The Astounding Adventures of Teri Cornelia Lee - Part 7 "Spilled Beans"
Posted on Wed Jul 5th, 2017 @ 4:00am by Lieutenant Terri Lee
Episode 4 - Truth, Justice, and the Federation Way
Timeline: 2418, In A Future That Was
[Previously in The Astounding Adventures of Terri Cornelia Lee - Part 6 "Clueless"]
. . . . . .
As Gustave wiped the food out of his stubble, he spoke to Terri. "Something is wrong, and you aren't telling me what it is. You and I are going to take a walk and clear this up, once and for all. You can't expect me to abide by rules I neither know nor understand." He stood up, and gestured to the door, saying, "After you."
"I have nothing to say to you!" Shouted Terri, this time more intelligibly, having swallowed the food in her mouth. "And I don't want to see your stupid face ever again! Ever!!" At that, she threw her box of extra large Regillian fries at Gustave and stormed out, pushing through the small crowd that had gathered around them.
As they left, Gustave quietly called over his shoulder to Lela, "We'll only be gone a minute. Sorry about this." He waved and followed Terri towards the exit.
. . . . . .
::Not Far From Zag's Lanes, Ontario::
Terri didn't know how long she had been running, but when the cool evening breeze finally calmed her, she found herself beside a small lake in a half empty park. Taking a deep breath, she steadied herself before sitting down under a blooming cherry tree, her arms wrapped around her calves, pulling the knees close to her chest. That's when she felt something on her cheeks. Wiping it off, she grumbled to herself. "Stupid tears."
What had just happened? The night was not supposed to go like this. It was supposed to be their first date; it was supposed to end with them holding hands and sharing a kiss. So why was he holding Lela's hand instead? Why was he kissing her? Maybe he did like girlie girls with curves after all.
Looking up at the starless night sky, Terri let out a sigh. Maybe she shouldn't have asked him out in the first place. Maybe she should have just gone out with one of those losers. At least they wanted her. Gustave, on the other hand . . . no, no, she couldn't let that bastard get off the hook so easily. She would have him, one way or anther.
Her eyes wondered off before focusing on a sizable rock lying on the grass next to her. Picking it up, she held it in her hand and absentmindedly ran her fingers over its rugged surface. Everyone said she was tough like a rock, but if she was really so tough, why couldn't she just tell him how she felt? It's just words, after all. But she had never been good with words; slapping him in the face was a lot easier than looking into his eyes and telling her how she felt.
Sigh. She should really stop slapping him in the face or throwing burgers at him. If she kept it up, sooner or later he would just storm out for good and never come back, leaving her behind all by herself. She couldn't lose him. At that dreadful thought, she buried her head in her laps.
Gustave was walking quickly out the door, looking around. Where did she go? "Terri?" He walked over to the park area, "Terri?" He looked behind a tree, "Terri? Quit hiding from me." He was about to give up and go back inside. At least inside there was a girl that he could understand. A girl who didn't constantly hit, yell, then run away without explanation.
Terri heard Gustave calling out her name, but didn't respond. She had told him she never wanted to see him again, and she was not about to go back on her words so quickly; it would only make her look needy and pathetic, and Terri Cornelia Lee was anything but needy and pathetic.
But she wanted him. Arrg, why would she tell him she never wanted to see him again? Why would she say that? What if he stopped looking for her and went back to Lela? What if they started going out, got married and had kids? What if . . . no, no, she needed him.
"Stop yapping already." She finally said before burying her head in her lap again. She felt pathetic.
Gustave heard her snarky comment and sighed, partly out of relief to find her, but also with anger because she didn't have the sense to just cool off and drop her pride for five seconds. He walked towards the voice, quickly spotting Terri. He sat down next to her and shook his head slowly.
"I don't know what to say to you anymore. I just . . ." He put his head in his hands. He didn't know what was going on. He felt . . . he felt disappointed. In Terri for ruining this night and potentially their precarious friendship, and in himself for not being able to understand. "Just talk to me, Terri. What's wrong?"
Terri did not respond for a moment; she didn't know what to say. Should she apologize? Why should she? He was the one that cheated on her. But was it still cheating if he didn't even know it was supposed to be a date? She never said it would be a date after all; she just asked him to hang out on the weekend along with some of her friends and coworkers. But she had let the twins experiment on her like a mannequin for hours just so that she could look nice for the night, for him; shouldn't he have noticed?
Looking away, she let a few quiet moments pass before answering his question. "There is this guy that I really like, but he likes girls with really curvy curves. Meg and Marion said that I should just tell him, but I want to slap him so bad because he's so stupid. Whatever I do for him, he never notices."
"Just tell him. Guys appreciate it when girls are straightforward, because most of us aren't too talented at interpreting feelings and stuff. Too mushy for macho men," He replied, throwing in a little humor by flexing his biceps. He just wanted to lighten it up a bit, she seemed kind of down.
Terri looked back at Gustave and blinked her eyes. Not too talented? Since when did he become a master of understatement? But again, if he was not "too talented" at interpreting feelings, she herself was not exactly skilled in expressing them, at least not in a quiet and non-physical way. So perhaps she was not really in a position to judge him for that.
"Is that why you and Lela . . . was it because she was . . . 'straightforward'?"
She really need to know what was going on between him and her one-time roommate, but then why was she so afraid of the answer?
Gustave got a little uncomfortable; he didn't like discussing girls with other girls as they usually got offended. "I . . . uh, well yes. She was very . . . clear. She wanted a good time, and I suppose she seemed like a fun person. So yeah, straightforward," He tried to beat around the question, perhaps unsuccessfully.
"Huh." Terri turned her head and looked at Gustave rather absentmindedly before looking away again. So that's what he liked, straight forward and fun. She could be a fun person, too; in fact, she did all kinds of fun stuff all the time, stuff like reading, exercising, doing experiments, eating delicious food, beating the crap out of mean people, and eating some more delicious food. Mmm, she's hungry again. She should have kept that triple bacon cheeseburger - it was so good - and the extra large Regillian fries, too; she didn't even get to try it. Delicious food shouldn't been wasted like that; it should be in her stomach instead.
"What was that? Cheese... fries? What are we talking about?" Gustave inquired, utterly confused.
"Oh, uh, nothing." Said Terri as she quietly pinched herself in the arm for being so easily distracted by delicious food and, worse, for wondering out loud. Stop it, and focus.
"But what if the guy has been a really close friend with your for so long that he only sees you as a friend?" She asked, hoping that even someone as oblivious as Gustave would catch the drift.
Gustave contemplated that. It was a tricky question, and depended on a lot of things. He shrugged, "I guess it really depends on the situation. Sometimes it has potential to be a relationship, sometimes it just screws up a friendship. It really has to do with how willing the one who thinks they're just friends would be to being in a relationship." He wasn't very well-versed in this subject, as he had never been in that kind of situation.
Terri looked at him and blinked her eyes several times. Was he serious? How in the world did he not get that? Soon incredulity gave way to frustration, and then irritation, boiling just beneath a noticeably colder exterior. With a slightly raised eyebrow, she said coolly, "I don't know, I think it all depends on how big an idiot he is, and frankly I think he is as big an idiot as they come. But you know what the funny thing is? He is so oblivious that he doesn't even know how big an idiot he is."
Gustave rubbed over his stubble with his hand, his look serious and concentrated as he gazed across the park. "I really don't know. I mean, as I said, you need to be very frank with boys. Some just never get the h-"
And that was when Terri finally lost it. Spring up from the grass, she stared down at the still sitting pilot, fire raging in her eyes. "Arrgg, for crying out loud, Gustave! It's you, OK? You are the idiot I like. Now shut up so I can kiss you." Without giving him even a millisecond to process the sudden outburst, she grabbed his handsome face with both hands and firmly smacked her lips on his. That's how you kiss someone, right?
Gustave went into sensory overload. He was still thinking about what she said when suddenly his lips were being shoved into someone else's. Terri's. *What in the...?* He wondered, contemplating. She had said . . . what was it? "You are the idiot . . ." She had called him an idiot. How rude and . . .and completely normal. But that didn't explain the face-mashing. What came after idiot? "Idiot . . . that I like?" Oh. Oh. That's why. She liked him, so they were kissing. It all made sense now.
But it felt wrong. Gustave started to pull away. She was his friend, not some kissy-girl like all the others. They needed to talk this over.
Terri breathed heavily as their lips parted. She had never done anything like this. It was . . . it was exhilarating. And it felt good. But then the realization dawned on her: he had just pushed her away. Why did he push her away? Did he not like the kiss? Or did he . . . not like her?
But before either of them could say anything, a type 14 shuttle zipped overhead, its shields straining under phaser fire from a pursuing Yellowstone class runabout. In a distance, two squadrons of starfighters approached and exchanged fire with each other, lighting up the night sky with quantum torpedoes and leaking plasma. They could hear the faint echos of explosion coming from behind them. That was the downtown area.
Terri gazed over the now brightly lit night sky and mumbled to herself. "No."
She had heard murmurs of a coup , but she had never believed them - no one in Starfleet would break the oath they all took. In fact, she had a fist fight with one of her coworkers over the rumors and promptly reported it to Commander Finn, her immediate superior. She never heard back from him, but she didn't give it much more thought. But now . . .
Gustave shook his head. "Terri, we can't just . . . I mean, we need to-" He was cut off by a sudden call on his comm.
=/\= This is Captain Steex to all Churchill personnel currently on leave, return to your stations immediately and prepare . . . Eric? What are . . . =/\=
Suddenly the comm link went down, only to reopen moments later, but it was no longer the Haliian captain on the other end.
=/\= This is Commander Marcell speaking. By order of Starfleet Command, Captain Steex has been relieved of her duties. Remain as you were and await further order. Marcell out. =/\=
Gustave frowned. There was something . . . odd about that communication. Something was definitely wrong. Captain Steex was a great captain and dedicated to Starfleet, so why was she suddenly relieved in the middle of a comm call? He stood up, realizing that it was urgent that he get back to his ship.
"Terri, this conversation will have to wait for later. Something is wrong, and I need to go help my captain. Go back to mom's house, and I'll be back hopefully by tomorrow, okay?" He waited for her response before leaving, as he had to know that she would listen to him. His mom could keep her safe.
Terri simply nodded. "Be safe."
"You, too." He replied sternly. He started off at a light jog, running towards the nearest public transit station. He needed to pick up his Valkyrie and take it back to the Churchill. It looked like it was going to be a long night.
[To be continued in Part 8 "Call To Arms" . . .]
Lieutenant JG Terri C. Lee
Researcher, Starfleet R&D
(NPC - Oliver)
Lieutenant Gustave Dolarian
Fighter Pilot, USS Churchill
(NPC - Theo)