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Future Imperfect

Posted on Thu May 2nd, 2019 @ 11:19pm by Lieutenant Christine Descharmes & Lieutenant Wale Scholl Ph.D.

Mission: Between the Pages
Location: Various
Timeline: after "Discovering the Bay"

ON:

[Shune Bay, Golovin | Current Timeline |1930 hrs ]

Christine leaned against the bar, her fingers tapped against the counter. It was the same bar they had celebrated in only days before and it was close to both their houses near the bay. She fidgeted nervously and tugged down the hem of her black dress, though she didn't know why she was so nervous. She did agree to that drink. Although she was wondering now if she shouldn't have just asked James to come along.

"Damn it," she muttered under her breath, "You'd think I haven't done this before or something."

"Excuse me?" the bartender asked, looking up at her from a short distance away.

"Nothing," Christine replied as she partially turned around, leaning one elbow on the counter and keeping an eye on the door.

Wale approached the bar from the beach, his feet kicking up a bit of sand as he walked. He wore a royal blue shirt that hugged his body, with an asymmetrical neckline that descended along his left side all the way to the bottom of his ribcage, along with black trousers. Through the open terrace he could see her leaning against the bar, her fingers fidgeting with something on the bar.

He walked in and gave his customary wide smile. "I hope I didn't keep you waiting too long," he said.

Christine straightened as he approached, finding his smile contagious and offering one of her own. "Not too long, I think I was early for once," she answered, for the moment her nervousness dissipated and she paused before adding, "You look nice."

"Thank you," he replied. "You look..." He fumbled for words, and finally shook his head. "Absolutely stunning."

"Thanks," she said, her face flushed a little at the compliment. Christine shifted from one foot to the other. "What kind of drink do you want?" she asked quickly, changing the topic.

"This is my treat," he reminded her. "I should be the one to ask." He waved the waiter over.

"What can I get you?" asked the fat Bolian bartender as he stepped up to them.

"Hmmm," Christine turned to the bartender, fingers tapping on the counter again as she thought."I had all this time to think about what I wanted while I was waiting," she let out a nervous laugh, "How about a Modela aperitif? I think something bright and sweet would be great to start off with."

"Make that two," added Wale. "And a side of green leaf chips."

The bartender nodded and walked away to fetch their order.

Christine leaned against the counter again and watched the bartender walk away before she turned back to Wale. There was a long pause, as she contemplated her next words and hopped up on a bar stool. There was nothing wrong with small talk. "Have you settled in yet?" she asked as she crossed her legs.

"I only just got the keys to my house today," Wale said as he sat on a barstool of his own next to her. "I got to tour the place. It's nice, for a prefab building. Right on the bay, with a pretty good view of... that," he said, indicating the wreck of the Andorian cruiser off in the distance.

She glanced up to where he pointed and gave him a smile. “Oh that,” she said, “Yeah, I guess that does ruin the view. I forget it’s there most of the time.” Christine paused as the bartender returned with their drinks and set them down in front of them. She took the tall glass and eyed the layer of blue on top of the brown liquid before she finally took a long gulp. There was another pause. “Look,” she said, “I’m sorry about running off like that on Seppala.”

The bartender returned with their side order. Wale reached for a beetroot leaf chip before looking into her eyes. "Don't worry about it, I know things have been crazy around here."

Christine smiled widely, a bit more relaxed now. "Crazy is right," she agreed as she too took a chip from the plate. As she crunched it, she contemplated what she was about to say next. "Can I tell you something?" she asked suddenly.

"Anything." said Wale. He could tell that she looked distraught, and it was clear that something was bothering her.

She stared at him for a few seconds, nearly changing her mind about it but in her opinion, everything changed already so what harm could it do. It had been bothering her and for some time now. Well, since Seppala at least. "We know--knew, each other," Christine said suddenly. "Before the timeshift." She hesitated, her face flushed as she glanced around and half-expected everything to wink out of existence.

"Did we?" he replied, his eyebrows arching in surprise. "Did we get along well?"

She gave him a slight smile, wondering how much she should reveal to him. "Really well."

Wale took in the information and smiled. "Well then you have me at a clear disadvantage," he said.

[New Casablanca | Shanghai Prime Timeline | 2390 ]

Christine leaned against the bar with a clear view of the ocean as a backdrop. Despite the picturesque view of the emerald-colored water, she was more focused on the state of her empty glass. "Shoreleave," she said, with a scowl to go along with it. She pushed it away from and gestured to the bartender for another.

Wale grabbed Christine's wrist as she seemed on the verge of tumbling down from the stool. "Whoa there!" he called out. "Are you really sure you want another?" He took the empty glass and sniffed to identify whatever had been in there. The strong scent of alcohol filled his nostrils. "Looks like you're partying on hard stuff here."

"Yeah? Well-" she began as she struggled momentarily against his grip, "-that's what helps. Forgetting. Helps forgetting." Christine turned on her stool, her gaze rested on an attractive man and her eyes wandered appreciatively. "Are you here to rescue me then?" her voice dropped and she leaned in. After a few seconds, she let out a sigh and leaned back against the counter. "I'm not that drunk. Yet."

"What do you need to be rescued from?" asked Wale, holding her by the elbows to steady her. He took a seat at the barstool next to her and placed a hand on her back to keep her still. He waved away the bartender, who had appeared with another drink.

Christine opened her mouth to protest her disappearing drink. "Probably myself," she said instead, a sigh escaped her mouth. She tilted her head towards him and studied him in closer detail. "I haven't seen you here yet. Where did you come from?"

"I came out of the ocean for you," said Wale.

He had, in fact, been diving all day, exploring the richness of the planet's oceans. He'd found a unique species of starfish that seemed resistant to a fungus that was killing everything else in its vicinity, and had taken scans and samples to investigate. Upon coming out of the water at the end of the day, he'd seen this stunning woman sitting alone at the bar, and couldn't keep himself from walking over to her, still in his wetsuit. Located directly on the beach, the bar didn't have much of a dress code.

"Oh? Did you?" she asked and a slight smile slowly appeared as she let her eyes wander over him a bit longer. Christine propped an elbow on the counter, her chin resting on her hand as she continued, "And am I what you expected?"

Wale leaned against the bar, careful not to get her clothes wet with his still-damp wetsuit, and smiled. "I don't know if you're what I expected, but you're definitely more than I hoped."

"Hmm," Christine said and her face flushed. She hoped it was just from the two drinks she had earlier. She gave a little wave in his direction. "You know, that.. suit... doesn't leave much to my imagination."

"Sorry about that," he said, smiling unapologetically. "It's handy when I need to haul equipment down when I'm diving, otherwise I wouldn't have bothered with it."

"Is that so? So normally you would have just walked in here with nothing?" she asked, an eyebrow raised as she looked him over again. At the thought, she grinned.

Wale shrugged. "The best way to commune with the ocean is to discard any barrier between it and yourself. Though Rukh here," he added, nodding toward the Bolian bartender, "doesn't really agree. I would've at least put on a towel to come in here."

"So you usually swim naked?" Christine wondered, thinking about that for a few minutes. It was most likely that it wasn't the alcohol causing her face to flush and the heat to rise, she realized after a while. She found herself staring at him and subconsciously licked her lips, her mouth suddenly dry. "I wouldn't mind going for a swim," she said, turning on her barstool to face him fully.

Wale reached out and took her hand. "And I'd love to take you and show you the wonders below the surface," he said. "But I don't think this is the best time for you. Why don't we stay here for a bit and get something to eat? My name is Wale."

"Wade? I'm Christine," she said and glanced down at his hand holding hers, "And you're probably right. Otherwise, you might have to really rescue me. What did you have in mind?"

"I think we should stay here for a while and let you sober up, and maybe get a bite to eat. I think you might find that company is a better way to get over whatever it is that's troubling you than trying to find yourself at the bottom of a glass of..." He picked up the empty glass and sniffed it again. "I'm guessing this was a whisky sour?"

"It was a double. And I was planning on having another," she grumbled and let out a long sigh. She gave another glance over him. "Wouldn't you rather be in something a bit more...comfortable? And less distracting?"

"I'm fine," he replied, waving her concerns aside. "I basically grew up in one of these things, it's like a second skin to me. But if it's distracting you..."

"No, I'm-," she said, contemplating it as she stared at him and her eyes wandered from his face down the length of his body, "-fine. Or..." Christine let that trail off as she gave him a smile. "Unless you really want to buy me dinner first."

Wale grinned broadly and stood, extending his hand to her. "I'm holed up about three hundred meters from here, and there's a great food replicator at my place. I'll guarantee the food will be just as good as whatever Rukh was about to serve us."

Christine grinned and half-stood, half-slid off of her barstool as she took his hand. "Well, you might have to help me there to begin with," she added as she leaned into him.

"No problem there," he said. He placed an arm around her waist and helped her stand straight as she pressed against him, her face mere inches from his own. He gazed deep into her green eyes and smiled. "Let's get out of here then."

Christine hesitated. His body against hers; his still-damp wetsuit that definitely did not leave much to the imagination; his arm around her waist; even the smell of the seawater, both from the ocean air and what lingered on him. The way he looked at her with such...intensity. There was a moment where she nearly changed her mind. A twinge of guilt, maybe. Her eyes traveled from his blue ones and studied the shape of his mouth briefly before they looked up again to his. Christine shoved those guilty thoughts of him to the back of her mind. "Yes," she said, softly, "That might be a good idea."

Wale pulled her along by the waist and led the way out of the bar, bending down at the door to pick up the duffel bag containing his diving gear. He hoisted the bag on his shoulder and extended a hand to her.

"You can tell me all about yourself along the way," he suggested. "And who it is that you're trying to forget at the bottom of a whisky sour."

:OFF

Lieutenant Christine Descharmes
Chief Counselor, USS Shanghai

Lieutenant Wale Scholl, Ph.D.
Chief Science Officer, USS Shanghai

 

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