A Tale of One Station
Posted on January 2nd, 2000 by Chloe Tiernee
The hustle and bustle of station life had always appealed to Chloe, but she had longed for the continuing adventures of a starship. However, anytime she had an opportunity to visit a Starbase, she just ate it up.
Stepping onto the base from the airlock, Chloe Tiernee felt very much at home. She smoothed out her long, slightly formfitting, burgundy velvet dress and brushed back her darkish blond hair over her mostly bare shoulders and adjusted her thin dress straps. Walking right into the rush of people and going with the flow.
It wasn’t long before she found herself on the station’s promenade. Rows of stores and restaurants and various other things to keep on leave Starfleet Officers entertained. Entering a bar called the “The Distant Star”, she glanced around, noticing a few eyes on her. Smiling, enjoying the attention, she moved to the bar, slipping onto the barstool and tapped her fingernails on the bartop …
“‘Tender! A little service over here? Being a bit slow, aren’t ya?” a voice rang out beside her.
Chloe blinked, recognizing the voice that rang out. Glancing over, her eyes got a little wide, gazing upon the ruggedly handsome Starfleet Officer, still in uniform, Lieutenant Commander’s pips shining brightly on his collar. When he felt eyes on him, he glanced over, meeting with her eyes. He blinked at her, she blinked at him and both of them had a big grin spread across each other’s faces.
“Why .. if it isn’t Patrick Dunham!” Chloe exclaimed, her Irish accent very thick, opening her arms out wide. He hopped off of his barstool and scooped the willowy Chloe up in his arms.
“Chloe!! I can’t believe it! What are you doin’ here!?”
As he set her down, she glanced around at the people staring, and smiled at him, sheepishly, “I’m on shore leave, what are ye doin’ here?”
“I’m on leave too …. wait a minute .. YOU are on SHORE LEAVE? Since when did you become an officer?”
Grinning, she sat back down on the stool, “Not too long after our lil’ … romance we had in my hometown .. Ye know, ye influenced my decision to join up with the ‘fleet.”
Running a hand through his sandy brown hair and grinned, “Wow, I influenced you. Who woulda thought … It’s so good to see you, Chloe.”
“NIce seein’ ye too .. ye know, I thought we’d never run into each other again, and yet, here we are. We should really catch up on old times.”
Taking a last gulp of his drink, he slammed the glass down and winked at her, “You are absolutely right … how about right now? Mind joining me for a holo-date? We could go take a swim. Or maybe have a picnic. Just catch up with each other.”
Chloe felt her heart jump, for the first time since Allen. Patrick Dunham had been Chloe’s first love, ever since they met back in her hometown while he was on leave. Though they had felt a lot for each other, they had discontinued their relationship due to the fact they would never see each other, “Well … alright. That seems fun. Let’s go.”
Patrick stood, taking her hand and helping her off the stool, and with a grasp of her hand, they walked out of the bar together, disappearing into the crowd.
“It’s beautiful, Patrick. Looks just like those hills outside of town. I can’t believe you remembered.”
Chloe Tiernee smiled, as she stepped into the holosuite of Starbase 21, which now looked like rolling green hills and meadows on a warm summer day in Ireland. It was the same meadow, almost, that they had spent afternoons together during their romance when she was just 18. All grown up, the two took hands and moved through the soft grasses of the meadow and found a lovely spot near a lake to sit down.
“Those were great times, weren’t they..” he said, looking at her. She smiled back at him and nodded, taking in the beautiful scenery.
“It makes me think of home … how I miss it. But I do love my work … however, there’s no place quite like home..”
He was staring at her, brushing back darkish blonde hair, mesmerized by her beauty, ” I know what you mean. I often miss home … but times like these, running into you because we both happen to be on leave ..make my job worth it.”
Chloe blushed and glanced out over the water. Then she looked at Patrick, giving him a charming smile, “Do you remember that day? When we … when we went for the swim in the lake?”
Leaning closer, he nodded, a reminiscent smile spreading across his face, “It was the day we first made love … in the water…., ” he kissed at her ear, letting his breath tickle at her neck.
She closed her eyes, exhaling a soft sigh, enjoying this attention, since it seemed such a long time since someone had made her really feel feminine. She pulled back, looking into his eyes, “How about we relive it …?”
Blinking, he looked at her and grinned, then stood up, pulling off the uniform and running into the cool lake with nothing but a birthday suit on. Chloe laughed as he splashed around in the water like a giddy school boy. He beckoned her and she stood, slowly slipping her dress off and moving towards the water. He reached for her and pulled her against his body, the water swirling around them. He gazed into her eyes and their lips met, softly and gently at first, then feverishly and urgent. Chloe felt a passion surging within her, having been kept inside, silent, for so long. They made love to each other, as the holographic sun burned bright in the sky above them.
Chloe stirred, opening her eyes and glancing over to her left side, seeing the peacefully sleeping Patrick Dunham next to her. After their little escapade in the holo-suite, they had come back to her temporary quarters on the station to talk and have some drinks. Smiling she scooted closer to his warm body and curled against him, closing her eyes and dozed back off.
They gathered their clothes off of the soft grass in the holosuite, giggling and snickering at each other, hoping that no one would realize exactly what had gone on in that holosuite. After getting hastily dressed, they rushed out to allow the next person to use the place after them. Little did they know what had gone on just a little time before.
Holding each other’s hands, they walked amongst the crowds. Patrick glanced down at her and smiled, “So.. , ” he chuckled, “what do we do now? Your place or mine?”
Chloe blushed a bit, and glanced around, “I have some temporary quarters here on the station, while they do damage repairs on my ship. How about we head there. We could have a drink and talk.”
“Great.., ” he leaned down and kissed at her ear. She giggled and the walked down a random corridor and came upon her temporary quarters. After entering the code, they stepped in and she pulled him over to the sofa-type furniture and sat him down. She walked over to the replicator, “What do you want?”
She smiled, glancing over at him, “Me? I think you’ve already had me, Patrick.”
“I know… but I can’t get enough of you.”
She replicated two coffees and walked back over to the couch, handing him his and sitting next to him, “You know… we are just setting ourselves up again. You have to go back to your assignment and I have to go back to mine. We could never work…”
Sipping his, he leaned back, giving a sigh, “But, ever since that shore leave in Ireland I took … I never stopped thinking about you. I always wondered what would happen if I quit Starfleet and came back to find you. And now, here you are, an officer yourself with your own assignment.”
Smiling, she scooted closer and held her warm coffee mug with her delicate hands, “I’m glad you didn’t quit, because I’m sure you are a wonderful officer. They need people like you.”
He set his mug down and wrapped an arm around, holding her close. She leaned her head on his chest and sighed. He looked down at her, “Chloe… why don’t you come with me.”
“Come with you? What do you mean?”
“To my ship. Transfer over and be with me.”
Blinking, she looked at him in shock, “Leave my ship? My work?”
He grinned, taking her mug from her hands and pulling her close in an embrace, “Yes! You could be a doctor on my ship. The Hawk could always use a good doctor… what do you say?”
“I.. I don’t know…Patrick, this is a huge decision. Why don’t we sleep on it.”
Nodding, he stood, taking her hand and leading her into the bedroom, the door sliding closed behind them.
“The Distant Star”, Starbase 21’s most popular restaurant/bar had been a haven for Chloe ever since she had left her temporary quarters earlier that afternoon. Patrick Dunham had an emergency officer’s meeting and had been called away, but said he’d meet her there for an early dinner, to talk and to discuss a very big decision.
“Want another round, Miss?”
Chloe glanced at up, eyeing the scantily clad waitress who looked upon her with inquisitive eyes. Chloe nodded, eyeing her nearly empty glass of Guinness, “Aye, I’ll have another.”
She nodded and took away the other empty glasses that Chloe had finished and moved away, shaking her ample tush as she walked. Sighing, Chloe sat back and closed her eyes. Whenever she had a deeply troubling decision to make, she found herself indulging in drinking. Although she hated the typical stereotypes that most Irish had, even in this century of synthahol, she had to admit, drinking was in her blood. Though it was only during the most troublesome of times. And lucky for her, she didn’t have those very often.
Patrick had asked her to go with him. To just leave her ship, transfer, and be with him on his. Despite how tempting the offer seemed, and even though she had strong feelings for him, she wasn’t quite over the feelings she had for Allen ZInthys and she really felt at home on the Atlantis now. How could she just leave… people needed her.
Frustrated, she glanced up to see when the blasted waitress was going to bring her the drink when she eyed Patrick approaching, a serious look on his face and decked out in full uniform. She sat up straight and watched as he took the seat across from her, and he grasped her hand.
“I’m leaving, Chloe. Captain has informed the senior staff that something is up in the Neutral Zone.. we’ve been called to investigate it. ”
She blinked, sighing and looking down at their hands, “So soon? I thought we had a few more days to be together..”
He shook his head, looking quite disturbed, “So did I, Chloe, but you know how it is. When duty calls…. but, I still want you to come with me. We can just send for your transfer files. We leave at 1800 hours. I’m hoping you’ll be there.”
He stood, looking down at her, then scooping her up in his arms and giving her a kiss full of passion and urgency. Deep down in his heart, he was afraid this would be the last kiss of his to ever rest on her lips for a long time. She embraced him and watched as he exited the bar, leaving Chloe to wonder what would be the right thing to do.
“Lieutenant Commander Dunham. The Captain wants you to report to the bridge as soon as you board the ship, sir.”
He nodded to the Ensign and sighed, standing at the docking port to the USS Hawk, waiting and hoping that Chloe would run up, bags in hand, ready to be with him. He hadn’t seen her and the time was getting closer and closer that he had to board the ship before it left without him. A twinkle came to his eye to see Chloe running up to him, exasperated.
“You came… c’mon. We are about to depart.”
She shook her head, embracing him a last time, “I can’t go, Patrick. I can’t. Here.. ,” she said, handing him a small PADD, “I hope this explain everything. I’ll hope I’ll see ye again one day… ye know where to find me. I’ll be on the Atlantis. My home.”
She walked away from him, tears misting in her eyes as he looked dumbfounded at the PADD in his hand. He got the last call from the Ensign at the docking port gateway and disappeared into his ship as Chloe got swept up in the crowds.
Patrick stood silent in the turbolift, when he turned on the PADD and saw a little recording come to life on it’s small screen.
“Patrick. Ye know I care for you. And these past two days have been wonderful. But, I can’t leave my life on the Atlantis right now. It’s my home and I care for all the people on board. They are my family and they need me. There will always be a soft spot in my heart for ye, Patrick Dunham, and ye know ye can always drop me a line on Atlantis if ye wanna see me. Til then, take care of yeself and continue being the wonderful man I know. I’ll see ye in the stars.”
The turbolift came to a stop at the bridge and he stepped out, still grasping the PADD. He took a stance near the door and watched as the USS Hawk moved slowly away from Starbase 21 and entered the streaking vortex of warp. Off into space, off into adventure.
“Dunham, what’s that in your hand?” the Captain asked, motioning to the PADD. Dunham smiled lightly and looked at it.
“This sir… is the Tale of One Station.”