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Drinks Before Dinner (Part 3)

Posted on Fri Nov 26th, 2021 @ 11:26am by Freya Mannerheim & Lieutenant Xia Idris
Edited on on Fri Nov 26th, 2021 @ 1:56pm

Mission: Chapter V: The Calm Before The Storm
Location: Drozana Station/The Lonely Star
Timeline: 238703.03

Freya looked around the bar, taking in the sights. It reminded her of the dive bars in San Francisco -- on Terra -- where she had spent many a night during her time at the academy. Of course, cadets were not allowed to leave the academy grounds, but most did so anyway. And Freya had been one of the lucky ones; she hadn't gotten caught all that often. She smiled at the woman behind the bar. "Well, that very much depends on what you've got," she said, smirking, as she slipped off her uniform jacket and threw it over the back of a nearby chair. "If you have any ice mead from Nygard, I'll take that. If not, your finest rum."

She turned to Xia. "Friends of yours, I assume? Always good to have friends in low places, eh?"

Xia smiled. “Ketacyn is the best place on the station to get information,” she told Freyja, nodding to the blonde bartender, who set a perfectly chilled glass of ice mead in front of Freya. “And it’s less crowded, more private, than the main bar.”

Ketacyn set a Betazed Blitz in front of Xia, who thanked her, and they headed to a table. “So you’re in charge of us now,” she said as she slid into a booth. “I got the memo.”

The Captain thanked Ketacyn for the drink, and took a seat opposite Xia, with her neatly folded uniform jacket on the seat next to her. She took a sip of the clear, blue liquid in front of her, and smiled. "This is a delicacy of my homeworld. Very refreshing when it's chilled like this, but also very warming when it's served hot. You should try it some time." She leaned back for a moment, relaxing, before addressing Xia's question. "I see you are well informed, but misinformed somewhat. I'm not in charge of your ship, as you put it. There is a chain of command, and with both the Colonel and Major Rogers absent, the role of acting Commander falls to Subcommander Kaiae. I will just provide assistance and guidance where it is needed."

“And the ability to override us, if necessary,” Xia commented, sipping her own drink. “I was told you have our command codes.” Xia didn’t mention that she was instructed to change them as soon as possible, which she would do tomorrow morning.

Freya chuckled. "You are very well informed for a communications officer. Not entirely accurately informed, though, it seems. Command codes are specific for each senior officer. Even you have a set that gives you the systems access your rank and role entitles you to. I do not have my own set of codes for your vessel. Instead, the Colonel has transferred hers to me, which I used to make sure the chain of command is followed properly. I can access any console on the ship, but for that I need to actually be on board. The Ourainavassa is a Tal Shiar vessel, don't forget that. Remote access needs a General-rank clearance code." Which the Colonel, and thus Freya, had, thanks to Raven's late father, but Xia didn't need to know that part.

“It’s still making everyone jumpy,” Xia said. “And that gives me headaches.” She gave a wry smile and took a sip of her drink. “Just doing what I was told.”

Freya raised an eyebrow. "Good soldiers follow orders, eh? You don't strike me as the type."

Xia smirked. “I’m not,” she said. “I think they have a point. Terrans haven’t exactly proven trustworthy in the past, and from what I’ve read, my people especially have suffered.”

The Captain nodded slowly. "You are well-versed in Terran history for someone from this universe, I see. The Emperor at the time had a particular paranoia against telepaths. Before then, Betazoids were actually quite popular with Imperial Intelligence as spies and assassins, for obvious reasons. Of course, considering what happened to the previous Emperor, his successor's paranoia could be seen as somewhat justified, but nearly wiping out an entire sentient species..." She shook her head. "There are some who escaped the massacre. They managed to flee to the Gamma Quadrant and now live as part of the Dominion. Yes, we have one of those as well, but since the Bajoran Wormhole isn't stable in that universe, there's never been a war."

“Quite popular...as pets, I imagine,” Xia said skeptically. “And I am capable of doing my own research. I have contacts that have access to intelligence about your universe and people. They like me, and owed me some favors. And don’t imagine Colonel Raven was blithely skipping through the flowers when we ran into you. We got what limited intel we could on you when you first turned up. I mean, having the double of your XO turn up tends to send up some warning signs.”

Mannerheim nodded, letting the remark about the Betazoids slide. "Of course. I would have done the same, if the positions had been reversed. Were you able to get access to my full service record?" She reached over to her jacket, took her tricom badge off, and placed it on the table, activating the integrated holo-PADD. Quickly, she brought up a service record, bearing the seal of the United Federation of Planets, as well as her portrait.



UNITED FEDERATIONS OF PLANETS - TEMPORAL INTEGRITY COMMISSION - CLASSIFIED SERVICE RECORD

Name: Freya Svanirsdottir Mannerheim
Rank: Captain
Assignment: Commanding Officer, I.S.S.
Amelia
Note: On assignment to joint task force with Terran Empire Temporal Defence Force

Personal information:
Date of Birth (Earth Calendar): March 28, 2871
Planet of Origin: Nygard, Terran Empire



"Here, give it a read." Freya shrugged. "Especially the part where I was thrown into this universe in 2393 when the ship I was serving on was destroyed, and was assigned to the U.S.S. Poseidon. You will notice that almost all of my service career after I graduated from the Imperial Academy was with the Federation. I only returned to service with the Terran Empire in 2400. In my own relative timeline, that would be, what, six months ago."

Xia scanned the record. It looked legit, and she didn’t sense Freya was lying. “It still says something you would go back to working with those…” She trailed off. There were really no kind words she could say about Terrans. Or that the Federations Temporal Affairs would be working with them. “I’m surprised you’re still alive,” she finished.

"When commands were assigned for the task force, I was originally assigned a Federation ship. But I saw that they had put a Fed captain in charge of the Amelia, and to me, that immediately rang alarm bells. So, I had the commands swapped. I am working with the Terrans, temporarily, because of the importance of this mission. Once the mission is over, I will return to service with the TIC."

Xia nodded, the words checking out with what she was sensing. “I still don’t like working with them,” she said. “Starfleet usually has rules against that.” But then Temporal often had different rules. Xia took a healthy drink from her glass to try and reset her thoughts.

Freya nodded. "I am well aware of those rules." She took a sip from her drink. "But enough about me. What about yourself? How did you end up with the crew?"

Xia shrugged. “Was looking for a job,” she said. “They were hiring.”

"Secretive type, I see." The captain slowly nodded. "Let me guess. Yet another highly trained assassin. Raven seems to be building quite the collection."

Xia smiled. “Well, I do know more than one way to kill a person,” she allowed. “Let’s just say, after the war and occupation, pacifism didn’t much suit some of us Betazeds,” she told Mannerheim. “We went and got...additional training.” She unconsciously rubbed the back of her neck where the tattoo was hidden beneath her hair.

"Yes," Freya remarked. "I have observed that violence usually just leads to more violence. That's a constant across all timelines."

“Or maybe we were just sloppy and complaisant and needed the wake up call,” Xia returned with intensity. “Some of us didn’t want to be victims again.”

The captain finished her drink. "Either way, I assure you, I am not a supporter of the ways of the Terran Empire. I am very much looking forward to returning to Federation service when this mission is over." She waved over the server and pulled a handful of latinum out of her pocket. "I'll take care of the tab. It was very interesting to get to know you a little, Lieutenant. Always good to know more about your allies."

“Thank you,” Xia said with a nod. “Let me know if you need anything else while we’re getting ready for all of this. “Anything to help.”

FIN

 

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