Nico (vilakins) wrote,

Ficlet: The Unpleasantness at the Belhangria Club

I just realised that I should have cross-posted this from b7friday a while back. It was written for the hearts, diamonds, clubs, spades challenge, a little over 500 words set pre-series. And you can probably tell what I'd been reading, can't you?

The Unpleasantness at the Belhangria Club

Avon stretched his legs out and settled deeper into his brown leather chair as he swirled his port before taking an appreciative sip. He liked the Belhangria Club. It might be full of snobs, both intellectual and grade, and old buffers like Fleet General Samor over there in his usual chair in front of the fire--Avon could just see an ankle and an expensive shoe--but the atmosphere was very much to his taste. The walls were panelled in wood, the curtains thick, red, and velvet, the chairs large and welcoming, and people did not speak to one unless they had been introduced. Even then, conversation was hushed and private which was just as it should be; Avon had no wish to hear about others' affairs, but to be left to drink a decent port or brandy in peace while reading the latest news on his bookpad.

It was an oasis of calm, especially today, Federation Day, when the street were full of officially permitted drunkenness and revelry, and even old Starkiller Samor was resplendent with a chest-full of medals including the glittering diamonds of the Starburst hanging over his heart after reviewing the troops ("Dreadful shower, not what they were in my day"). Avon closed his eyes in pleasure, only to be assailed by that high-pitched whinnying laugh peculiar to the overly inbred. He opened his eyes, affronted. It was a young chap, probably a recent graduate, with shining light brown hair and an expression of amiable gormlessness. Avon could only assume that a certain number of Belhangria's degrees were purchased.

"Damned good trough they run here, what?" the idiot was saying to Alta Morag who continued talking to Ven Glynd as if she hadn't heard him. "Excellent fodder." it seemed to filter though the fool's thick skull that he was being ignored, and he came towards Avon, who quickly picked up his bookpad. "I say, frightfully good to meet you. Laster. Vila Laster."

He held out a hand which Avon ignored. "I do not recall being introduced to you."

"That's a bit on the nose, isn't it? Bit chilly in here, what? Think I'll take meself somewhere warmer."

He ambled over to Samor's chair, obviously not realising it was occupied. Avon watched sardonically. No one had sat in that chair for decades, even when Samor was off-world.

Samor gave a walrus-like humph.

"Oops, sorry old chap," said Laster, patting him in a conciliatory way. "Didn't realise anyone was sitting here. You might have warned me," he said as he passed Avon.

Avon watched him leave and leaned back to enjoy his port. He was pleased he had none left to spill when Samor got up to have lunch--dead on 1300 as always; one could set one's watch by Samor--and patted his tunic down, only to let out an outraged below.

"My Starburst! Little bastard took my Starburst."

After a moment of surprise, Avon threw back his head and roared with laughter. This was of course a mistake. He cleared his throat and looked around at the accusing and shocked faces. "Sorry."

"Got to nip that sort of behaviour in the bud, what," said Glynd reprovingly.

"Might as well call a spade a spade, Ven," said Morag. "Ought to revoke the bounder's membership."

Avon was still smiling as he left. The unpleasantness, as they were now calling it, rather made it all worthwhile.

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