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ST:END102 | "Who counsels the counsellor? Part 2"

Updated: Apr 21, 2023

(7 June 2417)

"...settled in really well," Sam gave a nod to Tasha as she finished her report and looked down at his PADD. "It seems so. Almost a perfect start, with the exception of the fact that the ship is back in a damn dry dock." "Sam...come on you...chin up..." Tasha placed her hand on his knee and Sam smiled. "I know Tash, but when the ship hurts, I hurt," he sighed and leaned back in his seat. The ice cream bar was quiet at the time which was perfect as it was Sam's temporary office for the day. He had a room on the Starbase but it wasn't the same. And of course, his own ready room on the Endeavour was out of bounds since she was swarmed by Engineers, scrambling to fix whatever the problem was with her warp core. "Waiter, one lemon and one honeycomb ice cream," Tasha waved down the wondering waiter who nodded with a smile and went to retrieve the ice cream. "You remembered my favourite?" Sam asked. "I know everything about you, Bishop," Tasha teased. "Of course you do..." Sam shook his head. "Crew evaluations... you on that?" Tasha nodded. "I've completed my lot. Jaidan's halfway through when I checked last week but he's had to look through all those medical files so his might be late," "What about your mental health evals?" he said as the ice creams were delivered. "You and your wife enjoy!" the waiter smiled. "We're not..." both Tasha and Sam said simultaneously, looking at the waiter. "Sure..." the waiter winked at Sam and left. Sam scowled. "We do not even look like a couple!" he said rather forcefully. "This had better not be a rumour, Natasha. You said..." he lowered his voice to a harsh whisper. "You said nothing happened that night. This had better not be a rumour that's going around. What if Keelah hears?" "Nothing happened, Captain Bishop. Believe me or not, that's on you. But I give you my word," Tasha replied curtly. Sam backed down, taking his ice cream. "I believe you Tash... it's just that you can't be too careful. I can't have a rumour like that running around. It would ruin my reputation amongst the crew. And what of my daughter? If she hears about this rumour, even if it's not true... that would devastate her," Tasha placed a comforting hand on his knee again. "I know Sam, don't worry about it. Did you read that book I recommended to you?" "I looked it up but haven't got around to it yet..." "It's a good book actually. Well... no, about three quarters is utter crap, but the remaining quarter is good. You're not in that position and you won't be, I'll assure you, but I know how you feel about it. Those techniques might help you talk about it," "You..." Sam poked his spoon at her. "Are enjoying this too much. This is revenge isn't it?" Tasha smirked and took a bite of her ice cream innocently. "I have no idea what you're talking about," "Seriously though Tash... I'm trusting you," "Sam! Stop it! It's embarrassing. I goddamn know you're engaged. I don't even like you in that way! And I know for sure you don't feel that way about me. So drop it. We danced. As friends. Nothing else happened. Okay?" Tasha said angrily. "But..." "No but's. You're guilty about what we did when you were with Jenny. Keelah is not Jenny and you are not that person. Move on Sam. Why are you so goddamn stubborn?" Sam pouted and sat back, eating his ice cream and regarding Tasha over the edge of his cup. "Mental health evals..." he finally said. "Shut it, Bishop. You don't know when to keep your mouth shut!" Tasha replied, still fuming. "Ta..." Tasha gave him a deathly glare and Sam closed his mouth instantly. An angry Natasha Larson was not a nice Natasha Larson. The pair sat in semi-awkward silence, eating their ice cream before Tasha broke it. "First Officer. How's the search going?" she said curtly. Sam was just glad she was talking to him. "It's going..." he faltered, looking over Tasha's shoulder. Tasha looked at him and snapped her fingers in front of her face. "Bishop, don't you dare get me even more angry..." Tasha felt his finger against her lips as he leaned forward, eyes fixed over Tasha's shoulder. Tasha took his arm to move it away from her face and turned. "What are we looking at?" "Lara..." Sam replied, his eyes not moving. Ensign Lara Aruyo had walked into the bar with a group of other officers. She was holding hands with one of them. He was wearing a blue stripe on his uniform and looked not that much older than her. As they passed, Sam saw a row of spots running down the side of his face, indicating he was a Trill. "Lara?" Tasha asked Sam. "My da...the daughter of a close friend. She's practically family," Sam said. Tasha noted the close slip. "It seems like it," she said, turning fully to watch the group. They had ordered their ice cream and took a seat not far from Tasha and Sam, not noticing them. "That can't be her boyfriend...she hasn't told me about meeting anyone..." Sam muttered, watching the pair closely. "Does she need to tell you?" "Yes. I've known her since she was a small girl. She tells me everything," "Have you considered that she's... what? A twenty-one-year-old lady? She's an adult and doesn't need your permission to do what she wants," "A twenty-one year old is not an adult," Sam replied. "What were we doing at twenty-one? Certainly nothing that warrants an adult title," "We were doing a lot of adult things..." Sam looked at her. "Doing adult things does not make you an adult. Experience does. We were young and thought we were adults," Tasha shook her head. "That's part of growing up - we certainly did more than that," she nodded towards the pair. Sam looked back. Lara and the boy were leaning in, awfully close. Sam's face drained white. "Nobody is going to kiss my Lara without my approval!" Sam said and jumped up. "Sam you tw..." Tasha was too slow to stop him. "Ensign Aruyo!" Sam bellowed and the pair of them jumped apart. "Un...Uncle Sam?" Lara stuttered, turning a deep crimson. "What in the hell do you think you're doing?" "I'm...getting ice cream," Lara frowned. "And are you going to introduce me to your friend?" Sam loomed over the pair. "Oh Lara, I've just remembered, I have a...duty shift!" one of Lara's friends said. She was accompanied by the rest of her friends and they all darted away from the Captain, Lara and her date. Her date was quivering in the seat next to her, unable to move since he was the centre of the unwelcome attention from the Captain. Lara glanced as all her friends had run, before turning back to Sam. "This is Ensign Berjo Riis. He's part of the science division here at DS13," Sam glared at Ensign Riis. "Ensign Riis?" "Yes...sir..." "What's your speciality?" "Botany," "Botany? So you're a glorified gardener?" "...yes sir..." he squeaked. Sam shook his head. "Get out!" he jabbed his thumb out of the door. "Uncle Sam!" Lara protested in vain. The Ensign didn't need to be told twice. He bolted out of the door. "I'll see you later Lara!" he said as he ran. "The hell you will," Sam yelled after him before turning to Lara. "What are you doing?" "I was on a date, Uncle Sam," Lara fumed. "With that loser?" "He's not a loser!" "He admitted he was a glorified gardener. If he can't stand up for his subject, what makes you think he's going to stand up for you?" "I don't need anyone to stand up for me!" Lara protested. "Not him, and most certainly not you!" Sam was taken aback slightly. "Lara..." "Don't you Lara me! So this is how you ruin relationships. Step into places that don't concern you!" "Lara..." Sam's voice was sharper. "Why don't you fix your own goddamn relationship with Keelah? That way you wouldn't have to read books on cheating!" Lara pushed Sam aside as she stormed out. "Oh yes, I heard those rumours. I'm finding it hard to disagree with them right now!" she said, her voice breaking. "Lara...what rumours?" Lara stopped at the door and spun round. "Your search history. I... don't really want to talk to you right now Sam. You ruined my date and you seem like you're about to break Keelah's heart. They were right about you," Sam could see tears streaming down her cheeks. "Lara..." Lara shook her head. "Thanks for "saving" me Sam. You don't bother to talk to me for weeks and now you come in all noble saving the day. Consider it saved. I hope you're real pleased!" she said before turning and leaving without another word. "Lara..." Sam turned, shocked. Tasha stood behind him and clapped slowly. "Good job Bishop, you really screwed that one up," "What?" "Next time, listen to me you idiot," she shook her head. "Come on," she said softly, taking his arm. Sam was visibly shaking. "What...rumours?" "I don't know..." Tasha replied. "Listen, we're finished here. It's late and you've really dampened the mood for both of us. Go rest," Sam blinked. "Sure," he shrugged Tasha's arm off and walked out. Tasha sighed as she followed. She knew exactly what rumours. She had just received a message from Jaidan. After what she just saw, she decided that Sam might need to be in a better mood before she told him the bad news. Things just went from bad to worse for the poor man.

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