((OOC: All thoughts very much IC.))=20
((Deck 2, XO's Office, USS Eagle))
Halfway into his fourth cup of coffee, Shayne had come to the realization t=
hat he ought to tone it down with the stuff. It wasn't that he didn=
't want more, or need it, but he was starting to see double. And th=
rough the bulkhead. He wasn't equipped to handle the obscene dosage=
s he was shoving down his throat- indeed, he'd seen what coffee add=
icts went through without their fix, and it had spurred him toward eschewin=
g the most common asset of wakefulness. He was still somehow tired, though,=
and he was left both slouched over and vibrating internally. It was strang=
The chime on the door startled him, and he composed himself quickly. He hat=
ed that damn tone.=20
Shayne: Yeah, come on in!
The door slid open, and Shayne's scrutinizing eyes, reminiscent of =
some dragon keeping a close watch on an invader that might be out for his t=
reasure, immediately softened upon catching sight of the flaming red brilli=
ance that passed through the threshold. He leaned backward, intertwining hi=
s fingers as he observed Ash MacKenna's movements. They were=E2=80=
=A6 sheepish. Anxious. Hidden. It was beautiful. He observed her lovingingl=
y, noticing new details as always. It was as much admiration as it was acce=
ptance, and it would stay that way. After a few moments, she curled up into=
the most adorable bundle he'd ever seen. His heart melted. There w=
as one thing left to complete the picture, one thing missing. It came with =
the lift of her head, and the revelation of brilliant, scalding green eyes =
that Shayne had often dreamt of in times of hardship. And not.=20
Shayne could speak when necessary, and MacKenna was capable of the same. Bu=
t neither of them particular enjoyed waxing eloquent when unnecessary. That=
was how he had known that she was a kindred spirit from the start- they=E2=
=80=99d shared fewer words than moments of quiet appreciation. It was remar=
kable how much was contained within such simple utterances between them. Ma=
cKenna conveyed so much in that moment- uncertainty, relief, shyness, affec=
tion. Shayne had cleared his mind of the burdens of work, the fears of the =
future and the annoyances of ineptitude as much as a man could, and in that=
moment, almost like a ritual they both believed in, he responded.=20
It was almost like a password, a declaration of safety and benevolence. He =
found it cute, MacKenna's unobtrusive, almost debilitating shyness,=
but at the same time, he recognized the pain and the stigma that must surr=
ound it, and must have created it. Despite how endearing he found it, he kn=
ew never to belittle it, or reduce it in import. He understood, at least to=
a point, what MacKenna experienced regularly. How she had made a career in=
the fleet work, Shayne was still wondering about. All the necessary skills=
, the ability, the leadership, brought to bear by a person who bespoke of a=
n outward fragility, a present delicacy. Through this, she'd chosen=
to serve, chosen to make a life in space. Chosen to be close with him, to =
share her heart and mind. She was, to the first officer, proof that the imp=
ossible was just a dream waiting to blossom.=20
MacKenna: It's nice to be home.
Home, to Shayne, would always be a starship. But even he, who kept the room=
remarkably spartan and free of personal affectation, would not call this s=
mall closet home. Home was where the people were, and where he wanted to be=
right now was in their shared quarters, holding her close while they looke=
d at the stars through the viewport=E2=80=A6=20
Shayne: It is.
He spoke with certainty, and nodded as if he'd been asked whether w=
ater was wet. Certainty, he'd found, was a gift that was rarely giv=
en. When it was, it was often abused. To trust another to build a shoreline=
under you was a promise, a faith, a bond. He offered it to few.=20
MacKenna: Are you=E2=80=A6do you=E2=80=A6
She paused for a moment, collecting her rampaging thoughts. Shayne had seen=
it before, and nodded patiently. He would wait until the end of time for h=
er to get the words she wanted out.=20
MacKenna: Are you happy with the transfer?
Of all the questions he'd been expecting, that was not one of them,=
and it took him slightly aback. He shuffled through the piles of paperwork=
and PADDs, and finally found the one he had been looking for.=20
Shayne: Have you seen the ship? It's a monstrosity.
For better or worse, it truly was. Save for a brief stint on an Odyssey cla=
ss plan- that is, starship- Shayne had been assigned to small vessels for h=
is entire career of service. Eagle had been just another in a long line of =
quick, maneuverable vessels that he'd been stationed upon. But the =
Juneau, for better or for worse, was enormous. Slightly longer than a typic=
al Sovereign class, and orders of magnitude faster. He came around from his=
position of power behind the desk and moved toward her with contained exci=
tement. He folded his arm around her protectively as he began to scroll thr=
ough the contents of the PADD.
Shayne: She can hit Warp XV- I've had enough experience with that, =
thanks very much. And look at this! An entire deck with windows, floor to c=
eiling. Can you imagine? And look at her manifest- she'll hold seve=
n hundred normally, and four thousand in a pinch!
He looked toward her, trying his best to smile.
Shayne: This=E2=80=A6 this, uh, this'll be great!
He tried to hide the doubt in his voice with a gentle kiss on the side of h=
Shayne: How about you? How do you feel about it? The Intelligence Suite loo=
ks like a real great set up for you and the black collars.
His face fell.=20
Shayne: Oh! Damn, I forgot! Geez, we need to request quarters yet! And the =
rest of the quarter assignments- they're moving into Deck 15 becaus=
e I forgot to give them real places to go! It's already a rat=E2=80=
=99s maze. What have I done?!
He gave a soft whimper as his expression devolved into a stricken state, an=
d he leaned back against the bulkhead,=20
Lieutenant Commander Randal Shayne
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