Part of USS Atlantis: Mission 9: Just a Quick Stop

Just a Quick Stop – 2

Deep Space 47; USS Atlantis
July 20, 2400
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Blake thought to herself that the beauty of earbuds was how she could listen to what she wanted, when she wanted, where she wanted, without angering, annoying or imposing on anyone else around her. They allowed her to have her own personal soundtrack as she went through the universe.

The only problem she really had with the ones she possessed though, was that in order to achieve that state of not annoying those around her, they did a fantastic job of blocking outside noise from getting to her, allowing people from time to time to sneak up on her. Like right now.

She’d found herself a spot on one of the upper levels of the Galleria, a terraced garden itself part of one of the larger terrace sections, with a decent view of the open levels below and a decent angle around the curves of the station. The tree she’d opted to sit under must have been imported, its size and apparent age a giveaway, but it gave the place a lived-in feeling that other parts of the station currently lacked.

She’d not even heard anyone approaching, much less been looking, opting to look out the expansive windows. The Badlands were present, a small orange smear reduced to no larger than her hand held at arm’s length. The dorsal curve of Atlantis’ saucer peeked up over the bottom edge of the gallery windows, running lights blinking gently, marking the passing of time. Those distractions kept her from noticing the man that had approached and sat himself down beside her cross-legged. She’d only noticed him when the aroma of coffee assailed her nostrils as he held the covered cup in front of her.

A slightly startled gasp and the removed her earbuds, pocketing them with her right hand while accepting the coffee with her left. “Hmmm,” she intoned, taking in the aroma, popping off the lid that only served to limit how much could pass from the cup at any time and taking her first sip, luxuriating in the taste before deciding to re-join the realm of lesser beings, those not living on the Caffeinated Planes.

“Where did you find a proper San Fran mocha on this station Chuck?” she asked finally, then saluted him with the cup as she saw him enjoying his own cup. “And where did you get that god-awful Hawaiian shirt from?”

“The coffee shall remain a mystery, mine to perhaps show you before the end of the day, in order that you keep me around,” Charles MacIntyre said with a grin. “As for the shirt, I’ve always had this thing. Serves a purpose,” he said, pulling at the fabric slightly, looking down to inspect it.

“What, scare people off?” she asked mockingly.

“If you can’t handle the shirt, you can’t handle me,” he answered, then winked as he took a sip from his coffee. A sip moderated by that useless lid she noted.

“So, it’s date-filter. If she doesn’t get scared off by the shirt, she’s can handle the worst you’ve got to offer?” She leaned away from him for a moment, to take in the whole effect of the shirt, shorts and sandals he’d opted to wear today, the first of their two days of holiday.

“I thought you said this wasn’t a date?” he asked her, his gaze going to the windows just like hers had been before he arrived. “Or is it?”

“It’s a not-date date,” she announced. “Besides, you’ll need worse than a Hawaiian shirt to scare me off. I said it’s god-awful, not hideous or terrifying. I’ve got worse than that shirt.” She opted to shift from leaning against the tree to leaning against Charles. “So, you bring me offerings off coffee, a shirt that brings dishonour to the people of Hawaii, what else have you got planned for today oh Mr MacIntyre?”

“Walk around the Galleria, find somewhere for lunch, a bit of shopping, dinner perhaps?” He sounded to her like none of his plans were entirely set in stone, that he was just offering a vague outline of the day to her, which suited her just fine. Meant spontaneity could grip them and off they’d go.

“How about some brunch first?” she asked. “I saw this charming looking place about three sections spinward that declared themselves home to the best eggs benedict this side of Bajor.”

“You know that means they could be terrible right?”

“You found damn good coffee, maybe we’ll get lucky twice, right?”


What had turned out to be a delightful brunch became a comfortable walk, browsing the station’s wares, going nowhere incredibly slowly. Then lunch from a vendor that neither she nor Charles had recognised their species and neither of their universal translators wanted to work correctly with. It didn’t stop them from understanding what either of them had said lunch had actually been surprisingly good. But somewhere between that and dinner, things had gotten remarkably side-tracked.

Like either horrible, colossal and career-limiting side-tracked, or fantastic and wonderful, possibly career-limiting side-tracked. The answer to that question wouldn’t be obvious for some time, but right now, it wasn’t on either of their minds.

“So,” Charles said as they were both lying on his bed, modesty only provided by a bedsheet.

She blinked, trying to force her brain to process the single word he’d just said. It was language, wasn’t it? Yes. One she knew even. “Wow,” she muttered when she figured out a response.

“Yeah,” he responded. He sounded out of it, which was a remarkable thing to think about someone when she could barely think herself.

“That,” he said after another minute of them both just staring at his ceiling, catching their breath, “was not part of the plan.”

“Don’t hear me objecting,” she responded. The bedsheet was pulled up just a touch as she rolled onto her side to face him. “Though, uh…this going to cause problems?”

He looked like he was mulling it over for a moment, then shrugged his bare shoulders. “Don’t know, is it?” he asked her.

“We’re two professional individuals, just having a bit of fun, right?” He nodded in agreement with her. “And as long as we don’t let feelings get in the way, shouldn’t be a problem, right?”

“Right,” Charles said, smiling. “What we do outside of work shouldn’t impact our professional lives at all.”

They both managed to keep a straight face for about three seconds before bursting into a small fit of laughter. How many times had she told herself that particular lie? How many times had he? The laughter lasted only a moment before they both settled down. “But seriously,” she started, “this isn’t going to cause problems?” she waved a hand between the two of them. “I mean, this was just a bit of fun right?”

“You said you didn’t want to put labels on anything,” Charles said. “Sounds like a label to me.”

She rolled back onto her back, sighing. Logic, being used against her? How dare he.

“Blake, you’re the one that’s asked me out, every time so far I might add.” It was his turn to roll onto their side and talk to the other. “You don’t want to be serious, just have some fun, I’m happy to. If you want to label this, go ahead. But,” he trailed off, his gaze lifting from hers to somewhere in the middle distance.

“But?” she asked, to refocus him.

“But I’m enjoying this, whatever this is.”

Their not-a-relationship had started just about the time that Atlantis had been commissioned, with her coming on to him at one of the captain’s parent’s dinners. Getting a drink together from time to time, dinner occasionally, just hanging out and shooting the breeze after work. But lately, it had become a little bit more and she couldn’t quite place the trigger for what had happened today that had her pulling him in for a kiss, or exactly how they’d ended up here, but they had.

He was fun, not bad to look at, gave a good massage, knew how to mix a drink and was proficient in matters best left undisclosed going by how her whole body still felt right now.

“Dammit,” she muttered, looking at him with a smile. “Are you being patient with me and letting me set the pace of this relationship?”

“Did you just call this a relationship?” he countered right away.

“Answer the damn question.”

“Yes I am,” he said. “I’ve got a couple of wrecked relationships from being an idiot, might as well try a different approach this time.”

She sighed, hands coming up to cover her face as she mulled things over. Charles wasn’t just going to be some fling, not with her relatively recent assignment and Atlantis’ new mission. At least not a fling that could poison the ship’s atmosphere. But could she stop her own self-sabotage? Why did relationships have to be so hard and why did she have to keep falling for the ones she just wanted to have fun with?

“Ugh, stupid totally reasonable and patient man, why must you be so?” she asked.

“I just am.” Charles smiled at her, then past her at the clock on the far side of his bed. “Still got time to put dinner back on the plans for the day.”

“You’re supposed to buy dinner first you know.” She reached up and hooked a hand behind his neck, pulling him close once more.

“Oh, my bad.” He was silenced by her kiss.

They never did get dinner that evening.

Comments

  • Loving the scene-setting for the terraced garden. LDS has shown us how vast such arboretums can be, so at least a green patch makes nice sense. I agree with Blake that coffee lids are an evil conspiracy to keep the coffee away from us. I'm entirely sure that she and Mac will be able to keep *feelings* out of this, considering how very hard they've tried to set boundaries XD (way to go keeping it not a DATE-date, which is an important distinction!). Mac is still very sweet in terms of communicating his wants in a patient but fairly clear manner, though. I'm rooting for him.

    July 22, 2022
  • I am truly enjoying Mac's development in these last two stories. The professional first officer who is very much more confident in command and now the cool personal side of him. I did appreciate the shout out to the hideous Hawaiian shirt, not many people can make it work and sadly Mac is one! Haha! I do wonder though how bad is his sense of fashion?

    July 24, 2022