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Behr & Vasari: Log Series - Homestead: Durability

Outpost Phoenix: Personal Com-Net


by Doctor S. Vasari & Lieutenant Junior Grade Lukas Behr
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Log Series: Homestead DURABILITY
Lieutenant j.g. Behr and Lieutenant j.g. Vasari
(Note: This series takes place immediately following the Inquisition of Masterson plot.)

Four days of constant rain.  Lukas sat at the doorway of the small shelter and just stared at the house with a frustrated look on his face.  Not only was construction stalled, but everything was getting soaked, which meant another two days to let it dry out.  At least. A PADD sat in his lap, the display showing light fixtures and window styles. For four days they had gone back and forth over interior design and the German just wanted to get back to actually building the house.

“Your face will get stuck that way,” she mused without looking up at her best friend.  She didn't need to see to know he was grumpy. Jane was seated at the table in the center of the makeshift center, the area designated as a combined dining room and office space.  Several PADDs were placed on the surface, edge to edge, so that she could envision the common area - the family room. It was vital that they consider how to design the space so that it could be easily adapted for changes in their lives.  She pinned her plump lip under her teeth. It was a bit of a question in her head, actually, but one she wasn't about to ask. “I like this blue. It has a bit more grey in it. It's calmer,” she proclaimed as she tapped on the screen. Her elbow rested on the edge of the table and her chin rested in her open hand.


He grunted softly and pushed to his feet.  “Würdest du das nicht mögen, (Wouldn't you like that.)” he retorted as he kept his gaze on the wooden frame of the house and picked up the chair he'd moved to the doorway.  Finally, Lukas turned and brought the chair with him to settle on the opposite side of the table from the medical officer. His gaze moved slowly over the curve of her neck and spine, lingering on the crook of her neck and shoulder.  A soft hum rumbled in his chest and he sat down, turning his attention to the PADDs on the surface. Immediately, he was overwhelmed by choices and he felt his head swim. “Uh, okay.” The color of blue was fine to him. Maybe a bit dreary, like the sky outside.  “I guess.” He glanced over the other options.


The humidity made the small space nearly stifling, so she was dressed in shorts and a light cami to keep from overheating.  Her hair was messily pulled up so that her neck could feel the cooler air, but tendrils of her hair tickled at her skin. She sighed softly and she looked up at the man across the way from her.  “Okay Mr. Negativity. You decide on something for once.” The woman pushed up to her feet and made her way to the hot plate. She filled a kettle with water and set the temperature to high. She understood his impatience and his desire to build, but there was nothing they could do about the weather.  A foot came up to scratch at the back of her ankle. Her hands rested on her hips as she stared, not wishing to glare at her friend. In that very moment, she really did prefer to watch water boil.


His gaze followed her to the small kitchen space and he grunted quietly in response to her characterization of him before focusing back on the digital swatches for their family room.  …˜Are we a family?  Odd family. But I could go with it.'  He leaned over and rested his elbow on a free spot of the table, propping his chin in his palm.  Lukas sighed quietly as he shifted his attention between each of the color concepts that had been generated to give an idea of what the space would look like.  The designs were all distinctly Italian - with warm colors and plush furniture. There were only a few that strayed, perhaps in an attempt to nod to his German heritage.  The cool blue room was one of them.  It was actually the one he was drawn to the most.  “This one is actually good.” He picked up the tablet and turned it to show Jane.  All of the colors worked well together and it appeared really comfortable.


She turned her chin to look at him from over her shoulder.  There was a beat of a moment when her heart soared, but then her eyes narrowed as she stared at him suspiciously.  “You're just agreeing with me so you don't have to make a decision, aren't you?” With a grumpy huff, she turned and glared at the kettle.  It had taken her hours to put together the designs of the common space. Tracking down furniture that appealed to both their styles was an exhausting endeavour.  They had two distinct styles - his more modern and hers far more traditional than she thought possible. She found tables with thick legs made of metal and the tops made of the finest wood.  The leather sectional couch was probably her favourite. She thought it would have appealed to his hobbies and it certainly brought in the warm colours she liked. The mixture of industrial and traditional was a rather difficult combination.  Her fingers curled on her hips as she silently willed the water to boil.


He knew she was going to say that.  His eyes rolled briefly to the low ceiling and a soft sigh escaped his lips.  Lukas returned his gaze to the image on the device and he started pointing out features.  “No, this is my decision. I appreciate the color and furniture. It's a good mix of what we both like, yeah?”  He turned his attention back to the PADDs and slid his finger along each of them to move to the next set of images.  Dining rooms. The operations officer set the tablet in his hand back on the table and started looking over the designs.  It felt like they'd been doing this for years. His chin rested in his palm, elbow propped on the table as he hunched over to look at them all.


Jane wasn't sure if she believed him, but at least it was a room that could be squared away finally.  She sighed softly and shut off the hot plate. “It's too humid for tea,” she muttered under her breath.  Turning, she opened the small refrigerator that they used to store what little food that they had. There was no hesitation as she pulled out the unopened bottle of crisp white wine.  Quietly, she removed the foil and the cork. She returned to the table with two wine glasses. Before she slid back into her seat, she poured them each a glass.


The German officer leaned forward and reached for a tablet, transferred it to his other hand, then reached to pick up another one.  “So, the table and colors work in this one,” he began, motioning with his right hand and turning the screen so that Jane could see.  The dining room was a cream color with wood details and the table was thick. It appeared weathered with metal legs.  Even the chandelier over the table worked for him. It was differing sizes of glass jars with lights inside. His body shifted so that he could also present her with the second tablet.  “But would the chairs in this one be okay with it?”  The cloth on the chairs was a grey-blue that would match with the color of the family room and he appreciated the bench along one side.  Lukas noted then that Jane had gone from making tea to pouring wine. The corner of his lip pulled up in a small smirk.


She sipped on her wine and leaned forward slightly to stare at the images as she drank.  Her eyes closed as she imagined the space. The dining room featured a large window. It'd allow light to enter the space with ease, brightening the darker wood and metal details.  “We'd need to balance it out with the proper light and decorates, but yes.” Jane opened her eyes and shifted slightly, one foot remaining on the floor but the other lifting so that she could rest her shin on the chair.  It allowed her to kneel and reach forward for one of the tablets. She placed it on the table and she leaned over the device to move the images around so that the pieces could be ordered later. “That takes care of the living room, the family room, the dining room.  We still need the office. Any word about our windows?”


A soft grunt answered her and he replaced the PADD he still had in his hand back on the table.  “The office,” he began to give her an idea of where he was going first. “Can't be in the sunroom if you're going to have a bunch of plants in there.”  The operations officer paused because he knew Jane would argue with him.


“What?  Why not?”  Her chin lifted and she stared at him.


He turned his chin to watch her, his expression calm.  “Because the humidity and temperature you need for the plants will ruin the computers.”  Lukas stopped there, because there was a way they could have the office in the sunroom but it would mean putting themselves in credit debt until they died.  It was too expensive.


She sighed softly.  There was no way to argue about that.  Her eyes rolled to the ceiling as she attempted to think of a good balance.  “Well, that settles it. We just need to build another floor.”


His stammer was her answer, his features falling at the thought of the extra work.  The German groaned and leaned back in the chair, turning his head to look out the doorway onto the frame of the house.  “If you're adding another floor, I'm not making any more design choices.” He shook his head and folded his arms over his chest.  Already he was making calculations in his head for the stairway and placement. He groaned at the thought of the backtracking he would have to do.


“You can't get out of this that easily.”  The comment included a soft …˜tsk' as she smirked at him.  With a shake of her head she simply sighed and relented. It would set them back another month to add another floor.  The roof would have be removed and it was really far more work than necessary. “Let's convert the attached greenhouse into a proper office den.  It's large enough, but we would have to put a proper roof over that spot of the house instead of windows.” She shrugged. “I'll just get a stand alone greenhouse over,” Jane paused to grab one of the PADDs and began swiping through the information in search of the topological map of their island.  “Here.” Her finger tapped lightly on one side of the island.


“Du meinst ich baue dir ein GewÃ*chshaus, (You mean I'm building you a greenhouse.)”  He grunted quietly and pushed to lean forward so he could inspect the tablet where she'd indicated.  The operations officer nodded in agreement. “That's a good spot. Are you also growing herbs for cooking?”  His features pulled into a smile. The conversion of the sunroom into their office space would save them some credits - the windowed roof cost more than a traditional flat roof.  It meant they could splurge elsewhere, or just save it for later.


She hummed softly.  “Sure. I actually wouldn't mind raised beds,” she grinned.  “A proper garden. I don't see why I couldn't grow you some herbs.”  Jane sipped her wine as she continued to lean over the table, her forearm resting on the surface.  Her eyes studied his face and she reached forward to brush away a strand of hair that had fallen out of place.  …˜I wish I had made better decisions with you.'  The wistful thought was quickly pushed away.  She leaned back to sit properly in her chair and she hid her blushing face behind her wine glass.  “Well. I think that's it,” she cleared her throat. “I have the wood boards for my bedroom should be coming in after the walls are put up.  I asked Luis and Ramon to help with that, so you won't have to worry about helping me set up my bedroom and you can focus on yours.”


It was as if he could feel her caress on his hair.  Pleasant tingles radiated from his scalp and down his spine and he hummed quietly in appreciation.  His gaze lingered on hers for a few moments longer before a mischievous twinkle caught in his eye. “You just don't want me in your bedroom,” he rasped, his baritone deepening slightly with his tease.  Lukas picked up his wine glass and took a sip to hide his frown. He wasn't quite sure if it was jealousy he felt when he considered that she would bring men home. …˜Maybe this wasn't such a good idea.'


Jane stammered and she kept her eyes on her tablet to keep him from seeing how her face turned bright red.  “What are you talking about?” she grunted pathetically. “I wake up to the sight of you practically every morning.”


His attention was jarred back to the Italian across from him and a soft chortle rumbled in his chest.  “Yeah, and you throw a pillow in my face every morning, too.” Worrying about her bringing men home wasn't helpful, so he pushed it from his mind.


“And, you roll me out of bed,” she quipped without hesitation.  Her eyes lifted and she stuck her tongue out at him. “Mean.”


“Ich würde dich lieber im Bett rollen. (I'd rather roll you in bed.)”  His face was lacking in seriousness with his attempt to sound like he'd retorted something back.  Lukas lifted his glass of wine and sipped again, silently thanking her for bringing it for him. He dipped his gaze back to the plethora of PADDs and started swiping the images to the next room, the office.


There was a brief moment when she simply stared at him, unsure if he'd actually retorted with something witty or if he'd just made it sound like he had.  With his eyes on the tablet, she allowed a hint of longing to appear in her expression. It'd been such a wonderful month planning and building their home.  She saw just how well they worked together, and it made her happy to be able to show him her appreciation for all he'd done in the years by finding design elements that catered to his preferences.  It was bound to end, sooner or later. Once their home was built, he'd eventually find someone he'd want to bring home. “Invece di tirami fuori dal letto, dovresti semplicemente scivolarvi dentro. (Instead of getting me out of bed, you should probably just slide into it.)”  There was a wistfulness to her whisper, turning her silvery voice airy and light. With a shake of her head, Jane reminded herself that she couldn't be selfish. “Mi farai imparare la tua brutta lingua, vero? (You're going to make me learn your ugly language, aren't you?)” she complained with a soft whine in retort to his comment.


He lifted his gaze to look at her, setting the glass down.  They often spoke to one another in the ancient languages they grew up with, and he was sure she'd learned some of the phrases as much as he'd learned hers.  …˜Brutta lingua' was ugly language and Lukas didn't really blame her for thinking it. Italian was much smoother and rolled off one's tongue, where German was harsh and abrupt.  There were times he'd considered learning Italian just so he could understand her, but that was part of what drew him to her. There was mystery and challenge in trying to piece together what she was trying to tell him.  “Manchmal wünschte ich wir hÃ*tten den Mut, uns zu erzÃ*hlen, was wir sagen. Ich denke wir wÃ*ren noch glücklicher zusammen. (Sometimes I wish we had the courage to tell each other what we say. I think we'd be even happier together.)”  A small smile tugged at the corners of his mouth and he averted his gaze to the tablets.


Together, they finished the bottle of wine as they designed the office space that they would both share.  The computer server that would allow them to link to the outpost's systems was to be placed in the attic. Out of sight and out of mind.  Hours passed and in the end, they had practically found everything they wanted for their new home.



   
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