A Yeomans’s Jackpot
Episode 5: The Adversary (Joint Mission)
Location: Yeomans, New Bajor
The Gamma Quadrant remained a strange new frontier for Starfleet. Despite nearly twenty years of access, they had always been blockaded from large scale exploration of the region. Whether by conflict with the native powers or, most recently, the unforeseen internal conflict within the fleet itself, the Federation’s diplomatic overtures had largely fallen flat. Starfleet had had the wisdom to look in the mirror, however, and realized that it needed to address its internal issues before diplomacy with foreign powers had a chance of baring fruit. Such a task would speak to the honor of Starfleet, as well as the Federation for which it acted as an emissary of. To actively acknowledge and address such a failing as the Consortium put an impetus on the fleet to rectify the damage done. To address that problem would take no less than officers from the top echelon of Starfleet personnel. By pursuing such a task, the Federation sought to reclaim its very credibility as a peaceful republic that sought only diplomacy and discovery.
Enter the Nogura, a Sovereign-class vessel that was in part responsible for what small reputation the Federation had in the Gamma Quadrant. Thalek th'Zorati knew it was in orbit, high above New Bajor beyond his sight. He also knew it had been assigned as the primary forward operating command center of Starfleet Intelligence Counter-Terrorism, Gamma-Quadrant Division.
Not System; not Sector; not Region nor Section -
The Gamma Quadrant was a complicated and strange new frontier to Thalek, but the job was not. The crew he was slated to take command of was equally at home with their jobs aboard a vessel as magnificent as the Nogura. It was the first starship built in the quadrant, a starship that had crusaded against the Consortium, that had not only made scientific discoveries but still managed to exude the excitement such discoveries *should have yielded* in its monthly report, and was now relegating its Captain to the Admiralcy of the entire quadrant. The passion of a crew with “skin in the game,” so to speak, supporting the strategies of a dedicated but nearly-soulless bureaucratic efficiency of someone such as Thalek th'Zorati was absolutely the Federation’s best solution to what remained of the Consortium.
th'Zorati quietly wrestled with that responsibility.
What spartan comfort would he find in Yeomans (not possessive), the seven year old tavern that - unofficially but realistically - served as a retreat for the upper echelons of Starfleet brass? Executive officers, Captains, Commodores, full on Admirals; this was where they retreated within themselves to decompress. There were no airs in this place: people were as they were, and nobody spoke the wiser of any conversation (fist-fight) that would sometimes occur in what was understandably such an explosively decompressive atmosphere.
And then there was the occasional junior(ish) officer.
th'Zorati, nursing a locally brewed Bajoran stout to calm his nerves with a Bajoran amid the cursory congratulations on his first command, sat deep in conversation with a fellow officer. He would be accepting command of Commodore Azulas’s ship the next morning. It was to be a solemn commencement, and th'Zorati was uncharacteristically nervous about his assignment.
In a nearby booth, Meibei too was nervous, albeit for a considerably different reason. While she was about to embark on an exciting and challenging assignment, she had faith in her abilities and was indeed simply exhilarated to be able to work on a Sovereign. The bar itself was cute, but hardly intimidating to Mei, who had been to her fair share, and the folk at Yeomans were all lovely enough. One Starfleet bar was much the same as any other, after all, and the name suggested that only junior officers and enlisted frequented the place. No intimidating admirals, commodores or captains to watch out for as they drank merrily.
No, Mei was nervous because of the dazzling Bajoran fellow sitting nearby. The Bajoran who was nursing his drink and quite undeniably giving her the Eyes as he talked with his Andorian friend, an older handsome gentleman. Mei missed it at first as she'd been idly reading a technical journal, but after a second and third time of catching the man's gaze as she sipped her ale, she flashed a nervous grin back at him. Mei wasn't dressed for flirting, only wearing a utilitarian black tank top with bulky pants, but she nevertheless found her stomach fluttering at the attention.
Neither of the males in the nearby booth wore a uniform, both going incognito for their evenings relaxation efforts, but the Bajoran had become distracted, repeatedly making eyes at a nearby woman; yet another Andorian. But this Andorian was far more attractive than the man he was sat with. Could he rely on the older male to work as his wingman? Yet another glance across at the woman drew the older mans attention. He shook his head as he took a slow sip of his drink and mouthed something inaudible.
Mei noticed the older Andorian's disgruntlement, and she grinned. Catching the Bajoran's eyes once more, she flicked her eyes pointedly at his grumpy drinking companion with conspiratorial amusement, unable to restrain silent laughter.
The Bajoran picked up his glass and clinked it against that of his Andorian counterpart before downing what was left of the beverage. With a sharp inhale of bravery, the slit-nosed man rose to his feet and made his way across to the woman he had been making eyes at. "What's a beautiful, blue babe doing in a run down joint like this?" he grinned with sheer cheek as he signalled to the bar keep for another drink.
The look that Meibei gave him was half derision, half amusement. "Really, that's the best you got?" she said with raised, skeptical eyebrows. "What, they don't have good pick-up lines over on Bajor?"
Garen smiled and looked a little sheepish. "Okay, you rumbled me. I'm not the best at this kind of thing. I'll level with you though; a friend of mine is sat over there and if he sees me crash and burn, I'll never hear the end of it," the Bajoran grinned.
"Oh yeah?" Meibei grinned. "He's the type to rattle your cage, huh?"
"Definitely," the Bajoran nodded.
Still grinning, Meibei patted the seat next to her, her antennae pointing forward in curiosity. "So I'm Meibei," she said cheerfully. "I'm a grease-monkey, just arrived in the Gamma."
Romaes slid into the seat next to her without so much as a glance to the Andorian who let out an uncharacteristic smirk and then downed his beverage and departed the bar.
"Garen Romaes," he greeted the Andorian woman with a charming smile as he offered a hand to her. "What a coincidence, I've just arrived too! Transferred from the Ulysses in the Gavarian Corridor," he grinned.
Accepting Garen's hand with an awkward human-style handshake, Meibei's grin became oddly lopsided in her intrigued bubbliness. "The Ulysses is a Galaxy girl, yeah? I saw her years ago, out at Starbase 77. Honest, those are the sweetest ladies around. A Sov might have more sex appeal, but a Galaxy is just majestic, ya know? A real queen of the stars. While the Nogura is like...I don't know, like a younger, hotter version, all sleek and sexy."
"Nogura?!" Garen's expression suddenly changed. To begin with, he had seen this as an opportunity to perhaps get to know someone, maybe have a little no-strings-attached fun, but the mention of the Nogura suddenly changed that. "Are you assigned there?" he queried.
"Yup!" Meibei confirmed with a bubbly grin, her antennae wriggling merrily. "You're lookin' at the Nogura's chief engineer."
Well, that changed everything! There was no way he could proceed with his initial 'plan' now. Instead, he opted to keep the conversation pleasant for now. "Well, well, well. Fancy that," he smiled. "I'm the new Strategic Operations Officer," the Bajoran concluded.
"Oh," Meibei said slowly, her mouth popping awkwardly. "Well. Yeah. Okay then. Yup." She looked around the bar, as if seeking a rescuer, before realisation struck. "Oh no. No no no no...that Andorian fella you were with. Cmon, tell me that he wasn't Captain th'Zorati. Please."
Garen looked sheepish as he smiled. “Surprise!”
"Oh boy," Meibei groaned, covering her face with her hands. "We were just flirtin' in front of the captain. And teasing him! Oh, kill me now..."
The Bajoran grinned and gently nudged her with his shoulder. “He might just do that when we get aboard,” he laughed.