|USF Personal Log|
Login Cancel Login
It was yet another game night and Marielle lingered in the kitchen, the boisterous sounds of the team in the mess easily filling the cooking space. Beyond the confines of the small area, the Helios lounge was nearly filled with the usual crowd. It was a smaller group, so they had opted to play in the officer’s lounge to give Algerone a break. Bihraos complained about the invasion of ‘pink skins’, but the researcher could tell he was rather pleased to have the team back for their weekly game night.
Ryan Winnetka had stepped in to help with the food in Gideon’s absence. The chief of security had mentioned he would be late arriving for the game night and Cana had insisted that the Chicago native offer his assistance.
Her slender finger pointed to each of the silver trays as she mentally checked off the list of dishes from memory. Dark tight jeans covered her legs, a flowing polka-dotted blouse draped over her torso, the sleeves long with cuffs tight around her wrists, and pointed stilettos gave her the height her Starfleet standard boots denied her. A platinum band with a dark solitary green-blue sapphire hung from a thin chain around her neck. She hummed softly to herself as she brushed a loose tendril of her hair behind her ear, the gemstone starburst tucked into the twist that kept the strands up for the evening. “Hey Ryan,” she greeted after quickly looking over her shoulder. “Everything should be ready. Is there a table set aside?”
“Hey, yeah,” he greeted and answered in the same statement. The security officer furrowed his brows as he looked closer at the diminutive woman’s neck, wondering if he was seeing a bruise under her collar. Ryan shook off the thought, smiled as he nodded, and reaching for one of the trays. “It’s one of the small high tops, though. We may have to save some of this for a second trip.” His gaze moved to the ring on the necklace before he grinned at the physicist. He didn’t understand why she wouldn’t wear it.
“That’s fine.” There was a brief moment of hesitation as she adjusted her hair. Marielle lifted a second tray into her hands and began making her way towards the mess of officers, with Ryan close behind her. “Dinner is served!” she called out to the security team. There was a mellow demureness to her tone, her normally sweet mezzo-soprano lacking much of the usual brightness.
Members of the Karmanori straightened in their seats as they turned their attention to Marielle. Cana Graves, nurse and resident high-functioning drunk turned sober, joined Jessie Jessup and Jonathan Battey at one table. Sreagon, the built Rigelian, sat at a table with Dasre Lebaun, Rico Sauve, and Jackson Mccaslin, Mark Huntsman, and Pierce Takasu. “Ellie!” cried the men and Cana in greeting.
Winnetka stepped around the table, setting his tray on the top first and then pulling it aside to give Marielle room to set hers down. He grinned over his shoulder toward Cana before nodding at the petite woman and returning for one more tray.
Marielle slid the tray onto the surface of the high top table and patted her hands clean. “Nothing too fancy today, but Bihraos and I did make those vegetable crisps and the onion dip that everyone seemed to enjoy.”
Mark stood and made his way over to the table with the food, smiling at Marielle. “Thank you so very much,” he said to her in a slight southern drawl, reaching up to tip his hat to her as if he wore one. He laughed with her, but noted the slight swing of her body as if she had been about ready to hug him but thought twice.
Gideon grumbled softly as he finally made his way out of his office, his strides carrying him to the turbolift. The report would wait until tomorrow, he’d decided. Something tugged at him inside and he stopped in his tracks, his chin lifting so that he stared at the ceiling. Groaning, the Betazoid mix turned and moved back into his office. ‘No, it won’t wait until tomorrow. Dei dannazione, Nazir.’
“So, Ellie. How’s it feel to be an engaged woman?” Cana asked as she threw her arm over the researcher’s shoulder.
There was the slightest wince to her features and she gingerly moved out from under Cana’s arm. “Feels fine,” she muttered softly. “Great.”
Sreagon gently squeezed Dasre’s hand under the table, but quickly pulled away as he rose to his feet and moved over to the food table. His dark gaze focused on Marielle as he smiled longingly at her before fixing a plate of food for himself. His irises lingered on the long sleeves that she wore and he thought them unusual for the petite physicist.
Laughing, Cana only pulled Marielle closer to her side, her free hand reaching for the ring that hung off the delicate chain around the her neck. “Pretty gigantic rock there, Ellie. Though, Gideon totally screwed up. Should have gotten you something better. I hear the Eucilarite diamond on Noytania III has the best sparkle.” Her head leaned to one side as she thought she caught a hint of yellow under the collar. She leaned back and studied her friend.
Ryan returned from the kitchen with a third tray, stepping around Marielle and Cana to place it on the table. He winced as he heard Cana talking of engagement rings again. He berated himself for saying anything to his girlfriend in the first place. “I wonder if she knows how expensive Eucilarite diamonds are,” he muttered.
Marielle chuckled weakly as she took the ring from her friend’s grasp by gently tugging at the chain around her neck. “It’s perfect.”
Jonathan Battey tapped his fingers on the table, sighing softly as he waited for everyone to calm down and start playing. He’d already eaten with Anya, his wife, as she had an overnight shift tonight again. It seemed as if she was always gone these days, and it set him on edge. He nursed his third bottle of beer.
“So why aren’t you wearing it?” Sreagon finally asked as he stopped a good distance away from the theorist. The question had many pausing and turning their heads to watch her reaction as she answered.
Her mouth dropped slightly, and she found that she couldn’t provide an answer. Marielle’s face flushed bright red and it crept to the tips of her ears. “I- I, um. Well- I’m wearing it. Just, don’t want it getting messed up while I tinker with the engines- and stuff.” It was such a poorly delivered lie, and she knew no one in the lounge believed her. The smirk on their faces was enough to brighten the embarrassment that coloured her face. Thankfully, they said nothing and she silently thanked Bihraos as he gave her a glass of wine when she passed him. She hid behind her sip.
He’d finally finished the report, sending it off to Commander Nazir with a toss of the PADD onto his desk. Gideon stood and reached up to remove the pips from his collar as he stepped out of his office. His strides were long as he hurried into the turbolift. ‘They’re probably a few hands in already. Dannazione. I should never have agreed to this stupid Intel stuff.’
Jane Annesley was a beautiful woman. She was a shapely brunette with tight curled ringlets and pouty lips. While her eyes were nowhere near as stunning as some others - begrudgingly she admitted that one Marielle Deniaud was able to take that title - her matted pale blue-green irises could still capture attention. She knew this to be as true as the universe was real. There was no doubt in her mind that any man would be happy to call her his. In all her life, she was able to get what she wanted. Men fell at her feet, and she took what they offered and more. It was her right as a woman. So, it confused her to no end that Lieutenant Commander Gideon Salieri, Chief of Security and Tactical of the USS Aldrin, had been eluding her advances for months.
The lift doors parted and the half-Betazoid stepped out, turning the corner as his eyes looked ahead to the mess hall doors. Cobalt orbs caught sight of Jane Annesley and Gideon’s step stuttered on the carpet, a soft groan rumbling in his throat as his fingers clenched in his pockets. The science officer had been a thorn in his side ever since Rico Suave had suggested they go out. He’d found the woman insipid, dry, and entirely too fond of herself. Of course, he’d been in love with Marielle without knowing it, so Jane never had a chance. His gaze drifted briefly to the ceiling as he made his way toward her.
The science officer had waited patiently for him to come to his senses, had even given him the curse of not reminding him of her magnificence, but he never reached out to her. Instead, the Betazoid-Bajoran mix had clung to the dwarf-like stick of a theorist. The recent rumour that circulated through the ship, however, made her break her silence. Annoyance had turned to anger, hardening to hate. “Hey Giddy,” she greeted with a sickly sweetness and a wide face-splitting smile.
Gideon’s smile was more of a wince as he nodded in her direction, intent on simply walking past her into the Apollo lounge. “Annesley,” he grumbled. Only one person had the right to call him Giddy, and Jane was certainly not her. If he hadn’t been annoyed at being late to the game, he certainly was now. It showed plainly on his features.
“Oh, silly Giddy. I told you. Call me Jane,” she giggled loudly. She clasped her hands in front of her body and locked her elbows so that her arms remained straight. The science officer leaned a bit at the waist as she used her arms to pin her abundant chest forward. When the security chief simply walked past her to enter the lounge, Jane couldn’t hide her displeasure. She followed behind him, nearly nipping at his heels with her own feet.
The resounding greeting of “Hey Chief!” died as eyes settled on the science officer that followed their renowned leader.
“Crap,” grumbled Ryan to Cana.
Marielle turned in her seat as she heard everyone greet the newcomer. The small smile on her face had been cautiously warm, but it fell as she caught sight of the woman who reached out for Gideon’s arm. ‘What’s she doing here? I thought we got rid of her months ago. Frak- Is this another Tasse?’
Annesley pouted as her fingers wrapped around Gideon’s arm and stopped him before he could really escape her. “Giddy-”
“Gideon,” came the resounding interruption from the Karmanori. The exasperated sigh that followed only highlighted their exhaustion at having to deal with the insistent woman yet again.
His eyes found Marielle briefly, the annoyance dissipating when he saw her warm smile, then rekindling when her features dropped. Gideon grumbled and turned his stare toward Jane as he pulled his arm from between her fingers. “What do you want?” he asked her flatly, hoping the derision in his tone would be enough to cause her to back away.
“Just wanted to talk, Giddy.” Her nasal contralto voice carried in the small eating space, vibrating the air with a strange resonance.
“I’m busy,” he tried first as he stepped back. Gideon turned as if to walk away, but her fingers grasped his arm once again. He grumbled softly, deep in his throat as he looked back in her direction.
“With game night. This is more important,” Jane tugged at his arm, her feet digging into the carpet to keep him from moving.
Marielle glanced around, finding that the Karmanori were too stupefied to react. This was a bit more insistent than was normal, even for Jane Annesley. She quickly slipped out of her chair and made her way towards the pair, pushing a tense smile to her lips as she neared them. “Gédéon,” she called out out melodically, her fingers wrapping around his free arm. Her vibrant emerald irises locked with Jane’s matted blue. “Avons-nous un problème ici? (Do we have a problem here?)” Her training and experience allowed her to keep her tone sweet, easy, and calm. Any hint of her worry was well-hidden, though she was sure Gideon would hear it.
The half-Bajoran slid his hand to Marielle’s back, leaning toward her to place a gentle kiss on her forehead. “Sì, è molto probabile (Yes, it’s very likely),” he replied quietly before looking back at Jane, a brow raised when she had yet to release his other arm. Gideon stared at the brunette. “We have nothing to talk about, Ensign.” There was a pause as his voice dropped into a more official tone. “Let go of me.”
The science officer glared at Marielle, her attention locked on the researcher who gripped her man’s arm. Her eyes narrowed on the ring that dangled from Marielle’s neck. “So it’s true!” she exclaimed as she stared between the two supposed lovebirds. Jane just couldn’t understand what drove Gideon to believe that this little thing - this weird hyper little elf of a woman with no real curves, an antiquated fashion sense, and an annoyingly fake sweetness - could possibly have calmed “The Italian Stallion” down so much that he’d want to settle down. The very notion had her jealousy flaring. It coursed through her body like it was her own blood.
Her eyes furrowed at Jane’s exclamation. “What’s true?” she asked cautiously. Her eyes lifted to look up at Gideon. “That we’re dating? Yeah? I told you that months ago?”
Gideon’s eyes followed Jane’s, glancing at the theorist. He looked over the petite woman, his gaze settling on the outline of the ring hanging from the chain around her neck. The Betazoid mix hummed softly as he glanced back toward Annesley, frowning at the jealousy that radiated from the science officer. “We’re engaged,” he confirmed, his arm tensing under her fingertips.
Jane finally released him from her bruising grip. “Can’t be that damn serious if she’s not wearing the stupid ring!” she screamed out.
“See,” grumbled Battey into his beer. He ignored the pointed gazes from his fellow Karmanori.
Marielle’s hand came up to wrap around the ring around her neck protectively. “I’m wearing it,” she muttered defensively.
“And you didn’t even give her a real engagement ring! What is that?! A freaking promise ring?! Everyone knows you give a diamond!”
He squeezed the diminutive woman gently in support, missing the wince she gave, his cold gaze never leaving Jane. “Shut up, Annesley,” he grumbled. “It was my grandmother’s and El said yes, that’s all that matters.”
Jane scowled at him. “Why!?” she whined as she screamed. “Look at her! She’s nothing compared to me!” The science officer felt like she was talking to a room of crazy people. Couldn’t they see she was the superior choice here?
The petite theorist frowned as she released Gideon’s arm. Her hands reached up to unclasp the delicate necklace around her neck. “You know what. Jane’s right,” she grumbled in irritation. ‘I’m so damn tired of all this nonsense. It shouldn’t matter if it’s on my finger or not.’
Gideon blinked, tearing his gaze away from Jane as he shifted to raise a brow down toward Marielle. He’d felt a bit naked when she pulled away from him. He cleared his throat, shaking his head. “There is no comparison,” he uttered. “El’s a woman, you’re a sick girl,” the half-Bajoran hissed toward Annesley.
She let the ring slide off the chain. The soft twinkling sound of metal brushing along metal filled the heavy air between them as as the ring fell into her open palm. Marielle offered the ring to Gideon.
“What the hell?!”
Jane snickered. “See!” Her attention moved back to the security chief, ignoring the insult that Gideon had thrown her way. It was something she could forgive once he saw the error of his ways. “She’ll never appreciate you the same way I will!”
His breath caught in his throat and Gideon furrowed his brows at Marielle. “Cosa fai? (What are you doing?)” he whispered as his hand moved mechanically and he accepted the ring back from her. The half-Betazoid knew there had to be something going on, but he had no idea what the physicist had in mind. It was times like this he knew he was a shitty empath.
Her right hand lifted into view, her fourth finger lifted slightly. Marielle looked up at him expectantly, a brow raised. “Mettere l’anello maledetto sul mio dito e di sbarazzarsi di questa ragazza pazza. (Put the damn ring on my finger and get rid of this crazy girl.)” She had fallen into the Italian with ease, a hint of her French accent hidden in the vowels.
Gideon’s shoulders dropped as a relieved sigh passed his lips. A languid smile pushed the nerves from his features and he adjusted the ring between his thumb and forefinger. “Dammi un attacco di cuore, donna. Spero che funzioni. (Give me a heart attack, woman. I hope it works.)” He let the ring slide over her finger before he pulled her hand to his lips, kissing her knuckles.
Marielle turned to Jane. “You were right. I wasn’t wearing it,” she began before she lifted her ring clad finger up into view. “As you can see, I amended that issue. I suggest you move on, Ensign Annesley. My fiancé has explicitly told you he isn’t interested.”
The security chief’s gaze shifted to the crowd watching with bated breath, his relieved features causing a light chuckle to move through them. Gideon rested his arm over Marielle’s shoulder once again as he stood close to her.
Jane seethed as she stepped forward towards the researcher. “Why did you have to come back?” she hissed. “He was mine. You left him, and he was mine. Then you had to come back and pretend-”
She found her irritation surging. It was supposed to be a fun evening, with easy laughter and playful banter with friends. Jane’s presence and insistent claim to a man who showed her no interest only added to the deep rooted doubts she didn’t care to explore. The researcher stepped forward as she narrowed her eyes. “Let’s get this straight, Jane.” Her pointed finger pressed into the science officer’s sternum. “Gideon isn’t yours. You don’t own him.” She stepped forward as Annesley stepped back. “You may have curves that rival the Road to Giza in Egypt or Lombard Street in San Francisco, but that’s all you have. Gideon’s done with mindless bimbos like you.” Her finger pressed harshly into her apparent rival’s sternum with each word of her thinly veiled warning, “So. Back. Off.”
He shifted slightly as he felt the tension rising between the two women. While some people often got a thrill from being fought over, Gideon felt no such excitement. The security chief squeezed Marielle’s arm in silent warning to cool her jets. “Non ne vale la pena. Lei non è nulla per me, (It’s not worth it. She’s nothing to me.)” he whispered to diffuse the situation.
Sreagon and Mark Huntsman had both perked up. “Catfight,” they whispered in unison, hopeful. Even Jessie Jessup gave a tiny nod in anticipation.
The science officer screamed as she lunged forward, manicured nails reaching out to scratch at Marielle’s face. Jane was able to grab hold of Marielle’s hair, pulling roughly at the roots. She couldn’t even enjoy the fact that the woman tumbled back onto the floor, and she followed quickly - tackling the senior officer as she scratched and pulled at her face.
Marielle screamed and covered her face as she grunted. The back of her head hit the carpet with enough force that her head snapped back up. The ‘thump’ that filled her ears hurt more than the actual thrumming that radiated in the back of her head. Her hands came up to cover her face as she struggled under the raging science officer. While she’d trained with Yari and ShaeLin, her training with Gideon had always been with the proper padding and certainly never involved suddenly being surprised by a wild woman. “What the hell! Get off me you crazy bit-”
Annesley screamed. “You should have just frakking stayed on Atlantis! You’ve been nothing but a curse on Giddy! Everyone knows you’re the reason why he got tortured on Malahakir! If you had stayed away, he wouldn’t have been there in the first place!” Her cold fingers grabbed a good chunk of the researcher’s hair and pull with enough force that she ripped it from the roots, taking a bit of her scalp with her. “Give me the damn ring!” she demanded as she reached for Marielle’s quickly moving hands.
The Karmanori sprung into action. This was no catfight!
Gideon had moved into action, failing to prevent the assault out of shock that it had actually occurred. He wrapped his arms around Jane and pulled the woman off of Marielle and bodily carried her away, pushing her against the wall face first, his large hand pressing on her back to keep her pinned. He glanced toward Marielle to see if she was okay.
“Holy crap!” exclaimed Cana as she rushed forward and fell next to Marielle protectively as soon Gideon pried the woman off her friend. She watched as Ryan and Jessie made their way to Gideon and as Mark, Sreagon, and Rico joined her around the tiny researcher. “Ellie, are you-” the nurse hissed at the deep scratches and bruises that marred Marielle’s face. It was the bleeding bald spot, one that was lacking a good chunk of skin, just behind her left ear that had Cana snapping into duty mode. “We’ve got to get you to Sickbay.” She grabbed the napkin that Desre offered her and pressed it firmly against the wound.
Gideon’s eyes went wide as he noticed the patch of scalp and dark red blood that pooled quickly from Marielle’s head. He noticed the two security officers approaching but couldn’t take his eyes off of the physicist. “Prophets,” he whispered harshly, letting Ryan and Jessie take over in containing Annesley. “Take her to the brig.” The Betazoid mix grumbled as he returned his gaze to his fiance.
The Rigelian frowned as he watched Marielle visibly shake, soft sobbing tears falling on her cheeks, as he and Mark each took an arm and assisted her to her feet. “Are you okay?” he asked softly. His gaze shifted to the screaming science officer as Ryan and Jessie dragged her to the brig. His lips formed a thin line of disapproval when his gaze settled on his department head, but the glance was brief.
“I’m fine,” she muttered. Marielle’s fingers gingerly pressed into the back of her head and winced. They travelled the raw spot by her ear and she whined as the stinging that resulted from her touch had her swaying. Her pain receptors flared to near searing levels. “I just want to go home,” she managed through her tears. She honestly wanted to go to Sickbay, but she hadn’t had time to run the regenerator over the new bruises from her last argument with the security chief. “That really hurt.”
Gideon moved over to Marielle, pulling her easily against him as he lifted her from her feet, one arm under her knees, the other grasping under her arm. His gaze moved toward Cana as he motioned with his chin for her to follow.
Cana waved the Karmanori back. “Game night’s over,” she declared as she followed close behind the security chief. “We’ve got to take her to Sickbay.” The nurse moved quickly, easily keeping up with Gideon as he carried the researcher to the medical department.