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A Wrinkle In Time

Posted on Tue Aug 13th, 2019 @ 6:08pm by Cassandra Leblanc-Reed & Captain Jane Saulitis

Mission: For Whom The Bell Tolls
Location: Diplomatic Offices / Lounge
Timeline: MD06, 1130 hours

Cassie stretched in her chair, finally taking her eyes off the screen she had been staring at. She had been so focused on the Claddin dossier - researching, consulting with Lieutenant Tadez, cross-referencing information, looking up and memorizing common phrases in the native languages - since early morning, she had completely forgotten to eat. Even her bowl of café au lait lay cold on her desk.

She rose from her chair and did a couple of sun salutations in her office, if only to get some blood flowing. She heard her stomach roar while she was stretching.

"Je sais, je sais (I know, I know)," she muttered to herself. "Food."

She grabbed a PADD and placed the bowl of coffee back in the replicator as she exited her office, and told Jennifer where she was off to in case anyone came looking.

A few moments later, she entered the lounge, and Cassie's stomach growled so loud that she could have sworn everybody present had heard it. She ordered waffles and large fruit salad along with a new café au lait, and then sat at a high table to eat her meal and read her novel.

It was only after a few moments that she noticed a man napping on one of the nearby couches. She had the distinct feeling that she had met him before, but couldn't place where. She managed to keep most of her attention on her food and her book, but would occasionally cast a glance at the sleeping man. Where had she seen him before?

Alta yawned and curled himself into a chair in the lounge. He could go back to his quarters but that wasn't any fun. There wasn't anyone to watch there and he had a lot of things on his mind. If he were alone he might start fretting about what actually happened with Mariame and himself. And then there was Hak. He still didn't know how that was going to turn out or if this . . . . whatever it was, was even going to continue. Glancing around he locked eyes with a young woman who appeared to be staring at him. He broke the eye connection thinking she'd probably just been looking about herself. But when he turned his head and looked back at her, she was still staring. He wasn't going to do anything about it, if she wanted to talk she was going to have to come to him.

Cassie looked away and blushed as she caught the man catching her staring. She debated to herself whether to satisfy her curiosity or not, then decided the worst thing that could happen would be an awkward moment. She could definitely survive that.

She finished her meal, tucked her novel under her arm, and placed her empty plate in the replicator on her way to approach the object of her curiosity. "Hi, I didn't mean to be rude earlier. It's just that you look so familiar. Have we met before?" she asked with a pleasant tone.

"I don't believe so." He looked at her carefully and could discern no features that he recognized. But to be polite he held out his hand. "Alta Saulitis. You're not in uniform. Are you a member of the crew or an officer?"

"Cassie Leblanc," she responded, shaking Alta's hand. "I'm the diplomatic detachment's civilian member. Hence the lack of uniform." Indeed, she was wearing a navy knee-length, cap-sleeved dress, paired with nude pumps.

She recognized the surname: it wasn't a common one, after all. "Father of the bride, I presume?"

"Yes, thought I better start using my last name again after the last fiasco. Ah, that explains it, about the uniform. A civilian diplomat on a starship, how intriguing. How did you manage that?" He would wait a bit to tell her about his career, he wanted to know more about her first.

"Well," Cassie started, her lips curling up in a smirk, "Last year, Starfleet decided to open up a civilian position on the Majestic since it knew she would soon get refitted. I guess they saw it as a chance to try something new, something different. In any case, I thought it was too good an opportunity to pass up, so I applied. Countless people did, or so I'm told."

She took a sip of her coffee, keeping eye contact with Alta. "To be fair, I never expected to get selected for the first round of interviews, let alone the position. I was only a few years out of university, and my mentor in Paris had recently started sending me out on the field on my own. Starfleet could have just as easily picked someone with more years of experience than I've been alive." Although, she thought, including those few letters of recommendation and a copy of the second edition of her published Master's thesis probably helped. But she wasn't about to reveal all her secrets, was she?

"So what's this about a fiasco? What happened, if it's not too bold to ask?" She had picked up on the tidbit during the conversation, and it had piqued her curiosity.

Alta looked a little bit sheepish which was out of character for him. "Uh, well, I sort of started flirting with a pretty young lady who started talking to me and it turned out she didn't know who I was. Makes a man feel a bit old when you have to admit your daughter is the Captain of the starship you're currently flying on. Made a bit of a fool of myself in good company. Ah well, wasn't the first time and I'm sure it won't be the last. Sorry, where are my manners? Did you want to join me?"

Cassie gratefully sat down. What was she thinking this morning, choosing four-inch heels like these? She could barely stand in them for more than a few minutes a time. "I can imagine how that could be a bit embarrassing," she offered.

She took the time to study him: his features, his voice. There was something that looked...oh. "I think I remember now. I could be wrong, but someone gave a guest lecture at the University of Alpha Centauri a few months after the Hobus Incident. Could that have been you?" she asked, hopeful that she was right.

"Yes," Alta said surprised. Although he'd made his way up the ranks in Starfleet, Diplomats were not all that well known despite being treated fairly well by the fleet. "That was me. You were there? Or just heard the lecture?"

Cassie was overjoyed at the news. Not only had she correctly remembered, but she was now sitting in front of the man who had given the best lecture she had ever heard at university. She fought to keep her calm, but could feel herself blushing from excitement. "I did my undergrad and Master's in Political Science and Linguistics there. I must say, that lecture inspired so much of my thesis, I think I quoted it five times in the conclusion alone. It has been that influential. I sincerely want to thank you for that," she said, gushing. It wasn't often she dropped her composure like that, but it was completely deserved on this occasion.

"Oh," Alta was more than amused by her enthusiasm. "Here I thought no one every paid attention to me. What was your thesis?"

"Oh, it doesn't have a fancy title. How Language and Culture Run Parallel to Romulan Politics ."

"Sometimes simple is best." He nodded his approval. "Well I'm glad to have met you Cassie." He took a sip of his drink. "Would you like to have dinner? Just as friends," Alta clarified, his face going a bit red after the last incident.

"I would be delighted to," Cassie responded. "My schedule's pretty full today, but I think I can clear up something for tomorrow, let's say back here around 1800-ish?"

"Done." He sensed this meeting was about to be over but she hadn't moved just yet.

"Great, I'll see you then. It was a pleasure, Mister Saulitis," Cassie said, rising from her chair. She needed to get back to work. That mediation wasn't going to prepare itself, after all. However, fi she had arrived grumpy and hungry, she was leaving with just that extra skip in her high-heeled step.

"Have a good afternoon," he nodded and watched her walk out of the lounge. Jane was going to kick him off this ship if he didn't stop making connections with all of the women on here. Course the situation with Lily and now with Cassie was innocent enough but as soon as Jane heard about Mariame he had a feeling she'd think otherwise about his two new friendships. It was going to be a long trip.

Cassandra Leblanc-Reed
Diplomatic Officer

Alta Saulitis
Former Diplomat/Jane's Father


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