Dance Lesson, Part I
Location: Holodeck 2
(( If you would like a look at what Millie is dancing https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=42pGuw07UWY 14 minute mark))
Millie stretched her arms up over her head. She was more exhausted than normal--the switching between shifts for counseling appointments was something she never totally enjoyed about the job. There was a nonstop flow of crew members in and out of her office doors lately. She’d been taking extra appointments, too, as they showed no sign of slowing. And could she blame them? Most of them had been separated from family, from children, and with no way to contact their loved ones for an entire year and were right back out in open space.
Millie leaned forward, stretching on the barre one more time. “Computer, cue up Stepanova Beta Five Five Four.” She took several steps backwards, centering herself on the floor. She needed something a little more challenging today, so Act III of Coppelia it was.
Having used the computer to discover that she was in holodeck two, Vox exited the turbolift strode that direction. There weren't many pressing matters on his desk at the moment and wanted to see Millie since their last encounter.
Vox decided to invite himself into her program unannounced. The large gray holodeck doors whined as they opened and then closed behind him, vanishing. He tugged his beret in the darkness briefly before quietly walking towards the stage where the lights were bright.
The sequins on the red bodice of her tutu glistened as she leapt across the stage. A brief pause in the music held her momentarily on pointe downstage right. In that moment, she caught a glimpse of a shadowy figure partway down the aisle. The beret on his head was a dead giveaway, and she smirked. With a wink, the music began to pick up speed, and she daintily stepped her way across the stage.
His boot steps were softened by the carpet as he approached. He had to admit how nimble she was, with plenty of curves that seemed hidden in uniform, but curves that he had learned firsthand. He stopped and watched her finish her routine.
The music accelerated again, and Millie smiled as she started into a series of rapid pirouettes. Her leg kicked high in the air, another dainty spin, her arms stretched out to keep her balance as she spun across the stage to the music. A sudden end to the music left her posed on one foot, arms lifted, and her other foot nearly parallel to her shoulders. She held the pose, turning to look out into the audience. “Not even my recreational time is sacred, is it Commander?”
He smirked as he leaned against a row of theater seats and folded his arms. “My presence IS recreational, lieutenant. Surely you know that by now. However, if you'd like to be alone, I understand.” He stood tall and turned to leave.
“No, please stay.” Millie finally put both feet on the floor, and crossed to the front of the stage. “I was afraid it was another crew member in crisis.” She seated herself on the edge of the stage. “It’s...been a long day. I was trying to decompress a bit.”
He turned back towards her and stepped forward. “I imagine that you've been busy with the crew. I sorta figured that you'd be here. And I was correct.”
Millie nodded, rubbing the back of her neck. “It’s been busy. I’m seeing a higher than usual number of requests since my return. It seems like a lot of anxiety about returning to space after what happened on your last mission.”
He couldn't help but be matter-of-fact about that, but he expected that it was also what she needed to hear. “Risk is our business, lieutenant. Everyone knows the risks involved with Starfleet. Part of me expects them to take it rather well in hand. All isn't lost at this moment. Take into account the U.S.S. Voyager. They were thrown into the delta quadrant of all places and they survived. And I'm not even sure of they had a counselor aboard.” He gave her a knowing smile.
The counselor chuckled. “I’m surprised this ship didn’t fall to pieces with all of the time that they didn’t have a counselor.” She let her feet swing. “How are you doing, Commander?”
“I'm feeling well. I just listened to some ragtime music in my quarters.” He didn't like talking about himself much, as he found the topic rather boring. “So how often do you practice ballet?”
“Every morning in the gym at 04:30, usually. Today’s duty schedule flipped my routine in reverse.” Millie grinned.
He smiled and raised his eyebrows. “Impressive discipline to wake up that early. Then again, I've seen the results personally.”
“You...could always join me.”
He was taken aback by the question. “Huh? Me?... I… I've never done ballet before.”
Millie extended a hand. “There’s a first time for everything, Mr. Templar.”
His eyes slid to the side in thought for a moment. “I can't argue with that. So… what do I do?”
She gestured to the side of the stage where a small staircase was concealed in the dim light. “Join me on stage?”
He walked around, climbed the small steps and walked into the center of the stage.
Millie was waiting for him, a smile on her face. “Don’t look so nervous, Vox. I won’t make you dance. You’re just going to do a lift.”
He cracked a nervous smile. “Oh, okay. So I just… grab you by the waist and hoist you up?”
She grinned. “Well, it's not quite that easy.” She grabbed his shoulders, turning him to square him up with the audience. “But essentially, yes.” Millie reached out a foot, and gently tapped the inside of an ankle. “Make your stance a little bit wider. In ballet, you need to be able to have a little more bend in your legs, so, no locking your knees.”
He tried to follow her instructions, moving his legs to be more spaced out. “So keep the knees bent, got it…”
She stood directly in front of him. “So, you're going to put your hands right here on my waist.” Millie took his hands and placed them on her hips.
He placed his hands on her waist with her guidance. “Okay, I got this part… So far so good.”
Millie chuckled, looking over her shoulder at him. “You’re going to have to hold on tighter, Vox. Don’t worry, you won’t break me.”
He grasped her a little tighter. “Alright. Next step?” He didn't want to look like a fool. Image was everything..
She patted his hands in approval, placing her own hands on his wrists. “So, we will do this lift as a 123-456, and back on the floor on the next 1.” Millie turned back towards the front. “On the first three counts, I will prep us,” and she demonstrated. “And on beat 4, I will start the jump, and you are going to lift me straight up, da?”
He nodded as he listened to her instructions. “Yeah, sounds good.”
“So, let’s give this a try! Ready...AND...1, 2, 3--4!”
Vox grabbed her waist tight and lifted her up high on the counts.
“...5, 6, and down!” Millie laughed, taking a hand off of his wrists and reaching over her shoulder to pat his cheek. “Khorosho! Khorosho! Otlichno! See, you are a natural, Mr. Templar! Let us try it again!” Her hand went back to his wrist. “Ready...AND...1, 2, 3--4!”
His eyes widened as he got ready for the next round. “Yeah this seems easy enough!”
Millie landed on her feet after the second round. “Khorosho! Very good! Shall we take it one step further? You will do the exact same thing, but this time, I will act a little more like a ballerina.”
“Okay, I can do that.” He positioned his hands on her waist and waited for her command.
Millie shifted up onto the toes of her pointe shoes, and lifted her arms high over her head. “Ready, AND…”
Vox lifted her with all his strength. Right at that moment, his arm that was injured in the mission a year ago started to buckle and lose power. He immediately lost his balance with her above him.
“Vox,” she gasped as she slipped through his hands and fell to the left. Her left toe hit the hardwood of the stage floor, and her ankle buckled forward with a sickening pop. Millie let loose with a viciously agonizing scream as her vision went white and she buckled to the stage floor.
Vox slammed into the stage floor with a thud. “Ah!... Are you okay Millie?” He scrambled to his knees to look her over.
The pain overwhelmed her senses. Her eyes couldn’t focus, her ears rang, she felt like passing out and throwing up all at the same time. In her panic, she grabbed for something--anything, and clutched a handful of Vox’s uniform.
He saw that her ankle was at an unnatural angle and it didn't look very good. Why had he faltered? It must have been a result of his previous injury. He cursed himself and went to one knee, scooping her up into his arms successfully and rose to his feet, working his way towards the small steps and then heading for the corridor. “Computer, exit.” The big doors reappeared and opened as they approached and then stepped through. He turned and headed for the nearest turbolift to get her to sickbay.
Millie felt herself being lifted, and she wrapped her arms around Vox’s neck. Tears flowed from her bleary eyes, and she clung to Vox like he was a life raft in a storm. Her breaths came as desperate whimpered sobs, intermingled with agonizing cries of pain.