The Things You Do
Location: Deck Ten- Forward Lounge
Timeline: MD 12 20:00 Hours
Nokomis sat down in one of her favorite spots in the lounge where she could both see the door and the view. She flagged down a waiter and ordered a drink, then starred out at the stars as if they were going to give her answers. It was strange, same stars but they looked different tonight as if they had somehow changed through this mission like she'd been forced to do.
Some minutes later, Varina strode in and abruptly sat at the bar. Some days, nothing could go right. Between talking to her son--which wasn't bad in and of itself, but in the end it reminded her that she had to be away from him--a brawl that started down in Engineering, and continued in her Sickbay after the two hot heads were sent there; and an experiment that took a wrong turn, she'd definitely had better days. The strange growth in her petree dishes that wasn't supposed to happen had been the last straw, and she had called it a day then and there since the second shift doctor had already showed up. She'd eventually have to go see exactly where her experiment had gone wrong, but for now she had to step away from it all.
When the holoprogrammed bartender parked in front of her she simply said. "Synthale...please," she added almost too late.
Nokomis noticed the doctor come in and could tell from her body language that they were about in the same mood. She got up from her table and approached the bar. "What are you drinking, and does it help?" She asked curiously, the usual hint of humor gone from her voice.
The doctor watched her superior take the seat next to her, and held up her chilled mug. "Just a synthale, and we'll see, but it couldn't make it worse." She took a draft from it, looking straight ahead.
"Things could always be worse." Nokomis said and she knew it was true. "You tell me yours and I'll tell you mine. And if you don't want to talk, feel free to tell me to get out."
Varina gave a sardonic smile as she took another gulp. "If it gets worse, I'll probably be back in Sickbay for doing some damage myself." She could certainly see a hole in the wall of her quarters if such a scenario unfolded. "Where do I start? I talked to Erick today, not so bad, but when I was done, I could only think about how that was the only contact I was going to get with him for the foreseeable future. Next were two super egos decided to continue their clash while receiving treatment for the initial match--aside from my report, don't worry about it, I like to think I took care of it, but if anything else comes from those two, you'll hear about it. And to top all that off I'm going to have to start a running experiment all over because of some contamination that got to it, and I'm not sure how." She turned to the XO. "How's that?" Another grin, and another drink from her mug.
"Let's see, mine didn't happen all in the same day . . . but here goes. First off you probably know Logan has been my best friend since I was four years old but you didn't know that I fell in love with him at the Academy and kept it from him. Our recent experience let it out and now things are super awkward between us. To top it off I met someone who's a lot younger than me and he seems to really like me but he has huge doubts about whether we should be together because of his position on the ship and mine and I'm pretty sure that's he's keeping something big from me and I'm not sure if it's because he can't tell me or won't. I feel like the ship fell apart around me and it's my job to put it back together and I can't figure out where the first piece is."
Varina grabbed her glass and grinned, turning to the XO. "Well, we both seem to be doing a grand job at handling life." She held her glass out to Nokomis in salute. "Though, I may concede this match to you. A crush on the Captain, eh?"
"It was more than that," Nokomis shook her head. "I was head over heels, you could have seen me drooling from a kilometer away. But it was a long time ago and honestly, I'm over that. I had a long time to come to terms with just being his best friend but now it's out and i just want what we had back. I miss him. On top of that I'm placing my trust in Tiber, and that's really scary. But when he looks at me, I'm just gone, poof. He totally blindsided me." She slumped so much she practically fell off her stool. "I'm sorry, I totally took away your issues . . . make me stop talking."
It was Varina's turn to shake her head. "Oh no, yours are so much more interesting, if I may say. And, though I really want to see you happy, I feel it's my duty as a senior officer to point out that those kind of relationships are frowned upon when it comes to direct supervisors." She smiled gently at her friend. "I'm not telling you what to do, though." She she took another swig of her ale. "So, how did the Captain react when he found out? For that matter, how did he find out? ...if you want to share, that is."
"I know," Nokomis nearly moaned, putting her forehead down on the bar in a very un-executive officer kind of way. "A vision, apparition, whatever it was we experienced. I don't think he believed it until I opened my mouth and told him the truth. I know he was shocked to say the least, hadn't had a clue."
The doctor put a comforting hand on her friend's back. "Damn." She turned back to the bar. "I don't know him very well, certainly not as well as you do, but...give him some time--a day or two--then go talk to him." She turned back to Mis. "Just because you had feelings at one time doesn't mean you still do, or that it should affect how you work with him. Everybody has thoughts and feelings they keep to themselves, and reasons for that. This...phenomenon, whatever it was...just broke right through those reasons without you having a say so. If you are past all of those feelings, and whatever crush you had on him, you need to make sure he knows it, and maybe even knows you're on to something else." Suddenly, she wondered if her advice was too forthcoming. She knew she had to watch herself, and her tendency to speak her mind. "Er, that's just a suggestion. I don't know if that's how you want to handle it or not."
Nokomis nodded. "I appreciate it Doc. Do you mind being called Doc?" She finished off the rest of her drink and asked for another from the bartender. She probably shouldn't as she rarely drank but this was one of those special occasions where she wanted to drown her sorrows.
Varina emptied her mug and set it down firmly on the bar. "Having almost been stripped of the title at one time, I never mind being called Doc. And, if he doesn't take you for your word, let me know. I'll talk to him, Captain or not. It's not like I haven't taken on worse." She thought about ordering another drink, but decided against it. She could only take the synthetic stuff in doses anyways. It certainly didn't compare to the real thing.
Mis could almost see the look on Logan's face if he were confronted by the doctor. It made her smile a little bit. "Since you're handing out advice . . . what do I do about Tiber?"
"That," she whistled low, "is a whole 'nother animal. And given my track record on romance, you probably don't want my advice." She chuckled. "But, except for his baseline check-up, I haven't seen much of the Intel officer. Tell me about him."
"I thought I could see right through him when we first met. He was terrified of me, my position on this ship. I thought he was going to break something he was so tense. And I don't know, I guess I thought I was helping him by showing him I was a person and not just an XO. He's very intelligent. I don't think his mind ever stops. He's affectionate but there's a definite calculation to everything he does. Tiber is kind of intense."
Varina listened intently, nodding as the description continued. "And, how do you feel about him?" she asked with a glint of mirth in her eyes.
Noticing that the doctor seemed to be really enjoying herself, Nokomis smirked. "It's complicated. But what isn't? I really like him, I think I might love him but I'm also cautious." She had her reasons to be, one of which was his nervousness about her position on this ship.
It wasn't hard to figure out why she felt it was complicated. "You're worried about chain of command," she said matter-of-factly. But then she looked at the other woman. "So, maybe no one has to know," she said with a sly grin.
"We both are." Nokomis looked at her, head tilted slightly. "What do you mean Doc?"
Varina shook her head. "Nevermind. probably bad advice for the XO. Answer me this, though, because I keep my head in Medical and don't come up to breathe often: He's Intelligence, right? Does that put him directly under you, or does he go straight to the Captain? I thought they had some special organizational structure that kept them slightly apart from the rest of the departments. I mean, maybe they don't even report directly to the Captain, if the clearance is high enough." She shrugged, unsure, but looking for a breadcrumb for her friend.
"Technically everyone is supposed to report to me. But with some things his clearance level can be higher than mine so he reports to Logan directly. Obviously I think he would prefer to do it that way. And I don't think Logan minds. Reminds me of the saying, the road to hell is paved with the best intentions. I really didn't intend for any of this to happen, I just wanted him to stop freaking out every time he entered a room I was in."
She nodded. "That might be the technicality you can use to get around that though. Otherwise, it's probably more appropriate to end it." She knew that wasn't what Nokomis wanted to hear, but it needed to be said. "I think your only other source of advice, as to whether you could or should proceed, is to talk to the Captain. I know the timing is probably not the best, but take it from someone who has been burned by best intentions. You don't want to take the road you shouldn't."
"We actually had a conversation about it. In fact I invited Tiber and Logan both over for dinner. It was a tad awkward. But I think Logan just wants me to be happy, he didn't seem bothered by anything other than Tiber's shyness."
Varina smiled. "Well that's a positive anyways. And if he didn't advise you against it, you may be able to read that as safe."
Nokomis took in the words carefully but nodded. "Thank you Doc, I really appreciate your advice. I was kind of in an awkward position, but I feel a lot better now. If there's ever anything I can do for you . . . ."
Varina waved her hand as the other brought her drink back to her lips. "Thank you, Ma'am. For now I'm good. I'm glad I could help." She hoped she had. It was hard to tell sometimes when you doubted yourself. She also hoped that if things did go south for Nokomis, that the blame didn't come back to her for giving bad advice. It wasn't that she thought the younger Commander would do that, but more due to her having been burned before...by the one person who should've had her back. She emptied the rest of her mug in one gulp. "Welp, I think I'm good, Commander. I'll see you around." With a small, casual salute, she stepped off her stool, heading for the door.
Commander Nokomis Diza
Executive Officer, USS Orion
Lieutenant Varina Hightower
Chief Medical Officer, USS Orion