Once Upon A Time There Was A Tavern - Part I
Operation: My Unfair Lady
Location: Starbase Crew Lounge (Starfleet)
"Grand Piano, please."
Xera T'Nile had been wandering the Starbase listlessly. She knew that there were plenty of Starfleet personnel that once on Shore Leave, would do everything they possibly could to get away from duty. T'Nile was not one of those. Oh, if there was a tourist or cultural attraction, she would go. But why waste money on renting a hotel suite, or eating at a fancy restaurant? Her quarters held a perfectly good bunk and here, the Starbase's Crew Lounge allowed her to collect her meals, only charging her account when she asked for something more than her replicator allowance. For the moment, she decided not to be aboard ship and she figured this was the best way of being relatively alone and some time to think.
In one corner of the lounge was what looked to be a small holodeck space, with its characteristic grid lines. On a hunch, her rumbling stomach temporarily forgotten, she walked to the control embedded in a wall and made a selection. Sure enough, a grand piano materialized, courtesy of that technology. It was also simpler to just create a holographic musical set and dematerialize it than keep it around physically. Testing a few notes, it sounded alright. Resisting the urge to change it to a church organ and playing something dramatic, T'Nile sat down and picked at the keys, picking an old classic.
"When are you gonna come down? When are you going to land? I should have stayed on the farm, I should have listened to my old man."
Hamura and Mac had been wandering the station getting a few last-minute items that they needed before the ship set sail. It had been a day of days. Both somewhat in the dog house with people that they cared about they had bonded and reconnected, something that hadn’t happened in a while. It was Hamura who broke the companionable since. “You know I forgot how fun you were.”
Mac laughed. “Yeah. It’s been a while. Why did we fight again?”
“Gypsy Midnight.” Both said at the same time after a brief pause and then they laughed.
“So did Soral really call her in to help with this Cardassian thing?”
“Sort of. She’s to be on standby with a group of Vulcans if the ship needs them.”
“Does the Captain know?”
“Yup.” Hamura responded and then paused. “Mac can I ask you something?”
Mac gave a nod. “Sure, let’s stop at the lounge first though. I’m starving.”
“Yeah, I’m a bit hangry too.”
Mac sniggered. “Yes, yes you are. I mean telling a shop owner you are not willing to wait for a product and to pull it out of his…yeah not your best moment.”
“I skipped breakfast.”
“Ah so nothing to do with the fact that they’re taking engineering away from you.”
Hamura groaned. “Don’t get me started. I also think I met my replacement. I’m not a happy Hammy.”
Mac threw his head back and laughed. “Alright Hammy let’s get you fed so you can at least be a somewhat happy Hammy.”
They walked into the lounge and found a quiet table and then after ordering drinks Hamura groaned. “Speaking of my replacement.” They pointed to the woman at the piano.
T’Lanna entered the lounge carrying baby Jayce, looking for something different to eat. She could have just eaten at home, but it made a change eating out every now and then. She ordered up what she wanted before seeing Hamura and Mac. She picked up her tray with her free hand, juggling Jayce on her opposite hip as she walked across pausing to take in the new arrival who was playing the piano.
Mac looked up just as Vali entered. "Hey Lieutenant!" He held out his hand to Jayce. "Hello little man!"
Hamura stood pulling out a chair. "Have a seat Counselor. Join the Hangry table."
T’Lanna smiled warmly as she placed her tray down, then sat down placing Jayce on her lap. “Thank you Hamura, you too Mac. I thought I’d have a change to sitting at home.”
"Yeah, Hamura and I are less noble. We're flat out hiding out me from Haru they from... everything else."
“Oh? Why would you be hiding from Haru, and everything else?” T’Lanna offered a smile then politely sipped her Pepsi.
"For me it's avoidance of conversation and another argument for Hammy here it's avoidance of what they see as punishment." He glanced at the piano, "Although it's not working." He pointed to the woman. "Hammy thinks that's his replacement."
T'Nile knew she was being talked about, but did not react outwardly. As usual, she wore her dark flowing hair partly forward, over her tapered Vulcan ears, showing only at first glance a Bajoran ridged nose with slightly green tinted skin. It was, for her, the age old conflict. When she tried to act more Bajoran, she was too rigid and formal. When she tried to be more Vulcan, she was too relaxed and not entirely logical. She did what she always did: logged everything in her memory and plowed ahead. Having finished the previous song, she randomly played a few notes while deciding on her next selection.
"Some people are dreamers, they live for the future. As if it would work out, just as they dreamed it would work out, somehow. Others get caught in yesterday's papers. Too busy reading to get on with living. But I, I live for now." Compared to the original, it did not sound as good on a piano, but her soft and high voice gave it a distinct melody of its own.
T’Lanna offered a smile as she looked across towards the piano. She hadn’t yet met the woman sitting there playing, and singing. Even young baby Jayce seemed to be interested in the singing.
Hamura ran a hand down their face. “Suddenly I’m not Hangry.”
Mac laughed. “You are, you should get to know her you know before you judge her the usurper.”
Hamura mumbled something unintelligible.
T'Nile closed the cover over the piano keys with a gentle thud, having spent the last few moments playing random short pieces. Wandering over to the replicator, she thought of her order. "Biryani, large, vegetarian. Extra spicy. And carrot juice, chilled." The spicy rice dish materialized, topped with potato, carrots and peas, along with her drink. Retrieving her meal, she looked around, frowning slightly. The lounge was quiet. Oh, she was well aware that they were her crewmates, but part of her was not in the mood for socializing, a paradoxical irony given she chose a public place to take her meal.
Mac smiled and looked over at Vali. "Counselor you're familiar with Exposure Therapy right?"
T’Lanna raised an eyebrow in typical Vulcan fashion. “Of course. What exactly is it you’re thinking of doing?”
TO BE CONTINUED...