Ra: You're in good company. I'm not very fond Klingon, as it were.
Quentin Collins laughed despite himself. And found himself suddenly really happy he rolled his particular social dice. Usually around this time in the day off-duty, he was debating if he should switch to root beer after the four dozen cream sodas he had drank (on top of the six espresso shots he had had that morning) and trying to decide if his stuff needed to be alphabetized again or put in chronological order.
But this was nice! Standing amid a strange and wonderful station with a fascinating presence on their crew. No expectations. No responsibilities beyond his own moreys and personal convictions to be as polite and courteous as possible. It wasn't every day someone CHOSE to actually include him in something. Something even so slight and random as a "let's get lunch" kind of thing. Nor did he ever really experience "chance" encounters with people outside of his already established social circle. Sure, Chloe was known to call on him in his quarters and occasionally working in the Labs would spark spontaneous outings. But people didn’t usually try and hang around with Quentin for too long. Unless they were under orders to.
But despite all that, despite HIM…here she was all the same. Her voice cut through noise of the deck. Both from behind and in front of the tables.
Ra: Do you think they could make a good cheeseburger?
Quentin smiled at the unexpected craving but nodded all the same.
Collins: I would think so, right? Have to say, NOT what I thought you were going to say, Master Chief.
Ra: Call it a guilty pleasure.
Collins: Say no more! I absolutely get it.
He started to walk toward the nearest open spot at the bar of the NEWBRIDGE GRILL but was stopped by a slender hand on his shoulder. He tilted his head slightly and cast a not wholly unpleasant look toward his steely eyed, but warm companion.
Ra: One thing though. For the duration, ditch the Master Chief? ::She dipped her head slightly.:: Name's Aeryn.
Quentin nodded warmly and nodded just the same. Holding his hands up slightly in slight supplication.
Collins: Fair enough…Aeryn. But NOW you’ve all but promised you won’t pay a Rigellian nickel for any of this. Shall we?
With a nod of agreement, she let go and let her hand fall to her side. Quentin was almost disappointed slightly. But that was replaced with white hot embarrassment once he realized he was blushing.
Ra: Lead the way.
Collins: Yes, please.
They chose two seats toward the end of the bar and were approached almost immediately by a sunny looking Bolian woman who set thin glasses of ice water in front of them along with their menus and a wink with her assurances that they could “take their time”.
Quentin thought it was best to stick with water for the moment, drink-wise, but was genuinely delighted once he looked at the menu. There was the replicated side, sure, which seemed sort of bland and generic, but the UN-replicated side however. Penciled in with a clipped paper page, evoking some of the exploits of the Collinsport Inn’s restaurant, bowled Quentin over with homesickness and bittersweet joy. He only hoped he wasn’t showing it too much on his face.
But after a bit he saw their quarry. They DID have hamburgers and they were one of the only items shared between the replicated menu and un-replicated. He pointed them out immediately as he saw them.
Collins: There’s our main course. But I’m thinking we need something to share.
Collins: Back home the Blue Whale made the best fries. Dad always said it was because they reused the vinegar, which would be disgusting but it didn’t stop me eating them.
Collins: erm, Maine. A little town up the coast. An hour south of Bangor.
Then he saw something else that reminded him of home. And gobsmacked him further. He exclaimed as the waitress approached again.
He looked up in amazement.
Collins: Wait, HOW did you get shrimp!? All the way out here!?
The Bolian woman smiled and gave another knowing wink.
Waitress: Would you like a basket?
He turned to Ra.
Collins: Have you ever had fried shrimp?
Collins: Okay, that tears it. One basket please, and two un-replicated burgers and fries, please and thank you. Oh, and also maybe a vanilla cola if you have it? And uh…
He turned to Ra, with his own cheeky smile.
Collins: What did YOU want again?
Quentin Collins III
Chief Science Officer
U.S.S. ARROW NCC-69829