A Surprising Discovery
Episode 2: Inevitable
Location: USS Defiant - Mess Hall
Timeline: Prior to Arrival - 1740
Jovani was getting ready for bed. He'd already had a shower and was lounging in his bunk, dressed in a pair of basketball shorts. He was leaned against the back wall of the bunk, his right hand behind his head, and his data slate in his left, perusing the ship's music library. There was a steady stream of relaxing music piping into his earpods, and he was looking for anything else he could add to his playlist to help him get to sleep.
Suddenly all thoughts of sleep vanished, as he saw that one of the selections he'd just seen flash by in the classical piano subsection was highlighted in a vibrant red. Swiping slowly back to the selection he'd passed he noticed that it was from nearly twelve years prior, and had been written by the Defiant's own chief science officer, a woman he'd never really met, but had passed a few times in the corridors.
Glancing up at the top of the screen he noted that it was about time for the alpha shift to be going off duty, and decided he wanted to do a little investigation. Dropping out of his spot in the top bunk he reached out and plucked his black muscle-shirt off the wall-hook and pulled it on, hating the fact that it was still brand new and feeling constricting, but not caring enough to bother finding another. Slipping his high-top sneakers on over his socks he snatched up his slate and headed out in search of the scientist with a surprising talent in her past.
It took him almost a half hour to track her down, during which time he listened to the piece a couple of times, and once he did he wasn't sure why he hadn't checked the mess hall first. Striding into the large, open space, he saw her immediately, her vibrant blonde hair, and bright blue uniform dress catching the eye quite effectively. Cross the distance between them he cleared his throat to announce his approach and then smiled, "Mind if I join you, Lieutenant?" he asked politely.
Isley's shift on the bridge had just ended and she headed straight to the mess hall. The blonde had administrative work to do, but it would have to wait until after she had at least a little refreshment. She chose a table by herself because none of the other senior staff were around and she preferred to eat alone anyway. After straightening her skirt and sitting, she had no sooner sat down than someone approached her.
Caroline didn't recognize the crewman and he was in off duty attire so she couldn't even guess his department. She looked a little startled, but then regained her usual, cold demeanor. With a thin smile, she motioned to the seat across from her. "Certainly, if you would like," she said in a whispery soprano voice. "I'm Lieutenant Isley," she offered, clearly expecting him to introduce himself.
"Crewman Carter, ma'am, and I'm sorry to be bothering you, but I stumbled across something that surprised me and I just had to track you down," Jovani replied. Holding the slate in his hand he offered it to her. "See the entry in red?" he asked.
Isley's blue eyes looked at Carter skeptically and then slowly down at the slate. She reached out and took it and then saw the highlighted entry. Her cheeks then turned pink as she stared at it. This simply couldn't be right. It was a long moment as she read it over and over. How could this have ended up here?
The highlighted entry was a piano concerto. It was an attempt by someone to compose a simpler, easier to play version of the Hungarian Rhapsody 2. In fact, it was composed by Caroline. She had written it as a teen, before she had joined Starfleet. And she had frequently modified it during her first two years at the academy. She had no idea that it was stored in a public database. Much less a database that the crew had access to! She had entered it in several contests (never winning). That must be it, she thought. It had never occurred to her look. It definitely never occurred to her that anyone else would look!
At this point she realized that Carter must be expecting a response. Trying to compose herself, she looked back up at him. "Um, yes. I see it," she said, clearly not quite her usual cool self. "What interests you about it?"
"The fact that you wrote it," Jovani replied with a broad smile, completely oblivious tot he fact that the woman was uncomfortable. "I've been a music buff my whole life, but I've never really had a chance to meet someone who actually composed their own music. When I saw that you had done just that I had to come meet you. I listened to it on the way here, and it was really good. Do you still compose?"
Caroline eyed Carter skeptically at first after the compliment, trying to detect if he was making fun of her. She remained wary, but he seemed to be sincere. "Oh, thank you," she replied. "You're probably the first person to listen to that in 10 years." She then shook her head. "No, that was my one and only attempt to real composition. And even if it is a bit derivative. I'm definitely not a closet composer, hiding my true identity behind a science uniform." She smiled wryly.
Jovani struggled to keep a slight frown off of his face. "Nothing wrong with that, but you definitely have a talent. I hope you don't mind my tracking you down to talk about this..." he said. "You seemed surprised to find that the song was in the database, were you not aware?"
The blonde smiled back at him. "No, I had no idea it was accessible. And even knowing that it was accessible, I'm surprised anyone really listened to it." She then tilted her neck, looking quizzical. "Why did you listen to it?"
"Why wouldn't I listen to it?" Jovani asked, genuinely puzzled. "I mean, I may not know you, but I serve on the ship with you, and you wrote it...." he added. "Plus, once I got started listening, it turned out to be really good!"
Isley didn't detect any sign that Carter was making fun of her. It would have been risky for a crewman to try to embarrass an officer, so she was forced to concede he was probably telling the truth. It was just so hard for her to believe someone was that impressed by her effort. "Well, thank you then," she said. "I guess I'm not surprised that you listened to it after learning that I wrote it."
She then looked at him with a little more interest. "So, you really liked it?"
Jovani gave the woman his most dazzling smile, "I honestly did. It was great. I don't listen to much classical music, but it managed to really catch my attention."
Isley almost blushed, which would have been very out of character for her. "Well, I really appreciate that you enjoyed it. Thank you."
Jovani nodded. "Of course, I feel like people need to be praised for their good work. It's important and doesn't happen nearly often enough. But I won't keep you any longer, I'm sure you'd much rather be finishing your dinner than chatting with someone you don't even know," He said with a smile. "But, if there's ever a time you want to chat with someone about music or want to check out a concert down in the lounge, feel free to hit me up. If I'm free I'd be happy of the opportunity."
Caroline smiled. "Yes, why don't you select a concert sometime and ask me?" She didn't see the harm in learning more about what kind of music someone who appreciated her piece might be interested in.
Jovani's smile faltered just a bit, the idea of choosing a concert for someone else to accompany him to making him more than a little nervous, but there was nothing for it but to go along with it. "I'll do that, could be a lot of fun! Have a good evening, ma'am."