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Hot Coffee

Posted on Tue Nov 15th, 2022 @ 4:24am by Commodore Tyler Malbrooke & Petty Officer 2nd Class Sofia Cipriani
Edited on on Tue Nov 15th, 2022 @ 4:55am

2,953 words; about a 15 minute read

Mission: Episode 13 - Crooked River
Location: Captain's Ready Room - Deck 1 - USS Pioneer
Timeline: MD004 - 1700 Hours

Sofia had come onto the bridge looking for the captain, he was nowhere to be seen. His usual spot on the command chair was empty and even though he was not a tyrant of a commanding officer the bridge was more relaxed with a hint of curiousity as to what the mission might uncover.

"Do you know where the captain is?" Sofia asked a crewman by the rear mission display wall console.

"Ready room." they said with a nod in the direction of the door.

"Thank you, Cyrus." she smiled warmly at the man. He smiled back almost smitten with the fact he'd been given attention. It was easy to forget the enlisted crew on board a starship. The unsung heroes of the fleet most of the time.

Usually, Sofia would often walk into the ready room, but she felt that maybe she'd give him the chance to say he was busy given the circumstances of the mission launch to come. In half an hours' time the shuttle team would begin to gather.

Sofia pressed the chime and waited for the yay or nay.

Tyler had been in his Ready Room reviewing the reports that the authorities on Igion supplied. There was something that just did not add up and he could not quite put his finger on it. He sat there and rubbed his temples as he stared at the reports. This was something he did in the hopes that it would change and he would suddenly notice what was wrong. The door chime brought him to the present. "Come on in." He called to the door and sipped his now tepid coffee.

Sofia Cipriani his Yeoman and at times confidant strode into the office. Tyler welcomed the newcomer and the change of pace. Even though he was Captain he still enjoyed the occasional procrastination. "Sof what brings you to this neck of the woods. Not more paperwork I hope."

Sofia smiled softly and moved towards the replicator without answering. In moments a cup appeared and a pot of coffee soon after. As she moved towards the Captain she poured from the pot and placed the cup in front of him. "I am always 'in this neck of the woods' sir. I know you would need a coffee boost and a friendly face before the upcoming mission begins. So, here I am."

Tyler smiled as she lay out the coffee. The smile was for both what she did and the memory he had of something that Captain Coslar once said to him. It is often thought who counsels the Captain. Your Yeoman will offer better counsel than any Starfleet Counselor. "Well I am glad to see you. Have a seat, some coffee, and tell me what is going on in your neck of the woods." Tyler welcomed the distraction from running the ship, at least for the moment.

"Oh nothing much sir. Usual administration stuff, quite boring." Sofia replied as she retracted her slightly shaking hands from the now full cup. She internally chastised herself for letting her professionalism slip for a moment. Her worry for Gaagii creeping in... even though it was not common knowledge.

"The usual administration stuff I would imagine is quite boring. But this mystery has got have the crew talking. You always know what they are talking about. So share... Come one inquiring minds want to know." Tyler always knew that that his Yeoman had her finger on the pulse of the crew and this time he wanted her to share. This was a rather strange situation they were in and he wondered what the crew felt about it.

Sofia almost felt pressured a bit, like she was telling on the crew but she knew that the Captain was only asking because he cared and was genuine in his want to look after the crew. "They are half curious and half disgusted. The sheer fact that someone would chop people up, that feet and other parts are washing up on beaches is cause for some concern. Most that are staying up here on the ship are going about their business. I've heard some crew murmuring about their dislike of the Jutrai... but I've not engaged in it sir." She felt like justify herself a little for some reason. "Do you think the away team will be okay sir?" She asked pointedly.

"All teams should be fine. Of course, there is an inherit risk when you join an away team. Going into and unknown situation on an unknown planet and all that. As for the Jutrai I think we are pushing our views on Romulans on them. Thus far our dealings with them have been on the up and up. Although this mystery has me thinking as well. I mean how does one not know what is going on, on one's own planet. It is that and only that which makes me a little nervous. If they don't know what is happening on their planet, then they may not know what else is going on their planet." Tyler sipped his coffee and thought. This was something he actually had not thought about, so he appreciated Sofia bringing it to his attention.

"Yes, well I've not had much experience with anyone apart from the species on the ship and back on Earth. They are just another people to me." Sofia said with a small smile. "You are right though. It would give me some concern as well. To not know what is going on, on your own planet, does make you think that there is so much more that we don't know. Although if I may sir, they might know full well what is going on and pleading ignorance. It wouldn't be the first time we have been led up the garden path under false pretenses."

"You know, you are far too wise for such a young age." Tyler smiled. "I just find it hard to believe..." He was interrupted as the Ready Room doors swished open and the Ensign that had the watch came stumbling in white as a sheet and shaking. "Calm down Ensign and report."

The young Ensign came to his senses and attention. "Sorry sir, that should not have happened. Lieutenant Harris on the science team reports that they have lost contact with half the team. Commander Maren along with Ensign Mejia, Chief Petty Officer D'tem and Sergeant Kunadt left the shuttle to investigate some electromagnetic interference. After they failed to report to the Roosevelt Lieutenant Fellini ordered the Roosevelt to lift off for visual as the sensors had no readings. There is no trace of them."

There was a moment that Tyler was worried and scared but no one saw it. The Captain of the Pioneer simply looked at the Ensign. "Thank you, Ensign, continue to attempt to open a channel to Commander Maren. Have Tactical map out that electromagnetic interference. Let me know when either is completed. Dismissed" The Ensign now being steeled by the Captain's response nodded and headed back on the Bridge.

Sofia gulped. Her mouth became a little dry and the shaky hand she had on the coffee pot got worse. Adrenaline had begun to flood her system, the shaking moving into more of her body and her legs began to wobble. Gaagi, what about him? His team of course too, but him more so from her perspective. "Wha-what about the other team? He didn't say anything about them. Are they okay? Who comes in with half a report?" she had started pacing and was almost out the door to grab the Ensign by the scruff of his neck and ask him what for.

"Sofia, you know better than most that no news is good news. The Ensign was reporting on the Science Team's change in status, if that had not changed, he would not even be here." Tyler sipped his coffee as he thought what could be amiss with the science team. The studious Captain was observant and knowledgeable in body language. So, the way his Yeoman currently acted gave him some curiosity. "You know I don't like to pry into my crew's lives. However, I have to know... What gives? Why the sudden worry? We have been in situations like this before and you did not have such a reaction."

"No, I know." she said almost looking down at her feet as if she had been scolded by a superior. She hadn't, but she always felt like the light shone on her even when she was probably the least important person on the ship... or so she felt often. "There is just someone on the marine team that I have been seeing a little." Sofia felt like she was telling her father of a hidden boyfriend, a man she'd threw under the bed so he could not be found. "So, I am just a bit more 'invested' in the teams return."

Despite all of their attempts Captains could never stop the crew from fraternizing. It was almost expected being cooped up in the ship for extended periods. Tyler knew that more than most, it was the reason his Kat was on the ship, and he married two members of his crew not too long ago. "Now you have to sit down and tell me who it is and everything." He said with a gossipy tone to his voice and a smile on his face.

Sofia moved to the seat in front of the ready room desk and hesitated before she sat. She wasn't sure how comfortable the captain would be with her seeing someone who was 16 years older than she was as she felt a connection with the man that went beyond Captain/Yeoman. "It is Staff Sergeant Gaagi. We've been seeing each other for a little while now." she said, her face going near crimson and the lightest sounds of her feet shuffling on the ground could be heard.

"The Staff Sergeant is a very good man. Albeit possibly a little old for you..." Tyler raised his hands in a fatherly gesture, as if to say I had to say that. "...But that is none of my business. You have to know that if you are going to be in a relationship with him, Marine duties are inherently dangerous. More dangerous than what we do in the fleet. As it stands right now the Serenity is making its way on a dive. They are going below the surface of the water to see what they can learn about these currents. Gaagii is a stoic man, does he return your affections?"

"A little too old?" Sofia huffed. "He's not that old... okay maybe he has a few lines on his head than most but at least I know he's genuine. He does, I think, return my feelings. I get the impression that he doesn't quite know how to act with someone showing interest in him... stoic marine or not." She sighed for a moment and looked out the ready room window. "He better come back in one piece... I have a temper you know. I may look small and unassuming, but I have my Italian blood to keep me warm."

Tyler smiled. "I will try all of my power to make sure that he comes back in one piece. You know that he is from Amerind and in his culture, women take the lead in the ways of romance, or they are matched via matchmaker. That said you may want to take a step forward when he gets back. I think he would be a good match for you." He tried to take less of a fatherly approach and more of a big brother approach.

"You know you can't promise that sir, and I wouldn't ask you to." Sofia said with a weak smile. She knew enough about Starfleet to know it was a kind heart gesture. "I didn't know the name of his world and whether it is good or not most Italian women are the real leaders in families. Although I do not have that 'authoritive' streak my mother has and am only young. The idea of leading a man twice my age is a little scary." She admitted, and more to her surprise saying the age gap out loud did make her realize how big it was.

Tyler listened to the young woman, he listened well, and in that fashion that a father would listen to his daughter as she sought some advice. "Sofia if I may be so bold as to offer some fatherly type of advice..." He sipped his ever-present mug and glanced at the cowboy hat that belonged to his father and now belongs to him. When she bade him to speak, he continued. "...In a true relationship no one leads. In fact, although it is culturally shown that women lead on his world, their relationships like all are partnerships. Age has no place there. If he did not want your guidance, your leadership, your love he simply would not accept it. I bet he is just as scared as you are, and when you realize that all will be well."

"Well, you are going to be one soon, better get some practice in." Sofia said warmly and with the affection she had developed for him. She listened to him and what he said made sense, mostly. She was inexperienced the world of relationships, real ones anyway, and the last one before Gaagi broke her a little. Ensign Khalon Price, a quick fleeting love that left her heartbroken when he left abruptly, and she was scared to do it again. "He doesn't look like someone who is scared of anything." Sofia admitted. "I mean look at me. I am nothing that anyone is ever scared of."

"Very often in relationships it is not the person that one fears. It is the feeling that the person emotes from you that you fear. Some people do not know how to deal with certain emotions, and others feel so hard that they fear it. Am I saying that this is a perfect match, and it will be easy, no I am not. What I am saying is that if you do not try you will regret it." That was something that Tyler knew too much about. He had to push himself to try with Kat and he was too glad that he did.

"I have lots of years to make regrets." Sofia countered.

Being so young had so many advantages such as time, youthful ignorance etc. However, it had its disadvantages such as ignorance and naivety, the belief the world or galaxy cannot hurt you.

"I know what you mean though sir, I think."

"Age is and has always been nothing but a number. That said if you have feelings for this man and he has feelings for you then you should pursue it and see where it goes. The only word of caution I give, which is the same that was given to me when Kat and I started dating. That is be careful when you work together. You do not want your personal life to spill over into the work. That would be disastrous for all involved." As much as Tyler thought about his Command professors talking about not promoting your ship into the love boat. Tyler rather liked the idea of his crew intermingling in that way. It made the crew even more of a family and that was something that Tyler wanted.

"I'm sure we will be fine sir. Gaagi doesn't strike me as someone who would let his feelings distract him and bleed into his marine life. Me on the other hand, well... I think I'll always worry when he goes off on a mission somewhere. Call it Human nature." she smiled a little more warmly now. She felt better having talked to Tyler about this, even if she still felt a little anxious about Gaagi being away.

"Why do you think I lost the argument with Kat about her being here? I did not want her aboard the ship. I would be too worried that something could happen to her while the ship was on a mission or what have you. She felt the same if I was off with the ship and she was stuck on a station. So now she lives aboard the ship. My point is it is always a lot to have to deal with when someone you love goes on mission. But I agree I think you both will be great together. If it means anything you have my blessing." Tyler laughed as he took the last swig of his coffee.

"I think you lost that argument because you're a smart man who knows never to argue with your superiors." Sofia giggled. "Women always know best sir... if you hadn't brought her on board then it is very possible you would not be expecting a mini Malbrooke right now." she added as he continued. "And your blessing does mean a lot to me." she blushed a little.

"Well then Sof it seems that the hunter is to become the hunted. Go get him." Tyler said with a broad smile. He felt like his entire crew was his family. However, when it came to Sofia he thought of her as an actual daughter. As she left he hoped that all would work out for her in this budding romance.

A Joint Post By

Petty Officer Third Class Sofia Cipriani
Yeoman, USS Pioneer

Captain Tyler Malbrooke
Commanding Officer, USS Pioneer


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