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Re: Day 02 [1030 hrs.] Touching Base

Reply #25
[ Lt. Simon Tovarek | Wardroom Lounge | Deck 01 | USS Theurgy ] Atten: @Brutus

As Stark seemed to appreciate the offer he made the lieutenant smiled as he nodded "I'll keep you up on that." he said as he raised his hand and waved his finger around to add some strength to the message. It was however not meant that seriously as he laughed right after it. He placed his fingers over the top of his mug, almost forming a sort of a dome over it as he let the warm air raise up against his palm. He seemed lost in thoughts again for a second before Natalie spoke up again.

"If you don't mind me asking lieutenant commander... What's Mars like? I've never visited it myself. I flew past it plenty of times though." he smiled as his curious side rose up once more. He had always confined himself to the blue planet, that and some space time. Sure he had visited foreign planets and such, yet never enough to get a good picture from it. His eyes looked back into the eyes of Natalie, locking on once more. he could tell she was feeling some sort of emotion about the topic. He wasn't sure what exactly and would only realize it probably as she started talking.

As she mentioned that stepping down wasn't an option for her he shrugged "Everyone is replaceable to some extend Miss Stark. Sure we might excel at our given duties, yet rational thinking will dictate that everyone is expendable." he paused for a second as he did try his utmost best to not implement to much Russian slang in his talking "That doesn't mean however that you should step down. Yet it might give you a different perspective on your work." he concluded as he shrugged and nipped from his coffee once more.

Re: Day 02 [1030 hrs.] Touching Base

Reply #26
[ Lt. Cmdr. Natalie Stark | Conference Lounge | Deck 01 | Vector 01 | USS Theurgy ]
Attn: @Nolan 
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Despite the kind word about offering perspective on her work, and how stepping down might be beneficial there, she shook her head. She knew that Simon wasn't seriously suggesting she step away from the position of Operations Chief. Just playing - well, not so much devils advocate as making sure she was aware of the pro's and con's. And given his recent career moves and choices, she supposed she could appreciate his unique perspective on the subject at hand.

But rather than dwell on that, Natalie allowed herself to think of Mars. Of Bradbury Point. Of home.

A far off look seemed to settle in on her face, as she set the mug down on the table and let her gaze soften, focusing on some indistinct point that appeared to be just over Simon's left shoulder, but was actually far off, many hundreds of light-years, and a few actual years distant. A window to her past. A low sigh escaped her lips.

"It amazing," she said after a long moment of contemplation. "Contrary to popular belief, you can actually walk outside the domed cities. Some of them are opened air, built in deep valleys. Others are still enclosed to help ward off the radiation. The planet is teraformed, actually." She smiled, sweeping some hair back, "I remember swimming at Lake Casini. Red sand beaches, of course." She gave him an impish smile.

"It was fresh water lake, a filled in impact crater. Melted ice from the poles, and comets brought in by the venteron array's in the late twenty first and early twenty second centuries. All the lakes on Mars - all the standing water, actually, lakes, seas and rivers - are fresh water not a single salt water body on the whole planet." She paused, then shrugged, admitting, "of course, the total water coverage on Mars is only something like 10% of the planetary surface. Far more mountains and desserts than lakes and rives - Makes for some amazing hiking, as long a you have the proper kind of rad protection." Her attention shifted away from the natural beauty of the still very much Red planet, and more towards the pioneers that had settled it, and the impressive culture that resided on the planet.

"And the history, oh, the history, those first settlers. I had a cousin that married into the Martian Hopi-Pueblo Nation. They'd immigrated to Mars - settled large portions of it, really - when the tribes declined to submit to the United Earth Government. Many of them eventually spread further away from Mars, settling planets far away from the land of their Ancestors and their troubled history." Those settlements, she knew, had become caught up in the demilitarized zone between the Cardassian Empire and the Federation, and ended up as a flashpoint in the months prior to, and during, the Dominion war.

"But the history of Mars was tied so tightly to the history of Earth. All of our species fascinations with the solar system, the galaxy and the universe at large all started with a fascination of Mars." The young Chief of Ops smiled wider, but then it faltered a bit, turning bittersweet. A new memory, of home, sprung forth. A happy memory, tainted only years later by the accident.

"I remember when my brother Eric took me to the Sagan Memorial Station - it was built at the sight where the first Martian Rover finally came to a rest. The rover is still out there, under its own small, protective dome. They reinforced it a few decades back with dedicated atmospheric and debris force-fields. Daddy pulled a few strings, and we got to actually touch it. They crashed that thing into the planets surface from a probe, and then it bounced around for years longer than expected."

Natalie hadn't thought about that trip in years. The distant light of Sol, so far away, ghosting across the thin atmosphere, the wispy clouds and the red dirt ground. She could see the dome, see how the Martian sage grass had been cut back and replaced with a paver-stone circle and a small barrier with a dedication plaque. The stones were, of course, made of local regolith. Everything was locally sourced. The sprawling fields of solar panels, many of the later dome cities. The gossamer thin space elevators, built back during the first wave of colonization, used to launch precious ore into orbit to be shipped back to earth, or dropped to other points on the planet for use there.

Us Martians are a hearty people, she reminded herself, Make use of everything we have on hand, take nothing for granted, and damn proud of it. She remembered leaving their house, built into the side of a cliff, like so many of the dwellings at Bradbury Point, south of the space port. The journey to the Carl Sagan Memorial Station. The after hours tour, being allowed inside the dome itself, squatting down, a tiny hand on the small treads, her brothers hand, squeezing her shoulder tight.

God, but I miss him so much.


OOC: Fun facts, almost all references to Mars come from Memory Alpha and beta, as well as direct pulls from Enterprise: Beneath the Raptors wings. Only the details of what the Carl Sagan Memorial Station entail were made up by yours truly, as well as the layout of Bradbury Point (also called Bradbury Township).

Re: Day 02 [1030 hrs.] Touching Base

Reply #27
[ Lt. Simon Tovarek | Wardroom Lounge | Deck 01 | USS Theurgy ] Atten: @Brutus 

The Russian scientist listened amused to the cascading waterfall of information that Stark shared with him. As he knew so little of Mars it was interesting to hear an actual Martian talk about home. He seemed to be captivated by all of it and hung on her lips as she talked about life there and about the history of the planet. Mars had been one of those terraforming projects which professors had gone on about during his days in the university. Needles to say it wasn't Simon's forte as it was interesting, but not interesting enough to commit his full career to.

The idea of having red sanded beaches was hard to imagine for Simon as he only knew the beaches at Earth. He smirked at the notion of in and tried to imagine the sights of it, including the superior officer before him in any sort of bathing suit. To think of her as nude would be outright perverse. He did wonder how it would've been to only have fresh water seas and such, yet he refrained from asking the specifics to the lady before him. He did take another nip from his drink though as he continued to soak in the information.

Unaware though of the history of Stark's brother, Simon smiled as she talked about Eric "Do you have any other siblings?" he asked her and continued "What of Eric, did he lead the way for you in Starfleet?" he asked oblivious to the incident which had happened. It wasn't his fault though as Simon hadn't had the rights to read the personnel file of Stark. He couldn't have known unless he had checked for reports of accidents during that time.

Re: Day 02 [1030 hrs.] Touching Base

Reply #28
[ Lt. Cmdr. Natalie Stark | Wardroom Lounge | Deck 01 | Vector 01 | USS Theurgy ]
Attn: @Nolan 
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A short, bitter bark of a laugh escaped her lips at Simon's line of questioning. She should have known, the moment she mentioned Eric by name, that the questions would follow. They always did. And they always hurt. Twelve years gone, and they still hurt. Then again, Eric was her world, right up until he died. There had been Mommy, Daddy, Eric, and Nat. And there was just Daddy now, thinking his only remaining child was a traitor to the Federation. The dark thoughts swam right on along the current of depression, wondering if her father believed the news, or held faith in her.

Wondering if her father was still alive, or if shame had driven him to his end. Or if the parasites had gotten to him. They had to have crew records.

Enough. In her head, Natalie knew there was no point in dwelling on what may or may not be happening to her father. The trick was going to be convincing her mind to get with the program and, as her father had put it, 'play ball.'

"In more ways than you could know, Simon," she decided to answer. "My brother was the whole reason that I joined Starfleet. Directly responsible for me being here today, I suppose. " She quirked her lip up in a half smirk, the ride side rising, the left staying still. "All he ever wanted was to fly starships. Daddy built them, you see. He was a Chief at the shipyards - Utopia Planitia. I remember the way he'd complain about the Defiant project, and all the problems with the ship. Now the class is one of the most venerable in the fleet. A purebred warship. He hated that the Borg required them to work on something like that, instead of more explorers, like the great Galaxy-class. Then again, so many of them had issues in the beginning. Like the poor Yamato..." She sighed.

"Hazard of being a dockyard brat," she said apologetically, looking up at Simon from where she sat, shoulders hunches over and her weight on her forearms. The brunette gave a little shrug an addressed his other question. "There were no other siblings, besides Eric. It was just the four of us. Eric was the elder sibling. I was the baby. Spoiled rotten, Mom would say. Dad never knew his mother, had no sisters. I was his little princess." She smiled again, perhaps not as hollow as when she talked about Eric.

"Yes...." she sighed, "We were quite the happy family, growing up there on Mars."

Re: Day 02 [1030 hrs.] Touching Base

Reply #29
[ Lt. Simon Tovarek | Wardroom Lounge | Deck 01 | USS Theurgy ] Atten: @Brutus  

As the scientist listened to the words of the chief of operations, he noted to himself that she referred to Eric in past tenses, all the time. He wondered at first if it was deliberate or if he was just imagining things, yet slowly it turned out to be a constant. That and the way that a pinch of sadness and melancholy had filled her words, made the scientist believe that the story presumably didn't end well. He could only assume the worst and came to his own conclusion that the brother and perhaps even whole family that Stark had been talking about would be deceased at this point. To probe further to the how and what of it, would perhaps be too soon, too blunt.

It seemed that the Starks had quite a reputation within the dockyards of Utopia and Simon could only smirk a bit wider as she mentioned that she was a dockyard brat. He cherished his cup in both hands now while he drank a bit more coffee as she told him there were no other siblings and how she used to be her father's princess. He felt the need to comfort her, or so that's what the class 'Empathy among crew' had tried to teach him. He slowly reach out, extending his hand to her as he carefully held hers and gave it a squeeze.

"Natalie..." he started as he searched for the lines he should walk on yet not cross "You sound like you had quite a good and extraordinary life back on Mars." he said softly before he looked up in her eyes "Yet I can sense a hint of sadness... I fear it's rather heavy for you to bear, but I also don't want to pry further on it if... If it is too hard for you." he concluded before he let go of her hand and just straightened up once more in the chair. He detested social aspects, another good reason why stepping down as CSO was a blessing for him. Perhaps he did miss people skills?

Effectively though, he had shut the conversation down now though and he glanced back up to Stark. Would the offering of a hug be pushing it? Or Should he get her more liquid comfort? He pondered about these questions all the while his face remained steady and unchanged.

Re: Day 02 [1030 hrs.] Touching Base

Reply #30
[ Lt. Cmdr. Natalie Stark | Wardroom Lounge | Deck 01 | Vector 01 | USS Theurgy ]
Attn: @Nolan 
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Clearly, Mr. Tovarek is a rather perceptive. As befitting a scientist, I suppose. Not the best of tact, but well....Natalie let the train of thought peter out. That Simon had grasped her hand was a surprise, but not an unwelcome one. The past few days had been so unsettling, leaving Natalie feeling like she'd been tossed about on the open seas of old. Heartache and confusion, depression. A simple, reassuring hand grasp was a welcome gesture of friendship, one that Natalie needed.

She curled her fingers back into her palm, feeling the warmth of the touch, flickering memories of others grasping that same hand. The slight tenderness left over, the faint ache, from the dermal regenerator that had sealed the cut she'd inflicted the night before. It had been....had been...she couldn't quite remember. There were faces and names but the night had kept them from syncing in her memory. Neither here nor there, Nat, she reminded herself. What she had to deal with was a curious colleague who was trying to offer her a bit of comfort.

Managing a bittersweet smile, Natalie gave a little nod. "Its not the kind of burden that ever goes away, Simon. Not that kind of loss." She shrugged a bit, drawing a circle on the table with the same hand he'd been holding, missing that flash of warmth, and the echo of other touches. Shrugging, the brunette continued on. "Life was good. And then it wasn't as good anymore. Sudden, unexpected loss has that affect."

The impact, the wail of an alarm, echoing in the cabin confines. The inertial dampeners straining against the inertia and the impact. The hiss, then the roar deafening, accompanied by a bone chilling cold, colder than she'd ever felt before, being pulled back, back, away, her brother tumbling past her, out into the deep dark nothingness. Fear, grasping up, worming from the pit of her stomach as darkness closed all around.

Shaking off the memory again, and slightly paler for it, Natalie leaned back in her chair and tucked one leg over-top the other. It would be so very easy to let herself pull away entirely, seal the emotion behind the wall of time. So very easy to shut Simon and his inquiry out. Just a quick 'thank you for the coffee, but I really must be going now' deflection and then that would be it. Simon would feel bad, sure, but Natalie wouldn't have to think about that, or about home...

"My Dad and I survived a shuttle accident that claimed everyone else aboard," she quietly told Simon. "Including my mother, and Eric, whom had recently been accepted to Stafleet Academy. Needless to say that changed things. In part, it lead to my joining Starfleet, and my current predicament, being on the run from Starfleet. With my father having to deal with the reality that his only surviving child is a traitor." She picked up her coffee and drained what was left in a long, shaky pull. "So yes, there is a sadness, and there will always be a sadness, even if we ever managed to clear our names."

Re: Day 02 [1030 hrs.] Touching Base

Reply #31
[ Lt. Simon Tovarek | Wardroom Lounge | Deck 01 | USS Theurgy ] Atten: @Brutus

As Simon could feel the fingers of Stark withdraw in her hand, he couldn't help but think of crustaceans on Earth. Withdrawing within their shell for protection and safety. Was his touch perhaps overstepping it? Did he get the aspect of touch wrong again? The scientist his eyes looked at the covered hand before Natalie pulled it from underneath his palm. His hand remaining on the table before slowly returning to hold the cup. He could still see that she was hurting in a way yet at this point he had no clue what he could to make it better.

He listened to her as she shared the sudden loss of life. His lips parting briefly before he decided to just shut up and hear it out entirely before questioning. His eyes trained on the brunette as she shifted in her seat and took a new position in the seat she'd been in while she continued talking. He watched her drink as she poured out her worries about what her father would be thinking. They were all branded as traitors and Simon could only wonder what his family would think of it. He turned his eyes down to his cup as Natalie drank the rest of her cup and he rolled his fingers over the ceramic texture of the cup.

"I... I should not have inquired such personal matters..." he brought out softly as he felt like he had overstepped the invitation for coffee and a talk "I'm sorry to have brought up this painful memory for you." he apologized to Stark before he shoved his empty cup aside. His eyes remaining fixed on a non existent focal point on the table. In fact he truly had no clue what else he could say or add to turn this situation. Should he try and leave her to herself and head back to work? Would she need comforting for a traumatic event from so long ago? Would it be wrong to offer comfort? In what way should he comfort her?

The trivial and complicated routines of social interaction proved to be a larger problem than most scientific questions. Simon pursed his lips together as he finally brought up the courage to look back up at Stark. He didn't say a word as he just made contact with her eyes and silently watched her.

Re: Day 02 [1030 hrs.] Touching Base

Reply #32
[ Lt. Cmdr. Natalie Stark | Wardroom Lounge | Deck 01 | Vector 01 | USS Theurgy ]
Attn: @Nolan 
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Natalie didn't say anything, not at first. Really, what more could she say just then? There is no way that Natalie had wanted to relive those moments. Especially not after they had just been royally fucked over by the former host of Edna Rez. It really was not at the top of her to-do list for the morning. This little diversion was supposed to be an enjoyable break to get collected and not think about everything she had to do today. TO try and get over the headache from the blur of a night before that was starting to throb again. No surprise there, since instead, the pleasing conversation and company had turned dark and gloomy. Perhaps that was just their lot in life now? Sorrow.

But Simon's eyes held a word of remorse, and Natalie could see it plain enough. She let out a sigh and closed her own eyes, hanging her head for a moment, then shrugging and looking back up.  "I know. I won't say its fine," she wagged a finger at him, "not upset with you." She needed to clarify that. This kind of thing was important. Simon had not meant to upset her and was already blaming himself - or so the more senior officer thought. It was her place to make sure that blame wasn't placed where it didn't belong. After all, he'd been curious and she'd put it out there. What scientist wouldn't latch onto that thread and tug, unraveling the mystery.

"Nothing about what I'm feeling now could be described as 'fine,'" she continued. "But I will be fine. In a bit. It'll just take some time is all. Thats how it usually is." This was not the first time she'd thought about her father, and their mission, the loss of half of her family and the impact of her choices on the one man that remained. No, not hardly the first time. Perhaps the first time she'd been hungover while having to deal with it. That might be a first, she quietly allowed.

Blue eyes darted about the table, noting the discarded cups, the distance between them, and sighed. "This had been going really good," she said, and reached out, closing that distance again to gently squeeze Simon's hand. "Thank you for that. by the way. I really did need the break. Could have ended on a lighter note I suppose." Another shrug of a single shoulder, and a small chuckle. "But well,probably still beats the staff meetings i have lined up."

Re: Day 02 [1030 hrs.] Touching Base

Reply #33
[ Lt. Simon Tovarek | Wardroom Lounge | Deck 01 | USS Theurgy ] Atten: @Brutus 

As Stark could only inform him that she wasn't fine at all, it made Simon almost sigh out in front of her. Yet he had learned that the hard way as well that doing such a thing in front of someone would be considered inappropriate as well. The time he had done so back in Moscow whilst attending at university, he had sighed rather bored in front of his professor who had just lost his mother. At that time Simon really couldn't see what he had done wrong. He had attended the class for robotics yet only got a long and boring session of why today's class would be cancelled due to the passing away of said professor. It had been a a blessing in the end when the professor had moved away and a more adequate person had taken his place.

The fact that Natalie told him that she'd be fine but that it would take some time was greeted by just a nod by the scientist before her. The words that she wasn't upset with him setting him at ease just slightly, though the gnawing feeling remained. He should make it up to her somehow... Suddenly he felt the skin of Natalie's fingers and hand against his as she squeezed it and his eyes darted up to meet hers. His smile faint yet truthful as she thanked him for the morning break. He nodded as she concluded that it could've ended on a lighter note.

He had to smile a bit more as she had staff meetings lined up "Another thing I won't miss." he offered softly before he squeezed back gently in her hand. He doubted for a second before he voiced out the idea in his mind "Perhaps... We should do this again?" he suggested and paused "Without making the end so gloomy." he shrugged "Maybe over... Dinner tomorrow evening?" he pushed his luck as he looked into Stark's eyes. It was the least he could do for the poor girl. He had already ruined his morning somehow. Perhaps a dinner at the holodeck with a view of the Moscow or Saint Petersburg skyline would do her some good? That is if she were up for it.

Re: Day 02 [1030 hrs.] Touching Base

Reply #34
[ Lt. Cmdr. Natalie Stark | Wardroom Lounge | Deck 01 | Vector 01 | USS Theurgy ]
Attn: @Nolan 
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The sigh might have been off putting, if Natalie hadn't been aware, by this point, that in his own way Simon was as bad at social interactions as she was. While her issues tended to manifest in anxiety and reclusiveness  his seemed to take the shape of unintended rudeness and a general clashing with what most would consider established social norms. And even then, Natalie didn't view Simon as being all that bad at it, on the whole. She'd certainly encountered worse in her years in the fleet. And the soft smile he shot her told Natalie that the science officer was well aware of his own short comings in the department of social graces.

They were pulling apart again - the meal clearly at and end, and schedules would not allow her to dally much longer in any case - when Simon made his offer. Dinner, to make it? She mulled the question over in her mind, picking it apart, dissecting it. There was an immediate, general unease at the thought of any after hours meeting with anyone in a uniform right then. Some hold over from the misremembered evening prior, where she could not shake the feeling of having royally screwed up with an officer. But who, still eluded her. Sadly what was crystal clear was her little performance in Below Decks to one of Simon's new colleague, and one of the new pilots off of the ill fated Resolve.

After all, she had the cut to prove it - even if it had been treated. She must have used the med kit in her quarters before passing out.

Blinking away the momentary lapse, Natalie hastily smiled. "Honestly..." she paused, then pushing past the hesitation, the Operations Chief continued. "Sure," she said. "I could use a good meal after what I'm sure is going to be a few grueling days out here in the nebula. May as well make sure we have something to look forward to. Just no talking about families and I think we'll be all right. We can stick to something easier, like cultists." It was a poor joke, but she attempted it anyway. She knew they were all on edge over the revelations during the Senior Staff meeting, that some of the fanatics had radicalized and been making attacks.

"Speaking of, be careful out there. Your new boss has already been assaulted. I rather worry someone might take a swing at you as well."

Re: Day 02 [1030 hrs.] Touching Base

Reply #35
[ Lt. Simon Tovarek | Wardroom Lounge | Deck 01 | USS Theurgy ] Atten: @Brutus 

The chief of operations seemed to be overthinking his offer. Yet from the facial expressions and lack of response Simon could only deduct the worst. When the brunette finally did speak up it started as he would have predicted. A hint of honesty that would undoubtedly be followed by the idea being shot down for further exploration. Oh, how many time he had been down thi-. The next series of words caught the scientist off guard. He blinked a couple of times before his smile broke through. He nodded quickly as they were to avoid any sensitive topics like family. The cultist topic reducing his smile to a faint one as he nodded "Please, lets not elaborate on those fanatics." he answered her.

"I'd be glad to... Entertain you after a few blue days in this cloud." he tried to crack a joke on his own "I suggest we don't wear the uniforms to make it feel more relaxing?" he paused for a second "I'd say free time clothing... Or if you're up for it, I can set the scenery to something more fancier? I mean, its been a while since I had to dirk up in a tuxedo or something along those lines." he smirked. "Regardless we can discuss the specifics before we meet. Say three hours in advance to check if nothing has blocked up our agendas?" he suggested as he was fully aware that trying to get some free time of a department head usually ended up poorly. Unexpected meetings, events or situations usually arose to bother them and cross their planning. It was a life Simon had gladly put behind him.

Before Natalie could reply him, Tovarek's combadge chirped "Lieutenant Tovarek, this is CPO Silverton. I have a problem with my ongoing project. Can you make it to the science deck for a hand? It's rather urgent..." Simon sighed softly before he replied "On my way, i'll be there shortly." he replied before he raised his hands to Natalie "Alas, I'm afraid I'll have to cut it short here Miss Stark. Thank you for breakfast and if I may say so, it was a pleasure." He smiled before he nodded at her and took his leave.

~FIN

 
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