Lieutenant Chloe Waters: Talking The Talk, Stalling The Walk

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Jesse F

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Oct 14, 2021, 1:03:15 AMOct 14
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((Quentin's Quarters, Deck 2 -- U.S.S Arrow))


Chloe was tense, unbelievably so. The state of Quentin's quarters, in
complete disarray... normally she didn't mind it. But today, for some
reason, she found the space almost suffocating. Was it more packed than
usual? Was it just a trick of her imagination? A reflection of her
internal emotional state, given a physical form she didn't want to be
confronted with?


Strangely, Quentin too seemed... off, in some manner. Chloe couldn't put
her finger on it, but something strange was definitely going on. Even
still, she didn't intend to pry. She was having enough trouble sorting
out her own issues at the moment anyway. The last thing she needed was
someone else to pile their problems onto her.


Collins: What can I do for you? I'm...actually not sure what time it is.


Waters: I was hoping...you could assist me with something.


Chloe lifted a hand to her crown and tapped the device almost casually.
Partly it was her reasoning for being here. She had been meaning to
bring this up for quite some time. The crown constantly changing volume
to adapt to new environments as the surrounding sound level changed was
nice... sometimes. But if she was speaking to someone sitting close to
her, or if she was trying to be quiet, such things just weren't
possible. Chloe could be physically stealthy, but one stray word and her
cover would be blown. This wasn't just unacceptable, it was a security
risk. A liability.


The other part? She really had no idea what drew her to Quentin's
quarters, now of all times. She would've much preferred to wander home
to Mandy and her... their... her? Empty quarters.


Alvarez. Maria. She supposed that was why she was here. She made herself
a promise that she would try this R'Ariel thing. But instead, Chloe had
run away again, and again, and again. Maybe Chloe being here...


Waters: oO Maybe I should ask him? Oo


The thought startled Chloe and she pushed it away almost immediately.
She couldn't... she couldn't...


Collins: Oh, yeah! What did you have in mind?


Waters: At the moment, both the crown and my original translator have
one major difficulty. Their volume control is automatic. Dictated by the
environment. I was hoping to...create some sort of interface that could
be used to control it myself.


Collins: Oh, like a remote! Yeah...YEAH, I actually...


Quentin trailed off and held up a hand, moving away from Chloe and
disappearing among his piles of books. Or at least he would have, if he
were Chloe's height. As it was, it was difficult to not see his
movements, even despite the incredible size of his collection and other
objects around the room. He stopped at his desk and Chloe tried to
watch, but she couldn't see what he was doing behind it.


Waters: Precisely. What are your thoughts? Is this something easily
accomplished?


Collins: Our old friend Tolar from the Eagle actually had this thought
too! She proposed a sort of synced control chit you could carry with you
in your trouser pockets. Last I checked, volume was the main control,
but I think it might have pitch, treble, and bass too.


Waters: Those could be handy additions, particularly pitch modulation.
But... how do you plan to execute this? I already carry enough PADDs on
me, not to mention the notebook you gave me years ago. My uniform cannot
hold much more in it.


Quentin held up a very familiar, and yet distinctively modified
instrument. It was his personal tricorder, Skeets. Chloe raised an
eyebrow and briefly pondered some sort of quip along the lines of 'hey,
I came here for help, not a medical exam,' but she just wasn't in the
mood at the moment.


Collins: All downloaded into Skeets here! We just need to plug it into a
fabrication unit in one of the Labs. And then, you know, wait a few
hours to test the prototype.


Waters: How long will the tests take? I do not want to keep you from
your leave for too long.


Collins: I have all the time in the world for you, Chloe.


Despite Chloe's somewhat downed mood, she smiled ever so faintly. At
least, by normal standards. But that faint twitch of her lips, a silent
expression of gratitude, was highly uncharacteristic of her. Or at least
the person Chloe used to be. Had most others seen this display, there
was a strong possibility Chloe could've been taken for a changeling or
some other form of intruder. But no... this was Chloe. This was the new
Chloe. The Chloe who smiled, however small they might be, however rare
they might come. This was the new Chloe. The woman who dressed... or at
least she hoped she dressed, to catch the attention of a certain other
officer. This woman, whoever she was now... there was no going back. The
egg had cracked long ago, but that crack just kept growing more and more
pronounced. Now, with Alvarez's help she was sticking her head out into
the world. Except this time, she took a paw out of the shell she was in
and had placed it on the ground.


((On the Way to Deck 4.))


Chloe's mind was elsewhere. Her legs knew where they were going, so she
just let herself wander. She let herself imagine. She'd come down here
on reflex, her body brought her to Quentin's quarters, for some reason.
Her thoughts went along with it in the turbolift, though she hardly
remembered that trip either. She had just been walking... and then she
was there, in front of Quentin's door. She wasn't sure why it happened,
but Chloe didn't feel like complaining over it. At least she was using
this time productively, she mused inwardly.


Curious, Chloe managed to pull herself out of her internal musings and
cast a look back at Quentin. He seemed to be... sweating?


Waters: Is there something wrong?


Collins: NO, not at all. Just...slightly warm, I think. Soooooo....


Waters: So?


Collins: Have you spoken to Counselor R'Ariel lately?


"Have you spoken to Counselor R'Ariel lately?"


"Have you spoken to Counselor R'Ariel lately?"


"Have you spoken to Counselor R'Ariel lately?"


Chloe froze. The words bounced around inside her head, over and over,
until they somehow found holes to finally sink into. She was speechless
until they did so. Why did Quentin want to know about that? Was there
something wrong? Had he seen... something? Oh... oh no. Had Chloe given
off signs for everyone to see?


Waters: I... why?


Although Chloe had gotten better at using the crown of voices in its
current form to convey emotions, she didn't think any two words she had
ever uttered with it before were quite so true to how she felt. They
came out in, what could have passed for a completely authentic, human
sound, had no one been watching her mouth.


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 final sentence. She had been
broadcasting signals. He knew. Who knew who else did? Did Captain
Shayne? Did R'Ariel herself know?


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.


Collins: Response


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


Chloe fixed Quentin with a serious look, almost a Shayne-esque style,
looking directly into your soul, stare. There was a certain conviction
in her eyes, the likes of which most people would hardly recognize as
being the eyes of Chloe Waters at this point. She trusted Quentin, but
R'Ariel, she hoped, trusted her. In a way, she felt like she was
betraying that trust by mentioning this little incident.


Collins: Response


Chloe gave a quick, paranoid glance around. The volume adjustment
functionality would come in quite handy right about now, but they
weren't ready yet. They hadn't even arrived at the lab. So, seeing no
one around, Chloe huffed and just went for it. Quickly, directly. Why
was she doing this? She didn't know. But she... she couldn't outright
tell Quentin how she felt about R'Ariel. She wasn't ready for that yet.
But maybe this would send the message.


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.


Collins: Response


Tag, TBC


--
*************************************************************************************

Lieutenant Chloe Waters

Helmswoman

USS Arrow, NCC-69829

****************************** Podcast team member ******************************

Writer ID: E239601CW0

*************************************************************************************

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