The Grand Opening Of Moonlight Oasis

Posted on Sat Jul 6th, 2024 @ 2:41am by Commander Hikari Karibuchi & Yulena Shastakar & Commander Fan Shuren & Lieutenant Commander Ashlynn Regan & Lieutenant Commander Sakaan & Lieutenant Naoe Kanno & Lieutenant Paisley F'rar & Lieutenant Minerva Zephyrin & Lieutenant Aleksandra Pokryshkin 'Sasha' & Lieutenant Halcyon Attixx & Chief Petty Officer Nikka Katajainen & Beatrix Zephyrin
Edited on on Sat Jul 6th, 2024 @ 10:11pm

5,534 words; about a 28 minute read

Mission: Season 1, Episode 0: "A Time To Heal"
Location: USS Yorktown (NCC-91781), Moonlight Oasis Bar & Grill, Deck 6
Timeline: June 20, 2403, 1900 hours (Stardate 78013.76)

The hostess that triggered the doors to open was a medium-sized redhead in a chic black dress and most definitely not Beatrix Zephyrin. As she took a couple steps out front to where a handful of the ship's crew was waiting for this moment, she had a bright smile on her face, "Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the Moonlight Oasis. For tonight only, we're going to have open seating, so please feel free to seat yourself anywhere you'd like. Miss Zephyrin regrets that she can't be here herself at the moment, but does have a special surprise for you all.”

The first senior officer to arrive was Commander Fan Shuren, always making a point to spare time for any of the Zephryin sisters. She hadn’t had the chance to see any of them since coming aboard. All the had time for over the six days since coming aboard was work work work and a few minutes of subspace comms time with Lucian. But the lounge was finally open and it was time for a celebration. They would be underway soon, and that was worthy of a party.

She saw waitresses wandering and caught eyes with one as she took a seat. Before the waitress came to her though, her eyes caught something that made her sigh. An intense, deep sigh that came from years of seeing the same joke over and over again.

For on one of the walls was a painting. A painting of the ship’s First Officer in a very short white dress and black stockings, sitting in an old temple, holding a blue parasol.

As the waitress approached, she asked for a Chardonnay and then said, “One other thing, do you know where that came from?” She pointed to the picture. She had a feeling she knew the answer but confirmation of who would get Holodeck cleanup duty would be helpful.

“It was donated by someone from the Operations crew.” The waitress replied, still half bent from taking the order, “He said that it matched the decor and apparently Claudia agreed.” She took a look at it, then glanced down at Shuren again, “Oh… My..”

"I still don't understand what the big deal is," Yulena muttered as she entered the Moonlight Oasis alongside Hikari. "If this restaurant already has a functional system in place, why go to the trouble of using it differently for a single day? It would be a much more efficient use of everyone's time and resources to be running it normally."

"As a wise man once said: "Variety is the very spice of life, That gives it all its flavor"," Hikari explained. "People like changing things up every now and then; it's a welcome break from the day-to-day monotony of shipboard life."

"Whoever coined that term was an idiot," Yulena scoffed. "They were clearly never born into a society that has prided itself in placing consistency over variety. Where I come from, you could buy bread from a government service provider knowing full well you would be getting bread in turn, not "sourdough" or "focaccia" or "pumpernickel," or whatever you call it; it is a basic resource intended to fulfill a basic need, nothing more."

"That's not entirely true, General," Hikari pointed out. "Haven't your people grown tired of eating the same old bread over and over?"

"No, they do not, because the alternative would be going hungry," Yulena stated.

The waitress that had been putting down glasses of ice water decided to interject at the moment, "But why not give them the opportunity to have that variety?" She asked, placing the water in front of Yulena before propping the tray under one arm and pulling out a pad of paper, "It would be like walking here into the Oasis and being offered a plate of beans and plain rice and no other choices. Sure, it would fill your belly, but it wouldn't taste as good as our specials for tonight, such as the poached salmon in a lemon cream sauce over rice pilaf, or a lobster spaghetti with a zucchini salad on the side with garlic bread." She prepared herself for a spate of orders.

"Taste is irrelevant," Yulena dismissed. "What matters is that it sustains you until your next meal."

"Ignore her," Hikari sighed. "And I'll take the poached salmon, please."

"Of course, Captain." The waiter made the notation on the pad, then gave Yulena a side eye while she pondered something before being bold, "I think you may like the lasagna, ma'am, but if you'd prefer the beans and rice, I'm sure the chef could whip something up for you."

Yulena frowned. "How gullible do you think I am?! Lasagna is a fertilizer, and it's certainly not intended for consumption!"

"Um... General, I think your idea of 'Lasagna' and our idea of 'Lasagna' are a little different..." Hikari pointed out.

"Don't tell me you actually eat that stuff?!" Yulena gawked in disbelief.

"Well... we don't eat fertilizer, necessarily, it's just that the term is used to describe a little something... different in our culture," Hikari explained.

"I'll admit I've had some lasagna that would have been better purposed as fertilizer, but Kylie wouldn't let anything like that out of her kitchen." The waitress pointed out, "Tell you what, ma'am, try it and if you don't like it you can try something else?"

Yulena turned to Hikari, evidently skeptical over their claims that lasagna was treated a delicacy in Federation culture.

Hikari turned her attention back to the waiter and nodded. "Tell Kylie to make us a very small helping of lasagna," she instructed. "And have a medium serving of beans and rice ready for us as a fallback. Oh, and I'll also take any responsibility for any... grievances aired towards the cooking staff."

"No need, ma'am, one very small lasagna with a backup of beans and rice." The waitress smiled as she wrote it down, "I'll have it out to you shortly."

Stepping in to the Moonlight Oasis for the second time since coming aboard, Sakaan was pleasantly surprised at the effort that had gone in to preparing the night. Though it has been a long time since I left spacedock on a newly-commissioned vessel. She couldn't recall such a fuss being done previously. Perhaps this was what was simply done on launch these days.

The Vulcan had opted to forego her dress uniform, and had instead opted for an understated black wrap-around dress and stilettoes with silver jewelry crafted on Earth that echoed Vulcan script.

'Captain, Representative,' Sakaan said solemnly as she accepted a glass of prosecco from a passing waiter. 'I trust the evening is passing well?'

"Well, the night's still young, so I'm thinking it's best that I pass judgement on that one until the cows come home," Hikari smiled. "But that being said, why don't you have yourself a seat, Commander?"

'Thank you, Commander,' Sakaan replied as she slipped in to place next to the two other women. She looked around the Lounge, before turning back to the two women, 'it is gratifying to see such a strong turnout from the crew. It seems the concept of the Lounge is being embraced enthusiastically.'

"And who can blame them? Hikari replied. "Having our lounge endorsed by a big-name celebrity is a fairly big deal around here; even if you're not necessarily a fan of her music, chances are you've at least heard of Beatrix Zephyrin."

'In all honesty, I haven't listened to any of her original works,' Sakaan admitted with a chagrined nod. 'Her music is not quite to my taste.' Leaning back in her chair, she took a sip of her drink. 'But she is very good at what she does.'

"That she is," Hikari agreed. "You know, back when I was an XO on the Mayflower, I used to know this guy in Ops who was, like, a Beatrix Zephyrin superfan; had all her singles, limited edition vinyls of all her major albums, autographed photos, tons of merch- he basically had an entire wall in his quarters that was a shrine to Beatrix Zephyrin."

'That seems like a person driven by obsession more than anything else,' Sakaan observed lightly. 'Was he an otherwise stable individual?'

"Oh, I mean it's not like he was a stalker or anything," Hikari insisted. "It's just that this was his first assignment away from home, so Beatrix Zephyrin brought him a form of comfort when reaching out to his family was out of the question."

Considering the answer for a moment, Sakaan took a sip of her drink, 'I suppose finding comfort in a distant subject upon whom you can project your own feelings unimpeded is significantly easier than developing relationships with those around you. I say this with no judgement, of course. Did this impact his friendships aboard ship?'

"Well... they may have thought he was a little weird in that regard, but he was otherwise fairly harmless," Hikari admitted.

As the first people walked in, they got a good look at the inside of the Moonlight Oasis, the big double moons of Roma Nueva crossing each other's path on one wall as the stylized white columns with ivy still growing upwards on them and draped in sheer silks. One whole section of the room was draped off by an opaque set of light blue silks speckled with four and five pointed stars, with some light noise coming from behind it.

Paisley entered the new bar. It sounded like a fun time, so after her shift, she'd cleaned up a bit-a quick refresher, combed the schmaltz out of her hair from crawling through the hulls and floors and tubes, and had stepped into a pretty dress-deep red with cream polka dots, in a sort of old Earth pin up style, matching red heels that made her even taller and boding, and had clipped her inky hair back with a crystal barrette. A tiny bit of makeup-a bit of blue shadow in the single nose ridge she had, and some earrings was all she wore for accessories. She sidled up to the bar. "Hello!!" The bubbly Engineer smiled. "Can I have a Gin and Tonic, please?! With lime instead of lemon!! Thank you so much!" She looked around, and gave a wave to Octavia.

“Of course, Miss.” the waitress responded, taking a note on her pad of paper, then smiled brightly, “I’ll have that to you in just a minute.” Then she bustled off.

Octavia waved back at the engineer, waving her over to where she was sitting alone at the moment, her husband and children having staked out a spot closer to the stage area. As Paisley approached, she gave a slight smile, "Welcome to the show, let's see just how my youngest sister embarrasses herself, why don't we?"

Paisley took the drink as it appeared. "Thank you!" She said, in a sing-song voice to the bartender, and then headed for Octavia. "Hey!! Ok, sounds good. OH! It's your sister? I...should've connected the dots," she said. She looked around, settling in. "Cool vibe in here," she said. "You look good!! Where's the family?" She spun her head wildly around, and then smiled and waved when she spotted the rest of the clan. "What's good here? I could go for a meal that is NOT eaten sitting cross legged on a concrete floor in a puddle of Rustoleum," she said.

"I have no idea what would be good here, it's going to be food, that's for sure and probably pretty good." Octavia shook her head slightly, "But if she's truly Roman, the Italian selection will be rather nice." Her daughter had been glancing back and waved to Paisley in return from where she was near the front of the stage, "I think I'm going with one of the steaks myself, mashed potatoes, broccoli and the cherry crumb tart at the end."

"Oh, yeah, I forgot about the Roman thing," she said. "Pasta might be good!! Like I said...literally anything is better than sitting on the floor, shoving a sandwich in my mouth while also trying to hold and work a wrench," she said. She waved at the young girl, and smiled. "So you'll be glad to know that I haven't gotten lost again," she said. "Is there anyone that I should be sure to meet tonight, besides the obvious?" She asked the woman.

Octavia snorted in laughter from within her red dress, "If you haven't met the Captain or the Exec, try to catch them, but if you're going to meet my sister Beatrix, have fun with that. I've got no doubt that she's going to enjoy being in the spotlight as always, that's just her style it seems."

Paisley nodded. "Well, that's going to be an interesting problem, because, I, too, like to be the life of the party. Your sister and I will either get along swimmingly or hate each other," she laughed. She flagged down a waitress. "Hello!! I am Lt. Paisley F'rar. Can I please have the Pasta special, a side of fries, with some broccoli and...any chance of a Regova egg?! I am STARVING," she said. She said that at every meal, though. "Thank you. If you can't get the Regova, even from the replicator, that's fine, I absolutely understand. I just kind of miss them and haven't programmed them into my personal replicator yet," she said. "I've been a bit busy."

"Let me talk to the chef, I know she can work miracles and no doubt she's got a fully stocked pantry especially for tonight." The waitress beamed at Paisley, pulling out a paper pad and writing it down, "And for you, ma'am?"

Octavia shrugged as she demurred for a moment, "Strip steak, rare, with garlic mashed potatoes and the broccoli." She smiled slightly at the waitress, "A red wine, if you don't mind, Glenrois '77, I know she's got at least five bottles in the back if she doesn't want to admit it."

"Of course, ladies, I'll be back with drinks shortly and your dinners will be out as soon as possible." The waitress gave a slight bow and bobble and was off.

"Thanks!!" She turned back to Octavia. "Everyone looks so good!! Tell me about this Trixie person!" She said.

"How to explain the person that Beatrix Zephyrin is?" Octavia said in some disgust, "She used to be a good person, a team player, someone who could be counted on to do the right thing. Now? She's a prettied up dandy who is out to make a name for HERself, to feel good for herself. Oh, she's got a good voice, but she's a disappointment to me, to the Zephyrin name."

Paisley nodded. "I see," she said. "I think I've heard the name before. Wasn't she with some girl group before?! Could be thinking of something else, though; pop music isn't really my thing," Paisley said. She was much more a heavy metal person, but also enjoyed Bajoran drum music and Cardassian opera. She was a cultured lady, after all. In her opinion. "Reminds me a bit of my former step-mother. They were human, from some kind of big cheese family, but she thought she was REALLY special when she married my father. He's wealthy and I think she thought that impuned to her," she said. "If I am his KID and don't think he's great, that should be a sign, right?" She sighed deeply.

"If you've ever heard of Zephyrins Then you really know your Roman music somehow. I mean, we weren't pop music like she's into now, but more of a metal feel to our music. Never did anything truly professional, but with me on the drums, Minerva on bass or piano and Beatrix on guitar or the electric violin, we didn't do half bad. I was never good with the vocals, but they made up for it." That did bring a smile to Octavia's face as she remembered what they'd done up to just before she'd turned 17 and gone into active duty training, "It was something we did when we were kids."

Paisley shook her head. "Unfortunately, that is one I have not," she said. "My ex-stepsister might've, though. She was into the whole screaming-girl fan thing," Paisley said. "She was a few years younger than me. So I must be thinking of something else," she said. Oh well, her memory of that time of her childhood was blocked. It hadn't been a happy time. "But that's cool!! I was taught the Tivara-a Bajoran woodwind that our people...stole from the Bajorans, but I can't carry a tune in a bucket. BUT if you like music, you should come by my quarters sometime. I'll introduce you to an old Earth musical instrument called a stereo!!" They were cool.

"Screaming? Not so much, she'd never waste her voice on that sort of thing. The metal-feel was more along the lines of tones and chords and the like. But whether she was a part of another group after she left Roma Nueva? I genuinely don't know." Octavia shook her head slowly, "But I'll take you up on that offer, always good to get to know people."

If there was one thing Naoe despised, it was parties:

For one, they were, by their very nature, social events, and social Naoe was not. She often got into trouble the longer she ran her mouth, and found out that the best way to control that was to speak less. This principle was counter-intuitive to the concept of a social event, and Naoe more often than not found herself being a wallflower and observing everyone else having fun without joining in herself.

Of course, there was the rare social event where Naoe took center stage, like her sister's wedding; but those kinds of events were usually celebratory for people she cared deeply about, such as her sister. Granted, it was much easier for Naoe to loosen up when close friends accompanied her, such was the case when she found out that two friends from Starbase Dutch Harbor had also been assigned to the Yorktown.

Together with her friends, Nikka and Sasha, Naoe entered the Moonlight Oasis. Despite Naoe's objections, Sasha insisted the three women go straight to the bar before finding a table:

"Dobryy vecher: (Good evening:)" Sasha said as the three approached the bar. "Can I have a martini and whatever my two friends here would like?"

"Just a ginger ale will be fine for me." Nikka ordered.

"You have any New Coke?" Naoe was the last to order with a rather strange order.

The bartender gave Naoe a curious look, but nonetheless checked the list of beverages that they had, his eyebrows rising in surprise, "We do... Not a lot of it, but someone thought of it. Should I presume that you're a fan of it?" He asked as he moved to the end of the long side of the bar and under to where his chart said the only six-pack of New Coke on board was located, then prepared it in a glass with ice and the ginger ale and began to mix the martini.

"Thanks." Naoe said, accepting the glass and taking a sip. "And yes, I am a fan of it. Better than chugging vodka all day."

"Not all day..." Sasha responded, believing Naoe's remark to be about her.

"Hey, before prison, it was all I drank!" Naoe remarked. "Three square meals a day and a shot of Vodka to go with all of them! Not a moment in my history that I'm proud of..."

The martini had been shaken rather than stirred and the bartender had filtered it right in front of the women before sliding it over to Sasha with a flourish, after sticking an olive-laden toothpick.

"You know, I never really understood why you like that stuff." Sasha commented as the three women made their way to a table. "Tastes awful..."

"Hey, I've said it before and I'll say it again, don't knock it until you try it." Naoe responded.

Ashlynn found herself sitting at the bar at the Moonlight Oasis. She didn't dress up all that often, if you'd even call it that. She wore a simple white t-shirt tucked into a pair of black jeans, which in themselves were tucked into a pair of black boots. Nothing special, but also simple and nice for the occasion.

She was distracted in her own thoughts however. Most of them were regarding her department and tasks to get the science department ready. One was James. she was getting better about not thinking about his disappearance, but every once and a while she'd slip up and think about him. She missed him, and no closure wasn't helping. She must've been spaced out for a while now, since the bartender was now right in front of her.

"What can I get for you, honey?" The bartender asked her for the third time, a smile on his face as he recognized the signs of someone distracted, "Anything that's on the menu, or if you've got something that isn't, I can probably manage it one way or another."

"Sorry bout that" she returned the smile awkwardly before settling her expression. She felt like she wanted something strong-ish. Vodka-coffee combo? Not this time. "You got Saurian Brandy and Vodka?" Both would probably be too strong, but she was curious.

"We've got both, a larger variety of the vodka, but both a light and a dark brandy." He thought back to their selection and wanted to make the best suggestion he could, "I'd recommend going with the light brandy along with a cinnamon vodka, unless you had something else in mind?"

Ash smiled. "I'll take that" she requested.

Several Minutes Later

Service was well underway as the waitstaff bustled about taking orders, bringing drinks, starters and basically anything else that was being asked of them. It was nearly perfect as more action happened behind the opaque silks. A double moon spotlight lit up as the redheaded hostess stepped up to the front of it with a microphone, "Ladies and Gentlemen, "Thank you for coming to the Grand Opening of the Moonlight Oasis, it's my great pleasure to present to you..." The sounds of a piano began to be heard in a simple series of notes, "Trixie Zephyrin." The redhead gave wide expansive gesture as she stepped down the two steps and the blue silks swept off to the side, revealing three women and one man, the latter on drums, one woman on the electric guitar and one on piano as the spotlight went to the woman in the sky blue dress that came down to her knees and heels, brown hair in lavish curls and wearing glasses, dark blue eyeshadow outlining similar brown eyes. One hand was up in the air on cue.

"Hands up high, raise them high, And cast your worries to the sky,
There's no doubt, not one doubt As I make my wish and let it cry out!"

"If I gathered all the love in my heart, That grows with every passing day,
I would find a confusing puzzle, That changes and rearranges."

"Will I ever find my place? I'm not sure, or will I forever feel insecure?
And the moment all the questions face, I notice my tears, but can't hold them back."

"Maybe it's too late - I've lost my chance, All of my questions shall go unanswered,
Will I keep fighting to find the light or Will I descend to a bitter end?"

"Hand's up high, raise them high, and cast your worries to the sky,
If you can't stand , then take my hand, And I will rise to fight by your side,
My beating heart, is burning on and as it races I realize,
There's no doubt, not one doubt, as I make my wish and let it cry out.."

The interlude here was more of a simplistic rhythm, but the passion that Trixie had been putting into the music so far was clear, moving around the stage to engage the entirety of the audience that she could.

"I have always danced to my own beat, But you always throw me out of sync,
'Cause around you I am holding back, And I'm mastering a fake brave smile,
Maybe it's too late - I've lost to my dreams, All of my wishes come true only here,
If I wake up now, I'll lose this moment, I fear my dreams will fade around me,"

"I'm so close, yet so far, I can't reach out to where you are,
I'd give my heart, I'd give my soul, But some things are not in our control,
You're hands not meant for me told, And I'll be lonely when you're gone,
I'm aware - So aware, Only through my memory you'll be there..."

The tone of music dropped to the bridge of the song,

"It's not the destiny that I've dreamed of, And as I cry I know this is goodbye,
How can I ever reach you, When I can't even see the sky-yy,"

A screaming guitar solo came from one the woman off to her left who had also been singing harmonies along with the pianist. It was clear that they'd been putting in the practice, then it settled down again.

""Hand's up high, raise them high, And cast your worries to the sky,
If you can't stand , then take my hand, And I will rise to fight by your side,
My beating heart, is burning on and as it races I realize,
There's no doubt, not one doubt, As I make my wish and let it cry out!"

There was a postscript as the music wound down. and it was obvious that Trixie had pulled every emotion she'd had within for even just that one song, but the smile on her face showed she was loving every moment of this.

"As Claudia stated, let me also welcome you to the Grand Opening of the Moonlight Oasis! As some of you know, I'm Beatrix Zephyrin and if there's ever anything I or the Oasis can do to make your time on board Yorktown any easier, please don't hesitate to come down, but for now, sit back and enjoy the show!"

To put actions to words, she skipped backwards to where she took the electric guitar from her companion who then picked up a bass guitar and nodded to the drummer before launching into her next song.

** Playlist **
Avril Lavigne - What The Hell
Janedear Girls - Wildflower
Kelly Clarkson - My Life Would Suck Without You

As Trixie finished off the last chords of the last song, the fact that she'd put her heart into her performance was clear. She waved to everyone as she put the guitar back on the stand and applauded her own backup group with a broad smile as she took off the microphone on her ear and leaned over to speak to her pianist who began to play something more classical on the piano as Beatrix descended the steps and glanced around in case anyone was trying to get her attention.

She spotted the two teenagers and recognized Halcyon and bounced over to them, both of the kids getting up. "Aunt Trixie!" Lavina threw her arms around the aunt that she'd never actually met in person, "That was great!"

She gently hugged the teenage girl in return, then opened her arms for Alder, who more hesitantly gave his Aunt a hug, then one for Halcyon as well, "It's great to finally meet you all!" Trixie said excitedly, her eye finding her eldest sister and eying her warily, seeing those blue eyes on her and judging, "Just so you two know, if you ever need anything, you're always welcome to come down to the Oasis."

"If your mother agrees." Halcyon hedged, giving Trixie an apologetic look, "She does have a say in that."

"If your mother agrees." Trixie hedged, "And no matter what, regardless of Roman tradition, I can't serve you guys any alcohol, not even wine." That met with objections from both kids who were used having some wine with their dinners back home, "Nope, not going to happen. But, I'm sure I'll be seeing a lot of both of you soon enough! I've got to go mingle a bit with everyone else." She winked at Hal, "See you soon!

Seeing Trixie detach herself from the pair of teens, Sakaan closed the distance between them, picking up another prosecco from a passing waiter's tray. "Ms Zephyrin," Sakaan raised a hand to get her attention, "you're singing was ... more than competent, tonight."

Beatrix bounced over towards Sakaan and gave a slight bow, "Thank you, Miss Sakaan, that's high praise coming from a Vulcan." She grinned, "As I was saying when we met, practice always helps. I hope that the food was agreeable with you tonight?"

'The food was excellent,' Sakaan admitted, 'I have seldom had such a pleasing meal.' She raised her glass, 'I hope that this is the start of a successful residence aboard the Yorktown. The Moonlight is clearly a special place, judging by the emotional reaction of the remainder of the crew.'

"I've got no doubt we'll be the go-to spot for good food and great relaxation." Beatrix smiled and gave a slight bow, "Make yourself welcome at any time."

'I will. Particularly if you're the one on stage,' Sakaan replied with a nod. 'I shouldn't keep you, I'm sure that you have other crewmembers to meet and mingle with.'

Paisley looked at Octavia, and at her now-empty drink. "I'll be back!!" The Engineer picked up her glass but made a beeline to Trixie. "Hello!!" She said, with a smile. "Nice set!"

Her grin was still wide and Beatrix beamed even more, "Thanks! I'll admit, I love to sing and I'll always continue to do it until I can't anymore. I've got a lot more in my repertoire, but obviously can't do it all in one night and I do need to say congratulations to all of the officers and as many crew as I can to make sure YOU all know how much I appreciate everything you all do for the Federation."

Paisley gave the woman a tight smile. "Thank you," she said. "Well, just thought I'd come and say hello. I am the Engineer, if you need anything," she said. "I actually was just on my way to refill my drink; your sister is amazing!" She smiled, and sailed off for the bar.

"Octavia?" Trixie smiled wistfully, placing a hand on Paisley's elbow to stop her before she ran off, "Yes, she is. I really hope she knows that I really don't hold her opinion of me against her. I'm so proud of her and of Minerva and really wish she could see me for who I am, really, not who she thinks I am. I really hope that you're a good friend to her, she deserves really great ones."

Paisley smiled lightly, and nodded. "I'll tell her!" She said. "Do you need something from the bar?" She asked. She was going that way, after all.

"I'm good, but thank you!" Trixie leaned in to give Paisley's cheek a faux-kiss, "If you need anything, let me know."

"Good!! Thanks," with a wink, the Carjoran returned to Octavia's side.

"I just met Trixie. We could be friends, maybe. Is she always...fake?" She asked. Paisley sometimes was overly tactless-never out of malice, it was just a personality flaw.

"Have you ever known a performer who isn't?" Octavia shook her head slowly, "I don't know many performers, but I've seen the documentaries where they show what they're really like behind the scenes, and it's always the same: All smiles and happy in front of their fans then they turn into self-absorbed assholes when they get backstage or out of public sight."

Paisley nodded. "I've only seen those," she said. "I've never met anyone "in the biz," she said. "I knew a girl who was a burlesque dancer at my old base, but that's not the same," she said. "She was only doing that to get through school." She smiled. "She seemed nice, though," she said. "Maybe she just need a friend." Paisley was always a positive person; she needed to stay that way because otherwise, she couldn't have dealt with the hand she'd been given.

The evening wound down as Trixie first went around to greet the patrons that had arrived for this, the grand opening, then went back on stage for a couple more songs, more sedate than before, to try to keep the mood of the evening as calming as possible. Yes, this had truly been a success.




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