LTCmdr. Quentin Collins - Trusty Companions

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Justin Partridge

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Oct 18, 2021, 12:39:10 AMOct 18
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(Interior. U.S.S. Arrow, Deck 4. Hallway.))

Waters: I... why?

Quentin Collins didn't let the pause in her answer show on his face, but he absolutely clocked it. He hoped Chloe knew that he wasn't making fun or poking at her needlessly. He WAS genuinely curious! And would rarely ever do anything to mock or hurt his friend. One of the longest he had ever had. In and out of Starfleet.

But at the same time, he knew, no, he understood completely that Chloe Waters could take some light ribbing. To just be treated like someone run-of-the-mill with mutual respect. Just enough to be cheeky, but not enough to be cruel. People always seemed to either walk on eggshells around her or, like the cruel and pointed morons of her graduating class (some of which Quentin himself had run-ins with throughout his matriculation to the stars, having shared that same class year), outwardly being mean.

But Quentin, through the virtue of his friendship toward her, knew that really, she just wanted to be supported. To be frank with. Quentin always hoped he had projected that, in a positive and courteous manner (without tipping into cloying). But he also knew about how bullying, of a consistent and bladed variety, isolated someone from the rest of the galaxy. How it caused one to build their walls high. And nobody Quentin had ever known had bigger walls than Chloe Waters. Save for maybe his mother. And sister (sometimes). But Quentin Collins was more than honored to have limited access beyond those walls. He would never abuse or disrespect that personal access (and connection).

Obviously, he tried not to betray this line of thinking on his face, but he continued on, all the same. Just as they were starting to approach the portal to Science Lab I.

Collins: OH, no reason, just...wondering if you've spent any more time
with our most sartorially inclined officer. ::he took a beat, smiling slightly as he did so.:: I also, you know, may have seen the way you look at her.

Chloe's face went deep red at Quentin's remarks and he slightly chastised himself for the doing so.  He never wanted to embarrass ANYBODY, much less someone as close as Chloe. But also, like himself, he knew sometimes she needed to be slightly cornered to address something. 

He just hoped that he didn't do it enough to make her feel trapped. Thus ruining their moment of bonding AND putting a cramp on her budding sense of fashion (presumably undertaken to catch the Counselor's eye which was...also something Quentin had knowledge and experience with. How one had to slightly pick a peacocking route to catch someone's eye. If that was to make him guilty, he would surrender happily).

But first, he would be there for his friend. No matter what new dress or feelings she was sporting.

Waters: I... have not. I have tried to do so, but I cannot bring myself
to get close. I have tried to visit her in her office. I wanted to check
on her after the mission, after our last shore leave.

Quentin nodded quietly as they stood in front of the door of the Lab.

Collins: That's rather nice of you. But I have the sense it...might be a bit more than that?

He was hoping his not-so-subtle hint would be enough to break this particular social dam. The cracks were there, they just needed a bit more separation between to fully give.

She looked suddenly stern. Like Quentin had rarely seen her before. Whatever this was, it was big, and Quentin always understood the gravity and import of...big...ness...

Waters: I will tell you, but you must give me your word you will tell no
one.

The look blared again and Quentin again nodded, sternly and appropriately even this time. He even drew a quick X over his heart and held up the drawing hand in acknowledgement.

Collins: Absolutely, Chloe, you have my word.

She darted her eyes around, as if "casing" the corridor. She then huffed slightly and beckoned him closer. He stooped slightly, but didn't bend fully, as that would have been the most suspicious thing one hearing a secret this juicy (apparently) could do. But he made sure to keep eye contact with Chloe as she finally and flatly started to speak, as if trying to will the Crown quieter.

Waters: She has been hearing voices. Voices in her head. When we left
the award ceremony, I escorted her to sickbay as I wanted to make sure
nothing else happened before she could get herself looked at. I keep
intending to visit her office, but whenever I try... I cannot bring
myself to walk up to the door. It is as if it is blocked by a forcefield
I cannot break through.

Quentin frowned, deeply. That was...serious. Even for a trained and talented telepath like the Counselor was. He didn't know her personal feelings toward her abilities, but Quentin had seen them first hand. Well, seen them psionically first hand. She was powerful and assured in her constructs and defences. But if that was slipping...it was a cause for concern.

And not just to those closest to her, either.

Collins: Has she seen anyone else from Sickbay? Like, are the doctors trying to check on her?

Waters: RESPONSE

Collins: What about the Captain and XO? Do they know?

Waters: RESPONSE

Quentin nodded. He wasn't sure if he misliked the answer, but it certainly made him feel uneasy. He had his own psi-troubles, but this was...in a whole other league. Zounds, an entirely different SPORT.

He decided once again to be honest with her. As he knew without a shadow of a doubt that she would do the same for him.

Collins: I gotta say, that is NOT what I was expected you would say.

Waters: RESPONSE

Collins: I don't know! That you had a crush on her, maybe? We are a little in the weeds here! ::said with a chuckle:: Obviously, I can't order you to, but speaking as your friend, I think they should know. Maybe they have a contact or experience with this sort of thing. To get her REAL help.

Waters: RESPONSE

Collins: No, you're right. But I'll back you whatever you decide, Chloe. AND promise to help you no matter what. As an officer AND friend. Ye Gods, did that sound cheesy? It felt sort of cheesy to say.

Waters: RESPONSE

Collins: After you...

((Interior. U.S.S. Arrow, Deck 4. Science Lab I.))

The Lab was sparsely populated and Quentin STILL didn't know what time it was fully, but he was happy to be back in the space again. A few of the enlisted officers milling about clocked his interest and stood on the spot for a minute, at a loose attention.

But Quentin waved them back into movement, stepping further into the Lab.

Collins: As you were, everybody. In fact, could we have the room, please? If you are in the middle of something critical, please do stay, but Helmsman Waters and I have a personal project we want to tinker with.

After a few happy groans of assertion and acknowledgement (alongside a sporadic handshake or two from an officer to Quentin in thanks), Chloe and Quentin had the room and the wayward Collins was starting to hardline insert the data from Skeets into the mold caster. With any luck it would give them the casing AND circuitry, pre-fab, that way Quentin didn't have to spend another 5 hours encoding, wiring, and setting them.

That would be 5 hours, unless he decided to go bug an Engineer. But they didn't need him bumbling around down in the Engine Room. Getting in theirs and the RAFT-ONE crew's ways. When the plug and data flow were established, Quentin turned with a huff toward his friend and sat heavily in the work station chair. They now had...an embarrassing amount of time to kill. Quentin wanted to start out by stating the obvious (which always seemed to miss him usually).

Collins: You look great by the way! The new dress is a good color for you, I think.

Waters: RESPONSE

Collins: Did THAT maybe too have something to do with the Counselor?

Waters: RESPONSE

Collins: I am just trying to make conversation! We are going to be here a while you know. How did you know I DIDN'T have a date? Or plans?

Waters: RESPONSE

Collins: Yeah, that's...fair. But we aren't talking about me, right now! We are talking about you!

Waters: RESPONSE

--
TAG/TBC
--

Lieutenant Commander 

Quentin Collins III

Chief Science Officer

--

U.S.S. ARROW NCC-69829

ID: E239512QC0

--

F.N.S. CONTRIBUTOR

(SB118 Forums


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