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Posted on 05 Jan 2019 @ 4:35am by Commander Jayla Kij & Commodore (Brevet) Harvey Geisler

2,754 words; about a 14 minute read

Mission: The Kalisa Conundrum
Location: Holodeck 2
Timeline: MD 1 || 1400 hours

With Alex gone with the rest of the away team, Jayla was feeling anxious. She had seriously underestimated how difficult it would be to see someone she cared about leave the ship for a mission in an unkown place. She didn’t really know what to do with herself and so had decided on tennis. And since there was only one other person she knew who played, she had invited the captain to join her.

She arrived at the holodeck first and buddied herself pulling up the program. “Wimbledon,” she commented as she gazed at the list of available venues. It was too much to resist and she punched it in- no spectators- and waited for the captain to arrive.

Harvey arrived shortly after Jayla did. He hadn't time to change, but he did pick up his racquet from his quarters. Entering the holodeck in full uniform, Harvey quickly realized how out of place he was under the warm sun in his gray and black attire. "Jayla," he greeted, twirling his racquet in his hand.

“Sir,” replied Jayla. “Have a good day?”

Harvey forced a smile, if just to be friendly. Despite whatever history he had with Jayla, and his ability to let his guard down around her, maintaining appearances would do anyone a small measure of good. "It's filled with possibilities," he answered truthfully, though he omitted that the chances were equally positive and negative. "And you? Sickbay quiet for a change?"

Knowing him as well as she did, she could tell he was keeping up appearances. So, she tried to do the same and put on a brave smile. "A little too quiet," she replied almost sadly. It hadn't even been a full day and she already missed Alex. Good grief, this was going to be tough.

In that moment, Harvey's smile became a little more genuine. "The doctor smiles," he remarked, his pleasure proudly resonated in his tone. "Perhaps there is hope for us all yet."

Her smile, in turn, turned friendlier and lighter. "I've been smiling a lot lately," she said. "I'm feeling back to my normal self. No, that's not right," she corrected quickly. "It's different. I feel... I don't know... wiser? Maybe. Anyway, it's a new normal. A good normal."

"That's good to hear," Harvey told her. "I'm sure Kij appreciates it just as much, if not more, than you do, Jayla, having seen a lot through its previous hosts. I know the ship will enjoy seeing sickbay brighter once more."

“As will I,” she replied with a smile. “All that depression was getting depressing. Anyway, ready to get your ass handed to you?” she teased, twirling her racquet.

"It depends on whether or not you're as much out of practice as I am," he fired back. Truthfully, he hadn't picked up his racquet for several months. Playing tennis was just like riding a bike, but what remained to be seen would be how attuned his hand/eye coordination would be.

“Last time I played was our last match,” she replied. “So you might have a shot. Let’s go!” she declared, and she turned to take position across the net from him, bouncing the tennis ball as she went.

Harvey continued to twirl his racquet as he backed into his corner, keeping an eye on the doctor as he did. The fact that he had a prior relationship with her notwithstanding, he certainly cared very much for his crew, especially those who seemed as burdened as he was when he first took command. Mac, Jayla, Mila, Adam, Joey... it took so many to pull him out of his shell. It was more than fair for him to reciprocate, especially to those who were still aboard the Black Hawk with him. "All right!" he called out to her. "Fire when ready."

With a grin, Jayla bounced the ball once more, then tossed it high and brought her racquet high overhead and crushed the ball across the net. She gave a satisfied nod before preparing for his return volley.

The ball sailed smoothly across the court, and Harvey found himself in the perfect position to return the serve. He took a single step forward and swept his racquet forward, tapping the ball back over to Jayla's side.

She had to take a couple of quick steps to reach the ball, but she managed to take a backhand swing at the ball. As she watched it sail over the net, she wondered vaguely why she hadn't switched hands like she usually did. She was a bit rusty, it seemed.

Harvey took note of her backhand swing, and quickly realized that his eyes had lingered too long on her form. His eyes quickly scanned the air in front of him, only to find that the ball was about to bounce. He slid three steps to his left and swung, barely connecting with the ball and sending it sailing back to the other side.

Jayla was also concentrating on the way his racquet sailed through the air to realize the ball was heading her way until it was too late. She barely even made a move towards it. "Wow," she muttered, heading over to retrieve the ball. "Already forgot how to focus."

"Probably just a little bit of rust," Harvey remarked, twirling his racquet amidst his pleasure of winning the first point after several months. "I bet it won't last too long."

"Yeah, yeah," she laughed, tossing the ball across to him. "Your serve."

Harvey didn't notice until the last possible second that she'd sent the ball his way. He reached out to catch it, only to miss and watch it bounce away. Harvey frowned, surprised that he'd let that happen, but quickly took a different approach to the situation, asking the computer to create another standard-regulation tennis ball. It materialized on the ground, and he picked it up, bouncing it on his racquet a couple times as he assumed the starting position. "Fifteen-love!" he called out, serving the ball towards Jayla.

This time, Jayla concentrated on the ball. She tracked it carefully, took three quick steps and backhanded it back to the Captain. She then gave a satisfied nod; she was not going to lose track of this game again.

"Nice swing," he called out, recognizing Jayla had finally come to play, though it was really just a single move. Harvey then blinked as he registered that the ball was coming towards him. He moved quickly, almost missing the ball as he sent it sailing back to the other side.

Jayla was paying such close attention to the ball that she almost forgot to swing. She managed to connect with the ball and sent it back with a grunt of frustration.

Her frustration was echoed by Harvey who was unable to meet the ball in time, swinging only a hair too late, causing the ball to bounce harmlessly away. Even in his frustration, he could only sigh. "Looks like we're both out of it," he observed before asking the computer to generate a new tennis ball and tossing it over to Jayla's side.

And Jayla exactly failed to catch it. Instead, she watched it sail past her, brow wrinkled. Finally, she shook herself and jogged after it. "What is going on with me?" she asked rhetorically as she grabbed the ball and returned to the court. She made to throw the ball up into the air, but stopped suddenly. "What's the score?" she asked.

"I think it's even," Harvey said after a moment of hesitation. "Fifteen-fifteen, I think."

“Fifteen even,” she said and tossed the ball into the air. She brought her racquet down onto it and the ball sailed towards the net. But, not far enough. It hit the ground still a full three feet from the net on her side. “Damn,” she said, and then she realized how hard she was breathing. “I must be really out of shape.”

"Computer, reset ball," Harvey ordered, rolling his shoulders, trying to stay loose. "It's probably all those dark days still hanging over your head," he supposed, though he noticed a bit of fatigue in himself. "You might need to get out a bit more, pay Talons a visit. Maybe you'll meet someone." A ball materialized near Harvey and he prepared to serve. "Thirty-fifteen!" he called out before serving.

“Way ahead of you,” she replied as she watched the ball sail towards her. She swung at it and smacked it back to his side, but had overestimated how hard she needed to hit it and it went sailing out of bounds. She cursed again. And clenched her jaw. Tennis was no fun if you couldn’t get a good volley going.

"Ahead of me?" Harvey repeated, summoning yet another holographic ball from the computer. "Way ahead even? Forty-fifteen!" A new serve sent the ball sailing over the net, just barely missing the top of the net. He'd be lucky for it to land past the bounding line in order for the serve to be valid.

It was. “Yeah,” answered Jayla a bit absently. “By a couple of,” she ran three large steps forward to meet the ball and smacked it back to him, “weeks.”

"Weeks!?" he called back. Harvey was struck dumbfounded by her remark, so much so that he failed to maneuver to return the ball. It harmlessly bounced first in bounds before flying outside the court. Well, no wonder she's so happy.

Suddenly realizing what she had said, Jayla felt her cheeks grow hot. “Yeah,” she answered. “Or something like that. Maybe a bit longer. Uh...” she trailed off, scratching her head. “My brain’s a bit fuzzy.”

Harvey cocked his right eyebrow, wondering which thread to follow there. "Whatever the reason that puts a smile on your face, Jayla, I'm happy for you. Just out of curiosity, who is it?"

She blushed again. “Alex Rylan,” she replied simply.

"Rylan..." Harvey muttered, trying to remember the name. It sounded familiar, but for whatever reason he couldn't work past the fog. "Is he a nurse... or something?"

“Medical corpsman,” she replied, taking the lull in the action to catch her breath. “I know, I know. Starting a relationship with a direct subordinate is dangerous, blah blah. We’re handling it all right so far.”

"High risk can mean high reward. Just because it didn't work out between you and I doesn't mean it won't work out with you and Mister Rylan." Harvey took his position and pointed at her with his racquet. "Your serve. Thirty-forty, I believe."

“Right,” said Jayla, getting a new ball from the computer and returning to serving position. “Thirty-forty,” she announced and tossed the ball into the air. She swung her racquet at the ball and sent it sailing across the net.

He moved quickly to return the ball, having to move to the other side of the court to meet it. He swung quickly, getting just a piece of the ball, but enough to send it back over to Jayla.

Now they were getting somewhere! Jayla took two quick steps and switched hands to catch the ball. She watched it fly through the air towards the net and then just barely clear it to bounce on the other side. Why was she struggling so much today?

Harvey had thought the ball was going to hit the net, and it was after the last second that he realized that the play was still more than fair. Its shallow angle forced him to rush up to meet the ball, but it was too late. He swung and missed, turning to watch the ball bounce out of bounds. "Either we need to do this more often," he confessed, "or we need to go back into training sessions."

“Maybe both,” agreed Jayla, doubling over and resting her hands on her knees. “I can barely catch my breath. I can’t remember the last time I got tired so easily.”

"Me either," her competitor added, doing his best just to keep standing. "We've got to at least finish the match. Score's tied. What do you say we just skip straight ahead to game point?"

"Ugh," she replied, straightening slowly. "I don't know if I can take it. How about if I just forfeit now?"

Harvey couldn't sigh between a couple heavy breaths. "Come on now, doctor. You are many things, but a quitter just isn't one of them. Besides, you can't renew a sports rivalry with a forfeit. One point settles it all."

"Who says I'm not a quitter?" she demanded jokingly. "I'll fight them! And then I'll quit in the middle just to show them what's what. Okay, okay," she finally relented. "Match point. Whose serve is it?"

He opened his mouth to answer and quickly discovered that he didn't know. Pointing casually with his index finger and following its movement with his own head, he tried to recreate the ending of his last memory. Jayla had served... he returned... she returned... he missed. Sighing, Harvey looked back at Jayla. "Looks like yours."

“If you say so,” agreed Jayla. “I’m having a hard time concentrating.” She retreated to her end of the court, resolving to actually try and not throw the game on polirpose. She asked the computer for another ball and held it high. “Winner takes it all,” she announced and tossed it into the air, bringing her racquet down on it and sending it whizzing over the net.

Harvey again thought he was prepared for the serve, but he wasn't prepared for a poor serve. It looked like the ball was not going to bounce in bounds, but it dove at the last possible moment, rebounding towards Harvey at high speed. He reacted quickly, barely sending it back to Jayla.

There was a chance it might go out of bounds, but Jayla never took a chance. It was a good thing she did, too, because it landed just inside the line and she was able to hit it back to him easily.

His eyes had followed the ball back towards Jayla, and he'd been convinced that it would go out of bounds. So convinced that he'd actually turned his back to Jayla. It was until after he'd heard the familiar thwap of the racquet connecting with the tennis ball that he realized how wrong he was. Harvey turned and tried to find the ball, only to see it right as it bounced in bounds. There was no time to react, so Harvey just didn't try. The ball sailed past him, once more out of bounds.

"I am victorious!" said Jayla, out of breath. "And exhausted. Ugh, I'm glad that's over."

Harvey chuckled, finding humor in both her reaction and the tired state they both were in. "First match of the year is yours," he said, walking over to her. "We should do this more often. Hopefully once we've rested or had some more practice."

"Both, probably," agreed Jayla. "I had no idea I was this out of shape. I guess I've been spending too much time with Alex." She grinned sheepishly.

He wasn't going to comment on that. "Just wait until there's kids in the picture," Harvey suggested. "You think you're tired now?" He chuckled. "Until next time, Doctor?"

Jayla smiled a bit sadly at that; there would never be children, but it was much too complicated and personal to go into with the Captain. "Next time," she agreed.

"Arch," Harvey commanded the computer as he gave Jayla a confirming nod. The sounds of Wimbledon masked a whirr and chirping from the computer for a few seconds before the holographic curtain was removed to reveal the presence of the exit. Harvey grunted at the computer, wondering why it had taken so long for the exit to appear, though he surmised he shouldn't be worrying about such things. With a smile, and a sore arm, Harvey exited the holodeck, bound for his quarters for a quick change before heading back to the bridge.

Jayla, too, could not be worried about the hesitation in the computer. Sometimes it was sluggish; she supposed it was better sluggish in the holodeck than a biobed. She was due for a swing shift in Sick Bay tonight and had just enough time to shower and grab a power nap before it, so she headed towards her own quarters while rubbing her shoulder, which she had only just realized was sore.

She really needed to work out more.


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