======= Personal Quarters, USS Charon =======
“Ugh”, the lieutenant muttered running a hand through a matted, tangle of sandy, blond hair. “Note to self: no more Saurian brandy.” Rolling over and kicking off his sheet, Lt. Leon Athalla stretched with a long, powerful yawn on the edge of his bed. A friend had seen fit to celebrate surviving recent Romulan attacks as well as honor a few choice friends for their actions with several choice bottles of brandy they had been saving for special occasions. Unfortunately the group of friends managed to drain all of the bottles over the course of the evening with Athalla going above and beyond to assist his friend in excessive consumption. Fourteen hours of sleep, a hangover, and another five hours of rest was a small price to pay to help a friend.
He just hoped he wasn’t getting too old and soft. Guzzling alcohol until dawn didn’t seem quite as easy anymore. Perhaps he was just in need of rest after recent actions which had themselves been extremely taxing on mind and body. However there was little time to dwell on the past. The party was long since over and Athalla had somehow managed to find his way back to his quarters to sleep it off. He was slightly disappointed he was still fully clothed, but even if he wasn’t it was doubtful he would have remembered any post-party festivities. Still, he always liked surprises.
With a wry grin only a pilot could display, Leon pulled himself out of bed and made his way to the shower. A big breakfast and some hot coffee would help jumpstart the day. Then all that remained was to come up with ideas on how to burn the remainder of his shore leave. Some fresh air would do him some good. Perhaps a brief jaunt on the Vulcan surface was in order. He knew a few places off the beaten track where one could find some fun even on an emotionless rock that was oddly not without emotion if one knew where to look. Some Vulcans could actually party quite admirably once they kicked the whole non-emotion act to the curb for a few hours or were sufficiently induced by means of excessive libations.
A hot shower waited followed by breakfast. One had to keep their priorities well in order.
======= LATER =======
“Come on. You’ll love it”, Athalla pleaded.
“No”, came the stern reply.
“Look, what else are you going to do? Sit here and stare at the walls? You could use some downtime.”
“Why? You have some fear of Vulcans or desert sands or something? Seriously, you of all people need a few hours to get away. Who knows what the future will bring? Now’s your best, perhaps your only chance to have a laugh or two and unwind. “ He lowered his voice. “Especially now since half the ship is in pieces and certain departments are somewhat preoccupied at the moment.”
“I appreciate your offer lieutenant Athalla, however I have my reasons for declining. My presence on the Vulcan surface would not be in either of our interests. I am a prisoner aboard this ship in more ways than one.”
“Nonsense”, Athalla cheerfully replied to former mercenary Aev Keirianh who he had found sitting alone in a triage area for treating the wounded. The converted room was nearly cleared of patients and would likely be returned to its previous role soon. “It’s Vulcan! You’d be hard pressed to get mugged in a dark alley let alone anything else. Worst you would have to endure are condescending stares and the occasional Vulcan with a superiority complex. A battle tested merc can handle that right?”
Aev looked up at the enthusiastic pilot with a distant gaze. “It is complicated Lt. Athalla. I do not expect you to understand.”
“Try me. Better yet, you can explain it to me on the surface. If you think you’re the only one with baggage from the past then you’re in good company. My past isn’t exactly all wine and women. Well actually a lot of it is, but I digress.”
“You have a singular wit however I must still…”
“Nurse”, Athalla shouted. “Go and get security at once. This man shouldn’t be here!”
Aev’s eyes quickly widened for a brief instant only to narrow to thin slits. In his peripheral vision he could see the nearby nurse hesitate and then rush out to fetch a security officer.
“Extortion lieutenant? I did not think you would stoop to such nefarious methods.”
“Uh, I figure you have about forty seconds to make a decision before security arrives and the clock is ticking.”
“I am not amused Lt. Athalla.”
“Thirty seconds merc. You can loosen up and have some fun or you can contemplate your emphatic refusal from inside a brig cell.”
Aev slowly stood towering over the pilot whose height was well suited for cramped cockpits but left something to be desired in the arena of physical confrontation. “Why have you forced this situation? Why is it you humans cannot comprehend the meaning of no?”
“Because I’m calling bullshit Keirianh. You say no, but your eyes clearly say yes. You can’t honestly tell me you want to remain here? Oh, by the way, twenty seconds.”
“You would make a fine Romulan lieutenant. Perhaps you should apply to the Tal-Shiar if you ever retire from piloting. They are always looking for individuals who excel at stabbing others quietly in the back.”
“I think that was a compliment”, Athalla remarked glancing at the door. “Well since its settled I suggest we make a rapid exit before the nurse returns with company.”
======= Later – Transporter Room One =======
An annoyed engineer rubbed his eyes leaning against the transporter control console. “Like I said lieutenant, the transporters are offline for the next twelve hours. The ambassador’s unorthadox use of the transporters during our encounter with the Romulans accelerated our normal maintenance schedules. Chief wants them all pulled apart to ensure their safety. It’s only for a few hours.”
“It’s half a day!”
“Look lieutenant, I’m not the one issuing the orders. While the entire crew gets R&R we engineers get to bust our asses trying to patch this ship back together. Do you have any idea how many holes the ambassador managed to rack up on the hull? Swiss cheese looks better! I’ve been working triple shifts so long I can hardly remember what a hot meal and shower taste and feel like so excuse me if I’m not exactly sympathetic to your plight at the moment. If you think you can put the transporter back together faster and ensure the diagnostics check out then by all means you’re free to take a crack at it. You won’t get any complaints from any of us.”
Athalla swallowed his retort. He couldn’t shoot the messenger even if he wanted to. “Sorry. Hang in there.”
“Yeah. Thanks”, the engineer replied with a sarcastic tinge in his defeated voice.
Turning, Leon glanced up at Keirianh as he left the transporter room. “Come on. There’s more than one way to leave this ship.”
Lieutenant Leon Athalla