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A matter of taste part 1

Posted on 14 Feb 2021 @ 5:46pm by Lieutenant Commander Arjin Djinx & Lieutenant Avery Stuart Ph.D.

Mission: Extinction
Location: Chief Science Officer’s Quarters
Timeline: After shakedown

After their latest predicament, Arjin found it was time to relax a bit. He could book a session at the Holodeck. But with recent computer trouble, he decided against it.
He then recalled a passage at Talons a time ago, where he had met with Counselor Stuart. They had agreed to a friendly dinner in the future. Maybe this was as good a time as ever to honor that agreement.

He sat down at his console and started to type an invitation. But halfway he stopped and deleted everything. He would do this differently. He smiled as he pulled out a sheet of paper and an envelope out of a drawer. He then looked for a pen. He knew he had one lying around somewhere. It had been a gift of his former lover Ieuan. After a quick search, he found what he was looking for. The pen brought back many happy memories. He made a mental note not to stack it away this indifferently any more. But put it somewhere he could see it.

He then straightened the piece of paper and started writing a formal invite to a friendly dinner. He wondered what the Counselor would think about that.

“You are hereby invited to a Friendly dinner at the Chief Science Officer’s Quarters. Next friday at 19.00 hours. Dress code: Casual.” He signed the invitation underneath his name Lieutenant Commander Arjin Djinx.

Happy with the invite, he folded the paper in two and put it inside the envelope. At the front he wrote: Counselor Lieutenant Avery Stuart”

With a grin he lay down the pen and developed a plan to get the letter over to the Counselor’s office without her noticing and without rising too much suspicion from others.

With a relieved exhale, Avery pressed send for the final time during her shift, signaling her last clinical note was entered into the computer. The demands on her time showed no signs of slowing, but her least favorite task was completing the paperwork following her sessions. It was emotionally draining enough to listen to people as they struggle to make sense of recent traumas, let alone recounting the salient details for each progress note. As she maneuvered her Head from side to side to release the tension from her neck and shoulders, she let her mind wander to the hot meal, warm bath, and comfortable bed she would soon be visiting.

As the days went by, Friday came closer. He should start putting together the dinner. He had actually not told the whole truth at their last conversation. He could cook, but in his opinion he was not a good one. So it was only a small lie in his mind. But this being a friendly dinner, he opted not to cook himself. He had plenty of replicator privileges left, so that would be ok. Not having heard back from the Counselor yet, he could only hope his accomplice had delivered the letter and the Counselor would accept.

Back in her office, Avery had finally gotten up the motivation to start tackling the least interesting red tape she had to deal with. Exhaling as she slowly begin lifting PADDs off the corner of her desk, a curious sight caught her attention. Was that a piece of actual paper? It wasn't as if the substance were completely out of place , even in this day and age, but it certainly was a rare sight. Reaching for it, she realized she was actually looking at an envelope addressed to her in handwritten script. Now highly curious, she quickly opened the envelope and was intrigued to find another handwritten message. She read it carefully, her unease slowly giving way too pleasure. After all, she recalled the conversation with the Chief Science Officer well enough, but figured he was just humoring her when he had said he would consider her offer for a friendly dinner.

Touched by the personal effort, Avery decided she would show the same. It took just a few minutes to have her own pen and paper replicated and she was soon scrawling her own message: "I humbly appreciate and accept your lovely invitation for a friendly dinner. P.S. I'm impressed you were able to pull off such an old school invitation. Remind me to interrogate my staff to find out which person was your partner in intrigue."

Upon seeing an old fashioned letter finding his way back to him, Arjin could only smile. “Touché, Counselor”, he thought. He assumed it was she who had reciprocated with a handwritten letter. It was indeed her answer to his invite. Accepting. With a nod, he began plans to create a menu. Since he didn’t know anything about her preferences nor her allergies, he would make it so that the dishes could easily be adapted accordingly.

Friday went rather smoothly and without any anomalies. Something Arjin was glad off.
So after his shift he went over to his quarters to get everything ready for tonight’s dinner.

As he looked around his quarters, there was not much tidying up to do, as he always kept them spotless. The sitting room looked nice. Instead of the standard Starfleet blue-grayish Colour, he had chosen for a white canvas during the last refit of the ship. The white was interrupted by the dark black Colour in which the bulkheads and window frames were painted. Prerogative of holding the Chief position on a ship. The light grey floor kept the ensemble from being too harsh.

The colour came from the rest of the furniture and artwork with a blend of dark yellows, blues and oranges.
One wall featured some floating shelves which held several artifacts and antiques. Some he had dug up himself. All protected by their own small forcefield to protect them from a ship in battle.

On a side table stood three picture frames. One featuring Arjin with his aunt and uncle. One of him and his former lover Ieuan. And as latest addition one of him an Jariht Roshe, taken in the Holodek.

Arjin lay the last hand on the table setting. A rectangular table with a blend of metal and false wood. The plates being of a plain white. Each one situated on the small side of the table. A small artwork of silver coated metal and white glass representing an abstract view on flowers finished off the table.

Satisfied with the result, Arjin went over to his sleeping quarter and took a sonic shower, before changing into casual blue pants topped with a crisp white shirtlike upper garment with intricate patterns.

All he had to do now was wait until the Counselor would show up.

When Avery received the invitation for a friendly dinner from Arjin, she had been delighted and intrigued. Naturally, as work took priority, she had to put dinner out of her mind to focus on other things. Even this morning as she got ready for her shift, she acknowledged the upcoming dinner with a smile before getting on with the rest of her workday. Now that the day was over, however, she found herself preoccupied with what to wear and what to expect.

It wasn't that she was concerned it was anything but a friendly dinner and it wasn't that she thought she wouldn't enjoy the chief science officer's company. She had enjoyed talking with him very much, in fact. She also knew she couldn't keep her self from being curious about him and concerned about him emotionally. Counselor or not, Stuart liked to get to know people and since she was a counselor, it was only natural for her to be curious about how he was coping with recent events. This was especially true because he had seemed so angry and brooding of late. The problem was, anytime she inquired remotely about his welfare, he shut down and she had the sense he would've walked away from her a few times. It was true he was the one who chose to take her up on her suggestion of dinner, but a small part of her wondered if she actually invited herself. It would certainly be rude to give him the impression she was trying to interrogate him in his own quarters, but did she know him well enough yet to know what might antagonize him? Did he know her well enough not to assume her curiosity wasn't clinical?

She was going to have to play it by ear. Donning a simple blue sundress with sandals, Avery realized it had been sometime since she had worn civilian clothes. The next time she received some leave perhaps she would have to do some shopping. Before leaving her quarters, she decided to replicate several desserts. It would be rude to come to dinner empty-handed, but not knowing what he liked or might be allergic to, she replicated several different options. Smoothing down her hair, which she had styled into a updo, she decided it wouldn't do to be late, and she made her way to his quarters, pressing the chime and hoping for an uncomplicated evening.

As he heard the chime, Arjin looked around one last time to see if there was any clutter. Satisfied, he gave the computer the order to open the door. “Come in.”, he said smiling. The image he saw before him was totally different now the counselor did not were her uniform. The dress rather suited her very nicely. “Thanks for coming over.”.

It felt good to see him smile. "Thanks for inviting me." She held up her platter with several desserts. "I come bearing gifts. I wasn't sure what you would like or could eat, so I brought several options for later."

“Why thank you.”, he replied. “Deserts are always nice.” He took them over from her and sat them on the table for later. “Please sit down. “, he said, gesturing towards the yellow sofa. “What can I get you for drinks? Alcoholic or non alcoholic?”, he asked
.
"Non-alcoholic, please. I'd love to try anything that you like. I'm afraid when it comes to alcohol, I'm a bit of a light weight, so if you don't want me falling asleep in the middle of dinner, I'm afraid it'll need to be some thing less adult," She added with some sugar in. Everything she had said was true, but it was also true she had seen her father drunk on many occasions, and given what he used to do to her mother, Avery didn't have much interest in alcohol.

Arjin nodded. “Non alcoholic it is then.”. He walked over towards the replicator. “One Virgin Mojito.”, he ordered Remembering it was a popular earth drink. “Extra sugar.” He watched as a slender glass filled with ice, mint, lime and a clear liquid appeared. He replicated a normal Mojito for him. It was not made with real alcohol after all. Making sure to remember which drink was the Virgin one, he walked over towards the counselor and presented her drink to her. “He raised his glass in a toast. “To a pleasant evening then.” And sat himself down in a dark blue chair.

Avery never had a Mojito before and found herself curious to try it, rather glad she had given him the opportunity to cheers for her. Excepting the glass and raising it with him, she echoed, "to a pleasant evening." She took a sip of the drink and liked it immensely, glad he had requested the extra sweetness. "Thanks for this. Good call on the extra sugar."

“We aim to please.”, Arjin replied. “So what’s up? Anything special happening?”, he added after savoring the sweet taste of the Earth beverage.

"I'm not sure it's special, but the department merger with medical is interesting. After everything that happened with Tivan, I understand the desire to shake things up. Thankfully, things are a bit less chaotic. What about you?"

“Paper work and orders and seeing no experiment goes wrong. The usual.”, he responded. “So I gather you back in the drivers seat then?”

Avery got the feeling he was downplaying all he did. After all, nothing they had been through would be considered 'usual' by anyone's stretch of the imagination. She paused to consider his question. "In a sense, yes. I am the most senior counselor on board, and although I don't have a chief's title and therefore aren't officially part of the senior staff, I am told I will still be pulled into senior staff meetings from time to time. Personally, I hope that will be often, as I can't imagine the psychological and emotional health of the entire crew not being relevant for the completion of any mission, not to mention what any of us can offer from a diplomatic or mission advisory perspective. If recent departmental challenges taught me anything, it's that one doesn't need a title to be considered competent and valuable, and a fancy title doesn't automatically mean that one is competent or valuable."

Arjin pondered over the long answer the Counselor gave. It was as if in contradiction of her words, the passage of the devilish Vulcan in her department had stung more than she might be aware of herself. “There are a lot of competent and valuable persons without a title everywhere and in every department.”, he answered. “But there are many who would disagree with your view since many do wish those titles.”

Avery sat a few moments with those words between them and then shrugged. "I don't disagree with you. If I were in charge, I might choose differently for myself, but as I know you know, no one in Starfleet gets to choose what rank they achieve or what position they're given. All I can do is continue to do my best and find reasons to be proud of my work, whether recognition comes with that or not." Her reply was sincere, but it also held a note of wistfulness. It still rubbed her the wrong way that Tivan was kept in a supervisory position for so long despite the fact she possessed none of the qualities necessary for such a role. For Avery, it wasn't a question of feeling angry that she had been overlooked for such an opportunity, but that she had done the bulk of the department's work during that time anyway, with very little support or guidance from the woman who was supposed to be in charge. That so many excuses had been made for the woman amongst the brass inside and outside the ship still baffled Avery.

“To being proud.”, he said raising his glass.
“I hope you had a good break. Did you stay aboard or ashore?”

Avery raised her glass. "To being proud," she echoed. After taking a sip of her drink, she paused to consider his question. " I was able to do a bit of both, actually. I felt an obligation to get some work done to improve morale amongst the counseling staff, but I also enjoyed having some time to myself to just breathe, you know?"

“Yes, I know.”, he answered. “I took a break on New Bajor.” With a laugh he added, “Where I ended in a bar amidst our fighter pilots. Merry bunch they are.”

Avery laughed. "I can imagine. Did they challenge you to a drinking game?"

“What happens in a New Bajor bar. Stays in a New Bajor bar.”, Arjin answered with a straight face.

Avery chuckled. "I'll take that as a yes."




 

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Comments (1)

By Captain Harvey Geisler on 21 Feb 2021 @ 7:42pm

Great post, guys!