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Squeeze

Posted on Sat Aug 17th, 2019 @ 2:15pm by Captain Jane Saulitis & Lieutenant Lilith Sullivan

Mission: For Whom The Bell Tolls
Location: USS Majestic, Arboretum
Timeline: MD07, 0700

A facsimile of early morning sunlight filtered through the canopy of the trees in the ship's arboretum. Under the watchful supervision of PO Chara, the environmental system on the Majestic duplicated the humidity and lighting conditions needed to keep the flora happy and healthy. Between two trees overlooking a small water feature, a hammock was strung with one occupant lazily passing the early morning hours by. A quiet but pleasant singing voice emanated from the occupant, just barely audible above the sound of the water trickling over the rocks below.

"So long ago, I don't remember when
That's when they say I lost my only friend
Well they said she died easy of a broken heart disease
As I listened through the cemetery trees..
"

Alta cleared his throat politely, obviously she hadn't heard the doors open. He was holding two travel cups of coffee to which he'd added just a tad bit of sugar and cream since he didn't know how she liked it. "Good morning Lily." He held up both cups. "I come in peace and with an apology for my behavior the other night." She really was kind of majestic though, hanging out in a hammock in the arboretum and singing. Some people just shined brighter than others, he observed.

"Ah, hello there Mister Saulitis, fancy meeting you here this morning," Sullivan looked over at the source of the approaching voice. "I accept your apology," she continued, swinging one leg over the other in order to sit up in the hammock. "There's been all kinds of strange, inexplicable things going on all over this ship, some of which I'm sure you've heard about through the grapevine. Anyway, what's in the cup?"

"Alta, please. And this is coffee, a little bit of cream and sugar since I wasn't sure how you liked it." He handed it off, keeping his distance. "Did you sleep here all night? Chickens didn't bother you? I've heard they're quite friendly. But whoever heard of chickens on a starship?" He shook his head as he sipped his coffee.

"Thank you Alta, this is probably the first cup of many that it's gonna take to get me through today," Sullivan mused, taking a small sip. "First cup of the day, best cup of the day, right?" she grinned before looking towards the walkway through the trees. "Care to take a walk with me?"

He shrugged. "Sure." Actually, it she was comfortable enough he had something he wanted to bring up. He was hoping she might be discreet but it was too early to begin the subject just yet. "Heard you tried to catch the streaker last night."

Lily peered out from under the hood of her jacket, taking another sip of coffee to buy herself some time to formulate her answer. "Well yeah, about last night," she had decided to take a head on approach, "it was a crazy time. Yeah, we tried to catch the streaker," she nodded before shaking her head. "The rumors on this ship man, I gotta tell you - how did you figure out so quickly?"

"My daughter is the Captain . . . and surprisingly for the size of the Majestic, news travels fast. Don't worry about it. You didn't do anything wrong and people love to talk. Speaking of . . . . I'm sure there are a lot of rumors floating around about me. I umm . . . wanted to ask you something if you don't mind helping out an old man? I guess you probably heard about Mariame and I?"

"Boy, you really don't like to beat around the bush, do you?" Lily laughed. "I'm listening, what can your ol' pal Lilith do for you?"

He grinned. "I just don't know what to do. Been a long time since I had a date with a woman and well, I sort of woke up not remembering anything. Not to mention she's Betazoid so she knows everything I'm thinking. How does one deal with that? You probably don't have the answers either." He wiped his face with his free hand. "There's something going on here. This ship has everyone going crazy."

"Whoa, whoa, whoa, first of all, I'm gonna stop you right there," Sullivan held up a hand, a wry smile stretching across her lips. "Women always know what men are thinking. It's really not that hard. Second of all, holy crap the rumors are true, huh? Good thing you didn't settle for little ol' me then," Sullivan giggled. "I can't really answer the medical part of the mystery, but at the end of the day, if you feel like you're making the right decision and you two are on the same page, then why not? It's a beautiful thing when you allow yourself to stay in the moment. When circumstances change, then maybe it'll be time to reassess."

"I just need to talk to her I think." He let out a big sigh. "Sorry . . as I said it's been a long time. You haven't found a romance on the ship yet? How about that streaker fellow?" He grinned, happy to get the conversation off his worries again.

"You know honestly, I'm more open to it than I've been at any other point in my career, but the right person hasn't come along yet. Also, a lot of people on this ship are already spoken for. Can't help but think that starts from the top. The wedding sort of has everyone thinking about things that career officers usually don't have time to think about," Lily explained before taking her final sip of coffee. Their journey had circled around the arboretum back to where they started in front of the water feature. Sullivan frowned at the sight of the unoccupied hammock.

"Doesn't matter though," she continued, "I'm going to be dead of sleep deprivation long before any of that. Even something as peaceful as a hammock next to a burbling stream didn't do the trick. I'm starting to get desperate."

"You should try my room. When I'm not there of course. The bed is one of the most comfortable I've ever slept on and you won't be disturbed there. I can sleep elsewhere. I think you need to take a day and try to rest. We don't need you flying us into any asteroids."

Lily idly juggled her now empty coffee cup in a feat of sleight of hand, mulling over the idea.

"Thank you Alta, you know, I might just take you up on that. And um," she hesitated for a second, "could I ask you for a favor? You can say no after I tell you what I'm asking for."

"Sure, I'll do anything I can." He was really curious now. He still had a few Starfleet connections if it was something to do with her career and although he hadn't observed her flying skills he could ask Jane what she thought.

"You have no context for any of this, but it's been such a mental struggle for me the last few days. When I do sleep, I'm constantly being reminded in dreams about what is quite literally the worst day of my life; it's part of why I can't," she paused again. "Please, will you give me a hug?"

Alta blinked but there was no way, as awkward as it might be, that he could refuse that request. He didn't answer with words, he just pulled her to him. "You know," he said softly with his arms wrapped around her. "There are counselors on board. But if you didn't want to see them, you can tell me anything I won't repeat a word of it."

"This is helping," she sobbed into his shoulder, letting the emotions flow as freely as the stream beside her. "I'm sorry Alta, I'm just really emotional. Probably from the lack of sleep, but thank you," she pulled her arms back down to her side. "Yes, you're probably right. Medicine can only do so much, it might be time to just talk about it."

"Come with me. We're going back to my quarters. We're going to get you a glass of warm milk and sit you down for a little talk and then you are going to sleep the day away with strict orders not to be disturbed. Here, I'll help you pick up your stuff."

"Oh Alta, you're so kind to offer but I can't put you out of room and board like that - it isn't fair," her eyes met his. "Plus, my rotation on the bridge starts soon. We're already a little short staffed from other pilots dealing with this same illness, I... I can't miss a shift."

"Jane can fly the ship if she needs to. I'm serious Lily, I'm worried about you. Take a day and rest. You won't do anyone any good when you're exhausted." He held out a hand hoping she'd at least follow him. "And I don't mind a bit. I'll sleep on Jane's couch."

Wiping a tear from the corner of her eye, Lily took a deep breath before halfheartedly throwing her hands up in the air. She walked towards him, finally arriving at the same conclusion that her usefulness was limited in her current condition. "Yeah, you're probably right," she admitted, pulling her hood down over her face in embarrassment. "I'm sorry you're having to deal with this - with me. I swear I'm not usually such a mess."

"We all lose it at least once in our lives. Not that I think you've completely lost it." Alta chuckled. "I'm going to shut up now before my mouth gets me in trouble. You just need someone to lean on. Lucky for me I don't mind wet faced pilots who push themselves too hard. Follow me." He went to exit the arboretum with her in tow.

"Oh dammit!" Lily blurted out as they entered the corridor. "Honestly, I'd forget my head if it wasn't attached. Look at this," she extracted a hypo from the inside pocket of her jacket. "Doctor Sekat whipped this up for me yesterday to take after my shift, and I forgot about it. It's a sleep aid, but honestly, I'm glad I didn't take it. I loathe the idea of having to take something to get to sleep. That opens a lot of doors I'm not ready to go through."

"Well, if nothing else works, I would at least consider it. But you should try my room first. As I said, it's the most comfortable bed I've ever slept on." They took the turbolift in relative silence and once outside his quarters he gestured for her to enter first.

"I should take a picture and send it to Miss Wells, she'd love this," she laughed, keying her entry into the room. "Oh actually, hold on," Sullivan retrieved her PADD and tapped a few commands into the scheduling software. "There, now it's official. I'm starting to appreciate the decision to get off of a carrier more and more, because the opportunities to take a personal day were far and few between."

Looking around the room, she was impressed by the length that the interior designers of the Majestic-class had gone to in order to help fulfill its diplomatic mission. Everything was well thought out and designed to be a functional space, but at the same time, a closer eye revealed the modular underpinnings that most modern starship designs shared. In short, the crew on the Majestic would be able to change the rooms around to accommodate guests and make them comfortable regardless of whatever "comfort" meant to that particular individual.

"Wow, looks like I need to buddy up to Ops and ask about some upgrades," Lily emitted a low, long whistle. Her eyes settled on the freshly made bed. "Or maybe I should just steal the mattress."

"I won't tell anyone." He made a criss cross motion on this chest. "Anyway, make yourself at home. I should probably just grab a few things and let you get settled. He moved around her and picked up a few essential items that it would be easier just to take rather than replicate again. "Need anything before I go?"

"I was promised milk."

Alta raised his eyebrows in clear amusement and then laughed. "Yes ma'am." He set his stuff down in a chair and then went to the replicator. "Milk, fifty five degrees celsius. He returned to her in the bedroom. "This might be a bit warm so be careful. Enjoy the room, pamper yourself, sleep well." He bowed slightly and then turned around to gather up his things again.

"Thank you Alta. Somehow, I feel better about your daughter being my CO. If the apple fell anywhere close to the tree, we're in good hands," Lily smiled, placing the glass carefully on the nightstand before rushing forward to give the man another hug. "You've helped more than you can know. You should've been a counselor you know."

"You're very welcome." Maybe it was a bit too forward but he only meant it affectionately when he kissed the top of her head. "Diplomacy, counselor, same thing really." He smiled as he broke the hug and turned to leave the room. "Night Majestic Lily." Alta said, using the nickname she'd created for herself on the night they'd met.




Lieutenant Lily Sullivan
Got Her Hug
CFCO

Alta Saulitis
Jane's Dad/Former Professional Hugger

 

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