“You honestly think nobody has considered that before?” Liliah was on the couch staring at the ceiling. Her bare feet dangling off the far armrest of the standard-issue slate grey two-seater.
Shairo frowned a bit at the response; she hadn’t been able to find any published work on the matter. “With the sheer amount of people In this galaxy, I hold no such delusions.” Despite that, it felt harsh coming from someone she considered a friend.
“You’re just looking for something to occupy you.” Liliah her gaze shifted down from the ceiling to her feet, watching the candlelight illuminate the pale skin between her dark spots. “Maybe you should find something to distract you. Why don’t you organise a party or something?”
“A party? Just because I’m Orion, I’m good at planning parties?” Shairo stuck out a tongue at the fighter jock on her sofa, the light pink contrasting strongly with her darker green lips. Over the past couple of weeks, they’d been spending more time together, especially during moments when Liliah was struggling.
Liliah sighed slightly, rolling her eyes at the blatant attempt to bait a response. “I just thought you might want to do something other than being stuck in a room with a depressed, grounded bird.”
“Stop it. I love hanging with you, or I would’ve pawned you off to the counsellor.” Shairo mentally kicked herself for responding so strongly. She suppressed the desire to reach out to the dangling feet and give her an encouraging squeeze. To offer that bit of physical reassurance. Their friendship wasn’t really at that level yet, and she didn’t want to make things awkward. “Besides, people will think it’s weird if I randomly throw a party.”
“Then don’t make it random. I’m sure there are a dozen major holidays being celebrated on any given day of the Federation calendar.” Liliah pulled herself up and reached for the PADD on the table. “Let’s see,” she scrolled through significant events for Federation worlds. “Anniversary of the biggest bank heist of the bank of Bolus.” She looked up to see a confounded Orion look back at her, “Next week is a local Fertility festival on Risa.”
“Some things are better left local, I think.” Shairo leaned back in her chair, resisting the urge to stop this pointless endeavour.
“Here’s a good one,” Liliah looked up at Shairo, “Bajoran Liberation Day.” The fighter pilot tried to gauge the response from the engineer. “I’m sure the Captain will appreciate you putting in the effort.”
Despite herself, Shairo felt a bit of excitement on the mention of that one. It would be a way to show the commanding officer appreciation for the trust and support he was always giving her and the rest of the crew. “Maybe he’d just like to remember in solitude.” Her uncertainty immediately quelled the budding enthusiasm. “I can imagine being reminded of the occupation triggers some disturbing memories.”
“Isn’t there a remembrance thing leading up to it?” Lilian knew all too well that didn’t help. She also felt tremendous support from everyone on the ship, especially Shairo. It was something that could possibly be extended to the Captain as well. She waved the PADD with all the information in Shairo’s general direction.
“I’ll think about it.” Shairo reached out to accept the offered PADD.
“You do that.” A beat of silence between the two women. Liliah settled back into her less active pose from before. “Can you do some thinking while getting me an Iced tea from the replicator?”
Shairo threw a pillow at Liliah before getting up from her seat.
[Bridge, next morning]
“How did you manage to do that, Zirondelle?” Nicholas seemed chipper about the progress they’d been waking, working on the scientific survey with the nova-class USS Tasman.
Shairo was never one to boast about her accomplishments; she felt that they should speak for themselves. “It’s not a big deal. Only a 4.7% increase in effective sensor radius.”
“It’s kinda a big deal to us. Gets us back to fed space a half-day sooner.” Nicholas had checked all the numbers and they added up for the Akira-class vessel. Perhaps there was a way to apply it to the smaller science vessel they were escorting.
“I’ll share the specifics with you. I was thinking of writing a paper on it.” She looked at him with large green eyes, widening them for dramatic effect. Having a co-author from a science background would help tremendously.
Nicholas shook his head a bit. “How can I resist you when you look at me like that, sha.”
“Thanks, that means a lot.” Since her promotion, Shairo worked much more closely with the Chief of Science. It was an easy working relationship, with him taking up a mentoring role to the young lieutenant. “By the way, I was talking with Liliah the other night…”
Nicholas paused his work, “Yesterday?”
“Uhm. Yeah. Why?” Shairo was looking at his fingers that had paused over the controls.
“Nothin’.” Nicholas continued typing into the console.
Shairo pushed against his shoulder, “Oh, Come on, don’t be like that.”
Nicholas turned to face her, “Like what?”
“Questioning some random detail and then acting like it’s unimportant.”
“It’s really not important, just explains why you bailed on us.”
Shairo sighed a bit. It was true she had been spending more off duty time with Liliah, “She’s in a bit of a bad place, alright?”
“I’m sure she’s more than welcome to join us.” Nicholas stopped his processing of the scan results again.
“You don’t get it,” Shairo waved a hand dismissively at him.
“Oh I get it, sha, I recognise a dependency when I see one.”
“It’s not like that. She just needs some time To get back to her old self.” Neither of them was dependent; they just liked each other’s company. “Fine, forget I said anything.”
“So you were just hanging out, nobody taking advantage of anyone as a social crutch, and you had an idea.” Nicholas shrugged before returning to the scan results. Clearly still bothered by the situation.
“Never mind.” Shairo returned to her own monitoring. “It was stupid.”
“I’m sorry, alright.” Nicholas immediately backtracked when Shairo seemed like a small cat caught in the rain. “Sorry, Zirondelle. We were just disappointed you blew us off last minute.” Nicholas reached out and put an arm around the young Orion.
“I know. I’m sorry too. I miss the matches. It’s just. Lil needs me right now.” Shairo leaned into the hug and wrapped her arms around the broad-shouldered human.
Nicholas squeezed her shoulder before releasing the embrace. “Just don’t forget about your own needs, y’hear?” he leaned down slightly to look her in the eyes. “And don’t let her hear you called her that in front of me.”
Shiro shook her head, a smirk forming. “I won’t, I promise.”
“Alright. So. What amazing plan did you come up with?” Nicholas took a small step back to continue the conversation while also continuing the task at hand.
Shairo quickly looked over to the command well to check if the Captain was there, thinking she should’ve probably checked before hugging a superior officer. “We want to surprise the Captain with a Bajoran Liberation day party.”
“A little fais do-do, huh,” Nicholas lit up at the suggestion. “Now I get why you came to me!”
Unsure of whether there was any particular reason except that she needed help and he had always been very helpful. “So, you’re in?”
Nicholas gave a crooked grin, “Laissez les bon Temps rouler.”
Shiro looked at him with some confusion.
“That means yes, Sha.”