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The Favor

Posted on Tue Oct 3rd, 2017 @ 7:23am by Commander Seth Cohen
Edited on on Tue Oct 3rd, 2017 @ 7:24am

Mission: Episode 1: The Gamma Quadrant Awaits...
Location: Deep Space Nine
Timeline: 1200 Hours, Two Days Before Departure

Frankly, Commander Seth Cohen didn't understand the allure. He'd heard stories about Quark's over the years, each more salacious than the last and all of them telling of debaucherous good times to be had. Since he'd been here, all he'd manage to do was dump every dime he had on the dabo table, fail to start a conversation at the bar with a grim-faced Lurian he could only surmise was mute, and earn a headache that had his temples throbbing. The place's only redeeming quality was the dabo girls who, incidentally, seemed to lose interest in him shortly after he'd went broke. Funny how that worked.

Nursing the last of some unnameable concoction, Cohen surveyed the room, aware that he was running out of excuses to procrastinate. He was going to have to get this conversation over with sooner or later.

What would he say, exactly? Would he take the opportunity to tell Captain Nouveau precisely what he thought of him? In the span of a few short months, the Nobility's newest captain had managed to damn near get them killed on two separate occasions, sending half the ship fleeing for different assignments. Serving as Nouveau's first officer was not an easy task.

“=/\=Nouveau to Cohen. You're late, XO.”

Cohen cringed, and the voice from his comm badge drew a curious ear from across the bar.

"Better get that," said the Ferengi. "He doesn't sound too pleased. Should I get you one for the road?"

Throwing back the last of his drink, Cohen slammed the glass back onto the bar with a grimace.

"Something tells me I'll see you in a few," he said.


==[USS Nobility; Docked, Deep Space Nine]==

"Come," came the voice from inside the ready room. Bracing himself, Cohen stepped through the doors and stood in the entryway as they hissed to a close behind him.

"At ease," said Captain Nouveau, who sat behind his desk with his back to the door. "You know, I never felt comfortable next to that damn thing."

The two watched as, in the distance, The Wormhole opened, allowed an unseen ship to slip through, and wound its way closed again.

"Why's that?" asked Cohen.

Nouveau stood, eyeing a Bajoran ship as it made its way onto one of the station's smaller docking paddocks. Quietly, he turned to meet Cohen's eye without a trace of warmth. No love had ever been lost between the two.

"Nothing trustworthy ever came through that wormhole. Nothing but bad tidings and ill will."

Cohen shot a glace at the chair before the Captain's desk. The silence hung between them before Nouveau gave a nod.

"At ease," Nouveau said, and Cohen took a seat. "Do you know why I've asked you here?"

"I have an idea," Cohen replied.

Nouveau paused, turning his chair and sitting to face his first officer.

"Commander Cohen. Have you enjoyed your time aboard the Nobility?"

"Of course," Cohen said, hesitating slightly. Where was Nouveau going with this?

"Then can I ask a favor of you?"

Puzzled, Cohen could only remain silent.

"Come," Nouveau continued. "Let's be frank with one another."

"Alright," said Cohen.

"Good. I'll start. You're a good officer. Honorable. And a damned inconvenience."

"Sir?"

"Oh, spare me the feigned surprise, Commander. I received word two weeks ago from Starfleet Command. A grievance was filed after the incident at Norata V. Do you know whose name was attached?"

Cohen tensed, feeling a bead of sweat begin to form on his neck. In all his years in Starfleet, the captain sitting across from him was the only man who ever managed to get under his skin. Just like he was doing now.

"Captain," he said. "That's not a secret. I informed you of my responsibility to file such a grievance immedia-"

"Spare me, Commander," Nouveau said with a dismissive wave of his hand. "Yes, yes, I knew. Honestly, I was unsurprised to hear the news. Though it might surprise you to learn that Starfleet, while taking your concerns to heart, found my actions to be within regulations."

"I see," said Cohen, though he somehow doubted that was the whole story.

"Commander," Nouveau began again, leaning towards Cohen with his hands clasped atop the gleaming desk. Behind him, the Worhmole opened again and, just as quickly, its maw vanished. "I'll get right to it. Your time aboard the Nobility is at an end."

"Sir-" Cohen started, but stopped at another waved hand from his soon-to-be former captain.

"The transfer has already been approved by Starfleet Command, effective immediately. You are to board a shuttle for Bajor within the hour. A transport will meet you there and take you to your next assignment."

There it was. The transfer he'd been expecting. After nearly five years aboard the Nobility, this chapter on his life really was closing, and it wasn't even his choice.

"I see," was all he could muster, averting his gaze for a moment to look around the captain's ready room. For years it had belonged to Captain Lauren Giebitz, whose recent departure for an admiralship brought Nouveau in her stead. Giebitz, thought Cohen, was the very personification of a Starfleet officer. The man sitting across from her paled in comparison.

"Seth-" began Nouveau.

"Permission to speak freely, sir," Cohen asked.

Nouveau gave pause and, with a smirk, replied: "Denied. Your next assignment will be aboard the USS Solaria."

"The Solaria?!" Seth erupted, vaulting to his feet.

"That is correct. A Bajoran transport will take you to Starbase 565."

"But, sir, respectfully-"

"Respectfully?" Nouveau interrupted. "Commander Cohen, I respectfully remind you of your rank and that, having gone over my head, you're lucky I'm not dispatching you to an envoy somewhere in the outskirts of the Neutral Zone."

Cohen deflated, seeing no point in fighting a losing battle, though his mind raced with a slew of vulgarities. He'd heard more stories of the Solaria than of Quark's, and with nowhere near the booze.

"So that's that," he said.

"Correct."

Captain Nouveau extended a hand, and Seth thought of leaving it there, though he ultimately thought better of it.

"Good luck," said Nouveau as Cohen took his hand.

"Aye, sir," Cohen replied. "Will that be all?"

"Yes, Commander," Nouveau said, retrieving a PADD from his desk and beginning to skim.

Cohen was halfway out the door before he remembered.

"Sir," he said, turning. Nouveau peeked over the PADD. "I hesitate to ask but... you said you wanted a favor."

"Ah," said Nouvea, lowering the PADD. "Say hello to Captain Nisea for me. Assuming she's still there."

 

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