Part of USS Odyssey: To Hold Fire

The Betazoid Barter

Dowtoxx, Mellstoxx III, Mellstoxx system, Beta Quadrant
Stardate: 77004.95
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Returning to Betazoid soil was somewhat unusual for Tremt Hunsen. It had been almost two decades since he had visited the homeworld, so stepping onto Mellstoxx III one of Betazed’s premier colonies felt like he was somewhat coming home. On some level that was exactly what he had been doing that day. Though his family’s main home and residence was located on Betazed, his family had at some point had come into possession of having a country estate on the colony. To this date he had never visited it, even when he was a child, so while he was in the neighbourhood and had the time he decided he would visit it.  Being the de facto head of the Seventh House of Betazed, legally he owned the entire estate but he had never paid any attention to what was on Mellstoxx III. It had never been a priority for him and if he ever had considered it his career and life in Starfleet had never given him the chance to take a moment.

Visiting the large manor house had conjured up old memories of his own family home back on Betazed. It was far too big for his family and wreaked of pomp and circumstance, something he had hated growing up. The prestigious and luxury life that his parents had revelled in as senior members of the Betazoid aristocracy had never attracted him. Though he could never pinpoint when in his life he had rejected and resented his position within it, Hunsen’s distaste for it all was just as bitter as drinking Cardassian kanar. Nevertheless, he couldn’t hide from his heritage and he had later on in his adult life come to accept there was certain matters he had to deal with to avoid complications as being part of one of the senior houses in his culture.

From what he had gathered though about the Mellstoxx property, the actual estate was home to a number of farms that had been in use since the twenty-third century and the locals had become dependent on them for fresh food and the off-world trade generated by them kept those who had made a life there well off. Meeting with a local lawyer who oversaw the estate on behalf of the Hunsen family, Tremt had seriously considered selling everything at first. However after spending some time in the manor house he felt uncharacteristically bad about considering it. Maybe it was the many portrait paintings of his parents to various other historical momentums left out and around the house that changed his mind. From what he had discovered that day, it wasn’t just his parents that had maintained the estate but actually it had been his grand-parents who had decided to reach out and build everything there. Could he really sell up everything? His parents had died and the family home on Betazed had been destroyed during the Dominion occupation. This was the only thing that remained of his heritage.

It was now getting late in the evening and as he stood in the grounds of Dowtoxx Manor House, glaring out at the lake that was located in the estate. The whole scene was peaceful. The temperature was reasonable for an early spring evening. The odd insect noise could be heard in the distance chirping. Closing his eyes, Hunsen just listened with his mind to what was happening around him. A few seconds later he felt the intrusion of someone else’s mind approaching him and the sense he felt was one he had not known for a long time, he reacted by opening his eyes and turning around to see the incoming figure.

“Louwanna.” He spoke, surprised to see his former betrothed coming towards him.

Wearing a grey coloured overcoat over the top of a white jumper with a tartan patterned scarf that matched her coat and top, the counsellor smiled at him. Hands tucked away into the pockets of her coat, she carefully waded through the grasslands in her brown boots, avoiding not to get any mud on her black leggings. “Hello Tremt.” She said as she was less than a metre away from him. “It’s been sometime.”

“It has.” He agreed, placing his own hands in his fawn coloured jacket. Wearing a light sandy coloured hoodie under it with black trousers too, his walking boots were already covered in mud. “How are you?”

“I’m well, thank you.” She stopped just in front of him. “I found out you were here at your parents’ estate and I thought I’d come by to say hello and see if you fancied a catch-up?”

A bit surprised to hear that, Hunsen’s expression showed that almost instantly but then he welcomed it. “That would be nice, thank you.”

Walking up to his side she placed her arm into his and linked them together. “Before we start, I know that with me being assigned to lead the assessments of your crew may be awkward for you, so please know I’ve already ensured you and I won’t be meeting in any formal way.”

Starting to walk around the lake’s edge, Hunsen appreciated what Horin had just shared. “That’s good to hear. I have to admit, I was a bit surprised to hear your name in the captain’s briefing.”

“I bet,” Horin said, looking up at him and still remaining sweet in her nature. “And I guess you probably know about Max and I?”

“It came up.” Hunsen admitted as they walked under a set of trees. “I may have to say sorry to him.”

“For what?” She asked with a concerned tone.

“Finding out he knew you and never told me that he knew about our history kinda got to me.” Hunsen explained. “I was being an idiot, I do need to speak to him about it.”

“Please do.” Horin stated bluntly before turning her attention to their surroundings. “Your family have a beautiful estate here. I know my parents have always been envious of it.”

“Really?” Hunsen questioned.

“Yeah, really. Though they were best of friends, I think our mothers showed off quite a bit to one another. I sense my mother misses her time with your mother.” Horin said. “Though she would never admit it publicly.”

“Sounds like something my mother would do as well.” Hunsen replied back. “Do you fancy going into the village and grabbing a drink and something to eat?”

Gazing up at him, Horin smiled and simply said: “You read my mind.”

11 year prior

Starfleet Academy, San Francisco, Earth

Stardate: 56492.03

Glad to have finished his morning lectures and being able to have the rest of the day to himself, Cadet Hunsen walked out and began making his way down a flight of steps to return to his dorm. The summer sun of San Francisco beamed down, making the whole scene calm until he heard his name being screamed. Closing his eyes he knew who it was as he turned around to see a very tall and slender woman in quite lavish clothing approaching him.

“Tremt my dear!” called Vxivanna Horin as she approached him at a rapid pace. “Darling Tremt, it is so good to see you.”

“Emissary Horin, what a surprise to see you.” He said through gritted teeth. The woman was known to him and she was notorious for being quite overwhelming in getting what she wanted. Being a special emissary from the Federation Diplomatic Corps, she was one of many senior Betazoids who held grand roles in the diplomatic service. Being the matriarch of her house and holding such an important role, her appearance was always quite regal and grand. Her curled hair was pulled up into a beehive style while her make-up covered up signs of her age. After knowing this woman his entire life, Tremt could take a rough guess on her actual age but it was never a good idea to ask such a woman in Betzoid society her age.

Noticing that she had her tall Hupyrian personal valet with her, Mister Maitem’su, Hunsen was surprised to see another figure beside her. Louwanna. Daughter of Vxivanna and his betrothed. As ever she looked beautiful, even while she wore her cadet uniform and was two years his senior. Smirking at her at first, he quickly returned his attention back to the emissary.

“Tremt, I’m currently visiting Earth and I was wondering if we could all go out to dinner tonight to discuss your-” she paused as he gestured towards her daughter, “wedding to my beautiful daughter. Your parents and my husband and I all agreed many years ago that such an arrangement would be a great union for two of Betazoid’s greatest houses. Betazed has recovered from the Dominion Occupation and such an event would be one that would be celebrated across our world.”

Sighing inwards, he hated the legacy his parents had left him. Their deaths, over four years ago, was still bringing things to him to deal with ever since he assumed responsibility of being the head of the Seventh House of Betazed. “Misses Horin, I’ve already explained my position on this matter,” He said after taking a breath at her constant annoying insistence, “once I have completed my training here at Starfleet Academy, then I will discuss this further with you, your husband and Louwanna.”

Rolling her eyes, Louwanna was showing at how frustrated she was with her own mother at making such a scene and placing Hunsen in such an awkward position. “Mother, you’ve heard Tremt, please can we leave this like I said.”

Shrugging her off with a flappy hand gesture, Vxivanna carried on pursuing the subject. “Nonsense Little One, we have an agreement between our two houses that must be resolved. Both of you are of age and it is time we sorted this.”

Holding back his anger, Hunsen bit his bottom lip as others who walked past them took note of what was taking place. To see a member of the Federation diplomatic corp having a stand off with a second year cadet was quite a scene. “Then let me make this clear to you Madam Emissary. As Head of the Seventh House, I hereby declare that all previous agreements between our houses are now dissolved and the agreed pre-arranged marriage between Louwanna and I will not be taking place. Ever.” He paused. “Is that clear?”

Surprised at the tone he took, Vxivanna was taken back by the reaction from Hunsen. Pursing her lips together, the emissary looked at her valet who had a blank expression on his face and then at Louwanna. “Little One, are you going to stand there and not say anything?”

A mixture of relief and sadness sat on her expression as Louwanna took in several breaths. She just shook her head, after glaring at Hunsen and then at her mother before stomping away from the scene.

Gazing back at Hunsen, Vxivanna took in a breath herself and realised that the young man who now ran the house of her former deceased friends was steadfast in his conviction. “Very well Tremt, as Daughter of the Fourth House, bearer of the Revered Pendant of Rixx and heir to the Ordained Bands of Betazed, I hereby release you of your commitments to my house and family.”

“And as Son of the Seventh House, holder of the Blessed Sceptre of Rixx, heir to the Divine Regal Sword of Betazed, I accept this termination.”  Hunsen said as he walked away from her. Shaking his head as he moved away at almost warp nine speeds, he couldn’t believe the ambush he had just survived. The nerve of his mother’s former friend to do that to him when he had made it clear he was not going to marry her daughter until he completed his time at the academy.

Present Day

“I don’t think I’ve ever seen my mother be so quiet after that incident.” Louwanna mentioned as she picked up her glass of wine and sipped on it.

Sitting in front of a fireplace in a local public house, the two former betrothed were sat at a wooden table and wooden chairs enjoying a meal and sipping on locally produced wine. A small candle was lit in the middle. There was barely anyone else in the establishment, so it was nice for them to have the place almost to themselves to talk as freely as possible with one another. Hunsen, on one side of the table, was listening to Horin and how after their last encounter with each other at Starfleet Academy had gone down with her mother. “It was never my intention to upset or hurt her.”

Raising her head to stop him from apologising anymore, Horin just shook her head. “Don’t worry Tremt, it got her off my back for the rest of my life about getting married and coming home to Mellstoxx during my last couple of years of training had helped too.”

“Is that when you and Max broke things off?” He questioned before finishing the contents of his glass of wine.

She nodded, “It was. We both came here to do our training, but I soon realised that he was just career driven as I was and that neither of us really had much time for a relationship. My mother was disappointed as she saw that he was the next best thing to marry, being the son of an admiral and Starfleet captain, we soon broke it off before he went to the Vendetta and I took a posting on Deep Space Five.”

“So when did you return to Mellstoxx?” Hunsen asked as he topped up his glass and did the same for Horin.

“About seven years ago, I just completed a tour on the Parliament and instead of accepting a position on the Vesta I felt like it was best to try something else and the teaching position came up. I was given the chance to help with the teaching of those who had received their commission and were in the final segments of their training.” Horin shared, “It’s how I know Samris. He was in one of the first classes I taught.”

“And they say it’s a large galaxy.” Hunsen returned as he picked up his glass again. “So did you ever settle down?”

Shaking her head, Horin just looked at the man opposite to her. “No.” She replied, looking a bit coy. “I never really found the rightman.” She shrugged her shoulders. “What about you?”

“Same, never found the right person.” Hunsen stated.

“I hear Max is with you Command Senior Chief though?” She checked as she swirled her wine around in its glass.

Nodding to confirm, Hunsen answered her. “Yeah, that one came out of the blue but Max seems to be really happy with Tobias. Their time on the Quirennal seemed to have made them closer, plus they took the two boys under their wing. He’s pretty much a family man now.”

“Talking about family, my mother would go mad if she ever found out we were here together tonight.” Horin remarked with a smirk. “She would think we were planning something behind her back.”

Chuckling at that notion, Hunsen agreed with her assessment. “Probably,” He said. “Let’s just see where the night takes us with our planning then.”

“Agreed.” She replied as she raised her glass towards his glass and they both clinked them together, more laughter followed. For the rest of the evening they enjoyed rekindling their former friendship and just seeing catching up with one another.