((Welder's Diner, Ketar V - Stardate 239607))
Kivas shook his head at his friend and fellow Romulan Sajok as they both stood in the famous Welder’s Diner, home of the Shoals’ best burgers. The two refugees had found work at the nearby Livernois Shipyard, working on one of the Starfleet contracts. While there were plenty of shipyards across the planet offering work, many Romulans and Remans had taken up the openings at Livernois because Starfleet had specific affirmative action policies in place to ensure fair hiring practices.
While Ketar V was technically a Federation world, Kivas had found that some of the residents of the oldest colony in the Shoals exhibited rather provincial attitudes when it came to his kind. Perhaps it was the distance and the slow communications or the history of the colony’s growth, with many early settlers having ancestors who had fought in that first Earth-Romulan war of so long ago, but whatever the reason, the former university professor had discovered that humans and other Federation citizens out here sometimes struggled to live up to their supposed ideals.
Today, one human customer at the diner in particular was struggling.
Human customer: This establishment isn't for your kind.
Kivas gave Sajok a coy smile before looking back at the human man who was now standing a little closer to them.
Kivas: It's always so humbling to see that great Federation enlightenment on display.
Human customer: This ain't got nothing to do with the Federation. If it were up to me, none of you lot would be here.
Yet despite what some of the refugees thought, Kivas knew not all humans were like this. In fact, he wouldn’t even say that most of them were like this. And case in point, their waitress came over to break up the commotion and kick out the disruptive customer.
Waitress: Well, fortunately, it's not up to you. And if you're going to harass other customers, then I'm going to ask you to leave. ::She looked over at the Romulans and gestured to one of the open tables.:: I'm sorry gentlemen, please take a seat.
Kivas and Sajok gave a polite nod to the waitress as they walked past the man, who continued to give them an unfriendly stare before he then looked over at a few Starfleet officers sitting in a both by the windows.
Human customer: Meh, this place isn't what it used to be anyway. Too much trash piling up.
Sajok grumbled as the two men grabbed their table.
Sajok: I don’t know why you like coming here. Plenty of places we can go without being harassed.
Unlike Kivas, who first arrived on Ketar with the first wave of refugees during the start of the resettlement program in 2388, Sajok was a more recent arrival. Previously a civil engineer, he’d lived on Ketar now for two years, but it still wasn’t home for him, and his wife had been pushing for them to move their family of four to another refugee settlement such as Bilire VI. Unlike Ketar, Bilire was previously uninhabited before the refugee colony there was established in the wake of the Hobus supernova that had destroyed Romulus and Remus.
Kivas: I am a resident of Ketar, which means I can go where I please. ::opens a menu:: And so I will.
He looked up from his menu, making a point to his dining companion.
Kivas: It’s important we remind them that we have just as much a right to be here as they do. ::beat:: And that we’re not going anywhere.
The other Romulan scoffed as he opened his menu.
Sajok: Speak for yourself… I don’t see what’s so great about this place.
Kivas: Look around you, Sajok. This is a world built through blood, sweat, and tears. It’s a rare colony world with actual history—it predates the Federation itself. We are but one new chapter in its story.
Sajok shook his head.
Sajok: I never realized you were such a romantic.
Kivas: Well, and I like the Hawaiian teriyaki burger. This Earth fruit—pineapple. It’s quite something!
His companion just chuckled as he continued to look over the menu.
With their food ordered, the two Romulans were minding their own business waiting for their lunch when the human man from earlier returned to the diner. Except this time, he wasn't alone. As he and two others walked in, they glanced at the Starfleet officers before walking over to Kivas and Sajok.
Human customer from earlier: Well, well, look who's still here...
One of the man’s new companions, a human woman with olive skin and long blonde messy dreadlocks spoke up, while gesturing towards the Starfleet officers.
Human woman: And your Starfleet friends here can’t help you.
Human customer from earlier: It seems you didn't get the message that you aren't welcome here, Romulan.
Sajok: We are just waiting for our burgers.
The waitress addressed the human customer from earlier.
Waitress: I told you to leave, sir. I don't like your attitude.
Human customer: And I don't like having to work with these green-blooded snakes... ::chuckles as he looks back up at the waitress::
Sajok didn’t have the same patience as Kivas. He stood up and leaned forward.
Sajok: Is that so! ::Looking around diner:: Is *this* how the Federation treats refugees? Then I would be happy to take this outside!
Brushing her hair back, the female human stepped up towards Sajok.
Human woman: Nope. Here’s just fine.
Perhaps Sajok was right, Kivas thought. He was about to stand up to walk with Sajok to another establishment when one of the Starfleet officers from across the room called out.
Starfleet security officer: ENOUGH! You have no authority to ban anyone in here. She :: pointing to the waitress :: has made it clear they can stay. :: To the Romulans :: And no, they're not a representation of what the Federation is.
Another one of the Starfleet officers tapped his combadge.
Starfleet engineer: =/\= Lieutenant Ukinix to any CCMS. Require presence at… ::looking at window:: …Welder’s Diner, opposite Livernois Shipyard offices, ::looking back:: there’s an altercation in progress. ::
CCMS: =/\= Understood, we are en-route. =/\=
The human woman with dreadlocks walked over to taunt the Starfleet officers.
Human woman: Typical Starfleet. *Always* poking your nose in where it isn’t wanted.
At this, the other Starfleet officer stood up to join his companion already standing. There was a third officer, a woman who remained seated. Kivas watched her curiously. She clearly was trying to keep the peace as well despite her distaste at what was going on. She wasn’t looking at him, but if she had been, he’d have exchanged a nod of understanding. All they wanted was to keep the peace.
Starfleet security officer: We poke our noses where there are problems and right now, you're the problem. You have a chance to leave before the CCMS arrive. :: Looking at her eyes with all his height :: Your choice.
Human woman: Hmmph.
The woman seemed to walk away but then suddenly spun around to deliver a sucker punch. However, she wasn’t fast enough for the security officer to miss her telegraphing of her attack. He caught her fist in his hand and somehow crushed her knuckles with his grasp. The woman grunted before the man knocked her down with his other hand.
As this was going on, the two other human men lunged at Sajok. Despite Kivas’ distaste for violence, he wasn’t going to abandon his companion. He stood up to face off against the attackers. The brawl in the diner quickly got ugly as fists and kicks were shot out. With the help of the Starfleet officers, though, they were able to subdue their attackers.
The female Starfleet officer walked over to one of her shipmates.
Starfleet command officer: Are you all right?
Starfleet engineer: ::Panting, nodding:: Yeah, fine.
The woman then walked over to Kivas and Sajok.
Starfleet command officer: And you?
Kivas looked over at Sajok, who nodded first, before he turned his head back at the woman and nodded.
It was at that moment then that several Colonial Coalition Marshals swarmed into the building.
Marshal: What's going on here?
Starfleet security officer: Don't tell that I didn't gave you a chance to leave. :: to the officers :: I'm Commander Kelrod Chief of Security of the USS Veritas. This woman will require medical attention.
Human woman: Marshal, we were just trying to have a meal when this bastard started shooting! ::She raised her arm up to show the marshal as his partner went to look over at the unconscious bodies.:: He crushed my hand!
Sajok called out to the injured human and the marshal.
Sajok: That was only after you tried to start a fight. You shouldn't start something unless you intend to finish it.
The Starfleet security officer called Kelrod walked over to the two Romulans.
Kelrod: I hope you're okay. I'll be happy to help you get medical attention if you require it.
Kivas: Thank you...
Kelrod: I personally consider Romulans a strong and intelligent people. In fact, Starfleet has Romulans or part Romulans serving. I hope that you are open to reconsider your … views of the Federation.
But the man’s companion looked worried.
Starfleet command officer: ::whispers:: Commander, I don't think this is over...
Kelrod: I'm sorry for the mess. Please, give my compliments to the kitchen. I'll be sure to come back next time I'm around, if it's fine with you.
Marshal: Not so fast! You all are under arrest.
The female Starfleet officer fired back in either disbelief or indignation.
Starfleet command officer: On what charges?
Marshal: Disturbing the peace, discharging a phaser in public, assault... need I go on, little lady?
Ukinix: “Little Lady”!! Who the fff-
Her other shipmate didn’t appreciate that comment. Whoever these people were, they were quite protective of each other. Kivas admired that and recognized it in the Romulan spirit as well.
Kelrod: Easy Wil... And Marshal, you're talking to a Starfleet captain. Show her the respect she deserves.
Kivas: oO Captain? Oo
The captain raised her hand again to try to tell her shipmates not to resist.
Starfleet captain: We'll sort this out at the marshal's office.
As the three were escorted in handcuffs out of the diner, Kivas continued to watch them with intrigue. Sajok walked up next to him to watch as well.
Sajok: Well, you happy? You think you really made your point?
Kivas continued to watch the Starfleet officers as they were placed into a CCMS transport vehicle before he looked back at Sajok.
Kivas: I don’t know if I did. ::He gestured to the arrested Starfleet officers.:: But I think they might have.
The waitress walked over to the two Romulans, looking apologetic.
Waitress: Sorry again for this whole mess… ::She shook her head.:: Your burgers are ready… if you still want them, that is.
Kivas just smiled.
Kivas: Yes, of course! We cannot waste the pineapple!
As Kivas made his way back to the table, Sajok just shook his head before glancing for one last time at the CCMS transport vehicle as it sped away back to the station.
CUE OPENING CREDITS:
Kivas and Sajok
Romulan Refugees, Ketar V