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Guest Laarell

A Light Conversation Regarding Duty

Laarell had spent the last few hours surveying the U.S.S. Union, acquainting herself with the various science equipment, deck-layout, and personnel of the Excelsior-class vessel. Changing ships was never easy, but this was going to be an interesting -- and dare she think it, welcome -- change of pace from Excalibur. Not an entirely new assignment, with a complete change of crew, but enough of a mix-up to bring much-needed variety to the Orion's life.


She entered the lounge, planning to sample the ship's liquor stocks -- leave-time was bliss. With any luck, they'd have some good vintage of...


Oh. Now. That was interesting. Laarell's gaze traveled over to a far table, and a familiar, if unexpected, sight. What was that doing here?


She plastered on a perfected, gleaming smile, approaching the lone figure and pulling out the chair across from her. "Why, Lieutenant Victria. What a pleasant surprise to find you here."


"I still find sarcasm to be one of the most pointless rituals," Victria replied without glancing up from her reading material. "Do you not have something else you should be doing?"


Laarell actually pouted. "You wound me," she replied, miming a stake going into her own heart with a fist. "I hardly think it's sarcastic to comment on how nice it is to find a familiar face. Now -- what's your poison? Let me buy you a drink. I was going to get a margarita. Have you had one? Would you like one?"


Blue eyes shifted to regard the Orion and her eyebrow rose a fraction. "I do not drink... alcohol. Do you have any other suggestions that might better suit my tastes?"


"B-positive? I'm sure there's a willing donor around here somewhere. Besides, that particular type might do your outlook some good. You know? Be-positive?" she said slower, as if the Al-Ucard might not have caught the pun. Then she stopped. "Hmm... perhaps not. You could try some... juice or something," she finally offered, more seriously. "I don't think they actually have blood on tap."


"Of course not," she said dryly, looking back to her reading material. "There are several males in this room that would like to better make your acquaintance. Over in that direction, in fact. I can smell their excitement. Why do you not go over and play to your regular audience. I am sure they will be more appreciative of your charms."


"So soon after coming aboard? Really, Victria. You underestimate the powers of anticipation. I wouldn't even look in their direction for a few weeks, at least." Laarell rested her elbows on the table, leaning forward with interest. A server finally materialized, and the Orion gave her a coy smile. "Margarita on the rocks... oh, keep the salt, and for the good lieutenant here... she's a warrior... how about prune juice?" she fluttered.


"Nothing for me," she ordered the server when the woman looked at her curiously. Once the server was out of earshot, Victria leaned in closer to Laarell. "Do you remember what happened the last time you annoyed me? Perhaps it has slipped your mind because you were intoxicated, but it did not end well for you. I do not wish your company or your conversation. If that is not exceptionally clear, then you are far more daft than I assumed."


Laarell sighed, backing off from the vampire and sitting back in her chair. "I don't think I've asked you to bite me during this conversation, Lieutenant," she answered. "Besides, I was simply... curious... why you were aboard the Union at all."'


Her jaw twitched. "I was posted here," she replied. "Just as you were. What more is there to know?"


"Well..." Laarell blinked and shrugged, as if it were obvious. "Your people are entrenched in a fairly vicious conflict, if the Fleet rumors are true. I'm shocked that you're here, really."


"I am but one. There is little I can do to help them." Her lips pressed into a thin line as she heard herself say what she had vehemently protested only the day before. "Our matters have never concerned you before."


"Au contraire," she answered, taking her margarita from the server and handing over a credit chip. "Keep the change," she said, on the side. "I've always found your world fascinating. Not to mention elegant. All that rain and creatures of the night... it's all very... what's the word I'm looking for? Romantic? But that's beside the point. Why are you here? You've always been the paladin of right and virtue for the Al-Ucard Cause before..." Laarell took a deep drink of the margarita, considering. "You seemed rather... tense at the briefing..."


"Situations often change and we must adapt," she said with forced calm. "Do not play the coy innocent, Teykier. You have no interest in me or my people as a whole, nor are you the least bit bothered by my seeming reluctance to join our war. You are simply annoyed that I am still here, on your ship, and you can do nothing about it."


"I believe, Ms. Victria, that you grossly misunderstand my motives -- and emotions. I am hardly annoyed by your presence, nor would I want to change it. In fact," she said, with an exaggerated note of confiding something of importance to the Al-Ucard, "Even if I were... put off... by your staying aboard the Union, I'd hardly stress about it. I'm sure you won't be staying with us for... well, very much longer."


"And why would you make such an assumption?" The Orion now had her full attention. "I believe that you have little to no knowledge of the specifics of my orders, nor do you have any sort of control to where I am assigned. In fact, you are not privy to much at all."


"Oh, information-wise? I only know what I know," she agreed readily, and cryptically. "But one doesn't need the clearance of an admiral to understand how you operate, Lieutenant."


"Enlighten me," she laughed. "Reveal to me the true nature of myself, Orion."


Laarell chuckled in answer, eyes flashing with an unpleasant gleam. "Commitment's a problem for you. You flit from one thing to the next. First you're a... whatever they called they called you... Death-Killer on Al-Ucard, stalking your canine coinhabitants with a vengeance -- gods know why, considering that you were both stuck on that rainy rock and probably would have done better against the Scorpiad if you hadn't decided to go through regular cycles of extermination. Then," she continued, counting on her fingers as she went, "you were off doing... something on some Al-Ucard vessel, in your first valiant fight against the Scorpiad when we picked you up like a piece of space-junk adrift in the vacuum. Hmm... then gods know what you were doing when we were all reassigned, but you certainly didn't go home then. Finally you returned to Excalibur, and now Union.


She laughed again, drinking more of the margarita. "Of course, that's just talking about duty..."


"Perhaps I could credit your necessitation if you had more than half-truths and blind assumptions to lead you," she said flatly, her amusement instantly erased by the Orion's smugness. "And I do not intend to educate you on the intimate details of my life or my duty. You are tiresome. Go elsewhere."


Laarell grinned. "Oh, but I do have more than that. I have empirical evidence. You see, Lieutenant, I'm a scientist -- I don't make baseless observations." She toyed with a lock of dark hair while she finished off her drink. "You see, your lack of commitment or dedication bubbles over into your personal life, too. Let's see. Atticus, for starters, and more recently that boy in Security -- Garrison, isn't it? And of course everyone on the ship knows about you and the captain... You might do better if you didn't just string your males along. If you just use them as your personal brawny blood-banks before getting bored and moving on to the next righteous cause or next man or whatever, they're doubtlessly going to become... disillusioned." Teykier actually giggled. "I wonder if the same thing will happen when you leave as did the last time. Perhaps you should give me a list of your latest would-be conquests, so I can check them off, one by one, when they pounce me in the turbolift." If possible, the smile grew even more smug. "Sooner would be better. It didn't take Segami very long to make his move."


With every sentence, her jaw seemed to clench tighter until she was snarling. Without waiting to hear more, she burst out of her seat and flew across the table. Her chair tipped backwards. The margarita toppled to the floor. Her fingers latched onto Laarell's collar and she bodily dragged the Orion out of her chair and across the table. Fangs inches from her face, she tightened her grip and growled out, "I warned you what would happen! You go too far! You will not speak to me outside of duty. I will no longer acknowledge you unless absolutely necessary. If you approach me with the intent of provoking me again," her voice dropped to a whisper, "I will kill you."


Laarell's eyes blazed with something between unadmitted satisfaction and fury. "Are you threatening me, Victria? Does the truth burn so much -- that you could be betraying your people by staying here? That's your problem, and I'm just the messenger, hoping to help you solve your problems," she said, a hint of a simper working its way into the hiss of an answer.


"I will not repeat myself," Victria hissed. Abruptly, she released her hold and dropped Laarell on her face, snatched up her discarded data padd, and then stalked out of the lounge, ignoring the shocked looks from the others in the lounge.


Laarell righted herself and glared after the vampire for a moment, finally straightening her collar and giving sharp glares to the rest of the Union crew assembled. "At ease, gentlemen," she ordered, righting the table and giving a sympathetic smile to the wait staff cleaning up the remains of her shattered margarita. Then she smiled. "I'm sure she meant it all lovingly."

Edited by Laarell

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