Obsidian Command

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Ibn Sharjar& Indri: Dinner and Poetry and Discussion

Posted on 07 Aug 2022 @ 9:02pm by Commander Calliope Zahn & Atif ibn Sharjar - Merchant of the Al Ashar

Mission: M3 - Into the Deep
Location: Obsidian, Indri's Ranch
Timeline: MD04: 1700Hrs Immediately following "Ibn Sharjar: A bag full of genes"
2056 words - 4.1 OF Standard Post Measure

.: [Indri Ranch] :.

Indri motioned for her new guest to enter through the kitchen door on the back of the main ranch house. The scent of grilled ortananni meat wafting through the open door promising a meal within.

"Thank you Admiral, non-replicated food sounds most pleasant" He followed her on to the porch and into the shade, then in through a doorway. Out of politeness he removed his dusty desert boots and set them down by the door.

It took the eyes a minute to adjust to the cool dimness within the dense adobe walls. Inside there was a clatter of activity, the sound resounding around a high ceiling outfitted with lazily spinning wide-bladed fans crafted out of large, beetle shell fragments. Pans and dishes were being handed around to be set out on a long, jet black obsidian slab. At a quick guess there were twenty or thirty ranch hands. A good half of them were working aged young obsidian men, fit for hauling and riding. The rest were an assortment of ages and races, some very young family members of the farm hands, others clearly too old for heavy labor. One stood out, wearing vestments as if he were going into the office- perhaps an accountant, by the meek and measured way he moved, waiting his turn in the barely organized assembly. But presently everyone was giving heed to the Klingon woman in charge of doling out the food, each one thanking "Sister Korin" as she brought out the serving platters or ordered someone to assist her. She had an obvious battle scar, beginning where three of her fingers should have been and running all the way up her twisted left arm; in addition, as she stepped it was clear her gait was managing on an artificial limb.

"Sister Korin," Indri cut into the fray after hanging her hat and shaking the dust from her wrap. "We have a guest. Atif Al Sharjar, this is Korin of the house of VarnoQ. We served together in the war."

Korin growled and showed her teeth as she sized him up, but she saw no fear in his eyes. Instead, she saw a man who had seen many things. Suddenly she patted his fat cheek twice with her right hand. "He knows good food!" She laughed. "This one is not afraid to fill his plate." She handed him a cracked ceramic dish that had been mended with a gold thread through it and motioned for him to collect his fill.

Ibn Sharjar pulled a mock stern grimace for a moment. Then took the plate, his face broke into a wide smile and he twirled his mustache. "Let us see if the food is as tasty as the cook!" he replied in near perfect Klingon.

Surprised at both his Klingon and his wit, Korin answered back in kind. "I think," she said vivaciously, "my cooking will have you licking your plate."

He then helped himself to several spoonful's from the various dishes, platters and bowls. He gave Korin a bold wink and headed over to the table, finding a seat on Indri's left.

From the head of the table, Madison Indri watched the little act and had to muffle a grin. Atif was going to find himself in over his head if he kept flirting. Korin hadn't had that kind of attention in the better part of a decade.

"Careful, Atif." The Admiral warned secretly, behind the back of her hand with jovial gravity. "If you belch too happily Sister Korin is going to start getting ideas."

"I shall be vigilant to eat slowly and carefully then." Atif grinned back. "I'm am not sure I could survive her tender ministrations"

Meanwhile Korin's youngest kitchen assistant, a Romulan boy of about twelve hauled over a basin of water for her to rinse her hands. "Thank you, Mervind," Indri said, her expression changing to one of interest. "Tell me how your poem is coming. Will we hear it yet?" When Mervind shook his head shyly, she pressed."You are keeping us all in great suspense. Your grandfather keeps gloating about your work."

"It is not finished," the boy insisted.

"Maybe quote for me something you have memorized of the classics?" she insisted while Mervind offered the handwashing basin to Atif. "I know your grandfather has been reading to you, and you are a quick study."

"Food for the body and poetry for the soul," ibn Sharjar said softly. "The blessings of the Prophets are many"

The praise from the Admiral and the guest seemed to heap on the young man and it was clear he couldn't really pass up the chance to share his budding passion. "There is one from Earth I am learning. A Human poem, by Poet Thoreau."

"At attention!" Indri called out tersely. Everyone ceased immediately in their shuffling and conversation and straightened up to face forward, towards the center of the room, backs straight. Parents snatched the little ones up and moved to shush them. "Mister Mervind has something to share." She took the washing basin from him and motioned for him to face his audience. The Romulan boy's face flushed with his green blood and terror seemed to freeze him.

Ibn Sharjar set down his utensils and turned pay attention to the young lad.

"In Smoke. By Poet Henry David Thoreau." The silence of the room and the high ceilings amplified his small voice. And then he was dumbstruck, struggling to remember how it began. He looked up to locate his Grandfather at the table. The man was mouthing something.

"Light... winged... smoke..." Mervind stammered through the words on his grandfathers lips, and then the next ones seemed to follow, "Icarian bird...

"Melting thy pinions in thy upward flight,
Lark without song, and messenger of dawn,
Circling above the hamlets as thy nest;"

Here the boy seemed to garner more feeling, recognizing pride in his Grandfather's eyes. He folded his hands behind his back and his chest struck out like a bird in song himself.

"Or else, departing dream, and shadowy form
Of midnight vision, gathering up thy skirts;
By night star-veiling, and by day
Darkening the light and blotting out the sun;
Go thou my incense upward from this hearth,
And ask the gods to pardon this clear flame!"

Indri was the first to clap for his recitation, though it would have been hard to tell as the rest of the lunch hall did likewise. "Take a bow Mister Mervind! Well done."

Atif clapped loudly, enjoying the recital and admiring the boy's pluck in delivering it with feeling.

The Admiral waved in such a way that seemed to indicate everyone could be at their ease. There were no other presentations or announcements to expect. Everyone got on with their business, including Mervind who quickly grabbed up the washing basin and ran over to his grandfather, the greying man being eager to heap praises on him.

"I see the Admiral continues to run a tight ship and crew," Ibn Sharjar commented quietly to Indri, picking up his fork and taking a bite of food.

She harrumphed, but smiled none-the-less. "They just all know which side their bread is buttered on." It wasn't quite the same as a stalwart crew. Indri sipped her glass. "When watering holes dry out, no one brings their chuchaki back again."

"I think here you have, perhaps, dug a deep well" He replied

"What about you? You fly alone? No crew waiting back on your ship?"

"Just my humble self. Although sometimes I think Number Ten has a mind of her own" He had once named his ships, but now settled on a simple numbering system. "I have had crew in the past, various members of my extended family, but they have progressed on to their own ships. So, for now it suits me, more room for profitable cargo." He grinned. "If you will permit Admiral, how does a senior Starfleet Commander become a rancher on Obsidian?" He asked.

"It turns out its something of a pain in the ass. They don't want foreigners owning land here and there were a lot of favors to call in and old friends to call on." She dashed some relish over the meat and rolled it together, as she sensed he was waiting for the real answer behind the false gripe. "After I retired I didn't have anywhere to call home. My extended family were practically strangers. I'd served for longer than their memory of me did. The 9th Fleet was the closest thing I knew. And we'd always organized from this region." She chewed and then sighed, picking some fallen relish from her sleeve. "Really I got the idea because... you know? It was just something ridiculous someone told me once. That he was going to buy a ranch out on Loki III. He just. Never got the chance."

"Ahhh, the fulfillment of a dream." He nodded. "That it was once another's is a worthy and honorable action" he left it at that, feeling it would be rude to pry further in what appeared to be a personal matter and changed the subject a little. "It would seem, that you have adapted well to life on Obsidian in any case. I hear the Admiral is well respected in Kalara..."

Disbelieving it, Indri grunted. "Doubtful. Unless you've been talking to Councilman Jiran. He butters all his bread on both sides."

"Councilman Jiran is a fine and noble servant of the people, he may always be relied upon to dedicate his best efforts to improving the welfare, prosperity and future of the citizens of Obsidian... " Atef said seriously, then gave a small smile and continued, "And I know this to be true, for he told me so himself."

"...so you have met Jiran." Indri said, glad that someone else could see through the charade.

His tone changed into a passable mimicry of Jiran saying "It was to continue his hard work for the people that he was regretfully forced to request a small payment for his expenses to assist me in applying for some freight contracts..." Back in his own voice he said "Sadly he could not be completely sure of my application being approved and so I had to decline his most generous offer"

"Has the noble elder met his match?" Indri mused. "Sometimes I think he's got Starfleet in his pocket just because he'll give them an audience when no one else will. With the turn the culture has taken against off-worlders, it seems like even more off-world business than ever finds its way through him. But not yours.... So does that make you more of an independent agent? If you're not going through channels in Kalara, does that mean you've got your own network with the tribes?"

"I hope not to become Jiran's enemy and bribes are perhaps a little bit more common in my experience than others" Atif shrugged his shoulders "It is all a part of business, no doubt I will pay his expenses at some point. For now, I don't want to appear too eager, lest his expectations increase! He gave a wily smile. "As for other avenues of trade, I have a contact or two beyond the dunes..." He smiled again.

"We might not have much to offer in trade this season, but you're welcome to shelter here between runs if you ever need another view outside of your bulkheads," Indri offered, between forkfuls from her own plate.

"A most generous offer Admiral. One I will indeed be honored to accept. My ship and I will endeavor to be available should you need us... And at very favorable rates too." He gave her a wide grin.

Indri intuited that everything with the gifted chicks was about something more than money. Clearly, Atef had been around the block as long as she had in his own trekking, and he knew that contacts were valuable even if you couldn't scribe them on a ledger.

"You are a very shrewd man, Atef ibn Sharjar," she said with the glint of a compliment in her eye.

"I am but a humble merchant Admiral," he replied. "Who has, on occasion, been fortunate in business and in friends." He smiled and gave his mustache a twirl.


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