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Routine & Ritual

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Jean-Luc liked routine; he enjoyed the ritual element a routine added to his life, the barest scaffolding of normalicy and predictability in a life filled with chaos. Every new day was both filled with possibilities and will predictabilities, and he liked that. He had always been a rigoured man, taking easily to the strict regimen that Starfleet required of its members. Rules made sense to him, providing guide posts for the chaos of the world. But he was not rigid in his aimiability of routine, instead recognizing when it was necessary to bend and an eagerness to explore and challenge. The duality had served him well over the years and helped him serve as a captain, where chaos and disruption had become routine in and of their own.

He never knew, when he would wake for the day, whether his day would be filled with mundane engine repairs, dealing with an interpersonal crew issue, or whether he’d be making first contact or end up in a battle for their lives with the Borg. There were very few days wherein Jean-Luc awoke knowing exactly what his day would entail.

Which is why he so revelled in his morning routine; the simplicity and repetition of it bringing him a sense of calm every morning, the one thing he could rely on with some certainty to occur.

He knew that he would rise to his second alarm, long ago giving up the pretense of getting up to the first one, his sleep-addled brain encouraging him to sleep in for just ten minutes longer, the warmth of the bed enticing him. But he would always rise to the second alarm, the compromise.

He knew that with that alarm, he would walk across his quarters into the little kitchenette, the floor always slightly cold despite the instance that it was temperature controlled flooring. He would flip the switch on his antique kettle, the old machine whiring to life as it began to heat the water. Ritual again made him keep the kettle, a possession of his grandmother who insisted that tea always tasted better when a kettle was used.

He knew that as his kettle boiled, he would stretch his limbs, attempting to shake off the last vestiges of sleep that clung to him, pushing blood through his aging muscles. It was ritual that made him notice the ageign of his body, the way his bones and muscles began to move less fluidly over the years. Nevertheless, he would continue to stretch, the resistance dedicating himself further to the routine.

He knew he would order his breakfast from the replicator, where he knew he would order from one of three items he preferred: eggs benedict, a full english, or a vulcan proper. He had taken time over the years to tweek with the replicator settings to make sure his order was predictably perfect.

He knew that every morning he would carry his breakfast to his table setting the plate down next to his PADD, which he knew would be loaded up with reports from the day prior, night shift, and transmissions from Starfleet.

He knew he would quickly glance at the unread list, scanning his reading options, before his kettle would click off, emitting a low whistle as it completed its cycle. He knew that he would put one even, level scoop of his favourite tea leaves (earl grey) into his antique strainer, another gift from his grandmother, then pour water over it into a truly hideous mug one of the children on board had made for him years ago. He knew he would let the water steep for exactly 3 minutes 17 seconds before he removed the leaves, disposing of them into the organics recycler.

He knew he would lean in and smell the freshly brewed liquid, too hot to drink, the aroma warming him, conjuring memories of childhood, of the academy, of his grandmother; the scent tied to this very ritual, the scent smelling like routine, like stability, of the antithesis to chaos.

He knew he would take his tea, setting it down next to his breakfast and PADD, before seating himself down in the same chair facing the viewport window. He knew he would indulge a moment of whimsy and pretend as if the stars outside were ‘morning stars’ greeting him for the day, despite the fact that the concepts of morning and evening losing all real meaning when you lived on a starship; his attachment to the idea a remnant memory of his time on earth.

He knew he would settle in with his breakfast and his tea, going through the new reports and memos, the familiarity of each writers' style adding to the routine of the day. He knew Data's would be clear and direct, the perfect balance between brevity and thoroughness; Worf's similarly direct but with a flare of frustration in his suggestions; Beverly's reports always came in a set, one the clinical report, the other a warmer, caring report on the health of the crew; Deanna's was always the simplest, her vow of discretion and privacy extending resulting in bare bones statistical reports and an occasional summary of any systemic concerns; Geordi's reports were the most technical, and he always appreciated the extra care his engineer took to translate the highly technical aspects of the work into something less technical; Will's reports were always the longest, reflective of how many departments reported to him, with subjects ranging from fights to supply needs.

He knew he looked forward to reading the reports, the banal aspect of his job instead feeling like a lifeline to his crew, a way to connect with his ship and the people who worked and lived on it; people who he genuinely loved. The reports were meant as a way for a Captain to always know what was going on with his ship, but they also served as a glimpse into those writing them and he could tell from their tone and style the mood they were in. He liked that; knowing when he needed to spend some extra social time with Bev or Will, or schedule shore leave for everyone - though this would usually be a suggestion in Deanna's report as well.

He knew that it would take him about an hour every morning to eat his breakfast and finish his reports. An hour all to himself, the ship still quiet, the day still unwritten. As much as he enjoyed the ritual of his morning routine, he also enjoyed how it was the only routine of his day, for the unknowingness that would follow his morning was always unpredictable; a routine in and of itself in that unpredictability.

He knew he would drain the last drops of his tea and put away his breakfast dishes, hoping into the sonic shower quickly before donning his uniform.

He knew he would stand at the precipice of the doors to his quarters and give his uniform a gentle tug from the bottom - a move some of the crew had taken to mimicking during a round of charades - and straighten his collar before stepping out to face whatever unpredictable chaos or mundanity would await his day.