Previous Next

Stuck in a Turbolift with you...

Posted on Tue Dec 13th, 2022 @ 10:51pm by Commander Rosa Coy & Commander Jennifer Westlake

Mission: New Horizons
Location: USS Liberty
Timeline: After the Command Party

Commander Jennifer Westlake left the party a little later than she’d liked but a lot earlier than most, heading back towards her quarters for some shuteye before her shift tomorrow. She noticed Coy was waiting for the same turbolift, and almost changed direction to avoid the conversation, changing her mind at the last moment.

Still buzzed from the party, Commander Coy was set on heading to the bar on the station. She needed a little something something and knew the station was a mostly clean slate of candidates to choose from. A body approached from behind and stopped next to her own. From the stance and the calculated breathing she felt a peak was in order.

Coy turned her head slightly and spotted Westlake, then Westlake ample frontal assets, then returned her eyes front. "Commander." She said simply, but with an underlying inflection of disdain in her voice. They would have to share a short lift ride, great.

"Commander" Westlake responded in kind, nothing the tone that the word had been delivered in. What was the issue with this woman?

Once the lift arrived, Coy stepped in, turned and announced to the computer, "Deck 12 port side airlock." She then waited for Westlake to follow suit.

"Deck 8" Jen said simply, already regretting her decision to share the lift. Hopefully it would be a short trip.

Not two decks passed and the lift suddenly stopped moving. The computer announced, "this lift is out of service due to regular scheduled maintenance for the next one hour. Please exit and proceed to another lift." The doors opened revealing a wall. They were stuck between decks, together, alone. Coy's insides twisted in a neat pretzel shaped knot.

Calmly, Westlake peeled the cover of the terminal inside the lift and proceeded to press buttons, only to have the same message repeated several times. She tapped her communicator and reported the issue to Engineering, only to be told there must be a 'glitch' and they'd have to hang tight. Out of options she finally turned to face her lift companion. "Well this sucks," she said simply.

“On that we agree.” Coy said as she slunk to the floor against the wall. No sense in standing the whole time. “Could be worse though. Not sure how, but I’ll think of something.” Coys insides churned. This was the ultimate disappointment, and a definite buzzkill.

“ Everything could always be worse,” Westlake countered, giving Coy a look that could be read a dozen different ways by a dozen different people. “ Where were you heading?” She took a seat against the opposite wall.

Oh are we being civil now? There might be a real person behind those stone walls. Coy thought to herself before speaking. "Over to the Starbase. Going to work off my buzz, or at least I was before this." She gestured at the lift. "What about you, deck 8 was it?" Coy was talking to her but not making very heavy eye contact. Her eyes were roaming.

"Deck 8, I was going to take a walk before heading back to my quarters and finishing up reading the crew profiles. It pays to know who you're working with" Westlake replied honestly, noting the fact that Coy wouldn't maintain eye contact. Was it the alcohol or something else going on? "So since we will probably be stuck here for a while, how did you end up on the Liberty? Requested or required?"

“Bit of both, I guess. Always wanted a bigger, faster ship and had submitted a request to my superiors, but this promotion and transfer blind-sided me a bit.” She rolled her eyes. “But you mean to tell me you were just going back to your quarters from a social gathering where you could have met and interacted with people in order to just study their service records?” Regular nutter this one is.

Jen bristled a bit but kept her cool. "I like to know who I'm dealing with before I have to deal with them," she begrudgingly admitted. "That way they can't catch you unawares"

“I’m curious to know what my records say about me versus what you could learn by simply asking the right questions.” Coy often found the right question could unlock a wealth of information about a person and in some cases get them to tell their whole life story. Sometimes it was just a matter of showing interest and lending a trusting ear. Other times it required a skilled tongue, which she was still hopeful to be able to use this night. “People aren’t a collection of documented details, more like a mesh of experiences smushed inside a single fragile psyche. Each one unique.”

"Yes they are, but the insights of previous commanding officers can also provide a treasure trove of pertinent information. All I said was that I was going home to do some reading. Parties aren't really my thing" she shrugged and leant back against the wall, hoping that by some miracle the turbolift would move by sheer will alone. She was uncomfortable with this level of communication with someone she knew bugger all about.

Coy was now looking right at Westlake, or rather into her, with only the occasional eye drop to her more ample assets. "Look, I will level with you. When you live by a motto of Go hard, Fly fast as I do, sometimes a glance of knowledge is all you get. I have to force myself to slow down in order to see the bigger picture. That said, my initial impression of a person is what I roll with. I sort of have a sixth sense for reading people, women in particular. So, if you don't mind some sage advice?"

Westlake considered the question and almost responded with a smart assed off the cuff retort on the defensive. For some reason though she paused " go for it"

"Go back to the party. Observe your fellow crew in their natural habitat. I suspect that's why our Captain threw the party in the first place and didn't ask personal questions in our one-on-one in the ready room. She likes to read people too. And what she just witnessed were two of her senior staff leaving the party early instead of interacting."

Coy smiled, "problem is, I saw what I needed to see. That Tellarite at the bar, hard worker, big ego. The doctor lady, she's overly caring which is indicative of her nature. There were a couple of people late to the party, either by choice or by design. One should never be late when invited by your Captain. Oh and there was the one who stood alone, drank water and barely interacted. She's likely the quiet, shy type who won't approach you so you have to go to her in order to open that door."

"I guess what my drunken ass is trying to say is, you can learn all you want from the words of people's superiors but like a great person once said, 'You can do a thousand great things that go unnoticed, but fuck up just once and they will never forget.' or something like that. Some of these people have done some great things which went unnoticed in those personnel reports of yours, but I bet they mention every mistake, and every reprimand."

Jen wished the floor of the turbolift would open up and save her from the dressing gown of her character flaws, picking holes in the built up walls that had kept her career ticking over nicely the last few years. She avoided attachment, of any kind.

" So what is me? You read everyone else so well?" Westlake's posture screamed defensiveness and insecurity.

"You? Well so far I stand by what I said in the ready room about stepping on toes and whatnot, but, I am willing to say that was an early judgement call on my part which I'll gladly take back if you prove me wrong. But I feel like you have that 'I don't have to prove anything to anyone' mentality, so I won't hold my breath." She paused before continuing.

"Look, I'm sure you have ample assets to bring to the table." which we wouldn't mind getting our hands on. Coy squirmed slightly at the thought. "And quite frankly I'm hoping to get to know you better as a co-worker both professionally and personally if you will have the heart to forgive my bluntness." She lowered her voice. "Always been one to spout truth, even when it hurts." We also know how to spin a good yarn when our tongue is in the mood.

There was an exhale, as though Jen had been waiting for the sword to sever the head from her body but the strike never came. Still unsure and unused to this level of communication she looked at the floor. " I've never stayed in one place long enough to make friends," she admitted.

“Always chasing that next promotion will do that to a person. Perhaps this is a chance to slow down, appreciate those around you, and find your soft spot. Who knows, maybe you’ll rediscover yourself along the way. And maybe it’s all bullshit and you’ll come to realize listening to me will get you nowhere. Glass half full, either way, there’s a glass with alcohol in the galaxy somewhere with my name on it.” Her buzz was most definitely starting to wane.

Westlake let that information roll around her cranium for a while before responding. "And what of you? You never seem to stay in one place very long either." She countered, eyeballing the Trill opposite.

This statement indicated maybe Westlake had already read her file, or had picked up on the brief conversation that happened in the Captain’s ready room regarding the Seedsower. “Not really by choice, mind you. I’m pretty much an open book, so if you have questions, just ask.” As she finished saying those words the lift started moving again. “Oh, looks like the ride’s over.” She started to stand up, feeling woozie from the alcohol and the lift movement.

"The wonders of modern technology" Westlake grumbled as she hoisted herself to her feet. She wasn't used to someone reading her like an open book, and quite simply it made her feel vulnerable. She had two options, either keep Coy onside so said book reading remained between them, or risk all her vulnerabilities being common knowledge if Coy got on the happy juice again and got to talking to someone else in a broken turbolift.

"Hey, look, I'm sorry if I come across all standoffish. I'm not used to someone picking apart my weaknesses" she admitted.

Coy was now standing and waiting for the lift doors to open. "That's fair, but so you know, everybody's got faults and your weaknesses might be someone else's strengths or whatnot, so…" Coy paused, and mulled it over, "Look, let's just call it a Friendship and be done with it. Need to know and all that. Someday, I might even spill my innermost secrets and we'll call it even." She held out her hand to shake as the humans do. "Whatta ya say, friends?"

"Friends" Jen replied before her brain had a chance to process what was going on.

The doors parted and Coy stepped into the door frame to stop it from closing. She partially turned back, "so, are you heading to your quarters for some light reading or back to the party for those personal details?"

"Actually, I might take a walk and think about what you said." Westlake admitted as Coy headed off to another bar. "You've given me a lot to think about"

"Interesting choice." Coy smiled and stepped back to allow the lift to continue on. Meanwhile she had a date with a bar patron and a stiff drink.



Previous Next