Naked Weddings...


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Scene Title Naked Weddings and Mac & Cheese
Synopsis Falrose runs into Clough in the Gym
Date May 13, 2380


The newest and best that Starfleet has to offer, the large gynmansium on the USS Redemption boasts the very latest in work-out equipment. Five virtual track booths line one wall, mixing a holodeck and treadmill into one remarkable design. Elsewhere, weight machines, rowing machines, bicycle machines, and far more are arrayed throughout the large room. All are new and fully programmable, their uses evident with no more than a glance. In one corner of the room, a boxing ring has been set up with a small area for spectators to enjoy, and large and small punching bags can be found in the same area. Throughout the room, a semi-circular track has been laid out for those who prefer to 'run the old-fashioned way,' snaking around the perimeter of the large room.
To the rear of the room, a hallway narrows down, two doors on the left leading into the men's and ladies' locker and shower rooms, the single door on the right revealing the pool and spa. The pool is neither terribly large nor wide, but sufficient for a handful to swim laps in simultaneously. Likewise, the spa is not overly large, but sufficient for a weary few to soak tired muscles in following a thorough workout.

Still stuck in dock, the XO is left with more free time than she evidently likes. Today, she has filled that time with a rigorous workout, having found her way to the gym and found it to her liking. She has clearly been here for a while already, and her t-shirt is damp with perspiration. Presently, she is visible in one of the virtual treadmill booths, jogging along a course that seems to be winding around the edge of a moonlit lake. Her hair dances on her back with each steady step.

Falrose enters the gym, wearing a pair of rower sweats that hug his legs and a sleeveless sweatshirt. He has on a floppy hat, again, turned backward, and he glances around the place, immediately noticing Clough. He steps over to her, "Well, Commander. Looks like you're making good use of the place."

Clough's measured steps don't falter with the intrusion of the voice, but as she glances briefly over to him, she has to slow her steps just a touch to keep from running off the 'course'. She is somewhat breathless, but not so much that she can't converse at all. "It seems a good alternative to hiding out in Ten-Forward all of the time. And I've not yet decided what I want to explore on the holodecks." She smiles, looking back at the Orion once again. "Callie, remember?" she reminds pleasantly.

Falrose smirks, "Right. Callie." He glances around, and then back at her. "I use the holo's mostly for hockey. Honestly, it's weird I'm in here. Usually just get my workout there, but I kind of felt like hittin' a bag today."

Clough finally reaches the end of her run - marked by the booth's change from the moonlit lake to a very simple, straight, and flat path in a sunlit park, evidently intended for cooldown. Her steps slow significantly now, to a fast walk rather than a run, and she huffs a little more freely. Smiling again, she can now look at the Orion without worrying so much about slipping off course and damaging herself. "Some days, it's a /most/ rewarding workout. Although, if I remember anything about hockey, it's fairly violent in and of itself."

Falrose shrugs, "Can be. If you do it right." He grins, "I do it right." He walks around and casually thumbs the pad for her machine, looking at the program she was using. "It's gonna be hard to remember to call you Callie. I'm new to the Department Head thing, so, the informality that comes with that…" He smiles warmly, turning his attention back to her, "I'll have to get used to it."

Clough's lips turn up in amusement, and as she reaches the end of this path as well, she stops and turn fully to face him. That movement seems to trigger the program to end, and the booth goes blank. She steps out to stand beside him without the partial-walls between them. Still panting - though far less than before - she dabs at her cheek and forehead with the back of one hand. "I'm afraid that I never really fit in with the general crowd, even as a junior officer. I've been Callie since birth, and whenever I could get other's to agree to it, that's what I've always preferred to be called - irregardless of rank." She grins, "But, I'm also not offended if you /don't/ call me by name, and instead by title."

Falrose tilts his head just slightly, making direct eye contact and offering a coy, flirtatious beginnings of a smile, says confidently, "No. I like Callie." He studies her for a moment, and then raises his brow, "I hear Betazoid weddings are naked. That true?"

Clough flashes a grin, nodding her approval. "Good. So do I," she quips wryly. At the abrupt subject shift, she arches a brow and laughs. "Traditionally, yes, although with the increase of mixed marriages, it is less a /requirement/ now. Although, I suppose for the Noble Houses, it still is." She shrugs, "My sister had two weddings, one no Earth and one on Betazed. The former was clothed, and the latter not."

Falrose develops a full smile, just a little devious, like a brat might have planning to steal candy. "That's amazing." He leans on the treadmill terminal. "I bet you looked incredible." Theres a pause. "Women always look great in wedding party dresses."

Clough laughs easily. Where a great many others might be flustered or embarrassed, she is far from it. She is, after all, Betazoid. "The entire party was lovely. Happiness bequeaths beauty. Even the most unfortunately featured individual is a delight when they are genuinely joyful." She shrugs, "And Kaitye has exquisite taste. Her gown choices for her Earth ceremony were perfect."

Falrose chews his lip a moment, nodding, "Sure… You spar?" he asks, stepping towards the ring and the punching bags. "I had tatharoc classes as soon as I could walk. It's really the only Orion thing I do, which I'm sure makes Lt. Jyden happier."

Clough smirks at the mention of the security chief. She shakes her head, "I have hope that Mr. Jyden will adjust and relax somewhat once he's had a chance to get to know the ship somewhat." She shrugs, "As for sparring, I am capable of not getting myself killed, but I wouldn't say I'm particularly /good/."

Falrose nods, "Yeah. He's a tightwad. You know, he racial profiled me the first time I ran into him? I got the, 'don't pull any crap' speech before he even introduced himself." He gets to the punching bag, and grabs a pair of fingerless gloves from his pocket. "Well, Starfleet Martial Arts are adequate, I suppose…"

Clough follows the green man over to the bag, smirking. "They'll do in a bind," she agrees. "But frankly, if I'm caught in a hand-to-hand situation, things are very dire indeed." She sighs, then, her smile slipping a bit. "He's determined that everything on the ship run smoothly, but I'm afraid he's a bit overzealous in that goal."

Falrose nods, and tries to sound like it doesn't bother him. "Well, I'm an Orion. We all know the rumors about the Syndicate." He shrugs, "I've spent most of my life amongst humans, I've heard it all a million times. He's not the first, so… No big deal."

Clough's brows knit lightly, and concern softens her dark eyes. With one hand, she reaches out to rest fingers very gently on Falrose's bicep. "It /is/ a big deal. You're a Starfleet officer, just as Lieutenant Jyden is. Starfleet holds itself to much higher standards than most organizations, and part of those standards include /not/ making snap judgments based on cultural history. I can't think of a single race in the Federation that does not, somewhere in its past, have dark and dirty eras that I am /certain/ everyone would like to forget or ignore."

Falrose glances at her fingers on his green arm, and he looks back at her eyes, a soft, gentle smile barely turning up the corner of his mouth. "Thanks." Then, almost suddenly, he clears his throat, looking away, and pulling the gloves onto his fingers. "So, you're sister married a human? How did that go over with the folks?"

Clough lets her hand slide away from Falrose's arm and she takes a step back to let him prepare for his battle with the bag. Her earlier frown turns sad. Softly, she sighs. "Kaitye had a very…unpleasant…incident when she was a teenager. When she met Jon, and married him, my parents were very pleased that she had found someone to open up and connect to. It was a…difficult, but important step for her." She recovers her smile, shrugging. "And she agreed nonetheless to accept her position when my mother is ready to step down from it, so they are happy. I think, truthfully, there were less pleased by my choice of Starfleet than her choice of a Human husband - even a Starfleet one."

Falrose pauses fussing with the bag, and listens to her more closely when she gets more serious. "Well, I understand childhood trauma. It's hard to overcome, especially if it's serious." He sniffs, glances downward, and then back to her. "That means, I guess, then, you're saying you're nobility? Why would that bother their feelings about your career choice?"

Clough considers the question for a moment, walking the few steps around the bag. "I don't think bothered is really the most accurate choice of wording. It's just…the best I have." She smiles around the bag at Puck, shrugging. "Ideally, mother wanted at least one of her daughter's to remain on planet. Bealyn did, and he has gained the status of the 'golden child' for doing so. But, both of her daughters wound up far away." She sighs, "And they worry over my safety in Starfleet. Perhaps a bit less so now that Betazed has faced - and overcome - hostile occupation. But in any military organization, there is always a great risk to life, and they don't wish to lose a child untimely."

Falrose nods, "That makes sense, I suppose. Mother pushed me into Starfleet. Father has never approved, though," he adds with an annoyed tone, "…there's not much I could do he WOULD approve of." He quickly slips into a starting fight stance, but is no sooner settled into it as he is throwing a series of four rapid punches at the bag, the final smashing his palm and raking his nails across the material as he spins, in a traditional Tatharoc manuever. He bounces on his feet twice, and then stands more relaxed again, looking at Clough. He seems like he may be a little scrapper.

Clough's first urge is to hold the bag as she has seen so many times (and had done on her behalf as often). But, after watching those first punches, she opts to stand back. Slowly, she grins. "And this from our chief /engineer/," she remarks wryly, gesturing to the slow-swinging bag. "I'm impressed, Puck." She nods, and only then responds to his remarks about his parents. "I never chose the psychology track, and studied the subject only occasionally throughout my time at SACOM. But, even with what understanding I have, I've always had a difficult time understanding parents who genuinely /disapprove/ of their children. I can understand disapproval of some choices that children make, but to just disapprove of the child." She shakes her head regretfully. "But, I do know it happens. More often than we might like to admit."

Falrose shrugs, and as he talks, he stares at the bag. "Well… I was adopted by humans. I was a…" He strikes the bag several more times, ending with a quick kick. "I was a business decision, not a want." He swings once more, smacking his palm upward across the bag, making it jump on its chain. "It's not hard for him to sour on his investment."

Clough purses her lips as she listens, sympathy warring with frustration. "For your sake, I'm sorry, Puck. It's no way for a child to have to live. But in your father's case, it is entirely his loss. Whether he knows it or not, he has a wonderful son, from all I've seen."

A few more rapid fire strikes of the bag, a little harder than before, set the bag swinging, before Falrose glances at her, noting sharply, "I don't need your approval anymore than I need his." He hits the bag again, and then sort of relaxes his stance once more, looking down, and then at her. "Sorry," he says, softer, "I know that's not how you meant it…"

Clough is startled by the outburst, but even among Betazoids, she is well skilled in hiding her responses. She blinks only once, and smoothes the light frown of sympathy she had worn. Expression gentle but neutral and giving no indication if she is indignant or hurt, she nods her agreement. "You're right," she says quietly, "it isn't. It was, however, a thoughtless remark for me to make, and I apologize." Her lips curl up into a pleasant smile, warm and apparently genuine. "I think I can manage to make it to the pool now without panting, so I think I'll take a few laps before I retire to the showers. If I linger much longer, I'll be well and truly offensive."

Falrose cocks his head way to the side, "No, that's…" His tone is filled with remorse, "…that's not what I meant. You don't have to go, it's not you. It's me…" He sighs, slapping his gloved hand at his side. "It's the damned mac and cheese… I'm all… on edge…"

Clough chuckles softly, shaking her own head. "No, it isn't me yet," she agrees. Raising one arm, she gestures to the sweat-stained shirt. "But I very much suspect it will be soon." She shrugs, "And besides, if I wait too long, I'll be fully cooled down, and the pool will just make me sore." She tilts her head, offering a curious grin. "What an interesting reaction to such a simple food, in that case. If I were still a practicing physician, I'd demand full scans to determine the root." She looks toward the hall where the pool lies. "When you've finished, you're quite welcome to join me, of course."

Falrose slowly grins, "No, it's not the… Heh… Yeah… I'll explain it sometime." He scratches the back of his head, and nods, "I just might do that. Not really a swimmer, but… Well, the company's good."

Clough laughs, shrugging, "Depending on how long you take, you may find me in the spa by the time you join me. No swimming required." She nods, "But for now, enjoy your match. I think you've got your opponent in full retreat." She flashes a final grin, then makes her way toward the locker rooms where she can change into a suit.

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