Mission 0 - Leaving the Blue Marble
Timeline: MD 7, 1430 Hours
Jackson sat with Tanea in the holodeck. The program was an old fashioned movie theatre. The others in the crowd were all part of the show. As they waited for the show to begin, he offered her the popcorn bucket.
She grabbed a handful of the popped corn that got her hands greasy, and snacked on the treat. "So, this was pastime on Earth?" she asked, perhaps a bit loudly.
He nodded. "People would gather like this and watch filmed plays called movies. It was especially popular with young men and women." He grinned as the lights dimmed.
She nodded. "Seems strange that people wouldn't just watch at home, without strangers." She looked around, her eyes adjusting to the dark. "Though there doesn't seem to be too many people all the way back here."
"Well...." he stretched his arm out and around her shoulders, "sitting back here gives a little privacy."
She pointedly watched his arm as it draped behind her, an amused grin on her face. "Oh, is that your plan?"
"Hey babe, I'm just here for the show." He gave an innocent look with a devilish little grin before leaning in and giving her a soft kiss on her jawline as the movie began. "Now this movie is supposed to be what they called a slasher classic."
Her brow furrowed, "A what?" She looked forward toward the screen. "That sounds rather gruesome."
He nodded with a grin, more childish than seductive. "Totally gruesome." He turned his attention to the screen as the movie began, his arm still resting around her.
She was still grinning when she settled in against him, paying attention to the developing plot.
The movie told of a burned madman who stalked teenagers in the dreams. For it's day the effects were quite striking and Jackson was zoned in, even if he jumped once or twice when there was a surprise. About half way through the movie he leaned towards her, and turned her face for a kiss. "Having a good time?" He whispered.
She smiled under half-closed eyes as he pulled away. But they lit up as she answered. "It's amusingly bad. Do you really like this?"
"Well, normally when a lady watches this kind of movie she clings to her date to protect her. I didn't expect you to find it funny." He chuckled as he took a handful of popcorn.
"Oh, I'm sorry," she teased, "I'll attempt to remember to cower appropriately next time." She smiled at him while taking more popcorn for herself and tossing it into her mouth.
He settled in with a laugh, and for a long stretch of time he didn't make any untoward advances, just satisfied with their contact. When the movie ended and the crowd began to leave he glanced over. "And that was a normal old time Earth date."
She watched the others leave, but remained where she was. "It was fun," she said sincerely. "So, this is a whole genre of film, eh?"
"Yes. There are all types. Horror, Comedy, Action, Romance. Even what they called science fiction which is in many cases what we call everyday living today. They dreamed of having the life we live."
She gave him a look. "Yes, I know the others, even Horror, which this seemed to be attempting, but the only thing horrific was the cluelessness of the characters. And you're telling me there are more like it?"
"Hundreds. All these movies seemed to have almost a dozen in the series with the main villain."
Tanea nodded. "And what happens after the movie on your dates?"
"Well if it went bad, the guy generally takes the girl home but doesn't stay around and they don't go out again. If it went well, they might go back to his place or her place."
"So, did this one go well, or not?" She was mostly just playing along in asking that, but she started to wonder if she'd teased too much, as it was obviously something he enjoyed.
"Well, I had a hell of a good time, so how about a drink?"
She breathed a sigh of relief that she hadn't gone too far. "That sounds like an excellent idea."
"Computer, change to program Lewis501." The scenery changed to a crowded bar, several men in the back playing billiards, while the hum of constant chatter kept the room noisy but not deafening. "Why don't you go grab a booth and I'll get the drinks?"
She chuckled. She'd assumed he meant going to the lounge, but apparently not. With a nod she strolled to the other side of the half-lit room and found an empty booth. She watched the activities around her, the loud conversations, games of pool, and shameless flirting. She noticed a red-head walk up to the bar and squeeze between Jackson and the person next to him. She couldn't see the interaction, but she wondered if the girl ever ordered a drink.
He nodded to the redhead, before ordering two drinks, and making his way to their booth. He slid in next to her, carefully putting her glass in front of her. "I made this program back in the academy when I wanted to be alone without being alone and then it grew on me into a hangout I actually enjoyed."
Tanea nodded, glancing back at the bar, but she didn't see the other girl there. Looking back at Jackson, she took her drink. "It's very detailed," she noted before lifting the glass to her lips.
He nodded. "Now and then I'll add something new if I think about it but it's almost like a real place to me now."
She took another drink, watching him. "You say that like someone who doesn't have a place to call their own." She rested her chin on the palm of her hand, elbow on the table, curious about his situation."
"Let's just say that the next time we have shore leave I may book this holodeck for two weeks.." He sipped the clear liquid from his glass. "How's your drink? The program is written to make traditional beverages for whatever a person is."
"It did a good job," she said after swallowing a gulp. "This is pretty good." She supposed she understood his lack of desire to go home. For her it had been a chore and duty long enough, that it wouldn't feel like free time. Her siblings were old enough now to do things for themselves, but she'd still be seen as in charge. But she didn't think she would confine herself to the ship. "C'mon, you can't tell me you couldn't find something planetside to do instead."
He sipped again with a slight shrug. "Maybe, with the right company."
She raised a brow, picking up on what he meant. "Are you saying that someone as outgoing as you hasn't made any friends he'd enjoy hanging out with? You'd rather stay cooped up in a holoprogram than get outside?" Or maybe his interests were just different. She suddenly hoped her question didn't come off as judgmental.
"I don't tend to get along with other guys in social situations for various reasons. And when it comes to a beautiful lady hanging out is usually near the bottom of the list." He gave her a flirty glance.
She nodded. "Uh huh. As much fun as that sounds, I can't think that's healthy," she said, concerned.
"Especially not healthy when they're bigger than me and they think I'm after their girl." He chuckles, finishing his water.
She leaned forward, putting her hand on his. "I mean it. You should have some sort of support system around you, friends to talk to when you need it." She was starting to feel bad for him, if what she was starting to see was true.
His eyes went to their hands when she made contact. "I'm okay, really. I just only seem to have friends of a particular gender. They say women are the majority in the galaxy so that's pretty good odds."
She twisted her mouth in a skeptical look as she sat up, drawing her hand away. "How many 'friends' do you have?"
He would have sworn he heard the red alert sirens but then he realized it was just her expression. "I've met a few people since coming aboard but nobody I hang out with."
"Well, yeah. You already said hanging out isn't...what you're looking for." Pieces of the conversation began to click into place. "Are there others? Besides me?"
Every part of his brain was going in a different direction. This was bad...real bad, so his mouth went the path of least resistance. "What? No."
She stopped. She didn't have proof that he wasn't speaking the truth, but what he'd been saying up to now seemed to hint at something else. "Well, what are you doing with 'beautiful ladies' if hanging out is not the optimal activity?"
"It's all professional, that's all."
She looked at him pointedly. "You're sure?"
He reached for her hand, giving her a small grin. "Absolutely sure. I may banter a little but that's just in good fun."
She sized up what he was saying verses the look in his eyes, and he seemed serious. "Alright. Sorry. I must have misinterpreted what you were saying."
"Don't apologize for anything. How about we get out of here and back into the real world?"
She nodded. "Sounds good. Let's go."
He slid out of the booth. "Computer, end program." When the arch appeared he walked her to the door and exited.
Lieutenant Junior Grade Jackson Lewis
Chief Flight Control Officer, USS Orion
Ensign Tanea Dawyn