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Awoo's Coming for Dinner

Posted on 09 Feb 2023 @ 12:09pm by Lieutenant Commander Harva Taliborn & Zenia Pariborn

1,441 words; about a 7 minute read

Mission: A New Frontier
Location: Harva's Quarters

Harva's tail had been - unruly for hours. As engineer he hadn't had the extensive tail behaviour training that actors, diplomats, politicians, law enforcement and military personnel had had so he couldn't quite control it as well as those and every now and then he'd caught himself wagging his fifth appendage. He had a daughter.

Now though, his shift was over, the list of tickets was almost done, the ship was almost back in full repair again, and he was doing what he'd promised to do. Cooking a big, Sirran dinner for Zenia. It consisted of various chunks of various meats, prepared, seasoned, cooked and baked to perfection, to be served alongside some sauces and other flavorings. As he cooked his sonorous, resonating hum hummed a merry tune from his home world.

By this point, Zenia had settled into the guest quarters that had been assigned to her, although there hadn't been a lot of "settling" to do since she hadn't brought much with her. Once the day was done for the alpha shift officers, Zenia followed the ship's directions to the quarters of Commander Taliborn...her father. That was still taking some getting used to. Not that she didn't always know she had one, but she didn't expect to all but stumble on him here.

She took a deep breath and pressed the chime.

"Enter!" he called out, electing to keep things in Federation standard for now.

His quarters were heavily modified from the standard for officers of his position, the perks of being an engineer. The standard furniture had been removed and replaced with larger, stronger types, though that also meant less seating places and a bit less open floorspace to accomodate the larger furniture. Various paintings and artworks adorned the walls, nature scenes and landscapes from Sirrah, with the unique flora and fauna native to his - their - home world. It was also a bit less bright than normal officer quarters, with darker wooden furniture rather than the bright cream and white colored starfleet ISO standard coloring.

"I'm in the kitchen!" he called out after he'd heard the door close behind her again. She'd find him there in leisure wear, a bit looser fitting than his uniform, showing glimpses of the scarring on his chest and the back of his arms.

"Hi," Zenia said with an awkward smile. Seeing him in something other than a uniform almost made it feel like she was meeting him for the first time again. Like this was a new him. Of course, she knew that was silly, but it was still all a lot to deal with. "I thought I should bring something, but I didn't know what." She held out her empty hands with a self-conscious shrug.

"Long as you brought a good mood you're fine," Harva waved dismissively, keeping his eye on the cooking though, handily turning over the pieces of meat in the frying pan to sear the other side too. "D'you prefer talking in Sirran or in Federation standard?"

"Federation Standard is fine, thanks," Zenia said, and it wasn't just because Bella was lazy and didn't want to put all the italics tags in. "I spent most my life on Earth. Mom taught me Sirran, obviously, but I didn't really grow up speaking it." She took a few steps closer, lifting her nose and sniffing at the scents coming from the cooking. "It smells good."

"It better," Harva cheerfully replied. "Spent more than enough years learning how to cook. I've actively considered a career as chef but decided that I liked machinery and equipment just a bit too much for that, so a hobby it shall remain," he was bouncing on his feet, happy to share his hobby with his daughter. "I figured there was a bit of an accent to your Sirran. Nothing bad mind you, you're easily fluent, but I'd been trying to place your accent and running into a wall."

She tried to not feel embarrassed about it anyway. Teenagers were basically the same across every race, which meant easily awkward, but she covered it well. "Hopefully you don't feel you're into a wall anymore then," she said before moving on again. "Cooking like this, real cooking, deals with equipment too. So, the hobby kind of crosses over."

"I s'pose," he replied. It was fundamentally different of course, but he wasn't going to make a point of that. And she wasn't completely wrong. It was still taking something physical, subjecting it to a process and making use of the end result. In that way, cooking was a bit like engineering. "Almost done, you wanna set the table?"

"Sure," she said with a small nod. It was an...oddly domestic directive, which was only natural and felt rather unnatural at the same time. She felt pretty sure that's just how things were going to feel for a while, so she tried to not worry about it. Fussing about the contradictions would help nothing. Instead, she found the various items to set the table with and went about doing so. Her mind rolled around looking for conversation. "So, how long have you been on the Odin?"

"Few weeks. Came onboard as her new chief of engineering, turns out they doublebooked the position," he mused, starting to serve the meal. "I took a step back, let the other person have the chief spot. I don't mind. This gives me more time to work on my own projects anyways," he added with a smile.

Zenia had to wonder how often that sort of thing happened. It seemed like it shouldn't happen at all, but apparently even Starfleet could make mistakes. She chose to not focus on that part too much since she doubted her could know what actually happened anyway. "What sorts of projects?" she asked instead.

"Right now, nothing specific," Harva replied, finishing serving the meal and motioning for her to sit before he did. "Though I'm thinking about making an autonomous toolcarrier. There are ready made ones available, but I wanna try my hand at building my own," he explained. "Need to build a chassis, figure out propulsion, limited environment scanning, so it needs sensors and some sort of decision engine, should be fun."

"Would it differ somehow from the ones you already have access to?" she asked curiously. She wasn't a builder like that, so to her, it made sense that if you designed and built one of your own, it would do something different than the ones you already had.

"... Haven't gotten that far yet," Harva replied after a moment's silence. He considered briefly, then shrugged and sat down. "Bon appetit," he grinned. "It's nice, cooking for someone. Gives the effort meaning."

Zenia smiled a little as she looked at the food laid out before her. "I can't say I've ever thought much about it, as I don't cook much for others. Mom did most of that, and now I've been on starships and all. I can understand many things being better with others than alone, though." A sentiment that echoed her youth as an only child and the only Sirran child around. "I'm pretty good at mixing drinks that various Federation folks like, though." Hence the lounge manager position she'd been working.

"I'm sure there's a career in that, if you wanted," Harva flicked an ear. "Find a nice station or planet, meet many new people, new cultures, sounds like a decent life to me."

"I've been leaning that way," she agreed. "It wouldn't even have to be a stationary post. I've learned that a lot of the larger Federation ships--Starfleet and civilian--have lounges and will hire civilians to oversee them. There's a lot of options to it, and I do enjoy it. Growing up on Earth made me appreciate meeting so many different types of people, since we were in the San Francisco area and near the academy. Many different people around there."

"Indeed," Harva smiled, taking a bite to eat. He closed his eyes for a moment, just enjoying the rich flavor - cooked and seasoned to perfection. "It's the diversity in Starfleet that originally put them in my sights. The ideals made me want to join."

She nodded, not replying for a moment as she chewed. "I can see that," she replied after a moment. "I can't quite say it's driven me to want to join Starfleet, but I think I'd be good with working in a civilian capacity on Federation ships and installations."

"Well, you're young, you've got at least a century and a half ahead of you," Harva smiled, as they had a nice, well-cooked meal.


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