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Normal Again

Posted on Wed Jun 24th, 2020 @ 3:27am by Cailus Griffin & Captain Nycolas Temple & Commander Owen Nash & Lieutenant Commander Mindo & Lieutenant Yasmin Cortez & Lieutenant Ziara Rrareth & Lieutenant Kalin Brennan-Griffin PhD & Lieutenant John Sandoval & Lieutenant Krysia Kaleri-Smith & Lieutenant Alexandra Alves MD & Lieutenant James Smith & Lieutenant JG Vecon Fick
Edited on on Fri Jul 10th, 2020 @ 5:53pm

Mission: Death in Paradise
Location: Holodeck 1
Timeline: 19:00


It had been a stressful few months on the Pandora, but Nyx wasn't in the mood to dwell in those emotions. He wanted to keep the crew's spirits up and return to normal operations once more. But he also had realised how important it was to keep the senior staff united and on the same page together. Morale had to be maintained and it fell to him as captain of the ship to ensure they were refocused and reenergised before the Pandora returned to Federation territory and onto their next mission. No one knew what the future would bring for this science vessel on her brave journey, so they had to keep checking-in with each other and finding time to bond as much as possible.

To that end, he had invited all of the Department heads to a private dinner in the Holodeck. The program consisted of a simple restaurant with a single, large table through the middle. No other characters were present, and the Holodeck's entry protected with privacy settings to ensure the senior crew could relax and unwind in peace. The table was adorned with a rustic, mid-19th century, farm-house style - beige linen napkins, round wooden placemats, wild-flowers in a worn metal vase. It reminded him of evening meals in the Danish countryside and definitely not the typically modern, cold Starfleet-issued utensils. Nyx had overseen the decorations himself, laying out all of the table settings, and choosing the dinner menu for the evening. He wanted to put a personal touch into the night to show his appreciation for the team and remind them of something homely. He felt it necessary for them to take a break from the rigidity of eating meals on a schedule, or alone in their quarters. He wanted a family vibe. Because that's what the crew were to him - family.

As the chronometer hit dinner time, The Captain stood waiting at the entryway, dressed in a simple white cotton shirt, unbuttoned at the neck, as he looked for the first guests to arrive.

Ziara bounded down the corridor to the holodeck with her tail swishing behind her. The hardest part of her job so far had been remembering that she wasn't a pilot anymore. She had been handed a department that worked like a smoothly oiled machine, and she was determined to keep it that way, or do as she had with her Conn crews, turn them into an even better machine. But that was a ways off, she was still inexperianced in tactical. She could tell you the exact maneuvering, performance envelope, and drive signatures of the ships of a dozen species. Comparatively, she knew little about tactical, so relied on her junior officers to know the details while she caught up. "Hey Captain, looks like we're first to get here." She purred happily to him in the Caitian accent that she used when she was off duty.

"Looks so." Nyx nodded, as he stood back to allow Lieutenant Rrareth inside, "Though I know the others will be along soon. This is a punctual group."

Mindo was next to walk, or in his case hover, in, just a few seconds later. He held in his hand a clear, unopened bottle of some kind of blue liquid that tasted exactly like Romulan Ale, but since the label had been removed it really could be anything. He wore a red collared shirt and tan slacks, sort of a dressy-casual type look. Given all the hours he'd spent on repairs it was both welcome and strange to not be in uniform.

Mindo hovered at eye level to the Captain and handed him the mystery drink. "Complements of a mutual friend," Mindo said. "He said something about you 'needing a drop.' Said you'd understand. I'm feigning ignorance in the matter."

Nyx gave a bemused smile, taking the bottle in hand. He was glad Cailus hadn't arrived as yet. "I have no idea what this is." He lied, "But I appreciate the offer."

Mindo turned around and surveyed the table's fancy arrangements. There was a chair that looked a little different from the rest. "Oh!" he exclaimed with a small laugh. "That one has a ladder and a booster seat! I wonder who sits there?"

Yasmin, Yas was never a believer in overly formal settings, however it was a habit she was working on changing and today it seemed the heavens had decided to give her a test. Of course she knew it was nothing like a test, but it allowed her to test her patter as such without having the context of assignment, roles, etc. In that regard, she did find a little peace of mind when walking through the doors to hear a heart laugh about a ladder and booster seat. "I hope that isn't for the newbies?" She met the levity in the room with her own.

Mindo's gaze turned to Yasmin, who was clearly addressing "his" chair. He hovered from around the table, revealing his short size compensated by his hover apparatus, which held him about eye-level with most of the officers. "Heavens no," he said, answering her question. "They sit at the kids table." He extended his hand. "Lieutenant Mindo, Chief of Engineering."

With a smirk, Yas acknowledged the humor. “Lieutenant Cortez, good to meet you.”

"Cortez... you must be the new Chief of Ops," Mindo guessed.

“Good call Lieutenant. I have been meaning to drop by and introduce myself,” Yas replies.

"We'd love that!" Mindo said, smiling. "We love having guests down in the core. Makes us feel like part of the rest of the ship!"

Krysia arrived at the Holodeck ahead of James. She'd left their quarters slightly early to stop by her office and pick up her favourite cushion, which she was using to support her back. Her pregnancy was going on almost six months and her back was certainly feeling the strain of carrying twins around. She'd chosen to wear a flowing light blue maternity dress that almost touched the floor, it complemented her current figure nicely. Walking into the Holodeck she nodded and smiled politely at all who were present before finding herself a seat and doing her best to get comfortable.

When Alexandra arrived to the holodeck, a few people were already there. The doctor wore a simple beige dress, dress shoes, and her usual afro, looking a bit more formally combed than usually. She looked around, finding the setting truly adorable. "Hello," she greeted the Captain, and then the others. She noticed Mr. Mindo, Krysia, Yasmine, their newest crewmember, and a Caitian officer she didn't have the chance to meet yet. She was glad that the Captain organized this dinner, with the obvious intention to bring the senior staff closer to each other. After all, they were a big family.

Next into the holodeck was John Sandoval, wearing a purple button-down shirt -- because even out of uniform he liked the colour and he knew he looked good in it -- khaki pants, black shoes, and a purple stripes tie. He walked with his more ornate cane, the faux-ivory polar bear adorning the top. This was off-duty, and he understood that it was about cementing the crew as a family, but it was a special occasion, so he wanted to look nice.

"Good evening, Sir," he said to the Captain, reaching out to him for a handshake. "Thank you for the invitation. This is nice."

"Please, no 'Sir' tonight." Nyx replied with an earnest smile, "You can call my Nyx."

He smiled to the friends he'd made in recent weeks and months, and introduced himself to Yasmin.

Having spent some time alone after his conversation with Cailus and finding out about the news from Janet, Owen turned up at the Holodeck dressed in a nice tan shirt and some light blue jeans. He felt comfortable with what he was wearing and happily cradled the large bottle of Swedish based Cider that he brought with him. Knowing that soon after, he would be headed out with Krys to meet their father, Owen decided to kick back a little.

As he looked around, he saw a lot of the Senior staff already there. Noticing Nyx off to the side, he wandered over as he greeted his Captain and friend. "Well, this is a lovely turnout and a fantastic idea," he offered.

"I hope so." Nyx said eagerly in reply, looking around the room. "We could use some R and R."

"Yes we definitely could do with it and deserve it," he answered. "I'll leave you to host and I'll go an mingle," Owe said as he wandered over to see who else had arrived.

James had stopped by his office to go over some messages he had received from Starfleet Intelligence, and since nothing needed his immediate attention he decided it was time to make his way to the holodeck. He knew that she’d be uncomfortable but she was making every attempt to be there. James arrived at the holodeck and looked around at those assembled. He was happy to have this down time, and this gathering was a good way to mingle more with the crew. Locating where his wife was sitting he made his way over to her gave her a kiss and said, "You okay tonight?”

Krysia's smile practically beamed now that James was in the room with her. "A little uncomfortable, but that's to be expected. I might see if Alexandra can help with my back pain. I'll drop by Sickbay tomorrow rather than bother her tonight." She fidgeted a little in her seat. "Would you mind repositioning my cushion? It's awkward to do myself."

James reaches over to adjust her pillow and made sure she was comfortable.

Fick made his way to the holodeck, not really looking forward to the meeting, or dinner, or whatever it was. He hadn't been much for social gatherings as of late. He nodded to the captain on his way in, not really knowing what he should say or what was even appropriate. "Th-thanks," he stammered awkwardly to Nyx, before finding a seat somewhere next to or near Mindo.

Mindo nodded to Fick as he sat down. "Try the blue liquid," Mindo said to Fick, nodding to the unlabeled bottle he'd entered with. "It's so good it should be illegal."

Fick grinned and reached for the bottle. "Oh yeah? I'll give it a go... Thanks, Mindo." Fick poured some of the blue liquid into a glass and sipped at it. "Oh yeah... damn." A satisfied smile spread across his face. "This tastes like home..."

Krysia's attention drew to Fick, she still remembered quite clearly their time in the bubble and how he'd taken his own life. Even though the bubble never really happened she still recalled the pain and shock everyone felt at losing Fick. "So how are you doing Fick?" She smiled warmly.

Fick shrugged. "I'm alright. Same stuff, different day." He was dressed down all the way, in a comfortable, solid green t-shirt and a pair of black jeans. He'd pulled his fair hair back away from his face into a messy ponytail, since it was getting a bit long. He sort of smiled and figured he should probably be polite even if he wasn't feeling it. "How are you?" he asked.

"Apart from feeling like I'm carrying a bowling ball around I'm fine thank you Fick," Krysia grinned.

"Yeah, that tends to happen when you come down with parasites," Fick returned with a little smile and a much longer drink from his glass.

Krysia frowned at that comment. "Children are certainly not parasites Lieutenant" With that, she let the subject drop not wanting to spoil the whole purpose of the evening.

"Sometimes they can be more stubborn than the worst viral infection. Especially as they grow older." Alexandra interrupted with a laugh, trying to ease up the mood. "But they're still the most awesome 'medical condition' one can get. And certainly better than any parasite." She then looked at Mindo with a jolly smile. "Any more left of that blue liquid?"

"Yeah, I'll need some of that, too," John added. He then turned to Krysia. "I don't think he meant anything bad, Krys. It's a joke and given that your twins sustain themselves off of you and eventually both you and your husband, it's not an imprecise one. Let's cut Fick a bit of slack, shall we?" He gave the Risian/Bajoran man a wink, grabbed the bottle of blue liquor, and poured himself and Alexandra each a glass.

Krysia nodded and offered Fick an apologetic smile. “Sorry Fick, I guess I did take that the wrong way.” She sighed and looked at James.

"Sure, but it really is a parasite... at least right now. I mean it's still in the incubation period and eventually it won't need your body for survival," Fick added with a little grin.

Nyx had disappeared into a back room while the others mingled and got to know each other. He appeared at this moment with a tray of appetisers, holding it in front of him with a proud smirk. He leant down and placed it on a table nearest where to the team were sitting. "Tuck in while we wait for the others to arrive."

Smith looked at his good friend as he settled into a seat next to his new bride, Looking at her he could tell that she would rather be I their quarters resting but she was making the most of the time and enjoying this down time with the senior staff, after all they were a big family.

Ziara settled into her seat, "I love children, there were a lot of us on the ship I grew up on, and as I got older, I helped out with the younger kids. We had a lot of fun." Ziara mentioned cheerfully.

As the crew ate and socialised, the holodeck doors opened once more. Cailus and Shae entered through it, both dressed casually, and it was Cailus who spoke first, looking at Nyx. "Apologies for being late, Captain. We were held up with...ah..." he glanced at Shae beseechingly, plainly lost on what to say, " issues."

Shae blushed a lovely shade of red at her mate's words. Their tardiness was entirely her fault; she had been unusually amorous lately, and the sight of Cailus' fine backside as he leaned over the bed to lay out his cloths for dinner had simply looked too good to pass up! Shae cleared her throat in an attempt to dismiss the tightness in her throat. "Apologies," she echoed simply, smiling bashfully as she and Cailus found their seats.

Nyx raised an eyebrow but chose not to comment. He initially thought 'family issues' could have meant something fun or something bad with these two, but the shade of Brennan's face was enough fill in the blanks. He just hoped he wouldn't have to call maintenance. "No worries, we've only just sat down." He said with jovial air, indicate to the empty seats and platter of food. "Please, help yourselves."

Once everyone had arrived and settled in, Nyx busied himself with pouring drinks. He had made an Akvavit cocktail - virgin for those who didn't want or couldn't have alcohol - and excitedly served the table before taking his seat again. He tapped gently on his glass to grab the room's attention.

"Everyone!" He called out, "I just want to thank you all for being here tonight, and for joining in with the relaxed atmosphere. This is not a senior staff meeting, you won't need PADDS, you won't be getting any orders from me. I just wanted to bring our senior team together to get to know each other, meet our newest members of the Pandora family, and spend some time together as a group of crew-mates. It is my hope that this is the first of many such dinners that we'll have together."

He raised his glass and tipped his head, "To the Pandora!"

Krysia picked up her glass and raised it. "To the Pandora." She smiled as she looked at James.

Fick picked up his glass as well. He looked into the glass at the swirling liquid for a moment before lifting it along with his fellow crew members. "Here, here."

Owen stood up with his glass of Romulan Ale in hand, ready to launch a third toast."To Family, because I stand here in this room with the people I cherish most, we've been through so much together and so much more to come," he said, raising his glass.

Mindo stood on the top rung of the small ladder on his chair and held out his glass. "To family," he said. "To home."

Alexandra raised her glass, looking at the people present with a gentle smile. "Saúde!" she said. "Cheers."

“To those that take in strangers and make them family,” John said, lifting his glass to the senior staff, those who took him in and made him family without hesitation. “I’m very glad to have been so welcomed.”

James raised his glass as he looked around at those in the room finally at Nyx then his lovely wife, “To family”

Krysia raised her glass once again as she smiled at her husband and at Owen. “To family.”

Nyx waited for everyone to have their say, dutifully raising a glass each and every time, and taking a respectful sip after each toast. Eventually their glasses were nearing empty again so the Captain shuffled off out back to conjure up another pitcher of his cocktail. While he was out there, he slipped a little black box into his pocket and sauntered into the room again.

As he poured, he cast a gleeful eye over to the group, "I don't want to dwell too much on the events of the previous weeks. That's not my style. But it goes without saying that everyone worked their butts off to keep everything from completely falling apart." He paused as he reached a position standing between Griffin and Brennan, placing the pitcher on the table as he did, "For that, I am eternally grateful. But there is also one person at this table that I owe the highest gratitude and my deepest admiration." Nyx placed a hand on Lieutenant Griffin's shoulder, "And that person is, of course, our Cailus Griffin here."

Krysia smiled warmly, in the bubble universe when all hell had broken loose at Nyx’s death Cailus had held the crew together. Admitting there’d been hard times with separate factions but the crew that was there had eventually come back together as one thanks to Cailus.

"He was diligent, relentless, and laser-focused on finding our suspect and in doing so, avoided a greater catastrophe that I dare not even think of." Nyx continued, pulling out the box from his pocket, "Not to mention his captaincy of the Pandora during the events of the alternate universe. Starfleet may not be able to recognise your service for those years, Cailus, but I certainly do. For those reasons, and I'm sure there are many more, we are promoting Cailus Griffin to the rank of Lieutenant Commander."

“Congratulations Commander!” Krys raised her glass. “It’s a promotion well deserved.”

"To Griffin!" Mindo yelled, raising his glass, now freshly-refilled.

"Congratulations, Commander," John added, raising his own glass. He would be polite and diplomatic tonight. He didn't like the man, but that didn't mean he'd be rude about it in public. So for now he smiled and nodded, giving Cailus the recognition he deserved.

Feeling supremely awkward, Cailus scowled in disgruntlement at Nyx before realising that that was definitely not how an officer should accept a promotion. He forced the scowl off his face as best he could, downgrading from severe annoyance to just looking mildly constipated, and he stood up to face Nyx directly.

“Thank you, Captain,” Cailus said stiffly, shaking Nyx’s hand as he accepted the small black box with his other hand. “It’s an honour.” Glancing around at everyone, he added awkwardly, “And it’s an honour to serve on this crew.”

With that, he sat back down, looking for all the world as if he’d rather fight the Ravagers than go through that spectacle again. Out of sight under the table, he took Shae’s slender hand with his left as he settled back down.

Satisfied that he had appropriately embarrassed Griffin once again, the Captain returned to his seat.

"Congratulations, Commander." Alexandra raised her glass with a friendly smile. She agreed, it was a very well-deserved promotion.

Knowing how difficult this situation was for Cailus, Owen made his way to where his friend was sat and patted him on the shoulder, "Congratulations old chum, you can take this out on me another day over a game of pool if you like," he said quietly to him before smiling and returning to his seat.

The night progressed on with the senior crew enjoying a meal mostly prepared by the Captain, with plenty more drinks and conversation flowing. Without realising, the time had gone by quite quickly and soon it was approaching midnight. Nyx had been caught in the middle of retelling a story involving Lieutenant Mindo and some flying pants when the computer gave a warning that the holodeck program was due to expire soon.

"Oh wow!" The Captain exclaimed, looking at the chronometer. "I didn't know it was so late."

Even Krysia had lost track of time, she’d enjoyed the evening considerably being amongst family and friends. “Goodness is it that late!” She looked at James in surprise.

James looked over at Krysia as well she looked like she was ready to call it night, standing he helped her to her feet as well. Looking around he said, “Goodnight everyone, and congrats Commander, your promotion is well deserved.” Wrapping Krysia's arm into his he said, “Shall we head back to our quarters?”

Krysia nodded and smiled. "Yes please Imzadi, it's been a long day and I'm ready for some sleep." She looked around those gathered and smiled.

Owen finished up his glass of drink and looked around as he saw both James and Krysia saying their goodbyes. He managed to catch them before they left the Holodeck. "Now don't forget, you two have a Runabout journey in the morning," he reminded them. "We're off to meet up with Dad in the morning... take your time getting there, we'll leave when you're both ready." He smiled, knowing that Krys was looking forward to finally meeting her father and hoped this capped off the night in a good way.

Saying their goodbyes James and Krysia left the holodeck and headed back toward their quarters.

Holding onto James' arm as they walked Krysia looked at her husband. "I've come to realise just how much this crew means to me James, this is feeling more and more like home every day. Especially now I have you and the twins.

Owen looked around and decided to call it a night. Knowing that there was a long overdue catchup with his father tomorrow and the chance to take some long overdue leave to clear his head after recent events, he also knew he needed a good nights rest. Wandering over to Nyx, he shook his friend and Captain by the hand.

"Thank you for a great evening, its been a lot of fun," Owen said. "I'm heading out in the morning once I've had some rest and will be away for a little while. I need to clear my head after some recent event," he explained.

"Have a good trip away, Owen," John said as he got up from his own seat, retrieving his cane from the back of the chair. "I should get going too. I want to send some correspondence before I go to bed. Thank you, Nyx, for the invitation. This was nice. We should do it more often."

Fick rose from his seat and quietly said his goodbyes. He stopped in front of Calius and gave him a little nod. "Congratulations, Commander. Have a good night," and he ducked out to return to his quarters. He just wasn't feeling the gathering thing.

Nyx stayed behind while the crew filtered out, making sure to say good-bye to each one as they left. He happily set about cleaning up the mess by himself before sauntering back to quarters. He was left with two very clear conclusions. One, somehow the crew had managed to find their normal again. He had worried constantly that the Pandora would become irrevocably broken, but that was clearly not the case. And secondly, that he truly believed they could handle anything. Though he hoped their next adventures wouldn't be as dramatic and conflicting, he was assured they could handle whatever the universe could throw at them.



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