Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Second Impression & Commotion in the Gym

Second Impression
Day 1 (cont)
Capt Burke
1639 Hours

Burke had a good view of the table where her helmsman and navigator sat with the new redhead. Before long, half a dozen men joined them. Bugalu always seems to get the first date, though it never takes the others long to move in. For a second, it looked like a fight would break out, but the redhead stopped Bugalu's lunge over the table. Burke shook her head. "Fighting over a new girl already."
Smythe glanced that way, then returned to his roast beef and potatoes. "She's a trouble-maker," he muttered.
"Who?" Dr MacGregor glanced at the other table for some time. "I told her every man aboard would chase her."
"Including you two?" Jane asked.
Smitty seemed aghast. "Certainly not!"
"What about you, Duck?"
MacGregor watched as the redhead pleaded with the leaving Bugalu, then got up and left also. He turned back to his own meal. "I'm too old to be chasing. Even great packages like that one."
"You're hardly in your dotage."
He shrugged, glanced again at the table where the left-behind men were breaking apart. "Maybe I feel old when I see what the competition is."
Smitty nodded. "Lt Bugalu's got her already. You'd have to get in line for that one."
"I'd like to think the lady decides who she dates," Jane muttered. "You make it sound like only men have any say in it."
Smitty stopped eating. Trying to think what to say that won't get him any further into trouble. I really shouldn't tease him, but sometimes his thinking gets stuck in a rut.
MacGregor stirred his coffee. "Actually, she doesn't date."
"Preposterous!" Smitty declared. "Who told you that wild tale?"
MacGregor gave him a sharp look. "What makes you think it's a wild tale?"
"Because of how she acts!" Smitty shoved some beef into his mouth.
"How does she act? What’s she done that makes you say that?" Jane asked. Stare at him in the transport bay? Pull her own duffel bag out instead of asking demurely for help? What has she done?
Smitty carefully chewed and swallowed his bite before responding. "She wasn't on the bridge five minutes before she had a supper date with Bugalu. And he didn't initiate it! I saw it myself."
"Right in front of her superior officer?" Not the kind of crewmember I want on my ship, maybe. And I've been trying not to judge her too harshly.
The engineer hesitated, his face coloring. "I don’t think she realized I was there. And when he saw her, Bugalu completely forgot himself."
"I can believe that," MacGregor stated softly, his brow wrinkled. "But she said she doesn't date."
How do I say this delicately? Men and their fragile egos! "Duck, perhaps she just doesn't want to date you."
"No, she doesn't," he returned at once. "But actually, she made that comment to Temple."
"Nurse Temple asked MacDowell for a date?"
"No, she was -" He grinned. I can almost hear him shifting gears. I wonder what's really going on? "She was trying to determine how much competition Mac will be. Mac said she wasn't competition, because she doesn't date."
"Obviously, she dates old boy friends," Smitty stated sourly.
"What old boy friend?"
Smitty pushed his empty plate away. "They've known each other before, Bugalu and Colleen."
Colleen! Since when has he started calling subordinates by their given name? She turned to her chief physician. "Did she mention that to you, Duck?"
"Nope." He drank the last of his coffee. "But not everything she said made sense.
"I don’t like the sounds of that. A communications officer who doesn't make sense."

Commotion in the Gym
Day 1 (cont)
Dr MacGregor
1810 Hours

This part of my job I could do without. Setting a good example. Tennis or racquetball would be nice, but the ship's designers didn't include anything like that. I should be happy they included anything besides bicycles, I suppose. I guess the treadmill will do tonight.
Drake had just begun to sweat when a wave of male interest washed through the gym. The new AmerInd yeoman made her way to the weight station where Tall Bear and Ferguson were spotting each other. As they paused to change positions, she walked straight up to Tall Bear, looked him in the eye and asked, "Spot?"
Bear took a deep breath that had nothing to do with his recent exertions. "Anything you want." And, Ferguson forgotten, they started on her workout. She's muscular, but she hardly needs a weight lifter of Bear's magnitude to spot for her.
Hardly had the gym gotten back to some semblance of normalcy when another shock of interest went through it. Mac wore a frayed workout suit that looked too small to handle the job it had been given. Now, if Monroe comes in for a workout- He paused to consider her medical exam. No, not likely. Good to see, though, that Mac doesn't just let her muscles atrophy, like so many heavy-worlders do when they leave home.
Mac walked over to watch Yellow Dog. "Leave it to you to find the ship's beefcake, YD." The yeoman grinned. "When you're done with him, can I have him?"
There was a surprised pause throughout the gym at such a blatant question made in public. What happened to her not dating? What happened to Bugalu?
Yellow Dog finished her set, then took a moment to lead Ferguson over to the redhead before returning to her workout.
"Hello. Again." Ferguson smiled.
Mac gave him a hard look. "Still strong enough to keep your hands to yourself?"
"You still strong enough to break my jaw if I don't?" he countered. Break his jaw? What's that about?
"I need a spotter," Mac told him. "You can see how strong I am for yourself." She turned for the next workout station. Ferguson followed.
That's a lot of weight she's using. And a sloppy job she's doing. If Ferguson doesn’t correct her form, she'll pull a muscle. Drake toweled his face as he walked over. As he got there, Ferguson finally took hold of her arm to adjust the position. She pulled away angrily, the dumbbell in her hand forgotten.
"Mac!" MacGregor barked before she could throw the punch.
"I told him -"
"He's your spotter. Part of his job is to correct your form, keep you from injuring yourself. You can move the weight, but your form is so sloppy, it's not doing you much good." She put her weights down and sighed, so he dared to move a little closer. "What's the problem?"
She hunched her shoulders in irritation. "It's this gravity."
"What about it?" Ferguson asked.
"There's too little of it!" she complained. "It's not too bad for walking around, but workouts are just too easy. I don't even break a sweat."
I should have known. Simple to solve, luckily. "Come here." He pulled her by the hand to the last weight station. He placed her in the middle of the blue area. "Stay here," he told her, and moved outside the blue perimeter. "Computer, set weight station C for Gaelund normal."
Her expression changed from confusion to delight. "Home!"
"Variable gravity," he told her. "Anything inside this blue circle is now part of Gaelund. It was set up as an experiment, but nobody seemed interested, until now."
She was stretching, flexing her muscles with joy. "I may never leave this blue circle."
"Sure you will," he told her. "But if you get sloppy with your form now, it'll cost you."
"How can anybody spot for her?" Ferguson asked, and muttered, "You're lucky you were moving, Doc. She was ready to deck you."
"For what?"
The body-builder shrugged. "Taking her hand, I guess. That's all I saw you do. When this one says, 'don't touch,' she means it."
"It would appear so," Drake agreed slowly. "As for spotting, you and Tall Bear should be fine, as long as you alternate. Just remember that everything's heavier in there, including you."
"Right," Ferguson agreed. Looking grimly determined, he stepped/staggered into the blue circle. Mac had already started without him, her form perfect now. Ferguson looked back at him. "This won’t kill me, will it?"
"Not in moderation, like I said," MacGregor told him. "In fact, it might improve your performance under normal gravity." He watched Mac work for a few minutes. She's already sweating. "Mac, when was the last time you worked out under Gaelund gravity?"
"Three years since Matt's funeral." She tossed her head, as if tossing memories aside. "No workouts during that visit, so ... who remembers?"
Who's Matt? "Don't overdo it. You're working a lot harder now. I suggest heat when you're done, or you'll be sore tomorrow." She nodded, but he wasn't sure she was paying attention. She's actually concentrating on her form. Good.

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