[WARNING: Wide character in print at board.cgi line 1355. ]
|USF Personal Log|
by Ensign Lukas Behr & Doctor S. Vasari
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( This log takes place immediately after The Odds, set prior to when Ensigns Behr and Vasari joined OPX. )
Lukas darted around the corner and huffed quietly as he jogged into the Electric Slide bar. He weaved his way through the crowd to the back so he could pay on his tab and he tensed when he saw the two security officers speaking with the barkeep. A sheepish grin pulled at the corner of his lips to ease away the flush of heat over his neck. The German approached the bar and focused on the ‘tender. “Hey-”
“That’s him!” the barkeep pointed his thick finger in Lukas’ direction. “That’s the guy who skipped out on his bill.”
“Yeah, hey. I’m sorry about that, I came back to square up.” He raised a hand to try and ease the tension and his aquamarine gaze shifted briefly toward the security officers. Lukas stood at the counter and curled his fingers toward the barkeep to beckon him over. “Bring the tablet, I’ll pay it.”
“No. I want him arrested.” His arms crossed over his chest as he stared daggers at the operations officer. “I need to make sure everyone knows you can’t take advantage of Tommy O’Toole.”
He blinked and opened his mouth to speak, but found himself a bit at a loss for words. Lukas glanced toward the security officers as they approached and he instinctively took a step back. His hands raised toward them. “Hey, I said I would pay-”
“Look! He’s trying to get away again!” The Irish barkeep motioned wildly in Lukas’ direction once more. “I want him thrown in the brig!”
“I was going to tip you like fifty percent!” His entire body tensed as he felt the security officers each lay a hand on his arms.
“So you’re bribing me now?! What you see an Irishman and you think, ‘Hey. I can give him money and he’ll let me walk?’” The snide retort was uttered in a thick accent for show, his tone dripping with his annoyance. “You probably had that pretty little thing of yours run out to distract me! They’re both in on it!”
Lukas shook his head, his features contorted with his silent request that they listen. He didn’t resist the security officers but kept his eyes on the barkeep. “No! She had nothing- Fine! Are you going to let me pay you or not?!” He grunted quietly when the barkeep presented the operations officer with the tablet. One of the officers released his arm so he could reach forward and press his thumbprint to the device. He left no tip. “It’s no wonder Father talks so ill of the Irish,” he muttered under his breath before he was directed away from the bar.
No amount of arguing could persuade the security officers to be lenient since he’d paid the tab and he reluctantly accepted his punishment. The night was quiet and Lukas curled on the cot that was provided him. He’d been sure to inquire about whether this would go on his record and was dismayed to learn it would be noted in his file. Soft German curses filled the cell before he drifted to sleep.
Her steps were easy as she meandered into the security department and inquired about her good friend, Lukas Behr. She had returned to the bar in the late morning for brunch - her body in need of a bloody mary for a hangover cure - only to be turned away by an irate Irishman who claimed that he was ‘onto her and her tall oaf of a partner.’ When she finally got him to explain, Jane was rather amused to discover that the stand-up operations officer had managed to land himself in the brig. The Italian woman carried a water bottle with her, taking long pulls of the refreshing lemon-infused liquid as she waltzed into the department and flirted her way into seeing her friend. The grin on her features was telling of her mirth, dark eyes glinting with amusement. “That does not look comfortable,” she greeted him, a raspy contralto voice hoping to wake him from his sleep.
A soft and rumbling groan slipped from his lips as her voice roused him. He rolled slightly so he could turn his head and look over his shoulder at the forcefield. It was really uncomfortable. His body ached from laying on the cot and the quality of his sleep had been dismal at best. Lukas sighed heavily and shook his head before returning to his curled position. “You’re welcome,” he mumbled in a lethargic and gravelly tone. After a few moments, he shifted to lay on his back. It had become a routine through the night when no position he chose offered him relief from the hard bed.
Jane raised a brow at him and didn’t say a word as she took another long sip from her water bottle. “You know, if you had forgotten to request guest quarters, you could have just asked to bum on my couch,” she teased, giggling. Her steps echoed in the quiet room. All the cells were empty save for the one Lukas occupied. She leaned against the side and let her slender finger tap gently against the invisible wall. The shimmer tingled gently against the pad of her fingertip.
“I’ll remember that- how about tonight?” He raised his arm over his head and bent the elbow so he could use it as a pillow. His chin turned so he could focus on the woman opposite the forcefield.
The medical officer blinked. “What?” She hadn’t expected that response and she straightened ever so slightly. More importantly, she had to wonder if he actually didn’t have a place to stay. “You seriously didn’t have guest quarters for your stay here?”
Lukas offered her a grin, the smile bordering on a smirk. “If I answer no, can I bum on your couch tonight?” He had been irritated at being awakened but once he saw that it was Jane, the annoyance melted away. She couldn’t bug him.
Her eyes narrowed slightly. “Is the answer really no?”
“It would be an innocent white lie.” The security officer winked and chortled quietly. His eyes shifted to the ceiling with a shake of his head. “I have quarters. I was headed there after seeing you home and remembered that I hadn’t paid my tab.” Lukas’ expression became slightly sour as he continued speaking. “When I got back to the bar, the ‘keep insisted on having me arrested because ‘no one takes advantage of Tommy O’Toole.’” His explanation was complete with a horrid Irish accent.
“Oh, you mean ‘My name is a description of my character’ Tommy O’Toole? That tool?” Her eye twitched slightly. ‘Che cazzo di doccia.’
The German nodded. “That tool. I even paid the tab and he wouldn’t relent.” Lukas pulled his feet closer to his body in some hope of relieving the discomfort in his lower back. “I stopped arguing after he tried to get you involved.” He’d always been the type of guy that would take a bullet for his closest friends. It’s what suited him so well to security.
“I hope you didn’t tip him.” Her head tipped back as she finished the last bit of her water and she flipped the top to seal the bottle. Cognac brown eyes settled once more on the operations officer as he attempted to alleviate the aches that were undoubtedly running through his muscles.
“Course not. I was going to tip him well as an apology and der Saftsack accused me of trying to bribe him.” His free hand lifted to wave as he spoke before he pulled calloused fingers over his face. He wanted nothing more than to sink into an actual mattress so he might be able to sleep. Lukas turned his head to watch as he saw movement in the corner of his eye.
She hummed softly. Jane turned her head and dipped her chin slightly as the security officer appeared to release her friend. A sweet smile lit up her features as she batted her eyes at the young ensign. “Ecco qui. Mi chiedevo quando avresti mostrato, pisello pigro (Here you are. I was wondering when you’d show, lazy),” she greeted with a giggle, as if she hadn’t just insulted the officer.
A blush lit his cheeks and the officer puffed up his chest, pulled back his shoulders, and straightened ever so slightly. “You’re free to go,” he told the operations officer, his voice dipping to be deeper than it actually was. He smiled warmly at the Italian woman, standing just within the boundaries of her personal bubble. “And, I’ve wiped his record off the books,” he began with a nod. “Just make sure he stays out of trouble.”
His brows raised and he swung his legs so that he could push himself to sit up. Lukas swallowed his groan of complaint and lifted to his feet. He walked slowly toward the field and slid his hands into his pockets after brushing his dark brown hair into place.
She chuckled. Her Italian accent was thicker than it normally was. “Ah- You’re so very kind, John.”
“James.” The security officer lowered the barrier and turned his attention back to the woman.
“Right. James.” She chuckled and had the sense to look embarrassed. Amusement continued to twinkle in her eyes as she watched her friend cross the threshold to escape the holding cell. Her escape was made quickly, steps long and purposeful as she gripped Lukas’ hand and dragged him towards the exit. “Wonderful James. Thank you. Now, don’t forget. You’ll need to put cream on that rash three times a day for seven days.” She spoke loudly, her voice carrying easily in the department. “And make sure you just, you know, tuck it to the side or the cream will burn.”
Lukas winced with his sympathy pain and shook his head as he considered whether or not he wanted to know. There was no doubt in his mind that Jane had gone to the medical bay and offered to assist them during her time on the station. His fingers interlaced with hers and as soon as they were out of the security department, his strides lengthened to walk beside her instead of being pulled. “Is that something I shouldn’t ask about?” It was a question he often asked of her, his tone always playful and inquisitive.
Her hand remained in his, her arm swinging slightly with each sway of her hip as each step took her farther from security. “Oh, he came in with a rash. He didn’t want his girlfriend to know, so he owed me one.” She looked up at him and grinned. “I figured you’d feel worse having this on your record.” Jane shrugged. “So we traded. I told him to erase your stay and I won’t tell his girlfriend how he got his rash.”
He smiled and his chest warmed when his heart skipped a few beats. He gently squeezed her fingers in appreciation. “Thank you.” His voice deepened with the soft tone and the hoarseness of his vocal quality came through. Lukas leaned toward her slightly and a wry grin found his features. “Is James a cheater?” Gossip wasn’t necessarily something they shared often, but when they got started, they were like high school girls.
There was the slightest hint of a blush that managed to colour her face. It happened whenever his voice rumbled in his chest. Jane never understood why butterflies just suddenly swarmed in her stomach. She pushed against him with the side of her hip and chuckled softly. “Patient doctor confidentiality.” The medical officer motioned to one side of the promenade to make her way towards the guest quarters. “Come on. I seriously need lunch. Let’s get you changed so you don’t smell like teen spirit.”
Lukas chortled quietly and shook his head. He directed her down the corridor with the slightest pressure of his thumb against her wrist. When they arrived at his temporary quarters, he reached up and pressed in his code. The German officer took a step forward, expecting the door to open but was surprised to find it still closed and a red light flashing on the panel. His brows furrowed and he raised his fingers to try the code again. He was denied again.
“Did you forget where you’re staying?” she teased, giggling.
“No- I’m not the one who got drunk last night,” he retorted playfully as he tried a third time. When he was denied access, Lukas lifted his hand and knocked on the door.
“I was not drunk,” she pouted as she pushed him sideways with a light push.
“You ran out of-” His statement was cut short when the door opened and his mouth remained agape as he stared at a blue skinned male in only boxer shorts. Lukas blinked and his lips formed a thin line. His brow raised toward the Bolian. “These are my quarters?”
Jane squeaked and quickly turned, her eyes squeezing shut. “Oh my gods! I saw it!” she hissed softly to the German by her side. There was a hint of disgust and amusement in her whisper. “He’s totally peeking out.” The Italian woman hunched forward, her hand covering her mouth as she tried to contain her laughter. Her body leaned heavily into his arm. A snort managed to slip, but she failed to notice.
“Warum hast du gesucht? (Why were you looking?)” he hissed back to the medical officer. “Du hast geschnaubt. (You snorted.)” Lukas made a notable effort not to dip his gaze, both out of respect for the man and the lack of desire to actually see. It was unspoken male code to keep one’s eyes from wandering. He cleared his throat as he waited for an answer.
The Bolian glared toward the operations officer before sneering at the woman that nearly hid behind him. He focused almost black eyes on Lukas as he shook his head. “I arrived this morning. The quartermaster mentioned some personal things left behind. Go bother him.” He stepped back and allowed the door to slide closed. The locking mechanism was especially loud in the silence.
She couldn’t help it. She tried so desperately and failed so miserably. The laughter had her leaning heavily on her German friend, her face turning red as she failed to breathe. Fat tears rolled down her pink cheeks. She hated her laugh. Jane giggled through her nose and snorted whenever she did, but her merriment couldn’t be contained. “He was naked! I can’t believe he answered his door naked!” Her fingers gripped at his arm as she tried to keep upright. She didn’t know why she found it all too funny, but she found herself unable to stop. Quick gasps filled her lungs with air. Her hand rested on her side. “Oh gods. It hurts. It hurts.”
He knew he should be angry or irritated but he couldn’t be with Jane hanging onto his arm and laughing so completely with her mirth. Lukas smirked as he dipped his chin to watch the woman unravel. After a few minutes, he squeezed her fingers and tugged gently to force her into motion. “I’m glad I stayed there before him and not after,” he mused wryly. When they reached an intersection, the operations officer stopped in front of the computer panel and he tapped into the system. He sent a request to have his belongings transferred to the medical officer’s quarters and then smirked down at the woman. “Your couch still free?”
Her slender finger wiped away the tears from the corners of her eyes. “Yeah. Sure. That’s totally fine,” she managed through short spurts of laughter. Jane filled her lungs with a deep breath and her hand rested on her cheek to massage away the ache. “And you don’t have to take the couch. Take the bed, you giant.” She motioned to one side. “Come on. Let’s just grab replicator food. I’m starving.”
Lukas decided they would argue about it later. He wasn’t going to take the bed from her. He considered requesting a cot from the quartermaster, but shook his head when he recalled how the cots were in the brig. A shiver ran his spine and he sighed softly. “I’m craving tacos. Is it Tuesday?” His stomach rumbled on cue as they walked down the corridor toward her quarters. “And chips with salsa.”
Jane rolled her eyes. “That’s not nutritious.” The lecture was made gently and she chuckled as she entered her code on her panel the moment they reached her quarters. “I would have thought you’d have grown out of that by now.” She preferred the healthy meals provided by Starfleet.
“Oh come on,” he argued playfully. He lifted his hand to show his fingers when he spoke of each item, thumb first. “There’s grain in the tortilla, protein in the meat, vegetables in the salsa, and dairy with the sour cream and cheese. How is that not nutritious?”
“Saturated fats, cholesterol, insane number of simple carbohydrates.” She entered first and placed her water bottle on the table. “The ratio of healthy nutrients to empty calories is not enough to deem it healthy. Why can’t you just take Federation standard meal forty-three?”
“Because tacos and chips sounds much more appetizing than Federation standard meal forty-three.” He reached up to start unbuttoning his shirt as he walked toward the bathroom. “I’ll be out in five minutes. You can start without me.” There was no discomfort in removing the lavender dress shirt in Jane’s presence. They’d been in a state of undress around each other several times before. There was one difference between the last time she’d seen him and now - a tattoo on his right shoulder of an ancient mariner’s compass. Lukas folded the shirt and tossed it into the recycler on his way into the bathroom and started to pull the leather cords from his left wrist as he crossed the threshold.
She stammered pathetically as she caught sight of his bare back but the blush that threatened to overwhelm her face stopped its journey to her ears when her irises settled on the ink on his skin. “Whoa!” she called out. Jane’s steps carried her quickly towards her bedroom as he made his way towards the bathroom. Her hand gripped his left shoulder while her other flattened on his back, fingers tracing the lines. “What is this?! When did you get this?!”
His progress into the bathroom was halted by her grasp on his upper arm. Lukas furrowed his brows and looked over his shoulder. He turned his chin to glance down at the ink that colored his skin and a quiet chortle rumbled in his lungs. “Couple months ago,” he murmured with a wink. It was done just after their graduation, while he visited his family. When he’d gotten it, the German had believed that he’d seen Jane Vasari for the last time. The thought of being on assignment with her warmed him completely. He would always prefer more than their friendship, but he was satisfied to have that much with her. “Like it?”
“Yeah. It’s-” came the uttered whisper, but she stopped before she revealed exactly just how much she thought it suited him. There was no need for him to know she found it oddly alluring. Her fingers traced over the dark lines and she bit the corner of her lower lip. “Yeah.” The Italian woman cleared her throat and pushed him forward. “Go on. Go shower. You smell.” She turned quickly and added some much needed distance between them.
He chuckled and stumbled forward, nearly tripping on the rug in front of the vanity. “You could join me,” he called to her. His gravelly voice carried over his shoulder as he faced the mirror and assessed his need to shave. The two leather bracelets were placed on the counter. Lukas raised his brows with a thought. ‘I should get one- she would die to see it.’ He reached up and scratched his jaw as he turned his chin to look back out into the common area. The operations officer shook his head and walked to the shower. He was surprised to see that it had the option of sonic or water, so he chose water. Once he set the temperature as he liked, he stripped completely and folded the clothes. They were set on the counter for recycling and he smirked to himself as he stepped into the shower. ‘I forgot a change of clothes. I’ll have to ask Jane to bring me some.’
She sputtered over her response and silently cursed his ability to turn her tongue absolutely useless. “Get into the shower, you stupid flirt!” she exclaimed, thankful that he couldn’t see just how easily he flustered her. The medical officer quickly made her way towards the designated dining space and glanced over the options on the replicator. While she had no qualms picking out something for herself, she knew that the operations officer would do nothing but complain about her choice. With a deep roll of her eyes, Jane made her way to the closest console and went about ordering a meal for the German officer.
The process of showering took him three minutes. He picked out a towel and dried himself off as much as possible before wrapping it around his waist. Lukas paused for several moments as he considered whether to call out for the medical officer or just walk out as he was. He smirked again and shook his head before pushing to walk out of the bathroom. One hand lifted to run his fingers through his hair and the other held the towel at his hip. His mouth opened to speak and the words died when he saw the meal prepared on the table. A hot plate with hamburger crumbles was surrounded by lettuce, diced tomatoes, diced onions, guacamole, roasted corn, diced red and green peppers, shredded cheddar, colby, and monterey jack cheeses, and warm flour tortillas.
Jane’s didn’t look up as she placed a napkin by the place setting she’d set for Lukas. “That was quick,” she offered as commentary. “I’ll get you to the promenade for a proper cooked meal, but for right now you’ll just have to deal with the replicator-” The words died on her tongue when she finally let her gaze lift to settle her friend. Her mouth dropped slightly as her eyes traced the droplets that clung to his skin. “What are you wearing?” she questioned quickly and without thought. She blinked. “I mean- Where the hell are your clothes?!”
He blinked and shifted his gaze from the food to the woman who stood at the table. A sheepish grin pulled at the corner of his mouth and he shrugged his shoulders. “Has the quartermaster delivered my things yet?”
“Then this is all I have to wear-”
The medical officer pointed towards the replicator. “But this is the 24th century! You can magically make clothes appear from thin air!” The Italian woman constantly reminded herself not to let her eyes dip below his shoulders.
‘That’s no fun,’ he mused to himself as he made a face. The expression was meant to appear as if she’d given him new information. “Right.” The German officer turned and headed back into the bathroom. The leather bands were replaced on his wrist. He collected his pants and undergarment, then made his way back out to the replicator.
She was seated at the dining table when he reappeared. Before her, a plate of dark greens were naked. Chopped apples and warm walnuts were a neat pile in the center. The moment he crossed her line of vision, her hands came up to cover her eyes and she whined softly to herself. “The gods are cruel and horrible,” she cried pathetically into her palms. “This is a cruel joke. Dangling the damn fruit.”
They were fed to the recycler and he tapped in the necessary commands for replacements. As they appeared, he had to let go of the towel to pick up the t-shirt and pull the fabric over his shoulders. Lukas stepped into the boxer briefs and snapped the band at his waist before pulling the thin lounge pants over them. He bent over to pick up the towel and gave it to the recycler. His strides were long so he could join Jane at the table. “Sorry,” he murmured in apology. “You could have started without me.” He slid into the chair next to her and started building his epic taco. There was warmth that spread through his chest at the thought that she put into preparing their lunch. His light blue irises twinkled with his mirth at seeing the Italian nearly speechless.