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A Welcome Distraction

Posted on 18 May 2015 @ 8:16am by Captain Harvey Geisler & Lieutenant Commander Jayla Kij
Edited on on 18 May 2015 @ 8:18am

Mission: Repairs
Location: Captain's Mess
Timeline: MD 4 - 1850 hours

The Captain's Mess. Fancy.

Not really, but Jayla still dressed up a bit for this dinner. She had chosen a knee-length black skirt with white polka dots, a pale yellow sleeveless top, also with white polka dots, and black ballet flats. She piled her hair up in some intricate braid her mother had taught her when she was small and added a string of pearls.

After the botched takeover, Captain Geisler had contacted her, wanting to touch base. She assumed he was doing this with the whole senior staff on a one on one basis because seeing syndicate goons all over their ship was enough to shake some people. Not Jayla, though.

Had it bothered her? Yes. She'd even go so far as to say that she'd been terrified. But, all in all, the syndicate should have known better than to try to take a Federation ship. After all, even Starfleet Cadets were ten times smarter than the most brilliant syndicate Captain.

But, even so, Jayla had agreed to meet the Captain. So, she walked into the Captain's Mess about ten minutes early; she was never late.

Harvey had been in the Captain's Mess for nearly an hour now. A handful of PADDs littered the table where he'd been sitting, and his uniform jacket lay draped over the back of a chair. Harvey wore the traditional captain's vest, though it was unzipped.

After a day, most of the ship was still useless. His former yeoman had wiped the computer's software and destroyed the backups. The engines were running perfectly, but with no helm control, the ship wasn't going anywhere.

And, with his background in medicine, he was essentially useless. Thankfully, Kos was an engineer, and he'd left her with the troops to lead the repair efforts. Other than sweeping the ship, there wasn't anything he could do. For now, he'd settled for leaning against the window with one arm, and the other holding a half full glass of water. His eyes were watching out the window to see if anyone would try to take advantage of a sitting duck.

He heard the doors open and then shut. Harvey knew it wasn't time for dinner, and perhaps it was a crewman coming to drop off a few things in preparation. With a sigh, he said, "Don't worry, crewman, I'll clean up my mess." He turned and froze, realizing that it wasn't a crewman who entered. "Doctor!" he said, stunned by her appearance. Harvey wasn't objecting to her lack of uniform. It was just that he wasn't expecting to see her like that.

Jayla grinned. "Hello, Captain," she said. "You'd better clean up your mess," she teased, crossing the room.

"Hmm?" Harvey asked a moment before realizing what she'd said. "Oh..." Hastily, Harvey stepped over to his seat and began to pick up the PADDs. Once they were in a clean stack, he looked around the room, hoping to find a place to put them, finally settling on a nearby buffet table. The room was not large by any means, but knowing that no one else would be joining them for dinner, he was certain it would not be used.

Jayla grinned. "I was teasing," she said. "But nice job."

Harvey found himself nervous. He couldn't place why. It could have been because he was distracted by her outfit, or even being on edge from the day's events. Exploring those thoughts now would prove useless. "Thanks," he nearly stammered, fidgeting with his hands. "Come in," he said, gesturing around the room. "Normally," he said, regaining his composure, "I'd offer you a drink, but with the replicator out, all I have is water." A pitcher of water and a couple glasses rested on the buffet table next to where Harvey stood.

"Well, then, I guess water will have to be fine," said Jayla, taking the pitcher and filling a glass. He seemed nervous, but she couldn't imagine why, unless- "how are you holding up with, you know, everything?" She hoped he wasn't losing it. That would be the last thing they needed.

"It's unnerving," Harvey replied with honesty, turning again towards the window. "Carter was my yeoman for three months. I trusted her absolutely."

Turning back towards Jayla, he waved around the room, figuratively indicating, "And this is what happens."

"It's not your fault," Jayla replied. "She'd been cleared by Starfleet. Someone higher up obviously didn't do their job. And besides, we all managed to remember our training and take the ship back. The Syndicate will think twice the next time they get the bright idea to try to take a Federation vessel."

"They'd better." Harvey sighed. For a moment, he thought of Carter who was under guard in the brig. It was amazing how much this ship relied on forcefields. If Dicon had the personnel to spare, Harvey would have had a temporary wall erected in the brig to keep her in. Sooner or later, he'd have to confront her.

He turned back to Jayla and set his glass on the table. "How about the crew? How bad did they hurt us?"

"A few injuries," answered Jayla. "Nothing too serious. No fatalities. I think they were planning on selling us," she added, wincing.

"Who knows what this side of the galaxy would do with a sudden influx of Alpha Quadrant races would do to the slave trade" Harvey mused before realizing how his offbeat suggestion could have been received. "How about you?" he asked. Harvey had heard on the radio when she'd been captured. He still hadn't told anyone about what happened to him when this all began.

"I think I may have cracked up a bit," she admitted. "But I'm not sure. Maybe I'm just a method actor. But it sure felt real for a few minutes. I'm okay now. Still, I'm planning on scheduling a session with the counselor as soon as she's available, just in case."

Harvey nodded, thinking he may have to do the same. Before he had the chance to say anything, the doors opened and the Bolian chef entered pushing a cart with two meals.

"Captain!" the chef said with a smile, pushing the cart up to the table. Glancing to his right, he smiled also at the doctor. "And you, good Doctor. You look lovely tonight."

"Why thank you, Mr. Zim," said Jayla with a slight curtsy. "And whatever you've made smells delicious." She didn't add that she was so hungry that boiled cabbage would smell good.

The chef smiled, placing her plate on the table. "I'm sure it'll taste delicious too! The power outage just about spoiled the Karemman vegetables I just acquired. Tonight's dinner," he uncovered the Doctor's plate, "is a hearty vegetable stew. If you like it, don't be afraid to ask." Zim smiled at her. "There's plenty more."

"It sounds delicious, too," commented Jayla as she took her seat and picked up her spoon. "Thank you, Mr. Zim."

The Bolian smiled and departed, leaving the officers to their meal. Harvey sat opposite Jayla at the small table, picking up his spoon and stirred the soup. It smelled delicious, yet he soon found that his appetite was absent.

Jayla had started in on the stew immediately, but noticed that the Captain was just stirring his. "Not hungry?" she asked.

"I'm..." Harvey stirred the soup for a moment more before setting the spoon down and leaning back in his chair. "I'm trying not to be angry. I haven't felt this angry since..." Somehow he didn't feel it appropriate to bring up the fact he was a widower.

He looked over to Jayla. "None of this makes sense. Why would the Syndicate try to take this vessel? It had to be a long shot, and it was carefully planned, or so it seemed."

"I honestly have no idea," she answered. "I had thought it was practice- you know, just to gather intel to be able to actually capture a Starfleet vessel in the future. But, that would require that their people get out and relay the information to the rest of the syndicate. Nobody escaped- nor would they ever have been likely to." She paused for a moment, setting her spoon down and leaning towards him slightly. "Now, I'm wondering if the people who were sent were loose canons, so to speak," she said. "Maybe the syndicate wanted to get rid of them and decided to send them on a mission that they always knew was going to fail so that they'd be captured and out of their hair. I could be wrong," she added, leaning back in her chair. "But, it's a thought."

Harvey nodded just before heaving a sigh. The Syndicate made no effort to evacuate their own informant. Perhaps Emily had some information of her own to convey. "If nothing else, I think it only goes to show how desperate things can be out here."

He closed his eyes and took in a deep breath. For a brief moment, he pushed away the day's events and experiences. Dwelling on them now would do no good. He opened his eyes to see the Doctor still sitting there across the small table. Without knowing why, a smile crept onto his face. Something about her, in this moment, helped to soothe his nerves. "You clean up nicely," he said, realizing a moment later that the compliment lacked finesse.

Jayla's face broke into a wide grin. The compliment had been awkward, but she took it in the spirit in which he had meant it. "Thanks," she said.

"You're welcome," Harvey replied before finally sampling the stew. He did so not because of a desire to eat, but merely to keep the mood from becoming uncomfortable. He took note of her grin and smiled. It was nice after such a trying day to have someone so easily brighten the mood.

"You're not so bad yourself," she replied with a cheeky grin. "Even if you are still in uniform."

Harvey didn't need to, nor did he, glance downward to see his uniform. In fact, now that he thought about it, did he have anything in his closet that wasn't a uniform? Maybe he had one or two shirts that weren't even command red. Had he become that absorbed by his change of career? Honestly, he replied, "I guess I've not a reason lately to change out of it."

"The only reason I need is that I don't need to wear it," said Jayla. "Not that I hate the uniform, but as soon as I can, I get out of it."

He froze, spoon of hot stew hovering outside his open mouth. Quickly he fought to regain his composure enough to consume the bite. As he let it remain in his mouth, Harvey's mind worked at rapid pace to think of where to go next. He swallowed and looked at her. "I guess I've always been too used to working. Even back at the Academy, I spent every minute I could in the labs."

When the Captain froze, so did Jayla. What had she said? Ah. Right. She pressed her lips together and tried to ignore it, but really, she wanted to burst out laughing and make a joke about how it wasn't hard to get her out of her uniform. She had no idea how he'd react to that, though. So, instead, after only a fraction of a second, she resumed eating and pretended she hadn't noticed. "And nobody managed to drag you out of the labs?" she asked. "Cuz if not, we're going to play Parisses squares after this. I'll have to change, mind. I'm not playing in a skirt."

Only one person had been able to drag him out of the labs. That would be a story for another time. Her infectious smile had brought him out of the doldrums. There was no need to go back there, not today. "Parisses Squares?" He asked, trying to recall the rules.

"Oh, please tell me you've played before," she said, grin widening. "Even if not, teaching you could be fun. Ordering the Captain around? Yeah, I think I'd like that, even if it is only a game.

Harvey set down his spoon and held his hands up. "Nope. Never played. I think I did see the Academy team at the semi finals my sophomore year." He paused, looking up at the ceiling. "Or was it junior year?"

"That's it!" laughed Jayla. "We're doing that next. No more work for you for the rest of the day. Doctor's orders."

"Let me get this straight..." Harvey leaned forward. "You're ordering me to hang up my uniform for a game of Parisses Squares? Can you do that?"

"Yes," answered Jayla. "Well, probably not, but I am anyway. Face it, you need a break. I can tell my watching you. Take a couple hours off. Nobody's going to begrudge you that."

Leaning back in his chair, thinking about the last time he had any time off. It was easy to pinpoint, his forced medical leave that ended three months ago. Perhaps a couple hours wouldn't hurt. After all -- he glanced at the nearby stack of PADDs -- there was nothing he could do right now anyway. "Fair enough," he replied to the doctor. He did have some Starfleet athletic wear in his quarters collecting dust. Perhaps it was time to use them.

 

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