Location: In orbit of Jutus
Speed: Standard Orbit
Shields: Nominal
Hull: Nominal
Systems: All Systems Nominal

Bridging The Gap
Episode 11 - Family Matters
Stardate 73834.3
MD005 0900 hrs

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Do I Know You?

Posted on Tue Oct 31st, 2017 @ 10:14am by
Edited on on Thu May 31st, 2018 @ 11:29am

Mission: Episode 1 - Pioneering Spirit
Location: Empok Nor Station: Bolian Java Cafe
Timeline: MD001 1500 Hrs
Tags: SD 71362.1500

Patricia pulled the zip on her over jacket loose as she allowed some fresh air to move around her body. Half an hour ago the run had seemed like a good idea, take some time to just pound the station streets while seeing if she could unknit some of the knots in her leg and body from the long shuttle journey.

It had been a good idea...and then she got lost. The miles of corridors that was the station were near impossible to navigate without a map to hand. While the officer knew she could have used a console to call up a map at anytime this way was more fun. It allowed her to see places she may have not otherwise have had thought to visit before.

It’s what had brought her here, a seemingly quiet area of the promenade judging by the number of people around. Everyone seemed to flock to the bars and entertainment, noise and hullabaloo, which could be why this area went so unnoticed.

Nestled in a darkened corner, Patricia’s attention was drawn to a place that seem to advertise itself as a cafe. With her curiosity getting the better of her, the young woman moved to enter the area, the inside a stark difference to the outside. The sleek white walls with green accessories scattered about was warm and inviting. The people preparing the drinks were surrounded by numerous machinery the officer wasn’t certain she could put name to. The few people scattered about seemed to back up this assertion.

Pulling the ear buds from her ears, Patricia moved up to the counter, allowing her eyes to move across the board of offerings before a smile settled on her lips as she noted an old time favorite. “White mocha please...extra cream on top.” What was the point of exercise if sometimes she couldn’t indulge.

Patricia manipulated the controls on her music as she silenced the music, moving to allow herself to look out over the seated gathering. Intermingled between the couples sat people in deep concentration in the PADDs in their hands or staring out the windows as they allowed vessels in their hands to warm their skin.

Just as her own drink was handed out, Patricia found her eyes alighting on one man in particular in the corner...something about him tugging on a distant memory but one she couldn’t quite put her finger on. The chess board in front of him quickly changed her focus.

Smoking her appreciation as she passed over her currency, Patricia found herself hesitating for a moment before moving over to the table in question; studying the game currently in play. “En passant? It’s strange to see a strategy so focus on removal of pawns.”

Captain Santiago Vela took a sip from his lukewarm coffee at this point before looking up. A smile crept to his face as he recognized the new XO of the USS Pioneer. "Well Commander most games are decided by your pawn structure. They define the flow of the battle that happens on the field." Santiago spun the board to play for black after the en passant done by white.

"The beauty of this game is that even a pawn can win the battle." He pushed a black pawn pinning the white king against the side of the board. "See," he said motioning to the board as he laid down the white king, "this little pawn managed to checkmate the king. Care for a game?"

Patricia found herself hesitating for a moment for taking the seat with a small smile. Something about him still made the woman still feel a little unsettled but she still wasn’t sure if it the memory triggering it was good or bad. “I’ll have to warn you...despite the fancy words I can’t promise that I will be much good at this. My knowledge was based on a crash course given by a man desperate for a playing partner.”

"Commander some of my toughest games were played against players that have not studied the game of chess in detail. Trust your instincts and perhaps you'll come out on top," Santiago smiled as he began to set up the board in from of him. "It's my board I hope you don't mind is I take white." Santiago moved the pawn in front of his queen forward two spaces and smiled. "Have you made it on to the Pioneer yet?"

Patricia nodded her agreement to the colour assignment as her eyes left his and studied the board. He had her at more than one seemed he’d placed her quicker than she had him. It didn’t frighten the woman for some reason which helped settle one conundrum, it wasn’t a bad memory that she couldn’t place her finger on at least. His presence didn’t feel threatening either in any way.

Taking her right knight, Patricia’s opening move places the piece over her own pawn and one space to the right. “You have me at a disadvantage. Evidentially you know me...but do I know you?” Patricia looked back up again with a smile as she studied his face. The military style haircut was regular and routine for a man of Starfleet, his hazel eyes and smile still didnt shed any answers. The red uniform gave away a command position as did the Captain pips nestled in against the side of his neck. Given Starfleet probably had thousands of Captains it didn’t really help to narrow things down.

"Well it's a good Task Group Commander that knows the officers in the command departments of the ships under him, but I will admit Tyler has told me about you more then once. I'm Captain Santiago Vela, but you can call me Santiago in here." Santiago held out his hand. Santiago without really looking at the pieces moved his King side knight to the left closer to his King. "Have you gotten to see her yet?"

It took a very brief minute but Patricia took the outstretched hand with a smile before glancing down at the chess board to track his movement and try figure her own. “Seems like the universe is a hell of a lot smaller than we would believe. I do believe Kat’s mentioned you quite abit...Santi I assume is in reference to yourself.” Glancing back up with a further smile, the woman withdrew her hand as she moved her pawn to the right of her queen forward two places. “No...I figured I’d give the three love birds a little more time. They’ve both waited such a long time for all of this...I figured that my own curiosity could wait a little while longer. Tell’d Ty take the news?”

Santiago looked at the board as Patricia moved he was already moving his next piece. He chose to take his knight again up two spaces this time to the right. "Well I never thought it as much as Ma... Tyler brought it up but she really is a pretty ship." Santiago smiled at the woman sitting in front of him. "Way I hear it you and Tyler have a history together I'm surprised Kathy is alright now that you'll be his right hand."

Patricia had watched the move and formalised her own next but found that her mind went blank as she registered her playing partner’s words. Looking up, the woman was completely dumb founded as she tried to understand. “History? What in God’s name has Tyler been saying? Why on Earth would Kathy...Kat not be alright?”

"Nothing really," Santiago said with a smile. "In truth it was always a feeling I got when he talked about you and the way she would react when I mess with him about it. If he took you on as his XO, I'm sure they talked about it. You know they talk about everything, not even the stars can keep him from talking to her once a week." Santiago looked at the board. "It's your move."

Patrica still felt a little unsettled as she moved her sight from the man back to the board and tried to refocus her attention on the game at hand. Taking her queen, she moved it out through the open space until she was vertical to his rook. “Have you ever been in love Santiago?”

Santiago's King was in check, he calmly moved the pawn in front of his Queen side bishop to block. "I was once," Santiago thought about Clara and Cisco and frowned. "It has sort of evolved for me." Santiago paused and looked at the board. "I love my job and in a way those who serve with me."

“I first met Kat and Ty when we were eighteen. I had a sweetheart crush...the jock of the class was the joke but the first time those two met...there was never any question that they were soulmates,” Patricia said moving her pawn in front of her King side rook one space forward. “I stood as chief bridesmaid at their wedding and watched them exchange vows for fear of what career might do to them but there was more...a foundation of love that bound them together as one. I’ve wiped away tears when fear almost overwhelmed Kat to the point at which she wanted to pack it all in just for Ty. She stood by me when my life came tumbling down because that’s what we all are...extremely close friends. I’d give my life for either of them. But that’s all it is...all it ever was...a deep friendship.”

"Fair enough," Santiago said smiling. Again Santiago moved his knight to it's last position, retreating on the board like in the conversation. "Vulcans think showing emotion is a weakness so by that token upsetting someone is power over them. Would you agree?"

“Strictly speaking yes, in relation to power...being able to upset somebody shows that the person who is hurt cares enough about you that your words matter.” Patricia wasn’t quite sure where this was going to. After a momentary hesitation, she leaned over to move her pawn in front of the king forward one space. “Is that a weakness on behalf of the person who ends up hurt? No...honesty about your true feelings and emotions shouldn’t ever be a weakness as without honesty how do we ever know to trust? I think the fault lies with the person who knows words hurt more than the person who opens themselves up for the potential of hurt. Instead of minding that precious gift they’ve been bestowed, they misuse it weather that be intentionally or not.”

Santiago studied the board and moved the pawn in front of his King forward two spaces. Looking up at the new XO he said softly, "when I was a child I found power in upsetting people, in annoying them. I got their attention that way. This game taught me to focus my angst and that I could use my mind for better things."

The change in Santiago’s voice caught Patricia unaware as she watched him while he talked, his softened tone reflecting in his eyes; listening as he let her somewhat inside of how his mind must have worked then and seemingly worked now. Glancing back down at the board, the woman moved her pawn to the right of her king forward two places. “So chess is your refugee in a sense? A chance to reallign priorities and thoughts?”

Santiago moved the directly in front off his King and captured the pawn to it's left. "It was at first," replied Santiago, "then the game became a bit of an obsession." Santiago held the black pawn between his pointer finger and thumb and looked through it at Patricia. "You study the game so much all your thoughts are about these little pieces. Your life revolves around what you could have done better, until it's not a game anymore. It took me along time to sit in front of a board again."

Moving her own pawn left in front of her king, Jennifer claimed Santiago’s just relocated pawn. She thought over his words during the move, her eyes meeting his as she rolled his pawn between her fingers. If she was honest, despite the softness she saw in those eyes, despite feeling comfortable in the man’s presence she found it difficult to figure where this conversation might be going. “It’s no different than life itself...sometimes we turn right instead of left at the fork in the road but we are forever left wondering what might have happened had we changed direction. You have to learn in life not to linger on the ifs, the buts and the whys and instead focus on your present and what you can mould the future to be.”

"I've learned to not worry about my past actions so much but to learn from them," Santiago said moving the pawn two paces in front of his queen to the left capturing another pawn. "The present is much more important. You look to far back or to far forward and you miss what's happening right in front of your face."

Patricia found herself puzzled now at the direction as the conversation as she studied the board and tried to reason if it was a warning that checkmate was about to be achieved. The woman used the knight to her far right to capture her opponents pawn in line with her own bishop.

“As a psychologist I’m trained to interupt, understand and react but...” Looking up, Patricia caught Santiago’s eye once more with a smile as she held the eye contact, “...sometimes you meet a person that it can take even longer than one meeting to understand.”

Santiago laughed at the comment, "Don't waste you time trying to understand me or you might never get to know me." Santiago moved the pawn in front of his Queen side knight forward 2 paces threatening both blacks knight that has just captured a pawn and her Queen. "Besides I've talked to many a therapist that say I'm beyond help."

Taking her queen between her fingers, Patricia smiled as she moved it left one space so as to block the pawns path forward; sacrificing the knight. She wasn’t quite certain if it was relief she was feeling or something more. “So do you always play mind games on people when you meet them for the first time?”

Santiago looked at Patricia and smiled he touched the top of his King side bishop and saw the realization in her eyes as he moved it across the board capturing the black Queen, "I don't understand what you mean Commander the only game I'm playing is with these pieces," Santiago said with her Queen in his closed hand.

It took Patricia everything she had not to swear blindly as she looked at where her queen now lay. “So that was the game...befuzzle your opponent so they’d take a wrong step without properly looking at the overall picture and you could swoop in unannounced.” She couldn’t help it, the woman lightly laughed as she studied what she had left, trying to reorganize and restructure now she’d lost an essential piece. “Well done Captain...I have to give you that.” Patricia moved her knight to safety as she placed it back in the line above her king, centered between the king and right side bishop; blocking the check.

Santiago smiled as he moved his Queen straight forward to capture a hanging pawn, "I have no intention of taking advantage of you on the board. Just getting to know a friend of a friend." Santiago studied the board and frowned. "I do apologize if any of this is upsetting you. We can end the game here if you like and just talk over coffee and tea."

The question surprised Patricia as she sat back into her chair, the coffee long gone cold as she left it where it sat. On one hand it was probably a foregone conclusion that she had lost the still shocked her a little to realise how long they had been playing for already. She’d have expected a person with his experience and her inexperience to have checkmated her much quicker than this. It intrigued her to finish the game out but at the same time she enjoyed the man’s company. It was rare to meet a person who could challenge her mind as much as he seemed to have had in the time of this game.

“Why would you think it’s upset me? If anything it’s refreshing to be mentally challenged...I think my body has had the focus for so long now that the mind has gotten rusty.” Leaning forward she moved her left knight to position it in line with her bishop and the pawn infront of it; leaving it open for him to decide. “Tell me something though, what was the event before that triggered your retreat from the game?”

Santiago smiled and looked at the board he moved his Queen back two spaces, "I was on track to becoming a Master at 17 and they were looking promising, but I lost myself in the game." Santiago shuffled in his seat. "It wasn't till my time at the Academy that I started to see it as a game again." Santiago was lost in thought again. "I finally gained the title of Master at 25, then Grandmaster at 31." Santiago smiled softly again. "See it's when I played the game as a game that I succeed."

Patricia moved the pawn infront of her right rook forward one space as she processed his response before letting out a low whistle. “Grandmaster? That’s some achievement and takes some focus and concentration. Can’t be easily balanced with being a Task Group Commander surely?”

"Chess is a pass time for me now," Santiago said moving his bishop one space diagonally towards his Queen. "I barely meet the game requirement to keep my title every year but I always find time for enough matches." Santiago looked at Patricia, "really if it's not fun it's not worth it."

Picking up her right hand knight, Patricia moved it up one space and two more spaces to the right before sitting back into her chair and studying her opponent, as she caught his eyes, in a different light now she realised he was being a little more open. “It’s fun trouncing ones oppenant by stealing her queen?” The easy smile and flash in her eyes showed that her words were little less than a tease.

Santiago smiled at Patricia, "Losing a Queen isn't losing the game," he moved his bishop one space this time towards the pawn in front of his took.

Taking her Pawn between the bishop and rook on the far left, Patricia moved the piece two places as she tried to figure a way out of the almost stalemate like situation. “No...but it makes things more tricky. You have to retreat a little and try to rejuggle. See if I can upset your game of play as you have mine.”

Santiago moved his Queen one space it it's right. "Check," he said, "I've seen quite a few successful strategies that require you lose your Queen early on in the game."

“Just not this one.” With a laugh, Patricia moved her right hand bishop diagonally two spaces in order to block the check. “You’ll have to show me the strategies sometime and I see if next time I can put them into playing better than today.”

"Other opponents wouldn't have lasted as long after a blunder like that," Santiago moved his Queen diagonally to the left capturing one of blacks knights. "It's what I meant about playing someone who hasn't studied the game."

“So does that mean I’ve provided a pleasant distraction for you today Captain?” Patricia’s fingers moved her left side knight two spaces to the right and up one spot before looking up at him to reflect her tease in her eyes.

Santiago moved his bishop one space to it's left, "Check," Santiago smiled, "the game isn't the distraction Ms. Montgomery."

Taking her bishop two squares above her queen, Patricia moved it back one place to block the check. “What would the distraction be then?”

Santiago moved his bishop to eat the blocking bishop. "Check," he said with a smile. "It's not everyday I get a pretty woman to join me for a game of Chess at a coffee shop."

Hesitating for a moment as she felt a light blush flush across her cheeks; Patricia moved her king diagonally one space in order to claim his bishop as hers. “I couldn’t remember where I knew you from until I heard the name...Kat said sometime ago that she was certain I would like you. Off the record, as she’ll never let me live it down, it seems that this time she was right.”

Santiago moved his Queen down one space claiming a pawn, "Check," Santiago laughed, "Mal ... I mean Tyler told me the same thing about you."

Watching as the number of her pieces dwindled, Patricia lifted her remaining knight, moving the piece two spaces down and one to further block the check. “So what now? A rematch to provide further opportunity to see if I can improve upon my chess technique?”

Santiago moved his King side knight two spaces forward and one to the left, "Check," he said, "If you like we could play our games over subspace give you more time to improve your game."

Patricia moved her king back one space to nestle back in beside the bishop as she smiled across at Santiago. “I think I could manage to fit that in. On one meet me in person to evulate and take stock the next time our time here might coincide.”

Santiago moved his Queen one space to it's right capturing Patricia's second knight, "Sounds like a date."

“I ask one favour of you...” With very little options remaining, Patricia took her sole pawn remaining in it’s starting position and moved the piece forward two more spaces. To say he was slaughtering her was no understatement she just couldn’t figure why it has actually taken so long. Once her fingers moved away, she looked back up at Vela with a smile, “...don’t tell the other two. Because I don’t know about you but I don’t need daily calls from Kat asking have we set a date yet....”

"All things start with friendship," he smiled moving his Queen one space space to the right. "Checkmate," said Santiago, "the fun is in the game not the victory. I only need to move at Warp Speed on my ship. I'll send you my first move when I get back to my ship. Thank you for the game.". Santiago stood and straightened his jacket and held out his hand.

Patricia knew where she’d gone wrong straight away as she realised she should have moved the bishop and not the pawn. It was easy to deduce your mistake after the fact but it thankfully didn’t detract from the fact that the past while had actually been full.

Moving to own feet, Patricia pulled her gym jacket up where it had slouched down on her shoulder before taking the offered hand in hers in hers with a smile. “Thank you for the company. I look forward to hearing from you Santiago.

A Joint Post By:

Captain Santiago Vela
Commanding Officer, USS Fearless

Lieutenant Commander Patricia Montgomery M.D.
Executive Officer, USS Pioneer


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