Location: USS Nightingale/USS Portland
Time: Few day after the party
Inside Alenis' quarters, she sat at her terminal, ready at exactly the scheduled time for a subspace transmission. "Tim," she said in a warm tone, glad to see a familiar face on her terminal, "how is the Portland holding up in my absence?"
"Morning Cap'n," Tim said in a cheery voice. "We're holding up ok, although I'll be happy to have you back. The ship just isn't itself without you." He chuckled. "You're looking great by the way. Who would have expected that those mandatory visits could be so relaxing."
Alenis smiled at the compliment. She supposed she had been taking a bit more care of her appearance since coming aboard the Nightingale; whether that was to make a good first impression or not, she wasn't sure. "Oh, thank you," she replied, "I must admit, I didn't really want to leave the Portland, but this is turning into a nice change of pace. How is Little Timmy doing?" she asked, referring to Ko-ko's son who was still too young to take the stress of the journey.
"Ellen is taking care of him. I haven't heard that he isn't doing well, so I assume it is." He said shrugging his shoulder. He was very happy that El didn't mind watching over that damn bird.
"That's good to know," replied Alenis, a little relieved at the news. She was expecting the bird to have some separation anxiety, but as long as he wasn't causing too many problems, chances are he was alright. "If he's missing his mother, try letting him perch on your shoulder and think relaxing thoughts. It will help him develop his empathic abilities."
"I'll pass that on," he murmured. Switching the subject. "How is everything over there? How's the Admiral?"
"The admiral..." Alenis' face instantly turned red as she blushed with embarrassment. "He's... alright. Easy to get along with, I suppose," she stammered, there being something not quite right about her voice.
Tim's eyes narrowed. He had known Alenis for a while now, and she wasn't usually like this. "Meru, are you all right?" he asked, concerned for his friend and captain, "something seems... off."
Alenis just blushed and opened her mouth slightly, though no words came out.
It was at that moment that Tim realized that he had seen this look in her eyes and heard this tone in her voice once before. When she was with Arvel.
A shocked expression appeared on his face. "Meru, you didn't..."
Blushing harder, Alenis let out a nervous smile. "He is quite attractive, for an Admiral," she admitted sheepishly.
"You've got be kidding," Tim exclaimed. "Meru, he's an Admiral. And most of all, your superior officer."
“I know that!” Alenis snapped back. “You don’t understand… not until you’re a captain, you won’t understand what it is like. The loneliness of command, not having anyone to get close to because of professional distance and those damn regulations.” She sighed longingly. “He knows what it is like, ever since he lost his wife. And together, we have our one chance at happiness. I’m not going to let those silly Starfleet regulations ruin all that.”
"Silly? What's going on with you?" Tim said, getting annoyed by her behaviour. "You're acting weird. Are you drunk?”
“Drunk on love, perhaps,” countered Alenis. “No, it’s like I’m seeing things clearly for the first time. Seeing what’s important in life…”
"And that is?" he asked.
“It’s love, Tim. Togetherness, companionship, not being alone…” Alenis sighed deeply. “I’ve sacrificed so much for Starfleet. Spent most of my life cooped up inside one tin can or another, flying through the stars. And most of that all alone, keeping my ‘professional distance’ away from my ‘colleagues.’” She brushed an errant lock of hair aside. “I’m almost forty, I can’t keep doing this forever. Telling myself that there is still time left…”
For a moment he was seriously flabbergasted. He didn't know what to say. He knew she felt lonely, specially after things ended with Arvel, but that she felt this bad, he didn't know. He took a bolt step, testing how serious she was. "So what? You just give up everything you've worked hard at to accomplish for a good lay?"
“I’m not resigning my commission, and the admiral is more than just ‘a good lay,’” shot back Alenis, angrily.
"You do know that we literally travel around the galaxy. If you don't want to resign and neither want to feel lonely you have a problem." He combed his fingers through his hair, seriously thinking what was going on over there. The woman he was currently talking to wasn't his CO and friend.
Alenis shook her head and clenched her fists in frustration. "Damn it, Tim, I'm not going to sit here and be lectured by the guy who knocked up Admiral Washington's daughter on his first day as Executive Officer!"
Tim laughed at that. "You know, that doesn't work any more. First of all, I had no idea the woman I met at a bar was serving on the Portland. Second, you first slept with Arvel, the Chief Counsellor under your command and now with your superior officer. Meaning it's 2-1 for you."
"Well, you better not catch up to me, otherwise Admiral Washington will have us both thrown out the airlock."
"Wasn't planning on catching that, you know that." Tim said with a laugh.