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Opening gambit

Posted on Sun May 3rd, 2015 @ 2:05am by Cassius Lincoln & Lieutenant Thomas Stills & Petty Officer 1st Class Vartog

Mission: Trouble on the frontier
Location: Starfire Bar and Grill

Cass finished talking with one of the servers who had been asking about the splits and currencies. He'd confirmed just about any hard cash in the alpha quadrant. Latinum (Gold pressed) was preferred of course, but Federation Credits, Klingon Darseks, Cardassian Leks, Bajoran Litas....All of it. If there was ever a question, ol' Cass would be happy to answer it. He sent her off with a smile and a wink, holding off on a butt pat as they were not THAT friendly yet.

The restaurateur, mixologist, barkeep and entrepreneur already took care of the mid day liquor tally (sales were better but not great) and went back to polishing the bar top. It was something to do, especially in a quiet part of the day like today. Plus, he liked keeping the place nice even when he was going for a bit of gritty spin as well.

The bar was quiet when Vartog entered. He strode across to the counter. Gagh, he ordered. Meshta, he added quickly.

While he waited for the order to be plated, he looked around. There were a few crew from DS12 but no-one he really knew; most of those in the bar right now were traders or locals.

“Hope ya don't mind. I have your order ready and right here for ya,” he heard behind him. He looked round to see a plate being held out.

“Thank you.”

He took the plate then walked over to a spare table. Pulling out the seat, he sat then tucked into his meal.

Tom had thought about eating in his quarters after his shift but he felt he needed to be among people for a little time at least. He walked up to the counter peering in at the food and wondering what to have.

Tom has a sweet tooth and would have gone for two maybe even three deserts instead of a main meal first. His mother always complained at him when he was younger because he would always want his desert first.

He went for desert first to sate his sweet tooth. Good old fashioned apple pie and vanilla ice cream would touch the spot and fresh coffee to drink. He was pleased with himself as he looked around for a place to sit.

Vartog had tilted his head back to lower another handful of gagh into his mouth when he caught sight of Stills out of the corner of his eye. He placed the serpent worms back on his plate.

“Lieutenant!” he called out. Actually, bellowed might have more accurately described the noise. A few of the customers looked round in surprise and concern. Vartog ignored them.

Tom looked around to see who had called and recognised Vartog straight away. He nodded to him and walked over, glad that he had someone to sit next to.

As Stills sat himself down, Vartog caught a flash of gold on his collar. “The extra pips suit you,” he said, “and they're well deserved, I must say. Does that mean you're in charge of Comms, now?”

The apple pie was just like he expected it to taste and wasn't that special. He had just swallowed a mouthful when Vartog asked him the question.

"Thank you, Vartog. It seems that Ops is covering most things," replied Tom. "My department is constantly busy but I would rather have it that way than anything else. I wonder what this new base will hold for us; any ideas?"

“Same as the old one, from what I’ve seen so far. The Cardassians are not noted for their aesthetic sense; theirs is always functionality over beauty. I’ve been to DS9 and I passed briefly through DS7 last time I went back to my homeworld to...visit my family. Then there was the old DS12.... I couldn’t tell the difference between any of them.”

"They do say when you've seen one station you've seen them all." Tom replied. "They seem to come as a standard package from what I hear though I've only been to two of them."

Vartog leaned a bit closer to Stills and dropped his voice. “Madame Ambassador is fretting. That is my impression anyway. She will be a long way from the Empire. I think she considers herself hard done by. She thinks she has been shoved out here where she can not meddle in politics. The only question is who did the shoving; House Matlh or the High Council? Or both....”

Tom ate his last mouthful of pie and thought about what Vartog had said. He had heard that the Ambassador wasn't happy and she was probably right to feel that way. He had known this to happen before. Good honest people who had wanted to make a difference usually ended up upsetting those above them and therefore suffered the consequences. He only had to think of his own father who had gone through the same thing.

"She must have annoyed someone," replied Tom," otherwise she wouldn't be here."

“You hear most of the communications traffic coming through the station. Anything to suggest who or why?”

Tom shook his head, already he was thinking about his next dessert. "I try not to listen to rumours or general chit chat but... I had heard." Tom suddenly stopped as his stomach growled in protest again. "I'll be right back, I haven't eaten all day and the apple pie wasn't enough."

Cass was keeping the wood bar top spotless which he often did when not taking orders, delivering items to customers or clearing the tills. It afforded him the chance to watch the crowd and schmooze with customers.

Tom looked at the menu unsure of what to have this time despite the wide choice that was available.

"I'm not to sure what to have Cass, any recommendations?" he asked

"That kinda depends on what you're hungry for. Appetizers, main dish, sandwich, dessert....." the restaurateur said with a friendly yet reasonable tone an amiable smile.

"Dessert, definitely dessert. Whats the most popular?" Tom asked

Cassius looked thoughtfully at the man before saying, "It kinda depends on the crowd. We got two specials today that I think will knock your socks off, as they said in the old days. We got a red velvet carrot cake with cream cheese frosting that's richer than the Grand Nagus himself and more luxurious than...Well, that level of luxury is usually reserved for a premium holosuite experience but this cake is the next best thing."

He paused for a heartbeat and a half to let that sink in before he continued, "If you're more of a pie man, we have a delicious blueberry pie ala mode with vanilla ice cream and whipped cream that will make your sweet tooth sing....That I can pretty much guarantee."

"Blueberry pie it is then, with extra ice cream." he replied "I hope its as good as you say it is."

Lincoln flashed a smile and said, "Can't say I've ever had anyone disagree with me on that score. Gimme a minute and I will make sure we get that right out to ya."

With a bit of a flourish, Cass headed to the back staging area to ensure the order got fulfilled and to pick it up for personal delivery. The grill owner could be seen talking to a staff member in the kitchen who promptly disappeared, presumably, to prepare the order.

Tom returned to the table. Vartog was still sitting there.

When it arrived, Vartog looked at Tom’s second dessert with evident distaste.“You’ll fail your next medical if you keep on eating food like that,” he warned. “You know Commander Delrisa is strict about weight.”

Tom felt guilty but told himself that his sweet addiction didn't happen very often and only when he felt stressed. After all, stressed spelled backwards is desserts, so the end justifies the means really. "I'll work it off in the gym later when I go off duty," he replied

“You said you don’t listen to rumours,” Vartog prompted, “which is commendable in an Ops officer. Unfortunately, as a Master at Arms, and now as Madame Haqtaj’s aide, it is my responsibility to listen to rumours. You were going to mention something you’d heard, if I’m not mistaken.”

Tom pushed his empty plate away. He was hoping that Vartog might have forgotten what he had said before and Tom reprimanded himself for the slip of his tongue.

"Sorry no can do," Tom told him "You know what rumors are like Vartog; they can spread faster than warp speed and they die out eventually."

Vartog wanted to push. He was sure Stills had been about to tell him something. He desisted. He wanted Stills to remain a friend; the last thing he needed was the newly promoted Lieutenant becoming wary and taciturn in his presence.

He pushed his own empty plate away. “I must return to the Ambassador’s offices,” he said perfunctorily. “It has been nice chatting with you.”

As he exited, he nodded to Chief Jrez but the Trill was deep in conversation with the new Romulan ambassador, of all people. Vartog wondered at this and stored it away as a useful piece of information to impart to Madame Ambassador.


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