((Starbase 118 - Habitat Sector))
DeVeau: Hey Tony!
Alora picked up the pace to trot over to the towering marine, a grin spread wide over her face. It had been a few days since he’d seen him, but she was glad he had. Granted, he was hard to miss. The man was taller than most of the men who were considered tall, a good half head above them in a crowd. He was one of those people she had the dastardly inclination to crane her neck back, squinty eyed and call up ‘how’s the weather up there?’. Fortunately, she had the presence of mind to /not/ do that, because she was pretty sure there would be some people who’d find it funny - and some people who wouldn’t. From what she could tell, Tony was one who /would/, but it was still probably best to refrain from that particular impulse.
At the present moment, they were in a short line in an attempt to access the turbolift. Everyone was coming and going it seemed, and while lines weren’t usual, occasionally they did occur, depending on the concentration of people in certain areas. The benefit was she got to catch up to the man.
DeVeau: How are you doing?
Tony had been paying attention to what was going on around him, not anything specific, but the area as a whole. Because of that, he hadn’t seen Alora slip in next to him. When he heard her voice, he almost was startled.
Meeks: ::Looking down at her:: Hey there! I’m good, thanks. How’re you?
DeVeau: Oh I’m fine, thank you. Been keeping busy?
Meeks: Oh geez. Busier than I want to be, for sure. What’s new with you?
Alora grinned. They were all busy, but she /liked/ being busy, and she loved her job, so she rarely minded.
DeVeau: Nothing really, just got off and am heading to my quarters to change and take care of plants for a bit. What about you?
He was always amazed at how chipper Alora was. He had never seen her when she didn’t have a smile on her face. Her spirit was contagious, and because of this he found himself smiling back at her.
Meeks: Just grabbed some fresh veggies from the markets. I don’t like to cook the replicated stuff, if I can avoid it.
DeVeau: Whereas I subsist on it!
Meeks: You can’t cook? C’mon, really? I bet you’re a great cook.
Alora shook her head.
DeVeau:. I /can/ cook, but I'm not a great cook. Give me a fire out in the wilderness though and I can make sure there's something to eat!
That had actually occurred, and despite the fact that she had been stranded there, that other horrible things had happened, there had also been a great sense of accomplishment. She and Sachiko had survived for fifty seven days on their own, and she'd discovered so many new species of flora and fauna. The Mantilions had been her favourite. In a way, she kind of wished she could go back.
Meeks: You won’t starve then. As long as you can make that fire. ::Giving her a smile::
DeVeau: So what are you making?
Meeks: ::Holding up his bag:: In here, I have fresh tomatoes, onion, garlic, herbs. It will soon become a ragout, slow simmered on the stove. I have some sausage with some, kinda Italian seasoning, so I’m thinking it will become a good old fashioned spaghetti.
DeVeau: That sounds yummy. Just like hom, huh?
Meeks: There’s going to be plenty. Would you like to join me?
Tony loved to cook, and it was even better when he had someone to cook for. He really didn’t know how to cook only for one, so there was always a ton of leftovers.
DeVeau: Sure! If you don’t mind me getting changed and a quick shower first.
The line moved forward at a slower than usual pace. The number of people using the lift system was especially large for the day and time, but having someone to talk to during the wait made the time pass easier.
Meeks: So… what’re your plans for the masquerade ball?
DeVeau: Oh, I have plans. Many plans.
Alora’s eyes twinkled, that grin spreading even further over her face. She had made quite a few plans indeed, with Masha her partner in crime. In her mind’s eyes, she could already see how the ballroom would be decorated, but that wasn’t the only place people would have to go. Well, Alora wasn’t going to tell Tony anything. She wanted it to be a surprise - and hoped people would enjoy it.
DeVeau: Masha and I are on the ones organizing it.
Meeks: Plans? Like what kind of plans?
Tony liked knowing what was going to happen as far in advance as possible. Alora’s comment struck a curiosity in him, and he hoped he could get the insider’s scoop. Unfortunately...
Alora clicked her tongue, lifted a finger to wave at Tony, then shook her head.
DeVeau: Now, now, my dear marine, you’re just going to have to wait and see. Have you picked out a costume yet? They finally arrived at the turbolift and squished in with a group of people. Each one called out their level and the computer complied by ordering them, then stopping at the lowest level in the order.
Meeks: ::Sucking in his girth:: I don’t know what I’m going to do for a costume yet. You?
Alora’s mouth twisted to the side as she let her eyes drift to the unnaturally drawn belly, then to Tony’s face. DeVeau: Really? Seriously? You think that’s going to help?
She giggled, then shook her head.
DeVeau: I’m not saying a word. Not one word!
Meeks: You’re just not going to give anything up, are you? ::Wink::
Alora liked to surprise people. She liked to see their faces light up, she liked to watch the joy spring into their expressions, even if it was for a moment. Hopefully, this would allow people to get away for a little while, to just relax and have fun. That was her goal.
DeVeau: But I think you’ll like it.
Surprises were not his forte, and he disliked waiting almost as much as being surprised. The ball was going to be fun though, and he knew anything Alora did would be worth the wait.
Meeks: I’ll hold you to that, you know.
DeVeau: I have a feeling my costume won’t be what you expect.
Meeks: You’re just an enigma, aren’t you, Miss DeVeau? ::Big smile::
Yes, she was, but that was part of the fun - making Meeks wriggle with curiosity. Well, he’d just have to wait. Alora hadn’t even told Masha what she was doing! She’d already been working on it, gotten some of it replicated, and was actually purchasing part of it. Euregard was helping with some of that, but the man was sworn to secrecy.
DeVeau: Sorry Tony, you’re just gonna have to deal!
Meeks: Well that, ma’am, is the story of my life.
The turbolift made several stops between their origin and the habitat levels, and the number of people in the cramped car thinned with every stop. Finally coming to their deck, the doors opened and Tony stepped from the car.
Meeks: I’ll get this started. ::Holding up the bag of goods from the market:: It’ll take a while, so there’s no hurry.
DeVeau: I hope you don’t take too long. I’m kinda starving here!
Meeks: ::Winking:: I’ve learned, you don’t try and hurry perfection.
DeVeau: Perfection? Better be worth it!
The doors closed, hiding Alora from sight. Once the turbolift let her off on her own deck, she made her way to her rooms. Since there was no hurry, she tended to her plants, which was basically just to check their water levels. A major repotting had recently taken place, so everyone was pretty much set for a while. After that, she took a quick shower, threw on a t-shirt and pants, stuffed her feet into some warm, unicorn slippers with silvery horns, then shuffled her way to the turbolift. A few minutes later, she found herself in front of the doors leading to Tony’s quarters.
((Starbase 118 - Meeks’ Quarters)) The waft of garlic and herbs slammed into her as soon as the doors parted and Alora inhaled deeply as she stepped inside. Oh yes. Garlic. Everything was better with garlic. Grinning over at the giant of a man, she made herself comfy and plopped on her couch. She lifted her legs, letting them stretch the length of the furniture and leaned back into the arm. Ah yes, feet up and food being made. Alora could get used to that.
DeVeau: Glad to see I didn’t linger /too/ long.
Tony poured two glasses of sparkling cider and brought the stemmed glass to Alora. Handing her the glass, he sat on the chair across the coffee table from her. The science officer lifted it in silent thanks, then sipped at the cider. Bubbly and sweet and...hm.
Meeks: Not at all. It should be ready in just a little bit. ::Eyeing her footwear:: Nice, uh… slippers?
DeVeau: Aren’t they adorable?
Alora wiggled her feet and the horns glittered in the light, though the calm, gentle expression upon the face of the unicorns never shifted.
Meeks: I’m glad you are comfortable. ::Chuckling:: Mi casa es su casa.
DeVeau: Oh very. Question. Is this alcoholic?
Meeks: Nope. Non-alcoholic for you, because I knew you’d prefer it.
Tony had chosen the bottle of cider because Alora was coming for dinner. He remembered trying to buy her an adult libation, and what she had told him about not drinking alcohol at the time. Besides, it was always safe to have something to serve that didn’t contain alcohol.
DeVeau: Awww, you remembered?
Meeks: See? I pay attention.
DeVeau: Indeed you do. It’s not that I /never/ consume. I’m just careful, that’s all.
Yeah, getting drunk once was more than enough for Alora. She never wanted to have that happen again, and it was bad enough where she’d ended up afterward. Even if it hadn’t been her fault, the experience had been humiliating. The one bright spot was that Gabby had given her Sachiko as an “I’m sorry.” gift.
DeVeau: So anyway, do you have /any/ ideas about what you’re going to do for the ball?
Meeks: I’m not sure yet about a costume. Any ideas?
DeVeau: Well...I personally like fairy tales and legends and stuff, but that’s just me.
Meeks: Fairy tales, huh? Like Red Riding Hood or something like that?
DeVeau: Yes - Perrault’s fairy tales are good. Or Grimm's Fairy Tales, or Hans Christen Anderson. There are so many out there, and that’s only from Europe. There are even more from other places on Earth - then you could get into the fairy tales and legends from other planets and cultures outside of earth. Of course, you don’t have to limit yourself to that genre either.
Tony had thought about what to wear to the ball, but he wasn’t sure what really fit his personality, or even the theme. Dressing up wasn’t something he had ever really done, even as a child, so his imagination didn’t go too far.
Meeks: Maybe I’ll do some more research and see what I can come up with.
DeVeau: Something tall.
Meeks: I don’t think I have much of a choice there. ::Winks::
DeVeau: You could dress up as a god or something from Earth’s mythology, or another planet’s mythology.
Meeks: A god? Like Zeus or something? Yeah, I don’t know. What’re you doing for a costume?
DeVeau: I know exactly what I’m doing for my costume.
Meeks: Can I have a hint at least?
DeVeau: Uh uh uh. Spoilers.
2Lt. Anthony Meeks
1/292nd TMR D Co.
Starbase 118 Ops/USS Narendra
Lt. Cmdr. Alora DeVeau
Starbase 118 Ops