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Warm Thoughts, Cold Space [Personal Log, Ltjg Vega]

USS Federation Lounge


by Ensign Tiffany Vega
[Stardate ]

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Jan 7, 2158, 22:13 hours, in her quarters on the Federation

Tiffany smiled drowsily, sitting on the edge of her bed and tying off the end of her loose single braid with a hair fastener. It had been a good day, she thought to herself as she reflected on recent events. It was the last night of leave before the Federation would ship out on a new mission, and Ltjg Vega, along with some Ops and Engineering personnel, had boarded 12 hours early to start pre-launch system tests. All systems reported in excellent condition and stress tests passed, so the small prep crew held an impromptu celebration in the meeting room adjacent to Main Engineering once all duties had been attended to.

The party lasted well into the Gamma night, growing more convivial as crew members arrived from their holiday leave and joined the festivities. At one point, a bottle of "Ozimov's Private Reserve" was produced, and there began a series of toasts to various subjects ranging from serious to very silly. Tiffany smiled to herself, trying to remember the order of the honors... There had been:
1. A moment of silence and a solemn drink to fallen comrades in the past year, gone but never forgotten;
2. A toast to the USS Federation, best ship in the fleet;
3. And to the health of Capt Hawks and Counselor Drachen, safe after a mission that nearly claimed their lives;
4. Cheers to Lt. Ozimov, extraordinary Chief Engineer and Distillation Advisor;
5. A heartfelt welcome to the highly regarded new Science officer, the lovely Lt Blackfyre...

Tiffany paused in her reverie and stood up from the edge of her bed, swaying slightly. She walked over to the wall-inset replicator unit and made a cup of steaming Vulcan mint tea, then set the warm cup on the bathroom counter as she looked at herself in the mirror. Her brown eyes were shiny but the sclera were slightly pink. "Thanks for three solid weeks of partying, Vega," she said aloud to her reflection. Dark brown hair, pulled back into a single braid for bedtime, framed her wide round face, with a few wispy strands escaping from the braid and sticking out at odd angles. Tiffany tilted her head slowly to the left and right: her distinctive flat nose was a prominent feature, balanced by high cheekbones and big light-brown eyes. Her dusky skin was freshly cleansed and moisturized, smooth and pale from months of exposure to climate-controlled spacecraft atmosphere. No great beauty was Tiffany, but she smiled at herself in the mirror and took a sip of her tea, then dimmed the lights in the bathroom and returned to bed, setting her teacup on the nightstand and rolling herself into the blankets.

Her sleepy thoughts drifted back to the recent party and the past few weeks of leave and light duty... The multicultural holiday party in the cargo bay had set a festive start to the season of upgrades and repairs to the USS Federation. Foods, drinks and holiday traditions of Human, Vulcan, Tellarite, Andorian, and Denobulan came together with seasonal joy. The mistletoe was a big hit at the party, with many cheers heralding the couples who fell into each other's arms under the iconic greenery.

~😙🌱~

Tiffany had opted to stay on starbase for the holiday leave period, scheduling a package deal including accommodations and a training workshop on the communication systems upgrades that were being done to the Federation. The workshop met for an hour daily, with assigned reading and 2 weekly quizzes. There were 5 students in the class, including Tiffany, representing 4 Coalition starships and the Fleet Education department. The program was challenging and rewarding for everyone involved; information was shared among Comms officers from multiple ships, and the group learned about upgrades to encryption and patching security vulnerabilities, among other important subjects.

The workshop was not all work, nor all shop. Classmates formed friendships while studying together, which led to happy hours after class and mutual invitations to holiday parties around the station. Tiffany tried out several sparkly festive outfits, made polite conversation with her classmates and their significant others, and attempted to flirt with the single Fleet personnel on starbase. A few flirtations led to ~more~, but the encounters left Tiffany feeling cold, sweaty and alone between unfamiliar rented sheets.

~🌌*~

Tucked into freshly-laundered blankets in her own bed on the USS Federation, Tiffany experienced a sense of peace. The pre-bedtime ritual of observing her thoughts and memories was a habit she had learned during her exchange study year on Vulcan, and the practice had so far served her well during her first starship assignment. She was used to studying her own mind as thoroughly as she studied subspace signals and linguistics.
 
She fluffed her pillow, stretched luxuriously, sipped from the teacup on the nightstand. A taste for Vulcan mint tea was another acquisition of her immersive study year. Although the word "mint" was the official translation of the plant's name and it was used in similar ways to the hardy Terran herb, Vulcan mint had a unique distinctive taste. Some Vulcans (and humans) reported a calming, sedating, mildly intoxicating effect from drinking the tea.

Lying on her back, Tiffany closed her eyes and quieted her thoughts. She sensed the mirror of her mind blurring and dimming, easing the transition into sleep. An unwelcome thought suddenly burst into her awareness like a subspace glitch in an audio signal: Sendrik.

"Uuuggghh, I need to make an appointment with the counselor," Tiffany mumbled to herself and threw the edge of the blanket over her head, surrendering to sleep.
   
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