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Commander Taybrim - Well That Just Happened

Baylen Anders

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((Main Convention Center - StarBase 118))

::He had just broken away from a pleasant conversation with Ian West about the unpleasant subject of how exactly were tribbles sterilized.

Sal shivered. No conversation should include the words 'gonad irradiation' without copious amounts of alcohol.

As a reaction, he straightened himself and eased a genial, diplomatic smile across his features while pushing the particulars of tribble breeding out of his mind. This little chance in stance seemed to draw attention to him, as he stood out in the sea of well dressed partygoers. Soon afterwards a Khobeerian who was practically dripping with bling sauntered over.

Sal pressed his lips slightly together to prevent his jaw from falling open. Her headdress alone looked like a treasure chest vomited over an artsy designer's concept art. It was at the same time both visually enticing and incredibly gaudy.

He recalled her name from both his guest list inspection and Shali's coaching. Madame Lurtz - a big (and rich) name in the tribble arena::

Taybrim: Greetings Madame Lurtz, you are looking fabulous this evening. Can I assist you any?

Lurtz: I can only thank Starfleet for being gracious enough to allow us to hold our event in such a magnificent station, and you and your staff for facilitating it.

Taybrim: ::He offered her a gracious nod. The words were kind, even if they were couched in careful diplomacy:: We are happy to have you here, and hope your convention is a spectacular success.

Lurtz: You are too kind, Commander.

Whittaker: "If you have the time during your visit here, I could arrange for one of our senior staff to give you and any of your associates a guided tour of the station."

Lurtz: "A most gracious offer. When I was a young girl, my father would take me to watch the coming and going from the city's starport. I used to make up stories for each of the little ships, wondering where they were going, what they were going." :: pause :: "Although of course, seventy years ago ships were a lot smaller. Perhaps there is a place with a similar view."

::Sal leaned back, smiling gently as Theo too the reins of the conversation. His brand new ExO was settling in nicely, and Sal couldn't be more proud - and warranted in his decision.::

Whittaker: :: smiling :: "I know just the place, Madame."

Taybrim: Commander Whittaker has a keen sense for starbase vistas. You couldn't ask for a better recommendation.

Lurtz: "That sounds perfect. I never had the strength to venture into a naval career like you have, and now as a makeshift grandmother I certainly won't be pushing myself into it."

::Sal smiled kindly. There were a range of opinions on Starfleet and the careers within. Some loved it and would always serve, some valued Starfleet but preferred to stay in civilian service, some saw Starfleet as a necessary evil and some avoided it at all costs. Sal had met them all, and he had to say that as long as the person he was conversing with wasn't hostile he was fine with all walks of civilian life as it interacted with Starfleet::

Taybrim: ::A good natured chuckle:: It sounds like you have found your own calling, and that's a service in itself. ::Leaning back he gazed across the room, curious to know if Madame Lurtz was attached to anyone else at the gala. She did say makeshift grandmother - an unusual turn of phrase:: You mentioned family - did you travel with anyone?

:: His eyes followed to where she gestured, setting on a youthful, attractive bajorain woman conversing with Ensign Broi::

Lurtz: "Aliyah is my closest friend and aide, I am godmother to her children. If you need anything, she handles the day-to-day for me... I confess my memory for the minutiae is not clear as it once was."

:: Sal nodded genially, thoroughly understanding the need for assistants. He had, at one time, been a young officer that handled everything on his own. But he found that becoming ExO was hard enough in keeping track of everything on a massive starbase. Now ascending to CO brought with it a myriad of minutiae that he could never hope to corral by himself.

He found himself with a strange empathy for this unusual, rich old bird standing beside him.::

Taybrim: Well understood, Madame Lurtz. ::he smiled towards her:: It was good to meet you/

Lurtz: "It's been a pleasure, I look forward to hearing some of your stories after dinner. Please allow me to excuse myself for a moment, I see an old friend."

Taybrim: Certainly. ::he waved a hand towards her, letting her sail away into the gala's stormy seas::

Whittaker: "Of course, Madame." :: once she was safely out of ear shot, Theo turned to Sal :: "She's... unique."

::He gave a sigh as the Khobeerian left. She was in equal parts charming and insufferable, empathetic and cold. It was a unique mixture indeed.

She reminded Sal of the members of the high houses of Betazed, the born and bred aristocracy of his world that had tried for centuries to breed only the best and brightest telepaths, training them away from the common populace. Now they had simply waned into a figurehead of tradition and strange old ways that codified both the elegance and blindness of a simpler time.::

Taybrim: Unique... that is an interesting way to put it. ::Interesting and strangely fitting::

Whittaker: "An unfortunate habit I picked up from 'father dearest'. It's what happens when you are forced to go along to endless, stuffy university banquets and are surrounded by countless outdated aristocrats all desperate to fall over each other to compliment somebody in the hope of getting funding."

:: Sal canted his head, feeling a surge of bitterness well up from his young ExO. The very term 'father dearest' indicated Theo had some connection to the ways of aristocracy and it left him with a general disdain.

Sal, on the other hand was decidedly middle class - which was not unusual on his homeworld. It was, by far, the largest percentage of the population. However most of the general population preferred to stay on the homeworld. Most outsiders thought about Betazeds in terms of 'what house is your lineage part of?'

The answer was 'in ancient times the land I was born into was ruled by the seventh house. But that doesn't mean we were necessarily part of it.' He could, technically, claim membership to the seventh house in the same way the people of earth could say their ancestors belongs to the demesne of a feudal lord. But there was no lineage in living on the land ruled by someone else. Therefore Sal had always had very little interest in aristocracy in general and the houses of Betazed in specific.::

Taybrim: I can see distinct parallels. ::He agreed quietly before sensing it was time to change the subject:: Personally I'll take the food and drink and leave the put upon airs behind. I'm ready to try the Finarian wingfish. I hear it's delightful. ::He turned towards Whittaker:: Trying something new?

Whittaker: "Herbed Tarkalian Goose. I can't wait, I'm famished."

Taybrim: Good choice. ::He nodded, sipping his drink in a meditative fashion before offering another nod of agreement:: I'm hungry, too. And trying to avoid the plates of appetizers they keep bringing out.

::He grinned, almost ready to snatch one and eat it despite himself but fortunately Lt Commander Anders came onto the scene to prevent that tragedy from befalling.::

Anders: "Greetings Captain, fine gathering tonight" :: he turned to Theo :: "Thank you for the beer, cheers."

Taybrim: Greetings, Commander! Good to see you. ::He smiled readily::

Whittaker: "And thank you for the wine" :: he raised the glass slightly as if he was making a toast. :: :: beat :: "How are you finding this evening thus far?"

Anders: "I am having a very good time actually. I love meeting new people."

Taybrim: It is quite the gathering - and there are plenty of interesting - some might say 'unique' people to meet tonight. ::he raised his glass towards both Theo and Baylen::

Anders: "I must say you two do clean up well."

Whittaker: "I'm in a bloody straightjacket Commander." :: beat :: "Lieutenant Trel'lis actually likes wearing it." :: beat :: "Mind boggling."

Taybrim: Well, they do make almost everyone look good. ::he shrugged his shoulders and wiggled a little:: I have to say mine fits well enough so it doesn't bother me. But it is heavy. I suppose if you're the sort of person who's always cold it might be a comfort. ::another deep breath as he settled comfortably backwards:: Though it is a bit incongruous with subject matter.

::Anders seemed to have the exact same reaction, his expression falling in dismay as he spoke.::

Anders: "I guess I don't understand the fascination with the tribble. Klingon's hate them, mortal enemies of the Empire. We are close to the border." :: he frowned, making Theo wonder whether Baylen expected a marauding Klingon taskforce to storm their way through the station in a vengeful quest to exterminate the highly prized balls of fur. :: "Now if this was a pug show... then this would be something." :: he grinned ::

Whittaker: :: chuckling ::"If this was a pug show, then you'd be flaunting Baxter to all and sundry."

Taybrim: Baxter? ::amusement danced in his eyes:: I didn't know you had a show dog... would you bring him to a pug convention?

Anders: "I would, he is a prize Pug after all.

Whittaker: :: joking, but lowering his voice :: "Do you think that the tribble breeders would mind if I mentioned I once heard a Klingon opera about 'The Great Tribble Hunt?'.

Taybrim: ::He coughed:: I think that might provoke a spot of tribble trouble.

Anders: "Maybe you can use that to get out of a conversation if you get stuck in one." :: laughing ::

Whittaker: "I used to have a Klingon roomate at the academy. He liked his operas." :: beat, smiling :: "But yes, that would be a diplomatic [...]-pas if I mentioned it. I don't have anything against tribbles- their rather soothing as it happens and rather cute. I just don't get this." :: he motioned to the room :: "Still, each to their own. I'm not one to judge."

Taybrim: You know, any time there is something to specialize in there will be fanatics that converge around it. I think it's a natural urge of many species to perfect something - even tribbles.

:: He jumped a little as a joyous feminine squeal pealed through the gala hall. Sal turned, casting his gaze towards a smiling older woman who was descending upon them at warp speed. Sal was just about to ask who she was when the answer miraculously revealed itself.::

Arlia Anders: "Oh BayBaylen, Baylen, Honey!"

::Concern turned to mirth in less than a second as a wash of motherly affection hit his empathic senses. That, coupled with the fact that he misheard her affection squeal as 'BabyBaylen' prompted him to do everything he possibly could to not grin like an idiot and keep his face with a more sober, diplomatic smile.

Oh, but his eyes were laughing::

Baylen: ::Muttered under his breath:: "Not one word about me getting shot please."

Taybrim: ::He gave a nod of assent along with Theo before turning towards Anders:: I take it these are family members, Commander? ::Smiiiling, still smiling::

Anders: "My parents..."

::Sal was not surprised at all. However Theo's expression changed from mirth to shock in less time than it took an unfixed tribble to get pregnant.::

Arlia Anders: "Surprise BayBay, I bet you did not expect to see us here."

Anders: "Oh; no...." :: pause :: "I am just overjoyed."

::Said like the least overjoyed person on the Starbase. The contrast only heightened Sal's mirth as he struggled with his composure. He didn't like seeing his officers squirm - but then again, Baylen was being showered by motherly affection rather than hostility. Sal's own mother would be coldly incommunicative in any form other than telepathy.

It reminded him that he still hadn't told her about his promotion. Whoops. Well, in his defense she hadn't handled his other promotions well, telling him he was on a mission to get himself killed moving up in ranks like that. So he hadn't realy spoken to her much since he came to SB118.::

Taybrim: Perhaps you can introduce us, Commander. ::he let himself smile, though it was a more reserved look that gently directed the conversation away from the embarrassing flow of emotion::

Anders: "Oh I am sorry. This is my mother, Doctor Arlia Anders and my father, Doctor Armond Anders, and these are Station Commanding Officer Commnder Sal Taybrim and First Officer Lieutenant Commander Theo Whittaker."

::Baylen blushed deeply, while his father keps a cool composure and offered the first formal greeting::

Armond Anders: "A pleasure to meet you both."

Whittaker: :: with a courteous nod of the head :: "Likewise."

Taybrim: It is wonderful to meet both of you! ::he offered with a gregarious expression::

::And without warning Baylen's mother rushed him, scooped the little Betazoid up in a big hug and kissed him firmly on the cheek.

Sal blinked, staying very still, sort of like a deer does when it's caught in the gaze of a cougar - or a pair of headlights. Was this a strange ritual of the Risians? They were an open sort of folk, much like his own race; meaning he wasn't particularly offended by the generous outpouring of affection. But he was highly surprised and rather confused.

But he was about to get a very interesting answer...::

Arlia Anders: "You did not tell me Theo was such a looker!" :: smiling, she pinched Sal's cheek.::

::A wide, slow smirk fell across Sal Taybrim's face as his eyes moved slowly, inexorably towards Anders and Whittaker. What was that Baylen had said about being late for a date? The atmosphere of euphoria? It was nearly impossible to miss, but now he had confirmation.

That, and this whole situation was awfully funny. And he was apparently 'a looker' according to an older woman - which was a first for him!::

Whittaker: oO Oh no.... Oo

::Well he heard that thought clear as day. Theo looked like a kitten trapped by a vacuum cleaner, distressed and ready to hiss or flee::

Anders: "That is Commander Sal Taybrim, Station Commanding Officer, this is Theo Whittaker" :: he pointed at Theo. ::

Whittaker: :: sheepishly, waving his hand :: "Hello."

::Embarrassment settled heavily among Theo and the Anders family. Something which Sal tried to break with a charming smile. Breaking slightly backwards from Arlia, he offered a hand::

Taybrim: It is a pleasure to meet you Mrs. Anders. Welcome to StarBase 118!

Armond Anders: "Maybe you should have a glass of wine dear..."

::A better suggestion was never more timely.::

Anders: "Okay. I think that is good. let me take you two to the bar, we don't want to take up the Command Staff's time..."

:: Theo turned slowly to face Sal, his face was as red as a Risian sunset.::

Whittaker: "Well I'm pleased that Baylen's mother though I was the CO."

Taybrim: ::With high spirits:: I suppose I'm pleased she thought I was attractive! ::A light chuckle, the CO was certainly not overly bothered by what just happened.::

Whittaker: :: he glanced across to the bar :: "Finding them guest quarters should be easy enough can we cater for two more people tonight."

Taybrim: ::Sal offered a nod of agreement:: We have plenty of open rooms. There was an expected inrush of tourists to the festivities. Many of the larger civilian suites are modular and we ended up taking large dwellings and turning them into two smaller temporary guest rooms to handle the overflow until the convention is over.

:: There was an unusual - and somewhat hilarious - tension between the two officers. Sal, mildly talking about station logistics while Theo sweated in his boots ramping up the courage to admit to a fact that Sal Taybrim had already deduced.::

Whittaker: "Sal, now might not be the best time, but you should know that Baylen's mother made a fuss of you when she thought you were me because Lieutenant Commander Anders and I are... dating." :: he looked at Sal, uncertain. ::

Taybrim: ::he paused for effect before offering an admittedly famous quote:: I know.

Whittaker: ?

::Mirth played at the edges of his lips, watching the reactions of his new first officer. This, too, was a lesson - a growing pain. Everyone had them, and it was never an issue when handled well. So Sal lingered in the moment, watching the young man's reactions before grinning just a little.::

Taybrim: I don't have to violate any telepathic barriers to catch the wellspring of projected emotion that surrounds the two of you. ::His expression turned gentle:: He makes you happy. You make him happy. You're both good officers who know Starfleet rules and regulations and I trust you to follow them. Beyond that, you have my blessing.

Whittaker: ?

Taybrim: ::He shook his head lightly:: You wouldn't be the first officer to fall in love with a co-worker and I'm sure you won't be the last. Like everything else in life it will have its trials, and it will also have a bounty of joys. ::A grin:: I wish you both the best.

Whittaker: ?

Taybrim: ::A light wink:: You started your career as an engineer - I started mine as a counselor.

Whittaker: ?

Taybrim: Well, I have to admit, Mrs. Anders has a strong grip. Be prepared for a mighty big hug in your immediate future.

Whittaker: ?


Commander Sal Taybrim
Commanding officer
StarBase 118 Ops

"Why do we fly? Because we have dreamt of it for so long that we must"

~Julian Beck

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