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Day 18 [1900 hrs.] Bread, Salt, & Wine

[Reggie Suder | Whetstone Lounge | Vector 02 | Deck 13 | U.S.S. Theurgy ] Attn  @RyeTanker

May 6 2381
19:00 hrs
Stardate: 57700.36

It was not often that Reggie had the opportunity to do this. Sure she’d been known to dress up for concerts on the holodeck, and shore leave excursions. But doing so while on board ship seemed somewhat out of place. Reggie didn’t give a damn. The Betazoid had found the dress pattern a few weeks ago in the replicator database, and it had been one of the first things she’d created when she moved on board Theurgy.

But the black dress that exposed her shoulders, offered some cleavage without being gratuitous and it slipped down just below her knees and she’d found the perfect pair of metallic silver strappy heels that just made her look banging. Of course, she’d worn the combadge in it’s traditional position on her chest, but she had added a silver pendant necklace, a subtle pair of earrings, and a subtle makeup job. She’d straitened her hair and brushed it so most of it would fall over her right shoulder. She had chosen to keep the oil slick style coloring she’d put in it for the concert last week. That was going to stay around for a while. But even so, in her own way, the look left her with a sense of elegance she had not felt in herself in far too long.

Sure her first meeting with Frank Arnold had been anything but elegant or sophisticated, but she got this sense of the man and somehow she suspected he might appreciate the effort. She certainly wouldn’t mind being arm candy to the engineer.

The turbolift came to a stop, depositing her outside the Whetstone lounge. Teasing her hair just a touch, she stepped off to see if Frank had arrived.

OOC: Wardrobe and Hair behind the spoilers


Hair & Makeup : [Show/Hide]

Re: Day 12 [1900 hrs.] Bread, Salt, & Wine

Reply #1
[Lieutenant Commander Frank Arnold | Whetstone Lounge | Vector 02 | Deck 13 | USS Theurgy] Attn: @P.C. Haring

He was off duty, so he wasn't Chief Arnold.  He could simply be Frank Arnold once more as he quietly sat at the bar nursing a Scotch.  He was going slow, after all, the night was relatively young and he never drank to excess, so he nursed his first drink.  Being a peaty and full dram, it wasn't hard to savour the various flavour notes as he waited for Reggie to arrive. 

Having thrown on something comfortable and casual, the engineer took the time to try to force his mind to not think about work as he stared into the dark amber liquid and the light that shone through.  It didn't help much since it looked like the visual representation of a warp field - gravity wave interaction equation.  He figured he been talking to Azrin too much about propulsion system issues since he wasn't defaulting to structural problems instead. A silent snort escaped as his mind did a reset and he began seeing space plasma affects on a solid surface as the minuscule waves bounced off the side of the glass.  He really was working too much and he frowned slightly at this.  Giving it some thought, he could remember being all over the ship in the bid to upgrade the EPS systems, but the only solid places with his presence were either his office, main engineering, or his bed.  Even the gym seemed fuzzy.  Was he becoming like his assistant and forgetting to eat to?

Sighing, his mind went back to the mental equation and he drained the dregs of his glass.  Looking up to signal the bartender who nodded his acknowledgement and went to the replicator for another Scotch.  A few moments later, the blonde woman returned and placed the glass in front of Frank as she deftly removed the empty one.  Frank went back to staring into his liquor when the woman looked up at the new entrant.  "Wow, she's here to impress someone." Frank looked up "What?" he asked and his gaze followed Felicity's nod as the elegantly attired Reggie Suder walked in.

The salt and pepper man's eyebrows rose fractionally in appreciation.  The subtle cosmetics helped to highlight the Betazoid's high cheeks, and eyes.  It also seemed to intensify her lips.  The dress flattered her quite well and Frank was starting to feel quite under dressed.  He shook his head as a wry smile took hold.  Many seemed to agree as a audio dampening field seemed to descend over the lounge.  "Felicity, can I get an Blanton's Old Fashioned please for Reggie?" Whoever had programmed the bartender had done an amazing job as the blonde's eyes seemed to dance and a smile split her face.  Frank responded by giving a neutral expression that said Really? Thea must have handled the rest since the look he got back amounted to Uh Huh, giggle.

Frank sighed.  He was getting sassed by photons.  What was the universe coming to? This amused him though as he turned and waved to Reggie to join him at the bar.  He was sure some wild variation of a rumour that the two were now dating or something else odd was going to be all over the ship by the midnight.  Oh Well.  Standing as gentleman do, he pulled a chair back for the pilot as he gave her an easy smile. "Good evening Reggie.  Thank you for remembering we were supposed to have dinner and I do have to say.  Very well done.  I'm sure we're going to have to institute some sort of dress code for the lounge going forward."

Outfit: [Show/Hide]

Re: Day 18 [1900 hrs.] Bread, Salt, & Wine

Reply #2
[Reggie Suder | Whetstone Lounge | Vector 02 | Deck 13 | U.S.S. Theurgy ] Attn @RyeTanker‍ 

Reggie felt the eyes on her as soon as she entered Whetstone and couldn’t help the smile that grew on her face.  She caught Frank’s wave and offered a playful wave back before curling a stray lock of hair back behind her ear.  The Betazoid didn’t care that she was the best dressed woman in the room, nor did she care that their dinner would likely get the ship’s rumor mill going over time.  She and Frank knew the truth.  T’Less knew the truth and beyond that, she could care less.  It reminded her of the wisdom she had tried to impart to Alana Pierce a few days ago.  She had dressed for herself and for Frank.

Let the rest of them eat cake.

“Good evening, Frank!  Thank you!”  She dipped in a small playful curtsy in response to his comment about her appearance.  “You don’t look half bad yourself.”

She rose to her full height  she said as she pecked a platonic kiss on his cheek.  But instead of pulling back in a peck she whispered into his ear.  “You didn’t really think I’d forget our dinner plans, did you?”

The Betazoid took the offered seat with a cross of her legs as the bartender delivered the drink Frank had offered.  Generally speaking the Betazoid was not a hard liquor drinker, preferring her wine with dinners and beer when partying it up with the squadron.  But she knew the smell of a good bourbon when it was set in front of her. 

She took the glass in hand and looked to Frank. 

“I assume this is with your compliments?”

Re: Day 18 [1900 hrs.] Bread, Salt, & Wine

Reply #3
[ Lieutenant Frank Arnold | Whetstone Lounge | Vector 02 | Deck 13 | USS Theurgy] Attn: @P.C. Haring

"I hope so, or I don't know what being has inhabited this body." Frank offered in jest to Reggie as the hubub seemed to pick up again, though there did seem to be different tone to what he was hearing.  On the other hand, he could be hearing things, so the engineer pushed those thoughts away as he grabbed his scotch glass and clinked the cocktail he'd ordered for the pilot.  He took a sip and whereas someone who was looking to date the Lone Wolf would have looked over their glass at the 'date', Frank instead took in the aromas and the colour of his scotch as he took his sip. 

The big engineer pointed at a table that was open near the window "I do believe the appropriate venue for me to answer your question." and he led the beautiful pilot to the seat.  It didn't take long for the well dressed pair to reach the table and conversation seemed to hush as eyes followed them on their path.  When the two reached the table, Frank had to put down his drink before he pulled the chair out and let Reggie then he took his own.  "Sorry Reggie, it's not that I think you'd forget about dinner, but being Chief Gearhead of this fine vessel is eating more time than I thought it would.  Perspectives have to change with the position, so instead of me running off to get all the fun exploring, I'm more of a manager now."  Frank took a sip of the liquid peat before continuing.  "The number of repairs and refits were substantial.  We replaced the EPS grid over most of the ship, and the point defence system has received a complete overhaul as well.  In addition to that...." 

Frank ground to a halt as he realized that work had taken over, and he had the grace to look chagrined.  "Sorry Reggie.  See what I mean.  A lot of work has been done and it's on my mind all the time, but that's not why we're here."  Frank linked his hands together on the table and turned his attention to her. "How have you been?  Did you get a chance to take shore leave on ground side?" 

Re: Day 18 [1900 hrs.] Bread, Salt, & Wine

Reply #4
[Reggie Suder | Whetstone Lounge | Vector 02 | Deck 13 | U.S.S. Theurgy ] Attn @RyeTanker‍ 

Drink in hand, Reggie followed Frank to the table and was more than happy for it.  For as aggressive and forward as she could be at times, there was something to be said about being treated like a lady, even though that was not necessarily a descriptor most would associate with the flirtatious hedonist that was Reggie Suder.

Smothing her skirt as she sat she crossed her legs and offered Frank her undivided attention as he explained his comment about forgetting.

“You don’t owe any apology.  I did intend it lightheartedly.  I can’t imagine how busy you’ve been keeping the ship in one, no, three pieces.”

She took a sip of the bourbon and savored the taste as much as possible.  Honestly, she was unsure as to what she should be expecting but she let the experience unfold as it would and took it for what it was.

“I’ve been good,” she said in reply.  “It’s been a roller coaster few days since the contamination.” 

She paused there, stopping herself as she took stock of what she could and could not share with him.  The Ops mission for the Chrono Deflector schematics was well off the table she suspected, though at the same time she suspected he’d be a part of analyzing them.  Still she hadn’t been given clearance to discuss it with anyone outside her team yet so she’d have to keep her mouth shut on that. 

“I did manage to get down to the surface once or twice,” she offered.  “Do you know Lillee t'Jellaieu?  She and I went down for some combat training.  What I didn’t realize was that we had to climb a mountain first.”  She paused for a moment before adding.  “Also, Ensign Harrold was kind enough to set me up with some new art.”

Re: Day 18 [1900 hrs.] Bread, Salt, & Wine

Reply #5
[Lieutenant Commander Frank Arnold | Whetstone Lounge | Vector 02 | Deck 13 | USS Theurgy] Attn: @P.C. Haring

Frank raised a surprised eyebrow at the pilot as he took a sip of his drink.  He let out a quick amused snort before speaking.  "Reggie, there are a lot of things I usually expect to hear about going on shore leave.  Usually silliness, or some sort of leisurely style of exercise.  Can't say I thought about combat training as some sort of leisurely exercise.  Hard to tell with some people though.  One of our security people, an Andorian who goes by Zark, she seems to make it a habit of getting in trouble.  Last time I went down to the surface, she got into a bar fight with four Klingons.  One even gave her a bite on the cheek.  Their version of laying claim on an mate or something."  Frank shuddered at the thought of that one.  Klingon's did have a strange way of showing their affection for each other.

Frank took another sip and was surprised he'd made his way down to the dregs already.  With that and already two drinks in, the salt and peppered man figured he could do with some food, so he raised his hand.  A waiter stopped by with a pair of PADDs and quick mention of just punch in anything that they fancied.  The waiter also noted that there was a selection of fresh food available from the galley, and it was unsurprisingly, mainly Klingon influenced fare.  Frank thanked the waiter after he ordered another scotch and a glass of water while waiting for Reggie to do the same.  A quick inspection, and the Krennla salad with roasted sesame dressing as well as grilled octopus popped out.  Maybe he'd order those.  Heart of targ cottage pie, probably not.

When everything was settled, he continued the conversation. "Lillee, the blonde Romulan shuttle pilot right? Work with her very very briefly during an exterior inspection of the ship after we pulled into Aldea.  Spent most of the time bringing good cheer to the Reman co-pilot, Samala.  Didn't seem to take it too well though."  A brief flash of sadness crossed the engineer's mind. "Well, the only real reason it was memorable was we found out the bomb detonated in Paris while we were doing the inspection.  Ship went to yellow alert right after and I went to my action station as soon as we docked." frank shook away the sadness of things past.  "That short trip didn't do her credit from what I've heard.  She got a team down to rescue the people from the explorer's ship after it crashed.  Steel nerve that one, so maybe not much a surprise, ground combat training is considered relaxing."  Frank took a moment to wet his throat with the dregs of his scotch glass.  "So, how was the mountain climbing?"

Re: Day 18 [1900 hrs.] Bread, Salt, & Wine

Reply #6
[Reggie Suder | Whetstone Lounge | Vector 02 | Deck 13 | U.S.S. Theurgy ] Attn @RyeTanker‍ 

Reggie suppressed a laugh in response to Frank’s comments about Shore Leave as well as those about Zark.  She hadn’t recalled Zark mentioning anything about that during their trip down to the surface but at the same time it didn’t surprise her.

“I actually had the chance to meet Zark a few days ago,” Reggie said by way of response.  She needed to keep things general enough that she wouldn't divulge details of their classified op, but she didn't want to lie to Frank.   “It doesn’t surprise me at all that she might get into a tussle with a lustful Klingon.  I don’t know her that well but I suspect she handled herself quite well.”

When handed the PADD an idea crossed her mind as she perused the available menu.  Of course everything was available, but as she browsed the listing of fresh offerings from the Galley something caught her eye in the Starter’s menu.  She looked over to Frank and suspected he’d be game.

“Can we get an order of the Sushi/Sashimi starter combo for two?  Bring also a bottle of sake for the table.”

The server offered a polite smile as she stepped away and Reggie turned her attention back to her dinner date. 

“One in the same,” Reggie confirmed.  “As it turns out, Lillee is a swordsman, very skilled with traditional Romulan blades.  I couldn’t resist the urge to put my own Kitana skills up against hers so we headed down for a small hike and some friendly sparring with deadly sharp blades.  I was a bit unprepared for the environment in the Quo’nos highlands.  Hot as hell.  But yeah, we had a good time.  Didn’t even maim each other, though I think the Klingons we ran into were a bit more surprised than they led us to believe.  I don’t think they expected a Romulan and a Betazoid to hold their own against their Bat’Leth skills,” she said with a playful wink.

Re: Day 18 [1900 hrs.] Bread, Salt, & Wine

Reply #7
[ Lieutenant Commander Frank Arnold | Whetstone Lounge | Vector 02 | Deck 13 | USS Theurgy] Attn: @P.C. Haring

Frank raised an eye brow as he could feel that Reggie was holding back on something the fighty Andorian since she tended to make quite the splash when she interacted with others, but if didn't think she should share about it, then Frank wasn't going to push.  Instead he concentrated on the matter at hand.  "Sushi and sashimi sound like a good starter."

The Chief Engineer set aside on of the PADDs so they could order food later and listened as Reggie described and event that sounded more energetic than was relaxing, yet he couldn't help but smile as to each their own in finding ways to relax.  "Zark did handle herself pretty well, helped me win a couple bottles of free drinks from the restaurant we were at.  You must be pretty good yourself.  Didn't get maimed in a sword fight with Lillee.  I've seen that blade and it is no joke.  And in a scuffle with the Klingon's as well."  Frank raised his glass in salute to Reggie for her skills outside the cockpit.

"I get the feeling that sword work is something that quite a few of the crew seems to have taken on."  Frank gestured in a wide sweep.  "Madsen got a blade from Zark last week.  Said she needed it as a gift and asked me for help with the industrial replicator for it.  I thought it was just a steel blade so I was going to make it in a forge, then she said she wanted a tritanium blade.  Good thing we're in dock so there's lots of replicator mass to go around for that one.  Really was a work of art." Frank snorted at the memory of it.    "And from what I gather, Enyd was loaned a blade by a Klingon when she first came aboard the ship.  Now, you and Lilliee, plus the Captain as well.  We might need a blade club on the ship."

Frank paused as the food arrived, and the server told them a few of the fresh items were still being worked on and would follow on a separate plate.  Frank picked up the bottle of sake and felt it for a second before nodding at it being chilled just enough to notice.  He then placed a couple of cups out and poured some for himself and his well appointed dinner date.  "So tell me, how did you and Lillee go about handing these Klingons their heads?"

Re: Day 18 [1900 hrs.] Bread, Salt, & Wine

Reply #8
[Reggie Suder | Whetstone Lounge | Vector 02 | Deck 13 | U.S.S. Theurgy ] Attn @RyeTanker‍ 

Who Reggie couldn’t help but smile as Frank counted off the personnel on board who owned or used bladed weapons.  At the same time, she was making a mental note as to who else she might look to spar with.  She hadn’t had the opportunity to work with Madsen yet, though she had briefly met her at the concert.  An odd one, she was.  And for some reason Reggie suspected she’d enjoy working with her if ever presented the opportunity.

“Well,” she said, pausing as the server brought their shared platter and a fresh round of drinks.  “How does it ever start?  You have a mild mannered Romulan and Betazoid scaling a mountain on the Klingon home world.  Then, out of nowhere they meet a pair of Klingons who are more than happy to antagonize a Romulan.  Words are exchanged and the Romulan’s Betazoid companion steps in to assist and well before you know it…comments about sword sizes and compensation are happening.  Demonstrations are requested…requests are granted and just like that,” she snapped her fingers playfully, “you’re in the middle of a two versus two practice duel where the girls are using weapons that look like men’s genitalia, and the men are using weapons that look like they could frame a pair of boobs.”

She took a piece of Sashimi with the chopsticks and made a playful show of eating it.

“It was fun!”

She took a sip of her drink as another thought occurred to her.

“Oh!  I also got a new tat yesterday.”

Re: Day 18 [1900 hrs.] Bread, Salt, & Wine

Reply #9
[ Lieutenant Commander Frank Arnold | Whetstone Lounge | Vector 02 | Deck 13 | USS Theurgy] Attn: @P.C. Haring

Frank didn't choke on his food.  He was too unflappable for something like that.  He did blink though as his brain misfired for a moment and he didn't at all taste the piece of clam that he stuffed in his mouth.  For a brief moment, there was the sensation of chewing something on the rubbery side, but absolutely no taste whatsoever.  The same went for the sip of sake.  All he knew was that his mouth was clear as he worked his jaw.

Frank smile held plenty of mirth as he brain began working again.   Taking a moment to refill his sake cup, he lifted it and pointed his index finger right at the Wolf.  "Reggie Suder, you are an evil woman, and you've found an accomplice now."  Frank found the whole situation amusing and he raised his glass in salute.  "Did the Klingon's see the irony in their choice of weapons?  Those things are certainly big enough to make the point and be obvious?  Still, I hope they've developed a healthy respect the mild mannered now."

Frank took a moment to snag a piece with some salmon on it with his chopsticks and popped it in his mouth.  "What tat are you talking about?"

Re: Day 18 [1900 hrs.] Bread, Salt, & Wine

Reply #10
[Reggie Suder | Whetstone Lounge | Vector 02 | Deck 13 | U.S.S. Theurgy ] Attn @RyeTanker‍ 

Reggie suppressed her own laugh as she watched Frank try and keep his composure together. She didn’t mind waiting, nor did she mind her own humorous reaction to Frank’s reaction. How circular, she thought.

“Given the prevalence of the Bat’Leth in Klingon culture, I’m not entirely sure they even made the connection,” she said. “That said, I think we proved to be worthy opponents in their eyes.”

She paused as the server returned and asked for their orders.  Deciding to keep in line with the Earth Japanese cuisine, Reggie ordered a miso glazed skirt steak, with all the fixings, as well as another round of sushi.  She waited for Frank to make his order and for the server to depart before she picked up his second question.

“Mr. Herrold was kind enough to refresh the squadron emblem I wear from the War, and to add the Lone Wolves emblem as well.  I figured I’d earned it after schooling our new SCO on the Valravn.”

She took another sip of her drink as she let Frank take that in.  It seemed as though she was spending a lot of time these days training and teaching.  She’d thought she’d left that behind at TacConn Omega.  Maybe it was her penance  for what she’d done.

She pushed the thought out of her head.  She needed something else.  Something more fun.

“Didn’t even need to use caustic fluid.”

Re: Day 18 [1900 hrs.] Bread, Salt, & Wine

Reply #11
[ Lieutenant Commander Frank Arnold | Whetstone Lounge | Vector 02 | Deck 13 | USS Theurgy] Attn: @P.C. Haring

Frank was about to ask something when the waiter arrived and he waited for Reggie to finished ordering.  "Charcoal grilled ribeye, a baked potato with the fixins, and a French quinoa salad."  As he was handing the PADD back, Frank looked at the table one more time and remembered that all he had was scotch.  "And a glass of red wine from Chateauneuf du Pape.  Thanks."  With that over, the engineer turned his attention back to the Wolf as she described her first meeting with the recently revived squadron commander.

The Chief Engineer barked out a laugh as Reggie called up their first meeting as a comparison to how the two of them had met. Mainly due to Frank's ham handedness in dealing with some fighter maintenance before he'd had the sense to leave it to the deck crews in the FAB.  "Well, if you'd had the liquid, maybe the opening conversation would have been a more diplomatic, instead of you having to show off your skills in the cockpit?"  Frank took a moment to grab one of the fast disappearing pieces of sushi from the plate before continuing. "On the other hand, I do understand that the pilots can play pretty rough, so I'm not sure how the ...... impromtu game of soccer would have gone in the decon chamber between the two of you, or if the medical staff would appreciate the entertainment as much as we did." The bearded man exhaled as the smile stayed in place from the memory of a great almost nostalgic first meeting between the engineer and the pilot. 

Putting his chopsticks down, Frank gripped his almost empty glass.  "So tell me, what do you think of the squadron commander? Do you think he has a good appreciation of the Valravn and their pilots?"

Re: Day 18 [1900 hrs.] Bread, Salt, & Wine

Reply #12
[Reggie Suder | Whetstone Lounge | Vector 02 | Deck 13 | U.S.S. Theurgy ] Attn @RyeTanker

Reggie sat back in her seat as her fingers lightly stroked the stem of her wine glass. Not that she would tell him, or that it was any of her business, but she approved of his choice, though the Quinoa salad seemed out of place. Even so, it seemed to suit him. Casually she slipped another piece of tuna sashimi into her mouth and savored the texture.  She chewed it slowly, not so much to tease Frank, though that was an added bonus, but also to give her time to consider his question about her new commanding officer.

She resisted the urge to remind him that this conversation was off the record.

“Jury is still out, to be honest.  Janus seems to be a nice enough person, but I get the sense he feels out of place.  Has a real hard on against fighters with RIO seats which biased him already against the Valravns. We had an impromptu meet and greet yesterday morning when I found him head butting my canopy.  I introduced myself and the Valravn, even took him on a ride along.”

She took another sip of her wine, choosing to hold back some of the things she’d inadvertently gleaned from him telepathically.  It wasn’t her place.

“I’d like to think I earned his respect, though I have a feeling my spacecraft has a longer road to hoe.”

She brought her hand up to her mouth as she considered something.  Janus had been announced this morning as the new SCO.  It reminded her of the various times new SCOs had been announced during her tour with the Starhawks.  Oh the shit they’d pull on those suckers…

She chuckled lightly despite herself.

Re: Day 18 [1900 hrs.] Bread, Salt, & Wine

Reply #13
[Lieutenant Commander Frank Arnold | Whetstone Lounge | Vector 02 | Deck 13 | USS Theurgy] Attn: @P.C. Haring

Frank was Reggie's friend, but at the same time, he was still a heterosexual male, and even though they'd seen each other in the nude, there was still something quite enjoyable just watching the Betazoid eat.  It was an odd thing to consider and he had to wonder if it was a female thing, or if it was a Betazoid thing, or was it just the person in front if him.  Frank mentally shook that one out of his head and brought his attention back to the pilot.

He snorted at Reggie's use of puns in assessment of her commanding officer.  Either the scotch was getting to him or Reggie was loosening up more than he thought. "Well, I do understand his view point to an extent on working with a different technology.  After all, they need a different mind set, and unless it's a dire emergency, one has to ease their way into them."  Frank shrugged.  "Truth be told, if I hand't been shanghaied into being chief gearhead for Theurgy, I'd probably have been the most content on a Sovereign as the latest and greatest.  At least it seemed like all the tech on that class is proven."

The bearded man took sip of his drink as he spied the waiter coming with the food. "You never know Reggie.  Maybe with enough repeat command performances from the fighter with you at the controls, he'll get used to them, maybe even crave one enough that he'll want to switch and get one himself."  Frank pulled a napkin apart and set it on his lap while gesturing at Reggie's to do the same.  "Stranger things have happened, maybe he'll end up finding something to dislike enough about the Valkyrie's to make the switch." The food arrived just as the Chief Engineer finished and he offered a thank you smile to the waiter as the food and drinks were placed in front of them and he smiled at the food.  Frank's face turned serious as his swirled the red liquid and took an appreciative whiff of the southern French blend before holding it up to cheers.  "Here's to new discoveries and great company."

Re: Day 18 [1900 hrs.] Bread, Salt, & Wine

Reply #14
[Reggie Suder | Whetstone Lounge | Vector 02 | Deck 13 | U.S.S. Theurgy ] Attn @RyeTanker

The Betazoid raised her glass, returning Frank’s toast before taking a sip of her wine.

“It might,” she conceded. “I came away with the impression that he felt out of place with everything, not that I can blame him.  He’s been in medical stasis for something like 3 months.  He wakes up and suddenly it’s months later, he’s no longer in command of his people, half the squadron he knew is dead, and to make matters worse there’s new equipment on board he knows nothing about.  I’d be all sorts of fucked up. Hell, I was…”

Her voice trailed off as she remembered her injury.  She couldn't ever forget it, of course, but over the years she’d adapted and become accustomed to her circumstances.  Yet every now and then something would trip in her mind and the wound would feel fresh as the day it happened.

She tried to bury it, shut the raw nerve down and while she knew Frank couldn’t read her mind, he sure as hell could read her body language and she knew she’d done a shit job of covering it.  Reggie turned for her appetizer, but her chopsticks clacked against an empty plate.

And in that moment, she felt just as awkward as Janus had yesterday.

Re: Day 18 [1900 hrs.] Bread, Salt, & Wine

Reply #15
[Lieutenant Commander Frank Arnold | Whetstone Lounge | Vector 02 | Deck 13 | USS Theurgy] Attn: @P.C. Haring

Frank's eyebrows rose as Reggie began to talk then suddenly cut herself off.  The Wolf sounded like she'd been getting ready to vent about her concerns on the returning SCO, and he didn't miss the reference to herself.  He didn't really understand Reggie's lack of confidence in herself.  He'd known about the horrific injuries she'd sustained to her eyes and she'd appeared to have over come them.  Unless she was still wasn't entirely reconciled yet.  Frank mentally shook his head as the gears turned in his mind.  Since that was an issue she would have to look at herself, all he could do was offer advice and offer encouragement.  

Frank waved a cloth napkin as he opened in and laid it across his lap.  "I don't think you personally have a lot to worry about.  You're a section leader for our Valravn's, tactics and flight instructor.  You've got leadership and strategy tucked in that head."  Frank gestured at the Betazoid's cranium.  "I'm sure you'll figure out a way to bring Commander Rel up to speed on the best way to use your fighters."

On impulse, Frank reached over to hold the top of Reggie's hand with his massive paw as he leaned on the table. "Give him a chance to establish himself.  Yes, he just got thawed, but he wouldn't have been made an SCO unless he was quick on his feet, and didn't have some idea on how to deal with these things.  Let him do his job, then come to a conclusion on whether he can hack it."  Frank let go of the soft hand as he picked up his wine glass one more time and took a sip.  "Whatever happens, just make sure you voice any concerns if you think there's an improper employment of the squadron's assets.  You're one his flight leaders. He has to trust your judgment on these things.  So just keep being you."

Frank smiled then looked at his food and began sawing a piece of steak and he smiled at his own sense of silliness.  "In my attempt to bring you back to a topic you're more comfortable with, how's you slice of the squadron coming along?"

Re: Day 18 [1900 hrs.] Bread, Salt, & Wine

Reply #16
[Reggie Suder | Whetstone Lounge | Vector 02 | Deck 13 | U.S.S. Theurgy ] Attn @RyeTanker‍ 

Reggie took in a sigh as Frank consoled her.  It wasn’t so much that she was insecure but that she remembered how it had been when she’d woken up from her injuries.  It hadn’t lasted all that long in the grand scheme of things, but she’d woken up blind.  Fear and panic had set in only to give way to anger and depression.  They’d provided her the implants of course, and she’d worked through it.  But even so.  She pushed the thoughts down, not wanting to drudge up just how low she had gotten.

“It’s not about trust or giving him a chance,” she countered as she leaned into him, responding to his kind gesture.  “He’s a good officer and I do trust him to get up to speed quickly.  Even so there's always some level of uncertainty whenever there is a change in command.”

She too pulled away to focus her attention on her dinner, but when Frank cited a ‘more comfortable’ topic of the state of her flight she just about lost her appetite.

“Well,” she said.  “Lets just say we have some work to do.  We did a training flight that ended in one of the RIO’s commandeering control of the craft in order to save the career of a very insubordinate pilot whom I then had to reprimand after the fact…and after our unexpected bath.”  She paused to take a bite.  “I didn’t put the pilot on formal report as I didn’t want to see them brought up on potential court martial,” she turned to meet Frank’s eye.  “Yes. It was that bad.  But I’m having to keep a very close eye on my wing right now.”

She paused as she considered the direction the conversation had gone. 

“I don’t know.  Maybe I’m concerned that this new SCO is going to find out about that little incident and question my command ability.”

Re: Day 18 [1900 hrs.] Bread, Salt, & Wine

Reply #17
[Lieutenant Commander Frank Arnold | Whetstone Lounge | Vector 02 | Deck 13 | USS Theurgy] Attn: @P.C. Haring

Frank chewed on his steak as Reggie recounted how her particular flight was turning out, and he quirked an eyebrow at the doubt that seemed to emanate from the pilot.  This didn't quite seem like the woman who'd held on after being splashed by several caustic chemicals.  It was certainly an interesting collection, especially if one of the pilot's had gone maverick to the point the back seater had called it quits.  He nodded when Reggie pretty much admitted to a breach of regulations on not having the pilot reported, and how she was putting her own reputation and ass on the line to keep the pilot on flight status.  Scooping some salad, Frank's eyes twinkled at the Wolf's view of her situation.

He surprised himself after swallowing with a chuckle and a small smile.  "I can't pass judgment on what the pilot did, especially since I wasn't there, but from what I understand, there's a certain amount of initiative and leeway that's expected of Starfleet Officers, and pilots in particular.  You really have to make decisions on the fly, so the main question is this supposed insubordinate streak a learning experience or a pattern of behaviour?"  Frank scooped out some potato, and began waving it in circles in the air as he continued talking.  "I wouldn't worry about that too much till it becomes the latter, and since I didn't get any requests for major repairs to the FAB or any special requisitions for fighter repairs, well except I did have to look over that one for what's her name?"  The engineer put his fork down to tap on the table for a second before it came to him, and he smiled fondly at that particular event.  "Right, one Ensign Wix.  Since Azrin, sorry, Lieutenant Ryn was involved, I gathered the repair job must have been quite major since she needed my top propulsion person to fix all the cracks and replace so many parts."  Frank picked up his fork and stuffed the loaded potato in his mouth and chewed for a bit before continuing.  "Not exactly by the book since her designated specialty is for the ship's reactors, but a good exercise of her skills and initiative in getting things fixed where needed.  If she'd prioritized one of the fighters over a ship system, maybe I would have talked to her about it, but since she's on top of all her other work, no harm no foul."

Frank signalled the waiter and ordered a beer for Reggie, then began talking to so she'd have a chance to relax and shifted the focus off her.  "Funny thing about having a big desk is always trying to work out what's the best way to get the most out of people, so much that Azrin is hoping nothing bad ever happens to me since she wants to stay and play with the gizmos while I deal with the staff."  Frank took sip of wine as he figured this would give the pilot a chance to eat and relax, he began to talk about what it was like when he'd first met Lieutenant Ryn and her achievements since then.

OOC: Shout out to @rae and @ob2lander961.  The Valravn repair didn't quite escape official notice.

Re: Day 18 [1900 hrs.] Bread, Salt, & Wine

Reply #18
[Reggie Suder | Whetstone Lounge | Vector 02 | Deck 13 | U.S.S. Theurgy ] Attn @RyeTanker‍ 

Reggie nodded as she and Frank discussed the situation with Logan.  Out of respect she declined to use his name, his rank, or even his gender when discussing the situation, but when Frank brought up the question of a learning experience or a pattern of behavior, Reggie offered a direct response.

“Honestly, I think it’s a once an done thing due to stress.  This pilot has been through the ringer and under other circumstances is probably overdue for a non combat tour.  We had a good talk and with some help I think they’ll get themselves back on track.  I’m not overly worried about it, yet.”

She listened intently as Frank told her about what had happened with Dixiebee and Lt. Ryn and was happy to focus a few minutes on the act of eating while actively listening to her dinner companion.  There was a certain peace to it and she was grateful for the respite.  As they conversed back and forth through the meal, Reggie taking her turn to fill Frank in on some of her adventures not just aboard Theurgy, but also back in her time in the Bajor sector and during the War their plates emptied, their drinks refilled, and dessert came calling.

“…so,” she said between intoxicated laughs, “the new CAG, had spent all damned day waiting us to just nail him with the ‘welcome to the squad’ prank.  I shit you not.  He was par-a-noid ALL day,” she snorted.  “He was looking around every corner, making sure to be the last one to go into a room, triple checked his fighter before the check rides.  He didn’t eat.  He didn’t drink anything.  He didn’t even touch the replicator in the pilots lounge.”

She took another sip of her beer, the third she’d had tonight.  “I mean he knew he KNEW something was coming but it NEVER mineralized because we didn’t do. A. THINK… THING… to him.  So this whole time he’s running around paranoid.  FOR.  NOTHING.  Which might have been the best prank we could have pulled on him.

She took the last pull in the glass.

“And then,” she giggled.  “Once he finally let his guard down…then we re-programmed his flight computer…” 

Re: Day 18 [1900 hrs.] Bread, Salt, & Wine

Reply #19
[Lieutenant Commander Frank Arnold | Whetstone Lounge | Vector 02 | Deck 13 | USS Theurgy] Attn: @P.C. Haring

Frank nodded along as the two trades stories of their escapades during the Dominion War with the engineer tossing in insights or something similar that had happened from his time on the Cortez. Truth be told, despite the full dinner he'd shared, the scotch and two glasses of wine he'd had were starting to have an effect and he felt more light hearted as Reggie recounted a prank her squadron had pulled on their CO. The Chief briefly considered doing such a thing, but quickly discarded the idea since the number of systems that involved explosions, electrocutions, or sheer work mayhem that engineers could come up with provided proper motivation was a bad idea.

On the other hand, if someone else started it, he'd of course be obliged to take part and get the person back for the honour of nothing else. At the same time while he listened, he was wondering if he'd miss heard Reggie talking, but then she used a different word, and the wrong word in describing what she did. He may have been buzzed, but he wasn't insensate, so he started to pay closer attention to the Betazoid, and the flush in her cheeks was quite noticeable.

Frank had to admire the genius of the prank.  The subtle psychological agony of knowing there was another shoe that would drop must have played merry hell with that COs ability to function.  It certainly would have cost him something in the efficiency department, and one couldn't keep distrusting their staff and being suspicious of their surroundings forever.  Oh why not. "That is evil."  Frank smiled as he chuckled at how Suder and her squadron had gone after the CO. "The flight computer? That must have been quite the shock since he'd been practising with it already."  The Chief Engineer paused in thought for a moment. "And have you planned on uhmmm properly welcoming the new SCO now that he's been thawed?"

Re: Day 18 [1900 hrs.] Bread, Salt, & Wine

Reply #20
[Reggie Suder | Whetstone Lounge | Vector 02 | Deck 13 | U.S.S. Theurgy ] Attn @RyeTanker‍ 

Reggie continued her chuckle, as Frank commented on the flight computer.  “Oh you had no idea.  We were operating off a ship stationed at DS9 at the time.  I don’t know if you’ve ever been, but theres a bar on the station’s promenade run by this Ferengi.  While we were there he tried, and not for the first time, to put ads for his bar on computer terminals all over the station.  So, we found the file packet, pulled it apart, and replaced the standard computer voice with the Ferengi’s.  And then…. Then… when the poor SCO who had been acosted by this Ferengi voice for the entire flight finally landed and powered down, the on board display put up the ad for his bar.”

Reggie couldn’t tell whether it was the fond memories or the alcohol talking; likely both if she were being honest with herself.  But whatever the cause, the memory was funny as hell.  Even funnier was that their SCO believed it was the Ferengi who had hacked his ship’s system to do the manipulation.  They had been content to let it stay that way given how that bartender was always getting into trouble, but when their commander threatened to go to Colonel Kira, DS9’s CO over the matter, they’d fessed up.

It was then that Frank’s question about Janus finally registered with her.

“Ya know,” her voice slipped off into a singsong like slur.  Nothing too crazy but just enough to indicate her intoxication.  “I actually haven’t.”

It struck her oddly that she hadn’t considered the idea of a proper welcome. Was she losing her playful edge?  No.  Just busy trying to juggle too many things.  Even so, try as she might, nothing solid came to her other than a few tried and true good ones.  But she rejeted those as too jeuvenile.  Ideal for rookies but not for skilled veterans of the craft like Janus, no matter what his own insecurities might be.

“Wanna help brainstorm?”

Re: Day 18 [1900 hrs.] Bread, Salt, & Wine

Reply #21
[Lieutenant Commander Frank Arnold | Whetstone Lounge | Vector 02 | Deck 13 | USS Theurgy] Attn: @P.C. Haring

Frank snorted as he smiled. It had been a while since he'd pulled anything silly and he knew he was asking for trouble, but in his current state, it seemed like a good idea. There was always the adage that if you weren't prepared to laugh over something, don't start it. His mind stirred on for a bit as he considered the various things he could do. For safety reasons he'd never executed a prank by the power systems, and the Chief had always come down hard on anyone who's tried. Fusion, anti-matter, singularity, didn't matter, those were all off limits and as the ancient saying went, the perpetrators had better have gotten forgiveness from their diety, because the Chief Engineer would not.

So the answer was something funny but relatively harmless, and in his inebriated state, the Chief sat there and pondered through his way through, a veritable number of absurd ideas began to form.  "He's gota new fighter and it's till being tuned correct?"  Frank stroked his beard at the prospects. "We could change the startup sounds from the standard beeps to something like....... La Cucaracha, or some really raunchy jazz music."  His fingers began tapping on the table as his eyes turned distant in thought. "Or we could change out the air filter on his plane.  Not some thing nasty since he still has to fly the thing, but we could plug in pockets of various scents that'll blow in at random intervals.  Things like flowers, fresh laundry, cotton.  Stuff that's pleasant and soothing. What else?"  Another round of tapping, then the Engineer chuckled. "I'd have to look up the specifications for this paint, but it's invisible under regular light, but as soon as it's been exposed to solar radiation, or the fusion thrust from an impulse engine, it will change colour.  I think it was a fluorescent pink.  Amazing what R&D people will come up with."

As Frank rattled off different ideas, he suddenly stopped and looked into Reggie's eyes.  "If we do this right, we might be able to mix in multiple items at the same time.  Make it multi-layered so they'll kick in at random moments under different circumstances, and we can even provide a very obvious cover, something he can't get rid of easily.  Frank leaned on the dinner table with his elbows and began rubbing his hands in earnest.  "You're familiar with the term nose art, the paintings that they would put on the atmospheric equivalents of our fighters in the past?  Well, why don't we weld something appropriate to the nose?"  Frank suggested as he let his mind really dive into the task of helping Reggie.

Re: Day 18 [1900 hrs.] Bread, Salt, & Wine

Reply #22
[Reggie Suder | Whetstone Lounge | Vector 02 | Deck 13 | U.S.S. Theurgy ] Attn @RyeTanker‍ 

Reggie sat back in her seat, her legs crossed, her drink in hand as she listened and considered. Everything Frank suggested had good merit and yet some of them gave her pause.

“I like the altered startup sequence and tweaking the nose of his ship a bit. My only concern about the paint and the smells is that in the event his first launch is into combat, I don’t want to rattle him. Having said that, if we can do something that we can switch off so it doesn't trigger I’d feel more comfortable.”

She thought it through a bit more. The chances that his first launch would be into combat were somewhat low. Granted there were always the simulators but given how shaky Janus had started during their check ride, she suspected the odds were extremely high that he would take his ship out at least once for training and testing. She considered her options and some of the pranks they’d pulled in the Starhawks.

“A couple of ideas that occurred to me - back in the day we set confetti capsules in the impulse manifold. They’d disintegrate as soon as the engine fired up but the confetti remained intact and blew out the back of the ship.” She paused. “Granted, we usually used that to prank the deck crew since the pilot couldn’t always see it.”

She continued to think through various possibilities, but little came to her.  It was a far cry from where she’d been back in the day.  Had she grown so old that she’d lost her edge when it came to harmless fun?  Maybe.

“This could be a bit on the dangerous side.  But what if we rigged his computer to run an auto ejection sequence.  Without the ejection obviously, but set it for this kinda crazy long count down.  Something like thirty seconds or so?  Maybe combine that with blowing some smoke and smells into the cockpit?”

If she were being honest with herself, she wasn’t sure if any of these ideas were any good on their own, but it did seem as though she were teetering on the verge of a breakthrough.

Re: Day 18 [1900 hrs.] Bread, Salt, & Wine

Reply #23
[Lieutenant Commander Frank Arnold | Whetstone Lounge | Vector 02 | Deck 13 | USS Theurgy] Attn: @P.C. Haring

Frank nodded his agreement with Reggie about the timing of the pranks. At the end of the day it was supposed to be harmless fun, and not something that would put the revived SCOs life in danger. There were ways to do that. Some tricky, some straightforward. Thinking about it more, Frank came to the conclusion that they should just go ahead with preparing the jokes. "Come on Reggie. I know of a better place we can carry on this discussion." Frank gave his easy smile as held out a gentlemanly arm to guide the Wolf out of the lounge. Thanking the staff, he led the pair to the nearest turbolift. "Computer, main engineering."

Frank stared blankly at the lift doors while his mind went into overdrive, and if it was at all possible, there would have been waves of heat radiating from his ears as he thought. He generally didn't notice too much till the lift came to a halt and he walked out with a purpose.

[Main Engineering]

The pair went through the double doors and if their arrival in the lounge had elicited whispers, the pairs arrival in the heart of the ship attired as they were elicited curious stares. Blue eyes swept the compartment as he headed to the office and many quickly went back to their duties.  Upon entering, Frank began executing his plan. "Computer, one utility jump suit sized to Lieutenant Suder and myself. Reggie just wait here a moment." Frank quickly exited for the industrial replicator, and sure enough, there was a pair of mustard jumpsuits waiting.  Grabbing them up, he headed back to the office and gave the appropriate one to the Betazoid while he sat down at his desk and began accessing information.  "There's a washroom through that door, go ahead and get changed since we may get dirty and can blend in withe FAB crew."

Frank dove back into the technical details of the Mark III Valkyrie and began working his way through the schematics and more ideas flooded in. "How about this?  We can change the startup sequence as the obvious ploy, then swap out his ECM dispenser with fire works?  If he shoots someone down or gets shot down himself, the dispenser will fire off a couple of celebratory pyrotechnics.  Then when he comes in to land, we can use the fake eject sequence, and at the end of the countdown, it'll spin the fighter on an axis and have it shoot off the remaining fireworks and play this ancient classical piece of Earth music called We Are the Champions."

Despite being slightly inebriated, Frank called up a programming window and pulled a chip out of a desk drawer before he continued talking and typing. "We can tie it to an isolinear chip that only activates in exercise mode and need to remove before we break orbit in a few days. "

Re: Day 18 [1900 hrs.] Bread, Salt, & Wine

Reply #24
[Reggie Suder | Main Engineering | Vector 03 | Deck 25 | U.S.S. Theurgy] Attn @RyeTanker 

It was a more abrupt end to the dinner portion of the night than Reggie had anticipated but over the years, too many of them, if she were being honest with herself, the Betazoid had learned that going with the flow was often the way to something unexpected. Frank was on to something, she knew, but he had yet to let her in on the secret and, for once, she wasn’t in any hurry to find out what it was.  He’d fill her in when he was ready, she knew, and it didn’t seem right to try and pry it out of him just yet.

She followed him into Engineering, another wry smile gracing her face she sensed as much as she saw the reactions of her and Frank coming into a work area dressed to the nines. For a brief moment, Reggie considered playing it up for the night shift, but given that Frank was their commanding officer, she decided against it and was glad for it when he suggested she replace the cocktail dress for a pair of coveralls.

For as thoughtful and procedural as the gesture was, it also showed a slight lack of understanding on Frank’s part. It was nothing significant, but whereas he could slip on his coveralls over his pants and shirt, Reggie could not do the same with her skirted dress. Nope. Women were just a bit more complicated, and she’d need a full wardrobe change. She took the offered coveralls and thanked Frank before excusing herself.

However, instead of heading for the head that he had pointed out, Reggie instead followed Frank’s footsteps to the industrial replicator.

“Computer, access the wardrobe files in my personal database and display.”

At once the screen complied with her instructions. She chose a decent tank top in which to work, one that provided enough support, and complimented it with a pair of warmups and the appropriate undergarments. Once satisfied, she popped over to the bathroom to change. She might have expected the coveralls to be uncomfortable on her, but the computer had done an excellent job in sizing her. Not only that but the fabric in those god-awful things seemed a bit softer than she had previously expected. It gave her ideas.

She zipped up and decided to leave her hair and makeup alone for now. It might be a contradiction for her to be in workmen’s coveralls while looking made up for a dinner date, but she decided she liked the contradiction and didn’t want frank to forget any time soon. A quick trip back to the replicator to instruct the computer to refresh and return the garment back to the unit in her quarters, and then she was back at Frank’s side as he went over his idea with her.

The Betazoid chuckled as he described the set up. The fact that the whole thing could be tied into an isolenear chip made it even better. Aside from re-loading the ECM launcher with the proper modules instead of pyrotechnics, made the set up and subsequent clean up extremely easy.

“I like it,” she said after a bit. “We Are the Champions,’ is a good choice.”  Her voice trailed off for a moment as another thought hit her. “Ooohhh,” she said. “Are you familiar with the song ‘Chariots of Fire’? We could use that for… …ohh but we should do that after the… Is he going up…”  Her thoughts and her words started to bounce back and forth as she noodled through the idea, leaving one sentence unfinished before jumping off to the next only to leave that one unfinished as well. She caught Frank’s eye and realized she had completely left him in the dark.

She stopped and put her hand up as if to say ‘one second, please’ while forced herself to restart at the beginning. Before she said anything, however, she called up the flight schedule. Sure enough she found his name.

“I like it. I like everything about it, but how about a slight tweak,” she finally said. “He’s scheduled to go up the day after tomorrow, and while I don’t know the details of that deployment, I can only assume it’s either a patrol or a  training flight. I like everything about the plan you’re proposing, but I want to tweak the timing. Can we rig it so that the fake ejection and We are the Champions happens at some random point during the flight?   Once that’s over and he thinks it’s all done, we hit him again as he makes his approach to the Landing grid. I’m thinking demonstration smoke contrails and the song ‘Chariots of Fire’ that plays until he powers down and cracks the cockpit open.”

The more she thought about it, the more she realized she liked the idea and that she might need to dip down to Qo’nos tomorrow to pick up a bottle of Whiskey.

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