Posted by Lieutenant Lauren Shan (Doctor) in CTO office A story about a boy, a girl, and what lurks unseen
Posted by Lieutenant Commander Ethan Nash (Chief Engineer) in CTO office A story about a boy, a girl, and what lurks unseen
Posted by Fleet Captain Kelly Bordeaux (Commanding Officer) in CTO office A story about a boy, a girl, and what lurks unseen
Posted by… suppressed (2) by the Post Ghost! 👻
The day had been long and tough. Lauren needed to drink. Normally she would have curled up at the end of Mike’s bar and ordered her usual. Today however she needed isolation. What she was about to talk about definitely violated doctor-patient privilege. She had debated in her office where she would go. The logical place was the counseling department but Lauren had had enough counseling in her life to choke a horse. The years of someone trying to tell her how to think after she left Orion, only led her to push things down deeper.
Rand was on duty and while he probably wouldn’t have minded the company, Lauren needed to push down the day with copious amounts of booze, real booze which only one spot on the ship had an open door policy to drink until you passed out. Over the past few years, Lauren and Nash had settled into a co-dependence type relationship.
Both of them had more baggage than they could bear, yet both of them kept it locked down so tight only command knew all the details. Lauren’s due to the fact she was a minor and Nash due to the fact it was classified. Reaching his office, Lauren raised a fist and pounded it twice before palming the control on his door and walking in without permission. “Nash,” she announced her presence by calling his name, “I need the hard stuff. Don’t make me hypo you to get it. Rand is…was in your department. Anesthizine and I are best friends and I am not afraid of making this a ménage à trois instead of a duo if you try to Bogart the booze.”
“Adolf, come in why don’t you,” Nash said in his usual low tone around the cigar clenched between his teeth. It didn’t hold the common undercurrent of scorn that he often used in groups however. Nash knew Lauren, and in his old position of Chief of Intelligence had come to know more of her history. Not all of it, but the position of CIO did open up files that others didn’t get to see. If one person other than her boyfriend Rand on the ship understood her, it was Nash. He understood her deeply and what it was like to lose people you loved when it could have been in your power to do something about it instead of being helpless. Plus, if she was willing to gas a room full of children to get a solution to an issue, who was he to refuse her a drink?
Lauren raised an eyebrow and shook her head. “It’s the gassy doctor. Get it right.” The tone was snappish but her eyes for one second held a bit of mirth. There was no way she could not find the reference to her past escapades funny. She also did not trust anyone who did thought her idea of using anesthizine administered through environmental systems was not brilliant to take out the terrorist that had held a classroom of children hostage was not the ideal way to go. No one got hurt and the situation was resolved without anyone hurt. It got her a promotion and a formal award. Security could just get so uptight at times wanting to use weapons while counseling could talk you to death. Her plan saved the day outthinking either department. It was probably where the name came from the Nash references.
Dropping into one of the leather, high-back chairs in his office, Lauren let the familiar scents surround her. There was the hint of tobacco lying in the air. The man was rarely without a stogie protruding from his lips. She often wondered if the man smoked them or used them as an accessory much like the CO did her coffee mug. No one could smoke on the ship except in designated areas, but Nash did not seem the type to travel to the smoking area for a fifteen-minute break. He was more the type to light it up and damn the consequences when they happened. This is what attracted Lauren to the man in the first place. Ethan Nash was superiorly and unequivocally confident yet somehow balanced this without being arrogant or haughty. When he entered a room he commanded it either by directly taking charge or silently from the background. He often had the graveyard shift on the bridge citing he liked the stillness and peace that came from the wee hours of the dark. Lauren however thought otherwise. Too many young officers talked about how Lt. Commander Nash one on one was one of the best senior officers on the ship. They spoke of how he let those under him learn and strive for the best. The calm, patient, introspective teacher was not something one immediately saw when looking at the gruff, hardened exterior but looking under the exterior always showed ones true character. Individuals just needed to take the time to peel back what they assumed and concentrate on what they knew. Lauren and Nash were very similar in this regard.
Curling up in his chair, she tucked her legs under her body and locked eyes with the man before her. “I need a drink,” she said emphatically. “Do you wanna have a drink?” Lauren added in a softer tone. Right now she needed someone. Nash of all the people in the galaxy would soo understand.
“Does a camel have a hump on its back?” Nash replied with a grin, and pushed his chair back slightly. Behind and above him was a sign that said No Smoking in bold letters, a ‘gift’ from the Captain that she knew he would ignore, and he knew she knew he would ignore it. Nash displayed it prominently.
Lauren did not break into a smile or even laugh at the joke although she appreciated Nash’s sense of humor. He had a way of expressing things that did not emit emotion but could settle you instantly. She momentarily wondered what it would be like however to have that sense of humor turned on her knowing the secret ways to smile. Lauren knew Nash had been married. She knew why the wife was not on the ship. What she didn’t know what what kind of woman would make Nash fall in love, the kind of love that made men do stupid things. Maybe tonight she would get a glimpse of that.
“As long as it it not water pour me a double.”
Moments later and two chilled tumblers appeared on the desk between them and Nash paused, looking at her with narrowed eyes but said nothing. making his choice, his hand appeared from the drawer at the bottom of his desk with a bottle of Vodka. “You look like you need a drink, I have something that will do.”
Removing the cap with a flick of his thumb and letting it spin away over his desk and onto the floor, Nash poured the full measure of the small tumblers. No mixer, this was pure A grade vodka that went down smooth but burned when it arrived at its destination. Nash never drank, unless he drank properly.
Letting his eyes move from the glass to Lauren, he slid it over the desk towards her curled up on his seat. Lauren was a woman who demanded attention any time she entered a room by her very presence, she was beautiful, sure, alluringly so in a way that made other women jealous of her. But it was more than that, Lauren had a confidence and surety of purpose that people found both attractive and intimidating. She knew what she wanted and she worked to get it. With Lauren, that was usually behind the scenes where she rivaled any spymaster with her list of people that ‘worked’ for her on whatever task she gave them. That task Nash had been drawn into once or twice, and while it was decidedly against the rules, he could never fault the solid morality of what she did, and why she did it. To Nash, Lauren was a kindred spirit who would do what she needed to, to do what was right and be damned the consequences.
People spoke about how she was abrupt and direct to the point, some said blunt, some said infuriatingly righteous. Nash knew better. Lauren Shan didn’t suffer fools, she had been in some of the darkest places and seen some of the darkest things that people who professed to have higher morals would shrink away from. Lauren had been there, experienced things, solved those things. She knew how to use her looks to get what she wanted, knew how to use delicate words to make someone agree. But she did it all for the right reasons despite her baggage. Nash respected that, respected her a hell of a lot. If Rand hadn’t of been in the picture, who knew, Nash might have even made a pass at her. Now, however she was his friend, and she needed a drink. Nash knew that was something he could provide.
“Drink it all, there is more where that came from,” Nash said, picking up his own tumbler of Vodka. “Then tell me, what’s got you in a mood tonight.”
Lt Cmdr Nash, CTO
Lauren downed the drink like she had spent more than her fair share on the other side of a bar. The truth was, she had spent more time than she cared to to admit drunk. She let the liquor sit in her mouth for a second before swallowing it. Closing her eyes she felt the clear liquid start its magic. The cool, almost slippery sensation in her mouth slowly filled her body with a warmth starting at the back of her throat and traveling down to her stomach. Lauren did not do the characteristic girl move of shaking her head or twitching her body with a laugh commenting about how strong the drink was. She was a woman that could hold her liquor and appreciated it. Looking at Nash slid the glass back to him. “I need another and I need another glass.” She would not need to explain why or ask for another glass. Nash was the type that understood and would produce two new cups following her lead.
Without a word he did as she asked, he didn’t even have to get out of his chair as a drawer was opened and a small tray of identical shot glasses appeared on the desk. Still with no word he filled her new glass and slid it forward, besides his that was till now untouched. Then, he simply nodded.
Picking up the empty glass she flipped it over with a soft clink on the surface as she picked up her second shot. Lauren watched Nash follow suit. She could guess who he was honoring with the empty cup. The reason she was here was to talk about the person that could not drink with her.
“You know if anyone knew the glass was for Harper, they would add bad mother to the list of nicknames they call me. Part of me would sell my soul for one person to see me with Harper and call me that but wishing in one hand and crapping in the other just gives you a hand of crap.” Her tone was solemn but not morbid. She would never stop looking for Harper. This was just a set back. Tonight was for Lauren to find her feet, wait for what constituted dawn on a starship, and start again in the morning.
“I heard that the last lead went to a dead end again,” Nash poured again for the two of them. “For what it’s worth, I’m sorry. Take it for what it is, another name crossed off the list. Means the search gets smaller in the long run.” His voice was low and solid and despite the words it lacked any sympathy or pity. Lauren didn’t need any of that and he had no need to give it, the alcohol provided all the support she needed right now.
“And avoid crapping in your hand, by the way,” he joked humorlessly, although his eyes held enough sarcasm to make up for the Nash vocal range. “With a hand full of crap your likely to miss out on grabbing the next lead that comes up.” This time Nash raised his own glass and mock salute, and downed the vodka in one go before refilling his own and offering the bottle to her.
“She’s out there. We both know it. I’ve still got the word out and people I know are following up on some rumors. If anything of value comes up, you’ll know.” He leaned back in his chair and looked at her for a moment in silence. “Next time, you take me with you though.”
Lauren opened her mouth to respond but was sharply cut off. Instead of speaking she eyed him waiting for the monologue to start.
Holding up one hand in the air, he motioned for her to stop. “Shut it a moment, alright. I know you can handle yourself, in the back alley, bedroom or bar. I know you don’t need me to be your muscle. You’re more than capable of batting your eyelids, show some cleavage or leg and shove a hypo in their ass. Or getting scrappy if you need to.” He picked up the shot glass again and grinned at her, raising it. “You’re falling behind by the way, maybe you can’t keep up anymore.”
Taking a PaDD that kay on the desk beside him, he held it up facing him for a moment and seemed to find something on it. Once he had, he slid it across the desk towards Lauren. “I need to go with you because of her.”
On the PaDD, was an image of a baby girl. Bright red hair and a face clearly taken from her mother, she sported the chin and nose of Ethan. “Harper is still out there, waiting for you.” Nash said quietly, “My daughter, isn’t. I need to do something other than sit here and pass you leads. So next time you go, I go too.” Taking out a new bottle, Nash twisted the lid off of it and lay it down beside him.
Lauren picked up the image and stared at it. “So we are looking to be an Orphan train now?” Her tone was slightly bitter. This is why she did not stay put for a long time or involve people. More people meant losing sight on the scope of the mission. Still Nash was more than a good ally. He not only had the experience but the rank to get things done. He was also motivated. Nothing bonded two people like a commonality.
Nash said nothing, he just drank more from his glass. There was no orphan in this story, not for Nash was the Starfleet Orphan trope. He settled back now, and waited for the monologue to start.
“I am pretty sure your kiddo is not living in some Orion sex den or Syndicate crime ring but who would have ever thought a nice doctor like me could lead such a double life either. She let her voice trail off as she drank more of the booze.
“So I am not saying I won’t take you but we aren’t going in playing good cop-bad cop. You might have a huge exonerated stain on your record but you and I are not alike. You are Starfleet. I am not. This job is just a means to an end for me. They will smell your code of ethics a mile away. It’s why you got pinned for that colony. Honor before duty and duty to people not an ideology. Those are deadly character traits for my friends and family. If you come you stay out of the way and out of my way. You are too short and skinny for me to slap some green paint on you and call you an Orion but I might be able to sell you as a scrawny teen Orion in a pinch.”
“Tell me about your daughter,” she asked tapping the image Nash had shown her.
Lauren Shan doctor
“She’s dead.” Nash answered without a hint of emotion, although anyone who really knew him also new that tone of voice hid more than it ever revealed. “On that colony I got pinged for, along with my wife.” Filling his glass, he paused and then refilled Laurens.
“I have no interest in good cop or bad cop, and I have less interest in honoring the code of the tunic,” he tugged at the collar of the Starfleet shirt he wore. “If you didn’t notice I did time for that, and sure, that was a Starfleet prison so nothing like a real penal institution on Orion or even Qo’noS, but if you think I reek of Starfleet you’ve been doing a crap job of getting to know me.” He smirked, and raised his glass in a mock toast before he emptied it.
Listen, I want to help you find your daughter, and you need help. This whole thing you have going of you against the world, it’s bullcrap. How’s it worked out for you so far? Eh? You haven’t found your daughter yet and left more bodies than answers behind. You need to change things up, and I want to do something other than write reports and polish my torpedo so it’s shiny for inspection. I can’t think of a better way than helping a friend find her daughter.”
“I did my job in the Fleet, and I did it well, and my family died because I did my real job without Starfleet’s approval or help, then I did time. What you don’t know, your boyfriend Rand might, is what I did during my time. I’m going to admit that compared to you,” he waved his hands as if to indicate that Lauren was a messiah of infinite dark and dirty schemes, which she was, “I can’t compare. But you don’t need to worry about good cop bad cop. I payed for my freedom on Orion during my incarceration, so stuff that code of ethics you think I have and if I go, I’m not there to sightsee or play pretty cheerleader.” His voice had become more coarse, the Nash most people thought of when his name came up.
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