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Gloves Down

Posted on Sun Feb 19th, 2017 @ 3:23pm by Lieutenant Ritona Frialis & Commander Tyro Adina

Mission: Winter Shoreleave
Location: Betazed
Timeline: During the Convention

:: ON ::

In many ways the open, forum nature of the Convention made it a tense atmosphere. Things moved at a rapid-fire, frantic pace, and covered controversial topics as well. With decisions to be made that would effect everyone, differences of opinion were voiced loudly, and sometimes harshly. There were ships in orbit from all over the Federation however, so there was no shortage of officers among the crowds of people. All the aliens of a hundred worlds though and so much more to discuss among them, it continued to feel a little close to boiling point.

Aliens who weren't used to open discourse were especially agitated, especially when compared to humans, vulcans and the other masters of debate. It would be easy to become overwhelmed, and planets practiced free speech in a wide range of ways.

Alko was from Thakara. She was purple, from a species who were famous for their regenerative physiology. The Takarans were respected as a warrior people, and displayed a huge preference for close-combat over phasers and the like. Alko graduated the Academy on a scientific track however. She wasn't exceptionally athletic, not compared to other recruits. But she was still a new officer, and had a loud voice. She was extremely outspoken, and thrived in environments like this that let her speak her mind.

The blue-haze of transportation faded as Ritona materialised near the convention building, she had chosen to be transported to outside of the venue as she wasn't sure whether randomly appearing inside would be considered rude or not. She wore a standard work uniform, though technically she was off-duty, her first shift in engineering ending an hour or so ago. She had showered, changed and then decided to head down to the planet as she had learned that an old friend was visiting the convention.

Entering the venue, she quickly spotted the familiar face of Alko and walked over.

"Alki!" she said excitedly as she approached, using the pet-name she had used for her friend through the academy

Alko smiled and leaped at Ritona. "Heya~" she cooed. There were lots of other reunions around them, but most of the current of the crowd was headed inside. Alko was in a uniform undershirt. She'd also come from her new posting aboard a starship, so there was a lot to catch up on. "Look at you! Shall we head on in, Sir?"

Ritona put her hands on her hips in mock annoyance. "Less of the 'Sir' Alki," she said in a jesting tone and then hugged her friend "How are you?"

"Oh, I've been completely out of my depth!" said Alko, not entirely joking. Most typical takarans had very long hair, but Alk's was short, pixie cut. Then again, very few of her people were in starfleet. She walked arm in arm with her friend. "I'm glad we have this stupid conference. Getting a chance to relax with someone I know will really help my confidence."

"I know what you mean," she said, walking through the entrance of the venue towards the conference room "I've just finished my first duty shift. I was so nervous meeting my team" She added, "I still can't believe Im actually in charge of people. Me."

The convention hall was enormous. It was an ancient building, but it had been renovated and expanded after the war. Tranquility could just barely fit inside it, under the massive domed ceiling, and there would still be room to walk among the booths beneath the belly of the ship. A city of tents was set up all across the floor, between the pillars. The Tranquility Project had it's own booth in fact, but officers were not expected to visit. Thousands of people formed huge crowds, between four sectors of tech and food and stages. There were animal pens, demonstrations of habitat pods, hydroponic greenhouses -even kids areas with rides.

The conference areas held seminars, open forums, lectures, and took place in the wings of the building. The convention was a month long, to accommodate all the hundreds of worlds invited to contribute, but the traffic on any day was still so much that police had a hard time keeping up. Alko wanted to get food first, so she suggested they head to one of the areas that smelled the best. She didn't like betazoid food, and together with Ritona they ended up in line for cardassian, and Alko ended up with a thick carton generously stuffed with melted tar over charred bits of something once alive. It smelled fantastic however.

Nearby was a large installation by the Utopia Planetia Fleetyards. It was essentially a formidably large walled park, featuring a variety of arboretum designs all connected together into one deep exhibit, snaking through the convention hall. Putting her fork up to barely cover her mouthful, she nudged Ritona with her elbow.

"Let's go in there," she mumbled, and swallowed her food. "It looks quiet. I haven't been around this many people since orientation."

Ritona stabbed her food with her fork and eagerly shovelled some into her mouth, making a noise that might have been an "okay", she followed Alko.

The park was indeed quiet with only a few starfleet personnel meandering around, either like Alko and Ritona, eating or talking amongst themselves.

Making another grunt like indication while chewing on a mouth full of her meal, Ritona indicated a bench near one of the trees and headed for it. Sitting down she turned to Alko,

"mmhhsh. Goodsh choice witsh the cardasshian foodsh" she said. still chewing.

Alko smiled. She found Ritona adorable, which was so refreshing amongst the serious types that got through starfleet academy to become officers. "You were starved in the transit pool, or what?" she laughed, eating her own food more slowly.

Ritona looked up from her food, a sliver of the tar like sauce dripping from the side of her mouth. "This is the first chance I've had to eat all day" she smiled, licking the errant sauce away with a flick of her tongue.

Both of them were in uniform, which one might think dissuaded unwanted attention. There was a lot of reason to mistake Starfleet as an organisation of push-overs however. People who flunked out of the academy sometimes figured it was because THEY were too much tough-stuff for Starfleet to handle. If the rejects didn't then join the marines, they had the nasty habit spending the rest of their careers badmouthing the Fleet to civilians. A lot of people thought life on a starship seemed like the most relaxed, simplest life one could have in the 30th century, and wouldn't have been too afraid to get in a fist fight with an officer... unless they'd tried it once before.

"Hey," said a soothing voice as Alko and Ritona talked. An andorian woman was dragging another by the hand through the garden. The second seemed to be holding onto her belt. "C'mon, what are you doing?" insisted the second woman impatiently. She was the taller of the two, strongly built with fine, short-cut grey hair. She wore a short-sleeved onsie, and her skin seemed discoloured in places. That was evidence of some kind of plasma burn in some cases. She seemed to want nothing to do with the starfleet officers.

"Hush!" said the smaller woman proudly. She turned and pushed her companion a little. Even though she was small, she had strong muscles that flexed with real effort as she shoved the larger andorian. "You could learn to be a lot less possessive!" she scolded. "I'll find you later, you're upsetting me and my friends." The tall woman looked down and scowled at Ritona, but she put her hands up in submission, then began to leave.

The smaller sighed, putting her hand on the back rest of the bench, and then sitting herself down in it beside Alko. She extended a blue arm along the length of the rest, sort of like it was around the Takaran's shoulders. "I'm so sorry about that," she said apologetically, lifting one leg over the other. She was in shorts, and her midriff showed. Her hair was long and loose, but very curly. She was constantly pushing it out of her face as they talked.

"Thanks for being my backup. I'm Azurai." She looked over the two woman, and pulled distractedly on strands of her hair, straightening them out a moment before they coiled back up when she let go. "What kind of food is that?" she asked conversationally.

Ritona looked at Alko, and then at the newcomer "Cardassian, I can't remember the correct pronunciation of the name, So I call it black sauce with stuff" she said jokingly, "I'm Ritona," she added watching the other Andorian woman leave, "Did I upset your friend?" she mused, wondering at the scowl.

The woman chortled, and waved her hand dismissively. "No no, I hardly think you did anything at all," she reassured. Alko seemed a little uncomfortable, but offered a little smile as well, so as not to be unfriendly.

The woman reached down and plucked Alko's fork from her carton, which Alko seemed to disapprove of. Azurai then reached across and skewered a small portion from Ritona's serving, holding her hand there a moment while she lifted the other over Alko's head. She ferried the bite back, with one hand below to keep anything from spilling on her new friends.

"Mhn! That's spicy!" she complained, fanning the side of her face. "Oh, but that must be why you're blushing," she acutely added.

Ritona had to repress the urge to throw the food over Azurai. Perhaps it was a cultural difference, but she believed that casually helping yourself to another person's food was rude. She cleared her throat, smiled and kept her eyes on the fork while saying in an underlined, yet still friendly tone "The store is just inside the convention, perhaps they'll have something that is more to your taste?"

The woman looked on for a moment, giving no indication that she knew or cared about Ritona's hostility. "No..." she said finally. "I have quite refined tastes, you know. You're both... so cute in your uniforms."

"Ugh," said Alko, but she looked to Ritona for a cue on how to proceed. She put her hand up between herself and Azurai and pushed her arm away. "Look, we're not interested..." she growled. The Andorian chewed on her lip. "You're right," she said, pulling back a little. "Look, I'm sorry. We should start again, yeah? Forgiveness? Here, you know I'm interested... we'll start with that, okay?" Azurai wasn't being demanding, but she wasn't leaving either.

"You're here for the convention. That's cool, me too! Think about what you'll be doing after though, right? One of you has to be shipping out, amiright? Deep space? I mean... Correct me if I'm wrong, okay?"

Ritona looked around and caught site of a large digital clock on the side of one of the buildings nearby "I'm sorry Azu.." she paused, trying to place the name "Azurai?" she asked apologetically "We have a staff meeting in a few minutes, we must be going. You can finish the food if you'd like" she said, moving her box of half eaten cardassian food infront of her and standing up. Have a great afternoon." She looked over at Alko "Ensign. We don't want to keep the commander waiting"

She turned to walk off heading towards the convention centre hoping alko would play along.

Alko's instincts were much different. She knew of some of Ritona's tastes, but Alko had zero interest whatsoever. The disruption had built over the course of the conversation with this stranger until it was just anger. Scenarios played in Alko's mind where she struck the woman, no doubt ending their problems with her indefinitely.

Ritona handled it without any hesitation though. Alko could only let her down by succumbing to her anger. Dammit, why were her friends always the noble ones! Alko was no actress though, and nodded a quick, 'uhuh' before disengaging and following Ritona out. She looked back, and for a moment Azurai seemed prepared to follow, but the andorian stayed put, giving up on the dalliance that could have been.

Outside the garden, the second andorian woman was waiting near the entrance. She looked up when the two officers emerged, somewhat surprised, even more relieved. She searched for Azurai, but there was no sign of her. The woman, who was mildly scarred and rather intimidating, didn't look on. She seemed shy now, timidly waiting for her friend to come back out. She didn't bother the old friends.

Once out of earshot, while continuing to walk away from that weird encounter, Ritona giggled. "I thought you were going to punch her for a moment then."

Alko Turned her head towards her friend. "I thought about it..." She replied with a wry smile.

:: End ::

Scientific Officer
Ensign, USS Cervantes

Ritona Frialis
Chief Engineering Officer
Lieutenant, USS Tranquility


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