"How is the party going?" I ask Commander Riker, who seems more interested in doing the next jive with Deanna Troi.
"It's going really well, sir." he answers in the middle of being twisted around, "The Strolling Bones really know how to play a song."
I turn to Mr Worf, who is having an extra Klingon Bloodwine with Jadzia Dax. I ask about security.
"No one in the brig yet, Captain." he answers, "But the Security Team are on standby."
"Good." I answer, "I see that new guests are arriving."
Merlyn Gabriel and her friend arrive.
“Remind me again, my dear, why we are going to this thing?” Thrawn asked as I added the last touches of make up to my face.
“Because it’s tradition and because I get invited and I don’t get invited to that many parties so I rather like to go to this one, besides it’s always interesting.” I said, “You enjoyed last year’s.”
“And what is the theme this year?”
I shrugged slightly, “Something about the Borg.”
Thrawn arched an eyebrow, “I see.” He went to the bedside table and picked up his sidearm.
“What are you doing?” I asked watching him add the pistol holster to his dress uniform.
“As I recall the Borg have a tendency to want to assimilate any species they come across, I’d prefer it if they didn’t assimilate us.”
I nodded sagely and smiled. “I doubt that Captain Picard would allow that to happen, it’s a Christmas party not a war.”
“Tekari, when you attend an event sometimes it is hard to tell the difference, especially with the way things have habit of happening, remember the auction on Tatooine?”
I sighed as I finished getting ready. “That was not my fault, I swear.”
“Uh huh.” Thrawn nodded and placed my wrap over my shoulders. “Funny how often you say these words. Do try to stay out of trouble this evening, my dear.”
I ignored his barb and slipped my hand on his offered arm, looking forward to the party we were going to.
We arrived on board the Enterprise and were met by a Borg drone that didn’t say very much but indicated we should follow him. As he walked I wondered if all the implants were not a little bit painful because he moved stiffly.
“You know, we have great medical droids who could fix your uhm… attachments.” I said.
“Your inferior technology is not desired. I am perfect as I am.” The drone said somewhat stiffly. “You would be wise not to mention this to our Queen she may decide to assimilate you and your friend.” He stopped when we arrived at the Holodeck where the party was being held. “Enjoy your evening.” The drone said and before we could answer back or thank him he turned abruptly and walked stiffly back to the transporter room.
Thrawn glanced at me and smiled, “Well my dear, shall we?”
The decorations took my breath away quite literally; the Holodeck had been set to resemble the inside of a Borg cube including the warmer temperatures. I was glad I had worn something light and revealing, I was also glad I had convinced Thrawn to wear something other than his uniform. I thought he looked very smart in his black dress pants with matching black shirt and jacket.
We stood for a moment and took in the sights, the decoration was fabulous if a bit grim, instead of the usual festive trees, lights and tinsel the entire holo suite looked a bit like something out of a carbonite ore processing unit done up in eerie green lighting with extra steam thrown in for effects. I half expected to see Han Solo decorating the wall. The industrial style didn’t seem to put a damper on anyone’s fun though and I smiled as Thrawn wove through the crowds to meet up with the Captain who, standing beside his girlfriend Beverley, looked very dapper in his dress uniform.
“Merlyn, “He said graciously, “How lovely to see you again, I trust you had a pleasant trip here and that your year has been a good one.”
I opened my mouth to answer when Thrawn interrupted; I think he was afraid I’d launch into some tirade about how rotten my year had been what with my father being killed and all.
“Captain how pleasant to meet you once more and Doctor Crusher you are looking quite resplendent in that dress.”
“Why thank you, comman….er… capt…ermmm.” She stammered, blushing.
“Please call me Thrawn, at your service.” He replied giving her a curt military nod, leaving off his rank. It was a party after all.
“Oh of course Thrawn, and may I just say what a lovely shirt you have on and how well it matches your hair.” Beverly replied.
I glanced from Thrawn’s beautiful blue black hair to the Captain’s head but refrained from saying anything. I thought the captain looked very handsome just as he was.
Captain Picard put an arm protectively around his date and Thrawn kept his expression neutral but I caught the twinkle in his eyes which I read as saying ‘don’t worry captain I already have one chaotic red head in my life and she is more than enough trouble as it is.’ I gave him a look which he tactfully ignored.
“As usual there is a lovely buffet with many different types of food, we managed to make certain that the Borg kept in mind not everyone uses regeneration chambers for nutritional purposes and the band is very good, Merlyn I think you have heard them before, the Strolling Drones.” Captain Picard said, “I hope that you will both enjoy yourselves and Admiral Thrawn perhaps we can speak later over a drink?”
Thrawn raised an eyebrow in surprise, “Of course Captain, might I ask about what?”
The Captain leaned over and whispered something discretely into Thrawn’s ear which made him laugh.
“Of course Captain, I’d be happy to share.”
“Then until later.” Captain Picard said and gracefully began to greet his next guest.
“What was all that about?” I asked as Thrawn led me away to a table, signalling a nearby drone who was serving drinks to pass by.
“He wished for advice on how to handle unruly women. A problem with one or two of his female crew members I believe.” Thrawn said as he plucked two glasses of what looked like sparkly white wine from the drone’s tray.
“There are no nanites in these drinks are there?” I asked staring at the sparkles suspiciously.
“No there are not. We were forbidden to do so or else we would have assimilated the entire ship by now!” The drone said crossly and moved away to continue the menial task of serving drinks.
“And just how would you know how to deal with unruly female crew members?” I asked taking a sip of the drink which turned out to be delicious. “Almost all the crews in the ISDs are male.
Thrawn smiled, “I deal with you don’t I?”
I was about to retort when a decidedly seductive female voice purred from behind Thrawn. “And who might you be? I do not believe I have ever seen your species before?”
I made a face then hid it quickly, the Borg Queen wasn’t one to take rudeness lightly and it was sort of her party as well.
Thrawn maintained his usual air of politeness and introduced himself. “My people are known as the Chiss but they tend to keep themselves to themselves, a touch of unfortunate xenophobia I am afraid.”
“You do not seem to have this trait.” She said eyeing me in a manner which made me feel as though I were something the jax had dragged in.
Thrawn smiled graciously, “I find that prejudice against a being merely because they do not resemble one’s self is foolish and a waste of resources.”
“Ah yes,” the Queen smiled, “You appear to be quite intelligent, more so than the average human.” She glanced at me again.
Thrawn arched an eyebrow, “Perhaps but I have discovered that intelligence is not the only trait desirable in the universe.” He replied, “A mix of all things generally tends to make for harmonious living.”
I stifled a giggle. It was ironic that the Empire’s greatest warrior was talking about harmony.
The Queen turned to me. “You do not agree with this?” she asked.
I stared her straight in the yes, “I do but he backs this up with a very large fleet of warships. Harmony by force isn’t really harmonious is it?”
Thrawn’s lips twitched in amusement.
“A fleet of warships?” the Queen asked. “So you and your people would be prepared to fight off an invasion?”
“Indeed madam, my people do not take kindly to aggressors invading our territory and are quite ferocious when given half a chance, do not let the cool blue exterior fool you.”
“I guess I shall have to reconsider assimilation then.” She mused, “If you will excuse me, I must go and speak with Seven about something rather urgent. In the meantime why don’t you both enjoy your evening.”
Thrawn waited until she was out of earshot before speaking, “Rather large fleet of warships?” he asked with a smile.
“The only female who gets to assimilate you is me.” I told him tartly, wondering if anyone else was going to come over and fawn over Thrawn.
“And one of you is more than enough,” He grinned, “I do not think I would have the energy for anything else.” He told me leaning in close to kiss my bare shoulder. “Now shall we dance before you feel the need to use some of your extraordinary Jedi force tricks and we get kicked out of this rather unusual party by that impressive looking Klingon over there for being rowdy?”
I took his offered hand and let him lead me to the dance floor. I would take dancing with Thrawn over anything else any time of the day. He slid his hand around my waist and pulled me close just as the band began to play a waltz.
“Tekari,” He whispered in my ear, “They’re playing our song, shall we show them how it’s done in the galaxy far far away?”
I smiled and let him sweep me off my feet, just as he had done at the Emperor’s Grand Ball all those years ago. All in all the evening was off to a very fine start.
More Guests in Part Three tomorrow!