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Coming Clean

Posted on Mon Aug 5th, 2019 @ 10:22pm by Captain Cornelius Tremble & Lieutenant Tallida Ovaa
Edited on on Thu Aug 8th, 2019 @ 1:03pm

Mission: Episode 7 - Home Again
Location: Quarters of Cornelius Tremble - Deck 2 - USS Pioneer
Timeline: MD009 2300 hrs



Neil lay in his bunk, trying to sleep.

Trying being the operative word. He’d slept off and on but it had been fitful and he was struggling. In the past ten days, he’d logged a total of thirty six hours of sleep, countering his bodies nature need for sleep by balancing combat stims and sleep agents. These had, under orders, been prescribed to get through the enhanced training program the core had arranged for him to get him both qualified with the Mark IV’s and complete night school for Officer Selection.

He’d finished that afternoon. Received a physical by the Brigade’s flight surgeon and been immediately given a chemical dependency briefing and a neutralization course, which included him being confined to quarters for the next 36 hours and ordered to rest and sleep as much as possible, in addition to eating a streamlined diet to reorder his metabolism.

That had been three hours ago and he was already sick of it. He’d spent minutes staring at the black circles under his eyes. The neutralizers, which worked quickly, gave his eyes a jaundice’s combined to look nothing so much as pee holes in a snow bank.

Now he was tossing and turning on his rack and his brain was sifting through memories from the past days. His promotion. The announcement that he was now going to be 2nd in Command of the Pioneer.

Cami..

Tallida.

Jayna.

Even Larta.

He’d went from being a veritable monk to having the attention of too many beautiful women.

That shouldn’t be a problem, but he knew he couldn’t lead them on. Or put it off and hope something would distract things so he wouldn’t need to make a choice.

Neil had been distant as of late, and she couldn't blame him. He was busy and she was, well, her. She knew that she was painfully awkward and inexperienced and at the end of the day, it was for the best. She had been having a flip-flopping of emotions since she had seen him last and if scuttlebutt was anything to believe he had been avoiding her. That made the fact that she had drawn the short straw to include him as part of her rounds on the extra medical shift she had picked up on her day off, that much more awkward. Tapping in the command she entered his quarters and looked around. "Captain Tremble?" She called.

Neil had started to drift, then heard his door open. He was on his feet and moving half-stepping into the main room before he belatedly remembered he wasn't wearing anything. He saw it was Tallida and he said, "One second," before he disappeared from the doorway for a few beats then reappeared after pulling on athletic shorts and had a t-shirt in his hand.

He stopped a few feet from her and said simply, "Hey."

"You are on my rounds," Tallida said evenly as she tried to keep her tone even as if it explained why she was there. There was something about him that always attempted to reduce her to a love-struck teen. She was being a ninny and needed to get a grip. "With your detox protocol, I need to make sure you aren't having an adverse reaction."

"Ahh. Well, it's good to see you too, Tallida," he said wryly, his eyes barely blinking. "And about what you expect. It stinks. You look good. How's work?"

"Picked up an extra shift in medical." She replied with a practiced smile. "So, it is fine." She motioned with her hand. "Care to take a seat? We can get this over with so you can sleep if you like." She returned her hands to grip the small case she had brought with her.

Neil complied and chuckled, "Sleep. Yeah, that's not coming easily, unfortunately. And of course, I can't take anything...unless I opt to go into an induced coma. That was one of the options they gave me." He half-turned to lean back into the corner of the couch and dropped his arms onto the curved back.

Tallida watched him move as she followed suit. Setting her medical kit down on the table she took a seat on the couch and pulled out her medical tricorder to begin her scan. "Not a lot I can suggest, I am afraid." She gave him an apologetic smile. "Typically I would suggest physical exertion, but that isn't recommended for another twenty-four hours or so." She added as she looked over the scan not making eye contact.

He grinned at her then and said, "That depends on the type of physical exertion, Tallida. I said it was good to see you. Not as sexy as you wearing my shirt, or sleeping next to me. But still a sight for sore eyes," he reached out, brushing some of her hair behind her ear and chuckled, "But then my eyes look pretty bad."

Tallida couldn't suppress the heat his words and touch sent through her, nor could she hide the flushed reaction that came to her cheeks. "You don't have to say stuff like that anymore." She said softly not daring to look up at him. "I understand." She added as she finished her scan and turned to place her scanner in her kit.

As she turned away, he made a decision. He leaned over reaching out and slid a hand over her neck, fingers tracing lightly then pulled her face toward his and kissed her. Gently at first and then more deeply.

When his lips had first met her's she had hesitated, thought about pulling back or pushing him away but as quickly as the thoughts came they were replaced with a need. She had missed him kissing her and had missed how he made her feel. Her hand moved to rest on his chest and she pushed back slightly breaking the kiss. She didn't say anything, her heart raced and her breath had quickened.

"Now, all that's because I wanted to. Hoped you would. And to relate better than words that I like you, Tallida. We're weird together, in a good way. I don't pretend to understand it but I like it."

For the first time since she had taken a seat on the couch, she looked up at him. There was truth in his words and she didn't doubt that he liked her. She laughed slightly at his weird comment. "Weird is fitting." There was a question on the tip of her tongue but she didn't want to ask it.

"It's important that you know all that. Because I feel like I should tell you that I was, for all intents and purposes I suppose, asked out yesterday after I received my promotion. It was a spur of the moment thing, and I accepted, and passed out, at her place. I still had enough knockouts left at that point...but you and I have spent time together. It's a small ship. It was best you heard it from me."

He met her eyes and waited for her reaction.

Tallida nodded. "I know." She replied easily if not a little sad. "Marines aren't known for keeping their mouth shut and like you said it is a small ship." she looked back up at him. "I understand, I get it." She said dismissively as if it was easier to believe why he wouldn't like her than accept the fact that he did.

"Do you, Tallida?" He asked, taking her hand then. "I'm sorry you found out that way then, but there we are. I like you. I hope we can see more of each other and find out what we might have...and where it might go."

He looked pained then, "I also can't say I wouldn't see her again either. I suck. But I also won't lie to you. I respect you too much for that. If you hate me, that's what I have to live with."

"You don't owe me anything, Neil." she replied pulling her hand from his. "Like I said I get it." she moved to stand up as she closed up her case. "I am awkward and clinical and..." She let out a frustrated huff at the damn case that wouldn't latch. "Like I said, I get it."

"But you're not listening to all of it, Tallida," Neil said, frustration leaking into his voice. "I want to spend more time with you. I might even love you. I just don't know right now and all I can be is honest with you."

"I am listening," She started, even though she really wasn't. She stopped when the words computed in her head. "What? Why?" She asked. That had been the last thing she would have ever heard him admit he was even thinking.

Neil forged ahead, doing what was really the only thing he could do. Marines, especially Marine officers didn't shirk from the truth. "Because all of you women have opened my eyes a bit to what I haven't had in my life. Each of you, in your ways, have made me think more. Want something more? And especially, you Tallida. We shared some intense moments and they resonated. And I know they've affected you too. So you know where I'm at. You get to choose if we explore it more or not."

"Ugh," Tallida replied finally giving up on the case and pushing it to the floor before retaking her seat on the couch. Her elbow rested on her knees as her head rested in her hand momentarily before pushing her hair back and looking at him. "You make my life complicated." She started with a sardonic chuckle. "You frustrate me to the point of contemplating murder, you infest my dreams, and even when I am awake my mind floats to you." She looked back at him. "I am a clinical, even tempered, person with a practiced distance to everyone, and I mean everyone." She looked down at his hands wishing they were still touching her. "Except you, and I have no idea why." she scoffed. "Look, I can't make any promises. I keep a distance from people for a reason, and I can't promise there won't be blood shed." She left the implication hanging whether she meant his or the other women.

He reached out and touched her face again, albeit slowly. "We can only be who we are. We've fought. We can do that again. We've slept together...chastely and shared meals. We can do that again too."

Then he trailed the hand down over her neck, shoulder and arm to rest finally on her arm. "And at some point we might even get naked with a purpose with each other. I just want all of that to be a possibility. Once we both figure out what is best for ourselves."

Tallida's eyes closed momentarily as his touch set her skin on fire again. She watched his hand move over her skin until it came to a rest just above her wrist. Turning her hand over she interlaced his fingers with hers. Staring for a moment before she spoke, she finally nodded her head. "Ok, with how I feel about you." She smirked. "I won't go down without a fight." She laughed lightly at the absurdity of it all. "We can try."

Neil smiled then and shook his head. "And, between here and all those maybe's you might find someone better."

"Well better by your estimation, at any rate," he preened teasingly

Tallida rolled her eyes. "That is a pretty low bar." She teased back. Without hesitation she leaned over and kissed him. For the first time since she had been in his quarters she didn't feel reservation or the need to hold herself back. She rested her forehead against his when the kiss ended before she spoke. "I can come back." She said though quick breaths. "My shift is over in about six hours."

Neil began nodding.

Then he felt the chemicals fail and he sighed. Then he pulled her against him and kissed her again. After they were breathless, he broke the kiss and asked, "Since, apparently, the chemicals are now failing I don't know that it would be smart, Tallida. Nice work, doctor. I'm cured!"

His levity was betrayed by his eyes as he looked her over, hungrily.

"Fair," Tallida admitted the sadness tinging the simple statement. "In that case," She continued as she moved to stand up and gather her stuff she had thrown on the floor during her tantrum. "I should get going. Let you get some sleep."

He just sat there, watching her bend over and sighed. "Yeah. Sleep. That's real likely.." He leaned his head back on the cushion. He closed his eyes and said, "Univers, c'est un super derrière."

"Yes, it is quite nice." Tallida replied with a little shimmy before she moved back to the couch and kissed him. It was deep and passionate but as soon as his hand touched her waist and moved to pull her down she spun out of his reach and headed for the door. "Sleep well, love" She gave him a knowing smile before exiting and putting the quarantine in place.

"Well, shit," Neil breathed out and let his head fall back onto the cushion, letting a fantasy run through his head for a good minute before he sighed and stood up.

Then he looked down and said, "At ease, Marine. For the love of...." and walked back into his bedroom and into the shower, not bothering to disrobe before he turned it on full cold and stood there, swearing in Klingon.


A Joint Post By

Captain Cornelius Tremble
Marine Commanding Officer/Second Officer, USS Pioneer


Lieutenant Tallida Ovaa
Chief Counselor, USS Pioneer

 

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