Location: 5 & Dime Lounge
Millie sat at one of the small tables near the viewport, one leg tucked under her, her meal half-eaten, and a PADD in her lap. She thumbed through the PADD, making her own notes as she went.
Michael entered the lounge. Smiled as he saw a familiar face and had a quick word with the old comrade. He walked towards the bar handed over a data rod he carried for the last 10 years with his diet. He took a seat near one of the viewports with his back towards the wall and waited for his lunch. He nodded to the lieutenant reading the padd.
The movement out of the corner of her eye brought her head up quickly, and it almost seemed that she had to take a breath for a moment before smiling. "I'm sorry, let me move these." Millie tidied up the PADDs on the table that seemed to have spilled out and scattered a bit to the other half of the table. "Sorry that my work took over half the table.
"Oh yeah, reports on crew, daily logs, requestion orders. Seeing that I just had a talk with the chief medical officer. I assume you're the assistant chief medical officer or the ships councillor?" Michael looked at her and grinned. " Warrant officer Michael Joustra, chief of Security. Just been assigned a hour or so, lieutenant?"
Millie smiled. "No, I've been on the ship--" she paused for a moment, "I think over three years now. I'm not used to being stationed in one place for so long, so it's a little odd to think of an assignment in something other than weeks or months." She slid the stack of PADDs to the side. "But after being marooned on a--a primitive world for almost two months, I've finally been cleared for full duty again. Just playing a lot of catch-up." She extended a hand. "Counselor Stepanova, but everybody just calls me Millie."
"Michael,Mister Joustra, Chief, take your pick. 40+ years in the fleet. I only call admirals by their first names, ma'am. Annoys the hell out of them. " he shook her hand. He nodded to the waiter who placed his food on the table, a simple sandwich and a cup of coffee. The cup wasn't standard issue. " So two months marooned. Who did you piss off, ma'am?"
"Not sure what they were, and if anybody knew, I'm sure it was classified well above my rank." Millie reached for her cup of tea, feeling a little more secure with its warmth in her hands. "Not sure if I would want to know if I was allowed to. But the run-in with them caused our shuttle to crash, and we were never able to recover the emergency beacon or restore communication. It was--not an experience I hope to repeat anytime soon."
"Join Starfleet they said, see the galaxy they said. So you want the 'it happens and it gets better' or the ' man up and grow a pair' talk. Because that's the two I have in my toolkit. " he took a bite of his sandwich.
Millie gave a soft chuckle. "I was well-prepared for the death and destruction--I started as a crisis counselor, so I was at least mentally prepared for 'worst possible scenario'. It's the 'blood on my own hands' that I'm still working through." She made herself manage a smile.
"Yup, that takes a good few years if you are lucky. Dozen sessions for a few months and then just head for the bottle and after that it just fades into memory. " he said taking a sip from his mug. " Only thing you have to do is decide to do the talking bit or head straight for the booze. I suggest the talking bit, the alcohol plays merry hell on your liver."
That made Millie chuckle. "I'm Russian, Chief. The liver is already half-marinated in vodka. We drink it like water." She winked.
"I got an artificial one, because some pickpocket stabbed me. There is a difference between drinking your troubles away and just drinking because the bottle needs to be empty, ma'am. " he smiled. " My advice do the talking bit, vent with your friends or colleagues avoid the drinking. Then again you're the counsellor , I'm the crusty old war horse."
"Thankfully, their aim was higher, and the knife sunk into my shoulder instead." Her hand reached back, rubbing the spot where they had cauterized the knife wound. Though Chance had healed the scar, the memory of the attack was still fresh in her mind. "But no worries, they gave the Counselor a counselor...and I have the two friends who did my combat training to talk with."
" Oh well, you survived. That's the thing you take away from it. And you move on to the next situation. Fought klingons, tzenkethi, cardassians, borg, jem'hadar, maquis. Still around and kicking. While I have you here, I need the the psych evals on the security staff. Will be running combat drills, physchical drills. Just need to know how far I can push them mentally." He said holding out his mug for the waiter for a refill.
Millie paused mid-sip of her tea. "Should I preemptively reserve a block of time on my schedule for your team? Or would it be better to just tag along on drills and perform triage care?" Her eyes betrayed the hint of humor behind her question.
" No, just need to know how far i can push my staff. We got nco's who might have some stress disorder. Like 60% can handle same approach, but the other 40% need to be tougher or softer. Also my staff and I need to get to know them. " He looked at his empty plate not realising he had finished his sandwich.
Millie nodded, giving her lunch one last prod with a fork. "I will get all of their files sent to your office by the end of the day."
" With that all done, the doc said there was some 'good stuff' behind the bar, ma'am. Have a good day, seems I'll be stealing a bottle and checking out my office." He stood up and gave her a quick nod.
Millie returned the nod. "Next time, we'll do this in my office." She gave her knowing smile.
" I doubt it, lieutenant, i stay out of offices with the teal shirts.... bad for the health." He nodded to the bartender and grabbed a bottle from behind the counter. " ah,green stuff, score, i declare this contraband, file your report with the chief of security" He put the aldebaran whiskey under his arm and headed for his office. Whistling 'all hail the chief'.
Millie chuckled softly to herself. "No worries. I'll find you."
Warrant Officer Michael Joustra
Chief Security Officer, USS Mercutio
Lieutenant Aemilia "Millie" Stepanova
Chief Counselor, USS Mercutio