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Everything in it’s Right Place

Posted on Mon Apr 29th, 2024 @ 5:09pm by Commander Rupert Tyree

1,152 words; about a 6 minute read

Mission: Prelude to War
Location: The White Stag, Empok Nor.
Timeline: The day after initiis novis

Rhu wandered the promenade aboard Empok nor, thinking the spy business was just as full of hurry up and wait as normal fleet business. He’d been aboard a day now and still nothing. Maybe they whoever they were letting him decompress a little. But that was hard to do with the idea that he could be contacted at any time to go yonder and do his duty.

Snorting to himself, he slowed as traffic picked up as he entered a busier part of the people cycling through the various shops, bars and recreational facilities. He was in mufti, dressing in loose black trousers, dark grey wrap shirt and boots that hugged his calves. As he took in the people threading through the station’s public areas, he took in the sounds and smells as well.

Those were part of the whole animal. ~Amanada would have enjoyed this,~ he thought, remembering his wife’s fascination with spaces and how people made them function, creating a sudo living, breathing organism through habitation. It had been a while since he’d thought of his family, lost aboard the Constellation and he tried not to berate himself for that. That reminded him of Kalia and those last evenings on Betezoid and he almost felt worse.

Then he felt an arm slip into his and he glanced up to see a smiling Ainsley Shaw looking him over. “Well, Commander Tyree. Looks like you were lost there. And I don’t mean the station.”

Smirking, Rhu tucked his self condemnation away and said, “Well well. Ms”

“Twain,” Ainsley said, “Shame on you for not remembering a girls name, Commander. I think you owe me a drink for that.”

Glancing around, he nodded his head first in assent then toward a doorway that was looming nearby. “How about in there.”

Ainsley glanced toward the door and saw the White Stag logo. “That will serve,” she affirmed as they moved to the door and she acted the part of a past, possible love interested by tucking her hip against his. She’d dressed in a simple gold and grey striped wrap dress and her favorite white pumps for this. The jewelry was a bit more than standard issue, but that was kind of the point. While they might suspect the necklace was a comm, they might not suspect the pearl earrings were grenades and the antique looking ring the equivalent of type 1 phaser.

They found a table amidst the bustling tavern’s customs and slid into a booth, sharing one of the bench seats. She touched her necklace activating a hush field and touched her shoulder to Rhus. “So sailor, looking for a good time?”

Rhu gave her a wink and said, “Sure, sister. Nice dress by the way.”

Ainsley glanced at herself, pleased with the compliment, professionalism be damned, “Thanks Rhu. It’s good to see you again. Glad to see the pirates didn’t bang you up too bad. The Captain sends her compliments on that little action. The Admiral too. He said the defense council actually shut the hell up for two minutes before continuing to give the President hell.”

Rhu shrugged at that, “Valiant’s a touch ship. The crew is shaking out.”

They were interrupted by the server who took drink orders. When they were alone again, he shifted as Ainsley unexpectedly nuzzled his neck.

“Easy, just playing the part,” Ainsley said, teasing him a little before she said, “I am, after all a person Known to you.”

“Well that’s not surprising,” Rhu said. “I figured you hadn’t tracked me down just for drinks.”

She pushed at him then and said, “I would, but no. The Captain wants you and your merry band to do some skulking. Still tracking the pirates based off the intel Ms. Gordon uncovered and try and find out who’s bank rolling them.”

Their drinks arrived and Ainsley manipulated the hush field as the server entered and then left the bubble that masked their conversation. She sipped at her sparkling cider and glanced at Rhu as he picked his glass.

Rhu took a drink of the Andorran whiskey he’d ordered and considered. “Support for this, my crew isn’t exactly trained for skulking as you put it. And showing up in Valiant is going to ring some bells.”

“It would,” Ainsley said, giggling as part of her cover as if Rhu had said something funny. “If you were taking Valiant. Ingress and egress are at your own discretion. I’ve cover ID’s and funds for your trip. Unfortunately, Valiant is bit too conspicuous.

Rhu took a drink to give himself time to think and said, “Well that’s not convenient. But that’s why we’re all on leave, I guess. So we’ll have to make plans to be somewhere we’re not and hope it stays ambiguous.”

Ainsley shrugged. “If they get to do a full bio scan on you and have access to archives, you’re pretty much screwed. So don’t get caught. Routine ID checks should be ok, and I doubt the pirates are screening everyone that deep. Plus you’re just going in to get a look and see what’s what. I have a data crystal on my upper thigh. Remove it and pocket it so none will notice.

She kissed him then and Rhu was surprised that he momentarily forgot what he was supposed to do. He felt her hand on his wrist, guiding it till he felt the small, flat object and her fingers peeled it off into his hand.

Then she slapped him and swore in both Andorian, Terran standard and what he thought was Romulan.

Ainsley blistered Rhu’s ears for another few moments, then pushed herself out of the booth and flounced out of the bar, casting a mischievous look back over her shoulder as she hit the door, nearly laughing at the look on his face.

Rhu nearly dropped the xaxtdamned crystal, but was able to truck it into his shirt as he rubbed at his jaw with his free hand, trying to mask the motion. He felt the crystal cling to his skin and he took up his drink and downed it. The crystal was still warm from her skin, which had been incredibly soft under his fingers.

A few of the bars patrons were giving him looks, but one by one they all went back to their own business. Rhu finished his drink, made sure the crystal was still clinging to his skin then extricated himself from the booth and went out into the press of beings going about their business.

Even hanging out with Ainsley for a quarter hour reminded him of the monk-like existence of a starship captain and he contemplated finding some unobtrusive trouble before they were again into the breach.


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