((Starbase 118 Ops - Alora’s Quarters))
Alora lightly misted the plants before her and turned over the leaves. While it was unlikely insects had gotten onto the ship, there were other things that could affect her children that would manifest themselves on their appendages. Depending on the flora, it could be on top or below, or maybe it showed through the stem, sepal, or petals - or even the anther. Every week, she would check the plants with the thoroughness of a medical officer.
Once she was sure the last section of plants were completely healthy, she put away her supplies and then turned to study her room. She’d already picked up the things that had been tossed about as she had attempted to get ready for the day, and other cleaning had been finished. Good. That meant she had to find something else to do.
Lately, Alora had been trying to do that more than ever. Every moment of every day, she spent doing something, either with someone, or engaged in a task that allowed her to keep her mind off of things. Emotions. Emotions that had a strange way of tangling and mixing up and confusing her. Even after receiving the antidote, turmoil remained, turning her stomach over and over, making her ache inwardly. She didn’t want to dwell on things. On things she’d lost. On something she’d gained, even if it had been influenced by an outside force. Then another thing she’d lost yet again.
Turning over in her mind her options, she didn’t have long to ponder when the computer beeped, and a familiar voice chimed over the com.
Meeks: =/\=Meeks to Cmdr. DeVeau=/\=
DeVeau: Alora here. Hey Tony, what’s up?
Meeks: =/\=This is a social call, Alora. I was wondering if you are doing anything, and if not maybe you'd like to get together.=/\=
Oh, that was /really/ good timing. Alora wouldn’t mind hanging out with the marine - he seemed a genial and fun sort.
DeVeau: That sounds like a great idea. Where?
Meeks: =/\=How about my quarters?=/\=
DeVeau: Sure, I’ll be over there in fifteen minutes.
((Starbase 118 Ops - Meeks’ Quarters))
Just as she said, Alora was prompt and arrived at Meeks’ quarters within the time frame specified. Once the doors opened to allow her entry, she grinned at the young marine.
DeVeau: You have excellent timing.
Meeks: :: Feigning surprise:: I do?
DeVeau: I had just finished my chores and was trying to decide what to do next. More fun to do something with someone.
Meeks: Absolutely! Please, come in. ::Moving aside::
Alora strode into the room, her gaze darting about. Sometimes - well, most of the time - a person’s quarters could tell a bit about their personality.
DeVeau: So...what do you have in mind?
Meeks: I found a place in the Commercial Sector that might be fun.
DeVeau: Oh? What place?
Anthony cocked his head slightly to the left.
Meeks: Ya know, I don’t think I’m going to let the cat out of the bag this soon.
Alora chuckled. Tony was the second person who’d done something like that. Galven was the first. At the thought of her friend, her heart did a little twist. He was suffering so much, and she had no way to really help him. She just hoped he got the help he needed on Denobula.
DeVeau: Are you sure? Not even a whisker?
Meeks: ::With a crooked smile:: You’ll just have to find out when we get there. You hungry?
DeVeau: Yes, actually. I haven’t had dinner yet, and walking over there will certainly help increase the appetite.
Meeks: Then eat we shall!
DeVeau: Can you at least tell me what /kind/ of food we’re going to get?
Meeks: I think I’ll keep that a surprise as well.
DeVeau: Well, I do like surprises too. Okay, lead on!
Meeks: This way then… ::Motioning flamboyantly toward the door::
Alora followed Tony out into the hallway, trotting forward a little to keep up with his pace. She was grateful that he’d called. While Alora usually kept herself busy, when she was by herself, her thoughts often crept places that she didn’t particularly care to go. Having something to do outside of her room and with someone was much better.
Anthony noticed Alora was working a little harder to keep up, so he slowed his pace to make her’s easier. When they were at a comfortable pace, he offered his arm to her. It was easier to keep pace that way. Alora slid her hand into the crook with an easy motion.
DeVeau: So, what have you been up to?
Meeks: Working too much, really. I needed to take a break.
DeVeau: I hear you on that. I’m glad you’re letting me tag along. Alora liked her job, but she also enjoyed other activities. Dancing, playing instruments, singing, all sorts of hobbies and avocations that allowed her to explore other aspects of life.
Meeks: Well, thank you for being my break. I promise, you’ll enjoy this.
DeVeau: If only I knew what ‘this’ was!
Alora laughed. She didn’t really mind the surprise - surprises could be fun, and she’d just take it in stride. Didn’t mean she couldn’t try to guess what it was.
Meeks: If I told you what we were doing, it wouldn’t be a surprise.
DeVeau: Then let’s pick up the pace so we can get there.
Alora chuckled, casting a sidelong glance at him as she sped up.
DeVeau: Should I be wearing a blindfold too?
Meeks: ::Laughing:: I think a blindfold would be a little overkill. Besides, I wouldn’t want you to trip and fall.
((Starbase 118 Ops - Commercial Sector))
It wasn’t long before they were at the threshold of an Indian restaurant Anthony had heard about. The flavor pallet was one he had grown to love, and he wanted to share this with his friend.
Meeks: Will this do for dinner?
DeVeau: Are you kidding? I love Indian! Count me in!
Even the smell sent Alora’s tastebuds water. The mix of seasonings and spices were like heaven for the nose, and naan, especially garlic naan, was the perfect accompaniment for the spicy dishes.
DeVeau: I can smell that cardamom!
Her smile, hopefully the first of many for the evening, was enough to let him know he did well with this surprise. He wasn’t going to tell her about the “little bird” who told him Indian food was among her favorites.
Meeks: It does smell amazing.
Their host greeted them and took them to a table near the back of the restaurant.
Alora sat down in her chair and pondered the food. She didn't even bother to look at the menu. Indian had been a favourite since she was little, and she knew the traditional dishes. Whole there might have been some unique, inspired courses, she elected to stay conventional - that time.
DeVeau:. I think I feel like...lamb biryani.
Meeks: Very good idea. I’ve never tried that, so I think I’ll give it a shot.
DeVeau:. I vote we get some garlic naan too.
Meeks:. Anything you want. This is your night.
He was having fun. It had been a long time since he had spoiled anyone. Life had been so busy, he felt like he had almost forgotten how to enjoy it.
DeVeau: My night, huh?
Meeks: Just enjoy yourself. There’s more to come.
DeVeau: Now I'm /really/ curious.
The waitress approached, asking for their order. Alora requested her items, asking for extra spicy. After Anthony placed his, she hurried off to fulfill it.
Alora turned back to the man across from her.
DeVeau: So how long have you been planning this?
Meeks: Who says I planned this? ::Wink:: Can’t a man be spontaneous?
He watched her without staring. Her mental wheels were spinning, likely wondering what the end game was. He figured he’d let her ponder it for a bit, knowing it was harmless. Besides, he was enjoying springing the little surprises.
DeVeau: Well, that is possible, but it feels like you know where this is going rather than making it up as you go along.
Tony /could/ be winging it though, Alora had no way of being certain.
DeVeau: Do you do this for all the officers on the base?
Meeks: Nope. You’re, uh… the first.
DeVeau: I feel so loved! Can you at least give me a hint? Play twenty questions?
Meeks: ::Redoubling his stance:: I can neither confirm nor deny. ::Big smile::
It was killing him, keeping his plans a secret, but he was also having fun playing with Alora. For the first time in a long time, he wasn’t thinking about work. In fact, he hadn’t thought about the team the entire time he had been out.
DeVeau: You can neither confirm or deny that we can play twenty questions? You must be the best at keeping Christmas gifts a secret!
Meeks: ::Sitting up straight and being a tad melodramatic:: I have been trained to resist torture and interrogation. ::Relaxing and smiling big::
DeVeau: So what, exactly inspired you to do this?
Meeks: Really, we have been working hard and I needed a break. I figured you did too, so I thought this would be fun.
DeVeau: Breaks are definitely beneficial!
The waitress returned then with both food and drinks. Alora gleefully picked up her spoon and began to scoop some of the cucumber sauce over it before taking a bite.
Meeks: I hope I haven’t stepped out of line or anything.
That caused Alora's brow to wrinkle, her lips furling down.
DeVeau: No. Why would you think you had?
Meeks: I was hoping I wasn’t being too forward. I’m having a blast with you, and I hope you are too.
DeVeau: No. When is having fun with friends a bad thing?
Anthony hadn’t eaten real Indian food before, so he as following her lead on how to dress the plate. It smelled amazing, and his mouth was watering at the thought of filling it with the beautiful concoction. He waited though, until Alora had taken a bite before scooping some for himself.
Meeks: Good. Me too. ::Stuffing the fork in his mouth::
Alora grinned and just nodded, her mouth too full to reply and remain polite.
Meeks: ::Unable to hold his pleasure back:: Oh my gosh, this is GOOD!
DeVeau: I adore Indian food. Watch out though, unless you're used to spicy, it will creep up on you.
Alora was used to it and enjoyed it, so she always asked for extra spicy - which meant the food was actually closer to the spice level it would be had they actually gone to India.
DeVeau:. Lets not linger, though, because I'm so curious to see what's next!
Meeks: No, let’s not linger, but we have all night. I don’t want you getting sick. ::Wink::
DeVeau: That would be a horrible thing to happen. Don’t worry, i won’t get sick.
Anthony finished up his dinner and his tea. The walk would help settle their stomachs and the company was good. He didn’t recall having as good a time, well… ever. He waited patiently for Alora to finish up as well. As soon as she finished, Anthony stood and held out his hand.
Alora took up her napkin and wiped her mouth with it, then tossed it on the table before accepting his hand and stood, then released him.
DeVeau: Yes! My curiosity is about to kill me!
They stepped together onto the sidewalk. The air flowed past them in a warm breeze, almost like a summer night on Earth. They walked, talking as they went. There were a lot of people in the sector that evening, and as they drew nearer to Anthony’s ultimate surprise, the lights, music, bells and laughter became louder and louder. Their destination was just around the corner. Anthony stopped and turned Alora to face him.
2Lt. Anthony Meeks Marine Officer - 292nd TMR Starbase 118 Ops R238801IG0
Lt. Cmdr. Alora DeVeau
Starbase 118 Ops