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Part of USS Denver: Mission 4: Can’t Come Home Again

Touch of Paradise

Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, Earth
April 1, 2374 1300
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Steel drums tapped out a distant tune as waves lapped along the white sand shore.  A soft breeze came in off the Pacific Ocean tugging at the ends of Rebecca’s loose red hair. She wore a light crimson floral print wrap over a simple black one-piece bathing suit.

 “Gracias señor,” she said to the bartender as he slid a very fruity cocktail made from the outer husk of a pineapple garnished with a cherry and a silly little paper umbrella. She took a sip of her drink and smiled at Cheon. “Are you sure you don’t want one?” She asked looking at her first officer through her dark sunglasses. 

Cheon smiled at Rebecca as he looked at her. He shook his head, “No, thank you though,” he said as he turned his head to look at his beautiful wife waist-deep in the water.

Even though the Denver had been placed in dry dock and most of the crew had been placed on leave he could not fully relax like everyone else. His eyes constantly scanned their surroundings discreetly. 

Riandri suppressed a yawn as she approached the bar where she saw the Captain and XO; she had been struggling to sleep for the last week or so. She had to admit the weather here was a nice change from her cabin; access to the ocean always made her happy.  She was wearing her hair down over her shoulders, something she would almost never do if she was onboard a ship, and a flowing light pink sundress over her matching bathing suit. Seeing the Captain and XO she couldn’t help but feel a bit of an outsider with this crew after all they had been through; after all, it had been less than a month since she was assigned to the ship. As she reached the bar she began to say “Hi,” but stopped as she blinked suddenly and wavered as a wave of dizziness washed over her yet again. She reached for the bar to steady herself for someone grabbed her arm before she could steady herself and helped to support her balance. 

Riandri looked up and saw the figure of Master Chief Robert Jeter standing beside her holding her arm. “You ok, Lieutenant?” he asked as he helped her to a chair beside the captain’s seat. “Thanks, Master Chief, just didn’t sleep well that’s all,” Riandri responded to which Jeter’s just nodded before turning to the Captain. 

“Captain, Commander.” Jeter’s said with a nod, forgoing the more formal greeting as they were off duty though his uniform suggested otherwise.

“Master Chief,” Rebecca replied with a happy grin.  The war was far from over, but for now, the fighting had stopped and the horrors of the front line seemed like a distant memory.   “This is a beach… a quite famous resort actually and here you are standing there like a stuffed shirt not enjoying paradise. How about a drink? A little alcohol might loosen you up.”

Jeter’s looked around and sighed, “I guess I could…” he responded before opening the top flap of his jacket and calling over to the bartender. “One Dark and Stormy,” he asked before putting a hand on Riandri’s shoulder, “And for you Lieutenant?”

Riandri frowned slightly, the headache slowly going away after the spell. “So many choices…” she said pursing her lips as she thought, “I guess a Tequila Sunrise for me.” She said with a smile. “When in Rome right? Well, Mexico.”

“Should we grab a larger table?” Riandri asked looking out at that patio and the shadows of the palm leaves as they swayed across the tables.

“Yes, let’s do that,” Rebecca said with a smile.  “How are you settling in Lieutenant?”

“Well enough, thank you Captain though I have spent only two and a bit weeks on the Denver everyone has been welcoming,” Riandri said as she stood up and headed to one of the nearby tables. “I look forward to getting to know everyone.”

“Well, it’s kind of why I brought everyone down here,” Rebecca said.  “Not everyone has family here on Earth to see to… or will see,” she said looking in Peter’s direction. 

Crawford raised a glass of hard cider, “Family is relative, pun intended.”  He was keeping his distance from his family’s farm and ranch in Montana.  They hadn’t sent him a message since he’d left for the academy and he had quietly hoped they’d come around eventually.  Those chances died the longer he continued his service to Starfleet.  He went to help Riandri with the tables.

“As my dad says, ‘you can pick your friends.  You can pick your nose, but you can’t pick your family,” Rebecca teased Peter.

Riandri was just sitting down and looking forward to her drink when she heard Rebecca’s comment, “Gross, that isn’t the image I want when I am about to have a drink.” She glanced over at Peter and pushed a chair out next to her, “Grab a seat.”

Peter gave her a side glance, a quiet smile crossing his lips.  He had been honest with Captain Talon regarding his passing comment about Riandri looking better than Nixon – he wasn’t going to try and ask her out on a date or anything.  He was going to indulge his curious nature with her as there was something about her that struck him in a way he hadn’t felt since the academy.  He gave her a nod, “Thank you kindly.”  As he sat he accepted the chilled glass of cider and took a slight sip, the flavors bringing back memories.  “It’s my first time down south.  Lots of travel off-world…but never really wandered much.”

Riandri took a sip of her just after the server delivered it. Looking back at Peter she smiled, “I have a couple times, traveled a bit. I have to say the food, drinks and tropical beachs are great. If you get the chance there is alot to see on Earth.”

Rebecca shrugged and raised her pineapple,  “To the Denver !”

Jeter’s smiled and raised his glass, along with Riandri and they both echoed the statement, “To the Denver!”

Though having spent the first week of his time aboard the Denver in relative isolation to the rest of the shore-leaved crew, Doctor Krull had after that made his way to Earth to meet with his Captain, shore leave or no. He looked up towards the group of relaxing Starfleet…warriors? Employees? Though their relaxation was weakness, he did not at all disapprove of it in this instance; each of them had been through a lot – and feasting was certainly in order. He took a few steps over and raised a glass of…rather silly-looking bright yellow drink with a pointless umbrella which would not even protect its contents from the rain. “May our Blood Scream! To the Denver!stated the Klingon, no doubt surprising anyone who did not realize he’d arrived.

Crawford nearly jumped out of his skin as the Klingon shouted in his language a toast.  He didn’t stare at the warrior.  He tried not to glare.  He settled on nodding with his cup raised.

Rebecca smirked, “And bring honor to our ship and ancestors!”

Seong placed a hand on Peter, “First time not hearing a Klingon sneaking up on you?” she teased as she let her hand slip from his shoulder as she moved over, and placed a kiss on her husband’s cheek. 

Krull nodded firmly and then slammed his fist against his chest. “Qap’la!” he stated, bringing the drink up to his lips briefly before tasting how sweet it was and feeling a little disgusted, lowering it down again. “I am Qel’vek, son of Kla’vek – of House Krull, Captain. It is…Good. To finally meet my new Captain.” 

Rebecca stood and returned the fist gesture, “Rebecca,  daughter of Jonathan of the house Sandoval, and I welcome the warrior Qel’vek to the Denver.  May you bring honor and glory to your house.”

A bushy eyebrow raised, surprised at her knowledge of his culture, he brought the glass up and drank it down, honoring her culture in turn, at least to him. “And to yours,” he stated, his voice deep, graveled, and yet reverent.

Peter turned in his chair, sipping at his glass, “Peter, son…well, doesn’t matter.  House Crawford.  Welcome to the Denver.  May your journey with us bring what you need and seek.”

“Of course, it matters, Peter of House Crawford. I thank you for your wishes.” noted the Klingon

Jeter’s sat back and watch Krull without expression on his face, ‘Krull be definitely keep things lively onboard,’ he thought to himself as he took a sip of his drink, ‘Hopefully, not too lively…’

***

Burkley shivered as he stood there on the transporter pad, he still couldn’t get used to the subconscious cold that he felt every time he used it. He turned and looked at Aoife and smiled as he leaned down and whispered, “You look, great sweetheart.”

“Sir,” Aoife replied standing before Burkley at parade rest. “I believe the captain is waiting on you.”

“Aoife we’re on leave. If the captain needs me she’ll find me,” he stated as he looked about the resort. “Besides, I didn’t pull you away from the Denver and insist that you wear something comfortable to a resort to have you not relax,” he said with a grin on his mouth. He held out a hand to her. “Shall we?”

“Sir, I don’t know exactly what you are planning,  but I have my suspicions. You are my direct superior,  and I have to work with you in close proximity every day. I don’t think heading down that road is wise. In the future and we are no longer in each other’s direct chain of command we can explore something.”

Burkley stood there in shock but he could not deny her logic in the matter. “I guess you are right,” he stated as he lowered his hand. “If you need McKenzie I’m but a call away.”

With that, he slipped away and disappeared into the thick of people that moved about the area.