Kai still busy and I got the sads, so I skipped recording this week. Promise there will be a podcast next week! I won’t leave you empty handed though, here’s another joint post.
The background: The Commanding Officers of Task Force 47 are arriving at Kepler Station to meet the new Task Force Commanding Officer (a right bitch), but the night before the meeting, they secretly meet to drink and play poker. This is the opening post that Kai and myself wrote back in 2010.
Note: Neither of these characters are around anymore. Kai killed off Commodore Garen Tal (a Bajoran) and my character (then) Commodore Gregory Blake disappeared into the future with his first wife.
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The Patriot had made it through her engagement wit the Romulans at Mauo relatively unscathed. Commander Yanar had excelled with repairing the ships systems and was proving to be a useful acquisition, even if his presence still caused concern among the crew.
Now that the Nebula Class Starship had arrived at Kepler Station, Commodore Tal was being escorted to the Station Commander’s ready room.
“Here you go Commodore. Commodore Blake should be expecting you.” The escort, a young male Petty Officer, nodded in respect to the senior ranked man and bid farewell, leaving Tal to ring the door chime for entrance.
“Come in,” Gregory called out as he exited his en suite bathroom. The faint smell of freesias clung to him as he met Commodore Garen Tal. He answered the strange look on the Bajoran’s face with, “I grow flowers in my bathroom. Take a seat.”
“I’ve heard of people growing flowers… but never in their bathroom.” Tal smiled as he took the offered chair, the smell being quite pleasant once his Bajoran nose had got used to it.
Gregory dropped down into the chair, taking care not to even look at his desk, lest it remind him of the awful activities from the night before. Instead he stared straight at Tal and asked, “What happened with the Romulans?”
“Where do I begin?” Tal sighed, watching his Human counterpart take his seat. “Turns out it was all one big Tal Shiar operation to try and activate the Iconian Gateway we discovered.” He got comfortable and continued. “We held our own and in the end, we blew the gate. We weren’t prepared to let it fall in to Romulan hands despite the chance that we could have used it.”
“If all else fails, blow it up,” Gregory agreed. “What did they have to throw at you?”
“One Valdore class Warbird luckily enough. Thankfully we had our Fighters aboard or it would have been a different story.” He shuffled a little, the smell of the flowers still getting to his sensitive nostrils. “The Gateway was easier to deal with than I expected actually. The explosion from the Romulan reactor destabilized the shields and once they were down, a couple of strategically place tri-cobalt devices did the trick, although I’m sure I’ll have to explain all this to Bassenthwaite. Where is she anyway, I half expected her here to demand an explanation.”
Gregory grunted at the mention of the woman. He couldn’t help but glance at the wall to the right of Tal. “Off harassing my crew and plotting evil,” he said. “She’ll corner you when she wants something.”
“How exciting.” The Bajoran feigned a look of delight before his face dropped again. He hadn’t met the woman before but had heard so many different tales about her. It was one thing he was not looking forward to.
“Do you play poker?” Gregory asked.
“I’ve dabbled in the past…” Tal began before looking at Blake suspiciously. “Why do you ask?”
“Come with me,” said Gregory as he stood up and led the way out of the ready room, through the operations centre and into the turbolift. “Deck one,” he instructed the computer.
Tal dutifully followed the Commander of Kepler Station out of the Ready Room and to a turbo lift. As the lift traveled, the pair stood in silence. They hardly knew each other so to expect them to chat about everything and anything was unrealistic.
A few moments later the turbolift doors opened and deposited the pair of very senior officers onto the Treehouse Lounge. The Lounge occupied a good portion of deck one and overlooked decks two and three, which were open to the arboretum below.
“Do the Prophets deceive me?” Tal let out a quiet gasp as he stepped forward a few steps, taking in the sights of the arboretum. “Starfleet Stations never cease to amaze me.” He smiled, turning back to Blake. “So, I hope there’s more than just me and you for this poker game?”
“Every CO that’s managed to get his arse here in time for Bassenthwaite’s meeting tomorrow,” Gregory told him. He glanced at the chronometer over the main bar and added, “We’re early. Game is in the back room. It’s a private function.”
Wow. Tal hadn’t been in the region that long and had been a member of Task Force 47 for even less time but he was already going to get to meet the CO’s of the Task Force. “Private functions are best. More chance for greater winnings.” Tal rubbed his hands together with glee, walking over and following Blake.
The back room turned out to be rather decadent, with leather side chairs, a faux fireplace, wood paneling and lush carpets. There was a small bar off to one side which was manned by a Cardassian and a young Asian girl who was chattering away to him. Gregory nodded his head to the pair before asking Tal, “What’s your poison?”
Looking around with constant surprise at what this Commodore had to offer, he shrugged. “Continue to surprise me Commodore…” he said quietly as he wandered around curiously examining the lounge. “I like surprises…”
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Right, let’s analyse… Unlike the previous JP, this one has a great introduction. Lays out the setting and the characters very clearly. Considering this was originally posted in a forum and not using Nova, it makes this information crucial.
Unfortunately there are one or two instances of a new reader going, huh? And that was my fault. Specifically, why Blake wouldn’t look at his desk. Instead of leaving it hanging and attempting to be mysterious like I did, I should have briefly explained in the narrative why he shuddered to look directly at the piece of furniture – previous mission he’d reluctantly fornicated on it with the evil Admiral. Also an explanation for the flower growing could have helped.
The conversation Tal and Blake have regarding Tal’s ship’s previous mission was a good way to give an info dump. I feel the question / answering approach kept it informative without being too boring.
Blake was a character I mostly used to get people to open up and move them to where they needed to be. Think of him as manipulative for other people’s own good. In this instance he helped with the summary of Tal’s previous mission, then he moved things along to the beginning of the CO event. Kai was excellent at setting the scene, both at the beginning of the post and with the Treehouse Lounge. Through Tal he was able to show how unique and spectacular that Lounge / arboretum is. Alternatively, you can always link to the information or, even better, include a pic…
See what I did there? 😛
Conclusion: Great set up and introduction, good location descriptions but some enlightenment required.
What are your thoughts on this JP? Did it do its job? Did it make you want to read more?