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A Late Lunch

Posted on 23 Dec 2018 @ 7:09pm by Lieutenant Joey Geisler & Captain Harvey Geisler

Mission: The Kalisa Conundrum
Location: Talons
Timeline: MD 01 || 1300 hours

Leaving the bridge in capable hands, Harvey decided to take a walk and stretch his legs. It was easy for him to obsess about the away team, especially since there was no way to contact them at this point in the event that a simple communication could set off the defensive grid. Therefore, he had to get away for a little bit, even if it was just to clear his head.

His destination was simple: the Intelligence Complex where he hoped Joey would be working. Had he really considered factors, he would have checked with the computer to ascertain her absolute location, but as he now was stepping out onto Deck Fourteen, it was a bit late to second guess himself.

The poor soul standing in front of Joey on deck fourteen looked like he'd rather be anywhere other than where he was, and that didn't seem to phase the Intel Chief one bit. "I get that I've got my own gravitational pull, but there's a ton of space on the other side, and yet, you chose to continue walking toward me. Do you see this?" she asked, pointing down to her rather large abdomen. "This has slowed my reflexes down a bit, and it's making me quite uncomfortable, and had you bumped into me, there's no telling what I would have done. Continue on your way and watch for the beached space whale in the future."

The young man quickly moved around her and practically ran down the corridor, not even bothering to slow down as he acknowledged the Captain.

Joey pinched the bridge of her nose and closed her eyes. What she really needed was a time out somewhere quiet, but that wasn't likely going to happen any time soon. She took a deep breath and let it out slowly. "What's wrong with me?" she asked, not expecting answer. The discomfort was getting to be a bit much, and after reading what she did, it was only going to get worse as time progressed.

"You're pregnant," a voice said behind her. Harvey stepped out from a corridor junction, arriving just in time. "And probably just hungry."

She jumped when she heard the voice, but she knew who it belonged to before turning around. "Maybe so, but I think it has more to do with the cramps I've been having today," she replied. "It's not really painful, but has been quite annoying and pretty uncomfortable."

"That's to be expected," Harvey said, sliding an arm around her waist and pointing her in a direction down the corridor. Leading the way, he brought another hand over to place on her growing belly, looking for one of their two children. With as much as they walked, it would be hard to feel even just one of them. "You've still got a few weeks to go, and it's probably going to get worse."

There was some movement beneath his hand, but it was hard to determine which one of the babies it was. They were likely fighting one another for space, which was growing more scarce as the weeks ticked by. That said a lot for what she assumed were feet trying to invade her ribcage.

Joey slipped her arm around him as they walked down the corridor. She didn't have a destination in mind, but supposed her office was likely the best place to see if there was any new information to look over. Truth be told, all she wanted to do was get off of her feet for a while and attempt to relax. "It gets worse than this?" she asked with a frown. Sadly, she didn't know how long she'd be able to cope. Take down a ship alone? A piece of cake. Stop breathing while trying to take down Consortium? A walk in the park. Deliver twins? As she told Kelly, she'd rather stretch out her bottom lip and jump rope with it. "How much worse are we talking?"

"A few more inches around the waist," he said, looking down at the maternity uniform that had been developed for her: pants with an elastic waistband to cover the lower portion of her womb, a jacket that was still mostly standard, clasped from her neck past her bosom, then split to fan out both sides of enlarged belly which had been covered by a stretchy red turtleneck. For a woman pregnant with twins, this was about as standard her clothing would get for the next few months. "One child takes up plenty of room on the inside, but you've got two in there." And higher mood swings, unresolvable appetite and so much more, were other items he chose not to say.

"Putting shoes on is next to impossible these days, and I can't imagine that's going to get any easier. If I could get away with it, I'd wear slippers all day, every day," she said with much seriousness to her tone. However, Joey knew slippers weren't part of the proper Starfleet uniform. The plus side, though her maternity uniform was quite comfortable, and she'd get to wear that for the next couple of months or so. "Are you hungry? I'm hungry." Then again, that was a constant, and a bonus for him, coffee no longer made her nauseous, but she never went out of her way to smell it.

Harvey gave the matter a fleeting thought. "It is a while past lunch, and I definitely could eat," he confirmed. "As for shoes, I'm sure we could find some self-lacing boots somewhere in the replicator database."

"Should we go get something to eat, then?" Joey asked. "I think I can spare a few minutes for a bacon cheeseburger."

"Talons it is, then," Harvey said, using his arm around her waist to guide Joey towards a different direction. "Which baby do you think is craving bacon? I'd bet latinum on Hope."

"I think it's Hope, too," Joey agreed as their course changed a bit to go to Talons instead of her office. She wasn't going to complain. A few minutes to relax would do her some good considering how tough the simplest tasks seemed to be getting. "Our son, who we have yet to name, is also a possibility, though. He does seem to be a bit more laid back than his sister."

She looked thoughtful for a moment, then looked toward him. "How do you feel about the name Jaden, Jace or Jameson? We have an H with Hope, which is also a play on the H of your name, so keeping with that, a J only seems fitting for our son."

Harvey was dumbstruck for a moment. He hadn't at all considered the connection between his name and Hope's. That had to be why Joey was pushing for all of those "J" names a month ago in their afternoon in sickbay. He tried to recollect himself and respond by muttering the suggested first names. "Of the three, I like Jameson the best. Not sure I'm totally sold on it though."

Since choosing little Hope's name, Joey spent a little of her downtime looking at names for their son, and had one more she really liked. Whether her husband did was another story entirely. Still, she'd never know his opinion if she didn't tell him. "There was one more that I really liked, and it means peace. We could do with a little of that in our lives, as well as hope," she began as they continued toward their destination. "What do you think about Jonah?"

He shook his head. Harvey had a bit of a religious background, enough to recognize the name. In certain circles, the name was often associated with bad luck, especially along sailors and navymen. "Definitely not," he stated. "What were some you had the other day? James? Jacob? Jingleheimerschmidt?"

Joey couldn't help but laugh at the last one. It was definitely a mouthful, but she knew he wasn't being serious about it. Though, the Intel Chief couldn't believe how hard it was to name a child. Their daughter's name had come so easily, but her brother's was proving to be a bit more difficult. Was this a sign of things to come? Would be be the stubborn one? He'd definitely get that from both his parents. "I think I mentioned Jacob, Jagger and Jax last time."

"Jagger sounds like an old earth song," he remarked, stopping in front of a turbolift alcove. "Jacob's not too bad. I think Jameson's still a frontrunner."

"I like Jameson and Jacob, too, so I'll leave the final decision up to you," she said, stepping onto the turbolift when the door opened. Joey made room for him, despite feeling rather large, and requested the deck for Talons. "Actually having names for them makes it seem real. I mean... I know it's real because I haven't been able to see my feet for a while now, but actually giving them names solidifies things a bit. We really don't have much time left before they're going to be here."

"We certainly don't," Harvey muttered, letting the turbolift's droning fill his head. "We've got to get Parks on tearing down the walls between our cabin and the one next door. Little Hope and Jameson... You sure you don't like Jingleheimerschmidt?"

Joey looked over at him and smiled. "I think we'll stick with Jameson. It'll be easier for him to spell when he's older," she pointed out, giving him a gentle but loving squeeze. "There's something else I wanted to talk to you about that falls under a personal and professional matter. Today has been pretty rough on me, and as you pointed out, it's only going to get worse. Do you think it would be a good idea for me to cut back on my hours a bit? Unless, of course, something is happening and I'm needed."

She paused for a moment before continuing. "I want to work until I just can't any longer, but even you have to admit, my mood swings are unpredictable. Plus, I can take some of that time to attempt to mentally prepare for Hope and Jameson's arrival."

He knew this was coming. Harvey thought he had prepared for this moment, but as they entered Talons, he quickly found that he hadn't. The husband in him wanted to say yes, but the Captain in him thought otherwise. Logic, however, prevailed over both. "It's doable, but we should make sure with medical first on what would be a good measure to cut back to. Plus, I'd need someone from Intelligence to be able to help with the mission as it progresses. Someone you can trust with what's going on."

"Well, I don't plan on leaving you or the crew high and dry. I plan to stick things out this mission, then slow down a bit," she said, glancing around to find a table that was tucked away from the hustle and bustle. Joey moved toward it and settled down, looking to her husband again. "There are also a couple other alternatives as well. Working from home being one of them. That is, if the Captain would be willing to sign off on something like that."

"Just so long as you don't start conducting meetings in there," Harvey warned. Being the ship's captain meant that he had little to no privacy already, which his quarters disturbed only in the worst of circumstances. He, of course, remembered using his quarters as the ready room for the last month or two aboard the last ship when deck one had been destroyed. "Once you start, you'll regret it."

"That's what I have my office for," Joey told him. She'd witnessed first hand what it was like to have to conduct business in one's quarters after his ready room was taken out. That wasn't something she wanted to do. Especially with two new babies. "I can do lighter tasks from there, but remember, I'm not stopping my duties completely. Only cutting back."

"I know." Harvey didn't get to say more as a waiter approached them. "Turkey panini with kettle chips," the captain ordered before looking to his wife. If there had been one thing he'd learned during the pregnancy thus far was to not order at all for his wife.

There was zero hesitation when it came to ordering, and that was partly because she hadn't eaten anything since breakfast that morning. Could that be part of the reason she was so uncomfortable most of the day? Were the babies protesting? It was definitely time to rectify things. "Double bacon cheeseburger with jalapenos, loaded fries, chocolate cake and a strawberry milkshake," Joey said without batting a lash.

Their waiter didn't miss a beat as he put the order in. "I'll have that out for you in just a few minutes," he said, then turned to make his way to the back to prepare their drinks.

Harvey nodded his thanks as he reached out to take Joey's hand. He didn't say anything though. The Captain was still unable to separate duty from off-duty, which should have been painfully obvious since he'd taken a seat with a view out the forward viewport. He could clearly see the minefield that divided the Away Team from the Black Hawk. He always feared for the lives of his Away Teams, a fear that developed back at Altair IV last year.

"Are you okay?" Joey asked softly, unable to keep the concern from her voice.

No. No I'm not. They were in public, and that would prevent Harvey from answering truthfully. His eyes scanned the room, seeing the various crewmen scattered throughout. Harvey had spent a fair amount of his life close to Betazoids, and he was eternally grateful that he was not one of them, always burdened with hearing the emotions and thoughts of those around him. He knew that this crew had been through a lot the last few months and their mission was not yet over. The end was not yet in sight. Hell, Harvey had no idea where they actually were in this mess, and all he could do was hope they were somewhere near the end. "I'm fine," he answered at last, centering his focus now on Joey.

She knew he wasn't fine. No one had truly been fine since they'd boarded the Black Hawk-A and started on this new journey, however, she wasn't going to press the issue. Not when they were in public. For now, she'd accept his answer. She was about to speak, but didn't have the chance to as their waiter arrived back with their drinks, placing them in front of their respective owners.

"Your food will be out in just a few moments," he said with a smile before taking his leave again.

Joey looked to the milkshake before her and realized she wasn't as hungry as she was moments ago. Worrying about someone you loved made a great appetite suppressant. "I'm not fine," she admitted.

"It's okay to not be fine," Harvey replied, saying it for himself as much as he was saying it for her.

"Nothing good has come from our being here," she said with a frown. Joey understood their need to be there, but she wanted to be back in their own part of space. Of course, things were pretty hairy there, too, but at least they were closer to home. "While I was helping Griffin and his team earlier, I realized our children may very well be born here. And with that reality came others... like the possibility of being neck deep in some kind of battle where a species we've never encountered before want to kill us all. It's happened before."

"That may be true," Harvey noted, recalling all too well the strife they'd lived the last few months. "On the other side of that, nothing good seems to have happened in this part of the galaxy for centuries. Why are these people confined? Is it for their sins? The sins of their ancestors? To keep them from harm, or people like us? Maybe we'll wind up being a beacon of light these cultures need."

"If that's what happens, then that will make everything worth it, but there's no guarantee," she said as their food arrived. Joey remained quiet until their waiter was gone again, then she looked back toward him. "As for your other questions, I hope we'll get those answers, but no one here has exactly forthcoming with any of that information. I'm not sure they will be, either." Her normally positivity just wasn't there, and a lot of it was this part of space.

"After two months in this place, we need something." Harvey picked up his panini and took a bite. By now, all of the ship's real foodstuffs had been consumed, leaving behind only raw matter for the replicators. He was used to replicated food, but today, his panini seemed to possess no real flavor. Food was food, especially at this point. "Even just a scrap of something concrete. Just... something."

Real or replicated, Joey's appetite just wasn't there anymore. She stared at the food in front of her for a long moment before giving him her attention again. "I'm sure we'll find something out before too long. We just have to find the strength to stay positive."

"Easier said than done, it seems," he murmured, taking a bite of the panini. He could get past the bland textures if only to provide nourishment to his body to keep going. "You should eat," he remarked as kindly as possible. "The kids will get after you if they don't get fed on time."

"If the minor pains I've been having today are any indication, I think they've already started. They make my belly feel rather tight," she told him, picking a fry up to examine it for a moment. Given this was her first, and probably only, pregnancy, she wasn't sure what any of it meant.

Harvey managed to behave appropriately this time, reasoning that it was his recent consumption had started to restore his blood sugar levels to normal. Had the waiter lingered, he would have more certainly made a remark about her getting bigger in multiple ways. But he hadn't, and he wouldn't. Instead, he simply said, "I have to say, you're rather lovely when you're pregnant."

Joey blinked. That wasn't something she'd been expecting to hear, but it was such a sweet compliment. "Thank you," she said. However, the last thing the Intel Chief felt was lovely. The added girth to her midsection wasn't exactly what she'd call attractive, nor were the mood swings, but she did her level best to keep herself from getting too out of control. Then there was the pregnancy brain among many other things. "Even when I get hot at night and end up kicking the covers off of both of us?"

"Even then," he said with a smile. "I mean, you're positively glowing. If you were any brighter, we could save some resources around here and let you light up the room." Harvey was convinced that what he said was true. Not only was she indeed gorgeous, enhanced by her accentuated curves, but there was something about the creation of new life that was just... magical.

Maybe he was seeing her in a different way than she saw herself, and that wasn't a bad thing. The compliments did wonders for her self-esteem, and made her feel better about herself. Joey definitely appreciated his words. "Thank you, Harvey. Today has been a rough day, but hearing that has made it a lot better," she told him with a smile of her own. The Intel Chief knew she was a lucky woman, and wouldn't take a single day with her husband for granted.

Harvey took a celebratory bite of his panini, commemorating himself on a job well done. At thirty-one weeks pregnant, he'd have to be ready for a hundred of these smaller battles each and every day from now until the twins were crawling, tearing apart their quarters every hour on the hour. Getting the Away Team back in one piece seemed like the easier task now. "You're welcome, Joey," he told her, trying to figure out why the panini tasted so bland. It was rather unusual, even for the replicators. "Tastes like I need to have Griffin take a look at our food dispensers."

"It couldn't hurt to have him take a look," she agreed, popping another french fry into her mouth. After chewing and swallowing, Joey spoke again. "I have to say, it seems like a lifetime since we've been in the Zone, though, I know that isn't the case. What comes next after we've concluded our business here? I mean, I do get that even thinking about that isn't a priority right now, but I'm sure there must have been a passing thought at the very least."

"Provided that I haven't sent any other messages from the future?" Harvey asked, lifting a napkin to wipe his mouth. "Naturally, we'll go wherever Starfleet needs us, but hopefully, they'll give us a low-key assignment or two."

"As well as a few days to resupply before they throw us back into the fray," she stated, turning her attention to the burger in front of her. Only moments ago, she mentioned keeping positive, but given the ship's history, that was a bit difficult to do. However, she did try. "Though, I'm not sure we're lucky enough to get any low-key assignments. We haven't really had one of those yet, but I suppose there is a first time for everything."

Harvey grunted at the very mention of a few days for resupply. "Heh. It'll take at least a month to conduct full repairs to the ship. With our current level of structural integrity, we'll be lucky to not break in half when we cross the barrier again. I'm sure I could convince Admiral O'Connell to let us off the hook. At least for a while. The crew is rather resilient though."

He was right. The crew was resilient. The ship, though, not so much, and she felt the need to speak out on her behalf. "We are a resilient bunch, and will go wherever we're needed, when we're needed. However, as you said, the ship is not. We've already lost one ship... one home... I think losing a second would seriously test that resiliency. Admiral O'Connell might not need much in the way of convincing if he saw the shape she was in first hand."

Nodding, Harvey finished off his panini. He certainly couldn't refute that statement, nor would he even try. "One step at a time," he stated. "Let's get the Away Team back home, and let's pray they bring home something more than just the name of a sector."

"They will," she said in an effort to reassure him, but did she really believe that? No. Nothing about their time here had been eady, and Joey didn't feel like this was going to be, either. However, she would feign positivity if it helped her husband. "And when they do, we'll be one step closer to going home."

Harvey grunted, looking back out the window. He knew for Joey, her home was Hawaii. For him... for Harvey, home was the Black Hawk. He didn't know if it was just because he was the ship's Captain, or how much his life had changed since accepting his first command assignment a year ago. But, the Black Hawk was home. "One step closer to finishing the mission," he murmured, his gaze starting to look past the platforms again.

Since the first moment she actually spent time with him, Joey knew that home was wherever he was. Starship, planetside, it didn't matter as long as she was with him. Home was where the heart was, and he had hers completely. "We'll know everything we need to know soon. It's just a matter of being patient," she told him softly. "I just hope I'm not one of the reasons you had to send that message to yourself."

"Why wouldn't I trust you?" Harvey asked, looking back at her, regretting the question almost instantly. The truth was he hadn't trusted her in the beginning, nor anyone else. Thankfully, he'd found the message in time and put it to good use before they lost the ship entirely. "Besides, I think the message has served its purpose. And it's not like there's anyone else around us that's tried to sweet talk their way in."

Joey just couldn't seem to help herself, but before she had a chance to stop herself, the question was already out there. "Why didn't you trust me when you first received the message?" she asked, then shook her head. "No, don't answer that. That was uncalled for, and I'm sorry."

Frowning, Harvey replied, "We can talk about it later." He nodded towards the doors, which opened allowing an influx of crewmembers into the room. Doing this in public wasn't appropriate at all, not that he had a practical answer for her. "But, don't worry about it. Let's leave the past in the past." And the future to the future.

Harvey was right, and she knew it. After all, if Joey didn't leave the past in the past, then she wouldn't be sitting across from him now. She would have resigned a long time ago. However, as the saying went, she let sleeping dogs lie. "You're absolutely right, and I'm truly sorry," she said, finishing off the last of her fries and requesting the burger be wrapped so she could take it with her. "Things are going to be okay. And as soon as we're able to, we need to get the chances to our quarters made. We're going to be running on borrowed time before long."

"Only if we aren't already," Harvey muttered, looking back at her and at her slowly growing belly which their children would live in for just a few more weeks. Oh, how he hoped that they would finish in the Zone before it was time for them to escape. "Well, I should let you get back to it. Unless you wouldn't mind an escort back to Intelligence?"

Joey smiled. "You know I wouldn't mind an escort," she answered as she began to rise to her feet, grateful no one was too close lest they get hit with her belly of doom. "Besides, it's more time I get to spend with you. And with everything going on, I'll take every moment I can with you considering we don't know when we'll have another together again."

Harvey rose and circled around the table to help her up. He knew she probably didn't need it, but the gesture had to be worth something. "Hopefully that should be tonight after the Away Team returns and we get moving again." With a wave of his hand, he directed her out the door as their waiter arrived with the leftovers.

With his assistance, Joey rose to her feet, bumping him with her belly, which caused her to laugh. "It enters a room five minutes before the rest of me does," she said, knowing it would eventually go away after delivery. "And I don't know where you got your new pillow from, but I took a nap on it, and I want about twelve."

"From medical actually," he replied, quietly wondering, or trying to remember, what Joey looked like before pregnancy. It wasn't that he missed her pre-mother form, but more that he'd come to enjoy how she looked every morning. Certainly, she would have other opinions on that, and she would have the deciding say in whatever happened after that. "And I got two of them. One for me and you."

Unable to help herself, Joey leaned in and pressed a kiss to his cheek with a smile. "Thank you, Harvey. It's definitely one of the most comfortable pillows I've ever used before," she said, accepting their leftovers before heading toward the exit after slipping her free hand in his. "Are you heading back to the bridge?"

"Actually," Harvey said, "I'm going to be dropping my quarters to pick up my tennis racquet. Doctor Kij has offered to resume our old tennis matches. I think it'll be a fair distraction, all things considered."

"That should take your mind off of things for a while. I need to meet with Commander Djinx and Ensign Khan in the conference room," Joey stated when in reality, all she wanted to do was sit down and put her feet up. The discomfort she felt was still present, but not so bad she couldn't focus. Of course, that was subject to change. "Looks like we're going to be going in different directions. You go have some fun, and I'll see you later. Sound good?"

"Sounds good," he confirmed as they stopped in front of the turbolift alcove. Once again, they were waiting for a new car to arrive, so he used the time to give her a farewell kiss. "If I don't see you before, I'll see you tonight for dinner."

Joey returned the kiss. "Try to enjoy yourself, and avoid getting hit with tennis balls if at all possible," she said, unable to keep from smiling. "I love you, Harvey, and I'll see you later on this evening."

"I love you too." Harvey squeezed her shoulders in lieu of a full hug. As much as he wanted to hug her, he feared that the extra pressure on her bladder would result in a rushed trip to the restroom, none of which was nearby. Harvey smiled, nodded, and departed as the turbolift arrived to whisk Joey back to her office.

 

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