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In the Locker

Posted on 28 Oct 2018 @ 1:21am by Senior Chief Petty Officer Alexander Rylan & Senior Chief Petty Officer Mila Rasputin

Mission: Fractured
Location: Goat Locker
Timeline: MD 3 || 1200 Hours

Senior Chief Petty Officer Mila Rasputin left the Administration offices and waved several Petty Officers aside as she headed out. Whatever it was could wait; she was hungry and wanted to see if any of the other Chiefs on board had anything to say about the enlisted on the ship and the best place to get the scoop was the Chief's Mess, better known as the Goat Locker. She entered the turbolift and requested the appropriate deck, then stepped out a few moments later when the doors opened again.

She approached the door and smiled at the ancient maritime sigul of a goat holding an anchor that someone had put on the door and entered. Looking around, she saw that the place was empty except for one man who had his back turned to her at the replicator. She thought she recognized him from behind, but wanted to be sure, so she cleared her throat and approached the replicator station herself.

"Is being rough day, da?" Mila asked conversationally.

Alex shook himself from his thoughts. He grinned when he saw who it was.

"Oh!" he said. "Hey, Mila! How's things up top?"

She gave a half shrug and a equally lopsided smile. "With personnel being missing from every department, reports are being shorter, but everything is being bogged down as result. New Chiefs are moving into place, but transition periods are always rough. Otherwise, things are being like normal minus reports from Starfleet. Is feeling like we are cut off from rest of quadrant in more ways than one."

Alex took his lunch from the replicator and waited while Mila got hers.

"It's a little daunting to be out of contact," Alex said. "But going far out from home and seeing what's there, that's what they pay us the big creds for."

Mila laughed as she requested a bowl of Pelmeni, black tea and elderberry jam on the side. When it materialized, she picked up the bowl of ravioli and motioned toward the tables. "Big credits," she snorted. "Is barely enough at times to be going month to month."

"So they tell me," Alex said walking over to a table and sitting after Mila had taken a seat. "But I guess it really just depends on what you're spending it on. I've been pretty frugal with mine, and I've been single, so no dependents to pay for. I've been able to save some and invest some and even buy myself a few toys here and there and go on a few interesting vacations. Nothing too crazy."

Alex didn't mention that being the son of novelist Alin Rylan meant that when Alin, hopefully after a very long and fulfilling life, passed away, there would be money coming to him. Alin wasn't in the top one percent by far, but he was well off, and he provided in his will for Alex. Of course, Alin Rylan had a good fifty or sixty years left among the living, all things being equal, and Alex was content to wait.

"I am having Chow, who you are meeting in Sickbay, plus I am liking to create new dishes with real ingredients when I can be getting my hands on them." Mila said as she added some jam to her tea and stirred it. "Then there is Aidan, who is the love of my life."

"Aiden's a lucky guy," Alex said. "Because you're a great catch. Aiden's pretty good looking one, in my opinion. If he's that nice inside, then you've made a good catch, too."

She gave a warm smile. "I am thanking you," she said. "It started on what was supposed to be shore leave almost a year ago, but turned into nightmare. We shared shuttle to planet, then room with argument over who was sleeping in bed and who was sleeping on couch. We have done so many things together, it seemed nature to becoming couple. You are bearing some resemblance to him, but I am known you are not El Aurian. Is being strange, but differences are there."

"You think we look similar?" Alex said. "Really? Huh. I'm not sure I see it, but I'll take your word for it. I'm betting you pay way more attention to Aiden's looks than I do. So, how's the little guy? Chow, I mean. Aiden is about my height and build, so, not little."

"Chow is being back to himself and I am thanking you for helping him, Alex," Mila said after a bite of her food and a sip of tea. "As for Aidan, da, I am paying very much attention to him and always will. Are you having someone who is giving you as much attention?"

Alex smiled. "Let's just say someone and I have been carefully paying attention to each other for a while now, but we've been keeping some distance between us. But I think that's changing. I'm taking her out on a date tomorrow, so we'll see how that goes. We knew each other when we were teenagers. She didn't really like me very much but I was head over heels for her. I had no idea she would be here when I arrived, but we've both grown up a lot and we're both much better equipped to be in a relationship. So, I remain hopeful that things will work out, but I don't want to jinx things by being over confident. Did that make any sense?"

"It does," she said. "And I am hoping that things are to be working out for you. Life is having a way of being too short even for long lived species in Starfleet and we are needing to grab onto someone and be living each moment as if it is being last. I spent five years prior to Aidan being afraid to be in relationship after a very bad one ended, and I am not regretting a moment I have been with him."

Alex nodded. "I have a good feeling about this, not the least because if it works out, it will be a relationship almost two decades in the making. I'm eager, but I've waited a long time. I can be patient a while longer."

"As long as you are both being happy," Mila said. "Is what is being important above all else. If you are doing it just for physical attraction, is better to be using holodeck because it is just as much illusion and will not last."

"Don't worry about that, Mila," Alex said. "It's much more than just physical, though that's there, too, obviously. I'm not a teenager with a crush anymore. I'm reasonably sure I know what I want in a relationship. And who. Well, as much as anyone knows that, I guess."

"I am just hoping dreams of past are matching present reality," the Russian woman said as she ate another ravioli and washed it down with another drink of her tea. "Sometimes, you can be building someone up in memory when reality is being very different."

"That's not going to be a problem here," Alex said, chuckling. "This particular lady was a totally bratty mean girl and I know it. She knocked out two of my teeth once. She found me absolutely the most annoying person, male, female, or otherwise, that she had ever met or planned to meet. She'll even admit she treated me like crap. But I was a teenage boy, so none of that made me any less head over heels for her. We've both grown up since then, and I've taken a little time to get to know the new...person she's become and I like her more than I liked the old her, in part because I'm seeing her through the eyes of an adult."

"I am having question," Mila said with a frown. "If she is treating you that badly then, why are you bothering to be mooning over her for twenty years? If someone is knocking out my teeth, I would not be giving them another two seconds of thought other than their name to be reporting to authorities."

"Well," Alex said. "That's a damned good question. I think the answer boils down to the fact that I saw something in her all those years ago, something that she couldn't see for herself because she was going through a very tough time, tougher than anything I'd experienced at that time, tougher than any teenage girl should have had to go through, ever. It wasn't fair. It was confusing for her. She felt like she was losing the person she was before she even knew who that person was. She was scared and she was angry at the universe for doing that to her. And she was in pain. I could see that through all of the noise, her pain, and the goodness inside her that just needed time to grow. Well, here we are around eighteen years later, and she's grown and that goodness inside her has grown with her. Eighteen years ago, she was smart, clever, beautiful. Fast forward eighteen years and she's still smart, and clever, and even more beautiful, and she's got a heart of gold. She's success and commands respect, too, which is incredibly sexy."

The Russian Yeoman nodded as she ate more of her lunch and washed it down with another drink of tea after adding a bit more jam to it. "Is sounding like she is having rough start, but is where she is needing to be now. For that, is all that matters to some, and that you are finding her once again."

"So," Alex said, changing the subject. "What gossip can you share from Command Land? Anything that those of us who work in the belly of the beast might not already know?"

"There is not really being gossip of any kind," Mila responded. "We are getting nothing from outside Zone and no one inside Zone is seeming to wish to communicate with us in civilized manner. Two people are being moved to new Chief positions, and departments are working overtime to be making sure we are ready for next encounter.

"Who are the new department heads?" Alex said. "If you don't mind telling me, that is."

"Lieutenant Parks, formerly of Security, is now Chief of Operations and Staff Warrant Griffin is now being Chief of Engineering," the woman responded as she finished her tea.

"Huh," Alex said. "That'll be interesting. To see how they do, I mean. Griffin came out of the ranks like us, I presume. Most Warrants did. He seemed pretty squared away when I saw him during the time split. Parks...I don't really know Parks. I haven't been around long enough yet to really get to know the officers. What's she like? Actually, I don't know Griffin all that well, either, so what are they both like?"

'Honestly, I could not be telling you," Mila said. "I have had very limited contact with them as well, and that is being only in passing. Best way to be knowing is to find them and be talking to them, da?"

Alex looked at Mila in mock horror. "Talk? To an officer? When I don't have to? ON PURPOSE?!? Perish the thought!" Then he laughed. "Just kidding. I'll find the time for Griffin at least, and maybe Parks, too. I haven't really had much time to socialize."

"Then be making time," the Yeoman said. "As for talking to officer, I am dealing with Captain every single day. If I am being able to do that, you can be finding time to be speaking to others. Besides, I am under impression that lady friend is an officer."

"First of all, I was kidding," Alex said. "I deal with officers all the time and I don't have a problem doing it. Secondly, in my spare time, I do what interests me and only what interests me." Then he smiled. "Sorry. It sound like you were handing out an order as to what I'm supposed to do in my spare time and since we're the same rank, you're the Chief Yeoman, not the Chief of the Boat, and therefore not really in a position to issue me orders, and my spare time is mine and off limits to anyone else anyway, I took exception. But you're right. I should make some time to get to know people. But give me a break. I've been here just over a month and we've all been a little busy. There hasn't been much time for me to socialize."

Mila blinked, then laughed. "Nyet, not an order," she said. "Forgive me if I am being blunt, but is how I am. Was suggestion and nothing more. Is being good to get out and socialize more. Is how I met my best friend who I am considering sestra and how I am meeting Aidan. As Chief Yeoman, I am having to interact with many people every day. Only person to date that I have not gotten along with is being Doctor Kij."

Alex almost spit out his drink, but managed to choke it down. "Sorry. That almost went down the wrong pipe. You say you don't get along with Kij? Why's that?"

"Is nothing big," Mila said but wondered at his reaction, or overreaction at that and noted the use of the Trill CMO's first name and suspected that was his crush. "She was being late on report that was needing to be to Captain and when I went to collect, we had disagreement. Other than that, is all good. Department heads put in reports on time, I am giving to Captain on time. Everyone is being happy."

"Uh, okay then," Alex said. "Yeah, Jay--Commander Kij is very...strong willed. I see getting into a situation where, not just you, but anyone could end up banging heads with her. Anyway, I've been trying to stay on her case about reports. Paperwork isn't really her strong suit, mine either, but it comes with the whole 'senior NCO' thing so I've gotten used to it being a part of my life. Even if I'd stayed with the Raiders, by this rank I'd be back at base overseeing other SAARCs doing what I actually would have wanted to be doing. That's kind of why I transferred out of the Raiders and returned to the fleet. I can still spend time with patients, practicing the medicine I learned. Yeah, I still get stuck with reports and documentation, but it's only part of my day, not all of it, and a relatively small part at that."

Again with the slip on the first name? the Russian wondered, then smiled. "Da. Is always a problem when one is getting swamped in reports while trying to maintain your profession. Me, reports are being my profession. That and keeping Captain informed what is going on with ship and crew and insure all is as it should be." She paused for a moment and wished she had more tea, but shrugged it off.

"And if Doctor Kij is being that special one that you have spent much time talking about, then I am wishing you both the best," she continued. "Is being lonely in space and time can be very short. Enjoy what you are being able to."

Alex looked sheepishly at Mila. "Busted. Yeah, it's Jayla. I never call her by her first name at work, or in any professional situation. In the Goat Locker, between me and another equal I trust ...well, I feel like I can be a little lax about that."

"Then do not worry and be happy," she encouraged him. "Life is being too short to be cautious all the time. If I had been cautious when I was meeting Aidan, I would not be as happy as I am being now. I am wishing you luck on your date with her. Just do not ask her for report early the next morning...if there is next morning." She winked.

Alex laughed. "Your mouth to the Great Bird of the Galaxy's ears!" After invoking the Great Bird of the Galaxy, Alex pulled a small bird pendant that was on a chain around his neck out, kissed it, and put it back in his shirt. He looked at Mila after he put the pendant away. "Back when I was serving with the Marines and with the Raiders, I needed something to believe in, something that could help make sense of things. The Great Bird of the Galaxy is accepting of all people, faiths, races, colors, creeds, nations, genders, sexualities, and so on, and it doesn't judge. It listens. It provides solace. It helps you find answers within yourself. It doesn't require a building or an altar to get its attention, though there are shrines, both public and private ones in peoples homes. Where there exists a particularly large group of followers, there may be a temple, but most aren't terribly elaborate. The idea of the Great Bird...resonated with me, in a way other formalized religions didn't, and communing with it when I felt lost or frightened or confused or ashamed, provided a sense of balance for me. It still does. Invoking the Bird for luck is a little silly, but I don't think it minds. I often invoke it before meals, but I forgot this time. But, as I said, the Great Bird doesn't judge."

Mila listened and gave a sage nod. "Da. In Savik myth, there is talk of world-egg that held divine creator, but no mention of where egg is coming from. I do not know much more than that, but I am never judging when it is coming to what someone is believing in if it is giving you comfort."

Alex's wrist chronometer beeped. He looked at it, then finished he drink and packed his trash, rising from the table. "Gotta get back to Sickbay. Duty calls. Thanks for the chat and the pep talk, Mila. See ya around soon!"

"I must be getting back too, Alex," she said as she got up to take her own tray to the recycler. "I will be seeing you another time. Enjoy your date."

"Thanks, Mila," Alex said. "Enjoy the rest of your shift!"


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