An Unexpected Surprise
Location: USS Poseidon; Theater, Deck 6
Timeline: Day 004 - 1847 Hours
The Poseidon's modest theater was near capacity, with only a handful of seats still open to latecomers. With the arrival of Ensign Aislin Finnegan as the Science Department's new Assistant Chief Science Officer, the young Lieutenant found he could afford to take an early evening from time to time. It became one of those nights when he learned the theater was screening the newest release of an Andorian hardcore action flick titled "The Glacial Rampart". The reviews had been decent, and Canaan thought this as good a time as any to let his mind focus on anything but his duties and responsibilities, or Arach VI.
With a bowl of buttery, salty popcorn in hand, Canaan navigated to one of the two empty seats available in the third back row and happily settled into a large, overstuffed chair.
Jax walked into the theater, a soda in hand, condensation running down the sides, and making his hand both wet and cold. He had never seen an Andorian movie before, but he'd heard plenty of good about this particular one and was excited to see it. Looking around at the small room, peering through the gloom of the dimmed lights, he saw a few open spots and was about to decide which one he'd rather choose when he had to do a quick double-take. Back in the back rows, he'd caught a quick glimpse of a shock of white hair that had seemed awfully familiar.
Making his way closer he looked harder through the gloom, and saw that he was correct, Canaan, the man from the other night was sitting in a seat close to the rear of the theater, munching on a bowl of popcorn as he waited for the movie to start.
"So... Come here often?" Jax asked as he slid into the row and sat down into the chair directly next to the other man's.
Chagrined, Canaan delighted in the surprise of Jaxson discovering him on board the Poseidon. "Only recently, I thought I'd give it a go." He joked, in a hushed tone of voice. "How are you settling in, Mr. Jaxson Morris?" He asked politely, plucking a few kernels of popped corn from the bowl. He tipped the vessel of yumminess, inviting the unsuspecting engineer to help himself.
Grabbing a few pieces of popcorn and tossing them into his mouth Jax smiled at the other man. "It's just Jax, remember? My friends call me Jax. And I'm settling in nicely. Glad to know I already know someone on the ship, though! You a fan of Andorian films?" he asked, taking a sip of his drink to wash down the popcorn.
Canaan nodded excitedly, "Well if I'm honest, I have a soft spot in my heart for action-adventure films. Andorian filmmakers are renowned for their awe-inspiring stunts and gripping plots. So, you get to enjoy an incredible story while watching some jaw-dropping action." Canaan followed this statement with a shrug of his shoulders, "And even if the film is just alright, the musical score is sure to be incredible. How'd you hear about the film tonight?" He was a little curious how word spread among the uncommissioned crew. Probably the same as the officers.
"Through the grapevine, as always," Jax replied with a grin. "You know there are no secrets on a starship."
Turning his attention back to the other part of the man's topic he spoke, "I've heard that about Andorian films, and I have a few Andorian soundtracks in my personal collection. They tend to be amazing for a workout, and any other time you want to get your pulse up."
Canaan feigned surprise, dramatically clutching a string of invisible pearls, "Secrets on a starship, you say?!" Although he was making light of this reality, it was a not-so-subtle reminder that the quiet, unassuming relationship developing between Commodore Gregory Paladin and himself could remain a secret for only so long. It worried Canaan that the longer the secret was kept, the more harm it would cause to those that cared for both men, most especially Commander Johnson. Gregory said he'd spoken to the necessary powers that be, letting them know of the relationship and, for the time being, at least, that would have to do.
"Andorian music, in general, is very beat-driven and ambient; it's almost impossible not to increase one's pulse." He noted with a chuckle, like Jaxson, having songs from different Andorian soundtracks loaded into his workout playlist. "Have you met your roommates? How about Lieutenant Mo'Bri?" The previews hadn't started yet, so there was still time for a bit of casual conversation before the movie began.
"I haven't met the Lieutenant yet, but I did get to briefly meet my roommates yesterday when I was first assigned my quarters. They seem like pretty cool guys, and very quiet. Luckily one of them works Alpha and the other works Gamma, so my nights should be pretty serene," Jax replied. "Lucky you, over here getting a big ol' room to himself. Gives you a bit more flexibility with your comings and goings," he added with a mischievous grin.
Canaan mirrored Jaxson's grin, "If it makes you feel any better, I hardly spend time in my private quarters," he popped a few more kernels into his mouth, "so you're welcome to spread out a bit of you'd ever like some privacy." There was no allusion in the offer, only an example of Canaan's kindness. "Besides, I like the idea of roommates. It can help with socialization and building a sense of community. If you can believe it, that'll be my first assignment with my quarters. So, you'll believe me when I say that I'm a bit envious of you!" He finished with a playful wink, oblivious of its flirtatious intention.
Jaxson chuckled a bit, "Well, I guess we are a bit different in that respect. I don't hate the idea of roommates, but I do value my privacy, and I like to be able to do things my way every once in a while. But, such is the life in Starfleet for those of us lower down the ladder," he added with a smile. "Thanks for the offer, by the way, but I think I'd rather just hang out with you sometime if I need to get away. So far, both times we've done that has been pretty fun."
Canaan grinned, "Fair enough." The lights dimmed, bathing the theater in near darkness before the previews for the next movie of the week started to play. "Here we go." He whispered excitedly, making himself as comfortable as possible in the oversized chair.
Sometime later, both Jaxson and Canaan emerged from the theater, the last few of those in attendance to exit the cabin.
Jax had gone into the theater with absolutely no expectations since it was going to be something he had never experienced before. Now that it was over he was all smiles at how good it had turned out to be. He kept thinking back to various aspects of the movie and shaking his head in amazement at how they'd pulled it all off.
"That was a pretty good movie, actually. I wasn't entirely sure what to expect, but I wasn't disappointed," Jax said, walking beside Canaan. "What about you?" he asked.
"Are you kidding me?!" Canaan asked, louder than he'd intended. "That was enthralling. I mean, I could've gone without watching the scene with the gratuitous orgy, but aside from that, the entire movie was an epic success." The white-haired Lieutenant discarded the empty bowl of popcorn on the concession table and followed Jaxson. "I challenge you to find any plot holes. There wasn't a one." He stated confidently, still somewhat charged by the adventurousness of the movie.
Not being used to watching movies with people who were so enthusiastic about them as Canaan, Jax felt himself being slowly infected by the other man's enthusiasm. "I can't think of any either, and yeah, the orgy was a bit off-putting, but I can see why it was there. At least it wasn't completely gratuitous like it is in some things. It really had a purpose, you know..." he said.
"So, what are you going to be up to today? Any fun and exciting plans?" he asked.
Canaan shrugged his shoulders in agreement. Jaxson was correct that even that scene had served its purpose in the progression of the story.
He chuckled, "Honestly, aside from this, nothing. I don't get out of the lab often, so this was an infrequent treat. Normally, I'd still be dabbling around with an experiment or two, reading or preparing a report, maybe organizing a storage compartment. But tonight? Tonight I've nothing planned at all." The pair walked slowly down the corridor. "And yourself?"
Jax walked beside Canaan, "Honestly, not a thing. I'm still new, so I've yet to really make any friends. I know a few of the people in Engineering are planning on a card game, and some seem to be involved in some sort of fantasy holonovel program, but I'm not really a known element yet, so I'm keeping a low profile. I might grab a bite in the mess hall, just to see who I might run into," he replied.
"You'll settle in and make friends in no time at all," Canaan spoke as if the words were fact. "You're an easy person to like." These words, however, he spoke with unquestionable sincerity. "Like you, we're all new to the Poseidon. So, consider me to be your first friend on board." As they walked, Canaan placed his hands in either pocket of his uniform jumpsuit, strolling down the corridor in a casual way that let Jaxson know he was in no hurry to be anywhere in particular.
"I already did," Jax said as they continued to walk. "You are an easy person to like also. And you have a certain way of making someone feel at ease, and welcome. It's nice. My last posting was nothing like this. I was there for nearly two years, and from the day I came aboard, to the day I left for Poseidon, I felt like an unwelcome guest. It was a great experience in regards to my career, but it was lonely as all hell," he admitted with a rueful smile.
Canaan nodded, "The Counselor would probably have my head if she heard me spouting facts about psychology, but friendships in the workplace are incredibly important and an absolute must. I believe that it's even more essential on a ship like the Poseidon." He noted, catching the other man's crestfallen grin. "Would you consider yourself to be an outsider?" Canaan wondered, nodding to a passing crewman who smiled and waved to the pair.
Jax didn't even hesitate, "Oh, absolutely not. I actually don't even much like being alone. I tend to gravitate to social situations and try to make friends. The only time I'm not doing that is if I'm working, and that's because I tend to zone in and lose track of other matters while I work," he replied.
"I can identify with that." Canaan agreed, knowing how easy it was to become utterly engrossed in one's passion that the outside world tended to fade away. "You must love what you do, then?"
"Yes, most definitely I do. Ever since I was a little boy I've loved what I do. I tore apart everything I could get my hands on to figure out how it worked. When I got old enough to move on to more complex things I asked my dad to get me an old hoverbike I could fix up. He was hesitant at first, but he came around finally. The day he brought that hunk of junk home was the most exciting day of my life. I spent the next seventy-two hours, barely sleeping, tearing it down, repairing and cleaning, and then putting it all back together. I waited until he got home from work that day and started it up. Ran better than brand new. That was the day I realized there was no chance I was ever going to be anything but an engineer," Jax answered.
The way Jaxson spoke about his passion left nothing to interpretation. "Your parents must have been cautious about leaving you to your own devices around technology." Canaan joked, wondering how many times Jaxson had disassembled the replicator or sonic showers as a child or teenager. Canaan pictured a young Jaxson, a smudge of greasy lubricant tarnishing the tip of his chestnut-colored nose, as he hastily reassembled the food synthesizer while his mom chastised him from the kitchen. A fictitious making of his imagination, but one Canaan imagined was somewhat on par with how he pictured Jaxson's childhood. "Do you still rebuild hoverbikes?" Canaan asked as they rounded a corner, the turbolift situated at the very end of the corridor.
"When I can, yes. Hoverbikes, and rebuilding them, bring together both of my passions. Engineering and things that go really fast," Jax replied with a child-like grin. "Which sort of explains why I got into propulsion engineering as well," he added with a chuckle.
Jaxson's smile was endearing and caused Canaan to reciprocate, "You'll have to show me your latest project sometime soon. That is, if you'd like to and if you're working on anything at the moment." The Lieutenant clarified.
"I'm always working on something, Canaan, I can't not be busy. It drives me nuts. I'll get the stuff transferred over to a padd and the next time we get a chance to hang out I'll bring it along," Jax responded. "But it'll cost you. I may not be as smart about science as you most likely are, but I still find it fascinating. So, you will have to show me something about your latest project as well."
It was Canaan who returned Jaxson's degree of excitement, "Yes? You'd like that?" Presently, the science department was managing over ninety simultaneous experiments. From theoretical physics to mycology, and every sub-division in between, there was any number of tests Canaan would be thrilled to show Jaxson. "Is there a field of science you enjoyed studying or learning about the most in school?" He wondered as they stood outside of the turbolift door.
Jax glanced sideways, not sure how the other man would respond to his reply. "Arachnology, specifically the study of scorpions, and venomous spiders like the Black Widow. I don't really know why, but they've always struck me as absolutely fascinating," he answered.
Canaan called for the lift, listening closely to Jaxson. "Arachnology is a fascinating field, indeed." He declared eagerly. "Ensign Glarng in Exo-Arachnology is studying the adaptive characteristics of the recently discovered Mallorean arctic scorpion. You might be interested in that particular experiment." The Mallorean arctic scorpions were the approximate size of a house cat. Their metasomal segments were twice the length of their abdomen, diverging along the fifth segment creating two, distinct tails with their venomous bulb. They're coloring was unique, too, reminiscent of a poisonous tree frog. "I think you'd enjoy seeing what he's working on."
"I think I would as well," Jax replied. I've never really studied any arachnids from other worlds. I bet it would be fascinating," he added just as the doors to the turbolift doors swished open before them.
Stepping inside he turned to his friend, "So, next time we are both free, we each bring the other a glimpse into our respective fields of interest. Me a hoverbike, and you a scorpion, sound good to you?" he asked.
Canaan held the door for Jaxson, "Sounds good." He agreed with a broad smile, his aquamarine-colored eyes finding Jaxson's. "I'm glad we found each other again." He said honestly, ignorant of the sentiment's implication.
Jax returned the smile, "I'm just as glad, thank you!" he replied.
"Goodnight!" Canaan said as he released the door, either panel quickly swooshing closed. Tucking his hands back into his pockets and in search of a nightcap, Canaan turned down an adjacent corridor toward the Mess Hall.
"The great thing about new friends is that they bring new energy to your soul."