Hmm, this intro looks a lot like the one from last week. I hope you don't mind, everything remains relevant: Welcome to episode #4 of Station Keeping. I hope you enjoy, and can welcome a few more characters to the station keeping family. As always, this project is a collaborative one, and I look forward to hearing from you for any reason, but particularly if you would like to contribute in any capacity. But please do enjoy! -- ty

Nan Gee really wanted a drink. The bar wasn't quite open yet, but she thought that maybe she'd be able to talk someone there out of one of those beers sitting on the counter. She would pay, it wasn't like there was anything else to spend her diplomatic-salary on.

David nearly jumped out of his skin when he saw her standing in side the bar. He could have sworn that he had locked the door. "Hello there, we're not actually open yet, as you can see," he said, point to the exposed wiring on the wall opposite of the bar. Someday there would be a nice light fixture there. If the designer ever got back to him, that is.

"That's alright, I just really want one of those," Nan said pointing at the cases of beers stacked on the bar. It was a local brand that had just been shipped up from Hanm. "I can pay." She appended, trying to look hopeful.

David paused, unsure of exactly what to do in this situation, he had work to do, and he didn't want the entire station getting the idea that he was open for business. "What the hell," he thought. "You like them room temp?" he asked, relenting.

"That's the way we do it 'round here." She looked a bit relieved.

"Ok, well we really aren't open, but I have something to work on in the back, why don't you join me with your beer and we can talk" David suggested, as he turned. "Oh, whats your name, by the way," he asked as he walked.

Nan followed the barkeep, without quite knowing why. It seemed better than any of the alternatives that came to mind. "Right, I'm Nan, Nan Gee: the diplomatic liaison to the station."

"Oh, right, it's a pleasure to meet you." David said, he turned at an open door way and pointed to a chair in an office. "I'm David Conrad, I'm just the bar owner around here, but I suspect that the Navy will probably start begging once the communications lines are more open, but they won't get me." He chuckled

"Oh, you're Navy?"

"Used to be. I got to the top of the game, and found there wasn't much see. Time to move on, you know. They want me back, but know better than to force it. It's better this way." David said looking at Nan. The tension between the Navy and the people of Hanm was very present on the station, even now, and almost entirely understandable. "So why the rush to get a beer," it's still a bit early and all." David hoped to deflect the conversation away from his past, he also turned in his chair and brought up the display on his workstation.

"It's been a long day, not that bad, I just don't know what to make of it, but I'm pretty sure that I have no power, and it's not like there's anything else to do on the station yet." Nan was surprised at her verbosity in front of this stranger. This stranger with a navy past, even! But the beer tasted like home, and the decorations on the walls were different, even if the walls themselves looked suspiciously familiar.

"Well, I've been working like a dog to lodge all the appropriate complaints with the new commander, about the Navy's presence here, and so forth. Our space, 'much as anyone's, and all they do is give us notice and expect our help when they need it, because of course this station was built with our sweat and blood!" Nan's speed increased with her furry, but she sipped the drink to slow her self down.

"What did Eli say?" David asked.


"The new commander?"

"Oh, do you know him or something?"

"You could say that, but you already got me to talk this is your story." David hoped that she would ignore the fact that he hadn't really told her very much.

"Ok. Um." Nan had a bit more of the drink before she continued. "So after sending him a series of reports and requests, he called me in for a meeting, and he just talked to me."

"He talked? Amazing. He never used to." David was talking over his shoulder as he worked on something on the workstation screen. "What did he say?"

"Really?" Nan stared at a box on the wall.

David realized she wasn't really paying attention. "No, of course not. Continue."

She did: "Well he didn't seem to have a clue what was going on between the Hanmists and the Navy, and agreed to work with me on station policy and governance. I didn't have anything to say. I feel like I made an ass of myself."

"That's Eli for you, I guess."

"Being clueless? Or for making an ass of your self in front of."

David chucked: she was pretty sharp and quick after all, admirable qualities indeed. "So you're upset, because he's a reasonable guy..."

"I suppose I am. Its hard when the bad guys turn out to be pretty nice. Makes my job plenty hard. I wasn't ready for this wrench in the gears." Nan's earlier anger returned, but this time it wasn't shrouded in historical interplanetary relations.

"Well there are plenty of bad guys to go around, and lots of work to be done."

"Aye." Nan took another quick swig. The bottle wasn't finished, but she was. "Thanks for this, I'd like to pick your brain at some point, but maybe at the beginning of the day rather than the end."

David's simple response of "Indeed" was both non-committal and positive. He walked her to the door way of his half finished bar, "This is sure going to be interesting," he though as he watched Nan Gee walk amongst the light crowd toward the residential section of the station.

"Diplomacy Maneuvers" was written by, `tycho <>`_, the creator of `TealArt <>`_ and [Station Keeping]("). He is a student and knitter by day and a science fiction writer by night, you can read his work elsewhere on `TealArt <>`_ and at `~/tychoish <>`_.