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Log of the Month for February, 2021

Whiskey Lullaby
Posted on February 27th, 2021 by D'bryn Zoë and Scott Ammora

USS Atlantis
Forward Lounge
After hours

“You know where they got the name, ‘Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster’, right?”

Liam and Ema raised their eyebrows; they knew that Zoë was about to answer her own question. 

“It’s from a book. Well, a movie. Well, a radio show. Twentieth century satirical sci-fi slash sci-fantasy thing, it’s…it’s no big deal. Anyway, this,” and she held up her neon green drink in the slim glass, “is just a fucking midori sour, but they give it a spacey-sounding because we’re in space.” And after a big gulp: “A good midori sour, but that doesn’t change the point.”

Sober Zoë, now far into the nosebleed section of her Cartesian theater, could do naught but watch in red-cheeked horror as Drunk Zoë prattled her pop-culture hogwash. She wouldn’t quash the erroneous assumption that Liam and Ema hated her guts until next week’s therapy session. 

The forward lounge buzzed with dozens of officers carousing in the wake of another near-death experience. Nothing like the hearty knock-back of one or four cocktails to make the nerves sing. And it was recursive, collective—all of these energies vibrating with utter life, blending together into an otherworldly harmonic resonance.

Or maybe that was just the synthehol. 

Liam and Ema said their goodnights after another hour. Zoë was wide awake with the resonance and ready for Drink Number Three, which she made a Bantha Milk. Oh come the fuck on, she thought. White Russian with blue food coloring. Cool it on the gimmick, guys. What’s next, Fremen Tea but it’s just a hot toddy where you call the cinnamon “melange”? 

She rolled her eyes, spun around on the barstool. For a minute she took in the mirth, absorbing the joy on people’s faces from a comfortable position of observation. Then in a dark corner she spotted a familiar face, and if the rumors going around the ship were true, it wasn’t a face she was too excited to see.

There were two things in Scott’s world at present: anger and booze. Well, three maybe. Shame was a close bronze medal. No more brig, thank God, but also no more Sickbay, and there was a possibility that there was no more respect to be had from his colleagues. Drinking seemed to be the best outlet at this point.

He had a drink in front of him, three empty shot glasses scattered across the table, and his only company were his thoughts. In the grand scheme of things he felt he had done right, but that didn’t do him any favors. Demerits on a record were a deathknell to promotion, clout, respect, and the list went on and on. We all make mistakes, he thought as he took another sip. But it wasn’t a mistake! I was right!

He still wasn’t sure if that was a hill he wanted to die on.

Scott gazed out the window at the stars. The infinite options that the universe grants everyone seemed slightly smaller now that he had been proverbially bitch-slapped by etiquette. He had been given an opportunity here. He had been given a recommendation. He was given an honor. An honor. And in the first mission, with an action not even remotely connected to the mission, he ended up… here.

Shaking his head, scolding himself for the millionth time, he took another swig. The lounge was thinning out; it was late and everyone had to work again for the morning shift. His new assignment was the bridge. He was less than thrilled at the prospect of being under the constant scrutiny of his commanding officer every moment he was on duty. But, again, you reap what you sow. He also wasn’t entirely floored with the idea of being at a tactical station, but when life gives you lemons…

You drink. A lot.

He polished off the remnants of his whiskey from Allande Prime, and headed to the replicator. There may have been a slight stagger in his walk, he may have used a chair or two as support as he moved, and the Bolian he may have almost ran over that stood up randomly would forget about it by morning. “Whiskey, on the rockssss, A-A-llande Prime blend. Please.” Like the replicator needed manners. 

He returned to his seat with a little more grace than before, but not by much. He nursed the first oaky taste, swished it around slightly in the glass, and sat it on the table. Scott chuckled to himself as he stared into the abyss of his glass.

Zoë had watched his (count ‘em) fifth drink order, complete with a near-miss collision and slurred speech. When she had heard about Ammora’s belligerence and fallout Zoë had all but abandoned any notion of befriending the guy any further than when they’d met on the Minerva. But she remembered Ori’s axiom: All judgment is self-judgment. If she had biffed this hard, would she want to be a pariah? 

She sighed, glanced around the lounge though she knew not why, and walked over to Scott’s table. “You alright?”

“Define… alright.”

“Are you about to self-destruct? What’s your structural integrity?”

Scott looked up at Zoë through glassy eyes. He remembered her from the Minerva, vaguely. Truth be told, he didn’t really care. “I’m fine. Sssself-desctructing isn’t in my nature. I’m just, d-down for maintenance as it were. Coolant flushing.” Laughing outwardly at his own joke—his own bad joke—he took another gulp of his drink. “But thankssss for asking. How are you?”

Zoë thought, I guess I opened up the bag of engineering similes; that one’s on me. “Doing okay now. Got my bell rung when I was thrown across the bridge, but after twelve hours on bedrest I’m suckin down novelty cocktails.” After a deathly awkward pause she said, “I’ll, uh… leave you to it, I guess.”

“No, no, no, no… no-no-no-no-no… stay. Have a drink with me!” He downed the rest of his drink and shook the barren glass at her with a little smirk. “I’m empty. I’ll g-g-get the next round!” He stood up. Nope. Scott sat back down, trying his best to look like he wasn’t as intoxicated as he was. “Or, you know, you c-could.”

“Whoa-whoa, guy, I think you could probably do with some water instead. Hold on.”

Zoë set her drink on the table and made for the replicator. Two eight-ounce ice water shimmered into the tray at her order, which she whisked back to the table, having to dodge the same Bolian but with much more grace than her new drinking buddy.

“Ssstraight up vodka?”

“Funny,” Zoë said. “It’s water. Field medic, heal thyself.”

Scott blinked. Scott blinked again. His eyes widened. He blinked again. “Well, that’s no fun.”

“It’s a fundamental guideline for me that if you physically can’t get up and get your own drink, you need to take a breather.” Another sip of the Bantha Milk. “I’m on my way to that point if I don’t slow down on this shit. My mom calls these kinds of drinks cheerleader drinks. You know, the ones where you can’t taste the booze. She’s Russian though, speaking of vodka.” Another sip. “Tastes like my twenty-first birthday.”

Since the beginning of their conversation Zoë’s curiosity wrestled with her conflict-avoidant tendencies, and at this moment the former stood over the latter in a clear victory. 

“Okay, so, you can tell me to fuck off if you want, but… What happened? Earlier. In Sickbay.”

If there ever was a guffaw to have been guffawed, it came out of Scott’s mouth in that moment. “Words…worlds, word travels fasssst on this ship. Let’s just sssay saving a life meanssss nothing anymore. Apparently. Literally. Figuratively? Yeah, whatever.” He looked at the glass of water before him, reached for it, decided against it, and leaned back in his chair.

He didn’t know what to say. Should he defend himself? Should he explain himself? Should he do anything other than sit there? There was such a silence that he took a look around the room and realized they were the last ones left. Closing time. He leaned forward, his right arm bracing his body, but slipping ever so slightly before he caught himself. “Do you really want to know what happened?”

“Well, I know what literally happened, but… I dunno, I guess I was just curious what was going on up here about it.” She tapped her own temple. “I mean, I know everyone’s an iceberg, but when we met briefly on the Minerva I never would’ve guessed that you’d wind up in the brig before the week was out. I mean, judgment isn’t always clear at the onset, but… You know what I mean?”

“I really don’t.” Scott laughed again. “I need another drink.”

“Fair.” Zoë noted the barely-drunk glass of water in front of Scott. “For the first part, I mean. Have some water.” Clearing her throat she leaned forward on the table. “Listen, I’m not about to be that girl who goes around telling people what to do about their mental state, but I wanna share something with you.”

She hoped Scott didn’t interpret her long pause as deep breath before a revelation of immense gravity. Really, she was just trying to remember the details because she’d gotten the story thirdhand. 

“My first captain told us a story one time. Well, he told his chief Engineer, who told me. But anyway, our captain had a problem with authority. Why he joined Starfleet if that was true,” she scoffed, “beyond me. Anyway, he gets his first posting. Fast-tracked to lieutenant junior-grade out of necessity. He throws a lot of etiquette just right the fuck out the window; just doesn’t give a fuck about certain things. Does his job, but is just kind of an immature dickhead.

“So, his fianceé is on the ship, as is another guy who’s obsessed with her. Other guy gets creepy and assaulty on her, and my captain sees this happen, and intervenes. Boom, cleans the other dude’s clock. I mean, you’d have to; the situation was imminent. Like, if he hadn’t punched the dude, something awful would’ve happened.

“Well, my captain gets thrown in the brig for punching the creepy guy. For doing the right thing. Sound kinda familiar? And I gave away the ending at the beginning, but he became a ship’s captain. And a pretty good one too. I dunno what’s going on in your brain, but just in case it’s hopelessness, maybe that story’d help.” Zoë took a hefty sip. “Fuck it; I dunno.”

“That’s a great story. Was there a point?” He downed the glass of water in front of him. Scott stood up, or tried to stand up, wobbled a bit, grabbed the edge of the chair, and slumped back into place. His internal monologue, as one does when completely intoxicated, went through the five stages of grief.

He denied the fact he was drunk. He was angered by his physical instability from being drunk. Scott bargained with himself on whether or not he wanted another drink (which meant trying to get to the replicator for another), but blinked that away. Maybe another? No. Then Scott was sad. Depressed. “I’m drunk.” Acceptance.

Zoë could’ve sworn that someone said the replicators in the forward lounge weren’t coded for real alcohol. Scott made an interesting case for that weird cousin of the placebo effect: whatever he was going through, his brain needed him to be drunker than synthehol could get him. 

“I can see that,” Zoë said, willing herself out of her own buzz, for his sake. “Hey, whyn’t you get some more of that water in you, and we can just go take a walk, huh?”

“Bed.”

“Yeah, that was gonna be my next suggestion. Come on, up you go.”

Scott managed to get to his feet, about as stable as one might expect. His equilibrium wasn’t on par, his arms couldn’t find a structure to support his weight, and his blurry vision led him on a path to the floor. His eyes found him parallel with the lounge’s carpet. “Maybe I sssshould just stay here.”

“I don’t think that’ll work, man. Come on. You’re gonna have to do some of the work here; my deadlift isn’t great.”

It wasn’t the smoothest trek to Deck 14 but they managed it well enough. And as they went Zoë felt more than physical weight in him; there was something latched to his gravity that wasn’t going to disappear when he sobered up. Ori always told Zoë that there’s only so much you can help a person before you overstep your bounds, but there was a reason Ori said that.

“This is me.” Scott pointed to the door. “I think.” After what seemed like an eternity as he looked for the identification marks on the doorjamb, he nodded and smiled. He was home. He looked at Zoë, smirked, pointed to the ID marking, and slumped into the frame. “Yeah, this is me.”

There was an awkward lull in what would’ve been a thank you and goodnight between two friends. But he didn’t know her, really. And he was hammered. She had, in every sense of the word, carried him to the turbolift and down numerous corridors to ensure he’d gotten home safe. And, to be quite frank, Scott was seeing three of her as he used the bulkhead to support his weight.

Scott opened his mouth, hoping to express his gratitude, but couldn’t form words. He probably could’ve, but he was pretty sure the inebriation he was under would have created a new vernacular that would be studied by scholars for years to come. Instead he stared at her, a drunk grin on his face, a weary sway held in place only by the solidness of the titanium frame of the quarters’ door. “I’m thankful you got me here… home… this place…” He gestured to the door, “Yeah. You know, it was a good, uh… you know… talking to you… glad we’re here, together… in this place… working… here…”

“Likewise, Scott,” she said. “You’ll be alright, you know. As long as you don’t decide ahead of time that you won’t be.”

“You’re kind of weird.” He laughed again, then caught himself. “But n-n-not in a bad way. Just, you know, weird, smart, got a lot of stuff…” He gesticulated wildly at his head. Then nothing. Just an obvious lack of coherence. Laser eyes to hers. And a verbal void. “Yeah. You know.”

She didn’t. “Y…yeah. Listen, rest easy, okay?”

“Of courssssse. Totally. For sure. Restin easy lemon peazy, as they say.” He fumbled on the doorframe for a second, not finding the console to open it. He kept smiling awkwardly as he did so, trying with all he had to look composed. He wasn’t. Not even close. In truth, he wasn’t going to remember it in the morning anyway, but he was giving it a gallant effort. “Sssssleep well, I’ll sssseeee you around.”

The door finally opened and he staggered into his quarters. He turned, bolting upright as to not look like he wasn’t capable of maneuvering under his own devices, and gazed back at Zoë. The doors swished closed, his legs started to waver, and he managed to get himself to his bed. Scott didn’t care about disrobing at that point; he kicked off his boots and it was the most he could muster in his current state to crawl under the sheets.

The coolness of his pillow welcomed him, he pulled the covers up over his body and he breathed a sigh of relief. Home. Comfort. And the rest of what happened that day would soon be a memory. Well, until he opened his eyes in the morning. That would be another mountain to climb, but no one climbs mountains drunk. And he slept.


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3 Comments

  • Emilaina Acacia says:

    Wow, I really loved this one. You guys have a great chemistry, and this was a really good scene to show it iff with. I liked how Scott showed a softer side, and how Zoë reacted. You’ve both been busy bees with the logs, I really enjoy them all! Nice work!


  • Kathryn Harper Kathryn Harper says:

    From Scott’s internal monologue to Zoë’s decision to overcome her initial judgment and try to help him, to the actual attempt to help, this was a great ride the whole way through! Great work, you two!


  • Kuari Kuari says:

    You both write well together. From Zoe’s geekiness to Scott’s misery, they find common ground in not feeling like the most socially accepted, lower ranks struggling in a new place. I love how Zoe helps Scott when he needs it, though. Great in-between side story!




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