USS VINDEX - NCC-2474-A
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Blood is Thicker than Whisky

Posted on Fri Feb 3rd, 2017 @ 4:42am by Commander Akiva ben-Avram & Major Storr Garlake
Edited on on Fri Feb 3rd, 2017 @ 6:22am

Mission: S1E3.5 - Interlude
Location: USS Vindex (Deck 15)- Fifteen Forward
Timeline: Mission Day 42: 2130

Storr sat at the bar, alone, leaning his jaw against his fist as he rested his elbow against the cold, hard surface, the MCO's eyes focused somewhere between the wall and infinity. After several rotations of his fingers over the rim of an empty glass, he motioned to the Bolian.

"Another."

"Sir," Bovek said, concern tracing the edges of his words, "I think that..."

"Bladdy Hell Bovek, I asked for another, just give it to me!" Garlake exploded off the stool, his fist slamming against the bar with a resounding *thud*, his glass clattering in a drunken dance of its own precariously close to the edge before tumbling over. Mostly in control of his senses, the MCO grasped it in mid-air and thumped it home back on the bar.

Luckily the room was nearly empty so there were thankfully few patrons to witness the unnecessary alcohol-tinged outburst of a senior officer. Storr sighed as he sat back down. "...please."

The Bolian hesitated for a moment before reaching underneath the bar to produce a brown bottle with liquid gold inside, pouring three fingers for the beleaguered Afrikaaner. "You know, I think three might be enough, what do you think, Mister Garlake?"

The MCO knew that Paul's assistant was right but he didn't want to admit it. He made it a point to drink with his men in the team room but this time the subject was much more...contentious. As was the amount of Whiskey. Just then he noticed the door open to backlight a figure in red. "You're right, but I think that my friend here might be thirsty."

Akiva saw the barkeep giving the MCO a hard time. He walked up to the adjacent stool and held up two fingers to order another drink for each of them.

Storr took a drink as the XO sat down beside him, allowing for a few moments before speaking.

"Thanks for coming...you're a busy man,"

"Well, I've had a long day," Akiva said. "It sounds as if you did, too, from the sight of you."

The MCO snickered. He hadn't really spent any time with Akiva other than a few moments here-and-there during a briefing, which alone was not much to go on when judging a man's character. Nonetheless, he had heard that ben-Avram was a man from a challenging culture with deep familial ties that might be able to afford some insight into his situation.

"I know that we haven't gotten to know each other well, and it takes two to tango so I apologize for my part in that. I was hoping to bend your ear concerning a son's duty to his father, family, and his people. You game?" The words came out nearly un-slurred as he tapped the bar in front of Akiva with two fingers while turning his gaze towards Bovek. The Bolian nodded and looked to the XO.

"What can I get you, sir?"

Akiva grinned. "Maybe you should slow down, soldier. At least finish the drink in front of you before ordering another." He indicated with a nod the glass Bovek had just sent in front of him.

Garlake winced at the words. It was a nickname that Jaya had taken to using with him and he had grown fond of it; its use making him want all the more to resolve his mental anguish.

"I'll have what he's having." Akiva raised his eyebrows when Bovek had one already on hand and slid it under his nose. When he gave it a sniff, the smell stung his nostrils, but he drank deeply anyway. The whiskey burned his throat, eliciting a gasp. "That's rough," he said, holding the drink up to examine it. "But I'll need it, I think, for what comes next. What would you like to know, Storr?

Storr took a deep breath and let it out, a few moments of silence before proceeding and looking the First Officer in the eyes. "I'll just dive right in. What duty to you have to continue your race? To preserve the heritage and place of his people? To...keep the line clean and pure?"

Akiva smirked for a moment, then chuckled. A few breaths led to a burst of laughter that threw his head back. "Oh, my," Akiva said as he took another swig. "It's an eternal imperative."

"I suppose that dive might have been a bit deep," he said with a chuckle, taking a large pull from the glass, the ice inside tinkling as he set it back down on the bar. "Context is king, right? Alright...I've fallen madly in love with a Deltan 10 years my junior but I'm being held to a seemingly inescapable obligation to marry from within my Afrikaan people by my father. And frak it all, I almost agree with him." Storr downed the rest of the drink after finishing his explanation. Looking away from Akiva, his eyes focused beyond the observation windows. "Love of family, love of your people, love of your heritage, and love of your life. Who wins?"

"Love is a loaded word, I have found." Akiva rattled the ice in his glass but did not drink again. He just stared at the bouncing cubes. "Many people use it inappropriately. I love music, but I will not die for it as I will my family. This Deltan must our esteemed Counselor Maera. Let's get down to brass tacks, Major. Will do you die for her?"

"I suppose a position in Intelligence wouldn't be too much of a stretch," Storr replied with a grin. "Yes, it is, and yes, yes I would. Gladly, and twice on Sunday. I would also die for my family and I would die for any Afrikaaner. I suppose there's some morbid hierarchy of self-sacrifice if I started detailing and expanding that circle."

"Exactly." Akiva set his drink down and looked Storr dead in the face. "You honor your family, but you live for you. There are only so many things you can die for, and ultimately you can only do it once. Make it a good one."

Storr rolled his glass around in his hand. "True, though that doesn't help all that much. Let me think on it a bit while you tell me about your heritage, your family and why you're here and not there."

"In a word: Biynah." Akiva sniffed his drink again, then shrugged and took another sip. "If you don't know much about Hebron Colony, which I'll forgive you if you don't, we are very keen on our heritage. Over the centuries, my people have thrived on the concept of diaspora. When Starfleet showed up in our orbit, it created severe tension." Akiva chuckled wryly.

"If a civil war were possible, it would've happened. Some of us wanted to be left alone, while others saw it as the blessed return to the Promised Land. My sister went back to Earth and is now an official in the Pan-Semite Union. I joined Starfleet. The others... make their own way." The whiskey was gone, so Akiva chewed on the ice a moment.

"I was the first. I broke tradition. And I did it because I saw the opportunity to help my home, even if it meant abandoning it for awhile. Possibly forever." He set his empty glass down and looked back to Storr.

"Hebron needed the Federation, and the prevailing Hebron Sanhedrin resents that even today. I want to prove that the Federation needs Hebron as well. And in order to accomplish that, I had to break with tradition."

Akiva bit his lip. "Biynah. What I have done will brand me a heretic and blasphemer in my father's house, yet my actions and the motives of my heart honor him all the same."

Akiva put a hand on Storr's shoulder. "I cannot tell you what to do, Storr, only that you have but two judges in this life: Ha'Shem and the man in the mirror. Your father can be neither one."

"Bilksem, that cuts." the MCO said, looking up at Bovek with expectation, the barkeep sighing and pouring the two men another two-fingers each. Nodding his thanks, he took a quick drink and turned back to Akiva. "You're right, naturally. But how could I look at my future children in the face and tell them that family, heritage, and a common people are important if I disregarded them myself?"

Storr shook his head. "I'll need to think on this some more. That, and have another drink." Finishing his whiskey in his last swallow, the marine set the glass back on the bar. "I appreciate your time and advice Akiva...I really do. Why can't love and life be as simple as a firing range or the gym? Line up the sights, fire. Lift, press, repeat harder, faster and with more reps." He chuckled after looking up at the Bolian who sharpley shook his head in the negative. "Women. Drive a man to drink, I swear."

"Don't I know it," Akiva said. "Good for you that you're willing to take the plunge. I just don't know if I ever could." He swished the remaining melted cubes in his glass. "Let me ask you this, Storr. What makes your family and heritage distinct? Is it genetics? Common ancestry? Your children will have that through you--a birthright that can never be denied. If you really love this Deltan, then why not give your future children something other than more of the same?" Akiva shrugged. "Just a thought. I probably won't have a chance to settle down with someone from home, so maybe that's just my own dilemma talking."

"It...well...yes?" Storr sighed. "But is there not safety, security, history, and heritage in 'sameness'? Should we not manifest pride and gratitude to God for the race and tribe to which we belong? But...would I also not be bringing Jaya into this rich people to which I belong? Wrap her up in my history and family? Why should I deny her this?" he chuckled for a moment before continuing. "Then again, I think we'll be having a bit more issue with her side of the equation. Now that I think about it, she's risking...everything to be with me. Who am I to dishonor that?"

"I've never seen you run away from a fight." Akiva smirked at the other man. "Can I ask... who approached whom?"

Storr chuckled again. "No, you're right about that. Of course you can and I'd say she started it, but I've pursued it. I know that Deltan pheromones and telepathic links are legendary but...okay, I know this is probably the cheesiest, overused trope, but this is different. She even admits it. Well...mostly," he concluded with a lopsided grin.

"Uh-huh." Akiva clicked his tongue. "They say love is blind, but in your case it seems to be deaf, dumb, and perhaps asleep. I suppose the good counselor has not yet had her way with you, thanks her to Oath of Celibacy. Perhaps there is hope for you to keep sober judgment for awhile yet."

He broke into a chuckle. "I jest. If she initiated, then that could be a mark against her. I can see why you're giving this so much thought."

A rolling howl echoed through Fifteen Forward as Storr laughed at Akiva's comment. The even funnier thing was that it was true. "I suppose we're both guilty of a mark in this game called love and you're right...we're still pure though for more reasons than just her Oath." Pushing his glass towards Bovek, Major Garlake stood and shook Akiva's hand warmly. "Thanks again for the friendly ear. 0430 comes early and I still have a report to complete before hitting the sack. We should make this happen more often..." Storr trailed off for a moment before snapping his fingers. "You haven't been down to 'Marine Country' yet, have you? Consider it an official invite; come on down to the 2/5 teamroom and I'll introduce you to the men. They don't often get new targets." he said with a grin.

"I calibrated a replicator down there back when I ran Operations, but I think your boys were in training. I'll look forward to it." Akiva grinned. "I can't promise that Biynah won't pop up at some point, though. She is difficult to contain."

Storr chuckled again. "Good. Now, I wouldn't say that it's the right place for children, though...unless you want her coming back being able to beat you at poker, select the best cigar, best you at unarmed combatives, and swear a blue streak."

"She already does most of that." Akiva grinned and shook his head. "But I see your point."

Saluting, Major Garlake turned and exited the bar, the brighter lights of the corridor making him shield his eyes. Grumbling, he made his way down the hall to his quarters. He had much to think about but now? Now was the time for sleep.

 

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