A Place to call their own
Heart and Soul
Location: Captain's Office
A decision had been made, and now it was up to Ensigns Briaar Gavarus and Fiona O'Dell to actually act upon it.
A couple of days ago, after a long day of problem-solving for the U.S.S. Hera's Research and Development department, the miniscule Mariposian test pilot and the irascible Tellarite engineer headed to the ship's main lounge, Ten-Forward to celebrate in their usually rambunctious and notoriously loud fashion. That night, however, it was a fashion that the put-upon staff had decided that they had enough of.
After a few minutes of making their presence known and pestering the staff for being too slow, the staff came out en masse and informed the pair that their presence in the lounge was no longer welcome. The staff of the civilian-run Ten-Forward had put it to a vote, and that vote said that Gavarus and O'Dell were out.
Taking a day to stew over the decision and another day to get very drunk in their own quarters, the angry pair had decided that they would start their own pub on the ship and, in their drunken state, they decided that if the Captain didn't let them, then they would put in their resignations.
Then they woke up, and being sober, realized what a terrible idea giving the freedom-loving, former pirate an ultimatum on her own ship would be, and decided on a different tactic. They still wanted to open up their own pub, but were thinking about it a bit more level-headedly now and were on their way to pitch their idea to the Hera's mistress, Captain Enalia Telvan.
An appointment was made for before their shift that morning, where the Captain had agreed to see them in her office. So the red-headed test pilot and the portly porcine were on their way for their date with potential destiny, or possibly the end of their careers.
"Okay... so... we can do this, right, Fee?" Gavarus said while they rode the turbolift to the bridge for their appointment. "I mean. It's... It's a cool idea, right?"
"Oh, aye, sure, the Cap'n's gonna love it, sure, aye," Fiona answered distractedly, her hands attempting to wrestle one another as she worked to unsuccessfully quash her own misgivings about their plan. "Nae, tis a good plan, She'll... yeah, sure, this''l work..."
Arriving at the door, both looked at the other to press the door chime. Rolling her eyes, the daredevil dwarf poked the chime.
The mistress of the Hera, Captain Telvan was in a little earlier than usual today for several meetings, this being one of them. Having just gotten off the comms a few minutes prior, she was looking over the request by Ensigns O'Dell and Gavarus as well as their lengthy history of complaints in Ten Forward and their recent banishment from the establishment by the management.
When the door chime rang, Enalia looked up from her desk terminal and tea towards the door, expecting it to be the two R&D misfits on the other side. "Come in."
The door woodshed open and the mismatched duo in blue stepped in, clearly nervous. While the two-meter tall Tellarite was a bit more obviously anxious, she unexpectedly spoke up first. "Uh… um… hi… Hello. Greetings. Uh, good morning, Captain."
"Good morning. Please, come in, have a seat. Would you care for some tea? I have a mild breakfast blend this morning." With a light smile, the CO of the Hera held up her carafe' of tea.
Under the stress of the moment, Gavarus secretly wished it wasn't WAY too early for a beer to calm her nerves, and suspected Fiona was likely thinking much the same. But she also didn't want to piss off their spotted commanding officer as she hesitantly sat in one of the two offered seats. "Uh, yeah. Yes. uh... thank you, Captain."
"Yes'm. Three lumps, if y'please, thankye." O'Dell left it at that, and a silence hung in the air which she took to be a pregnant pause, swallowed her fear, and augered in.
As O'Dell launched into her proposal, Enalia prepared their tea in simple USS Hera themed teacups and saucers - a deviation from the normal frilly or ornate ones she normally served with.
"Mum? Cap'n? We've got a proposal. Well, I mean, tis more of a request I guess since twould require materials an sooch. The thing of it is, we're too rowdy for 10-Forward. We like to drink and carouse and hassle and be hassled back and tis more of a blowin off of steam, ventin the pressure, mum, y'ken?" Taking the silence as encouragement, O'Dell pressed on.
"We'd like to open a different place, mum. Still do our jobs- we love workin' in R&D and we dinna want to give that oop. But after hours, we'd run the pub, til we close it doown and go ta bed and get oop the next day to do it again. We want someplace where ye can drink and talk shit and be fulla shite and noboidy will care because it was in the pub. That's our proposal... request. Our idea, mu,. Captain." It was clear from the way that she rambled and the level of her brogue that O'Dell was nervous, which she had relaxed around the captain through interaction before, but this could go a lot of ways, and both of the misfit officers knew they were sticking their necks out here.
Sitting in the chair, slightly small for her extremely prodigious paunch, Gavarus looked fairly ridiculous daintily holding a delicate teacup in her calloused, three-fingered hand with an awkward smile on her face.
"Uh... I mean..." Gavarus muttered nervously as the tea in her cup churned in her shaking hands. "Making your way on the ship today, sometimes it... it... t... takes everything you've got. Taking a break from all your worries, sure would help a lot. Wouldn't you like a place t...to get away?"
"You do both make good points and your proposal is quite interesting, however there are some issues." As she spoke, Enalia leaned back in her chair, teacup in one hand and a PaDD in her other. "Before I clear you to open a venue aboard the Hera you need at least a plan for non Starfleet staff, stock, licensing, furnishings, and equipment. On top of that, you'll need to either attend regular civilian services meetings or assign a representative to do so."
"And ladies... Having attended every monthly meeting since I took command of the Hera..." The spotted woman paused and glanced over her PaDD before continuing. "You'll want a representative."
At the list of requirements, O'Dell's brow furrowed. "Stock I understand... I did say greater replicator allowance, and unless we kin come oop with real liquor, we dinna exactly have ta worry boot stock at all. Same wi' furnishings and equipment- all joost matter that comes oot of a replicator, is it not, mum? And... licensing? We have have a license to have a bar on a starship? How does that work, mum? Are we applyin' to Starfleet, to the Federation, to the local government of... the Hera? Licenses are a control measure of local governments in order to collect sales tax. We're a moneyless society mum. So, how does that work?" With that out there, O'Dell smirked. "As for a Civilian representative, we've already one in mind."
"Excellent. The licensing is an annual inspection on your drink replicators to make sure they're following quality control regulations. It's been an especially critical issue since the Ferengi have been setting up bars in Federation space. Fortunately, the venue you've asked for has recently been inspected and rated for commercial use as of..." The Trill Captain took a moment to check her desk terminal for a piece of information. "Approximately two hours ago. You'll also need your own independent power supply to continue operations when the Hera is unable to supply you power." Enalia pursed her lips a moment and stared at the PaDD in her hand.
"All that being said..." She then set the PaDD and tea aside. "You've done a lot for this ship and I would be remiss if I didn't at least give you a little push. If you didn't know what my wife does, she's an information broker and several of her family are black market dealers. A lot of the real stock in Ten Forward is obtained through her and she's willing to make you the same deals. There also happens to be a store of furnishings in her name that you can have in cargo bay seven which includes a power supply from an old shuttle."
"Which leaves staff," the spotted woman finished, nodding slightly.
"Well... I mean... aside from us occasionally... we were... uh..." Gavarus nervously stuttered as she interjected, "Uh... uh... thinking of... maybe... programming a holographic wait staff. So... like... they could be, ya' know, real pub bartenders that are crotchety and give everyone a little crap, 'cuz it's fun."
"Whiiiccchh... uh... actually comes back to th' idea we wanted to talk about, ya' know, for the civilian, whatchamacallit, liaison or representative." Gavarus finished, putting the teacup back on its saucer before she accidentally shattered it for how much she was still shaking.
"We want the Baroness Sarika!" O'Dell blurted out. "She's a bloody pirate, and she's got jack all to do on this boat. At least if she's helpin run a bar, then she's got somewhere to hang her hat where everybody's equal, aye? So she won't feel like she's the only one who ain'ta fleeter, and she has a place to kick up her heels and brawl. No Security, mum. If we need 'em we'll call 'em, but we want people to relax and blow off steam, aye? If it make disciplinary problems we'll amend, but at least to start off... the After Hours Pub, mum. That's the idea fuir the name. Less ye want a pirate theme instead of an Irish poob theme...?"
Having said that, O'Dell performed a rather uncanny impression of the 'Puss in Boots big eyes' expression of pleading, with a hopeful smile. It was clear the Captain was on their side and willing to take a chance on them, so Fiona was getting all of the bad ideas out there at once.
"You want..." Now it was Enalia's turn to be caught off guard and almost spill her tea on herself, barely catching it as she was bringing it to her lips and setting it back on the saucer as she sat up straight in her chair. She had assumed the pair was referring to Jaeih Dox and hadn't expected Sarika to be mentioned at all. Were they drinking buddies now too? Had she missed something?
Trying to compose herself, the spotted woman cleared her throat and tried to think of a way out of it. "Her time aboard the ship was always supposed to be temporary since I'm no longer a queen. I believe she had planned on returning to her fleet after Baroness Schwein's wedding. However, I will leave negotiations with her up to the two of you. As for holographic wait staff, I believe my wife also has access to such programs so I'd contact her first so you don't have to start from scratch."
"Is she? Shite, I liked her," O'Dell muttered. "Alreet mum, we'll find another liason. No sense trying to get her to stay if she's no reason. Aye, we'll speak to Mrs. Captain and see what she has to offer, because ate, the holostaff was definitely a key element. We were nae aimin for full AI, so they won't be offended by people bein off duty and relaxed. As for dealin' with her through the black market, we've naught to offer mum, so it'll all be oot of the replicators for us. Well, aside from alla the whiskey we got onboard from Wally when we left Miraposa, I guess..."
"Yeah, I'll miss her as well. Aiva will be staying on but with Schwein and Sarika around the past few years it almost felt like the old days before I joined Starfleet." Sipping her tea, Enalia let silence fall over the room for a moment as she reminisced about the past. "So I think we covered everything on my end. Was there anything else we needed to cover on your end?"
"Shit, I dunno..." Gavarus added, forgetting for a second that she was in a meeting with the Captain. Her thick face turned white and her porcine shout actually scrunched up so far it almost looked like it would invert into her skull. "Uh... I mean... Sorry. Uh... Just... we are really hoping to make this something special, Captain. A place where nobody has rank and everybody can just be themselves. So... we're... ya' know. Thanks for takin' a chance on us."
"You're very welcome. Just keep in mind that your duties and family should come first, ok?" With a subtle nod to both of them, the Hera's Captain came clean. "Other than that, this is a big ship and I've gotten a few complaints over the years on both sides of the fence so I understand. There are a lot of crew that just drink in their quarters or in random observation lounges just to avoid Ten Forward's particular brand of atmosphere. You're not the first people they've banned and you won't be the last. Just... Be ready for a nightly bar fight, ok? Maybe talk to our resident civilian biologist Ahreva Malana and see if she can lend a hand. I hear she's good at testing the integrity of furniture. They've almost banned her for breaking theirs."
"Alreet mum, we will. And... what she said," O'Dell chucked a thumb at her porcine partner. "We appreciate ye being willin to take a chance on us and let us have a place of our own. Have n'fear, we'll do our jobs like allays, and a'course ye know Minnie's the center of our little world, so we'd ne'er neglect her- hell, she'll be in the pub every night, joost like how me Da raised me, aye?" Pausing for a moment, O'Dell took a chance.
"Yuir welcome too, mum," the Mariposian midget mentioned, looking out from beneath her brows, eyes wide. "No ranks, cap'n's orders. So ye can joost be one of the gals, aye? Ye dinna have ta drink alone in yuir quarters, ye know."
"I'll stop by now and then and I'll be there for the grand opening," Enalia replied, not even batting an eye at the mention of a toddler being in a pub. After all, being raised in a pirate family that sounded perfectly reasonable to her. "If you need any help just let myself or my wife know. Unless you can think of anything else... Dismissed. Good luck."
At that, O'Dell stood up, poked her paunchy partner, and the two came to attention and saluted their captain. As neither was particularly military-minded, nor were they particularly formal, the act was a genuine show of respect for the woman, ho had earned it time and again with her junior officers.
"Thankye mum... we'll make ye proud!" O'Dell declared.
As the unlikely duo exited the Captain's office they were all smiles and success, making their way over to the Turbolift to get ready for the rest of their day. As the lift arrived and they entered, Gavarus waited for the doors to close before she let out a lengthy sigh and the plastered smile cracked into a weird grin.
"Holy shit, Fee. We... we frickin' did it! We can open our own frickin' PUB here on the ship! I can't believe she said yes!" The ponderous porker proclaimed before her eyes went wide. "Now what the hell do we do?"
"That part's easy, Gavarus, me old chum," O'Dell explained while grinning like a lunatic. "Now we open pub, and show 'em how tis done!"