“From Ardana With Love, Part 2”
== Personal Quarters – USS Charon ==
Lamont angrily slammed his hand onto the button of his terminal to shut it off infuriated by yet another message from the seemingly mad Ardana ambassador. Over the past few days he had received no less than twelve messages and two attempts at communications from that wretched woman whose name he still lacked. He refused to investigate this matter further. He was not a babysitter nor would he bow to her incessant demands. If this ambassador was so concerned about her child she could hire a mercenary to protect her. Lamont had a suggestion for such a person who was locked in the Charon's brig.
Worse still he was becoming more and more tempted to strike a deal with the mercenary and put out a contract on the Ardana ambassador if only to quiet her endless tide of messages, babbling, and outrageous demands.
There had to be a way to reason with the woman. He had tried sending several messages and even once attempted communications to rectify the issue however his messages were not being returned and his request to speak with the ambassador was rebuffed by a snide diplomatic aide.
The current situation was intolerable. He mulled over the option of filling a complaint with the diplomatic corps yet that idea would be viewed as petty and would do nothing to help advance his career in the eyes of his superiors. Curse that infernal woman! He had to find some way to silence her.
Detestable as it was speaking with the diplomat's daughter, if only for the purpose to learn how best to quiet her mother, Lamont could find no better alternative. Perhaps this Nimue Andraste despised her mother as well and could offer assistance on how best to quiet the ambassador's relentless assault of messages and communications. After all the Ardana ambassador had all but admitted abusing the child in her youth.
Lamont sighed. He despised manipulating a person's passions for personal gain. Some in his profession stooped to such levels to achieve their goals.
He had seen it done, but refused to do so himself. Cunning and guile were far more enjoyable weapons to employ even if they sometimes failed to deliver as advertised. Deception, while sometimes necessary in times of severe crisis, was never an option for one of principles and ethics. Lamont was no moralist, but he had his convictions.
Using the daughter against her mother for his own peace of mind was something he could not do and yet he had to do something or else the woman would drive him mad. He would pay a visit to Nimue Andraste.
It would strictly be a fact finding mission and nothing more. With some luck perhaps they could rectify this situation in short order.
His luck had to change.
As of late it really couldn't get much worse.
== Later ==
Lamont approached the door of Nimue Andraste's quarters. He was hesitant to call upon her lest he fall into that woman's trap yet he could no longer tolerate being referred to as Ambassador Lemon.
Hearing her voice within his head, Lamont quickly jabbed the chime to announce his presence as his resolve strengthened.
To his surprise the doors instantly parted. Had he been expected?
Curious, he entered unsure exactly what he was getting himself into by doing so.
He recognized the shadow of what had once been standard Starfleet quarters, but where there had been order, now there were splashes of clashing color, foreign clothing scattered over furniture that had been moved or even replaced. Open containers lay half empty, their contents spilled around them as if someone had buried through them looking for very specific items without regard for organization. It looked like the quarters had been ransacked.
Then the music hit him, loud and cheerful. An older dance song he remembered from his Academy years, though it was certainly not the kind of music he cared for. And laced with the music was a voice.
Suddenly, a streak of flesh jumped out from the bedroom and slid on a discarded silken garment, brown hair thrashing about. Naked save for a red tank top and panties, the woman spun around, singing to the music in a halfway decent voice, her hand holding a chocolate bar like it was a microphone. She swung her hips to one side, then the other, taking small steps back, to the side, and forward. Her body dipped gracefully as she bent at her knees, and came back up, dropping her arms to the side. The music quieted, and Lamont took a step forward to announce his presence.
However, the song immediately started up again, and she jumped on the couch, nearly losing her balance. Her arms circled out as the music reached a crescendo, and she threw back her hair, eyes in his direction.
She stopped when she saw him, one foot on the back of the couch, the other against the cushions. Nimue Andraste remained where she was for a moment longer, like a gazelle startled by some unexpected event.
Then she hastily called for the music to end and ran a hand through her wavy brown hair, as if uncertain how she should respond. Then, with a bright smile, she held out the still wrapped chocolate bar she had been using as a microphone.
Lamont was speechless. The ambassador's daughter was obviously quite the 'wild child' by the disarray of her quarters and her behavior.
Adding to his inability to speak was her overt attractiveness and lack of clothing.
He shook his head pushing less dignified thoughts from his mind. He had come here to talk which was proving to be difficult given the...circumstances.
"Uh..no. No thank you. I've never quite developed a taste for chocolate unlike so many others. I apologize for the intrusion. The doors opened when I called and I assumed it was acceptable to enter.
You are Nimue Andraste I presume?"
Lamont waited for an answer. There was something humorous in a person sliding through one's quarters absorbed in musical fancy oblivious to their environment. Perhaps this was her way of escaping reality for a time and perhaps her mother as well.
"Yup. And yeah," she added, gesturing vaguely in the direction of the door to her quarters, "I just haven't had the chance to program a security code.
I wasn't expecting visitors." Nimue smiled wanly, looking around at the mess in her apartment, which she only just seemed to have become aware of.
It was as if, without outside eyes to judge her, she had been free of all common constraints. "I was just unpacking."
"Allow me to introduce myself. I am Ambassador Ian Lamont, the Charon's Diplomatic Advisor. I need to speak to you on the matter of a mutual acquaintance of ours. I assure you the situation is quite urgent and have come seeking your advice."
"I really don't know any diplomats, so I'm guessing this isn't about your work." Nimue said, turning and walking away from him to pull stray clothing off the only couch in order to clear space. "Wait. I do. Please tell me this isn't about a ridiculously snotty Romulan?"
"A Romulan", Lamont repeated. "Oh no. No not at all."
"That's a relief." Noticing that Lamont kept looking away from her and then back again, Nimue followed his gaze to her 'outfit.'
Grinning, she said, "You look like you'd prefer it if I put something more on. Wait...I think I'm insulted."
Lamont felt his face flush but otherwise remained as stoic as possible.
"No..I. I didn't mean..it's just..."
"Relax. It was a joke." Nimue said, pointing to the couch so that he could take a seat. As he moved to do so, Nimue grabbed a pair of jeans from a nearby duffel bag. As she slipped her right leg into the jeans to slip them on, she looked at him over her shoulder. "So...was there something you wanted?"
Lamont took a seat attempting to the best of his ability to keep his eyes off of the woman. It was undignified to gawk, even given her cavalier attitudes given the circumstances, yet his logic was locked in fierce combat with his less logical self. He looked away as she bent over to retrieve an article of clothing from the floor and dressed but not before catching a glimpse of her seemingly perfect form in the dim lights of the quarters.
"I apologize for the intrusion however I have called to discuss a tenuous matter with you. Recently I have been contacted by someone who claims to be your mother, the ambassador from Ardana. She has been tenacious in her attempts to contact me." Lamont rubbed the bridge of his nose as the woman's irritating voice again filled his head. "She has left nearly a dozen messages and we've spoken on one occasion. She hardly let me get a word in before practically giving me orders to look out for you." Lamont paused for a moment before continuing. He had no desire to become embroiled in other people's family matters however he had to convey the problem to Nimue in its entirety.
"I have no desire to be your guardian aboard Ms. Andraste. I am not sure why your mother believes I am willing or capable of carrying out her demands yet she is bombarding me with messages, instructions, and even veiled threats. I have attempted to speak with her but have been rebuffed on several occasions and she has yet to reply to any of my replies."
"I do not wish to intrude upon your privacy Ms. Andraste, yet I come seeking your advice and perhaps your assistance to help rectify this difficult situation."
Lamont waited for Nimue's response. Would she become angry or upset at this news or simply shrug it off? Hopefully the ambassador's daughter was easier to speak with than her mother. She was certainly much better looking.
"Yeah," Andraste replied mildly as she plopped down on the far end of the couch, folding her feet underneath her as she sat down.
Apparently, the news was not all that distressing for the young
lieutenant. "I'm sorry about Xanthe. And...I have no idea why she
picked you out. Probably because you use all those big words. Trust me, when it comes to vocabulary and Ardanians, size does matter."
“Fascinating”, Lamont quietly answered. “I have little knowledge of Ardanian culture. However I digress, please continue.”
"This isn't the first time this has happened. My mother picks out a 'suitable' young man on every ship I'm on to serve as my 'guardian' as you put it. I think the word you were looking for was babysitter though."
Lamont inwardly cringed ever so slightly. Indeed it was the word on his mind yet had not spoken. Either Nimue was telepathic which he did not sense or else this scenario had played out before. Logically only one of those two scenarios was possible. In addition, her ongoing story was slowly catching his interest, but he continued to keep his expressions reserved.
"Well...you are the first human, actually, to make the list, so kudos.
Usually, it is just some species who have a high yield chroniton torpedo stuck up their butts. Vulcans, Bynars...that kind of thing.
Anyway, on the Claymore we figured out that if you can have the computer send out a weekly message to Ardana saying 'Nimue is fine', that works really well."
So this ‘had’ happened before, he mused as his suspicions were confirmed. “Well your mother may have excellent taste in selecting me”, Lamont said with a grin, “however her methods leave much to be desired. She has ignored my inquiries and messages thus far. Do you have any additional suggestions?”
"There are other things we could try. On the Saladin, I pretended to sleep with the guy, but didn't work 'cause then she just chose a new babysitter and things got really weird with said guy. And his wife.
And his two other real mistresses we then found out about. On the Saladin, we had a former Bajoran Vedek, who took the whole thing as a license to install hidden cameras in my quarters. That worked fine for everyone. I mean, it isn't like I knew. Xanthe got video updates apparently, until security found out. You, of course, wouldn't do that, having made it clear that you want to see as little of me as possible."
Lamont swallowed. He had not intended to be so abrupt and callous.
The sound of that woman’s voice in his head was akin to the ear splitting whine of a phaser near overload and had forcefully motivated him to find a quick resolution to his problem. He had been so worried about extracting himself from this problem he had not stopped to realize he was not the only person affected.
“Forgive me Nimue, may I call you Nimue? I...I did not mean to be so abrupt."
Nimue began to point out that her last statement had been yet another joke. Then she decided against it. The Ambassador was obviously having some difficulty with her humor, which was not unusual. In her experience, trying to explain it to people only led to more confusion.
With a small smile and nod, she let him go on.
"This situation has motivated me to find a resolution yet I see you are as much involved as I and perhaps far worse for wear. I have no desire to alienate you. Fate it seems has caused our paths to cross albeit under less than ideal circumstances. In fact it would be my pleasure to offer you a tour of the ship or perhaps a meal of your choosing since you have recently arrived. In fact I insist. This situation with your mother is annoying to be sure but she is not the only person with diplomatic clout. You might say that now that I know more about the situation I’m rather compelled to be the first to turn the tables perhaps even with your help if you are so inclined.”
Lamont flashed a mischievous grin before continuing.
“However fear not, I have no intention of being dragged into monitoring you like some sort of bullied babysitter or private guard for hire. You appear to be well traveled not to mention Ardanian which is a race I have little experience with. I think I would enjoy hearing of your other exploits provided you are willing to share them.”
Lamont wasn’t quite sure what he was doing, but there was something oddly compelling about Nimue and her unique situation not to mention various other positive qualities. Finding a strategy to counter her mother’s incessant badgering was equally appealing. If nothing else it was a challenge which seemed to be few and far between for a diplomat aboard an exploration vessel as of late.
Nimue blinked. Was he asking her out? She had heard men go about that in some pretty unusual, but the 'let us plot revenge on your crazy mother' line was a new one, at least as far she was concerned.
She thought about and then shrugged. She had always thought creativity should be rewarded. Plus she had never been out with someone who actually said albeit.
"At nine then. And bring a thesaurus."
"Very well. Until then." Lamont stood with a courteous bow and slowly exited the lieutenant's quarters. As the doors closed behind him he took a deep breath and quickly exhaled.
What on earth was he doing? Had he really just insisted upon dinner with a woman he had just met and who seemed to have a variety of issues first and foremost that being an overbearing, overprotective mother? In addition Nimue appeared to have had a colorful career in various postings. What had possessed him with his aristocratic upbringing and heritage to do such a thing? He didn't know. Whatever it was within him defied words. Perhaps it was a reaction to his recent failures with the Romulans - he didn't know and could not seem to make sense of his actions standing still in the corridor as he received odd looks from passing crewmen.
He headed back to his quarters perplexed, but somewhere deep down under layers of training, logic, and family traditions there was a tiny spark of excitement eager to escape. Something about Nimue had triggered the odd sensation.
Calling the turbolift, Lamont pondered such matters and more until his mind locked upon a single item requiring his near full attention.
Lieutenant Nimue Andraste
Ambassador Ian Lamont