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Far From Perfect

Posted on Thu Dec 22nd, 2016 @ 2:11am by Captain Claudia Ainscow

Mission: S1E2 - Unity
Location: Captain's Quarters
Timeline: Mission Day 13; 20:00

Laena found herself standing in front of Claudia's door, holding a tray with multiple covered plates. For the occasion, she chose to ditch her typical uniform and instead dress more casually, wearing a tank top with black sweat pants, her hair tumbling over her shoulders rather than pulled back into a ponytail as she preferred to wear while on duty. She wanted to show Claudia another side of her, the less formal side, and she felt this was exactly the way to do it. With her elbow she pressed the chime on the side of the door and waited.

Claudia was in her quarters and looked up to see who her surprise guest was. She hadn't seen much of Rebecca lately - in fact she'd been signed off duty by the CMO - so it was back to the old system of having a load of paperwork to do.

"Come in" Claudia called.

The doors opened and Laena walked in, holding the tray steady. "Hey, Cece. I know you've been super busy lately, so I thought I would bring dinner to you," she said with a smile.

"You're a sweetie. I've been inundated with paperwork for the past couple days so...yeah. At least it passes the time I suppose. How are you this evening?" Claudia replied.

"I'm pretty good, thank you," Laena said, setting the tray down. She walked over to the table and cleared away the PADDs that Claudia was looking at, including the one in her hand. "You can have these back after you eat," she stated.

She walked back to where she placed the tray down and brought over each plate, taking the lids off to reveal multiple dishes that looked to originate from the Terran Asian continent. "I thought since we hadn't had a lot of time to see each other the past two weeks, this could be fun."

Claudia nodded and was quite surprised by this visit. She hadn't seen Laena for a while and she was almost beginning to feel guilty and torn between her and Rebecca - but she put a smile on and looked at the delicious food on offer.

"It looks wonderful - thank you. As for the paperwork that can wait until tomorrow. I'm fed up of it now I've been doing it all day" Claudia replied.

"I understand," Laena said, taking a seat on the couch next to Claudia. She handed the woman a set of gorgeously carved wooden chopsticks. "I cheated, these are replicated. But they are a replica of the kind you would find in ancient Asia," she said. She pulled her legs up on the couch in a criss-cross fashion and pulled a plate towards her.

Claudia started to eat the surprise meal that Laena had prepared for them both. She took a mouthful and almost immediately she knew it had been worth waiting for. Claudia had learned to eat with chopsticks while on the Endurance and she did have a pair of her own but she gave them to one of her former colleagues as a parting gift.

"This is delicious. I love these chopsticks too" Claudia said.

"I know, right?" Laena exclaimed, with a big smile. "I'll be honest, I had to teach myself how to use them earlier today. But I took to them easily enough." Laena picked up some of the food on her plate and leaned closer to the other woman, "This noodle dish is great, try some," she said, holding her chopsticks a bit closer to the Captain.

Claudia used her chopsticks and ate some of the noodles that were offered. She hadn't had noodles for a while but she could cook them fairly well. Unfortunately Claudia couldn't cook them unless Paul let her borrow his hot plate or let her use the kitchen.

Claudia smiled. "This is nice too. You're so sweet doing this for us - I was just going to have a sandwich or something but this is much nicer. I could eat it all I'm that hungry."

"Then eat it all, babe," Laena said, putting her plate down. "That's what I brought it for."

Laena stood and walked over to the replicator, "Would you like something to drink?" she asked, not turning around.

"You should have some yourself though - but these noodles are mine. And sure...surprise me" Claudia replied.

Claudia grabbed the noodle dish and ate it quickly - enjoying every mouthful. She sat on the couch with her legs folded to one side - still in her uniform - having not found the time or inspiration to change into her casual clothes.

"Can I ask you something?" Laena asked, turning and placing a glass of deep red liquid on the table in front of Claudia.

Claudia looked up at Laena and nodded - placing the food and her chopsticks down next to the glass on the table.

"Go ahead" Claudia replied.

"How long was it going to take you to tell me about Rebecca Fuentes?" Laena asked, leaning against the bulkhead opposite from Claudia. She didn't want to have this conversation, but she had no choice. But she definitely couldn't be sitting down.

Claudia decided to give an answer instead of remaining silent - even though she was quite surprised that Laena even knew about the other woman. Claudia and Rebecca may have had one night of passion but that was all it was - both of them had agreed that's all it was.

"She's my Yeoman. That's all" Claudia countered.

Laena crossed her arms, "That's not true and you know it. And don't you dare lie to me, Claudia," Laena said, using the woman's full first name, something she hadn't done since they met.

"Alright. She was there when you weren't - you walked out on me and ignored me until...about ten minutes ago Laena. I made us dinner and you didn't even eat it - you just walked out after I tried to talk to you and help you. That doesn't exactly fill me with much confidence" Claudia replied.

"I haven't ignored you," Laena said, her eyebrows furrowing. "I asked you to dinner twice since then. First time, you told me you couldn't go. Second time, your yeoman told me you were too busy. And that was three nights ago. Oddly enough, that seems to be the same night you and she spent together."

"And as for the dinner where I left, that was only a week and a half ago!" Laena exclaimed, throwing her hands in the air. "I've tried to make it up to you since then. Am I supposed to worry that every time we reach a bump in the road you're going to run into the arms of the closest woman you can find?"

"The second time is news to me because she didn't even tell me about it. And for the record she stayed over five nights ago - not three - so if you're going to moan at me then go ahead but get your facts right first" Claudia replied.

She then stood up and folded her arms.

Claudia continued. "I wouldn't accuse me of what you just said Laena. I am not in the habit of running into the arms of the nearest woman every time something goes wrong in my life - it was six years before that night that I'd been intimate with anyone. If you're so annoyed about all this then why the hell did you bother bring me dinner before questioning me about it? You'd get on well with my sister..."

Laena's mouth gaped open, "Are you frakking kidding me right now? I brought you dinner because I honestly thought I could get past it, but I can't. I..." her voice trailed off as she looked at the glass in her hand, "I feel so betrayed right now, you have no idea. And if you honestly think that what you did was ok, then I don't know why I'm even here."

"With respect we aren't together and you didn't give me a lot of confidence walking out on me. You have issues - I accept that - but you need to realize that I have them too. Try being rejected by your family for sending your daughter to live with them to keep her safe. I give up trying to impress people...I really do. I do one thing wrong and I get this shit every time. I'm not perfect...far from it...and maybe I did do something wrong...but you could have actually come and asked me in person to talk and not via a message to my console or Yeoman" Claudia replied.

"You have issues?" Laena asked. She stood there for a moment, flabbergasted. "Issues? Being rejected is an issue? I was sold into slavery by my father when I was a child!" Laena said, throwing her still-full glass against the bulkhead, the glass shattering to pieces. "I was sold, and traded and raped for years before I was able to run away and hide myself. I can barely stand the touch of another person without having night terrors. And honestly, you're the first person I've ever cared enough about that I actually wanted to be with. That's a big step for me, but it scared me!"

Tears were streaming down the woman's face, "I sent you messages because I was trying to respect your position aboard this ship. I felt it would have been inappropriate for me to just show up in your Ready Room. And need I remind you, I'm not allowed on the Bridge without an invitation. What else was I supposed to do?"

"My quarters are available for you to come and visit any time you like. But...I guess like everyone else I've cared about I've screwed up with you too. I'm a shit mother and even worse at trying to be in a relationship...I don't even know why you or anyone else bothers trying to be close to me" Claudia replied.

By this time Claudia had sat down against the nearest bulkhead and held back tears as she knew that yet again she'd let someone she cared about down. The stresses of what was going on were starting to build inside her and Claudia began to question if she was ready to commit to someone now or ever again.

Claudia continued. "Yeah...maybe they're right. Maybe all I ever do is ignore people I care about and just do what I want...and this is just something else to add to that list. I hurt you and although you hurt doesn't excuse it. You're a sweet girl and you deserve a lot better than someone like me. I don't want or expect you to forgive me either"

"That's not how this works, Claudia. You don't just get to make an excuse or blame yourself and throw it away." Laena looked at the woman, "You tell me, right here, right now. Is this something you want or not?"

Claudia didn't really have much to say. While Laena was speaking she had removed all of her pips and commbadge and left them on the floor next to her. Claudia knew she needed help with managing her feelings and emotions and this was a prime example of why she needed to do it before it was too late.

"I don't know what I want" Claudia said.

Laena shook her head, dragging herself away from the bulkhead she was leaning against. "I'll make it easy and take an option off the table, then," she said, walking towards the doors.

"There's no 'options' and I'm not going to choose you or her because I'm not ready for a relationship. I like you a lot but I don't want to enter a relationship I'm not ready for. You deserve better than that - both of you do" Claudia replied.

"Fuck you, Claudia. If you weren't ready for a relationship, why did you even start dating me? What was all this, a prelude for us to have sex? If that's all you wanted, then I can't help you." Laena rolled her eyes as she stood above her Captain, "You played me, Claudia. You lead me on and didn't even have the spine to tell me the truth."

"You're right, I do deserve better. I deserve better than you." The orion woman walked through the doors, but stopped in the doorway. "Unless its about work," she said, barely looking over her shoulder, "then don't talk to me ever again."

A few more steps and the woman left, the doors to Claudia's quarters closing behind her.

Claudia sighed before bursting into tears. She wished she'd done things differently and not even bothered - Claudia thought she was ready but it was clear she wasn't. The stresses of commanding a starship and having a relationship didn't mix and Claudia felt that it was time to put all of her personal needs to one side once and for all and focus on what mattered the most - repairing her relationship her daughter. Everything else came second.


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