STF

Side Sim - A Much Needed Vacay

Posted March 17, 2023, 4:59 p.m. by Lieutenant Commander Gravel Mardusk (Chief of Security) (James Sinclair)

Posted by Lieutenant Cara Esmé O’Farrell (Counselor / Education Specialist) in Side Sim - A Much Needed Vacay

Posted by Lieutenant Commander Gravel Mardusk (Chief of Security) in Side Sim - A Much Needed Vacay

Posted by Lieutenant Cara Esmé O’Farrell (Counselor / Education Specialist) in Side Sim - A Much Needed Vacay
Posted by… suppressed (33) by the Post Ghost! 👻

(snip)
=/\= Five minutes. If you see a distinguished looking man with salt and pepper hair and bright blue eyes, he will be meeting us. =/\= came the reply. Not two minutes later the door opened and the man came in and looked around. Not seeing what he was looking for, he took a seat at the bar.

Cara knew the face, oh yes she did. From her table she waved down the waitress so she could pay and get out of there. No, she wasn’t playing this game with Serchena. For good or ill she was not. She didn’t owe the woman a thing. Unfortunately, the waitress was busy and the bistro packed and she didn’t arrive with the bill in enough time for Cara to leave. Cara was fuming.

Five minutes almost to the second rhe door opened and Serchena came gliding in. Eyes everywhere locked on her and she graced rhe room with a dazzling smile before her emerald eyes fell on rhe man at the bar. She walked up to him and gave him a kiss on the cheek and then she looked at Cara and pointed and began walking towards her. “Hello, Cara. Lieutenant Cara O’Farrell, this is Fleet Captain (Retired) Micah Crowell. Micah, may I introduce one of Star Fleet’s best and brightest. Sit Micah, sit.” He nodded and said “Lieutenant. A pleasure.” and he took a seat. “So to what do I owe the pleasure? I was actually looking forward to a round of drinks at the Ambassador when you called.” Serchena slid in next to Cara and put her hand on her knee and gripped it firmly. “Well… as you have said, darling, some things just need to be said. I believe thst is what you prefaced you saying ‘I love you’ to me for the first time with. So I have had a very interesting conversation with Cara here. Especially right after I told her and Gravel- she’s dating him, by the way. Isn’t that lovely?- told her and Gravel you had proposed and I had said yes. So… here you sit… across the table from a woman who loves Gravel for the man he is and another who loves him for the journey that led him to become the man she loves… and we would both be very interested in why you called this singular individual whom we both love and admire a… a… oh, Cara. What was the word dear Micah used to describe Gravel again?” Her grip on Cara’s knee tightened in a way that said Stick with it. I mean business.

Serchena Mardusk

Cara’s smile was polite and friendly. Her sister and Gravel would know that look meant get out while you were alive. Cara didn’t bother to greet the man at all. She had nothing to say to him, and curse her mother for raising her with manners. Cara could not match the Orion strength for strength, but Cara had been well trained. Still with a smile, she forcibly pried the woman’s hand off her knee in a way that said, You will pay for this. Then she sat back and folded her hands loosely in her lap. “Beast.” However this turned out, Cara and Serchena were not going to get along. Cara didn’t appreciate being made someone’s puppet and maneuvered into breaking Gravel’s trust. Oh no, they were not going to get along at all. Serchena could shove that down her pretty little throat and maybe cut her tongue on those disgustingly brothel red finger nails.

Cara

Serchena’s smile nevewavered. “Oh riiiiight… that was the term, wasn’t it? Beast. ‘With a broad back’, I believe your qualifier was. Yes…” Slowly, she moved away from Cara, sliding to get out of the booth… inexorably… like tectonic plates on a collision path. “You called my son a beast. You referred to him as an animal. Oh, I’m sure you breathed a sigh if relief when I told you I had never read his file.” Micah started doing speak but a finger silenced him. “No no… you have said enough. Now… I know how much decorum means to you. Another reason you and my son didn’t get along. You are about ‘appearances’… and he is about substance. Nonwonder he hated you. And had I known the depths of your demeaning of him I would have never allowed you near me.” Her voice was strong… steady… loud. “Had I known what had transpired, I never would have been in a position to have to hurt him so deeply yet unintentionally. And I never would have compromised my chance at knowing this wonderful young woman who loves my son so. You have cost me dearly…” By now she was on her feet, looming over the pale and shaking former officer. She slowly reached forward and grabbed his shirt and slowly lifted him out out of his seat, holding him aloft with his feet dangling off the ground. “I had to break a promise to my son tonight, you miserable piece of shit. And I hate I had to do that just because of you.” Her empty fist balled into a fist.

Cara was out of her seat and put a hand over Serchena’s fist. Oh the woman would swing and hit anyway, but sometimes a hand could be an anchor, “Ser…”

“MA!” a booming voice shouted, filling the silent bistro. “What rhe hell are ya doin’?! Put him down!” Gravel barked. He looked past her to Cara with WTF, hun?! look on his face.

The booming mountainous voice had never been so welcome and never had Cara wished he was somewhere else. All she could do was look at him and shrug. This was not her fault. His mother had orchestrated this little drama.

Serchena looked at him and a gold tear trickled down her cheek. “Grav… I didn’t know… I swear to you I didn’t know… I-” and Gravel stepped forward and grabbed Crowell around the waist. “It’s okay, Ma… just… just let him down.” She slowly released him and Gravel lowered him to the floor. “Hey, Crowell. Nice ta see ya.” he said sarcastically. Crowell’s face was ted from fear and rage (mostly fear), but he sputtered out “I-I-I-I-” and Gravel cut him off saying “Aren’t gonna do jack and you know it. Get the f#<l outta here…” and rhe Retired Fkeet Caotain practically scampered out. Gravel looked at rhe open mouth crowd and said “Hey… sorry. Famiky drama, amiright?” and a few people chuckled and slowly things went back to normal. He moved Serchena into the booth across from Cara and then sat down. “Damn… leave you two alone for a bit and you start picking up strange men… literally.” and he chuckled.

Mardusk(s)

Cara shook her head and stood up. “I think you two need ta talk.” She leaned over looking in his stunning green eyes and kissed him gently. “I love ya, Gravel,” she whispered. “I’ll see ya at the hotel.”

Cara

Gravel put a hand gently on her arm. “Stay… please. I know ya don’t wanna. But I’d like ya to be here.”

Serchena looked up at Cara and said “I am so sorry. I just knew ew if I saw him alone I’d have probably put my fist through his face.” Her anger was a mask for shame and guilt, and that was more than apparent to the trained psychologist and the interrogator. Gravel looked at Cara and said “See? And you thought it was your family that was gonna be the crazy ones.”

Gravel

Cara couldn’t tell him no, not about anything, but certainly not this. She slid back into her seat. “This? This is nothin’. And more than justified.” She looked at Serchena. Yeah she felt guilty and it was all over her face, but Cara was Cara after all. “Next time, ask. Ya may not like what I have ta say, but if yer scared of what ya might do or the other person, I won’t leave ya alone.” Left unsaid for the sake of more pressing conversations was she didn’t appreciate being backed into the decision, especially after she’d made it clear she didn’t want ta be involved. Cara called the waitress over for menus and drinks. “It certainly isn’t as fancy, but Lacy is an amazin’ cook, and the food here should be served somewhere more fancy. Order, talk, then eat.”

Cara

Serchena looked at Cara and said “Thank you. And I promise I won’t put you in a position like that again. I just… I panicked.” Gravel looked at his mother and then at Cara. “Listen.. both of you. I have had a hell of a few weeks. Can we just wipe the slate clean? I really just wanna relax.”

Cara set a hand on his arm and gave him a smile. “No clean slate needed, it’s just two people gettin’ ta know each other. There is goin’ ta be bumps. Ya can relax, promise.”

Serchena looked at him and said “Well, I should say I looked at your record tonight. I know I promised I wouldn’t-” and Gravel held up a hand. “I get it, Ma. You did what you had to do.” She smiled and said “What I was going to say is I read the After-Action Report of what just transpired on the Atlantis.” She reached over and took his hand. “You did a great job, son. I’m really proud of you.” she said with a sincere and motherly smile.

Mardusks

Cara nodded quietly kepping her hand on his arm. They had had this conversation. Gravel did what had to be done, and nothing against the rest of the crew, he was the only one that could have done it. The investigation proved that. “See, I told ya.” Her voice was quiet, slightly teasing. She knew though, despite being right, despite following procedure, it was hard for Gravel.

The waitress arrived, “Welcome to Lacy’s. Our specials tonight ate mango roasted chicken and seared skirt steak. Can I start you with drinks?”

Cara

Gravel looked at her and said “Do you sell beer by the pitcher?” She nodded and said “Yes, sir.” Gravel looked at Cara and smiled. “I’ll take three pitchers of Guinness.” Oh, she knew that Guinness made Gravel… ‘amorous’ was a good word for it. “The lady there-” and he pointed at his mother, “- will have an extra dirty vodka martini in a rocks glass.” and Serchena smiled and looked at Cara and stage-whispered “That was his father’s and mine favorite drink.” and she winked. “And the lady next to me will have a pint of Guinness and an Irish whiskey.” He looked at Cara and said “Go easy on the whiskey… I have plans for later.”

Gravel

Cara grinned, oh things were going to be fun later and she laughed, “I bet ya do, so in that case, hold the whiskey.” She looked at him, “I met Emilia for a drink. She can’t, so I drank for both of us.” She looked at Serchena, “My sister is expectin’.” She looked at the waitress, “I ate so what do ya have for desert?”

“Carrot cake, coconut pie, vanilla ice cream with caramel walnut brownie, and Guinness Chocolate Dump Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting.”

Cara grinned, “Oh yeah we’re gettin’ that. Bring the whole tray, with three forks.”

Cara

After the two who haven’t eaten have real food, please.” He ordered and then Serchena did as well. The drinks arrived and gravel held up a pitcher and said “To no more drama… at least for tonight.” and he laughed softly. Serchena said “Oh hell yes.” and clicked her glass to his and Cara’s. She took a long drink and then looked at Cara. “So… when am I gonna be a Grandmother?” and Gravel almost spit his Guinness out. Serchena laughed and said “I’M KIDDING.” and she laughed.

Gravel

Cara touched her glass to both of theirs. Ah she was going to have ta see if she could get one of the bars on Atlantis to seeve real Guinness. Her eyes sparked at the question. That took longer to ask than she expected. Then without missing a beat Cara said, “Three years at least probably more. Emilia bein’ pregnant buys me plenty o’ time.”

Cara

Gravel turned to her and gave her a Oh so its gonna be like that, is it? look and he said “Three years is pretty specific, doll. Why don’t ya go ahead and enlighten us as to the schedule of events you see happening over the next three years, then.” and he grinned and took a drink.

Gravel

“I said at least. But seein’ as how Emilia ain’t showin’ yet that means at most she’s twelve weeks. So pregnancy and new born stage takes us ta a year. Then that first precious year a life and then toddlerhood takes us ta year two and three. At that point my parents might remember they have another adult daughter and grandbaby fever might go inta over drive and they start applyin’ that oh so potent Irish guilt. But Emilia is still closer, and Yos is used ta big families. Then add Ava ta the mix. She will be graduatin’ and leavin’ home in that time. So ta combat bein’ empty nester, my parents will either embrace retirement or decide they want babies ta fill their house. By then who knows where Atlantis will be, and they will be used ta a weekly letter from me. So yeah I got three ta five years before I have ta decide if I’ll give in ta familial pressure ta ‘settle down’ or remain the wild child.” She picked up her pint and grinned. “Oh course tha’s no accountin’ for Sidhe magick that turns level headed good Irish girls inta love sick fools,” and she winked at him.

Cara

Gravel nodded and said “Ok… but you seem to have forgotten a big part in your equation there, Doc. Who is gonna be the father of these projected children of yours? I mean… I doubt your family would wanna see ya poppin’ out the kiddos without being married… right? You said they had a traditional streak in ‘em.” Yes, it was perfectly obvious what he was hinting at. Serchena just sipped her drink and grinned.

Gravel

“Oh no, I have not forgotten that part of the equation.” It was quite obvious what Gravel was hinting at, and she found it quite amusing and endearing. Cara propped her chin on her hand and her right hand tapped against the edge of the table, a metallic click as her Claddagh ring tapped. “Hmmm.. true, they are very traditional and when I’m not bein’ the wild child, I am too. Of course that’s assumin’ I’m gonna give in ta all that familial pressure. That also assumes I could find someone 1 crazy enough ta want ta be stuck with me that long. It’s a lot a work, and 2 would risk givin’ a child half my DNA.” She grinned and winked at the older woman before looking back at Gravel. “I mean I’d probably get lost tryin’ ta find such a person. They would have ta forever be havin’ ta come find me.” She picked up her pint. At this rate she was going to need a second one.

Cara

Gravel grinned and said “Or, just sayin’, you could let the guy buy you a bell to wear on a necklace. A tastful one of course. Sterling silver. Maybe with a clover on it?”

Gravel

Barely contained laughter made her eyes dance and a grin spread across her face. “Oh now that sounds pretty, but I donna know if tha would help. I mean the bell could fall off, and might be a bit…tellin’ when tryin’ to sneak off ta some quiet corner tagether. I’d be taken it off, puttin’ it back on. I’d get annoyed and just give up on it. Then what would tha’ poor lad do?”

Cara

Gravel picked up a pitcher and said “Probably task some poor Ensign to follow you around and tell you when ya were goin’ the wrong way.” and he took a drink. Serchena snorted and started laughing.

Gravel

Cara coughed several times as the beer went down the wrong way as she laughed. “Royo deserves a promotion. Ya know that right? He’s stuck with me all day, every day, and then he has ta put up with Yvonne and Kifit in the process. No to mention the several times a day I get a wild hair and decide no ta wait for him and he has ta come find me.”

“Royo gets all the bonus he wants standing there ‘talking’ to your receptionist. If I promote ‘em, I’ll have to find ya a new Ensign.” Gravel said with a grin.

Cara feigned a shudder, “Nevermind. My receptionist might try ta stab me in my sleep if that happens.”

The food arrived and Cara ordered another pint to replace her almost empty one. She grinned at the woman across the table. “However the betting pools ‘atween security and counseling have done wonders for crew morale. The sheer number of things they bet on is equally impressive.”

Cara

Gravel nodded and said “Yup. Last I heard there’s twenty slips riding on you getting confused and crawling inta Kelly’s bed one night.” and he chuckled. “If it goes much higher, we might wanna talk to her about making that happen and splitting the proceeds.”

Gravel

The shudder wasn’t fake this time. “Not. My. Type. Not at all. But for the full 20 slips....I can have an extended late night conversation with her. Though the one about the next time ya get a lesson in how ta sweep me off my feet is at about 15 slips and almost 2 full days of holodeck time. I am still tryin’ ta figure out how they found out about that one.”

Cara

Gravel grinned as he took a drink. “Right? Its like those damn security teams actually know what they are doing and pay attention to what is happening in the ship.” He looked at his mother who had been silently laughing the entire time. “Their Security Chief must be the best in the fleet.” and he grinned.

Gravel

Cara drank and then shook a finger at him. “Security? Bah! I thought it was all the excellent counselors listenin’ and payin’ attention that figured that one out.” Cara laughed but looked at Serchena seriously, “I can no disagree about the security chief though. I bet the man knows more secrets than the whole department put together. Moves like a living shadow when he wants. It’s almost creepy.”

Cara

Serchena looked at her and said “RIGHT?! It’s freakin’ unnatural something that big should be able to be so quiet! He used to scare the s#!t out of me, hiding around corners or coming up behind me. He did it to me once when I was on a call with the head of FedSec! Had to excuse myself and change because I peed myself!” and she laughed loudly. Gravel shrugged and said “It was her guilty conscious, not me. I swear.” and he laughed and took a drink. He stood up and excused himself and went towards the refreshers.

Serchena watched him leave and then looked at Cara. “Now seriously… just between you and I. Are you gonna marry my son?”

Gravel / Serchena

Cara watched him leave and there was a little more ease there than there had been and then her emerald green eyes turned back to the older woman. She regarded her for a long moment and then leaned back in the booth. Her gaze was direct and despite the grin, Cara was serious. “Well now, that seriously depends on your son. If he ever gets around to askin’ rather than hintin’ around, then yes I will. If he doesn’a, well I may have ta take matters inta my own hands. ‘Course tha’ will depend on why he didna ask.” The waitress brought her pint and took the empty glass, and Cara took a long pull. “The short answer is yes.”

Cara

Serchena nodded once and said “Good. That’s what I wanted to hear.” She looked over her shoulder and made sure he wasn’t coming and then reached under the table and came back with a clenched fist. She opened it a metallic clink sounded as a ring landed on the table. “That was his father’s. I had it resized for him. Now get off your ass and ask him. Not right now. You’ll know when. But you’ll have to at some point… same as I had to with his father.” and she smiled. “Morons are too dumb to know they are wasting time.” and she winked.

Serchena

Cara picked it up looking at it and the design and snorted a laugh. “Well then, wonder if I can still get a refund.” This would mean much more to Gravel than what she had picked. She grinned and slipped it into her pocket. “So I take it I have yer blessin’ then?” If Gravel was a moron then she had white blonde hair. Oh yes Cara knew quite well Serchena was making a joke. However, if Gravel was exhausted and weary from the past weeks, then Cara was raw. She also knew to temper that rawness with fact and keep her temper. Serchena had nothing to do with the past weeks. Instead she shrugged playfully, “We’ll see what ‘appens. So what did ya have in mind for tamorrow?”

Cara

“You do have my blessing… and my encouragement. Oh, and my sympathy.” and she laughed.

“Sympathy for what?” Gravel said as he came back to the table and sat. He leaned in and kissed Cara’s cheek.

Gravel

Cara’s eyes closed and she leaned into him and the caress, looking totally enthralled. Serchena’s approval or not wouldn’t have changed her reaction. She was totally in love with him. Cara also adored that even tucked into the corner of the boith she was still right next to him. His question made her eye Serchena. She absolutely could not lie to Gravel, he would know. Not that Cara was a bad liar, but he was that good, and he knew her. So instead she grinned and told him the truth.

“Girl talk that ya donna need ta know about right now. Hurry up and finish eatin’ I want my cake.” She winked at him, “An’ finish that Guinness too.”

Cara

He grinned a knowing grin and said “Yes, Ma’am…” and he drained one of the pitchers, lifted another, and half-drained it. He began eating and then looked up and said “You working tomorrow, Ma?” Serchena slid her plate to the side and shook her head. “No. I think I’m going to take a day and deal with… well… everything.” and she shrugged. “But I’ll be free around lunch if you two wanna meet up. Or dinner. As long as I get to see you two, I’m good.” “We’ll play it by ear.” Gravel said and then drained the second pitcher. He looked at Cara and said “You told me to. I will not be held responsible for my actions when we get back to the room.” and he chuckled.

Gravel / Serchena

Cara drained her second pint and snagged the waitress attention for a 3rd. It was a good thing she had a high tolerance. The cake would help to slow the absorption....yeah right. She tipped her head back and began to laugh. “Oh no…I will take full responsibility…” and she laughed some more.

Cara

“Annnnd on that note.” Serchena said and finished her drink. “I’m going to go. You two need some alone time… obviously.” and she chuckled. “Call me tomorrow. Not early. We’ll see where we are at for getting togther.” and she slid from the booth. “Good night, you two. Grav, I love you.” Gravel smiled. “Love you too, Ma. See ya tomorrow.”

When she was out the door, Gravel’s head whipped around to Cara. “You ever eaten cake off a green-skinned boyfriend before?” and he grinned.

Gravel

Cara was still laughing, which wasn’t a good thing. “Oh boy…” She looked at him a long moment a whole lot of emotion playing across her eyes. “You know good and well the answer ta that question, Malachite.” Then she kissed him, in a way that was completely encompassing and wholly teasing and eminently dangerous, especially considering the amount of Guinness consumed and they were in public. Cara slid out of the booth out of his reach, “You get that cake ta go or delivered, I donna care. I am goin’ ta the hotel ta contemplate yer next lesson in how ta sweep me off my feet.” She moved quickly towards the door, well aware her last statement was a challenge he absolutely would not ignore.

She paused before crossing the street, even glancing at the sign across the building. Knowing her luck, with the way this day had gone, it was no longer across the street from Lacy’s. She hurried across the street. There was not enough Irish whiskey and Guinness to reset this day.

Cara

The cake took WAY too long for Gravel’s liking… all of almost three minutes. He grabbed the box, paid the tab, and rushed across the street. He went up to their room… and she wasn’t there. He looked through the room and no Cara. He went out in the hall… no Cara. He shut his eyes and took a breath. He then walked back into the room, called the front desk, asked for Yos… who dispatched four bellhops; one of whom who found her on the tenth floor trying in vain to get into a room that wasn’t hers and brought her back.

Gravel smiled and said “And here I thought I had the wrong classroom.”

Gravel

Cara let the door close behind her. She could already imagine Yos explaining this to Emilia. Cara stood there, hands in her pockets and grinned wickedly, “Oh no. No this is no the classroom and the lesson is no tanight.” Cara carefully slid her jacket off, closing both the pockets and draped her coat carefully over the back of a chair. “By the way, I will have you know that was an improvement. Right room, wrong floor.” She sauntered over to him, ran her palms flat against his chest, up over his shoulders and down his arms, removing his coat as she did so. “Naw, tanight is all ‘bout whatever plans ya made in yer head. I think it started with cake, a green skinned boyfriend, and a lot of Guinness.”

Cara

Gravel smiled and said “Well… you can check off that last one.” He reached down and brabbed the bottom of her shirt and lifted it up and off, throwing it to the floor. He then did the same with his own. “Oh, and I got an entire container of that Irish Cream whipped cream, too.” and he grabbed the bagged with the cake and the whipped cream and turned and headed to the bedroom. “And while ya were out roaming the halls, I got another bedspread.” he yelled over his shoulder. “So if you wanna eat ‘cake’… come and get it. There was the distonctive sound of clothes hitting the floor; and then a large form landing on the bed.

Gravel

Cara chuckled, she was in so much trouble. “Yeah well we can’t mark that last one as done yet. Theirs about 2 pitchers worth of Guinness put inta makin’ that cake.” The rest of her clothes joined their shirts. She leaned in the doorway and gave him a long deep look. “Sharin’ cake is our thing, Grah-VEL. There is no a force in this universe that would stop me from comin’ and sharin’ it with you.” She moved onto the bed and pulled out a large chilled container of whipped topping and then a still warm pan full of cake. “We’re gonna take turns until this whole thing is gone. Even if we havta chase down the last crumb.”

Cara

“Every last crumb? No matter where it goes? Oh baby… I. Am. IN.

Several hours and showers later…

“I just want you to know…” Gravel said with all sincerity and seriousness, “… that no matter where we go, no matter what we do… you, Cara Esmé O’Farrell, will always be the best plate to eat off of… ever.”

Gravel


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