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The Presidio, Pt. 2: Unscientific Methods
Posted on May 12th, 2021 by Scott Ammora

San Francisco, Earth, May 2397
Presidio Park, One Hour Later

The night air was brisk. The breeze off the bay was soothing and uncomfortable at the same time. Scott put his hands into the pockets of his leather jacket and dealt with the occasional gust of wind. The club he had left was now a kilometer away. The cobblestone path he had been following that ran parallel to the wrought iron handrail had seen better days, but in the glow of the lamplight the scene looked like something out of a Victorian novel.

The Golden Gate Bridge, once an amazing man-made marvel for passenger cars was now a conduit of high-speed transit. The cars of the trains moved seamlessly along their tracks without noise. From his low vantage point it was truly a beautiful sight to see as they sporadically interrupted the bridge’s illumination making it seem like the mammoth structure was ‘twinkling’.

The stars actually twinkled overhead, presenting a brilliant backdrop against the nothingness of the darkened sky. One more year, Scott thought. In that time he’d be on a starship exploring the galaxy. Hard work and dedication would take him there, he hoped. He wasn’t failing, by any means, but it wouldn’t be a walk in the park – pun intended – and would be a bit of a challenge.

The events of the evening had put into perspective the human nature of ‘pairing off’. Mark had left with a random girl – not surprisingly – and Pasha had left with a guy who had been pursuing her the night over. Valin left… well… with his logic? With his Vulcan-ness? No, he had left as Valin. Scott didn’t judge; to each their own.

Scott had left alone. It wasn’t that he wanted to leave alone. It wasn’t as if he wasn’t looking or trying. It was just the nature of the night as far as he was concerned. Those moments happen when you’re young: you have standards, you have prerequisites, you try too hard, you don’t try hard enough, someone beats you to the one you have your eye on, and so on and so forth. Or, in this case, his mind had been on other things. And, thus, here he stood.

Placing his arms on the railing, waves crashed against the rock wall below, the spray of mist dissipated quickly with a smell of salt and sea water. Scott relished in it. Another crash, this one harder than before, broken the silence of an otherwise still evening.

“It isn’t safe to be alone here at this time of night.”

The words from another person shattered his equilibrium. He wasn’t alone anymore, regardless of his intention to be. Scott shifted uncomfortably on the banister, peering to his right. While the bridge was lit, this pathway was less so. He wasn’t worried or scared, but he was alert. “We’re in the safest city on the planet. Yes, I’m fine.”

“I figured, but his was on my way home and I saw you here… thought I’d say ‘hey’.”

It was the bartender from the club earlier in the night who had approached. Scott nodded, “Hey.”

“Beautiful night.”

“Yeah.”

“The sounds of the ocean are soothing.”

Scott breathed deeply, “I agree.”

“You okay?”

The question caught Scott off guard. His response caught in his throat. There was a long time of silence before he had the wherewithal to respond. “Yeah,” he said simply. “On my way home.”

“See,” the guy before him shifted his weight, leaning with his back against the barricade, “You’re lying. You’re definitely an Academy cadet. If you were on your way home you would’ve gone on out the door and turned right, but you didn’t, you turned left. The dorms are in the other direction.”

Scott laughed, “Scenic route.”

“Sure. Totally plausible. What is it, end of term blues?”

Nodding absently, Scott grinned some more, “Something like that.”

“You’re a man of few words, I’m guessing. Which is odd for a Starfleet cadet focusing on security.”

He slowly turned his head and met eyes with the man, the handsome man, and his expression softened slightly. “Presumptuous of you after a three-minute chat.”

“Let me see if I have this straight. And, please, correct me if I’m wrong. Your group of four enter together, macho man is leading the way, and you’re flanking the sole female in the group out of what is probably human nature and a remnant of some inherent toxic masculinity…”

Scott put up a hand, interrupting, “Easy, chivalry isn’t dead.”

“…while the Vulcan who stands taller than all of you brings up the rear. He takes up a position next to the exit as if he’s casing the joint, your illustrious leader circles the room before settling in to his own shenanigans, and you and your counterpart happen to find a place in the center of the room. Mind you, none of you put your back to the door. At the same time, all of you constantly knew where the other is at.” Handsome stranger folded his arms and put his back on the railing. “Shall I continue?”

He was having a nostalgic moment and heard Captain Asper’s voice in his head about seeing everything. “Don’t let me stop you.”

“I actually just asked your female friend when she came up for a drink. The rest was just simple observation with a flare for the dramatic.” A playful smile crossed his face.

Another laugh, Scott shook his head and smiled, “That’s cheating.”

“You and the girl also both tried to run a standard deception on that other guy, which failed miserably from what I saw, and she ended up going home with him anyway. So not only are you a security student, you’re really bad at it, apparently.” It was the stranger’s turn to chuckle.

Scott found that comment pretty terrible: he was laughing at his own joke! Scott would digress for the moment. “For a bartender you were paying attention to my friends and me a lot tonight.”

“I’m a bartender, it’s what I do. It’s my job to see what’s happening in the club.”

Scott turned and put his back to the railing, mimicking his newfound friend’s posture, “That’s not all you are, right? Can I do my own guessing?”

“Turnabout is fair play. Whatcha got?”

“You just graduated and got promoted to ensign. You’re a science officer, probably taking some kind of internship for the next year at the Starfleet Science Institute would be my guess. You moonlight as a bartender because you can’t sit still, and you replicate a mean whiskey on the rocks.” Scott folded his arms, “Shall I continue?”

“That’s more words than you’ve said in the last ten minutes. So, who did you talk to?”

“No one!” Scott’s eyes widened about as much as his mouth spread into an expression of enjoyment, “I’m supposed to be security student, remember? My schooling should have taught me to observe everything. Plus, in your diatribe just now you gave it all away. Scientific method, by the book, if I’m not mistaken. Observation, research, question and hypothesis… the whole shebang.”

The midnight man waved a hand, there was an uncertainty to confirm Scott’s suspicions in the gesture, “Do go on.”

Scott reached over and tapped the silver pin on the man’s lapel, “You have a Starfleet Science Institute pin on your jacket that you’re obviously wearing as a badge of honor.”

“Now that’s cheating.”

“God, it’s too late for this. I’m guessing I’m close, but not right.”

“Slightly askew, but on the mark. Observation, you’re attractive. The research was the question I posed to your friend, which she acknowledged. It’s not all book work and lab experiments. The entire process can be whittled down into a brief and simple exchange. The question and hypothesis in my head was ‘Is he single?’”

What? Scott truly met the guy’s eyes for the first time. He was speechless. How does one respond to something like that? It wasn’t a question directed at Scott, but a comment on the earlier observations. Should he respond? No, that’s not appropriate. Plus he didn’t know where the line of reasoning was headed. But one thing was for sure, the hair on the back of Scott’s neck was at full attention in a hurry. “I… uh… I…”

“I didn’t know. After all, you were there with a woman and the two of you stuck pretty close to each other the entire night. Then, obviously, the kiss. As awkward as that was.” The man continued: “That led me to the idea that not only were you single, but you weren’t interested in her at all.”

“It was a surprise kiss from a friend who needed help ditching a guy who couldn’t take a hint! And no test followed to actually figure it out? Seems like you need to – ”

Suddenly the man’s lips were on Scott’s, his hands cupping Scott’s face. What in the fuck is happening?! Scott’s head exploded, but his body stayed silent. In the blink of an eye had forgotten what to do with his hands, didn’t know how to respond, and stood motionless accepting the embrace. He even kissed back, much to his surprise. As the awkward connection ended, both of them were visibly smirking; Scott’s response was instinctual, guttural, but the other one had a tangible element of pride. He only had a split second to think of what to say. “Whoa. Okay.” Bravo, Scott, way to handle the moment.

“Test complete. Have a good night.” The man started walking away, leaving Scott bewildered looking after him.

“I’m sorry?”

The retreating figure stopped, turned, and grinned. “You closed your eyes when I kissed you, but you didn’t do that when she kissed you. Results confirmed. Inherent reaction to human interaction doesn’t need explanation. I’ll see you tomorrow night at the bar.”

His mind was reeling and Scott didn’t know what to say. He tried to process the moment and found himself lacking heavily on any understanding. He ended up blurting out the first thought his brain could cohesively put together: “I didn’t get your name!”

The figure receded into the night, the darkness enveloping him. From the black, Scott heard the voice as clear as day, “I know! See you tomorrow night.”


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2 Comments

  • Kathryn Harper Kathryn Harper says:

    This is quite an enjoyable read with an effective description of the scene, and I quite liked the two analyzing each other from the perspective of their respective disciplines. Probably not too much of a reach here, but I’m gonna go ahead and guess that the bartender is Wes! Well done!


  • Emilaina Acacia says:

    I’m personally not a fan of surprise kisses, but the scene was well written and the reaction was realistic. I did enjoy the Holmes-esque observational diatribes, especially since they were actually a joke. Nice log.




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