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Meeting New People

Posted on Sat May 28th, 2022 @ 4:23pm by Lieutenant Adora (Addie) Hart & Lieutenant Henry Castle

Mission: Season Two - Incidentals
Location: Ship's Lounge, Deck 10
Timeline: Prior to Arrival at Koldara


Having been onboard less than a week still, Castle was still adjusting to the differences of shipboard life. He had grown used to air, natural sunlight, and a real, genuine sky. The windows merely showed the stars. An endless black curtain, pricked with points of light in a random pattern.

The ship's Lounge was something to behold as well. Sure Tabula had it's own form of relaxing - put enough Engineers together, and "The Boiler Room" was to be born. While that resembled more of a nightclub, the Lounge onboard the Pennsylvania was much less energetic, a place to properly relax.

With a drink in hand, the new Chief Engineer surveyed the room for a place to sit. Alas, there were no fully empty tables. With an inward grimace, he went for the second0best option. A table by the large, bay windows had but one person at it, and so he approached.

"Excuse me." Castle said with a somewhat embarrassed smile. "I'm sorry to bother you, but nowhere else was empty. Would you mind?" He indicated the other end of the table.

Addie looked up, slightly startled by the fact that someone had actually addressed her. She offered a wary smile and pulled her tray forward. "Of course," she said quietly, glancing around the lounge quickly. "It's busy tonight," she surmised, her voice almost devoid of expression. "I hadn't noticed." She had noticed. She'd noticed more and more people coming, groups forming, the laughter and companionship, yet the table she sat at had remained empty. She'd noticed. It was only as he sat that she spoke again. "I'm Addie," she offered with another slight smile.

"Henry. Castle. I've recently transferred onboard, so trying to get a handle on the who's-who around here." For a moment, he surveyed the room at large. Then his brown eyes came back to her. "My apologies if I interrupted some deep thoughts."

"Not at all," she picked up the PaDD that had been placed in her lap. "Honestly, I was just reading and enjoying a quiet drink. You're the new engineer aren't you?" she asked, her curiosity piqued. "Didn't you come aboard at Tabula Rasa?"

"I am indeed the new Engineer, and I came aboard at Tabula, yes. A little melancholy to depart. Spent a lot of time getting that place up and running."

"It must be lovely," she mused, her eyes almost glazing over as she contemplated. "I haven't managed to get planetside on Tabula Rasa yet, but I've heard it's beautiful, much like Risa."

Castle offered a broad smile. "The beaches are nice, the water is excellent if you like that... but myself, I find the interior things far more interesting. We got a room, with catwalks above a huge pool of rare, and exotic fish. Gentle fountains coming up to offer the perfect ambience."

"That sounds lovely," Addie smiled. "I guess when you're designing a new colony like that you would have to make sure you pay attention to small details to attract and entice, given the lack of history and those incredible sights that home with historical landmarks."

"Sometimes, not having a basis to work from can be difficult." He admitted. "When you don't have existing landmarks, as you say, to garner inspiration from, it can be a struggle to sift through so many options to find 'the one' that will work."

"As lovely as I'm sure the fish pools and fountains are, there's something to be said for standing in the middle of history," Addie mused. "When I was in medical school we spent a number of weekends trekking through various parts of Earth. It really is humbling to stand in the ruins of a civilisation that thrived a thousand years before your boots marked the ground there."

Henry put an elbow on the table, his chin resting on his hand as he listened to her. The excitement she had was captivating. "While the history is somewhat lost on me, I will say that a few of the ancient structures are fantastic, from an Engineering perspective. The pyramids on Earth, for instance. A marvel."

"We went to a site one weekend, a small place, very low key, but the story was that there was a Spanish man that moved to another country, and he built a castle for his bride before she joined him... this was in a place that castles just didn't exist, at all. They had their happily ever after, and many years later family members stepped up and took on the properly, discovering the hidden history it had. They never restored the castle or anything else to its former glory, but they told a love story unparalleled by any other." She sighed softly, shoulders slumping slightly as she exhaled. "I think it became one of my favourite places to visit, just because of the history."

Henry watched her, a soft smile playing across his face. "Building a castle for someone he loved." The Engineer mused. "Even in a place they didn't exist. He must have loved her a great deal. I like that little tidbit of history, thank you for sharing it." It somewhat reminded him of something. "On Tabula, the primary Ops building. If you head up to the roof, you'll find two sets of initials etched into one of the panels. Not quite the same, but I do like the little details like that on buildings."

Addie smiled, the first warm, genuine smile she had given since he had joined her, her bright blue eyes seeming to shine even brighter. "What else do you like?" she asked curiously. "I mean aside from hopeless love stories lost in history?"

"I am rather fond of old fashioned jigsaw puzzles. I know, it sounds corny. Sometimes, when the rain came down, all I'd wanna do is just lay in my quarters, with a hot drink, listen to the rain outside, and put a puzzle together."

"I love jigsaw puzzles..." Addie said, a hint of colour flushing in her cheeks. "I also really enjoy crossword puzzles and other word puzzles. They're fun," she said with a smile.

Henry couldn't help but return the smile. "When I left Tabula, my team gave me a parting gift - a rather hefty jigsaw of Jupiter Station - I've always loved the design of it. It's sort of an ongoing project. If you'd like, I'd love to invite you over, and we can work on it sometime." It was his turn for a little colour to rise in his cheeks.

Addie smiled, somewhat shyly. "I'd like that," she said quietly. "I'd like that a lot..." her glance turned to the rest of the people occupying the lounge as she took in their presence, her confidence seeming to deflate a little with the action.

Henry caught the subtle change in her, as she looked around the room. A thought in the back of his mind wondered if it was just crowds, or something else. Reasoning it was impolite to ask so early after meeting, he decided on a different question. "You mentioned you were doing some reading." He nodded to the PADD she still had. "Work, or fun?"

"Actually, entirely fun," Addie responded with a shy smile. "I was reading a very old story, but it always makes me smile a bit." She looked across at him, trying to maintain her smile. "Do you read much?"

Henry shook his head briefly. "Reading? Not as much. There is something called an audio book, narrated by a person rather than a computer. It is easier for my brain, as I don't have the focus to read a novel."

Addie laughed sheepishly. "So, true story," she said quietly, leaning forward as if she didn't want anyone else to hear what she was going to say. "When I was in medical school I used to listen to audio books while I was transcribing chart notes. There was a whole subject on transcribing notes, it was the most boring semester of my life. I was tired one night but I had to finish a paper and get it handed in for grading. I had an audio book playing in the background. At some point I switched from transcribing medical notes to transcribing the audio book." She could see the start of a smile on his face at her words. "The worst part? I was over ten thousand words in before I realised."

Henry had to cover his mouth with a hand to keep from laughing out loud. "I'm sorry." He finally said when he had regained control of himself. "I shouldn't laugh, because that must have been horrible at the time, but... that is kind of funny as hindsight."

"I can laugh about it now," she replied as she leaned back in her seat. "At the time it wasn't funny. I almost didn't get the paper turned in. I was up all night rewriting to meet the deadline."

"One of my Engineering essays." Henry began, smiling ruefully at himself. "I was pulling an all nighter myself. I finished the thing, saved it, and sent the file in. I wake up in the morning to an urgent message from my lecturer asking me to come into his office ASAP. Wondering what I did wrong, I go in. Turns out, I had managed to send in the completely wrong file." He leaned in close. "I had sent in plans for a jigsaw puzzle of a MSD - Master System Display - of the Runabout shuttle."

Addie laughed, his own confession making her feel better. "Sometimes I don't know how I managed to get through medical school, one of my lecturers used to tell me I was like a sugared up squirrel, always distracted by shiny things, always forgetting what I was meant to be doing."

"From what I can tell of doctors, being able to bounce from a thousand different things seems like a job requirement. Though I am glad you managed to make it through Med school."

"My parents aren't," she said with a laugh. "I think they held out hope I'd give up and go find a nice boy and settle down. Even when I graduated, they were disappointed I chose to pursue space instead of going into private practice." She shook her head.

"And miss the frontier of the Delta Quadrant?" Henry asked, indicating the huge windows. "If being boring is a thing you like, private practice might work. Here is where the fun can be found."

"Everyone has different definitions of fun. My mother never really caught up with a lot of things. I'm her only daughter, she wanted me to find a nice man, settle down and have lots of grandchildren for her to dote on. I don't know why she needs me for grandchildren, my brothers have certainly given her plenty, but still, there's that only daughter thing." Addie grimaced as she shook her head.

"You gotta live life by your standards." Henry offered. "You live to make everyone else around you happy, you wind up being miserable yourself." He waved a hand at the crowd around them. "Don't worry about them. A lot of people like to go out in public to be seen going out."

Addie smiled slightly, watching him. "People are very curious creatures," she said, glancing around quickly before her gaze drifted back to him once more. "How are you finding it aboard the Pennsylvania so far? Is it everything you were looking for in an assignment?"

He looked out the huge windows at the stars. "I miss the sky, and sun." His voice was a little sad. "Sometimes, I wonder if I should have just stayed on the colony. Don't get me wrong, being a Chief Engineer sure beats Project Supervisor, in terms of prestige. Yet being on board a Starship is quite the change."

"I think that's the first thing I noticed, the smell of the recycled air. I mean, I know it's clean, we have whole teams of engineers to make sure of it... but it's not the same as standing on a planet and breathing in the fresh air around you. The holodeck does a reasonable simulation, but my mind always knows that it's just that, a simulation." Addie sighed softly. "I miss seasons," she said wistfully. "I miss snow... going out in the snow and ice skating, and having fun, then going home and curling up in front of a roaring fireplace."

"Hmm.'Hmm." He hadn't considered the lack of seasons. "That's a good point. A constant environment all year round. No baking afternoons spent on the beach." He tilted his head for a moment, considering things. "Think the Captain would turn around? I think I need to go back." He grinned to show he was joking. 'Almost' joking.

Addie laughed softly. "At this stage I strongly doubt it. He needs to play the white knight and go rescue his damsel in distress. We're just along for the ride."

"The brave hero dashing to the rescue." He gave a small chuckle as well. "Guess we are both living out a hopeless romantic story."

"I'm sure your girlfriend or wife loves every moment of it," Addie replied with a small smile.

Henry's chuckle turned into a full laugh. "I love the optimism, but I don't have either. Currently single."

"Sorry, I just assumed, the whole living out a hopeless romantic story line," Addie gave a small shrug. "There's plenty o singles on the ship..." she glanced around the lounge. "See the red head over there? That's Ensign Gianni, she was just lamenting this afternoon that her love life is seriously lacking. Or... " She paused, eyes shifting across the crowded space. "Lieutenant Jacobson is single too if he's more your style... or..."

"Yourself?" He asked with a smile, almost certain that wasn't where she was going, but he wanted to take the opportunity.

"Me?" Addie echoed, surprise clear in her voice. "I'm single, I haven't dated since I came aboard the Pennsylvania..." a hint of colour was rising in her cheeks. "I guess it likely has something to do with the fact that most everyone is either afraid of me or thinks I'm mentally unhinged."

Henry just shook his head in dismay. "Addie... We've been sat here talking, and in all that time, you've been neither deserving of fear, or unhinged. You've been fun to talk to. Genuinely. I've enjoyed this evening."

"As have I," Addie replied with a smile. "But, as much as I've enjoyed it, I suppose I should get back to my quarters. I have an early duty shift of empty appointment slots tomorrow," she finished ruefully.

Henry slid out of his chair, and came around the table, playing the true gentleman as he offered his arm. "Would you accept an offer of an escort?" He wouldn't force the issue, but wanted to make the offer at least.

Rising from her chair, Addie took his arm and offered a genuine smile. "That would be lovely, thank you."

Heading for the doors, Henry simply gave her a warm smile. "Entirely my pleasure, Addie.'


LT Henry Castle
Chief Engineer

Lieutenant Addie Hart
Ships Counselor


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