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A quiet dinner

Posted on Sat Jul 29th, 2023 @ 11:20am by Lieutenant Orin Sempton & Lieutenant Lily Marlow

Mission: A New Beginning
Location: Lily's Quarters
4033 words - 8.1 OF Standard Post Measure


Lily was a little bit in a dither about the fact that Orin was willing to come to have dinner with her. She planned on it being a quiet relaxing meal, and deemed it best to keep her clothing simple and comfortable. She went through her clothing and found a shirt that would be well suited. The color was a hunter green, and it looked good on her. A pair of black athletic style pants, ( Not sweats) and a pair of slip on shoes. Lily couldn't decide between making pizza or make enchiladas She decided to do both. Soon the aroma of cooking sausage and bacon, as well as ground beef filled her quarters with a delicious aroma.

Orin had been standing outside Lily's quarters for nearly 15 minutes, staring at the door. Occasionally, someone would walk down the corridor and he'd move to allow them through, then go back to staring. Just push the chime. He thought, for the dozenth time. Just push it and get it over with. Instead, he looked at his reflection in the dark panel next to the door again. He wore a simple white linen shirt with a tan canvas vest that matched his canvas cargo pants. Orin shook his head again, and looked down at the scuffed and scarred leather boots, before once again bumping his head into the panel. These were the nicest clothes he had that wasn't the suit he used when presenting findings to the Daystrom Institute, and it was his summer excavation outfit. He heard motion behind him, and the sound of a suppressed giggle as someone walked past. I've fought thousands of simulated hordes, crazed people under the influence of intelligent crustaceans and holographic monsters without flinching, and I'm absolutely terrified to press a button. Fine, we'll do this the easy way. He closed his eyes and focused, imagining a flickering lamp. As he controlled his breathing, he began to feel the familiar calmness enter his mind. And with it, he reached out and pressed the chime.

Lily had just slid the pizza in the oven and set the timer when she heard the chime of the bell. She went over and opened the door, her face lighting up when she saw Orin there. "Hi glad you came. Welcome to my humble abode." stepping to one side to let him in.

"What perfect timing, I just put the pizza in the oven, and the enchiladas are about to be going in as well." Lily feeling a bit perky right now. She had agonized earlier that she might have scared Orin off. Maybe having been too eager. She knew he was a rather humble man and a bit shy, but Lily wanted to well, have dinner with him.

Orin smiled as he stiffly stepped inside. "That sounds delicious." He held up the container he gingerly carried in both hands. "I brought the dessert. Baklava. Was a family friend's recipe." He couldn't help his eyes, as they began to scan around. First on Lily; Her smiling face, clothing, hands, and then the room around him. Everything he saw was documented and sorted through in his mind.

Lily's room
From standing in the door, to the left would be seen a small desk for Lily's work she does there. To the left of the desk would be a small dining table where four could fit. Along the right of the dining table would be a small kitchenette, complete with a small two burner stove and an oven on an island plus a sink against the wall and a small 'fridge'. Somewhat dividing the kitchen and the living room is a planter which has herbs growing in it with a grow lamp to help the growth. A sofa is on the other side of the planter which curves around slightly to where the stars could be seen. This gave enough room, to the right there is an electric piano, and on the right of that set into the corner is a sewing machine, with some shelves against the wall which separated the living room from the bedroom.

Directly to the right of the door, is what looks like a wall but instead it is the back of a book shelf about six feet in height and four feet in width. Lily had created her own little book nook area with a holographic fireplace and a comfortable chair where she can read books. Lily had also gotten herself a tub along with a sonic shower wanting to have the capability to have a soak.

"Baklava, ooh its been awhile since I have had it. Thank you." Lily giving Orin a gentle smile. "Why don't you put the dessert upon the table." motioning towards the table. She had gotten a look at his outfit, and he looked like he was comfortable in it. " I love what you are wearing, it looks comfortable." She taking in his outfit even being bold in walking up and feeling the sleeve of his shirt. "This is good craftsmanship" she spoke quietly, then looked up into his eyes. "Is there any type of music you would like to listen to while we wait for dinner to be finished?"

His ears began to turn a little pink as he looked back down at her. Don't tense up, you'll crush the baklava, and dishonor Constantine, who was nice enough to give you the recipe before that trip. "It's uh... It's linen. Light and durable, but breathable." He quickly turned and gently placed the dessert on the table. "Music. Um, yes." He swept his hair back, wiping the bit of sweat that had begun to form, and scratched his head. "Something instrumental? My apologies, most of my musical inclinations tend to be of the classic variety."

"Oh! What is one of your favorite pieces? I do like listening to classical music. It can be invigorating, also calming, depending on the ones a person listens to. Or even inspirational." Lily answered. "I do like the Moonlight Sonata, also two songs I love to play is Fur Elise or Ode to a Rose. You can go ahead and request something." her eye catching the time and went to put in the enchiladas, to cook in the oven.

"I'm rather a fan of Rachmaninoff and Liszt. Much like Beethoven you can feel the raw emotion in the music, but to be fair, that also has much to do with the performer or performers playing the piece." He watched as she moved the enchiladas into the oven and inhaled deeply, enjoying the mixed aromas. "But as per your question, Computer, play Edvard Grieg 'In the hall of the Mountain King.'" Orin closed his eyes as the sounds of plucked strings began.

When Lily heard Orin's request she spun around her eyes lighting up. She soon closed her own eyes, as she heard the music play. The bassoons, the plucking of the violins and cellos' as well as hearing the tuba, french horns, the kettle drums, trombones and clarinets, then the piccolos. Lily felt the music permeate her being, just basking in the notes and rhythm as it began to build up its speed. In fact Lily couldn't keep her hands still, moving to the music as if she were directing the piece. Almost right after the finale of the music hit, the timer sounded. Lily's eyes flew open, then quickly moved to the oven using the hot pads that were there to get the pizza out as well as the enchiladas. With both hands full Lily' turned towards the table, used her right leg to close the oven door and set the food upon the table. where there were larger pads for her to set the hot food down. "I love that piece of music. When as a child I used to dance around the living room, to that music." giving a giggle.

"I'm rather sure that was a common occurrence to any child that listened to it." He said. "Between it and 'Morning Mood', there's something that just made you want to move. Same with 'Peter and the Wolf'". He looked over the food on the table, keeping his eyes from focusing on anything, or anyone, else. "A nice assortment, and it smells lovely."

"Thank you, just something easy and also, comfort food." Lily responded with a smile. "However I have forgotten one thing that is very important, wait multiple items " she mused aloud, "Well the gear we need to eat this with and, drinks and at the moment I do not want to try to eat enchiladas with my hands especially them being hot. What would you like to drink?" Lily moving towards her cupboard to retrieve the dishes and silverware.

Orin thought for a minute. "Most likely just water or possibly lemonade. I wouldn't want something to dull or overpower the palate and do injustice to your hard cooked meal."

"We can have both then, and you are in luck, I have lemonade made, freshly squeezed. " Bringing out the pitchers after emptying her hands of table settings. Inside there were slices of lemon floating in the pitcher of lemonade. "Okay there, its all ready for us to enjoy." Lily smiling. "Now then, what sort of dinner music shall we listen to? Any suggestions?" Lily having taken a seat on her side of the table.

Orin blinked a few times, clearly caught off guard. "You've... Uh. You've thought of everything, haven't you?" He waited till she was settled in and took the opposite seat. "For music... Something light maybe? Orchestral is out, piano or guitar." He thought for a minute, fingers twitching and eyes moving about, repeating "No." in a soft, whispered voice, as they moved. After a minute, he looked up. "Ah, found something, and fitting considering we're in the eternal night of space. Computer, play Chopin's Nocturnes, all."

"Well truth be told, I do like a good glass of lemonade, even lemon water. So... well it was there ready. I am just surprised you wanted lemonade. " Lily giving a slight shrug, reaching over to pick up the serving spoon to dish up some enchiladas, placing the spoon down and turning it over to where Orin could gain access. She then also got a piece of pizza, winding the string of melted cheese around her finger then placing it in her mouth. She closed her eyes for a moment or two, listening to the nocturne, once the pizza was on her plate, her fingers going through the motions of the notes on a piano. She stopped as she wanted to begin eating, beginning with her piece of pizza. "I am glad you suggested Chopin's nocturnes."

He nodded, serving himself a few of the enchiladas, careful to not drip sauce everywhere. "There is something satisfying about music supposedly inspired by the night. Especially in space." He watched her hands, playing notes and chords in the air. "Though I must admit," he said with a shrug "while I enjoy the sound, I've never been musically inclined. I have neither the talent or internal rhythm needed for it." He popped a piece of the gooey mess into his mouth and gave a sudden, low moan of satisfaction. "Oh my, that is fantastic. The perfect blend of spice to flavor ratio without overpowering either."

"Thank you, my father taught me how to make that recipe. And it is great comfort food." her cheeks coloring pink feeling the greatest pleasure in the fact that Orin enjoyed the enchiladas. "They can be a bit addicting too." Lily giving a light chuckle. She moved her hands down to pick up her fork in order to take her first bite. It was really good, it even surprised her! "Oh gosh it seems forever since I've made these." taking another mouthful, then another, just having that look of bliss. She poured herself some lemonade to wash the food down with.

"I can see why they would be considered addicting, and am glad there's more." He gave her a small smile. "Thank you. It's been a rather long time since I've had a home cooked meal." The smile turned sad for a second as a memory passed, before disappearing. He reached for the jug of lemonade and poured himself a glass, awkwardly switching between slowly sipping the beverage and eating more to keep his mouth occupied. After a bit, he looked over at her. "I'm sorry. I'm used to dining alone, or in my Office. I'm, uh... I'm not good with people. Well, living people." He clarified, his expression slightly pained. "My father taught me the sciences, but interpersonal skills weren't a focus."

Lily had been concentrating on her own food, while the music played in the background, enjoying the companionable silence whilst they were eating. She finished chewing her mouthful then took a drink of the lemonade, wiping her mouth clean, she then remarked. "Orin, I have been enjoying just having you as company and eating dinner with me. You are someone I can relax around, and you have a calming way about you. I don't know if you realize it but, with all that has happened so far since I've been on this ship and that experience on Adna Station, I do not know how I, well that is we could have gotten through that ordeal without you." Lily feeling her cheeks going warm. "You helped me get through that."

He picked at his pizza slice, trying to find the correct words, before looking into Lily's eyes. "I have done no more than anyone else, especially on Adna." He began. "I will admit that the rather eclectic knowledge I've managed to accumulate in the fileroom has been able to help in a few tight spots, but I cannot accept such high praise, even from you. I am happy to have helped you in any way though, especially as I have..." Orin suddenly jammed the piece of pizza into his mouth, stopping himself from talking further. Now it was his turn to look away and redden. No. Stop. Danger. his mind screamed.

Lily's eyes widened slightly at his reaction, she was wondering what he was about to say. She cast her eyes back down towards her plate, scooping up the last part of her enchiladas and putting it in her mouth. When her mouth was free and clear she said quietly. "I don't know if you could call it high praise, its just I wanted to express my appreciation, and just mention how important it was. I don't know how to fight with hand held weapons, I could maybe utilize some makeshift ones when in dire straits. I have minimal martial arts, what I know is Tai Chi and what was taught in Academy." She looked up towards Orin, "So yes I will give you a compliment, it takes someone to inspire someone to keep going on strong." she reached out to get another slice of pizza, tearing bits off and placing them in to her mouth not paying any heed to the grease that got onto her fingers and not staring at Orin either. She didn't want to make him anymore uncomfortable than what he was feeling.

Orin's mouth worked, even after the pizza was long swallowed, slowly working thoughts and emotion. "A wise man once said 'Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will.'" He finally said. "That, you have in spades." He sighed, pushed his glasses up and rubbed his face. "Another said 'You can tell the character of every man when you see how he receives praise.' I will always deflect, as I never believe I have done something worthy of it. It is an unfortunate character defect." He looked back up at Lily with a weary smile. "I thank you for the praise, and I will accept it as gratefully as I did this wonderful meal."

Lily glanced up from her pizza giving a soft smile, "You are most welcome Orin" she ate her last bit of pizza, then her eyes drifted over towards the Baklava. "I would love to have some of that Baklava now, it smelled so good when you brought it in. It took a great amount of willpower to not decide to have dessert first." Lily giving a laugh.

Orin smiled as he reached over and picked up the container. "It's probably a good thing we didn't." He said as he began opening it. "Gave the simple syrup and honey mix time to settle in." He looked down at the chewy confection and his smile turned sad again. "Constantine used to say making this was a day long endeavor. I hope I did his recipe justice." He placed the container down near Lily. "Please."

Lily dished up a portion and then slid the container over towards Orin. It was not lost on her the sadness in his smile, she cut a bite with her fork, placing it in her mouth and her eyes widened with delight. "Ooh such rapture. This is delicious. I would think Constantine would be pleased with you, he sounds like he was someone very special to you. Would you tell me about him?"

He stared at her for a long moment. "He was my father's oldest friend. He actually introduced my parents to each other. It's been twenty years, and my father still blames himself for his passing." He began. "They grew up together, dreamt of lost cities and forgotten places, studied archaeology and formed a small group of like minded people who were also interested in the dark century. My father Peyton, Constantine, Jasim, Kiran, Vanek. They were passed the torch and continued the work other's had done." Orin took his glass and swirled the remnants of the lemonade around before finishing it and pouring another glassful. "Scores of archaeologists had already gone through all the easy places and rebuilt histories of the major countries. So they explored places like central Africa and what was left of the Amazon, documenting the native peoples and excavating what was left of whole villages where no one was remained. He would..." Orin trailed off, looking at the baklava, before taking a piece and slowly chewing on it before letting out a deep sigh. "I can never get the flavor right. I wonder if it's the difference between real ingredients and replicated? Anyway, he would make a massive tray of this for my mother an I. A peace offering before he and my father left on another trip. And when they came back, he would sit me on his knee and tell me the stories of what they found and their adventures. He made a lot of it up, and embellished quite a bit, but I was young and wanted to believe it all."

Lily had been caught up in Orin's story that she had neglected to take another bite of the dessert, she ended up putting the bite along with utensil upon her plate. When he mentioned the Baklava, she looked down at the dessert then back towards him. "Such memories connected to a dessert such as this. It is very delicious though, Orin, even if it is made from replicated items. Perhaps, when we get some non replicated ingredients you can make it again, and hopefully it will taste like how Constantine had made it." Lily picking up the fork and eating the baklava that was on it. "its still good, very good. I can taste the care and the fondness you have for Constantine. Its right there." she gesturing towards the baklava. "You see my father has always said where cooking is concerned, it is a an extension of yourself and what you put into the cooking, emotional wise, that makes a dish delicious or not delicious."

She looked over at the enchiladas and the pizza. "You loved the flavor, of what I made. It tasted good, even if it was made out of replicated ingredients. Well except for the spices, however everything else was made from replicated ingredients." Lily taking last bite of her baklava. "This is really good."

"Thank you for the compliment, and your cooking was delicious." He said. "I'm just fighting against a memory when it comes to this." He took another piece of the confection and nibbled on the edge. "It's like attempting to recreate an important moment or a first kiss. It's never quite the same as you remember it."

"you are welcome and also thank you." Lily answered, she agreed with what Orin had said. "You are right, always looking for that one element with which to have that one taste or experience like before. And that one element would be the connection that you had with Constantine." she looked at a crumb that was left on her plate and reached out with her index finger and thumb lifting it up she placed it into her mouth. Then she said. "This meal, this dessert all tastes wonderfully. To me one of the best meals I've had in a long while. I've made this type of food, quite a few times. Each time it turned out very good. However for some reason, it tastes different but in a good way. I think the reason being is due to you."

"Food does always taste better when shared." He opined. "There must be something within the human psychological make up that makes it so. Probably something to do with us being social beings. But yes, that was probably the best meal I've had in a very long time and pleasant company to go with it."

"I would like to do this again, if you would like. And I would like to hear more about you. And you can ask me questions if you are curious enough." Lily slightly teasing Orin. She smiled warmly. "I definitely enjoyed this dinner very much."

"As did I, and I would care to do this again. And next time, we can take turns asking questions. I will warn you though, the book of my life isn't exactly a weighty tome." Orin stood up. "This has been a wonderful time, thank you. And please, keep what's left of the baklava. I can share the recipe if you'd like."

Lily gave a nod and rose to her feet as well. "Yes please I would love to have that recipe. Also Thank you and I too would love to do this again. " She followed him to the door of her quarters to see him out. "I have enjoyed this immensely."

He turned as he stepped out of the door. "As have I. Good evening." with a final smile and nod, Orin walked down to the Turbolift, waiting till one passed by without passengers. As he stepped through, he looked up and said "Deck Seven." waiting a few seconds after the doors closed before letting out a strangled shout, followed by "Why do I have to make everything so awkward?!" as he banged his forehead off the deck plating.

"Answer unknown." replied the computer.

Orin did his best not to look up at the speaker in the ceiling. Instead, he was able to squeak out "Computer, change destination to Deck Nine." Keeping the frustration at bay, but just barely. Within a few minutes he was out of the lift and standing in Holodeck 3, which was blessedly unused at this hour. "Computer; night time scenario on a mountaintop, high peaks Adirondacks, on a clear summer evening. A campfire in the center, with logs for multiple people to sit surrounding. On the logs, Marcus Aurelius, Surak of Vulcan, Kahless and Ving Kuda. All able to speak and understand Terran English."

No reply came from the computer, save for two beeps and the room becoming a pine filled expanse with a blazing fire in front of him. He took a spot on a log, and looked around at his frozen companions. All from different planets and times, but all great philosophers of their people. Maybe. He thought, Maybe this will work better than fighting.

"Computer, run program."



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