((OOC- This occurs prior to DeVeau’s promotion.))
((Starbase 118 Ops - The Science Lab))
The computer chirped, then responded.
Computer: Permissions changed, access granted.
DeVeau: There we go. All set whenever you’re ready.
Ch’cachra: Thank you. ::pausing:: Are you finished with me?
Oh, that was a loaded question. If Alora were to answer honestly, it would be no. No, she was far, far, far from done with him. She wasn’t about to let him in on that little secret, though. Smiling, she nodded. For the moment, he would be free of her. Just for the moment.
Rhyl nodded, and without looking at her again he turned on his heels and walked out of her office. He kept the data padd.
((The Next Morning - 0600))
Rhyl had arrived early at the Science Lab and set up several computers. Their systems were interlocked, but each ran a separate program independently. It greatly improved performance power and processing time, though it had been a handful to carry it all. The Andorian was already deep into unraveling the guts of the computer system by the time the scientists arrived to work… people began to walk past the window, but he was a million miles away and didn’t particularly perceive them.
He hadn’t turned on the main light in the room yet, and ate an easy-go egg sandwich while he worked, a small square cut hanging from his mouth as he tapped two panels simultaneously, working there in the dark to the glow of bright screens.
He didn’t notice when the door opened, but he did blink as the light turned on. It was, of course, the only other person who would have access to the room. Alora had been surprised at the darkness, and even more surprised at the man who was working in said darkness - save, of course, from the light from the computers he was working with.
DeVeau: Well good morning.
Ch’cachra: Mmm…? ::he finally glanced up, removing the uneaten square and chewing the bite he’d taken:: Oh. Lieutenant Commander DeVeau.
She *had* told him she would be the only one to enter this space, after all, but he still sounded just a touch surprised at her presence.
DeVeau: Alora. I was going to offer you some breakfast, but I see you’ve already eaten. I can bring you something else if you’re still hungry, though.
She was tempting him with one of his few weaknesses. His stomach.
Ch’cachra: … could stand to eat.
DeVeau: And...exactly how long have you been here?
Ch’cachra: Mmm… an hour, maybe.
Or so. After his shift had ended he’d gone to swim a few miles in his open ocean program, and had collapsed, exhausted the night prior. He probably still smelled like salt water, as he hadn’t bothered rinsing off after. One of the benefits of not bothering to socialize meant you had enough time to recuperate and be ready early the next day.
DeVeau: Only an hour?
Ch’cachra: ::a bit more quietly:: Two, I guess.
DeVeau: Okay. I’ll be right back.
Alora turned on the ball of her foot and exited, leaving the man alone, though that time with the lights on. Down the hall, she made her way to her replicator. A moment later, she had a tray, upon which were two mugs of hot chocolate, two bowls of grits with lots of butter, sausage enough for the both of them, plus salt and pepper - and utensils with which to eat everything. As she made her way through the door, she commented.
DeVeau: It just so happens I didn’t get breakfast either, and I prefer not to eat alone, so this is perfect.
For her at least.
Rhyl turned his eyes to her for the quickest part of a moment before they hit the screen again, but he lifted the hot chocolate and took a drink, hardly looking at what was in the cup before drinking.
Ch’cachra: … I prefer to work while I eat.
He didn’t offer any more conversation as he issued several commands to the computers, before lifting the bowl and taking a bite, again with hardly acknowledging what the food actually was first. But he paused and glanced down after that first bite. He hadn’t had this before.
Ch’cachra: It’s good. Thank you.
That was probably the nicest thing he’d said to her so far.
DeVeau: If you like pepper, add some. I really like grits with pepper. Also salt enhances the flavour. And you’re welcome.
Alora, for her part, stabbed at one of the pieces of sausage with her fork. Meat on a stick. Yum. After enjoying a bit, she tilted her head to the side, regarding the Andorian.
DeVeau: So what got you interested in Starfleet?
Ch’cachra: The work.
DeVeau: What specifically about the work?
Alora nibbled again on the sausage, then set it back down on her plate so she could take up the other bowl of grits. Mixing in the butter, she added some salt and a lot of pepper, getting it nice and spiced, before taking a bite.
Ch’cachra: … it’s challenging. It keeps me busy.
If she were to look at the computer screens, she would see a complex jumble of computer code and programming, which was the framework for her new system. He punched in a new command and then leaned back in his seat to eat while letting the computers do some of the leg work.
DeVeau: I hear you about that. Starfleet lets me roam the stars, see new things, meet new people, be a part of something bigger. I enjoy it.
Ch’cachra: Do you *usually* spend your free time with random engineers?
He didn’t look at her any more than he already tended to, but seemed stumped by the simple answer.
Ch’cachra: … I should really focus if you want this done in three days. I didn’t factor in social meals.
DeVeau: I’m willing to give you some buffer time.
Yet, Alora also knew that sometimes, she needed to ease off. Taking her bowl and plate and balancing them carefully, she left him the tray.
DeVeau: I’ll check in with you at the end of the day and you can give me a run down of what you’ve got thus far.
Ch’cachra: Excellent idea.
Careful not to drop anything, Alora made her way out of the room, leaving the Andorian with his screens and his food.
((End Of The Work Day))
Rhyl stretched his arms upward… which sent them up along the floor, as he was laying on it. He wore a VR headset, had one leg crossed up over a knee, quite comfortable and interacting with the computer programs directly via the sensory program. His computer screens floated in his field of view, and he’d lost track of time.
Having eaten his delivered breakfast he’d forgotten all about lunch, and worked straight through the day, breaking only twice to visit the Little Andorians Room before instantly diving deep into his programming once again. On the floor with him were the remains of a few snacks he’d had tucked in his bag, and the bowl from breakfast, forgotten about in his haze of programming bliss.
The doors slid open and Alora stepped inside, rather surprised to find the man in the position he was in. For a moment, she paused just to get a good look at the scene in front of her, and managed, somehow, to prevent a chuckle from escaping. Carefully, she tiptoed over to him, then leaned over, her hair spilling over and draping down, casting a veil about her face.
DeVeau: Hard at work I see.
He heard her, reached up, and deactivated his virtual interface. Slipping the eyepiece up with a thumb so it rested on his forehead, he turned his head but didn’t get up from the floor.
Ch’cachra: I planned to work a few more hours. I’m making good progress.
Deveau: Hm. I’m glad you’re making good progress, but you’re not working a few more hours.
He paused, honey colored eyes setting on her suddenly, with the question in them clear. Was she kicking him out? He hadn’t factored *that* into his timeplan.
Ch’cachra: … okay.
DeVeau: I’m taking you to dinner.
Ch’cachra: I’m perfectly capable of getting dinner on my own.
That grin that was already on her face only widened even further, mischievousness joining the amusement in her eyes.
DeVeau: I’m sure you are.
Ch’cachra: I’m *sure* you have better things to do. *Friends* you’d rather spend time with.
It was another of his smoothly delivered statements that bordered on rude while still being acceptable. If it ruffled her feathers, Alora was doing a very good job of keeping them smooth to the eye. Instead, it seemed she only grew even more amused at his protest.
DeVeau: I do have other things I could be doing. I do have friends I could be spending time with. However, I am choosing to do and spend time with you. What’s your favourite type of food?
He froze, there on the floor looking up into her eyes, past her flowing hair… and for once he appeared caught out. She wanted to have dinner with him, and that was *dangerously* frivolous with no work to buffer the attempt to socialize.
If this happened he would have to make… *chit chat*.
Ch’cachra: I’m really not hungry. Thank you. I’ll just go.
The Andorian pushed up easily from the floor to his full height, set his jaw up stiffly, drew the headset off his brow and set it on the desk next to the third monitor. He would leave the computers to finish processing overnight, for him to arrive to a more complete picture and more to work with directly.
DeVeau: You’re not hungry. I’m pretty sure you haven’t eaten since breakfast, am I right?
Ch’cachra: ::not liking where this was going:: … I had snacks. I’m totally fine, ma’am.
DeVeau: Okay. So you’ve already skipped one meal and you’re supposed to have at least three. Now, what’s your favourite type of food?
Ch’cachra: Ahh… ::trying to think fast, but failing to find a way out:: … seafood.
DeVeau: Oooo, good choice. Okay, I know a great seafood place. Come one.
She twirled around and aimed for the door, but paused upon the threshold. Looking back, Alora arched an eyebrow at the man.
DeVeau: Well, come on.
He sighed, almost barely too dramatically, but restrained his expression to a mildly annoyed neutral, his antennae turning down and away as he had hoped to refuse and felt the sting of failure and moved to follow behind her.
Ensign Rhyl Ch’cachra
Starbase 118 Ops
Lt. Cmdr. Alora DeVeau
Chief Science Officer
Starbase 118 Ops