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Life with Katz

Posted on Wed Jan 27th, 2016 @ 10:16am by Ensign Echo Solaris

Mission: Et Tu, Brute?
Location: Echo's Quarters, Deck Ten
Timeline: Before "Failure to Launch"

The wake-up alarm was still going off when Ensign Lauren Katz finished up with her sonic shower. She was Echo’s roommate, and the kind of person who seemed to get the best of everything. She had the lower bunk. She had an easy engineering console job on the bridge. She had the prettiest smile. She could do all sorts of interesting things with her hair. And she was also Twinkie’s favorite person in the world. Every morning it was enough to make Echo jealous. Echo had the deathtrap bunk. Her job was really hard. No one seemed to like her smile. Her hair felt like a rat’s nest. And her cat was a traitor.

In other words, Echo was not a morning person.

“Wakey wakey!” Lauren said, exuding her usual sunny disposition. She poked at Echo, who was still in her bunk. “Didn’t you hear the alarm? It’s been going off for ten minutes!”

“You set it an hour too early.” Echo said with a tired sigh, refusing to budge from under the warm covers.

“Don’t you remember? Samedi wants me to do stuff in engineering today. I definitely don’t want to be late. Annnnd, you said you’d cover for me on the bridge. Don’t you remember?” Lauren was quick to repeat herself, and she had a way of making people feel forgetful or inadequate, when it was all too likely that the conversation she’d mentioned had never taken place.

“I’m working a bridge shift today?” Echo demanded, her paranoid, frantic eyes now peering out from the covers.

“Yeah. So get up. You still have plenty of time to get ready.” Lauren started brushing her hair. She did this cool braided bun thing with her hair that Echo liked. She didn’t know if she liked it because it looked nice, or because she secretly wanted Lauren to braid her hair that way. Echo never asked about it because she was afraid the other woman would find out about the latter.

Grudgingly throwing back the warm covers, Echo began the awkward process of getting out of bed without falling from the top bunk. She didn’t have any comfy pajamas… those had been among the items accidentally shipped to a starbase several hundred light years away. Instead, she’d slept in her uniform. It wasn’t that wrinkled, and had today been a normal day she probably would have worn it again. That would not have been an issue in engineering, but Echo was guessing that Captain O’Touvelli had a no-scrubs policy up on the bridge.

After climbing down, Echo almost tripped over her cat as she stumbled toward the washroom. Twinkie was doing his usual morning routine of wandering about, getting in the way and meowing at anyone and anything that might be able to fill his food dish. Echo decided to set him up with some breakfast first… not that it would help in convincing the cat to snuggle up with her at night instead of Lauren. Maybe it was because her name was Katz. But then again, if Echo were a cat she’d probably opt to snuggle with Lauren too… her bunk was nice and easy to get to.

:: Ten Minutes Later

A sonic shower and a clean uniform did a lot to improve Echo’s grumpy disposition. Usually it wouldn’t be until she had her morning coffee and breakfast that she’d seem willing to cope with the day. Her quarters didn’t have a food synthesizer, which meant that morning encounters before reaching the mess hall were often sketchy, at best. Today, it was looking like that wouldn’t be the case.

Maybe she was up because today would be something different. Echo had never worked a bridge shift before. She took the opportunity to dress up a bit more than usual and had donned one of her fancy uniform dresses. She liked the dresses the Orion had made for her, but Echo hadn’t been wearing them lately. She didn’t seem to feel the same need to look nice all the time as Lauren did. That, and she honestly felt her tunic and trousers were almost as flattering. She also wore solid black tights, as she always did when she wore a dress.

“I don’t understand why you wear those. You’ve got great legs. You should show them off.” Lauren said as she too finished getting dressed. She usually took way longer to get ready than Echo did. Obviously she was a fan of the bare-leg look.

Echo shot Lauren a withering stare. Who cared about such things? Obviously, her roommate did. Moving to her drawer, Echo dug under her stuff for her carefully hidden rockstar boots… the ones that covered her knees and had conspicuously high heels. She’d decided that today was the day to wear them. Today was the day to out herself as mentally, and fashionably insane.

Oh shit!” Lauren exclaimed, her mouth and eyes going agape. “You’ve got stripper boots?”

“They’re not stripper boots.” Echo corrected as she pulled one of them on. “They’re supermodel boots.”

“What’s the difference? Both take their clothes off for money.” Lauren was still eyeing the boots. Clearly, she wanted to wear them. Or at least try them on.

“Supermodels work with professionals. Not creeps.” Echo corrected again as she tugged on the other boot and carefully took to her feet.

“You’re really messed up in the head, Echo. You know that?” Clearly, Lauren didn’t know the half of it. “You have one lunch date with the captain, and now you think the two of you are all cuddly. Well I’ll tell you…”

“You don’t think O’Touvelli likes me?” Echo interrupted, seemingly serious.

“I think you’re going to find out real fast. After she decides whether or not to throw your ass off her bridge.”

Echo didn’t appear to be overly concerned about that. “Who says I’ve got eyes for the captain? Maybe it’s that new XO…”

Lauren took the bait, and got a crazy look in her eye. “You stay away from him! He’s mine!” Realizing she was brandishing her tube of red lipstick like it were a weapon, Lauren did her best to tone down the crazy. “Look. You can have the Captain. You can have Chief Samedi. You can have any other officer on the ship for all I care. But I call dibs on him. I see you strutting your fancy heels around him…. I’ll cut you!” Lauren brandished her lipstick again.

“So… does ‘any other officer’ include you?” Echo said sweetly, deciding to toy with Lauren. She stepped forward with a dreamy look on her face, as if attempting to try and land a kiss. She would never have imagined herself being so brazen after getting out of bed. Must be the boots.

Lauren stepped back, clearly fearful of ending up in Echo’s embrace. She backed herself into their work desk and nearly stumbled, dropping the tube of lipstick she’d just capped.

Twinkie the cat darted out from under the desk and between Lauren’s legs. He picked up the tube of lipstick in his mouth and brought it over to Echo, as he’d been trained to do with all small objects that were tossed on the floor. He dropped it at her feet and sat nobly, looking at her expectantly. ‘Here human, you dropped this on my floor. I’ve found it for you. Please be more careful in the future.’ Echo promptly fed him a treat and retrieved the lipstick.

Lauren looked dumbstruck. For several seconds she was positively stunned. As if she’d never seen a cat play fetch.

Echo tossed the lipstick back to her roommate, who almost dropped it again. “You’ve got to get it together, Katz. Even Twinkie has to clean up your messes.” She started to move off. “Anyway, I’m getting some breakfast. Have fun with Samedi.”

The door to their cabin swooshed open and Echo prepared to head out, her boot heels producing a magnificent clitter-clatter with each step. She stopped short and turned at the door. “Oh, and if Samedi asks you to fix Relay Junction 12-A, watch out. It’s a trap. No one’s been able to fix 12-A.” And with that she left.

 

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