Episode 8: A Greater Power
Timeline: Day 182 at 1900
Eza was tired of running, literally, he had always been a bit of a runner but it seemed since the incident that he was doing it more and more. He'd be great shape if he decided to run a marathon anytime soon but today he needed something else to expend the nervous energy that seemed to keep him up at night.
Opting to swim he had made his way to the holodeck and not really having a program in mind he browsed the 'Recents' list and found one that had been used a few days earlier. He activated it and entered, the sunlight, even if only a simulation was nice and after diving into the water he floated his eyes closed for a few minutes before starting some laps.
Wearing a plan white v-neck t-shirt and a pair of red board shorts, Lieutenant Mitchell approached the holodeck's control panel. Foolishly, he hadn't bothered to check if the holodeck had been booked. When he found it in use, he almost walked away to find one that was free. However, he noticed that the program running was one of his. Intrigued to find out who was using his program, he decided to enter.
When he stepped inside, he found a familiar vista. The sun hanging high in the sky, the green verdant foliage surrounding the setting. In the pool he could see someone swimming back and forth. He walked up the edge of the pool and sat down, dangling his legs into the water in the next lane.
Eza finished a lap and realized there was someone else in the holodeck, he surfaced and saw the Roehampton's CONN Chief who had recently been assigned to the Chiefs billet on the Nog. "Hey." Eza said with a smile, "Sorry for borrowing your program, I saw it in the recently program list and thought I'd try it out."
"No problem." He told the younger Lieutenant. "It's there for anyone to use." Xander could certainly understand Bergen's desire to swim. He had always found it one of the most relaxing things to do. It was one of the few places that he could completely switch off and leave the problems of reality behind. Right now, it was the only place and taking a break from reality for an hour or two was a necessity. "How're you finding it?"
"It's great, the water is a bit cool for Trill standards but it's a nice change." Eza said pushing himself up and out of the water to sit on the edge of the pool. "How are you adjusting to life on the Nogura? Now that you're actually assigned here." He added with a small laugh.
Alexander smiled. "I think the best way I can describe it is to say that...it's a little weird." He looked up at the clear blue sky as he formulated an explanation, though he was sure that Lieutenant Bergen understood on some level. Looking back down at the Trill in the water he explained, "I've met you before. I remember sitting in a mission briefing with you. But really this is the first time we've met." Xander shrugged. "I dunno. This whole thing is a little weird."
"Weird is putting it mildly," Eza replied, "I'm trying to put it all in the past, move forward." Eza said softly. "I guess in that case, Eza Bergen." He said extending a hand.
Xander shook Bergen's hand. "Alexander Mitchell." His hand was wet when he withdrew it, to be expected given that the Trill was currently submerged in water. "You may be right." Alexander wasn't sure if he'd even told the Counselor what he was about to tell Bergen. "I just keep dwelling on what happened...or what I remember happening." He paused for a moment. "Maybe what I need to do is put it all in a box and move on...otherwise I'll get stuck in the past and miss living in the present."
"What do you remember?" Eza asked.
That was the problem. "I remember everything. Engaging the Borg for the first time onboard the Roehampton, beaming off the Roe just before she was destroyed to seal the Transwarp conduit, the briefing that you and I attended, engaging the Borg for the second time at the Nogura's helm," he paused and swallowed hard, "dying."
Eza put a hand on the man's shoulder. "I thought we weren't suppose to be able to remember dying. I don't at least, but knowing it happened is bad enough, I can't imagine what it must be like for you."
"It's," Alexander chuckled, "a little weird." The pool was where he came to escape from reality and here he was allowing it to intrude on his safe space. Standing up, he removed his t-shirt and board shorts, revealing a pair of speedos underneath. "I'm bumming us both out and that's not what this program is about." He jumped into the water, in the lane next to where Bergen had been swimming. Submerging himself under the water for a few moments, he popped back up and wiped the excess water off his face and ran his hands through his hair, pushing it away from his eyes. "No more talk of Nihari simulations or Borg invasions."
"Deal." Eza nodded before standing on the edge of the pool and doing a backflip into water. "Race ya!" He said swimming off towards the other end of the pool.
Xander watched as Bergen dove into the pool and took off down the lane. "Son of a-" He ducked into the water and kicked off the wall of the pool, powering through the water with a a breaststroke that had won him medals in his youth. Bergen had a head start but he was confident that he could still catch the Trill up.
Both men's hands hit the opposite side wall at the same time, but Eza was far more out of breath than the other man. "Call it a tie." Eza said laughing, knowing he would have lost without the head start.
"A tie." Alexander agreed, nodding and breathing heavily. "I'm so out of practice when it comes to competitive swimming." He lay back in the water and allowed himself to float for a few moments, eyes closed against the holographic sun. "I love this place." Taking a deep breath and letting it out audibly, it was so peaceful there. He could hear a light breeze rustling through the foliage that surrounded the pool, and Lieutenant Bergen as he continued to recover from their race.
Eza took a similar position floating, his eyes open watching the simulated sky. "It's beautiful, I could spend hours here." He said, glancing over towards the other man. "Company isn't too bad either." He added with a chuckle.
Most people would have said that Xander was increasingly irritable and distant. He'd never been the sort of person to make friends or open up to people easily. He'd already shared more with Bergen than was normal. "Yeah, it's nice to have some company in here for a change."
Eza rolled in the water and began another set of laps, much more leisurely than the race moments earlier, he cut through the water and hit the other end before doubling back, repeating it several times. "I hope you don't mind but I intend to keep using this program." Eza said breaking the near silence. "I admit I haven't felt this relaxed since the whole shit show happened."
"No objections at all." Alexander swam to the end of the lane. "The only time I've felt truly relaxed since, was in here. The water's always felt like home for me." He climbed out of the water and turned around to sit on the edge again. "And feel free to use the program as much as you'd like. Mi casa es su casa."
Eza smiled, his eyes lingering on the other man a moment longer than he should have let them. "I may take you up on the that." He ducked back under the water and completed another lap. Before emerging from the water and grabbing a towel. "I really should get going though." He said towelling off, "If you want a swim buddy sometime hit me up, or if you do want to talk."
"Thanks, I may take you up on that." Alexander replied with a smile, making no move to leave. "I'm gonna stick around a little longer and enjoy the tranquility. So long as no-one else has this holodeck booked for use after you." He chuckled.
"Be my guest." Eza said with a lingering smile as he headed for the door.
Alexander watched the Trill Lieutenant go. When the holodeck doors closed behind him, he lay back let his arms fall on his chest and closed his eyes. He wanted to enjoy a few more minutes of peace before returning to reality.