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You’re Looking At It
Posted on April 5th, 2021 by Scott Ammora and Emilaina Acacia

Emily wasn’t sure what to say on the turbolift ride so it ended up being a quiet one. She walked by Scott’s side on the way to Ten Forward, beginning with relevant small talk, “So, what’s your drink of choice?”

Scott kept up her pace, his arms swinging with his normal gait as he walked. It wasn’t awkward, but it was. “Whiskey from Allande Prime. I had the privilege to meet their ambassador, Kegan Tiriko, at my Starfleet graduation ceremony. Nice guy, poised and collected… and attractive. He gifted me a bottle because he knew my dad, and it’s the smoothest whiskey I’ve ever had. It has kind of ruined all the others for me, but I don’t mind. Quality is key. Yours?”

“Drakberry wine,” the Doctor smiled, “My dad is from a small tropical island on Betazed, and drakberries are these sweet reddish black berries that grow there. I guess it reminds me of family,” she looked up at the doors of ten forward as they swished open, gesturing for Scott to go first.

“Oh, no, after you. Ladies first.”

Emily chuckled and shrugged, stepping through the door and heading towards the bar. Just as she said, she ordered a drakberry wine, which the bartender dutifully replicated and brought over to her.

He sidled up next to her at the bar top, leaning on his forearms. Scott ordered his usual whiskey on the rock, one rock no more, and waited for its arrival. “So, I appreciate you taking a moment with me earlier, and a drink now. I’m still finding my footing here.”

“I can tell,” Emily couldn’t help but tease just a bit, “I’ll be glad to get to know you a little better. Tell me about your family,” she took a sip of her wine.

The drink came and was placed in front of him, and then a sip taken, and the sweet burn of it followed. Scott smirked, looking at Acacia with a mixed expression of suspicion and at the same time something bordering on friendship. “I know we’re not on duty anymore, and I know you’re not a counselor… but you aren’t going to psycho-analyze me, are you?”

“If I come up with any insights, I’ll be sure to keep them to myself,” Emily smirked as well, shrugging, “I’m just curious. I’ll go first—dad’s from Betazed, mom’s from Earth. One younger sister, one older. Dad’s CMO on the Albatross, older sister’s an engineer on the Ambition,” she sipped her wine, “You?”

Scott nodded as she spoke. “My dad was the Captain of the Trinity. We used to make the joke that it should’ve been the Square. He was always in the wrong place at the right time. Never saw major combat, never engaged while the rest of the fleet was. My mother was thankful for that. She is the Director of Medical Ops on Utopia Planitia; my dad retired there some years back and heads their logistics division.”

He took another drink of his whiskey, relishing in the refined oak taste. It wasn’t the real stuff, mind you, but the replicator had been refined enough that it was passable. Better than most swill synthehol the database was storing. “My brother is your typical jock – a minor-league Parisses Squares player on Earth thinking that every next game is the championship. He’s good, don’t get me wrong, but he lacks the spirit. And my younger sister is at Starfleet Academy right now… medical… and the smartest out of all of us.”

Emily nodded along as he spoke, listening to him with interest, “Your brother is older? So you’re a middle child too?” she mused.

“Indeed. Didn’t get my dad’s know-how, maybe fifty percent, and I didn’t get my mom’s brilliance. More of that than my dad’s abilities, hence the field medic route at the Academy. My brother got the brawn and athleticism and my sister got the brains. I’m navigating the true middle ground.” Another gulp of his drink and it was done and empty. He placed it on the counter, nodding to the bartender and another was there at his fingertips. “And here I am.”

“Here we are,” Emily agreed, also finishing her drink and getting another from the bartender. She was picking up that Scott liked to talk about others more than himself, but as promised she kept that to herself, “What do you do for fun?”

“You’re looking at it,” Scott stated rather matter-of-factly, imbibing another indulgence of his libation. “Hobbies were always second to my focus at the Academy… and all postings up to this point. I have to focus on doing my job. When I do get free time I like playing Velocity and I like to play piano.”

Emily nodded attentively, taking a sip from her wine as well. She smiled lightly, “Well you certainly come off as focused on your job,” she was struggling to come up with things to say to keep the conversation going, “How long have you played piano?”

“Maybe ten years? Not a pro by any means, but I can hold my own, or at least I’d like to think so. My boyfriend Weston and I used to ‘jam’, if you will, when we were on the same Starbase. He’s a great guitar player. It was just a way to create. It was something we had that wasn’t job-focused, but… us-focused. I miss that.” Scott realized in that moment that his request for her to join him for a drink could lead to long awkward silences and only a finite amount of conversation. “What do you do for fun?”

Emily embraced the silences, idly people-watching from the vantage of the bar. She listened attentively, as well as knowing how Scott felt about what he was saying intuitively. She knew the answer before she even asked, “You’re still together?” she gave him a sympathetic look, then allowed the redirection, “Would you believe research?” she chuckled, “I’ve been getting more into holo-novels lately. I love a good book. I make jewelry,” she thought, then shrugged, “Not much, I suppose. I’m pretty boring.”

“Yes, we’re still together. As ‘together’ as a couple can be light-years apart. We talk, infrequently… but yeah. For you, boring isn’t the right word to use. Introverted? All of that is fine. We’re two people making our way in the universe.” Scott swallowed another mouthful of his whiskey, allowing the burn to match his feelings of missing Weston. He offered his drink for a salute to Acacia and her wine, “Space is lonely. It’s small moments like this that make it less so. Cheers.”

“Indeed,” Emily tapped her glass to his, taking another sip of the sweet faux-elixir she called wine. She swirled her glass and watched it, allowing another moment of silence to pass before coming up with something new, “So, why Starfleet?”

“Why not Starfleet? My mom and dad found great careers there. I wanted purpose, to do something meaningful, and to help people. I dabbled with independent entities right out of high school. Nothing seemed to mesh. I didn’t have the mind for science or engineering. I get medical concepts, but I wasn’t going to be doing brain surgery.” With another gulp his second drink was depleted and he waited for another.

“Sports weren’t my thing and you can’t make a go at life as an artist. I’m fast and quick-witted, strong enough…” His third drink hit the bartop in front of him, he nodded his thanks to the bartender and took another sip. “Sometimes not fast enough, sometimes not smart enough, and sometimes not as strong as I want to be.”

“Amen to that,” Emily waved her nearly-empty glass for emphasis before finishing it off. She nodded along, not waiting for him to ask, “My dad is Starfleet, I always wanted to go off into space and see what was so exciting it kept him from us. So far I haven’t been disappointed. There’s always something going on, or someone who needs brain surgery,” she quipped, gratefully accepting a refill from the bartender, “I hate surgery… hate it. You’re not missing out.”

“Neither here nor there in the grand scheme of things.”

“True,” Emily mused, then a long silence passed. She decided to prod a bit, “So, how’ve you been liking bridge duty?”

It was a hearty belly laugh that escaped his throat, “It’s fine, I guess. I’m not used to it. And, to be brutally honest, I’m outside my comfort zone. I’m used to shuttles and runabouts; one torpedo tube and one phaser bank, maybe two.” He nervously swirled his liquor in his glass, the ice cubes clinking against the edges with a ting, ting, ting… “I’ll get there.”

“From what I’ve seen, you do an excellent job,” Emily shrugged, offering praise where it was due, “and yeah, you get used to it. I was anxious at first, too. Everybody was. You keep a straight face unusually well.”

“Thanks, I think?”

“You’re welcome… I think,” Emily laughed, “I don’t know. I’m, as you said, introverted and trying,” she took a sip of her wine, shrugging, “tell me about where you were posted before Atlantis. You said a starbase, right?”

“Starbase 60. The most boring Starbase in the Federation.”

“I always thought a starbase sounded nice, seeing all kinds of different people that come through,” she pondered aloud, “though I’d choose a starship if given the option as well. You really don’t have any good stories, though?”

Scott laughed openly again. “I guess it depends on your definition of ‘good’.”

“Tell me a funny story,” Emily prompted, grinning.

“Uh… okay…” Scott thought for a minute, looking around the lounge and watching his crewmates go about their evening rituals. “Well, there was this one time: I had been posted on the Starbase for about a year and new recruits came in. One was this young guy, kind of like me, and you could tell he was just hanging on by a thread. He was assigned to phaser alignment. My one-up, 1st Lieutenant Chambers, decided to set all the batteries to simulate an overload and burn out at the same time. Training parameters only, mind you. Right about the time that the new recruit was in the midst of recalibration they all went dead. The kid lost it. Stressed to the max. He was sobbing on the floor in the armory.”

Emily found herself cringing rather than laughing. She twisted it into an awkward smile, “Well that’s.. sort of funny, I guess,” she sipped her wine, “Do you see yourself crying on the armory floor any time soon?”

“It was a prank, Doctor. None of his work had been changed. It’s the way of the Marines. I myself have been a victim of it a couple of times. As far as being on the floor sobbing, no, not at all.” Scott finished his third drink and placed it on the ledge as he leaned into it, looking at her. “Marines aren’t funny. They’re kind of assholes.”

“Oh, I don’t know, I find Ryleigh pretty funny,” Emily smirked, taking a small sip of her wine, “What about a time you got pranked, any good ones?”

“Yeah, her calling me ‘Skinny Ass’ all the time is hysterical. And you got lucky with me sharing one story. I sure as hell won’t share a story where I’m the one getting the short end of the stick. Another day maybe, Lieutenant, but not today.” He grabbed the newly-filled drink off the counter and motioned to the pool table. “You play?”

Emily scooped up her wine and turned to the pool table, taking in a sharp breath before speaking through a big smile, “I dabble. Doc has shown me a trick or two. Why, is that a challenge?”

“I’ve learned not to challenge you, Lieutenant.” He grinned broadly, “Just a friendly game among friends, if you’re interested?”

“Sounds like fun,” Emily replied, making her way over to the empty pool table and setting her wine on the table ledge. She gathered up the balls and racked them, preparing the game.

Scott put his glass on the ledge to the left of the billiards table, “If you’re rackin’, I’m crackin’.”

“Crack away,” Emily smiled, gesturing towards the table with an open palm.

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1 Comment

  • Kathryn Harper Kathryn Harper says:

    It’s good to see out of two characters whose relationship started out so adversarial becoming crewmates. The awkwardness of the situation definitely comes across in their conversation, as does the effort they’re making. I’m glad that we actually got to see the drink the end of your last joint log implied!

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