Breaking the Ice
Location: Deck 7, the "Ridge"
“So that’s when I told him to put down the knife, and walk away from the potato salad!” Elliot Reese finished yet another story to a smattering of laughs before taking another drink of his bourbon. It was pretty common for him to spend off duty hours in the “Ridge” getting to know his shipmates. To Elliot, it was always best to make friends with everyone. That way, there would never be a dull moment. And around Elliot, dull moments were hard to come by. He always had a story to tell, a joke to crack, or even a shoulder to cry on. He may have loved the sound of his own voice, but he could still be a good listener.
So far since they had left on their first voyage into the Delta Quadrant, Elliot had already met several members of the crew. He found the main lounges to be a great place to meet people. People came to the “Ridge” looking to relax and have a good time. Well most people. Doing a visual scan around the room, he did spot one person that did not seem to be enjoying herself. Since the small crowd around him was starting to disperse, he finished his drink and waved over the bartender. “Another one, Commander?” the bartender asked.
“Please. But I’ve got a question too. You see a lot of people come and go from here. Tell me,” Elliot said as he gestured towards the auburn haired woman sitting alone by the windows, “what’s her deal?”
The bartender looked past Reese’s shoulder to see who he was talking about. “Her? Lt. Commander Archer?” He shook his head. “With all due respect, I wouldn’t waste your time. She’s a cold one.”
“I’ve noticed,” the engineer replied. “I’ve not known her very long, but she has got to be the quietest second officer I’ve ever met. She seems brilliant enough in staff meetings, but that’s pretty much all the interaction I’ve got from her. But even the coldest ice queen can be thawed. What’s her story? Has she always been that way?”
“As long as I’ve known her she has. There are plenty of rumors, naturally. Some say she’s part Vulcan, others say part Klingon. I’m thinking that woman has just seen a lot of death in her life. She used to be intelligence, before taking over security. They say something happened to her during the war, but she won’t talk about it. Then again, she doesn’t really talk about anything unless she has to. If you think you’re going to crack that nut, then I wish you the best of luck.”
Elliot smiled. “Now is she ice or a nut? I think we’re starting to mix metaphors here. I don’t know though. I do love a good challenge. She’s pretty, even if she is lacking a bit in the personality department. What’s her drink?”
The barkeep laughed. “You’re really going to try, aren’t you?”
“Why not? Everyone deserves to have a friend. I just can’t stand to see her all alone like that.”
“I have a feeling that you’re not going to take no for an answer. In that case, I’ll have sickbay on standby.”
“Please, I don’t think it will be that traumatic for her.”
The bartender laughed again. “Not for her, for you. I’d hate to see her break your arm.”
Reese laughed, finally understanding his joke. “Gotcha. Still, I’ve got to try. I’ve seen the challenge. If I walk away now, I’ll only be failing myself. What’s her drink?”
“That’s the odd thing. Just about the only drink she ever orders is a Glaapian Fireheart. It’s a pretty complicated drink, though I suppose she’s a pretty complicated woman. It’s just much flashier than I would have expected from her.”
“You can’t say she doesn’t have some sort of sense of style at least. Alright, give me one Fireheart and another bourbon.”
“Sure thing.” The bartender went back behind him and started working on the drink. It was a pretty complicated mix in order to get the colors and the layering just right. He handed it over to Reese and refilled his glass with the bottle of bourbon. “Good luck,” he told him before moving on to help another customer.
With drinks in hand, Elliot took a deep breath and made his trek across the lounge. He managed to gather a few looks his direction, most of them trying to figure out if he was really so bold as to try to get a conversation out of Archer. He ignored them and continued on his mission, stopping once he reached her table. She didn’t seem to be phased. She just kept moving her empty glass in her hand as she stared out at the warp lines, contemplating who knows what. “May I join you?” Elliot asked with a friendly voice.
She didn’t stir. “No,” was the only reply.
Elliot was a little surprised. He expected a bit more than that. He thought that she might even humor him for a bit, at least get the free drink out of the deal. It had been a while since he had been rejected that quickly. “I’m sorry?”
“No,” she answered again. “I’m fine with being alone.”
At least that was two sentences this time. He was making progress. He decided to be bold and took a seat next to her anyway. She turned and glared at him, a stare that seemed to cut straight to his soul. He started to think that calling sickbay might not have been a bad idea. “No one should have to be alone.”
“And yet I choose to be.” Sara turned back to the window, hoping that if she ignored him, he’d just go away.
It didn’t work. “And why is that, Commander?” He figured that he should probably stick with titles at this point. Trying to get on first name basis might get that arm broken after all.
“Commander, you are far from the first person that’s ever tried to get into my head. It’s not going to work. Just stick to your engines. You can’t fix me.”
Elliot slid the drink towards her. “If you need to be fixed, then that implies that you know that you’re broken.”
Sara certainly was broken, but she was not about to go into details. As far as she was concerned, they were her problems, and there was nothing that anyone else could do to help her. She looked over at the drink. Accepting it would be a sign of defeat, but she did appreciate the offer. “How did you know I drank Firehearts?”
“Come on now. You’re not the only one with connections, you know.” Elliot was afraid he was starting to push it, and started to tighten up, but no slap came. “You just looked like you needed some company. If you don’t want to talk, we don’t have to talk. But being alone never helps anyone.”
“But it never hurts anyone either.”
Elliot leaned forward in his seat, cradling his tumbler with hand while gesturing with the other. “But there’s where you’re wrong. It does hurt someone. It hurts the person that’s alone. You honestly can’t tell me that you enjoy sitting her sulking in the corner while everyone else has a good time.”
“If I didn’t, don’t you think I’d prefer to sulk in my quarters?”
“See, that’s the thing. You don’t prefer to sulk in your quarters because you want to be close to people. You just don’t know how, do you? Trust me, Commander, I know people almost as well as I know engines. They need to feel loved and appreciated. And that goes for you too. You either just don’t want to admit it, or you desperately want to admit and don’t know how. You’re mourning someone, aren’t you? Tell me, who did you lose?”
Sara did hate to admit that he was seeing through her more than she would have liked. Maybe she was growing to complacent as she got older. Moving out of the field was making her soft. “I’ve lost many, Commander Reese. Let’s just leave it at that.”
He wouldn’t dare show it, but Elliot was delighted that she’d even opened up this much. “Fair enough. I won’t prod you if you don’t want to tell. But you know, I think you’d be happier letting the world know. But that’s just me. I don’t like keeping secrets.”
She finally looked away from the window and focused on him. “If you don’t like keeping secrets, the why wouldn’t you tell me who told you about the drink?”
She’s good, Elliot thought. “Fair enough. I suppose I walked right into that one. I’ll tell you what. You share this drink with me, and then I’ll be off and you can be alone all you want. How’s that sound, Commander?”
Archer thought for a moment. “Sara,” she replied.
“I’m sorry?” Elliot had a confused look on his face.
She answered again. “You can call me Sara.”
Lt. Commander Elliot Reese
Lt. Commander Sara Archer
Chief Security/Tactical Officer