[Backpost] Catching Up
Posted on Thu Dec 1st, 2022 @ 11:09pm by Lieutenant Xex Wang
A Camping We Will Go
Location: Cantina, Starbase 6
Timeline: Mission Day 0 at 1740
[Several Weeks Prior to Now]
Several heads turned at the loud exclamation in SB 6's most popular cantina only to find a dark-haired human woman enthusiastically embracing a silvery-skinned humanoid of middling height. Just another joyful reunion, despite the unnecessary volume. Most of those heads dismissed the spectacle, returning to their interrupted meals and conversations.
Although Xex returned the embrace, it was only for a moment before he held the woman at arms length and gave her a mock-stern glare. “That's Lieutenant Wang to you, young lady,” he said, in his best drill-sergent's tone. She was kind enough not to point out that it was a terrible imitation.
The woman laughed, this time quietly enough not to garner any further attention. “I still don't understand why you don't use your actual surname, Xex. Wang is so... terran.”
“Jia, if I've told you once, I've told you a million times. The amount of time I would spend helping people pronounce it is not worth it. Easier to just pick a human-pronounceable name, and be done. Do you know how many billions of Wangs there are in the Federation? Almost all humanoid mouths can get around 'Wang.' You seem to care about this far more than I.” Xex tucked the smaller woman under his arm and began to steer her toward an open table.
“I'm sure your mothers care,” Jia rejoined, grinning up at him. “And anyway, you've never tried.”
“My mothers aren't here, nor do they have to spend their time teaching savages how to speak properly. They would just be happy I'm fitting in. Anyhow, I know better than to pit your stubborn will against anything. We are not spending our precious few hours together practicing pronunciation,” he said with a lopsided grin, finally releasing her to slide into a spot at the table. He held up a finger as she opened her mouth "or spelling," he cut her off and she chuckled as she joined him, the table's surface lighting up with the replicated menu on offer. “What are we having?”
Jia accepted the change of subject with good grace and leaned over the menu, immediately starting to select dishes. “Everything,” she said, “I'm famished.” Looking up with a smirk, she added, “And I know you are too.”
With a theatrical gasp at her audacity, and a muttered, “Well, I never,” Xex set about adding to her selections, until they had a sizeable list ready to submit. He did so with a flourish-- she had not been wrong about the state of his hunger-- and sat to await the food's arrival. “Now tell me everything. This hunk o' junk treating you right?”
Jia shrugged as dishes began to appear in the replicator slot at the end of the table. She began doling them out around the shiny surface. “It's better than that back-of-beyond outpost we were on last, but you know it won't last.” She rolled her eyes, “She'll find the next better step up the rung and we'll be off again. What I can tell you about this hunk of junk though...”
Gray eyes glinting with interest, Xex leaned forward as Jia proceeded through the lurid details of SB 6's juiciest gossip and most intricate inner workings. If Jia was good for nothing else, she was good for getting to the heart of the best controversies of any of the starbases on which she found herself, following her ambitious spouse throughout Federated space. As he listened, he cycled through the myriad dishes they had ordered, sampling there, tasting here, polishing off over there. By the time, Jia sat back at the end of her last tale, most of the dishes were wiped clean, nothing but smears and crumbs remaining. Just as he was wondering if they should order more, Jia changed tack. “But enough about me,” she said, “Where in the quadrant, are you off to?”
Xex's satisfied smirk widened into a cheeky grin. “Delta,” he said, and left it at that.
Jia blinked. “What. As in the Delta quadrant?”
The silvered grin widened, “Unless you know if another Delta? Joining a ship out of that new Pathfinder base there. ACMO--" he broke off as her brow creased in confusion and she mouthed the acronym. He grinned at her exaggeration and seamlessly added, "Assistant Chief Medical Officer aboard the Sojourner.”
Jia frowned. “This soon after that Gamma nightmare?”
Xex rolled his eyes, flapping a hand to dismiss it. “It wasn't that bad,” he said, although the tremor in his voice belied his cavalier exterior.
Leaning forward, Jia pinned him with a stare. She wasn't fooled. “It wasn't that bad, but it's been months and you're not only still--” she flapped a hand at him to indicate his appearance, “but you're also taking a demotion?”
Xex's grin dimmed and he shot her a hard look. “Yes, you can still refer to me as 'he,' but that's hardly unusual. Sometimes we go years without a transition.” Jia's frankly unconvinced stare made him continue, “And it's not a demotion. It's not like I'm going to be back to cleaning sanitary units. It's a chance to see Delta, Jia. Do you know how much is out there that--”
Jia held up a hand cutting him off. She'd heard it all countless times over the years. “Yes, yes. New frontiers. Very exciting. Very Starfleet," she rolled her eyes, but there was no malice in it. It was an old tease between them. "Very exciting indeed. But do you know what's more exciting? You in one piece. You'd better come back out of that wormhole in one piece, y'hear?” she said, and Xex could swear there was a glisten to her eyes. Wisely, he made no comment about it and merely upped the wattage on his grin. It flashed white in his silvery face. “Yes ma'am.”
Jia's hard look melted into an indulgent smile, merry lines crinkling into being about her eyes, “That's more like it, Lieutenant Wang. In that case, let's drink to new frontiers then, shall we?” Hardly glancing down, she ordered up a pair of suspiciously green-looking drinks.
“To new frontiers then,” Xex agreed happily, tipping his glass to hers. The glasses rang together with a pleasant clink as their night of catchup and revelry truly began.
A Backpost by:
Lieutenant Xex Wang