Shore Leave: Business As Usual
Location: Rec Room, USS Defiant
Alexander wasn't exactly sure how he'd landed an invitation to the poker night a couple of crew members had put together. He presumed Claire had put his name forward, given that she was the only officer present he had any familiarity with beyond their work hours - even that was limited. He was excited none the less though and had arrived early in anticipation.
Whilst he waited for the others to arrive, he proped himself up at the rec rooms 'bar', ordering himself a cold glass of iron bru. To fit with the casual vibe he was expecting, he wore his comfiest skinny jeans, a well-worn pair of vans and his academy hoody. Whilst he sipped at his drink he hoped the others wouldn't be much longer, the fact that he was unfamiliar with everyone in the room made him anxious. What if someone initiated unwarranted conversation? he worried, eyeing the entrance.
Claire entered a few minutes later, wearing a comfortable but flattering emerald green dress, perfectly selected to accent her hair. Her usual poker night attire. She wasn't sure why but she felt it made her bluffs a bit more convincing when she looked like she meant business. She gave Alexander a nod as she entered. "Sorry, was planning to beat you here. Been waiting too long?"
Alexander could feel the slow creep of embarrassment rising up his face as he processed what Claire processed the effort Claire had gone to for the night ahead of them. In his hoody and jeans, he felt considerably underdressed. "Don't worry about it, En- Claire, It seems I should have taken a little time to get ready..." the physicist replied.
Bishop entered next. he was dressed in black pants with a burgundy colored shirt. He saw Claire and Alexander already there. "Hi Claire, Alexander. I hope your ready to lose your money." He teased.
She laughed in reply. "You might want to prepare to lose yours. Rumor has it, this is a pretty tough bunch."
"That sounds like a challenge if I ever heard one." Nathan answered with a smile. "We'll soon see how tough they are."
Morgan walked through the doors to the Rec Room and then vectored his way toward where the others were gathering. He'd dressed simply in blue trousers and a random band t-shirt, opting for moccasins for the occasion. As he neared the others, he asked innocently, "Is this the poker 101, introduction to games of chance?"
Thyra followed close behind, wearing a white shirt and pink leggings on black and pink sneakers. She stood behind Morgan when she heard him speak. Her white hair fell loosely over her shoulders. Her antennae pointed to him. "We haven't even started and you already bluffing everyone here, doctor?" She said playfully. She played several games on the base and even back in the academy. But she was more in it for the fun. And she won a few games here and there. But she wouldn't call herself good. She winked to him as she said, "Be a dear and get me a drink. I think I am a lit dehydrated."
"If you're asking to be schooled, Doctor, I'd be happy to oblige," Claire replied with a confident smile, as she shuffled the deck they'd be playing with. She knew they'd likely want to cut it and not trust her shuffling, but it gave her something to do with her hands, and hopefully made her look more intimidating in the process
Glancing over his shoulder, Morgan held a finger to his lips and grinned at Thyra. "See, now that's hardly a way to fleece them of their savings." He made his way toward the bar, turning his head toward Claire. "Oh good. I've always wondered how this game went...." Morgan spoke briefly to the server and returned with a squeeze bag of water and an ale bottle in his hand. He offered her the squeeze bag and at her questioning look, he grinned. "It's water, Thyra. You said you were feeling dehydrated."
When her eyes tracked to his drink, he grinned even more, "What?" he asked, "I'm thirsty, not dehydrated." Morgan gestured randomly with the ale bottle and his hand moved up to brush the hair behind her ear, his eyes focusing on her ear. The Doctor's hand brushed her ear and came back holding a brightly colored poker chip in his hand. "Ah ha. I do believe we have to watch you closely, Thyra. It seems you're hiding chips..."
Thyra took the chip. "Well, that's mine than." She then walked to the bar and ordered herself a fruit cocktail with an umbrella. "You know it's true what they say, some things you can better do yourself." She then set down across from Claire and took a sip before putting it down next to her. "What do you say, queens are wild?"
Bishop listened to the byplay of the others. It was obvious they all enjoyed each others company. He hoped his addition to the group didn't upset that balance. His eyes drifted to Claire who looked stunning in her emerald green dress. She shuffled the cards expertly. He would pay close attention to her, not because he suspected her or any of the others of cheating but rather from the fact she was an experienced poker player.
To the side of Nathan, Alexander idly twisted his glass repeatedly on the table, his prior worry regarding his outfit a memory of the past. He was glad he'd warn the hoody now, all things considered, it would make it easier for him to hold his bluff thanks to the comfort they provided him.
"How did everyone's shift's go?" Alex asked conversationally.
"Fine with me Diamond Lil." He teased Thyra then addressed Alexander, "Quiet for once." He announced.
"I just try to focus on the game is it working?" Thyra asked grinning to Alex. "Communications was, well, you know, all talks."
"And you know how mine went," Claire said to her fellow science officer. "Nothing much happened after that little sensor mishap this morning."
Walking toward the table, Morgan tossed the squeeze bag to the bartender before slipping into a chair. "Medical was rather tame. Too many healthy people here abouts," he grinned. "But, that just means I'm good at my job, I suppose."
"Either that or no one wants to come see you." Bishop deadpanned from his place at the table though his eyes reflected his merriment.
Morgan let his face cloud in thought at that proposal, remarking "I suppose that's a theory, but given my very pleasant nature and winning personality, I don't know that I can buy into that..." He grinned then, "But, it might be me..."
"In sciences, your personality doesn't matter, no-one really bothers us unless somethings going wrong that guns or spanners can't fix" Alexander joked, joining in.
"I'd have to agree with that. They put up with me. If that's not a statement on how accepting Sciences are, I'm not sure what is?" Claire said with a jovial laugh, as she finished shuffling and began to deal cards in front of each player. "First round, I think we'll go a little weird with it. Baseball rules."
Thyra picked up her cards and looked at them. "Baseball rules? Explain!"
Alexander looked at Thryra and nodded before looking back to Claire, "agreed, explain."
"Might be easier to show you. We can do a face up hand. It's a type of stud poker. Threes and Nines are wild. A face up for gets you an extra face up card," Claire said, giving a simplified version of the rules. She dealt two face down cards to each and then a face up. "You'll get the idea in a minute."
Alexander nodded as though what Claire had said make sense, but it didn't. He'd not let that stop him though, he'd always learned best through experience, so he picked his cards up and observed them as though they would provide all the answers needed, "Sounds... simple." he muttered.
"It is," Claire replied simply as she picked up her hand. "But the devil is in the details."
The past hour had been a bit of a mixed bag for Claire, she'd managed to steal plenty of hands...only to be caught off guard by a surprisingly strong bluff or two from the supposedly unexperienced players at the table. She gave a joking scowl at her roommate as the Andorian swept a large pot her way. So much for going easy on the newbies.
"So, we've got some fun destinations coming up by the sounds of it," Claire said as she arranged her chips. "Anybody planning any fun outings yet? Making snowmen on the bizarre ice world we've spotted? Mountain climbing or beach dwelling on the tropical world we're stopping at next? It's not often we get rolling shore leaves."
Morgan slumped purposely in his chair, looking at the meager pile of chips remaining before him, "I highly recommend the shore leave," he said absently. "A break from normalcy is always healthy." Looking up and around the table, he grinned. "Apparently my luck tonight is in much need of a change in normalcy. It's not normally this bad."
"Definitely wouldn't mind being boots down on the icy world," Alexander piped up next, "I've always prefered the cold over the warm, reminds me of home". A slight exaggeration on his part, the icy world was likely to be much colder than rural Scotland. Sweating was simply something the scientist was averse too. He still felt disgusting when he considered their time in Typhon's illusion.
Nathan looked at his pile of chips. He had won wore than he lost. More importantly he knew how the others played so he wouldn't be surprised the next time they played. "Not me. I'll take warm any day. Who wants to turn blue and freeze." He looked at Thyra, "No offense intended it's just an Earth expression."
"Eh, I think they both can suck. Just in different ways," Claire said, as she stood up from the table for a second. "Anyone care for another round of drinks?"
Glancing at Claire, Morgan replied. "I'll take another." Then he shifted his gaze between her and Nathan, "It's better to look at the bright side, you never know the surprises you'll find." He grinned then and ghosted a wink toward Thyra, "Depends on the guide who can help you see things through different eyes."
"I am not offended, commander," Thyra said as she put her cards down. "You humans do turn blue when you get hypothermia. I guess I don't want to turn red from the heat." She grinned.
"No, that wouldn't be good. You'd look like a lobster." Nathan observed with a smile.
Alexander let out an easily missed huff in amusement at their conversation, "I reckon I'm due another," Alexander said to Claire, "I'll give you a hand" he said as he stood from the table too.
Claire set out a round of drinks in front of them, as she sat down. "Now, if you want a challenge, I've got one for you. Our boss, Lt. Isley. I wonder if there's any way we could ever drag her to a thing like this."
"We could have the Commander order it?" Alexander replied as he sat, nodding towards Nathan with a mischievous grin on his face.
"Hmm?" Nathan replied looking at Alexander and his grin. "Who am I ordering to do what?"
Claire laughed as she leaned back in her chair. “It’s a challenge. Our boss, Lt. Isley is notoriously a bit aloof. I mean, she’s brilliant, so she’s allowed. But the challenge is to see if we can get her to join us for some sort of social thing like this. Alex says you should order her.”
Nathan nodded as Claire explained what they wanted done. "I see. Consider it done. I will speak with Lt. Isley and go from there."
Claire laughed and raised her glass. “It may be easier said than done, but I admire your confidence.”
Nathan returned Claire's smile. "Confidence I have. I just hope it's enough to sway Lt. Isley."