S.S. Fawkes - CF-142AC
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Best Laid Plans

Posted on Friday July 31st, 2020 @ 05:25 hours by Alexandria Farron & Lozen Nachtnebel
Edited on on Friday July 31st, 2020 @ 19:59 hours

Mission: Safe Passage
Location: Lo’s Quarters
Timeline: MD04 1240 Hours

Alexandria's hard work and skill had carried her to victory against the Grand Slime Xorplu, but unfortunately the same could not be said for her efforts to cosplay her Star Crusader character at FantasyCon 2395. She knew what she wanted the end product to look like, but as for the process or where to even start? She was lost. With a sigh she put the finishing touches on her character sketch, and saved the image on her work datapad. She was not pleased with the result. Using the drawing program she could sketch intricate star maps and plot complex courses, but using the same program to draw a two dimensional cartoon character?

It was her, of course. Wearing a suit of future-fantasy plate armor, and carrying a giant broadsword, pulsing with mystic energy. It also looked like a small child had drawn it.

The navigator was completely out of her depth. She had no idea how to make anything. She could barely make her morning oatmeal, and all that required was a cup of hot water. Mercy, the ship's engineer, might let her use the workshop and fabricator, but only if she showed up with materials and solid blueprints on hand. If not? She shuddered at the thought of annoying the seemingly gentle, but still very large Sirran. No, she needed to talk to some other people first.

But who? She couldn't ask Captain May. Hey, uhhh, Captain? Can I use ship's resources to make a fake sword and armor so I can pretend to be Star Crusader when you unleash me onto your homeworld? Alexandria would get marooned there.

In Starfleet, when she'd needed something of a personal, or rather, individual nature, the Quartermaster was the one to find. She'd heard that the Fawkes had a new Quartermaster! Maybe not so new. Alexandria was quite antisocial, and usually among the last to meet new crew. In some cases, they'd already moved on by the time she worked up the courage to talk to them. She hoped that wasn't the case here.

And, indeed, Lozen Nachtnebel did still hold the position of quartermaster, a job she found increasingly frustrating as days went on, largely because the note-taking abilities of both previous quartermasters and the Captain herself were dearly lacking, forcing her to recreate a proper supply database from scratch.

While Alexandria fought with her drawing program, Lo sat in her quarters at the small desk provided for her use, muttering to herself. Had there even been a quartermaster on the ship before now? Lo ran the tip of her finger down the screen, scrolling through reams of data from the ship's core. Fawkes was too old to have reliable holographic interfaces, so she used the access screen included with her desk to draw out information from logs, flight plans, and security recordings. When she found data that she needed, she transferred it to her working PADD, organizing as she went. A painstaking and frustrating process, but a necessary one if she wanted to make the most of the limited supply funds May agreed to provide.

She stretched, feeling little pops go off in her spine and shoulders from her poor posture. I'm way too young to be getting old, she thought, grimacing. Just then, she heard a tiny knock at the door. The sound confused her for several seconds because it seemed so out of place. Who knocks instead of using the chime?

"Er, come in?" she said, turning in her swivel seat to face the door.

Alexandria peeked her head inside, as if looking for monsters or traps. Mainly she was looking to make sure Lozen didn't have any pets. The last thing she wanted was for some slobbering dog to run up on her. Or a cat. She shuddered at the thought. But there didn't appear to be any pets.

"Hi, uh, your door chime isn't working. Are you..." Alexandria took a chance pronouncing the name she'd seen in the ship's logs but had yet to hear aloud. She completely and utterly butchered it. "...Losin Necknibble?" Her attempt didn't sound exactly like that, of course, but close enough.

Lo opened her mouth and shut it again. Necknibble? The woman standing in front of her, young with styled grey-black hair, looked completely out of place. Not merely because of her scruffy clothing or odd blue eyes -- the woman seemed vaguely out of place in her own skin. Or perhaps, Lo admitted silently to herself, that assessment was her own anxieties creeping into the light of day.

She smiled, "It's Nachtnebel. Sort of like N-a-k-t-neb-el. But call me Lo, please. You're Alexandria aren't you, Fawkes's navegator? I'm sorry we haven't had the chance to meet yet, I've been a bit overloaded settling in." Then Lo felt a light sense of recognition when she noticed the emblem emblazoned on Alexandria's tee-shirt and her smiled widened. "You like the classic science fiction shows, huh? They don't make them like that these days. I mean, I love interactive stuff, but there's something nostalgic about a movie." She shook her head, feeling a bit silly with this relative stranger standing in her doorway. "Sorry. Anyway, is there something you need?"

Alexandria stared blankly for a second, not realizing how Lo had gathered all of this information about her. Was a she a Betazoid mind reader? Maybe. But then she realized the shirt she was wearing, which bore the logo of a fictional investigative branch in mid-23rd century Starfleet. They were tasked with investigating paranormal locations and events that science had failed to explain. She couldn't remember the name of the show. She wasn't actually a huge fan of it, as the storytelling was odd and the character drama was bit too slow burn for her taste. But she really liked the short uniform dresses the women in Starfleet wore back then. Plus they all had very interesting hair. And she simply liked the shirt. It was a nice shade of blue.

Nodding in response to the comments and queries, Alexandria felt slightly uncomfortable. Not with Lo, but she was part of it. She seemed very friendly and outgoing. The navigator was very shy and awkward in comparison. Sometimes it rattled her to see the ease with which people casually interacted with others for the first time. Even if it was ultimately making the interaction easier for her. There was also the matter of Lo's hair. It was magnificent, both in style and shade. She couldn't help but gape at it for an extra moment.

Eventually Alexandria realized she was standing there, staring and fumbling to speak like a fish caught out of water. "I'm uhh... putting together this outfit for shore leave, from scratch. It's ahh... kind of hard to explain..." She trailed off, looking at the drawing on her datapad for help. Crap. She thought, as she saw again how badly drawn it was.

"An outfit?" Lo stared at woman for a moment, stuck wondering what sort of outfit could possibly require the help of the ship's quartermaster. Then she shrugged and held out her hand toward Alexandria's tablet. "Sure, show me what you need and I'll see what I can do. Or, you can send it to my screen if you want."

Alexandria handed over her datapad. It had a smaller screen. The smaller the drawing looked, the better. Though inexpertly drawn, the image clearly conveyed a woman wearing what appeared to be a suit of armor. It was clearly a product of fantasy, with a blending of theoretical modern and ancient Terran medieval design, probably constructed out of polymers and lightweight metals. It had a dark sheen and a purple cape. Either there was no helmet, or Alexandria had not included one in her rough sketch design, thought the woman's head bore a clear likeness to her.

Held in her hand was a rather large sword. The Pulsar Sword. It was a broadsword design, with a two handed hilt and it appeared to be glowing with a kind of energy. It looked quite large for someone of Alexandria's stature.

"Nice," Lo said. "Wish I could draw stuff like this." She contemplated the drawing for several seconds, taking her time. Truthfully, she thought, the drawing itself didn't show much in the way of artistic skill, but it more than made up for that in obvious passion. She let her thumb "accidentally" slide over the side of the screen, momentarily revealing the editing pane and a long history of corrections made to the cartoonish portrait. So, our navigator's got a bit of a geeky side.

"I'm guessing you don't plan of wearing this during your duty shift."

Alexandria's eyes bulged slightly, not expecting the compliment. Lo must have been really bad at art if she wished she wished she was as good at her. Or she was lying, but Alexandria tried not to consider that. She was not a very good judge of sincerity, and paranoid enough as it was working with pirates.

"Uhhm.... no." Alexandria said in reply to Lo's later guess, her eyes bulging a bit more. She had thought the answer was a given. The armor wouldn't be thick enough for real armor. That would be a waste of material, and she probably wouldn't make it half a day through the convention wearing it. The only use it would have during a duty shift would be if a gang of Klingon marauders boarded the ship and started swinging their bladed weapons around, and that was unlikely, because... well, she would flee.

"It's for FantasyCon 2395." Alexandria said timidly, as if not wanting to admit that she was requesting materials for something that many would deem trivial.

"FantasyCon!" Lo shook her head, still staring at the drawing. That brought back memories, as well as painful nostalgia for a childhood that barely seemed to have existed. "I wanted to go so badly when I was a kid..." She said this more to herself than Alexandria, following them hastily with a question, "So, is your costume sketch?"

"It's from the Star Crusader. Kari is going as the princess. We're going to enter in the costume competition... hopefully." Alexandria wasn't certain that her costume would be good enough for the competition, but she would try. "But you should go, there might still be tickets left?" The last statement carried just enough doubt to sound like a question. FantasyCon on Betazed wasn't as popular as similar conventions on Earth or other Human worlds, but Alexandria had gotten her tickets days ago, as soon as she realized they were going to Betazed. She hadn't really thought to make a mention of it on the crew bulletin. She wasn't really that social. Plus... well, they were pirates. Real pirates weren't supposed to go to fantasy conventions.

Lo noticed a bit of hesitation in the Navigator's invitation, which she attributed to the offhand mention of 'Kari.' That was one of the Fawkes' lower deck hands, if she remembered the name from the crew roster correctly. And, if she remembered the cheerful face that went with that name, she thought she understood.

"Ah, well, I'm sure the captain will have me working double shifts or something... But still." She laughed, a sudden feeling of lightness bubbling up inside. After all, with her Starlfeet career dashed to pieces, maybe she needed to look back to her childhood dreams for fulfillment. She looked down at the tablet again and the drawing there.

"I would actually love to go to this. My fandoms are about a decade out of date, but yeah." After all, what could May possibly want her to do when they reached betazed? Aside from dealing with some cargo offloads and crew transfers, it would easy, right? Lo resisted the urge to find something wooden to rap her knuckles against for luck.

"So, this armor... you need help fabricating it?"

Alexandria actually cracked a small smile when Lo expressed interest in going. It was a weird smile though, almost... mastermindey-ish? In a way it was, though in another way, she just sucked at smiling. All the pieces were falling into place though. If the Quartermaster wanted to go, then that meant she'd probably be more agreeable to crafting some seriously high-quality cosplay.

Alexandria nodded to Lo'a question. "I've got a list of materials... some fabric for the base layer, preferably polyester or spandex. I'm not a fan of cotton. Some thermosetting polymer for the armor plating, possibly with some aluminum or some other lightweight metal to add in metallic details. And some enamel paint if we have any. What I'm more concerned about is the sword though..." By the way Alexandria shrugged, it was clear she knew a lot less about swords than she did about cosplay.

Though she trailed off after her mention of the sword, it didn't seem like Alexandria was done speaking. She seemed like she had a question to ask, but didn't immediately know how to ask it. It was actually a very easy question, she just wasn't good with socializing.

"So... if you could be anyone... your favorite character, I mean. Who would you be?" The navigator asked solemnly, as if she were prying into a heavily guarded secret.

Lo did not even have to think about the question to know the answer, and yet she hesitated even so. She felt her ears going red as heat crept up the sides of her cheeks. At the Academy, few of her peers were "geeks"; most of the people who went through Starfleet did so with a hard-nosed career trajectory in mind. They were ambitious, serious, intelligent people who rarely made any time for frivolity. This quite despite the efforts of some of the older professors who insisted that imaginative play did more to promote excellence in an officer than all the good grades in the world. Peer pressure, Lo had learned, could be a dastardly thing to encounter. And so she closed up the part of herself that believed in fun for fun's sake. And now, here she was, with her career in tatters, her peers and friends all gone, being asked a question that made her inner-teen squeal with delight.

"Uh... Well." She shrugged, still blushing and trying to ignore it. "Commander Carter. From The Last Voyager? She always thrilled me. A woman who lost her faith, and her love... but who kept on fighting because her crew became her family. Somehow it felt so much more real than reality, you know? Jeez, I loved that story. It's been ages since I watched it. And the Interactives they made, too! Those were the best games." For a long moment, Lo found herself happily ensconced in the middle-distance of memory. Long hours tucked safely away in her darkened room, sitting before a 2D screen (for The Last Voyager had been released as both 2D and Holographic stories, as well as a series of detailed 2D games meant to be played on a PADD tablet. A product of the Dominion War, when power might be at too much of a premium to run a holo-suite for very long). With her father always away and her mother gone, that story had given her a sense of something she desperately longed for and never seemed to have.

Alexandria nodded, as if that made complete sense. Lozen would make an awesome Captain Carter. Maybe she looked a bit young for the role, but her hair was nearly spot-on perfect. "Then that's who you should be then." She said with a sense of finality, even though she had more to say. "I actually played the game before I saw the series..." She admitted. That gave her an uncommon perspective, but for some, it meant she wasn't a true, hardcore fan who'd been there since the beginning. "The uniforms were so cool, especially the ones in the final game. But as the captain, Carter had a few variants... which one would you pick?" Alexandria looked forward to hearing the answer. She wasn't necessarily into clothes, but costumes were another matter.

"Oh gosh," this happened to be a question that Lo did need to think about. Alexandria was right of course, Carter's impressive wardrobe, spread across ten seasons and a dozen games, left plenty to pick from. While the basic aesthetic spoke to old-Earth Westerns, Carter and her crew would wear anything from 18th-century replicas, to Denobulan-inspired waistcoats, to slick uniforms that looked like the mirror-universe brainchild between romulan and Starfleet seamstresses. Then, as she considered the wide scope of options, Lo thought of something that made her grin.

I might as well be living in that show now.

"Either her normal civvies... The boots, the vest, the suspenders!" She mimicked snapping suspenders over her chest, eyes twinkling. "Or else that awesome uniform she wore in 'Voyager in Amber'. I know it wasn't everyone's favorite RPG, but I loved the story. I can stand a lot of game bugs if the writing's solid.

"Hey," she continued, "do you want to grab a table in the mess? We could spread out some there, I doubt anyone else is using it at this hour. I'd be happy to look over your designs some more and see what's needed." She jerked her thumb at the PADD on her desk. "I was just doing the inventory, actually, and I think we've got some scrap metal we could repurpose for that sword."

Alexandria gaped for a moment in disbelief. Lo wanted to... grab a table? In public? Other crew sometimes asked to meet with her in the mess to discuss work-related things, but no one asked to spend more time with her than was necessary. What should she say? Yes, of course. Being seen in the mess hall with other people made her look trustworthy and well adjusted. She was totally both of those things, but sometimes people appeared to view her differently.

There was some hesitation though. She wasn't exactly ashamed of her hobby, but... she didn't think everyone would understand it. Captain May would probably call it a waste of time and resources. And there was always someone who would laugh at them. That was the worst. Plus there could always be spies. If the wrong people learned about their cosplay ideas? Someone might decide to make a better Star Crusader cosplay, Or even worse... pay someone to make it for them. She visibly shuddered at the thought.

In the end though, it was an easy decision. She needed Lo's help, and the Quartermaster really seemed like she wanted to help. It would be dumb to say no and hide. "Umm. Okay!" Alexandria said, as if the question had been a no-brainer. She didn't seem to realize that the time it took her to reply suggested otherwise.


OFF


Alexandria Farron
Navigator

&

Lozen Nachtnebel
Quartermaster

 

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