Previous Next

To The Top

Posted on Mon Aug 21st, 2023 @ 4:51pm by Lieutenant Christopher Blake & Lieutenant Sorine Kaida
Edited on on Wed Aug 23rd, 2023 @ 10:15pm

0 words; about a 1 minute read

Mission: The Sins of History
Location: Holodeck 6 - Deck 6 - USS Artemis
Timeline: MD003 1500 hrs

Kaida was taking a chance on this. She would not consider Lieutenant Blake a friend but then again she wouldn't consider anyone on this ship a friend yet. He had only given her a ride to the ship and they'd had a small conversation about ship classes. Still . . . she wasn't going to make friends unless she tried. She pressed the chime on his quarters and hoped he wouldn't mind the interruption.

Chris had been reading over the specs for the Artemis, familiarizing himself with the ship. He wanted to make sure he was ready for anything. He took a sip from his glass of tea when the chime rang. He wondering for a moment who could be at his door, or what emergency was happening. This surely wouldn't be a social call. He stood up and walked quickly to the door.

She held a couple of climbing ropes,bolts, hangers, harnesses and some carabiners in her hands. She could have replicated those things on the holodeck of course but Kaida had this weird idea that stuff they made on the holodeck might not hold her weight. She knew it was silly and in the moment they were as strong as anything else in the universe but the thought still ate at her and stole her focus away from the climb. When the door opened she held everything up. "Feel like learning a new skill?"

Staring at her for a long moment, Chris was trying to wrap his head around what was happening. "Oh... uh... I was just reviewing some tech manuals." He pointed back into the darkened room. Had it been that dark all along? It looked so foreign and uninviting to him now. But he'd been content there just moments ago. He bit his lip and blinked his good eye before looking back to Kaida. "Yeah, sure. What do I need?"

"Some good rock climbing shoes, but we can replicate those on the holodeck if you like. Comfortable clothing? I think I have everything else. I hope you don't mind me just dropping in like this. I just thought since you were one of the first people I met, you might like to get out of stuffy quarters and see the universe through the holodeck. I've had my head stuck in front of a computer all day and could use some fresh air, even though I know it's just recycled ship air."

Chris looked down at his white shirt and slacks. The shirt would be fine, but he'd probably be best in shorts. "Ok, I'll change real quick. You can come in and sit down for a minute if you'd like I guess." He left the door open and turned back to the surprisingly dark room. "Computer increase lighting to standard levels."

The lights came up and showed that aside from the tech manuals he hadn't actually unpacked anything. He hadn't been expecting company and he wasn't much of a host to begin with. He walked over to his bedroom and shut the door while he rummaged through his kit bag for a good pair of workout shorts and comfortable shoes. "I didn't know you liked rock climbing." He called out through the shut door.

Kaida didn't feel like sitting down. She could tell from his body language that she was butting in and he was being polite about it. "Yeah. I find it relaxing. It's about the only thing that completely makes my brain shut down and focus on what's in front of me. I mean don't get me wrong, sometimes it can be hard and sometimes scary if you take the safeties off or if you're rock climbing on some planet but I really love that the only thing I need to solve is where to put my fingers and my feet. And at the end I get to see an incredible view as a reward."

Chris was silent for a moment as he finished changing and then opened the door back to his main quarters. "Similar to flying that way I guess." He had replaced his slacks with a simple pair of blue shorts and trainers. There were a few scars on his legs, but to him it wasn't as drawing as his eye so he didn't bother them as much. So far people on the ship had been polite enough not to point it out, maybe it would stay that way and he could just be himself.

"I can carry that stuff if you'd like. Just lead the way." Chris offered his hand and a lopsided smile.

Kaida only handed him the spare equipment she'd brought for him. It didn't seem fair that he should carry everything. "Have you ever climbed before? Using equipment I mean? It doesn't really matter if you haven't. I want to make sure you understand the equipment that's all. One of my favorite programs really isn't that hard. I find if it's too hard it's not fun, it becomes more about not falling and or survival if you're really into dangerous programs or real life dangerous climbs." Realizing she was rambling she shut her lips to give him a chance to speak.

"I've only really done it as part of extraction training in case of a rough landing." Chris winced. He'd only been able to do it in training. When the incident happened he'd been in such bad condition he could hardly breath, let alone get out of the wreak. "It'll be nice to try it for fun I think." Hopefully he recovered quickly enough that she didn't notice his discomfort.

He took the offered equipment and continued following Kaida to the holodeck. He remembered enough that as they walked he checked over the equipment for wear or potential flaws. "What is this program?"

"Oh It's of Vulcan's Forge. But I turned down the heat and the blaring sun a bit. I like a nice dry warmth when I'm climbing, but not too hot. This is meant to be relaxing after all, not kill us with dehydration. Is that okay? I'd happily do another program if there's one you like." she looked to him curiously.

"I've never actually been to the Forge." Chris nodded and smiled a little. "I've heard it is beautiful though." He thought for a moment before adding more. "I used to do a fair bit of hiking myself, we might be able to do both one of these days."

"Sure," Kaida said thinking about a memory from her past. "Just no tree roots in the program please. I went on a hike with a guy once, really liked him too and tripped over a tree root, face planted and ended up spraining my ankle and pretending I hadn't sprained it. The hopping around was of course fooling no one. He thought it was hilarious."

Chris chuckled. "I once sprained my wrist by trying to shot put a rock over a fence instead of carrying it around to the gate." He glanced at Kaida. "Worst part? No one else was there, so I have no idea who I was trying to impress. Did you at least get a second date out of it?"

"I'm glad I'm not the only pathetic person in this universe. Sadly it wasn't really a first date so no, I did not. Probably for the best anyway." Kaida started the program when they got to the holodeck. "I promise not to laugh if you fall on your face, " she replied with a hint of a smile. "But I'm sure you won't." Just to be on the safe side she made sure he knew how to use the equipment and that his harness was on. "Ready?"

Chris did a quick squat, making sure the harness was snug, but wouldn't constrict on anything delicate if it was suddenly pulled. "Ready as I'll ever be."

She took her first steps up the face of the reddish colored rock. There was a touch of red sand on the ledge where she put her fingers, it made gripping things simultaneously easier and harder. Harder because her grip could slip on the fine grain but easier the higher she went because her hands wouldn't be likely to sweat and stay wet.

The sun was beating down on them but Kaida didn't find it unpleasant. In fact she appreciated a warmer climate. It seemed on starships that she was always a bit cold. All around them was a circular valley of desert with very little vegetation but jagged mountains that must have formed eons ago when the planet had plates collide forming the distinct features of the Forge. People often described them as chipped, and sharp. The stone looked deliberate and deadly. Personally Kaida thought that the mountains had long and evil faces with gouges for eyes and pointy noses left behind by stones that didn't fall, but she didn't share this with anyone. "When we get to the top you're in for the view of a lifetime. Assuming we survive," she joked.

Chris quickly fell into step behind Kaida and used the finger and toe holds she had used. Even though he used his hands every day for work, it was on a computer console so he hadn't developed proper callouses and could feel every edge of the rock against his skin. It was different than what he was used to, but he'd make due. Besides, the safeties were on so there wouldn't be any real damage. "Almost died once and I wasn't fond of it. So I'll stick with the view."

He was a little shocked that he had been so flippant about the incident, but even with the discomfort in his hands he was more at ease now than he'd been in a while.

"Right," Kaida said, kicking herself for joking about that sorta thing. "How did it happen?" She was sure he didn't want to talk about it but also sometimes it was good for people to get things off their chest and she was no snitch. She wouldn't tell a soul. "Piloting?" The sun felt a bit warmer today than it usually did but maybe that was just because she had someone else in the room to distract her from putting her entire mind on the rocks in front of her.

Chris hooked his fingers into another hold and adjusted his weight as he placed a self drilling anchor into the rock. "Yeah, we came under fire." He paused for a moment and steadied himself before continuing. "I couldn't evade and a good man died and I nearly joined him."

Adjusting his footing and pulling himself to the next hand hold, Chris continued. "Once I was discharged from medical, I kept going over the manuals and training simulations. I promised some very dear people I'd never fail like that again."

"I'm sorry," Kaida replied, not that it would make any difference in how he felt. "Forgive me for saying this because I'm not a counselor, just a friend. But Chris, you are not perfect. You are Human. And I'm Bajoran and if I have ever met a perfect race in the universe I'll eat my own rope. You shouldn't hold yourself to such standards. It's my turn to share I suppose," She added before he could get a word in. "I climb because I see the faces of my brother and my parents the last time I saw them. I was angry at them for agreeing with my brother and I stormed out of the house for a walk. When I got back they were all gone and they never came home. So I was shipped off to Earth and raised by my adoptive parents, Humans." She gave a small shrug. "My scars aren't as visible."

"Oh, I know the logic. And I can tell myself a million times it wasn't my fault. But in the back of my mind there is that voice calling back a million and one times... what if it was?"

"That..." Chris looked down at his handhold as he tried to come up with some words that he could possibly say. "That is horrible. Thank you for sharing that, I can only imagine it still hurts." He paused for a moment and looked up and over toward Kaida. "We're an awful cheerful pair aren't we?"

"Yes," She gave a decisive nod. "You know what, somehow climbing just isn't cutting it. I could use a drink. How about you?"

"You just twisted my rubber arm." Chris said with a chuckle. When did he start feeling comfortable enough to actually chuckle? "I haven't made it to the lounge since coming aboard actually."

"Save the program to pick it up later?" He offered. "The view isn't going anywhere." Looking around he wondered for a second about how the computer would end the program and how high they actually were from the deck.

"Sure," Kaida replied. "Computer save program and end." She wasn't even the slightest bit worried about what the program would do as she had done it a thousand times. The rocks beneath them vanished and with the tiniest bit of a landing, Kaida found her feet directly on the floor. "I programmed it so it wouldn't dump me off a 20 foot cliff face when I ended the program, if I didn't feel like finishing." She looked over at him to make sure he hadn't twisted his ankle upon landing. "I think I've only been in the lounge once, on the day I first got here. It was where I met my work partner Andy." She thought back to the memory briefly and then let it fall to the wayside. "Anyway, we can drop the equipment off in my quarters if you like, it's closer than yours."

The rocks melted away below his feet and he let go of the hand holds as they simply ceased to be. Chris absorbed the slight impact with his knees and while not as practiced as Kaida, managed to not stumble. "Sure, if you want." Unclasping the harness he grabbed it before it hit the floor and held the straps flat in his hand so as not to twist them. "I haven't been to the lounge at all, so you'll have to lead the way." He sighed slightly. "I can probably make the ship dance, but I wouldn't have a clue where to go to actually dance myself."

The pilot quickly shrugged. "Not like I could dance in the first place anyways."

"Lucky for you people don't care these days if the woman leads," Kaida said with a slight smile. She took the harness from him and exited the holodeck towards her quarters and eventually the lounge.

A Joint Post By

Lieutenant Christopher Blake
Chief Flight Control Officer, USS Artemis
Starfleet Criminal Investigations Unit

Lieutenant Sorine Kaida
Criminal Investigations Officer, USS Artemis
Starfleet Criminal Investigations Unit


Previous Next

RSS Feed RSS Feed