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Shaky
Posted on April 1st, 2022 by Hannah Ziredac

USS Atlantis
Shuttlebay
March 16, 2401

Hannah Ziredac was two old fashioneds in by 1100 hours, and the waking hours heretofore were spent treating the Skylark’s hatch like a stoop and bedeviling Landeskog into uttering something more than a grunt. Never had she known a greater joy.

‘Hey Lando, you don’t, like, hear me from out here, do you? Like, at night? Like, in the middle of the night? Like, in the middle of the night when I turn on the holoprograms you don’t talk about in polite company?’

No response from the Grunting Grunt®.

‘Because if you can, man, I’m sorry. Things can get, uh, spirited in there. No one needs to hear that kind of thing. Until recently I was dating an ace, so, you know, pent-up needs and the sad-hornies? Oof. I know she’s soundproofed and everything; she’s a fuckin spaceship and all, but it’s like one of those philosophical quandaries or whatever: I don’t know how good my soundproofing is, because I’m always inside it.’

Still nothing. This was gold.

‘It can sound like I’m undergoing a fucking exorcism in th—’

Grunt. Record time. Hannah awarded herself a hundred points and knocked back the rest of the third old fashioned.

‘Good talk, Lando. You’re one of the good ones, man. You can weather this bitch’s obnoxious horseshit like no one else. Even when she’s talking about,’ and then she finished the sentence with a slang term for her aforementioned activity that was so lurid and vulgar that no third-person narrative worth its weight in integrity would commit it to printed word. It was perfectly illustrative though.

And still, Landeskog was a rock. An island. No pain. No cries.

Hannah ducked back into the Skylark and repped a fourth old fashioned, then recycled it. ‘Nah-n-n-n-nah, no. No. Let’s go a little more college-party. One part Bacardi (like it’s ya birthday), two parts Dr. Fucking Pepper.’

PLEASE REPEAT ORDER.

‘Guh, sorry. One part Bacardi, two parts Dr. Pepper.’

It shimmered into existence. She took a sip.

‘Correction: a little more high school-party. Glorious.’

=Λ=

Sacker Butte High School
Room G-3: Ms. Tobey – Spanish 1
November 18, 2387

These fucking fluorescent lights.

‘Buenos días, Ana. ¿Por qué llegas tarde?’

‘Uh…’ Hannah (‘Ana’ to her Spanish class) met nineteen pairs of eyes that were, in retrospect, a little knowing. ‘Estoy, uh… Estoy muy…um…’ Come on, you know this. You’ve used it before. Starts with a C. Come on… Got it! ‘…constado.’

‘I’m not sure that’s the right word, Ana,’ Ms. Tobey said, to the tittering of the A-plusers in the front row.

‘Shit. I mean crap, sorry. Uh… Estoy muy…’ Shit, shit, shit, shit, what is it. Hannah wasn’t terrific with foreign languages to begin with, but she was less terrific when she was still drunk from the night before and running on an hour’s sleep. Her C-minus was teetering on the edge of a D-plus, so she didn’t want to lose the ten points she would lose if she didn’t answer in Spanish. Come on, what is it, starts with a C… Got it! ‘Estoy muy casada.’

The A-plusers trumpeted through clamped lips. One of them hid her face. Hannah never could remember her actual name, but her Spanish class name was Estrella and she was a fucking [word that the narrative is not at all comfortable typing, no matter what side of the pond]. Estrella was having a wonderful morning.

Ms. Tobey, not the kindest teacher when it came to slackers, smiled wide. ‘¡Felicidades, Ana!’

‘Wait, wha’d I say?’

Irma, or Maxine Prieboy when she wasn’t in this room, said haughtily, ‘You said you’re very married.’

‘Fuck.’

‘Language,’ Ms. Tobey said. ‘You were close, Ana, so I’m only going to dock you five points instead of ten. Cansada, Ana. “Estoy muy cansada.” “I am very tired.” Please have a seat so we can start.’

Estrella turned to Irma and, loud enough for everyone to hear, said, ‘More like borracha, am I right?’

Hannah, without a second’s hesitation, said, ‘Hey, chinga tu madre, cabrón.’

Nineteen jaws smacked on the floor. Ms. Tobey pointed northeast. ‘Office,’ she said. ‘Now.’

Single finger-gun. ‘Yeah, but how was my Spanish, huh?’

Out.’

=Λ=

USS Atlantis
Forward Lounge…?
Some time, idk, 2401
Yeah. 2401.
We can safely say 2401.

‘Did you just bring your own drink to the lounge?’

‘Izz-ere a rule againz zat er sum’m?’

‘Um…I don’t…’

‘Then bzzz!’ Hannah waved her hand in whosoever-this-was’s face. ‘Bzzz!

Alcohol had a such an interesting dichotomy of effects on Hannah’s brain: it focused her desires while scattering them to April winds in Oklahoma. She didn’t know what she would have done with it, but she desperately wanted someone to saunter up to her and say, Excuse me, but did you just make a Fifth Element reference?

Why yes. Yes I did, she would’ve said, with very sharp S’s and crystal annunciation.

Wow. You’re really cool.

I know.

I’m very attracted to you, non-Starfleet lady.

This much is clear, Starfleet person.

I am whatever gender, body type, and personality type you’re thinking of whenever you’re thinking of me.

Mm. Just the way I like it. I have a ship in the shuttle bay. Holodeck built right into it. We could go do whatever we want in there.

Yes. No further questions.

‘Hey.’ This interruption was not courtesy of the same borefest as before, the one that was all with the dId yOu jUsT bRiNg yOuR oWn dRiNk tO tHe lOuNgE? malarkey. This was a whole other person.

‘Hey yrslf.’ The narrative has presented the last quoted word without vowels because that’s how it came out of her mouth.

‘There may not be a rule about bringing in your own drinks, but there’s a rule about being drunk and-or disorderly in public.’

‘Evn fr ssssss-vilians?’

‘Yup.’

‘I-i-i-i doan blieve you.’

‘You’re welcome to tell that to security.’

‘Whoa, w-w-w-whoa now, hey. Hey now. No need ta go all fuggin offa rails. I’ll jus…’ Hannah pushed at least two of her extremities against the solid objects beneath her, but the expected leverage did not quite take until the second attempt. ‘Maybe I’ll jus tagoff.’

‘Back to your ship, and nowhere else.’

Hannah squinted. ‘Scotty, you look diffrnt.’

‘Excuse me?’

‘I-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i…was magin a joke. Cuz Scotty ’Mora’s a tightass, mirite?’ She looked around at her audience, which was just three people trying to have a quiet lunch. No one thought she was rite [sic]. Well, fuck em.

‘Out,’ the person said.

‘Urmgon,’ quoth she with truculence.

‘Just go, get out.’

=Λ=

Batten Residence
Dellenville, Colorado
May 19, 2391

Hannah unclipped her bowtie and flung it into some corner or crevice of the Battens’ living room. Erika was already close up on her as they danced, but Hannah pulled her in closer, landing a wet kiss on the side of her neck, angling her thigh in a highly strategic position. She whispered a very direct suggestion that the narrative will not type here. Erika at first responded with a resounding concurrence that yes, they should go do that, but that she wanted to keep dancing. The after-prom party had just started.

‘Don’t keep yer girl waiting, Rikki,’ Hannah said.

Erika didn’t hate ‘Rikki’ but she never glommed on. ‘Be patient, Nah.’ Classic riposte.

There were already twenty people at the after-party, with more on the way. By some odd chance, all of Hannah’s many parties until senior year had been on the smaller side. She liked it that way; more intimate, easier to clean up and hide from the host’s parents, less likely to get the neighbors’ attention. She had, however, in her exploration of millennial pop culture, always wanted to be at an insane high school house party. The kinds in the movies.

She got her wish. These people told these people who told these people who told these people, and soon the Batten residence was standing-room only. Dancing, hologames, makeouts, and, of course, booze.

‘Ogay, whas this,’ Hannah said, falling against the kitchen counter. She was three Dr. Bacardis deep, and this was discounting the surreptitious swigs she’d been taking since the pre-prom dinner date.

Berit held up a bottle of brown stuff with a green label. ‘This is single-barrel Eric Bishop.’

‘Real?’

‘Yeah. Want some?’

‘Fug yeah, bitch!’

Berit poured a sloppy couple fingers of the stuff into a plastic cup.

‘Whas good with it?’

‘Oh, you don’t mix Eric Bishop. This stuff is like, almost a bar of GPL out in—’

Hannah said, ‘Gotcha,’ then knocked the whole thing back.

Berit, Sam, and the others standing around all laughed. Sam raised his and said, ‘I guess we’re shooting Eric Bishop, guys! Cheers!’ and despite Berit’s protests, everyone who’d gotten some housed it.

Hannah threw her plastic cup into the crowd dancing in the living room and bellowed, ‘We’re gonna fuckin graduate in three weeks, motherfuckers!

Everyone turned and whooped.

And we’re gonna fuckin get destroyed tonight!

More whooping; a few people chugged whatever was in their cups.

And I’m gonna—’ Hannah finished this sentence with the announcement that she was going to do to Erika what she earlier had whispered in her ear. It got some whoops, some laughter, some protracted, ‘Oohhhh!’s. From Erika it got, in order: shock, sadness, anger, and a prompt retreat.

Hannah grinned at the people nearest her. ‘I’m in trouble.’ Got some laughs.

The fight happened in her bedroom, but not before the fight in the hallway that was centered on Hannah’s permission to enter her bedroom to begin with.

=Λ=

uSs aTlaNtits
haha anTlAn tits
hahA
thE prEseNt
wHateVer thAt’s sposTa mean

Where were the fucking parties? Where were her people? Hannah used to have her people. The partiers. You know? Kestrel Bordman and her crew. Jym Statton and that whole interconnected thatch of warring polycules. Where the fuck were those people? Did Starfleet Academy make you pass an ‘I’m An Unspirited Knob With Not A Hedonistic Bone In My Body’ test before they let you in? Is it every Starfleet officer’s idea of a good time to just sip one small glass of champagne, golf-clap at a cellist, make bad puns, and be cozy in bed by 2100?

They used to joke about Starfleet holodecks. Like how everyone must make a silent agreement not to make eye contact with someone going in or coming out of a private session. Like, duh. They’re going in there to— When this thought occurred in Hannah’s mind, she substituted the verb with the sound of an ascending slide-whistle.

But now, Hannah knew that these Starfleet dorks were really just going in there to chat with historical and/or fictional characters. They were really going in there for a rousing bout of parrises squares, or bop each other with those big q-tip things. Fucking dorks.

‘Fuggin dorks,’ she said.

‘Um…what?’

The turbolift, as it turned out, was not unoccupied. Okay then.

‘Oh, hey.’

‘Are you okay, miss?’

‘More’n okay. Where you off to?’

‘Um, my quarters.’

‘Nice.’

The person squirmed in Hannah’s periphery.

‘Whas yer story? Where you from? You single?’

‘Are you hitting on me in a turbolift, while you’re drunk and I’m on duty?’

‘You’ve passed the tess. Congrashlamrm…tions.’

‘You need a nap.’

‘Capital idea, I do say. Rather. I should have a nap. What time is it?’

‘It’s like 1230.’

‘Whoa, you’re on graveyard shift?’

‘1230 in the afternoon.’

‘The night is young!’

‘Oh my god.’

‘Okay, b’like, what if I wasn’t drumk [sic] and you weren on-dudy?’

‘I’m monogamous and not gay.’

Hannah scoffed long enough that a stripe of drool ran down her shin. ‘Boring.’

‘Fuck you.’

‘Hey-hey-hey, I’m joking.’

‘Get funnier.’

The turbolift got to this person’s deck, and they stepped out without even so much as a goodbye.

Hannah called after them: ‘I’ll be around! Shuh’lbay! Coolest ship!’

=Λ=

The Skylark
Later
March 16, 2401

From the turbolift Hannah time-traveled to the floor of the Skylark, feeling spinny but less drunk. She checked the time; she must have gone straight here for that nap, but she didn’t know why she didn’t nap in her bed. That’s our Drunk Hannah, the announcer said to the studio audience.

She pushed herself up, repped a glass of water and a basket of cajun tots, and a shot of whiskey.

Stoop time.

‘Tot, Lando?’

He didn’t even look up. This guy should do improv.

‘So what’s the haps? Y’know, like, the ship. What’re we doin right now? Poking primordial swamps with a stick? Uncovering a government conspiracy in a far-off colony? Solving a murder within a royal family? Traveling back in time to the Salem Witch Trials?’

Landeskog poked at a PADD. He was not available.

‘You love me, Lando. If ya didn’t, you woulda fought tooth and nail to get outta this guard duty, and yet…’ She crammed a few tots into her craw, and the words managed to crawl over them: ‘Alright, catch ya later.’

Hannah took the shot and tumbled back into the Skylark. She loaded up a holoprogram of the bar called Variations back on the Grapefruit, courtesy of the establishment. It was a faithful rendition of the club, she had to give them that, but charging any significant scratch of latinum for a holo-replica of their bar was simply an invitation for someone to hack in and steal a copy. Especially when you had single-ply cybersecurity.

She picked a packed-house dance party, live Bynar DJs, both dance floors open and surging, every last patron dressed to the nines and ready to sweat. The bar glowed gold-white in the sea of dark blue. Neon drinks floated at the ends of awkward arms as they made their way outward. Hannah shouldered through and flagged down the bartender.

‘Yeah, what can I get ya?’

Hannah pointed to the black-lit chalkboard menu. ‘Why do you have so many mule drinks?’

‘Place is called Variations.’

‘You’re correct. Why the mule drinks?’

‘You’re on a moon colony founded by Tom Waits fans.’

‘I am?’

‘Grapefruit Moon? You think that’s a normal name for a moon?’

‘Bitch, we live in an infinite universe. Ain’t no more surprises.’

‘Whatever. What can I get ya?’

Hannah perused all of the mule variations (ohhh, got it): Moscow mule, Dublin mule, Kentucky mule, Manila Mule, mezcal mule, Mexico mule, Qo’noS mule, ShiKahr mule, Dahkur mule, Deep Space mule, Delta mule, Naudrïs mule, Luna mule, Mirror mule, Picard mule, Warp 10 mule, and the list fucking went on.

‘Uh,’ Hannah said. ‘Dealer’s choice. No wrong answers. Get in there and go nuts.’

‘Mirror mule then.’

The bartender swirled four mystery ingredients with some ginger beer and poured it into a transparent-copper mug.

‘What makes it mirror?

‘It’s called akdov. That’s vod—’

‘Vodka backwards, got it.’

‘—back… Yeah. They say some chemist inverted the vodka molecule, but a friend of mine says it’s just tequila or something that’s been molecularly changed to taste like vodka.’

‘Why would anyone do such a horrible thing to tequila?’

‘I dunno. All I know is that mirror mules are really popular and get people really drunk.’

Hannah cheersed. ‘That’s all I could ask for. I’ll be seein you later.’

And she did see him later. Seven times if you let the narrative count. Her visits to the bar did not account for the drinks given by others, or, in two cases, lifted right from a nearby table when no one was looking. She danced until she felt sick, rubbing up on everyone she could, making moves on the beefy cis dudes and slim done-up cis chicks simply because she never did that in the real world. The native holoprogram only allowed for kissing and extremely PG over-the-clothes stuff, but Hannah had the Skylark’s computer save some of these pre-renders for another time. And she made a mental note to remove this program’s decency rating.

She browned out until she was in a booth with a hot nonbinary person with bright pink hair who didn’t not look like Zoë. Taller, full human, eyes a little closer together, a lovely individual in their own right, but Hannah knew she wouldn’t have been yanked off the dance floor by just anyone at this point. Their name was… (Shit, shit, what’s their name. Fuck, shit, what’s their goddamn—) Morgan, and they looked way less drunk than Hannah was.

‘Iz jus that I dunno howda love anyone anymore, Morgan. Thas the probmm.’

Uh oh. How long had she been oversharing and what had she overshared?

Hannah touched her eyes to see if she was crying. She wasn’t, but the quality of her voice made her think that she was. ‘Iz like, when Erika n I split, that was it. Done-zo. No more lovin from ol Stupid Bitch here.’ Hannah pitched two thumbs at herself, pulled up invisible suspenders.

‘It’s a hard thing to remember,’ Morgan said. ‘It’s a muscle just like anything else.’

‘Love is, y’mean? Love’s a muscle?’

‘Yeah. Just like your bicep, or your creativity, or your…you know, whatever. Your vocabulary. Your theoretical mathematics.’

‘The-he-he-he-ha-ha-ha…thereckal mathmacks, they say! Morgan, what do I look like to you?’

‘Someone who’s in a lot of pain.’

‘Damn, Variations puttin all sorts inna their holoprogum.’ Hannah knocked back Drink Number [mumble] and squinted at Morgan. ‘I’m not in pain. I don’t…’

Morgan raised their eyebrows.

‘Okay, arri-arri-arright, you got me. You got me there.’

‘How often do you drink?’

Hannah didn’t like the answer to that question so she offered up a pout instead of a number.

‘Is it a lot?’

‘Iss a lot.’

Morgan reached into their bag and pulled out an old-fashioned business card. ‘Drug and alcohol counseling. There’s a holoprogram built into that card. Have your computer scan it and it’ll be added to your database.’

‘Does Variations like business, or they tryn get all their cussmers to dry out?’

‘When the program detects binge drinking, I get activated to observe and assess potentially alcoholic behavior.’

‘Rude.’

‘Helpful. That program I just handed you has a really good success rate.’

‘I’m not an alcaholck.’

Morgan shrugged. ‘You may not be. I’m not a CADC. I’m just giving you the program in case you want to find out.’

‘Maybe. I mean, might be fun. Fend off the boredom. Thanks.’

‘You’re welcome.’

‘Wanna make out?’

‘No thanks.’

=Λ=

USS Atlantis
Bridge
March 16, 2401

‘Go, Ms. Ziredac,’ the commodore said. ‘Off the bridge, now.’

‘Fucking gladly. Just wanted to see the hypocrisy for myself.’ Hannah scoffed and stomped back into the turbolift, the right side of her face seared raw from Captain Grey’s death-glare. When the doors closed Hannah punched the turbolift wall and screamed, ‘This is why I hate Starfleet, in case anyone was fucking wondering!’

Her swampy, bleary consciousness took slow notice of a sharp pain in her hand and wrist. Without looking down Hannah sighed and said, ‘Yeah, I just broke my hand. Cool.’ She added, ‘Ow.’ She added, ‘Fuck; ow.’

=Λ=

USS Atlantis
Quarters: D’bryn Sauëdeyan ‘Zoë’
October 1, 2400

Log redacted.

This one hurt.

It was a bad time.

Bad time.

Hannah didn’t like to look at this.

Sometimes this was all she could look at.

No small wonder that their relationship didn’t end here.

It had to do with sex. Of course it did.

Asexual dating a verysexual; of course there was going to be friction (oh har-de-har, Hannah).

Why couldn’t I understand it? Why couldn’t I understand Zoë? Why couldn’t I have listened? Why couldn’t I have just set aside my own desires to accommodate her? Why couldn’t I love her the way she needed to be loved? The way I probably needed to love people? Why couldn’t I trust her? Why couldn’t I trust myself? Why was this very simple puzzle such a brain-buster for me? What the fuck is wrong with me? What the fuck is wrong with me?

That night—or early morning, if you wanted to get all literal about it—Hannah asked these questions in a random loop to the bottom of a glass.

Ditto the next couple nights.

She couldn’t unsee that room.

It was so dark in there.

The corners were choked with mosslike shadows, the darkness of which rivaled the nothing between galaxies.

She couldn’t unsee it.

She didn’t deserve to unsee it.

=Λ=

The Skylark
March 16, 2401

‘Please state the nature of the medical emergency.’ The Skylark’s EMH was not a Starfleet model, nor, much to Hannah’s chagrin, was it a cheekily themed civilian model. No bescarved oddballs whose regenerators and hyposprays all looked like sonic screwdrivers, no plague masks, no George Clooney, no Hugh Laurie. This one was just Some Guy.

‘Broken hand,’ she said.

The doctor grabbed a medical tricorder. ‘Boxer’s fracture,’ he said. ‘Did you get in a fight?’

‘Kinda. It was with a turbolift wall.’

‘Did you win?’

‘Just patch me up, hypo-jockey.’

‘“Hypo-jockey”?’

‘I dunno, man. I’ve been drunk all day. They can’t all be poetry.’

The doctor ran an osteogenic regenerator over her fifth medicarpal. ‘How’s that?’

Hannah tested her hand. ‘Fine. Wrist still kinda hurts.’

Another scan. ‘Just a sprain. Hold still.’ He fetched a hypospray and hissed it into her wrist. ‘Might be tender for a day or so.’

‘Right on.’

‘May I make a suggestion?’

‘It’s a free quadrant.’

‘Learn how to punch.’

Hannah snorted once. ‘Alright, am I good to go?’

Are you?’

Hannah caught his meaning. ‘Catch ya later. Computer, deactivate EMH.’

The doctor’s office faded to the Skylark once more. Hannah’s body felt shaky, empty. Not enough food; too much poison. She needed something calming. A handsome drink. Something you don’t want to gobble down. An edge off the edgeless. She needed it neat. She needed it quiet. She needed…she needed…

‘Computer, um…’

A pregnant pause, then, PLEASE REPEAT QUERY.

‘Sorry. Computer, load the drug and alcohol program housed in the Variations package.’


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2 Comments

  • Kathryn Harper Kathryn Harper says:

    This is absolutely fantastic. Your portrayal of drunkbrain is incredible, funny, and sadly hits home. I’m glad to see that Hannah is getting some help, though. Kate can certainly empathize, having dealt with a drinking problem herself before taking command. Bravo!

    And Landeskog is indeed a rock. :: Grunts ::
    haha anTlAn tits


  • Emilaina Acacia says:

    I love how you flash from scene to scene to paint a picture like a proper episode of Trek. It’s heartening to see Hannah growing through all this, and I appreciate that you deal honestly with alcoholism and how it affects the victim. As always great work!




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