Part of USS Altai: Spectres in the Dust

Dinner

Jackson's Quarters
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Alton looked around hs quarters to make sure everything was in place. The quarters were just one room, but in the room their was a bedroom area, a living room and a dining room. He had placed candles throughout the room to add to the atmsphere. He had dressed casual for the evening.

The dining table was set for 2. A candle was lit in the middle of the table. 2 place settings were laid out.

A bottle of wine was also on the table.

All that was needed now was company.

Someone long ago told her that it was expected of her to be “fashionably late”.  Who that Someone was she couldn’t precisely say. Maybe it came from one of the old films she was fond of watching as a child.  It could have been “Gone With the Wind”, “Casablanca”, or even “Breakfast at Tiffany’s”.  Which one it was it didn’t really matter.   It was a philosophy Nurse Allison Harris took to heart.

She wasn’t certain how fancy this Alton Jackson was going for but, she opted for light makeup,  a pair of blue jeans,  not too tight,  but well fitted and a flowing V-neck black blouse that may have shown a bit too much cleavage,  but not to the point of inappropriate.  The ensemble was completed with a simple pair of black ballet flats and diamond stud earrings. She hesitated at the door before pressing the chime.

“Computer, play Jackson Music 2.” Soft, romantic music started playing. “Computer, dim lights by 50%.” The room darkened, and the effects of the candlelight took over. He walked to the door, and pressed the button. “Welcome. Please come in.”

Allison entered a little shyly looking around.  “Uh.. thank you Ens… Alton. Oh this is for you.” She extended a bottle of wine she was carrying.  “It’s no Chateau Picard, but I think it’s the best California offers.”

Alton took the wine and examined it. “A very nice vintage and choice.” He smiled at her. “Your table awaits.” He pointed to the table, set for two, with a candle sitting in the middle. “May I say you look lovely tonight.”

“Thank you, but are you trying to fatten me up or something?” She teased.

“Uh… thank you,” she said nervously. 

Alton took her arm. “You seem worried. Let me asure you that you have no reason to be worried. My only objective tonight is to share a meal with a beautiful woman.” He paused. “Does that put your worries to rest?” He smiled at her.

She flashed him a smile, and a nod. “It’s been a while. Since I’ve been on a date that is.”

They reached the table and Alton pulled her chair out for her. “Haven’t had a date in a while?? I find that hard to believe. I would have thought that the men would be lining up outside sickbay for a chance to take you out.”

“Oh I do,” she said honestly and without any hint of bragging.   “Just normally don’t say yes.”

When she sat, he moved to his chair. “Well, you said yes to me, so I guess I’m unique.” He picked up the opened bottle of wine. “I will save the wine you brought. I have a Chateu Picard, very good.” He poured her a small sample so she could taste it.

She tasted it, “Better than what I brought,” she replied.  “I guess in your case persistence had its virtues.”

“I’m very persistant so I must be very virtuous.” He smiled. “Mixed salad or shirmp cocktail for the appetizer?”

“Uh…” she thought for a second.   “Salad please. Vinaigrette if you haven’t already mixed it.”

Alton stood up from the table and walked to the table he had set up to hold items for the dinner. He returned with her salad, and an assortment of dressings for her to choose from. “One salad, and dressing.” He returned to the table and retrieved his salad, then returned to the table and sat down.

The computer was playing an asssortment of soft and romantic violin and guitar music.

“Thank you,” she said smiling politely.  She drizzled on a light amount of the dressing.  Before taking a bite she spoke, “So tell me about yourself.”

“You sure you didn’t already look me up on the ship’s computer.” He smiled at her. “I was born June 15th and the USS Gotham to Felix and Sharon. My father was the exec and my mother was the assistant cmo.” He paused to take a sip of his wine. “When I was 5, my parents transferred to the USS Kennedy. My father was promoted to captain and my mother became the ship’s cmo. Once we settled in, I started attending the ship’s school. My grades were always within the top 5% of the classes. Because of that, and with recommandations from all of the ship’s senior officers, I was allowed to enter the Academy early in 2378. I settled on Operations as my major and Security as a minor. I achieved high grades and my work ethic allowed me to achieve high grades and commendations. I saved up my leave time in my first two years, so I could travel and stay with my parents on the Kennedy, not that it was purely a vacation, I was put to work the day after I arrived. When I got back to the academy, I was recruited for many sport clubs, I settled on wresting, martial arts and archery. 3rd year, I was assigned to the Yorktown for field studies. I was assigned to various sections of the ship as part of my training. The work was hard, but I accepted the challenge and did well.” He took another sip of wine, and ate a piece of bread. “I graduated in 2382 in the top 10% of my class. Every year my grades were near the top of my classes every year, and that earned me the Commandants Award. I received my degree in Ship’s Operations. Upon graduation, I was assigned to the USS Bataan, as an Operations officer. According to my senior officers, I performed my duties well, and I was able to continue my interpersonal studies. Based on recommendations from the ship’s COO, Lieutenant Thomas Lundgreen, and with the captain’s permission, I assigned assigned to the Delta shift, where I was acting COO.” He looked at here. “I hope I’m not boring you.” He returned to his story. “In 2385, I transferred to the USS James T. Kirk, seeking the ACOO position. I didn’t get it until 2388, when the COO transferred. On the Kirk, I also started taking in engineering duties, as well as command class. My parents always said that I said I wanted to be a first officer and even a captai someday. I was given the responsibility of the Gamma Shift leader. 2399, after being promoted to Lieutenant Junior Grade, I transferred here.” He stood up, picked up the wine bottle, walked behind her, placed his hand on her shoulder, and refilled her glass, then returned to his seat. “Your turn.”

Alison smirked, “We’ll, if that doesn’t sound like a dossier jacket I don’t know what is.  As for me I was not a good student. I would rather be doing most anything else.  But, I joined the nursing program at the Academy because medicine intrigues me, and I enjoy the challenge it presents along with the opportunity to help people.”

He took a sip of his wine, looking at her and smiling, “Helping people is a very important job on board a starship…maybe not as important as chief of security.” he joked.

“Let me know if you still feel the same way when there’s a disruptor blast in your chest and I or the doctor aren’t around and all you have is an analgesic cream in your first aide kit.”

“Touche.” He grinned at her. “But if I susstained a disruptor blast to my chest, I’m probably already dead….but maybe a kiss from you could revive me.”

She rolled her eyes and smirked, “Now, that was lame.  To that end not necessarily.  The human body is incredibly resilient.  During the Dominion War there was Ensign Douglas who got shot five times.  He was still able to call in ground support from the Klingons and organize sufficient resistance to hold off Cardassian troops.  Or there was back when projectiles were used.  Sometimes folk would get shot twenty times and live.  You just never know.”

“Still….I like my idea better.” He stood up. “Ready for the main course?”

She laughed, “Of course.”

Alton stood up, picked up his plates, and hers, then disappeared into the other room. When he returned, he carried a tray that had, 2 stuffed pork chops on a plate, 2 side dishes of string peas, 2 side dishes of carrots and 2 sides of mashed potatoes.

He set the tray down on a side table, picked up one pork chop dish and 1 side, the carrots, then the other two sides and placed them in front of her. Then he did the same for himself, then took his seat again. “Enjoy.”

“Looks very good,” she commented as she served herself a moderate amount of the sides. She didn’t direct her attention to eating though opting to sip her wine and observe Alton.

Alton looked up and saw her watching him. “Is something wrong with your food, or something wrong with me?”

“Neither. Just trying to figure you out Mr. Jackson.  You seem both sure of yourself… maybe a bit too sure of yourself, and yet there’s a shyness.   I can’t decide if you are a walking contradiction or all that bravado is for show.”

He smiled at her. “I’m a conundrum. Does that interest you?” 

She shrugged,  “It’s a puzzle.  I suppose puzzles are what attracted me to medicine in the first place.”

Alton sipped his wine. “What other things attract you?”

She picked up her fork and portioned off an appropriate bite.  “Eyes. I like them blue. Oh and muscles.   Arms specifically.” She raised a chunk of pork to her mouth and chewed.

His knife sliced through the pork. “If that’s the case, I think I qualify on both items.” He smiled at her, then he picked up the wine bottle. “More wine?”

She glanced at her empty glass considering it for a moment,  “Please.”

Alton picked up the bottle, stood up and walked over to her, and stood over her, filling her glass up.

“That’s good,” she said with a smile.  She watched him return to his seat as she finished off her main course setting he fork down she cradled her wine glass between her fingers feeling the flush of the alcohol.  This would have to be her last glass or she might start making bad… or at the very least embarrassing decisions.

“If you’re finished with dinner, dessert is next.” He moved back to his chair, but didn’t sit down.

“Oh no,” she protested. “That is the last thing I need. I probably just ate a week’s worth of calories.   I’ll have to run my butt off in the gym for the next two weeks to work that off,” she said half joking.

“You should join me in the gym in the mornings. I have an excellent training routine that’ll take care of those extra calories.” He picked up his wine glass. “Shall we take our drinks to the living area?”

She stood following him towards one of the sofas making up the living area, “Sure.  Have you ever biked up Mount Denali?”

“No, I haven’t. My workouts consists of cardio, running, lifting and martial arts on the body bag. Trust me, I do get a great workout. You should consider my offer.” He waited for her to sit, since he wanted to sit next to her.

She smiled, “I like to go places and see things.  Working out in a gym is… well, less than desirable and well… work.”

Alton sat next to her on the small couch. “Well…….no pain, no gain. You have to be willing to do the work to get results.” He wasn’t going to suggest othet ways a person can burn off calories without going to the gym.

“And riding up the side of a mountain on a mountain bike isn’t work?  There’s plenty of pain to be had without the tedium of staring at a wall thinking about how miserable you are.”

“If you’re miserable working out, then you’re not doing it right. And if you feel pain while exercising, stop and take a break. No sense hurting yourself.” He placed his hand on hers.

“Or maybe you are one of those weirdos that enjoys being tired, sweaty, sore and bored all at the same time,” she teased.

Alton smiled. “Sweaty, sore sometimes tired, but never bored. He chuckled. He moved closer, and put his arm around her.

She shrugged,  “A lot of work to go no where.  Not my idea of fun, but each to their own.” 

She relaxed into his arms and they continued to talk of the usual things you talk about on a first date for the next hour or so.  Yawning she stretched and checked her chronometer and was surprised that it was approaching midnight.  “Well, it’s getting late, and I have to get up in five hours or so.”

Alton nodded, stood up, and extended his hand to her. “There’s no reason for you to leave, if you don’t want to.”

“Mr. Jackson,” she said with a grin and feigned offense,  “Not on a first date.”

“An old fashioned girl, eh?” He smiled. “Well, no offense intended, but I had to ask, but I hope this means we will have a second date.” 

“I wouldn’t say old-fashioned. Just sometimes a little mystery at first is good for for a relationship.” She gave him a quick peck on the cheek, “Goodnight Mr. Jackson.”  With that she turned to walk out of Alton’s quarters where she paused at the open door.  “Keep a sock handy.  That is what you guys use right?” She gave him a mischievous grin and was gone.

Alton smiled as he watched her leave. He was looking forward to the second date.