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Reading the Room

Posted on Mon May 10th, 2021 @ 4:01pm by Patricia Crow & Lieutenant Aemilia "Millie" Stepanova

Mission: Knock Knock
Location: Holodeck 1

Patricia and Millie walked into the simulation which was already running. An old bus station with several people waiting.

In the corner two young children played with an old cheap looking chess set.

An elderly couple sat side by side on a bench while a woman behind them painted her fingernails.

On the other end of the room a man read a newspaper.

Patricia looked at Millie. "So...who's the threat?"

Millie looked around the room, eyeing the man, the woman, the couple, and the children. "You know, it's a lot easier to tell when they have giant metal jaws and carry weapons."

Patricia walked further into the room. None of the others in the room paid them any attention. Taking a seat on a bench, she looked at Millie. "You are trained to understand what to do with information which is given to you through counseling. This is about taking that information from them without them uttering a word. Reading their body language, looking at their activities."

Millie took a slow walk around the room. The older couple seemed innocent enough, and she walked past them. She paused at the children playing chess. "How many kids do you know that play chess at this age?" She looked up to Patricia.

Patricia gave a small shrug. "Maybe they're smart."

"Would your kid be playing chess if he were here?" Millie gave a smirk. "Would any of the Crow children? Any of the kids living on the Merc?"

"Sometimes the obvious thing is just a distraction."

Millie squatted back on her heels, sitting to watch the children play chess.

"How long's this gonna take?" Angrily asked the man with the newspaper. "We've been waiting for hours!"

The older couple averted their eyes as the woman painting her nails rolled her own.

Millie looked up from the chess game. "The chess game is the most suspicious thing in the room."

"Is it?" Patricia looked to the angry man then the others. "Do you notice there's no one managing the terminal?"

"North America stopped using paper transportation data a long time ago." Millie looked to the others in the room. "Long before transportation technology."

Patricia grinned and walked up to Millie. "So you think the children playing a game are the biggest threat in the room?"

Millie smirked. "Says the woman who wants to create some of her own."

Patricia snapped her fingers and the simulation paused. "Any of them were a threat. You can't let the surface distraction which seems the most out of place to blind you to the entire room."

Millie sat back on her heels. "Is something going on, Trish?"

Patricia paused for a few moments. "This has been my life and now it won't and I'm freaking out."

Millie stood, pulling her friend into a hug. "It's difficult--becoming someone new."

She hugged Millie back. "You"d think I'd be used to it."

Millie gestured to one of the bus station benches, and she sat. "Would it help to know that I'm having a hard time with the transition, too?"

"Why are you having a hard time?"

Millie gave a quiet sigh. "When the shuttle rescued us, I--I saw myself in the mirror. And I didn't recognize the woman looking back at me."

"You had to grow up fast and learn some hard lessons and I'm very proud of you for that."

Millie went quiet for a moment. "Knn...he asked me to be his mate."

"I don't even know how that would work, not sure I want to either."

Millie chucked, flushing slightly. "Biologically, it wouldn't, but--" She folded her hands in her lap. "There was something different about the two of us on the planet. Touching me was painful for them."

"Well, noone will ever be able to bother them again."

"Or you and Chance. " Millie smiled. "You'll be safe. Together."

Patricia looked around the room. "Simulation pause." When the people stopped moving, she looked at Millie. "Let's go get a drink while I still can."

Millie stands and nods. "Computer, exit."

Lieutenant Aemilia "Millie" Stepanova
Chief Counselor, USS Mercutio

Patricia Crow
Chief Intelligence Officer, USS Mercutio


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