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A Dear Friend

Posted on 01 Dec 2021 @ 2:30pm by 2nd Lieutenant Mazal Falk & Lieutenant JG Leland Hawksley

Mission: General Sim Postings
Location: 10 Forward
Timeline: Current


Walking around the hallways of the Tomcat always was an excellent way to relax for Leland. Especially in the evening when shifts had transferred, most officers were back in their separate quarters or doing other things in their off time.

Leland watched as Hercules, his AI Golden Retriever of 13 years old, was sniffing along the walls of the nearest ODN conduit casing. Watching Herc, he listened to the sound of the running of the ship. There was a distinct soft humming noise as the engines and energy flux through the Tomcat.

The auto voice analyzer technology allowed canines and some animals to express themselves in crude dialogue. A recent improvement of the universal translator had allowed sentient animals to communicate in such a fashion.

As Herc led Hawksley down the corridor, his leash kept a tie on the Golden Retriever, often keen to get away from Leland, as Herc fancied being chased down the halls.

Herc paused, shooting a look towards the 10 Forward doors. There was a handful of patrons at this time of the evening, a pleasant after diner cup of tea, or coffee, or desert near the windows of a famed starscape. It was one of the perks of being on such a great ship. The Tomcat had a very welcoming 10 Forward.

*/\* Smell. Yum. Smell. I… */\* Hercules paused, his ears straitening as his neck firmed in an inquiring stare to 10 Forward.

*/\* People. Food. Time, we enter Hawker. */\* Herc had initiated the AI to communicate his desire, his want to enter 10 forward to see what the people were eating and drinking.

"Herc." Leland let his blue eyes gaze at his best friend. "You want something. We just ate diner before our walk."

*/\* I, Food. Food Always. Hawkster. */\*

Leland chuckled as Herc pulled on the leash, insisting on smelling and investigating the various leaking aromas through the doorway.

"It's Hawksley. Hawksley." Leland grumbled. "You’ve only heard me called that for 13 years now.” Leland reminded Hercules, who had a mind of his stubbornness in referring to his ‘master.’

*/\* Hawk. Hawker. */\* Herc turned his head back. His pleading dark brown eyes didn’t quite pick up the pronunciation. Or perhaps it was the translator.

Just then, Leland spotted a familiar face walking through. A bright smile formed on his face as he lent his large hand to give a wave. “Mazal!” Last he had seen Falk. The 2nd Lieutenant Marine was just stationed. Sufficient time had passed, and Leland was happy to check in with his new friend.

“It is nice to see you, Mazal. How are you doing?” Hawksley asked, sincere.

Mazal had been lost in thought, that talk with Winchester and Colonel Somers still on her mind. She was snapped out of those thoughts when she heard Leland.

"Hi there Leland!" Mazal greeted Hawksley with a brilliant smile.

Mazal winced inside, oO Maybe I should have greeted him by his rank etc, but hey we shared some fun and well, he did call me by my first name. Oo

"How have you been since the briefing? And I do want to apologize for not eating those delicious smelling cookies, they looked really good, but, I can't eat chocolate." an apologetic expression in her eyes.

Watching Mazal, Hawksley listened. She had seemed to be deep in thought when he noticed her walking by. “Not at all.” He rubbed at Herc’s back shoulders a moment, letting Herc relax for a moment to sit. Herc was then sitting and patiently waiting, watching the two humans speak.

“I am sorry you can’t eat chocolate. If I had known, I would have done a different recipe. That is a shame.” Hawksley felt bad. He wanted everyone to enjoy his baking together.

“Is it just chocolate you are allergic to? Or do you not like chocolate itself?” Leland found it rather odd. Even non-humanoids had developed an affinity for Earth chocolate in various foods offered throughout the universe.

"I am allergic to the chocolate. I used to eat it as a kid then, one day I broke out in hives and had difficulty breathing. After that, nope can't even eat it. I am even allergic to synthehol." Mazal making a face. "I prefer the real stuff anyway. What's been going on?"

“Herc and I were just about to take a short break in 10 Forward. Would you care to join us?” Hawksley had gestured to the crew lounge. Leland had a lot he wanted to speak to Mazal about.

"I would love that very much." Falk giving a grin. "I am still amazed at the fun we had, Me, you, Ze and Silver. Meant a great deal. Helped me feel quite at home." heading into the crew lounge with Leland.

Having entered ten forward, Leland had let Herc off his leash. Leland then lent a tap to his forehead as he locked eyes with the Golden Retriever. “Herc. Be a Gentleman. Show Mazal to a seat.”

“Mazal. I can imagine it has been a long day for you.” He offered sympathy. “Let me get you a drink. Anything?” Hawksley was hoping they would keep the alcohol adventures to rarities, as he didn’t want Mazal thinking that’s all he was about. Partying.

"I am in the mood for a sparkling lemonade. With a slice of lemon." Mazal replied. "I need to keep my wits about me." giving a teasing smile.

“Sounds nice. I shall have one too. And I will bring back a surprise snack.” Hawksley had winked at Mazal. She was adorably cute in every way. She was the most upbeat, friendly, and entertaining person he had connected with since the moment they had all entered that turbo lift together.

*/\* Hawker. Hawker */\* Herc had stopped Leland. */\* Treat. Peanut buttered. Treat for a good boy. */\*

Leland winked. “You’ll get your treat, and Mazal and I shall have ours. You show Mazal to a seat. Be a gentleman now.” Leland had then turned to the attendant across the room at the bar side.

"Herc take me to a good place to sit down at." Mazal said giving a smile to the canine. And proceeded to wait, then followed Herc when he found one.

Herc had lent his eyes and lifted his golden retriever head above the heights of the seating. His face was searching for an appropriately designated spot to sit the humans. Having been trained in etiquette, Herc eventually waged his long golden fluffed tail excitedly as he led Mazal to a nice looking two seated table at the corner of the windows looking outward ten forward.

Herc had then circled round and attempted to nuzzle the padded ten forward seat apart for Mazal to have a seat. */\* Guest. Mazal. Be at Rest. Seated the etiquette. */\* The translator had communicated what Herc was thinking to Mazal.

"You are a perfect gentle dog, thank you Herc. Am I allowed to touch you gently on the head?" Mazal wanting to give him a pet but with him being a sentient being she wasn't going to presume to do anything. Besides, he was Hawksely's companion.

Herc enjoyed the attention from a female. Bowing his head, Herc had replied after a few stalled replies from the AI communicator */\* Herc, Hercules… Always. Human. The Interaction Is the Pet, Yes. */\*

Mazal reached out and caressed Herc's head and scratched along his jaw line and behind the ears. She knew where canines loved to be petted. She leaned her forehead against Herc's forehead, then placed a kiss upon the top of his head.
"You are a very beautiful canine." giving a smile, after one more stroke on the Herc's head Mazal lifted up her hands to the top of the table. Smiling.

Returning with a few rice crispy squares, large-sized. Leland had set down the plate and then the two drinks that had been ordered. Leland ordered a calming Chai Tea Latte, whereas he handed Mazal’s Hibiscus Tea to her.

He was taking a seat opposite Mazal. Leland had smiled, satisfied that Herc had completed the task offering them an excellent seat. “Kudos to you, Herc!” He reached down and ruffled the head pleasurably for him. “Excellent seats for Hawker and Mazal. This is Mazal Hawk. She is a new friend of mine, a very good friend.”

*/\* And good boys deserve good treats. */\* Herc continued in his intent stare up at the table. His nose now and then sniffing something new being ordered from across the room, his head turning to see where the smell was emanating from.

“That was one of the clearest communications I have ever heard from you, Herc.” Hawksley chuckled. He then reached for a brown bag at the side of the plate. Inside the bag was chocolate-covered two macaroons. The treat was an absolute delicacy for Herc.

"Thank you for the tea. And the crispy treats. An astute guess." Mazal giving a smile. "and Herc definitely was a good host."

“Was he now?” Hawksley smiled at Mazal.

“Would you care to hand Herc his treat, Mazal?”

Handing Mazal the brown bag with the two macaroons covered with chocolate, Leland grinned, watching Mazal. She would now become one of the best friends to Hercules just by this simple act of food treating.

Mazal was careful in not getting the chocolate on her skin, as she tore the brown paper bag to offer the treat to Herc.

"Here you go, Herc." giving a smile, "A reward most definitely deserved." When the gift was received, Mazal handed the other macaroon with paper bag to Leland. "Here you go, you can give him the other one." to Leland. "Thank you."

"Besides showing me your wonderful canine friend, which was fantatic, was there some other news you had to share? You seemed to be brimming with a lot of good news." a twinkle in her dark eyes, and gazing into his eyes.

"I wanted to tell you. I am now the Deputy Chief of Engineering." Leland had puffed up his chest proudly rather. "And I am glad you have finally met Hercules. As you can see, he likes to be a gentleman." Hawksley had grinned and looked at the side of the table to Herc.

Leaning inward to the table, Leland had whispered. "A little bird had told me that you like to work on weaponry. The more ancient, the better?" He leaned back, taking a drink of his Chai Latte.

"Yes I do, and it seems someone has been researching me." Mazal replied, giving a bit of a smile. "Though its not difficult if someone were to see the listing of personal equipment." chuckling. "But yes I do love to work on weaponry. And love the feeling of the history of it."

"What would you say If I told you. I have in my possession something I find astoundingly boring as can be. But I am certain you can bring the hunk of metal back to life for a bit of fun?"

Mazal raised an eyebrow at that. "What sort of hunk of metal are you referring to, and what is it? It all depends on what you have in your possession so describe it."

"Odd. Rather. Horrid. Well. Ironic. Well." Hawksley was trying to set his story as Mazal was following along patiently. "Ok. Well, Horrid. But fantastically amazing. I have, through historical lineage, bequeathed to me at the passing of my late grandfather's estate. A 44.-caliber Smith & Wesson that killed Jesse James. We believe, as do histographers who have signed off. This is probably, the gun that had offed Jesse James, an American outlaw known for running a vicious gang who carried out many banks and train robberies during the mid to late 1800s, Earth." Hawksley's eyes lasered in on Mazals.

This certainly got Mazal's attention, and she leaned forward to intensely look into Lelands eyes. "You have a Smith and Wesson 44. caliber pistol?" she was now propping her chin on both hands definitely all attention on him. Tell me more."

"What I am asking you, though, is to some holodeck time. To shoot this thing, to enjoy it. To relive it. I don't care how much it could be. It would be worth in platinum. I want to be one of the few who gets to bring this puppy back to life!?" He clasped his hands together as he leaned forward in his seat again, this time spilling some of his Chai Tea Latte on the tabletop.

*/\* Is a human thing. Hawk. Obsession. Stupid. Please. Fire, Fire it, Mazar. */\* Hercules and his tail had twapped as he then ate the remainder of the chocolate macaroons offered to him and licked the sides of his slobbering lips.

"Oh Leland." Mazal breathed out, her eyes sparkling at that request "I would love to do that. Just to hold that piece of history, even if it has a bloody past. It was just a tool, and can not be blamed for what happened. Yes, yes, yes. Just let me know when and we can do so!" Grinning. "Also, congratulations on becoming Deputy Chief of Engineering. That is marvelous!"

Leland beamed with pride. "Thank you Mazal. That mean's a lot."

"And would you care to make a time we can do this?" He laughed enjoying seeing how Mazal was absolutely gung-ho about the idea as he was. They would be re-igniting a piece of Earth history that had not been heard since that fateful day in the 1800s.

"I think I might invite along Lilli my Girlfriend. You have not met her before." He was happy.

*/\* Lilli. Sweet Lady. Sweet. Unh-Unh... Unh, Me Leland. Lilli */\* Herc had suddenly lent their conversation to a screeching halt. Herc unaware of his association of his thoughts being read out as naughty.

Mazal looked down towards Herc with an amused expression in her eyes, then looked up into Hawksley's. "I take it Herc has been keeping you and Lilli company." then she also said. "And I do know Lilli, she and I met during shore leave." her expressive eyes twinkling. "She is madly in love with you, Leland, that I can tell." flashing a grin. "And I have no objections to her joining us in the holo program, not at all."

Leland held his fingers to the bridge of his nose. "Honestly." He didn't want to open his eyes ever again. Waves of embarrassment had flowed. "I have never heard him say anything like that ever."

Hawksley then opened his eyes, only to see if anyone had heard this from nearby tables. Not that they would be listening. Leland beamed. "I am extremely a very lucky man. I actually am a lot to put up with. You can't take me anywheres. Lilli has been a big part of welcoming me on the Tomcat when I had joined."

"How is your department?" Hawksley coyly took a drink from his Chai Tea Latte. Swallowed. "Last I had heard you went out for a nice coffee with... Who was it?" He pretended not to know, a grin forming.

Mazal had a questioning expression in her eyes, she's had coffee with a couple of people or more.

"My department, if you are referring to the marines is going well, so far I have only met with a few of them including Lilli"

Mazal pondering over what Hawksley was getting at. "I met with Ted to have tea earlier." Mazal giving a smile he and I are definitely on track of a great friendship." smiling fondly at thinking of him.

"Why not invite him along. We can always use more company. But, we get to shoot though." Hawksley tapped the side of his noggin.

"I can ask Ted if he would like to join us, don't know what he would say to that but, hey couldn't hurt to ask him. He might find it interesting." Mazal giving a smile. "Who knows."

"Fair enough." Hawksley nodded.

"Now. How do we learn to teach this muggin's... Hunh?" Leland looked at Herc, who was comfortably laying sideways perch across the bottom near their table.

"Teach him what is appropriate, conversationally." He bugged his eyes at him with a grin, and then ruffled his side of the Golden Retriever and patted his head, which Hercules instantly ate up the attention, writhing his long tail thwapping at the 10 Lounge Floor.

*/\* Hawker. Treated me. Tasty. Tasted. Treat. More. Question? */\*

"Mazal." Leland finished his drink. "What do you do with this?"

"Are you referring to your handsome companion here?" looking down at Herc with affection then back to Leland. "We can work on his conversational skills, how long has Herc been able to do this? To verbally speak with others?" Mazal asked.

"Our Commander. Dodd. Incredible guy. He had taken the time to address Captain Somers and Security regarding the AI chip I have for Hercules. The Chip is actually around Herc's collar."

Leland took another drink of his Latte, finishing it. A bit of the foam on his upper brow stash as he spoke. "Dodd had updated the technology so Herc could follow me on my jogs around the ship, the gym. The holodeck. And then he gave Herc the ability to express himself. The latest translator technology has since been able to allow animal expression. Albiet crude and only a few animals, or canines at that." Only in Starfleet would allow such technology and know how to be able to allow Herc to come to life as he had. Herc had been a friend to Leland through his darkest days in his past. It was his only constant.

"Mazal. Have you ever had a pet, an animal of your own? They are like family to me." He was happy.

"I used to have a black cat named Tabitha. She was adorable and also rather beautiful. Emerald green eyes, silky soft ebony fur. I had her for quite sometime. She passed away about a year ago." Mazal's eyes displaying a sadness in them. "I was at home on leave, when she passed away. Guess she felt it was time to go, being home on Earth. After all she'd been with me for quite sometime, and she was getting on in years." Mazal drawing in a shuddering breath. "I've not been able to bring myself to get another pet at this time. My heart is still in mourning." a shimmer of tears in her eyes could be seen." She turned her head away to brush away a tear from her eyes.

Hawksley had listened. He gently had bowed his head. Inside he had said a short offering, a prayer of light for Mazal and for her furry one. Tabitha. He left a moment of silence to respect those words. Hawksley could see, and feel what Mazal was and still is going through. "Mazal." Leland had swallowed. "Tabitha sounded like she was blessed to be with you, and to have spent her life with you. When you are ready. I know it takes time." Leland spoke softly.

Mazal nodded, turning her teary gaze back to Leland, "It will take time. I think you would have liked her very much. Maybe even Herc there." Leaning over to give him a gentle ruffling of his head, and giving a small smile. "I do know he takes good care of you Leland. I truly believe he does."

She rose back to her upright position. "Leland you are a good man. you truly are." Mazal added.

Hawksley had finished. And smiled. "It has been nice speaking with you. I am glad to have you as a friend onboard Mazal. You get me, you understand me. That's what friends do. And I appreciate it."

Mazal smiled, "And I am very glad that we met when I first came here. And I also enjoyed this time for us to get to know each other better. And also for getting to know Herc." she raised her glass towards Hawksley, "To great friends."

2nd Lt Mazal Falk
Marine Executive Officer


Lieutenant Jg Leland Hawksley
Assistant Chief of Engineering


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