Following All The Wonder
After a short and silent ride in the turbolift the Liis and TC made their way to the Afterthought Café where they placed orders for their respective caffeine enriched beverages.
TC handed Liis a PADD as they waited for the hot drinks to be prepared.
“Repair status report.” He explained as she took the PADD from him.
“How bad is it?” She asked, not even looking at the information contained on the screen.
TC shrugged. “We are still about two, maybe three days behind. We should be back in service in five days. It will take about a week of continued repairs after that but those we can do while we are underway.”
"Well then, I suppose I'll have plenty of time to catch up on reading the crew reports I've missed while I was gone." Liis nodded once and thanked Wren Elton for the cup of coffee the Betazoid placed before her. "Now, on to other things. Mood of the crew aboard ship?"
"Runs the spectrum, Captain." Blane replied as he picked up his own mug and followed Zanh to a corner table by the windows. "Our new CMO seems intent on making his mark on the place. Poor Grace is at wits end but that can't be helped."
"No, it can't. She's married to Reece." Zanh joked, and Blane didn't allow himself a smile at the thought, but his eyes did flash an instant of amusement.
"She'll be back to her old self soon."
"She'll never be her old self again, not quite. She's going to be a mother. Once that happens..." Liis thought of how parenthood had changed the people she knew even though she hadn't experienced it herself. She thought of Salvek, the most controlled and stoic person she'd ever known really well, and how one small cough or sniffle from Arie when she was a baby could send the man into a near panic state.
"True." Blane now did nearly smile, and Liis couldn't fathom what he was thinking as he seemed to become fascinated with the small packets of sweetener that sat in a holder on the edge of the table. What he was thinking, was remembering the way Bru had been when he'd first met her and how much she'd changed.
Then he remembered the part he'd played in her zhian'tara ritual, and the feeling he'd had when he experienced Gentry's memories of home and family. The man had been a fabulous father, and TC was certain that the memories of his life that Grace carried would serve February well. "She's not exactly a rookie though is she? She's got some experience to draw on."
"This is true." Zanh sipped her cup and then set down the PADD she'd still not really been reading. "So the rest of our merry band plays on, even while fighting one of the most insidious foes ever to challenge any Starfleet officer. Boredom."
"Well, some of us have had little projects to keep us busy." Blane widened his eyes, and Liis pounded the table once in amazement.
"Stop the lights!" She borrowed one of Keiran's stock phrases of surprise and laughed. "He didn't."
"Aye. He did." Blane replied in an intentional monotone before drinking slowly from his cup again.
"I knew it. I knew that Dane had to have had help. How the hell did you get that bed up to the loft? There is no way the pieces would fit up that tiny spiral staircase."
"Ropes." Blane sighed. "And a large amount of patience. There was a moment or two when I was tempted to use those ropes for a darker purpose and tie Steele to a chair if she didn't shut up."
Liis laughed out loud. "You, Steele and Dane. The Three Musketeers ride again."
"More like one Musketeer and two Stooges."
"Well you did an incredible job and I will put a commendation on your permanent record." Liis teased.
"Don't you dare."
She laughed softly again, and finally she focused entirely on TC. This was the first chance they'd had to talk since the most unusual, and most emotional day they'd spent together back in Cork. "You've told me that everybody else is in pretty good shape. Tell me now, Thomas, what's the status of my Second Officer?
There was a long pause and Liis thought for a moment that TC might actually be forthright with any problem he might have.
Then his smiled. “He is operating within acceptable parameters.”
Liis shook her head and smiled. “Of course he is.”
"So, tell me about this shindig Reece is setting up for you."
"For Zander, really." Zanh replied, quickly draining the last of her coffee dry. It seemed obvious to TC that this morning she was drinking the beverage more for effect than enjoyment. "The setting is quite unique. It was a real place on Earth once, this Adventurer's Club. Part improvisional comedy club, part theater, and nothing like anything I've ever seen."
"How do we dress for this thing?"
"I don't know about you," Zanh's lip curled slightly, "But I intend to go in the finest period aviator's attire that the computer can replicate."
"Look out, Amelia Earhart." TC nodded. “I’ll have to come up with something.”
Abandoning their now empty cups, at last they had no choice but to move along on their way to tend the duties of the day, TC stepped aside to allow his captain first access to the lift before he took up his place beside her.
“Bridge.” She commanded the lift.
TC shot her a sideway glance. “Are you sure?”
“I can't just wander around my ship for the next two days avoiding it now can I?”
“I suppose not.”
In a short time the lift doors opened and the pair stepped onto the bridge that was bustling with activity to say the least. To TC’s surprise the staff had come a long way in only thirteen hours.
Most of the terminals and panels were back in place and were surrounding by teams of technicians working to config them. New deck panels shined under there feet. All of the panels on the bridge had been replaced with new shatterproof panels that shined like stainless steel. Neon blue accent lights lit the bridge in a soft glow and the walls were now a slick black color much like a deactivated computer panel.
TC whistled, truly impressed with the results.
Black leather trimmed in Starfleet blue was now the choice of color for all of the seats except one; the Captain's chair, which was still missing. In its place sat a wooden stool with a Starfleet coffee mug on it.
"Either someone misplaced my chair or Lassiter has a better sense of humor than I ever gave her credit for." Zanh observed with a wry smile.
TC threw his shoulders back and wondered what part of 'make that a priority' Lt. Perry had misunderstood. "I'll take care of it, Captain."
"If it's any consolation...there were a few upgrades made to the speaker system in your ready room." He allowed her to see a momentary flash of a grin, and she had no need of guessing anymore who recommended those particular changes.
"Music to soothe the indigenous savage beast, Thomas? You're even more of a genius than I thought." Zanh took a quick spin around the bridge and returned to him, where he stood, simply waiting patiently.
"You seem to have things well in hand here, Commander. I think that I will take a tour of the rest of the ship, and swing by the Holodeck too just to be sure everything is ready for tonight. I want Zander's jaw to drop when he walks through that door. He needs to know just how important he is to all of us, and how glad we are that he's back on his feet." Zanh's eyes took on a momentary sadness when she recalled the sight of Blakeslee in Sickbay. "He came too close to leaving us. I'll have to be sure to order him never to scare us like that again."
Just then the very tall form of Commander Briggs strode up to the pair.
“Welcome home, Captain.” He greeted, before nodding to acknowledge Blane. “Commander.”
Turning back to Zanh, he continued.“Sorry about the chair not being here, but we are still waiting for the supply shuttle to get here. We are kind of outpacing them right now. I’ll make sure Lt. Perry has it installed and warmed up for you by this evening.”
"Excellent. Thank you again for sticking around awhile longer, Commander. I'll do what I can to be sure that your shore leave time is supplemented accordingly since you never did get that vacation they promised you."
“Well it is kind of good to know that I am needed I guess, and I am far from worried about the time off. I’ll squeeze it out of them one way or another.”
"As efficient as you are, I'm certain you will." Zanh concluded, heading back toward the lift. "In the meantime, we're having a party tonight on Holodeck One, and we'd be happy to see you there if you're free."
“I’ll be there.” Paxton smiled.
"Excellent. I look forward to watching you try to master the top secret Club salute." Zanh widened her eyes mischeviously as the doors slid shut and Briggs turned to Blane.
"Don't ask me, I have no idea. But it seems we're going to find out."
Commander TC Blane
USS Serendipity NCC-2012
-=/\=- Zanh Liis
USS Serendipity NCC-2012