Catch and Release

Characters: Terry Hale, Jordan Toussaint

Terry Hale watched from the perimeter as the various merchants made their exits from Romedel’s meeting. It wasn’t a pleasant experience, watching them go. One could only imagine what it took for Ambassador Kalika – and the people she represented – to come to this agreement. Terry had seen the Ambassador before entering, stiff and fierce. The Abbai had yet to emerge.

“Give me a PPG over diplomacy any day.”

Terry’s head turned to find Jordan there, lurking as quietly as she was. A wry smile eased the hard line of her lips. “In my position, I’m not supposed to agree.”

Jordan chuckled quietly, laying a hand on her back as he came to stand with her. “You’re welcome to live vicariously through me. I’m quite capable of all the wrong thoughts.”

“Oh, I already knew that.”

Jordan gave her a little push, getting just the response he hoped for. A lighter smile emerged on Terry’s face, tension easing out of her frame.

“I heard we’ve had even more interesting company recently, if only for a very brief time,” Jordan said.

“The technomage, Ryath,” Terry said, nodding. “I imagine the doctors were the disappointed ones. Ryath’s medical technology apparently met the expectations of a Technomage’s abilities.”

“Undoubtedly. I would rather like to learn more myself. The advances in just one of their ships…”

“It would be interesting.”

Jordan looked at her curiously. “Not exactly the level of enthusiasm I expected. No burning questions? Ideas of what you might do with the technology?”

“Interesting, as I said, and probably useful. But I doubt knowing will make life easier. I don’t think Ryath Oaks has any less of a complicated life than we do.”

“I suppose,” Jordan admitted, then looked away. “There’s the Ambassador.”

Ambassador Kalika noticed them as well, stepping over to them. She looked tired, but at the same time, her burden appeared to be diminished. Seeing that helped Terry to smile in welcome. The exchanged greetings quietly, Jordan’s hand slipping discreetly from Terry’s back.

“I wanted to thank you for all that has been done for my people and our world,” said Ambassador Kalika.

“I am glad we could help, and that you got what you wanted today,” Terry replied.

“We got what we needed, and that is enough for now.” The Abbai smiled and bowed her goodbye to them. “I must return with news to the Marti. Thank you again.”

“We will see you to your shuttle, Ambassador,” Terry said.

“Thank you. Though it reminds me Attache Romedel would like to speak to you,” Kalika replied.

Jordan stepped in gracefully, offering his company to the Ambassador, while Terry turned toward the conference room.

Terry caught up with Jordan shortly at the turbolift, the latter holding the door. Terry reported the result of the meeting their new orders quickly.

“Back to Minbar then. That’s good,” Jordan said.

“Necessary. The Phoenix is nearly depleted from sending aid down to the Abbai. Nevermind a few of the crew have decided to stay, and they’ll need replacing.” Terry said. “With any luck, after all of that, the crew will also get a bit of a rest.”

“It has been a pretty steady grind, with no few surprises tossed in.”

Terry threw him a crooked grin. Jordan was one of those surprises. “To put it mildly,” she replied. The turbolift stopped before the bridge, and Terry rewarded Jordan with another look for his presumption.

He just grinned. “Everyone needs their rest, and I think Ms. Morgan can direct this thing without you.”

Terry let herself be escorted down the corridor until a strange sight caught her eye. Some kind of beetle. Dozens of them, crawling or flying up to the nearest vents in an urgent migration, to disappearing inside.

“What the–”

Jordan stopped for a little while to observe, then nudged her back into movement. “Interesting.”

“My ship is infested,” Terry said, protesting his attempts to keep moving.

“Looks to me like someone’s handling it. You don’t need to know everything, right?”

“I suppose it isn’t that important,” Terry murmured, finally giving into Jordan’s persistent, and now silent persuasion, to head into her quarters.


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