Arboretum Picnic

Posted on Sun Jan 14, 2024 @ 3:26am by Lieutenant Cuyu Reeza & Lieutenant Jules Mundy

3,820 words; about a 19 minute read

Mission: Episode 1 - The Privateers
Location: Arboretum
Timeline: MD-12?

She smiled as she opened the door to him...could she call Jules her boyfriend yet? It seemed soon, but she couldn't think of a better word. She'd just told Soja that he was her "special friend" and that sometimes, adults needed time with other adults. Soja seemed to understand.

"HI!" She said, stepping aside to let him in. "This is Cuyu Soja. Soja, honey, come meet my friend Jules," she said. "If you'd like for her to call you something specific, please tell her," she said to Jules. "Lt. Jules Mundy."

[I]Hello, Mr. Mundy,[/I] Soja said, a little shyly. The girl was wearing a dress over leggings, and her brown hair was braided back. Reeza herself was wearing jeans, a button-down shirt, and a scarf used as a headband in her red hair. "Are we ready? We are, I believe." She said. She located the juice bottle and a toy for Soja, just in case, and let Jules lead the way.

Jules looked at the pretty little girl as they were walking along the corridor. "It is a pleasure to meet you, Soja. And you can call me Jules." Jules nodded to Reeza. "The Arboretum is just a couple of decks away." They approached a turbolift, and the doors opened for them. Once they were inside, "Arboretum." And the TL started to move.

Reeza held tightly to Soja's hand, careful to keep the girl close to her. She was one of those helicopter moms, though she was making an effort to NOT be...still, Soja was only four, barely out of toddlerhood, and she was still uncertain how to parent the child alone as she grew. It was out of the Doctor's wheelhouse. Oh, sure, she understood it clinically but the reality was different. Her few rounds in Pediatrics really did not prepare her for the messiness of motherhood-late night stomach viruses, early morning wake-ups during sleep regression, and later...having to stare at the face of your dead husband reflected back in the face of someone else you loved.

She smiled a little at Jules. "Ok, so...I think the plan I have is to settle in, we'll eat soon, and maybe pop on a video for Soja while we all wander the garden? I brought the PADD, in case..." Soja was well-behaved, though, in general. Her other plan was to move everything to the Mess Hall, if necessary, in case.

"I'm sure we will have a lovely time." Jules was standing on the other side of Reeza, Soja couldn't see Jules reach behind Reeza and place his hand on her hip.

Reeza smiled. "I am sure we will," she said. She felt his hand on her hip, and she felt comforted. She smiled down at Soja, who was looking around the ship with the same big-eyed wonder that Reeza herself did at her first posting. Starships were certainly exciting. "Do you remember the way?" Reeza asked her daughter. The little girl nodded. Yes, mommy, I do. We turn right here, and take the lift to the first floor. She smiled, but looked up at Jules. Mommy says I am not allowed to go on the lifts by myself. To which Reeza laughed. "Not yet. Maybe when you're older."

Jules smiled and looked at Soja. "Your mother is right. Too many places for you to get lost if you're not careful. But, if you do happen to get lost, you can always call me for help, and I'll be there very fast. Is that a deal?" They arrived at the Arboretum.

Soja just nodded. "Yes," she said, looking to her mother for confirmation. The woman nodded slightly.. "Yes, please do. Jules can probably run faster than mommy," she said. "Here we are. Soja, do you want to find us a place to sit?" She let go of the little girl's hand, feeling safe that they were in a place where they could watch her but still let her run around a bit. She leaned over to kiss Jules' cheek. "Thank you for that," she said. Finally, they were sitting, cross-legged, on a tablecloth on the floor. "What's for dinner?" She asked.

Jules opened the basket. "Fried chicken, turkey sandwiches and assorted fruit."

Reeza smiled. "You're on a mission to fatten me up," she joked. "Sounds lovely, thank you. Soja is capable of helping herself." Reeza didn't baby her in that way, oddly. She was allowed to eat what she wanted-or not-and Reeza didn't mind. So long as she ate. She helped the child to make a small plate, and then herself. She settled back to eat a bit, leaning against Jules' shoulder. He was very strong, and she appreciated that. "How was your day?" She asked him. Soja was eating quietly, stripping the chicken off its skin, and then eating it first before the meat. Reeza couldn't bother to care.

"Just doing what I normally do, keeping track of sensor readings and power allotment." Jules popped a couple of grapes in his mouth, watching her and keeping an eye on Soja.

Reeza smiled. "Tell me about your work," she said. She liked to listen to his voice. Plus, it was fascinating. "Mine was good; we passed the training with flying colors," she said. She watched Soja, who had moved on to the fruit, eating daintily. She reached over and used a napkin to wipe her daughter's face. "Use your manners, please," she said, quietly. How nice was this? Sitting here with a new beau, her daughter, in nature. It was really serene.

"Most of the time, my work is strictly routine. Reroute power. Make sure critical systems are properly powered up. Don't get me wrong, I like what I do. There maybe times when I may have to cover the helm. Or I need to be on a landing party, but I usually don't need to go." Jules told her.

Reeza nodded. "Same. Medicine is usually very boring-fielding malingerers who don't want to work that day, curing hangovers, and minor injuries. I mean, I am glad it's slow mostly, but sometimes, I think I'd like a little more excitement in my days," she said. She smiled, and then turned her attention to the little voice next to her. *Mommy...* "Yes, honey?" The little girl asked to go look at the flowers. Reeza nodded. "Yes, but stay right there," she said. "I can see you from here. You know what the rule is-if I can't see you, you went too far." The little girl nodded, but stood up and ran off. Reeza smiled. "She's a good girl, really. I just...need to keep her safe. Her father would never forgive me if I let something happen to her," she told Jules. Her eyes followed the girl, who was, indeed, sitting in a patch of Bajoran lilies, playing with a doll. "I'll recycle her things, just a minute," She stood to head to the recycler in the corridor.

Jules stood up and walked over to Soja to see what she was doing, He knelt down and looked at her and the flowers. "Are you having a good time?"

The little girl looked up, and nodded. "Yes. Thank you for bwinging me with you," she said. Soja still struggled with the "r" sound in Standard. "My mommy said you're vewy nice to her. Thank you fow that. She's been welly sad since my daddy is gone..." Soja said simply, and then went back to her game.

Reeza returned to the picnic, and smiled a bit, watching Jules interact with Soja. She wouldn't interrupt it as it seemed to be going well, which made her glad.

Jules watched her play. "I like your mommy. She's a very lovely woman." He kept watching her. "Can I play your game with you? You'll have to tell me the rules."

Soja nodded. "This is Leena, my dolly. She's going on a wocket ship to Sol," the little girl said. "You can be the pilot if you want." She handed him what appeared to be a rocket-shaped model toy, of plastic, from a small pink backpack.
From her spot across the way, Reeza watched, smiling. Perfect. It was going to be OK.

Jules held the 'rocket'. "All systems report ready to depart, captain. Orders?" He smiled at Soja.

*BLAST OFF* She yelled. Reeza startled, but laughed. "Alright, you two, indoor voices, please," she said, moving closer to watch. She sipped some of the iced tea they'd brought along, and she watched happily as they played.

"Engaging warp drive in 3....2...1!" Jules moved the ship around. "We have reached maximum warp, captain. On course for Sol."

Soja made some whooshing noises. "How long will it take, Captain? Do we have the snacks packed?" She asked Jules.

Reeza moved closer, settling in on the floor next to Jules, still just watching quietly. "Mommy, do you want be the Engineer?" She asked. Reeza nodded, and picked up the other plastic character. "Captain! All systems ready for launch!" She said.

"The ship's galley is fully stocked with enough food for the crew." Jules answered. "All hands to their station! Prepare to get under way."

Reeza chuckled. Soja would think about snacks first! "Sir!! Engineering is ready!!" She only a compulsory knowledge of bridge duties. He'd have to teach her.

*Mommmm!! It's "Prepared to launch," Soja said* Reeza gave her a LOOK but nodded. "You're right, I think...Jules would know. He flies the ship, you know."

"Soja. Would you like to see what the bridge looks like?" Jules asked her.

Soja looked up and nodded. *Can I, Mommy?* Reeza smiled.
"Yes, of course," Reeza said. "That would be fun," she said. "Let me gather our things." She stood up to go back to the basket and rug they'd put out.

"Wait a minute." Jules had some bad news he had to deliver. "I can't take children to the bridge, nor any unauthorized personnel. But we can visit the bridge without actually going to the bridge. There is a program in the computer that creates a 3D virtual reality bridge that is used for training new personnel. I can arrange for us to use that. Does that sound good?" He hoped his idea would be well received.

She nodded. "Right! I've forgotten! That's fine!" She said. Soja looked disappointed, but nodded. *That will still be fun!* She said.

"Lead the way," Reeza said, gathering the toys up. "Soja, please put your toys away." She said. The little girl cleaned up her things, and then the three were on their way.

"Let's drop these things at your quarters, we won't need them anymore." Jules suggested.

Reeza nodded. "Alright." She told the computer in the turbolift where to go. She stepped inside to drop the toys off, leaving Soja in the corridor with Jules for a moment. She stepped back out. "Off to the Holodeck?" She asked. "Or do you want to use our holoemitter? We have one; Soja's grandparents bought one for her," she explained. Her husband's parents often sent gifts like that for the child for holidays.

"Neither. We're going to the training simulator room where the new crew familiarize themselves with the ship. Lucky for us, no one is using it now, and the man in charge owes me a favor." Jules walked with them to the turbolift, where they would travel down to the lower decks where the training room was.

Reeza nodded. "Alright," she said. "Lead the way." She followed him, holding on to Soja's hand. They headed to the lower decks. "I admit I have never been to the training room."

"You're not a bridge officer, otherwise you would be familiar with it." The turbolift slowed. Jules looked at Soja. "Are you scared?"

Reeza nodded. "That makes sense," she said. "I probably should familiarize myself with the ship a bit more, actually," she said. Next to her, Soja shook her head no.
*No, I am excited to see it. My daddy took me to one on the Starbase one time.*
Reeza smiled. "It was a training video on the holodeck, actually, but similar thing. We had a carrier group there on Shore leave, and he decided it was a good idea. I wasn't so convinced, but what could I do?" She said. "They were fine, I just worry too much."

Jules nodded. "Well, here we are." He used his code on the keypad and the door opened. He went first to activate the lights. "Alright to come in now." It wasn't a large room. There was a window with a counsel behind it.

Reeza helped Soja through the door. "Very nice. A little cramped, but it'll do. You'll have to show me what to do; I am only familiar with the basic flight trainers and Bridge holoprograms from the Academy. It's been awhile," she said. Her own training programs usually took place IN the medical bay, for obvious reasons.

Jules opened the door to the control room, then came out with dark tinted glasses. "We'll wear these while in the program. Without them, you won't see the program. Questions?"

Reeza shook her head, as did Soja. "No, I don't think so!! Do we need ear protection? Well, does Soja?" Her hearing was already shot from years in the Fleet. Soja was still little. "We're both excited, I think."

"There will be no loud noises in this simulation. All we'll hear is the bridge systems going through their programs. Ready?" Jules activated the program and the three of them found themselves in a turbolift.

She nodded, and waited for the Simulation to begin. She took Jules' hand carefully, squeezing it lightly as the lights came on in a Turbolift. "Oh, it's very through, a lift!" She said.

"Has to be as real as possible. New recruits have to get used to everything that happens, from the turbolift to the bridge." He held her hand as the lift moved upward, then the doors opened.

She nodded, and took his hand. "Right! Of course." She said. They stepped out of the Turbolift and onto the Bridge. "Assume your consoles!" She said, loudly. She remembered *this* part.

Jules looked at Soja. "Each department has different responsibilities. What department are you interested in?"

Soja thought for a moment. "Engineering, like Daddy," she said. Reeza smiled.

"I think it's that one there," she said, pointing to a Console. "I'll take Science," she said.

"I'll take command." He moved to the center chair. "Engineer. Status of engines."

*WORKING!!* Came the little girl's voice. Reeza laughed. She settled in next to Jules. "I know the Science console is over there," she said. "But I'd rather sit by the Captain. He's kind of cute," she said.

"In that case, I've just promoted you to First Officer." Jules smiled and winked at her. "What do you think about that, chief engineer?"

Reeza chuckled lightly. She looked at Soja. *I think it's ok. What do you think, Mommy?* Reeza smiled. "It's ok with me," she said. They began their training module then.

The computer created holograms for the missing crew.

Reeza watched as the room filled with the rest of the Bridge crew. She pressed a button, remembering vaguely what to do from the few command-training classes she'd had. "Sensor reports?" She asked. She looked to Jules to make sure she was doing it right.

Jules nodded to signal that she was correct. "Chief Engineer, I'm still waiting for an update on the engines."

Soja smacked her head, and then smiled. "Oh, wight. They are...on. And going VEWY fast!!" She made a whooshing sound, and Reeza laughed. "Alright, Captain. Orders?"

"Helmsman, set course for the Klingon home world." The holographic helmsman respond, "Yes sir."

Reeza settled back to enjoy the show. "Kronos, huh?" She asked. "Why there?" She just wondered what he had in store for them.

"Just a cultural exchange visit. We go, meet with the Klingon council, see if there is anything that needs immediate attention, should be an easy mission."

Reeza nodded. "Let's go," she said. After a bit, the hologram changed to the typography of the alien planet. They docked, and the three found themselves walking amongst the Klingons at a big, open market. Reeza looked at Jules, and took Leena's hand. "Stay close, please," she said. "Where should we go first, do you think?" She asked Jules and Leena.
*Get a snack, mommy* Reeza laughed. "You just ate!!!" She shook her head and then looked at Jules.

Jules was on defensive mode. They were amongst Klingons, but one always had to be weary. "See that building at the end on the street? That's where we are to go. That's where the Klingon High Council sits. We will go there, introduce ourselves and try to negotiate a peace. But, we can enjoy this market, observe the Klingons to better understand them."

Reeza nodded. It was a good plan, and as the Counselor, she was skilled in negotiations, anyway. She prepped her brain for it, but took Jules' hand in her other one. The three walked along together, Reeza watching carefully. They were unnoticed for a little bit. Soja was watching the Klingon children play as their parents/guardians shopped. Reeza could hear the shouts and scolds of the stall owners and the shoppers. "Alright, I think that's a good plan," she finally said, realizing they were almost at the Klingon High Council building. "We should've changed into uniforms," she said.

Jules pulled out a padd, pressed a button and they were now wearing standard Star Fleet uniforms for the mission. "The programmers thought of everything." They now noticed a distinct odor. "Down to the last detail, local odors."

They continued to walk to the council building.

Reeza laughed. "Nice," she said. They arrived at the Council building in a short time, and Reeza used her skills as Counselor and mom to speak to the guards. In a moment, they were let into the building, and Reeza kept a close, tight grip on Soja's hand. "Please stay close, and quiet," she said.

They were shown into a large gathering hall where several Klingons sat in chairs discussing matters. They did not look up when the entered.

Reeza took the lead. "Hello," she said. "This is Leena. She's here to learn about how your government works for her school lessons. May we be permitted to watch?" She asked.

One Klingon just looked at her and ignored her. "I am Captain Jules Mundy of the starship Columbia. I am here to speak to the council concerning trade requirements. I demand you let us in! We are expected."

Reeza glanced at Jules. "Maybe we should go?" She asked.

"No." Jules turned back to the Klingon guards....and cursed them in Klingon.

Reeza glanced at the man. "Are you...ok?" She asked. She stepped back a little-it seemed a little rash to appear confrontational on their own land.

The Klingon smiled and laughed at the Human, then placed his hand on his shoulder. "You're either a brave human or a very foolish one." Then he turned and opened the door, allowing them to enter. Jules looked at Reeza and winked.

Reeza eyeballed both men, and held Soja a bit closer to her, but followed Jules and the Klingon through the door. What was about to happen?!

They all walked through the now open doors....and they found themselves in a large chamber...with 5 elderly Klingons sitting on a raised stage.

Reeza smiled. "Hello," she said. She felt Soja grip her hand tightly. "It's ok," she said, bending down to the the little girl. "It IS ok, right?" She asked Jules.

"We're here on a diplomatic mission, so our safety is guaranteed. So there is no need to worry, and remember, the computer won't let us be harmed." Jules turned back to the Klingons. "We represent the United Federation of Planets, we are on a diplomatic mission."

With a grunt and a growl, the guards let them pass, without incident. Jules turned back, "See. I told you we would be safe."

She smiled. "Yes," she said. "You did. What is your plan, though?" She asked. They followed a corridor to a doorway. She trusted Jules enough to follow, but she was alert.

"My plan is to negotiate a trade agreement between the Federation and the Klingon Empire. Won't be easy." He smiled at her.
They approached the raised platform where the 5 Klingons were seated. "I am Lieutenant Jules Mundy. I represent the United Federation of Planets." He paused. "Thank you for allowing us to address you."

Mundy pressed a button and the simulation ended. "I hope you enjoyed it. But I think it might be getting late for somebody." He looked at Reeza's daughter.

Reeza smiled at Jules. "Yes, I think so," she said. "Sorry, kiddo. It is getting late; time for bed. We can do more holodeck adventures next time," she said. She stood up, and helped Soja to her feet. "Thank you, this was fun. Do you want to...join us at our place?" She asked him, quietly. It would be the first time he'd stay over with Soja there.

Jules was caught off guard but recovered quickly. "Yes, of course I would."

She smiled. "Lead the way, Lieutenant," she said. Once back at her quarters, Reeza helped Soja get ready for bed while she left Jules to help himself to a drink. After the girl was asleep,Reeza returned and settled in next to him. "Today was fun. Thank you," she said, leaning in to kiss him.

Jules enjoyed the kiss. He wrapped an arm around her shoulder, moving her closer. "I like you daughter. She's a nice person. She needs a father. How about we get married, and I could be her stepfather?"

She sat back. It was her turn to be taken off guard. "Don't you think it's a bit soon?" She asked, in surprise. "We haven't known each other that long...." she said. "I...I need to make sure it's the right thing for Soja, too," she said. "Can we...wait a bit more? I just..." she sighed deeply. "Yes. I will marry you, but not yet." She said. "At least one more date. People"

"Let people talk." He started unbuttoning her blouse. "You don't think Soja will approve?" He started kissing her shoulder. "Sometimes things that were meant to be happen."

She let out a pleasurable sound. "I know,'s different when you're a parent. I don't want people to think I am not thinking about her," she explained. "But...mmm, that's nice," she said, to his kisses. "'re right. Maybe it's time." She didn't know what to do, honestly. She had a lot of thoughts swirling about in her head.

In minutes, they were naked and under the covers, enjoying each other.




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