S.S. Fawkes - CF-142AC
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A Drink at Flagren's

Posted on Tuesday March 31st, 2020 @ 09:50 hours by Mayterial Droz & Lozen Nachtnebel

Mission: Safe Passage
Location: Starbase 32, Promenade
Timeline: MD02 - 10:00 hours

Lozen woke to the glow of her PADD, its screen flashing from the small bedside table. Starfarerer’s was a nicer place than she expected from a traveler’s hotel -- Bradley had told the truth. The proprietor, Kate, kept the rates low and the bunks clean and Lo had the feeling that many of the people who stayed here were regulars who knew a good thing and kept on coming.

She reached across the bed and picked up the PADD, staring at it blearily until the bright screen came into focus. She groaned when she saw the time, barely 0630, but then noticed on the message floating near the top of the screen. A job offer, already? She felt a moment of excitement which quickly ebbed. This probably wouldn’t be the one she took, after all. She had set her prerequisites carefully. Lo knew that a person with real Fleet experience could pretty much be guaranteed a position anywhere they wished. If life on the edge required hard currency then she wanted to be well paid, and, after too many weeks of passenger travel in cramped quarters, she wanted her own room.

“Display message.”

The hovering box expanded, filling the PADDs screen.

I realise you get quite a few of these, and with the profile you've got, it's likely that some offers might be better. But you don't seem like someone that would turn down a free drink? All you need to do in return is have a conversation with me. I'll introduce myself and my ship to you, and you introduce yourself to me. If we click, great. If afterwards you think 'I want a refund for that drink' (that you didn't pay, remember) then we'll part ways, no hard feelings. Let me know if I need to order for two at Flagren's.

“Well,” she said to the empty room, reading the response to her posting twice over. “I guess it can’t hurt to at least look.”

She took her time getting up and dressed, stifling a series of yawns. Then, gathering up her meagre possessions in her duffel and slinging it across her shoulder, she left her tiny room and headed back toward the Promenade, hoping to grab a quick bite and a cup of coffee (normal, replicated coffee this time) before meeting with this -- she checked her PADD -- Mayterial Droz.

---

It was always difficult to get into the rhythm of a station when your ship ran on a different time zone. The larger Starbases weren't really affected by it all since there were enough people going around at all times of day for it not to matter. Starbase 32 wasn't quite big enough. It was quiet in the morning, and Mayterial was glad of it. She had gotten dressed, spent slightly too much time to try and find one of her favourite jeans, but then gave up and grabbed another one from the pile. Easy black t-shirt, no trimmings or frills. Her bland outfit was completed with a leather jacket. Her hair was put in a sloppy bun and she hesitated a moment if she wanted to put on her sunglasses, but decided against it.

Her personal computer lit up and notified her that the person she wrote to last night had responded and was willing to meet with her. Not all the demands could be met, but that was usually something she knew how to talk her way around. She was happy to get a face to face meeting in order to make the offer, she sent a few options to meet that fit with her planned schedule of the day. First thing on the list, however, was a hearty breakfast.

---

Metal cup of replicated coffee now in hand, Lozen felt a renewed spring enter her step. The caffeine helped, true enough, but the real change came from being aboard the Starbase. The transport which ferried her from Sol was a tiny, cramped thing overflowing with passengers (new Fed travel restrictions and security screenings were making any form of long distance transport an ever-increasing hassle). It felt good to walk freely, with a great open space all about her. And, thanks to the gravity plating, you could wander and almost forget you were in space at all. Not that Lo wanted to forget: she loved space, but during her trip to SB32 a niggling anxiety had wormed into her due to the close confines, and it felt good to shed that for a moment and just let her mind wander.

She let her feet carry her through the promenade, filled as it was with a myriad of scents, colors, and sounds. Starfleet uniforms mingled with civilian colors; children ran in and out of the crowd, laughing and playing games while harried adults attempted to shepherd them off to morning classes. For a moment, she felt a powerful urge to just stay aboard the station -- surely, she would be able to find work there? But the thought passed as quick as it came; no, there could be no rest for her here. She slipped through a group of Fleet officers dressed in teal and gold, her moment's peace forgotten. The sooner she met with Droz, the better.

Lo took a nearby lift to the Promenade's upper level, following the map on her PADD. The Droz had suggested meeting at a tiny denobulan eatery up there, tucked at the far end of the Starbase's shopping district. A glowing neon sign above the open archway proclaimed "Flagren's Fragrance." She paused under it for a moment, wondering what sort of food they could possibly serve with a name like that.

"Sounds like a perfumery," she said to herself, frowning at the sign. But, as she stepped through the arch and into the dimly-lit interior of the small restaurant, she had to admit that the available smells were indeed appealing.

There were a number of small round tables clustered inside, and the whole kitchen area was visible behind a low counter. A denobulan male, middle-aged, looked up from busily chopping a large green vegetable as she entered. "Anywhere you like," he said, offering a slightly wider smile than Lo found comfortable. "If you don't know what you want, our menu's on the net. You can order straight from your tab and I'll bring out whatever you need."

"Thanks," she said, nodding. "I'm waiting for someone. Can I get a bowl of fruit?"

"Of course," the man nodded. "It'll be right out."

Finding a seat near the archway, Lozen leaned back in her chair and awaited the arrival of the woman with the job.

---

After breakfast May made her way over to the agreed upon location. She felt a small tremor in her hands. Two days without a drink and she was starting to feel the effects. She wondered if she should just take a small sip, take the edge off. She mentally scolded herself for thinking it. She had to be strong. She took in a sharp breath through her nose right before stepping into Flagren's, "Morning." She greeted the Denobulan behind the bar and smiled, almost as widely as the man did.

The man smiled back, "she's right over there, I believe" This hadn't been the first time that the woman had been in his establishment and even though he didn't quite remember her name, she always met with people here for job offers and was a good tipper.

"Miss Nachtnebel?" She asked stepping up to the table where the stunning redhead was seated. If she hadn't been interviewing her for a job she'd definitely start a conversation with her.

Lo looked up from her bowl of fruit. "Yes? Hello! Mayterial Droz?

"One and the same," May smiled and extended a hand in greeting.

Standing, Lo took the proffered hand. The leather-clad woman had a firm grip. "Thanks for contacting me. I honestly didn't expect anything to come in so soon after I made the posting."

"Perfect timing I guess, we just arrived at the Starbase and my current Quartermaster has indicated that they want to part ways." Mayterial looked at the bowl of fruit on the table before looking over at the bartender, "Could you get me one of those as well? Looks delicious."

The Denobulan bartender simply nodded.

The lighting in the little restaurant was dim enough that Lo only just then noticed how much of the woman's eyes were black. A full-blood Betazoid. In Starfleet she had encountered the occasional Betazoid, but rarely had any close contact with one. Some of her mother's family on Betazed would send letters for holidays, but beyond that the whole of her mother's culture lay clouded in mystery. Just then, she felt a momentary dizziness. A strange woolen feeling floated in the back of her head, followed by a craving for something stronger than coffee.

"Uh, should we sit?" she said, feeling suddenly disconcerted.

Seeing a shift in the woman's demeanour as she sat down at the table Mayterial wondered if there was something she had said or done that triggered this. Then she wondered if she should comment on it, deciding that yes, she really should, "Everything alright?"

"What? Oh, yes, sorry. Bit of a headache," Lo said, trying to pass off the moment with a smile. "So, you're looking to take on a quartermaster?"

May's eyes narrowed, "Yes, I am." She shook her head a bit, "Look, I don't mean to pry, but I'm sure you've noticed that I'm a Betazoid. What you might not be able to tell from our short encounter is that I don't really take kindly to lying." The irony of her statement didn't escape her, but she hoped by pressing it she would be able to cut past some of the bullshit that people tried to pull on her. She herself had made her living out of lying, and when she wasn't quite qualified enough for a position she had padded her stats more than once. She was hoping to be able to suss out those people that would do that to the detriment of her crew and ship.

"I..." Lo hesitated, caught off-guard. Her head still felt oddly fuzzy. "No... I think I just stood a little too quickly or something." Seeing that the woman's eyes were still narrowed with mistrust, Lo sighed and seated herself back at the table.

Letting it slide for the moment, Mayterial took a seat herself and looked at the potential new crewmember, "I'm sorry for coming off so strong, I need to know I can rely on the people that I have on my boat."

Lo nodded. "Believe me, I understand the need to take things seriously out here on the front. But trust me, I'm looking for a place to settle in, I don't want to get off on the wrong foot. I'll need to know that I'm welcome too."

"Trust me, if you join us on the Fawkes, you'll feel more than welcome," With some effort Mayterial gave a warm smile to Lozen, "I'm sure you've had a lot of responses to your job posting, why did you take me up on mine?"

"Well, actually, you're the first." Lo could not help but wonder if she already knew the reason for that, too. How many Captains had gone poking around the feeds and found mention of her resignation from the Fleet? How many would want a potential complication on their crew, Fleet training or no? Had Droz not had a chance to check into those details for herself, or did the woman just not care?

She cleared her throat. "I'm looking for a chance to put in some good work off the channels, so to speak. I know what Fleet training's worth to an independent ship, so I'd say that I'm looking for a mutually beneficial relationship. You get someone who knows the ins and outs of supply chains, which starbases might let a freighter dock on the cheap, which shipping lanes the Fleet thinks might have pirate activity nearby... I get a clean room to myself, a living wage, and as much comm bandwidth as I need to do my job." It made Lo feel better saying that; her spiel returned some of the confidence which the strange bout of dizziness had upset.

Laying low for a while, that was a story that Mayterial had become all too familiar with over the past years. Running a freighter attracted a certain type. On the one side you had the lifers, born and raised on the different freighters around the quadrant. The majority of the others were taken up by the disenfranchised. Those that had a reason to want to be mobile, away from where they were born, and away from the ever-watchful eye of Starfleet, "So long as you don't have anything in your past that would prevent us from docking with one of the Starbases, I think we can come to an agreement. I had attached the contract details, have you had a chance to read through those? I can assure you they are in line with similar employment in these regions."

"Yes, the contract's fine. As for my past... I resigned from the Fleet, all legal and smooth." Lo smiled. "Technically, I could even apply to reenlist, so you needn't worry about some sordid part of my past catching me up and making your life difficult. The complications there are all... personal." And, she thought, if not exactly the whole truth, it certainly wasn't a lie. For a moment, Lo though about Fairbanks, wondering where her mentor was now. She'd lost touch with the Captain, and the rest of the bridge crew, in the months following Fairbanks' court-martial. Though "lost touch" was a bit of an understatement; they might as well have all vanished down a black hole.

"That's all very good to hear, not that you've encountered complications, of course. Just that there's no past that would catch up with you, and me by extension." Mayterial gave a meek smile, "how about I buy you that drink I promised, and after I'll give you a short tour of the boat. Show you around a bit before you make a decision."

"I think that drink would be nice," Lo said. She could not help but let some of her relief slip into the smile she returned the captain. "And a tour sounds even better."

[OFF]

Mayterial Droz
Captain

&

Lozen Nachtnebel
Quartermaster

S.S. Fawkes

 

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