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More Tennis

Posted on 16 Jul 2016 @ 6:35am by Captain Harvey Geisler & Lieutenant Commander Jayla Kij & Selah Eireanne

Mission: Risky Business
Location: Holodeck 3
Timeline: MD 3 | 1800

Jayla stood next to holodeck 3, swinging her tennis racket experimentally. She wore the traditional girl's tennis outfit of short skirt, sleeveless shirt and little white shoes. It had been a long time since she had a regular tennis partner. Not that she could call the Captain a regular partner, but even so, she'd played more since coming aboard the Black Hawk than she had in the past five years. That had to count for something.

She swung the racket a few more times, then jumped in place a couple of times before twisting at the waist. No sense in wasting time that could be used for warm-ups.

Harvey arrived at the holodeck, dressed appropriately in his Starfleet-issued PT gear. In his hand was a newer racket. He had done some research in the morning on some different gear and recycled his previous racket in the replicator to trade up to this one.

When he arrived, he spotted Jayla already beside the doors, jumping and twisting. He smiled at the sight of her and called out a friendly, "Good evening."

Jayla looked up at the sound of his voice. "Hi!" she said cheerfully, giving him a grin. "Have a good day?"

"As good as it can be in preparation for flying blind in a nebula," Harvey said. They were due to arrive sometime tomorrow afternoon, and he wasn't planning on sleeping much until they found the Chimera and the Cochrane. "And you?"

"Nurse Lane keeps kicking me out of Sick Bay," she laughed. "So I spent the afternoon reading in Talons. It was very relaxing."

"That's good," Harvey said, doing a few stretches of his own. "Though Nurse Lane might want to be reminded eventually that you are the boss," he jested with a smile.

"She knows," answered Jayla. "She's just looking out for me."

Harvey finished stretching and picked his racquet back up. "Ready for this?" he asked. "No visits to sickbay today."

"I absolutely forbid it!" she agreed, turning to enter the holodeck. Their simple program had been adjusted to an outdoor setting in a park next to a river. Birds sang overhead and sail boats drifted by lazily. "Much better than the yellow grid, don't you think?" she asked.

Harvey had noticed the change in scenery. "A perfect improvement," he replied, though he'd always focused on one particular individual in the room before. "Just try not to get distracted by your surroundings," he joked.

"Actually, I find this less distracting than the yellow grid," she said, walking through the switchback entrance to the court. "I'm used to playing tennis outside with lots of stuff going on around me."

"So, you're trying to make it more difficult for me to win?" Harvey asked with a smile, picking up a nearby tennis ball and bouncing it off the court floor as he walked to his side. "Am I getting that good so quickly?" He wasn't sure why he was suddenly so cocky, but perhaps it was because he was still so comfortable with the ship's doctor.

"You caught me!" laughed Jayla. "My evil plans have been foiled!"

"Time to see if your plans would have worked," Harvey said, tossing the ball into the air and smacking it with his racquet.

Jayla had not been prepaired, but recovered quickly enough to return the serve. She had no idea where the ball was going this time, but at least it should be a fair shot.

Harvey was able to move with ease to intercept the ball. Unlike their prior games, his shoulder gave no protest in returning the volley.

This time Jayla was ready and was able to put the ball right where she wanted it, which was as far from Harvey as possible, right in the far corner of the court.

Harvey thought about stretching for it, and actually almost did. Now was not the time to try, especially since he promised to not make it to sickbay on this round. He let it bounce and then fly out of bounds. "I see," he said calmly before jogging after the runaway ball.

"Ah-ha!" shouted Jayla triumphantly, throwing both arms into the air. "My plan worked! I shall be victorious!"

"It's just one serve," Harvey replied, retrieving the ball and returning to his side. He tossed it to her, indicating it was her turn to go. "The game is not yet complete."

"I'm confident," replied Jayla, raising the ball into the air before throwing it high and swinging her racket at it, sending it flying over the net.

Harvey didn't have to stretch this time as the ball rocketed towards him. He quickly got into position and returned the ball. As it sailed back to her, Harvey positioned himself more towards the middle of his side. He didn't want to have to run across the court again and miss.

Of course he would try to stick to the middle of the court. Well, two could play at that game. She returned the volley with less force this time, causing the ball to hit only a few feet beyond the net. Draw him closer, then hit it back. It was a tactic she had used in the academy to win many matches.

His eyes narrowed, frustrated and not at all surprised that she would use such a tactic. He ran forward, deciding to use a minimal amount of force so that she would have to make a sudden move as well.

That fox! Using her own tactic against her. She hurried forward to smack the ball back in his direction, but could not control where it went.

The ball sailed towards him almost faster than he could react. It was going to bounce well behind him, so Harvey ran backwards, hoping the catch the ball before it sailed out of bounds. He was unsuccessful.

Jayla grinned across the net at him. "I told you," she said. "I shall be victorious."

Harvey chuckled. It had been a little more than a day since they'd last spoke, and he couldn't help but wonder if her aggression wasn't just a little bit about that. Still, he retrieved the ball, said, "We shall see," and fired it back at Jayla.

Jayla grinned at him as she caught the ball in one hand and bounced it a couple of times before tossing it high and sending it into the far corner. Between she and her sister, she'd always been the more competitive one. She liked winning, but had the grace to not be disgruntled if she lost. Today, she only half wanted to win because Harvey winning would somehow be good for him. Maybe she was over thinking things, but she felt like it would help him. Still, she was going to try to win.

The far corner! Again! She was certainly giving him a workout. Harvey dashed for the corner and swatted the ball, sending it sailing back towards Jayla's side.

She had to run several steps to hit the ball and didn't have time to direct it where she wanted it. At least it went over the net, though, which she'd been afraid it wouldn't.

Harvey managed to return that ball as well. It was a lot of work, running up close to the net to catch it. Surely it would have bounced a couple times in bounds before reaching him.

Now that she'd recovered, she was able to send the ball to the back of the court.

It was a perfect return from Jayla, however, Harvey's attempt to match it was unsuccessful. He was able to reach it in time, but his swing was terrible. Instead of sending it back towards Jayla, he hit it sailing out of bounds without so much as a bounce on her side.

Harvey grunted in response, completely unsatisfied with that last swing. "What say you, Jayla?" he asked with a hollow grin. "A bit ruthless today."

"Sorry," she said, scooping up the ball as it rolled towards her. "I'm really competitive. It used to drive my sister crazy. I'll try to be a little calmer. So what was that, 2-0?" she asked.

"You have three, I believe," he replied, smiling and tossing her the ball and returning to his starting position. "But, if you want to cut it back, I won't object."

"I thought it was only two," she said, brow wrinkling slightly. But, she disregarded it and served the ball again.

The ball sailed towards Harvey, almost as if it were meant to be simple. Harvey swatted it back in kind, asking as he did so, "How's the reduced duty been?"

Jayla chased the ball a few steps and hit it back. "Restful," she answered. "And also sort of boring."

Harvey took two steps to the right and returned the ball. "And the new staff?" The Black Hawk had taken on an unusual amount of medical staff during the last transition, but was it to be expected as several stayed behind to deal with the remainder of the crisis there with the Hopkins.

Three steps and a backhand sent the ball back to his side. "They seem great," she said. Of course most of them she'd only met once and it was hard to say from a first meeting, but Jayla was ever the optimist.

He dashed to the left and swatted the ball. The conversation seemed forced and even more difficult than the game itself. Maybe this was her way of pulling back after their change in status. The trouble was, he didn't know much else to say. "Good!" he called back, watching the ball sail towards her.

"I met a couple-" she cut herself off as she smacked the ball back to him, "-of them at physicals. I think they'll fit in nicely."

Harvey's eyes narrowed and his mouth smiled when he saw the trajectory of the ball. It was heading out of bounds. It was only after it bounced and neared the second impact when he saw it was going to be on the line. Harvey didn't even bother moving as he would never make it on time. Instead, he let the fence catch it. "Computer, tennis ball," he said, not wanting to go retrieve the other. "There's no way I'm going out with a skunk," Harvey said, bouncing the new ball, getting a feel for it.

Jayla grinned. "I've only got three, Harvey," she said. "I think. I haven't been paying attention."

"Four," Harvey argued. "But, let's make it interesting. This serve will be worth the match point. Loser buys drinks at Talons. Fair?"

She grinned across the court at him. "You're on," she said, getting ready for his serve.

"Match point!" he called out, sticking with what little formality he knew. Then, he bounced the ball off of the ground. With a firm swing of his racquet, he fired the ball towards Jayla's side in what he believed to be his finest serve yet.

And a fine serve it was, too. It went towards the far back corner and Jayla had to run to send the ball back to him. She nearly missed, but managed to get it over the net.

This one would be easy to return, but it was not going to reach where Harvey was standing. He took a couple steps forward and still had enough time for a clean back-handed swing.

Jayla watched the ball to predict where it would land and ran three steps to her right to hit the ball back to him, attempting to direct it towards the opposite end of the court.

Harvey had to stretch for this one, his shoulder muscles crying out at every second. He was able to meet the ball and send it back to Jayla.

And back to her left, five steps this time. She caught the ball just before it hit a second time and slammed it back to his end, but too hard! It was heading out of bounds for sure!

Harvey started moving towards the ball, but it was clear that the trajectory was going to be more than favorable for him. It hit the ground, well outside of the boundaries. For the first time since they'd begun playing, he was victorious.

"NO!" Jayla cried, laughing at the same time. "How could this happen? I was so far ahead and then I lost! No! My life is over!" But, it was no good. She was terrible at pretending to be a drama queen because she was always laughing much too hard, just as she was now.

Harvey just shook his head and grinned. "Don't quit your day job," he said, still smirking. "As for me, I think I shall retire undefeated."

Jayla was still laughing. "Hey, that's not fair!" she said. "I need a chance to reclaim my title! Oh, not tonight, for sure," she added. "Besides, I owe you a drink."

"A drink it is," Harvey said, spinning the racquet in his hand as he walked towards her.

"Let's go then," she said, eyes twinkling. "Computer, end program," she added and the yellow grid returned. As they walked towards the door, Jayla realized she couldn't be happier with this outcome. Harvey had won and not because she has thrown the match. The thought made her smile widen. "I've been doing some thinking," she said as they walked into the hallway.

As his racquet was something he brought in with him, the holodeck did not reclaim it when the simulation ended. He was forced to carry it with him out into the corridor. "Idle thoughts can be dangerous things," Harvey remarked with a smirk. "Is everything okay?"

"Yeah, it's just.." she hesitated, not quite sure how to put it into words. "This is weird. I mean, it's not weird, which is weird. You know?"

"I'm walking down a hall in PT gear carrying a racquet," he calmly replied, unsure of what she was getting at. "Five hundred plus people on the ship could be doing the same thing at any time."

She ginned. "Okay, let me try again," she laughed. "I mean us. Or not us, more accurately. We were friends almost as soon as I got on this ship. And it was natural. And then we were seeing each other and that was natural, too. And now we're just friends again and it's natural. It's never been awkward. And that's strange. How many people can just bounce back and forth like that? It's... well, it's unnatural."

He arched an eyebrow as they turned a junction. "Maybe we were just better friends than lovers?" Harvey suggested.

"Quite probably," she admitted. "It was a bit more like friends with benefits anyway, wasn't it?"

"If so, you would have been the first friend with benefits in my book," Harvey said. He was certain that Jayla knew that he wasn't one to sleep around and that his list of partners had only amounted to two people.

"Mine, too," she admitted. "Anyway. Aldur Kij was a philosopher and he believed that everyone in the universe had one of five relationships to everyone else: complete stranger, enemy, acquaintance, friend, and lover. And he believed that some people could fill multiple rolls. So, Someone who was once an enemy could also be a lover- we see that time and time again. People can't stand one another and the next thing you know, they're involved. Well, we have sort of convinced me that he was absolutely right."

Harvey nodded. "So, if a person can fall into multiple categories, and we, without knowledge of being test subjects, came to prove this... How can this be weird and unnatural?"

"Because it is natural," she replied. "Oh, I'm not explaining it right. Aldur was so much better at this. I just get it all mixed up. Anyway, I guess what I mean is that it's strange. How I can love you in so many different ways. And I do, you know. Love you, that is. It's just... it's different now. You know?" she asked.

"I do," Harvey replied, spotting the door for Talons in the distance. "I think it'll take us a while to settle back into being just friends," he told her. As for telling her he loved her, he didn't quite know how to say it. In the last few days, there were several that he had come to know and love aboard the Black Hawk. It was amazing to think that there were different levels of love, whether it was the unconditional love he'd given to his wife or admiration and respect for the five-hundred some crewmembers aboard this ship or the close friendships he was beginning to develop.

This was all quite new to him as Harvey now believed he had more friends aboard this ship than he'd gained over his lifespan. Still, this was worth a shot. "I do love you, Jayla. And I agree that it is quite different than when we started... those weeks ago."

Jayla nodded emphatically, thinking that he must understand now. "And it's weird, right?" she said. "Because it's not weird."

"It is definitely not weird," Harvey replied, entering Talons. He wouldn't admit that it felt weird primarily because he simply didn't see it that way. Harvey would admit that it was nice to have a friendly exchange with the doctor. In fact, part of him felt he was getting to know her better outside of their previous parameters.

She nodded once, thinking hat they were finally on the same page. "Exactly," she said. She grinned at a few people as they walked towards the bar. They must look odd, the Captain and the CMO, dressed in tennis outfits and carrying racquets. She wasn't self-conscious, though. She smiled at Selah as she came towards them. "I hear good things about something called Dragon's Breath," she said.

"Word is getting around!" squealed Selah excitedly. "It's my specialty! And for you, sir?" she asked the Captain.

"The usual, thanks," Harvey said, requesting his scotch, neat. He leaned down to set his racquet against the wall of the bar and took a seat on the stool.

"Coming right up!" said Selah with a beaming smile and she hurried off to make the drinks.

"So," said Jayla, taking the stool next to him. "How's the command staff holding up? Anything exciting happening?"

"Busy," Harvey said, adjusting his seat. "Though, I'm not sure if I'd call preparing for worst-case scenarios exciting. It's a sobering thought, thinking this mission could easily be your last."

"I've been thinking the same thing," she replied. "It terrifies me. All those lives and this could be the end. And I thought being a doctor would be safe!"

If it was one thing Harvey had learned in his twenty years of service, it was that it was no safer being in command red or science blue. "It won't be the end," Harvey said. "But rather one step closer to it. This whole thing is based off a rumor anyway. I just hope we're not looking around the nebula for weeks for nothing."

"That's true," Jayla agreed. "I suppose we could be wandering around out there for nothing. I can't decide which would be worse- that all the rumors are true or that they're all hogwash."

"I'd rather they be real," Harvey replied. "Otherwise, we'd be running around this nebula for nothing. That would make this our third disappointing mission in a row, and I don't think the crew can take it. I don't even think your smile could take it."

Which, of course, made her smile. "I dunno, this smile is pretty resilient," she said as Selah set their drinks in front of them. "Look what it's been through so far and it's still there. It may go away for a few days, but it always comes back." She sipped the Dragon's Breath. "Oh, that is good!"

Harvey sipped his scotch. He'd never been one for mixed or altered drinks. They way they were made was satisfying enough for him. "That's just as well," he offered. "I'd hate to see the day that removes that smile from your face."

And that, too, made her smile. "It would have to be pretty bad to wipe it away permanently," she agreed. "And we're talking universe is ending type bad. Although, I suppose, if the universe were ending, so would I, so..." She shrugged and grinned again.

"Thankfully, we're not there," Harvey said, sipping his drink again. Drawing on some of her enthusiasm, he added, "We'll get them yet. When we do, you can bet on a trip to DS9. It'll be good just to see Bajor again."

"Yeah," agreed Jayla. "I love Bajor. I love their food! I think it's my favorite in the whole galaxy. As soon as we get there, I'm going to one of those places that serves five courses with a floor show. Dancers! I want to watch traditional Bajoran dancing while eating whatever it is they make."

Harvey chuckled softly as he leaned against the bar. "It sounds like something worth looking forward to. Me, I'd like to go exploring the fire caves or go see the ocean."

"Mm, that, too," she agreed. Then her smile turned sad. "Although, I can't help but wondering if we'll ever actually get there," she said.

"We will," Harvey said, his turn to be the optimist. "We have to. This isn't how I want my career or this ship's career to end."

"Nor me," she replied. "I can't imagine a galaxy without you in it," she added, slightly cheekily. "Oh, and my sisters here, too! Can you imagine what that would do to our parents. I should've sent her away. Oh well, I guess now I have to make sure the shop makes it out of that nebula in one piece!"

"I still need to meet her, by the way," Harvey said, sidestepping Jayla's proclamation. "Maybe tomorrow night we can take care of that."

"I'm sure she'd love it," said Jayla. "People say she's a lot like me, but I don't know. I don't think so."

"Then we shall see," Harvey said, raising his glass for a toast. "To getting home. May we do so quickly."

"And in one piece," added Jayla, touching her glass to his.


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