((Starbase 118 - ‘The Rajbari’ Indian Restaurant))
Tatash smiled, setting his cutlery neatly together on his empty plate, before leaning back on his chair and giving his belly a pat.
Tatash: That was just what I needed, I’m quite a fast eater but please, don’t rush yourself. Safe to say, I am -stuffed-.
DeVeau: Don’t worry, I won’t rush. I’ll take care of the bill.
Tatash shook his head.
Tatash: Already taken care of, I have a regular tab. They do charge a little latinum but you just don’t get the same fire and flavour with replicated chilli’s, at least, not in my opinion. All of this was home grown, except the meat.
Alora was in agreement with that. Replication was a marvel, and the food wasn’t bad. However, it still just couldn’t compare to food that had been made from non replicated ingredients. Even the meat was likely not replicated, as New Scotland and a couple of other planets raised a variety of herds and flocks to sell and trade to others.
DeVeau: Really, I don’t mind.
Tatash chuckled to himself.
Tatash: It’s fine, really. I appreciate the gesture but I am, as humans like to say without being vulgar, comfortably wealthy.
Alora inserted a bit of her food into her mouth. He didn’t know her own financial situation. While it was unnecessary within the realm of Starfleet, when one dealt outside of it, currency was still used. In addition, Alora had invested in and started a business with Aron. Over the course of their years together, it had grown significantly, and Alora, who basically had overseen a bulk of the business matters, had acquired a couple of smaller businesses, expanding their territory and reach. Even as they sat there, T’Lia, who had kept things running while Alora was out of touch, had provided a list of possible smaller shipping businesses to look into merging with. Because Starfleet took care of her most basic needs and even allowed for some wants, her currency was usually frugally spent. Usually she did so on plants, but also Christmas gifts were items that couldn’t always be acquired with the use of credits. Even spending so much on her friends, Alora was far from destitute. As Tatash had stated, she was ‘comfortably’ wealthy. Rather than argue, however, she let it lie. She’d get the tab next time.
Tatash seemed content to sit there for a few minutes more, hand resting on his stomach, looking like a happy lizard sat on a heated rock. In that silence, perhaps he decided to share more of his background, and explain his previous statement.
Tatash: I invested in my brother’s mining business when it was getting off the ground, and gave him a big chunk of capital. When you’re serving in the Gorn ground forces you don’t really get much chance to spend your money so I thought ‘why not’. Turned out they found a pretty lucrative site for a dilithium mine, and the return on my investment was… significant. That, combined with my fathers passing and inheritance…
DeVeau: So. As you said. Comfortably wealthy.
Tatash: Well, there’s a reason I’m very good at what I do. If a silver tongue can’t get me information, then cash usually can. If that fails, I can be very persuasive via other means.
DeVeau: I’m sure you can.
Alora had her own connections as well. Her father was a president in a large and far reaching organisation. During her time in Starfleet, he’d managed to help in a couple of missions when certain pieces of information might be needed, but official Starfleet personnel might not be able to get. That, however, was more information than she would share at that particular moment.
He leaned forward in his chair and paused, as if finding the right choice of words.
Tatash: Well, I’m a bit of a pointed instrument. I won’t be winning diplomat of the year any time soon eh?
DeVeau: There are certain areas we all excel at, and others where we don’t have strength. That’s when we seek those who did and add their strength to our own. I’ll be honest, politics is not one of mine.
Reaching out, Alora took a sip of water, then set it down. The food was excellent, but the portions were large and she couldn’t eat all of it. Motioning to a waitress, she requested a container in which to take the rest home. There was no sense in wasting something so good.
DeVeau: I probably seemed a bit like a deer in bright light when we first met.
Honestly, that’s exactly what Alora felt like. Only a couple of hours prior had she suddenly been thrust into the role of First Officer, then sat down with the heavy weight of political upheaval in the sector. It was a lot to take in.
Tatash: I wasn’t exactly comfortable when I read through the PADD the first time. I just had plenty of time on that shuttle to digest it.
DeVeau: I’m a scientist and a musician. Even an actress. I’m not a politician or a diplomat. That being said, I’m going to have to learn if I’m going to be of any use as a First Officer.
Tatash: Sal is the politician and the diplomat, that’s what he’s good at. It’s what he’s trained and perfected over his entire career, why would he want you as his XO to do more of what he can do? It’s what -you- can do that fills in the gaps that round out the station's command nicely.
Honestly, Alora couldn’t fathom what sort of gaps she could fill. Instead of answering, she sipped at the last of her water, more to have something to do than for any thirst or need.
Tatash: If you want some genuine advice, stop worrying about what might happen and what you might have to be, and focus on what you need to be in the moment. Right now, all you need to be is the Commodore’s right arm and learn from him. The rest will come naturally. For what it’s worth, I’ll be following your lead without question. You’ve earned my respect solely by keeping up with my appetite. ::he winked playfully::
Tatash was awarded with a warm, musical laugh and she shook her head. The Gorn was unlike anything she imagined a Gorn would be, which told her she had some preconceptions she shouldn’t have. Thankfully, she was open to correction - as a good scientist always should be.
DeVeau: I didn’t do so well at that either. Still, I enjoyed it.
Tatash pushed his chair out and stood himself up as he looked at his wrist.
Tatash: We should bail before the dinner-groups get here, it gets far too busy here past eight.
He waited for her to do the same before gesturing to the door and offering some thanks to the serving staff that came to clear the table. Taking up her container, Alora offered a smile and thanks to the servers before following Tatash out.
It was a cool evening, the Starbase was perfectly designed to replicate even the mild chill of a cool evening that would prompt someone to maybe pack a light jacket, much to the joy of the vendors in the commercial sector who could sell more than just ‘standard daytime wear’.
Tatash: Thank you, Commander. It’s been a pleasure getting to know you, and, truth be told it’s rare to just enjoy someone's company. Usually it’s just work, and more work.
DeVeau: That seems to be a problem around here.
Alora had her days when that was the mindset. So much to do, so little time. Since being in the FO seat, she’d found it even harder to force herself to stop. But stop she did, making sure she balanced work and play. Most of the time. Some days, the work was the best thing to keep her mind off of other things.
DeVeau: I’ve had to pull Sal away from work before as well. I’ll be sure to check in on you, drag you off to actually relax a bit. I don’t neglect my duties, but I try to find a balance to things if I can.
Tatash: Please do. Preferably where they serve something wet and stronger. Restaurants are a good treat, but a good bar is for life.
DeVeau: I’d enjoy hanging out with you again. Let me know next time you’re ready for a break. Hopefully it’s before I have to send out a search party.
Tatash nodded, inclining his head a little with a genuine smile on his face.
Tatash: It has been very pleasurable, will you be alright getting back from here? I mean, you could just beam yourself home this is entirely a gesture of chivalry.
Beam herself. Alora shook her head. Perhaps as FO she received more transportation allowances, but that didn’t mean she was going to use them.
DeVeau: Knowing the amount of energy it takes to run that sort of thing on a base this big with this many people, I’d rather save that for when I really needed it. However, I would love to have company on the walk back, if you’re willing to provide.
Tatash nodded, offering his arm out.
Tatash: I would be happy too, besides, I need to walk off the rice. I forgot how badly I bloated from it.
Chuckling, Alora took his arm. With their height difference, she had to reach up a bit and his arm had to dip lower than someone closer to her, but she would not call attention to the slight awkwardness. He was being a gentleman, and it amused and pleased her. Sometimes it was all right to be a little old fashioned
The two made their way out of the restaurant and toward the closest lift, the conversation turning to light, insignificant matters. He certainly was a pleasure, and Alora was grateful for the opportunity to get to know him better. A few minutes later, they were let out on her deck and he escorted her all the way to her door. Releasing him, she tilted her head up to address him.
((Starbase 118 Ops - Alora's Quarters))
DeVeau: Would you mind coming in for a moment? I have something for you.
Tatash: Oh? ::he paused, although he looked genuinely curious::
Smiling, Alora stepped forward and the doors parted automatically. Her room was filled with the standard, a couch, two arm chairs, a coffee table upon which a couple of plants had set up camp. The walls were lined with shelves that held many more types of flora, and in the back of the large living area was a window, one of the few rooms that boasted a view. That view was partially obstructed by vines that grew from a box mounted on the wall above it, and it was evident the owner was coaxing them to create a curtain, a little hidey hole so to speak. A little in front sat a small table with four chairs, perfect for an intimate meal or game night. On the back of the couch, a quilt of purple and green had been folded and on top of it lay a calico cat. Upon their entry, the creature opened one eye, then the other, lifted her head to stair at the pair, then lay it back down, quite undisturbed by the presence of a gigantic lizard man entering her domain. Once inside, Alora turned to face her companion.
DeVeau: I was hoping to give you one of my babies.
Tatash couldn’t help but move just a little closer to the cat, peering at it as Alora looked at him. Once more, Sachiko repeated her previous movements, one eye popping open before the other. Then she lifted her head and stared at the Lizard man as he stared at her.
Tatash: I’m no expert in your mating practices but I’m almost certain that biologically that sort of thing just won’t work. Although, I am flattered. ::he paused, before quite casually looking around:: You have a lovely home. Certainly you have more creature comforts then I.
DeVeau: Ha. Very funny.
Tatash: You know, I’ve always wondered if Caitians found it super awkward that people keep cats as pets. Then again from my understanding, Cats have staff, not owners.
DeVeau: That’s...a very good question. I've never thought about it.
As they conversed, Alora began to make a slow, methodical tour around the open area that comprised her living room and small dining nook. She stopped in front of one row of shelves, studying it quite intently before deciding to look further down. Then down to the next.
DeVeau: I mean, I want to give you one of my babies. One of my plants.
Tatash looked up and smiled.
Tatash: Well, any gift to brighten up my home will be appreciated.
Turning briefly, Alora flashed a smile at him before she resumed studying what she had available. Sachiko stood up and stretched, mouth opening wide to reveal stark white teeth against a bright pink exterior, sharp claws extending, butt thrust into the area. Then she straightened again to peer up at the green humanoid. After a moment, there was a twitch of that tail, she crouched down, then launched into the air to come to a landing upon his shoulder.
The Gorn looked surprised, leaning over as if balancing some sort of immense weight on his shoulder, although he also was quick to realise that any movement may involve deployment of the wicked looking claws that the feline had to support.
Tatash: Is… is this normal?
Turning, Alora couldn’t help but laugh at the sight. The little calico turned around, then lay upon that shoulder so that she was hanging half on the back, half over the front, and quite content to stay there. The creature peered up at him, opened her mouth, and meowed in her typical, squeaky manner.
DeVeau: I think she likes you.
Tatash paused for a moment before carefully straightening himself up, one big hand coming up to keep the cat supported and let it adjust without reducing his shoulder to a ragged mess of claw-marks. He even afforded the affectionate feline a gentle knuckle-rub underneath the jaw, prompting a mad mashing of face-to-finger.
Tatash: Hah, well, i’m glad we’re not enemies that’s for sure.
He carefully leant down towards the sofa, forming a land bridge with his massive shoulder so the small furry friend could hop off and settle down, but the feline refused to budge, although he looked up when DeVeau returned with an African violet clutched in her hands.
DeVeau: There. I picked one. Sometimes Alora allowed the person she was giving a plant to pick it out for him or herself. Sometimes, she picked it out for them. In that instance, Alora had decided to choose herself. Thus, she arrived, plant in hand, it was planted in an off white pot with dark maroon streaks, the top part a matching dark maroon. The plant itself sported unique quilted leaves with serrated edges. The green was somewhere between light and medium, but also the outer edge was laced with white. Some had only a thin line on those frilled boundaries, while others, the white pushed the green to the center of the main line that ran through the middle of each wide, fuzzy blade. The flowers were made of a single layer of petals, bright yellow centers set against a backdrop of maroon that was a brighter hue than the pot, but still coordinated well.
DeVeau: This one was calling your name, I think.
Tatash: It’s really very pretty, although, does it need a lot of work? The last thing I want is for it to just wither away sat on a windowsill while we’re off having adventures.
There was a soft chuckle. That was often a concert, and one of the many reasons Alora liked that plant was because it didn’t require much work, which made it perfect for gift giving.
DeVeau: Actually now. I’ll send all instructions, they’re really easy to follow. You repot at most twice a year, and can usually get away with it once a year. This pot…::Alora lifted the top part which separated easily from the bottom:: Has an unglazed portion. You put the water in the bowl in the bottom, set the top back inside, and the plant waters itself. Depending on how hot and humid you keep your quarters, at most you should have to water it once a week. Though, if you keep your quarters too warm, I recommend an environmental regulator. That will all be in the instructions, though.
Tatash nodded, seemingly pleased with the idea of something with such little maintenance, looking over it in his hands. The plant looked fairly large in Alora’s, but in his meaty mits it went from a proud plant to practically a blade of grass. He leant down, sniffing at it before smiling to himself.
Tatash: It reminds me of Cestus, the planet I've been sulking in for the last couple of years. It’s mostly an agricultural world, imagine rolling hills of livestock and large fields of various crops. There’s always a need for it, even when people can replicate things, you know like I was saying the real grown stuff just tastes better.
DeVeau: Indeed. Just remember this isn’t meant to be eaten. Alora chuckled softly.
DeVeau: Does that mean Ghdar isn’t your home? Or rather, you consider Cestus your home?
Tatash: Mm, home to me is wherever I spend the most time. Both my brother and I are wanderers, never being comfortable in one place, but that planet does hold a special place to me. I could relax there, I always felt relaxed.
He turned the small plant in his hand again before giving it another sniff, that earthy richness, that gentle scent of well looked after soil. It was beyond pleasing.
Tatash: Thank you for letting me have a bit of home.
DeVeau: Thank you for a lovely night out. I hope we can do it again, and soon.
Tatash: I think you have yourself a deal Alora, but for now, goodnight. Rest well.
As if she could understand what Tatash had said, Sachiko launched off of her perch to land gracefully upon the arm of the couch. The Gorn smiled once more before running his fingers along the affectionate cat's jawbone and heading back towards the door, offering a wave as the door held itself open and he stepped back through clutching his new bundle of green.
Marine Intelligence (Charlie Company)
Starbase 118 Ops
-- Lt. Cmdr. Alora DeVeau First Officer Starbase 118 Ops al...@blar.net M239008AD0