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[2377] Whiskey Neat

[ Cadet Valyn Amarik ] Joe’s Bar | Near Starfleet Academy | San Fransisco | Earth ] Attn: @uytrereee
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It was a busy Friday night in San Francisco. Academy Graduation was in a few weeks, Cadet assignments were slowly starting to trickle through the graduating class, and a lot of them were out celebrating. Such was the case for Valyn. That morning, she’d received word of her assignment to the USS Enterprise-E. It was a posting that most cadets would absolutely kill for, herself included. So what better way to celebrate than to find a bar with some good music, and drink as much of it as her Romulan liver could tolerate. She was wearing some dark jeans with a white tank top and a leather jacket with some combat boots. She’d ditched the uniform.

It was late, but Cadets were still coming and going. The Romulan woman was standing at the bar, waving down the bartender. Her hair was about shoulder-length and moved with ease around her. “What was this again?” The woman spoke, in a strange accent for an alien. She spoke fluent English, but spoke it with an Alabama accent.

“Bourbon.” The bartender offered in response, with a laugh from across the bar. She gave him two fingers in response.

“One more of those and a shot of Andorian Whiskey.” She turned to lean against the bar watching a few of her classmates go by. “Have a good night, Edwards.” She gave him a nod and crossed her arms before knocking back the shot of bourbon that was delivered, leaving the Andorian Whiskey for a moment. She let her feet carry her over towards the jukebox, an old antique and browsed through the songs. All of them were newer music that had been adapted to the device. Finally she found what she wanted and selected it, inserting the coin that sat on top of the Jukebox for all to use when they wanted to select a song. Once inserted, she selected the song, and the coin came out a slot at the bottom. She placed the coin back on the top where she’d found it.

The music was fast to start playing through the bar. She grabbed her drink, tossed it back and raised the cup to the Bartender. “Thanks, Joe!” She gave him a smile as she shouted to him, his holographic matrix stuttering a little as the volume picked up. “More of the Andorian, yea?” She pointed to her empty glasses and moved towards the part of the bar that was filled with Cadets. All either mingling or dancing, she was there to do some dancing. Her time at the Academy had done absolute wonders for her. Never before her time in the Federation would she have spent free time doing...that. Hell she didn’t even make use of free time until some fellow Cadets had shown her the way. The only downside was, she was older than most of them. Significantly so. 

She danced through the song, certainly no champion at it. She didn’t care though, she was just enjoying herself and celebrating her posting. She stopped to talk to a few of her classmates before she moved back to the bar, partially breathless from drink and dancing before she knocked back the shot. “Can I have water?” She asked Joe, pointing to the shot glass as well as she pulled the little bowl of bar snacks her way, tossing a handful of pretzels and peanuts into her mouth. Joe’s bar was a nice place, but it wasn’t one of the super high end places right off of Academy Campus. It was a bit of a walk into the city, and more of a hole in the wall, privately owned place than most liked, but it had gained a reputation as a favorite spot among her class in particular. Joe took good care of them. They’d still yet to figure out who actually owned the place, though they’d all taken bets. Valyn had a wager that it was ‘the regular’, a gregarious Xindi-Primate who was almost always sitting at the end of the bar sipping on Cardassian Kanar, who’s name was Loque.

Re: [2377] Whiskey Neat

Reply #1
[ Lt. Junior Grade Frank Arnold | Joe's Bar | San Francisco | Earth | ] Attn: @BipSpoon
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It had been a very busy month for Frank. Busy indeed, they'd come into space-dock with the Exeter. Waiting there for the crew were fresh replacement officers, the slew of those joining or leaving the ship's complement, as well as orders, medals, and promotions. For Frank it had been a promotion from Ensign, and after four years of service in Starfleet, his own team to lead. Structural Systems aboard the Exeter when it left for its next mission.

This change in billet had come with three weeks of liberty. Where else was Frank to go but first to the American Southwest to see his father, and second to San Francisco to take his father for treatment. He'd put the old man on a return trip to Mesa, Arizona earlier in the day. Such it was that ten days after landing on Earth after two and a half years in space, Frank had wandered his way back towards the Academy, and into Joe's bar that evening. In four days he'd leave for a short leisure trip to Scotland, and in a week's time he'd be embarked once more.

It struck Frank he was appropriately dressed in a pair of jeans, black tee shirt, and a patched up service overcoat with a dirty USS Exeter Engineering patch over the breast. He'd chose to leave the uniform at home rather than drink at an officer's bar, but Frank found the jacket comforting with its patches and Lithium Grease stains, with the hyper-spanner nestled within the inside breast pocket. It appeared most of the clientele tonight were cadets from the academy, based on their age and mannerisms, and the occasional Academy jacket or Hoodie., Likely they were winding down their year in the few weeks before graduation.

But they did not so much catch his eye, as the bar did. The stiff stuff was far preferable to the synthehol served aboard Starfleet Vessels. Earthbound, a proper drink was fair game. He'd wandered his way back here, just following his feet as he trudged towards his hotel, like as not because it was a familiar haunt when he was a cadet a little over a decade ago.

He slid up to the bar a few moments before Valyn asked for water, she'd not caught his eye at that moment. He studied a menu, and offered lightly to the bartender, "A whiskey please, preferably scottish if you've got it. Neat please." He was nothing if not polite as he shed his jacket in the warm interior of the bar, hung upon the back of a chair, revealing the shirt underneath, markedly appropriate for the temperate San Francisco weather.

A blonde woman, a blonde romulan, a blonde romulan cadet? A blonde Romulan approached the bar while he was waiting for his drink, and ordered another Bourbon, and a shot of Andorian whiskey. Except what was strange was, she didn't sound like a Romulan. She must have learned English from a native speaker, rather than a Romulan tutor, Frank surmised, to have acquired an accent.

It was this that caused him to chuckle a moment after Valyn took a mouthful of bar snacks, and turned to her with a plainly offered, "Those are some stiff drinks. You must have had a good language tutor. Earth native? Your tutor." He raised a brow, and looked her over, "I learned off world, so my speaking mannerisms are a bit mish mashed sometimes. The guys I learned from as a kid, most hadn't been to earth in decades." He paused, realizing he'd just babbled out a random explanation to a stranger.

"Sorry that's a roundabout way of saying I like your accent, it's disarming." He took a pause afterwards, and was silently deciding if she was here with Starfleet, or something else, when he motioned to the stool next, "If you're done dancing. I'd have a drink with a disarming Romulan." Either way he settled into his stool, picking up the glass that was eventually poured for him, and having a sip.

If she accepted, he'd offer after a moment or two, "I'm Frank, by the way."



Re: [2377] Whiskey Neat

Reply #2
[ Cadet Valyn Amarik | Joe’s Bar | Near Starfleet Academy | San Fransisco | Earth ] Attn: @uytrereee
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Valyn let her eyes follow what was probably one of the only other ‘older’ officers in the bar. If he was indeed an officer, but she was hardly used to seeing anyone but Starfleet in Joes. “Oh yea. Alabama born and bred. I learned back during the war.” She thought about Ben for a moment and let out a chortle, trying to think of him as anything but that. She just shook her head. “Off world? Starship or...colony?” She had little experience with placing exact human accents. She could stick the big ones without a problem. New York. England. Ireland. Southern US. Mexico. The specific mish-mash ones that off-worlders procured? She was at a total loss.

“Scottish Whiskey, huh?” She looked at his glass and looked to the holographic bartender, “Get me one too.” She smiled at him, “A few years on Earth and I’m still trying to work my way through the impressive catalogue of intoxicants y’all have built up.” She laughed and just shook her head again. “Probably not something I should be admitting as a Senior academy Cadet but…” She shrugged, “My people are known for Romulan Ale and Kali-fal. Not that I’m complaining but, humans got us beat on that one.” She grinned at him.

“I’ll take that as a compliment.” She slid her drinks down the bar a bit and took the stool next to him. She gave a wave to another leaving cadet and then turned her attention back to Frank. “Nice to finally see someone closer to my age around here. How long has this place been around?” She finished off her drink right as the Scottish Whiskey was delivered and she took a sip of it. “Not bad. I'm a big fan of bourbon though. A good martini is still my favorite human indulgence though.” She lifted the cup to him before she set it down.

“Valyn.” She offered her hand to him. Her hand was by no means dainty or anything of the sort. If he took her hand, she’d give it a firm grip. Probably stronger than she actually intended to. “Valyn Amarik. Cadet.” She emphasized the final ‘t’ of the word cadet. “A lot of us started getting our assignments so we came out to celebrate.” She motioned over the crowd of people who were mostly quite a bit younger than she was. Two of them had clearly had more to drink than they should have and Valyn gave a scoff. “As you can tell.” She took another swallow of the whiskey and made herself a little bit more comfortable.

“What about you anyhow, what brings you around this place?” She set the drink down and took another bite out of the bowl full of bar snacks as she studied the man. Her eyes went to the pocket that contained the spanner, then to the dirty patch, and then to his face. “My guess is...shore leave?” She motioned to the jacket and the patch.

Re: [2377] Whiskey Neat

Reply #3
[ Lieutenant Frank Arnold | Joe's Bar | San Francisco | Earth ] Attn: @BipSpoon
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Frank took a slow sip of his glass, washing it around in his mouth just for a moment. It was smooth, peaty, and so he quickly inquired with the bartender about the name. He gave a gentle smile, it was an Isle of Jura 16. He gave an approving nod, and took another sip, before returning his attention to Valyn.

He offered lightly, "Synthetic stuff, never compares to the real thing. Lacks the character I think." To her question he offered, "Starship." He rolled his shoulders, "Private owned, not a Starfleet vessel." He chuckled, "I'm a space brat, didn't step planet-side that often until I joined the Academy." He picked up his glass and swirled the amber liquid as she remarked that humans had very impressive intoxicants, and he laughed gently.

"It's because we're not meant to have easy lives. When most of recorded history you've been scraping in the dirt to live, you find some excellent ways of coping." He took another sip, "Delicious coping." He nodded to her remark, "Bourbon is a respectable choice. Can't say I enjoy a martini if I'm being honest. Vodka doesn't do it for me." He looked around the bar then and shrugged, "Oh please, I don't trust an officer that doesn't drink." He laughed, "But this place? Joe's, well it was here before me, and I know that the Chief aboard the Exeter has had many nights spent here, so, needless to say I think it's just an Academy staple." He chuckled gently at that, and then would set his first empty glass down, motioning for a refill.

"It was meant to be a compliment for sure." He would feel the strong grip, and gave a slow smile, most of the time he was crushing the other hand, this one actually didn't feel like he would break her hand. At her introduction, he offered, "Frank Arnold, Lieutenant Junior Grade, USS Exeter." He gave a slow raise of the brow, "Congratulations on making it. Where'd you get assigned?" He looked around and then offered, "You're definitely older than your classmates." He laughed softly.

At her question he offered, "Exeter came to dock, with my promotion I got a new billet, and some shore leave yeah. Had to bring my dad here for lung treatments, and well I only know the popular academy spots, so I ended up here tonight. In a few days I'm actually leaving for a little trip to Scotland, and then back to post in about a week." He looked to the jacket and the patch, and laughed softly slipping his jacket off, "I must look like a cornball wearing this, a ship jacket to a cadets bar. Habit I guess." He shrugged, picking up his glass for another sip.

He remarked, "Not a lot of Romulans join Starfleet, it's usually not the top pick anyway. So what brings you to Starfleet?"

Re: [2377] Whiskey Neat

Reply #4
[ Cadet Valyn Amarik | Joe’s Bar | San Francisco ] Attn: @uytrereee
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Valyn gave a laugh that was almost something of a mocking scoff when it came to synthetic alcohol, “It also lacks the alcohol.” She rolled her eyes and pursed her lips. She picked up her glass and started to run one finger around the rim of it, a sort of fidget. “How exactly does private Starship ownership even work on Earth? You don’t have money here so do you just...sign up to get one? Or do you have to buy one off world, I mean the whole galaxy ain’t a picture perfect paradise like this...if you do, how do you get the scratch to do that?” It had really been a burning question for a while and now she finally had the chance to ask. “I’ve spent as much time planetside as in the stars. Been all over the place.”

“A good martini hits the spot. You probably haven’t been drinking good ones.” She waved the hologram over, before knocking back the rest of her whiskey. Clearly the Romulan could hold her liquor. “Martini please.” She didn’t order one for Frank though. She turned her gaze to look around the place. They certainly didn’t have anything like this on Romulus. At least, not for her class and what she wanted to do. She was expected to focus. Her attention was to be directed at perfection, and nothing else. “It’s a nice place. I actually used to study over there.” She pointed to a secluded booth at the back. “On less...excited nights.” She grinned and raised her brows before laughing and taking the drink that was delivered in a stemmed glass.

“Nice to meet you. Exeter, huh?” She didn’t know too terribly much about the ship. But did give the badge a quick glance again to see what all she could gather from it. "Tell me about her?" She requested. Clearly he was proud of his ship given how he was displaying the jacket. At least, she assumed as much.

“Thanks. I got the Enterprise.” She smirked, knowing full well she had a bit of bragging rights in that regard. First posting as a Romulan in Starfleet, and she got put on the flagship? That was one hell of a posting. Hence why she was out celebrating. “Busted my ass to get aboard too. Security officer.” She clarified what exactly she’d be doing aboard. When it came to her age though she scoffed, “That I am, this isn’t my first time around the block...so to speak.” She had plenty of experience outside of Starfleet, and she knew it would do her good in her career among the humans. Out of the corner of her eye she saw a Nausican enter the bar and her nose wrinkled a bit, her sensitive nostrils immediately assaulted by an unwelcome smell.

She didn’t pry about the lung treatments. It wasn’t her business, where other humans might have inquired, it wasn’t in a Romulans nature to press too hard about such things. “Yea Starfleet wasn’t my first...job.” She didn’t elaborate and didn’t intend to. “Joined up after the War.” She clarified. “Scotland?” She raised a brow. She took a swallow from the martini and took one of the olives into her mouth before speaking back up, “Anything special in Scotland or just some R&R?” She let her head fall to the side, some of her blonde hair slipping from its usual spot tucked behind her ear. She hadn’t done as much travel as she’d have liked to, she’d done a bit though.

“I mean…” She gave a little shrug about the jacket. She too took another drink, almost in tandem with him. “No, there aren’t a lot of Romulans. I uh-. A friend of mine from the war introduced me to the idea. Same on who taught me English.” It wasn’t the whole truth but the entire truth wasn’t one she was willing to share, nor one that she was probably authorized to share by Anderson anyways. “So do you only know Academy bars or is there anywhere else good in San Fransisco?” She herself hadn’t been too far away from campus but she figured maybe he might’ve been.

Re: [2377] Whiskey Neat

Reply #5
[ Lieutenant JG Frank Arnold | Joe's Bar | San Francisco | Earth ] Attn: @BipSpoon

Frank gave a little chuckle of his own, offering lightly, "Well precisely, that was my point. You take out the very thing that makes a spirit, a spirit. And that's, the spirit." He chuckled again, hoping that the english wordplay wasn't lost on a non-native speaker. Then again, she spoke like a native, more than he did, so no doubt she got his point.

At her question, he gave a little grunt, and offered, "Well my da', he had a long standing contract with both the Federation, and the Cardassian Union. So, that left plenty of places to procure a ship. But actually his dad bought the Colliery. He got it through the Federation lease program, back in the mid to late twenty two hundreds." He shrugged, "He had to promise them a commensurate sum of Deuterium, equivalent to the value of the ship in Federation Trade Credits." He chuckled, "Now rumor has it grandad skimming off the top to pay the difference, and selling it to the Cardies, well that's how he actually paid it off." He smirked, "He was a crazy old rogue."

He shook his head at the point about a martini, "Never liked cocktail olives or onions that much if I'm being honest. If you have to dress it up too much to drink it, then just drink a juice." He looked to where she indicated she studied, and he pointed to another booth, "My roommate and I nearly cried our eyes out right over there during our first phase engineering sim tests." He laughed gently, "Only because we got drunk instead of studying." He smirked, and just chuckled, "Probably why I got the Cortez and you got the Enterprise." He laughed at that, but had to quickly put, "Someone had to be the best ship in the fleet once the Cortez was lost." He winked at her.

He nodded lowly, "Exeter indeed. I got transferred there not too long ago. I actually just got promoted believe it or not to Lead Structural Systems Engineer." He cracked his fingers playfully boasting, "I have my eye on Damage Control Chief here in short order." He grinned, clearly proud of himself in an otherwise easy-going exchange. "But the Enterprise, that's a hell of a posting for a cadet, congratulations are in order." He nodded slowly.

As she said this wasn't her first time around the block, he offered, "Yeah I reckoned not. Where'd you fight in the Dominion War? I was with the Cortez like I said, with the Second Fleet." He rolled his shoulders, "She was a fine vessel." He left it at that, he knew a lot of people aboard her when she went missing. By all rights, he should have been aboard her when she did. "I assume you came in with the Romulans in '74?" He raised a brow, "Did a lot of work alongside your lot in the end days. Won't hear me admit it twice, but you saved our bacon there in the middle." He gave her a playful punch to the arm, before ordering another drink.

"Scotland's highlands are just the most beautiful piece of Earth, actually perhaps the galaxy." He nodded slowly, "And they brew more whisky than you or I can drink." He grinned gently, "Then again your teacher likely favored bourbon." He heard her last question, and then he remembered precisely why he was wearing his heavy service over-jacket, and jeans. He'd ridden here on his bike, since he had it here home on leave. He gave a slow shrug, and offered, "Within San Francisco? Sure. But if you really want the best drinks, you want to buzz south half an hour on the old Cali-One, and go to the Whistlin' Tribble." He gave a slow grin, "Then again seeing the Pacific Coast Highway alone, is an evening in itself. I had plans to take a little jaunt that way after these two drinks."


Re: [2377] Whiskey Neat

Reply #6
[ Valyn Amarik | Joe's Bar | San Francisco | Earth ] Attn: @uytrereee
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Valyn gave him a grin, head dipping to one side, teeth showing slightly. He made a fair point.

She seemed entirely intrigued with the conversation right up until the word ‘Cardassian’ spilled from his lips. It was evident she had a bit of a distaste for them. The Dominion War was still fresh in her mind and while most of her hatred was still reserved strictly for the Jem’hadar and their founders she still held strong resentment for a race that would so willingly turn on their own quadrant in return for the promise of some spare systems and expansion, yet another reason she was so against her own peoples siding with them before they eventually sided with the Federation and the Klingons. She had never been a supporter of their alliance.

“Has the tech just been progressively updated or is it still flying at mid to late twenty two hundreds warp speeds?” She was seemingly genuinely curious, once she had moved past the idea that his father was tight with the Cardassians. Then he dropped the tidbit about selling goods to the Cardassians in skimmed goods too and she brought her drink to her lips. That time, she covered her disapproval a little bit better. Years of undercover experience came in handy in that situation.

“I like the olives mostly.” She took another sip and narrowed her eyes at him, “There ain’t nothin’ dressed up about a good old fashioned martini, it’s a classic. As classic as Romulan Ale.” She smiled at him before she reached over the bar, picked up a cherry, and plopped it into her mouth. She looked back at the corner and thought back to a few memories, “I cried my eyes out, then drank myself blind, then made out with some Trill...definitely wasn’t a Cadet either, right after my first Starfleet weapons handling exam. Y’all handle things a lot differently than we used to.” She shrugged, “So it wasn’t always just studying.” She had to admit to him, “I have to admit, I was surprised I got the Enterprise. Thought for sure I’d get sent off to fuck knows where.” Being a Romulan and all, instead...she got the Flagship. She raised her glass to him, and gave him an appreciative smile.

When the war came up her face fell a little bit. The war was rough for her. Killing wasn’t a new thing to her, and killing Jem’hadar had been nothing different. Killing came easily for Valyn as horrible as it was to admit to herself, she was raised to do it. “All over the place, really. Mostly at the front, though. Ground troops. I served with some Reman Shock troops.” That was not the full story. She was a handler. She couldn’t exactly say as much quite so easily in a bar full of humans, nor did she particularly want to. Either way, she’d made the point clear that she’d seen quite a lot of action. She raised her glass to Frank again, a silent toast to the good ones lost in the war, though for her, that list was very few. “I did. Spent every minute I could fighting to get the Quadrant back. Ended up in a P.O.W. camp though and after that, I came here.” It was obvious though she didn’t want to elaborate on those particular circumstances. They were still a bit raw, and in a way, classified. “Glad we could help out.” She ordered another as the bartender came over to get him another as well.

“You should see the coastal region of Romulus. It’s wonderful. She closed her eyes and imagined it.” She could almost feel the sea-breeze whipping across her face, the sandstorms occasionally ripping up the beaches. The heat beating down on the sands. Her eyes opened and she gave a nod, “Romulus and Earth have similar climates actually.” She snorted, “Oh yes, he does love a good bourbon.” The name of that bar made her raise a brow, “With a name like that I’d worry for my health walking in the door.” It even sounded like a dive. “Mind taking me along?” She dipped her head to the side and took another good swallow of her Martini.

Re: [2377] Whiskey Neat

Reply #7
[Lieutenant JG Frank Arnold | Outside Joe's Bar | San Francisco | Earth ] Attn: @BipSpoon

Frank saw her grin, she had a nice grin, and it caught his eye. He'd never been much of a xenophile, always having an eye for the human ladies, but Valyn, she had sharp but inviting features that he couldn't help but notice when she did little things, like smile.

He smiled in return, and would continue the conversation until he saw her face change at the mention of Cardassians, "See, it actually gets better. Dad wasn't actually working for the Cardassians...well, okay he was in a sense. He was really making the concession of trading stuff, in order to gather tenable information for Starfleet. That's half of how he got the Colliery refit at all. Otherwise yeah, it would have been cruising at the speed of a Bolian." He chuckled softly, "By the time of the first troubles, he'd skimmed enough information and product to get out of the intelligence game, settle down with my mom, take some time to himself." He chuckled gently, "But that didn't work out." He shrugged, "That's life I s'pose." He finished his second drink, and waved off the bartender for a possible third.

He gave an emphatic nod, "Olives are the right amount bitter, with the right amount savory, and if they have that pimiento core, mmmm." He rubbed his tummy, "We're going to have to stop at this burrito place on the way too, because if we don't I'll end up eating your arm." He smirked, and then would raise his brow at her, "No offense, I wouldn't have figured it'd be weapons handling that got you. Aren't Romulans born brandishing a disruptor?" He smirked and took a deadpan expression, "I will warn you this has no stun setting." He gave a slow nod, referencing her saying they did things differently, "Yeah, a lot less vaporizations, a lot more talking about action instead of doing." He rolled his eyes, "Bureaucracy in Starfleet sometimes. Then again I haven't been at it that long, my knowledge is about thiiiiis wide." He put false blinders around his eyes with his hands to emphasize his point. "That's what I like about DC, uh, damage control, there's not exactly a lot of time for discussions."

He nodded at her war story, it wasn't a pleasant time for anyone. He shook his head slowly, "I can see why you wanted a change after all that." He rolled his shoulders, "I was fortunate enough to be off the Cortez by the time she disappeared, otherwise we'd not be having this enlightened conversation at all." He saw she ordered him another drink, and he politely put his hand over his glass, looking at the Romulan, "Driving, with a passenger at that." He smiled, "We'll drink when we get going."

He looked to the tender at her request, and offered politely, "Bottle of whiskey for the road, and be a doll, replicate my friend here a helmet." He would grunt at her, "Be a real shame if we splattered four years of academy training on the road during graduation weekend eh?" He chuckled gently, and would listen to her speak about Romulus, "Sounds nice, maybe I can go there one day, we'll see. I doubt Starfleet liberty quite extends that far." He nodded.

At her balk about her health, he shook his head, "Don't worry, you're with me, I'm a regular." He laughed, "Well, I was."

Once she took her helmet, he'd slowly lead her out to his motorbike, a hydrogen fueled, 3 cylinder Triumph, affectionately nicknamed the 'Blether' among enthusiasts, for its strange sound. He motioned to her triumphant, picking up his helmet off of the gas tank, and saying, "She's not the fastest, but boy is she pretty. Only does about two hundred forty kph, but she's stylish. They don't make this model anymore, they stopped with the spokes in the wheels about eighty years ago, and the leather is genuine cu...." He looked at her face, and then realized not everyone had the same passion as him, "You don't really care."

He slid into the seat, and then slapped the passengers seat above him, "You're going to have to get real cozy, and hold on tight."


Re: [2377] Whiskey Neat

Reply #8
[ Valyn Amarik | Outside Joe’s Bar | San Francisco | Earth ] Attn: @uytrereee
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Despite a clear dislike for the Cardassians, she did show some genuine interest in his father’s clandestine activities. “The Obsidian Order didn’t have a problem with that?” She raised a curious eyebrow at him. As someone who’d been through her fair share of information on the Obsidian Order, and even, though never confirmed, a few possible run-ins, she very much doubted that Cardassian Intelligence would let that slide. “Unless he was a damn good spy and never got caught.” She skewered another olive with a small toothpick and popped it into her mouth, lazily.

“Shit never works out the way it does in our head.” She certainly wouldn’t have thought she’d be serving on  the Federation Flagship in her lifetime, yet there she was. “Just gotta roll with the punches.” That was her story, after all. Things went so horribly wrong that she finally saw the light and truth about who she used to work for. The truth about some of the things that she’d done for them. She still had to roll with it.

“A burrito place?” Her stomach gave an approving rumble but she herself decided she’d rather play something of a game with the man. “What if I don’t like burritos?” Her face looked deadpan and serious. She didn’t maintain the look for long though, Romulan agent or not, she couldn’t lie about her love of burritos. “Kidding. I’m not Vulcan. I like good things.” She grinned again before letting out a scoff, “Well it wasn’t like I couldn’t actually handle the weapon. Our weapons just don’t have a stun setting and...well, I might have tried to argue with the professor about why or why not lethal force is or isn’t needed one too many times.” She scratched her head, displacing some of the neat blonde hair she’d put in its place. “So his retribution was by fucking me on the test. Still passed though.” She looked proud, as if by passing alone she was spiting the professor.

“Well I’m no stranger to Bureaucracy.” She rolled her eyes, just thinking about the mess of it that she dealt with in the Tal Shiar. “This sort is just different. Here, everyone plays by the rules mostly.” That had been a much harder lesson for her to learn than Weapons Handling. Here, she wasn’t special. “Fair enough. I guess you like the high octane, high stress environment then?” She could sympathize with that. That was where she thrived.

The war had taken the already sharpened edge of the blade that was Valyn Amarik, and turned her into a razor. She’d fallen into the war, head first and lost herself in the sharper, harder version of herself. A version that had been stripped bare of every protective mechanism she’d ever known. She fought with everything she had, and still in the end, was sold up river. “Yea after all that.” She admitted, eyes filled with the memories of the past for the briefest of moments before she snapped back into the moment. She was a soldier. Soldiers didn’t ponder. “Well, for what it’s worth, I’m glad you’re here, not there.” She worried that it might have come across as a bit cold, but that wasn’t her intention.

Valyn took the helmet from the bartender as he finished replicating it and tucked it under her arm. “Forget the education, these ears on this face, splattered down the highway?” She shook her head, “Tragic. Besides, I think my new Captain would object.” At least she hoped he would. She had never once spoken to the man, but he had one hell of a reputation attached to him. “Hey you never know. Maybe one of these days you’ll be riding a wave on a Romulan Sea.” It was highly unlikely. Too much bad blood ran far too deep between their two peoples. The people of Earth were much more accepting of her kind, than her kind would be of them, she imagined.

She followed him outside, and looked the bike over. She knew a grand total of….nothing about motorcycles. It was cool looking. That was about the extent of her knowledge of the machine. “Only two-” She scoffed and shook her head, “I don’t know much about what you’re talking about, otherwise I would. I do like things that go fast though.” She didn’t need any further coaxing, she climbed onto the back of the bike and used his torso to steady her seating before she did hold tight. She gave him a quick nod to indicate she was ready, and tightened the muscles in her back to prepare for what she assumed would be a very sudden acceleration. Her face was lit with excitement.

Re: [2377] Whiskey Neat

Reply #9
[ Lieutenant Frank Arnold | CA - 1 South] Attn: @BipSpoon 
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Frank saw the eye raise, he was a good storyteller, so he had to know when he'd caught the fish on the hook, and could start to reel. He gave a gentle grin, and would lean back in his chair a little bit, taking a slow sip to polish off his drink. Enough for him, any much more and he'd have to take a sobriety supplement before he could ride, or a nap, and as tired as he was after two days of rushing around the bay, a nap was sounding more likely.

Ultimately his answer wasn't that interesting, "Honestly, i'unno." He gave a soft laugh, "Most of that was done before I was old enough to really get it. I have odd little bits and pieces, stuff I remember, stuff Dad's told me, but I know a tenth of what I'd need to, to honestly answer your question." He shrugged, "And there's just no use asking him now, because he always says..." Frank adopted a gruff old man voice and started to say, "...I spent most my life on that damn freighter, and I don't want to spend my retirement speaking about that damned freighter." He chuckled and mused, "He's just grumpy he has to give up his baby to his brother's kid because his lungs are shot and I'm in Starfleet." Frank didn't mention his being in Starfleet had been what his father has intended, it didn't seem relevant.

He whistled slowly and offered, "Understatement of the millenium I might say." He shrugged, "I figured after my time with research, I'd just end up doing that for the rest of my time. But the Cardies had other ideas, and well the rest is history as they say." He chuckled, "Good thing too because I'd have been fired out of a lab for definite, plus I don't like being groundside all that much." And once they'd put him back on the deck of a starship, he'd never wanted anything else to do with a planet besides smooth tarmac.

He saw her deadpan look, heard her tone, and raised a brow, "Then get a fuckin taco?" He burst into laughter, unable to contain any attempt of a counter-prank, and after a recovered moment he nodded, "Yeah well, Starfleet's not huge on the whole harsh practical realities thing, well not in the academy." He shrugged, "Lot of people haven't ever really been out in real space, away from amenities and structure." By the time they'd gotten through these musings they were climbing onto the back of the motorbike, "Would have thought the Dominion War might have woken a few people up. Glad you passed though"

"What? Romulan bureaucracy is about cheating? I suppose your people are quite deceptive." Another major understatement today. At her analysis he just shook his head, "I just like being around complex machines. Machines that on their surface are very very complicated, but at their core are just collections of simple systems that can be controlled, honed, made precise." He started the bike, turning it over with a satisfying VRRRR from the neutral idled engine as he gave the throttle the slightest twist to bring her to life.

He flipped his visor down, and the helmets would automatically pair with the bike's onboard communication interlink. He cleared his throat, and at her remark about being glad he was here, "Well nice to meet you too Valyn." He smiled, and once he felt her squeeze he dropped the bike into first, and...well he slowly rolled it out of the parking lot.

Once they turned onto the road, he changed his tune however, looking over his shoulder to give her a quick wink, and then with no further adieu he twisted the throttle and let-off the clutch, the back tire giving no noise or obnoxious smoke as they took off. Inertia would push back against his chest, and pull at her back, as they slipped into second, third, reaching triple digits in no more than eight seconds, but Frank stayed hunch in the saddle, saying to Valyn, "Hold on tight. She's usually a bit quicker, but it's usually only me."

A few more seconds the bike gave a momentary respite to the rapid acceleration, and he would guide them through a long sweeping bend, and in a moment they'd be headed towards the bridge out of town, "One more curve and we can really pick it up." The second sweeping bend he'd guide her through would give reveal to a beautiful overlook of the city in the evening, lit by the night lights of thousands of people , buildings, and shuttles. "I don't know about the seas of Romulus but that's pretty gorgeous if you ask me." He nodded slowly and would "Maybe one day soon I will."

With that he offered, "Alright, time to get out of the city." Out of the curve he suddenly began to accelerate, having ridden this route he knew it well, and knew the perfect moment to rise into fifth gear with the gentle roar of the engine, taking off suddenly. In mere moments they would be flying down an open road, with mile markers whizzing past. One more click and the violence of Inertia reached her strongest, sixth gear, 171 miles per hour. Top speed left little time for sightseeing as the miles whipped past, "We're going about two thirty kilometers per hour for reference." The roaring wind outside was deafened out of their helmets, whispering in the background of their conversation, "In about seven miles it gets curvy again, so sit tight." They'd elapse that distance in about eight minutes.

During those eight minutes he'd offer, "Are you looking forward to the Enterprise?" He raised a brow, not that she could see it, "Are you leaving your academy sweetheart heartbroken?" He chuckled gently, "Then again you do get on bikes with strangers, so perhaps you're not the sweetheart type?" It was odd small talk for this breakneck pace down the Cali 1.

Re: [2377] Whiskey Neat

Reply #10
[ Valyn Amarik | CA-1 South ] Attn: @uytrereee
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Valyn let out a small laugh. “Sounds like a typical old freighter captain.” She smirked at him and crossed her arms. “Stubborn to the bone.” She’d learned that one the hard way. A few missions that had been, on paper at least, simple. Get aboard a ship, get to the Captain, get some intel. Get out. Trouble was, most of them would rather have a shit on your boots and die before giving a lick of intel. “Least it stays in the family though?” She wasn’t sure if he was happy that was the case or not, she could never tell with most humans. She’d also never had a traditional family upbringing, Romulan families were anything but traditional by humans means in the first place as it was, hers was particularly turbulent.

“I don’t mind the ground. Really as long as I’m being put to work I’m happy. Starship, Station, planetside, or warzone. I don’t think I’d survive civilian life. It’s far too…” She looked around, trying to get a look at a couple of civilians she’d spotted earlier, though they were few and far between in a Starfleet establishment like they were in, “Peaceful? Content? Not sure if that’s the right word but, I gotta stay busy. I’m not meant for the utopian lifestyle the Federation likes to boast about.” It was probably one of the most honest things to come out of her mouth so far.

“Yea well, look what that could have cost. Can you imagine if the Cardassians or the fuckin’ Dominion had come knockin’ during the war?” She made something almost like a hiss and shook her head. “Something to be said about a prepared population. Not talking about a culture or Warriors like the Klingons, or one of some paranoia…” She motions to her ears, “Middle ground though...middle ground.” She climbed on the back without hesitation, and held tight to him. “You’d think it would but...it takes more than a war to bring about real change in a culture or a mindset. Need’s something deeper.” She spoke from  experience.

“Not cheatin’ if  you win. As for deceptive, where the hell were you in your history class, fuckin’ a brunette in the bathroom?” She almost snorted with the amusement. She didn’t however, openly confirm just how deceptive her people were. That would sort of defeat the purpose, wouldn’t it? After all, she was still a Romulan, she still held on to the values that made her a Romulan. “Machines don’t lie.” She mused in response to what he said before she gripped a bit tighter when the engine roared.

As they took off, she looked down the road. “Already holdin’!” She shouted over the engine, just as the commlink kicked in, probably shouting right into his ear. “Sorry.” She laughed a bit. It was a nice choice of road. It had a nice view, and it definitely gave her a good feel for the speed and handling of the machine, as well as the skill of the man ‘piloting’ the machine. “It is.” She looked over the city. “Maybe one day you will, who knows. I just want to see them again.” There was actually some sadness in her voice. A longing. Part of her was keenly aware that the chances of her ever returning home were slim to none. A larger part of her than she wanted to acknowledge. She forced the thought down and focused on the city before her eyes.

She checked out the speedometer, impressed and offered, “Showing off?” She hadn’t adjusted her grip at all, but she had slid around the back seat a bit. While she was well built, and clearly somewhat muscular, she wasn’t exactly heavy. Lights flashed past as the carried on down the road. As the curves came up ahead however, she did hold on a bit tiger, and squeezed her thighs a bit tighter around the bike, as if it were a wild animal instead of a vehicle.

“I am. I’m a bit flattered, honestly. I didn’t think they’d assign a Romulan to what most people would consider the Flagship. Still a lot of resentment from the past, and a lot of resentment for how late they...how late we joined the war.” And clearly, there was some resentment in her own voice over that as well. Then she let out another amused chuff, “A sweetheart? No. I fuck boys like a whore on tequila.” She flushed. “Don’t get the wrong idea, I’m not some dirty mistress slut or somethin’ just not the uh...sweetheart sort.”

Re: [2377] Whiskey Neat

Reply #11
[ Lt. JG Frank Arnold | CA-1 | California | Earth ] Attn: @BipSpoon 
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Frank had settled into the ride by now, roaring down the highway at speeds really only acceptable for vehicles with an automated guidance. But thankfully at this time, the scenic route was fairly empty, as the business travelers preferred the methods of travel which didn't rely on windy roads along the scenic coasts of California. As the straightaway gave loose, Frank let off the gas, bringing the bike to a more manageable pace to guide it through the curves. At the entrance to the mouth of a low canyon, or a gulch between two hills, he offered lightly into his helmet, "Hold tight."

And with that for the next few minutes, there was no sound from Frank, at least, not from him speaking. Each slight adjustment of his wrist on the throttle, elicited a variable pitch from the motorbike as he cascaded through the gears, up, and down guiding through each curve. As he got more comfortable with his passenger and her extra weight, he'd take each corner faster, until on his last one the bike was leaned over a healthy thirty degrees. "Not showing off, we're test pilots for new improvements. Have to find out what the new stabilizers can do, simulations are only so accurate. After all these ones said seventy three percent chance of streamline success. I think that's insultingly low if you ask me." Whether or not they were riding a death trap remained to be seen.

As they uprighted, Frank let out a little laugh, and said to her through the helmet, wind whipping past them once more as they opened back up into straight road, "Fantastic right? It's beautiful out here. I've still got a little work to do on the compensators, but she's getting there slowly." Once they'd returned to stability, he would answer her point, "Yeah he's stubborn. Took Alveolar Silicoproteinosis to finally get him to retire." He grunted, "Which of course he never shuts up about." He chuckled gently, and would shrug, "Never wanted me to take the freighter though, so I don't know what's got his goat."

He snerked as the jeweled twinkle of a town started to crest over the horizon, as they galloped towards it aback an iron pony. "No, you'd not survive civilian life, I've figured that much out already." He shrugged, "Well maybe on your people's homeworld. It'd be too civilized for you on earth I think." He shrugged, "Yeah it'd have been bad if the Dominion came knocking here." He rolled his shoulders a little, "I think people on earth sometimes forget that the frontier is more dangerous, since they're so shrouded here."

He laughed gently as they approached where he was taking them, "No, it's still cheating." He grunted, "You just get to rebrand it when you're the winner. But make no mistake, if you have to put stipulations in front of it, it's still cheating." At her question he shrugged again, "Or a blonde, or a redhead, or maybe an Orion, who knows. I don't recall the finer notes of contemporary history, but I sure had a lot of fun while taking it. Why, do you know of a classy bathroom nearby?" Whether he was joking or not, was up to Valyn to decide; Frank did fancy himself a lady's man. "I was always a romantic for early human history, the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. When men were men and with a pickaxe and a strong back, you could make a living." Or get exploited by a land baron, or catch tuberculosis and die broke, but Frank skimmed over those bits.

He gave a slow nod and offered her the same note she'd offered him, "Maybe you will. Future's a long time away. We made peace with the Klingons, why not a closer relationship with the Romulans one day. Cold Wars do end eventually." As they approached the town, he slowly started to let off the speed, with the satisfying hum slowly working down as he went through the gears, and inertia let up off of their chests.

"It's a pretty high compliment really. Even if you weren't Romulan a lot of your fellows would still be just as jealous of you. They'd find some other reason to be all scrunchy faced and mad." As he said that, he slowly guided them into a parking lot. The building itself was nothing impressive, a stout adobo with a few outdoor patios and balconies, with all sort of light strung about it, but it was busy. The Whistlin' Tribble was hopping with all sorts of everyman. Other wayward cadets, as well as muscled bikers, dockworkers, party girls, this cornucopia attracted all types, with the best drinks and mexican fusion cuisine on the west coast. That it was nestled at the base of a mesa topped bluff with an amazing view of the sea, accessible only by a short hike, was an added perk.

He would take his helmet off, and then offered, "Well let's get you some tequilas then." He laughed gently, and then touched his helmet, which slowly collapsed into a disc that he stored on its magnetic holster on the bike. "More seriously, I always get a couple drinks here, and then I grab something to eat, and I go up there. Sometimes I sleep on the mesa, sometimes I stumble back down." He shrugged, "This seems like a sleep on the mesa kind of night."

With that he pushed towards the door of the dive, taking the occasional sidestep around another patron, to make his way to the bar that was filled with the sound of smooth jazz and content conversation.

Re: [2377] Whiskey Neat

Reply #12
[ Cadet Valyn Amarik | CA-1 | California | Earth ] Attn: @uytrereee
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There wasn’t a single complaint from Valyn in regards to the speed. She was a close, intimate friend of adrenaline and it’s familiar hug only elicited a broad grin. She watched the road fly past as they rose out of the turn. “What do you think I’ve been doin’?” She called into the comm as she watched light flash by at lightning speed. It reminded her of a warp trail. Not in a million years would she have been able to do this on Romulus. She’d never really had much time for ‘leisure’ in her prior career.

She looked over his shoulder and watched his hands on the controls. The movements were precise. It was like a pilot, flying through the asteroid belt. The twitches from his wrist were met with equal purring from the engine, and it excited her. She didn’t seem phased by the improvement, on the contrary, “What kind of stabilizers?” She was certainly no engineer, but her old job required her to be able to think on her feet if shit hit the fan. “Sims don’t give the same...effect. That’s my only bitch about holodecks, never feels quite right, knowing that if anything bad happens you’re always safe. Adrenaline doesn’t feel the same.”

“It is! Honestly, I haven’t been out this way before. I did some explorin’ around the planet but funnily enough never ventured into the immediate San Francisco area.” She closed her eyes for a moment, letting herself only feel the whipping wind against her, the vibrations of the bike, and the crisp smell of nighttime air. “Old freighter pilots are fearless, and equally prickly.” The ones she had met had all been the same. Grizzled, tough, filled with humor, and their lack of fear of pretty much anything was offputting.

“Sure wouldn’t. I like being busy too much.” She grimaced at the mention of Romulus, “Doubt I’d survive there long either.” That was a double ended statement if there ever was one. She was certainly no Romulan socialite, nor was she even welcome back on the homeworld. “Bad’s an understatement. They wanted nothing short of annihilation from what I saw of them.” She spoke with something that was close to genuine hatred. “I think everyone should take a dive into the stars at some point, maybe not in Starfleet or anything but...just to see that it isn’t all like this. Earth is a utopia, and really...I haven’t seen any others like it. Certainly flawed, like anywhere else but…” She looked around and said nothing else about it, letting her statement hang in the air.

“I might know of a few.” She shot back at him, a bit of flirtation sharp and clear in her voice, but she just smirked to herself. “When men were men and women were housewives?” She teased. “I’m jokin’. I don’t know that much human history if I’m being honest. I know what I was required to learn at the academy, found some music I like that’s older than hell, but that’s about it. Well…” She trailed off for a moment, “I did kinda have a thing for some of the old planes and jets humans would make. Impressive just how much firepower a pre-warp civilization could strap to a flying piece of metal. How much damage they could cause.” Romulus was the same though. They’d fought one another more often than they’d fought outsiders.

As he worked down the gears she thought for a moment in silence, letting only the sound of the engine fill the void. “A cold war that began with a real war. The War with the Federation is still a big thought in the mind of Romulans in general. The propaganda machine was mighty strong back then, it’s hard to break misconception and take some of the blame.” She shared a sliver of her peoples mindset with him, but nothing more. “I hope it ends eventually, it’d be nice to see some more of us on Earth. Maybe even one day in Starfleet.” She hadn’t met many other Romulans, and had to avoid official functions due to her history. When they pulled in, she took a look around. It wasn’t overly impressive at first glance, but it was a great example of an old bar. It looked homey, comfortable, and absolutely packed. “Popular place then?” She rose an already pronounced brow, as if he could even see it and hopped off the bike, taking the helmet off.

She rolled her eyes at him, “Watch yourself flyboy.” She teased and started towards the entrance after stowing her helmet. “On the mesa? What, you got a tent stuffed in that bike somewhere?” She chuckled and walked inside, letting the sound of the music overtake her as she walked right to the bar and took a seat, patting the one next to her. “Just gonna leave me here so you can stare at the stars?” She pointed at a golden looking tequila as the bartended came over. “Leave it.” She pointed to the bottle, “Thanks!”

She turned her attention to Frank and asked, “How exactly did you find this place again?”

Re: [2377] Whiskey Neat

Reply #13
[ Lt. JG Frank Arnold | The Whistlin’ Trimble | South of San Francisco | Earth ] Attn: @Bipspoon
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Frank smiled to himself as he felt very content, and continued their conversation from the back of the iron pony, as they found their way to seats within the bar. Things had moved so fast he hadn’t had a chance to answer everything she’d asked him, so he’d make up for lost time now. He gave a shrug, “For me it’s not about the danger, or anything like that with holodecks. The problem is, deep down we all know it’s a facsimile. Doesn’t smell the same, taste the same, the salt in the air, the gentle cold of rushing wind, the burning fuel at your nose.” Not that motorbikes had burned proper fuel in over a hundred years, clean fusion engines dominated the land vehicle landscape, with carbon fuels a long forgotten item of days past. “Just, if you’re not going to go out and get after it, a holodeck is a pacifier.” 
 
To her point about everyone diving into space, he nodded gently, “The world begins to feel very very small, once you’ve seen the massive marvel that is space.” He mused, “One of the first humans in space said, ‘It suddenly struck me that that tiny pea, pretty and blue, was the Earth. I put up my thumb and shut one eye, and my thumb blotted out the planet Earth. I didn't feel like a giant. I felt very very small’.” He nodded, “I think exposure breeds humility, and respect.” He motioned between them, “I mean look at us, I bet your grandparents, and I know for sure mine, would roll over in their grave if they saw us two fraternizing. But it’s been the highlight of my leave so far to get to know you.”
 
“When men were men, and women were subservient. Sure, you could put it that way I guess. Human history has a long and complicated set of mostly patriarchal structurings, with the odd exception along the way.” He shrugged, “If that’s how you choose to frame it. I never could get into Intro to Social Structures, it’s probably what kept me off the science track. The base theory of things like that…never made sense to me. But I do know if I meet a gal and she wants to stay home and make me omelets, you won’t see me say no.” He chuckled, and then looked over the bar and ordered politely, “Good evening, I’ll have a scotch and ginger, and a pint of lager beer.”
 
He smiled, took out his keys, and handed them to the barkeep, “You know the drill, I’ll get em in the morning” and then he turned back to Valyn to continue their conversation, remarking how she’d told him to be easy flyboy, “Nah, not a pilot, way too much up here for that.” He rapped his knuckles on the side of his skull, and offered another chuckle. He looked around as she asked if he came here a lot, it was an honest place, with far more regular workers, and rough around the edges transporters than the Starfleet centric Joe’s Bar and he nodded, “Yeah, this place is a well kept secret. You’ll see the occasional Starfleet drifter like me, lot of long haul pilots looking for somewhere quiet outside of San Fran. Lotta locals looking for somewhere not full of Federation and Starfleet lifers too.” He shrugged, “Beer’s cold, they do a decent breakfast burrito if you stumble in after a long night or early in the morning, they’ll hold onto your stuff, and they really don’t ever close.”
 
Once she mentioned old planes, he was hooked. “I’ll be honest, I’m a bit of a freak for that old stuff. The robust machinery that mankind has come up with, sadly much of it was used to kill one another, was truly impressive. It took mankind six thousand years to organize, and leave the earthly bounds of gravity, and then within sixty years we’d reached out and touched another celestial body.” He was speaking about the moon of course. He raised a brow, “Got a favorite plane? I always liked the ones that had the shiny aluminium skin” He stroked his beard, and thinking about planes spurred another idea in his head, which he then offered, “If you have a chance to do any classical human history reading, read about the Soviet Union. They were a relatively short lived Trans-Eurasian government, founded on the principles of…I think Marxism or Fascism, maybe radical Oligarchism, I was never that good with remembering. But they had a very cold relationship with the contemporary government of the old United States of America. They were secretive, and bureaucratic, but also claimed to equally divide wealth, and I think you’ll find some allegorical similarities to how the Romulan government views the Federation, and vice versa.  The nuclear arms race that followed, put humanity on the brink many times, each side wanted the other gone for good so totally it consumed half a century of human culture, and then one day, it just ended, because they decided it should.”

He smiled a very warm smile, liquor starting to show in his cheeks, and then motioned between them, “I’d stand to bet that one day, the tension that separates our people, will end too, because people like you and me, decide that it should.” He paused for a minute, and then offered, “I think deep down, people don’t want confrontation, they want cool comfort.” He shrugged, “Then again I’ve never been a particularly violent man. Probably why I boxed in the academy, and weight lifted, both very controlled, disciplined outlets of strength and prowess.” He bet that this Romulan could fight, and may not feel the same way about violence.
 
Once she asked about the stabilizers, Frank visibly lit up. “Well the original bike comes with a two ring inertial fly wheel stabilizer. The problem is, they’re only rated for a weight level threshold that…yeah this is how I lost my last date.” This was the first time he’d referred to this as a date, “Basically the stock stabilizers have an issue where if you’re going too fast, and you turn, the center of mass ends up over the center of thrust and well, wobble, slide, boom, crash, broken body.” He took out a bar napkin, and a massively outdated fountain pen that he had, and drew a ring, and then a second ring set at a roughly 15 degree angle, and an arrow that indicated it moved back and forth, “But if you add a second ring, and allow it to move to be cambered in such a way relative to the ground, that as the inertial flywheel starts to pivot end over end, the second weighted ring begins to pivot the other way, you end up with a neutral moment center, and no more fiery death.” He shrugged, “In theory anyway. So far we’ve proven they work at standard cruising speed, and quite a bit faster.” He gave a bit of a cheeky smirk, “Bet you didn’t know you were on a test drive huh? She was smooth as a virgin’s thigh.”
 
He waited for her reaction, and then he moved onto her question about the mesa, “Actually yes, but it’s only a one man emergency shelter. But this is the California coast, it basically doesn’t get any colder than twenty one degrees at night, and I always bring a compressible blanket, a little stove to make coffee, a jacket, and a pillow. Sometimes a little bottle of something to keep extra warm.” He gave a grin, “And I get myself lost for a while. I think it’s the only time I’m really happy on planet. Otherwise I get strangely agoraphobic. That’s how I ended up finding this place. I got fed up one day at the academy, and my boxing coach led me on a little ride here, encouraged me to wander on occasion, stay out of the rut.” He stroked his chin as he picked up the whiskey ginger, beer long gone by this point, as he tapped the bar for another, “Probably because I was raised in space. Apparently it’s a fairly common defect.” He shrugged, “They all fit in a tiny case that’s hidden behind one of the panels, marvelous micro-tech.”
 
At her notion that he’d leave her here to go and look at the stars, he gave a shrug, “I guess I was hoping you’d join me. You can have the tent of course, and in the morning I’ll take you back to San Fran, or if you’ve lost interest, I can always call you an air-taxi.” He looked at her, and raised a brow, “So, have you lost interest?”

 
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