((Starbase 118 Ops - Commercial Sector))
Sol moved to take a place in line before anyone else came up.
So there it was, they were waiting. The line was already getting longer, and the hum of voices from inside spoke of a full house. Alora hoped it was good as the crowd seemed to indicate it was.
McLaren: So how are you enjoying being on the Starbase?
DeVeau: I’m loving it, actually.
McLaren: It is a bit different than a ship from my experience… and not just in terms of living space…
Alora nodded. She knew that all too well. The atmosphere was different, somehow people’s attitudes, the way they moved through life was different. How they approached things just seemed to be different in general. It wasn’t a bad thing either.
DeVeau I’ve actually been stationed on a base before.
McLaren: Oh, really?
DeVeau: Deep Space Ten. I mean...technically I was stationed on the ship, but we were on the base as much as the ship and my quarters were on the base. That’s where I met the cyborg spiders.
Sol blinked, processing what she had just heard.
McLaren: Cyborg. Spiders?
Alora’s eyes twinkled. She /loved/ talking about the spiders. They were her friends, and she was determined to go back and see them again. She’d promised she would, and Alora was going to make good on that promise.
DeVeau: Evidently they were a part of the station before Starfleet took over. They help keep it in good repair. They even have a queen - Sheba.
McLaren: Really? That must’ve been something to see.
DeVeau: Oh yes, huge, hairy and cyborg and just...oh so awesome. They helped us when the Maquis Reborn attacked.
McLaren: Sounds like they were handy to have around at the very least.
Alora sighed wistfully.
DeVeau: I really do need to go back there and visit.
McLaren: I'm sure you’ll get the chance to go back there again. Nothing like visiting your old assignments and seeing old friends.
DeVeau: Do you have anywhere you’d like to go back and visit again?
McLaren: Other than home? No. I just recently visited my old ship, so thats covered.
DeVeau: Sometimes it’s just so hard to get away. Oh, hey, after this, mind coming to my quarters? I have something for you.
McLaren: Yea, don't I know it. :: She nodded. :: Have something for me? Sure.
DeVeau: Good. I’ve been meaning to give it to you for a while.
As they waited, the two officers continued to chat. Eventually, their names were called, their table ready, and they enjoyed a hearty meal. Although it was a simple thing, Alora enjoyed a good plate of spaghetti and meatballs. The meatballs were juicy, savoury delights, which really made the dish, and there was so much left over, she had some to take back to her quarters. There was no room for dessert - at least not yet. Maybe Alora would replicate some chocolate ice cream later.
Sol had found the restaurant quite good, enjoying both the atmosphere and the food. The stuffed shells she had ordered had been excellently prepared.
Once their food was eaten, leftovers packed, and check paid, Alora led the Intelligence officer out of the commercial sector and toward a turbolift that would take them to the habitat sector.
DeVeau: I hope you like it. I like to give them out to people, spread a little sunshine.
DeVeau: I have tons of them. Babies. They’re so beautiful, I thought you might like one.
The turbolift hummed quietly as it whisked them through the levels, then came to a stop on Alora’s. She stepped out and made her way down the hall.
Sol blinked following Alora. Just what had she gotten herself into?
DeVeau: They’re really easy to care for too.
McLaren: Whoa… Alora… What exactly are we talking about here?
DeVeau: I’m talking about what I’m going to give you.
McLaren: No… you haven't actually said what you wanted to give me.
DeVeau: Yes I have. I’m going to give you one of my babies.
Amusement glittered in those verdant eyes, one of which winked at the intelligence officer. As the doors parted, Alora stepped off the turbolift and into the hallway, then led Solaris straight to her door.
((Starbase 118 - Alora’s Quarters))
Inside, the room was clean and orderly. Plants were a common occurrence, though there was stil wall space to add more - empty shelves that sat waiting. It seemed there were plans. Two walls, plus the blank areas flanking the large window that looked out into space beyond, however, were full of shelves that hosted a variety of flora. It was to one of these Alora crossed over. Finally, she found what she was looking for, and among all the greenery, she selected a blue pot, in which a specific, small species of flower resided. Dark green, quilted leaves spread across the soil, and nestled among them were flowers of pure white, just a hint of yellow from the anther peeping from the rose like petals. Alora turned and offered it.
DeVeau: For you! They’re really easy to care for, and I have detailed instructions which I shall forward to you. Of course, I’m always available to answer any questions you might have.
Sol looked from the plant to Alora, seeming a bit relieved.
McLaren: Oh… a plant… this is what you were talking about.
DeVeau: Yes, what did you think I was talking about?
McLaren: Well… I didn't exactly know what to think… most people don't refer to plants as ‘babies’. :: Sol accepted the plant looking it over. :: What species is it?
DeVeau: Ah, but I am not most people.
If Alora’s friends could hear her say that, they’d probably agree with that statement a little too enthusiastically.
DeVeau: And they are my babies. And...maybe...I use the term on purpose.
McLaren: Oh you do, do you?
Alora lifted a finger to her lips and gave her a soft ‘shhhhh’.
DeVeau: Don’t tell anyone.
McLaren: Don’t worry… I can keep a secret.
DeVeau: I would hope an intelligence officer could, of all people!
McLaren: It’s quite lovely though…
Yes, it was. Alora loved the plant, and while there may have bigger species, fancier species, this one had stood the test of time on Earth. It would stand the test of time in space too.
DeVeau: I’m glad you like it. Do you have any others?
McLaren: Some, but nothing like this.
DeVeau: I’ll be emailing complete instructions. There are already programs in the data base for soil, food - which isn’t needed too often, and pots of all sizes for when it needs a bit more room.
McLaren: That sounds good. I'm sure I’ll need it.
DeVeau: Come now, it’s not hard, I promise. Have some confidence!
McLaren: Well I'm not completely inept, my mother is a florist and has a nice garden herself… so I know a bit about caring for plants… but having the information is good.
DeVeau: See there? And I’m always a call away if you have any questions or need anything.
Alora grinned, then added.
DeVeau: Even if it’s not about plants, okay?
Sol smiled, nodding.
McLaren: Alright. :: She looked at the plant again. :: Thanks again.
She turned to leave. She would have to head back to her apartment and find a place for the plant.
DeVeau: Oh and Solaris…
Sol stopped looking back.
DeVeau: I’d love to hang out again sometime - maybe make some music, or just do something fun.
McLaren: That sounds like it would be fun.
She turned and headed out of Alora’s quarters, letting the woman get back to her own plants for the time being.
Lt. Commander Solaris McLaren
Director of Intelligence
Starbase 118 Ops
Lt. Cmdr. Alora DeVeau
Starbase 118 Ops