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Lt Traenor and PNPC Noros, "Max"

Kael Thomas

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((Holodeck 2, Deck 7 - USS Darwin-A))

::It had been a long day, full of highs and lows. Fortunately it ended on a high note, but between that and the last mission, Maxwell Traenor felt like he had been drawn through an emotional wringer. He wanted nothing more but to boot up his holoprogram, the oasis and hideaway that he used to cleanse his cares and soothe his soul. He would maybe add a small smattering of patrons that were programmed to keep to themselves, pour himself a double, and play the piano until his fingers ached. It promised to be a cathartic self-indulgence.::
Traenor: What the heck?
::Coming to a stop at the holodeck doors, the display panel showed the suite to be in use. This was Traenor's allotted time block, but he didn't fret too much. Probably just the previous user running long on their program. While he was waiting, he decided to preload his personal program so it would be ready to go when the current occupant exited.::
Computer: That program is already in use.
Traenor: ::nervous chuckle:: That's not possible. ::trying again::
Computer: That program is already in use.
Traenor: oO It bloody well better not be! That is a personal, locked program! Oo
::Somewhat expecting the holodeck door to be locked, he was surprised that it opened readily for his approach. He stormed in, pressing through the simulated leaded-glass doors, to find the room empty but for one person. He could not identify her with her back to him, as she idly plucked at a single piano key with one hand and swirled a drink with the other. C sharp was the note she hit, over and over, the senselessness of it grating like nails on a chalkboard. The mindless repetition of the sound half reminded him of an ancient Earth trinket, a wind-up monkey that would slap cymbals together, and Maxwell irrationally expected to have the woman turn around and be wearing a mask much like that toy of yore.::
Traenor: Hey! What exactly do you think you're doing in here?
::She slowly turned, finally allowing Maxwell to see the interloper into his sanctuary. She was a Bajoran, with long dark hair and bright steel-grey eyes. Though wearing a slightly surprised expression, it was offset by a wide mirthful grin. She placed her glass down on the veneer of the piano's edge, where condensation had already pooled into an elongated ring from repeated placement and retrieval.::
Noros Tanna: Well, drat. I guess I ran a little late.
Traenor: That's hardly the problem here! This is a private program! How did you get it to run!
::Clucking his tongue in disapproval and acting as a means to cover his flustered state, he stepped to the bar to retrieve a drink coaster and a bar rag. Sensing his intention, the Bajoran snatched up her drink before Maxwell could confiscate it, so he completed the sequence of events by wiping the water stain and putting down the coaster in its place. He ended the action by angrily tossing the rag back onto the bar, glaring at the interloper while doing so.::
Noros: ::sly smile, speaking not unkindly:: Silly man. It's a collection of photons and altered gravity fields. It's not like it'll permanently mark.
Traenor: ::taken aback:: No, it's - it's the principle of it! And stop avoiding my question! Did you hack my personal program?
::She looked at him with a grimace of mock distaste, only allowing her disarming smile to hide momentarily.::
Noros: Oh no, nothing so barbaric. Being a security officer has its fringe benefits. I had to know what was so engaging about this program that it has been the only one you've accessed since coming aboard the Darwin. And even before the Darwin, from what I can tell.
::Traenor was flabbergasted, unable to even formulate a coherent retort due to the brazen disregard and the natural lack of concern implied by the delivery. So not only had she accessed his program without his permission, but she had tracked his holodeck usage. It seemed such a flagrant disrespect to his privacy, and he didn't even understand why or how it was happening. And the entire time she continued to pluck at that same ebony key. His temper, usually tranquilly hidden deep within him, bubbled up menacingly.::
Traenor: Who are you, and who do you think you are to violate the sanctity of my privacy so?
::She tittered airily, a lilting contralto that filled the room.::
Noros: Oh, don't be so dour, Max. I can call you Max, right? I'm Tanna. Pleased to finally make your acquaintance.
Traenor: ::caught off-guard again:: What? No... Maxwell. Wait- that's Lieutenant Traenor to you, if you please.
Noros: ::lilting laugh again:: Oh, Max, don't be so formal. ::putting on a gruff act:: That's Lieutenant Noros to you, if you please! ::normal voice again:: See how silly that sounds? Good thing we don't all go around talking so stiffly. We're off duty, Max, let's pretend to relax a bit, shall we?
::Having his first name abbreviated was a pet peeve of Traenor's, he had hated the way it sounded his entire life. Considering the circumstances of their introduction to each other, it didn't exactly serve to endear Lieutenant Noros Tanna any better to him. Reaching the end of his rope, he simply stood there with his arm outstretched, index finger pointed at the exit doors.::
Traenor: Out.
Noros: ::ever-smiling:: Now Max, don't be hasty. I didn't mean to be here when you arrived, but this is a nice quiet program, and you've done a wonderful job on it. You seem like a nice fellow, so let's just sit back and chat for awhile. Maybe you can play me a tune?
Traenor: Out.
Noros: No, really. ::getting up and sauntering over to the bar, where she grabbed a second glass and started to peruse the bottles:: Let me get you a drink. That should loosen you up. Now what do you drink? Silly me, like I have to ask. Saurian brandy, as I and the bridge crew of the Apollo know perfectly well.
::Her casual disclosure of an embarrassing incident of his past, coupled with the intimate familiarity she exuded while continuing her intrusion into his private time and affairs, was making Maxwell's head reel. At least when she stepped away from the piano she had stopped idly tapping on that one grating note. Small comfort considering the breadth of the situation.::
Traenor: Okay, Lieutenant. This has gone far enough, and then some. ::seething:: I don't know why you have snooped so much into my past, why you have invaded my private place, and why you insist on continuing to torment me. But no more. Computer, end program.
Noros: Computer, belay that order.
Traenor: Excuse me?
Noros: ::sweetly:: You haven't played me a song on that there piano yet. And it's rude to refuse an offered drink.
::Realization dawned on Traenor, and he actually laughed a little. Man, he was such a fool!::
Traenor: You're not real, are you? You're a holographic addition to the program, probably a prank precipitated by Valdivia. And assisted by Renos? You'd need to have authorization codes from an officer ranked higher than me to block my commands. Heh, what a couple of jokers. ::looking up at the ceiling, as if talking to a hidden camera:: Haha, very funny guys. You got me.
Noros: Nuh-uh, chuckles. Try again. I'm as real as they come. That was a cute theory, though. You're quite inventive.
::She leaned casually against the bar, swirling her drink and smiling broadly at Traenor as he stood perplexed and confused.::
Traenor: Computer, override and end program, authorization Traenor Gamma Two Zero.
Noros: Security override last order, authorization Noros Tau One Seven Alpha.
::The computer bleated a discordant chirp, as if frustrated by the conflicting instructions. But, the program still stood running. Maxwell, defeated and spent, sunk down on the piano bench.::

Traenor: ::flatly:: Who are you, and why are you doing this?

::Noros rolled her eyes, uncertain why the chief science officer was making such a big fuss out of something so inconsequential. He seemed like a really nice man, had kept his nose clean as far as his service file was concerned, was perhaps a bit dull but in a sweet way... why did sharing his holodeck program bother him so much? And if he was truly serious, then why give up the fight so easily? She smiled demurely, thinking that he doth protest her presence too much. She poured a generous double of brandy and brought it over to him.::
Noros: I've been on this ship as long as you, my dear Max. You are not nearly observant enough. You might notice me around a bit more often, I've just been given a temporary assignment as the ship's acting Security Chief. Lieutenant Junior Grade Noros Tanna, at your service. It's not my intent to torment you, I'm just a kindred soul. I like quiet, private venues to enjoy my drinks, just like you do with this program. Yes, I 'stretched' my privileges to gain access, but really, Max, it's not so bad to have an audience with a sympathetic ear, is it?
Traenor: What makes you think I won't go straight to Commander Thomas and report this unprofessional behavior?
Noros: You won't do that, Max. You care too much about what Kael thinks of you to do that. You'd say to him, "Lt Noros has abused her authority and invaded my privacy". But, you'd hear your words come out of your mouth and to you they would sound as, ::affecting a nasally, whining tone:: "Tanna is playing with my toys and won't give them back!"
::Maxwell hated her with a vengeance at that moment, and not because of the mocking, condescending tone she had used, even though it had come out more playful than mean. No, he was angry because it was like she could read his mind and interpret his true thoughts. She had read him like a book. As eloquent as he would try to verbalize his indignation to Thomas, his internal monologue would play out just as she predicted. The anger was a flash though, hollow, combusting quickly and extinguishing in a puff. Instead of remaining indignant, he just felt spent. Taking the drink put before him, he drained it in one quick draught. He looked her up and down, fully paying attention to her for the first time since he had entered the holodeck. Though wearing comfortable, casual attire, she had the posture and carriage of a security officer. Even when lounging, she stood straight and proud, and looked as if she could jump to attention at any moment. She was attractive, if he had to admit to it, though attraction was the furthest thing from his mind at the moment. Her most striking features were her piercing grey eyes, and a permanent grin that always looked mischievous and sly.::
Traenor: Fine. You're right. I won't do that. But now what? Do you beat me up and steal my program? ::he said that last bit sarcastically, in reference to her earlier mock whining:: I don't care now. I'll leave, and let you finish up my allotted time. Good day, Lieutenant.
Noros: No, no. ::she gently but insistently pushed him back onto the piano stool, and spoke softly and kindly:: I'm sorry, Max. I'm used to getting my way, and don't take no for an answer easily. ::shrugging apologetically:: Occupational trait. I've been forward, and sullied your private time. Let me make it up to you. I'll cook you a dinner some time. Until then, please consider letting me stay and listen to you play.
::Traenor shot her a jaundiced eye, wondering if she was manipulating him somehow. It was hard to tell, no matter how she spoke or what she said, that same wide grin stayed plastered on her face. Tanna backed up slightly, hands raised in the universal sign of deference, and nodded at him encouragingly. He scowled, unsure why he would agree to stay in the same room with her, but found himself leaning towards granting her request unwittingly. Finally, he let out a low growl of exasperation.::
Traenor: Fine. But please, stop calling me Max. I'm not fond of it.
Noros: Okay, Max, but only if you promise to call me Tanna.
::He scowled again at her flagrant disregard of his request, but there was little conviction behind the display. He turned to face the piano, and nodded a grudging thanks when she topped up his empty glass. Cracking his fingers, he brought his fingers to the ready on the ivory keys.::
Traenor: One song. If that goes well, we'll see how it goes from there... Tanna.
Noros: I wouldn't suppose you know any contemporary Bajoran tunes, do you?
::It was Maxwell's turn to grin at her, though his was more playfully malicious than her mischievously styled grin.::
Traenor: Don't push your luck. You'll get what you'll get. ::finally cracking into a laugh::
::Tanna laughed in concert with him, and listened raptly as he started into a masterful performance that she couldn't quite place the lineage of. It didn't mean that she didn't enjoy it, of course. Yes, this Max was a sweet man, she told herself, and she had chosen right by deciding to draw him into her sphere of influence. He might even come to realize that himself some day, she surmised.::

PNPC LtJG Noros Tanna - Security Officer
USS Darwin NCC-99312-A
Lt Maxwell Traenor - Chief Science Officer
USS Darwin NCC-99312-A
Graphic Contest Taskforce / Publicity Team
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