Trick or Treat, part I
Mess Hall, USS Portland
Authors: Capt. Alenis Meru, Cmdr. Timothy Rouse, PO2 Ellen Washington (played by Alenis Meru), PO2 Maria Hill (played by Alenis Meru), Lt. (JG) Marcus Kallan, Ensign Nikki Barclay (played by Alenis Meru), Lt. Jason Beauvour, Coln Jena (played by Jason Beauvoir), Lt. Arthur Reynolds
The mess hall was a bustling hub of activity this October 31st; an event planned by the ship's morale committee had attracted most of the crew who weren't on duty. It was a human holiday, but they figured that after the stress of the past few missions, everyone could use an opportunity to unwind and enjoy each others' company. And inside, the mess hall was crowded with Portland crew in all kinds of costumes.
“I’m boiling in here,” said Timothy, wrapping his arm around Ellen. “This Catman costume is hot.”
“You’re Batman,” replied Ellen, rolling her eyes. “And I’m Catwoman. Get it straight, Tim.”
“Right,” replied Tim, rolling his eyes. He had no idea what he was supposed to be, but he knew it was some sort of 20th or 21st century pop culture character; a comic book hero who was a mild-mannered reporter by day and a crimefighter by night. The only other things he knew about his character were that his real name was Peter Parker and that his only weakness was something called Kryptonite.
But it was Ellen’s idea, and he would do anything for her, even if it meant dressing as a bat. Or a cat. Or whatever he was supposed to be. “I’m Batman, you’re Catwoman, and Maria is Harlequin.”
“Harley Quinn,” corrected Maria, approaching in a revealing black and red leather ensemble and pale white makeup.
“Right, Harley Quinn,” replied Tim in a decidedly unenthusiastic tone. “Has anyone seen Meru? It’s not like her to be la-aaaaaaaaaagh!”
Tim jumped up in fright, feeling a cold metallic hook on his shoulder. As he spun around, he came face to face with a Bajoran pirate, complete with a hat, eye patch, and a bird on her shoulder.
“Did I scare you?” asked Meru, a wicked grin on her face.
“Of course not,” replied Tim, though his response was quite unconvincing. “I see you’ve decided to incorporate Ko-ko into your costume; well done.”
“Yeah, it was the only humanoid and bird costume I could find in the database.” Alenis furrowed her brow. “Who are you?”
Tim put on a deep, raspy voice. “I’m Catman.”
Clanging and clattering, a knight stumbled her way towards the snack table, attempting to grab a handful of chips. But instead of them ending up on her plate, the chips ended up in crumbles on the mess hall floor, a victim of her bulky armour. Dejected, she gave up on the chips and looked over at a costumed man closely examining a spread of sliced protein cubes. “So, Marcus,” she said, flipping the visor on her helmet open, “what are you supposed to be?”
Wearing an assemblage of puffed security foam, dyed in muted pastels of primary and secondary colors, and carved in a myriad of geometric shapes, Marcus looked over at Nikki. "I'm a cannibal," Marcus replied, and then he speared a cross-section of a protein cube into his mouth. "See? Textured protein and carbohydrate supplement number seven. Nom nom nom."
"Very creative, Marcus," replied Nikki in a playful tone as she drew a foam sword. "But the villagers of Protein-Cubeshire have found a hero in Lady Nikki of Barclayshire, Knight of the Round Table! En garde!"
"Yawn." Marcus literally did not yawn, but instead said the word with a sardonic smirk. "Only reason why I even put the effort in is because Duvall was doing some materials reclamation and I grabbed the stuff before she could toss it onto the cargo transporter. And you're not allowed to hit me with a foam sword."
"Awwwwww..." Nikki put the sword away. "Well, enjoy your protein cubes. I better get the holo-emitters set up for our special guest..."
Jason entered the mess hall. He was dressed in a charcoal coloured pinstripe suit, black leather shoes. On his head he wore a black fedora, with a silver band that matched his shirt, and in his hands was a Tommy gun.
Jena followed her father in she was dressed in a Command red Starfleet Captain's uniform.
Spotting Jena and Jason walk in, Alenis smiled and stepped towards the two of them. "Lieutenant Beauvoir and... captain Coln?" she asked, raising an eyebrow. "I don't know if I should be concerned or flattered that I'm apparently a Haloween costume."
"I meant no disrespect, Captain. I understood that the purpose of this festival was to dress as a hero, so I chose you." Jena said. Thinking now that Tyrlai had given her faulty information.
Alenis smiled at Jena and placed a hand on her shoulder. "Well, I think your costume looks great," she said in a warm tone, a little overwhelmed at Jena's compliment.
"Thanks, ma'am, I like your costume too." Then to Ko-ko, Jena asked. "How are you enjoying the party, Ko-ko?"
Ko-ko simply flapped her wings and let out a satisfied coo.
By that point, Arthur entered the mess hall completely unaware of the party. Pursing his lips, he wondered if he should ignore the hunger pains and return to his quarters without being seen. Unfortunately, he deduced this party would last a while, and with much of the staff off-duty to participate, he wouldn't be getting any help with his dilemma. Trying to avoid falling into anyone's line-of-sight, he slipped over to the bar and requested a large ale. With the replicator to his quarters offline, either by accident or because someone in the crew knew he wouldn't have emerged from his shell to visit the mess otherwise, he'd need something to make this experience more bearable.
"Lieutenant Reynolds," called out Alenis, spotting her Chief Tactical Officer seated on a barstool, alone, in his uniform. "I believe my orders were to dress up for the occasion."
Arthur inwardly flinched when he heard his name. Slowly, he turned to see the captain giving him a devil's glare. "Sorry, captain," he barely managed to say, uncomfortable as he seemed. It was difficult withholding the instinct to speak candidly. His only Tellarite acquaintance would be quite displeased. "I... missed the memo," he explained, knowing full well not to draw out any explanation with anyone in command. It would be a wasted effort if experience was any indication. "Should I go put something else on?"
"Hmmmmm..." Alenis stroked her chin for a moment. Having someone arrive without a costume was a serious crisis, but being a Starfleet captain meant that she was skilled in the art of crisis management. "Sit tight, I'll be right back," said Alenis, before heading towards the replicator.
Curious, Arthur watched her sift away toward the replicator. But after realizing the crowd had grown particularly loud, he pursed his lips and tried to focus on his drink. The last thing he wanted to do was show how uncomfortable he was in crowds. Besides, he thought to himself. If the captain says it's important, it's important. Counselor Jones didn't get his rank aboard the Warren by not sucking up to the boss.
A few moments later, Alenis returned with a small silver triangle. With Arthur focused on his ale, she suck up beside him and pinned it to his arm. "There," she said, as he turned to face her. "Now you're Voyager's Emergency Tactical Hologram, with a little help from some replica 29th century technology."
The sudden feeling of something getting pinned to his arm made him nearly spill his ale. Startled, he turned to look between the captain and the little plastic 'device' she patched to his arm. "Emergency..." Dumbfounded, Arthur wondered what the captain meant... until he recalled his research on Voyager during his time at the Academy. His face lit up at that realization and, with a smug grin that would make even the Doctor jealous, he said, "I see. So when should I get to work on that photonic cannon, captain?"
"After the party," replied Alenis. "Enjoy yourself, Lieutenant, that's an order."
"Yes, sir," Arthur said with a somewhat relieved tone of voice. When she was gone, he turned and shook his head before downing his drink and ordering something stronger.