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USS Aldrin Personnel Recordings image
Backpedaling. A JL by LtCdr Gideon Salieri and Lt Riley Higgs

USS Aldrin Personnel Recordings


by Lieutenant Commander Gideon Salieri & Lieutenant Riley Higgs
[Stardate ]

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For a moment, he was hung up on her first point, that she wasn’t interested.  It confused him greatly. Who in their right mind wasn’t interested in Giddy? The Italian Stallion?  The half-Bajoran leaned back slightly, his brows furrowed as he stared at the taller woman. It was her mentioning of the diminutive researcher that had him blanching.  A blink allowed him to finally see who he’d started coming onto. Riley Higgs, one of Marielle’s closest friends. Gideon turned cold - as if it was possible in the sweltering heat.  ‘Oh cazzo.’  His fingers uncurled from the bottle of wine and he stumbled a step back.  “I- wasn’t trying- you- You thought I was trying to kiss you?” He forced a laugh and shook his head.  “I was- just reaching for the bottle.”

That earned a look that would be calling bullshit. “Uh-huh. Your face went in a direction nowhere near the bottle,” she said flatly. “Look, maybe the heat is getting to your head there, but please, Commander, be a little more careful of what you’re doing eh? I don’t mind a drink with you, but let’s be honest with ourselves while doing it, okay?” The tall woman offered a knowing smile. Maybe it was that she was one of few not head over heels for him (even if he certainly wasn’t bad looking), or perhaps it was her being tired and less tactful - or was she being tactful right now? It couldn’t be easy to tell - but she hoped Gideon would realize that it would be hard to pull a fast one on her.

She reached over finally after a few moments of awkward silence and popped the cork off the bottle. “I don’t ever really expect company, so I’ve only got the one glass. Looks like we’ll have to share. Don’t read too much into it though.” She poured the wine - a deep and rich crimson red - into the glass, dribbling only a few drops onto the table. She’d wipe it up later. “So tell me about your relationship with Ellie, anyway.”

Another chuckle pushed past his throat and he nodded as he took the glass of wine.  It took great effort not to down the entire contents. Nerves had his mind going a mile a minute.  At least Higgs had given him a bit of an out - the heat overwhelmed him and he wasn’t thinking straight.  ‘Yeah, that’s good.  I can play that.’  The security chief offered it back to the science officer.  “We’re engaged,” he noted after a brief silence. Gideon smiled, falling easily into his persona.  Lying was second nature to him and the complete ruse was simple to portray. “Deeply in love.” He would have lifted the wine glass in toast had he kept it.

“Ahh, that’s right. Congratulations, again, by the way,” she said more quietly, reaching down to take a bit of a draw from the glass. A few large sips, though hardly enough to be called swallows. Down came the glass to the table, and made a bit of a clink. Almost as if that motion itself were the direct cause, the exact moment that the glass touched down, a short trill came from a device at her bedside. Riley blinked. Was it already that night? She smirked. ‘This should be interesting.’ she thought to herself as she stood and walked to her bed, sat down, and pulled out a box of small tools. “Sorry, Commander, don’t mind me right now. I forgot that tonight is a maintenance night for my leg. I have never missed a maintenance.” As she spoke, she leaned back a little, reached down to unhitch a latch that anyone could have easily missed, gave a twist, a pull, and the artificial leg came off with an oddly shrill sound of metal leaving metal. Detached, the stump that remained was still very cybernetic in appearance - the interface by which the body met alloy and became prosthesis. She’d begin pulling off small plates and disconnecting non major components for cleaning.

His eyes followed her hands down her body, lingering a moment at certain areas, before focusing on the work she was doing with her leg.  Gideon’s chin turned slightly in his curiosity and he reached to pick up the glass of wine. ‘Huh- oh.’  He winced at the shrill sound and furrowed his brows.  The half-Bajoran continued to stare, oblivious to the fact he was doing it.  ‘So she could do splits real easy.  But- that’s- disconcerting.’  The vision that came to mind was really not that appetizing.  He blinked and lifted his gaze to hers. “Do I-”

“Want to ask? No, there was no major accident or anything,” she turned to grab a different tool this time. “I was born with only one leg. My father worked largely with one of the space aeronautics manufacturing facilities when I was born, and with that, he had access to technology to graft one of these,” she tapped the base interface on her hip, “So that I could live a little more normal. It’s had a lot of modifications over the years, many done by me.” It was one of few things she was extremely strict on the upkeep of in her life routines. “Egh, the heat and humidity is making the joints a little more stiff…” She muttered a little to herself. Finally she looked up, noting his staring. “You okay there, Commander? You look a little dazed.”

Gideon took a long drink of the wine, then set the glass back on the table and took a step toward the door.  “No,” he answered, not to her question, but to correct her on the question he was going to ask. “Do I need to leave?”  His hand lifted and he motioned with his thumb toward the hallway.

“Oh! Ha, no, you’re fine. Not like you can see anything anyway. Unless you don’t feel comfortable seeing me like this?” She smirked. Now she was being coy. “In which case, that’s fine too. I’m going to bed after this anyway. You can have the rest of that bottle if you want it. It was a gift from a friend for when I got commissioned, but that wine is not one of my favorites.”

“Yeah, thanks,” he murmured.  It all boiled down to the fact that Riley wasn’t interested and she was cutting into his time to search for another woman.  ‘They’re probably waiting for me in the Apollo- oh cazzo.  I can’t go back to the Apollo, there was a big brawl going on just before we left.’  Gideon picked up the bottle of red wine and lifted it toward the science officer in appreciation.  ‘I’ll just have to stop by quarters and see who’s available.  Jess or Marleigh? Or Yasmine, oh she was fun.’  His eyes became distant as he made his way toward the door.  The bottle was tipped back so he could drink straight from it.

It was a good few moments of nearly awkward silence before the amazon like woman finally spoke up again, just before he’d be in range of the door’s sensor that would open it.

“Hey. Wherever you are planning on going when you leave… Just remember, people talk. Some more than others.” That knowing look she gave, combined with her sheer exhaustion would make it nearly impossible to tell for certain by her thoughts if she knew that he wasn’t being faithful, or if her words just had a sheer coincidence.

“Just be careful no one hears anything they shouldn’t,” she said with a yawn, a driver of some sort dug deep within one of the crevasses of the artificial limb.

Gideon paused just beyond the range of the proximity sensor of the door.  He turned his head and glanced at Higgs from over his shoulder. “Are you going to say anything?”  The half-Bajoran waited for a few moments, then shook his head when it was apparent she hadn’t heard him.  He decided to try Yasmine first as he stepped out of the science officer’s quarters.

   
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