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Part of USS Mariner: M3: Let Loose the Beast of War and Bravo Fleet: Labyrinth

4) A Chemical Reaction

USS Mariner - Labs
2401 - August
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Returning from the sickbay, Suto looked puzzled, tapping her lip with her finger while holding her elbow with her other arm. She stopped at her desk and sat down. Not knowing what had happened to her, she felt a sudden rush of unknown discomfort in her body. Was it comfort? 

“Suto, are you okay?” 

A familiar voice came from Suto’s side. Her concentration broke, and she looked at the voice and saw Vaikan standing there. “I don’t know,” 

“You feel unwell? Is that the reason you went to sickbay?” Vaikan narrowed her eyes a bit, trying to figure out what was wrong with her friend. “You do not seem unwell; I do not see you in any kind of distress.” 

Was she looking back to her front in distress? Mmm, no, that was the feeling she was having. She learned to control her emotions as they were part of her DNA, well, half of it. Suto took a deep breath. “I do not know. Sickbay stated they only saw an elevation of heart rate, which can cause discomfort.” Rubbing her chin a bit, she said, “Yet the cause is unknown?” 

“Placing her hands behind her back, Vaikan thinks briefly. “It might be the cause of stress. Did you meditate today?” 

Giving a slight nod, Suto said, “I did. I got a regular interval of twice a day to do meditation. It is the best moment for me to get scientific solutions or a direction to look into.” Suto crossed her arms and leaned back in her chair. “I do not experience stress or have no experience with it.” 

“Stress can be the direct cause of your heart rate spiking up. When did this happen? If we look scientifically at it, it needs to have a cause. So logically speaking, if something happened at the moment of your heart spike, that would be the cause of it?” Vaikan pointed out. 

The theory did have merit: Every reaction is caused by an action. She thinks for a brief moment, thinking back to the moment when her heart started to beat faster. 

“Additionally, I was wondering if you…are interested in a dinner?” 

The words of Commander Valerio shot in her head, and she placed her hand on her chest, feeling the same heartbeat taking a spike. Suto blinked, a bit confused. “It raised again when I thought of my interaction with Commander Valerio.”

“Commander Valerio?” Vaikan raised an eyebrow as she looked at her side to the panel that had been fixed. “They were here earlier, no? Did something off-set you by what he said?” 

Suto lowered her hand and shook her head slightly. “No, not really. It was a normal question. He was asking if I was interested in a dinner with him. Logically, I declined him as there would be no material or subject to discuss.” Suto looked at Vaikan’s “Science and Engineering topics are quite different.” 

“Right, that might sound logical,” Vaikan replied, trying to piece the puzzles together. But it might also indicate that he wishes to get to know you better. He showed interest in you.”

“Interest in me?” Suto looked confused. “As an academic and prime in my field, I guess anyone would be interested in conversing with me. Now I feel I am bragging.” Suto shrugged, a bit confused about the whole ordeal. “If he had a scientific question, why not just ask? I mean a dinner is not needed for that question to be answered|  

With a sigh, Vaikan tried to choose her words more carefully: “There is a difference between work-related interest and personal one, Suto. We are friends, that is personal related interest. It might be possible that Commander Valerio showed a personal interest in you.” 

Shaking her head as if she denies it. “I do not think so. It wouldn’t make any sense. We are friends because we have spent time together in the academy, on assignments, and have a similar interest field. But what interest would be in alignment with Commander Valerio and me? I know little about engineering.” 

Vaikan took a deep breath. “Suto, he showed interest in you. It is possible that he finds you attractive and interested. For someone who has brains, you do not tend to see your own favorable assets.” Vaikan looked briefly at Suto’s chest and then back at her. “You have always been obsessive about your work, ignoring the obvious flirts and attention from men around you.” 

Feeling a slight blush coming up, Suto placed her arms over her chest to cover it a bit and looked at her desk. “It is not like I do it on purpose; my body is of its own making.” She placed her hand on her chest. “But why does my heart beat faster?” 

“It might be a chemical reaction of your body to him,” Vaikan pointed out. “You might be unknowingly interested in him as well.” Take a moment to think, “Did you have this reaction to any other person who showed interest?” 

Lowering her arms a bit and placing them on the desk, Suto said, “No one showed interest in me?” She couldn’t remember anyone who had shown interest in her before. 

She raised her brow again. “David, Samual, Tatjana, T’Lain, Rain, Amber…did you really not notice their advantages?” Vaikan wanted to smack herself in the forehead, but her inner Vulcan heritage prevented that. 

Looking confused at Vaikan, “Wait, they were interested in me?” Suto never realized that they showed that interest in her. “Am I that blind? Is my passion for my work overshadowing compassion?” 

Vaikan shrugs. “You only found out about that right now? Suto, if I know anyone who is obsessed with their work, it is you. You are a prime role model or even the definition of being addicted to your work. You should reconsider Commander Valario’s offer; it could be healthy for you.” 

“How? I already rejected his offer.” Suto looked a bit sad at Vaikan.

“What do scientists do when their results do not give the promised results? Or worse, reject the parameters of the injected criteria?” Vaikan needed to level with Suto.

Rubbing her head, she said, “You change the factors? The parameters of the research that could bare fruit. Why?” Suto tried to understand the direction of what her friend was trying to tell her.

“Maybe you should then try to change the parameters of this offer. Yes, you rejected him, but you can always counteroffer his offer. Are you interested in him? Maybe you should approach it in your own way.” Vaikan smiled softly to Suko. “If you like this man, you should at least try. It is not often that I see you struggle or be flustered about something.” 

Suto took a deep breath and nodded softly, “Right, it might be something. But what if it’s not? What if I misunderstood his interpretation? What if I do not feel anything for him? Or am I interested in him?” A lot of questions boiled up for her.

“That is what scientists do, Suto. They answer the questions they are pondering.” Vaikan pats her on the shoulder and walks away to resume her work. “Good luck, Lieutenant.” 

“I…” Wanting to continue the discussion, Suto needed help dealing with this experience. Was she too late to find out? How would she approach the commander now? What if…Suto looked puzzled behind her desk, trying to figure out what to do next about the situation.