((Starbase 118 - Deck 830 North, Apartment 49C.))
Red River Rock.
The sound was as crisp as anything generated by the music files on his computer playlist, and it was turned right up. Max was sitting on his sofa, in a pair of his comfiest sweatpants.
He was stretched out with a beer in one hand and his viewer remote in the other. It was all he had planned for the day, loafing about doing nothing.
As ever, Nessie was curled up on the cushion beside his head, one tiny paw gently padding his beard as she snoozed. Haggis was somewhere behind the sofa, his location given away by the jingling of one of his toys.
Sipping at his beer, he glanced over at the record player. It was a genuine piece, not replicated in any way and must have cost a fortune for whoever had gifted it to him.
The little tag had said it was from “Santa Claus”.
He smiled to himself, before his gaze wandered towards another gift.
Maxwell: Computer. Locate Commander DeVeau.
Computer: Commander DeVeau is in her quarters.
He sat up slowly, so as not to disturb Nessie and swung his legs off the sofa. Taking a swig of his beer and popping the half-empty bottle onto the coffee table he disappeared into his bedroom to get dressed.
Boots, kilt and t-shirt. He grabbed his PADD, scritching Haggis as he scamped by, and headed on out of the door. He had a friend to check in with.
((Starbase 118 - Alora’s Quarters))
The day had come to a close. Although she’d taken a couple of days off, mostly so she could spoil her friends, Alora had returned to work on that particular one. She knew she wasn’t the only one, and chuckled at the irony. They were given time off, and how many people didn’t take advantage of it? For her, there were multiple reasons why, but she really did enjoy her work, so it wasn’t a hardship.
Still, she found herself back in her quarters after work was over. While she may not be taking as much of a shore leave as had been intended, that didn’t mean she wasn’t going to have some time to do something other than work. Even if she loved it, it was still work, and Alora recognised she needed to switch gears. After returning, she paid some attention to her flora, which was growing by the week. She’d previously worked on hybridzing two of her African violets in order to produce seeds, and the pods were developing nicely. She’d tended to the bonsai she had left. One had been placed upon the Captain’s doorstep a few weeks prior, a beautiful Japanese maple that had been his birthday gift. It, too, had been done anonymously. Among some of her newer plants, she’d just potted several in a long box that had been hung over the window. Alora knew she had one of the very few with an outside view, and she counted herself lucky. Vines had been placed within that box, and eventually, they would spill over the side and grow long enough to create a curtain that would hide her from view. Although she knew there wasn’t any real reason for that, she was tickled at the idea of a little hidey hole in her quarters.
On order, she had several more plants coming, including more which would be turned into bonsai. Her adenium, azalea, Bougainvillea and cherry blossom were all blooming spectacularly, and she wanted to get others, for at some point, she would give them as gifts, she was sure. Among those in the order were a few more exotic ones, including a Surrean rose, which she knew changed colours depending on the levels of different nutrients in the soil. That would be fun to work with. Even with all that she had and added to, Alora’s quarters were large enough that she still had some room. Still, a little at a time. She didn’t want to over do it.
As she was fussing over her flora, the computer chirped, indicating that someone had arrived. Pausing, Alora turned. She wasn’t expecting anyone.
DeVeau: Come in!
Though the words couldn’t be heard through the metal, it was the signal the computer was waiting for, and the doors parted, revealing a friendly face. Immediately, Alora’s own lit up with a smile.
DeVeau: Hey Max. How are you?
Maxwell: I’m good, I trust you’re well?
Alora set aside her watering can and clapped her hands together to get off any traces of dirt before crossing over to shorten the distance between them.
DeVeau: To what do I owe the pleasure?
He pointed a finger at himself in mock surprise.
Maxwell: Do I need an excuse tae drop in on a friend? ::He turned slightly, as if to leave, even as a grin betrayed the false-action.:: I can go?
DeVeau: You can, but I always enjoy having a friend over. Though I’m sure you have plenty of better things to do than entertain me. What did you pull yourself away from just for a visit?
Maxwell: Oh, you know. Sprawled on the sofa with Nessie. Kind ae hard watching the viewer with a kitten half across your face.
Alora giggled. While Sachiko didn’t usually do that, she’d had cats in the past who had no problem using one’s face as a pillow. Or a kneading pad. Sachiko was definitely a cat, but she didn’t display some of the cat tendencies that she’d experienced before. She certainly had her own quirks - and her own personality.
DeVeau: Mine’s more likely to curl on your lap or chest. Want something to eat or drink?
Even as she spoke, Alora slid over to her replicator, indicating she was at least going to get something for herself. While she certainly made plenty of trips out to the commercial sector, she was grateful she had the convenience of a replicator at her fingertips.
Maxwell: Aye, just a water the now.
Nodding, Alora asked for a cup of water for Max and a glass of chocolate milk, program 100 for her.
DeVeau: So what were you watching on the viewer?
Maxwell: Oh, nothing much. Caught the end ae the ice hockey. ::He smiled to himself.:: Shopping channels, dramas, even a gardening show.
DeVeau: Did that somehow remind you to come pay me a visit?
He grinned and Alora grinned back, offering Max his glass before taking a seat.
Maxwell: Well, you did gift me a wee flower after all. ::Taking the water with a nod of thanks, he took a sip before continuing.:: Growing nicely too by the way.
DeVeau: I’m glad to hear that.
Alora crossed one leg over the other, then sipped at her drink. Over the years, she’d edited and refined her instructions, so now they were not only step by step and succinct enough not to be overwhelming, but detailed enough to cut out most confusion. Besides, African Violets were pretty easy to care for plants.
Maxwell: Aye, I’m quite surprised that the kids have left it alone. ::He grinned.::
Deveau: Did they respond to it at all?
He gave a short laugh and another grin.
He had expected Haggis to at least have pawed at the flower, and yet both kittens had done nothing more than jump up for a sniff. Haggis had wandered off, never bothering again, yet Nessie seemed to like it as Max kept finding her on the coffee table purring away as she sniffed around the flower.
DeVeau: I find African Violets usually don’t attract them - at least as far as inviting nibbling. I don’t think they’re particularly palatable. You can grow certain grasses specifically for the cats.
Alora motioned to one that stood next to an African Violet on her coffee table. A square pot had shoots of some sort of grass, though half of them had been chewed off.
DeVeau: Cats are obligate carnivores, but they will nibble at greenery on occasion.
Maxwell: I don’t have any other plants, so I’d no seen that. Any reason?
He knew that cats would chobble away on grass etc, but he’d figured it was just a pet thing.
DeVeau: They don’t produce enzymes that allow them to digest plant matter, but sometimes it can help with...staying regular, if you know what I mean.
Maxwell: Aye, gotcha.
Max blew a raspberry and giggled to himself. Yes, he really could be that childish when the mood struck him. Alora simply rolled her eyes and continued on.
DeVeau: It’s also just a different taste and texture from what they normally eat, so they probably nibble on it for that reason as well.
Maxwell: Make a change tae cat biscuits I guess. Nice tae have a plant about the place really.
DeVeau: If it does well and you want another, just let me know. I can give you a completely different one, or show you how to easily propagate your own.
Alora loved teaching others about plants - and animals. Sharing her passion was always a joy, and she didn’t mind spreading that joy around.
Maxwell: That’d be nice, cheers ::He offered a smile.::
DeVeau: So other than watching the viewer, how have you been?
Maxwell: No bad really. Still have moments where… it hits me again, but I’m no bad. Been pottering about the place catching up on some reading, working on a ship kit and things. ::He took a sip of his water.:: How about you? What’s been keeping our science chief occupied?
It hit him? Oh yes, Alora remembered - the death of his father. Such things didn’t go away quickly or easily. Of course it would hit him. Even years from the time of his father’s death, she wouldn’t be surprised if every so often it did it again - especially near that same time of year.
DeVeau: Oh, the usual. Experiments, reports on experiments, looking at the process of the experiments, making
sure we’re keeping controls and variables, searching for discovery, and generally marveling at the wonder of the universe.
Even with everything else, Alora adored her job most of the time.
DeVeau: What about you? Trying to unmask the secrets of the universe too?
He grinned, offering a light shrug.
Maxwell: Am no clever enough tae be a science officer. That was my Da’s thing.
He gave a short laugh as he poked a little fun at himself. Science had never been one of his strongpoints. William however, despite his modest attitude towards his career as a Starfleet science officer, and his civilian career afterwards had collected a fair array of accolades and awards. He’d never won any of the major science prizes, but had received several Outstanding Achievement statues at the vaunted Cochrane Awards. His study was like a collectors hall for framed certificates and shelves of trophies, statues and the like.
DeVeau: I don’t believe you. You’re clever enough, but not everyone is called to go into science. ::She paused, then added a little more gently.:: I didn’t know your father was a scientist.
While Maxwell was a pleasant fellow, and they’d shared a moment, Alora realised she didn’t really know much about him. Hopefully that would change - and the best way to do that was by hanging out.
Maxwell: Oh aye, clever as they came that man. Brave too. ::He snickered.:: Except when it came to trying tae court Mama.
He thought back to the story he’d been told about the night his parents had met at a ball to celebrate some Admirals promotion.
Alora’s eyes lit up. A history of his parents, and a romance besides. Her smile spread wider into a grin and she couldn’t help but ask.
DeVeau: Oh yeah? So how did that happen then?
Maxwell: In a nutshell? When my Da was posted aboard the USS Reiver, he was reunited with an old school pal - my ‘uncle’ Ronnie, and a friend frae the Academy, Mama’s brother.
DeVeau: Ah, so they met thanks to Starfleet. Go on, do tell.
Alora sipped at her milk, eyebrows raised, encouraging him to continue.
Maxwell: Uncle Ronnie had been made captain ae the Reiver, and he requested my Da as chief ae science. Mama’s brother had previously been the Reiver’s tactical chief, and was stepped up tae first officer.
DeVeau: Oh, promotions all around! So where does your mother fit into all of this?
Max smiled, taking a sip of his drink.
Maxwell: So Mama was there as a guest ae her brother, and my Da was lovestruck right there and then.
DeVeau: Love at first sight, huh?
Alora chuckled. It was a fairy tale type story. She’d heard of that happening, though she’d never experienced it herself or seen it first hand. Still, she enjoyed a good fairy tale every now and then. Even better was when there was something of a fairy tale in real life.
DeVeau: But you said he was brave except with her. Does that mean he didn’t proclaim his love for her right away?
Max couldn’t help the belly laugh that erupted.
Maxwell: No, not straight away. He was too busy falling over his own words frae a distance.
DeVeau: So what changed? What got him to actually do anything? Or was he the one who made the first move?
Maxwell: Aye, eventually. Although he was kind ae thrown under the bus that first night by having an introduction sprung on him.
DeVeau: By your father's friend, because your mother's brother had been made first officer.
Maxwell: By Mama’s brother. ::He smiled.:: My uncle Arturo.
DeVeau: Ah ha! A family name then! That sounds like a very Italian name.
Maxwell: Aye, Mama is Italian. ::He smiled.:: She’s the reason we’re all fluent.
DeVeau:. Is your father of Scottish descent?
Maxwell: Da’s side ae the family are all Scots, save for some distant Irish relatives that we’ve nae contact with.
DeVeau:. So how did he finally get the courage?
Maxwell: Well, the Reiver was due tae set out on a five-year cruise the day after the ball. And my Da…. well, he delayed her departure by a good few hours by buggering off tae buy a gift for my Mama.
DeVeau: Go on.
Alora finished her chocolate milk and leaned forward, partially to place the now empty glass on her table, partially because she was quite interested in the story. Meanwhile, Max leaned back in his seat, a cheerful twinkle in his eyes.
Maxwell: The command staff ae spacedock one were no too happy, but uncle Ronnie thought it was hilarious! ::He scratched his cheek.:: Uncle Arturo knew he’d made a good decision tae introduce them about that time I reckon.
Max scratched at his earlobe, aware that the conversation was revolving around him and his family, when the visit was intended to check in on Alora.
DeVeau: I bet they weren’t! Did he get into trouble? What did he do with your mom?
Maxwell: He should have, but it was decided that depriving a ship ae her science chief at the moment ae launch was a bad idea. Uncle Ronnie fined him five rounds in the officers bar as punishment.
Max chortled to himself, imagining the three of them sat, and his Da having to drink water for the first rounds. He glanced down at his own water, smiling to himself.
DeVeau: So your mom was on a different ship?
Maxwell: Mama works admin at a Starfleet storage yard near home.
DeVeau: Oh? She’s not an officer?
He shook his head.
Maxwell: She’s a civilian admin clerk. Don’t think she ever fancied seeing herself in uniform. ::He snickered again.:: Sure my Da wouldnae have objected….
Well, it wasn’t unusual to only have one parent as a member of Starfleet. For some reason, Alora imagined both of Max’s had been.
DeVeau: I guess there’s something about a woman in uniform, eh?
Maxwell: Nae comment.
He started to grin, but then suddenly took a drink in order to hide behind his glass. His cheeks began to burn, as he began to worry about how his comment would be taken.
DeVeau: But you still haven’t told me the best part.
DeVeau: How did your dad ask your mom out? How did he tell her how he felt for her?
That was the meat. The bread and butter. The heart of the story. How had he finally overcome his trepidation? That’s what Alora wanted to know.
He shuffled in his seat slightly.
Maxwell: Well, Mama’s parents were very *very* old fashioned. He had tae ask my Granda permission tae court my Mama.
DeVeau: Oh really?
Lieutenant-Commander Arturo Maxwell.
Chief Tactical Officer.
Starbase 118 Operations.
Lt. Cmdr. Alora DeVeau
Starbase 118 Ops