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Dean was in his quarters. His leg had been acting up again but it wasn’t that uncommon, This time the knee joint had “frozen up” on him in the middle of shift. To any member of the crew that saw him limping through his day he just said that he had gotten a cramp. He was very self aware about the mechanical additions to his body and how some people even in this day and age would look at him as some kind of cyborg or worse yet correlate the mechanisms with the borg..
Bevin was in Engineering working on upgrading the shields to a whole new set of configurations, ones where they would spin on different axes and yet be layered like an onion while constantly regenerating when the ”outer skin” got too damaged. She had just gotten the project to the live testing stage when she decided to go grab something to eat in the Mess Hall. She chuckled as she remembered that new Ensign onboard and called him up to see if he were as hungry as she was. ++ Hey, Dean, Bevin hair. Ye hangry? I’m haidin fer tha Maiss Hall iffin ye waint tae jawine me.++
Dean abruptly stopped what he was doing and answered the call. ++ I’ll be down in a few minutes, Cantankerous knee acting up. ++ He pulled down his trousers leg and awkwardly got to his feet. He hobbled to the door, deactivated the lights and exited, hoping not to bump into anyone else on the way to the Mess.
Upon reaching the door, he heard the familiar Scottish accent of the engineer inside… seems she was having a heated discussion with the replicator. The bloody thing must be on the fritz again, thought Ensign Spearhorse.
She kicked the recalcitrant replicator again, trying to use an old Engineering technique to get the blasted thing to work. Finally, she slapped an “Out of Order” Sign on the replicator and moved off to get a few things from the “Raw food” Replicator before heading over to the cook surface to prepare something for the two of them that she HOPED would be similar to Chicken Alfredo. At least it had a ‘directions for preparation’ card to go along with the ingredients. She got out the sauce pans and plates before diving into the meal preparation for them. “Heyla Dean, Haw’s ait gaein wi yer knee?”
Dean frowned and hobbled over to the nearest table. The look said it all. Not a good time to talk about THAT subject. Maybe it would be better to approach the topic after he had a bite to eat. HIs right arm was not his normal prosthetic either, he was wearing the 21st century back-up which had a plastic skin tone glove that was several shades too dark. It was showing signs of its age. He shook his head and sighed. “ ‘bout as good as that replicator.”
Bevin nodded sympathetically. She had had trouble with a bad knee in the past after falling from a horse and she remembered how it had bothered her till her healer brother took care of it. She made sure that there was plenty of the chicken, pasta, mushroom, broccoli and sauce for them both as well as spinach and orange almondine salad and cherry pecan shortbread cobbler for dessert. She also got a couple of glasses of tea for them and placed everything on a tray before bringing it over to where he was sitting. “Innythaing I kin dae tae haelp ye aut wi ait?” she asked him matter-of-factly. A knee brace SURELY wasn’t as hard to deal with as a thrice cursed replicator.
“I’ve been toying with it for the last two hours.” the ensign recalled dejectedly. He bowed his head and said a silent meditation over his meal.
She nodded again and joined him, with bowed head, in a silent prayer for the food they had before them. Once they had finished their devotions she smiled to him. “Ye waint me tae tak a luik ait tha fer ye? Aind yer airm ais weel?” Maybe, just maybe, she could get one of the others in Engineering to check out that replicator.
Self-conscious of the backup arm, Spearhorse quickly removed it from the table. “The backup is ok… I am having some wiring issues with the newer model.” his voice was almost a whisper.
Bevin took his hand, the artificial one, and set it back on the table before continuing to hold it for a moment. ”Tais ailraight, I’m nae awfinndid by ait an I’m waillin tae haelp ye wi thaim iffin ye waint…” She seemed to truly understand his predicament and the offer of help was genuine.
Dean cracked a half smile, then with no further ado, he gestured to the meal with his good hand. “Lets eat before supper gets cold.” He recalled the hours Bevin had spent hard wiring a radiation resistant backup in his leg. She had been a valuable asset to the crew that night.
“Ailraight an sametime aiftir tha dainged raiplicatir gaits faixed, I’ll trait ye tae a rail mail baised an stuff fra hame,” she promised him. She liked the young tactical and Security officer and thought of a few improvements to the prosthetics for him that might help him do his job even better.
Dean dug into the chicken alfredo like he had not eaten in days. Truth be told, he was living off of MRE’s he replicated three weeks ago. He was seldom out of his room, save for his duty shift.
Bevin smiled and had already made sure to give him two thirds of everything that she had made. Having six brothers, she knew what kind of appetite a man could have and an active one even more so as well. She thought about where all she could hide several extra phasers in a new set of prosthetics and several other useful pieces of equipment as well.
Dean had finished half a plate before he looked up. “One of my favorite dishes and it is so much better when it is “homemade”. The replicator takes away the subtleties of this dish.” His eyes smiled like a kid in a candy shop.
Bevin smiled. ”Weel, I Dae like cookin, alang wi a numbir o ithir hobbies.”
“So what’s on your mind.” already guessing that she and the doc were conspiring for him to upgrade his ungainly service equipment. He hated talking about the tech he was forced to use on a daily basis and the glitches he had to constantly deal with. Those two topics degraded him as a person.
“Findin aut mair aiboot ye, Dean. Ye’re a verra guid luikin man, ye ken.” She told him plainly, while eating her own dinner. Her eyes seemed to dance with mischief as she again patted his artificial hand.
Dean was surprised by this development. Was she actually attracted to his broken-down shell of a body or was she making fun of him?!!
Bevin kept stroking the artificial hand, noting the series of gears and pulleys in there that made it work with the tiny myoelectric motors that helped move the artificial muscles and joints. She saw Dean as a man that had been through a lot and there was nothing wrong with the beauty she saw in his soul, even if the body had a few dents and dings from past encounters along the way.
Dean didn’t know how to react. There were few on the ship he trusted enough to have even spoken about his prosthetics. Would the Doctor act like this if she were sexually aroused by him? Being unfamiliar with dating, He was uncomfortable with this type of advance.
“Samethin tha mattir, Dean?” She asked softly.
There was something in her eyes that he’d almost never seen before in the others, concern and a genuine regard for his feelings and maybe something else, but he wasn’t sure yet if he was reading it right or not.
Dean looked into those caring eyes trying not to offend. “I am… confused.” he admitted. “I am sensing your interest in me. I’ve never dated before. But, what is more annoying still is you are an engineer I trusted with my body limitations. Are you looking at my equipment as a blank canvas you can adapt to your own image of a perfect man, or cyborg?” he muttered in a voice just slightly above a whisper.
Bevin knew any words right now would get in the way of what she wanted to really say, so she did the next best thing, she scooted close to where he was sitting and pulled him close to place a gentle but passionate kiss on his lips as she held him in her arms, her dinner forgotten in the hunger of her heart’s need.
His beating heart raced inside of his chest like it never raced before. He nearly fainted but managed to control his breath enough to not pass out. His eyes were open in shock and amazement. There were no words to be said, he tilted his head and returned the kiss, his confusion blissfully dissolved in a moment of passion he had never experienced before. He wondered Is this how everyone falls in love? Is it all done in a matter of a heartbeat? At that moment, he wanted to sweep her off her feet and take her back to his quarters but he also wanted to be a gentleman... then again he had no experience what did gentleman do. There was only so much that the Academy Professors covered on Relationships in the Fleet and even that was extremely vague. He gazed into her eyes trying to find the right words. At this stage in a relationship, “love” would be too bold but then she was aggressive. She had made this opening advance. His lips tried to form words but his tongue fumbled them.
She smiled gently to him, sensing the remnants of confusion he still held within. “Tais ailraight, Dean, I’m nae gaein tae daimaind pairfaicshun fra ye.” Her eyes danced with remembered merriment. “I hae saix bri’thairs an inithir saistir scaittired aiboot tha gailixy, sae I lairned a LANG time agae tae aiccipt paipul fer who thay air.”
Stumbiling over his words, he asked, “So where do we go from here?”
“Whair d’ye waint tae gae fra hair, Dean?” She scooped up a spoonful of the cherry cobbler and fed it to him. “Infartchinitly, I dinna thaink we kin laive tha shaip inny time sane…”
Now Dean was really worried. Did Bevin understand he was not like most guys? Or did she care. Did she expect him to sire a child. Was he even able… he and the doc had not even gotten to that point in their discussion.
She set the spoon down and took his other hand in hers as well, feeling and caressing the warmness of living flesh.”I’m sairry iffin I maved tae faist fer ye. I ken tha railaishunshaips tike time an hair I waes a’camin ait ye lak a phawtan tarpaidaw, I’m sairry fer tha, Dean, Iffin ye waint me tae baick awff an we tike thaings slawir, thain I’ll raispaict yer waishis.”
He swallowed hard, “No, but there are things you and I need to know before we cross the point of no return.” He sighed.
Bevin nodded. ”Ailraight, I kin indirstaind tha, Dean, an I hae nae priblim o taikin ait slaw iffin ye’d fail baittir aiboot ait.”
“I think you and I should go to the med bay when we finish our meal, where things can be explained properly. It’s not like I have an STD or anything but what you discover there about me must remain in the strictest confidence.” he suggested.
She nodded. ”I indirstaind tha ailsae, Dean, iffin ye waint tae hae thais daiskushun thair air ailsewhair, ait daesnae mattir tae me. I trawly keer fer ye daiply ais a Main, an nae jist ais ain ainjainairin prawjict an tha werks.” She finished feeding the cherry cobbler to him and kissed his nose.”Shaill we gae tailk tae Maidikal naw air laitir?”