SIM:Livingston, Benjamin/Minors and Maple Syrup
((Livingston’s Quarters, Deck 4))
::The shortest distance between two points is a straight line. With this in mind, Ben extended his legs straight out from his body. Previously quite comfortable on the floor, the fibers of muscle now pulled and ached and begged for mercy.::
::They received none. Instead, he stretched farther, gripping each sole with a hand and holding on. For a minute, he was motionless. Breath came and went; eyelids blinked. That was all. At last, when his legs were accustomed to the position and no longer ached, he released them and stood.::
::As a final stretch, Ben stood with feet shoulder-width apart and twisted his body slowly, rhythmically. His loose-fitting loungewear swayed with him. Satisfied and ready to start his day, he ordered the lights back to regular power and took a lively step toward the replicator.::
::A moment later, he had plopped down at the small desk and looked around at the space. Compared to his accommodations aboard 118, this was small and sparse. But if more room was needed, there was always the lab or crew lounge. This, as it was, suited him. And it was certainly more than most had in deep space.::
::Taking a sip of his coffee, he set down the white mug and lifted his bowl of Scottish oatmeal, with diced walnuts and just a bit of maple syrup. For the bad reputations that replicators had, this was closer to the real, pure syrup harvested close to where he’d grown up than any of the bulk-marketed junk passed off as “genuine.” It was genuine fraud, perhaps.::
::As he enjoyed breakfast, a call came in. Cocking his head, he wondered and answered it. A face he recognized filled the screen; Ben nearly dropped his bowl.::
B. Livingston: John! What’s this? How are you?
::The face flashed a toothy grin – but just for a moment. The smile vanished as suddenly as it had appeared, leaving behind a kind of solemnity.::
J. Livingston: Ben – everything is well, here. I’m calling from San Francisco.
::San Francisco campus, where, of course, John had been admitted to StarFleet Academy earlier that year. After nearly scolding him out of it, Ben had finally set aside past grievances and wished John well there.::
B. Livingston: I’m glad to hear it. I was afraid you’d – well, not back out – I thought we might have given you more support for the decision.
::John appeared to disagree. His head shook violently on the screen.::
J. Livingston: No, I don’t blame you. I wouldn’t have thought I’d make it, either. Not now that I realize how difficult it is. I think you’d hardly recognize me now. From my behavior, that is. My habits.
::That, undoubtedly, was a good thing. Perhaps the structure of the Academy was just what John needed. He’d always been bright. He was, in some ways, quicker than Ben. But the unpredictability and rash actions that had so often gotten him into trouble had nearly gotten him out of law school, which had been too easy for him. They’d nearly gotten him out of a job, too. They’d have gotten him into some places, too, if John hadn’t been quite so charismatic or quick-thinking.::
::Perhaps the Academy Commandant had been able to beat it out of him. Starfleet needed quick thinking, charismatic leaders. But Admirals generally didn’t appreciate unpredictability. That was what Ben had heard.::
B. Livingston: ::smiling:: Then how do you like it?
J. Livingston: I like it alright. Not sure I’ll go too far with law here. Everyone is too uptight – too conservative. Nobody’s creative, least of all the professors. I mean, who still says that the Khitomer –
B. Livingston: Don’t get into too many arguments, John. Build relationships, don’t ruin them.
::John waved the comment away and flipped the chair around so he could lean forward on the chair back.::
J. Livingston: Don’t worry, I know what I’m doing. I didn’t even object that time. Maybe I’ll look into Operations. That sounds easy enough. Hey, did you know I need a minor? What’s with that?
::Of course he needed a minor. Everyone needed a minor. Ben just shrugged.::
J. Livingston: Alright, then. You’ve always got advice for me. Go ahead.
::Ben smirked and took another bite of oatmeal.::
B. Livingston: Hey, have you tried syrup from a replicator?
J. Livingston: No – it can’t be good. What is that, ice-cream? I can’t see from here.
::Ben tilted the bowl toward the screen.::
B. Livingston: Oatmeal. It’s breakfast time here, dope.
J. Livingston: Well, sure, that’s why I said ice-cream! ::He feigned offense.:: It’s good for breakfast, and you can get it with nutrient packs.
::Ben rolled his eyes. The academy hadn’t changed John too much, after all. From somewhere from the other side of the room, Ben heard a chirp. He swallowed the spoonful he had in his mouth.::
B. Livingston: Shoot! Gotta run. Shift is starting.
::Ben scraped out the bowl with his spoon and swallowed the last bite. John sat bolt upright, offended and appalled that he was being forgotten over something as trivial as work.::
J. Livingston: Well what about my minor? I finally ask for your advice and –
B. Livingston: I don’t know! Whatever you want. Talk to your advisor about it.
::He threw back the last of his coffee and walked off-screen to return his dishes to the replicator.::
J. Livingston: ::quizzically:: I have an advisor?
::Ben rolled his eyes just as he crossed into range to be seen. He made his way to the closet and started putting on his uniform.::
J. Livingston: Well, what was your minor? Tactics, right?
B. Livingston: You’re thinking of security.
J. Livingston: God, kill me now! Better than dying of boredom, if I wasn’t shot, first.
::Ben didn’t have to see the screen to imagine the melodrama John was putting on for him. He was probably feigning death right now. He pulled on his uniform jacket.::
J. Livingston: You had two minors though, didn’t you? See, I always paid attention to my big brother.
::As he walked, Ben attached his pips to his uniform – including, for the first time, a third half-pip. So much for ceremony.::
B. Livingston: Operations. Going now, talk soon.
::He walked back toward the screen to shut down the communication. His brother was incensed, and presently threw his arms up in the air.::
J. Livingston: Operations!? Well what good is that? I can’t exactly MINOR in Operations if I am going to MAJOR in –
::Ben tapped the screen; it returned to the standard StarFleet logo. A moment later he was out the door.::
::As he stepped out, he saw another officer striding past his door and down the corridor. He took a deep breath. He was on duty now, and he had to set his mind to it. A look at the man’s collar reminded Ben of his name.::
Livingston: Mister Green, isn’t it? How are you settling in?
::Ben adopted the same pace as they walked together toward the turbolift.::
Livingston: There I agree with you. Checked in with Security yet?
Livingston: I’m headed there now, if you care to join me. Best to be early, something tells me there will be a line.
::He led the way into the waiting turbolift, then checked the directory. It was so small compared to the Starbase, but remembering locations of all the departments would take him some time.::
Livingston: Deck three, please. ::To Green:: Just one level. That’s a first for me – would almost be quicker taking the Jeffries tubes!
::He laughed at the little joke, not sure it would make sense to someone who was not an engineer. But if it fell flat, that was alright. The doors opened – as though the ship itself was emphasizing the comment.::
Lt Commander Ben Livingston
Assistant Chief Engineer
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