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Springing the Trap Part 2

Posted on 02 Mar 2017 @ 1:29am by Lieutenant Joey Geisler & Captain Harvey Geisler & Lieutenant Camila Di Pasquale & Senior Chief Petty Officer Mila Rasputin & Ensign Aidan Crehan

Mission: Endgame
Location: Holodeck 2
Timeline: MD 15 || 1830 Hours

Previously

Allen had finished his drink and put the glass on the table. He walked up to Joey, intent on giving her that birthday hug. "Heya birthday girl, c'mere," spoke the vodka. He opened his arms and wrapped them around her back and shoulders, hugging her tightly. "Happy birthday, brown-eyed girl." And he kept on hugging. "Happy birthday, Lieutenant." And he hugged again, one last time, before taking a step back. He smiled, shook his head, and saluted. Then, really feeling the effects of the vodka, he turned to the Captain. "You're one lucky dude, sir." Allen found the nearest chair and took a seat, quickly.

Now

Joey returned the first couple of hugs before things started to get a touch out of hand. Of course, she blamed it on the vodka he seemed to become best friends with recently. She watched Allen as he sat down, hoping he didn't miss the chair completely. That was a man that was feeling no pain. "You might have to share a cell with Chow."

Allen looked back up. "Chow? Yeah, I am kinda hungry now that you mention it. Bring on the food! On the other hand..." Allen decided that it might be a good idea to wait a bit on the food. At least until everyone else had been through. Yeah...

At that time, Rico came racing past everyone with a short, furry monkey on his back waving a banana and a short, waddling, hairy ball of black fur in the puppy version of hot pursuit. Unable to continue the chase, Pequeno came to a stop at Joey's feet, rolled on his back while panting and tried to wag his tail.

Feeling something at her feet, Joey looked down to see Pequeno laying there like a little black loaf that could barely lift his tail. "Are you having fun, too, little man?" She asked, bending over to scoop the ball of fur up. "Let's get you some water." She requested the computer to produce a couple bowls, then held the smaller of the two for the spoiled puppy in her arms while he drank.

It was now down Harvey for the final gift. In all his preparations to get an unsuspecting Joey to the Holodeck, he didn't have the opportunity to personally deliver the gift before hand. And, rather than involve Mila in this project, Harvey enlisted one of the Operations cadets to help him prepare this special gift. The most difficult part had been locating the different pieces while not disturbing her personal items. Harvey picked up the package from the table and carefully handed it to Joey, not wanting to again damage the contents. "My turn," he said.

Joey looked to Harvey as he picked up the package. He'd already given her so much, that this was very unexpected. Not to mention Harvey hadn't had it with him when they first arrived. Oh... he was definitely a sneaky one. Before she reached out to take it from him, she sat Pequeno on the ground with his bowl of water and accepted it from him. "I already have everything I could ever want in you. Thank you," she said, knowing she sounded like a complete sap, but she didn't care. It was the truth.

Still, she was quite appreciative, and the smile on her face probed it. Without any further hesitation, she carefully opened the package. Seeing the way he handled it said enough about how fragile it was, but when she opened it and saw what was inside... Joey honestly thought she'd never see her most treasured possession in one piece again.

Harvey smiled as soon as the item was revealed. "I'm no good with replicators, but I had some help. It's the same figure, just... reassembled." When Joey hadn't been watching, Harvey had collected the pieces of her prized figurine. Cadet Mackie had been eager enough to help the Captain by inserting the fragments into the pattern buffers, analyze them and use the replicator to stitch the whole thing back together. The result was nearly perfect, and Quinn had been careful to preserve the wear and tear the figurine had gathered throughout its life.

Huge tears began to roll down her cheeks as she pulled the wooden hula dancer from the confines of the package and held it to her chest. Harvey fixing it meant more to her than words could ever describe. To some, what she held might be considered a mere trinket, but to her, it was so much more. To her... it was the memory of a man who had such a major impact on her life. Her grandfather.

Joey couldn't seem to form a coherent thought as she stood there cradling the wooden figure. She looked just as she did before she was broken. Swallowing a lump back in her throat, she turned her teary gaze to Harvey. "Thank you," she said so softly she had to wonder if he'd even be able to hear her.

Mila watched the interaction and Joey's reaction to getting a figurine, but she didn't know the story behind it. Instead, she filled a glass with vodka and headed over to her. "Here, Birthday Girl," she said. "You are needing good drink, da?"

With a sniffle, Joey accepted the glass. She still had the drink Harvey poured for her sitting next to her on the table. Still, she held onto the figurine he'd just given her, unwilling to part with it again. If it were to get broken a second time, she didn't know what she would do. What Harvey had done for her... bringing back a part of her past she didn't think would ever be whole again... that was something she would never forget and would always be grateful to him for it.

She took a sip of the vodka and winced when it burned all the way down her throat. Oh, Mila had the good stuff. It helped to calm her blubbering a bit. "I'm afraid to put her down."

"Here," Harvey said gently, reaching out to carefully take the figurine from her hands. "I'll make sure it gets home safely."

Joey didn't fight him when he reached out to take the figurine from her. Truth be told, he was one of few people she would trust with it. "Thank you again, Harvey," she said softly, leaning in to press a kiss to his cheek. "I can't even begin to tell you just how much you fixing her means to me. I don't think I'll ever be able to repay you for such a heartfelt gift." That didn't mean she wouldn't try.

He could only offer a warm smile. There was no need to repay him, nor would he let her try. But, speaking those words at this time would not prove to serve either's point, nor was this a time to argue. For now, he continued to smile as Harvey placed it back into its box and packed some napkins around it to provide some cushioning. The figure would stay there until they returned home.

She watched Harvey pack the figurine away with a smile, already feeling better about her safety. Joey wiped away the residual moisture from her face and cleared her throat. Picking up the glass containing the Hawaiian Sunset he gave her, she downed it quickly, then reached for the vodka to take a sip. There was no way she was downing that one as quickly. "So... this is a party, right? Look alive, people. Mila, what kind of music do you have queued up?"

Mila smiled. "I am not being certain of theme for music but I did put together a playlist of songs," she said. "Computer, play Rasputin Ten."

"Shall we?" Harvey asked, reaching out for Joey's hand. As they were outside, there wasn't much place to go to dance, though he did start to feel the chill of his wet shorts. Maybe he should have worn something that he could have gotten wet but not hold water like khaki.

Joey slipped her hand into Harvey's and smiled. "Do you want to change first? I'm not sure I'll be getting back into the water this go around, but I'll definitely get a copy of the program from Mila."

Harvey shook his head as he drew her to an open area. "I'll be fine." Besides, what kind of gentleman would he be if he abandoned his girlfriend for more than a moment on her birthday?

Joey walked with him, just a bit nervous about what was happening. The last time they'd danced together, things hadn't turned out so well. She swallowed back a lump in her throat and placed her free hand on his shoulder. "We can stop any time you need to," she said so softly that only he would be able to hear her.

His smile remained, thankful that she'd said something. But, as uncomfortable as he was, he would not do anything to interfere with the party. He'd relax in their quarters when the day was done. With that, he began to lead.

"I can hula dance for you if you want," she offered, easily falling into step with him. Joey hadn't danced since that night they'd done so without realizing it. A lot had changed in a short span of time, and though some might have been afraid of it, she wasn't. In fact, sometimes she felt like she was asleep... dreaming... and praying she would never wake up.

"Only if you want to," Harvey countered. "It is your birthday, after all."

"We can do whatever you want to," she said as they moved along with the music. "We can even skip out early if you want. I'm sure Mila will understand."

Harvey had a feeling this would be a back and forth until he decided something. "Skipping out early doesn't seem right," he told Joey. "And wouldn't it be a crime to leave a Hawaiian party without a bit of hula?"

"You're right. It would be," Joey agreed with a grin. "Come on." She lead him back over to the chairs and gestured for him to sit down.

Mila stepped up to Aidan with a smile. "Are you wishing to dance, too, my handsome Sir Knight?" she asked him as she took one of his hands.

Aidan felt her warm hand grasp his and he smiled. "But of course, my Printsessa. I will dance with you anytime, anywhere." He walked with her out a little ways from the eating area. "Shall we?"

Mila walked with him hand in hand and smiled. "Even though I was born on Moon, I have never been to Hawaii or even that many places on Earth. It is being very beautiful." She looked up at him as they got a small distance away. "Shall we?"

"Yes, let's." Aidan placed his hands on Mila's waist and began dancing. "It really is a very beautiful place. Perhaps we can visit it or someplace like it one day. Or perhaps you can show me some of your favorite places on the Moon."

Mila danced with him slowly and smiled. "There is many places to be taking you, but you are being my favorite place to be," she said. "Of course, I would take you for ride out to Aitken basin. Is being biggest crater on the south pole of moon and covers sixteen hundred miles and is the largest, deepest and oldest basin on the Moon."

He looked down at her, a twinkle in his eyes. "And wherever you are is my favorite place to be. And I would like a ride to see this crater. Being that it is that old, would we be allowed to go in?" The archaeologist in him was curious about things like that.

"Nyet, we cannot go in, but there is track around it and places to stop and take pictures," Mila said. "Is really very beautiful. I am hearing that there is souveniers of meteor that originally hit, but have never been there in person."

"We shall enjoy the ride around the track and taking pictures then," he said. Aidan looked into her eyes, "And as far as getting something original from the Moon, I already have all I'll ever want from there." He smiled and leaned in, placing his lips to hers.

Mila returned the kiss as her heart melted at his words and held him to her as the music continued to play. There was no place else she'd rather be and all she wanted was to be with him. "You are being very sweet, Sir Knight and I am loving you more with each day."

"It's easy to be sweet with you, Printsessa. I love you, too...ever so much more." As she held him to her, he swore he could hear her heart beating. But most likely, it was his echoing in his ears. That seemed to be happening a lot lately when he was near her. And he liked it.

***

Ricardo got another drink and headed over to where Allen was. "You gonna get some of this grub or stare at what you can't have all day?" he asked his buddy.

"Yeah, I suppose it's time eat something," he said. Allen got up, steadied himself, and went to the food table. "So, where to start..." He looked around the spread and shook his head. "Pork, you can't go wrong with pig." He picked up one of the plates and moved around the table.

Ricardo grabbed a plate and followed Allen. "I don't even know what most of this is, but it sure smells good. That Yeoman can lay out a feast!"

"Hey man, at this point, it's food." He took some of the pig, the tomato dish, and the sweet potato and put it on his plate. "And yes she can," he added. "No wonder her boyfriend hits the gym. I would too if this is the kinda feast she puts on the table."

Ricardo grabbed a plate and loaded it up before he looked at Allen again. "Not to mention how the Captain always seems to be on top of things. She must be a top class Yeoman to be that efficient. I saw her handle a few crewmen who were gossiping as if she were an Admiral and they had been caught playing with explosives. Man, they wilted!"

Allen paused and looked at Ricardo. "Seriously? For gossip? If she acted like an Admiral for gossip, I'd hate to see how she'd react to something more, um, huh, I forgot the word." He started walking again towards the table that had been sitting at earlier. "I have a feeling that I'm not gonna remember much about this party."

Ricardo laughed. "It's a beautiful thing, Miller time," he said. "Let's go find a place to park and enjoy the grub and sun while it lasts."

Allen chuckled and nearly dropped his plate. "Yeah, I agree. Time to sit down and chow down before I fall down." Everything he had on his plate smelled good.

Sitting down next to Miller, Ricardo unwrapped the leaf and smiled when he saw it contained pork. "Oh man, I was hoping the green thing wasn't a booby prize! Grubbage!"

Allen laughed dug into his pork. "Yeah, imagine some nasty Klingon vegetable wrapped up in that leaf. Or worse, Hawaiian seasoned Ferengi grubs." He paused a second and grinned. "Now that would be grubbage!"

"Ewww, man," Ricardo said with a look of disgust. "You really know how to ruin someone's appetite."

As if that were some magical cue, a frog leaped onto Ricardo's plate. "Ribbit," it croaked. A fly appeared just over the man's shoulder. The frog spotted its prey and as soon as the small, black morsel was within reach, it struck! A slimy pink tongue leapt from the frog's mouth, caught the fly, and returned home.

"Ribbit."

"What the....?" Ricardo stared at the frog on his plate and twitched. "Allen...is there a frog on my plate?"

"Dude, I'm just glad you see it, too," said Allen. He sat there for a second and stared. "You know, this is the holodeck. All we have to do is tell the computer to give us a French chef and all the stuff he needs for making frogs legs. 'Cause, man, that is one big frog."

***

After waiting for Harvey to settle down, Joey prepared herself as she instructed the computer to play a song that was mostly drum beats. Once the music started, so did she, moving to the beat of the music.

Ricardo started to say something before the music changed and he looked up. A moment later, he forgot about the frog on his plate, Allen and everything else as he watched Lieutenant Corwin start to shake what her mama had given her.

Allen was enjoying his latest bite of the tomato dish when he noticed that Ricardo had gotten quiet. Swallowing, he looked up at his friend and then turned to see what he was staring at. When he saw what Ricardo was staring at, his jaw fell open. Allen grabbed his glass of vodka and took a drink. "That is what dreams are made of."

To say that Harvey was mesmerized was an understatement. Of course, by the time she finished, Harvey couldn't help but wonder what the others thought of her dancing. He knew that the dance has more traditional and cultural than others, so rather than feel protective over her, he applauded, appreciating her heritage and her willingness to share it.

"I must say," he said, standing now as the Captain and not so much the boyfriend. "We could all stand to learn a bit of culture before the party is through. Computer, replicate seven grass skirts." To Joey, he added, "I don't suppose you could give us all some basic instructions for a simple hula dance that we could all perform together?"

Joey grinned and clapped her hands to get everyone's attention. "You heard the man! Get your grass skirts and line up. I'm going to teach you all some hula basics. There will be a pop quiz for everyone at random, so don't forget what you've been taught." It was hard to tell if she was joking or not.

Camila headed over and picked up two grass skirts and handed one to Bast. "Are these all we wear?"

"Well, I suppose you could wear that alone if you don't mind seven other people seeing what the stork saw," Joey said unable to keep from cracking a smile. "If I were you, I'd keep your swimsuit on. The grass can be a bit itchy."

Mila immediately headed over to pick up a grass skirt for herself and for Aidan. "How are these to be going on?" she asked.

Joey replicated an eighth grass skirt and picked it up. "Like this," she said, wrapping her own around her waist, then tying the ends together where they met. She tucked the bow on the inside, then gave her hips a wiggle before grabbing Harvey's. A large part of her still couldn't believe he had suggested this, but he did have one more lesson under his belt than the rest of them did.

Aidan accepted the grass skirt from Mila and watched Joey demonstrate how to put it on. The El-Aurian never in his life thought he would ever be doing anything like this. But every lifetime had it's own experiences and this one was no different. Besides, he looked forward to learning something new with Mila.

Harvey watched the rest of the group as he secured the grass skirt around his still damp shorts. This would have been a good opportunity to change yet again, but he was still comfortable enough in what he was wearing to continue.

Ricardo looked from Joey to the frog in his plate to the grass skirts, then back to Joey. There were seven skirts and eight people. "I would participate, but it would disturbance the natural habit of this frog and upset the ecosystem on my plate."

"Gutierrez... leave your frog princess alone and get over here," Joey said. "You can kiss her later."

Allen laughed. "Frog princess...hah. Look at it this way, Ricky, you'll get to see 'em shake up close now." Allen jumped up and jogged over to where Joey was handing out the grass skirts. "Now, how was it that this went on. I wasn't really paying attention." Even if he had been paying attention, the instructions probably wouldn't have stuck long enough to do any good. The vodka would have ran them out. As such, he had the grass skirt upside down, twisted every which way, and was trying to tie one of the ends to a piece of grass. "Um, I think I need some help, el-tee."

"I think you're right about that, but I'm not sure I can provide the proper help for you," Joey said with a smile as she took the skirt from him. She reached behind him to grab an end of the skirt, then tied them together. "Better?"

Allen grinned as Joey raised back up from tying on the grass skirt. "Uh huh," was all he could manage. Oh, he was gonna razz Ricardo about missing out, that was for sure.

Camila got hers on and went to stand off to the side as she adjusted it. "This tickles my legs," she commented.

Mila managed to get hers on and looked at Aidan. "Are you needing help getting it on?" she asked him.

Aidan looked over to Mila. "Well, I, yes. Yes I am. This is the first time in my life I have every worn a skirt, let alone one made of grass. Would you mind at all?" he asked.

Mila took a minute to put the grass skirt around Aidan's hips and leaned against him for a moment as she connected it on the other side. "I would not mind at all," she said.

Ricardo watched Allen trick Joey into putting the grass skirt on him and wondered how he could manage that. He set the plate with the frog on it on the table and headed their way to get a grass skirt. "Are these things hypoallergenic?" he asked.

"Nyet, they are holographic," Mila said as she came up to them. "Now you are to be getting in grass skirt before..." she leaned in and whispered something in Ricardo's ear.

Ricardo's eyes went wide and he made short work of getting the grass skirt on and stood with his eyes on the ground while he waited for the instruction to begin.

Whatever Mila had just said to Ricardo must have been good for him to move like a man that was just told there wasn't going to be another fling in his future. One that note, Joey cleared her throat and looked at everyone. "Okay... it looks like we're all ready to begin. First things first... let's get those hips moving so I can see what we're working with."

Harvey did his best to remember what Joey had taught him more than a week ago. That night was still clear in his mind though the lesson itself was a bit fuzzy. He was a bit slow with his hips, but he thought he had the concept down.

Ricardo glanced at Rasputin, then quickly back to Joey and gave a shake of his hips that would make Elvis proud. "Like this?" he asked her.

Joey smiled at Harvey. He remembered his previous lesson, and was doing remarkably well for this being his second time. "That private lesson paid off," she told him before she looked to Ricardo. So many thoughts flew through her mind, and before she could filter them, she spoke. "Your private lessons seem to have paid off, too, but I get the feeling they're quite different than Harvey's."

"When you got it, you got it," Ricardo said. "It also helps I was watching you when you were dancing it." the vodka decided to add.

"Careful, Gutierrez..." Joey said, moving over to the frog to scoop it up from his forgotten plate before making her way back to her initial spot. "We don't want your princess getting jealous."

Mila couldn't help but laugh and glanced over at Gutierrez before she started to sing. "Some enchanted evening, when you are finding your true love...."

Ricardo groaned at both of the women, but was smart enough to keep his mouth shut at the moment.

The Russian Yeoman smirked and gave her hips a wiggle from side to side for a few seconds as if she had already memorized everything that Joey had done during her dance. In truth, with her eidetic memory, she did but her physical form was still very good. "How is this being, sestra?" she asked.

"Very good," Joey said with a pleased smile.

Allen was watching Joey earlier, though honestly, it wasn't necessarily to learn how to hula. Still, he was going to give it his best shot. Allen shook his hips a couple times. He thought he'd done pretty good, but he was looking at it through vodka eyes. "Heya, Amazon Princess, how's this look?" He shook 'em a couple times again.

Joey turned her attention to Allen. His referral to her as an Amazon Princess was amusing, and she was going to let it slide considering he was drunk. "Not bad."

Aidan watched Mila do her hula practice. It looked very good. He tried to follow her example and Joey's, but it wasn't very good. Maybe if Mila picked up on it well enough, she could teach him later. But he still wiggled his hips and tried his best to hula.

Joey took her position in front of the group again, and with the frog still in hand, she began to rock her hips back and forth while her upper body remained motionless. "Try to keep your top half as still as possible. Most of the work will come from the hips and waist."

Harvey did as instructed, though he was certain a bit more wobble wiggled up his torso as he continued to work his waist. "Not too bad," he remarked, looking up to see the rest of the group attempting the hula. Given their results, he felt proud that he wasn't the only one who wasn't good at this.

"If you don't get it right away, it's okay. I've been doing this for twenty-five years. It takes practice," Joey said, moving to observe everyone a bit better.

Camila moved into the line and watched Joey before she began to move her hips and looked over at Temerant. "Shake those spots!" she said with an encouraging smile.

Mila stood beside of Aidan and watched her sestra and rocked her hips the way Joey was doing it and gave Aidan a wink. "Is time to show them what you are able to do," she said.

Aidan caught her wink and gave her one and a smirk. "You do know that...never mind," he said. "I will tell you later." With that, he gave his hips a shake like he hadn't done for this lesson. All the while, glancing back and forth between Joey and Mila.

Mila gave a low chuckle as she looked down at his hips. "You will be saying my name in Russian later," she vowed.

"Now I know where Chow gets it from," Joey said nonchalantly as she moved by Mila and Aidan. It all made sense to her now.

Aidan quickly looked to the side, having not even seen Joey approach as he was...distracted..., and watched her move on by. He grinned at Mila and raised an eyebrow, "I look forward." Aidan continued practicing his hula dance and said, "These grass skirts are mere holograms. But I'm sure I could replicate one easily enough."

Mila laughed and flushed red in her cheeks at Joey's comment, but chose not to say anything at the time. Oh yes, she would be getting her sestra back. When she walked on by, she glanced at Aidan. "Once we are getting everything settled, da."

"Okay... not bad. I think you all can have this down if you practice what I show you," Joey said, moving back to the front of the group. She set the frog down someplace safe and cleared her throat, mostly to get the attention of Mila and Aidan since she knew they weren't paying attention. "Eyes this way, please."

Ricardo sighed with relief when Joey put the frog down, but did not delude himself that she would forget it anytime soon. Instead, he looked at her and waited for instructions.

Camila gave a laugh at the Yeoman and her boyfriend getting caught by Joey, but she was glad that her comment to Temerant wasn't overheard.

Mila flushed and looked forward again. "We are being ready," she said.

"Okay... we're going to do the 'Ami," the birthday girl stated. "Bend your knees and rotate your hips clockwise. Each rotation counts as a single count. We'll do four counts total." Bending her knees, Joey rotated her hips in four full rotations. "There's another way, but this is definitely the easiest."

Harvey did as he was instructed, though he carefully watched Joey's waist as he performed the task. "That's not too bad," he remarked.

"Next comes the Hela," Joey said, pointing her right foot before bringing it back, then doing the same with her left. After demonstrating that, she combined it with the 'Ami. "Try the Hela first, then combine it with the first step like I did."

Mila had been following the steps when she suddenly burst out laughing and nearly fell over. Behind Joey, Chow had pulled up some long tufts of grass and was holding them to his waist while he tried to do what she was doing.

The Captain could only shake his head at the Capuchin. At least the rascal was behaving this time around, as long as he was distracted enough to keep from trying anything. Meanwhile, he tried to do as instructed, hoping he was at least somewhat correct in executing the move.

Camila laughed when she saw the monkey trying to hula, but she turned her attention back to Joey as she followed the steps of the hula.

Ricardo guffawed and shook his head. "That monkey has moves that I wouldn't believe if I hadn't seen it with my own eyes," he said as she continued to move his hips like the Lieutenant was.

Joey had no idea what everyone was laughing at until Ricardo spoke. She turned around and looked at the little Capuchin, then gave a giggle of her own. Crouching down, she crafted him a little grass skirt and tied it around his tiny waist. How could she stay mad at him when he was just so cute? "Okay, little guy, you can learn, too."

Chow looked at her with big eyes, then a big monkey grin crossed his features and he wiggled his little hips as if he were getting ready to pounce even though it was his idea of hula.

Aidan had been following along and doing rather well, or so he thought, after getting caught. But like everyone else, he was chuckling at Chow. That little simian could be a stinker when he wanted to.

Allen elbowed Ricardo. "Check it out man! Me and the monkey got her to tie ours on. What are you playing? Checkers?" Allen had a feeling that Ricardo would pay him back eventually. He also had a feeling that he wouldn't remember what for.

Ricardo laughed but kept doing what he had been doing. "Just remember that what goes around, comes around," he said from the corner of his mouth.

Joey stood and smiled down at Chow. "I think you'll be a quick learner, too," she said, turning back to the group. "As much as I'd love to continue on with our lesson, there's a cake I'm going to faceplant in if I don't get the chance to eat it soon."

Mila smiled. "Then let us be eating cake," she said. "What part are you wishing, Joey?" she asked as she moved to the table.

Joey grinned and practically skipped over to the table. She would fight someone for a piece of cake... or chocolate covered strawberries. "Surprise me," she said, unable to keep the giddiness from her voice. When it came to cake, she was a junky. "Just make it big."

"Your wish is being my command," Mila said as she got a knife and cut off a generous portion of the pigs head with the sunglasses and a helping of the icing graped and apples in front of it. She put it on a plate, got a fork and handed it to her. Of course, there was still a very generous section of cake left for everyone, but she wanted Joey to have the biggest and best piece. "Now you are having piggy for all night," she said.

Joey practically squealed in delight as she took the plate from her surrogate sister. "All night? Mila... honey... this won't survive the next twenty minutes," she said, lifting the cake so it was at eye level. "You're about to be in my belly and make me a happy Joey, aren't you?" Grabbing a fork from the table, she shoveled a bite into her mouth as she moved over to a chair to settle down. The love affair between woman and confectionary deliciousness had begun.

Harvey, who had quietly followed the group back over to the table, raised one eyebrow at the "piggy" comment. The other eyebrow joined its twin at Joey's squeal. This... this was a side of her he'd never seen before. Not that there weren't sides of her he hadn't seen before as they'd only known each other for a couple of weeks. But he was certainly not expecting the site that was before him now.

Aidan watched as Joey thoroughly enjoyed her cake. "Twenty minutes," he said to Mila. "You should time her. See if she is a woman of her word." He grinned at his girlfriend, still in her hula skirt. A roguish thought crept in and he grabbed a handful of the grass and gave a gentle yank.

Mila laughed as Aidan tugged at her grass skirt while she cut the rest of the cake into smaller squares for everyone else and set them out on places. She glanced over at Joey and shook her head. "Nyet," she decided. "Cake is not lasting two minutes."

Aidan chuckled and released the grass skirt. He moved to the other side of Mila so that the others could easier access the cake as she cut it. He reached down and picked up one of the plates, taking a bite. It was delicious. No wonder Joey was delving into it.

Allen had found his seat with his glass from earlier. The vodka was now a little warmer and had a little less ice. But he picked it up and took a drink anyway. He played with what was on his plate for a minute before turning his attention back to the birthday girl. It was then that he saw her with a large plate and a large pig head on it. He went wide-eyed. "That...is some piece of cake."

Joey paused with a forkful of cake halfway to her mouth and looked at Allen. "You think so?" She asked, looking down to her plate. It was disappearing rapidly, and that sent her into a slight panic. "Do you think I should get more? I should, shouldn't I? This piece is going to be gone soon. Mila!!! Red alert!!!"

Mila looked over at Joey. "Da?" she asked as she finished cutting the cake.

Swallowing the bite she had in her mouth, Joey shook her head. "False alarm," she said sheepishly, then looked to the cake on her lap. "You have betrayed me swine. Perhaps we will meet again... another time... another place." With that, she put the half eaten plate of cake on the table and put her hands on her stomach.

Ricardo came up to get a piece of cake after making sure there was no frog on it and headed over to where Miller was. "Man, this is one of the best birthday parties I've ever been invited to. Hot women, good food, and real booze."

Allen looked up at Ricardo as he sat down. "You are absolutely right. And you got the right thing at the top of that list, too. Speaking of food, how's the cake taste?"

Ricardo took a bite of it and smiled. "Man, this is great," he said. "Even better without frog in it."

Camila got a plate and a piece of cake and a drink before she headed over to where Joey was. "It looks like your nemesis has defeated you," she said as she sat down beside of her.

Joey turned her attention over to Camila and shook her head. "The deliciousness that is on that plate could never be classified as my nemesis. There was just too much this time. No worries, though. I'll win the battle next time," she said. "I can see the headlines now... 'woman takes down ship, but is defeated by cake'. The shame."

Harvey shook his head. "I'm sure we can have it taken back to our quarters," he said, finally taking a piece for himself. It was a generous piece, sure, as he had a feeling he'd never get a chance to have any more later.

"I might be able to finish it off before the night is over," Joey said, looking at the cake that betrayed her. "Mila... thank you. This has been the best birthday I've had in as long as I can remember. Everyone... I'd like to thank you for coming and helping make today so wonderful."

"You are most welcome, Sestra," Mila said with a bright smile.

Camila looked over at her. "Just remember when it's our birthdays," she said with a laugh. "I like slivovitz."

"Wouldn't have it any other way," Ricardo said as he raised his glass in her direction.

Allen threw back another sip of his drink. "Ahhh, anytime. Anytime at all. Believe you me."

Aidan nodded his head towards Joey. "You are most welcome."

As things began to wind down, Joey made her rounds hugging and thanking everyone personally. It had been one of the best birthdays she could remember having, and it was definitely a huge surprise. For her, since joining Starfleet, each birthday symbolised another year of surviving... another year of living. This year it symbolised so much more.

 

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