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Swim Your Troubles Away

Posted on Sat Nov 9th, 2019 @ 2:54pm by Lieutenant JG Alexander Mitchell

Mission: Reaching Out in Hope
Location: Holodeck 2 | U.S.S. Sentinel
Timeline: MD009 | 1921 Hours

The water temperature was perfect, but then that was to be expected; the computer had asked him to select the temperature. The swimming pool was in the open air, located out the back of a house his parents owned in Hawaii. The sun hung high in the azure blue sky and the simulated warmth it radiated was pleasant.

Alexander allowed himself to float on his back for a few minutes. Rumours had been swirling all day about the arrival of a new Chief Flight Control Officer, but the rumours came to nothing. It turned out the Sentinel received a new Chief Science Officer instead, showing yet again the unreliability of scuttlebutt onboard a Starship.

Starfleet’s choice of Chief Science Officer was interesting. Eza Bergen had been at the Academy the same time Alexander, though a year ahead. The pilot had only ever been vaguely aware of Bergen. The Trill had been the friend of a friend and while they’d been introduced once at a party, Xander had been focused on charming a Marine Cadet that night and Eza had quickly been forgotten about.

’I don’t remember him looking quite that good.’ Xander thought as he continued to float on the surface of the water. He quickly pushed the thought away as he rolled over and swam towards the end of the pool. Pulling on the goggles that he’d left sitting at the waters edge, Alexander began swimming laps of the pool.

With the rumours of a new head for the Flight Control department coming to naught, Alexander would continue in the role of Acting Chief. He was more than capable of continuing to lead the department until Starfleet saw fit to assign an officer to the role permanently, but the voice of self-doubt kept creeping in.

The past year had seen a massive blow dealt to the young junior Lieutenant’s faith in his own abilities. Xander had spent most of the past decade believing in his own invincibility and infallibility but recent events had shown that neither of those things were true. Even though he wasn’t to blame for the mishap, he continued to relieve it in his mind, replaying the events over and over, desperate to figure out if he could have done anything differently.

Even sleep didn’t always bring escape from what had happened. Though the nightmares were more infrequent now, they still came. So far, he’d managed to hide what he was going through from those around him. Making a fresh start on the Sentinel had allowed him to keep everyone at arms-length. Not that many were eager to befriend him.

News of his mishap had proceeded him and even though he’d been cleared of fault, he was still radioactive as far as the other pilots were concerned. And few of the wider crew had made much of an effort with him. He often found himself eating alone in the Mess Hall. Doctors Miller and Bennett had been the exceptions to that rule, but Miller had just been reassigned. That left Bennett as one of the few to give Xander the time of day when off duty.

He refused to allow any of it to bother him. He walked around the ship with his head held high, his confidant swagger unchanged from his Academy days. If only he could feel as confident as he acted these days. Sometimes he wondered if a career in Starfleet was still for him. With his legal degree, he could change paths and work as a lawyer.

Every time the thought occurred to him, he shook it away. Flying was his first love with swimming coming in a close second. He wouldn’t be happy unless he was behind the controls of a ship. Starfleet was where he belonged.

The next hour was spent swimming. When he was in the water, Xander was able to forget whatever problems existed outside the holodeck and just enjoy being in the water.

 

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