"Small Steps"
[previous "Green Scare"]


Setting: MASQUERADE DREAMS, Crystal Ballroom
Stardate: 30151.2140

The ball had been only 40 minutes old but Jayson had already manged to receive several invitations for the night after the event.  It had not taken a lot of imagination to understand what the ladies had expected from him, but all seemed rather shocked at his reservations and unwillingness to commit to anything after the ball.

Some believed that he had already been spoken for while others figured that he had been waiting for a 'better' offer.  Of course this only served to have the offers to be increasingly more demanding and elaborate.  Somehow Jayson had become a prize to be won and that troubled him on several levels.

Since Leena he had not been with someone else, so much so that he had actually never even thought of anyone in that manner.  During his time at the Academy, this had served to brand him a loner, something that he had not entirely been against, granting him the time and personal space he wanted.  It had taken him some time to be able to actually make friends, but to even consider a relationship, even one that would only be of a physical nature, had never been considered.  Until now.

Guilt quickly settled in as he explored the possibilities.  As much as some of the offers and those making them had been very alluring, Jayson could not bring himself to consider accepting. The simple accepting of a drink had proven to be beyond him as he considered the act to be a betrayal of his feelings for Leena.

He scanned the room for someone specific he hoped would be able to help but when he found her, Jayson thought against acting as he had wanted.  Eve appeared rather busy with a Ventaxian delegate and from where he stood the Ops officer could imagine that she had been expertly performing her part of their mission.

This left him contemplating his own situation in another aspect, one that unfortunately did not help matters in the least.  Had is inability to play the role that the ladies had expected of him hindered his being able to meet the mission objective; to gather Intel from the passengers on board the MASQUERADE DREAMS.

Joining Starfleet had allowed him to reclaim his life, at least in one aspect.  Counselor Dalziel had made it possible for him to focus more on the present than the past making the task that much easier. Still there had been a part of his life and past that he had not been ready to let go of, and likely would never be able to.

As he looked up, he momentarily met the gaze of the former First Officer, a woman who had been forced into a decision that best suited not only her but the crew.  It had been easy to imagine that the decision had not been an easy one, but it had been a required decision, like the one that Jayson now faced.

As a Starfleet officer he had duties and responsibilities, and while on this particular mission these included him finding the best possible way to gather as much information as possible from as many different sources.  Of course this did not mean that he had to abandon his values or change the person that he had become, but it did required him to stop looking back to a life that no longer existed.

The memories of Leena could be the anchor that held him back or provide the strength and determination for him to move forward and be the best he could.  He knew that this would not be easy, that he would question and doubt himself countless times to come, but being ale to take that first step had been a victory that even he realized had been a major one.

After having fetched four champagne glasses from the bar, Jayson made his way to one particular table where three ladies whom he had caught their attention sat and laughed.  He hoped that having said no to them earlier would become the launching platform for an evening of laughter filled Intel gathering.

Jayson Sousa

Ensign Jayson Stark