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Hail Caesar, we who are about to steam...

Posted on Sat Jan 28th, 2017 @ 3:19am by Lieutenant Elsa Johansson
Edited on on Sat Jan 28th, 2017 @ 10:29pm

Mission: S1E3.5 - Interlude
Location: Holodeck
Timeline: MD20 - 2000

"Over here, Lieutenant," Seneca shouted.

Elsa tightened her towel before making her way around the --- balneators? capsarii? Elsa couldn't remember the proper name for the individuals who were there to serve the bathers in this holodeck mishmash of a Roman and Finnish steam bath. Only that a holographic someone was always on hand to serve you grapes or sand down the bottom of your feet, and everything in between.

"You did good today," Seneca added as Elsa sat at his feet. As soon as she did, a towel clad Seneca began rubbing her shoulders and neck. Elsa said nothing for a few minutes, just rolling her head around as she let her muscles relax.

"Well, I suppose if the Vindex is ever attacked by a cohort of Roman soldiers, I'll be prepared to help repel them," Elsa quipped, her eyes closed, her head hanging forward as Seneca worked on the base of her neck. "Is there a reason that you trained me with a gladius today?"

"Because, senior cadet.." Elsa's eyes remain closed as she made a giggling sound that hadn't been heard by anyone else on the Vindex besides Seneca "...making you fight with or in unfamiliar conditions forces you to think, to reason, to focus."

"And because," Elsa laughed, "When an instructor gets tired of putting a cadet on her butt over and over again, he can get a holographic centurion to do it for him."

"You're getting better, Lieutenant," Seneca assured her, his hands moving back to Elsa's shoulders. "And you were always one of my best students to begin with."

Elsa grunted noncommittally, instead simply luxuriating under Seneca's massaging hands.

For Elsa, it had been an unexpected stroke of luck to find one of her favorite Academy instructors on board the Vindex. Elsa knew, despite what she had been through in service to Starfleet, that she would be under continuous scrutiny by her new crew mates. So she had resigned herself to carrying out her duty but otherwise leading a solitary existence on Vindex.

Then her unarmed combat instructor at the Academy, now Vindex's Master at Arms, sought her out. Three times a week, Master Chief Hopkins gave her personalized combat instruction. And slowly but surely, the Master Chief broke through the shell Elsa had formed around herself.

"So what are you so uptight about tonight?" Seneca asked, digging his thumbs into her shoulder blades.

Elsa made a small grunt before answering. "I might have made an inappropriate joke to the First Officer."

Seneca chuckled. "I'm sure Commander ben-Avram was probably more surprised than offended, no matter what you said. What was the joke about?"

"Ensign Foley is on the hunt again. I believe she has her sights set on the Ex Oh," Elsa deadpanned.

Seneca leaned his head back and laughed. "You need to sit her down and tell her that if she learned to talk about something besides animals with more than four legs she might have better success. And speaking of..."

Elsa just shook her head. "Unless you're interested, Master Chief, I'm fairly sure I'm still anathema to the rest of the people on board this ship."

"From where I'm sitting, Lieutenant, the way you fill out that towel, I'm sure you've garnered more than a little attention. And if I were wired in that direction, I'd be at the head of that line," Seneca asserted.

"Thank you, Master Chief," Elsa replied with a laugh, "But I'm happy where I am. But we'll see about the future."

Seneca nodded, knowing better than to push the matter. The fact that Elsa was even talking about a future meant he had made some progress.

"So what about you, Master Chief?" Elsa asked. "Any prospects?"

"Well, I did finally convince Ensign Foley I couldn't be 'converted,' which may be why she's set her sights on Commander ben-Avram." Seneca and Elsa both laughed as the Master Chief continued. "And I'm happy where I am too. But we'll both work on the future, Lieutenant. Right now let's just focus on getting the knots out that the gladiator match missed."

Elsa nodded silently as Seneca's hands made their way down her back.


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