Day 4 (cont)
"Good evening, doctor," Beth greeted her supervisor outside the mess hall. He must be waiting for the captain or Smythe to join him. "Did you get your problem figured out?"
"I'm working on it. Do you have plans for tonight?"
"Are you planning another all-nighter? I'm not up for it," she joked.
"Neither am I. I'll be lucky if I don't fall asleep during supper. I thought, if you don't have anything else planned, that you might take Mac to the pool."
What's he up to? "In what capacity? Chaperone? Date? She's not my type."
He smiled. "How about friend? Bugalu's got a date tonight, and she's on her own."
"Why don't you ask her?"
"It might sound like a date. And she doesn't date," he reminded her.
"Okay, I'll ask. Any idea where I might find her?"
He grinned. "Inside, eating supper. Thanks, Beth. I owe you. Again."
"Not for this. I was wondering what to do this evening. Swimming'll be nice." Inside the messhall, Mac was not alone, but Beth didn't let that stop her. "Mind if I join you?"
"Please do," Mac pled. "YD's talked my head off!"
Temple grinned at the yeoman. "How do you tolerate such teasing, YD?"
"She gives as good as she gets, believe me," Mac stated. "Anyway, I wouldn't tease her if we weren't friends, Liz."
"Beth," she corrected.
"Short for Elizabeth. I don't like being like everybody else, so-"
"No, not Elizabeth," the nurse corrected, and lowered her voice. "It's actually short for Bethlehem." Mac stared at her for a moment. Shock, I suppose. Well, somebody was sure to tell her, sooner or later. It's too good a joke not to.
"I can't call you Ham," Mac stated thoughtfully. "It doesn't fit. And I still don't want to be like everybody else..."
"You are definitely not like anybody else." Beth cut her roast beef. "Look, I'm at loose ends tonight. Why don't we all go swimming?"
YD nodded. Mac considered the question. "I didn't realize there was a place aboard to swim. There wasn't on the tugs."
"Oh, it's your first time? It'll be an adventure. The room is spherical, below the arboretum. The water is a huge globe in the middle. Most of the water. There's no gravity, so swimming is-" Beth stopped as Mac's face developed a sudden green tint. "What's wrong?"
"I'll pass," the redhead muttered. "I don't care for no gravity."
Of course not; she's a heavy worlder! What was MacGregor thinking? "We can do something else. We could-"
"No, don't let me spoil your night," Mac returned. "I plan an early night. Della told me not to wait up for her. I didn't plan to, but I think she meant she wouldn't be home tonight, so I've got the place to myself."
Well, I tried. "Maybe we can get together on shore leave."
"Shopping," YD suggested.
"Shopping?" Beth repeated. "For what?"
"I need clothes," Mac stated softly, embarrassed for some reason. "Abdulla, YD and I plan to hit the shops at 1000 on day 1. Would you like to join us?"
"That sounds like quite a gathering already," Beth demurred. "Too many cooks-"
"We need a lot of cooks," Mac stated. "I want a whole new me. And don't have a clue how to do it!"
Temple laughed. "Okay, count me in. Sounds like fun."
"Assuming I get any shore leave."
"What do you mean? If you get first day, then you're either early or split shift."
"I don't know that I'm getting day one. Or any day. I'm just hoping."
All those lost shore leaves. "What do your orders say?"
Mac stared at the food on her plate. "I haven't got any orders about it."
"Some supervisors aren't the best with paperwork. But surely Mr Smythe has given you some indication-?"
Mac glanced up, lowered her red face again. "Lt Cmdr Smythe hasn't said more than 2 words to me today. And they were not about shore leave."
That doesn't sound right. What did MacGregor mean, he's working on it? Smythe is a reasonable man. "That sounds like he's trying to act like YD," Beth suggested.
Mac grimaced. "Either she's infected him, or ... he can't stand me." Mac tossed her napkin onto her tray and stood. "I wonder if Della's gone yet. Have fun, you two."
Flustered, Beth continued her meal, as YD sipped her tea. Eventually, Beth changed the subject."YD, how do you communicate with her?" The dusky woman regarded her levelly for a moment, and Beth laughed. "Magic! Okay, keep your secret."