Obsidian Command

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Whistlin' Dixie

Posted on 31 Mar 2021 @ 8:44am by Captain Corvus DeHavilland & Delmer "DB" Holland - Whistlin’ Dixie Supper Club

Mission: M2 - Sanctuary
Location: Civilian Promenade
Timeline: MD2 - 2111HRS
3166 words - 6.3 OF Standard Post Measure


If there was one thing that Corvus could appreciate right now with everything else going on in her world, it was the quiet simplicity of her own quarters. Truly her own quarters now. The last vestiges of her predecessor had been neatly boxed up and shipped off, the space thoroughly cleaned and the furnishings replaced with things of her choosing. The standard cold, hard and utilitarian Starfleet varieties replaced with things she found far more soothing. That was the latitude the Commanding Officer of a Starbase had. She’d certainly used every bit of it.

It’d been a long two weeks since everything had exploded into one flaming ball of danger, and it’d taken almost all of that for her to wind it out of her head. Only for it to ignite once more in the shape of Commander Zahn, leaving her having to make the most difficult decision of her professional career - effectively condemning a friend to the gallows. Corvus tried to convince herself that she’d done everything she possibly could, but there was nothing that she could have done. Calliope’s self-destruction was so utterly complete that there was no saving it. All she could do was heal, and try to rise from the ashes like the proverbial Phoenix. That gave her some comfort. If anyone could do it, it was Calliope. If only she could settle her mind and her addiction.

Unbelievably, her day had ended with a visit from Doctor Walker, one of the Physicians on the Ardeshir who had been tending to Calliope. She had been surprised by his visit, but expecting that he was there to coax some kind of support from Corvus for Calliope’s therapy. While she certainly wanted to help her friend, she just wasn’t so sure it was wise to get too involved too quickly. Calliope needed some time to heal on her own and come to grips with her situation without Corvus involved. At least that was her opinion. She’d been even more surprised to find out that Walker wasn’t there for that at all. He was there for her. As he explained it, Calliope wasn’t the only one in all of this that was suffering.

She didn’t want to admit it, but the simple conversation with Doctor Walker did help. Corvus had never shied away from Counseling sessions, but she’d certainly never had one that came to her. The station didn’t have a Chief Counselor yet, though it did have a healthy compliment of qualified staff, so Walker had sort of taken it on himself to come and check on her. He’d suggested (well, heavily recommended if she was honest with herself) that she get out of her room and enjoy the stations rec facilities. Preferably something of a social nature. He explained that sometimes, counterintuitive as it might sound, we solved our inner turmoil by being with others. That that social interaction forced out cues in our mind that aided the healing process.

Corvus wasn’t sure how much of that was true or not, but she had to admit to herself that she could use a drink. She’d spent so much time in the Praetorian’s lounge over the years that the barkeep knew her order just by the look on her face. She knew she was going to miss that, but maybe she could find a new normal here on the station. Sure, there was a little bit of having to tow the line as the CO, but surely she could find some kind of happy medium. So, convincing herself she was following the Doctor’s advice, Corvus had come back to her personal space for a relaxing sonic shower. She’d had a quiet cup of tea to settle her mind, managed some personal correspondence and then for the first time since she’d arrived on station, she got dressed in civilian clothes and headed out.

If there was one thing about the station that had changed the most since her arrival, it was the fact that there were so many more people here now. They weren’t a ragtag group of Starfleet Officers trying to hold the station together with toothpicks and superglue, they were a fully functional Fleet hub. Just short of eighty-thousand Starfleet personnel and a rapidly growing number of civilians as well. It was both impressive and daunting at the same time. All of these people, civilian and Starfleet looked to her for her leadership and to her mind, all the more reason why the decision she’d made with Calliope had been the right one. Even if the Admiral had left her no other choice.

Corvus rode the lift down to the civilian promenade alone, wondering if anyone would really recognize her in her street clothes and her hair down. Sure, a few might. But with as many people on this station as there were, there was a good chance most wouldn’t notice.

The lift came to a stop on the top of the four-level promenade and she stepped out, smiling politely as a couple walked past and got into the lift. She’d seen the schematics for it of course, and she’d approved the vendors who had wanted to build establishments here on the Starbase as ports of call for the civilians and Starfleet personnel moving through this station as a waypoint to points unknown, but she’d never actually seen it. Suffice it to say, to her mind, the schematics didn’t begin to do it justice. She walked forward to the railing only a few yards in front of her and looked down to see the lower three levels of the promenade laid out before her.

What struck her the most was how open it was. Only a few feet from the turbolift door, a path led straight across a huge, open space in the center of the deck. From the railing, she could look down and see the three lower decks, all currently filled with people going about their evening activities. The sound was stupendous, the roar of thousands of voices all around. Snippets of music from various shops, the cries of vendors hawking their wares, the flash of holo advertisements, banners and just about anything else you would expect in a wholly civilian place. And amongst that, interspersed with the revelers, the stoic faces of the Security teams tasked with keeping the peace. It made her smile to see it all alive, just as it should be.

Corvus walked along the path from the lift and then to the right, along the railing to an escalator that took her to the next level marked ‘Level - 3’ on the large sign on the bulkhead. She doubled back on that level, politely waving off a Klingon woman selling something off a food cart, and then descended one more to ‘Level - 2’. She had her heart set on some comfort food, and maybe a bit of company if it could be managed. One of the most intriguing proprietors she’d approved was a man from rural Alabama, who’d never actually been off-world for any extended period. But, according to his references, he had a flair for business and for entertainment businesses specifically. He’d proposed to open a ‘Supper Club’ as he’d called it with drinks, dancing, music and gambling. It wasn’t specifically her taste, but she’d heard enough positive commentary that she thought she’d at least pop in. Her plan looked ill conceived almost immediately though.

As she walked along the railing, glancing down at the deck and level one below, she almost didn’t notice the queue of people lined up along the inside. She wasn’t quite sure where they were waiting to go, so she walked on until she saw the entrance to the club she’d approved Mr. Braddock to open. The dark gray bulkheads had been overlaid with a massive wooden sign where someone had written in block white letters: Whistlin’ Dixie Supper Club’. It was so absurd Corvus couldn’t help but laugh, a laugh that fell slightly short when she saw the line of people was queued up to get in.

Frowning, she walked to the door where a very handsome Capellan was holding a data padd and holding the front of the line from coming in through the large double doors.

“Do I just line up with everyone, or is there a method to this?” Corvus asked politely.

“Are you on the list?” He grunted in reply.

She shrugged, “What list?”

“What’s your name?” He grunted again.

“DeHavilland. Corvus, A,” she said, looking to his pad.

The Capellan looked as well, scrolling by last name and sure enough, hers was there. He turned back to her, now suddenly nervous, “Right this way, ma’am,” he said, grabbing the rope that separated folks from coming in and let her through. The couple at the front of the line groaned but the woman behind them quickly whispered something and the two of them went immediately silent. Corvus smirked, not looking at them, but understanding their pain. She reminded herself: Captain’s privilege. The Capellan hurried to the door and pulled it open for her, “Have a good evening, ma’am,” he said as she walked through.

The blast of sound that met her ears was truly stupendous. A raucous band was on stage somewhere within the club and the crowd was in love with it. Corvus wasn’t really a particular fan of country western music, but the musician playing the violin (or was it a fiddle?) certainly knew his instrument. The crowd was loving it. The stage was set back against the far end of the deck and the entire space in front of it was one raging party with people jumping and dancing and just having a grand time, drinks in hand.

A young woman at a podium asked Corvus if she wanted to eat or drink, meaning to hang out at the bar with the band or at a table in a quieter section. Corvus opted for the former and the young woman led her along a side path away from the raging band and into a calmer section of restaurant. Calmer at least in terms of the rager on the other side. It was still busy and bumping over on this one, just tamer. A different band was playing similar country western music but more attuned to couples dancing. More than a few couples were two-stepping their way around the dance floor and trading partners. Tables and chairs surrounded the much smaller dance floor which were occupied by all manner of beings enjoying their dinner and drinks.

Corvus was led to a table a bit away from the dance floor but closer to the bar, and offered to sit. The waitress left her with a menu and returned to her podium as Corvus sat down and smiled, watching everyone having a good time. It made her miss the camaraderie she had on the Praetorian, and made her hopeful she’d find it again here.

The menu was exactly what she’d expected to see. Good, old fashioned, southern comfort food and not a bit of it was good for you. But the question she had wasn’t about how good it would taste, it was about how the owner had managed to get these kinds of ingredients this far away from Sol. Collard Greens and Okra alone weren’t exactly things you saw in Starfleet ration kits or crew lounges. How he was going to keep a steady supply of that was all she could think about. But, because she was hungry, she went ahead and ordered a fried chicken plate with a side of both the green and okra, and the DB Ale (supposedly the house special) just to give it a go.

“How is everything tonight?” A man asked after a while spent sipping her beer and laughing at the couples dancing, stepping on one anothers feet. Her guest had appeared over her shoulder as if he’d popped out of the deck plating right there. He smiled infectiously at her. “Everything to your satisfaction?” He asked, a thick southern drawl hanging on every slowly uttered word.

He wasn’t an overly tall man, and very spry, with dark black hair and a full beard. His brown eyes seemed kind, but a little wild at the same time but when he smiled it seemed genuine. As if he truly felt that smile in his soul.

“Mr. Braddock,” Corvus smiled, “Everything’s wonderful, thank you,” she said. “It looks like business is doing very well for you,” she said, waving around. “Well done. I’ve heard nothing but good things.”

“Why thank you,” he replied, shifting a bit and fixing her with a quizzical smiled. “My apologies, now, but… have we met before and I’ve forgotten your face?” He asked.

“We haven’t, no,” she replied offering her hand. “Corvus DeHavilland.”

The man’s eyebrows shot up and he took her hand straight away, “Delmer Braddock, but please, call me DB,” he breathed, clearly incredulous. His surprise was replaced by a slow, wide grin. “You’re… not what I expected,” he admitted, drawing the chair out from the table and sitting down next to her.

“What were you expecting?”

“Well, if I’m honest. A man,” he smirked. “But then, I can’t say I’ve ever met anyone named Corvus so I suppose that means I’ve gone and assumed, and we both know what happens when you do that,” he grinned. “It is a distinct pleasure to meet you, Captain, and thank you for allowing me to put together this little party,” he offered genuinely, touching his hand to his chest.

“Like I said, I’ve heard nothing but good things,” she replied, shifting politely as the waitress arrived with her plate and set it down with a brief explanation.

“It’s my memaw’s recipe,” DB smiled, gesturing to the plate. “I’ve tried to add flavor to it here and there and make it my own, but no matter what I don’t. Nothing’s better than the original,” he grinned. “Mind if I join you?” he asked, flagging down the waitress before she could leave.

“Please,” Corvus smiled back, unfolding her napkin onto her lap.

The waitress looked to DB expectantly and he held up two fingers, his index and pinky, “Two glasses of Fultondale Fuzzy and a banana pudding for me please, Leila,” he asked politely.

“Sure,” the waitress nodded before she left.

“You have to try my hazy, I’m quite proud of it,” he grinned. DB sat back in his chair comfortably, smiling at Corvus and then gestured for her to eat, “Please, dig on in.”

Corvus settled into her plate while Mr. Braddock turned his attention to the dance floor, offering a few friendly waves here and there as other folks saw him as they made their circuit around the floor. He seemed perfectly casual and friendly, which was something Corvus didn’t get a lot of. Her fellow Officers always walked on eggshells around senior staff, and were even more so around her. It was going to take her months to break the Alpha shift of being so proper when she was around, assuming of course she could ever get her XO to crack his own shell. The man was colder than the ice in her water.

“It’s amazing,” Corvus observed after a few bites. “But…,” she chewed and swallowed her bite, “How do you plan on keeping a steady supply of this?” She asked, lifting up some collard greens on her fork.

Braddock grinned, “I’m afraid that’s a trade secret, Captain.”

She chuckled, “Well. If you need some space in the Environmental Ring, I’m sure we could find a spot for you to plant, if you’re wanting a local source.”

The man perked up immediately, “You… you have space you’d be willing to share?”

Corvus shrugged, “Sure. Why wouldn’t we share?”

He just beamed as the waitress returned with his pudding and two glasses of beer, setting them all on the table and going on her way. “Well I have to say, I wasn’t expecting quite that much hospitality here. All my contacts tried to warn me that Starfleet was notoriously difficult to deal with as civilian vendors. But…I’m happy to report that’s not my experience at all,” he grinned, picking up his beer and toasting her. “To you, Captain. And to Obsidian Command.”

Corvus raised her glass in answer and then returned to her plate just as DB returned to his pudding, the two of them eating quietly for a few moments. The Captain focused on an amazing meal that was just what she needed and the Proprietor keeping an eye on the goings on in his club.

“That was amazing,” Corvus said finally, pushing her plate away, unable to eat any more.

“Memaw sure knew how to do it right,” DB grinned, sipping his beer, his own pudding long ago finished.

The both of them watched the people on the dance floor quietly for a few moments before DB put his glass on the table somewhat heavily and stood up. He held out his hand to Corvus, “May I have a dance, Captain?” He asked sweetly.

Corvus blanched, “Oh, I… don’t dance all that well.”

“Well that’s half the fun now, idn’t it?” he chirped in answer, “I’m not the best two-stepper, but I do alright.”

Reluctantly, Corvus reached out and took his hand, slowly smiling as she stood up. “Alright, Mr. Braddock.”

“DB, please,” he said, drawing her away from the table towards the dance floor.

The two of them reached the dance floor and waited for a moment for a break in the crowd to step on and pair up. As DB stepped out, a couple bumped into him from behind. A strangely familiar voice apologized quickly, “Sorry, mate, didn’t see ya there.”

“You’re fine,” DB replied, “Just trying to edge in,” he grinned, turning his attention back to Corvus and taking her hand in his, and putting his opposite to her hip. “Follow my lead,” he winked.

“Ok,” Corvus blushed, glancing briefly past DB’s shoulder as he pulled them on to see the man they’d bumped into stopping dead on the floor, and looking to her in disbelief. At least until his partner shoved his shoulder, drawing his attention back to her. Captain Finn seemed stunned to be pulled out of his reverie and though she had her own attention on DB, she couldn’t help but smile.

 

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