Darenth ducked out of Sickbay and glanced up and down the corridor. Empty...that was good. He'd just finished a laundry list of detailed reports that needed to be turned into Starbase 414 to certify the medical personnel and systems were up to snuff. It wasn't hard but rather tiring work, so he was more than ready to retire to his quarters. His thoughts turned to relaxation, and he patted the medkit in his hands with a look of smug satisfaction that turned into a creased brow.
"Damn latch," he muttered, looking down at the medkit in his hands as he made his way to the turbolift. He should have changed kits back in Sickbay, but this one was the only one that had been empty (for an obvious reason, he now reflected) and large enough for his purposes.
The collision was sudden and took him by complete surprise. He'd gotten so used to the ship being half-empty and been so concentrated on fixing that latch that he hadn't seen or heard the other officer. All he caught was sight of a Cardassian face for only a moment before his attention snapped to the medkit tumbling to the floor. Upon impact the faulty latch gave way and a large bottle spun out and slid across the carpeting.
Darenth winced, watching his not-exactly-illicit but nevertheless frowned upon bourbon come to a spinning stop.
Ravi stumbled back a few steps after she ran directly the doctor. She almost shouted at him, but decided against it when she remembered the Captain's rebuke of the day earlier. It wasn't unttil the bottle rolled to a stop at her foot that the young Cardassian noticed the burbon. "Hiding," she paused to look down at the bottle's label, "bourbon, in a med-kit?"
A quick glance at the pips on her collar told him he wasn't in immediate trouble, so he flashed her a very charming smile instead. An air of confidence seemed to underscore his complete lack of concern about the bottle falling out of the med-kit. "Hiding? Well, I wouldn't go that far. Think of it more as...transporting...bourbon in a med-kit." He extended his hand in a friendly gesture. "I'm Dr. Darenth Rayoon; just Darenth outside Sickbay, though."
The young woman nodded with a smile of her own. "I see. Well, where do you happen to be transporting it to?" She picked up the bottle, examining it for a moment before placing it in the doctor's outstretched hand. That had probably been ackward for him, and she liked that idea.
Darenth almost grinned. A live one, eh? He took the bourbon firmly in his hand and began placing it back in the med-kit. "I was going back to my quarters to relax a little bit." He knew it sounded suggestive, but he let it linger in the air for a moment. She wasn't the only one that could purposely create tension. "But maybe I'll head to the lounge instead. I know it's a little unorthodox, toting bourbon around in a med-kit and all, but you never know who you're going to run into in the corridor."
"I've never had bourbon. I've heard it's quite good though. Perhaps I can," she paused for effect, "forget about the unusual case if you share some."
He lifted an eyebrow. An invitation? "I'd appreciate that. And I never mind sharing. I think you'll like it."
"Have you ever had Griellian Vassk Kanar?"
Darenth finally managed to get the latch securely closed. "Kanar? The Cardassian drink? I've had some kind of kanar... That night's a little hazy. That girl was little but she could drink me under the table. Remarkable metabolism, Cardassians," he remarked.
Ravi smiled, "Kanar is a blanket term. There are many varieties. I've got an unopened bottle I've been saving, if you wouldn't mind stopping by my quarters first." She began walking, assuming he'd follow.
He fell in step beside her, continuing on toward the turbolift and pleasantly surprised at his fortune. Finding a drinking buddy on board was usually a little more difficult than just bumping into someone in the corridor; plenty of Starfleet officers liked to blow off some steam in the lounge after their duty shift but it took a little more digging to find someone willing to risk the real stuff. "You know, I never got your name..."
"No, you didn't." The sideways looks she gave him dared him to try and get it out of her. "It can't be too hard to figure out now. I'm probably the only Cardassian in the sector, let along on this ship." They entered the lift and Ravi ordered it to Deck 2, Senior Officer's Quarters.
Okay, she was playing hard to get. Not surprising for a Cardassian. He thought he'd heard someone mention a Cardassian in the diplomatic corps on the ship, but he couldn't remember the name. Something with a D? Or an R? He'd find out when they got to her quarters. He'd never understood labeling the quarters of the crew with their names, especially in such tiny print, but who was he to question orders from on high?
"Just another couple of doors," she said with a mischevious grin. When the reached the doorway it didn't open immediately. She pressed a highligted button on the console and then the door responded. The moving doors revealed a fairly typical Starfleet quarters arrangement. There were no decorations on the wall, but several crates had been stacked just to one side of the door.
"Ah, looks like my luggage finally arrived." The lithe woman walked past the crates and turned to Dareth, "No cheating by looking at the crates. I'll be right back. Have a seat in the meantime."
"Thanks," Darenth said, taking a seat in the currently spartan quarters and cursing his luck about the door. She was a recent arrival, and Ops hadn't changed the door to list her name, rank and position. They were on the same deck as his own quarters, so he gathered she must be the Chief Diplomatic Officer but that still didn't help with her name. Despite her warning, he gave the crates a cursory glance but saw no identifying information. Hmph.
"How long have you been assigned to the Nimitz?" he called out toward the room she'd disappeared into. It was sort of a moot question, since she'd obviously not been here very long at all. Not long enough to unpack, at least. But until they'd been plied with bourbon and kanar, he needed a little small talk to calm his nerves. She wasn't exactly putting on him edge, but he'd had a long day and his wit was responding a little slowly.
"Just over a week," came the reply from the bedroom. A few moments later she emerged with a bottle of dark glass in one hand. "Griellan Vask. It's said to be one of the better varieties." She set the unopened bottle on the table as she moved to the replicator. "I just boarded the Nimitz today though."
"How many varieties are there?" he asked, eyeing the bottle and then watching her move to the replicator. It wasn't a predatory instinct to look at the women around him, although he knew there were some men like that in Starfleet. It just felt natural to make a quick assessment; she looked too young for him, and if there was anyone in Starfleet with a boat load of baggage it was going to be a Cardassian officer.
She returned with two shallow and slightly fluted glasses and a corkscrew. "Let's have a quick sampling, then we can go wherever to enjoy some more."
Darenth shifted in his seat, unsure of what to make of that. He'd been in more than his fair share of situations where a sampling led to a couple of glasses and then a bright morning in a foreign bed. Every alarm bell in his head rang at the near impropriety of the situation, but he was curious about the kanar and curious about the diplomat, too. "Sounds good to me." When she uncorked the bottle, his suspicions were confirmed: it was the real stuff. "Where did you get kanar like this, Lieutenant? I doubt they're stocking it down in the lounge..."
"Depending on how you count them there are between one and five hundred varieties. This one came from my father's cellar when we left Cardassia. When we came to Earth he brought only books and booze. I get a new bottle every time I stop at home." She poured a shallow serving of the Kanar into each glass.
She picked up her glass and took in a small mouthful. It was bitter, and yet somehow tart. "Damn, that's good."
Darenth was surprised. The bouquet didn't really match that taste, but that wasn't necessarily off putting. Just, surprising. And it had a little kick, both in taste and otherwise. "Never had anything like that before. What else is being hidden on Cardassia?"
"More than you know." She shoved the cork back into the Kanar and finished her glass. "Now, for the bourbon." She picked up his empty glass and carried them both to the replicator, where she retrieved new ones.
"Careful," he grinned, "it's got a little kick." He uncorked the bottle and poured a straight helping for both of them. Some women might have accused him of trying to get them drunk, but Darenth just liked his liquor and enjoyed being generous with it. "I've got a friend from my secondary school days back on Earth who makes this stuff. He settled in a place called Kentucky and makes the stuff. Not for sale, just for...private consumption."
The doctor raised his glass to his fellow officer in a toast and then downed his portion, clenching his jaw and tensing his muscles against the burn.
Ravi didn't brace herself, and it was a mistake. She shook her head and grimaced as it burned its way down. "That's closer to what most people think Kanar is." She took another drink. It was strong. After taking a couple of deep breaths she grinned. "Well, bourbon certainly does have a place for me." She held out a hand for his glass. "So, where to?"
By the time they made it to the ship's lounge, Darenth was definitely feeling the effects of the Kanar and bourbon. And he wasn't entirely sure they were two things that should mix. He slumped down into one of the chairs, broke open his med-kit and set the bourbon on the table with a little too much force. "I think that Kanar is kicking my ass, Lieutenant."
Ravi smiled. "One glass is strong enough to drag most people under. It's not just the alcohol, either." She was about to continue, when something in the man's eyes stopped her.
Suddenly, he sat bolt upright in his chair and pointed a finger at his Cardassian drinking mate. "Ravi! Your name's Ravi! I knew it started with an R. Or...a D. Something like that. All it took was a little good old fashioned lubrication to get the brain working. Sorry if I foiled all your plans by remembering. I don't have an ironclad memory, but I thought I remembered some of the guys in 414's Sickbay talking about a Cardassian diplomatic officer."
Ravi shrugged, "Since Marshal's docked, I guess that makes sense. What'd they have to say?"
The response was less than flattering. Some time later, they both staggered out of the lounge and back to their respecitve quarters. It had been a lot of fun. Ravi thought she would have to spend some more time with the man.