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[JL Deniaud/Salieri] A Beautiful Universe: Coup de Foudre

USS Aldrin Personnel Recordings

by Lieutenant Commander Marielle Deniaud & Lieutenant Commander Gideon Salieri
[Stardate ]

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A Beautiful Universe: Coup de Foudre

“The moment I saw you I thought to myself: ‘Oh, this one is going to hurt.’” - V.J.

Marielle had been thankful that her commanding officer had allowed his crew to wear clothing other than a Starfleet dress uniform. The idea of being forced to wear the white and grey formal uniform seemed to go against everything she’d come to expect for a guest. She had opted to dress formally for the occasion. The mulberry-purple tight-fitted off-the-shoulder blouse hugged her torso, the long sleeves hugging her slender arms. The dark burgundy and floral skirt was tight around her waist and served to highlight her thin figure, the matted silver blossoms painted on the fabric. Half her hair was secured by a faded burgundy ribbon that was tied into a neat bow, fringes left to frame her face and the dark strands fell in gentle waves to the small of her back.

Gideon stood at the back of the gathering area. He’d chosen to wear his dress whites since he was technically going to be on duty for the ceremony. The crisp uniform fit him perfectly, the shoulders square and collar hugging the skin of his neck. He had been present for the rehearsals, his job to protect Doctor Swift, so he’d seen everything that was going to go down. It left him able to better watch the crowd for any signs of disturbance. He watched quietly as everyone filtered into the space.

Night had quickly approached. The traditional sight of the wedding ceremony was packed with officers and Wolfen alike, the lakes lit by floating candles on the water and hovering golden orbs. Those closest to the Leonard Swift and Mila Snow had been granted access to the intimate island that floated in the center of the larger of the two lakes. The ceremony was intimate, filled with tradition and symbolism. It was far longer than most, much of the ritual had been meant to re-enact the original contract that formed the basis of the Wolfen belief structure. After the first kiss and cheering, there was much rejoicing as spectators waited to disperse to their respective gatherings. It would have simply been too much for have a single reception. Swift was their saviour, and seemed as if the entire planet was celebrating his marriage.

The engineer watched quietly as groups of people gathered. Those on the island needed to return to the main shore in order to be transported back to the ship for the reception. It made sense that their chief medical officer would celebrate his nuptials with his crewmates. Marielle stepped onto the little boat once it returned from the last group of people, and she took the furry paw that assisted her into her seat. She was joined by several others of her crew, the ride short and uneventful.

He had taken the first ferry to the main shore, standing beyond the dock as he watched everyone come off the small boat. Gideon wondered how he’d managed to get suckered into pulling a shift during a wedding. But then he recalled that it was probably for the best so that he didn’t get stupid and try to celebrate too hard. The half-Betazoid shook his head at himself as his gaze scanned the area again. His cobalt irises met the vibrant green-and-gold of Ensign Arian Amunrra, to whom he nodded and gave the ‘all clear’ signal.

The engineer was the last to step off the vessel, the rowing dory rocking under her feet when she stepped over the thwarts as she made her way towards the bow. Marielle couldn’t help but release a soft yelp when she nearly lost her footing. It was only by luck that the rower had been able to catch her hand to keep her from falling over the side. Her peal of laughter was bright, the dulcet tone warm against the evening chill. “Thank you,” she told the ferryman as she stepped onto the shore. The engineer gave him an appreciative smile that lit her face with a pleasant glow.

His head turned immediately upon hearing the laughter that carried on the warm night air. Gideon caught sight of the engineer, recognizing her from the away team just a couple days before. He tried not to stare, but he couldn’t even force his gaze to move over her features as he would do to check out any woman. Something in her dazzling emerald irises kept his greyish blue locked on them.

She smoothed the fabric of her skirt as she straightened. Her hand came up to toss her hair from her shoulders as her ever-present smile kept her expression friendly and warm. Marielle’s eyes swept over the crowd, ever observant as she took in the surroundings. Most of the Wolfen had vacated the space, leaving mostly fellow crewmates awaiting transport for the reception aboard the starship. Her hand came up to wave at Parvenu Nobody when she spotted him. “Hey! Parv!” she called out, her mezzo soprano only growing sweeter as she laughed when her cry had him tripping over his own feet. She moved in his direction.

“Wow,” he whispered to himself as he watched her walk away. “That’s amazing,” Gideon murmured, a smile appearing on his features as he closed his eyes and listened to the echoing chimes of her laughter. It was reminiscent of summer and warmth filled him.

The reception had been in full swing for some time before it devolved into a drinking competition among some of the key staff members - the Hermes’ commanding officer, the newly wedded groom, and the newly promoted engineer. The scent of tequila was strong, most having had had their sixth shot. The crowd had gathered around the group to cheer on their respective favourites. It had come as no surprise that their commanding officer and chief medical officer could hold their own. They were bigger men with age and experience on their side. It was a different matter altogether to see Marielle Deniaud keeping up with her superior officers. The woman was nearly forty-five kilograms (100 lbs.) lighter than each men, and yet she was still sitting.

Her cheeks were pink, her face flushed as the alcohol simply replaced the blood that coursed through her body. She filled her shot glass as she stared down her commanding officer. A lick of salt from the fleshy part of her hand was soon followed by the burn of tequila and an orange slice. “Oh geez, Doc!” she exclaimed with a bright laugh. “This stuff is serious business!” She laughed again as her body tilted back and she reached out to grab the edge of the bar. She used the transporter chief, who stood close behind her, as her backrest.

Parvenu Nobody stared at the engineer in wonder, his eyes wide and his mouth gaping. He would have never imagined the diminutive woman to be able to keep up with the men. “You’ve got to be kidding me,” he murmured to himself.

Gideon sat at the bar, his back leaning against the counter and his elbows propped on the bartop. He had simply watched the contest, his uniform jacket unzipped and his pip in his pocket. “I should be intimidated by a woman who can put away so much liquor,” he murmured to himself. He shifted his weight to lean on one elbow, lifting his free hand to rub at the stubble on his jaw as he pushed aside his desires to have a drink.

She giggled brightly as the Orion engineer cheered for her. There was a buzzing sensation that moved through her body and made her nose numb. “I’m younger than both of you old geezers!” she exclaimed with another peal of laughter. There was a pause. “Respectfully speaking, of course. There’s no way any of you can drink me under the table.” Her words were slurred but coherent.

‘Someday, we’ll test that,’ he promised her as he sighed quietly. Gideon’s eyelids closed at the sound of her laughter. “Wow,” he whispered again. “How does she do that?” The sound of sea glass chimes tingled gently between his ears.

Ryan Winnetka sat on the barstool next to Gideon, his head shaking as he watched his friend basking in some unknown glory. He reached over and punched him in the arm. “You had a drink or something?”

The next shot was taken quickly. The liquid burnt as expected and she shook her head as her eyes squeezed shut. The mental haze was growing thicker. Marielle giggled as she covered her mouth with her hand. “Augh,” she complained without really complaining. “Woof me to the next galaxy. This stuff is strong.” The engineer was quickly proving herself to be a happy drunk, her smile and laughter only growing warmer with each passing second.

“No,” he answered Ryan, a glare given in his direction as he rubbed his arm. “You remember that laugh on Korin’Thalis? It was her.” Gideon motioned toward Marielle as he watched her further on down the bar.

She attempted to grab the ninth shot from the bar. “Hey!” she complained as she swayed. “Why is the bar moving?! Why is it moving!” Marielle lamented her predicament before a lilting laugh tumbled from her lips. Vibrant and flawless emerald irises swept through the room as she pointed in Gideon’s direction, her smile growing with her mirth. “Hey! You!”

“Yeah, she’s an engineer,” Ryan reminded the security officer. “She’s too smart for you.”

“You- You should- You should join us!” she shouted to the Vulcan who was watching but not participating in the merriment of the reception. The young woman shifted in her barstool, her hips swinging to turn the chair as she giggled.

Gideon had straightened for a moment, thinking that Marielle had been talking to him. When she looked, his expression deflated and he leaned back against the bartop. “Yeah,” he murmured. His gaze shifted to his friend, a frown moving over his features. “It’s getting old, though. You want to keep chasing tail into your thirties?”

At some point, she’d found her way off her stool and on top of the bar. She sat facing the crowd as she spoke to her comrades. The tenth shot was taken without thinking. At the same time, she reached for one of the wedges in the pile of citrus fruit. She threw it easily. It missed the dancing topless nameless ensign, sailing past him and hitting Peter Peterson square on the nose. Marielle’s eyes grew wide before she released a wild peal of laughter as her self-proclaimed nemesis gripped his nose and fumed at her.

“Well, I hear you, Sal,” the Chicago native began. “But you’re aiming way too high with that one. She’s smart, funny, successful, beautiful, and can hold her liquor.” Ryan glanced toward Marielle as he shook his head. “Way out of your league, man.”

The Bajoran mix officer shook his head and gave Winnetka a frown. “I knew I could count on you to be my wingman.” Gideon slid off the barstool and gave Ryan a punch on the arm before heading out of the lounge.

She’d lost count. It was either her twelvth or thirteenth shot. Marielle couldn’t be sure. At some point, she’d fallen off the bar and crawled off the anti-grav cart on which she’d been dumped. The engineer stood up, her hands high in the air as she swayed heavily to one side. “I’m okay!” she exclaimed with a giggle. The young engineer leaned to one side as she stumbled to remove her shoes, instantly falling several centimeters as she removed her stilettos. Her heavy steps carried her out of the reception as she began to sing, her mezzo soprano echoing in the empty hallway as she attempted to find her way back to her quarters.

“Just making sure you don’t crash and burn, Sal!” Ryan called after him. He shrugged at the lack of response and turned to the barkeep. “A dark beer. Whatever.”

Copyright 2018. All works involving Mariëlle A. Deniaud and Gideon M. Salieri, including character biographies and published stories, are the property of the United Space Federation and its author. It cannot be reproduced, imitated, and copied without written permission from the authors. All rights reserved. This is a work of fiction using aspects of the Star Trek universe as created and copyrighted/trademarked by Gene Roddenberry, Paramount, and their affiliates.
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