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Part of Starbase Bravo: Q3 2400

Never Know What You’ll See At Night

Lower Promenade Hallway
August 26, 2400
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On a space station, the distinction between night and day was purely artificial in nature. On a busy space station it became even further blurred by the ‘city that never sleeps’ factor of bustling ports, constant through traffic and transiting populations on their own internal clocks wanting to partake in whatever is on offer. There were however parts of Starbase Bravo that by dint of their separation from the docks and Promenade tended to adhere more towards the official clock, such as around the sections that housed the cadet accommodations.

“Warning,” the computer announced in a bland but firm tone, “scheduled power rollback for this section scheduled to begin in fifteen minutes. Primary power to recommence in four hours fifteen minutes.”

“Ssssh!” hissed a stumbling Cadet Katelyn Mianaai at the sourceless voice as she worked her way down the slightly darkened corridor. She wasn’t near the academy accommodations just yet but clearly making her way in that direction. She was dressed for a night on the town, or more precisely the night she’d just had on the town, and was heading back as best as possible to her quarters with her slight heels in hand, bare feet a safer option for walking.

“Query not recognised,” the computer said, though not nearly as loudly, not needing to inform the public spaces of an entire section, just the part around Katelyn.

“Shut up, you’ll wake someone,” she grumbled, a misstep leading her to collide her left shoulder into the wall, which she barely registered, continuing to just wander along. One foot after another, repeat until bed. But a serious obstacle presented itself as she stumbled out into the middle of an intersection and stood there, glancing up one way, then another, slowly working her away around in a circle in confusion. “Dammit…”

Sonja had been given the pleasure of the late shift, which usually meant no events or interesting problems. The biggest thing she usually saw was drunk officers or cadets on their days off. She had gotten a security alert on the corridor near the cadet’s quarters. She made her way there wondering what was happening. As she rounded the corner with her light due to the scheduled power outage she saw a cadet stumbling near the wall.

She cleared her throat “Excuse me can I help you? You’re not authorized to be in the corridors this late.”

In the gloom of station night, Katelyn had been just fine, able to see well enough like it had been intended after all and her eyes had adjusted to the dark and faint red light stripping of ‘night time’ and emergencies. But now as a bright light was shining at her she raised one hand to shield her eyes from that which would happily wreck what little night vision she’d gained while her other, with her heels, was trying to wave the light down. “Sssshh!” she hissed once more. “You’ll wake someone!” How considerate for a drunk cadet, to be concerned with the sleep of those behind soundproofed doors and walls.

Sonja stood firm and spoke with an authoritative voice “Cadet if anyone is going to tell someone to be quiet it will not be you. I will repeat again you’re not authorized to be out here at this time. So would you like my assistance or would you like me to call more Security?”

“Security?” Katelyn asked, still trying to shield her eyes from the bright white little of the torch and dark silhouette behind the light. She couldn’t see yellow shoulders, just a figure. “Wait, more?” There it was, realisation as statements registered, processed and finally understood. “Ah man…” she said quietly her shoulder slumping. “This is, that is,” she stammered as she looked down one corridor, then another as she stood in the crossway. “I’m so lost.”

Sonja went up to the Cadet and tried to show a smile in the dark “It happens all I wanted to know is what happened. I can help you get back, in fact I would love to help you. I just need to know where your housed at. There also will be no need for more Security just me and you. Does that sound ok?”

“What happened is,” Katelyn started, then stopped, brow furrowing in thought as she pieced one idea after another together. “I’ve had a lot to drink,” she just admitted, opting for the easiest path to keep things straight. As Sonja neared she’d be able to smell the alcohol on Katelyn’s breath. “And then someone went and moved the academy dorms.” Absolute, honest truth. How else could she be lost? “Just…just point me in the right direction, I’ll be alright.” And drunken confidence to round it all off.

She was after all quite some distance from the promenades and their drinking establishments, especially those serving alcohol and not synthehol. There had been no reports of disorderly conduct or drunk singing, just a lone, quiet drunk cadet wandering the halls barefoot and having arguments with the computer whenever it gave updates on the upcoming power outage for this particular accommodation block. “It’s this way, right?” Katelyn announced, again keeping her voice low. Her hand with her heels pointed down one of the corridors and she took a few steps in that direction.

Sonja smelled the strong stench of alcohol on her breath, but she believed the Cadet still had her faculties, even if she was a bit inebriated. “Alright Cadet, I will help you get back to your dorms.”

Sonja proceeded to explain how the Cadet could get back to her dorms. She repeated the directions a few times to make sure that the Cadet knew where she needed to go, “Ok, don’t get into any trouble on the way, though if you do ask for Lt Thompson.” 

Katelyn for her part had listened, nodded her head, and repeated key portions of the directions back when prompted. But it was all parroting really, just saying back what had just been said, which was easy to do right? Her drunken salute at the end nearly ended in disaster, her heels almost smacking her in the face, before she spun on her heel and started off in the wrong direction, just walking to get away from the security officer who was willing to let her go. “Thank you officer,” she said over her shoulder. “Have a good night.” And then came the thud as she walked right into the corner.

Katelyn didn’t fall or slump to the floor, just walked into the corner shoulder first. She stopped and glared at it for a moment as if it had somehow offended her by being there and not a few steps over in either direction. “Now they’re moving the walls,” she muttered, then turned back on Sonja, stumbling in her direction the few steps it would take. “Actually I think I could do with a guide. Someone is moving the walls when I’m not looking.”

Sonja smiled and nodded “Sure no worries!” She said as she moved over to help the Cadet get back to her quarters. “Ok, are you ready? If so lets’ get you back so you can sleep this off.” She said as she began to lead the Cadet down the corridor. The Cadet was struggling, but Sonja was helping to support the Cadet as they walked.

“Okay,” Katelyn said as she walked alongside Sonja, then idly looped her free arm around Sonja’s arm and just held onto the only slightly older woman as they walked. “I crashed a runabout you know,” she said, then raised her other hand to her mouth to shush herself, knocking her chin slightly with her shoes. “Right into a forest.” Another shush. 

And with that, as they proceeded through the halls of Starbase Bravo towards the Academy dorms, Katelyn would regale her Sonja with the tale of recent escapades with only a modicum of drunken exaggeration at the peril and stakes involved. All while being exceedingly careful not to make too much noise and wake anyone at all.

Sonja could’ve chuckled at all the stories she had been told on the way back to the Academy dorms, but she didn’t mind. She remembered some of the things she had done in the Academy. This Cadet still seemed to be one that had a bright future just needed to reign in the drinking. 

As they reached the Academy dorms Sonja smiled and spoke up “Well Cadet, this had been an interesting night thanks for not making it boring. If you need anything or want to talk come look me up.“ She put one of her cards in the Cadets pocket as she opened the door to the dorms and let Katelyn go. She watched her making sure she got to her room before departing and heading back to the Security office to check if anything had been reported.