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Eva Meets Nollel

Posted on Wed Sep 22nd, 2021 @ 7:31pm by Nollel Livaam (*) & Evahnae Kohl

Mission: Holoworld
Location: Observation Bar and Lounge
Timeline: MD -09 23:00
1958 words - 3.9 OF Standard Post Measure

Nollel was sure that she was fine and that nothing was wrong despite all the fussing and people worrying about her. She did not want to be a source of worry nor something to be pitied. The blonde was never going to be the damsel in distress ever again and that was why she found herself sat in the lounge nearly at closing around looking around at all the changes that had happened in there now that Jake had left her alone to her thoughts.

“Can I please have a glass of rose wine?” She asked wanting something from behind the bar instead of the replicator that night. Just one glass and she would go to bed.

The diminutive woman behind the bar, showing no signs of being particularly aggravated by an arrival so close to the end of a shift, was nevertheless momentarily distracted. Typically, standing on one of the preparation benches, arm outstretched to wave a slightly-battered tricorder back and forth in front of one of the speakers, wasn't usually Eva's preference for first-time impressions but it became the predicament she found herself in regardless. Where others may have felt chastised, the brunette merely continued the final sweep before navigating a descent that involved, thankfully, not falling flat on her face.

Setting the tricorder aside, Eva offered the other woman a wry smile and wiped her hands before pulling down a wine glass from the shelf she'd finished rearranging only that morning. "Sparkling? I have still if you prefer but you look like you could do with some dazzle."

Nollel had not considered sparkling wine but now it had been mentioned she could not deny how much more refreshing that sounded to her. “Sparkling would be lovely.” She assured quickly watching the woman preparing it.

When the woman returned she thanked her with a nod of her head. “What you doing with the tricorder?”

"Tweaking," came the vague response as the bartender turned to review the selection in the refrigeration unit. A study of several bottles saw her crouch to reach something further towards the back, and with the same flippant air, she merely hunched a shoulder as she returned to fill the glass with effervescence.

"The current speaker settings are a little too heavy on the treble for my liking."

Finishing the pour, Eva afforded her customer a breezy smile and returned the bottle several beats before changing the topic entirely.

"Not a typical nightcap." The chink of glass saw her wriggle the bottle back into place and then return to lean her weight against folded arms. "But also not usually recommended for breakfast either. Lunch break?"

“Breakfast or lunch. Is that a thing? We aren’t meant to drink on duty.” Nollel lugged just a little awkwardly. She was not the type to bend the rules so that would be between her, the new barkeeper and the bottles around them. “Not my place to judge or as the humans say, snitch. No, I just like wine. It’s my drink of choice.” Nollel said with a shrug of her petite shoulders. Some people liked whiskey, others rum, some ale but the wine was fancy for her.

"I don't know what the rest of the cosmos is doing about their formalised mealtimes, but 'breakfast' from this side of the bar is just a way of referencing the first drink of the day." An easy half-grin was reassurance enough that Eva didn't care to judge one way or the other. "At any rate, I'm not keeping score, and I'm terrible with faces," she lied, a gleam in her eyes immediately calling her out on it. "Pretty blonde with distracted eyes? Never seen her, Captain", she soliloquised, gesturing to her imaginary scrutineer as she backed up to retrieved the tricorder.

Nollel shrugged herself, it did not matter just a concerning point if people were drinking at that time whether on shift or not. "Nollel. I am the one that makes sure you get paid." The blonde offered as her introduction. She had not met the woman before but she knew who she was from sorting out hours of working and sorting out the logistics of getting her stores on board. It had been a rush job but it had been completed just in time for them to leave Freecloud. She took a small sip of the wine and smiled at the taste, it was good.

A mixture of distraction and reconsideration of the best way to approach a conversation with the holder of the purse strings saw Eva take a moment to respond. Several blips from the tricorder, accompanied by a frown, absorbed her attention. Had the crew any access to the people who knew her best, they might have warned that this constant fixation with getting sound balance right was going to be a running theme. It represented one of the many ways a fractured pattern could drive the woman to a breaking point.

"Eva," came the eventual introduction, almost at a point where it seemed like she wasn't going to bother. Glancing up from her work, the bartender suddenly beamed and asked, "Give me a music request, let's see if I've got this bass to actually kick in."

Nollel had taken a few sips as she watched the woman trying to configure the speakers. She could relate to the need for perfection, she was the same with art and the pieces she created. "Um... Ardanan classical opera." It was the best music in her opinion to check out a speaker. The pitch of the music changed enough throughout to check it all out.

There was a healthy pause to convey Eva's slight surprise, though it smoothed quickly enough into a request to the omnipresent computer and its inexhaustible capacity to refuse to cooperate. It took a split second before the strains of the first track its search had located to filter through the speakers, with their jerry-rigged sequencer recalibrations. The brunette frowned.

"Something sounds off."

It was, as always, a barely discernible imperfection that most would have tolerated, or not even noticed. There was every possibility that she was expecting too much of the system itself, which was functional but not exactly sporting the most recent upgrades on the market. Eva tapped the tricorder against her chin and scrutinised a point through the viewport as if the stars themselves might hold the answer. "Do you hear it?"

The blonde nodded, there was something off but it was so low that if you did not know the song you would have easily missed it. "It is very low," Nollel said without hesitation. She knew the song, her mother had been an opera singer for Stratos City in her younger years before she had married her father and became something that never suited her. "This is actually one of my favourite songs... my mo..." She paused trying to remember what she had been trying to say but the song brought her back and she nodded. "My mother used to sing it to me as a child."

The scrape of a chair across the floor wasn't exactly the kind of melodic correction the masterpiece needed, but it did allow Eva to hoist herself back up to stand on the bench, an arm's wave close enough to utilise the tricorder again as long as she strained.

"I think it's the modulator doing a shitty job of automating the bass adjustments." She wasn't a technician but this was musical transmission; the struggle was not a new one. Glancing down, Eva afforded the other woman a brief look before returning her focus to the combination of interpreting the tricorder readings and not falling.

"It's quite the lullaby choice. Best I got was Andorian blues and Betazoid chamber music."

“Ardanan’s do not to things by half. Children raising, museums, mines, food…” her fingers indicated that she could go on and on but stopped. “This was my mother show stopper song.” She closed her eyes for a moment and could see her mother on the sage before opening her eyes again. “Personally I would not have noticed unless I knew the song and it’s only very slight. When this place is packed out I cannot imagine that it would be noticeable or cared about.” Nollel offered with a shrug.

It wasn't an unfair comment though, unfortunately, brought very little comfort to the one person who would have to deal with it on a constant basis. Irritation flared, not necessarily at the woman nor her attempt at reasoned compromise, but at an age-old weariness that really hadn't needed to turn up quite so eagerly. Fresh starts ought not have been a refuge for past demons.

Tinkering with it wasn't going to be advisable in the midst of attempting to carry her side of the conversation, however. Setting down the tricorder, Eva retrieved herself a fresh pour of coffee that was black enough to have been fashioned from the void beyond the viewport and dragged over her chair to sit opposite her sole patron.

"Your mother was a performer then?"

Nollel stayed quiet as the woman worked away. She could tell her words did not help her much but that was okay not everyone could be comforted by everything that someone said. “She was. She performed Ardanan Opera before I was born. After I was born she stopped so she could be the good little housewife.” Nollel hated that and could never see that happened and the right man would never expect her to.

It didn't take an empath to read the layers of emotional loss behind that simple statement. "Ouch." Cupping both hands around her drink, Eva blew some of the steam from the surface and took a tentative sip. "She never went back to it?"

“Not at all. Her only audience was me after I was born and she performed in the most amazing places.” Nollel sighed. “Some men do not like their wives out shinning them.” She said sadly. It was a sad fact that people did stupid things for love.

That...was relatable. A slight wince was Eva's only confession to personal experience with that particular pearl of wisdom, but her immediate eye roll and huff of ironic laughter presented as solidarity. "Are there any specific recordings of her?" the brunette asked, suddenly inspired. It seemed a better route to go down than pursuing whatever it was that had the woman's eyes so downcast. "I'm building a playlist and I'd love to include her, with permission of course."

“Her?” She questioned before listening to the song and the memory coming back. Nollel really needed to stop spacing out like that it was becoming a thing. “I am not sure. Maybe. I have a PADDs and things I have not unpacked.” She said with a shrug. It was a nice offer but she was sure not many people would appreciate the music.

Having always prided herself in being 'not most people', Eva sipped at her coffee and, huddled over its warmth, offered the other woman a faint smile. "I'd love to hear it either way."

“I will try and remember,” Nollel assured softy. Maybe she should start carrying something around like her PADD or a notebook to try and remember stuff. It was becoming apparent her lapses were not the Tellerite cold that had hit the crew but she would not admit that to anyone yet. She was not prepared for the fallout.

Once again, the intrusion of emotional information outside her own head gave Eva pause for thought. Like so many other niggles of intuition, she filed it away for possible future reference and, once more, adroitly changed the subject.

"So...what does this crew actually do for fun?"

 

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