Drinks With Loki
Location: Risa, Space Las Vegas: the Attraction, Bellagio hotel, Baccarat Bar
Strutting back from the bar, Rita Paris was having fun. A gaggle of girls... women, really, she corrected herself... had all come together on a cosmic limo ride and were separated off into smaller subgroups, each off having adventures, as such events and crossovers tended to go. As for herself, she had gotten tired of the dance floor and the jostling at the bar. Sweating in the leather jacket, she had shucked it, leaving her clad in the black tank dress that stretched halfway to her knees. Effortlessly eyecatching, she hiked up her boobs in the bra, slung the jacket over her shoulder and led the expedition away from the bar to the civilized lounge she'd seen on the way into the club.
Ivory and gold dominated the room, while colorful carpet and crushed red velvet chairs offered a quiet oasis from the club below. Dropping her jacket on a chain, she caught Hera's shoulder on the way by. "Hold our seats, please, and I'll get us some drinks?"
Without waiting for the answer, Rita was in motion, gliding along to the bar. Her steps were somewhat 'runway' style, crisscrossing in front of one another to compensate for the cuffed boots. But Rita Paris worked the Baccarat Lounge, and the Baccarat Lounge loved her right back. Seldom was it that she allowed herself the luxury of taking in the eyes of those who appreciated the humanoid form. She wasn't the taste for everyone, of course- in a universe of infinite variety, no one being was the perfect match for the optimal attraction quotient for all sentients.
But for most of the human-like species, Rita Paris was indeed what they liked. She knew it, and for just a minute or two, far from her responsibilities and out of uniform, the time-tossed temptress reveled in it.
Strutting back to the table, blushing and grinning, she bore a rather prodigious jug of wine in one hand and a quartet of glasses in the other.
As Hera retrieved the glasses from Rita, her grin said it all. Still, she insisted on the commentary. "My dear, if Aphrodite were here with us today, I believe you would have made even her faint with jealousy just now."
"You are entirely too kind," Rita grinned at the compliment. "Honestly, I seldom get to actually do this sort of thing, so it seemed like the time and the place to show off a little, you know? Besides, none of my impressionable junior officers appear to be about, so I don't have to worry about setting an example. Since I planned the outing, I got them to hunt this up for me ahead of time."
Popping the cork on the big jug, Rita carefully maneuvered it to pour into the glasses Hera held for it, only spilling a little. When three were filled, she set the jug on the table, dusted herself off a bit, then sat don demurely, knees together, like a woman who lives in a short skirt who understood modesty and decorum. reaching out to take the delicate wineglass in her outstretched fingers, Paris offered a toast to the two goddesses who had accompanied her to the comfortable lounge for a civilized drink.
"Real grapes, real vintner, not replicated nor an imitation. They are earth grapes, they were just grown and pressed sixty-seven lightyears from their planet of origin. But I seem to recall that an offering of real wine is an offering that you can appreciate, and hopefully you as well, Loki. So cheers- here's to a night out, AND a night off." Raising her glass, the Starfleet siren smiled at her companions for the evening.
Meeting each woman's gaze, the tall and striking trickster Goddess flipped her Raven hair over her shoulder, her gilded and horned helm delicately perched on the rear of her seat. Clinking each glass in turn, she replied in French, "A la nôtre."
Taking a sip, she savored the taste a moment before leaning back and crossing her long legs with a wry smile. "There is a value to the real thing, Miss Paris, to be sure, that beings such as us find strength in the offering. The real thing possesses a bit of its maker in it. You know the phrase, I'm sure. Of how an artist puts their soul into their work. It is in that, we find sustenance."
"And good drink is it's own reward, regardless. Though, were I you, I would be weary of compliments that measure you against fair Aphrodite. It never ended well as I recall. The woman is so touchy about her looks." Loki joked with a grin.
"When it's your folio, best defend it or you lose it, I am sure," Paris replied, formulating the appropriate response. "But Aphrodite has no need to be concerned over me. Hera is the only one who ever draws such a comparison, and I'm no Aphrodite by a long chalk. A little too human, a little too flawed, and I do not possess an ounce of the grace with which she carries herself, I'm sure. It is just Hera being complimentary as she does, for which I am grateful, but I am sure the goddess of beauty and love is secure in her position... assuming she's still on the mortal coil and listening."
Pausing at that, Paris turned to Hera. "As one of your... step... daughters, would you know if she was still at large in this day and age? Was the power that brought you forth used to bring her back as well?"
"Unfortunately, I know not her ultimate fate, nor have I felt her presence since my return," replied the matronly elder goddess as she sipped at her wine. "I have felt the presence of my former husband and several others, however. I would most likely surmise that she threw herself into one of the seas like she was wont to do, and refused to come out, having lost faith in humanity."
With a light chuckle, Loki shook her head. "We and our kind are the dramatic sorts, aren't we? Nothing is ever done in half-measures when we can fling ourselves into the sea or gouge out our eyes for wisdom?"
"Or turn someone into a spider for their blatant hubris," Hera added with a chuckle. "Oh goodness, it's no wonder they invented theatre because of us."
"Ha! Too true, Lady Hera. Too true." Loki laughed, taking a sip of her drink and looking around the room. "Theater is not quite the same as worship, but when it keeps our names on the lips of mortals, it is appreciated nonetheless. Especially when we are well cast."
"How has renewed vigor treated you, I must ask?" Loki leaned in to the matronly Goddess, who no longer required extensive glamours to look younger or more vibrant. "You look well. There were many within the halls of Asgard that were unpleased with me for providing assistance, and while that's usually enough of a reason for me to do a thing, I took a special interest in your rather unique situation."
"Though I admit a certain curiosity to your motivation, I will leave that to you to reveal in your own time if you wish," Hera replied with a slight bow of her head. "For now, you have my gratitude and thanks. I have not felt this young in an age. Indeed, if my adopted daughter would allow it, I would spend all the time I'm allowed at her side redeeming myself thanks to this newfound freedom, thanks in no small part to you and yours. There is much I would atone for."
With a Cheshire cat's grin on her face, Loki spared a glance for Rita as she took another sip of wine. The mortal in the conversation had nothing in particular to add, and didn’t have a need to draw attention to herself in the conversation. In truth, it was seldom that Hera got to be chatty with another being such as herself, even from different pantheons In this encounter, for now, Rita Paris was content to sit and listen as Loki expounded a bit.
"My reasons are legion and... mercurial... for doing anything, as well you know. Sometimes, a moment's entertainment is cause enough in a life as long-lived as ours. Still, can you not look at your position and see how I might find something kindred within it? The monarch of Meroset who would have set the galaxy ablaze in her rage, finds that rage quenched in the forgiveness of a single mortal woman?"
"In working to earn that forgiveness, you gave of yourself over and over. Awakening the young El-Aurian demi-God? Aiding the Andorian woman who found herself bonded to the armor of Achilles? Offering to awaken the young Romulan girl now linked to Death's aspect. Giving of your own aspect to empower the brave Ethel? Forgiving the spawn of your husband, and helping those two unlikely sowers of chaos nurture a Minotaur babe? Linking yourself to Miss Paris here in so unbreakable a manner? All these things weakened your personal power, yet imbued you with great strength." Loki looked hard at the Goddess across her. "This all gave the All-Father pause and gave me... inspiration. Considering my own history, I do love a good redemption tale… and yours has shaken the pillars of Olympus, and those echoes are heard all the way to Asgard, my dear."
"Well..." Hera swirled her wine in her glass a bit before sipping at it thoughtfully. "I don't know about all that. Things just sort of… happened."
"Come now, wise Hera... you know better than that. We have both dined with the very Fates themselves. Nothing just happens." Loki leaned in and tilted her head with a dismissive expression. "Well, except where your... adopted daughter is concerned."
"Indeed, they seem to have no control over you for whatever reason." Hera turned to address Rita directly at this point, a bit of an odd look on her face. "In fact, I'd bet that Odin himself would not be able to divine your fortune with that eye of wisdom of his."
Eyes flickering back and forth between the two immortal beings, Rita lowered her wineglass to consider the implications. “I guess I am a wild card in the deck, then? The girl who was never supposed to be here, never supposed to exist, from a timeline that now never was, somehow exists outside the universe’s plans and the web of the Fates? I suppose that makes sense… but don’t worry, I won’t let it go to my head. I’ll just keep doing as I’ve done- trying to help people get along, see the light, and build a better future for us all.”
Reaching over to pat Hera’s hand, Rita smiled, one of those light-up-the-room affairs. “As for your redemption, that was all your doing. Had you not noticed? I never asked for you to help any of those whom you have helped. I never tried to sway your thinking one way or another- all I ever did was ask you to be better than you were. All that you have accomplished, and all of the good that you’ve done, was all your own choices, made freely and of your own volition. I’m proud of you, sure, but really? You’re happier now. You have people who care about you, lives you have touched and changed for the better, and you honestly seem content with the life you lead now, helping us mortals in our struggles, advising us and being there to listen when we need you.”
“Honestly, when I asked you to be the goddess I could tell my children about, I never imagined just how completely you would fulfill that request… but that you have, and more. I will forever be grateful to you, Hera. Because you showed me that my faith in the universe, and in the good in people, was still rewarded. You gave me hope, in a universe that could have been just as dark and ugly as Meroset was, and for that, I will always be grateful.” Patting the goddess's hand, Paris gave a little squeeze before settling back into her seat. “Sorry… I do go on a bit when I am passionate about a topic…”
The elderly goddess couldn't help but pull at a handkerchief and pat at her now moist eyes before smiling into the eyes of Rita.
Watching the interaction between the two, there was the slightest of flashes in Loki's eyes that almost looked like envy, but it was gone as quickly as it appeared, less than a flash in the proverbial pan. Then, with grin fully restored, the dark Goddess looked at her empty glass and tapped the side of it with her finger. As she did, it quickly refilled, while the contents of the bottle on the table lowered slightly to match.
Then, taking another sip, she turned back to Rita and tilted her head. "I would not, were I you, discount so impactful a gift as being off of Fate's books. It is a trait not even your mate from your own reality or the other Vulcan woman share. It's enough to make a Trickster covetous."
"This is very true. They may be able to bend the books, but you have the power to flat out ignore them," Hera confirmed. "I've overheard the aspects arguing over rewriting the futures of very planets thanks to your actions. I don't believe I've ever had the pleasure of hearing the Rabbit raise her voice before then."
“Mmmm,” Rita replied, taking a sip from her own glass and savoring the flavor. Considering the conversation, she saw the best course to tack into the wind with it and see where the goddesses wished to go with the topic. I wonder who the Rabbit is? When in doubt, ask. “It’s an interesting balancing act, then. Too little heed paid to my… circumstance, for which I can take no credit, and I risk angering the Powers That Be. Too much confidence in it and claiming ownership, I risk hubris, and incurring the wrath of said powers. Seems I’m damned if I do, damned if I don’t. So where’s the appropriate compromise between the two, I wonder?”
"You exist. They cannot contain you nor will they try, so they will continue to work around you. Worry not about the paperwork others may have to attend to as a result, and concern yourself only with doing what you must as situations present themselves- as you always have." Loki said, almost scoffing dismissively. "You keep things interesting, my dear. And some of these aspects, I have on good authority, are pleased with the changes they have had to account for."
"I know I am." Loki said with a devilish grin.
“For instance?” Paris asked, her curiosity piqued. While this was apparently old hat and well known to the supernatural set, this was all news to Rita, who had to admit to considerable curiosity. Thus the simplest of questions might net the greatest results.
"I am, of course, not at liberty to speak for these aspects, but I can certainly speak about them all I wish." Loki smiled with a light chuckle as she swirled the wine in her glass. "The Rabbit Hera speaks of is TIME. Your Captain has met this aspect, as has your Romulan friend. You preventing your Captain from killing her mother caused a massive shift in the fates of literally millions. Your rescue of the Romulan girl from her homeworld kept a few thousand more lives in the universe living a fair bit longer than they otherwise would have. I'm not privy to all the details, but I've heard the rumblings. Fate rewrote many lives because of those two events alone, and to hear them speak of it, they were quite pleased to re-write better paths for your influence."
"But you grasp this core concept. Everything we do has the potential to alter the course of fate. Even those grim fates were never guaranteed to come to pass. Free will still exists, after all. Even the Gods cannot change that. Nothing is ever truly set in stone for mortals so long as your minds are free." Loki smiled, a bit more warmly. "That is your greatest gift to the universe. You specifically... are simply that much less predictable. You see... the fates can path out our many possible lives. All the ways one decision might affect the rest of our existence. But for you, they can see no paths, for you have no destiny laid out before you- not here. As such, they cannot see how you may affect the paths of others."
"Others such as your Captain, your Romulan friend, the Lady Hera here... or even me." Loki added, the warm smile becoming that much more sly.
Digesting the information, Rita considered it, weighed it objectively, then realized it was of no concern to her. If the Fates didn’t recognize her and could not predict her, that left them in the same boat as the rest of the mortal universe. It wouldn’t change how she approached her missions, nor would it change how she comported herself amongst gods and commoners. She would remain true to who she was, and she would continue to act according to her own idealistic moral compass, forged in the golden age of Starfleet. However, the gender-fluid god was clearly hinting at something. Since Rita was unaware of anything she might have done-
Which was when it hit her. If her presence was rewriting events, then Death and the Baroness would never have been parted- not without Hera’s help, not without Rita’s help. Thus Schwein would never have met Thor, would never have become betrothed, and thus the Asgardian hierarchy was forever altered because she existed. In saving the swashbuckling super-soldier from being married to death, then encouraging her to compete for Thor’s affection, she had literally reshaped the destiny of the Asgardians.
Of whom Loki was counted amongst.
That was one level of the conversation, she now understood. Was Loki still after the throne of Asgard after all these centuries? Was this what tonight’s appearance was all about? Best to not prognosticate too much, she reasoned. Trying to outwit a god with ten times her lifespan who was known for mischief, trickery and charm was likely not a contest in which she was going to come out ahead. Instead, she’d do as she often did, and play the game at face value.
“So have I altered your life for weal or woe, Loki, I am curious?” Rita asked plainly and honestly, following her own modus operandi of truth and honest discussion.
"In the grand scope of things, I could not say..." Loki waved dismissively with one hand, "But in this very moment, absolutely. Was it not you who talked the Lady Schwein into pursuing my brother's heart? As such, this very evening occurs because of you, and I am glad for it "
“Yes. Yes, it was,” Rita replied, on guard now. The god of mischief was being coy, and it was most definitely rubbing Rita the wrong way. While she’d not be rude nor would she confront him… her… unless absolutely necessary, the hairs on the back of her neck were beginning to stand up, and she surreptitiously checked their surroundings, expecting trouble. Noting where the exits were located, she wished she had her own Hera bracers for tonight, instead of the Asgardian ones she had packed out of deference to the bride to be. Then her armaments and weaponry would be familiar to her if Loki decided to make trouble. As it was, she couldn’t be certain that she could get herself and Hera out of here, isolated from the rest of the crew.
Stupid, Rita, stupid. You let him get the two of you alone like this, now you’re cut off from reinforcements as he starts his little game. Wits and speed, girlie, that’s what you’ve got on your side, and he’s got you beat on both. So play it cool and see what he wants.
"What Loki is trying to say is..." As she spoke, Hera raised her hands into the air and created a sort of holographic representation of the universe's timeline with many branches coming off of it, all of them vanishing soon after leaving. "This universe is but one among the polyverse and the aspects keep it from branching off infinitely and cluttering up null space with dead universes so that the infinite universes that already exist can get the nutrition that they need."
The goddess of family then poked at the line, tweaking it just slightly, causing it to shift from a blue to more of a gold. "You're causing events which will be felt throughout this galaxy and possibly the universe for the rest of its life simply through your existence. Your work with Log'yerm alone brought many high powered beings back into play for ages to come. Beings like myself. Some were twisted like I was at first, but I feel that many, once released, are now dedicating themselves to positive endeavors."
"I know a few of the aspects that have lost their memories of mortality who argue against your influence, but the overall good that you've done is unquestionable." The matronly goddess then closed her hands, the small display vanishing with a few sparks. "And that's why when you expire, there's going to be quite the fiasco. I suspect even the continuum will get involved.”
“Hopefully still a ways off,” Rita muttered to herself, marveling at the fact that one simple Human Starfleet officer was the topic of so much debate on such a scale. “So since I’m playing catch-up here, who are the Continuum?”
"The Q Continuum, I assume," Loki said, rolling her eyes. "Nigh omnipotent meddlers that occasionally pester your people from time to time. Frankly, they make the mischief I'm known for pale in comparison, my dear. Be glad you've not attracted any of their attention. Even I find them insufferable."
"Duly noted," Rita replied, making a mental note to look this up in the database later. The joy of being ill-informed was that there was usually a wealth of information to be had on any subject, so long as you know the question. It seemed Rita's life still provided her with plenty of questions, fortunately. "So this has all bogged down in talk of defying destiny and cheating fate and omnipotent beings. Is there some reason for all of this frankly depressing discussion on what's supposed to be a fun night out of getting to know one another?"
"Well, I suppose that falls in part upon my shoulders." Loki shrugged. "When you let Goddesses go on about things we do tend to go on about matters of cosmic scope. However, I would be remiss if I didn't admit that I didn't have a unique interest in you on both a cosmic scale and a personal one, Rita Paris. I was quite curious as to the nature of the woman who reformed a god driven mad with naught but her compassion."
"But please, accept my apologies for disrupting the evening and causing you undue tension that you would be checking the exits from the corner of your eyes." Loki said, an apology wrapped in observation of Rita's earlier anxiety at the same time. "I stand very guilty of being what I am, even when I am not trying to be. But you are correct. This is to be an evening of festivities. If you wish, you may turn the tables on me with impunity. What would you know of Loki this evening?"
"I should apologize as well. When you're as old as I am, sometimes the course of the universe is one of the more interesting things to chat about. Even Loki here is but a rebellious teen in my eyes." With a motherly grin, Hera got that look in her eyes that said she wanted to tell an embarrassing story. "Speaking of knowing more about our dear Loki here... Did you know that when you were a babe, your mother had a dickens of a time keeping you from shifting into all sorts of things? Why she once found you in the form of a sheep cuddled around your brother outside trying to keep him warm because neither of you had the sense to come in from the cold."
"If you two would like to continue, it's all right," Rita offered, attempting to make it a breezy offering. "Really, Hera gets out very seldom, and she almost never gets to mingle socially with her actual peers. So I'm glad you two are having time to chat, and I don't want to deny you that. It just seemed as though you were working on oh-so-slyly making your way to a point, Loki. Unless I'm mistaken?" While she was working to keep the tone light, the reassurances were not reassuring, and being Rita Paris, it showed. Perched on the edge of her seat, muscles tensed, she was still ready to spring into action at the first sign of the trouble she now anticipated. "Your interest, in a cosmic and personal scale, is neither easily roused nor satisfied, I would expect?"
"I know well of the sheep tale, as it has been told to me many a time, Dear Hera." Loki said, shrugging casually but allowing a bit of embarrassment to show for a moment before taking another sip. "And, to address your concerns, Miss Paris, yes. I was making my way to a point. I do not wish to sour our evening with talk of business, but perhaps it will alleviate your concerns to know that I have given much thought to the boon you have offered me in exchange for what I have done to restore our mutual friend here to her vigor."
Here it comes, Rita braced herself, making a show of sitting back in her seat and relaxing, while she was doing no such thing. “If you are wanting to share, then by all means, Loki, please do so.”
"Know that I will ask of you nothing that would cause you to go against your morals or code. I will not ask you to help me seize a throne, or take something from another. Learning of you now, I would not even consider such a thing as it would be an affront to you, and to the spirit with which I offered my aid to great Hera. No... what I will ask of you is simple enough." Loki set her wine down and folded her hands, taking on a more serious posture. "At some point in our mutual future, I will be faced with some dilemma. A challenge that the fates will have stacked against me, with consequences affecting only myself, my life and freedom. I will then call upon you and ask, simply, for your help in escaping a potentially grim fate, though I know not what that yet will be."
"You, my dear, are a cosmic wild card. Your involvement in any scenario changes near-certain odds to 50 percent. That... will be all that I ask for." Loki spread her hands and offered Rita a bow. "One day, Loki will ask you to help her somehow. I will leave exactly how up to you. But what I will ask of you is that you say yes."
Listening with her head leaning slightly against her outstretched fingers, arm resting on the arm of the chair, Rita read between the lines. Facing a dilemma, a challenge, fates stacked against him. Likely a crime he has committed or will commit, which he won’t ask you to participate in the crime, but will enlist you to try to get out of it. It doesn’t really matter though, does it? Leaning in, Paris looked out from under her brows at the god of mischief.
“When I learned Hera was dying, I imposed upon the Baroness for a favor, to request it of the Asgardians. I agreed to pay any price, knowing what that could conceivably cost me. You people are vastly older, more knowledgeable, more experienced, and more powerful than I, on a scale that I cannot even begin to comprehend. So I knew that it could very well cost me dearly, and it still might.” Picking up her chin and sitting up straight, Paris tugged at the hem of her short skirt, a habit born of a lifetime spent doing so.
“I made a promise,” Rita explained to the ancient galactic being whose reputation preceded them. “I didn’t offer my honor as an officer, nor my personal guarantee. I gave my word- where I come from, that still means something, so I would help you regardless. But beyond all of that, I’m Starfleet. You may be new to Starfleet and how we do things, Loki, but that’s the promise of Starfleet. We come to help, and if you ask for help, whoever you are, wherever you are, we do our best to do just that. So, in that theoretical circumstance in an undefined future which I suspect you know far more about than you are letting on, should you ask for my help, and your cause is not ignoble… then, of course, I’ll help,” she concluded simply, adding, ”I’m Starfleet. That’s what we do.”
"Because with Starfleet, you're never alone," added the matronly goddess with a meaningful gaze at the known trickster as she reached out and took Rita's hand in her own. For her part, Rita beamed a smile at the goddess of women. Simply hearing the words from the reformed tyrant brought a smile to her face, and warmed her heart. Clearly Hera had been paying attention all this time, and the ancient astronaut was oddly proud of the goddess in that moment. Squeezing the hand in her own, Rita nodded silently as she smiled.
"Indeed. Then it is said, and settled." Loki said in a relaxed tone, with an almost dismissive hand gesture. "And I am glad for it to be behind us, for as you said, tonight is to be a night of revelries. Tonight, I need not call on any debts to be owed, and I have no intention of doing so anytime soon. So let us be merry, one and all."
Picking her drink back up, the goddess of Mischief and trickery clearly had more knowledge than she was willing to part within the moment, but seemed direct enough as she changed the subject. "So, my offer from earlier still stands. The lady Hera has already spoken of my the so-called ‘sheep incident’, which as I call it that, I realize makes it sound FAR more scandalous then it was. Ask me what you will? I would speak as friends and equals again."
In that moment, Rita made her choices, as she was wont to do- quickly, decisively and without hesitation. “Tonight isn’t about revisiting the past, and telling tales. Tonight is for making new memories, having new adventures, making new friends and celebrating-“
The buxom bombardier was interrupted by a shudder that seemed seismic in nature, which shook the entire hotel. “Ordinarily I would be concerned, but I suspect that is the Baroness making some memories herself, right now. Shall we find an exterior balcony where we might take in just what’s going on out there?” Paris reached over, picked up her wineglass and stood smoothly.
Standing up as well, and striking the most regal of postures imaginable, Loki waved a hand over her helm and it vanished in a sparkle as she picked up her own glass. But all the while, there was the slightest of inscrutable expressions upon her generally unreadable facade. Whatever had just occurred appeared to be a surprise to her as well as anyone. "Indeed. That was a... most curious sensation to be sure. After you, Lady Hera."
With a worried look on her face, Hera finished her wine and set the glass to the side before standing and heading to the nearby balcony to see what the commotion was. When she did, one hand went to her mouth in shock. "Well, that's something I never expected to see in this age..."
Immediately, the expression of bemused disinterest Loki had on her face as her eyes went wide at the sight that had caused the entire faux-Las Vegas strip to stop in its tracks. The goddess' mouth hung open for a moment as she looked across the wide avenue to see the sight of the massive replica of the Statue of Liberty, stretched diagonally as it lay on it's back against the black steel and glass replica of the Luxor pyramid. On the street below, thousands stared in awe, snapping holos at the unexpected sight as smoke cleared from what looked to be an epic struggle.
Looking over at Hera and Rita, then back to the bizarre tableau, the Goddess of mischief took a massive swig of her wine and said, in a distressed tone, "That... that was NOT me."
“You know, I believe you,” Rita replied, taking a sip of her own wine. “If I didn’t know better I’d suspect Gavarus and O’Dell. But in this case, with a giant monster defeated and… look, here comes another one on the horizon. That’s definitely gotta be the Baroness at work- I suspect she’s the only one who could knock down something quite so large, and create that much of a spectacle. Which I suspect means she is enjoying the hell out of her bachelorette.”
While there could conceivably have been a panicked call to arms, the curvaceous commander was instead quite calm and relaxed, despite the chaos involved. In point of fact, she had expected shenanigans such as this to be a component of the evening. Discovering that was exactly what was happening, if anything, just reaffirmed her worldview.