Shore Leave: Business As Usual
Location: Officer's Lounge, USS Defiant
The crew lounge was pleasantly quiet. There were people around of course. A chess game going in one corner, quiet music playing from the speakers, and a few gathered at the bar. But in the corner by the viewport where Charlotte Reynolds was seated, it was quiet and peaceful. Which was a nice change up.
The page turned in her hand, as she gazed up for a moment, looking out at the stars. They would be arriving at their destination tomorrow. Her apprehension for their arrival seemed to be growing a bit with every moment at warp. But looking out at the stars like this, it reminded her that things weren't always so high strung.
She was about to turn back to her book when she noticed Maralen enter the room. She gave him a nod in greeting. "Ah, Mr. Seitha. Having a good evening?"
Maralen was, for once, not coming to the lounge in search of other crew. Tonight, he had decided to come here, sit quietly with a mug of tea, and sketch whatever floated into his mind. Charlotte's presence, and her addressing him, changed his plans a bit. He smiled, gathered his tea from the Replicator and approached where she was sitting. "Well, it's been quiet so far, but that is a good thing. How about you?" He motioned to the other chair. "Do you mind if I join you?"
"Of course," she said, making a sweeping gesture to the chairs near her, other than the one she was in. She closed the book, careful to place her bookmark in its place. She enjoyed the feel of paper. Most of her reading was done via padd, so the times she could get an actual physical book were a welcome luxury. "My evening has been fine so far. Just enjoying the last of my reprieve before our mission starts in full."
Maralen took the chair opposite her at the table she had been sitting at, laying his sketch book and pencils on the table. Sitting, he took a moment to admire the bound book she had, not because of what book it was necessarily but because she bothered to have it. In a way, it was common ground. He could use a PADD with a sketching program like most did, but he preferred the paper, the scratch of the pencils over it, the feel of it heavy in his lap, the texture of the pencil and the paper. "As am I," he said in response to her last statement. "I don't see too many of those," he noted, pointing at the book with his free hand. "Was it hard to acquire?" Curiosity, the Kryptonite of every cat the multiverse over.
"Not really. Just takes a little patience for it to arrive," she admitted, as she looked at it. "There are plenty of publishers who still produce some vintage hard copies. I don't think those will ever go fully out of style. But it really is only for those who have a desire for it to be a physical book. I had to wait a couple weeks for this one to be delivered, instead of just downloading the book onto my padd. And unlike a computer file, I need to keep it on my person, keep track of where I am, can't switch to audio if I get busy. It's a bit more of an undertaking. But every once in a while it's worth it."
Maralen nodded. That little dissertation on books told him something more about her, and he liked that. "I don't have too many of those, but I do buy physical journals to write in," he admitted. "I find that it is easier for me to write down my thoughts than to talk them to the computer." He chuckled at himself just a bit. "I guess it's because when I started journaling, that was the way it was done. Now it's just... comfortable." He shrugged. "Do you have many of these books?"
"Quite a few, though mostly as a collection now more than anything," Charlotte replied. "I don't really read most things on paper. But with classical literature in particular, the old format makes it seem more...I'm not sure. Historic? Anyway, it's a novelty I indulge occasionally."
A few brief minutes of discussion transitioned into the two returning to their muses. As the stars continued to fly by, Charlotte allowed herself to return to the pleasant distraction of her latest mystery novel.