Guardian Station

Barzan Sector

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Post 14 - Calisthenics

Posted on Wed Mar 25th, 2020 @ 8:34pm by Commander Noah Slater & Lieutenant Commander Jonathan van Dorland & Lieutenant Austin Carver

Mission: Episode 1: Changing of the Guard
Location: Sector Bravo-Orange - Level 60
Timeline: Mission Day 01 - 1600 Hours

[Sector Bravo-Orange - Level 60]
[Mission Day 01 - 1600 Hours]

"Elapsed time: 43 minutes, 18 seconds. Average pace: 3 minutes, 36 seconds per kilometer," the computer reported, when Lieutenant Commander van Dorland's foot hit the virtual finish line. Lieutenant Carver was seconds behind him. Every single day, the two of them took off down the twelve-kilometer track around the edge of the arboretum, and the last kilometer was always a sprint; Carver almost never won, as he was a little shorter but also a little more muscular than van Dorland was, while van Dorland's lankier frame was faster and more flexible.

"22 seconds better than yesterday," Carver said, grinning as they came to a halt. It was a sunny day thanks to the randomized weather algorithm and the virtual sky above them was blue; the arboretum's actual ceiling was 'only' forty stories tall, so most of the dome was actually a holographic trick of the eye that made a perfect half-sphere.

"You almost caught me," van Dorland replied, with a smile. He ran a hand through his blond hair as the two of them walked off of the track towards the "outdoor" workout area.

“I like to lag behind a little to admire the view,” Carver teased.

“You need a new joke,” the other man said, rolling his blue eyes.

“It’s only a joke about 75% of the time, babe.” The lieutenant reached out to slap the superior officer on his admittedly-perfect posterior and then barely had enough time to process fully what he’d done before ducking a swing from the taller man and running off into the grass.

“Oh, you’re so dead!”

The chase didn’t last long and Carver quickly found himself tumbling onto the lawn under van Dorland, both of them ending up with chlorophyll all over their workout clothes from the freshly-cut blades of grass as they wrestled. The “fight” only lasted for a few seconds before the two of them burst out laughing.

“You’re such a shit,” van Dorland said. “This is why people think we’re weird.”

“No, it’s why people think we’re fucking,” Carver said, flashing him a lop-sided grin as the two of them laid in the grass. The two of them were practically inseparable and their bond did often seem to go beyond friendship—at points it had, but they never really worked on romantic terms. Instead of letting that end their friendship, though, it had led the two of them to trust each other implicitly, even when Carver worked out his boredom by teasing the more naïve van Dorland.

“You’re so vulgar,” van Dorland said, shaking his head as he sat up and started on his cool-down stretching.

“One of my many personality flaws,” Carver said, biting back a more risqué quip. He waited a few more seconds before also starting to stretch. “So… how was meeting your new boss?”

“He’s not going to be here until tomorrow,” the engineer replied, with a shrug. “Some commander on his way from Earth.”

“And how does that make you feel, Jack?” Carver asked.

“Don’t counsel me.”

Carver was a psychiatrist and one of the station’s many counselors, but his best friend never liked it when he tried to analyze him. He usually didn’t try to, either; one of his main methods of psychotherapy was to combine cognitive behavioral therapy with exercise, so their workouts were the only time he got to work on his fitness and not try to get into someone else’s head, but he could tell that van Dorland wasn’t totally happy to be passed over.

“Alright, alright!” Carver replied, throwing his hands up. “I haven’t met the new chief counselor, yet, but we all kind of do our own thing within our specialties anyway.”

“Yeah, I’m hoping this new dude doesn’t want to reinvent the wheel or anything,” the engineer replied. “It’ll be good to see Michael and Luca when the Arcturus gets here.”

Carver nodded; deciding to tread lightly when his friend changed the subject. “Yeah, I’ve been looking forward to it. It was nice when the four of us got to hang out more often,” he said, realizing a little bit why van Dorland didn’t want to talk about his job when he remembered that Michael Lancaster, his academy roommate was now a captain and the executive officer of the task force’s flagship. “Plus that gives me someone else to pick on; Michael’s fun to piss off.”

The engineer laughed. “And you’re so good at it, Austin. Luca said on subspace that they’ll be here tomorrow, so hopefully, we’ll get to have dinner or something. I’d love to see that ship.”

“Why didn’t you apply to join the crew? I’m sure they would have a position for you.”

Van Dorland shrugged. “I’m happy here. I’m hoping to move over to the SCE at some point as well, and the best place to do that is on a base. Plus… wouldn’t want to leave my best friend behind.”

Carver found himself blushing. “Aw, shucks. You do care,” he said, slugging him gently in the shoulder, which made him roll his eyes again.

Once the two of them were done with their stretches, they pulled off their shirts and laid back on the grass, just watching as the simulated clouds went by overhead. One perk of life on a station versus a ship was more time to just relax and take in the scenery, and Carver loved the feeling of the sun on his skin, even if it was holographic.

After a little bit of just dozing, he heard the soft clearing of someone’s throat and then a timid “C-Commander van Dorland?”

“What?” van Dorland replied, almost as a grunt. “Oh! Sir!” he said after a beat, which caused Carver to jump to his feet, to see a thin, reedy young Human in a gold commander’s uniform. “How can I help, Commander..?”

“Noah Slater. I’m the new head of the SCE here. I’m really sorry to bother you; the computer said your combadge was set to private, but I really need to use you…,” Slater said, babbling a little; Carver smirked at the double entendre. His brown eyes got wide as he looked at the two other men. “Use you for a project I mean, sorry. If that would be OK, anyway.”

Van Dorland chuckled a little and ran a hand through his hair to straighten it, which just caused Slater to stare more. “Of course, sir. What can I do for you?”

“I, um, well, we’re working on a portable pattern buffer for storing the gases the Barzans breath so that we can extend the lifespan of their breathing apparatus, but we’re having trouble integrating the two systems and the computer said you’re the highest-rated matter/energy specialist on the station,” Slater replied.

“Do you only talk in paragraphs…, sir?” Carver asked. Slater blushed.

“Ignore Lieutenant Carver,” van Dorland said, glaring at Carver. “I’d be happy to help, sir. Did you mean now, though…?”

“Just Noah’s fine… And, no, we can work on it tomorrow. I just wanted to find you before I forgot. I tend to forget a lot,” he said, glancing at the both of them again, and then looking at what must have been a particularly interesting spot on his boot. Carver looked over to see his friend looking at the newcomer with a very familiar expression.

“Ok, of course. It sounds interesting. I’ve never really done anything with that kind of technology in particular, but I could see how it would be more space effective than a gas compression system,” van Dorland replied.

“Exactly! Well… thank you. I’ll leave you to your, um, nap,” he said, before he started to turn around.

“Hey, Noah?” Carver asked, prompting the other man to turn around. “Jack and I were going to get dinner tonight but there’s always room for one more. Want to join us and go over your idea. You know, to be efficient?”

“Oh, um... Yeah, I’d love that. I mean, to be efficient, like you said. I wouldn’t want to intrude.”

Van Dorland smiled when Slater blushed. “You wouldn’t be.”

“1800 at the sushi place in section 21 of the promenade. We’ll get a table,” Carver said.

“Cool. I’ll see you later, then,” Noah replied, beaming before he awkwardly walked away from the two of them.

“Austin…,” van Dorland said, turning to his friend.

“What? He clearly likes either you or both of us, so let’s take him to dinner and make a new friend. And if it looks like he wants to jump you, I’ll find an excuse to leave, because I’m just such a good wingman. You didn’t even have to ask him out,” Carver said, pointing after him. “Plus, I know he’s your type. Skinny, nerdy, excitable…”

“Fine, but this is why people think we’re weird.”

Carver grinned. “It’s good to be weird sometimes, I always say.”

A Post By

Commander Noah Slater, Ph.D.
Commanding Officer
Starfleet Corps of Engineers Detachment, Starbase 38

Lieutenant Commander Jack van Dorland
Third Engineer
Starbase 38

Lieutenant Austin Carver, M.D.
Starbase 38


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