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Dinner Time (Part 2)

Posted on Sun Dec 17th, 2023 @ 9:11pm by Captain Gary Alexander & Lieutenant Quinn Stiles & Lieutenant Chadrick McNier & Lieutenant JG Sarah bet Ira

1,820 words; about a 9 minute read

Mission: Mission 3 - A Whole New World
Location: Officer's Mess
Timeline: 2168/08/22 1930


McNier looked in the direction of the voice; he knew her right off, the kind-hearted woman that had been so helpful to his studies. He had realized she was pretty but he had been more interested in her having a beautiful mind. Reminded of the stimulating conversation about the possibility of Solar Sail and how she liked Balloons.

"You are kind." He said with a grin, he had meant to thank her but time got away. "I would like to show you what I discovered with your help if you wish?"

"I'd like that," Alex said. "It'd be good to have something concrete to work on."


Gary gave a questioning look at Alex. Was she really considering pairing up with McNier? She could not be that desperate, could she? He turned back and looked at KAT, wondering if she was equally puzzled.

Alex smiled softly to Gary but she wasn't going to answer his unspoken inquiry at the dinner table.

Even for someone who tended to spend more time with her head up a maintenance shaft than socializing with other departments aboard, Quinn could pick up some subtext with all the glances flying around. She had to wonder if all such dinners with the Captain were full of such social intrigue.

Gary wondered at that smile. What was the woman thinking? Could any man really understand what a woman thought? It was something to take up for later. He sat down at the table and specifically saved the seat to his left for KAT. With McNier on his right, it was definitely awkward. "Thank you for coming, everyone. I thought that tonight, we should have a night to relax and speak together as friends. Not as Captain and crew but as people. How does that sound?"

"That sounds good," Alex said.

Gary smiled at Alex and waited for others to pipe up.

"Given all we've been through lately, you'll get no argument from me Cap -er, damn. Gary?" Quinn tried tentatively, shrugging her shoulders. The blonde wiggled her glass from side to side and knocked back about half of it, heat coloring her cheeks. Unlike the XO, she managed not to cough. "Sorry. Can't say I'm really used to being on a first name basis with any of you yet. Bear with me while I try names on for size, eh?"

"You're going to have try more on for size, Quinn," Gary replied, sidling up to her and placing his arm around her shoulder. His breath had the tinge of alcohol on it but not so much to suggest that he was drunk. "After all, you're our new Chief Engineer. How does that sound?"

"I--if i-it is appropriate, then I would like to make a minor addition to that ... idea of the Captains. Please feel free to use my name of 'Chad' should you feel as such ; though in reality I do prefer my Family name o-or a-actually I have been known as 'Mack' among my peers but please avoid the academy nickname of 'Macky' if you would please..." He was a bit red from embarrassment. "Um... that will be ... all." He wished he had shut up before he spoke now.

Quinn's nose wrinkled ever so slightly at the smell of alcohol, but she wasn't in any position to throw stones, having just downed half her drink in one hasty go. A sipping drink like hers was not meant for such abuse, but her nerves had overridden her good sense. She didn't object to the arm tossed over her shoulder - it honestly reminded her of the way her brothers treated her growing up - but she did stiffen slightly before easing up and relaxing into the gesture.

"I can't say that its the way I wanted to get the title," the Lieutenant admitted, "but it's certainly a job I had hoped to get sooner or later." Advancement due to attrition was hardly pleasant. Turning to the XO - whom she figured was in a similar boat, she offered him what she hoped was a reassuring smile. "Quinn is good for me. I promise, no Macky."

Gary's face turned into Quinn's as his arm tightened lightly around her. "Well, Quinn, whether it's the way you wanted to get it, it is yours now. Treat this ship well. I have a feeling that you will need to perform several minor miracles."

"Oh, well If it's only minor miracles Captain then I'm sure I'll be fine. It's the major ones we have to ration these days." Perhaps her drink was already starting to loosen her tongue.

"I-if I may Captain." McNier spoke up a bit. "The term Miricle in itself alludes to something rather unusual to the point of Spectacular happing and in the most Biblical and other Religious context ... rare." He pointed out. "To use the term so loosely would imply that you believe our New Chief Engineer to be a Miricle Worker in the classic sense or perhaps a better moniker might be appropriate to best explain the expectations placed upon this early in our venture?"

Gary chuckled and slapped McNier on the back, "Oh, I bet that she can work miracles. She just needs a little TLC. What do you think Quinn?"

The blonde found herself leaning forward with the thump of Cpt. Alexander's hand upon her back and she rolled her shoulders into a massive, overdone shrug. Whether he had intended it or not, Quinn took the 'she' that needed TLC to be the ship, and not its new engineer. Not that she herself wouldn't mind a little TLC but she wasn't about to go down that train of thought. Given their situation she'd like as not have to eventually, but she wasn't sure she was ready for the can of worms.

"I can promise the ship will get plenty of TLC from me, ladies and gentlemen."

"Of course she will," Gary replied, smiling at Quinn mischievously. He removed his arm from around Quinn, seemingly satisfied for the time being. "So, what will you be drinking tonight, Quinn? We already know that Mr. McNier here prefers non-alcoholic beverages."

Glancing up at the captain and swirling her mostly empty glass around - the ice clinking off the sides - Quinn tilted the brim toward the man and answered, "Old Fashioned. Caught a taste for it at the Academy."

"There is no question that many things old fashioned are much more durable than those which are new. After all, the newer models tend to be disposable," Gary told Quinn with a small wink.

Quinn wasn't entirely sure what to make of that, and hoped it wasn't a sly comment at her chances of surviving. Deciding he wouldn't do that, the blonde shrugged her shoulders and wiggled her glass back and forth. "Well, this ship is tough as nails and twice as durable. She'll have to be if we have a snowballs chance in hell of surviving out here."

"And we will be counting on you to keep her running smoothly," Gary answered easily. "If you need some personal assistance, do not hesitate to contact me. I sometimes miss the days of being a Chief Engineer and making the ship purr."

The lieutenant had known in the back of her head that the ships CO had been an engineer at one point and time, but there was knowing, and knowing and the fact clicked into place. The old adage 'no pressure' flicked across her mind as she swallowed the last of her drink to hide a wince. "I appreciate that."

Behind her was the Assistant Chief Engineer. She was hoping a bit of grace would be shown. The young woman slipped in quietly. She wasn't in a uniform, as she was off duty-hadn't technically started yet, actually, and instead, wore dark jeans, a modest blouse, and sneakers. Her black hair was pulled back, and she wore just a small amount of makeup, and a Star of David necklace, barely visible. She placed a steaming tray on the table. "Haluski," she said. "A true Romanian dish," she said, in stilted Standard.

Gary sniffed the Haluski and wrinkled his nose. "Definitely smells like cabbage...."

Sarah nodded. "Yes, it is cabbage. It's pan-fried with bacon, traditionally, but I used beef sausage because I keep Kosher. And onions. Sometimes I make it with diced turkey or chicken," she said. "And PLENTY of paprika. Then I top it with spatezel and sour cream." She closed her eyes a moment, the idea making her mouth water.

"It will not hurt my feelings if you don't have any." she said. "I understand that cabbage causes digestive distress for many people," she said. "Romanian dishes are heavy on cabbage, and potatoes," she said, "Which, luckily, I like!" She realized that she was rambling. She extracted a canteen from her pocket. "Anyone up for some Linden tea? Linden trees are endemic to Eastern Europe," she said.

The Captain looked back at Quinn, who seemed to have gotten silent and asked her, "What are your thoughts on these topics?"

Blinking as she pulled herself away from following the conversation, to the Captain's question, Quinn gave a little shrug of her shoulders. "I'm not the worlds biggest fan of sour cream, but I do like bacon - beef sausage is acceptable too. And potatoes. And paprika. So it sounds like a promising dish." She looked over at Sarah and smiled apologetically, "Can't say that I've ever had Linden tea, so no comment on it."

"I-I would enjoy it." McNier nodded and some of the dish also." A bit redder in the face. "I -I have a healthy digestive track, some of the Spicy food and country dishes of My Southern Roots might burn a hole in some stomachs; especially a special spice blend for Firehouse Chili that the tricorder has a bit of trouble individualizing the ingredients..." He realized he had gone Science again. "Well... it looks very good and smells delicious?" He complemented.

Sarah nodded, and handed the tray off to the stranger. "I see..." the woman said, in stilted English. "Thank you. Enjoy," she said. She poured some tea in a glass sitting in front of him, and then, finally, settled down. "Sorry I am tardy," she said.

"Well," Gary started, starting to sidle away from the smell of the cabbage, "you should definitely have it, McNier."

"Are you alright, sir?" Sarah asked, noticing the Captain backing away a little.

Quinn hid a smile behind her glass, concluding that Gary wasn't a fan of cabbage. Much liker herself when broccoli was on the table.

"Perfectly fine," Gary assured her, waving his hand nonchalantly. "If you will excuse me," he told her and went to mingle elsewhere.

"THank you." McNier said and took a portion of the cabbage for the trial. "Some people have no sense of adventure in trying new things outside the Job title."


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