Obsidian Command

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Reconciliation

Posted on 08 Jun 2024 @ 5:00am by Brek - Timeless Treasures Art Gallery

Mission: M4 - Falling Out
Location: O.C - Ara’s Quarters
Timeline: Timeline: MD 4 - Day 26
1788 words - 3.6 OF Standard Post Measure




Brek finally acknowledged the inevitable. He had to warn Ara. One retired Cmdr, called Roanna Dís, was about to launch a new investigation on the black market activities and social disruption that had persisted on SB 520 in 2394. He had done a spot of unsupervised-knowledge-acquisition, as Mrs Moreau had put it, and confirmed that Dís was indeed focusing on SB 520, which Ara had visited extensively.

Rumors swirled that despite her official retirement, Dís still had a network of informants and contacts, making her an invaluable, if somewhat unorthodox, asset for sensitive situations. Hopefully, any connection between Ara and the criminal activity on SB 520 would be difficult to substantiate.

The situation, though disagreeable, was straightforward. The old woman would need to pack her bags and get moving. After all, this wouldn't be the first time she'd had to vanish due to bad blood. Brek recalled a time, in his early thirties, when, after months of no contact, he had tracked Ara down to Bajor. There she had purchased an island named Irboral. This was her winter home, or as she preferred to call it, her hibernaculum.

Brek squared his shoulders, forcing himself to believe that talking to Ara wouldn't be a monumental task. Evading Dís's investigation couldn't be that hard, right? With a determined flick of his wrist, he pressed the chime on Ara's door. Ten minutes, tops. That's all it should take to convince his grandmother to leave O.C.

Only, once he had announced his presence, Ara said that she was not available. His nostrils flared. The absolute nerve of that woman!

"Unavailable? You're right there in your quarters! And I only need ten minutes of your time. By all that shines, open the door!"

"Unless you've come bearing an apology wrapped in a tangible gift, I'm afraid I don't have a moment to spare. Leave me in peace."

"It's urgent, Ara! Important!" Brek slammed his fist against the chime. An Andorian woman walking by, gave him a wide berth, her antennae twitching in discomfort. Brek threw her a desperate smile, hoping to salvage the situation. "Family," he muttered, gesturing vaguely towards the door. "They can be a bit... stubborn sometimes."

The Andorian woman practically ran down the corridor, leaving Brek feeling even more defeated. He let out a frustrated groan and went on: "Ara!" he bellowed. “Open the damn door!"

Ara's voice went from icy to glacial. "Never. Your attitude was crystal clear the last time we spoke, little beetle. We are done. And may your reputation be forever tarnished by associating with a FOOL!"

Brek's hands flew to his forehead. On the one hand, the use of his nickname sparked a flicker of hope. It hinted at a lingering fondness beneath her harsh words. But that hope was quickly extinguished by the venom in her following words.

"You're the fool, Ara," he countered, his voice tight. "Rash and petulant. You need me as much as I need you."

A harsh cackle erupted from behind the door, a sound that scraped against Brek's nerves. It was as if Ara revelled in his annoyance. The confirmation that she was indeed right there, just out of reach, galled him further.

"Deluded, are we?" Ara's voice dripped with mockery. "If you think you can mend this bridge without a genuine apology for your transgressions, then you're more lost than I thought."

Brek's jaw clenched so hard that his teeth protested. He clamped a fist over his mouth, the physical restraint barely containing the tirade he longed to unleash. After a tense silence, he forced out a sigh.

"Alright then," he conceded. "Against my better judgement, I therefore offer this formal apology, in the hopes of restoring our mutually beneficial partnership. Now open the door."

"That wasn't an apology, Brek,” Ara scoffed. ”This was a rant. Even Glutik" - Brek winced at the mention of his gruff Tellarite bodyguard - "with his limited eloquence, could manage better. In fact, I've heard enough, and frankly, not enough all at once. Perhaps it's time for a nap." Her voice trailed off, leaving Brek stranded in the hallway, his frustration simmering.

He stole a glance down the corridor, to make sure it was empty. Then with a renewed assault on the door chime, he gritted his teeth and forced out a conciliatory tone. "Alright, alright, you win. The Great Balance demands I set things right. My words were rash, and I seek to make amends." He blinked rapidly at the unyielding door, and marvelled, not for the first time, at how easy it was to weave lies. “I have important information for you, and also the Ferengi treasure map that you like so much.”

At long last, the sound of the lock disengaging sliced through the tension. The door opened, revealing Ara. Her usually vibrant clothes had been replaced with a dull shade of ochre. Dark circles shadowed her eyes, and her face bore the weary expression of someone who had endured many sleepless hours.

“Is everything okay?” he ventured, his voice softer than its usual gruffness.

She offered no response, turning her back on him with a rustle of fabric and walking towards her flowery sofa, a beacon of vibrant cheer that clashed with her demeanour.

"Your apology, Brek," she said, weary. "I want to hear it."

He opened his mouth to protest, but the sight of her slumped figure silenced him. "Again? I just..."

“Those words were just an introduction, obviously,” she countered, a hint of her usual sharpness returning as she sighed heavily. She lowered herself onto the plush sofa. "Let's hear about these amends you mentioned. On your knees, if it doesn't trouble you too much."

“Ara...”

Ara stared intensely at him. It was a look reserved for strangers, for supplicants – for Ferengi who'd not only lost their way, but never even grasped the map. But this image, this pathetic reflection in her steely eyes, it wasn’t him. It had nothing to do with his negotiation skills and flexibility. She was, he felt sure, testing him. With a forced lightness in his step, he strode towards the sofa, the defiance in his posture a silent challenge. Reaching the plush cushions, he hesitated for a beat, then sank down beside her.

"Let's forget this whole mess, Ara," he began, his voice placating. "I apologize for my harsh words. It’s easier for me to lose my temper now that I’m no longer in diplomacy. Hastily spoken words are just empty threats uttered without much thought or finesse. It certainly doesn't mean I've abandoned my duties as a grandson. After all, the moment I heard that you might be subjected to an investigation, I came running, didn't I?"

“What are you talking about?” Ara asked, her curiosity now apparent.

Brek repeated what he had heard from Mrs Moreau: Cmdr Dís’s interest in SB 520 and how this could affect Ara’s affairs. No Ferengi, after all, enjoyed the idea of strangers poking into their finances - even more so when they are female and it’s of the utmost importance to keep one’s affair in absolute darkness.

"Mrs. Moreau?" Ara scoffed once more. The sound echoed in the room, a stark contrast to her earlier lethargy. "That dubious friend of yours, Brek. I wouldn't be surprised if she's been lining her pockets with your latinum. A real shame,because she looks costly. Though, I will admit... I did use her services once. And let's just say, she exceeded expectations."

Brek blinked, utterly confused. "Services? What services? What did you buy from her?"

Ara leaned back on the sofa, a single finger tapping her chin thoughtfully. "Her loyalty, little beetle," she said, her voice dripping with amusement. "And it seems, even after all this time, it's still holding strong. So, this Commander Dís wants to dig up the past? Let her waste her time sniffing around in the dirt. Don't they have better things to do with their Fleet’s resources?"

"I don't care what her motivations are," Brek insisted. “The point is, you need to disappear. Head back to Ferengi space for a while. Lie low until Dís loses interest in SB 520."

"Ages, Brek. It could take ages. Federation hounds,” she muttered, “I’ve been confronted by them in the past. Their dedication knows no bounds. My best option might be to turn the tables, try and appease this Commander. Running away would look like guilt, wouldn't it? Like I'm intimidated by this investigation. And that's not the image I project, is it?"

"Yet you've vanished before, Ara," he countered, "so as to protect your interests. This is the best option. Unless, of course," he leaned forward, his voice dropping to a low growl, "you're saying you've got nothing to fear because you were just a simple tourist on SB 520?"

Ara's eyes narrowed. "The only tourist on that station was you, Brek, and that's despite the fancy uniform you sported back then. Of course I had a stake in 520. I've been separating the witless from their wealth for seven long decades."

“So what are you going to do, then?” Brek asked, baffled. “Sit on your backside and drink tea?”

"I intend to face whatever accusations that woman dares throw at me.” Ara declared, her voice regaining its strength. ”Besides, if I were to hide in Ferengi space, Dís might turn her attention to you. And while I wouldn't doubt your loyalty, Brek," her eyes gleamed with concern, "your ability to project innocence might be somewhat... lacking."

"Charming," he grumbled, crossing his arms in a defensive stance.

"You disagree?" Ara challenged.

“Of course I do. You seem to think I’m incapable of holding my stance against a Commander. That I can’t follow a script, whilst this is exactly what Starfleet trained me to do. It might not be what you want to hear, but I’m your best ally.”

“Unwavering allegiance, Brek?” She asked, her voice softening just a touch. “Is it what you are bringing to the table?”

“It has always been there, Ara. It’s not my fault that you often refuse to see it.”

The old woman grumbled. “At this rate, you are going to make me cry, and that won’t do. Sentimentality makes my skin crawl.” She took a deep, steadying breath. "Very well then. Fetch us a glass of the finest brandy. It's time for us to formulate a cunning plan."

"There you are," Brek said, a hint of relief in his voice. "The Ara I remember. I’ll ask Glutik to bring us a bottle of Tharjidian Fire, and of course, the Ferengi treasure map. It won’t take five minutes.”


 

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