A Walk in "the Park"
Posted on Sun Jun 2nd, 2019 @ 10:13am by Crewman "Panda" (true name unknown) "Conn" (real name unknown)
Search and Rescue - USS Eclipse & USS Sovereign
Location: Holodeck 3
Timeline: Previously (but closer to current)
Nurse Genevieve Goodbody checked herself in the mirror one final time before heading to her "date" with Panda Conn in Holodeck Three. She had let her golden blonde hair out of the tightly-controlled "do" she used at work to cascade over her bare shoulders. She decided to add a broad-brimmed straw hat to compliment the silky floral sundress she had chosen for her outing. The dress was long and the billowy folks skimmed quite nicely over her statuesque form and she decided that, yes indeed. she cut quite the figure for her date with the most fascinating and mysterious man on the ship.
She timed her arrival to be "fashionably late" by a few minutes late--but not TOO late. She didn't want Conn to think she'd stood him up after all. A goodly number of the female crew (and even a few of the male ones) would have killed to be in her shoes right now but Conn had picked her out of his coterie of admirers and she didn't want to waste the chance.
=^= THE HOLODECK IS CURRENTLY IN USE =^= she was told up arrival.
"I'm expected!" she told the computer.
=^= YOU MAY ENTER WHEN READY =^=
Upon entering Genevieve found herself in a pleasant green expanse under a blue sky strewn with fat, puffy, cumulus clouds. Conn was waiting on a bench near the entrance and he had swapped his usual old style white suit for a black and white striped blazer, a white straw boater, comfortable linen pants, also in white and a crisp white shirt with a loosely-knotted ascot in a black and white paisley. As usual, the only spots of color were the jewels winking in the nine rings that adorned his fingers. He would have looked sartorially splendid were it not for his companions: Doctor McClaren's gigantic talking Mastiffs sat on either side of the Panda.
"Hello my dear!" boomed the Panda in his usual jovial way. "I hope you don't mind I told Dr. McClaren I'd see his two reprobates got some exercise! I do hope you don't mind..."
"Escue mes..." the male said. (It still freaked Genevieve out every time one of them spoke.) "We is not wepobates! We is MASTIFFS!"
"Hewwo Nuss Genny..." the female piped. "It good to see you..." She wagged her tail in an ingratiating manner and tried to give a "doggie smile" which Genevieve didn't find at all comforting. All those teeth!
Conn seemed to sense her change in mood. "If you're uncomfortable Genevieve I can send them back..." The Panda and both dogs turned "puppy eyes" on the Nurse which made her want to laugh and feel guilty at the same time. "They won't hurt you--maybe just drool on your pretty dress a little. And if you can't get comfortable I'll send them back! I promise..."
Genevieve quickly realized that if she didn't agree to let the dogs stay her date was going to be ruined. "Well--OK..." she finally agreed reluctantly. "I just hope they don't jump up on me or try to bite!"
"NO!" Bud, the male, seemed genuinely scandalized by the very idea.
"We is good dogs!" BeBe, the female added. "No jump! No bite! We po-tek!"
"Poe-teck...?" Genevieve was confused.
"Protect my dear..." Conn said. "Dog mouths aren't particularly designed for human speech any more than humans are designed to speak dog language!"
"You don' gots eaos o a taio!" Bud informed her.
"Well--I DO have ears!" Genevieve said, smiling in spite of herself. "But no, I don't have a tail..."
"For which I am eternally grateful!" Conn said with a laugh. "You are perfect the way you are dear Genevieve! Shall we press on?"
With Genevieve's nod, Bud joined the Panda and BeBe fell in beside her. "I don't think I've ever seen this program before..." she commented. "Is it something you designed?"
"Oh no," Conn replied. "Holographic design isn't one of my strengths. No--this was something Josh designed while he was teaching himself the art. It's really quite charming--don't you think, my dear?"
"It's lovely," she agreed. "So--you and Doctor McClaren are--good friends...?"
"I'm hardly in his inner circle!" the Panda told her. "When I found out the designer of the Sonata Beach Holoprogram was on board the Sovereign I sought him out and we got to know one another. I was completely charmed by his two canine companions and I persuaded him to let me take them out for a little exercise now and then. Bud and BeBe are quite the 'chick magnets', you know..."
"Chick--magnets?" Now Genevieve was just confused. She knew what chicks and magnets were but wasn't aware of how young chickens could attract ferrous material. Maybe it was one of those strange old-fashioned words the Panda liked to drop into his conversation from time to time.
"'Chick magnets are things that attract pretty young ladies!" Conn told her. "It's a VERY old term from the turn of the 21st Century on Earth. Honestly, I find Bud and BeBe delightful companions and I quite enjoy my time with them. You aren't afraid of big dogs, are you my dear?"
"A little..." she confessed sheepishly. "When I was little our next door neighbors had a big, mean dog and it jumped on me and bit me so bad I had to have dermal regeneration!"
"I sowwee dat happened to you..." BeBe said, pushing her head up under the Nurses hand. "I tol' you--we no bite o' jump! We good dogs. We po-tek!"
"I know pretty girl..." she said softly. BeBe had wonderfully velvety ears and the big dog was trying so very hard to make her comfortable. "I'm just being silly!"
"That's not silly at all my dear!" the Panda assured her. "You had a severe childhood trauma and I can completely understand your reticence! But you, my dear, need to figure out a way to make yourself believe that ALL canines are not like the brute that savaged you as a child! Spending time with Bud and BeBe will help you do that as you have pleasant experiences with big dogs. You might also want to spend some time with Doctor McClaren and have him teach you something about defending yourself against a dog attack! Not that either of these two would DREAM of doing such a horrid thing!"
"NO!" Bud and BeBe chorused.
The Mastiffs proved to be surprisingly well behaved on their ramble through the winding expanse of what Genevieve decided to call "McClaren Park" (since the good Doctor had failed to give it a name). While they strolled Panda Conn gently pulled out the story of her childhood trauma and brought the Nurse around to realizing that the incident had far more to do with a boisterous, untrained animal rather than the vicious attack she had believed she'd suffered for so many years. Bud and BeBe's antics and canine commentary on the human condition quite charmed her and as they circled back to their starting point she realized she'd lost her fear of big dogs. Panda Conn had done for her in two hours what a series of Counselors over the years had never accomplished.
"Why did you do that?" she asked the Panda as they approached their meeting point. "I mean--why aren't you Ship's Counselor? You'd be great at the job..."
The Panda raised his hands so she could see the nine rings he wore. "I already have a far more important job, my dear," he told her. "Bub and BeBe are my friends and when they told me you were afraid of them I decided to see if I could help. You're my friend too Genevieve and I hate to see my friends in pain! Besides--I have the feeling that one day soon Dr. McClaren will be made Chief Medical Officer of the Sovereign: you'll want to have a good working relationship with her boss--and that includes his companions!"
Genevieve was excited. "Oh my God!" she squealed. "What have you heard? Tell me EVERYTHING!"
Conn put his finger to his lips. "A Panda never tells his secrets, my dear," he said. "And I'm going to request you keep quiet as well: Joshua will have plenty of problems to overcome so if I can help in even a small way I consider it a good day's work."
Genevieve nodded: keeping such a juicy secret would be difficult but she would do it: she didn't want to disappoint the Panda after all. "Thank you for your time Conn," she said as the arch reappeared. "It was time well spent--even if it wasn't the date I was hoping for!"
"Maybe next time, my dear!" The kind, almost fatherly attitude was gone. Now there was an air of frank sensuality in his voice and stance. "Why knows? Maybe next time I'll introduce you to another of the Nine Mysteries!"