Friends In Low Places
Shore Leave: Business As Usual
Location: USS Defiant Lounge
Dustin sat at the table, his feet propped up in the chair across from him, a cold bottle of beer sitting on the table in front of him, and a pair of wireless earbuds in his ears piping the sound from the video he was watching on the data slate in front of him. He was dressed in a pair of old jeans, his ever present boots, and a white t-shirt, and was thoroughly engrossed in the country and western film that was playing out before him.
Reaching up to grab his bottle his eyes flicked around the room and noticed that he was no longer the sole occupant of the lounge. While he'd been watching another man had walked in. He was pale skinned, and had long black hair, and was dressed all in black to boot, marking him as a diplomatic officer. As he took note the other man looking towards him and Dustin nodded in greeting and then went back to his film.
Ian didn't normally wear his uniform when he was off duty, but he hadn't felt like changing out of it He was still more than a little bummed about Elias leaving. He knew it was best for him and probably for the Federation that didn't make him feel any better about it. He told himself he shouldn't feel this way. He was after all an Akadian, with a more relaxed perspective on personal issues. The challenging thing was he'd been thinking too much like a Starfleet officer and not enough like someone from his homeworld should.
In many ways, that was a good thing. But sometimes, like now, it had repercussions. The repercussion here was a feeling of loss and lack of control. But the Captain had been right. Sitting around his quarters moping around and feeling sorry for himself, wasn't going to accomplish anything.
Going out and getting drunk probably wasn't much better of a solution, but at least it got him out and about. It got him around other people. Or at least that was his intention. But, when he got to the lounge, there was only one other person aside from the bartender. He'd never seen the other man and would definitely have remembered if he had. He gave the man a brief not and went up to the bar and ordered a drink. Unlike the other man, he didn't order a beer.
He took his mojito and sat down at the table opposite the other man. "You know, it will take you a long time to get drunk just drinking beer don't you?" He paused, then added, "sorry, I didn't mean to interrupt."
Dustin paused the video and pulled one of the earbuds from his ear. "No problem, and yeah, I'm not really looking to get drunk, just having a beer to relax.", he replied. Reaching out his hand for a shake he smiled, "Dustin Campbell, ship's new helm officer.", he added by way of introducing himself.
"Ian Acainus," he said shaking the offered hand, "I'm this ship's diplomatic officer. Welcome aboard Dustin. How long have you been on board?"
Dustin took a swig of his beer and then leaned back in his chair, resting his clasped hands on his belly. "Couple of days, not long, still trying to get the feel of the place. You?"
"About a year now, give or take a few days. It seems longer sometimes. I can tell you're from Earth, but I can't place the accent. Where are you from?"
Dustin chuckled, "I'm from Texas. Southern part of North America. Lost of dust, snakes, and cactus where I'm from, and not much else.", he answered.
Ian took a sip of his drink and sat it on the table. Resisting the temptation to turn the conversation into a flirtation, "So, what made you decide on becoming a helm officer?"
Dustin's face took on a wistful look as he pondered the other man's question. After a few moments he finally nodded to himself, and then looked back to the other man's face, "Honestly, I wanted to roam. Seemed as good a reason as any. They're probably a few others I could dig up if I sat and thought for a while, but that's the main one. I wanted to get out here and have some adventures.", he answered.
"So did you find those adventures you were looking for, is Starfleet everything you hoped it would be?" he asked as he leaned forward. He wasn't quite in Dustin's personal space but the was close. He'd leaned forward without realizing what he was doing.
Dustin shook his head, "Not sure yet, really. Only been on one ship before, and that was just for my shakedown cruise to let me get used to shipboard life. I'm hoping Defiant will be a bit more interesting." he replied.
"Well given some of the things we've gone through, I have no doubt you'll get your wish," the diplomat said. Realizing that he had moved perhaps a little too close to the new officer and not wanting to give out a wrong signal, he pulled back to a more upright position.
"So aside from drinking beer, flying, and looking for adventure, what are some of the things you enjoy doing?"
"That could be a pretty long list, but let's see, the most interesting things I could throw out there are dancing, riding horses, hunting and fishing, and eating. How about yourself? Any quirky things you like to do?", he asked noticing that the other man had leaned forward and then apparently thought better of it as he sat up a little straighter.
"Quirky? Not really. I like darts, pool, anything really that takes agility As you can see, I'm not the biggest guy in the room, but I'm pretty coordinated. And my, uh, ex, taught me to dance. I kind of like it."
"It can be strangely relaxing. Let's you just let off all your extra energy.", he replied. "So, anything that takes agility, does that mean sports are mixed in there too?", he asked.
"Yes, but we don't have the same sports on my world as you have in the Federation. About the only thing, we have that is is similar, is raji it's similar to lacrosse. What kind of sports do you like?"
"I played football in high school, and I also like baseball and basketball, but pretty much anything that keeps me active. Helps me stay in shape.", Dustin replied, taking another swig of his beer.
"You certainly look in shape, so you must be doing something right," Ian said as he took a sip of his own, stronger drink. "Have you ever tried rock climbing?"
"On actual rocks, no... I grew up in a place that was about as flat as a pancake. But I have done it on an indoor rock climbing wall. It was fun. Bet it's more fun on the real thing though.", Dustin replied.
"It is, I was only at the Academy for about six months, but I picked it up while I was there. The next time we're on shore leave, or an away team where they have a formation, we should go check it out together. What do you think?"
"Sounds like a blast!", Dustin replied. As the new guy on the ship he'd been worried about meeting all the new people, and making friends, especially since he came from small town, country stock, and tended to be the one in the room with the thickest accent, and least cosmopolitan ways. "You need another drink?", he asked, standing up and grabbing his empty beer bottle.
Ian nodded, "Yeah I could use another one. If you don't mind that is And I'm looking forward to going climbing with you. How many times did you go to the indoor wall?"
"Not many, probably about ten, so it should be interesting.", he said with a smile as he grabbed the other man's empty glass as well. "Be right back.", he added and headed off towards the other end of the lounge.