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Old February 12 2013, 03:24 AM   #34
DarKush
Rear Admiral
 
Re: Dark Territory: Shadow Puppets (Revised)

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Dominion War Memorial Observance Station
Benzar System

“Now that’s interesting,” Dr. Zammit said, sidling up to Lt. Baran M’Brey. The relatively smallish Alshain glanced down at the relatively diminutive Bzzit Khaht. His hands were full, one carrying a glass of water and the other a tray with shaka, a native Bzzit Khaht dish. The Benzites had seemingly done an excellent replication of the blue moss.

“What are you talking about Zam?” She asked, good-naturedly, not worried about the man’s superior rank. Zammit was the only officer she had met in either Starfleet or the Alshain Starforce that felt it was actually insubordinate to refer to him by his rank.

“Didn’t you just see the way Commander Drake blew out of here?” The medic inquired. M’Brey looked at the exit and instinctively inhaled, seeking out her scent. But the woman had already crossed the threshold and her smell had been lost among the mélange of body odors, the medic’s included.

Adjusting to life aboard a Federation starship, first as a wartime exchange officer and then as a full-fledged member of the crew after her defection, Baran’s sensitive olfactory glands at times had been pummeled by the myriad odors of multiple species.

It had gotten so discomforting that Commander Nandel had recommended that Dr. Zammit come up with a solution. Of course, before he could apply the treatment, M’Brey had had to withstand the doctor’s strong musk.

The stench came from the sponge-like glands covering the man’s body. He explained that Federation scientists had developed a counteragent, an aerosol spray that mitigated the smell, and which Zammit used quite liberally.

While it mollified most other species, the foulness was still stomach turning for her, though Baran had learned to quell her gag reflex. And she was grateful for her fortitude, because the medic was an excellent conversationalist and quite a fount of information.

“No,” She shrugged, “So?”

“Lover’s spat perhaps?” The man’s yellow-green eyes lit with curiosity.

“Between you and Jonda, I don’t know who the bigger gossip hound is,” the Alshain replied with a smile.

“I’m surprised that you didn’t hear that heated exchange?” He asked. M’Brey playfully flicked one of his long, pointed ears, though careful to keep her claws retracted. “We don’t all have ears like yours.”

He harrumphed and then pointed at the lupanoid’s own drooping ears, “Speak for yourself,” he retorted, before laughing.

“I’m sure I’m not the first person to advise you not to eavesdrop,” M’Brey chided.

“I wish that my hearing was that good,” Zammit frowned, “But I only caught an elevation in their voices and then saw Miranda leave in haste.”

“If you are so curious, why don’t you just go ask Commander Drake,” M’Brey suggested, “Or better yet, how about Mr. Torkill?” Both looked at the hapless, flummoxed man, standing alone in the middle of the room. Baran felt pity for the man. He looked as out of place as the Jem’Hadar present, all clutching filled glasses that they would never drink.

“I don’t think so,” the medic smiled, “I like ingesting shaka not being turned into it.” The two officers shared another laugh.

“So, there isn’t any scuttlebutt about trouble in paradise is there?” Zammit pressed gently.

“I recommend you check with Jonda,” M’Brey said. While she found some non-Alshain courting rituals and socializing intriguing, bewildering, and sometimes amusing, she merely liked to listen and not participate.

Despite her recent defection over the atrocities the Exarchate had committed against the Tarlac, Ellora, Ba’ku, Son’a, and Munzalans, M’Brey missed her people, and she missed serving in the Starforce.

However, the actions of her former government had made a return to the Exarchate and Starforce untenable so now she sought to make a new life among aliens. It could be trying at times, but her conscience demanded no less of her.

“Where is the good Mr. Jonda?” Zammit asked, standing on his toes to look around some of the taller guest. “I don’t see his familiar shock of purple anywhere?”

M’Brey sniffed again, and shook her head, “I’m not picking up his scent,” she said, shrugging, “Odd that he would be missing any party.”

“I know,” Zammit nodded in agreement before shrugging, “Oh well, maybe he just went to the refresher?”

“Perhaps,” M’Brey acknowledged, “Which isn’t a bad idea now that you’ve mentioned it.”

“I wouldn’t want to hold you from the tug of nature,” Zammit said cheerily. While M’Brey was sure that consideration was involved, she also knew that the medic realized that there hadn’t been much information she could provide him.

After saying parting words, the Alshain strode toward the exit. She paused at the door and looked back. She saw that the medic had already insinuated himself into the conversation ongoing between Commander Nandel and the Vorta.

M’Brey shook her head in bewildered amusement. Life in the Federation was going to be interesting indeed.
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