288: Regrets Only, Part One

by Vol Tryst and Zanh Liis
Following Impressions

-=Aboard the USS Serendipity=-

The Captain and the Counselor re-entered the small conference room, and it appeared talks were now over. Betazoid or Bajoran however, anyone could feel the tight tension in the room. The discussion had been a trying experience for all involved.

"Captain..." piped up Blane. "...we've finalized our plans with the Overseer, and are ready to proceed." Every word was next to forced, the Commander's impatience with the aforementioned man all too clear to the Captain.

"Excellent." The Captain smiled, putting her hands together in a gesture of thanks and tilting them towards Lank.

"I'm very thankful for all the aid you are providing us, the planet owes you a debt of thanks." Said Lank, and Vol almost smiled to himself. Not only was he lying, but he was subtly taking himself out of personally owing Zanh and her crew any such 'debt' himself.

Vol observed the gaze of the man as Lank looked towards each individual in the room, and it lingered a second longer on the Counselor. There was something he was sensing in the man, when he stared at him with piercing eyes. What was it?

^Perhaps the Overseer would like to join us for dinner this evening?^ enquired the computer, in conjunction with the signs made by Jariel.

At first, Zanh blinked as she watched the metaphorical 'boat' sail out of port. Then she seized the ship and piloted the damn thing, realizing what an advantage the Away Teams would have if they didn't have the Overseer around, snooping, and enforcing the 'rules.'

"Yes Overseer, you should dine with us tonight. You must be famished, as well as exhausted, and tackling a global dilemma on an empty stomach will only make you distracted. . .." Zanh smiled at the man. If the Counselor was right, it wouldn't take much pushing for Lank to accept the invitation.

"A meal and. . .if I might trouble you further, a sonic shower and change of clothing would be most appreciated, Captain. It has been a very trying day." Lank sighed, clearly unaccustomed to inconveniences of any sort.

Then another thought occurred to him, and he got a very detached, far away look in his eyes. "If I might also have access to a computer terminal so that I might view news reports from around the system, to try to determine if news of our. . . difficulties have reached Stra Major, I would be most appreciative."

Zanh eyed Vol, who gave her a nearly imperceptible nod. She had the same feeling the Betazoid did- that Lank was already feeling the effects of hours without access to his technological devices, and was seeking a 'fix'.

"By all means. We will be happy to assign you guest quarters and give you computer access." Zanh and Blane were already trading glances now- and Zanh knew that Blane would be certain to lock the terminal out of the ship's database- allowing Lank access to outside information only - nothing to do with the actual operations of the Sera- or any reference to the Alchemy.

Half a moment passed, during which Lank gazed, almost menacingly at Vol. Again there was that emotion that Vol sensed before, but it was difficult to place. Then Lank looked at the Captain much more gently.

"Yes. . .I'd be delighted to join you." He agreed. "I must, however, relay some orders to my people down on the surface. And I will ask for some of my own personal advisors to join us, if you don't mind." Lank spoke kindly, but Zanh could tell he was teasing her.

She hadn't expected this, but she should have. The thought of this man, and his closest lackeys aboard her ship was unsettling, but any amount of pressure she could remove from her people was worth it. She dearly hated what she referred to internally as this blasted diplomatic bullshit and was grateful to have Vol and Jariel around to do the 'heavy lifting' as far as conversing with their guests.

She'd backed herself in her corner- she'd have to bite this bullet and just power through the situation as best she could.

"Of course Overseer. Mr. Blane, will you show our guest to his temporary quarters?"

Blane would've objected if he were able, and the feeling of being appalled radiated from the Second Officer and caused Vol to chuckle slightly, which he covered by clearing his throat. Blane looked to Lank, and extended an arm, motioning for him to go first. Lank nodded to everyone in the room before leaving, Blane exiting as well.

^He agreed to that more easily than I anticipated.^ Jariel turned to the Captain.

"No..." started the Captain, speaking out loud but also pondering to herself. "...and the Counselor is right. As we were discussing out in the hall a moment ago, our guest cares more about getting back his own comfortable lifestyle, than restoring that same lifestyle to the rest of his people. We offered him a free meal, on a clean and powerful starship, how could he refuse?" She nodded towards Vol, acknowledging her source.

^With...^ started the computer, but halted once Jariel realized the annoying thing was still on.

"Computer, end Universal Sign Audio Readout," interjected Zanh, reading his expression correctly.

[[Thank you.]] signed the Vedek. [[A starship with lavatories, no less.]]

All were in agreement. Then the eyes of the Captain fell on the Counselor once more, and the Betazoid man seemed distracted, if not preoccupied with his own thoughts. In fact, Zanh could swear she could hear Vol speaking to himself.

"Angry?...Intimidated?...I wonder..." Vol muttered to himself, staring into nothingness.

"Any closing comments Counselor?" Zanh interrupted. Vol turned to look at the Captain with words ready to be said, but then he stopped himself. He visibly thought about what he was going to say once more, before finally settling with. . .

"Do you mind if I get back to you on that Captain?"

"Well, get back to me quickly." Zanh said, half of her mouth curving downward into a sort of puzzled frown. "I don't like him, and I don't think I'm going to like his buddies any better. I need to know everything about them that you can possibly divine using those empathic abilities of yours, Mr. Tryst."

"I shall give you my level best." Vol replied.

"I am certain you will. Now, if you'll excuse me, gentlemen," Zanh sighed and rolled her large eyes upward. "Looks like I need to go don my dress uniform, we're having a dinner party."

Ensign Vol Tryst
Ship's Counselor
USS Serendipity NCC-2012


-=/\=- Zanh Liis
Commanding Officer
USS Serendipity NCC-2012