A Workout Clash
Episode 2: Inevitable
Location: Defiant Gym
Caroline looked in the mirror in her quarters. She was dressed in her workout clothes: a very tight blue sports top (with a black sports bra underneath) and matching black and blue shorts. Like most of her clothing, everything was probably just a touch too small --that was how Isley catered to her vanity. Not every officer would be this particular about what they wore to the gym, and the blonde was being particularly careful today because she was meeting one of her subordinates for an off-duty activity for the first time.
After making sure that everything met her approval, the chief science officer picked up her bag and left her quarters, making her way through the corridors to one of the ship's main gymnasiums. Isley had agreed to meet Ensign Lafayette, one of the key members of her department. During a conversation initiated by the ensign, it had come out that the junior officer was a runner and a bit of a physical activity buff. Because she was slightly competitive, Caroline had said that she worked out a lot, but in a different way. And she had offered to join Lafayette one day so they could trade trips.
Running wasn't Caroline's forte -- it wasn't particularly comfortable with her figure. She did enough of it to maintain a level of physical fitness. Her main workouts focused on stretching and different kinds of cardio activity. She was a bit worried that any session with Lafayette might focus too much on jogging, which would just show off the other woman's superiority. Isley wanted to steer it more toward her strengths, but she also was curious just how fit Lafayette was.
As the blonde entered the gym, she sat down her bag and looked to see if Lafayette was there yet. If not, she would wait and watch some of the others.
The sound of the treadmill confirmed that Isley wasn't alone. Running at a fairly high speed, the redheaded science officer was maintained her pace, not quite addressing Caroline yet. A few seconds later, the reason why was clear as an alarm on the device went off, indicating she could finally slow down. As she came to a gradual walk, Claire took a drink from her bottle and finally waved to her superior. "Hey! Figured I'd get my sprint out of the way, so we could focus on less running type stuff." She wiped a bit of sweat off her forehead as she came to a stop and climbed off. Her outfit was made up of a dark green tanktop and black athletic leggings.
Isley caught the last few seconds of Claire's workout, raising an eyebrow at the speed and then watching as the cooldown started. She smiled as Lafayette finished up. "Yes, I don't quite run at that pace . . . unless there's a Klingon involved," she quipped. She took a step toward her subordinate. "So what would you like to do first?"
"It's part of getting the heart rate up for my conditioning and...," Claire trailed off, realizing Isley likely didn't want a full breakdown of her routine. "You know, not important. Um...I'm pretty flexible. I just finished some cardio, so I suppose I differ to your suggestion."
Caroline looked thoughtful for a second. "I usually start with stretching. Sometimes that can turn into full-scale aerobics depending on my mood and if there aren't many people around. A friend on another posting tried to teach me yoga and while I love some of the poses, I'm terrible at it. It requires too much patience." She smiled.
Claire stretched her arm across her chest, "Well, it's all outside of my usual. I'm game for it if you don't mind playing instructor."
"You should always stretch before any kind of workout," the blonde science chief said coyly. She then moved to mat off to the side, out of the way of some of the equipment. She had used this area many times. "Yoga requires maximum flexibility," she said. "It's a little beyond me. But I like to try things just short of twisting my body into a pretzel."
Isley then proceeded to demonstrate several basic stretches, followed by a more complicated pose designed to show basic yoga. It was the Downward Facing Dog, and it left Caroline with her hands on the ground, and body arranged in an almost inverted V shape. "Care to try?" she said, with a bit of exertion in her usually cool voice.
Claire was about to state that it didn't look terribly difficult. But the second she actually attempted to replicate such a pose, she found that it was an awful lot more than she'd anticipated. Her core felt like it was ready to fall apart as she managed a partial version of the position. "Ok, this is nowhere near as easy as it looks. People do this to relax?"
Caroline couldn't help but giggle. "Supposedly," she said. "For me, I've never gotten so good that I enter some kind of zen state of relaxation while doing it. I'm just trying to build and maintain flexibility." She then shifted her position, slowly sliding into a laying pose on her chest (which wasn't comfortable) and then rolling over on to her back. "Maybe yoga isn't for us today," Isley said, breathing a little faster.
"Sorry, not trying to be a difficult student," the junior officer said, as she came back to standing. "Maybe we do a little light cardio? We can do a leisurely jog or power walk even. No need to deal with sprinting. I'm not trying to break you are anything"
Isley raised an eyebrow. A light jog wouldn't be too bad, she thought to herself quickly. "How about a light jog," she replied. "I think I can handle that." She then laughed. "I just hope you aren't trying to break me to get ahead in the department."
Claire cackled at the thought. "Believe me, that is more responsibility than I am interested in. I like the science. You can keep the paperwork." She walked the duo over to the treadmills. Shooting the Chief Scientist a sly smile, she continued. "Besides, if I wanted to break you, I'd suggest a full on run."
Isley followed Claire over to the treadmills and then stepped up on one. She watched carefully as her fellow officer configured the settings and then tried to match. She took a deep breath as the treadmill started. The pace quickened from a fast walk to a light job. Caroline didn't have any trouble at this speed -- she was in shape after all. But a full on sprint, with things bouncing around everywhere didn't appeal to her. "This isn't so bad," she said to Claire after a moment, continuing to run in place, breathing just a bit faster and heart rate higher, but not racing.
Claire laughed as the duo started their run. "Like I said, not trying to break you. But now that I have a captive audience." She turned and gave her superior another mischievous smile. "I noticed you don't seem to mingle too much with the crew. Not that you don't. Just seem to prefer to keep to yourself. I totally respect that, though I'm a bit more of the social type myself. But ya know...if you ever need someone to talk to or just grab a meal with, don't hesitate to reach out."
Isley felt her breathing pick up just a little as the jogging went on. She wasn’t panting or anything, but she certainly had less endurance than Claire. She looked back at Lafayette briefly, wondering what to say. She decided that it was probably too late to be completely circumspect. "I used to . . . socialize more with,um some of the crew," Caroline said. "But it ended rather abruptly and I've been a little less social since. I do prefer my alone time, but just for the sake of doing my job better, I shouldn't take it too far." She wondered if she had said too much but she didn't read Claire as the type to take advantage of this kind of information.
Claire slowed her pace a little to give Caroline a bit more breathing room. She looked at the woman for a moment, catching some of the implication in her phrasing. She didn’t have many of the details, but she could catch the outline of what the Lieutenant had avoided saying. “Sorry to hear that. I know sometimes things can be discouraging. I...probably have a habit of not taking things seriously enough. I think to avoid be affected by things. But...you’ve got a good crew around you. I think they’d be happy to have you back on the scene, when you feel like it.”
Isley gave Claire a warm smile. "I appreciate that," she said. "And I will take your advice to heart." She then began to slow her pace a bit more. "I think I'm just about finished with running for one day." Caroline turned her treadmill down to cooldown for a moment and then stepped off when it had completely stopped. She picked up her towel and dabbed it on her hair and body.
"This was definitely invigorating," the blonde said. "I clearly need to do it more often though to keep up with you."
"Well, I'm available any time," the young officer replied, slowing her treadmill as well. "And if we ever pull into a port with a good hiking scene, I plan to be putting a little trip together for whoever is interested. You'd be welcome to join."
Caroline smiled. "I think I might like that."