Langley Station

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Chess and Check...mates

Posted on Fri Dec 23, 2022 @ 8:31am by Lieutenant Dunamis & Ambassador Jasca Ocett

Mission: Second Chances
Location: Tavern, Lyshan Colony
Timeline: Mission Day 1 at 0000

Murmurs arose from the crowd who'd gathered to watch the biggest event of the night: a chess match, an intense one at that, taking place in centerplace of the local tavern, played between a Kelpien male and a Caitian male. Both players seemed equally focused on the chessboard in front of them; already both sides had lost many of their pieces, leaving just a few behind. With every measured movement of a chess piece came rumblings of muttering from the gathered crowd, enraptured...

And then the Kelpien picked up his knight, moved it and placed the piece down, announcing triumphantly "Checkmate."

Instantly the crowd erupted in raucous cheering, either lauding the winner of the game or comforting the poor distressed Caitian, who looked like he wanted to curl into a ball and mewl. Imagine that, the seven-time champion of the tavern's monthly chess meet defeated by a newcomer of all people!

Dunamis, for that was the newcomer's name, was nothing if not a good sport, however, and, following sincere reassurance and congratulations given fullsomely to his opponent, opted to retire to the bar counter and order yet another peach smoothie from the grinning bartender. As the station's new Chief of Strategic Operations, stealing the title of chess competition champ hadn't exactly been the way he'd envisioned making his first impression on the residents, but hey, life was unpredictable. Opportunities presented themselves at every corner and it was up to one to make best use of them.

Jasca had watched the match with great interest. After hearing about the chess match, she'd began to make a monthly pilgrimage to the tavern. At first the town's folk weren't happy to see her after all the Union's troops hadn't been kind to them during the war, but now she was like a piece of the furniture, Even so, Glinn Nissec, her security chief insisted on accompanying her to the colony every time.

Now that the match was over, she made her way over to the bar to congratulate the winner. Nissec following her like a terrian attack dog.

"Congratulations, B'ris is quite a good player." She said indicating the devastated Caitian. "I'm Jasca Ocett, Cardassian Ambassador to Langley Station, I wonder would you like to join me a the embassy for a game or two?"

"Madame Ambassador, may I remind you, you can't just invite strangers to the embassy without proper vetting." Nissec said.

"Please excuse, my security chief, he is a lifelong soldier and therefore lacks tact, but he is loyal and good at his job which makes up for his lack of breeding."

Dunamis looked up from the drink he'd been sipping and put the glass aside for the time being. "It would be my honor." He responded. "When would you like to have our game? I have the rest of the evening to myself if you'd like, though of course I would prefer to play at your convenience."

"Let's say in 15 minutes, I'll contact my aides to get things prepared. Until then we can get to know each other a little better my nameless friend." Jasca said.

"I'd be agreeable to that." Dunamis glanced at the ambassador, who he found to be quite attractive indeed, her uptight security officer and then at the bartender. "Would you and your security chief like anything to drink, Ambassador? Don't worry about the cost; I'll pay for all of it."

He understood well the implications of ordering something for her, but not her guard - especially to the latter. He thought of it as a way to keep every party in this matter satisfied. Besides, maybe the uptight man would better trust him this way.

"I'll have a Vulcan sunset, what would you like, Dillam?" She asked Nissec, using his given name was her way of teasing him.

"Nothing, for me Madame Ambassador, I'm on duty, but my tanks to the stranger for including me." Nissec replied.

"A Vulcan sunset, please." He instructed the bartender, who nodded and bustled off to prepare the beverage. "What would you like to learn about me, Ambassador? I have nothing to hide." Dunamis said.
"I'm sure you must have quite a few questions for me - please, do ask freely. I don't mind at all." Better to ask then to not ask and be humiliated for it, in his opinion. His species didn't often leave Kaminar and so didn't have all that huge of a galactic presence; not many outsiders knew much about his people and their way of life.

"Maybe your name? I already know you're a Kelpien, I served with one aboard the USS Dalton during an officer exchange program, i found her quite fascinating. Her name was Baruan. She told me few of her people leave Kaminar. You're the second, I've ever seen, do you work on the station?" She asked.

Dunamis' cheeks flushed pink with embarrassment. "Ah. Pardon me - my name is Dunamis, and I am the station's new head of Strategic Operations - or at least, I shall be when the new station arrives." He said, as the bartender served the Ambassador's drink. He had to admit, he'd never seen a Vulcan sunset, but the drink certainly looked quite good. "I'm sure she must've left a positive first impression of our people, didn't she?"

"Yes, she certainly did." Jasca agreed remembering their time together. "I wonder what she's doing now?" She paused a moment. "Hum, Head of Strategic Operations, I'll try not to be too obvious when I pick your mind for Intel." She joked. Giving him a genuine smile.

Dunamis offered her an equally genuine amused smile, along with her drink of course. "You might find the job easier said than done, Ambassador. I have earned my place as head of strategic operations for a reason. Would you like to sit? It's somewhat easier to talk that way, don't you reckon?"

"Of course." Jasca said letting Dunamis lead the way. Nissec her shadow as always.

Dunamis led them to a somewhat quieter part of the tavern, to a table that could seat four, so that her security guard could sit as well - if he so wanted. "Would you like to know anything else about me?" He asked. "As I've said, I am an open book." He offered her the first pick of her seat.

Jasca took a seat with her back to the wall. She waited for Dunamis to sit, while Nissec stood nearby like a grumpy statue. "So, Dunamis where did you learn chess?" She asked sipping at her drink.

"My parents' efforts. They took me to a children's chess club one evening and made me learn to play. I grew up on a Starfleet vessel you see; such gatherings were quite common for a crew so diverse. I played my first game that night and have not stopped since." He offered her a slight smile. "I've played in shipboard competitions of all kinds and won - in fact I daresay tonight's event was quite small in comparison to what I've taken part in before."

"Nonetheless. B'Ris was a challenging opponent. I knew of his record beforehand, of course. Taking his title was something I did not enter expecting to do. I intended to enter, play my best and see where that took me, and that is all."

"I grew up learning Kerun its similar to chess, but when you put your opponent's Chancellor in check, he or she gets to roll a die. If they roll a six, they win the game, any other number leads to one of their own pieces switching sides and killing their Chancellor and their opponent wins. I prefer chess, winning relies more on talent than chance." She said. "I was taught chess by the Dalton's XO" She added.

"I too prefer games of skill to chance - though I do have to admit that sometimes the randomness of it can be quite thrilling, don't you reckon?" Dunamis said with a smile. "If I may ask. Which board games have you tried so far, Ambassador? I myself have tried quite a few, though I enjoy none more than chess."

"I tried a game called Scrabble, but I soon tired of it when each time I used a Cardassian word, they told me it was against the rules." She said. "One of my aides showed me a human children's game called Mouse Trap where the object of the game was to build a convoluted trap in which to capture your opponents' rodents, before they catch yours. Seemed like a waste of time to me."

"I've tried Scrabble - I can't say I liked it. I found it far too competitive, especially when one of the children who played with me was an Andorian who took things far too seriously." He chuckled. "I've never tried Mouse Trap, unfortunately. Perhaps one day I shall." Following a brief pause to sip from his drink he said, "Fifteen minutes, you said. I think it's been thereabouts at this point... shall we be heading over?"

"Of course." Jasca said and took Dunamis arm. Turning to Nissec, she put on a posh English accent and said. "Dillam, be a good chap and fetch the Rolls."

The Cardassian rolled his eyes, familiar with his superior's eccentricities. "Yes, Ma'am." He replied and went to get their vehicle.

"I'm afraid my lodgings aren't to the standard I had on the Station, but they're comfortable enough." She said to Dunamis.

"I too find mine quite comfortable, in fact." Dunamis may or may not have flushed a little at her slipping her arm through his. It wasn't very often that a woman did this to him - more often than not it was the other way round, as rarely as that happened, given his old schedules and tendencies to overwork. "Your... Rolls? I assume you don't mean an actual Rolls-Royce car from Earth?" He joked.

"You're quite right, its a modified ATV." She confessed. "My accommodations are on the edge of town."

"I see." Dunamis smiled lightly. "Lead the way, Ambassador. I am eager to begin our game."

Nissec brought the car around and they got in. The trip didn't take long, but there were some native creatures that hunted at night and best not to give them the opportunity.

Dunamis sat quietly throughout the trip, admittedly taking the short period of calm silence to admire the Ambassador. She was a beautiful woman, he thought, and somehow the relative darkness of the vehicle's interior lent her a mysterious, even alluring air. He kept that opinion to himself, though, as the vehicle stopped outside a relatively simple-looking home he assumed was hers.

He allowed her to exit first before stepping out himself. "I've always found the residences in this colony to be quite nice." He remarked. "Simple, yet there is a sort of charm to their design, don't you reckon?"

"Yes, and I feel humbled that the people of this colony have accepted us after what my people did to them in the past." Jasca said.

"People are capable of incredible acts of kindness and forgiveness." He said softly "Even towards others who were bitter enemies only so long ago. At the end of the day we all share the same large galaxy. Oughtn't we be kind to each other as a result? Why fight?" Odd words coming from a strategic operations officer indeed - but Dunamis had served long enough to realize that. "After you, Ambassador?" He gestured towards the house. "This is your residence after all."

As she entered a young slim Cardassian women dressed in diplomatic robes, with the rank insignia of a Glin approached her. "Welcome back, Madam Ambassador, the room is set up as per your instructions."Glin Ake Iamlot reported. "I took the liberty of preparing refreshments."

"Thank you, Ake, that will be all." She replied.

Ake gave a nod of the head and retreated to her own quarters.

Jasca led the way into the diplomatic annex where a chess board had been placed on a table with two blush chairs. Cardassian and Hebitian tapestries adorned the bare walls.

Dunamis gazed around them in silent appreciation. The chessboard, which looked to be something of rather high quality, wasn't even the centerpiece of the room.

"This room is lovely." He said with an appreciative smile and a nod. "What is it normally used for, if I may ask?"

"Diplomatic functions officially, but my aides use it for their weekly poker game, think I don't know and it amuses me to keep up the pretence." She said with smile. "Can I tempt you with a glass of Geemarc, its an alcoholic drink from Rigel IV, it tastes a lot better than it smells."

Dunamis glanced back the way they came, wondering if any of her staff had heard her say that - and it amused him to see that the hallway was empty, and the door remained closed. "I would like that." He said, sitting down in front of the chess board, admiring the quality of the entire set, pieces, varnished wooden surface and all. "This is magnificent, by the way." He complimented. "Where did you get it? The board and pieces, I mean."

"Baruan had it made and gave it to me as a parting gift when my offer exchange ended." She said looking wistful for a moment , before pouring Dunamis a glass and handing it to him.

Somehow he sensed that his fellow countrywoman had been something more than just a friend, judging by the expression that flitted across her reptilian features for just a moment. Dunamis accepted the glass and took a cursory sniff; trying not to blink from the strong petroleum-like scent that immediately assaulted his nostrils he took his first sip... and smiled slightly when he found that it tasted like liquid caramel.

"Wow." He remarked. "You were right - this drink is indeed far better-tasting than it sounds. I think I'll order it from the station's bar when I next visit - assuming they have it, of course." With that he set the glass down on the table in front of him.

"Well then. Shall we play?" He invited.

Jasca took her seat. "Okay, dark or light?" She asked.

"I think I'll have to go with... dark." With a slight smile he picked up his first piece, an elegantly varnished and carved black pawn. "Well then. May the best player win." He said, pushing the piece forward two spaces.

Dunamis had come into the game expecting to simply do his best and let the results come as they would. Whether he won or lost was irrelevant; the entire point in coming here was simply to have a little bit of fun. He certainly hadn't expected the game to last over two hours and two half full cups of Geemarc on either side - and even then with both players locked in a stalemate. Already he could feel his eyelids begin to droop.

"Perhaps it is time we both took a break. For both our benefit." He suggested, leaning back in his chair with a long, drawn-out sigh. "You, Ambassador, are a superb player..."

"Thank you, as are you, my friend." Jasca replied.

Dunamis offered her a kind, if weary smile. "In fact, I'd like to play again, at your convenience. I understand diplomatic work sometimes leaves little space for free time. Simply let me know when and where you'd like to play, and I shall be there."

"I will do so. Count on it." Jasca said with a smile. "Would you like me to have Nissec drive you back to the tavern, or do you have quarters elsewhere?"

"The tavern will be just fine, Ambassador." He responded, standing and offering her his hand to shake. "Thank you for playing with me - I had fun. Plenty of it."

"Me too." Jasca said. She then tapped her comm. "Nissec, please drive Dunamis back to the tavern."

"Yes, Madame Ambassador, I'll meet him outside." Came the Security Chief's voice over the comm.

"Nissec's outside, he'll drive you home." The Ambassador said leading him into the foyer.

Dunamis smiled warmly and allowed the gruff Cardassian man to lead take him back to the tavern. The night had been, all in all, an excellent night, and he was looking forward to more.

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