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The Mess... is a Mess...

Posted on Fri Feb 14th, 2020 @ 1:54am by Lieutenant Luke Osswell & Lieutenant Kevin Chambers

Mission: Mission 2 - Love ORION Mistaken
Location: Officer's Mess
Timeline: 2261. 227 at 2200

Chambers walked easily and quickly to the Mess hoping like hell to have a bite to eat. Granted it was the tail end of Second Sitting, and well, it might have been a leftover Naval practice from history long past... but that didn't explain the sparseness of personnel.

'All the better,' Kevin muttered under his breath, now focused inwardly on actively dismissing rather questionable occurrences. Hallucinations. Caused by low blood sugar. Or even isolation from crew members that might cause his psyche to fabricate one or two to keep him company as he worked. Wasn't that what he was using the Computer for as it was?

It might be time for another check-up... and he stopped. Stopped chewing, stopped thinking. The one glaring concern he had regarding that avenue? What if it showed NOTHING? No explanation? No... excuse? He looked down at his plate and pushed the food around on it with his fork, absent-mindedly organizing it by form, size, and color. It was an automatic behavior because Lieutenant Kevin Chambers, CEO of the USS Legacy, was fully engrossed within his own ruminations.

If there was no physical explanation for his... searching for the word, he dismissed several until he came to 'episodes' which made it sound like it was repetitive (and that was not the case, hopefully) or he was well... it was all in his own mind.

Taking a deep breath he came back to himself and his plate, covered in an organized display of vegetables. Looking up, he glanced around before spinning his fork through the OCD filing system of his food and stabbed a piece of it with a tine. He shook off that feeling and decided that, no matter how the examination turned out, he'd have an answer.

Right after lunch...

After having taking a shower Luke felt like a new man. Captain Cindy had really worn him out, he was sure he'd experience one hell of a muscle ache in the morning. His head was a big mess though. Sure, the Captain, Cindy, was stunningly beautiful and he definitely felt attracted to her, especially after what happened in the racquetball court. But, first a hot night with Xenia, and just now, with THE CAPTAIN!? On the same day!? What had gotten into him? He was not one to lose control like that... Apart from that, he was sure there was a regulation somewhere forbidding the Captain to have intimate relations with her subordinates.... But what ate him up the most was that he felt he had wronged Xenia somehow. Even though it was technically just a one night stand, he did feel a connection to her, and admittedly, he would not mind it if she would want to see him again. What if she were to find out about him and the Captain? What if the rest of the ship found out? Would this effect his career? He tried to shake such dreadful thoughts.

As he got dressed he realised he was quite famished and was literally starving for food. He contemplated staying in his room and replicate himself some macaroni and cheese and watch another movie. However, considering how well that plan worked out yesterday it was clear to him that keeping himself secluded in his room was definitely NOT the answer to his predicament. Besides, he could really use some distraction for his brain. So without further ado he made his way over to the mess.

Holding a steaming plate of pasta he looked around for a place to sit and found the Chief Engineer sitting at a table by himself. Having not yet met the man, Luke decided that now was as good a time as any. He walked up to him and asked: "Hi, mind if I join you?"

So steeped in his own thoughts, Kevin almost spit out the mouthful of food he was chewing. Whatever coolness he might have appeared to have had when first looking at him went straight out the airlock with that near spit take. And to add insult to injury, while he tried to swallow quickly to answer, he almost choked on his mouthful as he held up a finger as if to indicate for the newcomer to wait a second... but air wasn't coming and neither was a coherent answer, so red-faced and eyes tearing, he nodded and indicated a seat across from him.

'At least,' he thought to himself, 'none of it came flying out of my nose.' How would a CEO come back from such a thing? But he resolved to tough it through his predicament. After several sips of water, small hiccuping stifled coughs and a hearty wipedown by a handful of napkins he'd grabbed, he smiled sheepishly and tried speaking.

"Hey," he said, throat raspy from his coughing fit. "Chewing is apparently an acquired skill... I'm still in training." He gave a lopsided grin and tried to piece his dignity back together and figured that it was ok... Legacy still loved him.

"You can always rethink that request about joining me."

Trying to cover his discomfort, he eyed the water glass to fill the awkward silence he was expecting, then thought better of it. Then he grabbed it, downing the remainder of it in one gulp, daring the tickle in his throat to return.

Thankfully, it didn't.

Luke purposefully took the time to carefully put down his plate on the table and sit down at the opposite end of the table at which the Lieutenant was currently seated. But then he gave a disarming smile and said: "After having initiated a near death-by-choking event by asking to join you, I would consider it extremely poor manners on my part to just walk away as if nothing happened and eat my food elsewhere. Seriously, had you gone on for five more seconds I would have had to perform the Heimlich manouvre on you. Are you alright?"

"Physically? Yes..." Kevin said, chuckling self-consciously. "But my pride at eating without assistance has taken a very big blow..." He cast his eyes downward for a moment, waiting for that humorous moment where it might have dawned on someone that he was joking.

It hadn't been that long since he'd been out amongst people, had it?

"Ah, to bond over near death at the dinner table. Sounds like a twisted holo novel huh?"

The golden rule is never to let pasta grow cold, Luke was already digging into his pasta like a maniac. He was famished. Luke grinned at the Chief Engineer's joke. "It does indeed. Highly more enjoyable than the more run of the mill 'dine and dash' scene." Luke's head turned semi-voluntarily as two female crew members walked by. It took him some effort to focus his attention back on... he realised he didn't know the Engineer's name yet. So he promptly stuck out his hand over the table to properly introduce himself: "I'm Luke, by the way, I recently joined the Security Department."

"Kevin," Chambers responded as he was systematically eating his food in color-coordinated splendor. "I'm Chief Engineer." He looked up and promptly grasped his hand in a warm and easy handshake. "Welcome to the Legacy. I'm sure She's glad you're aboard."

"Thanks, Kevin", Luke said. "Indeed, I haven't been here long but Captain Cindy has definitely done her ...utmost... to make me feel welcome here." Clearly Luke hadn't guessed who Kevin meant by "She".

"Great..." said Kevin, going with the interpretation rather than correct him. "Glad she has." Taking another bite, he chuckled. "Can't say I've seen a lot of the Captain myself. Or anyone else for that matter. Can't be missing too much, I expect."

I have seen too much, I think... , Luke thought. He frowned at Kevin's remark. He gestured around the room and the few people there. Despite the sparseness of personnel, there were drinks, there was laughter, but different than usual, and there was a sexual tension in the air unbecoming of a run-of-the-mill officer's mess. People were definitely flirting witch each other. Snips of conversation reaching there ears containing clear innuendo's... There was even a kissing couple tucked away in the far-right corner. "If that is so, what would you call all this?"

Kevin looked up slowly and blinked in surprise as though he hadn't seen people being... intimate... before. But not in public. On a Starship. In the Mess. On Duty. He gave his arm a twisting pinch and realized that not only would that leave a bruise, but that he was, in fact, completely awake. "Bizarre," he said reflexively. "When, what... do we report this, or something?" This... what the hell was THIS?

Luke shrugged. "I already went to the Doctor, she didn't seem to think there was anything wrong...", he said. "Something is afoot though, we've had more violent incidents than usual lately, and reports of excessive PDA, if you might call it such. Busy times for us security personnel. Even I feel more agitated than usual" In more ways than one he added mentally. He then eyed the Chief Engineer for a bit. "Have you felt anything... weird or out of place, maybe?"

His eyebrows raised and then his eyes narrowed as he looked at Luke. Kevin wasn't sure what he might have meant by that. "I don't think so," he replied. But really, who was he to judge his own headspace with respect to his near-obsession with The Legacy and its upgrades and finetuning. Hell, who was he kidding. It was an absolute obsession. And then he was hearing... "Although," Kevin said slowly. "Mayyyybe."

After all, he was considering heading to Sick Bay to... to what, really? Tell them that he thought he was going crazy? Functionally insane in the middle of Deep Space. How wonderful. "Not sure, to be honest, Luke."

"Hmm", Luke began, "well if you don't know for sure than that is probably a yes." Luke started to ask the Chief Engineer to give him an example of what might have happened, but then decided against it. He barely knew the man. Instead he said: "You might also want to go to Sickbay then, just to be sure, okay?

Kevin nodded, giving his lopsided grin. Hopefully that'd break up the weirdness and make the meal less... awkward? Whatever... "Thanks, Luke, I'll do that." He took a big bite of his food. "After lunch..." Maybe he'd think more clearly on a fuller stomach? Who knew...

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