'And' is a Number

Posted July 31, 2021, 9:50 a.m. by Lieutenant Commander Gravel Mardusk (Chief of Security) (James Sinclair)

Posted by Lieutenant Cara Esmé O’Farrell (Counselor / Education Specialist) in ‘And’ is a Number

Posted by Lieutenant Commander Gravel Mardusk (Chief of Security) in ‘And’ is a Number

Posted by Lieutenant Cara Esmé O’Farrell (Counselor / Education Specialist) in ‘And’ is a Number
Posted by… suppressed (7) by the Post Ghost! 👻

The night before had been a crazy whirlwind that Cara would willing ride again. Gravel had dropped her off at her door, kissed her, and told her to sleep well. She’d walked into her quarters, threw herself into a heap onto the folded cushion that, for the moment, passed for a couch. She stretched out, ankles crossed, one hand behind her head, the other on her stomach…groaned derisively at herself, and proceeded to give herself a mini counseling session until she had herself giggling for no reason at all.

Cara was up early and left even earlier than normal. She only made two wrong turns on the way to her office. Which considering she had to follow the outer hull to get there, was kind of absurd on her part. She blamed it totally on the giant India green Sidhe living next door to her and his uncanny ability to invade her dreams. She walked into her office, a huge grin on her face, to stop short. Her desk was here, awesome…there was an engineer with it…not so awesome. “Lt. O’Farrell! I wasn’t expecting you, yet. I’m almost done building your desk. When I’m done, just tell me where you want it.”

“Where it is, is just fine, lad. I’m not sure how I’ll organize everything yet.” Take the hint, go away, I’m busy....

Unfortunately he took that as his ‘opportunity,’ and Cara stopped from smiling at the absurdity, he’d take it the wrong way. “I can stay and help or come back later and help you move everything.” Cara walked out the door with a “I have to get working, take your time,” pointed to another office as she passed Yvonne. She stepped into the other office, muttering, “It’s da hair, it’s always da hair. I’m gonna shave it off.”

Around lunch time Lt Cmdr Mardusk, chief of security, would receive a typed message:

‘Hey Gairbhéal,
Dress code is a bit different tonight. Slacks, button down shirt, and comfortable shoes.
No food served, just drinks.
Oh, just wondering, would you still like me if I was bald?’


A few minutes later, there was a chirp and a reply had been sent.

‘Dress code confirmed. Any particular color? I’d like to compliment my date’s choice if possible.
No food? Should I eat prior to? And I think you’d look amazing in nothing… hair included. See you at 7.



Cara stared at the screen and felt hot. She fanned herself with her hand, gave up, and tossed the uniform jacked aside for the moment. The man wasn’t even in the room. She started typing…

‘Oh you will. I’ll be wearing my favorite shade of green.’

Then she paused. Dinner? Yes he…they should eat before hand, but together? Hmmm…no, and she grinned. He wanted to be chased a little? And dinner made it too easy.

‘Yes you should eat prior.’ Deleted question Nope, she deleted the last part. Really she needed to get a grip. ‘I’ll leave early so I don’t get lost along the way.’ He could almost hear her laughter on the last part. ‘My next appointment is here. See you at 7.


She sent the message, logged out of the computer, slipped the jacket back on and went to open the door for her first appointment of the afternoon.


Showered, hair styled into a rope braid that curved around the side of her face and fell over the front of her left shoulder, Cara slipped the India green dress on. A knee length satin and chiffon piece with wide strapped shoulders, that cross crossed on her front and back with a deep V. The sides left open from her bottom rip to her waist, and then the skirt flowed out gently. She sat, slipping on deep red heeled strappy leather sandals. And to complete the whole thing, over the top was a grey duster length sweater cinched with a wide belt, that hid the dress from view, except for peeks of the skirt. The only jewelry she had was her Claddagh ring on her right hand.

It was six o’clock that evening. Showered, dressed to the specified dress code in a tasteful charcoal gray and black combination, and having eaten; Mardusk stood in his living room and stared at the door.

He still had an hour.

He cursed.

Cara still had an hour. She finished writing the note and then placed the box outside her door, and tapped the note to the door, addressed to ‘Malachite.’ Then she turned and headed down the corridor for the lift and Deck 16. Reminding herself to the whole way to stop letting her imagination run wild in anticipation and focus on now.

He stood motionless for fifty-eight minutes as his mind raced through possibilities, tangents, the occasional fantasy, and more than a few self-admonishments to ‘get a grip. This isn’t like you.’. Finally, the alarm sounded, he stepped out the door, turned left took four steps and pressed the chime.


On the door was a piece of paper labelled “Malachite.”

‘Holodeck 4, 1900 hours. I’ll see you there. Oh and that’s for you.’ with an arrow pointing down at the box. Inside was a deep red fedora with a black ribbon around it and a colorful, but tasteful feather in it.

Mardusk looked at the hat, slipped it on, adjusted it at a subtle yet jaunty angle, and the turned towards the turbo lift. As he walked he tapped his commbadge. =/\= Computer. Location of Lieutenant O’Farrell. =/\= he said with a grin.

Cara stood outside the holodeck…but it wasn’t holodeck 4 it was 1 AAAAANNNNDDDDD it was 1900…she was late and lost.


“You do know the difference between 1 and 4… right?” said a familiar voice from behind with a chuckle.


Cara sighed, deeply, before turning around. It wasn’t even amusing to her at this point. Give it five minutes she could laugh. She’d left an hour early. At first she thought she’d gotten off on the wrong deck. Nearing the middle of the saucer section the decks were huge at this point, and she wandered. She’d just about given up and used the computer when she found it! But she hadn’t…without turning around she sighed again. “Yes I know the difference between 1 and 4. I found 4…holosuite four.” And then, because she knew they were all supposed to be near each other she’d gone looking for holodeck four but only found 1 and 2. She turned around to tell him that and stopped short. Whoa…her eyes widened as they travelled the entire length of him. “You look really ho…handsome…you look really handsome.” Get a grip on yourself! You saw him yesterday! She took the three steps towards him, and slipped her hand into his. She didn’t ask how he knew where she was or why he was there with her instead of where they were supposed to be when she was only just now late.


Gravel smiled and squeezed her hand. He leaned down and said softly in her ear: “You look really hot too, gorgeous.” and he softly nibbled her ear, kissed her cheek, and then leaned up and grinned.

That made her knees go weak, electricity sizzle down her spine, and she was really glad he had ahold of her hand. She’d wondered that morning, before she’d messaged him, if things would be calmer, normal, when she saw him again. That thought was laughed right out of existence.

“I’m pretty sure by this point the algorithms in the computer core are just going to start telling me where you are every twenty minutes or so.” and he winked.


She looked up at him through her lashes, half laughing half blushing, “Gravel, are you keeping tack of me?” Then she sighed, resigned, “If we aren’t going to lose more of our time, you better lead, I’ll get lost again.” Next day off she was going to go figure this ship out.

Cara followed him along to the turbolift, down a deck and to holodeck 4. Cara accessed the LCARS panel and pulled up the program. The computer trilled, “PROGRAM LOADED ENTER WHEN READY.” She turned and looked at him, wholly mischievous, and walked through the doors.

They were standing on a street in the middle of a small sized city, across from a large marble and granite building with 11 composite style columns along the front. In the middle of the front façade were three large green double doors topped by arched windows, with four arched windows to either side. She led him across the street and up the granite steps that stretched across the entire façade. Every so often one or two people, dressed similarly, would enter the building.


Gravel looked around and smiled. “Whoa… this looks amazing! Where… well… where and when are we, Red?” he asked as she led them up the steps. As she did, he took the opportunity to look at her from behind; and his breath hitched in his throat. She was so… well… her.


“It’s called the Millennium Center. South east coast of North America. Small city, but was the center of a lot of action during the prohibition of the early 1920s. This was, at the time, the post office/federal building/district court seat, anything government related. In the late 20th century the government offices moved and it was picked bought by a man who owned Millennium Corporate and it was turned into an events center. The time period for this program is right at the turn of the 20th into the 21st century. So everything inside has been restored. This is how it was when I used to come here.” While she talked she turned back and grinned at him, she walked over to the third window on the right and picked something up from the ledge and then tucking her hand into his arm they entered the main doors into a large marble entry way, and a huge crystal and candle chandelier hung from the ceiling. The area was divided into threes with dark oak wood separating out the area into offices and corridors. She walked over to a large panel of very old style mailboxes and taking the key she’d picked up from the window slipped it into one of the post office boxes and opened the door. She reached in and palmed two tokens from the box and closed the door and locked it. She passed a token to Gravel and then led him over to a long counter across the room, with bars from the counter to ceiling. They waited their turn and then stepped up to a man wearing a visor cap and sleeves rolled up, fingers covered in ink. “I need to access my box.” And she slipped her token to the man and nudged Gravel to do the same. The man looked at the token and laying a hand over them slid them off the counter and into his pocket. “Of course madam.” He disappeared momentarily, then came through an access door and led them down a narrow hallway, opened a door and closed it behind them. The door was a narrow brick and wrought iron affair leading into the basement of the building.


Gravel was grinning from ear to ear, both about the venue and the woman taking him there. As they got to the door, the big Orion chuckled. “Big guy, remember?” and he turned sideways and ducked. He filled the stairwell, but followed her nonetheless. “Hey, if I forget to tell you… I had a great time tonight.” and he smiled.


Cara looked back at him, “Don’t worry it doesn’t get smaller.” She squeezed his hand, “I really hope you do.” The reached the bottom of the staircase and it opened into a large almost catacomb looking level, but it was dry and marked by large 4 foot by 4 foot brick support columns. Dark, heavy oak doors marked the walls every so often. At the far end of the passage was a large wrought iron gate. “So down there, leads to underground tunnels that move through the whole city. They were used to run ‘shine during prohibition. You can tour the tunnels, but I never did. I didn’t trust anyone I came with to not let me get lost down there.” She turned and walked towards a door where a man was sitting on a stool, wearing an outfit very similar to Gravel’s with suspenders and his hat resting across his bent knee. Cara looked at him and said, “Elisabeth Oesterlein.” The man stood up and knocked a seemingly random pattern on the door and with the sound of lock turning opened. “Sir, ma’am, enjoy your evening.” Cara led Gravel through the door in a large room. Dotted by the brick support pillars through out the room. Tables and chairs for 2 or four dotted along the outer and inner walls. To the very far left there was a heavy, thick metal door that accessed a large room with a stair well going down, the room surrounded by the same heavy metal. “Bomb shelter. It was added to the building during World War II and maintained until the end of the Cold War.” To the far right was a bar, rough, looking like it was pieced together, but the bartender had ever possible drink available. “All Earth drinks, nothing newer than the mid 21st century.” The bar was lined with stools. On either side of the bar were thick leather couches. Off center across from them was a live, or as live as it got on a holodeck, band playing Big Band music.

A man walked over, “Welcome to Underground Infusions. May I take your coat?” Cara undid the belt of her sweater and slipped it down off her shoulders and handed it to the man, “Lessons begin in 5 minutes.”


Gravel’s eyes widened and his mouth dropped open slightly. That dress… that dress was everything. His eyes went up and down her form more than once, and he stood motionless less for a few heartbeats before shaking his head and clearing his throat. “Y-… you look amazing. I feel remarkably und… wait.” and he fixed her with a mockingly suspicious look. “What ‘lessons’?”


Cara smiled stretched up and kissed his cheek. “Thank you.” Then she met his gaze, hers wholly daring and wicked. “Swing dance lessons. You’re going to learn how to sweep me off my feet.”


Mardusk looked at her for a few moments and then said =/\= Computer, pause program. =/\= as he simultaneously reached down, his forearms sliding on top of the back of dress as they slid under her butt and he lifted her off the ground, helping g her brace her legs on his hips; and then planted a strong, firm, and wholly intense and intimate kiss on her lips. For several long moments, he simply devoured her… gently, passionately, and leaving zero doubt about his desire for her… and the level of affection he felt.

Suddenly, he borderline dropped her back down on her feet and said =/\= Computer, resume program. =/\= and he adjusted his hat while looking everywhere but at her.

“Now… let’s see how humans do this.” and then he looked down at her and winked.


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