The Golden Orchid, Twin Suns Resort: Risa
"Alex…" Katie asked nervously. "What is this place?"
"The best damn dance club on this planet!" she said sauntering up towards the velvet ropes. "The Golden Orchid" was tucked away at the back of the Twin Suns near the beachfront. Its front marble fašade was modelled on the Temple of Artemis with large sweeping columns that housed at least a hundred women from a dozen species waiting to gain entrance. The back of the club's dance floor opened directly onto the sands of Suraya Bay; the bright moonlight blending perfectly with the lights and sounds of pulsing electronic music emanating from inside.
The girls were dressed for dancing and Laria in particular was excited at the opportunity to redeem herself after her last drunken debacle on Risa. Alex was nearly giddy, and T'les was her usual curious self, but Katie was skeptical to say the least.
"That's not quite what I meant, Alex…" Katie said.
"C'mon, Katie!" Alex said not backing down. She grabbed Stone's hand and dragged to her towards the front doors.
"Don't we have to wait in line?" Laria said looking past the velvet ropes.
"Not here, Babe," Alex replied. "In this place we're VIPs!"
A pair of three-meter tall Risian Horga'hns flanked the entranceway along with an Angellian bouncer who was easily stood two meters tall herself. Her gruff expression immediately melted away when she saw Alex.
"LETAHN!" Alex shouted running into her arms.
"Alexandra!" the Angellian said wrapping her arms around Alex and lifting her clear off the ground. "Welcome back."
"It's good to be back. I'm assuming we're all on the list?" she asked playfully flashing a seductive look.
"Of course you are," Letahn said with a wink. "Go right in, Ivy is expecting you."
"Who is Ivy?" T'les asked raising an eyebrow to Alex as Letahn opened the doors.
"Ivy Wong," Alex said as the velvet rope lifted for the four of them. "This is her club."
They stepped inside the Golden Orchid and were immediately overcome with sensory overload. Lasers, smoke, and pounding electronic music echoed everywhere. The main dance floor contained hundreds of women swaying and writhing to the beat while two smaller raised stages on either side housed professional female dancers exhibiting their skills for the masses' enjoyment.
T'les continued being intrigued, Laria continued being in awe, but Katie was becoming increasingly uncomfortable.
"AAAALLLLEXXX!" a voice screamed from behind them. Alex turned around and started jumping up and down.
The two women jumped into each other's arms and continued their excited display.
"Hey everyone," Alex said finally calming down a bit, "This is Ivy."
Ivy was half-human and half-Risian. Her jet black hair was pulled back behind her head and her narrow eyes were painted with bright purple mascara.
"This must be them! Ivy said running up and placing a quick kiss on each of their cheeks. Welcome to Risa, all that is ours is yours!"
"Thank you…" Katie said tensing as soon as Ivy's lips touched her.
"And you must be Laria! Congratulations, Sweetie!" Ivy said giving Laria an extra hug. "I'm so happy you're spending your last bit of freedom with us."
"I am too!" Laria said smiling. "This place is incredible! How do you know Alex?" Katie and T'les both looked at the Bajoran. Katie actually put her palm into her face.
"Alex and I have been friends for a very long time, all the way back to when I was trying to make it as a DJ in San Fran's Castro and she was a stressed-out med school student who needed to…relax."
"How did you end up running an establishment on Risa?" T'les asked over the pounding beat of the next dance track.
"My father is from Shanghai, but my mother was from Risa. When I realized the clubs on Earth wouldn't let me play the type of music I wanted, I decided to move here and open my own club. That way, I can play whatever I want!"
"That seems logical," T'les said with a nod.
"What type of music was that?" Katie asked curiously.
"I love the classics. 1970 to 2030 were the golden years of dance music, but everyone back home thought it was WAY too old-fashioned."
"Are you kidding? That's my favorite!" Laria said with a smile.
"And you doubt me, Little Lady?" Alex said rolling her eyes at Laria's comment.
"Alright, let me see it! Let me see it!" Ivy said jumping up and down again. Alex raised her hand and displayed her wedding band.
"OOOO!" Ivy squeed. "I can't believe Annabeth finally did it! If she didn't, I probably would have put a ring on that hand myself."
"Ivy…" Alex said cocking her head to one side. "You know I'm a one woman girl."
"Hey, Cutie," Ivy said brushing Alex's curls away from her face. "I can dream can't I?" she said feigning a pout. Both of them burst out laughing. "Celeste!" Ivy said waving to one of her staff.
A woman dressed in an impeccably tailored navy suit walked up to them attached a golden wristband to each of the party's arms.
"This is will give you the highest tier of access to everything in the club, deluxe bottle service, and you have your own private box up there behind the dancers. They're good for your entire stay on Risa and I will be personally insulted if I don't see you every night till you leave." Ivy said pointing towards the dance floor. "You have an incredible view of high moon on the bay coming up in about three hours. Don't miss it. In the meantime, make sure this one party's so hard she never forgets it!" Ivy said grabbing Laria again. "Remember, this place is all about being yourself!" Ivy gave Laria a small peck on her forehead before heading back to tend to her other guests.
"I love her!" Laria said once Ivy had disappeared. "She's so friendly."
"Alex!" Katie said finally not able to take it anymore.
"Yes, Katie?" Alex replied equally annoyed.
"What are we doing here?"
"Katie, you don't have to act so uptight. Try to have fun!"
"It's gonna kind of hard for me to have fun here because I like men…and unless my internal sensors need some serious recalibration, there are no men here!"
"Katie," Alex said suddenly turning serious. "I don't expect you to walk out of here with a damned girlfriend. What I ask is that you realize it doesn't matter what company you keep as long as you enjoy yourself! Now, it's up to Laria whether we stay here or go, but if being around people like me makes you so unhappy, there's the door! You're welcome to leave."
Suddenly, Katie looked ashamed.
"I'm sorry, Alex. I didn't mean it that way."
"It's ok, Katie. I know you didn't mean it that way either. Even in the 24th Century, you'd be surprised what we have to put up with sometimes."
"What do you think, L?" Katie said turning to Laria.
It didn't take the Bajoran long to decide.
"It would be a shame to miss that high moon…"