‘A View to Behold'
Mess Hall, Deck 6
McGregor scoffed two pancakes, syrup and bacon into his gob. He greeted Molly with a hearty and loud, "Morning Molly!" And how is my excellent XO. Care for some eggs? That way, you'd be really egg-cellent!"
Molly stared hard at McGregor. Her straight face a stark contrast to the laughter lines on his, as he resumed chomping on his breakfast. "You know McGregor, you don't exactly have the best sense of humour. Nor do you have the best sense of table manners."
He wiped his mouth with the sleeve of his uniform. Speaking with a full mouth he declared, "Wha ye mean?"
"Captain, could it possibly be true that your chat with Admiral Faraday this morning was not conducted as professionally as one might expect of another captain?"
"Rear-Admiral!" He held up an admonishing finger to correct her. "A Rear-Admiral, remember Molly." His emphasis on the rear not lost on Molly who could conclude what had indeed transpired and thus explained the follow up call she had received.
"And what exactly was said during your conversation?"
"Oh, he said something, something, something and wasn't I a sight to behold. I think he had a point." He pointed his fork at Molly to underscore his thought.
She sighed and sat in the canteen bench seat opposite the captain. "Do you ever think captain, that once you finish up such a call that I get a follow up call that actually has to deal with the paper work and formalities of the business you are supposed to conduct with the Rear-Admiral?"
"Of course it does." Molly frowned at that disbelievingly. "Why else do you think I have an XO? Apart form your sparkling company Molly. That and the fact I have someone to play golf with."
She shook her head. "Well you'll be happy to know that things are straightened out with Faraday."
"I sorted them out already!" He shrugged his shoulders, a little affronted.
"Oh don't you worry captain. Your bravado and brushing the Admiral off is perfectly accepted by him, without my weighing in. He's happy enough for you to go all Rambo. So long as it doesn't come back on him. He did his usual song and dance about you being a greater danger to the ship than T'Hos or anything else we should meet. I told him that was hardly news. You've always been our greatest liability."
"I wouldn't say that. There's Gunny. He's a right raving loony. Why on earth I keep him is beyond me."
"In your words, ‘because he is a right raving loony and we need loonies to run this place'. He's just another cog in the stellar crew you have assembled."
McGregor beamed. "Yes, true. He serves a good purpose. By the way, you'll find he and Rah will be cooking up a few things today."
"Yes, that's why I came to you. What exactly have you planned for today?" She leaned in to look McGregor in the eye.
He played innocent as he munched on his breakfast. "Oh just some fun and games. Not to mind Molly. Some milk?"
She pushed the proffered glass away. "No thank you. I get you wanting to keep it secret from the crew. However, you can divulge your plans with me. Or should I say, you are supposed to share your plans with me."
"Ah, but where would the fun be in that for you Molly? Everyone else gets to be surprised. Why not you too?"
She shook her head. "I don't like surprises, so you needn't worry on that front."
He looked around conspiratorially before whispering, "All right then. I'll let you know, but walk with me. Everyone else is trying to listen in on us."
Various persons in the mess hall sat up straight and chairs scraped on the floor as they shifted to not be seen to be eavesdropping. McGregor chuckled and Molly shared it.
"I hope this is something worthwhile."
He nodded his head fervently. "Oh it is. It's going to piss T'Hos off no end."
"I'm not entirely sure that is the approach we should be taking. He's pretty pissed as is." Molly cautioned.
"Yup! And the more pissed he gets the more mistakes he makes. Don't worry Molls, I've him figured out." He bounded up out of his seat and strode purposefully out of the mess hall waving, a piece of bacon in hand, "Tally ho, breakfasteers!"
They chorused back, "Tally ho, Captain!"
"Don't you just love this crew Molls?" He grinned delightedly as he wolfed down the bacon.
* * *
Starboard Viewing Gallery, Deck 9
Noah had found himself roaming the corridors with time to spare before his shift. He had called on Jex but it seemed she had similarly gotten up early and was not in her room. Noah wondered as to her whereabouts and would have used the computer to discover them, but he felt it was too much like checking up on her and he realised that he already took up so much of her off time. As she had said, he needed to make friends with other people. No doubt, this was some sort of veiled comment that he was taking up too much of her time and she was the one who wanted to make friends and spend time with other people.
If his morning hadn't started off badly enough, this glum thought depressed him greatly. In fact, it near out right angered him. He stalked the crew corridors in a foul mood. His boyish features scowling and giving Noah the air of being petulant. A few crewmembers on the corridor opted to not say hello as he charged past them. Noah found himself feeling angrier at their submissive manner even as he delighted that no one was talking to him.
Once inside the turbolift he stamped his foot in irritation as it took its time getting to deck nine. He did not know why he headed here, but he found himself clenching his fists and needing some space. He charged into the starboard viewing gallery but came to an abrupt stop.
"Good morning Mr Cutler."
Noah stepped back startled at Stanley's friendly welcome. He had not expected to meet anyone in what were affectionately called the ‘knocking bubbles', otherwise known as the viewing galleries. Startled, Noah looked at the alien creature squatted in front of the glass with the expanse of space surrounding him. At his foot lay a ball of wool, knitting needles and an incomplete scarf.
The surprise Noah displayed came from his being engrossed in his foul mood and his mind clouded with dark thoughts centred on Ronak. Coming here was an attempt to find somewhere to breathe and to clear his thoughts. His thoughts suddenly interrupted, Noah was disturbed at just how intense his anger was. Yes, he had cause to be angry but to feel this pent up about it was unlike him. He was equally disturbed to see that Stanley himself appeared to be in a contemplative mood and he had obviously interrupted him.
"Sorry I didn't mean to intrude ... Stanley. I hadn't thought anyone would be here."
"That is perfectly fine. It is obvious you were expecting no one. I am equally disturbing you."
"No, no. Not at all." He shifted uneasily wondering whether he ought best to make a retreat. "You have been released from the medical bay then?"
Stooping to pick up his set aside knitting, Stanley continued, "Dr. Monroe only kept me for observation and to keep the captain content."
"Uh huh!" Noah wanted to say more but found his throat dry. He felt unsure, no uneasy, around Stanley after his revelation. It worried him no end. Noah feared another ‘vision' and felt a spectre of death almost hung over Stanley. It seemed strange after his initial impressions of the strange alien had been of a quirky oddity. Now Stanley seemed to be a prophet of death.
"It is a view to behold is it not?" Stanley nodded in the direction of the streaming stars at warp. Noah looked out at the visage. Yes, it really was impressive. He nodded his head in agreement. "Sometimes, I hear the stars sing."
Noah's eyes bulged and he blurted, "They sing?"
"Yes." Stanley stated plainly. "I sense them. I feel the ebb and flow of the galaxy." Noah shifted uneasily as a lump formed in his throat. Stanley noticed Noah's discomfiture. "I do not mean to, how is it Captain McGregor puts it? I do not mean to ‘freak you out' Ensign Noah. Merely I wish to inform you that I appear to have extra-sensory abilities. I cannot elaborate any further than because I do not understand it. Nor does the captain."
"Haven't you know, people, Starfleet, or even Dr. Monroe and Lt. Commander T'Vel investigated that? I can't imagine they would pass up such a study. I don't mean you are some sort of science experiment but you know it is somewhat unusual."
"Yes, that is why the captain will not inform Starfleet of my abilities."
"Sorry, the captain can't do that."
"He is the captain." Stanley shrugged as if that was all to say that was all. "He does not want me to become some sort of Earth rodent."
"A guinea pig. I guess not."
"Lt. Commander T'Vel has examined me; however it seems my being the only one of my kind hampers such investigations."
With sad eyes, Noah declared solemnly. "That must be really ... lonely."
A long silence passed. Noah sighed deeply, in part relieved that his anger has subsided. He shook his head wondering at where the well of anger had come from. He couldn't fathom it, then he recalled his quarters when Ronak ...
"You may ask."
"Sorry?" Noah confused replied to the unexpected interruption to his train of thoughts. "Ask what?"
"Ask me about my visions. It is normally what occurs when one experience me having a vision for the first time. It is only natural to be curious." Stanley looked at him sincerely. Still Noah was hesitant to ask.
"No thank you. As much as I am curious, to be honest it ... it scares me." He winced revealing that.
Stanley nodded. "That is perhaps the first time anyone has ever said that. Most are curious and believe it must be a gift. However, it is far from a gift." Stanley's eyes became vacant as he stared into nothing, absorbed in his own thoughts. "I see only the pain of things to come, I foresee destruction, I see the shadows and the spectres, I can tell an anguish that awaits a friend, the aches and the traumas of a crewmate, I see the fates of strangers; And I see Death, Death all around, Death come to all."
Stanley almost stumbled back at the dark foreboding words. A chill went up his spine and the cold of space felt like it had leached into the room. Stanley advanced arms open in apology. "I am sorry Ensign. I did not mean to frighten you."
"It's ok. Anyway, I'd best be off. You need your space."
"It is ok." He picked up his things and tidied them into a bundle then set them into a small brown satchel. He removed from the front pocket his favourite multicoloured scarf. "I think rather, that I will go for a walk."
Noah walked a small way with him and as Stanley bid goodbye, tossing his scarf around his neck, "I will see you, Ensign Cutler."
"Yeah, later Stanley."
Stanley then stepped up to an emergency airlock, punched in some commands, quickly entered, and sealed the door behind him. Noah stopped startled. Looking through the small window, he saw the inner controls switch from green to red as the compartment decompressed and the outer door opened. And Stanley disappeared out the door.
Noah gasped and then roared. "Oh my God! Stanley!"
He slapped his combadge as he ran back to the viewing gallery to spot Stanley's body, "Cutler to McGregor! Stanley's just walked out of the ship!"
"What is it Cutler?" The cry came from behind as McGregor and Cartwright approached from their walk. McGregor rushed up his face frowning.
Noah wagged him frantically into the viewing gallery as he scanned the open space for sight of Stanley. "He just walked out the airlock and tossed himself out into space. One minute he's packing away an unfinished scarf and the next he just goes for a walk outside, with no EVA suit!"
"What!" McGregor rushed up to the window to stand alongside the frantic Noah.
Noah grabbed the captain's arm. "Quick, we have to get a transporter lock on him."
"You say he stepped outside after not getting a scarf finished?"
Cutler, breathing rapidly in panic, stopped confused at the captain's focus. "Yes sir. He's out there somewhere."
"Damn him. He promised me he'd have my scarf finished." McGregor leant over the railing in front of the expansive window and proceeded to knock hard on it. Rapping the window he called, "Stanley! Where's my scarf?"
Molly frowning and unperturbed pointed out in a schoolteacher tone. "He can't hear you Captain. He's outside, you know, in the vacuum of space. I really do wish he wouldn't do that when we are at warp."
"Damn the fool, he might lose my new scarf. Oh, wait a minute. Ensign you never mentioned he had his satchel with him! It's alright, the scarf is safe."
Cutler looked at his two commanding officers not comprehending. Molly tapped him on the shoulder and pointed out to a spot along the hull. There Noah could see the blue figure of Stanley, with satchel over his shoulder and scarf wrapped around him, taking a walk along the hull.
"How? He's not able to breathe ... how? I don't ..."
McGregor gave him a derisive look. "You don't seem to understand a lot of things ensign. I'd best meet Stanley on the bridge." McGregor moved off.
Cutler watched him go and turned to the commander. She patted him on the back as Sebastian Templar came into the gallery to see what the commotion was. Cutler pointed out the window to Sebastian. The security officer merely lifted his chin a little unperturbed at the sight seemingly. "He does that a lot then."
"Only when he has a lot to think about or when he accompanies the captain." Molly provided. To Noah she explained, "Stanley can breathe or not breathe as the case might be out in space. We've timed him up to thirty minutes but don't normally allow him to try it out longer than that."
"But ... but ... but how?"
"There's a great many things we can't fathom about our blue-coloured friend out there. That," she pointed out to Stanley who had turned to look around at the passing stars, "is what we call his party trick and the least of what concerns us about him. See you on the bridge later ensign. You're going to discover that you are about to have a very interesting day. Likewise Mr Templar. It might just be fun." She clapped them both on the back and wandered off.
Noah looked at Templar and then out at Stanley. His look incredulous. He couldn't imagine how it could get any more interesting than seeing this sight.
To Sebastian Noah asked, "You knew about Stanley being able to do - that?"
"Not til yesterday. And trust me, when I say it, it near made me shit my EVA when I did."
The two looked out at Stanley who was now looking back at them. He raised a hand, waving it at the two ensigns. Noah and Sebastian found themselves waving back absently before realising it and becoming embarrassed. Stanley turned throwing his scarf over his shoulder before disappearing over the rim as he continued on his merry way.
* * *