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Posted on Sun Oct 18th, 2020 @ 6:29pm by Lieutenant Sayori Summers & Captain Arianna Warren & Lieutenant Commander Alyse Batari & Lieutenant Felan Aixae Ph.D. & Lieutenant Charles Tylor & Lieutenant JG Jeananne Sandberg & Petty Officer 2nd Class Ael Liorae

Mission: M5 - A Life for a Life
Location: Sayori Summers’ Quarters
Timeline: 2389 151 at 2030

Everything was ready.

The table had as many chairs around it as they would need. A side table contained plates, napkins, empty glasses, a few bottles of drinks both hard and soft — three of her invitees were pregnant, after all! — and an array of finger foods prepared by her handsome...boyfriend? As good a word as any right now.

Sayori Summers, Chief Engineer Extraordinaire, Keeper of the Core, and now Hostess with the Mostess, was ready to entertain. Food and drink would be consumed. Stories shared. Cards played. Merriment made.

Dressed comfortably in a light purple dress, she just needed her guests to arrive. The invitation was to just come in, so she stood and waited.

Wondering what Sayori was up to with her invitations, Alyse made her way to the requested location: Sayori's quarters. She was wearing much more comfortable clothing than most had seen her in. But what was going on? Pressing the chime on the door, she waited.

Though she was somewhat tired, Ari could not pass up an opportunity to play cards. She even made sure to nap before heading to Sayori's. She dressed in a simple half-length sleeved t-shirt and cotton yoga pants. Her hair was left down, and was looking slightly wild from her nap, but she did her best to tame it. As she came down the corridor, she saw Alyse standing at the door.

"Hey 'Lyse," she said and smiled. "Y'know her invite said just to go in...? C'mon," Ari added, linking her arm through Alyse's and stepping through the door. "Oh wow... smells wonderful in here Sayori!!"

"I was being polite as I was a little early. But," Alyse followed Ari inside and giggled at the arm linking. "What did you make, Sayori? I'm feeling overly hungry."

"Ari! Alyse!" Sayori cheered as her first two guests arrived. "Welcome! Pregnant women get first dibs at the food, of course! Credit goes to Chef Zak, but he made finger-foods for us. Nachos, boneless chicken bites with various sauces -- names and heat levels labeled -- mini spring rolls, potato chips, and there's fruit, veggies and dip, and mini apple tarts. Whatever you don't eat, I'll need to, so dig in!"

Jeannie received an invitation from Sayori for a night of cards with the rest of the senior staff. She was eager to attend and anxious to get to know her colleagues better. Everyone was still very new to her, and she was determined to make friends. She switched her uniform for something more comfortable and less formal, and made some cookies (her mom's favourite recipe) for the event.

"Hello there." she waved to her colleagues and she approached the door with the bowl of cookies in her other hand. "Did someone say hungry?"

"Homemade cookies!" Sayori squealed as she saw Jeananne come in. "And also Jeannie! Welcome!" She took the plate and found a place for it near the sweets. "Thank you so much! Get a plate and glass and fill up!"

Aixae had finally managed to escape her office after having a long day. She wasn't expecting to find a message at her quarters about some cards and soon arrived outside of Sayori's quarters.

She reached up and pressed the chime instead of just entering.

"Come in!" The door opened and Sayori beckoned the Counselor in. "Don't be shy, Aixae! Come in! Get some food and drink! We're still waiting on others."

Ari, who had indeed grabbed a plate and put a little of everything that wasn't spicy on it, turned to regard the other two that had arrived after she and Alyse. "Hi Jeananne! Aixae! Here, I'll move out of your way, come get food! The spring rolls and apple tarts are amazing! Well, all of Chef Zak's food is great!" She moved to the drinks and snagged a glass of sparkling grape juice before moving to where she could sit with her food and drink. "I should have made some cinnamon rolls!"

Alyse went after the food as well, all the smells making her even more hungry. "I think there are enough sweets, Ari. Though, you offer them another time I might eat an entire plate!"

Charlie made his way to Sayori's door. Instead of the door chime, he leaned on his shoulder against the door face and knocked out the tune to "Shave and a Hair Cut, Two Pence", on the door and waited to be called in.

“Come in!” Sayori called. “Charlie! Seriously, does no one read the instructions anymore?” She stuck her tongue out. “Come in! Welcome!”

Charlie walked in, dressed in a deep purple Tholian silk shirt. A dark brown pair of loose fitting Targ Skin pants and his standard issue Star Fleet boots. He smiled playfully before he spoke, "Thank you. So, this looks like a fun group."

Shortly after the pointy ear Romulan slides into the room and waves “Sorry for being late felt nauseous from the pregnancy... so what’s to eat?” Ael felt she could a lot now and looked for an empty chair.

“Nice to see you Ael!” Sayori gathered a small plate for her Romulan guest and set it in front of her. No judgment if a pregnant woman wanted to rush to a seat.

Swallowing what she had in her mouth, Ari looked to Ael. "Ael! Lovely to see you! I feel like it's been ages since we talked last, how are you doing? And lots to eat, all very yummy," she said with a grin.

"Doing my thing dear, the station doctors were hesitated to let a beautiful woman like myself go. I can understand that very clearly but no..." She waved her finger "I said that the Astraea crew needed me...a strong willing woman that was ready to be stubborn on the right moment" Ael pointed out with a wink.

Charlie found himself a comfortable seat not yet at the card table. He watched the group having already had a couple cocktails before arriving. He wanted to make good and sure his more depressing side couldn't show its face at this party.

“Now that we’re all here,” Sayori said, “I want to thank you all for coming. New ship! New adventure! New fun! So eat and drink as you will. The table is full and if we run out of something there’s a gentleman I know who has offered to keep us fed and happy!”

She set a deck of cards on the table. “I thought we could play some cards! Have some fun, break the ice with our newest friend, Jeannie, and celebrate Alyse’s promotion!”

Alyse shook her head as she munched on the food. "You don't need to celebrate me. But I'll take the eating and playing cards and all the rest."

Aixae had quietly found a place to sit. At least it was something to take her mind off other things. "I'm not really hungry," She stated.

With something of a playful grin Charlie looked to Aixae, "I think this is just what the doctor ordered, Sayori."

Ari watched the others, happy that they were getting along so well. She continued to munch on the food she'd grabbed and stayed silent. Though she was terrible at poker, she always had a lot of fun playing. It would be interesting to see how the game went with everyone here.

Aixae looked at the Doctor and laughed under her breath before shaking her head. At least he was in a semi-decent mood again that was really good after the other day. "So cards?" She asked rhetorically and then waited for the game to start.

"Yes, cards," Alyse said as she took a drink of water, "I'm not great at them but I agree it is cards time."

Setting her plate to the side and grabbing a new drink, Ari settled down at the card table and waited. "Yes, card time! Who's going to be the first dealer?"

“I’ll deal first!” Sayori said. “Dealer gets to pick the game, of course. And so, ladies and gentlemen, the first game, is Crazy Eights,” she said with a grin. She began dealing out eight cards to each of them and flipped up the six of diamonds.

Unable to control a giggle, Alyse got herself comfortable with where they were playing cards. "Crazy Eights, really?"

Charlie laughed, "I think I'll just watch, I've never played Crazy Eights."

Laughing, Ari picked up her cards and looked at them. "I've not played this in years! This is not what I thought of when you suggested cards, but it's a fun choice," she said. She peeked over the cards to Charlie and shook her head. "You're no fun," she teased.

"Crazy eights?" Aixae asked, "I've never heard of it..." She frowned.

“It’s easy! Don’t bow out!” Sayori pleaded. “We’ll play with simplified rules. You play one card, either the same number of same suit as what’s here.” She pointed to the face-up card. “So that’s the six of diamonds. You can play a six or a diamond. You might play the nine of diamonds. Next person might play a diamond or a nine. And so on. If you play an eight — any suit at any time — you can declare what suit it should be. If you play a two, the next person draws two. Those stack, so if the next card is also a two, the next person draws four. If you can’t play, draw one.” She grinned. “It’s a game a lot of us play as kids but rarely as adults. Thought it would be fun!”

"Yes, come on, you're not the only one learning the game," Ari said to Charlie. She beckoned him over.

"Come on Aixae, it isn't that hard. You can watch me play the first hand if you want." Alyse gave a friendly smile to the counselor's frown.

Ael blinks a bit and lays down her cards "I really don't understand this game, but hey we are new here" The cards however showed that she would have actually won, without her realizing it.

Charlie grabbed a chair and turned it around. He scooped down into the backwards chair so his stomach was resting against the chair back. He smiled lightly before replying, "I suppose, if you insist. My mother always told me 'never argue with a woman', let alone several I suppose."

Aixae laughed nervously, "I didn't say that I wouldn't play, just that I've never heard of it." She said. Aixae had never played card games for a variety of reasons so she wasn't going to get into it. "There are lots of card games I've never played or heard of. Then there are some that I have heard of.

"For example I've heard of a game called strip poker, but I don't get it. Why would you bet strips of paper?" She asked the others.

Charlie piped up with a hint of excitement, "Wait, strip poker. I played that in the accadamy. Its fun. We don't bet strips of paper, we bet the clothing we wear and the losers each hand have to discard, or as they called it 'strip' their clothes. The reward, obviously, is enjoying the site of the other players in less and less and ultimately no clothing. A game I am very willing to partake in, if every one else is."

Charlie looked at Ari with a playful expression.

"Oh strip poker..." Ael blinks and looks playful at the boys "Well if you want to see a naked pregnant woman that badly, task naughty naughty" Ael grins at them and grabs a bite.

Aixae was even more lost, "Why would you strip off your clothing for?" She asked with a horrified expression on her face. "That's just... That's just gross..." Her cheeks turned bright pink, "I certainly don't want anyone seeing me without anything on."

Her head tilted back as Ari laughed. "Ooooh Aixae, sweet Aixae," she said in almost a sing song voice. "Some people like being naked and having others see them naked," she said watching the young counselor.

Then she turned to Ael. "I didn't think you were far enough along to show much of a pregnancy, has your belly begun to pop out?" She tilted her head. She knew her own had, barely, but that was because hers was progressing a bit faster that Alyse and Ael's would. "How about you, Alyse? Showing your pregnancy yet?"

"Woo woo woo", Charlie interjected, "No, no, no, we are not diverting from the issue at hand. Ari, strip poker", Charlie objected with a playfully objecting tone?

"Wait... No..." She said and shook her head vigorously at the others, "I'm not saying we should play strip anything..." She said with cheeks that had changed to a darker shade of red, "Not at all..." She said and then fell completely quiet.

Alyse shook her head to Ari's question, as she wasn't showing as far as she knew. She then looked to Aixae, "Don't worry, I don't think any of us actually want to play strip poker. Poker could be fun, but not strip poker."

"Speak for your self Alyse", Charlie replied, "I for one enjoy the body... especially when there aren't clothes involved." Charlies tone was light and playful though there was a hint of sincerity to it.

Ari gave Charlie a look, but the smile on her face took any authority out of it. "We aren't going to play any games that anyone is uncomfortable with," Ari said to Aixae, then looked at Charlie again. "We're here to have fun and relax, and that doesn't include making anyone uncomfortable."

Charlie conceded, "Ok, ok, maybe I'll round up a few people later for a private game of 'Doctor Charlies Special Poker'." The playful look of devilish intentions Charlie shot to Ari said more than the words that came from his mouth.

Shaking her head, Alyse took a sip of her drink, "Really, Charlie? I think your mind isn't where it should be." She couldn't help but smirk. "And don't worry, Aixae, we won't actually play that, and we won't make anyone uncomfortable."

"Thanks," Aixae responded sheepishly. Sometimes she didn't know what her opinion of the Doctor should be, however, she kept it to herself. There had been worse people to deal with throughout her Starfleet career and Charlie certainly wasn't one of them.

"Okay," She said, "Can we do a practice hand of crazy eights? Or, whatever card game we choose?" She asked.

Nodding to them as Ael grabs a few cards "So how does Starfleet actually deal with pregnant officers Doc?" Looking at Charlie placing a card down "I mean, knowing Starfleet and what I heard from the exchange program, there must be some workflow for us?"

"We work until we can't work anymore, Ael. At least that is my understanding," Alyse said with a small shrug.

"As a doctor, we typically trust our pregnant patients to govern their own health and welfare during their pregnancy. Since they typically don't want to do any thing to hurt them selves or their child, they are often very good about coming in for medical help when they need it, and calling it quits when they cant safely work, so we have little issue letting them call the shots", Charlie replied, his tone relaxed as he moved his cards around in his hand.

"Though, they will step in if you're working yourself too hard and refusing to listen to your body," Ari said with a shrug. "Typically though, you decide how the course of your pregnancy goes, with a little assistance and advice from the doctors."

Casually and with a less serious tone Charlie added, "And funny enough pregnant Captains are the worst patients of all."

"Right, own control, but Medic will seize in if I keep working" Ael sums it up and taps her chin laying down another card "That seems the Federation way alright, in Romulan you are pretty much expected to keep working till...your water breaks I guess"

"Well, I plan on working as long as I can. Some people will do that, Ael," Alyse said as she flipped through the cards in her hand. "Depends on how much your body can take."

"Well if the Captain says so, I go crazy and do the same" Ael said playful and puts down her cards showing the winning cards "I ...did win right?" Ael blinks a bit

Aixae was spending more time watching the card play than she was actually listening to the conversation. It wasn't like she was all that interested in pregnancy anyway. She gently placed her cards down, "Next hand?"

Grabbing the next batch of cards as Ael blinks "If the Chief Operation, The Captain and the XO will be going for pregnancy leave....that would create an awkward empty seats on the bridge?"

“I’ll handle it!” Sayori said with a cheer. “Children all over the ship, and awesome moms to care for them, while the few men and un-pregnant women run the show.” She looked to the sky with her new cards in hand and said dreamily “Captain Sayori Summers.”

"One day, there won't be 'Acting' in front of that Sayor," Ari said teasing as she picked up her new cards and examined them. She wasn't sure what game they were playing now, but she was just doing whatever everyone else was doing. "Besides, I probably won't be off that long," she added with a sly smirk at Charlie.

"I don't think any of us plan on being off duty all that long. Can't have most of the bridge crew gone for that long." Alyse flipped through her cards again and sat back, wondering if she could get a read on anyone by looking at their faces.

Ael looked at the Captain and then at Charles "Waaaitt...are you two dating or something, I can smell the vibe between you two" She blinks placing slowly a card down while narrowing her eyes at them both as if she is keeping them in check.

Aixae looked at the Captain and the Doctor for a moment, "No... I don't think they are each other's type," She answered as she turned and looked at Ael.

"You never know," Sayori said as she took another sip of her drink. "Hard to say what brings two people together. Harder still what keeps them together, or drives them apart." She lifted her glass toward the Captain and the Doctor. "If you are together, be happy together," she said with a grin.

Ari laughed and shook her head. "And how do you know my type Aixae?" She asked teasingly. "I mean, I could be in to you, or Sayori, or Ael, or hell even Liam, you never know," she added with a sly wink.

Charlie laughed himself, "I love how you all seem to think the Chief Medical Officer of any ship has time for a romantic life. You all are too busy killing your selves in the holodeck, gym or just walking through the ship... and that's not even talking about what happens when you're on a mission."

"Busy he says..." Ael smirks "I will rather be busy then stay in one room all the time" Putting down another card and looking at the others to see what they got.

"We should be glad and when our lives make us busy," Sayori said as she played a card. "I was reading the other day about humanity in the early-to-mid twenty-first century, before World War Three. People went mad, stuck in their homes as society seemed to collapse around them. And I've always found my mental health is best when I'm a busy little bee!" She fondly remembered the model kits that helped pull her out of her first deep depression all those years ago, and her first trip to the store to get new ones after spending days in isolation.

"That's why I initially made my workshop program for the holodeck. So I could tinker away and yet not leave the ship or violate any orders from my CMO," Ari said with a sideways glance at Charlie and a small smirk. "I think maybe I'll alter it a bit so that I can have the baby with me in there once they are born. Then again, I think we should probably fit the bridge with a crib or two."

"Cribs on the bridge, Ari, really?" Alyse couldn't help but smile. "I don't think that is exactly Starfleet approved. Then again, much of what we do they wouldn't like anyways."

"What they don't know, won't hurt us?" Ari asked cheekily.

Charlie shrugged and replied light heart-idly, "There are worse things that could be happening on the bridge that aren't duty related." The tone made clear the suggestive nature of the Doctors comment as clear is if a supernova had just erupted in his very chair.

Sayori chuckled at Charlie’s comment. “Hear, hear! Captain, I formally request permission to fornicate with my boyfriend on the CO chair of the bridge during my next watch shift!”

"There are many things that happen on the bridge, but there shall be no sex," Ari said, giving Sayori and very brief serious look, but couldn't contain her laughter. "I'm serious on that. No sex on the bridge. No drugs on the bridge. Keep the drinking to a minimum. And you can only have a party if I'm invited too!"

Alyse shook her head, "Are you really telling them they can drink on the bridge, Ari?"

"Hah, no, I'm just teasing." She said with a chuckle. "The bridge is off limits for any shenanigans. Drinking and parties only when you're off duty and keep them clean, I don't want any bar brawls. And if you have sex with someone try to keep it to private spaces. I know things happen and the holodeck gets its fair share of sexual encounters, but I'd rather not have to answer questions about why my officers are having sex in corridors and turbolifts...."

"Well there may be no sex in the Champaign room, or in this case, the bridge; but that doesn't mean there is no sex in sickbay", Charlie playfully jested, "I mean... there are beds for a reason right. Plus, we have the best bar on the ship. We have all the good stuff."

"And should the Captain's chair mysteriously disappear for a few hours, only to be returned by the next Alpha Shift...." Sayori said, giggling like a madwoman.

Unable to contain a laugh, Alyse then just shook her head, " did we get on this conversation?"

"Well, that settles that... I'm surrounded by crazy people. I knew I was a crazy person magnet, but damn this takes the cake," Ari said before laughing and shaking her head. "But I wouldn't trade any of you for the universe. You're my family now. You're not getting rid of me any time soon."

Charlie got a little more serious and a little more down to Earth as he spoke, "Lets not forget that when it comes to our EMH. A ships EMH is a part of the crew and not just a program to up grade. If you took the time to read 'Voyager, the journey of an EMH to Sentience' you would have a greater appreciation of the EMH."

"A very good point," Sayori said. "I was actually going to look into his programming soon. I have a computer specialist and I want to have her give Turing tests to a few of our systems. Jeannie met her yesterday. She was good, eh?"

"I have great respect for the EMH," Ari said, giving Charlie a soft smile. "But, I have to say, I would prefer the human chief medical officer over the EMH." She winked at him. "The only upgrades to the EMH I would ever consider are additions to its knowledge database when we get new medical advances."

Charlie couldn't help but beam a little as he caught Ari's expressions. He nodded trying to avoid looking like a school boy with his first girlfriend. Tylor worked to keep a calm tone and hid his affection, "Thanks Cap'n."

Alyse sat back and shook her head. "My goodness everyone. Quite a bit of chatter when we're supposed to be snacking and playing games, right?" She smirked. "Kidding, chatting involved too."

"Nothing wrong with that," Aixae commented. She'd been quiet for much of the evening because she was contemplating going to bed a bit early. She had a long day in the morning with the number of appointments that she had.

"After all, sometimes chatter is what the doctor orders. It can often be good for the soul", Charlie commented.

Sayori couldn’t help but agree, and she grinned as she watched her colleagues — her friends, even — talk and enjoy each other’s company. And she made it happen! A fun night or cards and conversation, courtesy of the Chief Engineer Extraordinaire.


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