USS VINDEX - NCC-2474-A
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At Least There's Rations

Posted on Thu Mar 9th, 2017 @ 10:57pm by Captain Claudia Ainscow

Mission: S1E4 - Remnants Of A Lost Cause
Location: The Facility; Holding Cells
Timeline: Mission Day 69; 01:00

Claudia woke up from her slumber and looked around to see who was awake and immediately noticed Catalina was missing and presumed she had been taken away on some secret assignment or whatever. Everyone else present appeared to be asleep - so she climbed down from the bed she was on and saw her girlfriend was still unconscious but she was still warm to the the touch which was a good sign.

Claudia went over to the crate which was slightly open to see what was inside. Opening the lid she found there were ration bars and noticed a few ration packs on the bottom. She decided to leave those for later the troubled woman took a couple of the ration bars and turned around to walk back over to the bed Becky lay on to notice someone else was indeed awake in the holding cell.

"Oh...I didn't see you were awake. Are you hungry?" Claudia said.

Laena shook her head, her arms still wrapped around her knees. "I'm fine," she simply said, a bit hoarsely. She gently cleared her throat, trying to stay quiet so as not to wake the others in the room. "Were you able to sleep?" she asked.

Claudia nodded. "Yeah I must have. I don't remember anything...the last thing I remember doing was climbing onto the bed and covering myself in the blanket"

She walked over to the young woman and sat next to her. Claudia wrapped an arm around her to try and keep her reassured.

"I'm sorry for the way I've been with you sweetheart. I hope you can forgive me and let me be there for you no matter when or what - when you are ready and if you want to at all. You're an amazing young woman who I'm very happy to have in my life and nothing is ever going to change that" Claudia said.

Laena's head hung down, her hair messily falling around her face. She looked up at Claudia with tears streaming down her face, "Cece I'm so sorry," she said. "I never meant for this to happen, it's all my fault."

Claudia smiled. "It isn't your fault sweetie. What happened here was way beyond what we could have predicted and...I know Becky wouldn't blame you either. She adores you just as much as I do and I'm never going to let you believe this is your fault - the only person to blame for all of this is the evil person who did this to Becky - and that wasn't you"

"But what if..." Laena's voice trailed off, she couldn't even say what she was thinking. What if Becky died? She took a deep breath and hoped she would never have to find out.

"I'm sorry for how I acted," Laena said, leaning against Claudia. "This whole situation was a complete mess. And I just got so..." She shrugged, or at least did the best she could within Claudia's embrace. "I have problems, Cece. Ones that I thought I was over...but I'm not. And that's not your fault."

Claudia spoke. "Laena...you're a delicate and fragile person and I know you're struggling to overcome what's inside you. I didn't want to rush you into something you maybe weren't ready for - how you acted was probably how I would have too if I was in your position. When we get back to the ship you take all the time you need to get yourself to where you need to be - and if you need me to be there to talk to at three o'clock in the morning then I will be. We'll get through this and I'm not going to let anyone hurt you again sweetheart"

Laena snaked her arms around Claudia's waist, giving her a slight squeeze. "I'm sorry I ever doubted you, Cece," she said.

Claudia smiled and gave Laena a reassuring embrace.

"Don't apologise...please. I've let you down before and I'm not going to do it again - you relied on me and I failed you when you needed someone the most. I'll let you in on a secret - I've got issues too and I'm not really sure whether I'm ready to confront them or not - but if you want to we can tackle our issues together. You're a tough young woman and if I'd been through what you had I doubt I'd have had the strength to come as far as you have" Claudia replied.

"Let's work on them together," Laena said, giving a half smile.

Claudia smiled. "That's what I like to hear. And for the record I'm not the only one who appreciates your work on the ship. There's someone on board who really looks up to you and wants to learn more about your field. For what it's worth I think you'd make a great mentor...but only if you feel it's right for you and when you're ready to do it."

"Who?" Laena asked. She sat up and crawled over to the cargo container, grabbing two ration packs before heading back to where she was sitting. She handed one to Claudia before opening hers.

"Elsie Cusack...the daughter of our Chief Tactical Officer. I spoke with her after dropping in to see how Grace was doing and she was really interested in Science and more specifically Stellar Cartography. You should show her around Stellar Cartography at some point - I'm sure she'd really enjoy it" Claudia replied.

Claudia smiled and accepted the ration pack and checked to see what it was. She was pleased with what she'd been given.

"Thanks. Oh...Beef Wellington - good choice" Claudia said.

Laena grimmaced as she looked at hers. "Spaghetti and meatballs," she said. "dehydrated pasta doesn't exactly sound appetizing," she said, looking in the container, wearily. "And I would love to show Elsie around. She's so adorable."

Claudia smiled and nodded. Elsie had shown a keen interest in the Sciences ever since she'd joined the Vindex and Claudia planned to do her best to ensure Elsie could build on that interest and talent so one day she could become a Science Officer - after all Elsie had told Claudia she wanted to join Starfleet one day.

"We can swap meals if you want sweetheart - I don't mind if you don't want dehydrated pasta. But I'm sure she'd really like that - she's a very clever person and makes me wonder why I didn't go for the Science department instead" Claudia replied.

"What was your field before Command?" Laena asked, handing Claudia the container of pasta, glad that she offered to switch. While dehydrated pastry wasn't much better, at least it wouldn't wiggle around in her mouth.

Claudia switched her meal with Laena and started to eat the spaghetti and meatballs. It wasn't that bad but it would have been nicer if it was warm.

"I was in Operations and I loved it - although if I could choose a different field I probably would just to see if things would have turned out any differently. After that I was a first officer for three years before I was offered a command - and now I've got four pips on my collar and I'm sat eating dehydrated pasta in a holding cell" Claudia replied.

"Living the high life," Laena said, jokingly, with a smirk. She leaned back against the wall and dug her eating utensil into the container, moving the meal around inside. "I honestly don't know what I want to do after I graduate," she said. "I was happy I was assigned to the Vindex. I wanted adventure and excitement, and the Starbase was boring. But this..." She looked around, a tear forming at the corner of her eye. "Is this how it usually is?"

Claudia placed her meal back in her lap for a moment to give Laena her view on it. It was a difficult time for them all and it was quite a difficult question for her to answer. Claudia had been in this situation a few times but she'd put that down to bad luck and drawing the short straw.

"Usually...no. But all it takes is one person...Saalkan...to change all of that. I've been held hostage a couple of times and this is a bit easier in the sense I have people around me and a potential way out - but being a part of Starfleet is about the experiences...good and bad...unfortunately you're going to get both but I've found they're nearly always good. You should seriously consider becoming an officer when you graduate. You'd have my full support whether you decide to stay with the Vindex or go somewhere else" Claudia replied.

Laena merely nodded in reply. She sat there, picking at the beef. She eventually took a bite, forcing herself to swallow the item. She refused to call it food at this point, as food was not supposed to taste like that.

"I take it you aren't enjoying your dinner? I can't say this is the nicest spaghetti and meatballs I've eaten but it's better than going hungry I suppose. I will give this situation credit...it's the first time I've been a hostage but had the luxury of choosing what to eat and when" Claudia said.

"I don't know..." Laena said, taking another bite. "I think I'm going to have to give this place a bad review."

Claudia grinned. "I think we all will be sweetheart. Sadly I don't think Saalkan will pay any attention but don't you worry...I'll give him your review on your behalf. The one thing that annoys me the most is he didn't provide us with a balcony like I asked for..."

"I was at least hoping for chocolate mints on the pillows," Laena said with a smile. "I love chocolate mint."

Claudia giggled and tried her best not to make it too loud and wake the others up. She placed a partially clenched hand to her mouth for a few moments before removing it again after she was satisfied she wasn't going to wake anyone up.

"There might be some chocolate in there at the bottom. If there is what do you say we share it - half and half?" Claudia suggested.

Laena nodded vigorously with a smile.

Claudia placed her meal on the floor and decided to go and have a look in the crate for any chocolate. To her delight there was - two decent sized bars of mint chocolate. Claudia took them back over and smiled as she passed one of them to Laena and put one in her own lap after she sat back down before resuming the remains of her spaghetti and meatballs.

"That's all there is - so make it last" Claudia said

"Thanks," Laena said, taking the chocolate. She opened the package and took a small bite before closing it back.

Claudia finished her meal and placed the empty tray and cutlery to one side. She took a bite of her own chocolate and placed the rest of it on the bed next to her partner who was still unconscious. Claudia looked at the young Yeoman and came to a realisation that she felt ready to settle down at long last.

"I'd love to marry her. I really would" Claudia said.

Laena crawled over to where her friend was kneeling, placing an arm around her waste. She felt the pain of the situation stab her like a knife in the gut, but now was not the time for tears. Now was not the time for self-blame. Now was the time to be strong, because Claudia needed her to be strong. She was the one in pain and she was the one who needed comforting.

"And you will, Cece," Laena said, resting her head on Claudia's shoulder. "You will."

 

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