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Cold Coffee and Cake Crumbs

Posted on Wed May 20th, 2020 @ 10:28pm by Captain Abigail Laurens & Lieutenant Valenna

Mission: Around The World in 8 Days
Location: Mess Hall


With the lounge temporarily closed and undergoing renovations, Abigail found herself sitting in the mess hall instead, a small stack of PaDD's next to her, one in front of her as she stared at the data with eyes that were no longer able to focus.

One hand was wrapped idly around a mug of chai latte that may have once been hot though now would have not been out of place on the Andorian iceworlds, even the toasted banana bread that she had been idly picking at had been forgotten as she lost herself in completely different thoughts, oblivious to anything and everything around her.

Even though it was shore leave, Valenna wanted to take a quick stroll around the Astraea before shore leave ended, just to get acquainted with its geography before they went into their next mission. One could never truly know what would happen once shore leave was over and the last thing she wanted was to be asking where a certain location was because she had never served on an Akira-class starship before.

Having already visited the science labs, sickbay, and recreational areas, she decided to stop by the mess hall for a quick refreshment before continuing her tour. To her surprise she saw the captain sitting with a stack of PaDDs. She walked over to the replicator. "Raktajino. Iced." She grabbed the Klingon coffee and walked to the commanding officer. "Captain's are always hard at work," she said sipping her iced coffee. "Even on shore leave."

Abigail looked up, blinking slowly until recognition appeared on her face. "Lieutenant Valenna isn't it?" she asked warmly. "Sorry, I was a million miles away..." Well, maybe not a million miles, but her mind was definitely well beyond the confines of this ship. "Would you like to take a seat? How are you settling in?"

Picking up the mug in her hand thoughtlessly, Abigail took a sip, wincing at the stone cold, now bitter taste of the liquid within. "Ughhh, clearly I was day dreaming a lot longer than I realised."

"Yes, Valenna," she replied. She sat down in front of Abigail. "I also hate when a hot beverage goes cold." She sipped her coffee. "I guess I'll need to finish mine before it becomes lukewarm, but if I were in your shoes, I would probably daydream a lot too."

Abigail laughed and shook her head. "I was just reflecting on shore leave," she said with a smile. "I'll be honest, I didn't get to spend nearly as much time planetside as I would have liked, but it was well worth it." She pushed the mug away and leaned back in her chair, her hands resting in her lap. "How are you finding the ship so far? Any problems settling in?"

"I haven't had the time to meet much of the crew yet," Valenna replied, "but from what I've seen from the ship so far I like it. My quarters are nice, and I'll spend some time making them feel more like home. I had never served on an Akira-class ship before until now." She shrugged while gripping her mug. "I'm hoping that giving up my teaching responsibilities and being back on a starship will give me time to write my next book."

Abigail pondered for a moment as she watched the Klingon woman. "You know, I found your records really quite fascinating. I mean, a Klingon in Science is interesting enough, but with your age when you joined the Academy and your other academic ventures, I'm impressed, very impressed."

Valenna nodded. Now she had been used to talking about her past, but even with being 122 years old...being a practically disowned Klingon wasn't all that cracked up to be. "Thank you, captain. I was round 74 years old when I finally realized the potential of myself, an age that most people have already figured out what they wanted to do with their life. I'd like to say that those first 74 years weren't a total waste, but that would be a lie. I haven't spoken to my family in years since I decided to pursue something outside of what was acceptable in my culture. But again, thank you for your kind words."

Reflecting back to the moment she told her mother that she wanted to be a scientist had caused their family so much shame. She pushed the memory to the back of her head, thinking maybe she should eventually see a counselor about the issue. "So, Captain, how did you end up commanding people to their death?" A crude way of asking about Abigail's history, but definitely imitative of Valenna's personality.

The wording of the question took her by surprise, but Abigail offered a smile instead of responding immediately. "Honestly, I'd never thought about I went through an unpleasant divorce. Work was a good way to distract myself. My Commanding Officer at the time recommended me for Command Training. Here I am." she shrugged slightly. Sure, there was a lot more to the story than that, but that was not a conversation she would enter into with many, let alone a member of her crew.

Valenna nodded, understanding what the Captain was alluding too. She certainly gave off the impression that it wasn't something she wanted to dive into, which she respected. There was certainly things about Valenna's past that she didn't want to discuss. "I personally could never see myself in command," Valenna said swirling her Raktajino around in the mug. "Starship officer and the Academy instructor are where I'd prefer to stay."

Abigail laughed softly. "You know, at least once a day I ask myself why I do this, I tell myself that I'm not cut out for it or I should quit while I'm still ahead, go find a man and settle down while I still can." She shook her head. "In truth, now it's just as much a part of me as anything. I don't think I could give it up if I tried. This ship, this crew, it isn't just a job, it's my home, my family, my friends." She paused and drew in a deep breath. "Sorry, I'm rambling."

"CHATLH!" Valenna said loudly in Klingon. "Never apologize for speaking of your courage, it is all we have sometimes." She sipped her drink and made a face. "Lukewarm..." She studied the woman's face. "I often find myself rambling about my life as well, but I like to tell myself, what's the point of having experiences and feelings if you can't tell other people about them?"

"Valid point," Abigail said with a slight nod of her head. "Though there are some experiences that should most definitely be kept to oneself," she finished with a laugh.

Valenna cleared her throat. "Captain, I have a rather weird question, but I was wondering if you had any affiliation with Starfleet Academy?"

Abigail shook her head slightly. "Not since I graduated, I went back once as a guest lecturer when I was on a layover on Earth, but aside from that, no."

Valenna nodded. She had spent times jumping back and forth with the thought of whether she was best served aboard a starship or at the Academy. "I think it's good for every officer to go back at least being in the field and sharing what they know to bright-eyed cadets. Did you have any plans for shore leave besides..." she gestured to the PaDDs, "...this? I know you said you didn't get the chance to spend as much time planetside as you would have wanted. What were you planning on doing, if I may ask?"

"I was spending time with an old friend," Abigail said, the corners of her mouth turning up in a smile as she leaned back in her seat and thought about it. "He was recalled to his own ship with new orders so I came back to Astraea, and it seems it wasn't a moment too soon given the hijinks that the crew have been up to in my absence!"

Valenna frowned. She was familiar with the term "hijinks" as it was frequently used by instructors at the Academy. Sometimes the cadets would play pranks or just do outrageous things. She unfortunately, because of her age being in the Academy, never got to experience that. "Hijinks, sir? On a Federation starship?"

"Oh, believe me, there is plenty. Even the most senior officers are known to break protocol once in a while and get up to mischief." Abigail smiled warmly. "But it's okay, for the most part the ship doesn't usually get damaged and people don't usually get hurt."

Valenna nodded. It seemed quite immature to her, but then again most people thought of her to be a little uptight. She just hoped she was a victim to the hijinks. "Well, hopefully the officers committing the hijinks will be disciplined accordingly, but that is just my opinion." She smirked. "Whenever my students partook in pranks I punished them with Klingon strength training."

"So long as it remains innocent, I don't see the point in punishing people for blowing off a little steam. We all need a way to wind down," Abigail smiled gently. "When I was on my cadet cruise I saw a couple of officers hauled over the coals for what really was just a bit of harmless fun. No one was hurt, nothing was damaged, but the Captain went completely over the top with punishment. I swore I'd never be that person. We all need to let loose sometimes."

The Klingon scientist swallowed, remembering the nicknames that some of her cadets had given her for being a hard-ass. She had never been one. "Perhaps even at the age of 122, I still have some things to learn--about letting loose. Sometimes it is hard for me to not be so serious all of the time."

"Trust me, a little bit of time with this crew and you'll find the lighter side of life," Abigail said with a laugh that faded as her gaze fell on the PaDD's in front of her. "Well, as enjoyable as this has been, I suppose I should get back to work. Still a lot that has to be done. It's nice to see you again Ensign."

"It was nice to meet you as well, Captain." Valenna stood and gave a nod. "Enjoy the rest of your day, sir." With that, Valenna left the Mess Hall to continue her tour of the ship.


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