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Tea and Cruelty

Posted on Tue Oct 5th, 2021 @ 10:46pm by Lieutenant Edward Bolingbroke, 24th Viscount Creedmoor

Mission: With Gleaming Eyes
Location: Central Administration Building
1861 words - 3.7 OF Standard Post Measure


[Central Administraion Building]

Bolingbroke followed the functionary along a corridor to an elevator and then down several floors. They exited the elevator and around a corner he was shown into an outer office. There were a couple of Cardassian personnel there.

The functionary indicated for him to wait while he went through another doorway. Bolingbroke smiled and gave the other two a cherry "Good day". They looked him over but did not reply.

A moment later the functionary was back and ushered him into the inner office. It was fairly large, a conference table and chairs at one end, a desk and chairs at the other. Some cabinets and shelves ran along the one wall, the other was lined with monitors. They appeared to be showing images from around the Administration Building and also from the wider colony.

Sat at the desk was a rather short and chubby Cardassian, Glinn Corak, Bolingbroke presumed, since the other person in the room was clearly not a Cardassian.

They were female and apparently a member of the indigenous Metis, essentially humanoid in appearance. The woman was short, maybe five feet two, wearing a silvery gown, not really day-wear. She had a pretty face, large dark eyes, below a shock of short dark hair. She was also not very old, Bolingbroke doubted she was even twenty. She was kneeling at the back of the room.

The Cardassian stood up and waved him forward. "“Lieutenant Edward Bolingbroke, Chief of Security aboard the USS Athena and a member of an ancient Earth nobility!” The man announced, clearly he knew Bolingbroke was coming and had done his homework

“I am Corak, very pleased to meet you! Always a pleasure to meet another professional” The man beamed a wide smile.

"Do please sit." He pointed to a chair "Some refreshment perhaps? Canar? I have a bottle of fifteen year reserve!"

"Actually just some Red Leaf tea would be fine thank you" Bolingbroke replied taking the seat. He rather liked the bright red Cardassian beverage.

"Are you sure? Yes? Very well, tea it is!" Corak waved a hand at the young woman "Glayna, tea for our guest! I will have some also."

The woman got up, moved across the room to a cabinet, which opened into a bar. She drew down a tea pot and began preparing the beverage"

Coral sat back down, fidgeting around a little until he was comfy "Now, I hear the Federation has come to assist us with this... virus?"

"We are always willing to offer assistance" Bolingbroke replied neutrally. "We like to help out."

"Yes, how wonderful" Corak beamed at him over the desk. "Of course I'm sure its nothing, probably some strain of the local influenza, it will all blow over soon, no doubt. I doubt you're really needed... Mmm?

But, since you are here, I'm instructed to provide you with every cooperation. I shall endeavor to do so!"

Something about Corak was starting to concern Bolingbroke, the man was being overly nice and helpful, it all seemed sincere but he had his doubts.

“Hopefully our medical teams will be able to help find a cure” Bolingbroke offered.

“Oh I’m sure” Corak nodded

“Perhaps you could explain the situation here, any security issues or concerns I should be aware of?” Bolingbroke switched over to business.

“Oh, not really. Things are pretty calm. The Metis are a simple people who have benefitted greatly from the advances we Cardassians have brought to them. There are a few malcontents of course, there are always those who will slap away the helping hand we offer.

But I pride myself on being tolerant and patient. It is important to remember the Metis were a backward and ignorant people before we came.
They need care and guidance, so that they may better become productive members of the Union.

With the correct management they can indeed bloom. Take my dear Glayna,” He gestured to the woman making the tea.

"Nothing but a wild little urchin living on the street when I found her. Now a thing of beauty and grace. I take great comfort in her transformation”

The woman finished and approached with a tray, on which was a tea pot, on a warming stand, two tall cups on saucers, a bowl of multicolored sugar, a spoon and thin reed stirrers.

She set the tray down on the desk and turned to Bolingbroke. “Would you like sugar sir?” She asked softly, keeping her eyes lowered.

“Yes, just a little” He nodded

She added a spoon of sugar to one of the cups, then lifted the teapot and slowly poured in a stream of the hot red liquid, elegantly raising the teapot up high, expertly keeping the stream in the cup as she did so.

Then returning the pot to the stand she took up one of the reed stirrers and whisked the tea and sugar together. She set the stirrer on the saucer, lifted the cup in both hands and brought it to Bolingbroke, bowing as she held it out to him.

“Thank you” He took the cup, catching her eye as she lifted her head. He readjusted his estimate, she was probably less than eighteen.

He also noticed there were marks on her forearms and a shadow around her left eye that could only be the remnant of an old bruise.
Something stirred in him, she had been beaten, he did not like that.

They exchange glances for a split second, she had a young woman’s eyes, but they held a faraway and distant look.
He knew that gaze, eyes that had seen too many of the wrong things. She gave him the briefest smile and turned back to the desk.

Bolingbroke gripped the saucer tightly, keeping a smile on his face as he nodded to Corak.
Like to beat on young girls do you?Ran through his mind.

Glayna added sugar to the second cup, followed by tea, After she had stirred it she brought the drink around the desk, and knelt down by Corak, she lifted the cup to her lips, kissed the rim then held it out for him, bowing her head.

He took the cup and turned to Bolingbroke smiling. “I do so enjoy the old tea ceremony traditions. Glayna is quite good at it now, although we did need quite a lot of practice, didn’t we my dear” He waved her away.

The girl bowed again and got back to her feet, withdrawing further down the room.

“How is your tea?” Corak asked.

Bolingbroke took a sip, it was hot and he nearly scalded his mouth but he made a point of swallowing it.

“Not too hot is it?” Corak asked, a concerned look on his face.

“No, no, it’s very good” Bolingbroke was determined not to provide the man with any excuse to beat the girl again.

“Good” Corak beamed. “Now, where we? Oh yes. As I was saying, there are a few malcontents but nothing serious. I believe Gul Dara has agreed your medical personnel will have unrestricted access to the civilian areas of the colony and to the Metis districts.

There will be no issues within the colony of course, the Metis districts can be somewhat grubby, a bit like the Metis themselves” He laughed at his own joke

“And I’m sure they will come along to gawk at you. They like to pilfer things too. But my patrols will be putting the word out, I don’t think there will be any issues.

He opened a drawer in his desk and withdrew a Cardassian communicator, handing it over he said. “This will give you instant contact with my Operations Room, any problems and we’ll have a patrol there to deal with it”

Bolingbroke accepted the device. “Thank you” And no doubt it tracks my every move He thought to himself.

This Cardassian was quite the contradiction; the friendly, charming host image just did not sit right with somebody who owned and beat a teenage Comfort Woman. Corak was hiding his real self Bolingbroke was sure.

There was a commotion from the door and a Cardassian burst in. “Glinn, we have one of the suspects in custody!”

“Get out!” Corak roared. “I have a guest!” The genial host demeanor melted away in an instant. What was underneath was nowhere near as pleasant.

So that’s the real Corak. Bolingbroke noted.

“But Glinn, you said to be notified immediately” The other protested.

Corak stood up, knocking over his tea, the liquid ran across his desk-top. He glared at the man, who shut his mouth and backed out.

Corak, took a breath and turned to Bolingbroke, the smile back in place. “Please do excuse me. I must deal with my subordinate”

He moved towards the door. “Glayna, clean that up”

The girl brought a cloth and began mopping up the tea.

“He gave you those bruises?” Bolingbroke asked her quietly.

She did not look at him.

“He did, didn’t he” Bolingbroke said again., angry that there was nothing he could do about the situation without creating a major incident but wanting the girl to know somebody knew of her suffering.

She finished tidying up the mess and replaced the cup on the tray.
He held out his own cup to her. “He’s not here, you can speak” He tried.

She just shook her head and took his cup without looking at him.
But as she moved away, she said in a whisper, so soft he barely caught it. “Be careful, it is not safe for your people here”

He turned to ask her why, but the door opened and Corak returned.

“I really must apologize for the interruption. A minor case we have been working on. My subordinate was rather over-zealous. Please forgive us” He beamed.

“Of course. I’ve taken up enough for your time” Bolingbroke stood. “I’m sure my Captain and the Gul have completed their tour. Perhaps you could have somebody show me the way back to her office?”

“Certainly. You have our communicator, please do not hesitate to use it and our patrols will be ready to offer any assistance your teams may require.“ Corak replied. “I shall look forward to working with you” His smile fixed in place.

Five minutes later Bolingbroke was back outside the Gul’s office, trying to make sense of his meeting with the Colony's security Glinn.
The man was dangerous, outwardly pleasant but that was a thin veneer over a violent disposition.

Then there was the girl's warning...
He did not know what to make of that and her situation bothered him deeply.

Moments later Kane reappeared from the Gul's Office and they returned to the ship.

[USS Athena}

The moment they rematerialized in the Transporter room Bolingbroke tossed the Cardassian communicator to the Technician. "Run that down to Chief Mitchell would you. Tell her to check it over and I'll be along in a minute"

He turned to Kane, explained his meeting with Corak and the girl's warning.



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