It took a special kind of balance for a Saurian to sit on a barstool, but Inaree had a great deal of practice at that. Lieutenant Junior Grade Inaree held a glass of Saurian brandy in one hand, a PADD in the other, but mostly she listened to the conversation happening around her. Junior officers spoke quietly at their tables, discussing their duties or family back home or their friends or loves, while S’Rell, the Caitian bartender, moved through the room, making brief conversation as she delivered drinks. At a table with a good view through the main viewport, two crewmen and two officers burst out in cheers as one of them, a petty officer from Administration, drew a full consortium and won their round of tongo.
No one approached Inaree. This was nothing new to her – since her childhood on a mixed Federation colony, she had generally spent more time alone or with mentors than with her peers. That reputation, of being a highly competent loner, rose again at the Academy, and followed her from there to each of her few postings since.
She looked up to find someone – an Andorian ensign in command red – watching her. When the woman noticed that Inaree had seen her, her cheeks darkened to purple and she looked back down at her drink.
Inaree sighed, the sound rising in a series of notes. She intimidated people. She did not intend to, but she did, and that had left her with few friends.
She finished her brandy. It was disappointing – synthetic, so she could shrug off the effects if called to duty, and tasting only vaguely of the real thing. Still, best not to overindulge. She waved S’Rell over.
“What can I get for you?” The Caitian’s voice was overly cheerful, her gaze too intent to be genuine.
“Spiced tea,” Inaree replied, passing the empty glass to the bartender. “Hot.”
“Coming up.” S’Rell crossed to the replicator, disintegrating the glass before replicating the tea. The mission patch of the Al-Batani, the Fourth Fleet delta-and-lightning with a telescope silhouetted against it, was visible on the teacup. “Can I get you anything to eat?”
“No, thank you.”
After another moment looking at Inaree – was that pity or doubt? – S’Rell moved on to the next officer, the next order.