Once Upon A Time There Was A Tavern - Part II
Location: Starbase Crew Lounge (Starfleet)
Hamura ran a hand down their face. “Suddenly I’m not Hangry.”
Mac laughed. “You are, you should get to know her you know before you judge her the usurper.”
Hamura mumbled something unintelligible.
T'Nile closed the cover over the piano keys with a gentle thud, having spent the last few moments playing random short pieces. Wandering over to the replicator, she thought of her order. "Biryani, large, vegetarian. Extra spicy. And carrot juice, chilled." The spicy rice dish materialized, topped with potato, carrots and peas, along with her drink. Retrieving her meal, she looked around, frowning slightly. The lounge was quiet. Oh, she was well aware that they were her crewmates, but part of her was not in the mood for socializing, a paradoxical irony given she chose a public place to take her meal.
Mac smiled and looked over at Vali. "Counselor you're familiar with Exposure Therapy right?"
T’Lanna raised an eyebrow in typical Vulcan fashion. “Of course. What exactly is it you’re thinking of doing?”
and now the continuation....
Mac stood and waved at T’Nile, “Over here, join us.”
Hamura ground their teeth together. They were going to make Mac pay a bit later for that Exposure Therapy.
T'Nile pressed her lips together. There was Hamura. Their first meeting had not gotten off to a very auspicious start and while not exactly glacial, was somewhat frosty. The two had not clashed as such, but their differing outlooks had brought them to raised voices without adequate resolution. Briefly, she debated declining the offer, but felt impolitic to decline. Next time, eat in your own quarters, she chided herself. Waddling over, she carried a deep dish-bowl, about the size of a family pizza and perhaps three inches deep filled with rice and vegetables, she carefully threaded her way to the table and placed it carefully down along with her drink.
"Ensign Xera T'Nile." She said coolly by way of introduction, but stopped, averting her gaze from her direct superior. Holding her right arm at an angle, she shook it. With a deft motion, she caught the hyper spanner as it dropped, but kept shaking, loosening a strip of gold pressed latinum and a Lego block, followed by the sugared lemon. Still shaking, the spork she kept hidden up her right sleeve dropped to the table. With a quick motion, she slid the contents of her right sleeve back inside, except for the spork which she set aside, preferring it over the spoon the replicator provided. Holding up her left arm, she shook that, causing a self sealing stem bolt, another strip of gold pressed latinum, a pile of post-it notes and a tube of thermal compound to drop. Frowning, she shook her arm a bit harder and eventually a small yellow rubber duck fell out, landing on the table with a soft squeak and tumbled once, before coming to a juddering halt.
"Little one." She held up the duck to T'Lanna's baby, squeezed it with a small squeak before storing the contents of her left sleeve back in. Finally sitting, she grabbed the spork by her left hand, proceeding to demolish the top inch of her meal in less than a minute, stopping only long enough to down a third of her carrot juice and taking a deep breath before continuing.
Mac smiled. "Welcome to the Bear. I know you've met Hamura but tell me and Lieutenant Vali a little about yourself."
T’Lanna smiled warmly as she entertained Jayce with the squeaky duck. “Yes, please do tell us.”
T'Nile finished another inch of her meal in yet another minute, before she leaned back in her seat, absently twirling the spork in her left hand. "A little about myself." She echoed. "Well... At the Academy, there was some obstacle course in the first year. Phaser rifle in hand, I ran it, jumping over obstacles, parkour style, ducking, dodging, weaving, against holographic targets. Picking up a discarded hand phaser, it was a magnificent run. Rifle in one hand, small phaser in the other, I was accurately connecting with the targets, while managing to not get hit in return. I ran the record and was all set to become my heart's desire, a Security Officer. Problem was while trying to jump over the first obstacle, I actually slipped and knocked myself out cold when I landed on my head. It was all a dream. Since I tested highly with my hands and technical abilities, they gave me Engineering instead." She shrugged theatrically and waggled her eyebrows.
Hamura ate their food not saying a word.
Mac gave a nod. “Tactical is a difficult path,” he simply said. “Engineering is a good department. Before you know it you’ll be running the place.”
Hamura’s blood pressure spiked and they resisted the urge to kick Mac under the table. They continued to shovel food into their mouth letting Vali and Mac maintain the conversation.
T’Lanna offered Hamura an understanding glance before looking towards T’Nile. “It’ll be nice having another half Vulcan onboard, when you have time drop by and see me for your psych evaluation. My job is somewhat two fold these days.”
T'Nile glanced over at Mackenzie. "I am not particularly interested in running anything. If we accept the United Federation of Planets as our nation and Government, the various branches and departments of the Government are effectively civil servants. Granted, we are a de facto military, for lack of a better term, but we are civil servants nonetheless. We serve the people, the citizens, to the best of our abilities. That will be my epitaph some day, on my tombstone, apart from keep off the grass."
Looking at T'Lanna, the look became wry. "I can save you the trouble. When you hold up a picture and ask me what it looks like, my answer is as always, a Rorshach blot test. That is not so much an attempt at humour as it is to somewhat literal mindedness. Nor was it meant to be an emotional or unemotional response. It is simply... My Latin is rusty. Reducing something to basic principles. However, if you cannot control it, no point expending energy into it."
T'Nile looked at her fellow half Vulcan. "Ah, you say. Where does this cynicism spring from? Let me save you the analysis of the childhood trauma. Mother had an affair with Father and left her husband, son, my half brother and grandsons, half nephews. After Mother was done with Father, she had an affair and I have a new Stepfather and a younger half brother. And I will be a great aunt, my older half nephew is about to have a child of his own."
She paused for a minute to finish the remainder of her meal. "That may not be enough for your psych profile, so here is something else. Attend. Were I to align myself with my Bajoran... heritage, I have a pagh, which can be felt by grabbing a person's ear. Were I to align myself with my Vulcan heritage, I have a Katra, an essence of my being. Upon my bodily corporeal death, either I have a pagh that it will disappear, while my Katra will continue to exist. I am both, or I am none. If whatever remains is forced to wander around the universe as both existing and not existing, then I am quite traumatized by what may happen to me. With Vulcan genetics, I may live to two hundred years old, or maybe one hundred, or I may get squashed tomorrow by a falling bookshelf."
T'Nile put her spork down. "I have spoken of much, but have yet to know anything about any of you... Including your names. Excuse me." Picking up her bowl and fork, she went to the replicator, recycled both and brought forth a large bowl of macaroni and cheese.
Mac gave them a glare and looked at Vali. “Counselor…I think you may have your work cut out for you.”
T’Lanna nodded. “Perhaps so Mac.” She looked towards T’Nile. “Forgive us, I’m T’Lanna Vali, this is Maximus MacKenzie, and Hayashi Hamura.”
Nodding warmly, T'Nile returned and looked at Jayce. "And I suppose you are either an Admiral or the Great Bird of the Galaxy?" Pushing her food around with her spork, she finally collected a large amount. "I also seem to be doing the most talking and am at quite the disadvantage. I still do not know anything more. I suppose I could make educated guesses, but we may get even more off on the wrong foot." From the corner of her eye she glanced at Hamura before leaving briefly to replicate a glass of orange juice.
Hamura gave a nod. "We've met at the meeting this morning," they simply said.
Mac grinned, "So did you ask for the ship or were you assigned to the Bear?"
T'Nile looked up and chewed slowly before swallowing. "Assigned, of course. If we consider a Starbase or Starship as an entity, it has components, inorganic and organic. they are sometimes swapped out or changed around to improve efficiency. As long as I am able to perform my duties as an Engineer, that is all I need. They also serve who only stand and wait, after all." Clearing her throat after finishing her second meal, she looked idly at the replicator. "I wonder what I should get for dessert."
Mac smiled. "Well this place has a nice double chocolate cake but if you don't like a lot of sweet there is a nice Mango mouse that's really refreshing." He looked at Vali. "Counselor what can I get you and your little one for dessert?" He already knew Hamura would take the chocolate cake.
T’Lanna offered Mac a warm smile as she bounced Jayce on her knee making him giggle. “I’ll take the chocolate cake, and Jayce will have the Peach Melba yogurt please Mac.” She looked towards T’Nile. “Have you decided what you’d like?”
T'Nile shrugged, standing up, grabbing two trays and ordered. For herself... "Pancakes, 3 of them, add bananas, chocolate, vanilla and peanut butter." Carrying them back deftly, she passed them around. "As the Italians say, viola and as the French say, voila."
After getting Vali's order Mac was back with her dessert and Hamura's and a double for himself. He decided that he liked T'Nile. "Well T'Nile, welcome to the family."