First Impression

Jake had arrived at work at 34 hours and this was 4 in the morning. He had one straggler who was a Hotel patron so he knew this guy was going no where in more ways than one. But he also knew that he couldn’t just kick him out. Officially, they were open for another two hours, but this guy had been there since midnight or before. He poured a nice tall glass of water and set it down in front of him.

Andrews was in it deep… The bottle that is. He was shaken from his reverie by a glass of clear liquid that was now placed before him.

“That’s not what I ordered pal”
“Yeah well, that bottle’s empty…Sir.”
“My pocket’s not… last time I checked.”

Jakes walked slowly over to the back bar and grabbed another bottle of Aldebaran Whiskey… Not wanted to, he poured a glass and returned to the patron….
“This is your last, okay buddy. You look like you could use some sleep…”

The long slender silver cane, that had become Andrews’ life line for better part of two years now, was resting between his legs his left hand seated atop the curved crest. He shot a glance up at the oaf of a man in front of him, then a glance down at the new glass.

“Since when did you start turning away customers? I’ve been drinking long enough to know when I’ve had enough to know… enough…” he trailed off and grabbed the glass and began to drink from it. Perhaps he had had enough, but he was not ready to stop.

“So, who was she, man? I mean, I’ve seen that face before. It’s got to be a woman.”

Jake put his arm on the bar and looked at the gentleman who was struggling to keep conscious…

“Don’t start heading down memory lane with me friend… I didn’t ask for an ear I asked for a glass…” He didn’t wish to recount how he came to be where he was. He told that story all too many times, and carrying the physical wounds was enough to remind him of Illiana these days.

Jake looked at him and smiled. It was a sad job sometimes, watching hearts bleed. But then sometimes there was nothing one could do. He stood up and grabbed his bar rag and began wiping down the counter.

Andrews paid no attention to the world outside his own head when he was this far gone. Another day, another time, he may very well have indulged the bartender with his story. Not today. Today he needed a drink…

Sal found himself now wandering the corridors of the Hotel. He took the elevator down to the main floor and the doors opened. There was not a soul in sight and most of the lights were dimmed save one… The Bar. His eyes were glazed from lack or too much sleep. He couldn’t decide which. As he entered the bar he saw the bartender doing dishes and one gentleman sitting at the bar staring at the glass in his hand. He was dressed well and so Sal pulled up a stool next to him and attempted to get the bartender’s attention. “Sir, Rom Ale, okay?”

Jake looked up from the sink and nodded. He wiped his hands dry, grabbed a mug from the rack and tipped it under the tap…

Dash barely noticed the new patron at first, but as soon as he saw the barkeep begin to pour a new glass of spirits he couldn’t help himself.
“So he can waltz in and get anything he wants at this time of night, but I’m cut off aye?”

Jake looked at the man as he passed and set the mug down in front of Sal. “That’ll be 10 credits…”
Sal flashed his room badge and Jake responded with a nod.

“I’ll buy you another if you give me that one…” Dash said to the new guy.
“Sir,” Jake said, responding to the other gentleman, “…augh.” He just sighed.
Sal looks at the man, “What’s your name?”

Downing the last of his Aldebaran Whiskey Sour he began to stand to move closer to the gentlemen. His legs had other plans and he quickly let his hind-end find the stool once more.
“Name’s Dash… An’ you?”

Sal helped him sit back down. “My name is Sal Rosetto. I’m here to start work on the QoB. Don’t know what’s going on with these ports…”

Dash waved off the man’s attempt to assist him. People looked at him and all they saw was a man with a Visor for eyes and Cane for legs. He hated that. He heard the word QoB and realized the man obviously knows little of the ships crew.
“The QoB aye? Be careful you team up with that group of sullied victims”

Sal laughed. “So, what brings you to this barren wasteland of opportunity?”

“I’m a prospector…” Dash said leading the man a bit.

“You’ve come to the right place. Have you been outside of town? There’s nothing but rock for a 100 kilometers in any direction..”

“Not really what I’m ‘prospecting’ for chief… “Dash laughed a quiet laugh.

Sal looked him over a bit. “Ah, precious cargoes, aye?”

Dash moved his hand from his cane to the glass, and then realized it was empty and grunted.
“You could say that… yes indeed. Have you SEEN the Orion Girls around here?”

He laughed again still searching for a glass of whiskey that was no longer there.

“Not many, yet. But I have been told. I have some fleet buddies who’ve been around these parts before.”
Sal noticed that his glass is empty and flagged the bartender. Jake unwillingly strolled over and began to whisper in Sal’s ear. Sal convinced him to pour Mr. Dash another….

“Seriously though… be wary of the QoB… She’s cursed… Some say she’s haunted even.” Noticed the glass suddenly full of Whiskey once more, he grasped it as if it were a tank of oxygen to a man floating alone in space…
Sal looked at Dash with his head cocked. “Cursed, huh? How so?” He felt a buzz in his pocket from his PADD and knowing exactly who it was he added, “Got any kids?”

Dash ignored the last question, perhaps deliberately, perhaps not. He instead focused on the first question.
“Well for starters, she’s 40 some odd years young, and pieces have been known to just come FLYIN’ off when she leaves dock! I’ve heard people complain that one moment they’re in their home all nice and cozy and the next… BAM! There’s a duranium plate sitting in their rose bushes…” He laughed.

“It’s okay, we won’t need that plate until we land again. I know because I’ll be driving…” Sal laughed with him.

“And second… And this is the scariest bit… They have me for a Doc…”

“Who–What? You serve on the QoB?” Sal was very surprised but he was pleased with his luck. He knew that the vessel was 40+ years old but now he was sitting with someone who was a fellow crewmate. WOW, he thought…

“Unfortunately… Yea, I do… I guess you deserve a proper introduction. Dash straightened his jacket half-heartedly and extended his right hand. “‘Doc’ Andrews…” He said with a crooked grin.

Sal grabbed his hand and shook it firmly…

“By the hand of Kahless himself… Let’s hope you’re a better pilot than you are a judge of employers…” Dash laughed again and sipped his Whiskey.


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July 2010
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