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Ghosts Do Not Need Alcohol

Posted on Tue Oct 19th, 2021 @ 5:31am by Evahnae Kohl & Captain Rueben Gregnol

Mission: Holoworld
Timeline: MD2
1388 words - 2.8 OF Standard Post Measure

Gregnol was glad to see the woman across the mess hall. He had been trying to catch up with her for days outside of the bar to have a catch up. Though the Captain appreciated her commitment to the bar set up he was relieved to see that she did actually eat and was not sleeping in the compartment. He piled his plate up and sat down opposite Eva without comment or giving her a chance to say he could not sit down.

“Good evening.” He greeted her with a smile. “Nice to see you not propping up a bar or surrounded by bottles of alcohol."

It was generally assumed that you couldn't sneak up on telepaths, even those whose mixed heritage offered them a less-focused perception of the world beyond the basic senses. Eva, ever the contradiction, made a habit of being extremely unpredictable in her cognizance. There was a brief moment where the angle of her eyebrows suggested this particular moment was not one of her more impressive but it didn't take long for her mild surprise to drift towards amusement once she realised who it was interrupting her parsec-a-minute train of thought.

"Now there's a flattering image."

Teasing him had already started to present itself as a temptation beyond her control. Much about him was familiar, for reasons that hadn't come to light in their conversations so far, and it created a level of comfort that perhaps exceeded its bounds. Eva wasn't daunted; even gruff exteriors had their chinks.

"One of the technical crews is doing maintenance on the refrigeration unit," she explained, biting at the corner of a triangle of toast. Her lips twitched. "Apparently I was getting in the way."

The Captain could imagine that the woman would get in the way. He had seen her obsession over the music system so he could imagine whoever had been set the task of doing it was not going to appreciate someone over their shoulder. Jeassaho would not have accepted someone second guessing and watching and she had an even temperament compared to some of them. “Da. I could imagine they only have so much patience.”

"And yet I'm the epitome of restraint and graciousness."

The playful jab at herself was hidden mostly behind the gulp of black coffee. Eva wasn't foolish, she was well-aware that snippets of her fixated pursuit of optimisation had likely filtered its way up through the command structure but, as far as she knew, she hadn't frustrated anyone to the point of official complaint.

Yet.

Glancing around the room, the bartender conducted a quick headcount and noted, "I thought I was late for breakfast, seems like everyone had the same idea." A subtle side-eye took into consideration Gregnol's expression. "There's a lot of anticipation in those faces, are we celebrating something?"

Gregnol had not realised it himself until the woman had commented on it and he found himself looking around. “The ship we stumbled on. It is like one big holodeck with a luxurious hotel attached.” The man explained not able to see the ship from the window but there was no denying the excitement that was in the room.

"Oh?" A previous career serving aboard a floating goliath of entertainment and leisure gifted Eva perhaps a more clinical interest in the news than the other crew currently chatting up a storm. "When you say 'stumbled upon', I'm guessing this isn't a planned vacation?"

“No. We picked up a distress call this morning.” Gregnol admitted rubbing his chin wondering how she had missed all the excitement when it was the gossip of the ship. Especially when people were already taking bets on when they would be allowed over for a mini holiday.

Distraction. Fixation. A terrible night's sleep. Had none of these things been an issue, Eva might have been a little more careful about causing damage to the age-old assumption that bartenders knew all the gossip before anyone else did. She frowned at the update, rendering her reaction even further from typical. "Is this a solo charter then? Any affiliated boat would have triggered alerts right through central management by now."

“Was my thoughts especially as there seems to be not a soul on there.” Gregnol revealed starting to eat some of his food as he thought about the events of the day. “Not been a soul on there for days apart from whoever is sending the distress call and they have not made themselves known to us yet.” he could not blame them as he would be reluctant to reveal himself to a big group after whatever had happened to the ship had happened.

"Now that is weird."

Not one to borrow trouble, Eva finished her slice of toast and sat back, nursing her black coffee. One leg crossed over the other left her in a comfortable huddle over the mug's warmth and it took only a moment longer for her expression to clear, a pair of raised eyebrows ending her speculation.

"I have to hand it to your crew then; being this eager to party on a ghost ship is a special kind of brave."

“Desperate times.” Gregnol was not sure he wanted to party on a ghost ship but the thought of being able to bring up whatever he wanted was a dream come true after the last seven years.

There were still a few questions as far as Eva could tell, most prominent being where the hell the ship's crew was, followed closely by some concern regarding anyone else who had intercepted the distress call. Someone had to own the ship and its financial interests, after all, you didn't just leave an asset floating dead in space. If the situation was exactly as Gregnol was explaining it, there was definitely some non-regulation shenanigans afoot but the brunette wasn't convinced any caution on her part would curb the enthusiasm surrounding her. Besides, this wasn't her mystery to solve.

She offered him a half-grin.

"The holo-arrays on entertainment barges are usually pretty impressive. If they've access to the standard library, you're going to wind up with enough to keep you busy for a month."

“They are almost brand new. From scans so far only been in for about a year or so. But also why I have put a limit on how long people have here. We have five days.” He said with a shrug taking a few bites of his food. Something was off but as he could not put his finger on it nor could he find the person who had created the distress call there was nothing stopping him.

"Five days on a ship that's already managed to lose its first crew compliment and guestlist." She was teasing him now, reveling in the luxury of having a perfectly valid concern to taunt him with. "Still, if it's deserted, all you have to do is prove it's been abandoned for the mandated period and you have yourself an impressive salvage." That particular nugget of knowledge was not a gift of her time serving aboard similar vessels, but from a father obsessed with rights of possession. He typically dealt with antiquities and relics but the principle was the same.

“Would not be the first time we’ve partied on an abandoned ship.” Gregory admitted with a shrug. “Or requested salvage rights. So you would not be interested in plundering the bar and restaurant then?” He wondered innocently countering her teasing.

"Plundering is such an aggressive word." The hand pressed to her chest conveyed an exaggerated sense of mock outrage at his suggestion. "Am I against the wastage of consumables? Absolutely." Eva grinned. "I don't think ghosts know how to appreciate a good cocktail but I'm sure they would appreciate the assistance in cleaning up unwanted clutter."

“We are aggressive folk out here.” Gregnol commented with a sly grin. “So I will see you tomorrow ten hundred hours in the transport room then.” He told her with a nod returning to his meal ending the conversation.

He'd played her well. Appealing to her curiosity, as well as her business acumen, hardly seemed fair but it was effective. Suspicion and distrust or not; there was no way Eva was sitting this out.

She smirked at him. Well-played.

"I'll wear my ghost-hunting pants."

 

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