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Evening Buffet

Posted on Thu Nov 26th, 2020 @ 6:00am by Captain Kelly O'Connor & Lieutenant JG T'Pruk & Lieutenant Commander Archibald (Archie) Gates & Lieutenant Glenn Radars & Lieutenant Dacia Stallworth & Lieutenant JG Brian Pendragon & Lieutenant JG Cara Ross & Lieutenant JG John Adams

Mission: Mission 8 - A Blast from the Past
Location: Conference Room
Timeline: 2296/03/06 1700

Archie had spent the last few days trying to organise a little social event for the senior officers at the behest of Captain O’Connor. Now, with people due to start arriving at any moment, Archie was pleased with the work he and the ships caterers had done. The food spread was colourful, fresh and looked yummy. Various different wines, spirits and beers had been acquired from different sources on the station and some soft Jazz played nicely in the background. He hoped everyone approved of the work he’d done.

He was ready for a fun evening ahead and hoped for some more interaction with Cara. He suddenly realised he was still in uniform when the door swished open.

O'Connor strutted into the room. Rather than being in uniform, she was in a glossy emerald dress that stopped short of her knees. She wore some emerald pumps that raised her height a couple of inches. It was a surprisingly feminine look for the otherwise tough captain. She headed straight for the Commander, as she listened to the jazz playing. "A tad old fashioned, no?"

“I thought it relaxing and set a good mood.” Archie replied with a shrug. “Feel free to change it though.”

"And what mood are we setting?" O'Connor asked, a mischievous grin sneaking onto her face.

“A chilled one, I thought?” Archie replied with a shrug.

"Sometimes you're no fun, Commander," O'Connor replied with a scoff.

Gates wasn’t sure whether to take that as a compliment or not. In his youth a gathering like this meant two things, heavy rock music and getting shitfaced. Perhaps he was starting to show some maturity after all.

Brian entered the Conference Room and, seeing the company - and the dress code - very nearly turned around to walk straight out again. A party with the senior staff. Another chance to feel small and awkward, surrounded by the people who could make or break his career. What was he even doing here? His new Department Head was already invited, so what on earth did they want him there for? Maybe he had misunderstood and he was actually on tech duty, ensuring the music system was running correctly...

Seeing that Brian had entered the room, O'Connor's crooked grin widened. "Pendragon! Come on over here! We need to have a chat."

"And so it begins..." thought Brian. "Yes, Captain?" he attempted to sound vaguely cheery.

"Ticker tape has been raving about you again. Something about you and Lieutenant T'Pruk. Don't worry. I don't believe a minute of it," O'Connor told the young Lieutenant. "Have you had the opportunity to talk with Commander Gates at all?

"Actually we have spoken, through my quarters door." Archie said with a smile. "Thank you again for getting it sorted. It wasn't exactly the best start to my time aboard America but hopefully things are on the up."

That blasted ticker tape. Brian loathed it. Whoever was contributing to it seemed to delight in stirring things up, especially about him. Why they couldn't talk about someone actually interesting, he had no idea. Shaking his head, he remembered he had been spoken to and shouldn't be frowning - it was supposed to be a convivial evening.

"Oh, you're very welcome," he replied. "The doors can be a bit... well... I had a bit of a time with my own not long ago." He spent the next few minutes describing how many different tests he had performed on it and how many intricate components he had replaced when he spotted that telltale glazing over of his audience's eyes and figured he'd better cut to the chase. "... so yes, I am more experienced with door issues than most."

Being well aware of the engineer's issues, O'Connor stifled a snicker.

"Well I appreciate the effort you made. It's like new now." Archie replied with a smile.

Brian blushed. Doors were complex beasts, but they weren't rocket science. Being complimented for something that was, let's face it, his day job was rather embarrassing, but nevertheless he accepted it with good, if stumbling, grace.

"Um... Thank you..." before hastily adding, "Sir!"

O'Connor turned to Brian and said, "Well, now that you have formally met, perhaps you can enjoy yourself at these festivities."

"I wouldn't mind sharing a drink with the man who fixed my door. Saved me crawling through the tubes again when I finished my shift." Gates replied with a small chuckle.

"Didn't you hear, Commander? Our Engineer prefers felines!" O'Connor smirked at Pendragon and winked at Gates.

Oh for goodness sakes. Would he never live that down? Anyone else would have a snappy comeback about how much of a lady-magnet they were, but all he could do was shuffle his feet and stammer.

"That... that wasn't actually m... my..." but by that point, he couldn't even word. Explaining it would take too long and wasn't really suitable for a party atmosphere, so why even say anything. What was it his mum said? Least said, soonest mended?

O'Connor gave Brian a pat on the back. "Don't worry, Brian. We won't tell on you.

At that point, the doors opened again, revealing the shocking red hair of Cara Ross. She'd done it up with a side braide, and had chosen to wear something a bit nicer than she might otherwise be comfortable in. An outfit made of of layers of lace with a more solid bodice done in varying depths of black. It had been a gift from a dear friend and Cara thought it appropriate for the night. Of course, what might be slightly, possibly more distracting was the fact that she was accompanied by the ships new Security Chief, whom had offered to 'escort' her to the event.

"Well, well!" O'Connor told her XO and Pendragon. "Look who has decided to join the party!"

Gates swallowed hard as he saw Cara gracefully walk into the conference room. She looked absolutely stunning. The First Officer definitely felt out of place still being in uniform, he’d hoped to have gotten changed before people started to arrive. But then he noticed she was on the arm of the Security Chief and clenched his fists for a moment. He needed to play it cool and not be an idiot or more to the point break the security chief's nose.

John, wearing a pair of jeans, a dress shirt, boots and a jacket, walked in next to Cara, his hand placed on the small of her back. He smiled at the people in the room, while keeping an eye on the XO, who seemed rather.....pissed that she was here with him. Can't say that I blame him.

Oh dear thought Cara, not entirely unware of the sudden exchange between the two men. Swallowing, and squaring her shoulders, Cara flashed a quick smile to the Captain. "I hope we're not too late. I thought this," she pointed at her hair, "would be a great idea, and I forgot how bloody annoying it is to actually do. So that's on me."

"No, no. You're just fine," O'Connor replied, wondering whether her XO or Chief Security Officer was going to take the first swing. "And to think that I thought people would be shocked to see me in a dress...." O'Connor chuckled. "Still no word on new orders. But we're having this party, so I'm betting something will come through sooner rather than later. Orders always seem to ruined any relaxation."

John went and got Cara a drink and brought it over to her. He handed it to her, then leaned over and kiss her cheek.

Gates cleared his throat loudly, “Please excuse me, the time ran with and need to go and change into something a little more comfortable.” ’And down a bottle of vodka and smash the bottle over Adam’s head.’ He thought to himself as he smiled at everyone before making his exit.

An interesting reaction, O'Connor thought to herself. If he does not come back soon, I will have to check on him. "We will see you soon, Commander," O'Connor told her XO. "Good work."

Brian blinked. He got the distinct feeling he had witnessed two different conversations. The gritted teeth and body language definitely weren't fitting the content of the conversations. Still, these were his seniors and it wasn't his place to... well... yeah, just wasn't, so he wouldn't.

Once Gates left, O'Connor asked Cara, "So how long has this been a thing?" she completely ignored John in the question.

Shooting John a dirty look, Cara turned back to the captain, "It's not entirely a thing. About a day. Lt. Adams asked if I'd come with him to this over coffee yesterday afternoon." She wiggled the glass in her finger tips. "He's delightfully polite." Now, do i tell her that the XO suggested dinner the night he showed up on the ship?

Snickering, O'Connor asked, not believing a word that Cara said, "Is that what we're calling it, eh?"

"Maybe I should get myself a drink and let you ladies talk about me." John turned and went to the bar and got a beer.

Stallworth came through the door with little flourish; the Black Cocktail dress with bodice top had a few embellishments within the Beading of the bodice, the flair of the skirt and her black gloves to the elbow. The pearls around her neck were brilliant as was the bracelet oh her left side. Her hair was down with the left side swept up and held in place by a silver Pearl Inlay comb.

She crossed towards the Captain waiting to make eye contact. "I hope I am not Tew late?" she asked. "You know a bad hair day always on Party Night?"

O'Connor smiled at her Doctor, amused by her Southern charm. "Not late at all. I hear it is fashionable, anyways."

Latching onto that notion, Cara nodded in vehement agreement, holding the glass that the Sec chief had given her. He'd chosen well, and she raised it in a silent toast to Adams, before addressing the Doctor. "I'll second that notion doc. Hair always gives you grief before a party."

O'Connor touched her own thick red hair and said, "Something has to have enough personality to match the person, no?"

Brian caught a glimpse of himself on a shiny surface. Yup, his hair still looked like he'd had a run-in with a Van de Graaf generator. Good thing he wasn't enough of a catch for it to matter. He decided it would be worth heading for the bar before anyone's attention turned to him.

John walked back to Cara. Looked at her, the captain and the doctor. "Is it safe for a man to rejoin this trio of ladies?" He looked at the doctor. "Keeping up with the exercises, doctor?"

The Captain scoffed at John, "I'm no lady." She gave him a smirking crooked grin. "And nobody would claim safety near me."

"Practice I am told one day make perfect." Stallworth replied with a grin. "They do keep me limber and all yew know?"

Cara had to concede the captains' point there and raised a glass again in silent toast. She let John stick close, her hip gently bumping his as she spoke to the Doctor. "Worked up a new exercise regime?"

"I have taken my first lessons in the Martial Arts." Stallworth replied with a smile and her accent. "I am finding I hurt in muscles I had no idea outside of medical text book I had." She laughed lightly. "It will take some discipline and I think it will be quite fun once I get the basics down."

"I was in the gym, doing my daily workout routine, when the good doctor arrived. I offered to teach her some basic exercises and self defense moves. She picked them up quickly." John enjoyed Cara hip bumping him, so he put an arm around her waist, keeping her close to him. Then he looked at her, "Maybe I can show you some of the same moves."

O'Connor looked at the Doctor with new interest. "Had I known that you were interested in martial arts, Doctor, I would have happily taught you. Perhaps you were not aware that I started on this ship as a lowly security officer...."

"Uh-ohhh," Cara drew the word out theatrically, fighting back a giggle. "You've got some big shoes to fill then, John," she noted to the current Sec Chief.

Not having been terribly impressed with the Chief Security Officer when he arrived, O'Connor had to wonder what Cara saw in him. The fact that she was ribbing him, though, continued to win her bonus points. "I doubt he could fit into my shoes or walk in high heels," she replied smirking back at her fellow redhead.

Covering up a giggle, the science officer shrugged her shoulders. "To be fair, I've met very few men that can handle high heels. They're out there though. There was this one bar in San Francisco."

"Maybe our Chief Security Officer would like to become familiar with it?" O'Connor replied grinning.

'Lowly security officer.' 'Couldn't walk in her shoes.' She didn't know him, she read his file....commendations, excellent rating reviews from his department head, the first officer and the captain..awards for bravery.....dedication to duty.
He was getting tired of her riding him.
Adams looked at the captain. "I serve at the pleasure of the captain. If the captain is not pleased with my performance or my background..then the captain has the authority to transfer that officer.....and the sooner the better."
He looked at Cara. "I think it's time we leave, please."

"oh, Hell," Cara said, slightly under her breath, face flushing a bit. She was now caught in between a rock and hard place and sure looked it.

What a wimp! O'Connor thought to herself. She wondered what her fellow redhead saw in this guy.

A rock and a hard place and not one she wanted to be in. She pinched her brow for a moment and leaned in, to whisper to the officer. "Hey, easy there. if you want to leave I'll see you out and safely back, but I was looking forward to getting to know all the officers. I'd be coming back."

O'Connor gave Cara an approving nod. "Perhaps I should go and torture Mr. Pendragon again," O'Connor told them both.

From the other side of the room, Brian's spider sense started tingling. He wondered if there might be a convenient distraction that would enable him to hide somewhere - perhaps under the table. Anywhere out of torture range.

As she started to leave, "My oh my." Stallworth giggled. "I was only interested in the discipline of a Martial Study and the way it works out the body." She shook her head. "I am happy to continue with my present ... Sensai is it?" She tried to get the terms right. "But I am always willing to learn more Captain and I am sure we could have some tea after you throw me about?"

"If you wish, Doctor. Though, generally, I prefer throwing men about," O'Connor replied with a haughty laugh as she directed Stallworth and herself away from Cara and Adams

"Please call me Dottie." She suggested. "And Ah can think of other things to do with a man than throw him around." Stallworth smiled. "But then Ah also do not mind playing with a man; every little ole kitten likes a play toy don't you all think ?"

"As you wish Doc, eh, Dottie. But finding a good man is not something that often happens. There are so few that are worthy," O'Connor told the Doctor.

"Hence the play things." Stallworth said. "I dew not mean being a tease but playing with them as in enjoying time with them ; like training in a Martial Arts. Men like that sort of ting and to them is fun and games so I play along and make a friend. If a man comes along and we have fun to point he wants more at least I have an idea of what he has to offer at the beginning." She shrugged. "Men are such frail creatures when it comes to us sometimes and I find playing along with them is easier."

"I don't have time for that sort of nonsense. I've always been very direct. I take what I want. Though, I must admit that men I usually end up with drive me out of my mind or somehow very unique...." O'Connor sighed. "I can't stand wimpy men either. Someone has to be able to stand up to me to earn respect."

"Why Miss O'Connor, AH do believe you have taken to wearing the slacks in a relationship." Stallworth teased. "You need a man strong enough to make you want to wear a dress instead." She winked. "That is a high standard now of days; like trying to find a gentleman in more than just foreplay, a gentleman to the core can be just as difficult to find."

"Who said anything about wanting a gentleman?" O'Connor replied with a devilish grin.

"A rogue can be fun for the short term but AH am more one for substance, and rock hard abs myself." Stallworth replied to the Captain. "I am just one who has standards and is well worth the pur-suit."

"I don't need a rogue, either. But, my dear doctor, when I want something, I go and get it."

"I have been known to make it known they have permission to pursue." Stallworth told. "I just have not really found one that is worth of my pursuing rather than being pursued." It was an admission, then spotting a rather dashing Officer. "I dew call dibs on the Blonde with the shoulders Captain." She smiled and started towards what could be an interesting looking man.

Once the captain left, he turned back to Cara. "I'll stay, though I don't know why or how long I'll be on this ship."

Crisis averted for the moment the, redheaded science officer let out a wuff of air.

John looked at Cara. "Well...that was fun." he said sarcastically.

It had taken Archie long than he'd have liked to get to his quarters, get showered and changed, and back to the buffet. As soon as he entered the room he made a beeline for Cara. "You are looking lovely this evening?" He said with a smile, completely ignoring Adams.

The night kept getting better and better. She didn't quite jump when the XO returned, but now she was quite literally stuck in between the two officers that had both insisted she join them for a dinner at different points over the past few days. "Why thank you, sir. Everyone here seems to have cleaned up rather nicely." Honest truth. They all looked pretty damn good tonight.

"Yes, everything and everyone seems to be going nicely, commander." John said. He had his hand around her waist, this saying ~she belongs to me~.

"No need for the 'sir', we're off duty." Archie said again completely ignoring Adams. "How's the evening been for you? I hope you've enjoyed some of the company here."

Yes, Cara was able to see how this was shaping out and wondered how quickly she might bolt over to the Captain. No, that wans't going to happen and she knew it. Oh well, nothing else for it, she grinned and shrugged her shoulders. "Its been an interesting evening so far. A tad touch and go and its always so nice to see new people getting along."

"It is, isnt it. Can I get you another drink? Looks like that ones almost done with." Archie asked.

"I'll have a beer, thank you." He knew the commander wasn't going to bring it. So he just stood next to Cara, his hand still around her waist.

The words of an old song played in Cara's mind, 'here I am, stuck in the middle with you', feeling the hand on her hip and the tension between Archie and John. Well, there were worse situations to be in, she mused, and did her best to soldier on with a flattering smile. "Yes please I'd be happy with another."

John looked at Archie. "While you get the drinks, we'll be dancing." John led Cara to the dance floor and took her in his arms.

And suddenly Cara was dragged off, scampering to keep up. The music was steady and easy to dance to and it wasn't as if she objected in principle. Sucking in a breath, she muttered, "Do be careful. He might launch you out a torpedo shaft. Getting under the XO's skin is never a good idea." It didn't help matters that the young Caldosian genuinely thought highly of the XO - he'd made a great first impression.

John looked at her. "Is that concern for my safety I hear? You're worrying about me?" He smiled. "If he comes for me, he'll have a fight on his hands, and I have people looking out for me as well." He held her close as they danced. "Did I say how lovely you look tonight?"

"You may possibly have mentioned something earlier. Maybe," she teased a bit, forcing herself to relax. "And its concern for the ship. I'm still getting to know most of you new lot, but you'r all rather promising and I'd hate to have the ship short changed over me." There was an earnest note in her voice - she meant it, she did genuinely think both John and Archie would be good for the America.

"Well, maybe, if someone gets short changed, maybe it might be better for the ship overall...you know....get rid of the ones that can't do the job....as ranchers on Earth used to 'might be time to cull the herd.' John made sure they were within eye sight of the commander. "How about a little kiss?"

Cara reached up and tapped a finger against her lips, and then his, in lieu of an actual kiss. "Maybe later. Behave and we shall see."

"Behave? I've been nothing, and always am, a perfect gentlemen, as you saw on our date." He smiled at her.

"So," he looked at her, "what's the plan for the third date?"

"If we make it through tonight without managing to get booted of the ship, i'll think up something."

John twirled her. "I can't wait."

Archie's blood boiled. He really wanted to grab one of the nearby wine bottle and smash it over the smug Lieutenant's head. Instead he retreated back to the Captain. "Want a whiskey?"

The Captain had been chatting with the Southern Doctor and replied, "I never refuse whiskey." She looked at the XO curiously and then over to Cara and John dancing. Everything came clear. "Probably should get one for you too. How about you, Doctor?"

"I was getting the bottle for me. Doc?" Archie asked.

"Ah think a bottle of Whiskey iz a bit much." Stallworth smiled in her reply. "But a beer would due well thank yew."

"Not from where I'm standing." Archie said as he headed towards the bar. "I'll grab you that beer."

The doors of the conference room opened and the ships Chief Engineer wandered in, slightly shaky on his feet. He already had a glass bottle in his hand as he wandered in. "This gig started a while ago. Well, seems like I'm..." he paused to find the words. "Fashionably late" he grinned as he took a swig from the bottle.

"Oh hey, doctor girl, yeah... erm.. Stallworth?" he said wandering towards the chief medical officer. "You know, you're pretty cute ya know..."

"That is so nice of Yew to say." She gave him that Southern Smile. "And you are?"

"Seriously?" Glenn asked. "You did my physical not five hours ago. I'm the ships Chief Engineer..." he grinned. "So, how about a drink? Maybe I can show you whats in my toolkit later on; if you want..."

"Oh, that's right. The man who came to me to be allowed to lazy about in the Engine-Room. The one who is rumored to not be the Sharpest tool on the belt." She put her hand to her chest in surprise. "I am so sorry you were not more... memorable."

"But I thought women like lazy men who don't seem to think?" he asked with a grin. "However, you know. I save all the energy for the 'evening warp tests'" he winked.

"Those are Dry Dock tests aren't they?" She asked with an innocent expression. "When the ship is not working Wright?"

"Oh, I can assure you its working alright. Although, if its not. It only takes a pretty little thing like you to help with repairs? Get the anti-matter injector assembly nice and ready for warp eight baby" Glenn replied simply.

"Never inject anti-matter into any Life form would destroy it." She winked. "I think Yew might hurt yourself if you tried as I am a Southern Lady not a... thing.' Thank Yew very much."

Glenn burst out laughing. "You're right. I should have seen that one coming!". He laughed for a few more seconds. "Now, how about a drink. To the pretty doctor who I can't seem to talk to because she's smarter than me!"

"Since you asked so nice I would be glad to have a drink." She winked. "And I do not want to make more of a scene."

 

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