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LtCmdr. Shayne: Kissed Souls and Fractured Mirrors (Columbia)

2018-09-23 04:49:16

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((Senior Staff Conference Room, Deck 1, USS Columbia)) Shayne: So! First officer- how's it feel? You were very convincing = back there. ::Marvelous. It flowed forth without a hint of his former ire and angst- so= mething he'd thought thoroughly impossible given the ferocity with = which his conscience had lambasted him. This wasn't some obscure id= ea reminding him of his decision- this was the result of his choice, in the= flesh and fabric, standing beside him. No jealousy was granted refuge in h= is heart now. He could walk with this man, the reason for his distress, as = a friend and comrade, basking in the radiance of his compatriot's s= ubstantial achievement. It wasn't what Shayne had lost- it was what= Thoran, and indeed, the entire ship, had gained.:: ::His friend was now surpassing the Ops Officer, as Shayne always knew woul= d occur. He'd seen a leader born in this figure, an officer of unim= peachable quality. Perhaps that's why they got along so well- one w= as what the other aspired to be.:: ::Shayne knew that, in Thoran's position, the weary excitement, dul= led by labor but sharpened by enthusiasm, would be difficult to describe.:: Thoran: It's..different. I thought I had a tough time as security c= hief, but this is a whole different level. Just glad to have such a talente= d senior staff. That makes the job a whole lot easier. ::He paused for a mo= ment before continuing.:: How about you, managed to settle in on the Columb= ia yet? She's quite a change from the Blackwell. ::At that, Shayne couldn't resist a wry smile. How did he feel abou= t the change? Ruddy delighted, that was what. Shayne found the Blackwell an= exercise in nobility, almost as often as he considered her a floating targ= et. She was a bulky, misshapen, bulbous affair, with far too much density a= nd far too little armormant. Her unwieldy shape had made maneuvering her a = challenge of the highest order, and in times when exceptional piloting had = been required, luck, more than Shayne's hand, had seen them through= the ordeal. She couldn't have been any more vulnerable if she=E2= =80=99d had a bullseye painted right on her livery. And yet Shayne= would miss her single minded purpose, her utter devotion to the goal she= 'd been commissioned to achieve. No wars could or would have been f= ought by her; indeed, her limitations meant that only the most honest and d= ecent tasks could be undertaken within her well-stocked decks. And now, the= crew that manned her would have that same tradeoff- morality for safety, p= rinciple for firepower. On Columbia, under a captain like Whittaker, Shayne= had no doubt that their standards of conduct would be exemplary. But he ha= d the ugly feeling that, exemplary or not, there were fights ahead. Fights = that could not be resolved but with the wretched scream of a phaser.:: ::Pulling away from such somber thoughts, Shayne sighed.:: Shayne: I think she's determined to drown me in cordage and conduit= before we even hit the Reach. And she feels wrong, I suppose. Ask= ew. Maybe that's just me- feels like we've only been aboard= a few days. ::Indeed, the stately feel of the Blackwell was submerged in the enthusiast= ic bearhug that Columbia had delivered upon his arrival.:: Thoran: Oh certainly. I can't get used to that new ship smell. Stil= l can't believe Starfleet gave us what is essentially a new ship. I= just hope we don't give them too much cause to regret the decision= . ::Shayne tossed a knowing glance at his friend, eyebrows scraping the ceili= ng.:: Shayne: Dear god, man. You're first officer, I'm chief of O= ps. They regret it already. ::He held a serious look expertly, but let it drop a moment later, letting = the mirth in his eyes twinkle.:: Thoran: Anyway, i've kept you for too long. It was good to talk Ran= dal. We'll have to have a proper catch up soon. After all, i=E2=80= =99ve heard one of us might have some news. ::Shayne's face quickly shifted into a mask of bemused but heavy co= ncern. As Thoran gave a small, knowing smile and strode off, Shayne found h= imself genuinely frightened about the words they'd just exchanged. = What news? And regarding whom? The obvious conclusion was that Thoran knew = something that Shayne didn't, and, given his reaction, something sp= ecifically about the gullible second officer. Not even work would cure such= a direct attack on his sanity. Whatever this was, he had to know.:: Shayne: Aye. ::He stood, rooted. He needed to know, more than anything. It would gnaw at= him until he was nothing but bone and need. This couldn't wait!:: MacKenna: =3D/\=3D MacKenna to Shayne. =3D/\=3D ::On the other hand:: ::With trembling fingertips, he slammed his chest so hard that he could fee= l his heart rebound against his ribs. The ache was actually nice.:: Shayne: =3D/\=3D Go ahead, commander. =3D/\=3D ::Formality was expected and demanded, here in the open where anything migh= t be overheard. But the measured interest in his words, hopefully, conveyed= his true meaning; =E2=80=9CCan I help? What do you need? Tell me- I=E2=80= =99m here for you=E2=80=9D.:: ::A pause yawned, and Shayne wondered if the channel had been cut for a mom= ent. That thought was profoundly unpleasant for some inexplicable reason. B= ut MacKenna soothed his thoughts with a single, three word inquiry, to whic= h there was only one acceptable answer.:: MacKenna: =3D/\=3D Got a minute? =3D/\=3D ::He didn't even have to think. In his mind's eye, the jam-= packed schedule that he'd been forming was immediately and naturall= y rearranged. She took precedence. It was as simple as that.:: Shayne: =3D/\=3D Always =3D/\=3D MacKenna: =3D/\=3D No rush. I'll be in Astrometrics. =3D/\=3D ::Astrometrics- naturally. Shayne pulled himself up, cleared his throat to = mask his excitement, and responded. It didn't matter that he=E2=80= =99d seen her mere moments ago. This was another opportunity- and such thin= gs could not be ignored.:: Shayne: =3D/\=3D On my way. =3D/\=3D ((Astrometrics, USS Columbia)) ::Promising himself he'd stop by Walker's office soon to di= scuss the possibility of establishing some sort of training regimen, Shayne= worked not to run for Astrometrics. It wouldn't be correct, it wou= ldn't be politic, but he wished to simply beam there.:: ::Say:: ::No. No way. His momentary foolishness abandoned him with appropriate hast= e. As if they weren't doing enough to draw suspicion.:: ::Draw suspicion to what, though? Two senior officers getting to know one a= nother? Enjoying each other's company? Shayne dearly hoped that man= had progressed far enough from the days where even a casual acquaintance b= etween members of differing sexes must immediately be considered fraterniza= tion of a romantic sort. He and MacKenna were above that sort of thing. Nat= urally. Definitely. Absolutely no qualms about it, no sir.:: ::Had he passed a mirror, the blushing in his cheeks would have forced him = to confront his doubts.:: ::Coming to the doors of his destination, he drew a deep breath before proc= eeding inside.:: ::It was darker than in the corridor- already a good sign. MacKenna=E2=80= =99s flaming hair was illuminated only by the two screens before her. Thoug= h her back was turned toward him, he had no doubt that she knew he was ther= e.:: MacKenna: You're just in time. ::For what, Shayne had no idea, but he braced himself for something magnifi= cent. A moment later, he was not disappointed. Instantly, he was embroiled = in stars, a thousand shimmering specks of light dancing off his body, rotat= ing ever so slowly in the celestial dance.:: ::He'd seen the stars, of course. He'd flown through them, = walked among them, stood beside them. But now, alone but for someone who ca= red, in the midst of this beauty, Shayne felt something a of a rebirth, if = only for a moment. But such things needn't be elongated affairs.:: MacKenna: I need a few extra holoemitters. ::Her eyes met his for a moment,= before turning back towards the sky above them.:: Four should work. I can = send the installation configuration to whomever can get the job done. ::He couldn't keep the smile off his face, and neither could MacKen= na, allowing her joy to peak though the mask they both kept firmly in place= most of the time. Shayne was enraptured.:: Shayne: This is this is incredible. ::He was lost, lost in the environment, and lost in the sensation of being = found. Shayne knew, like gravity itself, that he could trust MacKenna impli= citly. He could let his guard down here, put his feet up, as it were.:: ::Perhaps he'd taken that a little too literally.:: ::For an instant later, a sickening lurch rippled through his tempermental,= sensitive stomach. This was followed by an equally horrifying feeling of u= tter weightlessness.:: ::Shayne was, of course, trained to handle such situations, despite his dis= taste. But the complete lack of expectancy left him absolutely reeling.:: ::A few undignified yelps later, he'd managed to stabilize his drif= t somewhat. But now the familiar pangs of distress sounded off inside his i= ntestines.:: ::He wanted to rant and rave, to curse the universe for this preposterous t= urn of luck. Of all the times for the gravity plating to fail. Here? With M= acKenna? What if he got dizzy? What if he hurled? What if-?:: ::And then he caught her grin, unmitigated and gently mischievous. This tur= n of events wasn't frightening to her, or even unnerving. This was = her doing! She'd made this happen. Without warning, without permiss= ion, she'd rendered him a ragdoll.:: ::Inordinate fury welled up in his chest. He'd let down his guard a= round her. He'd trusted her absolutely! And she'd gone ahea= d and betrayed that! Why? Why had he put such stock in this?:: ::And then he saw her eyes.:: ::He'd been consumed with finding a solid point to lock onto in ord= er to stabilize himself, but now that he was able gain his bearings, MacKen= na's hair, splayed and brilliant, drew his attention. She was at pe= ace here with him. She was having fun. It wasn't the distr= aught woman he knew before him now. Immediately, his ire vanished. Perhaps = he'd been overworking himself again. How could he be angry at this = magnificent individual? How could he object to such a sensation as she was = clearly enjoying? As the rage left him, shame took its place.:: ::He slowly swam toward her, keep himself as rigid as possible. Eyes like s= teel bore into hers for a moment as he came to a rather ungraceful stop bef= ore her. He couldn't lose her. He wouldn't.:: ::His face was stone as he looked at her.:: Shayne: Don't do that again. ::And then, as he said these words- cutting words, harsh words, words that = cracked his heart in two- he reached for her hands, and grasped them tight,= just like he'd done on that night they'd met.:: ::He brought both of her smooth palms close, and placed a delicate, utterly= sincere kiss on them. His stolid appearance dropped- no, it melted. It was= an illusion he could no longer bear to exert.:: Shayne: Please. Forgive me. You caught me by surprise. I'v= e always had trouble seeing the beauty right in front of me. ::He glanced about the stellarium they floated within, enshrouded by nebula= and lit by a thousand tiny beacons of light. But his eyes as they= always would fell back on MacKenna herself.:: ::And now, it was her turn. Would she have the heart to forgive his reactio= n? He prayed to whatever gods might be listening.:: Shayne: I'm sorry. ::The two were suspended, above the deck, above time. Each moment was an et= ernity.:: Shayne: oO You don't know what you mean to me. Don't leave = angry, or hurt. Please. I beg. I don't know how I'd live with myself. Oo MacKenna: ? Tag/TBC Lieutenant Commander Randal Shayne Ops Officer/Second Officer USS Columbia NCC 85279 G239202Rs0 -- You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups "= UFOP: StarBase 118 =E2=80=93=C2=A0Andaris Task Force" group. 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