((Starbase 118 Ops - Marine Facilities))
While Alora had certainly visited the Marine facilities on the base, they were not one of her usual haunts. Even with a friend who was a marine, she just hadn’t usually had a reason to go and hang around - nor would she simply do such a thing. They were working, and her presence would simply be a distraction if she didn’t have a specific purpose. On that particular day, however, she did have a purpose, and because of that, she made her way to the Gator deck that housed the newest officers personal office. Pressing the button to indicate her presence, she stepped through as soon as the doors opened, though just far enough to allow her to remain in the threshold. Leaning against it, she crossed her arms and offered a grin to the giant of a gorn.
DeVeau: Hey, Major.
The Gorn stood from behind his desk, already making himself at home judging by the sparse but obvious additions to the otherwise barren, metal room. It was a fair sized Oak wooden desk with a matching chair with two smaller sisters facing it, darkened PADD’s scattered around next to a desktop terminal that a clawed finger was quick to lock when the door had opened.
Behind him was a wall mounted ribbon case, brimming with various flashes of colours from previous campaigns, proudly mounted underneath a traditional starfleet ceremonial marine saber, crossed at the middle with an unusual looking blade with a hilt almost covered in gemstones. Gorn, no doubt, probably a similar badge of office from his pre-Starfleet career.
More ominously was the large, battered looking weapon that sat on a plinth underneath the lot. It wasn’t of starfleet design, it looked heavy and weighty like it was designed to be mounted on a vehicle of some kind.
Tatash: Commander, this is unexpected but not unwelcome, how can I help?
Tatash rose up out of his chair to meet her, a professional, polite smile, at least it looked like a smile on his lips.
She wasn’t expected, but Alora didn’t always do what people expected. Except in this, certain people wouldn’t be surprised at all. She did have a habit of showing up at people’s doors, randomly dragging them places. She was certainly not above doing it again and again. Besides, having company was fun.
DeVeau: It’s dinner time. I was hoping might be interested in joining me for a bite to eat.
The Gorn paused for a second, before leaning back over his desk and thumbing his machine back open. He took a few seconds, looking through his schedule before nodding.
Tatash: So it is. Good grief.
A frown crossed his large eye-ridges, before he looked back up and chuckled.
Tatash: I believe the saying is, ‘time flies when you’re having fun’. Where did you have in mind? With my new apartment still being decorated I have the entire evening to mill about or i’ll just be a nuisance to the painters.
DeVeau: Fun eh? Well, how about you mill about with me. I enjoy company, and would love the chance to get to know you better.
What was it about officers working late, past the time their shifts ended? Alora was guilty, but she also set an alarm and tried to keep her boundaries. She didn’t always succeed, but she tried. There was a time for work and a time for play. Besides, she had extra incentive to listen to that alarm, because she could drag the new guy out to dinner.
DeVeau: Oh really? Where’s your apartment?
Tatash: A small place above a shop in the Ashalla district actually, I am not a religious man but their nearby temple is one of the few places on the station where you can find actual peace and quiet. I do of course thank the Prophets every time I enter, even if it is just for half an hour of blissful solitude. ::he paused:: huh, maybe i’m a convert after all. Although, I lack an ear for the customary decoration.
Tatash chuckled to himself, maybe realising how ridiculous he’d look trying to glue a Bajoran earring to the flat side of his head.
DeVeau: I’m sure we could figure out some way to attach it.
Alora grinned and straightened up, relieving the threshold of her weight.
DeVeau: So what are you in the mood to eat?
Tatash: My stomach is easy to please, long as it’s not too.. Green and leafy. We Gorn are distinctly carnivorous people.
DeVeau: Yes, obligate carnivores. Like cats. They don’t have enzymes to allow them to digest vegetables either. I do like a good hunk of meat, and there are plenty of places that cater to a variety of palettes. Do you like spicy or mild?
Tatash: Spicy, what’s the point of being blessed with taste buds only to eat bland. Any preferences?
DeVeau: In all honesty, you probably know more places here than I do. I’ve only been here about seven months.
Nodding his long snout, he leant forward with a stretched out arm, the almost galactic signal of ‘After you’ as they stepped away from his office back into the corridor. The Marine area of the base was definitely different in terms of both comfort and aesthetics. There were no civilian friendly guide-lights or soft edges, the entire set of decks had a stark utilitarian feel to them that served their purpose well.
Tatash: Let’s take… ::he paused at the banks of turbolifts, before pointing to the left one:: This one, specifically. I always find it has the best views.
He waited for her to step inside before leaning over with a quiet ‘San Francisco District, please’.
DeVeau: Oh, San Francisco. I’m curious as to where we’re headed.
He lifted a hand for a moment, before grinning widely as the dull grey of the bulkhead melted away giving an excellent view of the large habitat dome as the turbolift rattled up the side of it, then sideways, then back up again and across. It was, as Tatash had indicated, a lovely view, except Alora wasn’t watching it. Instead, she kept her gaze firmly on the gorn, even turning so that she faced him directly.
Tatash: I missed this, so much. You may feel like seven months isn’t a long time, but trust me if you were pulled away from this right now you’d feel the same longing that I did.
DeVeau: I have no doubt of that. This place felt like home from the very first day I set foot on the station.
Alora had loved every posting she’d been assigned. Each had their own unique quirks, their own thing about them that was special. Nostalgia ran rampant she thought back to the times aboard the various vessels, Deep Space Ten and, despite everything, even the research facility that had been the most recent assignment before Ops. That latter had a particular pang that hit her and she quickly shook off the thoughts before she wandered too far down the road. But Ops was special. Very special. She couldn’t say why, exactly, but she hoped she didn’t go anywhere else.
DeVeau: Do you mind if I ask why you left?
Tatash seemed fixed on the city that they were touring through on their elevated journey across to the Earth-themed section of the diverse Commercial zone, towering blocks of apartments and offices began to twinkle as the artificial sun started to set on it’s artificial world. It was quite a contrast to the attention Alora gave him, her eyes refusing to look anywhere but at the mass of muscle.
Tatash: My father was gravely ill, we bought him some time with an expensive doctor and experimental therapy. Good time too, not just lingering for the sake of it. But, eventually it wasn’t enough and we all knew it was time to say our farewells. ::He paused:: It was difficult, but nothing prepared for the difficulty of trying to settle his estate.
The small car started to descend now, heading towards ground level at what seemed like a fast pace but thanks to the dampening felt like a leisurely walk down a flight of stairs.
Alora tilted her head slightly, regarding him in silence for a brief moment. Although there was sorrow, he gave little indication of how deep that sorrow was felt. She could only imagine. At some point, she knew the time would come for her to say goodbye to her parents, but she was grateful that thus far, they were still fairly young and in excellent health. There was always, of course, the possibility that something sudden could happen. Like with Kalin. His ‘estate’ had been easy. He’d lived simply, had left minimal behind, and it had all gone to her - she had been his only family left. Immediately, Alora cut off that thought. She’d been doing so well. Why did she have to go there now? The words that came next were heavy and spoken softly.
DeVeau: I imagine it must have been difficult.
Tatash: He was a General in our army. He had a lot of friends, a big family, and considering he was usually so meticulous an absolute sham of a will. It took me the best part of two years to get all -that- sorted… Gorn are lovers of paperwork and due process. A lot of it… ah, after you please. ::he gestured once more to the doors::
The scene beyond those doors was like a typical street on Earth. While it was called the ‘San Francisco’ district, the streets could have been in just about any new-build part of the cities. Yellow-ish fronting and large store windows were inviting people in with large displays of various Earth goods, the streets not quite as busy as the more exotic districts but it had its own throng of civilians and officers milling about, especially as the towering offices started to churn out their own workers.
It was strange that a Federation starbase would have people actually working regular jobs, since currency meant so little. But the whole installation was a beacon for trade and commerce, for ship maintenance both civilian and starfleet, it was a bustling place of limitless possibility and plenty of work for a good old nine to five.
Tatash seemed strangely at ease pushing through the crowds, partly because of his intimidating nature but he also seemed so at ease blending in with the surroundings. Yet, at least his height made him easy to follow as he moved down into a side street.
It was the smell that hit first, something intoxicating, something exotic that found its way up into the most pleasurable zones of the nose. Spices, heat, the smell of cooking meat and simmering vegetables wrapped in a miasma of pleasurable pungency.
Tatash: Have you ever had proper Earth Indian food? Well, I mean it’s more of a general interpretation of it’s cuisine I imagine. A curry? I’m pleased this place still exists.
DeVeau: Oh, curry is wonderful. I adore curry.
Although she and her family had lived a goodly portion of her childhood in Japan, that didn’t mean all they ate was Japanese and Japanese inspired food. Her parents were both inclined toward culinary cuisine from all parts of the world - and even some from beyond Earth. Even as a young child, she’d had a pretty sophisticated palette, and was generally amenable to trying anything and everything, as long as it wasn’t going to poison her. Curry, though? That was on the top ten list. If that list was restricted to cuisine originally found on Earth, it was in the top two. Indian curry was number one of the varieties of curry that her home planet offered, and she found herself tickled at the thought that a Gorn liked it as well.
He smiled as he gestured towards the fronted restaurant. From the outside it had a large sign hanging over the entrance, where the dividing shop fronting had been made to form a two dimensional dome reminiscent of Earth's great Taj Mahal. It wasn’t too busy, at least not from the outside.
((Starbase 118 - ‘The Rajbari’ Indian Restaurant))
Ever the gentlemen, Tatash held the door open as they entered the dimly lit restaurant, the friendly looking waitstaff eagerly taking the Gorns large coat from him as he stepped inside following the Commander towards a table they were politely escorted to, the sound of a woman singing in a high pitch in Hindi adding to the definitely authentic experience.
For the first time his left arm was fully visible. The entire thing from the shoulder to fingertips was a matte black construction of well made bionics embossed with a starfleet logo on his upper arm. A fine prosthetic, one of the best and barely letting out a whisper of a whine as tiny servo motors adjusted to his every movement, but combined with the terrible scarring to the left side of his face started to paint a picture of his experiences.
Tatash: Ah thank you. ::he smiled, as he was handed a menu:: Well, this may either be an experience you enjoy and remember forever or one you deeply regret depending on what your tolerance to spice is.
He had no idea. Alora loved spicy, had from as far back as she could remember. Her mother had told the story on more than one occasion of how, upon sitting down at a mexican restaurant when Alora was just under two, one that was known for its spicy salsa, she had grabbed the entire bowl and drank it down without hesitation. Habaneros often made their way into the family chili on the rare occasion when she cooked, much to the chagrin of certain members of the family, who found themselves desperate to cool the tongues she’d managed to light on fire. And very few people dared to try her salsa.
DeVeau: Oh yeah, I have no problem whatsoever with spicy.
Tatash: Personally I find myself leaning towards a Lamb Madras. They have a way of cooking it here that not only leaves fire on your tongue but the meat just melts in your mouth. Ah excellent.
DeVeau: I adore lamb. Honestly, that’s the meat I usually get - either that or goat. And I do love madras, though I have a thing for Biryani. Still, I might take your suggestion of the dish.
A plate of thin, crisp Pupadom’s was placed in front of them with a selection of various chutneys and onion salad to enjoy them with. Alora plucked one of the thin wafers from the pile and dipped it lightly. She had a specific way she did it. First, a dip into the nimbu ka achaar, the lemon sauce that added a delightful sourness. Next, her fingers traveled to the little bowl that contained hari chutney, the cilantro and lemon melding together well. Lastly, the imli, or tamarind, chutney was given some attention, it’s sweetness a pleasant contrast to the sourness of the previous two. Thus thoroughly dipped, then she would pop into her mouth and enjoy the blending of flavours.
Tatash: They don’t rush the service here. Take your time. How are you settling into your new role? I knew a previous first officer, probably one of my dearest friends, I believe he went on to captain the Columbia.
Alora wasn’t aware of that. Idly she wondered exactly how many had served as first office of Starbase 118. Nijil had been there since she arrived, but considering Alora had only been there for several months, that really didn’t mean much.
DeVeau: Onto captain. I bet he was a fine first officer. Had to be for Starfleet to promote him and have him command a ship. That was, at least, something Alora had no aspirations to do. Ever. She’d rather help her current captain than become one herself.
Tatash shrugged as he kept his eyes fixed on the menu.
Tatash: I am sure you will be equally proficient. He was by no means perfect himself. We once had a party, a housewarming for him… at least I think it was. We all ended up in an absolute terrible state after we enjoyed the, you know, ‘blue stuff’. ::he added, conspiratorially:: Sal practically had to peel us off his apartment floor and pour us into our uniforms.
As she dipped another wafer, then put it in her mouth, Alora couldn’t help but giggle a little. With as vivid an imagination as she had, she could just see an image in her mind of such a thing. Literal pools of officers, all spread out flat upon the floor with Sal tugging them off like a child did a sticker from a page.
DeVeau: Knowing Sal, he probably didn’t rant and rave at you. That wasn’t his style. Not usually. Although Alora had a feeling he could be intimidating when need be, he had a gentler touch. Tatash chuckled to himself and shook his head, fixing his yellow eyes back up on her.
Tatash: No of course not, amused I’d say, maybe a little disappointed, but he didn’t beast us over it. We’d just come off a pretty rough mission, we needed the downtime. I’ve never known Sal to beast anyone, come to think of it. He’s the kind of person that none of us would -want- to let down or fail. So, we simply never did.
DeVeau: I know exactly what you mean.
Exactly. That was one of the reasons she had been so hesitant to accept the position. Chief of Science? Alora knew she could do that. She’d done it before, had enjoyed it immensely. First Officer? That was a whole different kettle of fish, and she’d found out on her first full day that it was way more complicated than she was even prepared for.
DeVeau: I guess that’s one of my concerns - that I’m going to disappoint him.
At this point a white shirted waiter came wandering over, looking at the pair of them with a polite smile and expectant eyes.
Tatash: Lamb Madras, please, I’ll just go for a Pilau rice. Thank you.
Tatash smiled as the waiter took his order, before looking to Alora.
There were so many delicious options in Indian cuisine, and while the restaurant’s offerings weren’t exhaustive, they certainly had many to choose from. However, she had to admit, what he ordered sounded good.
DeVeau: I’ll have the same. Extra spicy. And plenty of water, please . Tatash waited at least for the waiter to be out of earshot before leaning forward in his chair, propping his elbows up on the table and peering right at the Commander for a good few seconds... then, he leant himself back.
Tatash: You won’t.
Marine Intelligence (Charlie Company)
Starbase 118 Ops
& Lt. Cmdr. Alora DeVeau First Officer Starbase 118 Ops al...@blar.net M239008AD0