Date with Nurse’s Assistant

I’m sitting at a table near the bar. The ship’s lounge is packed with all manner of life: two Klingon’s – always in their battle-dress uniforms- sit sulking at a table, a tall bottle between them; a table just beyond them is a gang of Starfleet cadets, probably sharing training camp ‘horror stories.’ At another table: a balding doctor, and two Majors of apparent distinction- their uniforms heavy with ribbons- talk over something serious; behind them a Farangee takes a drink order from a group of card-playing engineers, all still wearing their gold-colored uniforms.

Still waiting for my date, I take in the atmosphere, the gentle bubbling of indiscernable conversations. A cadet, orating to his friends, rises from his chair, arms unfurling in a grand, sweeping gesture, he knocks over a couple unfinished drinks at the table. Embarassed, he scurries to the bar for a towel as his victimized friends tease him. The adjacent tables give him a few humored, quizzical looks then resume their intimate exchanges. There is a burst of laughter from the far corner of the lounge and a dose of handclapping that incites cigar smoke to dance briefly around the tables. This ebb and flow of talk and laughter and salutations sounds like the gentle lapping waves of a holodeck ocean. It is a beautiful thing, this convergence of life, the energy of this place, the smiles and handshakes, the festive nature of companionship. A smile creeps on my face: I am lucky to be alive, on this ship, in the middle of this grand universe, to witness this moment which will never be recorded in any history book or have any meaning to anyone when our lives are long gone, a moment so transient it is already gone and now just a memory in my mind. Life, it reminds me in the simplest manner, is a beautiful gift.

My date arrives, this darling of a nurse’s assistant is wearing…. a skin tight leather…. officer’s uniform. I didn’t know Starfleet authorized these, but I’m not complaining. You look… ravishing, I say. I rise from my seat and offer a hand as she turns slowly, stiking poses like a fashion model. She’s got class.

Have you been waiting long, I’m sorry, she asks a statement.

No, just got here, I say pulling out her leatherback chair-stool thingy. She sits and crosses her legs just before I catch a glimpse of her underwear. Starfleet issue also? Captain’s log: I’m popping a woody, better sit down.

We enjoy ourselves, two people getting to know each other, encouraged by each others’ subtle electric lust. We share drinks and talk about the service. She was born on a Starfleet station in the fabled Omega sector. She says the pediatric lab was her first and strongest influence in her becoming a medical assistant.

You can remember being born? I ask, stiffling my incredulity.

Just bits and pieces: the hum of the tricorder hovering over me, the digital readouts of my little heartbeat, she says in earnest.

I don’t remember shit about being born, I say then laugh, my vulgarity encouraged by the Klingon whiskey. The first memory I have is being slapped upside the head by my father.

That’s terrible! What was it for?

I don’t remember! We laugh together.

Our meals arrive. We dine on an exotic and sour tasting Klingon ‘delicacy’ which I’m reminded usually means ‘insect.’ We talk and eat and drink and talk some more. The lounge and all it’s crew is a single, unified aura that slowly envelopes the two of us like a warm blanket. We soak each other in, getting personal. Our hands are entwinded on the table, fingers roll over one another. My speech is getting slurred by the eighth tumbler of drink. I’m daring, and so is she. We’re flirting openly. I say I would court her under a holodeck waterfall. She dares me to. We smile clumsily at each other as I lead us, hand in hand, giggling like children, from the bar and it’s festive embrace.

We exit stage right, into the deck’s main hallway. It’s stark, sober lighting and the faint hum of the life support systems are somehow funny and we burst out laughing as we run down the corridor, nearly colliding with a security officer at a blind corner. I blurt an apology and, apparently lost, I ask where the holodeck is?
This tall, uptight Romulon looks suspiciously at her, then at me. We’re still giggles, still hand in hand, and still very drunk. The holodeck is no place for coupling, he bluntly addresses us, sensing something obvious.

Do he get holodeck understand me, directions? I pretend a language barrier, even though he’s probably smarter than me.

You’re drunk, sir, he says, unamused.

I say something about just wanting to see the Grand Canyon once before I die and he’s not laughing. I promise him nothing is going to happen in the holodeck and even invite him to come with us. It’s going to be… awesome! I say and look to my date, winking. She’s laughing hysterically between hiccups, and grips my arm. It’ll be… fun, she leans on me, whispering invitingly to Mr. Buzzkill security dufus.

I don’t remember much of what happened next, just that I made it back to my cabin, alone. Tired and drunk, I slide into bed and slip into a deep, dreamless sleep. The door buzzer wakes me… It’s still early. I can feel the whiskey still surging through my veins. I try to open both eyes, but only one forces itself open and I’m looking clumsily at my door like it’s going to clue me in on what’s happening. I wait, listening in my drunkeness for a voice.

Who is it? I moan.

The buzzer sounds again. I prop myself upright. The room is spinning in the corners of my open eye, I feel disoriented. This isn’t going to end well. I might sharf myself later if I’m not careful. I pry the other strained eye open and stand up, then lean forward and try to step. I trip over… my pants? Suddenly, I’m on the floor, hands and knees. The thud alerts my visitor: there is another buzz followed by a light rapping on the door.

Just a second, I blurt out, still prostrate on the floor.

I look over myself. I’m not wearing any shoes and I’m in someone’s oversized red security uniform… Shit! What’s going on? This isn’t my uniform. I look around, confused. This… isn’t my cabin either… Shit! How did I get in here? I stand up, still unbalanced, and scramble through the pants pockets, finding the key card for the cabin. Shit! I snuck into someone else’s room with their card and… Now they want in. My heart sinks, but I will talk myself out of this, just like I always do.
Another rap at the door: it’s showtime. I approach the door, trepidaciously. I buzz the door, it opens. It’s my date, wearing my shirt and pants, both soaked. We laugh when we see each other and I usher her into the cabin that’s not mine and, I find out, not hers either. Neither of us can remember the whole lost episode, just fragments, not enough to explain the unexplainable. I ask how she knew I was here, but she doesn’t remember. My own cabin key card is in the pants she’s wearing. We leave the cabin before someone else shows up. I invite her to my room, but her shift at the lab is drawing near and she has to get ready.

At least you won’t need another shower, I say, ribbing her as we walk down the corridor, presumably to her cabin. I’m still not wearing any shoes, so I’m holding the oversized pants over my waist to keep from tripping. I’m growing uneasy about what I don’t know happened. I think I had fun, but did she? Is she just being nice, uneasy herself at what she may, in fact, remember happened? Sobering up now, is she harboring some brewing loathing for me? Some louth, some drunken louth who may have taken her drunken self under a holodeck waterfall?
As if she can read my mind, she craddles my arm and presses lovingly into me until we become a single stumbling mess. I had a great time, she says. My thoughts slip away, and I find myself in another beautiful moment. Just the two of us, shuffling quietly, the gentle hum of the ship around us. We arrive at her cabin, this is goodnight. She pulls me to her warm lips for what seems like forever and then she’s gone.

Still standing in the hallway, I don’t know which way to go. I just need to find my cabin, but where am I? What deck am I on? Left or right? Directions are meaningless. I can’t see straight. Turning left-like, I stare down the hallway. I just watch the hallway for a sign, anything. A minute passes uneventfully. Slowly an irate voice rises up from the steady hum of the ship. Someone’s coming from around the corner. Again the voice, agitated, is demanding to be released immediately. Two security guards come around the corner. They’ve arrested some kind of lanky Romulon transvestite in a skin tight leather …officer’s uniform. I turn my back to them as they pass, the Romulon practically squealing in my direction about knowing me. They pass down the corridor and out of sight, the Romulon’s wailings slowly dying away. I think I’ll go the other way.


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