she allowed the pleasant burn and mild euphoria to wash over her for the moment.

The Captain lowered the glass, savoring the burn on the back of his throat for a moment. He hadn't tasted anything like this in months, and his senses were quick to remind him of that. "Keep your ears open. If rumors are flying, I need to know. And if anything sounds... abnormal... I need to know that too."

"I am always keeping ear open to open mouth," Mila told him. She was well known for making bargains, coercing unwilling enlisted through favors and finding out who was saying what as she was for picking up minor details from what wasn't being said, departmental reports and an array of other sources. She was also very adept at putting rumors down and suppressing information that shouldn't be common knowledge. "You will be second to know after me and person I am hearing it from will be last to speak again."

"Of that I have no doubt," Harvey commented, handing the shot glass over to her.

She took the shot glass and set it beside of her own and decided to turn the topic away from the darkness that she could almost sense closing around them. "Are you being excited to being father?" she asked him and was genuinely curious.

"I am," he admitted. "Though I'm not sure I will be a good one. Commanding a starship is one thing. Changing diapers and keeping little ones from tampering with the baby proofing..."

"Is not so different," Mila disagreed. "You are dealing with people now who are being full of it and Ensigns who are poking things which could be blowing up ship if not for safety protocols."

Harvey shuddered at the very thought of negligent sabotage and homicide. "At least no one has to change their diapers," he muttered.

"I am thinking you will be fine," she said. "Just be replicating mask and not thinking what you are doing. Besides, as Captain, you are always cleaning one mess or another, da?"

"Cleaning is for Department Heads and Petty Officers," observed Harvey, a slight, but noticeable, smirk appearing on his face. Thankfully, his crew was organized properly enough that Harvey only had to deal with the major curves, not the little things throughout the ship.

Mila got a sly look on her face as she glanced at a stack of PADDs on her desk and back at him. "Just as I am making sure that you are getting your i's and t's to be crossed. We are all taking care of each other here. You will just be having two more."

Indeed he would. Just as he had done with other instances in their conversation, Harvey remained silent for a moment. He valued their friendship, just as much as he valued his marriage and the other friendships he'd begun since commanding this vessel. And, as much as he wanted to ignore to his future self, there had to be a very good reason why he'd send a message to himself. Maybe it would be those closest to him that would... would do what?

Harvey sighed, tabling his mental argument for now. "Thank you, Mila," he said simply.

"You are being most welcome," she said. "But I have taken enough of you time and I am being certain that others will be demanding it soon. Life of Captain is not one to have grass grow under feet, da?"

"It certainly is," he confirmed. "And it is time I should get back to it all."

"Then I shall be letting you go," Mila said. "Perhaps you, Joey and Aidan and I could be having dinner some night."

"I'd like that," confirmed Harvey with a smile, even though it was a weak one. "Thanks for the drink, and the ear."

She felt for the man and knew that he had a lot on his mind, but there was little she could do. "You are being most welcome, Harvey," she said with a warm smile. "I am always being here for you. Until next time, da?"

Harvey kept his smile, and simply nodded to Mila before turning to leave the office. The shift hadn't quite ended yet, and he still had much to do.

 

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