Part of USS Columbia: Make Hay While The Sun Shines

Dinner with friends

Lower Decks - en route to Villam Four
78333.80 (May 2nd 2401 @20:05)
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“Five more minutes, push through it.” 

Sweat dripped off of her brow as the timer counted down. 

“Legs feel like jello, I know, but we got this, two more flights. One minute.”

The stair machine continued to rotate the steps under two legs pumping and pushing.

**Ding. A 10-minute cooldown is now in progress.**

“Phewww, those last few minutes were absolute hell.” The young woman in black workout clothes said as she wiped a towel through her long brown hair placing it over her shoulders after wiping her face off.

As she looked around the gym located in the lower decks of the Galaxy class she couldn’t help but notice the scarcity of folks partaking in the rooms offered at this time of the day. 

“Time to hit the sauna for a bit.” She made her way toward the gym’s locker room and the sauna beside it. A couple minutes later she exited the locker room wrapped in an over-large towel and entered the dimly lit cedar walled room. Finding a place on one of the benches she sat with her legs extended closed her eyes and went through a muscle relaxation and breathing exercise.

‘Life in Starfleet and on a ship is so much more different than being a beat cop/detective on the streets of New Cairo,’ she thought to herself as she made her way toward the ship’s main mess hall. “At least I can watch people without having to be suspicious of everyone that I see.” She made her way towards a table with a tray in hand filled with a relatively decent version of a rice and curry dish and a few pieces of Aish Baladi. “Not as good as mom makes, but it works.”

“Hello Talibah, Good evening.” Another human ensign said as she walked by tray in hand.

“Evening Julia.”

Jeden walked into the main mess hall and lounge for the lower deck crew and looked around. After spending the last six hours pouring through the SOPs and other documents that Lieutenant Commander Ortega gave her she was seeing double though she felt she had a good grasp of the material. Walking to the replicator she paused for a moment and considered. “One Hasperat, moderately spice and a water, cold,” she said.

Picking up her tray of food she looked around for a table. As Beta shift was just ending the room was starting to fill up quickly as officers came straight here. The only officer she had really spoken to was Samwell but she didn’t see him but she did see a table with a dark-haired ensign off by one of the windows. Without pause, she walked up to the table, “Evening, mind if I join you? I’m Sonia Jeden, I just came aboard yesterday.”

Talibah looked up as she was just scooping the rice and curry with the Aish Balad. “I don’t mind, haven’t had much of a chance to meet anyone as of yet. I’m Talibah Mahmoud. I’m new myself, got onboard three days ago.”

“Thanks!” Jeden said with her quirky smile as she slid into the seat. Setting her tray down she looked over at Talibah, “It’s nice to meet you. I am in Engineering and Operations, how about you?”

“Command and tactical/security, though I have a feeling that the command will be dropped once the chief of security reads my file.” Talibah shrugged her shoulders as if to say it didn’t matter to her as she spoke. 

Jeden perked up at that, “Really? I barely passed those classes in the academy.” As she said it she stifled a yawn, “Sorry been reading SOPs all day in prep for my first shift tomorrow.”

Talibah took another scoop of bread and curry/rice. “I was a detective with the New Cairo police force before I joined Starfleet. So I’m pretty sure the security chief will try to scoop me up as soon as they find out.”

“How about you? Anything before the Academy or did you join straight out of school?”

Jeden smiled, “Yes and no. I took the entrance exams as soon as I could but helped my parents and the engineering team on DS9 where I grew up. I guess I was always going to join Starfleet.” She paused for a minute and laughed, “Well, I did debate becoming a Dabo girl for a minute or two. I like the game and am good at it but I don’t think my parents would have approved.”

Taking a sip of her water she continued, “What’s New Cairo like? That is just on the edge of Federation space right? My ex, ah, a friend said it can be pretty lawless on the frontier.”

“Yes, it sits on the edge of the frontier. Imagine Earth in the early 1900’s. Lots of Mobs and gangs all vying for control. It’s rough and dangerous. Da runs a shop in the main market area, always having to play the game of knowing who’s in control that week. Always changing are the lines.” She stared blankly at an empty spot on the table then shook her head and looked back at Jeden. 

Jeden grimaced, “Sounds rough, is that why you left to join Starfleet?”

Talibah looked at Jeden and gave her a thoughtful head tilt. “I’d rather not talk about it right now, maybe when we know each other a bit better but not right now. It’s not something I’m overly proud of.”

“Oh,” Jeden said, feeling a little sheepish. “Sorry, I didn’t mean to pry.” She looked around for a second and continued, ”How are you finding the Columbia so far? So far I have seen the transporter room, my bunk, Lieutenant Commander Ortega’s office and the Arboretum. I still have lots to explore.”

“I’ve only been aboard for a couple of days. So far it’s about what I expected. Bunk? You’re not living in the halls, are you? “ Talibah shuddered at the thought.  “I got a double room and as of a couple of hours ago I don’t have a roomie,“ she said with a smile as she took another bite of her rice and curry.  “I haven’t seen much more than you, found the gym on the lower levels so that’s a bonus, being on gamma shift has its shortfalls as most things are either slow or outright dead at those hours. I have been on the bridge though so that’s something, I guess.”

Jeden clicked her tongue a couple of times in thought, “I am in the hall but don’t mind it so far. Maybe I will get a room once I get a bit more time under my belt. Also, I know what you mean, I was on gamma shift during my training cruiser for a bit and it was very quiet. Though for work I don’t mind that but it does mean that when I was off duty I missed a lot because I was asleep.” Jeden took a quick bit of her Hasperat before continuing, “The bridge must have been nice, I hope to get there soon. Oh, have you heard much about what we are meant to do on Villam Four?”

“Last I heard I’m not even on the list to go. I did volunteer, but haven’t Heard anything since. Have you heard anything? Maybe I could ask again especially if I know of a particular assignment that may have an opening. The only way I’m going to get experience is by going, and sooner or later that experience may come in handy. “ Talibah sat back in her chair as she took a bite. 

“I haven’t heard much but the chief has me review plans for an aquatic research base so I think we are setting one of those up. Why not check? I think I will be assigned to that team.” A moment later Jeden’s PADD chimed as her alarm sounded. “Shit, lost track of time. I need to make a call back home. It was nice meeting you Talibah. Hope to see you around!”

Jeden slid off the seat, grabbed her PADD and gave Talibah a quick wave before heading back to her bunk.