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Meal For 3

Posted on Fri Sep 8th, 2023 @ 11:01am by Ka'see 'Cassie' Anderson (*) & Executive Officer Jake Ford & Evelyn Reynolds

Mission: Fractures
Location: Mess Hall
Timeline: 29th January 2398
2078 words - 4.2 OF Standard Post Measure

Cassie hated not being on time for things especially dinner plans when she was trying to adjust to being more human and less closed off to the rest of the crew as she had been for the last two years. She had finished on time but her quarters having no power thanks to the strange power surges had delayed her getting there on time once she had turned her quarters back on.

Cassie looked around the mess hall, confused by the fact that the people she was meant to be meeting there were not there. She glanced at the chronometer and nodded - she was only slightly late, barely minutes. Surely they would not have gone off and moved somewhere else without her? She shook the notion away and decided just to take a seat in one of the few available larger seating areas and just waited for the pair to arrive maybe they had been delayed just like her.

Evelyn was not typically a tardy woman. In the past, reasonably strict punctuality had been an impressive aspect of her arsenal in social situations, something she wielded with enough aplomb to gain a slight upper hand before conversations even commenced. It was indicative of her recent past that she appeared to struggle more now with time management, though the shift in her workload was definitely a major culprit. As the doors parted to permit her entry, the doctor appeared frazzled, something she swiftly attempted to hide as she realised she wasn't, as feared, the last to arrive.

"I actually thought I'd given him a decent head-start this time," she observed, slipping into an empty chair opposite the other woman, leaving either chair closest to her free for Jake to take. "I'm sorry we've left you waiting on your own, I was attempting to leave night-shift with a semi-functional workspace. The power went out on us," Evie added.

Cassie offered a small smile and nodded. “No harm done. I was late myself, to be honest. Likely the same power surge that upset sickbay upset my shower which made me late.” She offered as her own explanation for her evening.

"According to my seasoned staff, the occasional power fluctuation isn't cause for undue alarm." Having spent a good part of the time since accepting her post catching up on the crew's previous medical history, Evelyn wasn't sure a career with Starfleet was experience enough for the kind of problems the Mary Rose seemed to attract. Given that her first experience had been to nearly freeze to death in an under-powered cargo bay, she felt somewhat justified for being dubious about the reassurances. "But a finicky biobed that won't stay calibrated sounds marginally less awful than an interrupted shower."

“Very much nothing to be alarmed over.” Cassie countered herself as seasonal after four years being in the current time onboard. Even the refits had not stopped that quirk fully but it was nothing in her her opinion to be worried over. “I fixed it.” Cassie said. “Good thing about science in 2246 was it crossed over into operations and engineering. We are multi skilled for how ships are set up now.”

Speaking of quirks. Evelyn paused, considered the other woman for a moment, and then smiled. "I'll admit I keep forgetting you're a little more experienced than the rest of us." Time travel, body swapping, crazy Romulan personalities taking up residence. There were aspects of the ship's history that Evelyn, as much as Starfleet should have prepared her, couldn't imagine ever being blasé about.

Cassie had never thought on it as having more experience than everyone else. She had certainly never seen it that way. “I would not say it’s more experienced it is just a different kind of experience.” Cassie said as the door opened and she saw Jake come in and look around.

When his eyes landed on the pair, he suddenly had a micro-anxiety about the type of conversation they might have had prior to his arrival. Sharing stories of his past. Flaws, foibles, and potentially stories he wouldn't have shared. Scooting into a chair between them, he put on a smile and masked any kind of panic that might have developed from those thoughts.

"So, what did I miss?" he asked cautiously.

Cassie offered a smile to him seeing the caution on his face and hearing the tone in his voice. “Nothing really. We were all late but me and Evelyn were just discussing our out in the great big universe experience.” Cassie explained.

Evelyn, who had been wedged too much into a specific role in Jake Ford's life to abandon her responsibilities now, looked objectively less innocent, which was in direct proportion to how much she was trying to pretend to be innocent. "Just normal girl talk."

Cassie nodded. It was pretty normal for a doctor and scientist to be like that. “Normal conversation.” Cassie assured. “Are we hungry or snacking?” She asked thinking that she would maybe get some food for everyone.

His suspicious gaze lingering on Evelyn for a moment, Jake finally relented and looked back to Cassie as she asked the question. "I'm famished, but that's nothing new. I figured since it was dinner time, we might at least do it properly."

"The concept of mealtimes is arbitrary," Evelyn pointed out, mostly a choice to be intentionally contrary. "Far more fitting to ask when the last time you ate was." She arched her eyebrows. "My guess is either less than an hour ago or not since yesterday because if there's one thing that's consistent about you, it's that you don't know what the middle ground is."

“Well I know you had breakfast so I’m guessing an hour ago.” Cassie offered rising from her chair. “I will get you some food. Evelyn, are you okay with me getting you a tray?” She wondered not having been in the social situation before.

Though the offer surprised Evelyn, she did her best not to broadcast it. "Only if it's no trouble," she replied, cautious of the balance between taking liberties and refusing friendly overtures.

Cassie offered a small smile and nodded at the woman pushing her chair back to leave. “It is not a trouble at all.” She assured quickly. It was easy enough to manage to bring back meals for three people.

Left alone for a brief minute, Evelyn maintained posture, sat back in her chair with one leg crossed over the other, nursing her cup of tea beneath a benign expression that radiated contentment. It was almost convincing enough to be trusted. "How's your head?" The line of query did not match her demeanour, a carefully constructed diversion that stood up to scrutiny because it was exactly the topic Evelyn would insist on provoking at least once a day.

"Still attached, which with the medical staff on this boat is no mean feat," he shot back with a wink. "Your knee?"

"Half-metal and easily aimed as required," Evelyn shot back, returning fire for the jab at her proficiency.

Cassie had made choices and came back with two trays carrying all three meals and stood there for a moment as the items on the table were rearranged. “I got a bit of everything.” She explained pushing the tray onto the table hoping the selections were to Evelyn’s taste. She knew Jake’s easily enough after many meals together but the doctor was still unknown.

"You're not kidding," Evelyn observed as she sat forward to survey the impromptu buffet. "Our new chef seems to have quite the repertoire."

“And I did not overly know what you would like,” Cassie said sitting back down. The chef definitely had shaken up the very boring menu but it did bring up why they as a civilian vessel had someone so good. Cassie had not eaten that well onboard since 2246.

"I'm just as happy with my tea," the doctor confessed, divulging a nutritional preference that flew in the face of anything she'd expect from others. "So anything else is just an adventure in the making." Pulling her chair closer, Evie peered at the spread. "I see carbohydrates are well-featured."

Jake made a noise as he shovelled a fork into his mouth, then realised that the comment was directed at him. He waved a little, chewing.

"We need them. I have spent the day crawling around the ship so I need the energy." Cassie said picking up a fry to eat. She was exhausted having missed lunch so she needed the carbohydrates after not being able to track down the power surges.

"The lesson here is that you both work way too hard," Jake said, poking at his own food.

Cassie shrugged. They all worked, it was all different types of work and Cassie's that day had been more than challenging, to say the least. "If we could find the power surges I would not be working quite so hard or dirty." Cassie finally settled on.

"Traditionally, it's the Executive Officer's job to manage staffing," Evelyn pointed out helpfully. "I'd say our level of commitment is simply reflective of the volume of work." Leaning forward, the doctor maintained previously-established expectations and went straight for the cheese. "Which reminds me, your vaccinations are due."

"Ah, but Reuben is the one who deals with recruitment, so if you have complaints about the size of your staff you'll need to take it up with him," Jake said, trying to deliberately ignore the comment about vaccinations in the hope she would forget to press that point. "I just try to make do with what we have."

“Not your fault that I spent the day crawling through tubes. I will be taking the ache in my shoulder up with Trades.” Cassie assured quickly. She did not think any department was mismanaged by the Captain or First Officer. “The only issue that is yours is your lack of vaccinations.” She added slyly popping a fry into her mouth as she did.

"I'm going to need to see most of the crew," Evelyn pointed out, implicating the Operations officer in her relentless tirade on behalf of crew health. "I've added several more to the standard regime given the regions we're likely to deal with and Freecloud's persistence in being a breeding ground for more flu variants than most back-water colonies."

“I believe I am up to date as I had a whole catch-up after coming here but I will check and arrange if I am lacking myself,” Cassie assured quickly. “Cannot say I have considered Freecloud a backwater colony but …” she let the thought move on from poking Jake’s lack of inoculations to something different.

"Oh, it's not, that was my point." Settling back with several slices of apple, Evelyn nursed her tea and explained. "Freecloud's an efficient breeding ground for all sorts of communicable diseases but that's usually held in check by a decent uptake of seasonal immunisation." It was hard to fathom that, not long ago, this would have been her entire focus. "This cycle seems to have got away from them a little."

"I see," Cassie said with a small nod. As a scientist that made sense to her, to say the least. "I am looking forward to getting back to Freecloud next month," Cassie admitted bringing up the subject of the planet that they called their home port.

"So long as folks stick to safe spaces," Jake nodded. "We're better not overloading Evelyn and her team with all those exotic diseases, even now we've managed to restock everything."

Cassie picked up her fork and twirled some noodles onto it as she thought about her response. “Would it help if I just used a rebreather?” Cassie finally wondered looking like she was only half kidding as she asked the question to him.

He nudged her shoulder lightly. "You know I'm not serious. Evie has it all under control, right?"

Cassie smirked and nudged him back as she shrugged. Sometimes you just did not know.

"Oh, absolutely," Evelyn agreed, not without a measure of sarcasm. "If there's one thing I am definitely on the verge of mastering, it's this crew's penchant for living dangerously."

Cassie nodded as she could not help but agree there but she would not change it. It kept her from wondering what her life would have been like if she had not gotten saved in the transporter.


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