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Ensign Akeen th'Idrani - A Glass of Stories


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((  The Wagon Wheel, Deck 95, D2285 ))
 
:: Having taken some time to debate whether he actually needed all the extra things he usually lined his belt and pockets with while on duty just for a quick trip to explore the local color of the starbase the Doyle-A had been assigned to, and successfully achieving a compromise that was far less straining for the plain black cargo pants he had chosen to don that day, Akeen had quickly maneuvered toward a destination he hoped would remind him of home - the one that moved through space, to be precise. A few polite inquiries with the members of the enlisted personnel he had spent some time with after having gotten everything in order upon arrival revealed a location that was disreputable enough, per Starfleet standards, at least, to make him want to scout it out and see who else from the exploration cruiser would want to spend some time there, if nothing else. It was way too early for him to take any steps toward doing anything with his contacts, but he had told his family onboard the Thanatok about where he was posted, which meant that, if he knew anything about the freighter's crew, anyone who wanted to do any form of business with him would definitely know where to find him. ::
 
oO Here's hoping that I don't get any more work that has me beaming up beetle snuff through low-level ionic storms, Oo :: he mused, cringing visibly at the memory as he leaned against the bar waiting for the proprietor to make some time for him. Going to the Wagon Wheel had one more purpose: since the thaan wanted to know more about the people he would serve with for some time, at the very least, and he had heard some things about what they had gone through just before he had joined them, he was also curious about how his shipmates would react to being there... or whether any of them would even be there to begin with, come to think of it. Undoing one more button on his faded brown shirt, which probably matched the theme of the place and that of his new crewmates' previous conundrum, in retrospect, given the handful of strange looks he'd gotten before disembarking, he still gave off a barely-audible sigh; the extra ventilation appeared to be more of a help than the woven-in temperature regulators, but it still felt a bit too warm in there for his liking. ::
 
Horace: What can I get you?
 
Akeen: What Andorian ales do you have here?
 
:: The bartender ostensibly moved to inspect his stock, but resumed his default position a bit too quick for the engineer's liking; as far as he was concerned, that had probably been some attempt at politeness, which he could have done without. ::
 
Horace: We're fresh out, sorry. Can I get you anything else?
 
Akeen: That should speak for the quality of your products. What do you recommend?
 
Horace: We've got something special here. It's not for the faint-of-heart... :: He went to retrieve a long, spiral-necked bottle from one of the top shelves, pouring a small amount of dark, oily fluid in a shot glass. ::
 
oO Your attempt at impressing the young new visitor is noted, Oo :: the aforementioned thought, both his features and his antennae betraying no shift in his mood, as he took the glass and brought it to his nose first, then to the twin appendages on his forehead. ::
 
Akeen: Your kanar might have gone bad... :: He took a tentative sip, swirled it around his mouth, swallowed, then emptied what was left the same way. :: It hasn't, but it's dangerously close. How long have you had this? Kanar spoils extremely easily when stored under improper conditions. The glass stopper doesn't help, but it's *tradition*, :: he stated, weighing down the last word with no small amount of derision, :: and it seems traditional for Cardassians to kill with their drinks, without even needing to poison them. How long have you had this? 
 
Horace: We don't get a lot of Cardassians in here.
 
Akeen: You're right, this isn't one of their regions of interest... Normally, I would recommend putting it in storage, but this is really interesting - the density suggests several years after completion, but the coloration makes it look like it's fresh out of the factory. Do you trust your supplier? What you have here is an insufficiently-distilled product, which enabled it to develop dangerous amounts of toxins over time. As it is, this thing can, probably, kill a Human or a Tellarite - I've seen it happen with one of my old crewmates in the Merchant Marine. oO He may or may not have simply consumed too much after finding out his seventh wife had also started cheating on him, having locked himself up in a room for several days, but that's neither here not there. oO I'm stationed on the USS Doyle-A - do you want me to take a small sample for analysis?
 
Horace: No, thanks. You say you can drink it? Without getting sick, I mean?
 
:: The Andorian suddenly felt the proverbial gears turning in his head as he eyed the bartender with some amount of curiosity. ::
 
Akeen: Yes, probably due to my Aenar heritage, oO which is to say that my zhavey is the heavyweight in the family Oo. Several other species should be fine too, but I can't drink the whole bottle - you'll need to find some more willing customers over... no more than a week, maybe two. :: It wasn't the best ploy he could have come up with, but it was something - and, judging by the appearance of the publican, it was working. ::
 
Horace: Nope. It's your problem now, partner. :: He took the bottle and offered it to him. :: With my compliments.
 
:: Accepting it with a curt nod and what he made to appear to be a resigned shrug, the young engineer began scanning the tavern for places where he could enjoy the fruit of his labour. One nearby table quickly caught his attention due to its sole occupant, a diminutive Security lieutenant serving on the same vessel as he did. Not recognizing anyone else upon first glance, his long strides quickly brought him to her location, the sound of his heavy-looking, but quite comfortable work boots all but muffled by the surrounding din. ::
 
Akeen: Good afternoon, Lieutenant. Would you like to share a drink?
 
Bam: Bam Bam love drinks Bam Bam has lots of drinks. Bam Bam invites you to sit with Bam Bam.
 
oO Well, someone's not joking, Oo :: the Andorian decided when he looked at the beverage selection his higher-ranked peer had gotten for herself. Several of them he couldn't even name and their combined scent, from up close, was a mixture worthy of the heady [...]tail of bodies in various degrees of cleanliness, spilled drinks, personal fragrances, garment materials and miscellaneous ingredients that made up the unique signature of the Wagon Wheel. He didn't dislike the end result, even if it did feel a bit overpowering.
 
Akeen: I should warn you that it might be harmful, oO which is to say you risk a hangover worthy of the nastiest curses Oo, :: he added, not wanting to give himself away in case anyone had paid attention to his exchange with Horace. :: You should try a small amount first. If it doesn't disagree with you immediately, you should be safe.
 
Bam: Bam Bam no care. Bam Bam like drinks. 
 
:: One of the Lieutenant's shots rushed down the proverbial drain and she was quick to provide it company with some of what he had brought to the table. In spite of not having been truly worried for her safety, the thaan was relieved to see that she didn't mind the density of the drink either; while it wasn't as treacly as the really young stuff, it was still thicker than what many sentients considered palatable. His antennae revealed that he was quietly impressed by the overall display as he reached for a glass of his own... just as he remembered that he hadn't brought any. ::
 
Akeen: No side-effects, Sir? Excellent. One moment, please. It looks like I went ice fishing without an ushaan-tor.
 
:: With his joke launched into the ether, he returned to the bar, hoping that he hadn't made a far too hasty retreat with his definitely-not-ill-gotten gains. Once there, he quickly spotted a pair of similar shot glasses in the general area where Horace had previously served him; dropping a satisfied nod in his direction, he retrieved them and returned to his shipmate, taking a seat in front of her. Since everything was taken care of, he filled one of the containers he'd obtained with a modicum of care and downed it in one fel gulp. ::
 
Bam: Bam Bam wonder, why you choose this drink?
 
Akeen: I didn't choose it, Lieutenant; our friend at the bar gave it to me. Humans have thousands of examples of initiation through trauma in every culture I've heard about; this might have been the case here as well. He couldn't have known that I was already familiar with kanar... :: He filled his shot glass again, emptying it without any hesitation. :: You see, before the Academy, I've spent a few years on a Merchant Marine freighter. We rendered aid to a Cardassian freighter in the Deneb sector - took us a couple of standard days, because it had taken a beating from a Nausicaan ship - and it wasn't easy, I assure you; everyone we could spare took shifts down there, because the temperature controls were also frinxed and, wouldn't you know it, even when we did get them back up it was still too hot for Andorians to work full shifts in their engine rooms. :: He chuckled mirthlessly at the memory; several people, himself included, had told his thavan to put in requisition requests for EV suits if he wanted them to pull stunts like those again. :: To make a long story short, however, we got it operational, nobody was hurt and the Gul treated us to quite a bit of kanar from his personal collection, along with insights on his people's culture, booze included... and a good few bottles for us to drink to his health in the future. On long journeys with few stops and little to spend on leisure, even strange alcohol is good alcohol.
 
:: The Andorian paused, deciding not to go in any more detail unless prompted; the log of the Thanatok would confirm his story, of course, but the entire trading history between them and Gul Perak, who had hardly been ambushed for the self-sealing stem bolts he had ostentatiously been hauling at that time, was a different thing altogether. While he trusted the sly old redbat to make sure that nothing incriminating could link him to anyone in his family, himself included, it was still wise to do the same on his end as well. ::
 
Akeen: What about you? I'm seeing drinks from seven different cultures on your end, and those are just the ones I think I can recognize. 
 
 
 
TBC
 
Ensign Akeen th'Idrani
Engineering Officer
USS Doyle-A, NCC-80221-A
D239306AT0
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