SD242004.26 - Joint Log - CO & CEO - "Dinner"
The Sincerest Form of Flattery
=^= Promenade =^=
Grey stepped out onto the promenade, with a pair of marines hot on his heels.
"Corporal." said the General.
"Sir?" inquired the marine behind him.
"You're standing on my heels."
"Oh." said the Corporal, looking down and spotting that he'd crushed the backs of the station CO's shoes with his heavily-armoured boots.
"Sorry sir." the Corporal added, stepping away and looking sheepish.
For his part, the General merely sighed and walked off, hearing the marines clumping along behind him.
The promenade itself, in Grey's opinion, was surprisingly intact. Designed to be a safe space in the event of an attack, the promenade had more armor than most of the civilian areas, but less than Main Operations. With his bare-minimum knowledge of physics, Grey wondered if the promenade sat in the "sweet spot" as far as gravitational pull was concerned; enough armor to stay intact, but not heavy enough that the black hole's gravity twisted it apart.
That wasn't to say there was *no* mess. At least one shop had had its contents strewn across the path. Panicked shoppers maybe, or a fluctuating inertial dampener. Either way, it was good to see that people seemed more interested in helping to clear up the mess than steal stuff.
Possibly influencing the matter was the higher-than-usual number of Security staff patrolling the area, along with what appeared to be a civilian militia helping to keep the peace.
Here and there, a cluster of blankets and belongings indicated that a family (or several) had been forced out of their apartments by damage, fire, mobs, or worse. Usually vagrancy was banned on the promenade, but this time Grey felt inclined to let things slide.
Further along the promenade, one of the businesses seemed cleaner than the rest. The trash that folks were still picking up seemed to end about five meters from the door, in ever direction. Someone had meticulously cleaned the area, and even replaced one section of the carpeting. There was a golden gleam coming from behind thick windows, which the General recognised as being bomb-proof. Red curtains were pulled back on the inside, displaying a few luxuriously padded chairs, along with a formally-dressed man standing at a lecturn.
Stepping up to the double-doors, a pair of muscled bouncers gave him a nod as he walked past them. Most were checked for ID, and the riff-raff were often turned away automatically, but they knew his face, and it never paid for a business to snub the Landlord.
Inside, the maitre d' stood at his lecturn. Bowing stiffly, the old man reached out to one side and pressed his palm against a panel on the wall. Next to it, one panel of the rich mahogany that lined this place changed form, and became a translucent white. On the other side, people could plainly be seen eating at opulent tables, but the "fuzzyness" of the panel prevented those outside from spotting faces.
Probably for the best, Grey decided, as it didn't pay for a business as exclusive as this one to advertise all of its clientele.
"Kindly step through, sir." said the maitre d', gesturing to the translucent panel.
Grey nodded, and passed quickly through the portal, with his marines following closely behind him.
"Well this place is certainly different. Interesting door as well. You can't make out peoples' faces but you see their figures at the tables.", Ky'la said. As she walked through the portal it was like stepping into a different world. It had walls of teak wood panels with gold leaves painted on them in a pattern reminiscent of falling leaves. The trim around the room was gold painted flowers and just above them were the smallest humming birds she had ever seen. The lamps were antique chandeliers that loomed like diamonds as the light shone and danced in the air. The waiters were dressed in black tie uniforms and had the typical white arm towel thing just above their sleeve. The tables were exquisitely set with crystal wine glasses and silverware that was all too real. The chairs were upholstered in fine printed fabric much like the rich restaurants in Paris France. The whole place was awesome and very beautiful. Ky'la felt a bit outta place by her dress.
"I think I am a wee bit underdressed for this place Grey", she chuckled.
"You're the Chief Engineer." Grey replied, trying to project confidence as he strode along the red carpet path that led between the tables. "If people stare, just have your people cut the power."
"Oh, and I booked another table just for you two. I hear the chicken here is meant to be really good." he said to his bodyguards, who nodded in unison.
Two waiters gestured to tables under the glow of a ceiling light. One table had three chairs, and the other had two larger, and slightly thicker chairs. Grey was impressed that they had accommodated the heavier armour of his marine guards, and made a mental node to leave five stars on the Versailles Yelp.
"So," said Grey, pulling out one of the chairs on the three chair table for Ky'la. "Will Jonathan be joining us soon?" he asked, recalling the name of the person she had mentioned earlier.
"Oh....Jonathan.....well he bugged out when the station was evacuated. He said he couldn't deal with it anymore. So.....I am once alone alone", Ky'la said lowering her head. Ky'la didn't want to speak on it as it caused pain to her heart. Jonathan left her holding on to an empty promise and it broke her heart. They were supposed to get married soon but with the black hole and evacuations he turned away from her and starfleet and ran.
"I...see." said the General, feeling very awkward. His grip flexed a little on the chair as he pondered what to say. Behind him, one of the waiters gave a little cough. Impatient little bugger, Grey thought to himself.
"Then perhaps we should proceed without him. Please, sit." he advised, gesturing to the chair. "Drinks?"
"Yes please a Sumarian Sunrise will do fine thank you", Ky'la said sitting down in the chair that Grey had offered her. "This place is incredible. I never would have thought that a place like this could exist on a station. It makes me think of Paris", she added looking at the man sitting across from her. Weathered, tired, Grey looked good for his age. "Grey when was the last time you relaxed? I mean really relaxed?"
"I'm plenty relaxed. A water for me, thank you." the General added, as the waiter gave him a carefully patient look. The waiter gave a polite little bow and left for the bar, leaving the pair to their privacy.
On the table next to them, the marines were making googly-eyes at the price list on the drinks menu. They didn't technically need the money they were paid, but the food you could buy in the right shops sure beat the energy-efficient rations from storage. Since it was order a beer here or eat real food for the next six months, they went with the tap water.
Bemused by his colleagues, the General took a moment to remember that J'Loni was still sitting opposite him. She'd been working her tail off repairing the station recently, and deserved more than a three-word sentence.
"I've been soldiering since I left school. Went straight from education into the marines, and spent all of my young adult years in battles or between them. I find gunfire and shouting to be a familiar sound. Like...white noise." he explained. "Doesn't mean the work doesn't wear me out though. Long days for both us, and more of them before this is through."
"Grey have you forgotten I am part Betazoid and like Deanna Troi, I know when a person is not being honest. You are not as relaxed as you want to be. I can sense your emotions and while you may not have noticed, I think the world of you and don't want to lose you to some crazy mental breakdown. You have been through hell and high water and by the looks of your bodyguards you still have tailing you, you really need a break to relax", Ky'la said smirking. She knew he needed time away from all this and because she had developed certain feelings for him, she wanted to help honestly.
Grey froze upon hearing this, his lips tightening to a thin line. He forced himself to breath and remain calm, as the waiter reappeared with the drinks on his tray. The two sat in silence while the glasses were placed on the table, and the waiter withdrew to a polite distance.
"...I realise you mean well," said Grey, forcing himself to use calm, quiet tones, "but I will ask that you never read my brain or my heart again. I'm not comfortable with it."
Looking at Grey in shock, "I am not reading either your brain or heart Grey......it is your emotions I sense. I would never read anyone's mind unless ordered to!", Ky'la said sounding somewhat hurt. "But from your reaction right now, I will gather something horrible or traumatic in your past makes you feel that way. Would you like to talk about it? I am no counselor but I do know that talking about it helps", she added.
For his part, Grey stared into his drink, considering the moment. Knowing that she could see his feelings like writing on the wall only made things burn hotter inside. Taking a sip of his water, he forced himself to breathe deep, and prevent the anger from fully taking root.
In, and out. In, and out.
"First, a point of terminology." he announced, looking up at her and offering a cool smile. "When I referred to your reading my heart, I was referring to your psychic empathy. I am aware some empathic individuals are more able to control their gifts than others, but I do ask they they keep their findings to themselves. I don't enjoy being confronted by my innermost feelings, as if the most private parts of me are visible to all, and I ask that you respect that privacy."
"Second," he moved on, without giving her time to speak, "my past is much like my thoughts, or my emotions. Some people know more, some people know less, and I value my privacy in those areas as much as possible. Yes, I know what you're referring to. No, I'm not comfortable discussing it."
"For now, we should move onto something more positive." he declared, letting the last of the negative feelings fade into memory. "I hear that we have your people to thank for the enhanced comms channel providing our lifeline to the outside world via the fighters. Most innovative."
"Thank you Grey, it was something I remembered in reading some old logs and from that I figured out that by piggy backing the comm signals from one fighter to the next until we could get the signal out of the hold of the black hole.", Ky'la said, trying to be as caring as she could.
"I noticed. We've got a display of it up in Ops. They also work great as beacons, leading the ships through the worst of the gravitational eddies." he added, casting an eye over the food menu laid out in front of him.
"What would you suggest from the menu Grey?," Ky'la asked. "It all sounds so....", she laughed a little, "Expensive," she finished saying.
"Not for us." Grey noted, flipping pages in the menu until he found the steaks. "All their unreplicated food is arriving on Starfleet ships. They get fresh carrots, and we get a dozen meals a day for diplomats and special occasions."
"And that," he added, "is why I'm ordering the rib-eye."
=^= End of Log =^=
Lt. Cmdr. Ky'la DeLenn
Chief Engineering Officer
Brigadier General Jonathan Grey