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Conversation with an Old Pal

Posted on Tue Aug 30th, 2016 @ 8:18pm by

Mission: Homecoming (Reborn)
Location: Memphis Island
Timeline: Backpost :: March 2393, before 'Faces and Places'

ON

It didn't take long for Nayisa to settle in, not that she had many items with her. She put her small aloe vera plant on the windowsill and a couple Betazoid artifacts that she had picked up years ago were on various surfaces throughout the room.

Sitting at the desk, she turned on the computer and send a call to him. He always wanted to know about her assignments, and often enough they ended up helping each other on missions. He had a secure subspace frequency that they used, but they always double checked just in case. It didn't take long for him to pick up, and when he did she already had her response ready.

Zera had just finished pouring himself another glass of scotch when his conputer chirped, and he walked over to his computer and took a seat. When he saw who it was he set his glass down and answered it.

"Albatross, you green?" Zera's voice came through.

She recognized her callsign immediately. It became a habit between them to not use their real names until they've confirmed the line was secure. Given what happened last time they slipped up, they used it often enough that it almost felt strange not to start a conversation without their confirmation routine. "I'd give it a yellow," she replied, knowing he wouldn't like it but it would have to do. "... but layout is green. You green, Spike?"

The Bajoran frowned at her response, but knew that she was in a secure location nonetheless. She must be calling from a standard computer. "Yep, I'm green. What's the occasion?"

Nayisa straightened in her chair, a small little smile sneaking onto her face. "I transferred. I figured mother hen ought to know." Since the communications incident the Bajoran had been keeping a closer eye on his protege.

"I am not being a mother hen," he replied flatly, crossing his arms.

"Z, you've called me five times in the last four months," Nayi countered, mimicking his movement by crossing her own arms. She was slightly mocking him, knowing that he didn't like it, but it was just playful banter. "Let the baby out of her nest..."

"Hey, I am keeping out for your well being," Zera responded. After the incident with the faulty communications array in her shuttle he admittedly had been keeping tabs on her. It was hard not to; they had known each other for several years, and she was the first student he had, and he put loads of time into training her. He then changed the subject, "So you're not working directly in headquarters anymore? Where are you at?"

"Deep Space Seven," Nayisa answered. The look that he gave her was slight, but she had been around him long enough to know that he wasn't happy about the news. "What is it, Z," she asked with a slight roll of her eyes, playfully admonishing the man for his hesitance.

"They stationed you there to keep an eye on me, didn't they?" Zera questioned, a frown evident on his face and disappointment lacing his words. It was bad enough that SI put him on probation for his refusal to do those ridiculous psychological evaluations, but stationing his friend closer to him to watch over him?? "I don't need a babysitter," he grumbled.

"I'm not here to babysit you," Nayisa shot back, "and they didn't put me here to keep tabs on you. I got transferred to help with an investigation. Funny enough," she gave him a small smile, "you'd know more about this than I do."

"Murder?"

Nayisa gave a hint of a nod. "Sneeze." The word was partially an inside joke, and partially one of their code phrases. When she was under Zera's wing during her training, their overseer was some pencil pusher with obvious allergies. They nicknamed the Admiral 'Mister Sneeze,' and eventually coined the term to refer to any higher up in general.

Zera raised an eyebrow. "Be careful then. If they could dance that Tango..."

"Yeah, yeah, I remember your lessons, Z," the Betazoid responded with a wave of her hand. "Besides, I was trained by the best."

"Yeah, sucking up will get you nowhere," the Bajoran male quipped, giving a hint of a smile. It wasn't uncommon for them to use banter in their conversations, the only exception being when a serious matter came up.

Nayisa then gave him a full grin. "Who said I'm sucking up?" She then took a moment to really look over her Bajoran friend. "Z... did you lose your promotion? When I saw the press report you were a full Lieutenant... and you look exhausted."

The smile on Zera's face dropped away, the usual frown crossing his features. "I got demoted. After the press release the Admiral took me up to his office and I got my ass chewed out for not following orders. I was on probation for three months, remember? Weren't you working in headquarters at the time?"

"I remember that," the white-haired woman nodded, her lower lip sticking out into a slight frown. "... but I didn't hear about the demotion, despite the usual ear traffic. I must have been out running an errand at the time." She then gave him a mildly stern look and added, "please don't tell me you've been losing sleep over this case. It's finished, you closed it yourself."

"I know," Zera quipped, shaking his head as he chuckled a little. "Who's the mother hen now?" He brought a glass into view and took a long sip of the amber colored liquid in it. It was stronger than he was used to and grimaced a little as the liquid rolled down his throat.

"I mean it, Z," Nayisa flatly stated, watching him drink his scotch. She could never get used to the taste of it, or really any of the harder stuff her Bajoran friend drank. "If SI find out that you're still investigating the case-"

"I'm not," Leyar interrupted, "...don't get your panties in a bunch, I said I would drop it and I did. Doesn't mean that I agree with their decision. But it's a hell of a lot harder to get alcohol behind bars, so..." He waved his cup in front of the computer a little before reaching for the bottle off screen to refill.

"I know one of the reasons why you drink is because you aren't letting something go," Nayisa insisted, setting her jaw. Sometimes it was hard to get things out of her Bajoran friend, but then again he was trained to keep secrets. Both of them were. There were days, however, when she felt like she trusted him more than he trusted her. "Please, Lee, tell me what's going on. You know you can trust me with things... I mean, you trusted me with your secret, it honestly can't be worse than that."

It was then that Zera began to grow distant. It was subtle; the coldness in his eyes, the slight grinding of his teeth, and the tiniest weight shift in his chair. "I drink because I'm a dedicated alcoholic, and what's on my mind you can't help with. Like you said, I closed the matter... and if SI hears that I'm not over it and I'm investigating it on my own, then I might as well go hand myself in. Now with you stationed so conveniently close-"

"I'm not spying on you, Z," Nayisa grumbled, crossing her arms.

"-it's like SI is breathing down my neck and-" He stopped when his computer beeped, and he looked at the incoming message. His lips mouthed the words before he turned to address Nayisa again. "I hate to cut this short, but I got a message here that I can't ignore. But hey," He gave her a small smile, "I'm proud of you, alright? Congrats on your new posting, and if you need help with anything let me know and I'll see what I can do."

She was thankful that she was somewhat able to read lips, and as he read the message Nayisa focused on his mouth and picked out 'Thunderbird' and 'alive.' Jeez, he was a fast reader. When he talked to her again, she blinked and looked up at him, giving a small smile in return. "Thanks, Spike. Talk to ya later." She didn't wait for him to say his goodbyes as she touched a button on the computer, which ended the call and showed the standard computer screensaver of the Starfleet insignia over a black backdrop. Who was alive, and what did the Thunderbird have to do with it?

The Betazoid woman shook her head. She had more pressing matters to attend to. Turning to look at the array of PaDDs scattered across the desk, Nayisa sighed. "A drink might actually not be a bad idea..."

When Nayisa logged out, the Bajoran reread the message from his colleague on the Thunderbird to be sure before shutting his computer and standing. On his way out the door he grabbed his uniform jacket, sliding it on as the doors shut behind him.

OFF

 

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