The Captain and the Pathologist

Part 1: The Lie

It had started when Arthur burst into the cockpit announcing he had a new girlfriend. Of course, it took several moments of persuading before Douglas or Martin even conceived of believing him, and it wasn't until Carolyn herself confirmed it that congratulations were bestowed on the beaming steward. The conversation quickly steered itself to Arthur wanting the crew to meet her, which led to the planning of the Christmas party.

Douglas had been the traitor to suggest it, remarking in an offhand way that it might be nice to have a bit of a holiday get together for the crew. Arthur had pounced on the idea, boasting of grandiose plans and inviting his new girlfriend. He insisted Douglas should bring Helena and Mum should invite Herc, since he was hanging around all the time anyway. And then Arthur looked at Martin.

And paused.

And the slightest hint of a frown began to pull at his mouth.

And Martin couldn't stand another moment of the awkward silence beginning to fill the cockpit. "I'll bring a date. My girlfriend," he said quickly before the oppressive quiet could suffocate him anymore.

"Oh! Skip, you have a girlfriend? That's brilliant! Why didn't tell you tell us sooner?"

"Well, b-because I just didn't feel it was appropriate work conversation." Martin replied quickly, shooting Arthur a reprimanding look. Douglas spoke up, though, a smug grin on his face, "Really Martin, you should have told us! Well now you'll have to fill us in on all the details. How long have you two been dating?"

Martin swallowed hard, staring down at the controls, "Oh. Um. Not too terribly long. But really this isn't appro—"

"How did you two lovebirds meet?"

"Online?"

"Very good. Say, you've got to have a picture of her, haven't you? Let's have a look."

"Now really Douglas, let's just drop it. We'll be approaching Fitton soon. Arthur, if you'll clear out the plates and go secure the cabin."

"Sure thing, Skip! But we'll get to meet her, right? At the Christmas party?"

"O-o-of course!" Martin squeaked.

"Great! Can't wait to meet her! Maybe she and Farah will be friends, just like us!" Arthur grabbed the empty catering plates and made his way out of the cockpit. Silence again dominated the small room, and Martin quietly prayed that Douglas wouldn't broach the topic again. The first lieutenant was looking thoughtful, and when he spoke, Martin couldn't help but flinch.

"Farah? What an odd name. You failed to mention your gal's name."

"Yes, yes I did."

"Guess I'll just have to wait to meet her at the party." He said with that mischievous smile Martin was so use to seeing on his face.

"You will. Now, if you will Douglas, we have a plane to fly."

And that was the end of it. It wasn't until Martin was walking back to his attic flat, dodging around the drunken uni students in various degrees of intoxication, that it hit him. He had to find a girlfriend in the next two weeks.

Him. Martin. Find a girlfriend. He hadn't managed to do that in the last ten years. How did he possibly think he could pull it off in a matter of days? With a groan, he collapsed onto his creaky futon and fell into a restless sleep.