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Ten out of ten

Posted on Sunday, 8 May 2022 - 4:07pm by Lieutenant JG Ethan Connelly & Petty Officer 1st Class Siana Ilian

Mission: Shore Leave
Location: Beta Antares Shipyards
Timeline: current

"A scientist, a doctor, a teacher, a painter, a diplomat, a doctor - twice - a scientist, a musician, an engineer and presently assigned as operations officer. Did I remember correctly?"

Pausing for a moment, her hand poised with the paintbrush poised to touch the canvas, Petty Officer Ilian peered around the easel at her 'subject'. Thankfully he remained exactly as he was seated ten minutes ago and for the forty minutes or so before that. "Ten out of ten, Lieutenant," she congratulated him before she returned to her work, a deep frown of concentration as she tried to build upon the initial sketch she had made as a guide. Around them, the room was was full of aspiring painters having varying degrees of success capturing the science officer's likeness on canvas.

"But you are the eleventh host, are you not? Did I make a mistake? Forget a host?"

"It's just a figure of speech, lieutenant," she reminded him with a an amused smile. "And don't think I've forgotten."

"Forgotten what, exactly?"

Her smile widened, not that he could see. "That you still haven't told me how you ended up as the star of this art class," she reminded him before once again peering around at him, "wearing nothing but a loin cloth...?"

He groaned, but to his credit did not move.

"Well?" Siana prompted. "I've lived ten lifetimes, Lieutenant, there is little chance you will surprise me."

"If you must know," he almost growled between his teeth, "I lost a bet."

"Must have been some bet," she grinned, "what bet was this exactly?"

"I missed a birthday of a good friend. She had planned a celebration but seemed to anticipate that my duties would - as they often have - prevent me from attending. And this was my forfeit," he said as if it were an everyday event for him to be posing virtually naked in a room full of mostly strangers. "Had I anticipated a member of the crew would be participating in her class, I would not have agreed."

Siana offered him a sympathetic smile. "Work life balance isn't really Starfleet's thing," she reminded him. "You should really not promise stuff or you know... loin cloths. At least you aren't completely naked. Because Ensign K'Al'Tik is over there and we are all pretty sure she is the mysterious new gossip queen. Its the eyes, she seems everything.

So. You know Emily Drakeford, our guest lecturer? She seems lovely and her work is just - wow. Takes my breath away with her use of colour to just invoke emotions. I'm amazed she travelled out here though, but I'm really glad she did. So I assume it was her party you missed? How do you know her?"

Her painting was forgotten about by this point, her full attention on the conversation now that it wasn't about her or Ilian's past.

Yesterday on the first day of the three day course, Siana had been introduced to Emily along with the other students. Although heavily pregnant, the woman had been nothing but a bundle of positive energy, creativity and friendly advice as she ran through group sessions and gave one on one advice. The woman had limitless patience and always seemed to find something positive to say in even the most abstract of work created during the various lessons.

"We are engaged," Connelly replied, in the same tone one might use when discussing the weather.

Indeed, it took a long moment for the words to register at which point Siana's mouth dropped open as she looked over at the far side of the room where Emily was deep in conversation with a Cardassian woman. "Congratulations," she managed after a moment. "And the baby is yours, I take it?"

"I very much hope so," Ethan quipped with an amused expression. "We already have a son, he is school on Earth."

"Really..." Siana breathed, shaking her head. "I had no idea..."

"It is hardly the kind of discussions to have on the Bridge," he pointed out.

"True," she nodded, "but good to know all the same. What if one day you go all space crazy and reminding you that you have family is the only way to save your sanity?"

"You believe that to be a likely scenario?" he countered, turning his head slightly and earning him the tuts of those nearby.

"This is Starfleet, who knows?" Siana shrugged. "But if it does, now you know I've got your back."

"And what, in that scenario would bring you back to your senses?"

"Just remind me that even, on balance, my second host Sorjen was an insufferable a-"

"Alright everyone!" a friendly, Australian voice rang out, "time for a break. You are all doing great work but go have some lunch and don't worry, our special guest will be here when you get back. See you all in one hour."



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