Bade bade That's all Folks
Episode 1: A Lesson in Humility
Timeline: En Route to the Rendezvous
“You’re just strange, Doctor.” Heather told Morgan as they sat in the mess hall and he had to laugh.
“Just because I introduced you to my third favorite thing in the universe and it didn’t meet your standards, really isn’t my fault, “Morgan grinned at her.
They were sitting in the officer’s mess, loitering after supper their trays still in front of them. Morgan caught movement out of the corner of his eye and turned, seeing Captain Reynolds wandering toward them.
Captain Reynolds hadn't managed to catch much of the conversation, but she'd heard his final response. With a look somewhere between concerned and amused, she looked between the doctor and nurse before turning to Nurse Pinknie. "Do I even want to know what this is about?"
As Nurse Pinknie blushed slightly, Morgan laughed and waved the Captain to join them, before saying. "Go ahead, Nurse. Explain to the Captain your apparent disillusionment with my third favorite thing in the universe and your dissatisfaction therein. It was only like seven minutes, so not exactly a long torturous ordeal. I on the other hand, highly enjoyed myself!"
Heather looked flustered, then looked up and met the Captain's eyes, then looked away shyly and blushed again. "Captain, have you ever heard of something called Cartoons?"
"The old animated features?" Charlotte asked, wracking her brain to remember a different meaning behind the word. She'd only seen a few of them, and never all the way through.
Heather nodded, casting a sideways glance at Morgan, "Yes, Captain! He explained it as an ancient form of innocent fun when I finally dared take him up on the offer and .... it didn't make any sense at all!"
Morgan had a huge grin on his face and he said to Charlotte, "It's a refined sort of entertainment, Captain. I had high hopes for Nurse Pinknie, but, sadly, the shenanigans of Pepe la Pew and Penelope Pussycat in one of their earliest screenings did not, as you can see, delight our lovely Head Nurse."
Charlotte nodded, with a slightly incredulous look on her face. "I see," she said. He may as well have been speaking french...which honestly it vaguely sounded like he was. Whatever the film was he was referring to, she was largely unfamiliar with it. "I wish I could say any of that meant something to me, but it didn't. Penelope is, in fact, a cat, I assume?"
Morgan nodded enthusiastically, "Indeed. And Monsieur la Pew is a skunk who decides to disguise himself as a cat in order to woo the lovely Penelope. It's a love tale for the ages, with hijinks, I believe the term of the day was, to go along."
With an eyebrow arched, she nodded, not quite understanding. "Interesting...And are we supposed to root for this la Pew?"
The doctor considered that for a moment, "I think that depends on your viewpoint. The hint of unrequited love and the desperation to go to great lengths in order to convince our own individual Penelope is a strong connection to the character. You can relate and perhaps learn to laugh at yourself as well as Messer la Pew's antics at the same time? It's more complicated than you initially believe."
Grinning at his head nurse, Morgan said "See now, my good Nurse Pinknie. Look at the debate on the sentient experience that is sparked? How can you not see the parables?"
Heather rolled her eyes at that and asked the Captain, albeit still showing some signs of discomfort. "Captain, are you buying this?"
"I'm buying that the good doctor has a knack for finding poetry in odd places...or at least saying he found it," Charlotte said with a laugh before turning to the doctor. "I don't know that they're exactly my cup of tea, but I'm glad you enjoy them."
"Many say that, but once introduced they feel compelled back to it for comfort, much like music, opera, poetry, or other muse. For me, I prefer the tongue in cheek and cheesy humor. They say it's always best to go to sleep on a light note. If cartoons don't do that for everyone, well it's too bad," Morgan said. "So, now you know my third favorite thing in the world ladies. May I ask what brings you joy," then, his eyes twinkling with humor, "The version suitable for discussion in public, of course!"
"Doctor!" Charlotte said in a mock offended voice, recoiling slightly. She couldn't entirely maintain a straight face though. After a brief moment, she returned to her normal demeanor. "I suppose if varies for me. I used to say flying something fast, but since taking command that's been a rarer occurrence. These days I think it's quieter moments. Any time I get a chance to relax with a good book is welcome." She leaned in a little. "And you're not allowed to share this, but I still enjoy a good billiards game...especially if they don't know I can play."
Morgan got a mock shocked look on his face, "Why Captain, are you saying you're a whale?"
Heather laughed and shook her head at Morgan, "That's a mammal and I think refers to gamblers on earth. You mean a barracuda, I think."
"The term you're looking for is 'shark'," Charlotte said with a laugh and a very self assured look. "And I can neither confirm nor deny that. All I can say is a fair number of very confident men may have been in over their heads."
"Well Captain, I can understand why" he said with a serious, admiringly tense in his voice. Then he winked at Heather as she gave him a shocked look, of her own, "I meant, Nurse Pinknie," he stated, "About her pool playing of course. But tell us what brings you joy, Ensign? The clean rated please, I do carry a picture of my mother with me."
Heather stuck her tongue at him then and blushed, glancing sheepishly at the Captain before she said almost in a whisper, "I love to travel. See new worlds. Feel them under my feet. See all new things, really."
Charlotte wasn't entirely sure why the Nurse would be nervous about such an answer. "That's a pretty fitting hobby for our ship. I'll do my best to get your feet on new ground...hopefully without the need for medical emergencies."
Heather nodded, smiling shyly at the Captain and Morgan grinned. "Very nice. Now however, goes the other shoe. Just what horrible things were you two thinking of when I introduced cartoons as my third favorite thing in the universe?"
The captain laughed a little nervously. “Unfortunately, I assumed something less than appropriate for on duty. I guess I’ve gotten jaded. Some past experiences and a few reports on the antics of previous occupants of this department had me a little worried.”
Grinning, his eyes bright, Morgan said. "Well, we'd definitely better not discuss my second favorite thing in the world then. And it's good to know I've surpassed my contemporaries on some level." Then he leveled his gaze on the Defiant's head nurse. "And what about you, Ensign. What deviant doubts were nagging at your mind?"
Heather's face blushed and for a moment, she glanced side to side as fight or flight emotions washed over her. Then she took a breath and laughed, forcing herself to calm "Why Doctor. I have no idea. I thought perhaps there WAS a chance that the ghosts of Chief Medical officers past would repeat themselves." She saw the Captain looking at her as she spoke and she couldn't help but giggle, "Well. Based on our work together these past weeks, it was a good chance nothing...tawdry would happen."
Then she giggled again, "Unfortunately, maybe? But I decided that if something like that was only third on your favorite things list, then maybe you're doing it wrong?" Her tone was teasing and her eyes went a bit wide as she realized she was speaking to senior officers.
Charlotte couldn't stifle the laugh at the nurse's reply. She didn't want the woman to feel too embarrassed. The captain preferred a more open command style. Not without order, but freer and more available for honesty. "That's a fair point. Though that does mean that we might have reason to worry if the doctor climbs higher in his list."
Grinning, Morgan replied. "Ahh my dear Captain, Nurse Pinknie. Number one and number two are not to be spoken of, but experienced. Now if you ever wish to plumb either of those mysteries, you shall have to go all in, as I believe the gambler's term is." Picking up his mug, he took a sip and assumed an innocent expression.
"On that note, I'd better get back to my duties," Charlotte said, trying to avoid any eye contact as she made her exit. "You both know where to find me though."
"See, I think you embarrassed out Captain, Nurse Pinknie," Morgan said, humor tinging his voice.
"Me!," Heather half sputtered, "And you don't think it was YOU who had to go talking about your favorite things in the Universe?"
Morgan chuckled and Heather giggled finally and they both stood to clear their trays.