((10-Forward, USS Avandar))
::Robins took a seat by the window, a data PADD in hand, and gazed out upon the starry blackness. She ought to be getting on with the reports for the non-telepathic crew members, but this evening she just wanted to relax. Normally she'd have gone to her quarters, but there were too many ghosts of the past there. She still needed to be among people, even if she wasn't talking to them. Company was better than her own, disturbed thoughts.::
::She sighed, and eventually picked up the PADD. First up, she'd start with Captain Vetri and work her way down the ranks.::
:: Chase strode into the room, fresh off his date with the lovely Charlotte DeBarres and still full of energy. Finding Robins in the light crowd, he strode over in confident fashion and set a hand down on the table, leaning onto it and giving that famously casual grin he tended to wear. ::
Valaine: Robins! Wassup, my medical miscreant?
Robins: Miscreant?! ::She'd been called many things over the years, but never miscreant.::
Valaine: I’m just kidding, relax! ::he slumped easily into the empty chair without an invitation:: I know full well you’re a respectful, honorable, duty-bound Starfleet Officer. ::to accentuate his point, he put his hand over his heart diligently:: Better?
:: His playful grin remained, and he leaned back in his chair. Perhaps his lips were a little looser since he was slightly inebriated from his date. He tended to get a bit more snarky when he’d had a few, though he was pretty good about controlling worse drunken behaviours. ::
Robins: A bit much to be *completely* sincere, but I appreciate the thought.
Valaine: What’re you doing? Working? Eww...
:: He reached out to nudge a data pad, though he didn’t make any move to swipe it from her. Then he stuck a hand in the air, hoping for a new drink to add to his evening of imbibing. ::
Robins: ::sighing:: Supposedly, but... I can't focus.
Valaine: ::as the wait staff walked over:: Want one? ::to the person:: Gimme a double Aldebaran Whiskey, ice cold. ::he glanced to Robins, his blue eyes glinting in the light expectantly.::
Robins: ::oO Oh what the heck. Oo:: Trinaris brandy, with a speck of cinnamon, thanks.
::Normally she'd stay away from alcohol, but that glint in his eye told her he'd be less than impressed by an apple juice - not that she really cared about that glint, as long as it *stayed* as a glint - and with her slightly altered physiology, Trinaris brandy happened to be the only alcoholic juice she could drink for three days and still not even get a teensy bit squiffy. But she wasn't going to tell Valaine that bit of news...::
Robins: So what brings you to this part of the ship? Surely the confident Chase Valaine can't be after to drown his sorrows?
::Her words may have come out a little tart, but she tried to smile to offset the edge in her voice. Avoiding his eyes, she fumbled about with her PADD, turning it off, and setting it down on the table.::
Valaine: No drowning of sorrows tonight. I’ve just had a lovely evening with an equally lovely lady friend.
Robins: ::realising that maybe the ghosts in her quarters weren't so bad after all:: I see.
::Thankfully the drinks arrived at that point. It may not have had any mind-numbing effects for her, but psychologically it helped. If one *thinks* one is drinking alcohol, one *expects* it to have some sort of effect.::
Valaine: Just what I need to finish off the evening.
:: He took the drink and a third was gone in the first draught. When he set the flat of the glass to the table again, it was just a little harder than necessary, and he let out a small gasp at the burn, even though he’d been expecting the sensation. ::
Valaine: But why does it need to end so soon? You look like you need some fun.
Robins: Some fun? ::more quietly:: That'd be a miracle right about now.
:: His eyebrows rose, and he swiveled the glass along its edge in slow circles on the table. His smile lapsed, and he looked truly low-spirited for a moment before speaking again. ::
Valaine: Well *that’s* depressing to hear.
Robins: ::glaring at her drink:: I'm sorry, it's not your fault. I'm just a tad edgy, and I *don't* want to be alone right now.
Valaine: If I had my guitar, I’d sing something cheerful for you.
:: The casual smile returned as quickly as it had left. The slightly glazed eyes, and the simplest truth. He didn’t appear to be shmoozing for attention at the moment, perhaps a rare moment for him. But he’d still offer to entertain her if it would lift her spirits. And the second third of the whiskey was gone. ::
::Her heart softened just enough to allow a small smile to appear. She appreciated the thought - and sincerity - behind his words.::
Robins: Thank you...Chase. Maybe next time.
::Her gaze returned to her half empty glass, thoughts of the nightmare returning. It still stung, after all these years.::
Robins: ::remembering that someone was sat besides her:: Forgive me, I've got a few things on my mind. Do you play any other instrument, or just the guitar? I have a real fancy for the Laguna Serenade on the flute.
Valaine: Afraid that’s one I never fancied to learn.
:: He’d mention the plethora of other instruments he could play, but at the moment, even inebriated, he could see she had larger concerns in mind. That look in her eyes was old. ::
:: Old pain. ::
Valaine: Mind letting it off your shoulders? Seems like a heavy load.
Robins: Shame. And thank you for your concern, but no. It's nothing you can help with. It all happened a very...very long time ago.
Valaine: And yet here it remains, hovering overhead.
::She glugged the last of her drink down and slammed it down onto the table, as hot tears sprung to her eyes.::
Valaine: Come on then. At least tell me it doesn’t own you. That would be the most depressing of all.
:: The last third of his drink disappeared past his lips, and he held the glass aloft, indicating he’d take another. ::
Robins: I didn't think it did, but... Don't you think you're drunk enough?
Valaine: ::he huffed audibly, a smile gracing him again:: Maybe it’s *you* who’s not drunk *enough.*
Robins: I'd have to drink six gallons of the stuff to be anywhere near drunk enough to forget.
Valaine: ::not paying attention to her last comment:: Who was he?
Robins: ::glaring at him, but refusing to let him in just like that:: Who was who?
Valaine: Don’t pretend. I’ve seen that look before. A woman doesn’t carry it for nothing.
:: Perhaps the alcohol was making him a bit too aggressive about it, and another double Aldebaran whiskey was placed on the table as a wait staff came and went. ::
Robins: ::leaning back into her chair, slowly shaking her head:: He... He was someone I knew back on Mellor IV. When I was 15.
Valaine: ::sipping the whiskey this time:: And?
Robins: ::getting a little irritated by his insistence, but secretly glad she had someone to talk to about it after so long:: There are...rites that a couple go through. My parents prohibited it until I was older, but Savnum convinced me to go with him. He said he'd arranged the ceremonies. But when we arrived at the archipelago...:: sobbing now:: there was no one there! No one. And within a few minutes... he...
::She couldn't finish her sentence, as the sobs took over. She buried her head in her hands, crying.::
:: Chase’s blue eyes set on her, no humor left in his expression. The drink was held near his face, the abusive liquid sloshing in the glass as his eyes landed back on it again. If it looked like he’d made Robins cry, he paid no attention to anyone who might have noticed. It wasn’t their concern anyway. ::
Valaine: ::quietly:: He took advantage.
::She could do nothing but nod as old tears burnt her eyes.::
Robins: And he's bonding with my sister!
Valaine: ::blue eyes flashing back up to her:: Does she know?
Robins: ::shaking her head:: no one knows. No one knows at all.
:: There was a stretch of silence between them as he let her cry, thinking on it. This was one of those things you couldn’t judge harshly. If one person would respond one way, another would respond entirely different, and there was no “right” answer for any of them. ::
Valaine: ::carefully, despite his inebriation:: Don’t you think she *should* know?
Robins: ::nodding:: I tried to contact her, but its too late. She's already started the rites, and there's no way to get hold of her.
:: The silence stretched again, and Chase sighed into his drink, lifting it to his lips again, though he spoke before he drank again. ::
Valaine: Scumbag... ::and half the double whiskey left the glass, burning his throat:: ... can’t stand that type... deceptive jerks.
Robins: ::harshly, all the anger she'd hidden spilling over:: Oh and you're not? I don't mean to sound like a cliche, but it takes one to know one!
:: His eyebrow rose sharply, blue eyes flashing with a hint of drunken but restrained anger. ::
Valaine: I’m *nothing* like that. You know full well what I want, and I make sure of it. No tricks, no traps. I may be a whore, but I’m not a rapist.
:: Blue eyes closed, regretting the harsh words the moment he said them, but the anger remained. She wasn’t nearly drunk enough for him to accept that judgment. ::
::She sat in silence a moment as her mind tried to make her see sense. Her eyes widened as she realised he was right. She *did* know what he wanted. Didn't mean he was going to get it, but she knew. And that was one thing - no, the only thing - that stopped her walking out of the lounge.
Robins: I... I'm...sorry.
::She actually, truly, was sorry. She waved to a waiter as he passed.::
Robins: I think I need a drink. Calruddan whiskey.
Valaine: It’s natural, to be angry after that. But it's been a long while ago. Years now. Can’t go on being angry forever.
Robins: ::slowly, ashamed to have to admit:: I haven't let my anger rule me for years. I'll warn you now. When I get drunk, I won't be able to stop the anger.
Valaine: ::he grinned:: I think I’d pay to see you really, truly angry... ::he reached out and set his hand over her wrist, a light touch he intended to be supportive:: ... just once.
::She flinched from his touch and her eyes blazed.::
Robins: Don't. Ever. I may not...hate you the way I hate...him...but. Just don't. Ever.
:: His hand jerked up away from her, then hovered in the air slightly as his expression turned something far more sober than it should have been. Then the smile returned, with a light laugh of all things. ::
Valaine: Amazing what you’ll tell someone you claim to hate.
:: The half of his whiskey taken in a final shot, he clunked the glass back down on the table, then thought of it again, lifting it into the air for the wait staff to see. His third Aldebaran double was wisked before him along with her Calruddan whiskey. ::
::She took the glass from the waiter and downed half all at once. It stung, but nowhere near as much as the pain inside. She hadn't eaten all day, and in her professional capacity she knew it was more than a bit stupid to drink on an empty stomach, but she couldn't care less. She needed some time off from her memories and her cares.::
Robins: Give me a whole family, people who love me and care about me, and I can't tell them a thing. Give me someone I don't know and look what happens. ::she held his gaze, steady and firm:: You can't judge me. My family can. And they would. My mother would blame me for running off with him. My father, who isn't my father at all, doesn't care less. And my brother has enough on his plate to be worrying about his little sister. So can you judge me?
:: It made more than enough sense. Having a Vulcan father and a Denobulan mother, he could definitely understand the effect social judgment could have on a person. Being so intimate a thing as well... made it all that much harder. ::
Valaine: ::clearly, but his slur pronouncing:: Wouldn’t dream of it, Talya. So long as you can say the same about me. Believe me, I might just understand better than you think...
:: And yet another heavy draught of his liquor. ::
Valaine: But wouldn’t it be better for you to come to some sense of... closure, is it? There’s gotta be a way to let your sis know what’s what... or is it... who’s who... much better men out there for her and you alike. ::his smile turned dirty once again, and he was clearly indicating he was one of those men... even if she “hated” him.::
::Robins turned her green eyes on him. As much as she hated to admit it, that smile, as dirty as it was, brought some semblance of normality back to her. The universe hadn't changed.::
Valaine: Could do you some good, relieve some of that monstrous stress you’ve been heaving around all this time.
:: It was official. He was plastered, and returning to his norm. Which was to try to pick her up, regardless of the topic at hand. In his mind, not being allowed to touch her wasn’t a deal-breaker to his efforts. ::
Robins: I'm sure it would, but... I think I'm a little...*damaged* for most people to handle. ::She could feel the drink beginning to take effect:: I'd need a sign printed on my forehead - don't touch, don't look, don't get hurt in the process.
::She wasn't sure that what she said actually made all that much sense, but she really didn't care. When the waiter came round again, she guzzled the last of her drink down and begged for another one.::
Robins: I'll bet you two hours on the holodeck, one more drink and I'll be under the table or screaming from atop it.
Valaine: Mmm... the dutiful Talya Robins, doctor, dancing atop the tables. ::he appeared to think about the idea for a moment... very hard, in fact:: I vote that one. The bottoms of tables are disgusting, after all.
Robins: ::making a show of glancing underneath:: This one's clean, and you can forget the dancing. Unless you happen to have seven hankies with you?
::Robins *never* flirted. But then, she *never* drank either...::
Valaine: Nope, not’ah one.
Robins: ::the moment spoiled:: never mind. Look, I'd best get back to my quarters. My shift starts in a couple of hours.
Valaine: Run, run, fast as you can. ::he drank down a good portion of his remaining drink:: If you’re scared you might say something honest, I’ll understand if you want to leave.
Robins: I'm not scared. ::Actually she was lying through her teeth.::
Valaine: Why do you keep worrying about hurting others? If you letting someone know what you really think... what you feel... is harmful to them, then they donnea deserve your company.
:: And the rest went down as fast as the others, the glass empty again, and it wasn’t helping that he’d already drank before meeting Robins. He could feel the heat flushing through him, and had the fleeting thought that standing was going to be an interesting prospect. ::
Robins: ::stunned:: I happen to be a doctor. Want me to check you're still in possession of a heart?
Valaine: You’ve already told me you hate me, and compared me to what all... an’m still here. You’ern’t capable of hurting me, sweetheart.
:: That last bit wasn’t said in any friendly manner, and bit of the alcohol talking for him. ::
Robins: ::getting up to leave before she said something she'd later regret, then turning back.:: Sweetheart? Let me remind you, I could probably make a very interesting ornament out of your major organs.
:: Her remark brought him out of the inebriated haze for a moment, and he looked up suddenly as she turned to leave the table on her apparently final threat of decorating with his organs. She was angry, and everything in his instinct told him he couldn’t let her leave angry. ::
Valaine: ::standing suddenly:: Robins... wait!
:: But his master plan failed the moment he came to a standing position. The alcohol he’d been drinking before, during, and now chugging after his date with DeBarres coursed through his veins, and the sudden motion threw off his entire center. Legs going wobbly beneath him, the result was him flat on the table they’d been sparring across only moments before. ::
:: Both of the glasses, hers empty and his mostly empty, skittered to the floor in a twisting clatter. The few other guests at tables far off went a bit quiet, glancing over curiously at the sudden commotion before returning to their own tables business again, letting Chase push himself up from the flat of the table with at least a fraction of dignity. ::
:: But instead of standing, he slumped heavily into his seat again, having failed to complete the motion twice over. The bartender gave a warning glare in his direction, though it went entirely unnoticed. ::
Valaine: ::under his breath:: ... gaw’[...]it...
Robins: ::growling:: I hope this isn't some...:: She was going to say 'trick' but his words earlier were ringing in her ears.
Valaine: ::his slur heavier, his hand rising to press against his chest:: ... I *do* haffa hart... can feel’et pounding...
Robins: ::looking about and realising no one else was coming to his aid, she grabbed him round the waist:: Come on, drunkso.
::She shook her head vigorously as she stepped into doctor mode. The alcohol was still there, but her medical instincts were doing their job and kicking her into action.::
Valaine: Wher’r we goin?
Robins: ::hauling him to his feet:: To Sickbay, with any luck.
Valaine: No... quart...
:: He meant to say “to his quarters,” and not for any funny business, but she smartly interrupted him. Being a doctor, she had better sense than to just let him suffer for his over-indulgence. ::
Robins: No? ::she *really* wasn't in the mood to hear his protests:: Tough, drunkso. You got yourself into the mess, and if I left you to your own devices, we probably wouldn't see you through the hangover for a week. You're coming with me.
:: Making the point, his arm was over her shoulder for support. Even though the destination was not what he wanted, he could still appreciate the help. What with all that complicated walking going on. But his attempts being unorganized probably made it seem more protest than genuine effort. ::
Valaine: ::trying to insist:: … quarters’r fine, R’bins.
Robins: ::dragging him towards the exit of the lounge:: Oh, don't mind me. If you feel you can walk... ::which he honestly couldn't:: feel free to. In the meantime, I'll just drag you along.
::Hefting him along, she was glad the turbolift was just outside. Once the doors parted, she dragged him in, still protesting, and literally let go of him. He hit the floor with a thud.::
:: The shock of hitting the floor solidly on his [...] was muted by the alcohol, and so was his response to it, which was decidedly less quick or exclamative than it should have been. ::
Valaine: ::lightly::… ow.
Robins: ::without meaning:: sorry.
::They passed the short trip in silence. He was no doubt nursing a bad head and a queasy stomach. Robins, on the other hand, was simply trying to focus through the haze that had settled over her brain. What idiot drinks for who-knows-how-long, and doesn't expect some sort of repercussion to go along with it?::
Valaine: R’bins... the wurld is moving...
:: They were in the turbolift after all. But the words were more a warning, for her sake. If the “wurld” kept moving, so too might the contents of his stomach. ::
Robins: Almost there, drunkso.
::And not a moment too soon, the doors slid open again.::
Valaine: ::quieter now:: … haffa name, yi’no...
Robins: uh huh.
:: Somehow he ended up in her helpful arms again, though the effort couldn’t have been graceful, and she had him out of the turbolift and stumbling toward sickbay. He’d forgotten he didn’t want to go there, no longer protesting as they went through the double doors. He was only interested in no longer traipsing all over the ship, since every step made his entire body feel the effects. ::
Valaine: G’tta stop... ::his weight bearing down on Robin’s fully now::
::She sagged under his weight, and she lost her footing slightly. Taking a deep, aggravated breath, she hoisted him up once again and...wobbled...purposefully towards Sickbay.::
Robins: ::feeling something lurch:: oh no, you can wait until we get into Sickbay. *Then* you can throw up all over the floor.
::A few relieved steps later, and Robins threw the dead weight down onto the nearest biobed. Thankfully no one was already occupying it, because she had a sneaky feeling Valaine would've ended up on that specific biobed *anyway*.::
Robins: ::grabbing a hypospray:: you're not allergic to anything, are you?
Valaine: Ta... grumpy... w’men.
Robins ::Finding a phial and squinting to make sure she was reading it correctly through the thick haze that threatened to settle once again.:: Good. This oughtta sort your stomach out, and reduce some of the dizziness. Though the universe knows you [...] well deserve the effects.
Valaine: … fer s’mthin... er’uther...
:: It was done for him, and his lack of enunciation was nearly total. The walk had sent all the alcohol still in his stomach surging through his bloodstream. Even though he felt the need to hurl, he felt the need to stay still far stronger. Thankfully whatever Robins gave him eased the surging in his stomach. ::
:: And the instant he was able to relax, strewn on the bio-bed in what couldn’t be a comfortable position, he was out like a light. ::
::The minute Valaine was out, Robins knees gave out as the alcohol finally took its toll. The last thing she was aware of was the corner of the biobed looming ever closer.::
Ensign Talya Robins
Chief Warrant Officer
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