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Greeting the new shop owner

Posted on Tue Dec 22nd, 2015 @ 3:49am by Stella Moon

Mission: Trouble on the frontier
Location: Promenade

On his way to the Infirmary, Harrison decided to go the long way around the Promenade. There was a new shop there – just recently opened – so a quick look in and greet the owner would not go astray.

The shop was immediately recognisable. The façade resembled that of the early twentieth century Earth with its multi-paned bay window. Or was that late nineteenth century? His knowledge of historical architecture was not good enough to be sure. The display appeared to be of various trinkets, jewellery and knick-knacks; certainly nothing which particularly took his fancy.

The first thing he noticed as he entered was a tinkling above his head. Looking up, he realised that opening the door had triggered a small bell. The second, which followed on the first so quickly as to be almost concurrent, was a distinctly pungent smell. It took a few moments of careful thought to distinguish it as sandalwood incense.

By this time, a young, human woman had appeared behind the counter. She was, by his estimate, about 28, slender with a pale skin that looked as if it hadn't seen the sun for some time. She wore a black lace dress, so fine that it looked part of her skin rather than a separate garment.

Her hair was brunette and he could make out that her eyes were blue. As his sight adjusted to the gloom in the shop, he changed that description to one of bordering on...not purple, they were too pale for that; mauve, perhaps. Finally he settled on lavender.

Despite feeling terrified inside and dreading the thought of a customer walking in through the door, Stella put on her best smile. She had to look as though she had been doing this for years. She heard the voice of Hendrikus in her head
guiding her teaching her on how to approach people. As she smiled. she held out her hand in greeting.

"Hello. I'm Stella," she said shaking his hand, recognising him straight away. She deliberately chose to wrap his hand with her left hand hopefully to convey friendship, warmth and honesty. "You're my first customer. Welcome to Metamorphosis."

The informality took Harrison aback; he was used to salutes and studied politeness, not such openness. This bodes well, he thought.

“Good morning,” he managed to get out. “What is it exactly that you sell, Ms Moon?”

"Please, call me Stella. Metamorphosis is what used to be called a 'new age' shop in the past. We sell a little of everything that has to do with different cultures and beliefs on Earth and all over the Alpha and Beta quadrants. "Over here we have meditation music, crystals and singing bowls." She led Captain Harrison around the shop. "Then there are the crystal balls, tarot cards and lace. Is there anything you are interested in Captain?"

“I am sorry, Ms...Stella, but none of this ware is to my taste. However...do you, by chance, sell a nice tea service and the tea to go with it?”

"I have a nice bone china set that I've just unpacked." she told him, walking to another part of the shop. In one of the boxes she had found four bone china tea services. Beautiful, fine, perhaps a little too delicate for the Captain. It was strong too as she soon found out when she dropped one of the teacups earlier. She didn't recognise the markings on the bottom of the pieces so she wasn't sure exactly what type of 'bone' the china had been made with. She took a packet of tea off the shelf and went back to him.

The set reminded him of one his mother had used. It was not exactly the same; most likely a copy but it did not have the feel of a replicated version. He held a cup to his mouth and lightly rubbed his teeth along its lip. They tingled in the way Mother had said real bone china should. “I’ll take it. If you would be so good as to package it up and have it delivered to my office please.”

Stella nodded, still smiling and looking at him. She had been reading up on tasseography, the art of reading the tea leaves. It might have been good practice for her to try, though she would never read them in front of him.

"I hope you enjoy the tea service and use it often and not just as a display." she said

“If it is in my quarters it will receive little use and that is not good for bone china. The bone settles and weakens the porcelain. If it is in my office it will be regularly used, especially when entertaining dignitaries.”

Plucking up the courage she asked "Would you like to try before you buy? I can have a pot of tea ready in no time."

“Your offer is most appreciated but I am afraid I must decline. I have an appointment with Doctor Delrisa and it is almost upon me.”

"Maybe another time, when you're passing that is. Don't forget to mention me to your friends."

Harrison offered a slight bow. Something about this woman attracted him. She seemed fragile and lacking in confidence but he sensed a steel in her manner which would stand her in good stead. She might need it, operating a business around here, he thought.

“I will do that,” he said. “For now, though, adieu.”

 

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