A Night to Remember Part 1
The Encounter 3X03
Location: Beatrice Power's Quarters - USS Endeavour
Timeline: MD 2 - 1900 hrs
Jack was not entirely sure what was going on here, or what to expect. Every part of his Marine instincts told him to beware. However, he wanted to get to know the young doctor better. There was something about her. So, he put on a clean uniform and made his way to her quarters.
Jack rang the door chime, "Bea, it's Jack..."
"Just a minute, Lieutenant!" Beatrice called out. She stared at herself in the mirror and practiced her smile one last time. How's this? More natural? Beatrice's lips curled into a friendly smile accentuated by sheen of deep red lipstick. Yet her eyes remained sullen and disinterested. It can be so vexing to convey emotion through your primitive forms.
Bea found that she wouldn’t move away from the reflection of her eyes. They were an area that she never paid much attention to before but tonight they looked so dull...the subtle twinkle or sparkle of life seemed dimmed....They made her wonder if this was really her staring back or maybe it was all just an illusion.
Bea had retreated to a quiet state since just before the encounter in sickbay. She just didn’t know what she could contribute...she managed the simplest of engagements with the alien; offering direction on the black slacks and emerald green top that she wore, how to arrange her hair in the French plait that followed her crown down along her spine, the light brushing of makeup applied to her skin and the lipstick on her lips. To Bea it was all normal and routine to a set degree; but she felt no heart in wanting or having the will power to engage any further.
Jack stood out in the corridor and was getting some weird looks from crew members as they walked by. He decided to ring the chime again "Is everything okay Bea. Should I come back at a better time." He wondered if this was a mistake, if he was mistaken.
The doors to Beatrice's quarters slid open. "Sorry to keep you waiting, Jack." She looked up at the Marine with an apologetic smile. "I just had to put the finishing touches on." Is he attractive for a member of your species? Beatrice turned away from the door to let Lieutenant Patton enter her quarters.
Jack walked in and was astonished, she seemed to do a total about face when she was off duty. She was a stunner to boot. "Good things come to those who wait, I hope you like red." He said as he handed her a bottle of wine and smiled. "You look beautiful..." He added rather sheepishly it seemed that Patton was out of practice when it came to women.
"Thank you...on both counts." Beatrice graciously accepted the bottle and gave it a cursory inspection. She had no idea what any of the words on the label meant. "And you're quite the handsome Marine, Jack." She smiled up at him. "So...I hope you don't mind that I cheated and used the replicator. I'm not much for actual cooking."
"Replicated food would be a welcome change from the rations that I have been eating on my way here." He thought for a moment, she had called him a handsome Marine. There was something just off on the syntax of that sentence. "I am more than a Marine Bea..." He said as he took the bottle from her and opened it. "So what are we having?"
Bea was still trying to process the difference between the Jack she had met only the day before in sickbay and the Jack that had followed the alien’s direction. He was different...his presence still commanded attention but there was something softer; especially when he reminded her that he was more than a marine. It brought back the memory of the man that had been on the table when she saved his life. Beneath that uniform he’s also a man...flesh and blood like you and I.
How little you understand. Beatrice extended her arm to the small dining table afforded junior officers on the Endeavour. "At first I wasn't sure what to do," She explained. "I thought about something exotic - Andorian Snow Bean Stew or Romulan Bison - but I settled on something cliche instead." At the table, Beatrice had arranged the makings of an Italian dinner, courtesy of the replicator. Baked Ziti. Fresh salad. Como bread. Oil and vinegar. Antipasti of meats and cheeses. It was bountiful, but portioned for two.
"So...what do you think, Jack?" Beatrice asked, stepping up behind him. She carefully placed her hands on his shoulders. Your help was invaluable. Our usual appetite isn't so...convoluted.
Bea would have jerked her hands back if she’d been afforded any control of her body. It wasn’t Jack...it was the idea that it wasn’t her touching him. It was her body but it wasn’t her mind. The aliens words confused the Doctor for a moment as she initially thought the alien spoke of Jack himself and their intentions of what to do with him...it was a few moments more before she pieces together that the alien spoke of the actual dinner.
Jack chuckled a bit. "Baked Ziti will suit fine, simple food for a simple guy." He said as he uncorked the wine and poured. "Please sit down, I am rather surprised you asked me to dinner. Tell me all about Bea..." His boyish charm was showing, but you still could not deny a man who took charge.
"I didn't realize you worked for Starfleet Intelligence and the Marine Corps," Beatrice joked. She forced a smile to complete the effect. Memories of the primitive hosts remained difficult to extract. Curious one he is. I hope we won't have to punish him for it. "What's there to tell? Born on Ireland, studied medicine in California, joined Starfleet...and now here with you...sharing a meal."
Jack laughed and then tucked into his meal. "Come on there has to be more to you than that. What's your favorite color? Your favorite flower? Favorite movie and book? I'm sure there is more to know than where you were born and where you went to school." He was a little worried something seemed odd about Bea, he just couldn't put his finger on it.
Bea felt as though she’d phased out for a moment, the retelling of her own memories by what was essentially another’s voice caused an almost shift in dimension. She felt almost foggy and groggy like...almost like it would have been so easy to drift away.
"Oh...I haven't been asked about my favorite color in a long time," Beatrice said. She joined Jack at the table. "Last time I thought about it...it was purple...or at least that's what I felt at the time." Beatrice began to plate her food ensuring a healthy and reasonable mix of salad and pasta with a full glass of wine. Favorite color. Favorite flower. Favorite media. Such small things you concern yourselves with. No wonder you need us so much.
We manage our own lives without you, why would we need you now? Bea would have but her tongue is she’d been able, her outburst carrying undertones of exasperation and desperation as she was forced to listen to one voice inside and her own voice speak words that didn’t make sense. Blue was her favourite colour but even that nolonger mattered anymore it was to seem.
Jack was military man with a military plate, meaning it was organized. It was the sort of thing that you only saw in inmates and military personnel. If showed anything about it him, it showed that he was never not on duty, always on guard.
He tucked into the meal and it was delicious. "I am not sure if is the fact that I have been eating rations for the past three weeks or not. But this is absolutely delicious." He raised is glass "A toast to new interests..." he said as he looked into her eyes.
Bea watched the stealed eyes as they watched her. She wondering if he had any hint of there something not being right. In the short time they had previously met; had Jack been able to gain enough about her that he might just know something was off. If she was honest, was this not the closest opportunity she’d had in the last day that perhaps the parasite inhibiting her might be found.
Jack sat there perplexed.. He had raised his glass to toast and yet she made no effort to join him in the toast. She also did not seem to be interested in eating, although she had a full plate of food. "Are you just not that hungry? Bea..." Jack was never one to beat around the bush.
"Sorry, Jack. It's just been a while since I've been on date," Beatrice said. She belatedly raised her glass. "To new interests!" She smiled broadly at the man seated across from her. I have yet to mate when joined with your kind. Do you wish to join with him? He seems to find you an acceptable mate.
Bea wasn’t too sure how to respond to that. She was dumbfounded...how had this gone from saving a guys life to...well...If she’d been able to sit down herself this was one of those moments she might have needed to. It wasn’t Jack...she could see the appeal...maybe...kinda...but that it wasn’t even that. The intimacy that the alien alluded to when it wouldn’t even be her choice... It’d be her body but not her. That closeness that two people share when there’s a mutual attraction...none of if would be her choice.
There was nothing she could do...any attempt to even give an alarm could leave Jack dead...maybe even herself. What would stop the alien leaving her dead and taking Jack instead. It could pass from one person to the next without a second thought...nobody deserving to have their whole being stripped as Bea had had hers. Jack deserved so much more....
Sometimes that’s not how it works...He may become suspicious if you did try to instigate something. Bea wasn’t even sure how it worked anymore. Jack hadn’t brought a gift to suggest romantic intentions, just a bottle of wine that one might give a friend or acquaintance. The uniform instead of normal clothes indicated a slight distance...but then there was things he’d said...words invoking certain connotations...ways he’d tried to push his separation between being a man and an officer. Perhaps the alien had it more right than she’d realised before. Bea was confused...more confused than she’d ever been and she just wanted away from here. She wanted her body back...her decisions...her choices...she just wanted to be her again.
Jack smiled and took a sip of his wine. He looked at her sheepishly there was a lot of things he wanted to say to her and he just wasn't sure how to say it. "Bea... ummm..." He paused and took a deep breath while he thought just treat it like a mission and come out and say it. He smiled and began again, "Bea there are two things I have wanted to say to you since I saw you when I woke up in Sick Bay. The first is thanks... I know that you thought of it as your job but for a man like expects to die on every mission. You saved me... Not just my life but from that line of thinking. Secondly, I am beyond happy that you asked me to dinner. It is rare for me to have a woman as interesting and as beautiful as you pursue me. You are one stunning woman..."
When he finished speaking he looked into her eyes again but this time with a different intention. This time he did it to see if the same feelings that he had budding were in her eyes as well. The person that he saw staring back seemed disinterested, not just in him but disinterested in everything.
Bea watched Jack’s eye through her own as she felt something tug at her gut as she listened to Jack’s words. It brought her back to that moment in sickbay when she’d had to persuade herself that patients and Doctor’s required boundaries...boundaries that existed for the prevention of what was happening right now. Had the alien not been in her would she have ever asked Jack to dinner? Maybe how he felt would have had been to blow over...it was still so soon after she had treated him.
As the thoughts and emotions and confusion tumbled through her mind, Bea still couldn’t fight off one instinct...the one that tried to empower her hand to move out to touch his. To rest her fingers against his
"I would just say it's my job to save people Jack, but...when I saw you I felt something. I'm just glad there was still a man left to save." Beatrice set her glass down and reached for Patton's hand.
Jack took her hand and smiled he relished in the warmth of the contact. There was something to this woman. But the signals were mixed he thought. One moment she seems to be interested and the next like she is on her own planet.
He noticed a picture on the table behind Bea. It depicted a man riding a horse and little girl. Jack presumed that the girl was Bea, but he was curious who the man was. Probably her father he thought. "Hey that is a beautiful horse. Who is that riding? I have never rode horses before but would love to learn." He took a stab at conversation as he attempted to learn the answer to his question.
Bea froze, she didn’t need to see the picture to know the one he spoke about. Jonathan... even the sound of her voice in her own head quietened as she whispered his name. The memory still so raw...even rawer now in her defenselessness. Not now...she couldn’t do this now.
To Be Continued in Part 2