Episode 8: A Greater Power
Location: Deck 3 - Aft Viewing Lounge
Timeline: Day 183 at 1300
Eza was sitting in the aft lounge, a cup off coffee in one hand and his PADD in the other. Minerva was sitting across from him a similar mug of coffee and PADD. "What exactly are you reading?" Eza asked over his coffee mug.
"Technical journal on a prototype QSD drive for the newest upgrade their planning for runabout." She said without breaking her eyes from the tablet. "Quiet riveting actually. You?"
"Case study on the interaction between the Rn8-p gene therapy and cybernetic assisted regeneration in damaged optical nerves." Eza said.
Minerva looked up and stared at Eza for a moment. "You really are a giant nerd." She said before the pair burst into laughter. The lounge was surprising full, anywhere people could gather seemed to be busier these days, a lot of the crew avoiding being alone. Minerva's eyes moved to the door as it opened, "Guess who just walked in." She said with a smirk.
The aft lounge was busier than Alexander had expected. He briefly thought about finding somewhere quieter to do his reading but ultimately decided against it. "Herbal Tea Blend One-Oh-One. Hot. Extra sweet." The beverage he ordered materialised in the replicators alcove. Lifting the cup to his nose, he inhaled long and deep. It was a herbal tea infused with Mango and Pineapple with Ginseng Root, good for helping to focus. He'd been drinking a lot of it recently.
Xander turned to locate a seat and found one beside two familiar faces. Approaching the table where Lieutenant Bergen and Ensign Gates were sitting, he was able to get a glance at what his subordinate was reading. He casually slid into the chair beside her. "The new QSD prototype for the Runabouts. I read that myself a few nights ago. All this Quantum Slipstream stuff is pretty exciting."
"Yes Sir, I'm looking forward to it being implemented, we lowly Ensigns don't get a lot of time at the controls of these big starships." Minerva said with a grin. "But it's definitely more interesting than Eza's read." She said looking over to the Science officer who was trying to not blush as he stared intently at his PADD.
Mitchell smirked. "Of course this," he motioned to her PADD, "is more interesting. It's cool pilot stuff." Picking up his tea, Xander turned his attention to the Chief Science Officer. "Alright Bergen. Hit me."
Eza handed the PADD to Xander, "Basically how using a specific gene therapy in combination with cybernetics has shown some promising results in regenerating damaged optic nerves." The Trill said slightly shyly.
"Huh." Xander skimmed the first paragraph and quickly began to loose the will to live. "I almost fell asleep just reading the first sentence." He said, handing the PADD back to Eza. Quickly, he added, "But that's good. 'Cause...y'know...now I know where to go if I'm ever having problems sleeping."
Eza blushed slightly and took the PADD back, "Well it will come in handy if you ever smash that pretty little head of yours." Eza added with a small laugh.
"I didn't take you for the violent type." Alexander shot back with a smirk, lifting his tea for another sip.
"Oh I forgot!" Minerva said jumping to here feet, "I need to meet Katie down in the holodeck, I'm giving her flight lessons. So silly of me to forget." She said flashing Eza a wink before heading for the door. "Have fun boys." She said over her shoulder.
Eza felt his face turn redder, knowing damn well she didn't have plans. He turned his attention to his PADD, before looking over at Xander, "So, so what are you reading?"
"Departmental crew evals." Xander told him, looking up from the PADD. "Trying to get to know my department better."
"Yeah, that's a challenge, I'm still trying to get all the faces to names, let a lone getting to know them all. Then again my department is a bit bigger." Eza said with a laugh. "So, what else is new?" He said trying to make small talk, not normally something he had a problem with.
Alexander sat and thought about the question for a moment. Since he'd last encountered Eza on the holodeck, he'd been mainly focused on his work. "I've been working mainly, trying to get myself up to speed." He held the PADD up as exhibit A. "I did start learning a new guitar piece. Vivaldi's guitar concerto in D. Got in a bit more time in the pool too." He drained the last of his tea from the cup. "What about you? What excitement's been happening in the life of Eza Bergen? Other than your fascinating reading list that is."
Eza smirked, "It's actually good," He said waving his PADD. "But I also started a new novel, an art theft in 22nd century on Betazed." He added, "Work, swam a bit. Nothing terribly exciting."
"Such is life aboard a starship." Xander mused aloud. "Except for those occasional moments of brief terror." He snorted. "I hope your new novel is more exciting than what you're reading right now." There was a danger of overusing jokes about the research paper that Eza was reading so Xander decided that would be his last one, at least for today.
"It's fine, It takes a fair bit to understand the background, it's clearly over your head." Eza replied, finishing his coffee and winking at Alexander. "But yes, the novel is better."
Xander sat back in his chair with a playful look of shock as if he'd just been shot. "Wow." He held a hand to his chest. "Ouch. That hurt. I guess being an airhead pilot makes me an easy target. I'll just sit here with my degrees in Aerospace Engineering and Law and sit quietly." The pilot smirked at the younger Lieutenant.
Eza smiled, "Hey, keep poking and you might get poked back. "More tea?" He asked getting to his feet.
"Hebal tea blend one-oh-one. Hot and extra sweet." Alexander held his cup out for Bergen with a grin.
Bergen took the cup and returned a moment later with two steaming mugs. "Here you go." Eza said sitting down across from Alex. He realized he had a dopey grin on his face and quickly took a slow sip of coffee. "So you play the guitar eh?"
Alexander didn't answer right away. His eyes were closed and his cup of tea held up to his nose as he took a long deep breath through his nose, savouring the scent of the tea for a brief moment. He blew gently on the hot liquid but didn't taste it just yet. "Yeah, I've played since I was about ten." He finally answered. "I haven't played much these past few years but recently I've found that it's a good way of taking my mind off things."
"I never had much musical ability. Much to mother's disappointment. Only one of the children who never had it come naturally, she was disappointed when I gave up piano, but having listen to five years of my attempts at learning she agreed it was for the best." Eza said blushing slightly.
Xander took a sip of his tea. "Well at least you tried. Better to try and fail than not try and never know." Xander felt that sounded wise and made a mental note of it so he could use it again in the future. "My mother wanted me to play the violin. But, as you know, I'm much too cool to play the violin so I chose to play the guitar instead."
"Oh yes, far too cool." Eza said matter of factly, he broke into a laugh, "Were you in a band in high school, I'm sure you had all the ladies going after you."
Mitchell shook his head firmly. "No, I don't play in front of people. In fact I've never played in front of anyone." With a chuckle, he moved onto Eza's second point. "The few ladies who took an interest in me in high school were barking up the wrong tree." Lifting the cup to his mouth, Xander took another sip.
"Oh," Eza said, feeling his cheeks redden again, an all too common reaction to Xander. "So really, no one's ever heard you play?"
Xander shook his head again. "Nope." He quickly revised his answer, "I mean my parents and sisters would have heard me through the walls at home but I've never performed in front of anyone." With a smile he added, "I can get up in a courtroom full of people and argue a case but the idea of playing my guitar in front of people just scares the hell out of me."
Eza smiled, there was something endearing about the idea of Xander being vulnerable. "Well if you ever want someone to play for you know I'm terrible so no matter how much you suck it's better than I would be."
Xander laughed. "Well I appreciate the offer Eza. But if I played for you and it turned out I actually am terrible then I'll have lost some of my cool guy mystique and I just can't allow that to happen."
"I don't think you need to worry about that." The Trill replied smiling.
"I'm glad to hear it." Xander drained the last of his second cup of tea. "Well this has been fun but there's some paperwork with my name on it. Thanks for the tea and the conversation."
"See you around." Eza said smiling as he watched Xander leave.