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Just Friends?

Posted on Mon Jun 22nd, 2020 @ 3:30pm by Captain Cynthia Jackson & Lieutenant Luke Osswell

Mission: Mission 3 - Coming Full Circle
Location: Captain's Ready Room
Timeline: 2261. 230 at 1400

She had seen the Ticker Tape posts. She had done her best to ignore them, but how could she? She was the Captain. While she was far from a prude, she had not done anything so reckless since she received her reprimand. She knew what caused it. Vivyra's pheromones. Though, why she should have picked Luke, she could not know. She was not into shorter men and he was a good half a foot smaller than her, was he not?

The heat of that moment was electrifying and something about it sent a shiver down her spine. No! I can't think that way. And if the Ticker Tape is to be believed, he has a relationship with Xenia. I have to make it clear that this was just an accident and we can't be anything more than friends and crewmates. But how do I get him in my office without it looking like it is for a rendezvous?

She thought for several moments. I can't, can I?

Cindy sighed heavily and finally decided to hit the comm, =^=Luke Osswell, can you please come to my Ready Room?=^=

Luke had been at the Security station on the Bridge, going over the duty rosters of the Security personnel, trying to fill some gaps due to the injuries some of them had gotten when dealing with the Orion intruders, when the call came. A tightening feeling came over Luke. He'd been expecting this summons and was unsure how his meeting with the Captain would go. So, mentally gathering up his courage, stealing a glance at Xenia sitting at Helm with her back to him, he logged off. He acknowledged the summons and went to the Ready Room. As the doors slid closed behind him, he didn't sit down immediately, instead remained standing. "Captain", he said in acknowledgement, standing perfectly straight and to attention.

"Sit please, Luke. I called you here to talk to you, not command you." Her face flushed momentarily as she remembered their encounter on the racquetball courts. "I mean, I wanted to talk about what happened.... You know, between us...."

Luke reluctantly sat down, but his posture remained far from relaxed. "Yes, Captain", Luke started quickly, "we were under the influence of the Orion's pheromones. I should have resisted them harder and I apologise for... what happened. Not only between us, but for what I did to Lt. Neza as well."

Cindy gave Luke a hidden smile. "You did nothing to me, Luke. I did to you, as I recall it, and I should apologize to you. However, neither one of us was in complete control of our faculties." She turned her back and walked a little ways away from Luke and said awkwardly, "You're not my type, you know. I don't say that to be cruel or mean. But, it felt good in that moment, you know?" She turned back to Luke and asked, pink showing on her face. "Do you understand what I'm trying to say?"

Seeing her blush made Luke blush also. And also somehow, his captain calling him by his first name now felt a bit uncomfortable to Luke. Very carefully, he tried to answer. "Captain", he began, deliberately sticking to her rank, "whatever has happened, and however we felt about it in that moment... I.. I will fondly look back to it for the rest of my life." He paused, then: "You're my commanding officer, I feel like I'm already violating a dozen protocols simply by having this conversation..."

"For God's sake, Luke." She walked up to Luke and held his chin with her hand, forcing him to look at her in the eyes. She bent down so she could be at his eye level. "You're my friend, not just my subordinate officer. Don't start that Captain this and that. Like before, if you really feel the need to use my title, at least make it Captain Cindy. I don't stand on rank or ceremony. How many times do we have to go through this?"

For a split-second his eyes hardened, though he quickly brushed away the anger that had found its way to the surface of his emotions. Gentle but firm, he took her hand and pushed it away from his chin. "Captain... Cindy", Luke said, gentle but serious, "I appreciate and perhaps even admire your flexibility surrounding regulations and social conduct. But after what has happened on this ship, to everyone, not just you and I. I need those regulations now more than ever to rebuild the boundaries that we have crossed! I need things to normalise in my head again, lest it affects my duties protecting this ship, and is something I will never allow myself to do."

"Things will normalize, Luke. Just remember, that we're out here in the great unknown. Stuff will happen and we have to be flexible and wise enough to survive it." She sighed and scooted herself so that she sat on the top of her desk. "And we will. I just hope that Vulcan will not prove to be too problematic for us."

Now that there was a little space between him and the Captain, Luke felt much more at ease. And immediately he felt a little guilty for pushing her away. He was sure she didn't mean anything other than her wanting to be friends. But then again, should a Captain be friends with her crew? He had asked himself this question before, now with the added experience of their encounter with the Orions. They had overcome that, despite those pheromones. That made him more confident with regards to the Captain's view on personal and professional relationships. Nonetheless, he needed some time to pass and work through all that had happened the past few days. "Whatever Vulcan throws at us, I'm sure we can handle it, C." Whether he meant Captain or Cindy, was up to interpretation.

"I know we can, Luke." She smiled warmly at her Assistant Chief of Security. "Get back on duty. I'm sure you have a lot to prepare."

Smiling back, Luke got up. "Indeed, let's get to it", he replied. Walking back unto the Bridge, he felt immensely relieved. The last thing he wanted was for things to get awkward in the workplace, especially the kind of awkward that might jeopardise his career. He also felt as if a burden had lifted from his shoulders. Up until now he had tried to keep out of Xenia's way, unsure how to best approach her after all that had happened. Now though, he felt a lot more confident.


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