Star Trek

USS Pioneer


Trip the Mighty

Posted on Sun Nov 17th, 2019 @ 2:40pm by Captain Edmund Hawthorne

Mission: Mission 0: Prologue
Location: Monmartre, Paris
Timeline: T-minus 10 days before Pioneer's Disappearance

Eddie had never cared much for Paris. He found the heart of the Federation to be too busy, too bustling, and so obsessed with clinging to its old-fashioned grandeur it refused to expand and make room for all its business and fuss. But Cam had spent much of their childhood in the city, their mother once a staffer at the Palais, and had inherited her old apartment in Monmartre. As neither of them had lived on Earth in long years, when they did have business on the planet it was far more practical and private than guest rooms in San Francisco.

So Eddie, always a modern boy, had to put up with luxurious space in old-fashioned Paris. He might have been more forgiving of his environment when he staggered out the bedroom that morning had he enjoyed a more restful night's sleep. Thus denied, he was far from bright-eyed when he made it to the balcony to find Cam already sat at the table, bathed in bright, crisp morning light.

'Coffee,' was Cam's dry greeting. They did not look up from their PADD as they filled the mug at the place they'd already laid out across from them. 'I don't want to put up with you without it. Not with the way you were tossing and turning.'

'Couldn't sleep,' Eddie grumbled as if this was news. He clutched the coffee and sat on the chair, the metal cold through his pajamas. Cam was already dressed in a crisp shirt, hair still damp from the shower tied back, as if they had deeply important business to get on with in their day. 'How long have you been up?'

'You kicked me at about 0600,' Cam mused, and sipped coffee. 'Which was about an hour after you woke me up with your muttering about environmental interference of the Badlands phenomena. So while I technically gave up on sleep myself about two hours ago, the whole endeavour was something of a misguided ambition.'

'Oh.' Eddie stared at the coffee, and realised this would make more sense if he drank. 'You didn't make tea?'

'Tea's your drink. This was for me. Be thankful I'm sharing and just take the caffeine.'

'It's the strain on the sensor calculations. In an area with such interference -'

'The processing will, in fact, fare much better than last generation's computer systems? Which were, in fact, perfectly capable of navigating the region anyway?'

'Yes, but not on a hunting mission -'

'It's Starfleet, they'll make do.' Cam clicked their tongue. 'You'll make do.'

Two nights ago, all they'd done was argue about Eddie's assignment. Yesterday morning had happened under a cloud until Cam, without saying anything, had seemingly decided to make the most of the time they had left before Eddie shipped out. So instead of brooding on their row, the two had instead spent the afternoon and evening studiously pretending nothing was wrong.

Eddie suspected he'd burnt through all that goodwill by inflicting a sleepless night on his partner because he was too busy brooding on the technical challenges awaiting him on Pioneer. It took some effort to hold his tongue, because Cam was always his first port of call when he had these kinds of concerns. It was what made them work together well, professionally and as a couple - they were a fiercely united front in ripping apart engineering challenges from different directions.

Except on this challenge, they were not united. He leaned forwards, propping his chin on his elbow on the table. 'What're you reading?'

'Duncan's proposals for how to more effectively integrate the power grid for the Sovereign project,' said Cam, not looking up. 'It's childish.' Cam thought everything Professor Duncan, darling of the Daystrom Institute, proposed in starship design was childish.

'What's wrong with it?'

'What's not wrong with it?' Cam put down the PADD, lifting their eyes to the peerless horizon of Paris tumbling down and away from Monmartre. 'No. We're not getting into it.'

'We're not going to talk about work like we usually do?'

'This isn't usual. I'd rather not become reliant upon your thoughts for the Sovereign project when you're not going to be here.'

'I'll be back in -'

'One mission is two months. Will you be satisfied by then? You should be, but will you suddenly decide the delightful Captain Wilder desperately needs you by his side again? Will the siren call of his inspirational supportiveness and also his lantern jaw lure you back?'

Cam's voice had gone into that sardonic sing-song tone which meant they were both not serious and sincerely angry. Eddie shifted his weight. 'You make it sound like I'm running away with him,' he said dryly, because making a joke was his only real choice.

'I'm saying -' Cam cut themselves off, and lifted their PADD. 'Well. I'd run away with him if I were in your shoes and he came begging for my brain like he does for yours. I'm not insecure, Eddie, I'm just questioning your good judgement for not having an affair with him, considering. It's a terrible waste of a dishy mentor.'

Eddie looked back at the coffee. It had granted him neither the clarity of consciousness, nor had it been sufficiently poisoned to get him out of this conversation. 'I'm off for Pioneer tomorrow,' he said needlessly. 'What're we doing today?'

'Don't you have a terribly important meeting in San Francisco at 1000 hours?'

Eddie winced. 'And after?'

Cam again studied that horizon. 'Parks. We're walking in the parks. You hate it, I love it, it's my perfect revenge for you abandoning me for two months.' They rolled their eyes. 'As if it'll just be two months.'

Eddie opened his mouth defend himself, then shut it at once. It'd just start another argument. 'Fine,' he said, and stood. 'I'll shower. I'll go to the meeting. Then I'll be here for lunch. And we can go to the bloody park.'

'There,' said Cam, reading their PADD as Eddie headed back inside. 'Isn't everything smoother when you just do what I want?'