A Friendly Face
Episode 4 - Truth, Justice, and the Federation Way
Timeline: Somewhere after Kyushu destruction and before boarding party
Nealas shuffled into the Lounge, it had been a long, long, day and all she wanted right now is a good meal and some time to stare out into the void. Arrange the thoughts and memories in her head and sort out which ones belong to her current lifetime. As she stepped into the room it looked mostly empty. It wasn't really prime lunch or dinner time. She was glad because she probably looked like a hot mess at the moment after the day she'd been having. Slowly but steadily she shuffled towards the bar area.
“You look like you could use a familiar face Frau Artztin*” a voice called from her left.
Nealas felt herself relax a bit by the familiarity of the voice and accent. She turned to her left.
The German’s smile lifted in a show at weary mirth, the barest hint of his teeth showing through. “We seem to suffer the same affliction. I prescribe 10cc of company.”
"Is that a euphemism, sir?" Nealas gave him a crooked smile before looking at the menu in this place.
"Any idea what's good here?"
“Are you mad, the Inspector Generals would smell a euphemism a parsec away and bear down with full force.” Hans retorted. “As for the menu, no clue, I figured something safe like a club sandwich would be tasty enough.”
Nealas nodded and looked back at the menu. She had always been a fan of sandwiches before joining, but after she was much more of a salad enthusiast. She blamed Trillian for that.
"How are you holding up, Commander?"
Adlerstein clucked his tongue against his teeth. He had hoped to avoid thinking about that, about the Kyushu. It still hit him hard.
“I...try not to think about the Kyushu too much.” He admitted. “Always end playing at ‘what ifs’; what if I had done this or that, would more of our people still be here? It eats me up inside, so much so I have to tune it out just to continue my duties. I’m not sure if that makes me a good XO or a bad one.”
"Maybe we shouldn't try to think in those terms." Nealas stopped the barkeep from moving past them.
"Can I get a tall glass of ice cold iced tea, dark lemon, and a grilled cheese sandwich?" She knew she had to fight the urges that crept up in stressful situations. She looked at her XO invitingly, waiting for him to place an order.
“Club soda, ham sandwich with all the vegetables please.” Hans said quickly.
Nealas slumped a bit in her barstool and had to make a conscious effort to straighten her back.
"How's your guest quarters?"
Hans put his hands out in a show of faux enthusiasm “The usual: silk sheets, green Orion slave girls fanning me with palm fronds. What? You didn’t get the same?”
"Must be executive perks." Nealas was never really good with the banter, it didn't usually suit her. Now seemed like as good a time as any to start.
"Mine had a coffee table. A working sonic shower. That's all I could really take in before I was called in by the acting CO." She wondered how much in the loop her XO was. Had he even been talking with Lt Cmdr Elbrun?
"They asked me to head up the department. Their CMO was incapacitated in their encounter with that ship that wrecked the Kyushu." It still hurt thinking about it too much.
"I'm sorry, bad dinner conversation."
Hand waved away her misgiving. “It’s alright Doctor. Their Acting CO had asked my permission to utilize your talents.” Technically, the CO of a ship was under no obligation to ask Hans for said permission. Social niceties, however, often ruled the day, and so Adlerstein acquiesced.
“We need to help our hosts if we are able. Besides, medicine is what you do best, so any wounded and sick are in good hands.” The Kyushu’s former XO added.
"Thanks. They'll have me working on virology." Nealas smiled at the barkeep when he arrived with their orders.
"Cheers, sir." She raised her glass of iced tea towards him.
"What about you? Do you just sit around all day?"
He shrugged. “Not sure where to go...they have a full Marine contingent, so I guess I’ll just hang around the bridge.”
"I'm sure they can use your help and experience there." Nealas gave a slow nod, staring down her sandwich. She couldn't quite remember why she had ordered it.
"Do you think the Arcadia can stand up to that thing that attacked us?"
Hans had just taken a bite of his own sandwich, and chewed the morsel slowly in thought.
“No clue.” He admitted. “But we have to try. She’s certainly a newer model than ours, so she has a better chance at least.”
Nealas let that comment linger for a moment. That's the life of a Starfleet officer for you. No certainties, but always pushing forward. We have to try.
"Let's hope I crack this virus before we get there." No pressure she added in thought.
“If anyone can, you can Nee.” Hans reassured her.
Hans finished the last of his sandwich, and stood up. He preffered the good doctor when she smiled; he thought she was far prettier when she did, although he would never say as much. Instead, the Teutonic Officer motioned for her to follow him.
“Come on. Let’s go out there and make a difference in this crazy universe.” He said.
Nealas looked down at the half eaten dinner in front of her. Somewhere deep inside she felt that she didn't deserve to eat the rest of it. She shook her head a bit and took another big bite just to spite that annoying voice in the back of her head. She got up as she wiped her mouth. "Let's." She didn't seem convinced but joined him on the way out anyway.
*German: female medical doctor
A JP by:
LCDR Johannes “Hans” K. Adlerstein
Lieutenant Nealas G. Yvex, M.D.
Acting Chief Medical Officer
"Isn't it fascinating how long a few minutes seem when you are completely alone with not a familiar face in sight?"