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Splish Splash

Posted on Sat Sep 14th, 2019 @ 8:52am by Lieutenant JG Sekat & Lieutenant Lilith Sullivan

Mission: For Whom The Bell Tolls
Location: USS Majestic, Holodeck 3
Timeline: MD08, 1900


USS MAJESTIC SAILS TOWARD DIPLOMATIC MISSION WITH CLADDIN EMPIRE


It wasn't exactly front page news, but the latest publication from the Federation News Network contained a small article detailing the Majestic's mission. Lieutenant Sullivan sat in a quiet booth within the Miliband Library, poring over the work of one of FNN's diplomatic journalists. She was still in uniform, partly because she had made a vow to herself to get accustomed to it, partly because she hadn't made it back to her quarters to change after her latest shift. Her only company at the moment was a steaming mug of tea, a switch from the normal caffeinated bean water that she consumed in vast quantities. All of the stops had been pulled out in the search for better sleep and more even keeled temperament. Results were inconclusive as of yet.

Noticeably missing in the article was any mention of the struggles that member of the crew were facing. It seemed likely that the journalist had submitted the work prior to any mention of the implants in the ship's official log.


"...the mission seems to be a tune up for the piecemeal crew assembled under the command of Captain Jane Saulitis. Perhaps a welcome respite after the troubles surrounding the ship's mission to Marga III. Regardless, barring any unforeseen circumstances, the mission looks primed for success as the ship continues to steam towards the negotiations with Claddin Empire..."


"Unforeseen circumstances, ugh," Lilith rolled her eyes before exhaling in a huff. She polished off the rest of the tea as she began to close out of the article on her PADD, but a blinking notification caught her attention before she stowed the device. A quick check of the message produced a shrug as a reaction, creating a short pause before she walked out of the library and into the corridor.

[Holodeck Three, 20 Minutes Later]

The faint smell of chlorinated water drifted through the air as the holodeck doors opened to admit Lilith. A quick stop at her quarters had resulted in a significant wardrobe change. Gone was the duty uniform, and in its place was cerulean two-piece swimsuit covered up by a loose t-shirt and cut-off shorts. A bag containing the rest of her belongings was slung over her shoulder. For the moment, Lily was alone.

Sullivan meandered her way poolside, laying her bag down on the ground before sitting on the edge of a nearby chair. She slowly shed the shirt and shorts combo before gracefully slipping into the pool. The earlier notification she had received in the library had gone out to the crew, informing them that the holodeck would be dedicated to providing a pool for any interested crewmembers for a few hours. Having been the first to arrive, Lily relished the opportunity to swim a few laps by herself before a few others started to arrive.

Though not an avid swimmer, Sekat did know how to as he had learned at a later age while attending the academy. He approached the pool, walking carefully on the wet surface, his cane making a soft tap tap sound as it supported him. Spotting a nearby bench, he removed the outer layer of his clothes, resting the cane carefully against his bag which he put next to his clothes.

He spotted a lone swimmer as he inched his way towards the steps, shivering as he lowered himself into the water. He seemed self conscious, aware of the scars that ran across his shoulder and leg.

A few meters away, Lily resurfaced from a dive, taking a moment to wrangle her hair into place with her hand. She looked over towards Sekat, concern written on her face as she looked over the remnants of what must have been a horrific injury or injuries. Still, it was encouraging to her that he was willing to be seen in public, especially in as public a setting as a pool.

"Hello doctor, good to see you again," Sullivan greeted, flashing a quick smile.

Turning, Sekat offered the faintest of smiles in return. "Lieutenant," he greeted, wading a little further into the water. "Enjoying the water?" He did notice that her choice of swim wear was suiting her, but out of politeness he didn't comment. It just didn't feel proper to him, especially not as he was in a committed relationship.

"Yes, very much so. Kudos to whoever in ops came up with this idea. Surprised that more people haven't showed up yet," she shrugged. As if on cue, the door opened and three people walked in. "Ah, well, it may be a party yet," she laughed.

Sekat looked past her for a moment, wading a touch deeper, allowing himself to get used to the cool water temperature. "A party, in a pool?" he queried, "how does that work?"

"Oh, it's not so different to any other kind of social gathering. The fact that it's taking place at a pool just provides a common activity for everyone to participate in," Sullivan explained, tilting her head to shake some water out of her ear. "Back at home, they have these pools with a lounge or bar floating in the center, but uh, I guess that's not exactly the best thing for everyone right now with all of this implant nonsense going on."

Lilith repositioned herself and made her way to shallower water so she could stand on the floor of the pool. Treading water was a rather strenuous aerobic exercise for her.

"How have you been, doctor? And please, you can call me Lilith or Lily if it suits you. There's no rank in a pool, as far as I'm concerned."

"I could be better," Sekat admitted, drawing circles through the water with his hands. "I have been in good company fortunately, for I do not believe I could be alone at night at the moment. " He paused, not really wanting to discuss himself. "I keep seeing my wife. How about you? How have you been?"

"I'm happy to hear that you've got someone in your corner helping you. That seems to be the best, uh, mitigation, for lack of a better term, for the side effects that I'm experiencing personally. I do have some good help with the emotional ups and downs, and for that, I am thankful. Otherwise, I'm trying to get as much sleep as I can. In fact, I was hoping to wear myself out by swimming."

"That was my thought too, though I am not a very good swimmer," the Vulcan answered softly, "Illogical as it may seem, I feel that exhaustion may well be a key to not seeing ghosts. What are your side effects, if I may ask?"

Sullivan paused for a moment, trying to recollect the events that had transpired over the past few days. "You know, compared to some, I've had it fairly easy. Loss of sleep, emotional swings, and a reduction in hand-eye coordination are the ones that I'm aware of. Granted, there may be more that I'm unaware of, but ignorance is bliss."

"I suppose at times ignorance is bliss," Sekat agreed, looking thoughtful. "Compared to some, my issue is easy too, but I do believe some cannot be compared. Emotional damage can be just as damning as physical damage. Lack of sleep can be remedied with medication, emotional swings may be too. I am not certain how to help with hand-eye coordination."

"Definitely. Mens sana in corpore sano was a phrase that a mentor of mine used to say a lot. The mind is just as important as the body," Lily nodded in agreement. "But enough talk about work, doctor. I'm fine - for the moment, anyway, I'm not your patient. If anything, I'm prescribing that you should take the opportunity to relax a little."

"Which is why I am here. Being in the water gives me a sense of weightlessness, and takes the strain off of my leg." Yet he made no move to make himself float, or even submerge himself. "I would have liked a little warmer water, however." Even his skin showed he was feeling cold.

A look of confusion spread on Lily's face as she tilted her head and took a moment to ensure she had heard him properly. "Well, you'll have to come further in than waist deep to get some weight off of that leg," she surmised with a raised eyebrow. "Come on," she beckoned, lazily paddling towards deeper water. "Come out here with me. There's plenty of room."

Sekat waded further, clearly not as confident in the water as he had led on. Yes he could swim, but he'd not been in a pool since shore leave. And it seemed as if the cold made him more sluggish as he walked out until he could no longer stand. He grimaced as he moved his legs to stay afloat, desperate to keep his face above water. "Perhaps, this is not such a good idea," he murmured as he shifted to lie on his back. "I am cold."

"Computer, raise the water temperature by five degrees."

As the adjustment was made, Lily swam closer to Sekat to be in his general vicinity just in case an intervention was needed after having observed his attempts to keep his head above water. "Is that any better? You can adjust it to be whatever temperature you'd like. Or perhaps you'd like to move over to the hot tub instead? It's much more therapeutic, and a lot warmer."

Casting her a grateful smile for her consideration, Sekat nodded. "That may well be a better idea," he said, already slowly swimming towards the shore, "will you assist me once we get out of the water? My cane is..." he nodded over to the other side. "There." Well out of reach.

"Of course," Sullivan replied. She swam over to the edge of the pool and quickly hoisted herself out of the water. She wrung out some of the water from her hair as she waited for Sekat to make his way to the steps. The low murmur of conversation quietened as she moved to help him out of the water. Lily shot a disgusted look in the general direction of a group whose members were occasionally glancing towards them.

"Ugh, don't pay them any mind doctor. Human curiosity is hard to quench. Scars like yours," she extended an arm for him to hold, "tell your life's story."

Taking her hand, he used her as leverage to hoist himself up and out of the water, then used it for support as the padded over to the whirlpool. "It may not be just me they are staring at," he suggested quietly, "you do not ah...have much cloth on you..."

"The thought crossed my mind. Not everyone is as much of a gentleman as you, that's for certain," Lilith smiled at Sekat as they stepped into the hot water. "Let them stare for all I care, I won't apologize for wearing this. Just like you don't have to apologize for anything. It's no different to me, if that even makes sense."

Breathing a sigh of relief at the hot water against his skin, Sekat eased himself down. "You should wear what makes you feel comfortable," he told her, "and I am a doctor, perhaps this allows me a different point of view. I have seen women in various stages of attire, including none at all. As a Vulcan, it does not bother me." Even though clearly he was capable of being embarrassed.

"Your body is your own. Do what you want," Lily nodded. She took another deep breath and closed her eyes in relaxation. When they reopened, she looked over at Sekat, stifling a laugh as if a telepath had told her a joke.

"You're a funny man in your own way, do you know that?" she giggled as she sank down into the swirling currents. "I believe you, but I also think your Vulcan sensibilities may not have transferred all the way to your body language, which definitely shows your human side to me. It's quite endearing."

"You are not Vulcan," he stated quietly, "therefore I see no reason for me to employ full control. I do not understand the humour, however. How am I funny?"

"Right there! That!" Lilith burst out in exclamation. "From my limited experience with you, I have found that you always have a way of saying things in a typical, Vulcan, calculated way. Sometimes the contrast with your facial expressions kinda makes me laugh," she explained. "It's in a good way, I promise."

"I do not know how else to say things," the Vulcan countered as he leaned back and allowed himself to float a little. This warm water was so much better than the stone cold big pool. "I was raised on Vulcan mostly, though I did travel with my parents as a child. Dealing with Human patients, however, taught me that it is best not to be.. all Vulcan.. with emotional species."

"Sounds like there's probably a story or two that taught you that, care to..." Sullivan was interrupted by an approaching figure who seemed to be making a beeline straight to the whirlpool. Without so much as an greeting, the young man plopped himself down next to Lilith. The resulting splash and disturbance in the water level caused her to recoil slightly.

"Dude," she shot the newcomer an icy glare. "What are you doing?"

"Hello Lieutenant, remember me?"

"Oh yeah, I remember you," Lilith looked him over, subconsciously sliding further away from him. "You're the guy that walked into my office a few days ago. A personal visit for a message that could have been easily delivered by PADD. I seem to remember you giving my uniform a thorough look over," she rolled her eyes.

"Yeah, about that," he began, "I came here with my friends, but when I saw you, I wanted to come over and apologize. Can I make it up to you somehow? Maybe let me take you on a date?"

"Wow, alright," Lily paused. "I'll give you credit Ensign..."

"Mathers."

"Alright, Ensign Mathers," she took a breath. "I accept your verbal apology, but you rudely interrupted our conversation. And no thank you to your offer."

"Oh, I see, is that your boyfriend?" Mathers turned towards the Vulcan doctor. "What's your name anyway? And what happened to your leg? Man, that's gnarly!"

Sekat first said nothing, allowing his companion the opportunity to settle this for herself. When the attention was turned to him, his expression was devoid of any emotion as he maneuvred himself back into a sitting position. "Please leave," he said calmly as he sat up further, purposefully hiding his lower body below the water surface. "My personal affairs are none of your concern."

"Okay, fine, I know when I'm not wanted," Mathers replied in a snide tone before turning his attention back to Lilith. "If you change your mind and decide you want a little more emotion in your life, come find me."

No response came. Lily remained stoic as she waited for Mathers to leave.

"I'm sorry you had to hear that doctor," she rubbed her temples in frustration. "I hope the others you have met on the ship thus far have had a little more tact."

"Others do not usually see the extent of my injuries," Sekat explained, his tone changing yet again. "In sickbay, I have an authority I do not employ while off duty, and on duty I am usually a little better dressed. However you should not be concerned, his rudeness towards me does not bother me in the slightest. I am however concerned about his behavior towards you and I am half inclined to alert security."

"I'm as unfazed by him as you are. Who knows, perhaps he is affected by an implant as well, you never know. I doubt a commissioned officer, even a new one like him, would make a habit out of making passes at senior officers. But thank you for your concern," Sullivan glanced over at Sekat. "Is the whirlpool helping? Are you feeling any better?" she asked in an attempt to change the subject.

"The warmth is helping," he aknowledged, reassuming a floating position, "and that is a fair assumption. Unless we resort to scanning everyone, we may just have to assume everyone is affected. Except, we cannot possibly know what is or is not normal behaviour for someone as the implants have a different effect on each individual."

"Indeed, but that topic on what's genuine and what isn't is where I'm running into a bit of a conundrum. Could I ask your advice on something?" Lily sat up straight.

Moving again to sit more upright, he turned his head to look at her. "Certainly," he answered, "though I cannot guarantee a suitable answer."

"It's okay. Sometimes it's better just to talk through it, you know?" Lilith lazily drew circles through the water with her hand as she collected her thoughts. "With these implants," she began, "I have feelings that I would normally perceive to be as genuine and tangible as it is possible for an emotion to be. But," Sullivan took a breath to collect herself, "I'm... scared for lack of a better word. Scared that the feelings I've developed for one person in particular might not be genuine. It wouldn't be fair to either of us. I'm not quite sure what to do."

"Emotions are a tricky subject for me," Sekat confessed, "however having feelings for someone is something I do understand. How do you feel when you are near this person, or when you are going to see this person again?"

"I'm happier around her, that's for sure. You know that term 'butterflies in the stomach', right? Well, it's kinda like that. It's one thousand percent a crush, I'm not denying that," Sullivan's expression brightened into a smile. "It feels real. I think it is. I just, well, I don't know. That's just how my brain works sometimes."

"Just speculating but.. how would you feel if you did not act on how you feel now?" Sekat gave her an intense look, studying her for a moment. "Would you have regrets?"

"It's a moot point now I guess. I already acted on it, and no, I don't have any regrets," she sighed, rubbing her temples. "This is going to sound very Vulcan out of context, but I'm hoping that I'm in control of my own emotions. I don't want this feeling to have been artificially engineered by whomever or whatever placed these chips in our heads."

"Somehow, I do not believe that genuine feelings can be engineered," Sekat mused, "true feelings will always prevail." He arched an eyebrow at her, corners of his mouth quirking up in a smirk. "How is that, coming from a Vulcan?"

"Unexpected, but appreciated," she smiled back at him. In a fit of spontaneity, Lilith playfully splashed a little water towards him. "Thanks for listening to me, doctor. I appreciate that you took the time, even if you didn't have much choice."

"There is always a choice," the Vulcan answered, scooping up a handful of water and splashing it back at her. "You just have to believe there is."

"Yeah, agreed," Sullivan grinned before standing up in the shallow water. "Well doctor, I'm going to go swim some laps and try to tire myself out a little more. Are you going to soak for a little longer? Just let me know when you're ready to get out, and I'll come back over and help."

"No I think I have had enough soaking, I should head back to sickbay. If you can help me out of this pool and give me my cane I am certain I can manage from there."

With a nod of acknowledgement, Lilith trudged through the water over to Sekat's side before squatting down to sling the man's arm around her shoulder. She helped him to his feet and together, they exited the whirlpool and walked carefully back to the poolside chairs where Sullivan had left her belongings earlier.

"Whoa, hey!" Lily stopped walking for a moment, volleying an errant beach ball back towards a group of friends in the pool. She waved with her unoccupied arm before continuing to the bench where Sekat's cane was resting.

"Here we are, doctor," she said as she slid out from under his arm. "Thank you again, you've been a great help to me ever since we first met. I hope to return the favor one day."

"Perhaps, in time," Sekat answered gratefully. He picked up his belongings and shuffled towards the change rooms.




Lieutenant Lilith Sullivan
Chief Flight Control Officer

Lieutenant j.g. Sekat
Medical Officer
pnpc Lhaes

 

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