Thanks so much for reading and commenting. While I was trying to come up with a character to be captain, I finally decided on Banti because of his connections to Gibraltar and Dark Territory, and because I liked the guy and thought seeing him return could lead to some interesting drama. I also wanted someone I could play off Terrence against, but in a neat reversal of their normal relationship.
I want to thank Gibraltar for creating Awokou and for allowing me to use him. Also for the cool Vanguard idea. It took me long time to finally come up with a story so I hope you all like where I'm going to take this.
Hopefully I will be able to delve more into what's eating Glover. But at the moment his presence in this story is only as a cameo.
Author's Note: I amended the time that Nimbus was leaving to several days instead of one. It would give me more time to introduce the crew.
The Watering Hole
Lt. Kenule Dryer leaned half-way over the table to hear what the other man was saying even though he was practically shouting. If the music, pounding from archaic audio speakers lined along the bulkheads, wasn’t loud enough, the raucous crowd was.
There was dancing, singing, a lot of swaying, furious games of dom-jot and billiards among others. And the maddening clanging of glass and metal steins; often against rough wooden tables and bar tops as the patrons ordered more rounds. The scantily clad Farian and Orion waitresses were only happy to accommodate them. The gruff Nausicaan tending the bar looked tougher than any of the drinkers-including the Klingon ones, or the aggressive décor.
“Say again?” Dryer asked.
“This is great isn’t it?” Lt. Yori Shibata grinned.
“Huh?” Now Kenule was yelling.
Shibata got halfway out of his chair, and leaned over the table. His lips nearly brushed against Dryer’s ear. Still, the man cupped the sides of his mouth, “This is great,” he repeated.
Kenule winced at the shouted words bouncing directly against his eardrum. “If you say so.”
“Ah come on, don’t be such a buzz kill,” Shibata good-naturedly chided. Kenule had just met the man on the shuttle ride to Bastion. Both were late replacements. Despite Dryer’s desire to be left alone, Shibata had attached himself to Kenule like an Aldebaran mud leech. “This is great, a to the letter recreation of an Old Earth establishment called a biker bar,” Shibata said, clearly impressed.
The words were lost on Kenule and not just because he could still barely hear them. Against his better judgment, which had been happening far more frequently since Shibata had warped into his life, Dryer asked, “What is a ‘biker bar’?”
Shibata’s smile faltered, “Are you serious?”
“I wouldn’t ask if I wasn’t,” Kenule rejoined.
“Oh, of course,” Shibata’s smile returned. “I forgot who I was talking to here for a moment. Mr. Uptight.”
“Never mind,” Shibata waved the query away. “I bet you never even went to your ship’s recreation lounge.”
“My last posting was at the Daystrom Annex on Galor IV,” Kenule huffed; miffed that Shibata had forgotten that already. “And no I didn’t frequent the recreation establishment there. I…was too busy. I often just ate in the lab.”
“Like I said, buzz kill,” Shibata’s words were belied by his smile. “Got to live a little Ken.”
“Kenule,” Dryer pointed out, not really peeved. He hated being called Ken.
“What?” Shibata asked.
“Kenule,” he repeated. “That is my name. Not Ken.”
“Like I said, way too uptight,” Shibata replied. “Anyway a biker bar is a made for bikers,” he paused, seeing if that would register. It didn’t. Shibata continued, “Bikers were people on Old Earth who rode motorcycles.”
“I’ve heard of them,” Kenule pointed out, a bit too proudly.
“Ah…good,” Shibata said, “Anyway, these bikers would sometimes form clubs and bars like these catered to them.”
“Oh, I get that,” Dryer said, “It’s like a themed-establishment, often like starship lounges.”
“Yes,” Shibata said, “Something like that.”
“Who would want to spend their time or their money in a place like this?” Kenule wondered, looking around again. He held up his golden Tenarian Schnapps, “The drinks are too potent, the food is subpar, and I sense a fight is about to break out any moment.”
Shibata laughed, “That’s the whole point. It’s the spirit of adventure, the unknown, and I mean, that’s what Starfleet is all about, is it not?”
“I suppose,” Kenule offered, starting to regret his decision to leave the comfortable environs of his lab. But Admiral Haftel had literally pushed him out. He said it would be good for Dryer’s career, and that he couldn’t hide forever. “If you wanted some real adventure you should try that Alshain restaurant on the promenade. I would go in there, except I don’t eat meat.”
“Damn, you’re a vegan and you barely drink,” Shibata shook his head, “What do you do for fun?”
“Well, I,” Kenule began, but paused as he struggled to formulate an answer.
“You know, hold that thought,” Shibata said as his head nearly cranked 360 degrees on his neck. Kenule followed his gaze. He saw an attractive blonde, dressed in low cut green blouse with matching skintight pants, making her way to the bar. Shibata wasn’t the only one paying attention.
“Hey, Ken, I’ve already paid for the drinks, so I’ll catch you around,” Shibata said, as he got out of his seat.
“My name is,” Dryer started, but Shibata was already gone. Kenule was both happy and sad that he was alone again.
Chief Engineer Silane floated beneath Nimbus’s ventral secondary hull. He wanted to see if the heavy-warp sled had been attached properly. The Mark III Heavy-Warp Sleds could travel at Warp 9.997 for up to five months and should significantly cut down on the voyage to the Delta Quadrant.
For most of that trip the crew would be in stasis, except for Silane. A Medusan, his non-corporeal form wasn’t subject to the ravages of time and space like many of his organic colleagues.
Beside him flew one such colleague. Lt. Selvin piloted the cargo management unit expertly beside him. The Vulcan was his closest friend on the ship. Silane wasn’t sure if it was because Vulcans, with the assistance of a special visor could actually look on his true form without going mad, or if Silane’s emotional spectrum was muted enough not to disrupt the Vulcan’s staid manner.
In any event he enjoyed the friendship and the companionship particularly at the moment. “What do you think Selvin?” Silane asked, though it was really the modulated computer voice from his containment sac.
The yellow-hued organic replied, “The couplings are secure.”
Silane approximated a nod, or at least thought he did, “I agree. I think it’s safe to report back to the captain that the sled has been successfully connected.” Once the sled’s warp coils were spent, it would be converted into a logistic supply node. It was truly a miracle of engineering and one Silane wished he had participated in conceiving and constructing.
“Denizens from Omicron Ceti III have an eatery onboard Starbase Bastion,” Selvin said. Silane tried nodding again. He knew that the Cetians were famous for their vegetarian cuisine, and Selvin, like most Vulcans, was a vegan. “If you are not busy perhaps we could dine there.”
“Unfortunately I have other plans,” Silane said, contemplating whether he should elaborate.
“Understood,” Selvin coolly replied, not quite able to hide the disappointment in his voice. The Medusan was certain he knew the origin for that disappointment. So he no longer saw any concern in spelling it out.
“Dr. Xylia has already asked me to dinner. There’s a new Alshain restaurant at the station. You are welcome to join us.” Even though Silane didn’t eat organic sustenance, he enjoyed observing the process and the camaraderie.
“Thank you,” Selvin began, his words frigid, “But I will decline.”
“You really shouldn’t be that way,” Silane said disapprovingly, “Xylia can’t help where she was born. Or choose her nationality.”
“I am well aware of that Silane,” Selvin replied frostily. “But I can choose who I dine with.”
After a long pause, Silane conceded, “Fair enough. I do want you to know that the offer still stands.”
“Thank you,” Selvin said. Through the workbee’s viewport, Silane saw the man dip his head respectfully. “I shall not keep you from your appointment,” Selvin added. The CMU angled away from the Medusan and puttered back toward the Main Shuttlebay. Silane watched him go, pulsing softly all the while.