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A New Job, A New Bar: Part 2

Posted on Mon Sep 5th, 2011 @ 6:15am by Chief Warrant Officer Akina Jrez & Steve Summers

Mission: All Souls Descend. Season 2, Episode 6
Location: Summer's Bar

OLD

Steve grabbed the glass and refilled it."So what's the deal with this station,and why is everyone goin on about parasites?".

"That," Ra-Movraii then said finally, "is someone else's story."

NEW

Jrez plonked himself down on a barstool and waited to be served. Further down the bar, a solitary person nursed a drink. From behind, Jrez could not tell what race the person was but it was obviously male. The pips at his collar placed him as a Lieutenant Commander.

A man of medium height apeared from around the corner. The man had a small goatee wih brown hair and had a smile on his face." My name's Steve. What you have'n, Officer?"

"Ale. Andor.... No, not that, he thought. Right now you don't need that. A chorus of former hosts agreed with him. Something swam to the surface of his mind from previous memories.

"India Pale Ale. And the real stuff, please. Not synthehol."

"Synthehol? Are serious? Why would I serve that? Anyway, Indian Pale Ale. What an odd choice but...okay". Steve went to the back of the storage closet and yelled out "FOUND IT". He walked out of the closet and poured the liquid from the flask into a glass. "That's my last bottle of that stuff, better restock if you're goin' to be a regular. Anyway, tell me what you think of it".

Jrez savoured the taste of the ale as it flowed over his tongue and down his throat. Then he took a second swig and held it in his mouth. He rolled it over his tongue, relishing the various sensations as different taste buds came into play.

There were stronger beers to be had, he knew - some of the lagers brewed to the old German tradition packed quite a wallop - but this would do. Working on the messages had done him the world of good. Nonetheless, he could feel himself settling in for a long session. Thalal was not that easy to forget and visions of her kept coming to his mind at unguarded moments.

"I'm partial to IPA," he explained. "A previous host was introduced to it while on Earth. She served with the Trill delegation to the Federation Council.

Steve cracked a smile. "Oh, that's right, you're Trill. How many hosts have there been for your symbiont?"

"I'm the sixth. It's been a long and interesting life for the Jrez symbiont. It was Estal who was part of the Trill embassy. She was the fifth host. She was also partial to a nice, fruity Belgian ale so if you have one of those you can set it up. From there...maybe something from what they called the 'New World'. I recall her mentioning Monteiths."

Steve, with a puzzled look, said, "Wow, those are two completely different style drinks, anyway one Belgian ale coming up. Being a Trill would be rather weird." Steve once again left the bar to fetch the drink.

Jrez decided to let that last comment...what was the phrase?...'go through to the keeper'. He wasn't all that sure what it meant but Estal assured him it was pertinent.

A young Bolian walked up to the bar. Summers looked across expectantly. "Just looking for the moment," The Bolian said. Summers returned to polishing glasses. He routinely used an automatic glass washer but he took pride in having everything sparkling.

"What can you recommend in a sweet wine?" the Bolian asked. "Not too sweet mind, my girlfriend doesn't like it too sweet."

As one, Jrez and Summers turned and looked out across the establishment. There was a human looking woman sitting watching what was happening.

No, not human, Jrez thought. She's Lagashi, you idiot, Tirania, the second Jrez host informed him.

Steve looked up and spoke "I recommend Ktarian Ale. It's sweet but it has a late kick. Do you want one?"

The Bolian condidered the suggestion. "Well.... She really is a wine person."

"Go ahead," Jrez said. "I think she'll like it. It's called ale but it's not like beer at all. Not like this sort of beer anyway," he added, holding up his glass.

The Bolian nodded. He accepted the drinks and went back to the table. Very soon the two were huddled close together, holding hands.

Jrez remembered being in a very similar scenario back on Starbase 611. No, don't go there! he chastised himself.

"You know what's funny ,I only recommended that drink because it's the most expensive." Steve chuckled to himself. Getting no response, he looked round at Jrez. Only then did he notice the pained expression on the Trill's face."What's wrong?"

"You don't happen to have a drink to cure a broken heart, do you?" he replied. "Oh don't worry, it's just that seeing those two brought back some painful memories," he continued without waiting for a reply. "I received a call from an old lover earlier today."

"I don't think I have drink that can cure a broken heart ,but I have a drink that can make you forget about it. Anyway care to elaborate on who called you?" Steve asked.

No, I do not care to, he thought. "Ah, to hell with it. Why not? "She's an Andorian. Her name is Thalal zh'Simal. She's a member of the Andorian Imperial Guard. We served together on Starbase 611 before it was destroyed. She went back to Andor to take part in shelthreth. How much do you know about Andorian mating patterns?"

"Not much" Steve said "people that are blue arn't really my thing".

"They have four sexes - chans, thaans, zhens, and shens. The first two sort of equate to our male sex and the last two to our female. All four are needed to produce one child. Bondmates - one of each sex - are often chosen at birth and are expected to reproduce. No, expected is not quite the word. It is almost a cultural imperative. Population numbers on Andor are going backwards. It's not like the other humanoid races where you get up to a bit of hanky-panky and you have to make sure you don't end up with an unwanted child. All four must take part in what has become a ritual central to what it means to be Andorian.

"Thalal zh'Simal is a zhen. She it is who will take the fertilized egg and carry the embryo to term. Or that's what was supposed to happen. Thalal rebelled against all that. She fled Andor and joined Starfleet. That's where I met her."

"So what happened between you" Steve asked

"It was never going to work - not long term. Looking back, there were too many unresolved issues. One of the former Jrez hosts is rabidly anti-Andorian. More importantly, Thalal was under extreme pressure from her family to take part in shelthreth. Finally, she gave in."

"It must have been hard for you,letting go"Said Steve.

"Actually, it was a great relief. It took a huge weight off her shoulders."

"She's back in Starfleet Command. No, that's not quite right. She's still a member of the Imperial Guard but she's been seconded to some new Federation/Klingon Defence Force initiative as an observer." Jrez chuckled, "Not that I can picture Thalal zh'Simal being content to be an observer for long."

"So,what did she have to say in the call?". Steve asked

After having remained silent for the duration of the Trill and human's conversation, Ra-Movraii finally snorted involuntarily. "Women. The bane of all species," he commented dryly over his almost-empty glass. It had been a while since he had arrived in the bar, but he had contently listened to the many conversations going on around him. "You'd have thought, that with the many lives' worth of experience you have, you'd have learnt by now." Had Jrez not been enlisted, he was certain he'd have simply insulted him and left.

"Ra-Movraii,what you want to drink?" Steve asked.

"Go on then, I'll have what he's having, Steve," the Efrosian officer replied, keeping his gaze on Jrez before he extended a hand. "Lieutenant Commander Xal Ra-Movraii, Chief Strategic Operations Officer, and self-appointed bane of the commissioned officers."

"One Belgian ale comin' up. you're the bane to everyone, not just officers," Steve said with chuckle.

"Hardly," Ra-Movraii replied as he gave a dismissive but amused look to the bartender. "I can't stand our pipped brethren. Saying that makes me seem like a hypocrite, but hey, I just ain't drunk enough yet."

Jrez gave this newcomer a cursory glance. "In my experience," he replied, "males are far more often found to be the problem."

"That's what women I've been with always tell me," Xal replied with a grin to the Trill before trying the drink, and finding it surprisingly more refreshing than he expected. Not having spent much time on Earth, but more along the Cardassian borders, the Efrosian had spent more time drinking more mysterious beverages.

Jrez turned back to the barman. "She's back in Starfleet in a roundabout sort of way. She's still in the Imperial Guard but she's been seconded to Starfleet. Apparently there's some sort of new joint initiative between Starfleet and the Klingon Defence Force and she's to be an observer." Jrez smiled ruefully. "Not that I can see her being content to be a mere observer for long. She called to tell me before I found out on the grapevine. She especially didn't want me thinking she'd returned to Starfleet without telling me."

"Well that was nice of her to let you know," Steve said, "but I was hoping to ask something...." He paused for a second. "What's the deal with everyone going on about Parasites?" he inquired.

Jrez looked at the officer. He probably knew more than anyone on that subject but, for all he knew it was classified. "A lot of speculation backed up by very little fact," he said. "You're ideally placed here to hear most of it but I'd advise you place little faith in about ninety percent of what you hear and treat the other ten percent with outright disbelief."

"Wise words, Chief," Xal said over the top of his drink before taking one final finishing gulp. After placing it onto the bar, he pointed a finger to Steve. "You keep your stocks up and your ears open, and you'll hear plenty from the staff. Until then, boy," he added, patting him the shoulder, "keep your head down." Turning to Jrez, he offered a wizened smile and slightly softer tone. "I'll see you around, Chief. I've got a good few units to sleep off before my shift starts."

 

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