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First Impressions - Part 2

Posted on Sat Sep 11th, 2021 @ 2:20pm by Captain Rueben Gregnol & Evahnae Kohl

Mission: Holoworld
Location: Freecloud
Timeline: Back-dated - Prior to Current Mission
2065 words - 4.1 OF Standard Post Measure

Gregnol was surprised that the job offer of Bar Keeper was taken so quickly. The last one had been with them so long he had thought it would take months to replace but there he was barely three days after having put it up waiting in the spaceport for someone to interview. Meeting there seemed far easier and less hassle than going out into Stardust City when it was getting colder and colder by the day. He sat in his favourite coffee shop in the port wearing his beat-up leather jacket looking relaxed as he waited for the woman who had applied for the job.

The job had been a fun job advert to put out as they had no idea what Joe did most of the time but everything had been done and the man had not been an ounce of bother for him or anyone, drinks had always been perfect, ward room and lounge fully stocked, credits correctly taken and no issues with stock levels. He had only left due to wanting to re-join his family on Freecloud now that they had finally reached there.

"Well, check with Dagin, maybe he has stock."

Walking backwards through an entrance-way carried a certain risk. The hazard only increased when you added to the mix an untimely conversation via subspace communicator that struggled to maintain clarity and chose, instead, to emit an ear-piercing shriek before every delayed transmission. The new arrival, radiating frustration from the lavender-tips of her long hair down to the heel of the boot that snagged an imperfection in the floor, avoided an inevitable encounter with an exiting patron by choosing to root herself in place, several metres beyond the closing-door, to continue her one-sided conversation.

"Jonas, do you remember when I left you in charge and you said, and I quote, "Don't worry, I've got this"? Which part of 'having it' involves not being able to access supply?"

The response, directly into her ear-piece, didn't seem to instill confidence. The quirk of an eyebrow suggested a certain wisdom behind the caller's choice of timing, an ample distance from the repercussions of aggravating the already frazzled.

"Well, welcome to the job. Your job, that you might actually get paid for one day if you manage to figure out how to do it. And, now that you've spent a fortune on an unnecessary subspace reservation, you can go call someone who might actually be able to help. I have a man to talk to about a bar."

Yanking the earpiece free and stuffing it into a pocket gave some reprieve and, thus liberated, the woman turned to approach the service counter. A pointed finger and the turn of her head to follow its path confirmed the sneaking suspicion that she'd failed to arrive ahead of time and, with an internal huff of weary defeat, Evahnae dredged the torn remains of her composure from the pit and fashioned a suitably apologetic smile as she arrived at the table and slid into a chair.

"Would you believe me if I said I'm not usually late?"

Gregnol rose from his table as the woman approached and sat down again once she had sat down herself. He indicated to the waitress to bring over the old fashioned menus. "Not in the slightest Ms Kohl," Gregnol said lightly not wanting to put people off with his gruff exterior straight away. "Trouble?" He asked intrigued.

There was a cheek to his response that coaxed a more genuine grin, somewhat obscured by a short stint of calisthenics required to struggle out of her jacket. "Apparently," Eva responded agreeably, a glint of mirth dominating her first attempt at direct scrutiny, "but not mine."

For a moment, it seemed that she had no intention of elaborating, favouring instead a considerable pause to study Gregnol's features. The relaxation of her shoulders into a circumspect shrug proved otherwise. "My bar manager isn't used to dealing with Ferengi."

“Not many people are.” Reuben said likely thinking back to Fezzik and the chaos he had caused with Jenna Mitchell. He knew he would avoid them for a lot time after the guilt he had from nearly delivery Persis to Betazoid. “I am sure he will cope unless you need to go help him and this interview is over with?” He countered.

The brunette shook her head, holding up one hand to quell that line of thought. "He knows what to do, he'd just rather it wasn't him that has to do it." Another pause, another moment of regard for his expression, and then Eva's lips pulled to the side in a half-smile. "I don't suppose I have to explain to you the tenets of leading by example, though." The hand, still outstretched, relaxed into an upwards-palm gesture of permission. "Interview away, I'm all yours."

Gregnol almost snorted at the way she tried to handle him. It had to be a Betazoid thing as his wife did the same thing, only she was much more successful. “You do not need to explain anything about leadership to me do you prefer Ms Kohl or Evahnae?” He wondered pronouncing her name perfectly.

"Well, that greatly depends on the kind of reaction you're after." A twitch of a smirk surrendered eventually to a more cooperative approach. "Typically, Eva is fine. Most don't get the intonation correct," she added, a subtle acknowledgement of his exception, "and I'd prefer to leave formalities for situations that warrant it."

"I know many Betazoids." He decided to leave his answer at that. She did not need to know how entwined he was in Betazoid customs nor how many he had on his crew yet."Would you like a drink?" He knew he wanted a coffee. It was too early for something stronger even for him. "Okay, Eva... I know you have experience but tell me a little about the experience."

"If they can manage a decent macchiato, I'd appreciate it."

Settling back in her seat, one leg folded over the other, Eva considered his request, taking several seconds to select an appropriate place to start. "I've worked bars since I was 16, though I obviously don't have resumes that go that far back." Any perceived inappropriateness didn't appear to be a matter of particular concern to the woman and she continued without missing a beat. "I have managed bars, however, for the past...four years? Did a three-year tour with the Marionette Group on their resort fleet, spent the last year there managing the flagship's main holoclub. Took the obligatory working holiday on Risa that extended out for...8 months?" Eva scrunched her face in recollection. "Perhaps more like 9. I waited tables in Medara for a few months, picked up hours here and there in Paris, London, Beijing... Sold my soul and synthehol to Starfleet cadets for a summer in San Francisco..."

Her eyes lifted skyward then, as if remembering the breadth of her experience was a calculation feat in itself. Closer to the truth was the need to measure the release of personal information and condense it only to what was strictly relevant to this exchange.

"More recently, as you have just heard me attempt to keep afloat, I've run my own bar back on Earth." The faint smile returned. "As of the conversation 5 minutes ago, it was still running at a profit."

Gregnol quickly ordered the macchiato and his own Russain Coffee. He was already looking forward to the mix of espresso, cream and vanilla sugar all stirred together by a steam wand. It was an old fashioned concept but why he liked the place so much, coffee culture was still important to him after all these years. He could remember the cafes of London that he had grown up in whilst his mother and father were off doing Intelligence missions or ignoring him in favour of his troubled younger siblings.

"Sounds like you have had a few busy years." He mused. "So what brought you to want to work on my old run-down ship? We do not have holo equipment, it is all manual." It did not suit everyone and he had, had people turn and run at this point of his interview.

"After too many years battling with system technicians who don't like to prioritise recreational facilities, I'm counting on it."

To the best of her ability, when it came to business agreements, Eva did her research ahead of time. It made a reasonable counter-balance to her tendency to be utterly impulsive in her personal life. Picking up her drink, far too hot but tempting enough to at least blow at gently, the woman took a moment before offering him the closest thing to a reason she actually had.

"Some of the best fun I've ever had was on a ship I had no control over, heading places that I didn't get to choose. I guess I've just reached a point where staying in one place feels kind of..."

She scrunched her face enough that one eye was reduced to a squint.

"...dull as shit actually."

"Relatable." Gregnol mused liking her already and he was a pretty good judge of character when it came to prospective members of his crew or people that fit in with the Fenris Ranger ideas. His coffee mug was huge compared to the one the woman had so the steam rising would tell him it would be far too hot so he left it where it was for now. "But yes you would have no control over the destination at all. Cargo deliveries control our destinations and adventures. So we are looking for a professional, high-energy bartender with excellent communication skills to... okay I will level with you and what I need. I need someone who is going to keep things in order in the lounge and wardroom, stock levels maintained, learn about their preferences, answer questions but mostly not take any gav-no from my crew and passengers."

The final comment was all it took to evoke a chuckle and that permission, the relenting of composure to express a genuine appreciation for his candor, signified Eva's own conclusions about the wisdom of this. For many reasons, this was a stupid idea. Things back home were successful, the niche she'd carved out for herself had finally accommodated her as a key player in the supply chain, and the healthy respect that came with it had been hard-earned.

That was, however, the main problem.

Home had become safe, predictable, and without challenge. What Gregnol offered was uncertainty. It probably wouldn't do to confess to anyone responsible for judging her mental health how much that appealed to her right now.

"Keep the patrons happy but not so happy that they forget who's in charge." For the sake of appearances, Eva quirked an eyebrow upwards in consideration. "And no gav-no." She had no idea what the word meant but she could guess and it amused her thoroughly.

"Pretty much." Gregnol liked her sum up of what he wanted. He held out a PADD of everything that he needed from whoever took the role of barkeeper. He was starting to think the role might be something more than just Barkeeping but he was sure the woman would speak up. "Bigger list of what is required just encase." He wanted someone to take responsibility for the bar stock of beverages, follow the Inventory Control Procedures that were already in place on the ship, Customs requirements fulfilled during the sealing of stores while in Port, report following up on maintenance and repairs for the wardroom and lounge among many other things. "Any questions?"

The cooling coffee rested against her knee was nearly half-empty by the time Eva finished reading over extended job description. That level of thoroughness was a struggle, the battle of her commonsense over her rampant wanderlust's demands, but she didn't agree to anything she hadn't read from start to finish first. Occasionally, the quirk of a smile hinted that she, too, was fast reaching the conclusion that 'barkeeper' didn't really cover everything he actually needed but semantics didn't interest her. If anything, a slight misnaming of her role would allow for some under-estimation of her purpose and that, in her experience, came with some advantage.

Eventually, she pushed the PADD back to him and, lifting her eyes to meet his, Eva simply asked, "When do I start?"


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