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Things Just Happen

Posted on Thu Aug 8th, 2019 @ 1:38pm by Staff Warrant Officer Mira Jayna & Major Cornelius Tremble
Edited on on Thu Aug 8th, 2019 @ 2:02pm

Mission: Episode 7 - Home Again
Location: Corridor A411 - USS Pioneer
Timeline: MD007 2000 hrs

Jayna had a lot to learn about the Pioneer, Empok Nor, and the ship's intelligence department. It would take her a while to know as much as she wanted, but her short list kept growing, and shore leave would be ending soon. So, she spent a good deal of time wandering the corridors to familiarize herself with the ship while she mentally reviewed what she knew about each deck and each section.

She was only half paying attention, nodding to people who acknowledged her, ignoring those who didn't.

His head felt fuzzy. Neil was trying to process everything and still function, now that his days training had been interrupted so...decidedly.

A promotion and declared Second Officer of the Pioneer? He was still dressed in the body glove and now had captain's bars pinned to the Cure's unit flash on his beret. He didn't feel different.

He just felt...fried.

He debated only for a moment before calling out bemusedly, "Hey Jayna."

She turned around when her name was called. "Neil?" She made her way over to him. "Hi." She noted how tired he looked before she saw the bars on his beret. A promotion? Good for him. "Where are you headed?"

He chuckled. "Well now, that's a good question. A better one might be are my eyes in the more or less non-blinking stage yet?" He cracked a half smile and said, "I'm not really supposed to be anywhere. They gave me the afternoon off and I suppose I was heading back to my quarters."

She considered him for a moment. He wasn't quite to the blank stare stage, but he was close. From her perspective, he was in need of some relaxation and sleep. "How about you come to mine?" She flashed him a wicked grin. "Much as I'd like to have my way with you, I'm proposing a hot meal and a massage. You look like you could use both." The fact that she would enjoy his company was an added bonus.

Neil considered that. He remembered their kiss from ... had it been only a few days ago? And then thoughts of Tallida entered his mind and he felt conflicted. Then he decided it didn't hurt to at least get to know Jayna a bit.

"That's nice of you, Jayna. I don't want to put you out or keep you from what you were doing...but rest and those other words you mentioned sounds nice."

"I was going walkabout to learn more of the ship." She shrugged, it wasn't really a priority. "So you're not putting me out. Besides, I'd like your company, and I'd like to help you feel better." She grinned. "I promise not to bite. Much."

Neil chuckled and fell in beside her. "You mean again, don't you?

She still felt bad about that. "This time, I promise to be nice," she teased, stopping at the turbolift. "Is nibbling allowed?"

"Maybe," Neil said, forcing himself to keep his posture correct as he slid his hands behind his back as they waited briefly, then stepped into the tube when the doors opened and disgorged it's passengers. "I suppose I might ask the same thing."

She chuckled softly, enjoying the word play. "It's only fair." When everyone was out of the turbolift, she stepped on and pushed the button for her deck.

Neil followed her into the tube and several other beings crowded in too. It wasn't that full, but he brushed against her purposely as they turned to face the door and he smiled innocently at her. "Sorry. I'm a bit clumsy today apparently."

She grinned and took the first opportunity when someone moved to the front of the turbolift to get off to return the favor and accidentally brush against him..

The turbolift stopped and she was accidentally pushed from behind, causing her to grab Neil for balance and step on his foot. "Sorry." Unfortunately, the humor of the situation made her laugh.

He gave her a reproving look and murmured, "Oh sure. And now my foot hurts too." Then he said, "I love a good funny. Care to share?"

She looked at him with wide, innocent eyes. "I'm sorry, bu that thought's not safe for crowded turbolifts."

The man who bumped her stared at her.

The turbolift stopped on her deck. She had to maneuver to get out. When she passed the man she whispered. "I'll leave what I laughed at to your imagination."

Neil threaded through after, asking evenly. "Since when does a turbo-lift feel unsafe because of a joke?" Neil caught up behind her and heard the man laugh as the doors closed. "I wonder what he'll decide that was all about."

"No idea." She turned her head to look at Neil and grin. "Probably something outrageous." There was no one in the corridor, which was a nice change. The other decks were too crowded for her liking. "Hopefully not what I was thinking." she turned a corner and stopped in front of her quarters to palm the door. "That was definitely not safe for crowded turbolifts."

"So tell me. I'm definitely not a turbo-lift," he said as he followed her into her quarters. "Wrong equipment," he said absently as he looked around.

She leaned close and whispered. "I don't think you have the wrong equipment." She paused for a moment, then decided to tell him. "I wondered what people would do if I knocked you over and we both fell onto the deck while everyone backed away, thinking we were contagious or something."

He chuckled then. "Me. I'm not a lift. I don't have the equipment for it. At least the last time I checked." He plucked at the body glove and shook his head.

She looked him over, pretending to consider what she was seeing. Then she shook her head. "No, I can see that. Probably for the best. The last turbolift I fell for had issues." She smiled, knowing Neil didn't come there to bandy words back and forth with her. "So, what would you like first? Food or massage?"

"Probably food," if I'm given the choice." Neil admitted. "I haven't eaten anything proper for days..." His mind flickered back over the meal with Tallida and he felt a brief stab of guilt. He pushed it back and looked around the place. "Looks like you're settling in."

"More or less." She looked around. "I don't have much. Mostly things to remind me of where I've been and what I learned." Jayna turned back to him. "Do you like steak? Vegetables?" He looked in need of protein and a little TLC.

Neil found the most comfortable looking seat in place and promptly sat down, assuming she'd intended that. "Yes, as long as I don't have to chase it round, I'm fairly good." He closed his eyes, tilted is head back on the cushion and asked. "If I can ask, what's with the paper figurines?"

"Origami. It's a hobby of mine. Those are because they were the first ones of that type I did well, or because I want to remember them for later. Do you have any hobbies? And how do you like your steak?" Since she hadn't prepared anything, she went to the replicator.

"Steak's the rare side of medium. Like I said, as long as I don't have to chase it, I'm good," Neil said. He touched a quick release tab at his neck and the suit split down the back. He shrugged out of the body glove, upper half and wrapped the sleeves about his waist. "As far as hobbies go, nothing I get to do with regularity any more. Before, some piano playing and I used to do some wood carvings. Ducks, mainly from Earth."

Neil eased himself back again onto the couch back and removed his beret. With no pockets on the body glove, he dropped it on a nearby table.

"Where's the landscape from," he asked looking at a nearby picture. "Or is it nice art?"

"Bajor," she said, bringing two plates to set on the coffee table so he could stay where he was. "Those are the woods where I grew up."

She went back and replicated drinks and set those down, too. "I would love to see one of your woodcarvings. They've always appealed to me."

Neil watched her bustle about and chuckled. "Sure. I suppose. They're in storage someplace. Funny as it is, I haven't really fully unpacked since I moved into officer quarters. Any more I'm not there that much, it seems. Plus, up until a while ago I wasn't sure if I'd stay an officer. Originally I was breveted to command the Cure, but I guess now it's official. I'm an officer and a gentleman by order of the Federation."

He was rambling and he realized it. Neil picked up the drink she had sat near him and took a sip, "Sorry. I guess I"m prattling on. I forgot these chems make me talky."

"It's fine," she said. "I don't mind your ramblings." She sat down in front of her plate and took a drink. "So, should I say congratulations or condolences?"

"Might be both," Neil admitted. "After being on stay-awakes and sleep aides for ten days, anything could happen." He glanced again at the picture and gestured with a fork, after taking a bite. "So, Bajor huh. Do you get back often? Have any family there?"

"No. My parents were killed when I was eleven. There's just me and my sister and she's in Starfleet as well." She looked at the picture for a long while. "I've been back a couple of times. We bought the forest so it wouldn't be developed." Today there was something a little raw in remembering, so she turned to her food.

Neil continued to eat methodically, focusing on her as she spoke. "A sister? Nice to have some family, then. What's she do for Fleet? Or is she in the same business?"

"No. She's in security. She likes to think of herself as the logical older sister." She grinned when she thought about it. Jayde did like to be more serious, and more practical. Jayna was the one who was more prone to lead with her heart. She paused to eat more steak,. ten asked. "What about you? Have any family and do you see them much?"

He had to remind himself to finish chewing and swallow before responding, "One brother one sister. He's an engineer on Cadaban III, working on something or other. My sister's a member of the Diplomatic corp. Not sure where she's at these days...I haven't talked to them really since..well since the Pioneer and most of us lost a year. My mother gives me hell about twice a month and I talk to dad here and there...he was a marine too so."

He shrugged, and cut some more steak.

"Losing a year must make a lot of things more difficult." She'd been asked to help figure out what happened to the Pioneer during that year, but it wasn't something she should bring up, so she took a few minutes to eat. "Why does your mother give you hell?"

Neil chuckled and made use of his napkin, chasing a stray bit of vegetable as he put an elbow on the table and began checking off fingers. "I'm not married. No grand kids. I haven't been home in five years. I'm too skinny. And I'm not more like my sister, Agatha. The diplomat."

"I told her, on the last one, that dad had taught me diplomacy and she hung up on me," he chuckled, dropping his hand to pick up his fork again.

She shook her head. "That's terrible. Not you," she assured him, "Your mother. Being married to a Marine she should know they have their own form of diplomacy." So did intelligence, for that matter. "I don't think I'll ever have the patience to be a diplomat. My sister could, if she wanted to, but I'm too much of a rebel." Her steak was smaller than his. She picked up her drink and sat back, watching him.

"She's not married to him anymore. Last I heard he had a place on Mars and another woman with him too." Neil shrugged as he finished his plate and picked up his drink. "A rebel, huh. I'll hazard you've caused some trouble here and there."

She grinned and took another sip of her drink. "I've had my moments. It's part of why I'm good at my job." She sobered a bit, staring at the wall and thinking. "I've spent my whole life fighting for or against something. I guess that's what makes me a good shadow." She turned her head to look at him seriously. "What makes you a good Marine?"

Chuckling, Neil said, "Good Marines are made, not born. They tear you down in boot camp and you're honed through your career to maintain that razor's edge once you've got it. I'm a fairly decent Marine. I think the jury is still out on the type of officer I'll be." He shrugged then, "It helps that I'm getting meaner and nastier as I get older. Just like dear old dad, apparently."

He held up his glass to look at the liquid before he took another drink, before he focused on Jayna consideringly. "I've definitely been on shaky ground lately."

"At least you recognize it," she said. "That's the first step to fixing the problem. I think we all find ourselves there at one point or another. The question is, do we move to higher ground, or do we sink into the mire." She considered him and her words for a minute. "You're one of the good guys. You've got a lot to offer. I think there are a number of people on this ship, myself included, who would be willing to toss you a rope."

Neil grinned then, "Ahh my dear. That is part of the problem. In my own personal reality, I stand upon the high ground and hold it against all. The shaky ground revolves around my personal life. It's unfamiliar territory and one always treads carefully. Apparently this time I walked into things eyes wide open and have to decide which way to step next."

She chuckled softly. "Yes. That particular ground can turn into quicksand if you're not careful. But it does have its rewards." She grinned and then took another drink. She was one who was generally careful about where she put her trust, and her heart. She was still too reckless at times. Like now? Maybe. What was the old saying...faint heart never won fair maiden? Neither one of them could be considered a fair maiden, though.

Neil met her eyes, "In this case, people can get hurt. But not treading the ground isn't fair either, which I've talked about. The trouble is...." He tried to complete the thought, closed his eyes and chuckled, "Maybe that's why explorers are looked up to so much...they dare to go places."

She knew this related to his personal life, but not exactly how--although she had a feeling he was warning her she might get hurt. "All you can do is follow your heart," she said seriously. "You can't be responsible for everyone and how they react. That's what the great explorers did. They did what they felt was right, and that often meant going into the unknown."

"Right. But I also have to take into consideration others. Before things go twitchy," he said, finishing his glass. "So I feel compelled to tell you I've been sharing company with Lieutenant Ovaa. And there was a performer named Petrovich who, long story short, I sent packing ten days ago or so. For the record, this is my decision to a. not be like my father and b. avoid problems by being honest out front. You're interesting Jayna and I like hanging out with you. I can't speak from there where I might be."

"So, I'm just interesting?" she asked. Tallida. She liked the counselor, which made it harder. There had been rumors, but Jayna tried not to pay attention to them. Maybe she should have. She shook her head, trying to clear it. She was more than half-way in love with Neil. She didn't fall often, but when she did, she fell hard. She was fighting to keep control of her emotions. Her hands trembled and she held them together. "I appreciate the honesty..." Her voice cracked. "Sorry," she said, staring at her print of the woods, wishing she could still run there and hide until her heart mended.

Neil's body posture and facial expression didn't change as he said. "Sexy interesting. Personality interesting. Lumping it all together might not be fair, but ..." he trailed off. "You have to know what's what with me and all I can be is honest. Look Jayna, we've spoken a few times. Shared some booze and flirting. I got a cold shower out of that deal and who's to say what might go where. What I won't do is play someone against another or lead anyone on. I have too much on my plate for that."

That helped her feel a little better. "No, you're not the type to play someone. That's one of the reasons I'm falling in...falling for you. Why I find myself dreaming about you and about that kiss." A smile flashed across her face. "Why I'd like to do it again." She got up and took her plate to the replicator, needing to do something phsyical.

She dropped onto the couch again. "Okay, since you're being honest, I'll put my cards on the table." And hope it wasn't a big mistake. "My life has never been easy. Too many people die in my line of work, so I don't take love lightly." She looked at his expressionless face for a moment. "I know what I feel and I know what I want, but I can't make someone feel the same way, or want the same things. But, if you honestly don't know how you feel about me or the counselor, I'm willing to go all in." She had to turn away then, still afraid of what she'd read on his face, afraid he'd see how vulnerable she was at that moment. She felt like her heart was made of spun glass and might shatter if he rejected her. The odds were probably against her, but as long as Neil wasn't sure how he felt, she was willing to give him the time he needed.

Neil heard her out. Then stood and walked to her, looking down. He reached down and across, wrapping a hand around her tricep and pulled her to her feet, then kissed her.

With a soft moan she pressed against him, her arms twining around his neck as she responded with growing ardor to his kiss.

After a few minutes, Neil slid his hands slowly down her sides and half pushed, half stepped back breaking their kiss. "And this is where I have to break away. These chems have me fogged out..."

The kiss left her weak-kneed and smiling. She ran a finger down his cheek and across his lips in a caress. "I understand. I promised you a massage. If you strip down to your underwear and lay on the bed, I'll work on your muscles. That way, if you fall asleep, I can put a blanket over you and leave you to it." She kissed him one last time. "I want to do this for you."

Neil considered, then looked into her eyes as he peeled off the rest of the body glove and stripped off his t shirt. Then he crawled onto the bed hesitantly and relaxed upon the mattress.

Jayna didn't look down, didn't watch him strip, but the twinkle in her eyes let him know she was aware of him and wasn't going to take advantage. This time.

When he was on the bed, she changed into a pair of shorts and a tank top, grabbed a bottle of unscented lotion, and went to work. She began with his back, kneeling over him to get a better angle. When she was satisfied the muscles had um-knotted, she moved to his shoulders and arms, then his legs and feet. She took her time, working on one muscle group after another. If, every so often, she caressed his back or kissed his shoulder, no one was the wiser. Even Neil had fallen asleep so wouldn't notice her tender touches.

When she was finished, she covered him with a light blanket and curled up in a chair to read and make sure he would sleep peacefully.

A Joint Post By

Captain Cornelius Tremble
Marine Commanding Officer/Second Officer, USS Pioneer

Warrant Officer Mira Jayna
Infiltration Specialist, USS Pioneer


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