Night at the Ballet
Posted on Sat Mar 9th, 2019 @ 9:02pm by Lieutenant JG Aemilia "Millie" Stepanova & Captain Henry Crow & Commander Edra Crow & Commander Vox Templar & Lieutenant Commander Brielle Jayde & Lieutenant Commander Caressa Melanick & Lieutenant Dived Dumet & Lieutenant Edruj Daughter of Thrawn & Lieutenant JG Chance Crow & Banks
Location: Bolshoi Ballet, Moscow, Russia, Earth
Timeline: Shore Leave 2
Millie smiled, making small-talk with the guests. Her long, silky, red dress swished around her ankles as she turned at the sound of the voice of a familiar patron, and she smiled. She embraced the older gentleman, placing a cordial kiss on each of his cheeks. The small hall was buzzing with conversation, a chamber ensemble played 18th century Earth music in the corner of the room, and wait staff circulated with trays of beverages and finger-sized sweets.
There was a part of her that was in her element, circulating the room with the same grace as the dancers that conversed with the well-dressed crowd.
Dived straightened his tailored tan suit before double checking hair in the mirror. This was his first break he had taken in the past few days. He and his staff had worked around the clock and now the Mercutio was ready for her relaunch. One side effect of working so hard was that he hadn't had the chance to meet his new crewmates, this was his chance to change that. He entered the hall and was stunned by the sheer opulence of the room. He tore his eyes from the amazing architecture and began looking for someone from his crew. Unfortunately, he had met so few of them that he didn't recognize a soul.
Vox Templar entered the venue rather quietly, dressed in a black tux with the traditional bow tie. He paused briefly by the large mirror to make sure the tie was straight before heading into the mingling area. He immediately spotted the new chief engineer. A Cardassian stuck out in any human event but he admired the formal suit the man wore. He obtained two glasses of bourbon from a moving waiter and approached the man, reaching his hand out to offer him the other glass. "Welcome to Earth, Lieutenant Dumet. I'm Vox Templar, the Merc's intelligence officer."
Caressa took a deep breath while stepping into the huge room, she felt almost overwhelmed. She was not one to miss a chance to dress up however. The blue velvet dress clung to every curve of her body. It was a cleavage revealing in the front and lower in the back with a trailing train. Jewels encrusted the shoulders and neck. She wore simple dangling earrings as to not take away from the dress. Her shoes matched the encrusted jewels on the dress. Her vibrant red hair was braided and up in a curly up do. Her makeup was flawless. She took several steps forward looking for the crew.
It was her first real night out since everything had happened. She wasn't one to go out formally, but this time she wanted to. Bit of a fresh start after a not enjoyable start to shore leave. Brielle adjusted the side of her dress a bit, having not worn anything formfitting in a long time, and never anything like this. She was unstable on her heels but always had been. She'd left her hair down but had curled the lower half of it. The dress hugged her and it was a new experience. The bottom was gray while the top was still gray but darker with a lace pattern. She saw others of the crew and walked towards them slowly.
Dived accepted the drink from Vox and gave him a gracious nod. “Thank you.” He took a swig of his drank and was intrigued by the strange taste. “I’ve been stationed at McKinley for a few years now but I rarely made it planet-side and never to such a formal occasion. How long have you been aboard the……,” the Cardassian was instantly distracted when he caught a glimpse at the doctor. She was a truly attractive woman and he couldn’t keep his eyes off of the Bajoran. He raised his glass in a manner to attract her attention. “Caressa.”
Looking to see who called her name, Caressa caught the glance of Dived and his raised glass, also taking note of Vox being with him. Catching his eye she beamed as she walked to the smartly dressed men. Wafting across the room as if her feet were barely touching the floor, then coming to a graceful stop in front of them. "Dived I am so glad you are here! Looking rather dashing if I must say." Giving him a once over, then turning to Vox, "You are dapper as always, commander". Waving down a passing waiter, she tucked her matching blue velvet clutch under her arm, and obtained a glass of tequila. She took a small sip, "So where is everyone else?"
Vox gave Caressa a very polite smirk and tipped his head while raising his glass in her direction. "Likewise, Doctor Melanick."
Brie snagged one of th glasses of tequila from the same place Caressa had as she got to the group. “I don’t know how you do it, walking around in these heels, Caressa.” She sipped the drink. “Or are comfortable in these dresses.” Her eyes caught the two men, one she hadn’t met yet, and the other being Vox. “Evening gentlemen.”
"Well, as you can see" Showing her leg up to mid thigh. "I had to opt for a lower heel option tonight. My foot had an encounter with a replicator panel and my toe did not fair well. Although my calves still look awesome! Twisting her toes on the floor to show off the leg. "A girl has to do what a girl has to do!" Sipping on the tequila,she added, "You look fabulous!" She smiled at Brie. "Comfort, you get used to it. Besides the guys like it!" Smiling looking at the guys.
“Oh, I don’t have high ones,” Brie said as she showed off her own lower heels, which in turn showed off her leg. “I just haven’t dressed up in so long I’ve forgotten how to walk in them!” She took another sip, “Thank you, Caressa. So do you. I think at least you caught the guys’ eyes...”
“I’d say,” Dived said without thinking. He immediately regretted saying that and started to slink back away from the group. It was imperative that he made a good first impression with his crewmates and was starting off on the wrong foot. It was hard enough being a Cardassian in Starfleet, he had always felt he had to work twice as hard to prove himself. He should probably just stick to engineering and prove his worth that way. There were a few experiments that he should be working on instead of embarrassing himself. Dived quietly made his way to the door.
Brie watched as the other two left and looked over to Vox. “What was that all about?”
Vox raised one eyebrow and grinned as his hawk-like gaze kept on the retreating Cardassian. "He made an excellent remark about the good doctor and instantly got nervous, it would seem." He slid his eyes toward Brie and slowly took a long sip of his bourbon. "He should have kept going, in my book."
Eyes going wide, Brielle felt her face go flush. “He... what?” She downed the tequila in her glass, biting her lip.
Vox locked eyes with Brie and replied, "Yes, he said something along the lines of how magnificent she looked in her dress as he looked her over a few times." He then looked Brie over once very slowly and methodically. "Like that..." He then took another sip of drink.
“Vox Templar, if I did not know any better, I’d say your eyes are wandering,” Brie said with a smirk.
Millie laughed, approaching the small group. "You'll have to be careful. The commander tends to get himself in over his head when he wanders." The counselor placed a hand on Brie's shoulder. "Though, I will admit, the gaze is deserved. You look amazing!" She placed a friendly air-kiss on each cheek of the lieutenant.
Vox was just about to reply to Brie with something witty before being interrupted by Millie. He closed his mouth and angled his head in a bow as she approached. "As do you, counselor. Compliments to your seamstress." He took another sip and glanced ever so slightly at Brie before scanning the room.
“You look amazing as well, Millie. Thank you for inviting me. I... wasn’t sure if I was going to come or not.” Brie glanced back over at Vox. “I think he’s looking for some trouble.” She couldn’t help but let her own eyes linger on him before shaking her head, reaching for another passing drink tray that had tequila on it.
"He's usually looking for trouble, so keep him away from women and alcohol." Millie smiled. "And I'm glad you like the dress, commander. A fitting replacement for the one you destroyed. No bleeding all over this one, da?" The counselor winked, and turned to glance around the room. "I could have sworn I saw Dr. Melanick here. Was I mistaken?"
Commander Templar simply smirked at them both and kept silent as he sipped his drink but then answered Millie's question. "Yes, you just missed her. She went to grab our new chief engineer from making a hasty exit." He pointed toward the entrance. "I'm sure you can catch them and pull them back inside."
Brie bit her lip and smirked. “Our new engineer caught himself looking at Caressa much like Vox was looking at me and then ran... and as there is already women and alcohol involved? I think it is too late.”
Vox raised his eyebrows in mild surprise. "Nothing wrong with admiring what's on display, Brie." His eyes locked with hers and he took another sip, a moment that stretched for a few seconds longer than it would seem at first. He swallowed hard. "Tequila, huh? Is that your favorite?"
Surprised by the change of subject, though she had kept her eyes locked on his when he had done the same, Brie blushed again. “Er, just what sounds good right now. I don’t have a favorite really.”
"Do you enjoy different spirits, or certain ones based on mood? I hear the good counselor is a big fan of rum." He glanced over to Millie with a playful smile before looking back at Brie.
Brie shrugged. "Depends on my mood. Fruity drinks when I just feel like something small, this just because, so... I never know."
"Not knowing the outcome of events can be a thrill." Vox raised his glass to salute her. "Go big or go home, right?"
Caressa could feel his embarrassment. Curious how she was able to read him so freely. She finished her shot non-dramatically and took her leave from the group,quietly while they were engaged in some ship topic. She wondered out the door looking for Dived along the street. He was standing on the corner looking at the city scape. "Did you really think you cold leave without me noticing?" A concerned look but with a smile.
Dived didn’t take his eyes off of the night sky. “I've noticed over the past few days that I can't hide anything from you. I've never experienced something like that before.” He finally turned to face his friend. “I don't belong here. Everyone of you is a trained officer who earned their positions after years at the Academy. I’m just a mechanic who was handed a commission.”
"I would not have known that if you had not just told me. When I looked at your transfer orders, I just saw your accomplishments. Star Fleet academy is just a proving ground for a skill set that you already have. The academy did not train me for interpersonal exchanges, that you learn from everyday interactions. You are an officer, you just need to own it and claim it." She took him by the hand, "As far as the hiding stuff from me. I am empathic and telepathic. Normally, I just don't read people, unless they let me in. It is an invasion of privacy." Looking down at the ground and then back at him. "We have a connection I cannot explain."
Dived looked her in the eyes. “I like the connection.” He looked away nervously.
"I like it too, Who knew, a Bajorian and Cardassian." reassuring him by holding his hand a bit firmer.
Dived became even more nervous. "Do you, uh, want to go somewhere and talk?"
"Sounds like a plan! Lead on Lieutenant." taking his arm.
The couple reentered the party, Caressa was on the arm of Dived. They were laughing, walking and having a great time. They saw the others and made there way over. Grabbing a drink along the way.
Glancing over, Brie smirked. “Well lookie what was have here,” she said seeing the couple coming back.
"Caressa! I'm so glad you could make it!" Millie courteously embraced the doctor. She then turned to the Cardassian. "And you must be Lieutenant...Dumet, da?" She gave a welcoming smile. "I'm really glad you could come!"
Dived smiled nervously at the counselor. "Uh, yes I'm Chief Dumet. You can call me, uh, Dived." He glanced to the woman on his arm. "I am glad I came as well."
Caressa gave his arm a little squeeze as they where standing, just to reassure him. "Its great to see you too Millie, this is a very nice affair" smiling at everyone and pausing to take a sip of tequila.
Edra entered on the arm of Henry. She was clad in a long, black, caped dress with gold beading, heavy at the top and fading to all black material at the hem. It seemed to float around her. Her hair was drawn up into a simple twist. Next to her, Henry wore a classic tux. They both stopped at the doorway and looked around. Edra pointed toward Millie when she saw her, and they headed her way. "Good evening, Counselor," she said with a smile.
Brie could not help but smile when she saw both Caressa and Dived looking happy as well as Edra and Henry appear. With the group getting a bit bigger, she shifted where she was standing and ended up next to Vox. "Edra, Henry, you two look amazing!"
Vox's arm pressed subtly against Brie's as the group became larger and more animated. He could smell her perfume very intensely at that point. He glanced for just a moment back at her. His eyes went up from her shoulder, past the hair that was back behind her shoulder and continued up her neck to her jaw line. He blinked a few times before redirecting his attention to the group and taking a sip of his drink.
Caressa said, "This crew always looks amazing. Brie that dress fits you like a glove. Millie is in her element here. Edra, wow! What more could you ask for?" Looking to everyone and then to Dived. "Its like a fairy tale."
A few moments after Henry and Edra arrived, Banks and Chance entered the room. "I suddenly feel under dressed." She quipped.
Chance looked her over, in her strapless blue gown. "I don't know why. You look stunning." He put his free hand over hers, placed through the crook of his other arm, after adjusting the ring on her finger so it was in just the right spot to show it off. "You compare yourself to others too much," he whispered against her hair, placing a kiss there. "There is no comparison."
His words always had a way of fixing her issues and now she felt like the belle of the ball. "Love you too." She said giving his arm a light squeeze.
Millie grinned from ear to ear as she greeted and embraced all of the newcomers. "I'm so glad that all of you could come! Please, come in and enjoy the party! I...may have to wander away and greet some of the investors and patrons, but I will be sure to make my way back."
"Banks, Chance, you two look great," Brie said as she felt eyes on her. She knew who it was that was looking and bit her lip. "You're going to be busy tonight, Millie. I think this group will be easy enough to find given all of our outfits though." Her eyes turned towards Vox finally, her face flushed.
Vox's eyes caught Brie's for the briefest of moments before he looked away. His breathing became erratic as he blinked a few times, trying to pay attention to what was being said. His hand brushed against hers as he brought it up to scratch his jaw lightly as he nodded at the others.
Edra slipped her hand out of Henry's arm with a smile to him. She grabbed a glass of red wine as a tray passed and walked around to mingle. Oblivious to the connection only a moment ago, her steps led to Brie. "You look great! How are you?"
Giving Vox a smirk before Edra had made her way over, she smiled. "You do too, and better, thanks. Wasn't sure for a while there. Took a bit of time, but, it's for the best."
Edra frowned, confused. "Better? What happened that's for the best?"
Rubbing the back of her neck, Brie sighed slightly. "Forgot you and Henry left right when shore leave started. Razot and I...we'd been arguing for months and it finally came to a head. He left...two days into our shore leave. I've spent shore leave with my family on Earth since then, the kids are there now. Took a lot for me to even decide to come tonight, but I realized I had to actually get out."
Edra gasped, but tried to not inhale too loudly. "Brie, I'm so sorry. Did he leave the crew?" she asked, glancing over at Henry. He hadn't told her of anything as significant at Razot leaving.
Henry blinked at the 'you're in trouble' look from his wife.
"He did. I know he turned in the transfer request, at least, I thought he had. We already finalized all of our things a few weeks ago, which is why I've spent the whole time at my parents." Brie let out a heavy sigh. "It's been tough, but even the kids were noticing something wasn't right. One can only take so much before it starts to beat you down."
She nodded. "Still, I know how happy you two were at one point, and I'm sorry that didn't last. I won't dampen tonight by keeping up that conversation, but if you need to talk, I'm here." She took a sip of her wine, and put a hand on Brie's arm in support.
Brie gave a smile to Edra, "Thanks, Edra. We were, but things just fell apart. Might take you up on that talk offer at some point though."
Banks arrived at Brie and Edra just then having been watching them, and their lips, from across the room. "I can find him if you want." Her tone indicated an unsaid 'dead or alive' quality to the offer.
Raising an eyebrow, Brie looked directly at Banks. "No...we had to many fights to make it work, loud fights. I don't want him hurt. You know who Razot is. Let him go on with his life, I've still got the kids, so you can still babysit whenever you want to." She sighed, speaking quietly then to Banks. "Why would you think I'd want anything like that?"
Banks was stoic. "I never said it was for a happy ending. But if he deserves to be treated like a pinata that can be arranged."
"Trisha...no. Just let it go, okay? I have, and I'm here to live my life to the fullest." Brie watched her expression. "Doesn't matter how it ended, it's done."
"As you wish."
Brie continued to watch Banks and shook her head, "Trisha, really. I know you don't like hearing that it happened, but it did. You don't have to overprotect me with this." She knew that Banks was always overprotective, of all of them. She put a hand on Banks' arm, "Though I really do appreciate your concerns, truly."
Millie placed her glass on a nearby table, making her way through the group. She paused briefly by Chance, placing a hand on his arm. "Please tell me that she tried to enjoy her shore leave?"
Chance looked down at the Counselor. "Oh, she did, but you know what she enjoys is much different from what most of us enjoy. So..." He left that hanging with a slight grin.
Edruj had been on the Mercutio for a short time, and in that time it seemed to her that the crew partied more then worked. She did want to go to the ballet, as she had sensor sweeps to go over, and felt that duty would be a better use of her time.
However, rumor had it that the Captain was going to go and she thought that it would be insulting to him if she did not go. So, she donned her finest clothing, something she had not worn since her brother Jek'Lar's wedding. The only two additions that she made to the Klingon formal wear was her comm badge and her sash bearing the insignia of the house of Thrawn.
She walked into the reception, that which her crew-mates called a cocktail party. Her mood soured further when she found that there was no blood wine to be had. Without saying a word she decided to brood as she looked out a nearby window.
It was nice seeing everyone relaxing for a change, although it seems like they were dressing up a lot. Banks and Chance's wedding and now this. Caressa did not care, it gave her the chance to get out of uniform and wear something different. She had dropped Dived's arm while she sipped her drink. Seeing people she knew and nodding across the room. " Tons of brass here tonight."
Millie smiled. "It is a big evening for the Bolshoi! For the first time, we have a non-human in the Corps du Ballet." She gave a head nod in the direction of the Bolian on the other side of the room, dressed in an elegantly beaded tutu. Her eye then caught a familiar face by the windows, and momentarily excused herself from the group.
Dived was puzzled by the strange attire of the Bolian woman. "What exactly is a ballet?" He had meant to research it when he had received the invitation, but one of his staff had noticed a 1.2% misalignment in the warp core that took a few days to correct. What was more confusing than the nature of the event, was the fact that it as a big deal that a nonhuman was involved. "And why is it special that a Bolian is in it, I thought all species were considered equal in the Federation."
"Ballet is a dance art form, very beautiful to watch. Evidently she is the first non-human to make the dance company. I am not the expert, Millie is" Pointing to Millie who had just left the group.
Millie snagged another glass on the way to the brooding Klingon staring out the window. "You know, you should come join the others. You don't have to stand over here by yourself."
Still with her hands behind her back Edruj turned to face the newcomer and noticed that it was the Counselor. She took the glass offered with a feint smile. "I know that I do not have to be here by myself. However, I choose to be."
"It's a rather big night for the Bolshoi," Millie said with a smile. "I've been...overturning some old standards, and we have our first Bolian dancer in tonight's production." She likewise turned to look out the window. "It's a shame you won't be here in a few months. I'm bringing in a production of 'aktu' mellota' je from Krios Prime. I'm...already told that a significant portion of the hall has sold out."
She gave a soft chuckle. "I'd be lying if I didn't say that it's causing quite a stir. For the good, I hope."
Edruj grunted, she did not mean to be bad company. The fact was she just was not interested in ballet or anything having to do with it. "I am sure they will put on fine productions. However, your ballet will never have the depth of Klingon opera."
Millie smiled. "Perhaps. But there is a grace to ballet that allows the story to be conveyed without a single word being said, not to mention the incredible strength and dedication of training that it takes to make it into such a prestigious company. As I am hoping to bring the music and dance of other worlds to the Bolshoi, I am hoping to show the beauty that is found in all arts, not just in our own."
The counselor smiled, glancing out the window again. "Be sure to pay close attention to the male dancers. In this production, a few of them are required to lift the females up over their heads and carry them there. It requires incredible strength." She paused, having noted the sullen demeanor of her Klingon friend. "Are you doing alright this evening?"
Edruj turned toward her new friend. The truth was there was a lot going on in the Klingon's mind, but not much of it she wanted to share. She smiled broadly. "I will take note of the male performers. If I did not know any better I would think that you were trying to start a counselling session right here." Edruj laughed.
Millie chuckled, returning the smile. "Not intentionally. I just want to see you having a good time." She turned, looking out over the bustling hall. "This was my entire childhood...and almost my career. I lived here, I trained here...I was almost one of those dancers over there," she stated wistfully, gesturing to the women circulating in costume. "There's a part of me that misses this, and perhaps...it's my chance to be a little vulnerable with all of you in inviting you into my life and my childhood."
Edruj grunted in that way that all Klingons did when they were in deep thought. "Very well then I will observe this dance in an effort to learn more about you. However, I cannot guarantee that I will enjoy it." Edruj turned to the nearest server and ordered the strongest drink that they could muster.
Klingons... Millie smiled. "Either way, I am glad you are here." She turned over her shoulder, looking back at the crew, making sure they were enjoying themselves. "Have you enjoyed your shore leave at least?"
"Yes I did. It has been an interesting time. However, I would be remiss if I didn't say that I am looking forward to getting back out there and seeing what is left to find. It is taking some adjustment to get used to that Federation starships do not continue on mission. In the Empire there is rarely shore leave, rarely performances. Just missions..." Edruj's voice trailed off as she was wistful for the Empire in the moment.
Millie gently placed a hand on the Klingon's arm. "Are you, perhaps, feeling homesick?"
"There are times when I miss the homeworld. However, I do not think this is one of those times. I was stating that it is more of an adjustment for me from the Empire's way to Starfleet's way..." Edruj's voice trailed off as her thoughts went back to Quonos. "Besides is it not normal to miss ones home and the company of ones own people." Edruj was suddenly on the defensive.
The counselor gave a gentle smile. "It's perfectly normal...or, moreso, expected. I would be more worried if you didn't miss your home." She looked back over her shoulder, eyeing the group of crew members. "Come on, let's go rub shoulders with the brass. It's always good to have some favors that you can call in later," she said with a wink.
Yet something else that Edruj did not truly enjoy about being in Starfleet. The need to as the Counselor put it rub shoulders with those above you. The Klingon thought it to be a waste of time. However, the Counselor was probably correct. "Very well Millie lead the way." Edruj spoke as she covered up her disdain rather well.
After mingling around with other attendees, some crew, some not, Edra stood next to Vox and took a drink of her wine. "Are you enjoying yourself tonight, Commander?"
Vox took another gulp of his drink and glanced over to his old friend with a smile. "Yes, very much, Edra. It's been such a long time since we've all had a night to focus on something fun." He let a grin cross his lips as he added, "And you got Henry into a tux. That's no small accomplishment."
She glanced over at her husband with a grin before looking back to Vox. "You're not kidding. I finally got him to put in his measurements only yesterday." She sighed, shaking her head. "He can be so stubborn sometimes. But, so can I." She took a sip of her wine with a side grin Vox's way. "So, did you come with anyone?"
Vox cleared his throat softly and pursed his lips into a smile. "Just me, myself and I." He leaned in close to whisper, "But that doesn't guarantee I'll leave the same way." He took a sip of his drink and let his hawk-like gaze glance around the room.
She laughed, unsure if his words meant anything could happen, or if he had plans he just didn't want to divulge. It reminded her of the younger officer she'd met when she first was assigned to the Mercutio.
Having just lingered in the group after a while, Brie half listened to conversations, and going after not-as-strong drinks. She did want to be able to watch the ballet without her head swimming. Her eyes kept glancing across over at someone else, but she'd turn away if he ever looked over.