A new Chef
Shore Leave: Welcome to Drozana
Location: Drozana Station
Robert and Lennon had gone over the details meticulously until the early hours of the morning. Now they were well rested it was time to put their plan into action - Lennon would apply to become the chef aboard the Raven's Claw. Robert felt that this position would give Lennon the best chance of getting to know the crew without being in a senior position which she wasn't qualified for. She was however more than qualified when it came to cooking - having spent time working alongside the Victoria's head chef.
"Have you got everything?" Robert asked.
Lennon nodded. "Yes"
"And do you remember the story about why you've parted ways with us?" Robert also asked.
Lennon sighed. "Yes Uncle Bob..."
Robert then handed Lennon a small device which was disguised as a pendant.
"Right...and one more thing. This device will allow you to communicate with us once you've apprehended the synth or you're in a tight spot and need picking up. Bear in mind that it's single use so don't use it unless you absolutely have to" Robert instructed.
Lennon nodded and placed the pendant in her rucksack before zipping it up and placing it onto her back. She smiled as Robert opened his arms for a hug - walking up to her uncle and hugging him for several seconds. Robert had been more of a father to her than her own - and he had been very insistent that Lennon didn't have to join the Raven's Claw if she didn't want to.
"Don't forget - press the button if you need us. And don't be afraid to use the disruptor we gave you either - they're only mercenaries after all" Robert said.
Lennon nodded. "You got it. See you soon Uncle Bob"
"Sure thing. Stay safe" Robert replied.
With a nod to Alan and one last hug with her uncle Lennon departed from the Pinto and made her way to the nearest terminal. After applying for the position of chef aboard the Raven's Claw she made her way to the nearest bar and got herself a drink. Although Lennon's confidence was high Robert and Alan had decided to delay their departure slightly just in case she didn't get the position.
Receiving an application from Robert's niece had come as a bit of a surprise to Raven, but it had been a welcome one nonetheless - the crew had taken to a rotation to determine whose turn it was to cook, and it was safe to say that only very few members of the crew were skilled enough to produce edible meals. And although the Claw was equipped with a small number of food replicators, many of the crew plainly refused to use the technology.
So, the Colonel had arranged to meet Lennon in her usual recruitment office. With a cup of coffee in front of her, she was waiting for the arrival of the newest recruit to the crew.
Lennon had been surprised when Raven had agreed to give her an interview for the position which she had applied for. After making her way to the agreed meeting place Lennon walked up to the door and knocked firmly. When Raven asked her in she walked into the room and stood in front of the table confidently. Although she wasn't nervous or anxious in the slightest Lennon didn't want to give Raven the impression that she was. The spotlight was already on Lennon as she was Robert's niece - she didn't want to make it shine any brighter.
"Lennon Stephenson," the Colonel said when the young human stood in front of her. "I must say, you are the last person I expected to apply to join my crew. Please, take a seat. And tell me, how come you are leaving your uncle's ship?"
Lennon took off her rucksack and placed it on the right hand side of the offered seat before sitting down. This story had been rehearsed several times with Robert last night and again that morning - although whether Raven actually bought it was anyone's guess.
Lennon replied. "Cards on the table? I want more money. I don't think they're paying me a fair share for what I'm doing - I cooked them three meals a day and helped out with the stock but they only give me what's left after they've divided the proceeds into the largest possible half portions. I can't open my own restaurant with that now can I?"
Raven chuckled. So that was the cover story they were going with. She still did not trust Robert's story that he had left Starfleet and become a merchant. It just did not fit his personality. But for now, she was going to play along. "Pay on my crew is determined by service grade, with a fixed salary, as well as an appropriate share of any profits made. Any supplies needed will be provided. Although you will be cooking for quite a few more people. Are you sure you want to do that?"
Lennon sighed. She knew Raven didn't trust Robert's story but with any luck Lennon wouldn't have to go along with it for very long - once she found out who the synth was she'd use the pendant which would summon the Victoria to the Raven's Claw's location. The elderly freighter would be no match for the heavily refitted Excelsior-class cruiser.
"If I didn't want to then I wouldn't be applying for the position would I?" Lennon replied.
The Colonel shrugged. "Fair enough then. You have the job. You know where we are parked, Gedak will sort you a bunk." She made a mental note to instruct the Ferengi to put Lennon up in one of the shared crew berths, and to make sure someone was going to have an eye on her. Stephenson was up to something, and she was going to find out.
"Is there anything else you need?", she asked, still keeping up her smile.
"That was easy" Lennon thought.
Lennon replied. "Yes actually. I've got a list of ingredients I want delivered to my kitchen before we depart. I'd also like to know what the score is with living quarters too"
Raven nodded. "As I said, you will need to talk to Gedak about that, he's in charge of assigning quarters and supplies. Oh, and one more thing. As a member of this crew, you will need to wear rank insignia." She took out a small box, and opened it to reveal a black, crescent-shaped pin with a silver border. "I will give you the rank of Uhlan, for now. The lowest officer grade, but still above the regular rabble."
Lennon examined the rank insignia for several moments as she spoke.
"I know exactly what you're thinking Raven. You're not buying what I've told you and you're not sure if you can trust me - so you're going to tell your crew to watch me like a hawk. Let me ask you this - why are you letting me join your ship if you don't trust my uncle?" Lennon responded.
The Colonel raised an eyebrow. "Dropping the charade completely, then? I want to know what he is up to, and what he wants you on my ship for. I figure the best way to find out is to let it play out, for now. And we really do need a cook, so if I am just being paranoid, I still fill a role on the crew that needed filling. Simple as that."
Lennon placed the rank insignia back in its box delicately and then placed each of her hands on the edge of the desk - pushing herself back slightly.
Lennon sighed. "I'm on your ship because I want more money. And as for my uncle being up to something...you're not going to find any proof because there's no proof to find. It was common knowledge that my uncle was one of Picard's closest allies - and he resigned from Starfleet to show solidarity with his friend. If you don't want to believe the facts that you've been presented with then that's your problem. All I have left to say is that I'm here to cook and earn money - nothing else"
"If you say so, then I will have to accept that. Welcome to the crew."
Lennon nodded once and picked up the box containing her rank insignia. She slipped it into her pocket and departed from the room - heading for a communications terminal after ascertaining she hadn't been followed. A few moments later a brief two word message appeared on the Pinto's tactical console.
"She's in" Robert said.