The Ambrosia Reunion by Admiral2 2592 words Inspired by this thread: https://www.trekbbs.com/threads/jellico-shelby.296418/ Two Humans, a Bolian, a Tellarite and a Vulcan were sitting together in a bar. They were celebrating the Vulcan’s birthday. This might be considered the start of an off-color joke, but in fact MacAdams’ Pub in downtown San Francisco was indeed hosting such a gathering, a group of both active and retired Starfleet admirals who had settled into a booth in a softly lit corner of the establishment and were well into their third round of synthale. The occasion was indeed Tevek’s - the Vulcan’s - birthday, and when the other gentlemen had heard he’d be amenable to such a celebration they didn’t hesitate to plan the get-together. One of the Humans, Edward Jellico, was especially glad to be here. In the five short months since he’d put in his papers he’d exhausted every planned activity on his retirement list, and boredom was setting in as he tried to come up with new ones. A night out with old friends and colleagues was just what the doctor ordered. At one point, as Rakx, the Tellarite, was relating the rather ribald tale of a shore leave on Risa, Jellico glanced toward the entrance to the bar in time to see someone familiar walk in. Well, mostly familiar, since even though he knew her as a Starfleet officer she was decidedly out of uniform. Her face was made-up for maximum attractiveness; her blonde hair, normally styled in a practical bob, was given an elaborate up-do; and instead of the relatively plain uniform he was used to seeing her in, she was sporting a gold, glittery sheathe dress. He couldn’t see her feet from this angle, but he’d be surprised if she hadn’t opted for rather high high-heels, since he could tell she looked a couple of inches taller. He couldn’t help but track her as she walked over to the bar. “‘Scuse me, fellas,” he said to the others, “but I see someone over at the bar I want to say ‘Hi’ to.” He indicated the woman by pointing casually in her direction. Rakx looked that way and immediately passed judgment. “Too skinny! There are much more worthy potential mates for you to choose from.” Tevek’s eyebrow went up at this, while the other men groaned and laughed. Jellico just shook his head and smiled. “Okay, first of all, you old reprobate, that’s not why I want to talk to her. Second of all...you do remember I’m married, right?” Rakx shrugged. “Of course I remember, as you should remember that a man’s choice of mistress is just as important as his choice of spouse.” Everyone but Tevek broke up then, and as they recovered, the other Human, Cornelius Sanford, said, “Jeez, Rakx...does your wife know about your philosophy on mistresses?” Rakx grinned wide as he delivered the answer. “Does she know it? Who do you think taught it to me!?” The non-Vulcans broke up again, and this time both Tevek’s brows went up. While he laughed, Rakx added: “Can’t have me choose an unworthy mistress, after all...others might think my taste in females is lacking, and where would that leave her?” This kept the laughs going for another minute or so. Jellico decided to leave before it died down. “Whatever...I’ll be right back.” He got up and picked up his stein and walked through the crowd to the bar, where he had to wade through the handful of admirers his target had suddenly acquired. Fortunately, she spotted him as she approached and dispersed her fan club herself so she could greet him with a smile. “Admiral!” She said. “Hey, Liz,” he said, and he put his stein on the bar so that he and Captain Elizabeth Shelby could share a hug. When they parted, he said, “And no more of that ‘Admiral’ stuff. I’ve been just plain folk for almost half a year now.” “I know, but it’ll be a while before I get used to calling you anything else. So...how’s retirement treating you?” Jellico rolled his eyes. “Like an unwanted orphan!” This made Shelby giggle as he continued. “I tell you, Liz, I never realized how bored I could get until I found myself missing all the paperwork I used to do when I was on active duty!” “Poor baby,” Shelby mocked with a grin. “If you want, I can send you all my paperwork and you can do it for me.” Jellico laughed. “Right. Maybe I’ll try to muddle through a little longer.” “Okay, but remember, I offered.” Shelby turned to the bar when the bartender arrived with her drink, then she took a sip as she turned back to Jellico. “So is that overwhelming boredom what got you to come to a bar at this time of night?” “That, and I was invited to a birthday party,” Jellico said, pointing back to his table. Shelby was a little stunned when she looked over. “Is that Admiral Tevek?” She asked. “Yep,” Jellico said. “And that’s Admiral Rakx from Tactical, Admiral Sandford from the Engineer Corps, and last but not least is my fellow retiree, Sou Navan.” “August company. So who’s birthday is it?” “Tevek’s.” Now Shelby was really surprised. “Wait...Vulcans don’t celebrate birthdays.” “Normally you’d be right, but Tevek is contemplating retirement himself and has decided that if he’s going to pull the plug there are several things he’d like to experience before he goes back home, and one of them was a birthday celebration, so we all planned a get-together for the occasion.” “So today’s his birthday?” “Yep.” “Oh...is he enjoying himself?” “I think so, if I’m interpreting his eyebrow raises correctly.” “And he’s not getting annoyed by Rakx? Vulcans tend not to have a sense of humor when it comes to normal jokes, and I’ve heard Rakx likes to make all of his jokes…’blue.’” “You heard right about Rakx, but on the subject of humor I once had a conversation with Tevek about it. He said, and I quote: ‘Vulcans actually have highly developed senses of humor. We simply tend not to find the rest of the galaxy all that funny.’” Jellico had tried to deliver the line as deadpan as Tevek had. It worked, because it sent Shelby into a helpless giggle fit, and Jellico broke up after that, as he tended to do whenever he thought about it. When they recovered, Shelby said, “Well, in that case I’m guessing this party has the potential to go all night.” “I hope not, The lot of us are all too gray-haired for that nonsense. Care to join us?” “I’d love to, but I’m meeting someone in a few minutes. You’re welcome to keep me company till they arrive...that is, if your birthday party can do without you.” Jellico glanced back at the table. Somebody must have told another joke, because the non-Vulcans fell out again, with Rakx’s laughter carrying across the room. Even Tevek added a nod to his eyebrow-raise. Jellico turned back to Shelby. “I’m sure they’re fine. So...how’s Sutherland?” “She’s fine. She’s in Utopia Planitia for her baryon sweep and the installation of some Nebula-class system upgrades. That will take three days, then we’re off to the Caspian Expanse for some surveying. There’s an active stellar nursery there that we’re going to keep a close eye on.” “Very good. She’s a fine ship, Liz, and from what I’ve been hearing I can’t think of a better officer to be in command of her.” “Why thank you, sir. So...does that mean you’ve been checking up on me?” “Only following your reputation. The exploits of the Sutherland and her hard-driving captain have made for some of the more entertaining space stories being passed around.” “Well, I’m glad to keep everybody entertained. How about Sovereign? Have you been keeping track of her as well?” Jellico’s demeanor turned a little wistful as he said, “I have. She has a new captain now...let’s see...name of Chandra. She’s fresh off a stint as First Officer aboard Enceladus. Word is Admiral Ross thinks she’s going to go far as a CO.” Shelby nodded and took another sip of her drink, then she kept her eyes down as she broached what she expected to be a touchy subject. “How about the crew of the Enterprise?” Jellico’s mood immediately soured. “You mean have I followed them? I try not to.” Shelby nodded in understanding. “Hard to avoid them though, isn’t it? To hear people tell it it’s like they save the galaxy every other week.” “Well, I haven’t exactly gone in for that particular brand of hero worship. Anyway, the last time I paid attention was when I heard about that incident on Veridian III.” “You know what kills me about that?” Shelby said. “Those people just dumped half of a Galaxy on some desert planet out in the boonies and they don’t get split up or reassigned...Command just hands them a new, more advanced ship and even calls it Enterprise for them. Does that make sense to you?” “Decisions like that are made at levels high above our service grades,” Jellico said. “One of the reasons I retired was so I never had to be bothered by them again. What got you thinking about them?” “A couple of things. Seeing you again just reminded me that the main thing we have in common is that we both did temporary duty with the Enterprise crew, yet in all the time we’ve worked together and known each other we’ve never actually talked much about it.” “It’s not an experience I remember fondly.” “Yeah...they’re not big on letting outsiders into their little club, are they?” “I can understand loyalty to your shipmates, but there are lines you don’t cross…” Jellico shook his head, stopping himself from going off on a long rant. “You said a couple of things.” “Right. Turns out Will Riker finally got off his ass and took a command offered to him.” “You’re kidding.” “Kid you not. He’s the commanding officer of the Federation Starship Titan.” Jellico thought about that, then turned to drink some of his synthale, then thought some more. Then he laughed. “What’s funny?” Shelby said. “I was just thinking...I hope to God he gets a First Officer just like him.” “That’s odd,” Shelby said, “I was just hoping that his First Officer can put up with him long enough to get assigned his or her own command.” Jellico laughed at that, then said, “I say it’s a win either way.” He held up his stein and said. “To William T. Riker!” Shelby grinned and clinked her glass against it. “To William T. Riker! Long may he reign...far away from us!” They both laughed and took a drink. “So,” Shelby said, “about the Enterprise-E...how do you think the crew would react if they knew we were the ones that proved all that shiny new tech for them by taking Sovereign on her shakedown cruise?” Jellico feigned shock. “Who, us?? Together?? They’d never believe it!” “I know, right? That’s crazy talk!” “I’m too much of a hard-ass!” “And I’m too ambitious!” “I have absolutely no concern for my crew!” “And I don’t care what happens to my shipmates!” “I can’t get along with anybody!” “And I don’t give a damn about the chain of command as long as I get what I want!” “So, us, running a ship together?” “That could never happen!” That got them both laughing again, and they clinked glasses once more and took another drink. “Well,” someone else said, “it looks like I’m interrupting something.” It was a woman’s voice. Both Jellico and Shelby turned to see it who it was. Both were stunned at what they saw. Standing nearby was a gorgeous woman, with coffee-dark skin, a curvy body and hair tied into an impossible number of long braids. She was wearing the Littlest Black Dress Jellico had ever heard of, and the numerous gold bands at her wrists and ankles were overshadowed by the ornate tiara crowning her head. Shelby immediately straightened up and focused on the woman, who focused her gaze on Shelby in turn. “Hi,” Shelby said. “We were just getting caught up. Thank you for coming. Would you like to get a drink?” The woman regarded her curiously, then shook her head and said, “There’s no need to court me, Elizabeth. You invited me and I came.” Then she took a step closer, and with a lopsided grin, added, “And with the proper motivation I will continue to do so.” Shelby’s jaw dropped, then she composed herself and carefully placed her drink on the bar. “Sir, I believe I’ll be going now…” “I completely understand, Captain,” Jellico said, trying not to grin. “I’ll just head back to my party.” Shelby turned to him fully. “I just want to say one thing. I never properly thanked you.” “For what?” “For making me the captain I am today.” “I had nothing to do with that. You got there with your own hard work and persistence.” “True, but every good commander had good examples to follow. I’ve had several, but you were always one of my favorites. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to serve with you.” With that, she stepped closer and got on her tiptoes to kiss him on the cheek, then she backed off and took her date by the hand. Jellico smiled as he watched the two women walk hand in hand out of the bar, then he sighed as he went back to the birthday party, memories from years ago flooding his mind. “Hey, wasn’t that Elizabeth Shelby?” Sandford said as Jellico sat back down. “The very same,” Jellico said. “Shameful! Absolutely shameful!” Rakx said. “What’s ‘shameful?’” “All that effort and she walked out of here with another female!” Jellico pinched the bridge of his nose. “Again, that’s not why I wanted to talk to her!” “And she was much better at picking a female companion than you are!” Rakx added. Sou Navan groan-laughed. “By the gods, he doesn’t stop…!” “Well if it makes you feel any better, Rakx,” Sandford said, “he’s going to have to explain that lipstick on his cheek when he gets home.” Jellico suddenly realized how made-up Shelby had been, and he touched the cheek she’d kissed… “That’s true,” Sou Navan said. “Alice will think you retired just so you can chase women in bars.” “She will be especially distressed to learn you let a good potential mistress be stolen from you!” Rakx asserted. Jellico rolled his eyes. “Okay, this stuff we’re drinking isn’t supposed to get anybody drunk, so it’s obvious you guys were sneaking some Romulan Ale while I was gone!” At that moment, Tevek cleared his throat and drew everyone’s attention. “If I were human,” he said soberly, “and the Federation still used currency, I would be inclined to warn you to make sure your insurance was paid up before you return home tonight.” The deadpan delivery was enough to drive the other men into fits of laughter, while Tevek nodded sagely and drank some more of his synthale. As the others recovered, they raised their steins in a toast to Tevek, wishing him “Many Happy Returns.” It was then that Jellico decided retirement wouldn’t be so bad. In the end, after a Starfleet career filled with highs and lows, he had friends like these and he’d known great leaders like Elizabeth Shelby As he looked ahead to an uncertain future, that knowledge was enough to raise his spirits.