The Junk Heap
The doors to the lounge swished open, and a pair of feet padded in. A pair of twins entered, looking around and admiring the layout of the lounge. Sure, she had seen better, but she had certainly seen worse. Honestly, she'd rank this a seven out of ten. Conservative, but serviceable really. The view out the windows was nice, and she knew they weren't actual windows. Federation used force-field enhanced transparent aluminium for that. The Dalacari used crystallized xenon, while the Ts'usugi used....
She smiled. Shouldn't think about that. The Federation was FULL of telepaths, really. So the less she thought of secrets of the Empire, the better.
The pair eventually found their way to the bar, a smile on each muzzle as they took seats next to each other, and just glanced around to see if service was open, or if she should plan a trip to the replicator soon.
Danaea appeared from nowhere, popping up from behind the bar like a blek-in-a-box, armed with a datapad and a winning smile that said buy things from me.
"Welcome, ladies." She beamed toothily at each of them.
"What can I supply you with today?" Danaea thought she'd seen it all, but the pair of fox-like bipeds sat in front of her were an entirely new experience. It was a job to hide her initial surprise at their appearance.
One of the twins jumped a bit at the sudden appearance, her attention drawn in by the quiet of the surroundings, while the other returned Danaea's smile. It was nice to see a friendly face, and what a lovely smile! The more controlled twin gave a smile in return, though was hesitant to show as many teeth as the Ferengi. "Oh, gave me a start. It's nice to meet you." by now, the other twin had collected her heart rate and joined in the smile.
"My name's Vespa." she indicated just herself, leaving her apparent twin out of the conversation. "I was wandering around the ship, catching my bearings when..." and she stopped talking. Just up and done. Conversation over.
Her twin, however, picked up the slack instantly. Not a single beat missed, "... I found the lounge and was curious as to how operable it is. Turns out, it's even staffed." to that, the pair offered another pair of smiles. Friendly, honest, non-threatening smiles. "First time seeing a Dalacari?" she asked, knowing.
"I'm a binary lifeform." Vespa stated, never losing those smiles, "So what you see, is one complete Dalacari. So, here on a bit of an adventure."
"Could I trouble you for a pair of drinks? Trying something new here, so I'll let you decide. One should be sweet." the other twin offered. "While one should be sour." now the other spoke.
If Danaea had been surprised before, she was awestruck now. Staring blankly a split second, she managed to maintain her smile; Ferengi weren't known for their understanding of complex and unique life, but Danaea was gifted with a limited sense of otherworldly concepts.
Well, it's one extra head to charge I suppose.
"Might I interest you with a new flavoured cocktail I've been developing?" Danaea splayed her arms as if showcasing her wares, a well rehearsed line.
"It's a Hewmon delicacy, Martini a la scampi."
It's also nine credits a pop.
There was a way that she moved, a way that she offered. The flair, the dramatics, the dramagics, that the Dalacari seemed to really enjoy. A delicacy? Now there was something that she could enjoy.
"A delicacy, you say?" she smirked twice. "Well, I'll have you know that if it's one thing a Dalacari enjoys, it's delicacy." she gave a nod, "I'd love to try some..."
"... of this drink. Though, I have to be honest." her other form was now doing the talking. "Dalacari don't enjoy asymmetrics. Also, it's no fun to just half try a..."
"... drink, right? So, if I'm going to enjoy it, I have to fully enjoy it. I'll need two, AND before you say otherwise, I intend to pay for both fairly." Vespa knew a bit about Ferengi, so she wanted to at least practice fair business.
Danaea nodded graciously, pleased that her first transaction was one of the more expensive menu items.
"Science is it?" Danaea remarked cheerfully as she whisked about, grabbing a pair of glasses from beneath the bar.
"Dated a science officer once. Stellar cartographer. It's a shame, he had such big ideas about the universe, but when it came to the bedroom..."
She couldn't help but snigger as she withdrew a small, silver Martini shaker from the bar. She looked up at the Lieutenant, still smiling, shaking the tumbler as if it were to explode at any moment.
"Dalcari? Never heard of them. Local?"
Vespa gave a pair of giggles at her confession. "Well, I'm sure he meant well." it took a moment for her to recompose herself. Herselves. It was really hard to tell which noun to use sometimes. There were times when they seemed distinct, like actual sisters or twins. Then there were those moments when they moved in sync. Something would attract both form's attention. Something would captivate her as a whole, and it spread across both bodies.
"I've always enjoyed figuring things out, but I was never really handy enough to excel at engineering. Hell, I had trouble assembling model kits. Imagine that, a..."
"... scientist who couldn't put together a TC Sixty Three Jaunter." she said, like that was the worst thing in space. "Though, back home we have all the time in the world..."
"... to chase our goals. Our physical labor and most of our day to day tasks are handled by drones, so rather than cook, or clean, or drive... we can devote ourselves..."
"... to chase our dreams and excel at our aspirations." she explained with a giggle. "So it didn't matter that I couldn't put things together. I could educate myself and be the scientist..."
"... I want to be." though then the shaking martini shaker drew her attention. This Ferengi was more than a businesswoman, she was a showperson. She knew how to keep her audience entertained while preparing an order. Vespa just hoped that when this place got busy she didn't lose that personal touch.
"Local? Well, Delta Quadrant as you measure it. Sector thirty six, variance four, coordinate zero as we measure. I... don't know how that translates to your charts..."
"... off the top of my head. I'd say next time we're in my neck of the woods I'll get you some drones to help around the lounge but they're kinda controlled tech."
"And they're tied to a dependent system."
"And the Federation is also really iffy on semi-autonomous mechanical platforms that learn and adapt. Something about 'oh no, not another one' or something." she paused, then shook her head, "Like we don't know what the Borg are." said the other twin, with a smirk.
"With everything on this ship in already in a shambles, I'd bet they wouldn't notice a few drones serving the drinks around here," Danaea jested.
She certainly had humour this one, Danaea mused to herself as she prepared the final ingredient; a raw scampi fish head set at the corner of each glass. Eyeing her handiwork for a moment, she slid the two glasses towards the Lieutenant.
"Danaea, by the way."
"Vespa Kale." One of the forms spoke as both forms reached for their respective drinks. "And with the state this ship is in currently, I doubt they'd notice a parade." the pair giggled at her own joke. Then she took a sip. Well each took a sip.
Her ears perked, her whole posture perked up. Each tail twitched, comically in the same motion and twitch.
"Ooooo, that's really good." the second form spoke up.
Danaea raised an eyebrow - Martini a la scampi usually invoked retching at the first sip. Not only did this one have humour, she had balls of tritanium!
She studied the Dalcari as she (or they) took fervant sips from their glasses. Even Danaea had to admit that the Lieutenant was something of a stunner; soft, white fur with a sleek undercoat. Like some majestic great cat she'd seen in a holovid about wildlife living in tundra. She sensed an overriding curiosity in those cat-like eyes. It was enticing yet somehow still managed to be adorable.
"Look, as you're technically classing yourself as one sentient being, I can't knowingly charge you for two." Danaea chirped.
"But you gotta promise me that tomorrow, once the kitchen is in working order, you'll come on down for my special soup - only three credits per serving. And as a gesture of good will, I'll even set up a tab for today, and you can pay at the end of the week. I know you Fed types don't carry latinum as standard."
Danaea's 'gesture of good will' was in fact a tried and tested marketing practise; entice them with a seemingly beneficial deal, get them hooked and leech their finances continuously. While she certainly liked the Lieutenant already, she was not about to let a potentially regular customer forget about her kitchen.
"Oh, I couldn't." she offered, at least in part to the second drink. "It wouldn't be fair to you to only charge me for one. Though, you offer a good counter." she mentioned, then gave the Ferengi's offer a moment's thought.
On one side, she loved food. And a SPECIAL soup just sounded too good. On the other side, ehhh, Vespa wasn't really that interested in the other side. There was soup.
"I can't say no to the offer of soup, especially a special recipe. You have a promise. The ONLY thing that's going to keep me away from this kitchen tomorrow is..."
"... if this ship somehow overnight transforms into a pristine craft, and the Captain wants to have a tour of Sciences." she paused, "And if THAT happens, then I'll..."
"... recommend he come down and try some soup too." she gave a pair of nods, and then took another sip of that drink. "Is that fish? Oh I love fish."
"Fish indeed Lieutenant. I-"
A sharp bleep emanated from Danaea. Holding a finger in the air in pause, she fumbled around within her robes, retrieving a small metal device. Checking the screen, she frowned.
"I'm afraid I have some .... business to attend to Lieutenant. Duty calls, as you might say it." In truth, she was due to receive a transmission of her latest show; a holonovel featuring a young Klingon forced to choose between his honour and his love of Caitian opera. Danaea had been waiting for the final chapter for many weeks.
"Feel free to stick around here for a while, I'll be in back if you need me!"