Part of Starbase Bravo: Q2 2400

Tinker, Tenor, Doctor, Counselor

Starbase Bravo Sector India-Navy, Promenade
Late February 2400
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“Do you wanna know a secret?” Ensign Elegy Weld asked his walking companion, as they navigated Starbase Bravo’s promenade.  There was a manic glee behind Elegy’s green eyes at the mention of a secret, even though the question was patently comical.  Almost every event in the lives of Elegy Weld and Neri Givola were, essentially, secrets to one another.  They hadn’t spent more than ten minutes together, combining each time they’d crossed paths.  With all of the Century Storm refugees still passing through the starbase, Elegy had been spending more time in the hospital than in the counseling offices.  After sharing a couple of humorous remarks from their recent experiences with medical training, Elegy had suggested a night out on the promenade to test the waters of friendship on a new assignment for both of them.  And yet, he had a juicy secret he absolutely needed to share with someone.

“Sure! What kinda secret?” Neri asked with a smile, looking up at her much-taller companion. The rookie medic was very flattered to be invited to hang out with the psychiatrist, particularly given that he was an commissioned officer. Before coming to Starbase Bravo, the normally-timid Neri would have been exceptionally nervous to interact with someone like Ensign Weld; now, however, she was simply too overworked to care. The refugee crisis had made her days jam-packed with activity and substantially longer than normal. Not that she wasn’t enjoying herself, of course. She couldn’t have asked for a better trial-by-fire to integrate herself into life at SBB, and she knew this work would make ‘normal’ starbase life feel luxurious once things returned to that state.

Still, a good night out was very much what Neri needed at the moment.

“No one knows yet, but I’m going to be promoted to lieutenant junior grade,” Elegy said.  His inflection was a mess of contradictions.  He started out speaking a diffidently, but he puffed his chest out, but then his face turned to a shy cringe.  Blowing past that part of it, Elegy explained, “I’ve finished all of my classes for medial school and now I’ve taken all my exams.  It took some time for the final grades to be registered, and now tonight at 1900 hours, I can officially call myself a medical school graduate.”

“Congratulations!” Neri said with a wide smile. “Or should I say, congratulations, Doctor!” She took note of Weld’s obvious hints of awkwardness, hoping that they weren’t due to anything she was doing wrong. In any case, she hoped she’d be able to put him at ease. “Well, no wonder you’re eager to celebrate! Any place in particular you’d like to head to? Since this is your celebration and all.”

“Thank you, Neri,” Elegy replied to the congratulations.  Even though he had been the one to bring it up, he still waved off the recognition in a play of false modesty.  At her question, Elegy pointed in a different direction than the one they’d been walking.  He suggested, “How about the Gate Inn?  Much better lighting than most other spots on the promenade.  Have you ever drank at an earther pub before?”

“Gale Inn sounds good! And, well, I actually grew up in Germany,” Neri said with a sly smile. She was now quite eager to show off her experience with human beverages. “So… you could say I know my way around a beer hall. What’s your drink of choice?”

Cranking his thumb in the direction of the Gate Inn, Elegy diverted their meandering stroll towards their new destination.  “If you’re a beer hall expert,” Elegy said dryly, “will I sound terribly pretentious if I say I most enjoy to drink a paper plane?  I grew up on starships.  We have to create our own seasons, and it makes me feel like summer.”

“Oh no, you’re a gin man!” Neri said with a playful laugh. “I’ll never understand how anyone likes that stuff, it always tasted like someone added ground up conifer to rubbing alcohol to me. But to each their own, of course.” Neri felt obligated to add that last bit; she’d hate for anyone to misinterpret a playful tease as actual derision. “That’s very interesting about starship seasons, though. I’ve lived on Earth my whole life, so there’s a lot I still haven’t wrapped my head around in terms of spacer life.”

Neri’s joke had landed with Elegy well.  He laughed at her teasing and quickened his pace to lead them to the Gate Inn.  At Neri’s admission, Elegy said, “It can be a huge adjustment to leave the confines of a planetary body for long periods of time.”  He swept a palm out, gesturing to the wood paneling on every surface, hiding the bulkheads of the starbase superstructure.  “Maybe these four walls, and enough beer, will be enough to make you forget you’re in space!”