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The Ties That Bind (Pt. 2)

Posted on Wed Mar 26th, 2014 @ 5:30am by Lieutenant Commander James Barnes

Mission: Rebirth
Location: USS Essex-B
Timeline: Early in the Year 2304

OOC: Part deux. Pardon my backposts and historical flashbacks, I had some stuff written up I wanted to put out there....

-ON-

James leaned back in his chair, throwing his napkin on the table. He reached his clenched fist up to his mouth and tried to stifle what amounted to a rather crass belch. Velok, the Essex's Chief Security/Tactical Officer and James's former roommate, sat opposite him. The Vulcan merely raised his eyebrow in response to behavior that was, in his experience, completely expected from the the El-Aurian Chief of Intel. Velok calmly folded his napkin, placing it on the table. "Thank you for the dinner, James," Velok said, his voice unwavering and completely even.

"You won the bet, don't worry about it," James said, sliding down in the chair slightly. His posture was such that he was practically slouching now, looking over at Velok, "I feel like if I keep betting you, maybe that will help motivate me to win for once." The waitress in the mess hall had emerged from behind the bar and was making her way towards the table, prompting James to straighten up in his chair slightly, a move which Velok took notice of. James pulled out his identification card for her to charge for the meal.

"Hey, Shannara," James grinned, passing the card to her, "How's everything with you this evening?" Velok, on the other hand, continued to watch, his face unmoving. He had witnessed variations of this interaction between James and the waitress for the past five years, with each time ending the same. He took a deep breath, leaning back slightly, waiting to see what track James would try tonight, no doubt some modification or repeat of past material. "I'm glad to see you stayed on board after our last shoreleave at Starbase 331," James began, and had Velok been anything but a Vulcan, he would have facepalmed. He was certain he knew what was coming, and prepared to watch James descend in a flaming ball of debris.

"Thanks, Jim" the Betazoid smiled, "I assume you lost the latest sparring match and are again paying for both meals?"

"It's like you know me," James was now full on smiling, with Velok watching, "I just want you to know that when I finally win, I'm ordering the entire menu on Velok's tab."

"Well, I probably wouldn't charge him for all of it," Shannara smiled, leaning in and holding James's card between her thumb and index finger. James looked at her for a moment, trying to not obviously break eye contact. He matched her smile for a brief second before she turned and winked at Velok. She spun on her heel, walking away towards the bar, James's eyes following the entire way. "Progress," James said, crossing his arms smugly.

"You have said that for the past five years, James," Velok said, taking a drink of his water.

"Are there any unusually tall mountains on Vulcan, Velok?" James asked a rhetorical question. Velok nodded and was in the process of naming them before James cut him off with a wave of his hand. "It's a rhetorical question, Velok," James took a deep breath, waving his right hand in frustration, "You keep trying to climb it until you succeed or die trying."

"At this point, I believe subsequent expeditions will have found your skeletal remains, James," Velok said, finishing his water, "It has been over five years." James shot him an angry glare.

"Forward, that is the battle cry, Velok," James smiled, finishing his vodka and tonic on the table, "She's wearing down, trust me."

"At this rate, I think her resolve may even outlive you, James," Velok raised an eyebrow as Shannara brought James's identification card back. He took it and signed the slip, and before he could make any more moves, both his and Velok's commbadge's chirped. Velok paused, a moment of silence passing between the two of them. Velok knew his best friend's behaviors, habits, and vices, and had watched him drink over dinner. It was perhaps one of the most illogical things he had ever done in his history, but Velok routinely covered for James. His Vulcan thought process was almost always able to justify it based off of the results the Lieutenant produced. "You are alright?"

James waved his right hand dismissively, a nonchalant look on his face. In his left hand, he had already pulled his commbadge from the pocket of his shorts. He depressed it between his index finger and thumber. "Barnes here, go for Velok and Barnes."

"Lieutenants," James instantaneously recognized the distinctively British accent of Commander Blacklock, the ship's executive officer, "Convenient to reach both of you simultaneously. Report to the Captain's ready room immediately. Blacklock out."

James and Velok exchanged glances, this time it being James's turn to raise an eyebrow. The two slid their chairs from underneath the table and rose at the same time, heading for the exit. They entered the turbolift, the only break in the silence being James's direction for the lift to take them to Deck 1. The ready room was a relatively 'new' innovation on the Excelsior-class vessel, hearkening back to the Terran naval traditions that Starfleet drew from. The two officers crossed the corridor quietly, with James depressing the chime. There was a slight delay, then the doors parted in front of the officers. Entering, both James and Velok paused respectively near the door. In front of them sat Captain Mitchell Waters, the ship's commanding officer, and behind him stood Commander Terrance Blacklock, the XO. A figure sat in one of the chair's in front of the captain's desk, only the back of his head being visible. James tried to study it for a moment before the chair spun around. James's brow furrowed for a brief second before the Captain began to speak.

"Gentlemen, allow me to introduce Glinn Jasad of the Cardassian 5th Order, as well as Obsidian Order," Captain Water announced. James turned to Velok, who only met his gaze with that same, unfeeling Vulcan gaze. It took him a second, but James realized he had been holding his breath, and released it as a long sigh.

---
OFF:

Lt. Commander James Barnes
Chief Intelligence Officer
USS Shanghai-A

-as-

LT. James Barnes
Chief Intelligence Officer
USS Essex-B

 

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