The Bar, 91119-2238

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    Matthew Vaj

    Commander Vaj steps into the bar on Ashia Command station for the first time. He glances around, noting the various officers in the room as he goes to the bar, where the barkeep waves and greets him.

    “Welcome to Ashia Command, Commander! The name’s Alphonse, what can I get for you?” the barkeep asks.

    Thank you, Alphnose, I’ll have a Hjocoa, extra caffeine.

    “Hjocoa? We don’t get that stuff very often, it’s a bit of trip to Hjorden. I don’t have any in stock at the moment,” Alphonse says with pained look. “Could I interest you in a local tea, perhaps? The Na’Ric tea is my recommendation for newcomers.”

    Vaj sighs, rubs his forehead, and mentally curses Mundy for his Hjocoa addiction.

    Sure, I’ll give it a try.

    He takes the tea and makes his way to an empty table, where he continues reading through the particularly large number of intelligence reports generated recently.


    Lieutenant Xansta looks in through the doorway and spots Commander Vaj. He hesitates, then heads over to the table where Vaj is sitting.

    Mind if I join you?

    Commander Vaj looks up in annoyance from his ONI brief, recognizes Lieutenant Xansta with some surprise and gestures to the chair across the table before returning to reading. Xansta looks at Vaj’s reading material with some familiarity. He obviously wants to talk about something, but does not want to interrupt Vaj’s concentration. He’s almost ready to speak up when the barmaid arrives.

    “What’ll you have?” she asks in an accent Xansta can’t quite place.

    Xansta looks at the barmaid dressed in a TSN uniform. He’s about to say something about the inappropriateness of wearing the uniform while working in a bar when he realizes it’s only a costume. Then he recalls that this bar caters to the locals enamored of the mystique surrounding the TSN.

    Pointing at Vaj, I’ll have what he’s having

    Xansta watches in distracted admiration as the barmaid heads back to the bar. He turns back in time to catch Vaj’s warning look. He can’t tell if it’s regarding the barmaid or the implicit interruption of his reading. Taking advantage of the ambiguity, Xansta taps one of the documents.

    Did you get to the part about the race code named “Ingratus?”

    Matthew Vaj

    Vaj looks up again, sets down his datapad, and stretches while shaking his head.

    I read the summary, but haven’t gotten to the detailed report yet.

    He takes a drink and pulls up the report.

    Let’s see… reptilian, from a low gravity world, carnivores. Four eyes, that’s a new one for me. A few different types of ships, probably not much of a threat to us. Significant cultural diversity, I’m sure Mundy is having fun going through those records.

    Vaj stops and takes another drink, then his datapad beeps. He glances at the notification and starts

    I completely forgot, I’ve got a meeting in ten minutes. We’ll chat later about the Ingratus. See you, Xansta!

    Vaj gets up and quickly leaves the bar.

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