=/ Months ago, Messhall, USS Charon \=
Jack's first day was anything but exciting like he thought it would
be. The work was child's play. His first few jobs were expectedly
easy. They want to work you up. He didn't fight the system, but when
they didn't believe he had finished the job that quickly, he got a
little agitated and holding his tongue took some mental energy.
When his shift was over, he was glad to head to the bar and order a
beer. A simple Australian beer. Even if it was just synthenol, it was
more the taste than the buzz that he was after. He settled into the
barstool and took his first sip, closing his eyes, savoring it.
"Looks like you're making love to that stuff."
He nearly choked, but managed to swallow it before looking over a bit
surprised. A lovely woman stood there looking like she'd just gotten
off shift too and oozing hormones like she was looking for one very
specific type of stress relief. He swallowed and cleared his throat,
"Nothing like that. Just savoring a taste of home." The way she looked
him up and down, bit the cherry off the stem and leaned almost
imperceptibly closer, he knew he was prey. He laughed, "Wrong tree."
She looked at him confused, "I'm sorry?"
"It's an expression. Barking up the wrong tree. I've got a girlfriend."
He raised a brow and looked at her. She was completely unheeded at
that fact. He sighed, "I'm going to buy you a drink." When he got a
hopeful look, he quickly added, "In the hopes it'll relax you and by
the time you're ready to call it a night, you'll get into bed alone
and still respect yourself in the morning."
She laughed, "You're one old-fashioned fellow."
He held up his glass, winking, "I'm a gentleman," and he took a swig
of his beer.
After some time, she sighed, "Look, I really was hoping to hook up
with someone tonight."
He chuckled, "Not gonna let you. I'm not going to let anyone take
advantage of you."
"Look, you can't tell me what to do!"
He smiled at her, "I'm merely suggesting. You're the one still sitting here."
She narrowed her eyes at him, "Damn you for caring."
He chuckled and bit into a pretzel. After some time, they got to
chatting and the woman smiled as Jack went on and on about Callah.
She sighed, "You just told me all that so I'd hold out for a guy like
that, didn't you?"
He winked and smiled at her, "I'll keep you respectable."
She patted his shoulder, "I guess I'll let you."
For the following months, they became pretty close friends. Jack even
introduced her to a few co-engineers. She had just started to really
like the most recent one. She seemed happy and Jack enjoyed watching
two of his friends find that with each other.
Unknown to him, as he sat there, trying to think of how to help his
crewmates, they were among the first ten to be cast out of the
airlock. The screams of terror were sounds he'd never heard from
either of them, so he never thought, even once, that he had just lost
Jack Fellos, II