S.S. Fawkes - CF-142AC
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Bubbles: The Saga Continues!

Posted on Wednesday September 30th, 2020 @ 20:22 hours by Mayterial Droz & Alexandria Farron

Mission: Safe Passage
Location: Betazed
Timeline: MD09 - Early afternoon
2489 words - 5 OF Standard Post Measure

It was weird to be back on Betazed, even if it was on another continent from her home. Mayterial held the cat carrier at a slightly awkward distance from herself. She wasn't much of a cat person, and it definitely showed. That said, she was never one to turn down an easy buck and, apart from the whole episode with Alexandria, this was about as easy as they came. The house she was approaching was really rather large, it seemed to indicate a family history of wealth. Nothing too odd knowing the kind of length some Betazoid went through to hold on to their family's legacy, even when the great houses had diminished in influence, especially after the occupation. She walked up to the double door and pressed the chime to call for someone inside. She had asked the signaller to call ahead, to make sure she wouldn't be stood up.

A woman answered the door, dressed in a fancy floor-length sleeveless gown, deftly wielding a glass of wine. Her dark brown hair almost made her look like a native Betazoid, but her light brown irises clearly gave her human heritage away. She looked to be around May's age, but was more likely younger than not. "Captain Droz!" She greeted warmly with a Terran accent. "I'm Lana Davie, Jutal's wife. Please, come in." The spacious entryway looked empty of other people, but the telltale shrieks of children at play could be heard in the distance.

"Oh, I was just..." There was nothing she could do before the woman had disappeared back into the home and she just stood there, Bubbles in the cat carrier in her hand, "Sure, why not." She mumbled to herself as she stepped in and closed the door behind her. She heard the shrieks of kids through the door that the woman had just entered, she wasn't much good with children, had never found a need to scam any, "You husband requested I drop off Bubbles personally." She said as she stepped into the house's living room area.

"I know, and the timing's perfect." Lana assured her. "We decided to have Aaria's party today, even though her birthday isn't for a few more days. That's also a local holiday, so I wanted to make sure all of her new friends could make it. Oh she'll be so excited!" Lana then turned and shouted aloud. "Aaria, dear, you have a visitor!" She turned back to May. "Oh I hope Bubbles didn't give you too much trouble. He's a good cat, but he does like to wander."

Mayterial remembered the whole episode with Bubbles wandering the halls of the Fawkes. How the cat had gotten around the lower decks was a mystery to her, it was at the very least an intelligent critter, "We noticed," she lifted the crate to eye level, "The XO's quarters wasn't quite luxurious enough, was it?"

Soon, a clatter of shoes on flooring could be heard as Aaria came running up. Wearing a fancy child's party dress, she was a smaller version of her mother, though with a fairer complexion, and darker hair and eyes. Her expression lit up when she saw May holding the cat carrier, and she hopped and clapped her hands with joy. "It's Bubbles!"

Kneeling to the ground, Mayterial put the carrier on the floor and opened the small door, "He missed you." She had no idea what the cat thought or felt, of course, but it seemed like the most appropriate thing to say. She got back up and looked over at the lady of the house, "Must be difficult, having a partner in the fleet."

Bubbles the Cat had eyes for no one else but his little best friend. As soon as the door was open, he took a step out, then ran and leaped into Aaria's arms. purring and trying to lick her chin.

Lana looked at her daughter with a fond smile as she cradled Bubbles close and spun around in circles. "The only thing I don't miss is the danger. I can handle it, but... I just don't think its best for her, growing up and seeing that kind of lifestyle as normal." She shrugged, but clearly seemed conflicted about it. By the time she she trailed off, Lana also noticed her daughter about to run off to rejoin her friends.

"Hey now, This is Captain Droz, her ship came all this way just to bring Bubbles to you. What do you say?" Lana said, reminding her daughter of her manners. Though she did perhaps stretch the truth a little.

Aaria looked up at Mayterial in awe. A starship captain! "Thank you, Captain, for bringing Bubbles home in time for my birthday." She said, shyly. "Would you like to stay for my party?"

"Ooh, I... eh..." Mayterial looked at the mother apologetically, she didn't like children in the slightest and staying there would be a nightmare for her, "I'm sorry, but I have some very important Starship Captain things to attend to." She then said to the child, it felt kind of bad to disappoint the girl on her birthday, but then again she did bring her the cat in time, "I'm sorry. I'll be sure to stop by next time I'm in the neighbourhood."

"Oh sweetie, you know how busy captains are. Why don't you go introduce Bubbles to your friends?" Lana said. Aaria didn't need any more encouragement than that, and quickly turned around and ran off, still holding Bubbles close.

If anything, Lana seemed more disappointed by May's answer. "I was kind of hoping at least one other parent would stay, but I guess kids birthday parties don't really work that way here. And I don't even know why I dressed up like this. Sometimes I swear Jutal's parents are just making up customs to see how gullible I am." Lana sighed.

"Are you sure you can't stay? Just for a little while?" Lana asked, almost pleading. Then she looked down at the glass in her hand. "I have wine. Lots of wine."

Mayterial knew that she shouldn't, she knew that the right thing to do now was to excuse herself and walk away. But what could one glass of wine hurt? "Why not, half my crew is hitting the club circuit anyway," She took off her leather jacket, revealing the worn tank top underneath. It was clear that she didn't quite dress for a fancy Betazoid party either, "Sometimes parents in law can be like that. I get it. Jokes on them though, you look stunning in that dress." She gave a smile and wink before throwing her jacket down in one of the large chairs in the corner.

"Aahw, thanks. And that's the spirit." Lana said with a small blush, which turned into a smile once she saw Mayterial take off her jacket and decide to stay. "As the responsible parent hosting the party I only get two glasses of wine. But as the guest, you can have as much as you wish." She returned the wink.

"Come on then, I won't make you talk to the in-laws, but if I leave them alone to watch the kids I'll never hear the end of it. Plus, the wine's on the way." Lana said as she led the way deeper into the house. By the way she was moving it seemed like she was attempting to add a certain measure of grace to go with her dress, but it was clear that she wasn't much of a fancy walker.

Soon enough, they reached an empty parlor, with an attached bar. The sounds of children were louder, but still in another part of the house. The bar was well stocked, and not just with wine. Most of the offerings were domestic, but there were a few imports from Earth, and other parts of the Federation. Much of it was top-shelf offerings, especially the bottles in the low glass-fronted cupboards under the bar.

"Have anything you like, dear. Well, anything that's out. The bottom cupboards are off limits to the likes of us." Lana said, turning away for a moment to fetch the bottle she'd been sipping on so that she could refill her glass.

May frowned a bit, that made her super curious about what was on the bottom drawer, "this isn't your home, then?" She dug around in one of the allowed cupboards and found her favourite, she grabbed a tumbler and threw in three blocks of ice before she poured herself a Saurian brandy, "so why are you stuck here with a dozen kids while your other half is gallivanting around the quadrant in a teal jumpsuit?"

"Gold jumpsuit." Lana corrected as she finished refilling her glass. "He's not ready yet. Even if he was here, his mind would still be out there..." She added as she put the wine bottle away. "I know Jutal well enough to know that he's close though. One more crisis or close call and I think he'll reevaluate his priorities for good. Then, when he comes home, we can find our own place together." There was heavy emphasis on when... as if it had to be that and not 'if.' She took a drink to clear the thoughts away.

"So what about you, Captain? Anyone special out there waiting for you? Or is your ship your true love?" Lana asked, the skirt on her fancy gown swirling as she moved to lead on again. There was no judgement in her tone, just curiosity.

At that question Mayterial had to take a big swig, she had given her a perfectly acceptable way out of the question but she knew that it wasn't quite true to say that, "I thought there was, but she betrayed me." She shrugged, "Thought I was invulnerable to that in my line of work, but you know." Another shrug, she didn't even know why she was talking to a total stranger about this, must be the brandy, "Those make the best marks, the people who think they'd never fall for one." She finished her glass and didn't wait to refill it, she had brought the bottle from the previous room.

"So living with your in-laws, and Betazoid at that. What did you do in a previous life to deserve that?" She tried to quickly shift the conversation away from her relationship with Meghan.

Lana seemed surprised at Mayterial's revelations, they were more than she'd expected. She'd always thought of freighter captains as enterprising folk, but this talk of marks? She hadn't figured them on being that enterprising. She wondered how much her husband had paid to have Bubbles delivered. Probably too much. The man was a fool with latinum.

"I'm sorry things didn't work out..." Lana said with a measure of sympathy, unsure of what else to say. She had not personally experienced something like that. "As for me, I grew up in San Francisco. Plenty of academy boys and girls hanging around the bars and clubs. Some of my friends really wanted to hook up with one, but that wasn't for me. It seemed like most of the ones I met were way too full of themselves. And the ones that weren't were creeps. I never would've thought I'd end up with one. But then I met Jutal one day on the street." She shrugged.

The sounds of children playing suddenly grew louder, and a moment later Bubbles scurried into the room, almost immediately followed by a small gang of kids all intent on playing 'catch the cat.' They appeared to be a on a collision course towards Lana and May.

May got up from the seat and gracefully spun aside with the glass of brandy in one hand and the bottle in the other, keeping it out of reach of cats or other small creatures. She had been in enough barfights to know when to get up and out of the way of an unguided sentient being, "Watch out, don't hurt him. He's been through enough travelling across the quadrant to get to your birthday on time." She joked and gave a smile at Lana.

"They'll never catch him. That cat only gets caught when he wants to. But I'm sure they'll destroy half the house trying. Sound familiar?" Lana said with a smile that matched May's, after deftly saving a bottle from toppling off of the bar after one of the kids bumped into it trying to avoid the grown-ups. She half expected May to say that Bubbles had been no trouble all, but would not have been surprised to learn that he'd arranged for his own little tour of Droz's ship.

"One of the crew is allergic, and she became convinced that Bubbles was hired to take her out," Mayterial took another sip before shrugging, "nothing out of the ordinary, really," Then a smile, "It's like the furry bastards know just how to inflict the most chaos." It was abundantly clear May wasn't really a cat person, not a kid person. It's a wonder why she had ever taken the job in the first place, but then she remembered the rather exorbitant rate she had requested and gotten from the Fleeter. That was one thing to appreciate about the fleet, they instilled no sense of monetary worth in their officers.

"Really." Lana said, arching an eyebrow, as if to suggest that that didn't sound very ordinary. She was used to being around Starfleet types, who for the most part tended to be coookie cutter professionals that didn't often share those kinds of interesting attitudes or opinions. Or, at least, the ones who stuck around in Starfleet long enough for her to get to know them. The private sector must be full of all sorts of interesting characters.

"Well, you sound like a very good captain, helping your crew through their... moments." Lana said. "I think you'd be great with kids too." She said encouragingly, as if reading May's mind. "So bottoms up. And then we should go make sure they don't actually destroy my in-laws' house."

As the woman started to walk after the kids there was a moment of hesitance, "Wait. We?" Mayterial had only just sat back down on the stool before she slid off, following the woman out of the room back towards the bulk of the house. She wondered why she was still sticking around before realising she had a bottle of brandy and a tumbler in her hand, and the house itself seemed like it might hold some more treasures as well. She'd definitely have a look at the forbidden part of the liquor cabinet before she left, her coat had been dumped relatively close to it. She could probably make it work. For now that meant that it was indeed 'we' that had to keep the kids under control, "Well, here goes nothing, I guess."


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