Posted on Fri Aug 2nd, 2019 @ 12:46pm by
Mission 2: Heaven On Earth
Location: Liorga's and Estelle's cabin
With many people going on leave, there was considerably less work to do in the lounge. Jessica figured she could take the time available for some further training. She rang the doorbell to Liorga’s and Estelle’s cabin, startled when it opened immediately and the doctor stood in front of her.
“Jessica, good afternoon”, Estelle said.
“Hi”, Jessica smiled. “I hope this isn’t a bad time? I want to talk to Liorga about some engineering lessons. Is she in?”
“Sure, go on ahead”, Estelle said, leaving the cabin as Jessica entered. “I’m on duty in five minutes or I’d make you some tea.”
“I’ve learnt how to make drinks by now”, Jessica grinned, “thank you.” The doors closed behind Estelle and Jessica called, “Liorga?”
“Yeah, come on in.” Liorga called, adjusting the speed control on a new drone as she did, “What can I do for you, Jessica?”
“Hi”, Jessica said again. “I was hoping, only if it’s not too much trouble, that you could, maybe, introduce me to some basic engineering courses? I’d love to learn how to work modern machinery.”
“Okay, happy to.” Liorga replied, setting down the drone, “To what end? I need to know so I don’t teach you things you’re never going to use.”
“Well, I felt useless during the battle”, Jessica said. “Dead weight, my panic just a drain on resources. What if I could join a damage control team?”
“You want to learn damage control?” Liorga raised an eyebrow, “That’s a noble cause indeed. Wouldn’t be the first time we’ve used civilians in engineering positions, so there is a precedent, even if it’s normally on starbases. Okay, we can do this.”
“I’m not trying to get out of my current job, for something better, or otherwise seem ungrateful for what I’ve got”, Jessica explained. “But what good is a bartender in a crisis?”
“They are more useful in the post-crisis phase, yes.” Liorga joked, “And never feel bad about wanting to better yourself. That’s what life in the Federation is all about, okay?”
“I’m glad you don’t think it’s a bother”, Jessica smiled at her.
“As long as you take it seriously and give it your best efforts.” Liorga said seriously, “You’re a little behind, I know, but as long as you’re trying your best it’ll never be a bother.”
“So, uhm, what do I do to get started?” Jessica asked.
“Well, first thing you do is tell the NCOIC of engineering you want to learn engineering skills.” Liorga began, “Done that. Then you show up tomorrow at 0900 when I start running cadets and enlisted trainees through theory and then their hands ons. That’s pretty much it.”
“That easy?” Jessica was surprised. “Right. I’ll be there.” She paused. “Uhm, where exactly?”
“Academy training room three seven alpha in the engineering section.” Liorga answered, “Don’t be late.”
“Thirty-seven alpha”, Jessica said. “That’s the answer, minus the number of fingers on my hand.” She had to remember the number somehow.
“Whatever helps you remember it.” Liorga smiled, Jessica was terribly cute in a pure and innocent way.
“So, you’ve got any big plans for leave?” Jessica asked. “Taking Estelle somewhere safe? By that I mean, with no ducks around?”
“Actually, Gallia has invited us to the Highlands to see her family’s home and take in the sights.” Liorga replied, “What about you?”
“I like it here”, Jessica said. “Though, I did get a request from a reporter to appear for an interview. Can’t say no to that.”
“So no vacation plans?” Liorga asked, “Not going to slip off somewhere with Cadet Brett for a bit of r and r?”
“Maybe, if she wants to?” Jessica said. “I don’t know any place, though. Knowing her, she’s probably got something in mind to get both of us in trouble.”
“Safe bet.” Liorga nodded, she’d already seen the kid get into trouble a couple of times.
“I have to be careful, though. Can’t have it hurt the cause”, Jessica said.
“Ya know, causes, they’re great. But lives are better, especially if you’re living the best one you can.” Liorga said nonchalantly, “Question is this, are you living the best life for you or for the cause?”
“I’m really happy here”, Jessica said. “I haven’t thought about it in other terms. I feel safe here, at least when the ceiling doesn’t cave in and throws a Romulan on top of me.”
“Least it wasn’t a still living Romulan.” Liorga shrugged, realizing Jessica hadn’t quite gotten her meaning, but there was time for that later.
Jessica nodded. “I know, probably saved my life, too. Was still a shock.”
“I can only imagine.” Liorga shuddered, Jessica had, unwittingly, survived one of Liorga’s greatest fears; she wasn’t sure if she could’ve done what the waitress had.
“I still feel safer here than going somewhere else, like to Earth”, Jessica admitted.
“That’s good.” Liorga nodded, “Plus having friends here has probably helped a lot.”
Jessica nodded. “I never thought I’d make a friend so quickly, and certainly not several.”
“You know, if you think about it, in a lot of ways, you’ve found another family here.” Liorga mused, “Maybe you should look at this as your home.”
“Can a ship be a home?” Jessica asked. “People don’t come to live here, they come to work here, and are assigned somewhere else when the higher-ups think that’s better.”
“Home is where you make it.” Liorga said, “First real home I ever had was on a ship.”
“You’re probably right”, Jessica said. “Most people around here are probably right more often than not. I’ll just have to sort out my feelings, that’s all.”
“You’ve got plenty of time to do that.” Liorga smiled, “And if you ever need help sorting things, just come here.”
“You’ve got experience with that sort of thing?” Jessica asked. She looked around, seeing that all the shelves were nearly packed with books, secured with rubber bands, while also painted in pretty colours and patterns. “Hmm, I suppose…”
“You and I, we’ve got a lot in common, Jessica.” Liorga said, “I’ve been where you are, I know how scary it can be, so we’ve got mutual ground to discuss.”
“I’m not sure I understand”, Jessica said. “Have you also come from a failed colony?”
“No, but I’ve lived at the so called mercy of criminals, spent many nights praying for survival and death alternatively.” Liorga explained, “I’ve wondered where my next meal was coming from, wondered if I was going to ever see anything better.”
Jessica looked at her and nodded slowly. “Yes, that’s exactly it.” She felt sorry for Liorga, having had to go through the same shit, but at the same time she was glad someone understood, immediately feeling bad for this selfish emotion.
“In a way, we’re connected.” Liorga said, “Nobody else here truly understands what we’ve seen beside the other. We can help each other.” Being with Estelle, living this good life she experienced every day now, had shown her she did need help to exorcise the ghosts of her past and breaking free of them forever.
“I’ll do what I can”, Jessica said, though she knew not what it was she could do. “The one thing I’m wondering, how do you make the dreams go away?”
“They don’t.” Liorga shook her bald head, pointing to Estelle, “Though finding the right person to share your nights with helps.”
“You’ve been lucky, Estelle has got a big heart”, Jessica smiled. And big other things, but those were beside the point at the moment.
“Best thing to ever happen to me.” Liorga agreed quickly, “She cooks, too.”
“That’s something I’ll have to watch from here on out”, Jessica said. “My body still thinks I’m a medieval peasant running from the English again, having to hide in the highlands. Every little bit of nutrition is absorbed, and if I’m not careful, I’ll end up plump as a partridge.”
Liorga laughed hard, noticing Estelle’s loving nourishment had put weight on her as well, “Maybe I’m not a partridge just yet, but a Cornish hen easily.”
“You wear it well, though”, Jessica said hurriedly. She wasn’t sure whether she may have said too much.
“Thanks.” Liorga smiled, Jessica was awkward, but in a cute way, and nothing she said came across any more off than Dorso on his best day.
“Well, I’m going to go read up on a few of the manuals that I can access without having an access level”, Jessica said. “So I’ll be more prepared tomorrow morning.”
“You do that.” Liorga said, happy to see Jessica was taking this seriously, “And remember the door is always open.”
“Mine, too”, Jessica smiled, giving Liorga a hug.
Liorga squoze back gently, she knew the road Jessica had walked was rocky, but she was going to do everything in her power to make it smooth from then on.