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Don't Ask

Posted on Tue Aug 6th, 2019 @ 5:54pm by Lieutenant Lilith Sullivan & Captain Jane Saulitis

Mission: For Whom The Bell Tolls
Location: Arcana Lounge
Timeline: MD03, 1300

Drowning his sorrows seemed like the thing to do, even if it was synthehol. Alta sat with his back to the doors. If he'd wanted to be alone though, Arcana lounge was a terrible place to start. Besides, everything was his fault. He'd divorced the woman decades ago, what had he expected? That she'd remain celibate all these years? Honestly he was surprised she'd never been remarried, she was beautiful and vibrant but just a bit odd. He'd never gotten over the odd obviously. He'd tried to change her and obviously that was why things hadn't worked out between them.

Out of his perception, the doors leading into the lounge parted and through the slow afternoon crowd, Lily Sullivan made her way slowly to the bar. As one of the ship's newcomers, she had not yet been fully integrated into the duty rotation. Without her uniform, the likelihood of someone recognizing her was low. Thus far, there wasn't much to do; none of the ship's shuttles were deployed, and very little needed to be done with the Majestic already steaming towards her destination at warp. Meetings with much of the senior staff weren't scheduled until the following day, so, in search of new friends, she went where there was sure to be strangers and conversation.

"Ah, one amber lager please," Lily smiled at the bartender. Nodding in thanks as the drink appeared, she took a long pull from the frosty glass, licking the foam off of her top lip afterwards. Out of the corner of her eye, she noticed another patron at the bar who had clearly been trying to rescue an invisible being at the bottom of several pieces of glassware from drowning. A moment of sonder froze Lily in place for a moment, and it was only when the man raised his glance and made eye contact with her that she snapped out of it.

"Oh, sorry," Sullivan gave an embarrassed smile. "I don't mean to stare, it's just... well," she paused, "are ya alright friend?"

"Nope," Alta said clearly. "But thanks for asking." He wasn't much of a talker, Beatrice was the social one. He worked and worked and worked some more. Jane had followed his path and she had much more of his personality than Beatrice but he knew she had a heart of gold like her mother. "You were at the wedding," he said politely. He was on his daughter's ship after all, some manners were in order.

"I was!" she affirmed, picking up her drink and coaster to move a few stools closer to her new conversation mate. "And you were there too! I had really just shown up when the open invite for the senior staff went out," a slight slip of the tongue, "so I hurried to be somewhat presentable and showed up. My name's Lily," she tipped her glass towards him in a friendly gesture.

"I see," he didn't bother to tell her he was the father of the bride. "Alta," he offered his hand. "What's your job on board Majestic Lily?" Alta asked curiously, eyeing the younger woman with what he hoped wasn't too much of a scowl or an intrusive gaze.

"Majestic Lily, I kinda like that," she smirked with a mischievous grin before taking another long drink of her beer. "What's my job here? Hmmm, well empirical evidence would suggest that I chat up strangers and drink beer. I've got a BS degree in it, in fact. My other job is flying the ship around, but the two don't mix at all for obvious and not so obvious reasons. What about you Alta, what answers are you seeking at the bottom of that bottle?"

"It's not what's at the bottom of the bottle that I'm seeking it's what's inside my stupid brain. I thought it might loosen things up if I put a bit more liquid in there. Easier to scoop up the floaties that way." He shook his head. "Sorry, I should be better company to a beautiful woman . . . but I never was particularly intelligent in that area."

"Oh, it's okay, most men don't even get this part right," Lily shrugged, rolling her eyes. "It's usually a couple of awkward glances from across the room, a little bit of egging on by the guy's buddies, and finally some really, really inane pickup line that doesn't have a snowball's chance in hell. Rinse, wash, repeat," she made a circular motion with her index finger, rolling her wrist while polishing off the rest of her beer with the other hand. She gave the now empty glass a wistful look before placing it carefully back onto her coaster.

"So," she turned and fixed her gaze on him, "there's a woman is there? Tell me about her."

"Ahh," Alta replied. "Here I thought you were taking pity on an old man and might actually be interested in me. There was a woman. Hasn't been for a very long time. Just found her with another man and even after all this time it still hurts. I may have said a few things I regret. That Miss Lily, is the reason I'm looking forward to the bottom of the bottle." He drank the last drops out of it and set it down on the bar with a smack.

"Oh Alta, you deserve better than some stranger's pity. If that's what your after, there's better places for that kind of thing, but you know that. And, while we're at it, it's obvious that you aren't over her, or else, well," Lily mulled over her choice of words, "we wouldn't be here now would we? Just to be clear, this isn't judgment. In fact, it's more commiseration than anything. We all have regrets you know? It's a part of life."

Lilith paused for a moment, deep in thought about her own past while also wondering where the barkeep had disappeared off to. Two empty glasses at the same time at a bar was just cause for being relieved of one's bartending duties in some parts of the galaxy.

"Look, you and me? Not gonna happen, there's... well, a lot of reasons," she shook her head. "But if you want some company and someone to talk to, I'm here for you, okay?"

"Not really much else to say." Alta said, working on his hurt pride. "I made a mistake and I'm still paying for it. Choose my career over the girl." He sighed and leaned back since there was nothing else to drink. "Maybe I should go for a walk, get rid of these thoughts. Time to move on." Alta got up but he didn't move away from her. "Care for a walk Lily?"

"I do care, and I'd be happy to. Nietzsche once said that all truly great thoughts come while walking. Let's go!" Taking one last, wistful look at her empty glass, she slid off of the bar stool and motioned towards the door. As they walked together out of Arcana Lounge, Sullivan couldn't help but wonder if there were any parallels between her career path and Alta's. Curiosity slowly won the battle between silence and speech. "You know, some people might say something similar about me - that I'm choosing the career over settling down. Do you have any perspective to offer? What didn't you see?"

"Do you have someone you're madly in love with?" He asked curiously. "Cause if you do, I wouldn't be so eager to just leave them in favor of your career. I was with her for a while. I got an amazing daughter out of it. But still. Here I am with plenty of my life left to live and I'm lonely, I have no one to go home to at night. So, from my way of thinking, the career wasn't worth it."

"No, I wouldn't say I'm in love now. The last time I was in love," Lily hesitated for a moment, "I didn't really realize it until it was too late. I guess that's my biggest regret - unexpressed feelings," she admitted as they continued their stroll. "It's tricky, as you may know. This balance between being a Starfleet officer and having a family. I guess it's resurfaced a little raw emotion in me too, it being the captain's wedding and all."

They continued their walk, following the circular layout of deck three past the executive officer's office and one of transporter rooms before reaching an area that overlooked the Aerowing Runabout below. Lily paused and leaned against the railing, observing the craft for the first time.

"Tell me about your daughter," Sullivan broke the silence. "What's she like?"

"Incredibly stubborn, she gets that from me. Not too confident but she's getting better about it as she gets older. So very kind, intelligent, funny . . . a man can't really get much luckier than her. Course I didn't have much of a hand in raising her. I was there when I thought I could be. She still followed in my footsteps. I'm happy though, that she has someone to love. She's had for twenty years but they just finally made it official. Hak takes good care of her."

"Wait, what did you say?"

"I said Hak takes good care of her?" Alta frowned slightly wondering why that seemed to trip her up.

"Hak? That's, oh I see!" Lily's features lit up with the glow of realization. "I was operating with half of the picture, but I've got it now. You daughter is, well..."

"Ahhh, you didn't know who I was. I guess I didn't tell you my surname did I. But I assume you'd seen me walk Jane down the isle. Yes, my daughter is the Captain. Try not to hold that against me, I'm really a pretty mellow guy most of the time. I won't have you thrown in the brig for talking to me." He smiled at her.

"Ah, I mean no offense, but uh, I didn't really notice you were there because I mean, wow! Jane was beautiful in her dress, the absolute center of attention. I could've walked through there naked, and I don't think too many people would've noticed," she laughed in return, taking a half-step back as she hiccuped. "Whew! Maybe the brig is the place for me, I appear to have become a lightweight in my advanced age."

Alta chuckled, she was way too young for him but she was kind of adorable. "Nonsense, I remembered you didn't I? And it was my daughters wedding so don't sell yourself short. Also, I rarely get offended. All the years I was in Starfleet I was actually in diplomacy." He smiled at her.

Deciding that the mood had improved enough to make a joke at Alta's expense, Sullivan rejoined her conversation partner at the railing before beginning again. "Well Alta, you know, that's more insight to your history than you might think. The fact you chose," she gave him a playful nudge, "to associate with career politicians instead of stay home means I probably owe you another drink. Let's go back for one more, what do you say?"

He only took a second to think about it. "Miss Majestic Lily, you are absolutely right. Lead the way."

Alta Saulitis
Jane's Father

Lily Sullivan


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