Getting to Know You
Shore Leave: Business As Usual
Location: Observation Lounge
Timeline: After Poker Night
Nathan sat in the Observation Lounge he was waiting for Claire to arrive. He felt like he was back in high school on his first date. How long
had it been since he had been on a date? He shuddered at the thought and just hoped he didn't make a complete fool out of himself because
he sincerely liked Claire. She was funny and smart as well as attractive and she seemed to like him. He was tempted to order a drink but decided
to wait for Claire as it was only proper. So he sat and tried not to fidget or act nervous.
It was a few more minutes until Claire arrived. She'd been unsure of exactly how to dress. Was this a formal occasion? Did she view him as a superior or a friend? Ultimately, she decided to go a little more casual than her poker night attire, a nice white blouse, with a navy long skirt. She entered the Observation Lounge and looked around. The ring shaped room didn't make it easy to search, as a good portion of the actual chamber was out of sight. But she eventually located his table, and approached.
"Sorry, it's a little hard to find people in here sometimes. The view is pretty spectacular though." She gestured at the curved windows running the full length around the outer wall of the room, the bottom of the saucer visible above them.
Nathan rose as Claire approached the table. "No apology is necessary Claire, I just got here myself. Would you like something to drink?" He asked as he motioned the waiter over.
"A Margarita would be amazing right now," the science officer said as she made her way into a seat. Allowing him to place their orders. "So, I like the change of scenery. Not exactly lurking in a corner this time!"
As the waitress came over Bishop spoke, "A Margarita for the lady and I'll have a rum and coke." As the waitress went to get their drinks, he turned his attention back to Claire. "Thank you." Then he laughed at the memory of their first meeting. "I wasn't lurking. I was observing." He stated again with a smile on his face. "You look quite lovely." He stated simply.
"Why thank you," the woman replied, dramatically fluffing her hair with one hand. "Though I'm glad I look even half respectable. I spent half the day inside the port imaging sensor array. I must have blown out a few fuses on the ice planet because our resolution was seriously disturbed. Took me several hours to get us back into working order. Believe it or not, my hair started the day curled."
Bishop chuckled lightly as Claire told her story. When she finished he spoke softly. "You look more than half respectable Claire and I like your hair the way it is... for what it's worth." He stopped as the waitress returned with their drinks. Once she had left he spoke again. "At least you were busy. Not much for security to do unless we got attacked by an army of snowmen." He jested.
"Don't say that too loud. The snowmen might hear you," she teased, playing with a strand of her hair. "I do actually like it to be a little curled though. It just...doesn't always agree with me. I doubt you have to do anything at all to keep your hair in good shape though."
Nathan chuckled, "We'll just melt them with blow dryers." he brought a hand up and touched his hair, "No mine in pretty easy to manage. Wash, dry, comb. However it isn't as long or as pretty as yours."
"Very smooth," Claire replied a bit sarcastically at his relatively overt compliment, giving him a wry smile. "So what do you have planned for us tonight?"
Bishop sighed. He didn't want to blow this with Claire but judging from her last statement he was well on the way. he had sincerely meant it as a compliment. Perhaps he needed to rethink his strategy. "Dinner, drinks, a walk through the arboretum or maybe dancing if theirs a place onboard for it." He replied.
"The Arboretum sounds lovely," Claire replied with a smile, as she took a sip from her drink. "Let's save the dancing until we're back in Federation Space. I know some excellent venues for that."
Nathan nodded, "Excellent dinner and drinks first then a nice stroll through the arboretum. Dancing will be put on hold. I leave it to you to decide where we go. I trust your judgment."
"You may come to regret that statement," Claire replied with a wry smile. "In the meantime though, drinks and dinner. I think I'm going with the cod. The chef informs me it basically tastes real, and I plan to test his claim."
"A good choice." Nathan replied, "I think I'm going with the steak and baked potato. Can't go wrong there....I hope." He said with a grin. "As for regretting my decision, I think not Claire."
Claire smiled. "Next time we're docked at Starbase Arcadia, we'll have to head to Arcadia Lounge. It's a weird mix of different types of party scenes, but the dance scene there is probably the best on this side of the quadrant. A pretty diverse music selection too."
"Sounds like a plan. I look forward to it. I'm glad to hear they have a diverse music selection. I like all kinds of music but my favorite is 20th century rock and roll." Nathan replied.
"Somehow, that doesn't surprised me," the redhead replied as she squinted at him. "So...tell me about yourself. Like the fun stuff. Not the boring usual beats."
Nathan laughed at Claire's statement. "Okay nothing boring or I hope nothing boring. I love to read, westerns, mysteries, historical novels. I run and swim and like to box." He stopped, "That sounds boring doesn't it? Let me start again. I love life and want to explore and see what is out there. That's why, I'm out here. I also want to share that life with someone. To have someone to love and laugh with and even cry and get angry with. I think the greatest gift someone can give another is their time. Time to share and be part of a person's life and I want to be able to do that. I want to be able to go through life's journey with someone. Someone I will love totally and completely." He looked across the table at her, "That better?"
“Interesting. A romantic. Good to know,” she replied, a hint of a devilish smile on her face. But only a hint. “How about some rapid fire questions? Crash course for getting to know each other. I’ll start, if you’re game.”
Nathan nodded, "Yes, I'm a romantic. Don't deny it don't want to deny it. Rapid fire questions? Sure, sounds good, Claire."
Claire nodded, her eyebrows raised a bit. Nathan’s approach was very...direct. She hoped to shift to something a little more lighthearted, lest she need to start discussing the planned colors for her child’s bedroom or the best elementary education programs. He was very sweet. But much like actual sugar, that kind of sweetness could turn a stomach if mixed with too much alcohol. So she’d redirect his efforts a little. “Ok...let’s see. Greatest fear?”
"Dying alone." He replied quickly. "What's yours?" He countered.
Claire let out a laugh. “I was leaning more toward phobia. But that is pretty scary. For me it’s spiders. I can handle a lot of things. Still can’t get over those multi-legged crawlers.” She sat back, taking a sip. “Alright, your turn.”
"A little itty bitty spider? You can step on them with your shoe." Nathan pointed out with a smile. He nodded, "What's your favorite color?" he figured he keep the questions simple. he didn't want to scare Claire off as he sincerely liked her.
"They might be little, but they're still icky! And they move fast and..." Claire shuddered slightly as she laughed it off. "Anyway, favorite color. My favorite color is green. Particularly the deeper shades. Like a nice deep emerald green. What about you?"
"Plaid." He joked as he watched her reaction and then continued, "Red. It's rich and vibrant, Bold and full of life. A great color."
"Good choice, though you had me worried there for a moment," Claire replied with a laugh. "Ooh I've got one. Most trouble you ever got in during the Academy."
"Oh, that's easy." Nathan replied, "It was when a group of us undergrads broke into our senior cadet's dorm room and placed blue laundry dye in his shower head. So when he turned it on, he was covered in blue dye." Bishop shook his head at the memory. "He was blue for a month!" He laughed.
She shook her head at the prank, letting out a soft chuckle. "That is savage. If somebody pulled that on me, I think I'd skin them alive. He ever try to get any payback?"
"He deserved it." Nathan replied, "He was a stuffed shirt always citing rules and regulation along issuing demerits for the smallest infractions. No he didn't probably because he was afraid of what might happen if he did."
"Ugh, he sounds like a tool. I know some of the crew are a lot more formal about things. But I've personally never been too big a fan of rules. Laws, fine. Rules...less so. That was part of why I avoided Starfleet for so long," she looked around for a moment, a mischievous smile spreading across her face. "Speaking of which, I'm sure we could find some rules to break here...as long as you aren't afraid of getting yourself in some trouble."
Nathan looked at her a smile crossing his face. "Just what did you have in mind Claire?" He questioned her.
"So I know I just talked up the dance scene on Arcadia, but..." She looked at the man. He was technically her superior officer AND second officer of the ship. She doubted he'd actually reprimand her for her idea, but the possibility existed. "What if we were to take a few bottles of alcohol and commandeer one of the more...shall we say...advanced rooms on the ship, and turn it into the coolest dance scene this side of the quadrant?"
"Hmm." He was noncommittal as he considered her idea, a place to dance would be nice and Claire was certainly in favor of the idea. "Are we actually doing any remodeling to this room?"
No...just...using the technology recklessly," she said with a laugh. "But I can't tell you what I'm thinking in case you decide to try and stop any future attempts."
"I see. Well seeing as you're not remodeling the room. Sure, go ahead. In for a penny in for a pound." Nathan answered with a grin.
"Ok....I need you to help myself and some of my partners in crime into Astrometrics, without being noticed," Claire said in a whisper. In all honesty, she could gain access to the Astrometrics lab. She had the clearance to get in. But being able to enter, make the necessary modifications to her beta program to turn it into a stellar dance floor (pun intended), she'd need someone who could trick the computer into hiding the power usage. And that would require higher level permissions than she herself had.
"Can you be anymore vague Claire? Stop dancing around and tell me what you want me to do." Nathan asked. "I know you can get into the Astrometrics lab so entry isn't the issue. So spill the beans."
"I mean, that's most of it really. I can get us in, but I'd need command overrides to make it less obvious that we've used the most advanced display on the ship to turn it into a space themed dance room. Security swarming Astrometrics due to the power usage might kill the mood," Claire replied with a shrug. "I was hoping you'd get caught up in the deviousness of it all. But I suppose we can't all be sneaky as me..."
Nathan shook his head expansively, "Two things. I can be very devious, which you'll find out the longer we're together and did I say no? I need to have a credible reason to give to security to ignore the power shift."
"Fair enough. But 2 things of my own. First, if you are so devious, I'm sure you could have come up with a good excuse. And second, be careful where you swing that 'together' word. You could scare somebody off. Gotta give things room to breathe first," Claire said, as she sat back and squinted an eye in thought. "How about this? Science needs to run a high level diagnostic of the room. It will likely cause numerous spikes in power usage, but should be over by the end of the night."
"Point taken." Nathan agreed "And perhaps you should consider the following. Perhaps I just wanted to hear your idea and see how devious you are. Second your awful hung up on a word. When I said together, I meant as in right here and now. No other implication was hinted at or implied."
“Sorry,” Claire said, releasing a little of the tension she’d suddenly noticed in her hands. “I wasn’t trying to be difficult or anything. I’ve just had a lot of experiences in past that don’t necessarily give me a lot of confidence. A lot of guys try to immediately lock me in, and I just don’t operate that way. Not that I’m against relationships at all. It’s just...Sometimes it’s more fun to not worry too much about that part. I don’t want to feel like I’m always on guard, needing to fend off being claimed after one date.”
"Fair enough." Nathan agreed easily. "I wasn't trying to lock you in so I apologize if I was making you uncomfortable or uneasy."
Her mischievous look recovered quickly. “You could make it up to me by helping me organize my little underground dance scene...”
Nathan leaned back in his chair as an easy smile appeared on his face, "Why Claire, I thought that was already a given." He bantered lightly.
“Oh I don’t know that I followed that,” she said sitting up a little. The waiter came by and set out the food in front of them. “So what’s your big plan then?”
Nathan was looking at his plate, ready to enjoy the meal in front of him. He shook his head at Claire, "Oh no. We're going to go with your idea and see how that works." He finished as he picked up his knife and fork, ready to dig in.