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Posted on 25 Feb 2016 @ 9:43am by Captain Harvey Geisler & Lieutenant Commander Jayla Kij & Selah Eireanne

Mission: Outbreak
Location: USS Black Hawk || Talons Lounge
Timeline: MD 1 || 2200 hours

Reduced duty made Harvey Geisler a very restless man. While his body recuperated from the point-blank phaser blast, Harvey had taken the time to enjoy some of the ship's amenities. While the gym and holodecks had helped him resume a physical fitness regimen, having to stay away from his daily duties was unnerving. This would have been much easier if there had been a planet to be dropped off at for a week.

Thanks to the Consortium, that would never happen. At least, not for a long while.

If there was one thing he knew, however, was the value of the crew's morale. With tensions still high around the ship, Harvey was quick to approve the ship's first civilian in years and granted her the use of one of the ship's lounges on Deck Six. Tonight was her first night of operation, so Harvey felt it was appropriate to visit the inaugural night of the Talon Lounge.

Well, the official manifest listed the lounge as "Talons." It would take Harvey some time to figure out how to say that. Hey guys, let's go to Talons tonight. He supposed that rolled right off the tongue...

Harvey turned the corner and entered the lounge, located on the ship's port side. Fortunately, the ship's position kept the port angle away from Starbase Unity and her exposed dilithium processors. It wasn't the view that struck him, however. He'd thought more people would have taken advantage of the new destination. By his count alone, Harvey supposed that less than two dozen people were in the lounge. Due to the dim lighting, he didn't recognize anyone.

The bar itself was unoccupied. He did come after all to greet the bartender, so Harvey sauntered over to the bar and sat down. "Did I miss the crowd?" he asked, still looking at the empty room, not at whoever may have been behind the bar.

Selah smiled brightly at the man she recognized as the Captain. Any Telino worth her salt would learn the senior staff's name and faces before opening her bar. "Nah, they haven't got here yet," she said. "But, that's okay. It's only opening night. And were at a starbase, so..." She trailed off. "Anyway, what can I get for you, Captain?" she asked cheerfully.

Harvey turned to face the bartender, nearly recoiling at both her smile and her personality. He'd heard rumors of her cheerfulness floating around the ship from personnel who had helped set up the bar. Even now he'd wondered if anyone had started a betting pool on who would frown first. The new Barkeep or the Spotted Doctor?

A small part of him actually considered being the person to start that bet...

But what got him was her appearance. The paperwork gave no indicator of her age, but seeing someone who could pass as a teenager was somewhat unsettling. He'd circle back to that later. "Scotch, neat." He paused, then shook his head. "Actually, surprise me."

"Ooo! I love it when people say 'surprise me'!" said Selah happily. She turned and grabbed a lemon and whisky glass, then pulled a tool from a nearby drawer and began zesting the lemon into the glass. "So are you drinking to forget tonight, or just bored?" she asked. To her, it seemed a combination of both, but she didn't like to assume. When she had about half the lemon zested into the glass, she cut them lemon in half and squeezed a couple drops of the juice on top of the zest. She then filled the glass with scotch and two ice cubes and slid it over to the Captain. "There you go. One Rusty Nail," she said.

"Sounds painful," Harvey said, lifting the glass for a quick toast before bringing it to his lips. Couldn't be any more painful than being shot... he thought as he took a full sip. The smile on his face revealed how much he enjoyed her creation. "I'd say bored is the definition of my life right now," Harvey replied to the barkeep's question.

Selah leaned forward conspiratorially. "Mine, too," she said, motioning to the room at large. "But, I'm sure it'll change soon. For both of us. You probably sooner than me because, you know, you're the Captain, so..."

"Just because I'm the captain doesn't mean I'm guaranteed good luck," Harvey countered, sipping the drink again. At that moment, the doors parted across the room, letting in a couple officers in off-duty clothing, a perfect contrast to the uniform vest, red shirt and black trousers he wore. "Looks like yours is already starting to turn Miss..."

"Oh, sorry," said Selah, extending a hand. "Selah Eireanne," she added, flashing him a charming smile.

"Selah," Harvey repeated, hoping that would be enough to commit it to his memory.

Her smile widened slightly. "Yep," she said. "That's me. And now, if you'll excuse me, I have customers!" And she hurried off to see to the two new officers who'd taken seats near a window."

Harvey's eyes followed Selah as she tended to her new patrons. As he turned, it gave him an opportunity to survey the room further. He recognized most of the crew in the room, save for a few new faces they'd picked up back at Deep Space 11. Before he could consider if they were anything like Bast or del Rosario, he noticed a familiar face. A quizzical expression conquered his face,, wondering why hers lacked its usual jovial nature.

Picking up his glass from the bar, Harvey crossed the room to stand beside the doctor. "Mind if I join you?" he asked.

Jayla looked up at the sound of the Captain's voice. She managed a half grin at him. "Sure," she said, swirling the last of her drink in her glass. "How are you feeling?"

"It doesn't hurt as bad," Harvey replied, taking a seat next to the doctor, though he did grunt as his body adjusted to the slightly uncomfortable chair. "How about you?"

"I'm a bit... melancholy," she said. "It's just hard to accept that so many people could fool us so easily."

Harvey took another sip of his rusty nail. "What's the addage? Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice..." He sighed, staring at the lemon zest floating in his glass. "I guess we just learned we can't take anything for granted. Not anymore."

Jayla nodded. "Can I even trust myself?" she asked. "Bast couldn't. What's to say that stuff wouldn't work on me?"

"Bast was turned before he came on board. Any why would he trust you?" Harvey asked. "You're not the type that would turn on anyone." Harvey had studied all of the reports, and even gone as far as reviewed the security logs from the bridge. "You stood up for this crew. Hell, you stood up for me. No one has done that for me in years. I owe you my life, Jayla."

"Well, I meant Bast couldn't trust himself," she clarified. "As for your life, I only did what was right. I couldn't let the consortium get away with what they were doing."

Harvey nodded. "He was recently joined," Harvey countered, recalling what he could from the doctor's reports and Bast's file. "A time when a Trill is the most vulnerable. I don't think that's going to be you any time soon."

"Well, no," admitted Jayla. "But there was nothing to suggest that it wouldn't interrupt someone who has been joined for awhile. I've sent a report to the symbiosis commission. They're as appalled by it as I was."

He took another sip, taking careful note that not much remained in his glass. At the same time, he made a mental note for Mila to obtain a copy of the Doctor's research on Bast's condition. It had been a few years since he'd practiced, but maybe a fresh pair of eyes would offer a different perspective.

"The Consortium have to get to you first," Harvey assumed. "And there's not a chance in hell that's going to happen on my watch."

"Aw, I have a bodyguard," said Jayla with her characteristic grin.

With a smile of his own, Harvey finished his drink. He placed in on the table he shared with Jayla and leaned back in his chair. The smile remained on his face as Harvey was satisfied that he managed to cheer her up.

With a sigh, Jayla finished her drink. "Well, I suppose that's my cue," she said. "I suppose I should go to bed. Or maybe read. Or something." She was feeling a bit tipsy after her third drink. Given that she only drank occasionally and given that even then she only drank one, it didn't take much to give her a buzz. "Is my bodyguard gonna walk me home?"

Keeping his smile, Harvey rose from his chair and extended a helping hand to Jayla.

"Ooo, and an escort," said Jayla, taking hold of his hand and standing. She swayed ever so slightly. "Wow, I should probably stick to one drink from now on. I hope I make it to my quarters all right."

"Easy," Harvey muttered, using his free hand to help steady her. "Just... Just don't look at the floor as we go."

Jayla immediately lifted her eyes to the walls. "Ah, that's better," she said, smiling. "If I ever pick up a second drink again, you have permission to slap it out of my hands, okay?"

The doors parted, revealing the dimly lit Deck Six corridor. "The nearest turbo shaft is this way," Harvey said, attempting to guide her to a nearby junction. It would be a bit before they arrived at said turbolift.

Jayla nodded. They walked several steps in silence. "Thanks, by the way," she finally said as they neared the lift. "For cheering me up."

"It wouldn't be the Black Hawk without the Smiling Doctor," Harvey replied. "Hell, it even makes me nervous."

"Oh goodness, is that an actual nickname people have for me?" she asked as they entered the lift. "It's terrible. Uh, deck four," she told the turbo lift.

"It could be worse," Harvey commented, adjusting how he was holding Jayla up as his hand had slipped slightly when entering the lift. He didn't want to think about what the crew had dubbed him.

"I suppose so," she admitted. "I guess being known for smiling is actually pretty good, right?"

"There are worse things," he mused as the turbolift came to a stop. The doors parted, allowing them to exit the brightly lit lift for another dim corridor.

Jayla said nothing as they made their way down the corridor towards her quarters. When they arrived, she pressed her thumb to the panel next to the door, opening it. "Do you... want to come in?" she asked significantly, inhibitions slightly lowered by alcohol.

Harvey stood just before the threshold, almost frozen. A multitude of thoughts bombarded his mind, the strongest of which was an uncertainty if he should follow her it. It would be indecent of you, that voice told him. Indecent of this ship's commanding officer.

His mouth didn't listen. "Sure," he said, the uncertainty bleeding into his voice. Following his mouth's lead, Harvey crossed the threshold into the doctor's quarters.

She gave him a crooked sort of smile. "Just relax, Harvey," she said as the door swished closed behind him. "Enjoy yourself for once."

On an impulse, a corner of his lips curled upward. Harvey was trying to relax, but he quickly found himself more than unable to relax. This feeling... It was something he hadn't felt in so long, he couldn't quite put a finger on whether it was a good-familiar or a bad-familiar. "Maybe," Harvey said, "we should get you something for that dizziness."

"I have an idea of what would work," she said with a grin, closing the distance between them.

~To Be Continued~


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