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Reception Part 2

Posted on 11 Oct 2015 @ 9:20pm by Captain Harvey Geisler & Commodore Juliana Terlexa & Commander C. Kos & Lieutenant Commander Terry Walsh & Lieutenant Commander Roget del Rosario & Lieutenant Commander Jayla Kij & Lieutenant Commander Temerant Bast & Lieutenant JG Ken Rogers & Lieutenant JG Perei

Mission: Rude Awakening
Location: DS11 || Reception Hall
Timeline: MD 5 || 2030 hours

Harvey stood on the other side of the hall, waiting with an aide who had been mistaken in regards to Terlexa waiting for him. The Captain did his best to refrain from scowling, though his mind worked on recalling Terlexa's name. He'd heard it several times since he arrived at Deep Space 11, and it did sound familiar. As he waited, he began to survey the room. It was then that he'd spotted several of his staff already starting to gather, though they were not yet beginning to mingle. He couldn't blame them. This whole thing was uncomfortable.

He did, however, wish he had a way to tell them to do so. As soon as he met with Terlexa, he'd at least acquire some liquid courage before beginning to mingle himself.

The doors to the reception hall parted, and Captain Terlexa walked in, followed by her First Officer, Commander Stanton. She looked around the room, quickly surveying the area and mentally charting the positions of the station staff, versus that of the Black Hawk crew, and noticing that the ship's staff was not mingling with the station's staff. A quick glance at her First Officer sent him into motion, and he waved at the galley's staff to begin passing the drinks.

The black-clad waiters quickly spread around the room, offering campagne glasses, filled with 2353 Moët & Chandon.

Terlexa walked up to Captain Geisler, and smiled. "Captain Geisler," she greeted, extending a hand. "What a pleasure it is to see you again. I read about your last mission, I'm so glad to see you made it back safely."

Why did it have to be someone else with red hair? Harvey asked himself, reaching out to accept the handshake. He did his best to search his memories for the last time he'd met her. The Black Hawk had made port at Deep Space 11 months ago. Perhaps it was then instead of many years ago when he was known for being an ass...

"Captain Terlexa," Harvey greeted, actually thankful for her concern. "The Gamma Quadrant certainly has surprises hidden around every corner."

"Indeed it does," she replied, smiling. She intercepted one of the waiters and Grabbed two glasses of champagne from his tray, handing one to Geisler. "Here's to smoother sailing," she said, holding up her glass in toast.

Harvey raised his glass in tandem, still uneasy about this whole thing. "To smoother sailing." The glasses lightly tapped each other and their pleasant greeting rang in Harvey's ears for a few moments until after he sampled the champagne. "You'll forgive me, Captain," Harvey addressed her. "I did not realize our mission deserved such accolades."

"With everything that's happened in this quadrant over the past few months, I think any time one of our ships comes back in one piece, especially after such a dangerous mission, is cause for celebration," she replied, plunging her eyes deep into his.

A waiter suddenly appeared, and placed a serving tray between them, filled to the brim with the mise en bouche. A perfectly seared scallop sat on a grilled endive leaf, with a caviar of blood orange juice reduction and aged balsamic vinegar and a light drizzle of olive oil. Terlexa carefully wrapped a scallop in the endive leaf, and popped it into her mouth.

The natural bitterness of the endive, perfectly balanced against the sweetness of the orange juice reduction and the balsamic vinegar, and the nutty and buttery taste of the scallop, tasted incredible. Chef Weiss had outdone himself once again. She made a mental note to commend him.

She looked at Geisler, happiness in her eyes. "Now this is one of the best things I've had the pleasure to taste in quite some time," she said. "Please, help yourself."

Harvey uttered a soft, "Mhmm," taking note of the exquisite food. Now he really felt uncomfortable. There had to be something more to all of this.

Still, he smiled back at Captain Terlexa as he followed her suit, wrapping the leaf and taking a bite. Harvey let the flavor marinate with his taste buds. The smile became a little more genuine as his pleasure displayed itself on his face. "My compliments to your chef," he offered, before taking another bite of the Hors d'oeuvre.

"I'll be sure to pass it on," she replied, her mouth still filled with the wonderful flavors.

She stepped closer to Geisler, and lowered her voice to avoid being overheard from the crowd. "How is your crew reacting to the recent events in the sector? How's morale?" she asked.

"It's hard to believe that Adislo did what he did," Harvey replied with a lowered tone, though not as much as hers. "We're Starfleet officers. It's our job to carry on, especially when others can't do the job."

Terlexa's mind reached out to touch Geisler's. She detected grief and sorrow, and intense loneliness. But there was no trace of anger. She probed deeper. It was easier now, since the drug in the food had compromised his mental barriers, aided by the alcohol in the champagne. The grief was directed at the loss of his wife. She remembered reading about it in his file. The Battle of Betazed. She pushed back her own memories.

"What worries me is the number of ships that have decided to follow him," she whispered. She looked on either side, and decided that the crowd was getting too close for this conversation. "Come to my office tomorrow morning at 0900. I'll have your mission orders."

Mission orders? Harvey wasn't that surprised, considering the time they'd spent in dock already and repairs were nearly complete. "I'll see you then," he said, maintaining his lowered tone. He then took another sample of the champagne in his hand.

"Tomorrow morning, then," she said, nodding. She started to walk away from him, then turned her head toward him. "Mingle," she whispered, smiling, waving him away playfully with her fingers.

* * *

Just then, a tall alien being presented himself before Lieutenant Perei, totally oblivious to Lieutenant Roget's presence. Standing at a little over seven feet, the alien had grey purplish skin, with dark red circles around his deep-set yellow eyes. He had yellow serrated teeth, and wore bright red regal robes, with a stiff collar that rose up to his ears. His head was elongated, topped with a bald dome. He spoke with a soft voice, almost sultry.

"Good evening," he said. "I am Ambassador K'Worl. You must be from the Black Hawk."

He extended a hand toward Lieutenant Perei. He had long and gnarly fingers, tipped with yellowish claw-like fingernails.

Perei took his hand in a Terran shake and bowed at the waist slightly in respect. "Ambassador K'Worl, it is a pleasure to make your acquaintance. I am Lieutenant Perei of the Black Hawk and this is..." Perei smiled at Roget for a moment to let him introduce himself.

"Commander del Rosario," he added, filling in where Perei had left off. The towering alien was from a species Roget was not familiar with. He wondered if Perei, as an anthropologist, knew what he was.

K'Worl didn't turn to look at the other man, but kept his attention focused on Perei. "And what is your.... function," he said, searching for the proper words, "on the Black Hawk?"

"I am the assistant to the Chief Science Officer, Lieutenant Rogers but my specialty is that of the study of other species and their environments and how they lived." She was intrigued by the person before her. "Would you care to share a bit about your home with me?"

K'Worl smiled, baring his serrated teeth. "You would with to see my planet?" he asked gleefully. "I do believe this could be arranged. A beautiful female such as yourself would be quite a valuable commodity."

Lt. Rogers was sipping 'something' that tasted good, then noticed the 'brass' that had walked in. "Not with the ship, I'd guess they're associated with the Base." He thought to himself. He then noticed the tall person looking at Lt. Perei. His right eyebrow raised a bit. "I know that 'sometimes' looks can be deceiving, but this guy..hmph."

He debated as to walk over to them, tried to catch Lt. Perei's eyes.

Perei did not miss a beat even as she noted that her chief seemed preoccupied with some attempt to catch her eye she shifted slightly and kept her focus on the person she spoke with. Within her words echoed the sincerity she felt. "I must say that I would like to 'hear' about your planet first then at some time in the future perhaps I and a group of scientists could visit and learn more about the place of origin. Right now, my place is here with the crew of the USS Black Hawk in doing the duties required of me."

"How very sensible," said the Ambassador. "It is so rare to find such sensibility these days. I would tell you all about Selam."

As he spoke, his mind reached out to touch the Lieutenant's. He sensed her loyalty to the Black Hawk. He didn't detect any particular affection for the command crew, but he sensed that she loved the Federation. He made a mental note of that fact. If someone were to take over the ship, and she were convinced that they were acting in Starfleet's best interests, she would most likely follow. He was pleased.

He turned his attention to the Security officer, but avoided turning his eyes to him, instead carrying on the conversation with the striking young woman. He could feel the latent undercurrent of anger running just at the outer edge of the man's consciousness. It was easy for the telepath to make out where the officer's loyalties lay.

Another officer approached. K'Worl turned to him. This one was tall. Almost as tall as K'Worl himself.

Lieutenant Rogers approached Lt. Perei and the alien, and nodded and slightly smiled at Perei then held out his hand to the alien. "Lieutenant JG Kenneth Rogers, USS Black Hawk. Pleased to meet you, Mr. Umm?"

K'Worl eyed the tall man, his senses suddenly on alert. "Ambassador K'Worl," he introduced himself.

Rogers nodded his head respectfully at K'Worl. Roger's eyes shifted to Lt. Perei for a second before continuing. "Ambassador. What brings you to this reception?"

"Friendship and cooperation," replied K'worl. "The Selamat have a permanent embassy here."

K'Worl's mind reached out to touch Rogers's. The man was difficult to make out - the Ambassador guessed that his mental barriers were still up, though it normally wouldn't have been an obstable for him. But it was difficult to determine just where the man's loyalties lay. K'Worl filed him as an unknown factor, one that would have to be dealt with swiftly.

Rogers smiled back at the Ambassador. "Well, I *hope* that you find what you are looking for here. The Federation is always looking for allies and 'friends.' " Rogers's smile faded during his last comment and he cocked his head to the right and raised his right eyebrow a bit.

Perei glanced at Lieutenant Rogers and then at the Ambassador and sighed softly. "If you'll excuse me but I believe that I shall sample a sweet or two. As I'm sure the Lieutenant here will handle everything to the best of his ability." With that Perei bowed at her waist once more ever so slightly and handed her barely sipped beverage to a waiter and then looked at the Ambassador and the Chief of Security once more "Ambassador, Commander del Rosario it was a pleasure." with that she walked over to the food and picked up a plate.

K'Worl gave a slight bow to the departing Lieutenant. He eyed Rogers, and walked away in turn.

Rogers watched the Ambassador walk away, then turned back to Commander del Rosario. "Sir, what do you make of that fellow?"

Roget considered the science officer. He hadn't met actually met Lieutenant Rogers, but had, of course, reviewed his personnel file. The file contained nothing of particular note, as evidenced by his lack of rank advancement. Having been out of the Academy for more than a decade, for Rogers to have only made junior Lieutenant spoke to his quality and usefulness as an officer. The way he'd just interacted with Ambassador K'worl was further proof that despite his age, Rogers was still rather green. "The Ambassador has a solid record as a diplomat. I can't imagine that he appreciated the way you spoke to him."

After conferring with the Commander, Rogers walked back to the Ambassador. Facing him, he began to speak. "Mr. Ambassador, we may have, to use an old Earth expression, 'Gotten off on the wrong foot, and that wasn't my intention. My Father taught me that a great person had once said that people 'Should value a person by the content of their mind and *not* the color of their skin.' Will you accept my apology?" Rogers stuck out his hand to the Ambassador.

K'Worl took the hand that was offered. "I see nothing wrong with your feet," he countered. "But I am mildly familiar with your Earth expressions. Your people and mine enjoy a beautiful friendship, one that is unique in this quadrant. I accept your apology, and wish you a good evening. Please enjoy this wonderful food."

Rogers nodded back at the Ambassador, then went in search of a new plate of food, a drink, and a place to sit and enjoy them. Finding all three, he sat down to enjoy the food and drink, and watch the folks walk by. He noticed the Captain in charge of Deep Space 11 talking with some officers, and smiled and nodded his head in an 'Ma'am,' greeting at her and took another bite.


* * *

After having decided to somehow or other become best friends with Lieutenant Bast, Jayla decided to wander the reception. She chatted to a girl with absolutely to die for thick black hair that fell to her waist- Jayla thought that if she put it in in braid, it would be thicker than a man's wrist- and quickly discovered that they both owned copies of the latest Doctor Who holonovels when the girl- called Brianna- slipped in a cyberman reference. It turned out that Brianna was a Starfleet Dentist and had wanted to be a dentist since she was about 5 and her own dentist had fixed a very painful tooth for her. Jayla had also decided to be a doctor very young because of her own doctor, who was so fabulously good with children that they commonly cried when it was time to leave. They exchanged medical stories for a bit and then wandered the room together, still gabbing about anything from Doctor Who to funny patient stories to who would win the next interstellar football (soccer) match.

Commander Stanton, the station's First Officer, noticed the striking doctor from the Black Hawk wandering the room. She was chatting with one of the station's medical officers, and most importantly, her hands were empty. He grabbed two champagne glasses from a passing waiter, and walked over to her.

"I do believe the Gamma Quadrant suddenly became a lot brighter now that you're here," he said, handing her a champagne glass. He waved to one of the waiters, who brought over a platter of scallops.

"Oh, a charmer, I see," said Jayla with a grin, accepting the glass of champagne even though she did not intend to drink it. (Champagne, in her opinion, tasted like turpentine.) "Is this a ploy of some sort? Brianna, should I be worried?"

"It depends," said Stanton, smiling. "How worried would you like to be?"

"Preferably not at all," answered Jayla. "But men bearing compliments usually raise my suspicions."

"She's right," agreed Brianna, almost apologetically. "Compliments like that are pretty fishy."

"Only if delivered with nefarious intent," replied Stanton. "I can assure you my intents are of the noblest kind."

"Ah, but if you did have nefarious intent, you would tell me that your intentions were noble," countered Jayla with a grin that made her eyes sparkle.

Stanton played along. "You wound me, by assuming that my intentions are anything but noble," he said, feigning offense. "But I see that we've gotten off on the wrong foot. Perhaps you'll allow me to start over?"

He grabbed a plate of scallops from the tray of a nearby waiter. "Please accept this as my peace offering."

"Oo, scallops," said Jayla, accepting the plate. "My favorite!"


* * *

Having ended her conversation with Captain Geisler, Terlexa was walking the room, keeping a watchful eye on her staff and on the Black Hawk senior officers. Her mind was working hard to scan the crew, but she took comfort in the fact that she was not alone. The Ambassador was also hard at work, chatting with some of the senior officers from the ship, and there were other Selamat working the room. The Ambassador's aides, also trying to determine if takeover of the Black Hawk was possible.

She found herself close to Commander Kos, Geisler's First Officer.

"You must be Commander Kos," she said. She extended a hand. "Juliana Terlexa."

Mac eyed the woman. She had been the red-head talking to Harvey earlier. Kos already disliked her. "A pleasure," she said, accepting Terlexa's hand and shaking it firmly. She'd learned from her father the importance of making good first impressions, including a firm handshake (assuming that was a species-acceptable greeting for the other person). And putting on a good front despite personal feelings went a long way in first impressions.

Terlexa sensed Kos's dislike of her - then again, she needn't be Betazoid to detect it, it was plainly evident. She smiled. It was all par for the course, and the feeling was mutual. But she knew instantly that Kos would need to be eliminated, or otherwise incapacitated.

"I hope you're enjoying the reception?" she asked.

"Not particularly," she replied without thinking. "I mean, this isn't really my scene," she quickly added, hoping to negate her previous, off-the-cuff response.

"I can't say it's really mine either," agreed Terlexa. "But when you command the largest Starfleet installation in the quadrant, and host about a dozen embassies from various species in the quadrant, it kind of comes with the territory."

She pointed to one of the waiters who were wandering the area. "I hope you enjoy the food, at least. Our chef outdid himself this evening."

She smiled at Kos one last time, and walked away.

Watching the other redhead wander off to schmooze with other attendees, Mac continued to feel some jealousy. Having arrived to the reception to see Harvey and Terlexa having an enjoyable conversation together, well it just made her upset. She had grown close to Harvey during her tenure thus far on the Black Hawk. The two of them regularly shared meals, and of course, by virtue of their jobs, spent time talking together. She had felt herself falling for the Captain, a position she was painfully familiar with. But this was different than the other times; Harvey was different than the other men. But he was also emotionally closed off, likely as a result of past experiences, or so she hoped. It was preferable over the option that he just didn't feel for her like she did for him.

She looked around the room, trying to find Harvey in the crowd. In the process, her eyes caught sight of Terry, his strong, muscular frame displayed pleasingly in the snug dress uniform. The pilot had caught Mac's eye when he'd first come aboard, a time when she was focusing on her career, and not relationships. Whenever Walsh was present, however, she found herself admiring his form; how he carried himself, his physical and emotional strength, his protective instinct. All of these things were very attractive to Mackenzie and, helped by stress and a fair amount of alcohol, she had bedded the studly Terry Walsh. A couple of times.

Kos didn't regret her actions, though she wasn't exactly proud of them either. Her feelings for Harvey were still present, but Terry was gorgeous and fun. His sense of adventure was what she needed right now. He knew how to let go of work for a while and just relax. Harvey was good looking, in a a more refined way. He was intelligent, quiet, and thoughtful, all good traits. But he was also hard to read. And emotionally distant. Her feelings for Harvey continued, to the extent that she was actively trying to avoid him finding out about her and Terry. You're going to have to tell him sometime, she reminded herself. She had been thinking about the best way to approach such a difficult conversation, but had, thus far, not arrived to any actionable plan.

Why do I make life so hard for myself, she asked, grabbing some food from a tray as a waiter rushed by. She wasn't paying attention to what she was eating, but she noticed that it was tangy. She liked it.


* * *

Temerant Bast was also walking the room. This wasn't the first official reception he'd attended on DS11, but it had to be one of the most lavish. The food was excellent, and the ambiance was delightful. He appreciated the opportunity to get to know his new crewmates better, and what better occasion than this. Of course, the champagne was beginning to get to his head – a bit odd, since he could only remember having had two glasses, and he could usually handle it better than this.

He turned his head to see Lieutenant Walsh standing next to him.

"Lieutenant," he greeted. "Enjoying the food?"

"Oh yeah," replied Terry. "The food is great. I don't think I've ever had anything quite like it before." He took another drink of his wine. He was working on his third glass at this point. "The wine is exquisite. I'm surprised that the station commander was able to get it out here."

Temerant nodded. "From what I gathered during the short time I was here, DS11 was established as the Alpha Quadrant's embassy in the Gamma Quadrant. They have to make a good impression with the local species, so they have special access to the good stuff." He took another scallop. "As for the food, everything is grown locally here on New Bajor."

Terry agreed, "Makes sense...wanting to put the best of the best out there. The food grown on the planet is much better than anything a replicator can put out." He followed Temerant in taking another scallop. "The fresh seafood isn’t too bad, either. And coming from a red meat guy, that’s a big complement." He popped the scallop into his mouth.

K'Worl walked past the two officers, probing the minds of each. From Walsh, he detected no animosity toward Starfleet. There was sadness and grief there, but it was directed at the loss of a close friend - the details escaped K'Worl, but they were irrelevant. But he sensed that the man was deeply loyal to Starfleet.

As for the Trill, K'worl was already familiar with this one. He had served on the station for several months, and the Ambassador had had the opportunity to evaluate him several times. He continued to walk the room, his mind racing. He was communicating his observations telepathically to his staff, and they were consigning everything to memory. He would be exhausted by the end of the reception, but it was worth it.

 

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