831: Snap and Boing

by Lara Valera Ryn and February Grace
Following Just a Coffee

-=Deck Six, USS Serendipity=-

Lara Valera Ryn walked up the corridor and, hearing music coming from Reece's lab, knew better than to even bother trying to get his attention before entering.

She stepped through the unlocked doors, bracing for the impact of sound as she was certain that he'd crank up the volume once he saw her just to make the point he could do it because he was, as he liked to refer to himself, the 'top taco' in Science aboard ship.

But instead, she found that the music was actually getting quieter- and it consisted of the strains of the strings of only a singular instrument.

She looked over the room, up at the inexplicably hung strands of colored Christmas lights that adorned the ceiling and gave the room an almost carnival like atmosphere that, the more she thought about it, suited Reece to a T.

"Commander Reece?" She called hesitatingly, not entirely certain she really wanted to find him. Still, she had a report she had to turn in, and he was the one she was expected to give it to.

"He's not here," a voice called from across the room. Lara looked beyond the Ping Pong table (which somehow she had missed noticing the first time she'd been here) and the bean bag chairs and finally discovered the source of the music.

There was a woman in bubblegum pink civilian clothing sitting in a chair in the far corner by the viewport. She was holding a guitar that said Fender on it and strumming it skillfully. "He had an errand to run. But he'll be back soon. You're welcome to wait for him if you like."

Lara observed that the woman seemed to be having a hard time holding onto the guitar. It kept moving as if under it's own power as she tried to play it. The woman complained, stopping to tap her stomach in protest. "So you don't want to hear that song. Fine, I'll play another one."

Upon closer inspection Lara discovered that the woman waiting here must be Reece's wife, February Grace, and the reason she was having trouble holding the guitar was that her unborn child seemed to be trying to kick it off of her lap.

"Everybody's a critic." Bru smiled gently as she looked up at last to properly greet the newcomer. "I'm February. I don't believe we've met."

"Lara Valera Ryn," Lara said, nodding.

"You're the new scientist?" Bru said, adding aloud before she could stop herself, a slightly concerned sounding, "you're cute."

After the day Lara had had - from the bridge to the cafe - she just decided to go with the flow. "Blondes do have more fun." She used one of her hands to toss her hair back coquettishly.

"You're telling me. Of course Deveral had the most 'fun' of all my past hosts and he had dark hair. Jevin was completely bald and never had any fun whatsoever. So there you go." Bru replied in a light and fun tone. But the truth was she'd been thinking a lot about Deveral lately- hence why she was now sitting in Dabin's lab, waiting for him to come back so she could talk to him, and playing Deveral's favorite guitar in the meantime.

Lara tried not to grimace as the other woman mentioned her previous hosts. She really was not trying to take out her own personal anger on the other Trills around her. It wasn't going to be their fault when the Trill government got around to blowing a gasket.

Trying to find a more pleasant topic - and quickly - Lara looked around the room before returning her attention February. "Did he say when he was coming back? I wanted to drop off a report."

"Dabin? No, he," Bru started, but then stopped. Her attention was drawn toward the bump she was carrying. "Yes, little one, daddy." She giggled softly, girlishly.

"So, if you don't mind me asking, then why are you here?" Lara was not trying to offend February; she really did not care that Bru was in the science department and in her own husband's lab. She doubted that Bru would have ever questioned her being on the bridge. She was simply making polite conversation.

"I have been given a task," she replied with gusto. "To redecorate Sickbay."

Lara cocked an eyebrow. "I think you're on the wrong deck."

"No, no, I know." February gave up trying to win the battle for control of the guitar as it continued to move about as if possessed by an alien lifeform of one sort or another and finally she set the instrument aside. "I'm a flight controller by commission. Even if I don't know much else most of the time I usually know where I'm going."

There was an awkward pause for a moment, neither woman knowing exactly where to go from there.

Eventually February ended the silence. "So..." She wasn't certain quite how to break the ice with Ryn, but the science officer seemed at least mildly interested in continuing the conversation and as tightly locked up in quarters as Bru had been lately she decided she'd like to try to prolong the interaction as long as possible. "You've already met Dabin..."

"Yes..." Ryn drew the normally short word out slowly, in the way that Bru was used to hearing people do when they talked about having met her husband. "I did."

"Have you met many others of the senior staff yet?"

"Not really." Lara answered, somewhat bewildered by the fact. "I've met the Counselor..."

"Oh, I just love Vol. He's one of a kind."

"So it would appear..." Ryn commented, thinking of Vol's bat-like pose the moment she met him. "I haven't seen the XO anywhere, the Second Officer has been busy all the time, the Captain just got back."

"Ooo. The Captain." February suddenly picked up the guitar again and her fingers began flying nervously up and down the neck as she played a rapid series of notes. "Good luck with that."

"What do you mean?"

"Well, I'll tell you this. My husband has known Zanh Liis a long time. Commander Salvek has known her even longer. But personally..." February finished her riff and ran her hand quickly up the neck of the guitar again, making a rapidly rising in pitch twang sound with a flourish. "She scares me."

Lara laughed softly. "She's a Starfleet Captain. She's supposed to be one of the good guys."

February nodded in agreement; she had known of many times when the bad guys had got their comeuppance because of Zanh Liis. Still, she would never want that turned against her. Not that there had ever been reason, but still...

"So," Lara continued, "unless the Captain plans to A) spit a poison dart at me, B) use me as a target for slingshot practice, C) place a powerful curse over me, or D) threaten to roast me alive over a bonfire, I think I can survive anything she can throw at me."

February's eyes had grown a little wider with each option Lara had mentioned. There was something in the tone of the other woman's voice that suggested that she was not making these options up, that someone really had tried to do each of these things to her. Still, she could not help but ask, "Are you serious?"

"You need to get off the ship more often," came the half joking, half cryptic response.

"I'm happy just to get out of my quarters these days!" Bru exclaimed. "But we're counting down the days. Soon I'll be back on the bridge and rarin' to go. Of course, after oh two hundred baby feedings I might not be so much 'raring' as half asleep at the helm."

"Well from the sound of it if you did doze off at the CONN, Zanh Liis would simply wind up for the pitch and begin hurling ever larger objects at you until you returned to consciousness."

"Or lost it completely and slumped to the floor. Then she'd just step over my lifeless body and holler 'Next!'" Both laughed, it becoming apparent now just how much Grace was exaggerating. "Of course, she just got married and so hopefully she'll be in a better mood from here on out. That reminds me," Bru's thoughts immediately came to another when the subject of Zanh's personal life surfaced. "Have you met our Vedek?"

"We have a Vedek? Is it just the one or does everybody aboard ship get one issued to them after boarding and I somehow missed the queue?"

"Just the one, but he's so sweet, he is the only one we need. He's ship's chaplain by title, but don't let that put you off if you're not a particularly religious sort of person. I mean, I don't know if you are, but I'm not. Anyway." Bru began fiddling with the guitar, trying and trying again, with increasing irritation to bring the top string into tune. Finally, she cranked the pin too hard, wound the string too tightly and there was a very loud, musically metallic snap and boing. She frowned. "Damn. Now I have to restring. Not cool."

"My sympathies..."

"As I was saying, the Vedek is a very good listener. And all of us...any of us...can use a good listener at times."

"Thanks," Lara shifted uneasily now, and decided that it best she just leave her report and go on her way. It seemed that this February Grace had a sense about people that, while not as keenly accurate as that of the espresso-making Betazoid, was hitting a little close to the mark for Lara's continued comfort.

"Well, I have to get back to work. I'll just leave this for Commander Reece and he can hail me with any questions."

"Cool. I'll let him know you came by. It was nice to meet you. I hope we can talk again sometime."

LT. Lara Valera Ryn
Science Officer
USS Serendipity NCC-2012


LT. February Grace
Senior Flight Controller
USS Serendipity NCC-2012