((Cafe Manev, Holosuite 1, USS Arrow))
It had taken a considerable amount of time, but Jenna had finally made it. The official records were full of holes, but she managed to contact the Leran Manev Historical Association to access their photographic material of the place. Their local Librarian, an old and odd Trill named Obul Prem, had not been amused. Jenna felt like she was intruding on his work that usually sustained itself. But in the end, she was satisfied with the result. She only hoped that it had something to do with what the place looked like when Niac’s first host had been running the place.
She had placed the holosuite entrance outside, so one had to access the shop every time through its front door. A little bell began to chime. A sound that Jenna had come to appreciate over the last couple of weeks when she had started to create this place. The letters on the front door read Cafe Manev.
She was finishing the last touches and added some cake to the display at the front of the shop when the holosuite doors opened, and the bearded XO entered the place. Jenna’s heart started pounding. Her lips formed a big smile as she minced to the front of the shop. She needed his help today - and for what she had in store it was better to have him in a good mood.
As the Trill did not say a word and was just looking around, Jenna started to get nervous.
Karrod’s jaw hung open in shock as he looked around and within Niac, Rostil surged to the forefront with a profound sense of delight. For just a moment the part of him that was still a master chef from a century earlier was home again.
Perim: I hope it has something to do with how you recall it.
When Karrod had re-created the restaurant and begun cooking in earnest under Rostil’s direction, he’d spent much of the time focused on the kitchen, where every detail had to be exactly perfect. But he’d never had the opportunity or the resources to refine the exterior as much as he’d wanted to and while the one he’d come up with had nominally satisfied Rostil’s memories of the place, it had never been ‘just so.’ Until now.
Niac: Cadet…this is…spectacular. How in the hell did you find the time to do this?
Perim: I worked on it over the last weeks - it was quite an adventure.
Karrod examined the texture of the counter by slowly sliding his had across the top and had an odd sense of deja-vu.
Niac: You’ve done an amazing job, Cadet. Place has never looked better. Thank you…and that’s from me just as much as it’s from Niac’s first host, Rostil. ::Karrod turned and smiled:: So what brought this on? Feeling nostalgic for home?
She smiled shyly. The Commander didn’t waste any time and caught her right away. Creating this had not been entirely altruistic.
Perim: Let’s say I needed something to get my mind off a letter I got. And I’m gonna need somebody to find the answer to the letter. I thought I would do a little something for you, and you offer some guidance.
She paused for a second to go over to a nearby table to fetch the PADD she had brought and put it on the counter.
Perim: I got a letter from the Symbiosis commission.
Karrod listened as he moved behind the counter and leaned into it as he’d done….or as Rostil had done…nearly a century before. He didn’t even realize he did it until Rostil’s giddy delight nearly overwhelmed him.
Niac: The Symbiosis Commission? Something tells me they didn’t contact you about your shuttle’s extended warranty.
Jenna chuckled at the Commander’s try to ease the situation. When she had received the letter that meant two sleepless days. She’d been excited to be considered to join the next semester’s class to get ready to be a host for a symbiont in the future. An entire day she had lived on a high that she had never felt before. And then she crashed. Because pursuing her dream would mean giving up her new found passion in Starfleet.
Perim: They accepted me to join next semester’s class… If I accept, I have to leave in a month…
Karrod leaned back against the counter and crossed his arms over his chest, one hand absently tugging at his beard. After a few moments he nodded towards a nearby table.
Niac: Pull up a chair, Cadet. It sounds like we’ve got a lot to discuss.
She went over to a table near the window and let herself fall into one of the chairs. Her feet left the floor as she touched the seat, just to return to the floor shortly after.
Perim: It is… I’ve been excited for over a day. But now that I seem to have gotten what I want, I am not sure I am ready… And how can I be?
Karrod puffed out a breath and came out from behind the counter, grabbing a pair of glasses as he did. He sat across from Jenna and placed the glasses to the side.
Niac: So, you’ve spent years working to become a Starfleet Officer and now, right at the cusp of graduation and becoming an officer, you’re being asked to put that aside for a few years so you can get a slug of your own ::Karrod derisively gestured towards his abdomen.:: It’s a big choice.
Jenna looked at the bearded man in front of her. She was not closer to a decision than she had been a day ago; at least that’s what it felt like. But it felt good that she did not face it alone anymore. Her gaze was drifting away from him, looking at the simulated people rushing their way outside.
Perim: I’ve built something here, Sir… People know what I can do and what I need help with. I know everyone and… Maybe I am beginning to make friends here. I joined Starfleet as a plan B to prove my worth… To achieve something. And maybe, without realizing it, I have achieved something, even without that first pip on my collar. ::pause:: I like life at the moment. And I am not sure if I want to leave all of this behind. And on the other hand, becoming an initiate was my lifelong dream. I have been applying every year since I was allowed to. Every year, I got those rejection letters. I’ve been chasing this my whole adult life.
She looked at Karrod again as he leaned back in his chair and listened, considering the options.
Perim: What’s the initiate program like?
Niac: Well, I don’t know if I’m really the right person to advise you on Initiate training…I never went through the program. Niac and I didn’t have the easiest introduction.
She nodded; he had mentioned it before in a side note.
Perim: So you just bought Niac off a Ferengi merchant then? ::grinning::
Karrod chuckled and shook his head.
Niac: Well…I hadn’t been back to the homeworld in years…I’d had a little bit of a falling out with my family years ago and we hadn’t talked all that much since I’d joined Starfleet. Finally decided to go back for a visit and one thing lead to another…and that lead to me picking up my passenger.
Perim: Most likely you’ve not been the Commission’s favorite after this… Did you ever speak to anybody on the board about what happened?
The Symbiosis Commission on Trill took their duty very seriously. And although that probably had a good reason, Jenna always perceived their thoroughness as arrogance.
Karrod chuckled and blew out a breath with an accompanying shrug.
Niac: Lets call it a…mutual indifference. I wasn’t exactly their first choice and they know I wasn’t all together thrilled by the idea. I’ve been ducking messages about setting up my first Zhian'tara for a few months…::Karrod smiled, the picture of innocence:: Lot of subspace interference out here in the Isles. Shame how many messages get lost.
Her eyes went outside to the streets again, listening to Karrod’s answer and following several holograms on their way to work or school… or lectures on the initiate program. A little smile went over her lips when he mentioned the interference.
Perim: You don’t think much of the commission and the whole joining process, do you?
Niac: Honestly…I used to resent the hell out of the Commission. I always thought Joining was a kind of…cultural obsession for our people. Blinded them to just living their lives…being their own person. Now though? ::Karrod gestured towards his abdomen and Niac nestled within:: Well…maybe I’m mellowing as I get older.
Commander Karrod Niac
USS Arrow - NCC-69829
Captain Randal Shayne, Commanding
PNPC Cdt. Jenna Perim
as simmed by:
Lt. Connor Dewitt