Who: Dr. Brad Silverton and Lt. JG Marcus Kallan
When: Some time during Gamma Shift (between the Trill Symposium and the Freighter plots)
Marcus sat at his customary small table, looking out through one of the several large Four-Forward transparent aluminum windows. He was dressed in his uniform, although it's not as if he was on duty, and civilian clothing always felt strange on a ship the size of the Portland. A cup of warm milk that had coffee waved at it, and a small plate of old-style confectionery cubes sat partially picked through on the table. In general, he looked contemplative, but in reality he was just desperate to get his mind to slow down so that he could get some sleep.
Brad walked in through the opening doors of 4-Forward. He rarely came down here to socialize but he needed to get away from sick bay. Apart from Nikki coming in with another aliment, it had been quiet in sick bay. Which suited Brad just fine. He had to catch up on his research. He made good progress but there are only so many hours of looking through medical journals and microscopes before the eyes started to surrender to the need for sleep. Before he was going to retire he wanted to get catch a drink and see who was still up at this ungodly hour. Probably nobody.
Muttering something under his breath, Marcus checked his pulse by pressing two fingers against his wrist. He then huffed a quiet sigh and went back to stargazing.
Brad saw Marcus sitting over by himself. 'Yeah of course he is here. Well I suppose some company is better than none. Who knows maybe he is in a good mood.' Brad walked over and approached Marcus. "Hello Lieutenant, may I join you?"
"Huh?" Marcus looked up, startled. "Oh. Doctor. Uh." He looked down at the table, and then back up at Brad. "Yeah, sure, whatever. I'm not much for conversation. Just can't sleep."
Brad tepidly sat down slowly. "Can't sleep? Any medical reasons that I can assist with?" He had brought with him a dirty vodka martini. Synthanol of course. He sipped at it but it could be described more as playing around with it.
"Not really. Comes with being too smart. You think too much." That was Marcus' way of explaining off his anxiety, and in the past, he has refused medical treatment. Fortunately it hasn't affected his time on duty. He wrinkled his nose. "How we willingly ingest substances that actually taste like alcohol. Despite extensive evidence to the contrary, I frequently wonder if I'm an alien."
"I'm sure that would have shown up in your last physical," replied Brad in a deadpan tone. "But something seem to be troubling you. Are things going well with Nikki?"
Marcus glanced away. He thought about his answer before replying, because his impulse would be to snap back at Brad and say something nasty. But he clearly knew there was something between them. "No, we're... we're fine," he replied. "I'm just being haunted by a crazy Cardassian ex of mine, and my research with Nerys is becoming frustrating. You know, typical stuff for the USS Portland."
"Sounds exciting," countered Brad in his usual deadpan tone. "I suppose there is never a dull moment on this-- wait." Brad raised an eyebrow. Nikki usually told him everything, which was more than he wanted to hear. "Crazy Cardassian ex? You mean Ms. Korat? Nikki didn't tell me that you used to date her the last time she was in sickbay."
"That's because Nikki is very upset at her being on board, and is choosing to apply the 'Big Black Dot' theorem to the problem," Marcus explained. He gestured with his hands as he explained. "Imagine something that bothers you. Then imagine a big black dot that covers that thing. Hey, it's gone. Thanks, big black dot." He rubbed his tired eyes. "There's no theoretical maximum to the size of the dot, so even huge problems like this can, in theory, be ignored until they go away."
"I only wish that would work on her medical concerns." Brad chuckled and took a sip of his drink. "You know, of all the people on the ship to be at the center of a love triangle..."
Marcus sputtered. He wasn't expecting Brad to actually go there. "Look, uh, people know about Merry. She talks to everyone about me. But they don't know so much about Nikki and me. I'd appreciate it if you, uh, kept it close to your vest. The last thing we both need is Tim or Alenis prying into things. I mean, it's their right and all, but..." He shook his head. All of this happened because of that stupid hologram, he thought.
"Gotcha," replied Brad before taking another sip of his drink. "So, is it true? That the two of you are technically married?"
"No." Marcus said that with gravitas, looking right at Brad. "There was never a ceremony. I broke up with her before it all happened. According to her, according to some backwards, obscure legal loophole on Cardassia, we were married in absentia. Federation law doesn't recognize it so I don't care... she can make up whatever lizard stories she wants to make up."
"Hmmm. Well, I've never been chased around by an alien ex who still thinks she's technically married to me, so my advice in this situation is limited. But on the bright side, at least she doesn't think you owe her child support." Brad attempted to break the tension with the little joke, but it apparently didn't work. "What is it she wants anyways? I mean, she has to realize that the white picket fence fantasy isn't in the cards."
"Probably my research," Marcus shrugged. "I supervised her first paper at Daystrom regarding positronic augmentation of the humanoid brain... Cardassians are always interested in tinkering with gray matter, aren't they?" Marcus pushed his treats around on his plate as he talked. "She can't get into anything that I don't give her access to, and she has very limited access to anything. And I'm sure Nerys would say something if Merry started snooping around her."
As Brad was about to open his mouth, Marcus' comm badge chimed. "Nerys to Marcus," called out the feminine voice on the other end. "I have something important to talk to you about..."
Marcus frowned. "Sorry, Brad, my other girlfriend's calling." And with that, the exhausted Marcus sprang up and headed for the exit of the lounge. Tapping his combadge, he said, "What's up, Nerys?"
"There's some Cardassian on board... she was snooping around my program." There was a quiver in Nerys' voice; the fact that someone went through her program without her permission had put her on edge. "I... I... I thought you should know..."
"Damn it! Damn that ophidian witch. I'm on my way, Nerys." Marcus glanced over his shoulder at Brad, as if making eye contact emphasized that, no, Merry really was that terrible. And then out the doors he went.