USS Vesta

A Play-by-Nova roleplay game.

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A Not So Simple Question

Posted on Fri Nov 10th, 2023 @ 10:52am by Tulilah Cel & Chief Petty Officer Calley Loreth

Mission: Shakedown Shake-Up
Location: Esquimalt Station - Promenade
3304 words - 6.6 OF Standard Post Measure

Calley sat at the back of the small coffee shop, or more correctly up against the shop's wall since all of its seating was on the promenade itself. Ever since the Nelson had left taking a majority of the senior staff and some of the junior staff with it, Calley had been... bored. The starbase's sickbay had been fully staffed and they hadn't needed the help of a lowly nurse which meant she was on a leave of sorts with no real responsibilities of any kind.

So there she sat, back against the wall on the edge of the promenade watching people come and go to places she had no idea about. From their quarters to work, work to their quarters, families out enjoying their time off exploring the ever-growing options on the promenade. She held the mug of hot chocolate tightly in her cold hands, feeling the warmth from the drink spreading through her fingers. She was always cold even when she was warm, she always had been. She had never asked another hybrid if it was the same, if it was a genetic thing or if it was just her. She released the mug for a moment as she tugged at the hem of her overly large despite being the right size Starfleet Medical hoodie a chill running through her as she felt the child in the air of the station.

Smiling to herself, Safyrah strolled down the promenade having left Tulilah and her little beau at the reopened learning centre. Young love (even if neither of them would ever admit to it at this age) was just so adorable! As she moved along the line of recently opened shops, her thoughts turned to more mature versions of romance, or at least ...interest. She hadn't had much time to get to know the handsome doctor before he was called away with Aaron's father - somehow something always seemed to happen to interrupt any chance to get to know him better - but in a way that only made him more intriguing. As she mused on whether she'd correctly read a similar interest from him or not, her eyes fell on a woman in Starfleet medical attire. Now there was an opportunity.

"Hello," she said brightly, approaching the woman. "Are you from Vesta? I'm Tulilah's mother." The introduction was swift, given with a stunning smile as she settled into a seat next to the woman as if she'd already been invited.

Calley physically recoiled a bit at the woman who had sat down beside her, she had been so forward and sat down right beside her as if she had known Calley her entire life. Blinking rapidly, her eyes wide, Calley took the woman in and knew she recognized her from somewhere. "I uhh..." she sputtered out as she took in and digested the words that had been said to her.

"Ahh... yes?" Calley said as she pulled her mug in close and nurse a quick sip trying to think about what was happening, she really did recognize the woman but she couldn't entirely place where from she recognized her from.

"Wonderful," Safyrah replied, delighted. The woman seemed a little stunned, but she was used to that. It was a common reaction from fans or even non-fans who simply recognized her from an interview or a feature piece, and one she'd found it was best to pretend not to notice while the person got past it. "And you're medical. Do you know Dr. Sorenson?"

"I uh, Yes... wait you said Tulilahs mother?" Calley finally responded as it clicked with what the woman had said and where she had seen the woman before, she saw her in the same features and from the little interaction so far, personality as the young girl had. As far as Calley had been aware though, Tulilah's mother and her father weren't actively together. She had no idea what the girls' mother actually did or why she was here now.

Poor thing, she was obviously flustered. "Yes, I did," Safyrah assured. "I'm here to take care of her while her father is busy with Vesta's repairs." She glanced aside, smiling softly. "It's been nice. Catching up. And meeting the people on her ship. The Doctor seems very nice."

Calley's brows furrowed as the woman looked away, she wasn't quite sure what the woman wanted was it maybe more information on the ship and how Tulilah was doing when aboard? Was that not a better thing to ask the girl herself? Why was she even talking with Calley, to begin with, she was just a random medical officer sitting here drinking her hot chocolate. "There are plenty of engineers busy with fixing the ship, from what I understand they're completely rebuilding the spine of the ship because we melted it somehow? It's nice of you to come to take care of Tulilah though."

"Yes Doctor Sorenson is very nice." She added at the end as she tried to address everything the woman had said.

"Coming was nothing - just had to rearrange some show schedules." Safyrah gave a one shoulder shrug. "After all, what kind of mother wouldn't come when her daughter needed her?" she said blithely. "Honestly, I'm considering finding a way to stay around by taking a gig at the Indigo Lounge when it opens."

Calley stared at the woman now, not entirely sure how to react. She had no way of knowing what had happened to Calley in her past, her own relationship with her mother and had no idea the kind of damage that the very simple statement she had just made would do to Calley. She had needed her mother, wanted her to be there so much for her during those hard times after her arrest, yet she had betrayed everything that she had portrayed herself to be.

The Romulan/Human hybrid could feel it in her chest, the pain, the emotion, the self-doubt that had plagued her for years coming back. No.. no.. she was better than that, she had come so far since then she refused to let a simple offhand comment that this woman had no idea would affect her. She took a deep breath and let it out slowly, "Im... sure Tulilah would be happy with that." She said as looked away, her hand nervously moving to her hair tucking it behind her ear only for it to fall away.

"I hope so. But she's at an age, and so independent..." Safyrah shook her head, albeit with a wistful smile. "Anyway, I wanted to ask about Dr. Sorenson. You see, I've run into him a few times now - just around the station, but he's seems so..." she grinned a little, "...sweet, charming in a not-trying-to-be way, you know. And those eyes," the grinned widened a bit, "My favorite shade of blue. So, I wanted to ask, discreetly of course, is he already with anyone, or seeing anyone?"

Calley's hands returned to her mug which was now cooling, the heat that had been warming her cold hands fading away as the drink did. The question had taken her somewhat by surprised, the announcement that she was attracted to Martin and the bold inquest into whether or not he was taken put Calley on the back foot. Mostly because she didn't actually know the answer to the question.

So much of her life had been go to work, work, go home, sleep, repeat that she had never bothered to get to know someone before. Even now post... breakdown was really the best word for it, and as she got to know Martin and the other crew better Calley still didn't know. Over everything else she was rather oblivious mostly because she just didn't pay attention. So when she answered the woman, Calley answered with honesty not even beginning to think of the jealously that stirred deep within her over the question, "I... don't know."

Safyrah blinked, momentarily stunned that anyone wouldn't know such a basic thing about someone they worked with every day (who was with whom had been the prime topic of conversation in several clubs and tours she'd performed in). Huh. I guess nurses aren't as gossipy as I always heard... "So, no one obvious then. No wife or fiancee." There might have been a bit of a smile in her voice. "No one meets him for lunch or dinner? No, particularly friendly woman - or man - drops by medbay 'just to chat'?"

"I uh.. well he forgets to eat lunch quite a bit," Calley said the question turning her mind down a spiral of thoughts that she had never really all that much considered. Calley had never been the observant type but she never felt she hadnt been entirely oblivious either, she had no idea if Martin had someone like that in his life. That simple thought sent Calley down another set of doubts, doubts she didn't even know she had been thinking about or considering before. If Martin had someone like that in his life would he have taught her to dance that night, interacted with her like that? The slow personal nature of the music and the dance. Would he have even danced with her the other night, the way he had? It had been so intimate, him teaching her to dance in a club till late that night.

If Martin was seeing someone they would never have been that close, Calley and him, the way her heart had raced, the way it had messed with her head when she had been so clear on her thoughts before. It wasn't that she liked him, no she wasn't sure, but that she had felt a closeness to him that she was sure he wouldn't reciprocate because it was Martin, he was so friendly and supportive of everyone. He had seen a friend... was she his friend? In need and done his best to be supportive.

If he was seeing someone she had never done him the service of even knowing that. Calley was a horrible friend. She wasn't sure how she felt about Martin or their relationship but now, this woman asking these questions it... bugged her because she didn't know one way or another if Martin had someone like that in his life to be unguarded with, "I honestly don't know?"

The woman seemed confused, hesitant. And despite being well versed in people watching, Safyrah wasn't quite sure what to make of that. Was Martin a very private person, or one of those who kept work and personal life strictly separated? He hadn't struck her that way, especially since he'd been so friendly toward the children, who were after all also his patients. Maybe there was a simpler explanation. "Oh, are you new to ship then?" She laughed lightly, offering a slightly self-deprecating smile. "Leave it me to pick entirely the wrong person to ask about a cute guy."

"No... no!" Calley said abruptly as she looked back at the bright-haired woman, "I've been on the ship for a while now. I'm just, Im not really good at paying attention to a lot of things... work focused?" She finished that last part as if it was more a question then an answer. Calley sipped at her hot chocolate, scrunching her nose at its cool temperature now. "Not very good with that stuff."

Ah, so it's this medic who keeps work and life separate. Safyrah looked at her almost with pity - unless her non-work hours were generally a lot more exciting than sitting alone with hot drink, silo-ing oneself off everyone at work struck her as isolating, creating a sort of social desert in a big chunk of the day. "Alright, I suppose I should just ask him. It's a bit forward when we've only run into each other a few times, but no harm in letting a man know you're interested, right?" she said with an almost sisterly grin. "Worst that can happen is he'll say he's taken. And he probably isn't. I mean he seems too nice to lead someone on, so unless he's pretty clueless, I think he would have dropped a hint about having some significant other by now, right?"

Calley nodded her head a bit along with the words that came out of the other woman's mouth. The few words stuck in her head as she did, 'but no harm in letting a man know you're interested.' There was no harm in it, not at all but it was harmful, to Calley, sort of. She had a passing interest in many of people but she had always controlled herself and prevented herself from reaching out and talking to people outside of work, personally, romantically, everything. How much had she missed out by not doing any of those? How much was she missing out by not telling Martin how she felt, or this woman, or the rather tall, dark and good-looking other Half Romulan she had run into once, Alistar.

Could she even voice those things though? Despite being the new her, Calley was still painfully shy and introverted to a detriment. So she simply responded, "I dont think Dr..." she paused for a moment, "Martin would mind. I mean I'm not sure of how he feels about anyone and you're right hes far too nice to... well everyone really."

A lavender eyebrow tipped slightly upward at the correction from Doctor to Martin. Did this woman know him better than perhaps she was letting on? "He is incredibly considerate. I mean, he's very graciously stepped aside any time Tulilah has seemed unhappy about sharing time with me, but then everyone probably knows that. What I'm curious to hear is what not quite as many people know about..." a sly smile formed as she gave Calley an almost conspiratorial look, "...Martin."

It was an honest question, and a straightforward one, but not one that Calley could really answer herself. For what she did know of Martin, the personal side, was just that personal. Not that she really knew much about the man that others didn't anyway, her own inability to pay attention and personal issues at the moment meant she never really could focus on much. "I.. don't really know much about his personal life or anything." Valley felt that if she didn't offer anything though the woman would just continue on bugging her, "He's kind, smart and good at his job, a little too dedicated at times apparently. He's currently with the rest of the crew though acting as the Executive Officer. I'm not sure how much he'll like that though, being out of Sickaby."

Hmmm. Safyrah wasn't quite sure what to make of her denials. Either she really was one of the rare people who didn't gab at work or even overhear gossip, or she had some personal reason for not sharing anything she knew. Or professional - Safyrah had been married to a Starfleet officer once so she did know there things they couldn't talk about. But she wasn't asking technical specs on weapons systems. She was asking about Martin as a man, not an officer. Maybe asking so directly had made her uneasy. So better to just chat more generally then. Keep it light and see how that went.

"He did seem pretty unhappy about being told to stay out of the station medbay,' she agreed and laughed lightly. "I don't think I've ever seen anyone sad about being told to take a vacation before."

"No, he is very dedicated to his job, sometimes a little too much," Calley said as she looked down at her empty drink, she hadn't remembered finishing it while they talked but obviously she had done so. "It gets him in trouble more than it helps sometimes. I don't think that Martin has been on a real vacation since he left school if his record is anything to tell from. Romulan space, doctors without borders, Starfleet..."

Safyrah tipped her head, thinking. Now there was a bit of real information. She'd assumed Martin was dedicated - he cared about people and, well, you didn't wind up as CMO on the flagship by being a slacker - but that had sounded more like driven. She knew a thing or two about driven. It was practically endemic in her profession. There was a common saying that art required suffering, emotional pain, and it wasn't completely untrue (her own most critically acclaimed work had come after letting Batik take Tulilah), but the levels of self-harm she'd seen some driven to by their personal demons went well beyond anything that could be considered helpful to the creative process.

Of course, there was also the more common sort of driven - artists driven by a desire for fame, success, recognition, or with perfecting their art in the creation of some great masterpiece. Hmmm... Martin was relatively young for a Commander, but he didn't strike her as someone who needed, or even wanted, the spotlight. An artist though... medicine could be an art. As the mother of one of his charges, she considered a drive for perfection there it a good thing. As long as it didn't completely consume him. She'd seen that too - it seldom came to a good end. "Well, clearly someone needs to give him a reason to take some personal time," she said with a firm nod and a smile that said she considered herself the perfect candidate for the job. "You may think you aren't that aware of people, but you've been very helpful. Thank you..." she paused, realizing introductions had been a bit lacking, "...I'm sorry, I don't think I caught your name."

Calley tilted her head in confusion as Safyrah asked her her name, had they not gone over that? She was sure that had happened, but then again the woman seemed to be very one track in what she had been looking for, that Calley had now come to realize. "Uh, Calley." She responded with a slight nod, "Calley Loreth." She didn't offer her hand or anything but merely continued to look at the woman not entirely sure what she should do next. Then what she had said processed through her head, the woman had complimented her... hadn't she? "Uhh... thanks?" Calley hesitated in her answer as she began to play with the empty cup in her hands.

"It's been a pleasure, Calley, and you can call me Safyrah," the lavender haired woman replied with a warm smile. The poor nurse seemed so uncertain, and she realized now what she'd taken as the somewhat normal fluster of a fan might be someone just not comfortable with social interaction, or (and to Safyrah it seemed these often went hand-in-hand) not comfortable in herself. She made a mental note to work in a query when she spoke to Martin. There were a surprising number of people in show business who were only okay with social situations when on stage, so she had some experience and maybe could help (though Shira would undoubtedly rib her about 'making a project of another introvert' if she knew). "You are most welcome. You really have provided some good insight. I'll leave you to enjoy your time off, but if I can ever help you in turn, don't hesitate to ask."

And with that, and a quick smile, she hurried off, making plans get to know a certain doctor better. He obviously needed some healthy distraction, but while she considered herself an excellent distraction, a workaholic might need something work-adjacent to give himself permission to for that. It just might work perfectly to enlisted him in helping a nurse come out of her shell...

 

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