USS Pioneer NCC - 74757

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The Price we paid, Part 2

Posted on Mon Apr 13th, 2020 @ 1:41pm by Lieutenant Elloma Essu & Ensign Nassie Essu & Ensign Talas Ruhrie & Zulg & Gil Paret & Lieutenant Junior Grade Jack Smith
Edited on on Mon Apr 13th, 2020 @ 1:43pm

Mission: Episode 9 - Empok's End
Location: USS Tianlong, Hanger Deck One
Timeline: MD001 1900 hrs
3791 words - 8 OF Standard Post Measure



Elloma silently followed her sister, without saying a word.

“Hello,” Jack said as they approached the table. “I am Jack Smith, the new counselor on Empok Nor as it were.” It felt weird saying that but he didn’t know what really to say.

Elloma walked over to the table, and took a seat. "Lieutenant Elloma Essu, Security." She called out to the group. She just wanted to hide in her seat. Her sister, Nassie was more of the social one, tonight. Elloma had a lot on her mind.

Nassie grinned as she went next, "Ensign Nassie Essu, yes were related. Don't hold that against me. My job was Operations." Nassie said, with a twisted grin on her face.

Elloma just rolled her eyes, but let the comment go.

Paret smiled weakly at the group as they arrived. She knew most of them, she was about to speak when Nassie's comment caught her ear. She turned to face the woman. "Was Operations? Stop me if I am incorrect but does that not imply a past tense. Are we not all still assigned to the station and returning there?" It did not escape the engineer's notice that the other Essu, Elloma seemed to be a similar state as Paret.

Zulg arrived to the table last and gave Paret a sharp look. The look was quickly replaced by a trademark Ferengi smile. He poured a kanar for Paret and a round of shots for everyone else. "Here is to a return trip to home..." He raised his shot. It was as sentimental as a Ferengi could get.

“To taking back what is ours,” Talas said with a nod. “I get the feeling everyone at this table has fought to get where they are, I know I have and there is no way in hell I am giving up now.“

“It will take us all,” Jack agreed, holding up his own glass. “We will return to our home and rid it of the filth that is there!” His eyes went to Nassie and Elloma, waiting for them to speak.

"Since arriving here I have been made to feel that this was mine and Kalim's fault..." A twinge of pain welled up deep within Paret as she invoked the XO's name. He was more than her superior officer, he was her mate. One she hoped would join with her in due time. "...Simply because we are Cardassians. Have people not realized that there are more than one type of Cardassian. Was it not the great Damar that helped put a stop to the Dominion. It is not right, and not fair. To treat friends, and colleagues in such a manner." Her voice grew louder, stronger, more impassioned as she spoke. She raised her kanar. "To standing your ground."

Elloma raised her glass but remained silent. She really had nothing to say on that matter. Her reason for being on the station was classified, her posting is suppose to be short term, but you never know with Starfleet. One day is temporary, the next it's permanent. Typically you dont get forced from your home. But to Elloma, this was not home to her, the USS Pioneer was.

"To home." Nassie said, with a big grin on her face. She liked the fact, the others were rallying up some spirit. They were all a little defeated.

Zulg poured himself a glass of kanar, a drink he had become quite fond of over the time he spent with Cardassians. "Rule of Acquisition number 572 keep your friends close. For friends equal profits. So to prof... I mean friends."

"Not a bad business model. I see us having a wonderful business partnership, if tonight is any indications." Nassie suggested in a teasing voice.

Jack smiled easily. “I am afraid you will not make a lot off the likes of me. I rarely have more than two drinks when I socialize.”

“Isn’t this one of those rare times?” Talas spoke up. “We have been through hell.”

"Unexpected times call for unexpected measures. I say drink up, who knows if this is your last chance. We should cherish these moments as they may never come again." Paret said with a slight smile, her first since boarding the Tianlong.

"Well said, these two fine men, are eager to help you celebrate especially this one." Nassie said, as she pointed to Talas. Which was a pitty, she thought he was cute. But she was to tipsy to flirt with him tonight. As general rule, she tried to only flirt with one guy a night.

“I’ll have another one,” Jack said to Zulig. He looked over at Elloma. “Need a refill?” He wasn’t getting wasted but he wanted to loosen up some.

Zulg smiled and poured another round. It was a first for the Ferengi, watching Starfleet officers let their hair down. Actually relax was something new and he rather enjoyed it. Zulg seemed to think that the officers were always stuffed shirt and could have no fun. This gathering proved him wrong. Now he wondered how he could turn it into profit.

The fact that Nassie tried to pawn the other men off on her, caused Paret to lose her smile. The loss was due to her missing her mate more and more. She sipped the kanar to cover up the brief facial expression. "Thank you for the offer, but my mate is elsewhere. Although I would be lying if I said that I didn't wish him to be here. I believe he is at Camp McCoy." She said with a small amount of whimsy in her voice.

"I think were heading to Port Royale, heard its an interesting station. Very lively." Nassie said, trying to spark up the conversation. She noticed a cloud of doubt and negativity shrouding Paret, and rightfully so. Things looked pretty dimmed at the moment.

“I have heard the same,” Talas added in support of her. “Lots of things to do as well as a unique antique shop. I just heard someone say that the other day. We can regroup there at least.”

"Yes we can regroup, but I for one will not make myself too comfortable. I plan on not staying long. I have heard that Malbrooke, Hood, and Sobel have amassed a fleet and a landing attack force of Marines to take the station back. I think the fight will be over rather quickly and we will be victorious. Although I have also been told that the XO at Port Royale is Cardassian, with the Starfleet rank of Captain. Perhaps that is proof that not everyone in your fleet judges books by their cover." Paret spoke a tad smugly and then gulped her kanar. The spirits caused her to be bit more free with her feelings.

"Which is good, if you ask me." Elloma said, hating misconceptions. She noticed that people make unfair assessments based on race, profiling and general stereotyping. She liked the fact, that the station first officer was a Cardassian.

“I would like to share in the battle,” Talas spoke up. “But I suppose there isn’t time for us to get there. It is our base they took it feels like we should be there taking it back.”

“I’m with you,” Jack nodded. “After what we went through I want to be there for those who may have gotten trapped and mignt need some help, someone to talk to.”

For the moment Zulg was content doing what bartenders do best, that is listening. He was torn at the moment. On the one hand he felt for these people, and their emotions. On the other hand the Ferengi hoped that one of them would drop some information that would be worth some profit.

Paret looked around for a moment and saw that she might have been the most senior officer present. "I agree with both of you it would be best for us to be there defending our home. However, I fully believe that we are all too emotional for a fight at the moment. We should leave the fighting to our friends, allow them to help us and our home. When the dust settles and the fighting is done someone is going to have to restore our home to its glory. We know her best, so that makes us the best for the job." It wasn't much but it was a start. Paret had a mind to give the group a pep talk.

"I had a lot of fun, feeling a little tipsy. Gonna call it a night." Nassie said as she walked out.

Elloma could see that Talas wanted to chase after her. And Elloma stopped him. "I can not think you enough Talas, for the role you played on the station. Very brave of you." Elloma said, as she looked to Talas, hoping to slow him down. To give her sister a fair chance of running off. She was still over protective of her.

Paret raised her glass as Nassie made her exit. "It is getting a bit, late but I am just getting warmed up." She smiled and held out her glass for Zulg to refill. He happily obliged and filled the glass to the brim.

Elloma noticed that Talas had yet to say something. She wondered, what he was thinking. She could tell that he liked Nassie, but she needed to walk off the drinks she had consumed.

Talas stood. “I have an errand but please save my seat, I will be back.” And he was off before Elloma could stop him.

Jack smiled. “He will learn.” He said with a smile to Elloma. “And I am sure your sister can hold her own after what we have been through.” He held up his glass. “I need a refill.”

"That was dumb, Nassie does not like it when men chase after her like that. She is big about image perception." Elloma said, shaking her head, she knew Talas would be back soon. That was to predictable, even for a non security officer to see. He was clearly into Nassie. Even though, she had been flirting with Zulg, for the free booze.

Zulg scurried over to Jack and refilled his glass. The information that was being passed around this table was payment enough for the booze. At least for the time being.

Paret turned toward Jack. "Tell me about human mating rituals. It seems that what is transpiring at the moment, is a bit confusing. It seems to me that they are attracted to each other. And yet..." Of course Paret was commenting on Talas, and Nassie.

“They may be,” Jack murmured. “But this is not the time to start anything. Emotions are fragile and you shouldn’t make any decisions at that time.

Paret nodded that he understood Jack's point. "See that is what confuses me. On Cardassia this would be the best time to seek a romantic relationship. The situation that we are all in lays bare our truest selves. Where I am from everyone is so guarded that only when the truest self is seen can you decide if someone is worthy of you."

“We tend to be impulsive,” Jack replied. “And a lot of human men are interested in the sex and not being alone. I think you are right it draws us close together but meaningful relationships take time.”

"Agreed! I have found in the time spent with humans that both genders seems to put an emphasis on the physical of relationships. On Cardassia that is but an end to a mean. The social aspect of a relationship is what is more important, but I digress." Paret paused just long enough to swig the kanar. "Tell me Jack how long have you served aboard Empok Nor?"

Elloma listened in, she was also curious how long he had been on the station. She had not seen him around, prior to the loss of Empok Nor. So either he was new, or he was an impostor, sent to infiltrate the Federation.

“I arrived two days before the attack,” Jack informed them. “Talas and I came together with some others to the station.” In truth he wondered if some of them could have been in on the attack. “I had NS it finished setting up when it started.”

Paret smiled devilishly. "Now my young friend you are thinking like a Cardassian. Everyone is in on something and up to something. I too have had thoughts that someone either from Starfleet, or the CDF or both have been involved it what was happening. However, I have no evidence or even leads on who it might be."

"You talking to me or Jack?" Elloma asked, wondering why Zulg was suddenly quiet as well. At the moment, she tried to focus on who Paaret was talking too. Paret, brought up a good point.

"No one in particular... Just sort of speaking aloud to no one in particular." Paret replied to Elloma. "All I am saying is when one comes from a species that is known for their conspiracies, one can sense when a conspiracy is afoot. And right now my senses are off the wall." Paret usually did not talk like this, but the kanar was beginning to take it's effect.

As most Ferengi, Zulg was content with listening to all that was being said. In his mind one never knew when a piece of information that was worth profit would be shared. So for the time being he made sure that the glasses were full and his lobes were open.

“I think we’re all questioning what happened and could we have done something to prevent it,” Jack said quietly. “I know I am.”

"I don't think we could have, this was obviously planned out. All we could have done, was delay it. Starfleet will adapt to this situation, and we will be stronger for it. All of us will." Elloma said, trying to re assure them, but lacking in the tactful manner to show sincerity. She was trying to show strength, by not showing emotion. Deep down, she was scared and nervous too.

"I will tell you this much. This will not be over, even if we get the station back. It will never be over, at least not until Typhon Prenar and what's left of the Obsidian Order, the old regime are brought to justice. So long as they are at large nothing will ever be over." Paret replied stoically. She looked toward Elloma and then toward Jack and realized how young they were. How she hoped the hubris of her people would not cut their lives short.

"I for one cannot wait to get back to my bar, and back to business as usual. I think Captain Knight does not like having me around. One wonders why." Zulg said with a smile, he tried to brighten the mood a bit. However, he hoped that Wakefield succeeded his retrieving that data pad for him, if not a lot of profit would be lost and Zulg may be ruined.

“We all want to go home,” Jack nodded. “I want to be able to help the crew in any way I can. To listen and make suggestions for what will help them emotionally.”

"You have only been here a short time, why would you say that? Not even a day?" Elloma asked the Ferengi man. She was curious, why he thought a Starfleet Captain, would not like him. She was expecting some alien racist comment about humans not liking aliens. Which was ridiculous.

"When you become a bartender you get a good read on people. Captain Knight has been down here to talk to me, and it seems simply that he did not like me plying my trade and helping out around here. That said I am sure he will be happy to see me leave his ship." Zulg replied to Elloma and then took a shot for himself.

“It is a battle ship,” Jack smiled. “He probably has strict rules, one of them being no drinking.”

"Actually its a carrier, Jack." Elloma said, correcting Jack on his error. He was surprised that Jack did not know that. Why else would a ship, have this many fighters.

"Whatever it is, it is no place for honest trade. At least not at the moment." Zulg chimed in with a tone of smarm in his voice.

As this exchange was going on Paret thought deeply. She had arrived at the conclusion that despite anything she would make sure that her people were not placed at fault for this. She turned toward her new friends and smiled. "Well then perhaps we should enjoy it while we can."

“You are correct Elloma my bad,” Jack replied to her. “Still, why would they want alcohol available with fighter pilots on board.”

"Don't tell me your that naive, no alcohol. Really?" Elloma asked in utter shock and chaos. Was he really that naive not see it? Even she knew, the crew needed to unwind, not be sound wound up, that they loose focus on their job.

“Naive?” Jack raised an eyebrow. “I am not however I know Knights reputation. Anything being consumed on this ship will soon be without alcohol. He won’t stand for it, he has high standards.”

"Well I have spoken with the good Captain and at least for the time being he will allow me to serve here. So long as I serve it to those who are off duty. However, as I stated I got the feeling that he would prefer me to be off his ship. In truth I would prefer to be in my bar." Zulg said with a smile. He had gotten one over, however he of all people knew that he was treading on thin ice.

"Help junior there Zulg, he is naive and new to drinking and Starfleet. Clearly." Elloma said, as she patted Zulg on the shoulder. She made it clear, that he knew how naive he was.

Zulg smiled and poured another round for everyone. "Well then Mr Smith. Let me tell you about the wonders of drink. The easiest way to learn is to do. So bottoms up!"

Jack grinned at him and took a long drink from his glass. This was what they all needed. There was a time to grieve and be sad but a time to sit back and just enjoy the life they had. "Bottoms up!"

Paret had been observing all that had transpired. The Cardassian woman wore a rare smile as she too realized that this was not a time to grieve, at least not fully. How I celebrate life is just as important as how I celebrate death. she thought. This was indeed a time for them to celebrate each others company and what time they had left. She raised her glass. "Indeed Bottoms up!"

Elloma took a sip of her drink, after raising it in toast to the bottoms up comment. She remained silent for a moment, to observe the situation.

“I sit and think what I would want us to do if I were one of the lost,” Jack murmured. “I would want you to celebrate and move forward, make sure this doesn’t happen again and that in the end my life meant something.”

"Jack the philosopher huh?" Elloma asked him, with a little snarky-ness in her voice.

"Well I have nothing better to do this evening than to sit here and wax philosophical. The future is built by the young, and we of course are the young. So let us plan how we will see that this never happens again." Paret said as she took another swig of kanar.

"Sounds like a good idea to me. One that I would be obliged to provide the drink for." Zulg added with a typical Ferengi smirk.

"I would like to hear more." Elloma said, keeping Jack at an arms length. She thought he was cute, but this was not the time or place for cuteness. She gave her full attention to Paret.

“As would I,” Jack agreed, leaning forward.

Elloma pulled back, she thought to herself. Not so fast. He needed to earn the right. She waited to hear what Paret was going to say. She had sparked her curiosity.

"First off we have to find out how they gained the information that they used against the station. Then once that is done we must institute strict security to make sure that this never happens again..." Paret's voice trailed off as she lost her train of thought and something else struck her. "...But first we must convince Captain Knight to turn around and fight."

"We need a plan, before we can turn this ship around and fight. We have already paid dearly for our mistakes." Elloma pointed out to Paret an the others. They could not go in blindly, and get more people killed, on the off a chance they can stop the enemy. They needed a plan. And a good one.

“No offense but turning around and fighting would be senseless and cause more losss of life,” Jack spoke up. “We need to come back with more backup and something more than our anger.”

Elloma was impressed with his answer. Maybe he was not clueless as she first thought he was. Elloma briefly grinned for a moment, as the scene starts to fade. "He is right." Elloma said, as she looked to Nassie, she could see her nodding her head in agreement.

Zulg smiled at the group and poured another round. He sensed what was coming, and for the the officers and the bartender it would be long night. In fact when he was finished pouring he did something he rarely if ever did with anyone. He sat down...

Paret looked at her new friends, her comrades and her smile broadened. "Quite so my friends. Then let us plan..." She picked up her glass and leaned forward conspiratorily.


A Joint Post by;

Lieutenant Junior Grade Elloma Essu
Assistant Chief Security/Tactical Officer, Empok Nor


Ensign Nassie Essu
Operations Officer, Empok Nor


Gil Paret
Chief Engineering Officer, Empok Nor


Zulg
Owner/Bartender "Zulg's", Empok Nor


Lieutenant Junior Grade Jack Smith
Chief Counselor, Empok Nor


Ensign Talas Ruhrie
Communications Specialist, Empok Nor

 

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