USS Medea NCC-74796
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Dinner in the Mess Hall

Posted on Thu Sep 30th, 2021 @ 11:08am by Captain Christine Applegate & Lieutenant Commander Ian Ryan & Lieutenant Commander Zayn Satu M.D. & Lieutenant Baktosh Redclaw & Lieutenant Solana Milner & Cadet Junior Grade Isamu Takato

Mission: Mission 6: Shore Leave
Location: Medea Mess Hall
Timeline: 2389 234 at 1800

Underwater science stations. Unknown species. Threats of death and banishment. Jenni did find the Delta Quadrant to be an exotic and adventurous space, especially since all she ever knew on the Federation/Romulan border was tension. As wild as today was, she was glad she was finally off duty. Operations was assisting Engineering with repairs, but those were projected to take a while, especially since all of the damage was relatively minor. There was no rush to complete them, and Jenni was thankful for this rare occurrence.

She was still in uniform when she entered the Mess Hall. Normally, she preferred to eat in her quarters, but with replicators down in her section, and an estimated four hour repair time was enough to divert her to the ship's communal dining center. She hadn't been in the Mess Hall much since coming aboard, except for the occasional repair. The room was busy, just like she anticipated it to be, but she was still able to get her dinner from the replicator, and find a vacant table near the window on the right side of the room.

The chief of security often ate in the mess hall, preferring some amount of social interaction during his off-duty hours. And so it was that Baktosh found himself there at the same time as Jenni.

Many years earlier, on his last assignment, he ate alone in his quarters, as many other crew were intimidated by his large stature and fierce appearance, but that ship’s XO suggested the crew would get used to him if they were exposed to him more often. As a challenge, he ate as near the centre of the mess hall every meal of every day for three months. It took only a few days for people to ask to sit with him, and within a few weeks he was ‘one of the crew’. Years later he still thought of that naive Kzinti who needed a push to make friends.

Replicating a plate of pork ribs in barbecue sauce, he approached the table at which the chief of operations was eating. “Pardon me, Lieutenant. May I join you?”

Jenni looked up from her ham-and-cheese panini, which she had just taken a bite out of, to see the ship's Chief of Security standing there. Normally, Jenni would have preferred to eat alone, but from her own search in the mess hall, she knew that there weren't too many options available to either of them. She was unable to talk, but she nodded her head and gestured to one of the vacant seats at the table.

He took his seat and set his food and drink (a simple glass of cow’s milk) and began to pull apart his large rack of ribs. “How have you been finding life aboard the Medea, Ms. Matthews?” he asked before tearing into his first rib.

She raised an eyebrow not because of the question, but the sight unfolding before her very eyes. Jenni had never met a Kzinti before the Medea, and while she had met and worked with Redclaw on one occasion now, she had never imagined how much he could eviscerate a piece of meat. "It's... different, I suppose. My last couple of assignments have been along the Romulan border, generally in patrol routes. Those can be rather boring."

“If there’s one thing to say about the Medea, it’s that it’s never boring,” Baktosh agreed.

"For that, I am grateful," Jenni confirmed in between bites of her panini. "I still don't fully understand how that science station was knocked underwater without anyone or anything knowing. Makes me wonder about our new friends' capabilities."

“I’m more interested in how it was sent into the sea so cleanly,” Baktosh replied. “I have met scientists who would never have noticed that their facility had been moved, so thoroughly had they drowned out the universe around them. But it was done without any external or internal damage to the base. Was it beamed? Was it lifted and gently placed in the water?”

Jenni paused, her sandwich nearly to her mouth. Baktosh's question wasn't one that she'd considered. She took a bite and considered the thought. "That's a very good point. Those aliens we met weren't that friendly and they tried to destroy us. Why would they be kinder to the station? Do you think they were afraid to damage something?"

“It is something to think about, at least,” the chief of security replied as he kept eating.

Stuck in the middle of replicator repairs and awful hungry, the Captain decided instead of trying to get food from the replicator in her Ready Room before going to her quarters, she'd see if she could find any room in the mess hall. She could have also gone to her private dining room, but she wasn't a fan of that thing. Besides, it was right next to the mess as it was.

She noticed how many people were there and gave a soft sigh. She hoped that most would realize she was off duty and not go to attention as she wandered over to the replicator, debating what to have.

Taking a break from engine repairs Solana made her way to the mess hall. She knew many replicators were out and didn't want to get to her quarters to find out hers was one of them. She undid her braid as she walked so she could relax while off duty and walked into the hall. She made her way to the replicators and caught sight of Tine, who looked lost in thought.

"Hey, Boss Lady." She said with a small smile as she walked up next to Tine, "Any ideas for dinner?"

"Not a clue yet, Solana," Tine said with a smile. "Don't normally eat in here but, at least the replicator works. Of all the things to still have issues after that attack, it has to be those, in senior officer quarters."

Solana frowned nodded in understanding. "Yea, I heard the repairs on them were going slowly. I'll go down and have a look after dinner. I'm hoping they won't need to be replaced." She looked at the replicator and then back at Tine. "The crab rangoons are amazing. And if you're looking for something spicy they have spicy ramen bowls that hit the spot. That being said, I'm not sure What I want either." She chuckled and then sighed. "At this point, I think I just need some sleep."

Satu was starving. There'd been so much hullabaloo in the med bay these past few days that she'd forgotten lunch two days in a row. And now that she thought about, she couldn't remember if she'd eaten breakfast that day either. When she entered the mess, it didn't take long for her to find her friend among the crowd. A large Kzinti always stood out among the smaller species.

Forgetting about her growling stomach for a moment, she rushed over and gave him a hug from behind, practically pouncing on him, as she usually did. "Baaaaaktoooosh! I'm sooorrry!! I forgot about movie night last night! I was just so tired that I fell asleep at my desk in my office. Maybe tomorrow night... if you're not busy??"

Jenni blinked, a bit taken aback by what just happened. She knew the ship's senior staff knew each other well, but she didn't expect them to know each other that well. Jenni then silently chastised herself for jumping to conclusions when she shouldn't have. "Doctor," she greeted quietly, before taking another bite of her sandwich.

Christine was watching the happenings as she was deciding what to have with some pasta and just shook her head. "Pick your food, Solana, I'll be back." She went over to the group and nudged Satu before looking at Jenni. "Well, this is a new one. How are you all doing?"

Jenni looked up at the Captain, and then to the embrace that the doctor had given the security chief. Oh good, she thought. This is unusual. Good to know. Chewing a bite of her panini, all she could do was offer an approving nod to the Captain.

Deciding on some sushi, Solana grabbed her food from the replicator and made her way over to her crewmates dispite working together for several months now, she really hadn't had time to get to know them considering rhere wasn't much down time recently. "Hey everyone!" Solana smiled at Jenni and gave a gentle nod to the seat next to Jenni. "Can I sit here?"

Standing upright Satu gave Tine a slightly sheepish look. "Doing my reports is exhausting. More exhausting than treating the patients was," she said with a frown. "And I keep missing social events...."

Jenni, becoming increasingly more uncomfortable by the minute, decided that by allowing Baktosh to sit down, she had waived all rights to solitude. Therefore, she nodded to Solana, and scooted her own chair over slightly to make more room for the new arrival at the table. At this rate, it was going to get crowded quickly.

The captain shook her head. "I don't think this was supposed to be a social event, but it sure turned into one." She patted Satu on the shoulder, "I think Jenni is a bit crowded. I'm sure we can talk to her without crowding her, right?" She wandered back to the replicator and ordered some simple pasta, but kept back until she knew whether or not the group wanted more company.

Jenni looked up at the Captain as she walked away. Somehow, the lieutenant managed to keep the surprise from showing on her face. Was the woman part Betazoid? How did she manage to pick up on Jenni's discomfort? Jenni was quite thankful that someone had noticed, and she would have to find a way in the future to express her thanks.

"oh no!" Solana looked sheepish as she realized she encroached on Jenni's space. She was so excited to see everyone getting together that she didn't realize she had even made anyone uncomfortable.
"Jenni! I'm so sorry! You eat and relax, I'll see you later on. Unfortunately, the replicators won't fix themselves!"

Solana smiled gently, took her food to another table across the mess hall. A little quiet never hurt anyone. She thought to herself as she sat down to enjoy her meal.

"Oh... I didn't mean this was a social event. I just came over to apologize to Baktosh," Satu said watching Tine retreat, and then looked to Jenni and gave her a half smile. "Sorry for crashing your conversation," she said before practically skipping after Tine to go to the replicator. "Man, I'm staaaaarving..."

Ian recalled someone saying there would be food in the mess hall, but he hadn't anticipated there being as many people there as there were. When he came through the door he had really wanted to turn and walk out, he did not.

Shaking her head as she looked at Satu, Tine's eyes moved slowly over, seeing Ian come in. "I still don't even know what I want to eat. was too much for Jenni. Sometimes I hate being half-Betazoid and...even though I don't try to read anyone, sometimes it just happens."

Ian watched as the others interacted with each other and grinned while doing so. Even the Captain seemed far more relaxed than she had been earlier and that was a good thing. The Exec walked over to the Captain, "Sorry I'm late ma'am, The Lieutenant we left on the bridge needed some help with something."

"Not late, Ian. We're all just getting some food because there is an issue with a lot of our replicators. And, I didn't feel like eating alone in my private mess." Christine shrugged and picked at her pasta.

"Well that's great then," He said with a renewed grin.

Through all of this exchange and movement of people, Baktosh remained silent. The awkwardness slowly increased as more and more people crowded the table and then dispersed.

“My apologies, Ms. Matthews. I had not realized my joining you would have caused all that.”

"It's not your fault, Lieutenant," Jenni replied, keeping with the formality. "I knew the risks when coming to eat in the Mess Hall. Normally, I keep to myself and eat in my quarters. Kinda hard to do when half the replicators are down. I suppose I'm just surprised how friendly you are to one another. Have you served together long?"

“A few months now,” Baktosh answered. “Enough that we trust each other implicitly and treat each other a bit less formally than maybe we ought to sometimes.” He thought about the awkwardness between himself and Satu lately. “But the job gets done, and I daresay we are more efficient for being friends and teammates as opposed to simply colleagues.”

Jenni considered his words for a moment as she took what would be one of her last bites of her panini. "I suppose it's only natural for some sense of familiarity to develop in groups that work closely with one another, especially those that are looking to see what the universe has to offer, as opposed to those who seek to claim whatever the universe can provide."

“Well put,” said Baktosh. “Back on Kzin, soldiers followed the orders of their superiors but among equals there was little camaraderie. A friend was just someone who learned your weaknesses and exploited you with them to better himself.” He sipped his drink and smiled. “I much prefer the Federation way of doing things.”

She nodded, somehow not minding the method Baktosh had described. She very easily could get along fine on her own, as long as she received the support she needed to perform her duties. "It certainly has its merits," she confirmed. With her dinner now complete, Jenni decided to take her leave. She smiled at the Kzinti security chief and stated, "Thank you for the dinner conversation, Lieutenant. I hope you have a pleasant evening."

“And you as well, Lieutenant.” He was not yet finished, so after giving her a polite nod, he chomped back down onto a rib.

The captain watched her crew as she finally found a place to sit. She was glad for their interaction, their ability to talk to each other when they were off duty. She couldn't say she wasn't close with her crew, well, some of them. There were others she barely knew. This included Jenni, and perhaps Baktosh too. Perhaps she would have to change that.


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