Updated: Apr 21
The party was in full swing, the bar on Deck 8 packed with officers and crew. Music was pounding in the air, people were dancing, talking, relaxing, and mingling. Natasha Larson stood by the door, leaning on the wall with a small smirk on her face. It might have taken some persuasion but Sam had relented and Tasha was able to organise the party, stating it was a perfect way for the new crew to gel on their way back to DS13. So far, it had been a blast.
Tasha just hoped that Sam wouldn't come in and shut it down; it was his prerogative after all. He had been convinced earlier on when he was in a good mood but in the hours in between, his mood had soured. Badly. And Sam wasn't the most friendly of people when he was in a bad mood. Tasha was concerned for him. The news he had received earlier was bad; he had no First Officer. The man who was meant to take the job, an Efrosian by the name of Xin Ulreii, had suddenly retired the day before and Sam had no time to find a replacement due to the fact he had to report back to DS13. He would have to look for a replacement when they returned. In the meantime, however, Sam was stuck doing two jobs, at a time where it was the most critical to have a First Officer. Tasha and Jaidan lent as much time as they could spare to aid him, but they too were overwhelmed, having to take the mental health and medical evaluations of 2,000 people on the ship. Sam had not taken a break all day, spending his entire birthday working. He had not even called Keelah back home. Tasha had tried to get him to take a break, but... Sam could be infuriatingly stubborn.
Tasha was justifiably worried then when Sam stormed into the bar. Pushing off the wall, she moved towards him, taking his arm. "Sam..."
Sam strode into the centre of the room and looked around. The buzz of conversation slowly died down as the music suddenly ceased. Sam looked at the DJ. "You, there. Name?"
"Er...Biggs, sir. Crewman Biggs,"
"What on God's green Earth do you think you're doing?" Sam barked.
"Sam..." Tasha tugged at his arm. Sam ignored her, glaring at the Crewman.
"Dee...DJ'ing sir..." Biggs gulped.
"The hell you are! How is anyone supposed to dance when they can't even hear the music? Turn the music up DJ!" Sam grinned and the crewman happily obliged, the music jammed up louder than before. There was a cheer from the crew.
Tasha punched Sam's arm hard. "You are really an ass,"
Sam winked. "Quint said that I'd should be bad cop,"
"He said no such thing,"
"How do you know?"
"You are really bad at lying," she grinned. "I'm glad to see you here," she watched as a rather drunk crewman bumped into her. "Let's not stand on the dance floor," she chuckled, pulling Sam over to the bar. The barman, a grinning Tellerite, came up to them.
Sam looked at him. "You're the Head Chef right? Tom Barliman?"
"Aye, that is I. What can I get yers?"
"Vodka shots," Tasha cut in.
"Tasha..." Sam raised his eyebrows. She ignored him, patting on the bar with her hand.
"Vodka shots for me and the Captain. It's his birthday, so none of the replicated stuff,"
Tom grinned. "Ah. It's ya birthday!" he poured to glasses and slid it towards the pair. "On the 'ouse,"
"It's all on the house," Sam shook his head and took the glass. "I hate you Tash," he said downing the drink and shuddering as he placed the glass on the bar.
"Another!" Tasha grinned as she did the same.
Tom's smile widened. "Yer wife is a real woman,"
Sam blinked. "She's not my wife,"
"Yeah you wish... drink up Bishop,"
A few shots later, both Tasha and Sam found themselves looking at the dancefloor. The music change only seemed to invite them.
Sam grinned. Tasha grinned. Taking her hand, he pulled her into the centre of the dance floor, moving his body to the beat. "The club isn't the best place to find a lover So the bar is where I go Me and my friends at the table doing shots Drinking fast and then we talk slow Come over and start up a conversation with just me And trust me I'll give it a chance now Take my hand, stop, put Van the Man on the jukebox And then we start to dance, and now I'm singing like..." Sam sung as he circled the laughing Tasha. The crew on the dancefloor had stepped back letting the pair of them take the centre. Stepping closer to her, face to face, he continued to sing, "Girl, you know I want your love Your love was handmade for somebody like me Come on now, follow my lead I may be crazy, don't mind me..." As Sam opened his mouth to continue, he was interrupted by Tasha taking his hands, and placing them on her waist as she took up the song, "Say, boy, let's not talk too much Grab on my waist and put that body on me Come on now, follow my lead Come, come on now, follow my lead..." She stepped right and Sam followed, before stepping back and to the left. Sam matched her step for step. "Does Keelah know you dance so well?" Tasha asked. "Keelah knows everything about me," Sam replied. "Will she know that you've been dancing with your head counsellor?" Sam replied by twirling her around, his hand around her waist, holding her as she leaned back. "She'll find out," "You'll be in trouble," "Almost certainly, but I think you'd enjoy me getting in trouble," "More than you know," she said, wrapping her arms around his neck. "You're not a bad dancer yourself," "You know how much Jenny liked to dance," Sam chuckled. "You have Jenny to thank for teaching me to dance so well - surely you remember how I used to dance at the academy?" Tasha laughed. "It was so bad," "Jenny always said I embarrassed her," "You still embarrass us!" Jaidan yelled from behind, stepping forward with a red-haired lady who Sam recognised as Lieutenant Fontaine, and pulling her into dance. Sam was positive Jaidan was drunk. "Shut up Reeder!" he winked as Tasha pulled his attention back to her. "Now, boy, let's not talk too much, Grab on your waist and put that body on me," she said, pulling him closer. Sam happily obliged. The pair danced the night away.
Sam's eyes opened to find himself in his bed. His head hurt really badly. Groaning, he lifted his head slightly to hear a rustling from somewhere next to him. Opening his eyes fully, he saw Tasha placing his jacket on the chair. Sam sat up straight away. "No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no... Please don't say..." Tasha grinned. "Don't worry Bishop, you're in the clear. I'm just dropping your jacket off; you gave it to me last night," "So we... didn't..." "No," Sam fell back onto his pillow, exhaling hard. "Oh thank God..." his hands covering his face. He was quiet for a long time. Tasha gently perched on the edge of his bed. "Something the matter Sam?" Sam exhaled again. "If we had done... something last night, I would have been honour and duty bound to tell Keelah, even if I was unfaithful... I can't keep secrets from her; I love her too much and she deserves better than to have me lie to her," Tasha smiled slightly. "I know Sam. You think I would let you do that?" "You did get me drunk last night..." "It was your birthday and you needed to let your hair down. I was keeping an eye on you all night," "Thanks...Tash... I..." he sat up slightly. "I didn't do anything to compromise my standing with the crew?" Tasha chuckled. "I actually think you did well last night. On the outside, you were very calm and collected, allowing yourself to let loose and showing that you are capable of enjoyment, whilst still maintaining your authority. And I managed to get you out before you did anything stupid," Sam eyed her. "This was your plan wasn't it?" Tasha batted her eyelashes innocently. "I have no idea what you're talking about Captain," Sam shook his head. "I need to get back to work. Who's on shift right now?" "T'Lyra," "The Chief Engineer?" Tasha nodded. "Yes. She was at the party late last night and still managed to turn up for duty on time and unaffected. Vulcans are certainly... efficient..." Sam froze for a second. "Yeah... they are..." Tasha looked at him. "Missing him? It's natural. Alfred is someone you'll never replace. But you'll live without him," Sam shook his head. "He was more than a First Officer, Tash," he said getting out of bed. "He was my friend. And now... now I have to deal with all this without him, when I needed his brilliance the most," Tasha took Sam's hand and squeezed it. "Don't worry Sam. You will be able to do it. You know Jaidan and I will do our best to help you. And so will the rest of the crew. This doesn't have to be a bad thing you know. You now have to delegate your work to the other departmental heads, who you've never worked with before. It will help you trust them, and for them to trust you," Sam smiled at her. "I hate it when you're right... I should go and relieve T'Lyra..." Sam stood and winced. "You should head to the Medical Bay to get a hypo from Jaidan first," "Tash... Jaidan will go off on me if I turn up to him asking for help with my hangover..." Tasha shrugged. "I would just show him this," she pulled up some pictures on her PADD showing Jaidan and Lieutenant Fontaine making out. Sam laughed. "You sure you're not Intel?" Tasha grinned. "I could tell you, but then I would have to kill you," she mocked shooting him with her fingers. "Which reminds me, the Intelligence guy, Kannys, wants to speak to you soon for a briefing. And then there's that MACO cat lady, Major C'Turan who you need to talk to about the transfer of Lieutenant Valencia," "Of course, that stray MACO. Leila's got her, I have to ask for her back," Tasha nodded. "And also... First Officer requisition. If you can't find one yourself, you're going to have to ask DS13 for a requisition. I'd recommend you find one yourself, you don't know who you'll get with DS13 personnel and you have to keep them for a period of at least six months before you can transfer them out, or have another ship for them to transfer too. You know how it is; job security," Sam sighed. "She's no Endeavour..." he said, looking out at the strange hull of the ship as she sped through the stars at high warp. "Wrong. She is the Endeavour. Your Endeavour," "Endeavour indeed," he nodded. "Thanks for the uniform Tash," "No worries... see you later Sam," she turned to leave, before stopping and turning back to him. She gave him an encouraging smile. "You have this Sam. Don't worry about it. We'll be at DS13 in the next day or two. You should call Keelah and tell her all the good news. It will make you feel better. Trust me I know. You said some pretty revealing things last night," she winked and left. "What things? Tasha! What things?" Sam called out. Tasha grinned as she left his quarters.