(OOC: This is set before the start of the new plot.)
=/\= Sickbay, USS Artemis =/\=
Things we just about beginning to look back to normal in the Artemis's sickbay. Everything had been fixed and sterilized, and while sickbay wasn't exactly gleaming--for some reason, this room on this specific ship just never did that--it was looking pretty good. Shinandra was presently on inventory duty, since she knew they were still short a few things that she hoped Leto would be able to supply. She knew things were stretched thin these days, but hope springs eternal.
Just as she was making a notation on the padd in her hand, she heard the soft swish of sickbay doors opening and looked up to see who it was...
Like all the crew of the Artemis, Pilgrim had been a very busy bee lately. Many things needed to be taken care of since the attack, but it was perhaps time to make good on a promise.
Pilgrim entered sickbay, and walked up to Nandra. "Hey, Doc," he said. "I'm hurt pretty bad. Can you help me out?"
Upon seeing the MACO she had not only met but been rescued by, Shinandra smiled and then looked him over. "And what is the nature of the medical emergency?" she quipped in a very not EMH-style way.
Pilgrim took off his glove and held up his hand for the Lieutenant to see, pointing at a small abrasion on his finger. "What do you think, Doc?"
Nandra pursed her lips slightly, trying to keep a serious face although it was a struggle. She moved closer and took his hand in both of hers, pulling to down closer to her level so she could examine the wound. "I don't know. This looks pretty serious," she said "I might have to confine you to sickbay...for, oh, another ten minutes until I get off shift?" Without lifting her head, she looked up at him with amusement.
"Yes, ma'am"," Pilgrim said with a smile.
Pilgrim had felt an unexpected rush in his chest when Nandra took his hand in hers. What the hell was that about? Perhaps it was nothing, he hadn't exactly been around women for a while and he was only a human. He dwelled on that topic and thought about the recent events aboard the Artemis while waiting out of the way for Nandra to finish her work.
It was a little distracting trying to get things done with someone waiting for her, but she was a professional. She returned to her inventory, marked off what needing marked off, prioritized supplies they needed versus what she really just hoped they could get, then signed off on it and sent it up the chain to the CMO. She put everything away, and just shy of ten minutes later, she returned to where the MACO was waiting for her.
It had been a while since she'd had a man waiting on her when it wasn't truly related to an injury, and it made her smile. "Ready to see how best we should treat that finger?" she teased.
"Yes, ma'am, though I suggest we move to a more secure location. I'll escort you."
Pilgrim couldn't help but smile to himself as he lead the Lieutenant towards his quarters. He realized he was having fun and was happy, and wondered how long it had been since he had been. Arriving at his quarters he let Nandra inside and showed her to his main table where he had a bowl full of replicated limes and two bottles which were some of his most prized possessions: a small bottle of orange liquor and a larger bottle of very fine tequila.
When they walked in and she spotted the bottles, she was impressed. They looked legit, which wasn't unheard of but wasn't super common either. Most people just relented and went for the replicator's synthehol, but there were always some who went that extra mile for the real stuff. Shinandra was fairly certain she could count Pilgrim among that category. "The margaritas I was told of?" she asked with amusement.
"Indeed. I keep my word."
Pilgrim began the process of assembling the margaritas. There was nothing at all mysterious or complicated about the drink, but it was one of the things he loved so he took great care with it. The proper tools had been arranged in a clean and organized space. The steps were performed with care, and deliberate movements. The making was like a small ritual or a meditation. To Pilgrim so much of life was performed without thought and he had learned to take time in doing these things. The result would still be a margarita but it would be a perfect one.
Having finished the first batch, Pilgrim wetted the rim of a glass, dipped it into salt. He then put some ice into the glass and poured the drink, and handed it to Nandra.
"Here you are." he said, and began to fix one for himself.
She watched the ritual with appreciation. It had been a long time since she'd been witness to such, and it had also been a while since she'd had real liquor. She'd have to temper herself, since she hadn't taken the precaution of any injection that would prevent getting drunk and that wasn't really the sort of impression she wanted to make.
When he handed her the glass, she smiled and thanked him. She didn't drink right away, though, waiting until he had his own before lifting it slightly. "To good company," she toasted.
Pilgrim lifted his glass. "Good company," he replied and sipped his drink.
"We survived quite an episode and I have to say I'm pretty proud of this ship and her crew. Everywhere I looked I saw people doing their jobs, and holding their ground. I'm pleased with my MACOs. They are trained to fight, it's why they joined and they did their job. I saw you too, Doc. I saw you doing your job patching people up, but I also saw you throwing yourself in front of that casualty when that squid was coming at you. You were very brave, and I wanted you to know I saw it, so here's to you" he said raising his glass in another toast.
"Thank you," she replied, her tan skin darkening slightly with a blush. "Here's to you as well. I very likely wouldn't be here to toast with this excellent drink if it wasn't for you, being good at what you do and being at the right place at the right time." She took another sip, enjoying the feeling of warmth. "I wish I could say that this was likely the weirdest thing you'd encounter on this post, but..." She smirked. "It probably won't be."
"No, I suspect you're right about that. I mean...have you met the ship? It's alive apparently?"
Nandra grinned. "Artemis? Oh yes. She was...awake during my last tour on board. She's quite the unique being, and that's quite literally. There is no other AI like her, or even close." She took another sip. "I can't imagine Starfleet hasn't tried but I'm not sure it's possible to recreate what happened to make her." She paused. "Have you met her yet?"
"I haven't been introduced, no. I did see her briefly at the end of the attack. I keep forgetting this is not your first rodeo with Artemis. I'm guess you've met her at some point?"
"Oh yes." Nandra nodded easily. "And I have no doubt at all that you'll meet her soon as well. She has a..." The doctor paused, dark gaze rising toward the ceiling as she thought, then returned to his. "...an almost compulsive need to meet every member of the crew. So when there is crew she hasn't met, she will make a point to seek them out. Don't mind the dogs. They're perfectly nice."
Pilgrim finished off his drink and started making another. "Dogs, eh? She's a warrior and a dog person so I have no doubt me and her will get along just fine. So tell me something Doc what is it you do when you aren't saving lives? What can't you wait to go home and do?"
"Check up on your mythology, Sergeant," she teased, taking another sip. She hadn't been going through hers quite as quickly as he went through his, but she was purposely taking it slow. "I actually used to have a dog myself, though she passed a couple years back." She paused thoughtfully. "I like to read. I do Tarot. I actually own a business on a starbase that I manage long distance." Very long distance. "I also play chess. I have some distance games running with different friends. How about yourself?"
"Yes ma'am, I'll do that. Maybe I'll ask the lady herself to give me a history lesson when I meet her and her pups. It's weird but I'm actually having a harder time wrapping my brain around an artificially intelligent canine. Anyways, I like to read too. I like to play poker when I can, and I collect ancient chips that were used to play it. I also collect old communication devices. I do random things like learn how to make margaritas really well. I like a lot of different games but can you believe I've never played chess? What kind of business do you operate?"
With this sip, she did finish her drink. She looked at the empty glass, debating whether to ask for a second. "A bar, actually," she said with some amusement as she realized how funny it was to say that while holding the empty glass in her hand. "It's been a long time since I wasn't a long distance owner and I didn't tend the bar. I actually operated a fortune telling business out of the backroom."
Pilgrim almost spit some of his drink back into his glass. "A bar!? Here I was thinking I was smooth for being able to mix a decent drink! Well isn't that something? So, what was the bar really just an excuse to do the fortune gig? You must really be into the Tarot. One day maybe you'll do a reading for me?"
Shinandra couldn't help but grin. "Like I said, I didn't do the bartending. I just owned the place." She held her empty glass out to him with a requesting look. "And sure, I'd be happy to. It has been a little while since I did a proper reading on someone other than me." She paused, weighing how much more to say. "I grew up learning how to read the cards. It was...a necessity in my family, one could say."
Pilgrim took the empty glass and worked made another drink. "A necessity? To read the Tarot? You must have had an interesting upbringing," Pilgrim said handing Nandra the new drink.
"Thank you," she said as she took the drink. She was never sure when she should tell people about how she was raised, if ever at all. It was an intrinsic part of her youth and her later life, but still, it had varied reactions. "I did," she finally said. "I'm not entirely sure you would believe me if I told you." She laughed.
"Oh I'd believe you," Pilgrim replied. "Have no fear. You don't have to talk about if if you don't want, but I'm listening if you do."
She took another sip of her margarita and decided it had been too long since she'd had real alcohol and this would be her limit. "Well, I...was born a princess."
If she hadn't given him a heads up about her story being hard to believe Pilgrim would have surely assumed she was making a joke. Even with the preamble he still took a moment to look at Nandra and considered if she was being humorous. Pilgrim decided she wasn't, took a pull on his drink, and enjoyed the warmth that spread through his chest briefly as he considered this new information. "Well," Pilgrim started, "I see now why you didn't think I'd believe you. As it turns out I've seen some things out here among the stars that have left me with a bit of an open mind. I also had this 'there's something about this girl' feeling which I wrote off to being a crush, but it sounds like my instinct was correct. So what's the story, Princess?"
She was sorely tempted to be that "crush" comment, but chose not to...yet. She took another drink while she thought of the best ways to summarize her history. "I was born to a human colony on Erris II, called New Babel. My family led the colonization and set up a matriarchal monarchy. We were led by firstborn daughters, starting with my great grandmother. I was raised to rule, being not just first daughter but first child. My full name is Shinandra Innendoah Nassotavia Alleit Alleir. I...however...was not enthused by the idea of ruling, and I ran away." She smiled wryly. "In the past few years, I returned home because my mother was sick and my younger sister followed in my footsteps. I was queen for less than a year before the most polite coups d'etat in history. My brothers said they didn't think just girls should rule, I said okay and abdicated. I returned to Starfleet and gave them the throne."
"They didn't think girls should rule? I didn't realize there were time travelers from ancient Earth. That's quite a story, and quite a name by the way."
She laughed softly and explained, "Well, they didn't think that JUST girls should rule. They thought the throne should pass to daughters or sons." Another sip. "As for the name, each first daughter took the names of their predecessors. My mother was Innendoah, my grandmother was Nassotavia, great-grandmother was Alleit... As you can imagine, any future daughter I may have will be grateful for me ignoring that tradition!"
"I can imagine, indeed. I think it's a lovely name but if you add one more it would collapse in on itself. So the Tarot was a part of this upbringing?"
"It was." She nodded. "It was something that Alleit Alleir brought from Earth when they departed for Erris II and she took pride in it, so it became a tradition for the women of the family to learn. It was one tradition that I did not mind bringing with me from home."
"So a princess, and entrepreneur, and an officer in Starfleet," Pilgrim said. "That's quite the resume. Are you happy to be back in the fleet? It sounds like you were a probably reluctant to leave in the first place."
"Very astute," she said lightly. "No, I never wanted to leave. I'm glad to be back." She finished her second drink and put the empty glass down on the table. "That's enough about me, though. Why don't you tell me something about yourself?"
Pilgrim sipped his drink and thought a moment before replying. "My life has been a bit more straight forward, I'm afraid. My parents died at Wolf-359 and I joined Starfleet as soon as I could to do my part. I was driven to recover my parents and then by revenge and now mostly I'd have to say it's just duty. Living in the fleet and then as a MACO...well, you know how it is. You are the job. I've had my share of experiences but the good ones have mostly been on liberty with squadmates in some kind of dive or another, and the bad ones are the kind of bad that most people are lucky enough to never see."
Since she was part of the staff responsible for the medical care of everyone on board, she had read his file. She knew about his legs, so she could quite guess about the latter part of his statement. However, she knew it usually didn't make people feel very easy to think about her reading their files. "I can quite imagine so," she said. "I never served in ways you did, but I put in time in some...dark places. Seen things people wouldn't want to, given the choice. So, I think I can understand in my way."
Pilgrim suddenly became aware that the pair had been standing the whole time and he hadn't invited Nandra to sit. It wasn't too surprising, as he was feeling the warm haze of the tequila, and had been distracted somewhat by conversation. He showed Nandra to the couch and the two got more comfortable. Pilgrim was really enjoying this time. It had been far too long, and in the back of his head he could sense that it might be a while before they could relax again. Thinking back to earlier in the conversation Pilgrim remembered Nandra enjoyed chess, so he asked her to teach him a little, and the two spent the rest of the evening getting to know each other over some painfully slow games of chess.
=/\= End Log =/\=
Sergeant S. G. Pilgrim & Lieutenant Shinandra Alleir (NPC-A apb Bella)