STF

Do Drop Inn

Posted Aug. 10, 2022, 2:52 p.m. by Joana Ribeiro

Posted by Civilian Orlando Richards (Teacher) in Do Drop Inn

Posted by Civilian Orlando Richards (Teacher) in Do Drop Inn
Well, Karina Enger had not been wrong when saying OED was not a hotspot tourist attraction. Orlando stood at the bottom of some half rotten wooden slabs laid haphazardly across cinder blocks that somehow served as steps to the entrance of a building with the words Do Dr(faded and unreadable)P NN that appeared to have been one time painted by hand in black letters. Whoever had painted had done so without care as the letters were uneven and left dripped and long dried lines. The hotel bragged about being OED V’s oldest and longest running establishment. Breathing in and out through his nose a few times, mostly for fear of what odour might be lingering he continued to stand and stare taking in the view of the dilapidated two story wooden building. One the second floor, three windows covered in grime faced out towards the street, the interior hidden behind white heavy curtains. Underneath the windows a porch covering for the bottom floor was supported by three braces attached to the wall with two windows and an entrance door in between. Both windows were covered with the same white curtains preventing Orlando from having a look to see what doom awaited for him inside. Wooden slates standing horizontally with red paint peeling off made up the walls of the building giving it a weathered barn look. To the far right side a swing had been attached to the two pillars holding up the roof of the porch that looked like it might hold the weight of two people. That was if one could manage to reach the swing without tripping over all the crates, boxes and buckets to get to the other side. Just to the left of the main entrance stood a bear a half a head taller than Orlando carved from wood wearing a faded pink apron with white lace and a honey dipper in one hand with a pot tuckered under its arm. Just to complete the bear’s outfit a straw wide brimmed hat and been tied on under its chin.

“What holly hell have I gotten myself into?” Orlando said a little louder than he had intended. Puffing air into his cheeks, he let out a slow and long exhale. Maybe it was some tourist thing after all and inside was nicer than the out. Hoping it was a gimmick, the ex Starfleet officer mounted the steps, bag slung over his shoulder swaying side to side with the uneven steps until he found firm footing on the floorboards of the porch. As he pushed the door open (why did it not just open), he was meet with a loud creaking of protest, but it did open with a measure of insistence.

Light flooded into the entry way exposing dancing dust particles in the suns rays. Orlando shielded his eyes with his forearm, squinting, until his sight adjusted. Inside the lobby, the theme of the hotel continued and matched the exterior, though pleasantly clean. Sweet cinnamon and apple spiced waft through the room with just a hint of vanilla. Apple pie and fresh ice cream. Orlando would know that smell anywhere since it was his favourite, even above grilled cheese and fresh roasted tomato soup. Taking a long look around the room, he took in the features and observed the lobby also served as a bar and restaurant. Towards the back, a half dozen tables and a couple of booths sat waiting empty for customers. Just to the left stood a small makeshift bar propped up on crates with a board on top and two bar stools that looked like they would collapse with much weight. Bottles of alcohol and glasses sat in front of a mirror behind the bar. Between Orlando and the tables was a lone pool table with a green covering that a had a few holes and had seen better days. Behind him was a dart board and the only thing that looked like it had been brought into the place in the last decade. Every inch of the walls were scratched with writings and names. Darted in-between names etched deeply into the wood panels were varies forms of “artwork” that looked like children had drawn. But, it was clean. Orlando only hoped the rooms were as clean.

“Hello, Mr. Richards? We have been expecting you,” a voice called out of nowhere. Literally nowhere. Orlando turned around in circles looking for whoever the voice belonged to and found no one. “Oh sorry. I thought you might have read the instructions we sent you. Didn’t mean to frighten you. Look to your left and up. Smile you are on camera. I am in the kitchen making apple pie. Your profile said it was your favourite. Your room is upstairs, to the left and all the way at the end. I will bring you some pie and ice cream later. If you need anything, just give me a holler. My name is Eryk. Literally, just holler. The walls are thin as pancakes.”

“Right. Thanks Eryk. Will do and thanks for the pie. That is very kind of you. See you in a bit then,” Orlando answered a bit unnerved. Moving his eyes back and forth, he finally found the exit to the room next to the bar and moved towards the archway. Lights flickered to life revealing a staircase with one flight of stairs.

The door to the room opened automatically as Orlando stepped in front. He shook his head and stepped in to the small but still clean and sparse room. Unlike the rest of the building he had seen so far, this space was free of clutter and very minimalistic. One large bed with a plain blue bedspread sat against the wall to the left of the door. Small tables just big enough for a cup of tea sat on either side of the bed. Walls were undecorated and an off-white colour that appeared to have been recently and carefully painted. Clean grey carpet covered the floor, stopping at another closed door. Placing his bag on the bed, Orlando stepped the short space to the inner door and pushed it opened. Inside was a perfectly fine bathroom with a walk in multiple head shower with a bench. Was that an actual water shower he mused before returning to sit on the bed. Kicking off his boots, he pulled out a PaDD and laid back against pillows and mattress that felt as though they were made from clouds and got comfortable. It had been a long day that so far had been very fruitless in finding his nephew Phoenix of whatever the boy was calling himself now.

Checking the chronometer first, Orlando surmised that Daria would be at work and Logan at his grandparents house. He had promised he would video call his son everyday until he got back to San Francisco. Too many years the boy had gone without his father, thinking he was dead. It was remarkable how the boy had adjusted. That was all down to his mother though. She was the most amazing parent any kid could ever wish for, kind, patient, loving and always understanding. As far as Logan and Orlando were concerned, she was super mom.

“Hey buddy!” Orlando smiled widely as Logan’s face framed in blond locks came into view.

.................................................................................

The chat with Logan had been brief. It would seem his son inherited at least partially his impulsiveness and had disappeared as soon as Grandad Greg had entered the room. Orlando didn’t blame him as he missed spending time with his dad too. Blond curls were quickly replaced with greying ones as Sarah Richards image came into view. Straight to the subject and blunt as always, his mother asked. “have you found Phoenix yet?”

“No mom. I just got here. But the police should have all the information. I will start tomorrow. Meeting with an old Academy buddy who is running a youth program. Hopefully he can give me an idea of where to start looking,” Orlando answered yawning slightly. It had been a long day between arriving, processing through landing and meeting with the director. “Before I say goodnight, do not let Logan have that pet rabbit. Daria and I need to discuss that first. This is what you always do and it causes so many problems. You can’t just go around making decisions about Logan without including her. She is his mother. I think you forget that sometimes. I mean it, mom, no pet rabbits, no puppies, kittens, turtles or goats. Nothing.”

Sarah Richards frowned and closed the channel. Orlando tossed the PaDD on the bed next to him. “Goodnight. Love you too mom.”

Orlando Richards (Visiting Teacher)

Drops of warm water dripped from his long thick eyelashes splashing down his cheeks joining with hot needles of the spraying water head suspended from the ceiling of bright white tiles above. One corner of his mouth curved upwards as he titled his head back letting the water cascade across blond dishevelled locks framing a strong masculine jawline. Piercing Blue eyes closed deep in thought of intimate memories as a small sound escaped his full lips. White frothy soap slide down broad tanned shoulders that tapered towards narrowed hips creating a line across and down his chiselled stomach. Muscles meet the heat and steam of water, tensing and flexing as he breathed in and out. Arching his back, he leaned forward, letting the warmth cover the landscape of his body and clearing away the soap to cleanse the valley recalling every trace of her fingertips brushing against curves she had etched permanently to call her own, branding him, claiming her territory.

After spending far too much time under the healing water of the shower, Orlando finally laid his head against the stack of pillows on the hotels bed. Checking his messages on last time, he let out a long exhale. Nothing. Neither his friend OEDs intel community or his friend who worked at a local youth organisation had any leads so far on Phoenix. Early to bed and early to start tomorrow. Luckily the boy only had two weeks head start. By now, he was probably feeling confident he wouldn’t be found and would start making mistakes. At least, that was what Orlando was counting on. Tossing the PaDD to one side, he closed his eyes and drifted off to a restless sleep. Dreaming nightmares and secrets he still withheld.........
.......................................................................
Joana nodded. For a moment, she wished Jackson’s/Orlando’s hand would have stayed on her knee again. But it hadn’t. Looking ahead at the opening she would have to take them through, her hand searched his and squeezed it softly as if trying to be reassured that she wouldn’t mess things up. Removing her hand she looked at the console and exhaled. “Let’s do this, then.” She shifted in her seat. The controls were right in front of her and she moved her fingers through them as she remembered doing before. First slowly and then more confidently as she started to feel the shuttle shifting beneath them, lifting, leaving the deck behind. Exhaling again she lined up the shuttle with the doors and slowly, maybe a bit slower than necessary, the small craft slid through them, without problems, just as Jackson had said. In a matter of minutes they were out. Just like that. It had been easier than she had expected.

“Great job. I think you are a natural. You should really think about going for a full license,” Jackson/Orlando said beaming. Joana seemed full of positive energy, something that had been missing from his own life for the last two years. Her smile healed thousands of hurts he had felt since the day his brother had died, at least for the moment. Being around her made him want to have the courage to move forward, search his heart and find a way not to be alone any more. Everything she said and did made life more beautiful where only darkness had veiled all the sun.

“Thanks!” Joana said smiling. Her cheeks reddening again. Why did that always happen? She looked down at the console, hoping Jackson/Orlando wouldn’t notice. He was handsome and exciting and she just couldn’t afford to make a fool of herself now. She felt her heart flutter.

Breathing out again, trying to shake her anxiety away, she examined the information on the console. The coordinates were set, the course was layed in. Turning to look at Jackson/Orlando, Joana asked with a mischievous smile on her lips. “What did you say the maximum speed on this thing was?” She didn’t wait for a reply. With a last glance at the console they took off.

G-force momentarily held him back against the pilot’s seat. Or now it was the co-pilot’s as he had given her complete control. The muscles in his forearms flexed as he braced himself on the console holding on tightly and grinning from ear to ear. Underneath her desire to play by the rules lived a rebel akin to his own spirit who liked to take life to the extreme. That was sexy. Damn Sexy. The kind that made him wish he knew big words and appear smarter so she would want to rip.....ok, Jackson/Orlando reminded himself. Need to concentrate. Jackson’s/Orlando’s eyes moved across to the shape of her lips, the curve of her neck. No not that. Or the way she made him ache through his soul. Flying. Shuttle. Yeah that.

“Four and I think you are about there,” Jackson/Orlando laughed. “Maybe you should ease off just a little. Particularly since those coordinates lead to an asteroid belt. Since we need a target to practice the phasers on. Everything is looking good for now. We should be there in about half an hour. Then we have a half hour to practice some manoeuvres and test the stabilizers. Then half hour back. Thanks for coming with me. Guess it’s not that exciting for a first date, but beats the holodeck. Afraid we only have ration bars though for dinner. If you are hungry after all that ice cream.”

Nodding in understanding of their course of action, Joana was still grinning. “What do you mean not exciting? It’s the best first date I’ve ever had.” Not that she had had many, in fact this was her second one. “Wait a minute, so is this officially a date?” She asked looking at him with a smile. “I thought you just needed me to fill the co-pilot seat.” She said teasingly. “And I guess the ration bars will have to do later.”

“Oh, right, lowering speed.” She said noticing they were still traveling at maximum speed right into an asteroid belt. Her smile faded and her brow furrowed slightly as the idea that she might crash them into a giant piece of moving rock came to her mind. Taking fright her fingers moved too quickly through the commands, and the shuttle almost came to an abrupt halt. With the sudden change in speed, inertia lurched her body forward slamming it in the console in front of her, and then back into her seat.

Her eyes were wide as she looked back to Jackson/Orlando. “I’m so sorry. I didn’t mean to- Are you okay?”

Alarms bleated softly, then more intensely. Orlando sat up straight and threw the covers away from his naked torso. Holding his hands over his face, eyes closed tightly, he took long slow breaths until his pulse had slowed to normal. Opening his eyes slowly, keeping his fingers tightly across forehead, reminding himself he was safe, Joana was safe, he finally dropped his hands and stood up. OED, reminded him far too much of that damned rock and the terrible things lurking in shadows. Phoenix was still missing, possibly in danger. Self indulgence was a luxury Orlando did not have time to spar. Checking the messages on last time, he smiled slightly, dressed quickly and left the comforts of the ‘Do Drop Inn’.

Orlando Richards ( visiting teacher)

OOC: OMG!!! I hadn’t read this thread in so long! Also, poor Orlando… I never meant for one of my characters to scar him for life! (Especially not my first ever character in the club!) :p Ah, thank you for the trip down memory lane! This was absolutely great to read! :) – Joana


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