Great log. Vintage Irish wine? C'mon, let's not stretch the boundries of fantasy to breaking point. Unless of course, you are referring to a old bottle of Guinness? Cordially yours, Burrows. Brad Ruder wrote: > ?Turning Tides? > Ensign Anthony D?Vorak > & Lt. Joshua Asper > > > > > He increased his step as he maneuvered himself down the hallway on > Deck Three. Many people were asleep at this hour, not many were up and > about when they could get the much-needed sleep that came no so often. > He approached the double doors of Three Forward and inched his way > inside. The lights had been deactivated and no one was attending the > bars. This was exactly how Josh Asper had planned it. He crossed over > the lounge, nearly tripping on every table and chair in his path, and > into a far back corner table that was often occupied by Anthony > D'Vorak. He looked around and tapped his combadge. "Asper to D'Vorak." > > Anthony was sitting in his quarters, still trying to finish his book. > He had been reading it for quite a while, and it seemed that every > time he had started to read it again, something would interrupt him. > Tonight was no different. He sighed as he reached over to his Comm > badge on the side table. He tapped the badge. "What can I do for you > so late Mr. Asper? There are plenty of nurses in sickbay." > > "Anthony, I could use your help on something very important. Got time > to come down to Three Forward and talk with me." Josh's eyes darted > around Three Forward as if he was going to get caught and punished. > His main thing was to avoid being seen so that no one would tell Sara > anything of his late night rendezvous with her best friend. > > Anthony yawned as he thought about his answer for a second. "I suppose > if it?s that important. D?Vorak out." Anthony closed his book and > tossed it on the couch. "I'll never get it read." He quickly ran into > his room and slipped on some better pants. Anthony walked back into > the living room and put his slippers on. He headed out the door of his > quarters and headed towards the turbolift. "Deck 3...Forward." The > turbolift whizzed through the ship and came to a halt on deck three. > Anthony stepped out and walked towards the unmistakable doors of Three > Forward. The doors slid open and he noticed Asper sitting in HIS usual > spot in the corner. He trotted over to him and sat down. "So what was > so important that you had to disturb my reading?" > > Josh looked at him with an amusing gaze, "There are more important > things then shoving your life into ancient earth literacy. I need some > information on Sara, and I knew that YOU could tell me." Josh felt a > little weird asking for help from Anthony; after all, Anthony had > shown a great interest in Sara, that often times appeared of more than > just friendship. > > He put his feet up on the table. "You asked me down here?to ask me for > information on Sara." He shook his head. "Why don't you ask her?? > > "It's for something that I'm planning, a special date that we'll go > when we reach Deep Space Nine. Come on Anthony, you've got to answer > my questions. I don't know what to fill it with; I'm desperate. I'll > do anything for help." > > "What could you possible do for me?" Anthony sat there uncomfortably. > It was hard to give Josh information like this. After all he loved > Sara too. He loved her enough to want her to be happy as well. He put > his hands on the table. "What information do you need...I?m not saying > I can get it all for you...but maybe I can help." > > "Just simple things, Tony. I'm not asking for her great-grandfather's > favorite color here. I need to know, first, her favorite color > flowers." Josh knew that what he was asking wasn't a lot, in his eyes > anyway. His eyes scanned the room again for unwelcome guests, but kept > his attention the PADD that was on the table, waiting for Anthony's > insight. He wanted this meeting over, there was a lot that he still > had to plan and do. > > He hesitated a bit. He knew she loved yellow roses, but his feelings > for Sara interfered with his better judgment. He was about to say Red, > when he remembered her smile. He would hate to not see it on her face. > "Yellow...she likes yellow roses." > > Josh smiled at the apparent cooperation and quickly tapped the > response onto his PADD. Setting it aside and clasping his hands on the > table, Josh returned his gaze towards Anthony. "That wasn't so hard, > I've only got two other questions. What is her favorite scenery? > Forest? Ocean? Sky? I am completely in the dark, any idea would be > appreciated." > > He looked at the stars as he thought long about her favorite scenery. > He scratched his head for about five minutes before something came to > him. "She absolutely loves spatial displays...nebulas and other > natural space phenomenon." He rubbed at his chin for a few minutes. "I > hear there?s an amazing one in the Sirrus system?doesn't come around > too often?but I hear its spectacular." > > "Sirrus Five? The trinary star system with the disappearing planet > display?" Josh had seen this as a child and had forgotten about the > cycle. "Sixteen year cycle, right?" > > Anthony smiled. "That would be the one?I've seen pictures. I'm sure > Sara would absolutely love it." > > Josh nodded and continued to tap his PADD. "What about initial > scenery, not just space...like objects around her. Like this is Three > Forward?" Josh couldn't describe what he was going for, he hoped that > Anthony fared better. > > Anthony nodded; he knew what Josh was talking about. It?s not just the > location; it?s the mood, the ambiance. He couldn't believe that he was > telling all this to Josh. He loved Sara. He was hoping to use some of > these techniques some day. He thought about Sara, then he looked at > Josh. No matter how much it hurt him to do so. He wanted Sara to be > happy. "Dim lights?lots of candles?flowers everywhere?She'll love > it?guaranteed." He kept his answers short. So as not to draw any > attention to the emotion entwined in his answers. > > Josh looked at him, tapped his PADD slowly, and then shuffled it > aside. "Tony, what's up? You seem different, is it something that has > to do with Sara?" > > "No?not at all." He popped a half smile. "I?m just tired." He looked > around nervously and then back at Josh. "Is there anything else you > need?I'd really like to get back to my book." He looked very anxious > sitting across from Josh there. He just wanted to tell him what he > wanted to know, then get back to his book. > > "Anthony, you're about as suspicious as a nice Klingon. What's going > on...?" > > He stood up. "Nothing! I just want to answer your questions as quickly > as possible and be on my way. You and Sara are together?okay?there is > nothing I can do about it. I want her to be happy just as much as you > do. That?s the ONLY reason I'm helping you." > > Josh looked at him, his sight never faltering. Then he looked down at > the table. "You like her Anthony. As more than a friend, and it pains > you to see me with her, doesn't it?" Josh was taking a gamble that he > hoped would pay. > > He never thought he would ever be talking to Josh about this. "Maybe I > do, and maybe it does pain me to see you with her... but it would pain > me even more if I did something to interfere with her happiness." He > looked over to the empty bar. "If you ever do anything to make her > unhappy?you know you'll have to answer to me." > > "Are you threatening me? As far as I'm concerned it won't even come to > that. I love her, more than anything I've ever loved." Josh was > growing agitated; he didn't expect Anthony to say that he liked her. > He expected an evasive answer and things would go on their way. Now he > had to put up with this. "Anthony, if you love her so much, maybe she > returns the feelings. You need to talk to her about this. If you > don't?" He paused for a second gazing around the room. "?you will > never know what might have been and you'll regret it." > > Anthony glared over at Josh, "First of all?it wasn't a threat?it was a > promise." He relaxed again, "However, if your intentions are > honorable, you have nothing to worry about." He listened to Josh talk > about how Anthony should talk to her? "She seems so happy. If I talked > to her, it might upset everything. I?m not willing to make her > unhappy. If she doesn't feel the same way, things will never be the > same." > > "Listen to yourself, Tony. You're the one that's afraid that > something's going to happen. You need to talk to her, if she doesn't > feel the same way then things will return to just being friends with > her." Josh slammed the PADD onto the table. "If you don't tell her, I > will." > > Anthony laughed, "Go ahead?she'll never believe that I was talking to > you about this." He shook his head. "Tell her whatever you like." > > "You doubt how much she believes me." Josh stared at Anthony, this was > a serious problem that could flourish and destroy his relationship > with Sara. "She'll believe me." > > Anthony smiled, "I don't doubt she'll believe you?but when it comes to > me?talking to you?she'll never buy it. If I just leave everything > alone, we'll all be fine. " He sighed. > > "Anthony, I'm not an emotional man. I only show it when necessary, and > that isn't often. Right now, I see that if you don't say anything > it'll eat you alive. And as one of my friends, I don't want you > regretting anything." Josh opened his emotional door, allowing his > true feelings about Anthony spill out. He did, in all honesty, > consider him a friend. > > "As your friend, Josh, I can't do that." Anthony had opened up too. He > was always too arrogant to admit that Josh was one of his friends. "I > think it?s too late for me Josh, I've been the best friend for too > long; the best friend always gets screwed in the end." He put his feet > up. "I do love her?with all my heart?I have for a long time. Both of > you are my friends." Anthony breathed deeply again before continuing. > "Whenever I say something, expressing my feelings for someone, it has > this way of blowing up in my face. And I don?t want to lose her or you > as my friend." He shook his hands frustrated. > > Josh sat down, as his breathing slowed. "Anthony, I don't give a damn > if you?re the best friend, or the cousin once-removed. Right now, I > want Sara to be happy. If she is happier with you, then so be it, > you've got to find out." He realized at this point he was offering > Sara to him, based on the possible chance that she liked Anthony > better than he. He didn't want to lose her, she was so perfect, but he > would rather see her happy with someone else than miserable with him. > It was something he had to do. > > "I wont?I know she doesn?t love me like that." > > "How?" > > "I don't know?it?s easier if I just say she doesn't. It?s easier on > you, it?s easier on me, and it?s easier on Sara. If you want to tell > her, go ahead." He stood up. "If you look in cargo bay two container > 326J you'll find a case of a vintage Irish wine. It?s Sara?s > favorite." He looked at Josh. "Are we done yet?" > > Josh entered the final information on a PADD and looked up at Anthony. > "I'm done, yes." Josh watched as Anthony walked towards the door, and > before he reached it he shouted after him. "Anthony..." > > Anthony stopped as the doors whizzed open in front of him. He turned > on the ball of his leading foot; he looked at Josh. "Josh?" > > "Thank you." Josh smiled and slapped the PADD against his palm. > > Anthony half waved as he trudged back out of 3F dragging his slippers > along with him. Josh's words echoed in his ears as he walked into the > turbolift and called out to it to take him back to his room. Josh was > right. Anthony was afraid. He was so afraid to talk to Sara about > matters of his heart; he had sat by for so many years listening to > Sara talk about her boyfriends throughout the years. He was a much > better listener, than he was at expressing himself. > > Anthony stepped out of the turbolift and passed by Sara's quarters on > the way to his own. He just stared at the door with his finger hanging > an inch away from the button. He hesitated. His finger shook and he > was sweating like mad. He closed his eyes and looked at the door > before?curling his finger up exhaling deeply and continuing on his way > to his quarters. If Josh told Sara, and Sara brought up the topic. It > might make things a little easier. He wasn't prepared to ask Asper for > that favor. So as he entered his room he hoped. He prayed?that Josh > took his hint. > > Josh, still in Three Forward, sat silent. He was now into more of a > moral and ethical dilemma. He balanced his hands based on his options. > "Anthony said it clearly he didn't care if I told her." Josh balanced > again. "Then again, he said that he would rather me not tell her." > > Josh strolled out of Three Forward and towards the turbolift. > "Anthony, if you want to tell her go ahead, but my lips are sealed."