Dinner with the Captain
Location: Captain's Mess
Timeline: March 25th, 2267; Evening
Tags: dinner, drinking, fabricators, first contact day,
Stepping off of the turbolift on Deck 2 always manages to make Yoiko feel nervous. Any other place on the ship and she'd be fine, but ever since Captain Munster decided it was a good idea to convert some unused Science labs over to his office and galley she can't help but get the feeling she's being sent to the Headmaster's Office. Images of three lifetimes of nervous trips to the office creep into her thoughts as she hits the door chime and walks inside without waiting for a response.
Commander Hax stands just clear of the door as it swooshes closed behind her. Mentally she makes a note that the timing needs to be adjusted as she pushes a strand of hair out of her face. As usual for her being off-duty, her hair is down and that massive work belt of hers is nowhere to be seen. Instead her uniform includes the addition of a short black jacket with an Outpost 17 patch stitched into the sleeve - a parting gift from the station's Engineer for helping him out while the Vesuvius was being repaired.
"Jonathon?" Her eyes scan about the room having trouble adjusting to the dimness in comparison to the usually too-bright halls around the ship. "Are you here? Jeeze... am I early again?"
Jonathon chuckles from beside the door, on one knee and elbow deep inside a removed panel, "Sorry...apparently the engineering team didn't get the lights set up correctly in here." There's a quick click and the lights come up to a respectable level. He's currently wearing the alternative uniform for a captain, a green wrap around with the Vesuvius duty patch keeping the whole thing closed on his left hip. He quickly resets the paneling and dusts his hands as he stands, "I hear Jules has made a fantastic spread for us tonight. He shipped in some supplies and had them stored at the starbase. Everything is fresh." He grins, glad to escape the usual starship fare. He motions towards the table that dominates the smaller cozier room implying Yoiko should take a seat as he takes the head of the table. It's set with a spot for every department head, though they are all empty at the moment, "You're the first to arrive, but I'm expecting Ms. Blackford any moment."
The aforementioned Ms. Blackford arrives, nervously smoothing the skirt on her uniform. Despite the fact it was "off-duty", that's not exactly the kind of thing Renna seems to understand. Or, at least, doesn't want to. As she steps inside, her eyes dart over the surroundings quickly before landing on the table first, then Yoiko, and finally Jonathon.
"I'm not late, am I?"
Unable to help herself, Yoiko chuckles slightly at the statement. "Y'know, I just asked the opposite a minute ago?" It only takes a brief moment before she starts to replay the earlier conversation with the Captain in her mind before her eyebrow arches and she glances at Jonathon suspiciously. Leaning back in her seat at the table and resting an arm on the back of the chair she asks, "So...? Captain? Either our Doctor pretties himself up more than I expected or someone new came aboard and you didn't tell me?"
The Commander's eyes glance back at the new Chief Science as she gestures towards the seat beside her. "I'm kidding, of course. Renna Blackford, I'm assuming? I'm Yoiko Hax. Sorry we couldn't meet sooner."
Jonathon had stood as the science officer entered the room and tossed a lopsided grin at Yoiko before joining his first officer in welcoming Renna to the table, "I told Jules to bring out the first course in a few minutes and not to wait on Doctor Rebane." He reaches into the ice bucket at the center of the table and holds up a bottle of Dom Pérignon, quite a feat considering how far Outpost 17 was from Earth, "I managed to get some champagne from Earth shipped out to us. Only a 2260 vintage for this bottle, but I was hoping to save the best for a full staff meal." He prepares to pop the cork, "Anyone interested?"
"Oh, yes, Commander Hax. It's an honor to meet you, the Captain said the two of you practically put this whole ship together yourself. I'm very eager to work with everyone here... we actually have a very impressive crew," Renna says, her tone completely serious. Out of someone else's mouth it might have seemed like pure flattery, but the science officer seems entirely genuine.
Taking a quick look around the room again, the science officer settles herself down into a chair next to Yoiko and eyes the bottle of champagne. "Oh, that would be lovely," Renna says, then pauses. "Just don't let me have too much. I'd rather not say something terribly embarrassing among the senior staff."
The Trill can't help but smirk at the statement. "Don't worry so much about it. It's not like we're on leave. Just more relaxed." She shrugs, pulling her jacket open enough to show that she's wearing her uniform beneath it. "We're all in psudo-uniform, as it should be. None of us are gonna let you make a fool of yourself." With that the woman taps on her glass as if playing poker and deciding to call, making her statement more appropriate - "Hit me."
Jon pulls off the foil from the top of the Dom Pérignon as he walks to the nearest trash receptacle, "I'm pretty certain we're all that's going to make it tonight anyway," He throws the golden foil into the receptacle and begins to twist the wire around the cork away, "so relax, Commander...that's an order." *POP!* The champagne cork comes loose into Jon's hand with the satisfying sound champagne is known for. He grins and begins to pour the bubbly liquid into the women's glasses starting with Renna. "We'll be working together for the next five years, fate willing." He finishes up by pouring into his own champagne flute and raises the glass high while still standing, "To the first of hopefully many dinners to come."
Renna raises her glass in response to the proposed toast, giving a firm nod. "To more dinners!" She says, somewhat awkwardly as she looks between Jon and Yoiko. "And maybe next time we'll have all of the senior staff."
Yoiko raises her glass, chiming in, "Not holding our breath!" She takes a gulp of the champagne and giggles. "I dunno. In my experience if you miss the first dinner with your crewmates you're going to miss most of them and the good Doctor is now one foot in the grave." The Commander sighs, "I'm probably being too quick to judge?"
Taking a sip this time she glances at the Captain with a grin on her face. "Then again... Our Captain just invited two women up to his private dining room with champagne and dim lighting. Maybe this was his plan all along?" Of course she knows better, but what better way to break the ice than by putting your superior officer in an awkward position?
Jon takes his sip and smirks, "Well, if I had planned that you figured me out entirely too quickly." He takes his seat and addresses Renna, "I'm sure in the future there'll be more here. Besides the doctor, we're the only senior staff on board. The rest are still on their way from various spots around the galaxy." He takes another sip of his champagne before setting the thin stemmed glass down, "Have you had a chance to look around the ship, Ms. Blackford?"
If Yoiko's attempt was to embarrass Jon, she failed and it deflected onto Renna. She seems entirely unsure how much of a joke it was and she shifts in her seat slightly, taking a long sip of the champagne to try and look a little more composed. She's certainly not at the level where she feels like she could get away with a joke like that. So when Jon addresses her, she straightens up. "Oh, yes. It's quite an impressive vessel."
Despite how open and friendly she now is, a year ago Ms. Hax was much more like Ms. Blackford. Quiet, focused, and only excitable when absorbed into her work. As such she watches the Chief Science Officer out of the corner of her vision trying to decide how much of her quiet is simply feeling awkward given the situation. Of course her statement derails that train of thought as Yoiko's pride suddenly feels the need to assert itself.
"Damn right it's an impressive vessel. If you remove the experimental warp core from the picture the Vesuvius has a near-spotless track record in Starfleet for the safe operation of a vessel. Nothing out of place. No faulty systems. We've had new systems go online with barely a single glitch. it's half the reason we were pulled back from active service for the project. The Vesuvius is the best ship in the fleet!" ...and then reality comes crashing down on her. "Or would be were it not for... that." Her excitement deflated, the Engineer finishes off her glass of champagne. "We're mostly back together, though." She looks up at the Captain directly. "Aside from some power fluctuations down on deck 22. The fabrication equipment isn't cooperating. The most obvious side effect is the slightly off-color red in the uniforms. Unless Star Fleet wants to change our colors to pink we should have it fixed by tomorrow evening."
"Well, that would be a sight. I doubt Ensign Rikki would enjoy the change," Jon muses. He smiles at Renna as he leans forwards a bit and in a mock conspiratorial tone shares with her, "You have to forgive Yoiko, she's very into her work. Fantastic for an engineer, but I can tell you it took some work to pry her from those engines." He scoops up his glass to take another sip of the champagne before sliding back into a normal tone, "Speaking of engines, Command decided to change our launch date. Looks like we're going to launch on First Contact Day this year. Gives us eleven days. We should be ready in five if I'm not mistaken, but the extra time won't hurt anything."
"Nothing to forgive. Commander Hax is excited about her work and rightfully so. I consider myself very lucky to be here and I do believe that she's right on accounts that it is the best ship," Renna agrees, noting the fact that there is that unfortunate business. "Nothing is ever perfect, but I'd say this comes as close as any ship I've seen." She sips at her champagne and ponders the idea of the launch date. "I think that should be enough time for everyone to get settled and everything set up. I don't mind the time at all. I suppose it gives us leeway to do whatever needs to be done before we leave if anyone had anything last minute to do."
The Commander goes mute as she's suddenly talked about. She does raise an eyebrow at the new launch date, giving it a slight nodding of her head. Her smile returns along with the complement to the ship. "Absolutely. The extra time is welcomed, although I'm almost more excited to hear we're leaving on First Contact Day. Y'know, trying to score extra credit in the Academy by doing extra research into Zefram is what inspired a hobby of mine." Yoiko grins a moment before elaborating. "I have a growing collection of early Earth music from the twentieth-twenty first centuries. Some of the books written about Zefram Cochrane talk about him having a liking for it so I had to go and try to find some. It's good, really good. Maybe we could play some as we set out?" Her eyes go to the Captain hoping for approval.
The Captain gets a hesitant look, "Well, I think I'd give it heavy consideration if we weren't openly broadcasting. There'll be a lot of top brass listening in to everything when we launch and through all the phases of testing. Which, trust me, I'm not happy with Command looking over my shoulder either, but I can't blame them considering how much has gone into this ship." He sets his champagne down as Jules, the ship's chef comes sweeping in.
Julian Richardson is a tall human, bald, wearing a modified work smock. He doesn't speak as he lays out the salads, a fairly typical Earth salad, though the lettuce and vegetables are clearly fresh. Jon thanks him as he leaves before diverting his attention back to the women, "You know our chef isn't naturally bald? He once told me that he abhors something like a hair ruining food so he shaves his head to avoid it. You won't believe everything I went through to get him on board."
Renna eyes the salad appreciatively. "Dedication," she says. "That's truly something admirable." She pauses. "Although I must say I'm grateful my hair doesn't get in the way of my job. I don't think I could wear the look as well." The science officer offers the chef a tiny smile as she straightens her posture again and sets down her champagne to focus on the approaching food.
Eyes going wide, Yoiko nearly drools at the sight of the salad placed before her. "...I don't think I've taken the time to eat anything but the stuff from the synthesizers - and I'm not entirely sure we have them calibrated right." She glances at her empty glass once more, wishing she could refill it from will power alone, but not wanting to ask anyone about it. She places her hands on the edge of the table and bends closer to the salad to inspect it. "This is definitely greener than anything I've eaten this month. Off hand do you know what the ratio is for hand-prepared food to computer prepared?" One hand is raised carefully hovering over her fork. She doesn't want to be the first one to start eating either.
Jon shakes his head, "Can't say I looked too heavily into it. I'm still not sure how they get it into the shapes that sometimes get spit out though." He reaches to the middle of the table to grab the champagne bottle from the ice, "Would anyone like more champagne? I could have someone bring in some wine if you would prefer that."
"Oh, champagne, yes. I like the bubbles," Renna says, picking up her fork and moving it towards the lettuce. "As long as it tastes good when it comes out of the synthesizers, I'm not too picky... but this is luxury. Best of the best."
Lunging for her fork the second Renna makes a grab for it, Yoiko has already shoveled a bite into her mouth before the offer for more to drink is made. The Commander nearly chokes on her bite trying to get it gone fast enough to speak, but manages instead to make a show of herself nodding her head and making noises like a wounded animal. "Hrrm!Urk! Um. Yes! Please more!" Her eyes begin to water as she starts to cough into her hand. Is she normally this ridiculous? Maybe. "I mean, yes. Um. Can I please have some more?" A brief cough. "...this is really good."
Jonathon laughs as he's pouring Renna's glass, "You ok? You sure you need more?" He glances at the salad as he leans over the table slightly to pour Yoiko's champagne, "If the salad looks this good I can't wait to see what the main course is." He refills his own glass and sits down, taking a bite of the salad.
Renna gives a 'thank you' in the form of a nod as she munches contentedly on lettuce. She glances over towards Yoiko as she eats, laughing just slightly and almost looks a little more relaxed. She doesn't really say anything, instead choosing to thank the chef via being too busy eating for words.
Yoiko narrows her eyes ever so slightly at Jonathon's question before taking the glass and sipping from it. "I'm quite fine, thank you." Taking another bite she glances at the door, chewing thoughtfully. "Hmm. So you have no idea what he's prepared? I thought you had to put in a request when you did this sort of thing."
The Captain gives a small shrug as he finishes his first bite of the salad, "He said he'd see what was available to get out this way. I know he's been looking excited the past couple of days, so whatever it is I'm sure it'll be fantastic." He takes another bite of his salad as he contemplates the possibilities, "I look forward to it, no matter what it is." He turns to Renna, "Ms. Blackford, Starfleet is letting me have the reins a bit once we get past the shakedown cruise. I can pretty much pick a direction from here and take the ship that way. There anything out in this area of space you'd like to study? Might as well make my science officer happy, since you'll be leading a lot of the work force on an exploration mission."
Renna looks a bit surprised at the question, but her eyes light up as she almost forgets about her fork. "That's a very big question. I hadn't even thought of that! Mostly, I'm just excited to explore. I'd have to do some research and get back to you on what seems the most promising to start with. I can assure you it won't be hard to find a good option." She remembers her fork and takes a quick bite. "Just something new and fresh would be nice. Fresh start for everyone, right?"
"I like that. A fresh start." Yoiko looks at her now empty bowl and frowns slightly. "I think that sounds about right. Put the past behind us and move on." Her eyes briefly dart to a photo of the Captain and his former bridge officers on a shelf in the room. "...now if we could just get everyone to stop assuming the ship is going to break down every time they flip on a light switch we'll be fine. I know after the accident we had there's some general nervousness amongst everyone - especially with words like 'testing' and 'experimental' being thrown around but we're safe. Let's move on." She glances around the table and then back to the door. "Speaking of... isn't there more food coming?"
Jon nods at the notion of a fresh start and is just beginning to speak when Jules shows back up again with a couple of cooks in tow, each with a dish. The smell of fresh grilled steak fills the room. "Ah, Jules, that smells fantastic. You got steak out here?" The chef's dark face brightens with a brilliant smile, "Only the best, Captain. I have a friend back home who owed me a favor." He slides the plate in front of the captain as the other two chefs set their own plates in front of Yoiko and Renna. The steak is almost still sizzling and the red potatoes are perfectly seasoned. "Looks fantastic. Thank you for your work, Jules." The chefs bow out and clear the room. Jon smiles, "I suppose...dig in!"
Renna nods. "People have a tendency to assume failure rather than hoping for success. Not always a bad thing, but it makes it twice as hard. I'm sure they'll come around. If they were really scared, after all, they'd find some way not to be here." She stops to admire the steak, almost staring intently. She's definitely taking enjoyment out of this particular meal. "Wow, you weren't kidding when you said this was going to be good," she murmurs.
In what should have been an obvious reaction, the first officer has to actually stop herself from drooling as the smell of food hits the air. She stares at the dishes with an excited glee before trying to catch the Chef's attention as he vanishes out of the room with his companions, "You are my favorite person on this ship." Her eyes quickly return to her own plate as again she waits to make sure someone else starts before her. "I..." Yoiko closes her eyes a moment to focus on her words and not her food. "I-I mean we need to keep people focused..." She closes her eyes a second as a voice in her head mocks her for being a hypocrite. "...I mean keep them from slacking off. We gotta keep people moving forward. Um... start... starting forward." There was a point here, but she's lost it trying to keep herself from charging ahead with the meal before anyone else. Probably also obvious from the wide-eyed staring at her food.
Jon shakes his head at Yoiko, "Eat, please. No one should starve themselves at the Captain's table. Why don't we focus on the food for a bit. Conversation can wait until after dinner."
Renna's unable to stifle a small laugh at Yoiko's inability to focus with the food in front of her. Her own eyes scan the plate with eagerness. "Oh, good, I'm glad you said that. I wasn't entirely sure any of us could have a rational conversation with this sort of decadence just sitting in front of her." She proceeds to go for her food, choosing to, indeed, forget conversation for the moment in favor of something more sustaining. The others join her with enthusiasm.