Crisis on the Frontier 4X01
Location: Officers' Mess, Deck 9
Timeline: MD04 - 0630
The officers' mess was only sparsely occupied with only a few crewmen scattered at the small tables. If you're going to cook something, Ema reasoned as she crossed from the doorway to the replicator consoles mounted along the wall, you'd probably better eat it first. Then, standing in front of the convenient food dispensers she ordered, "Chicken cacciatore, traditional style." She had invited her scientist's mate to a dinner party earlier in the day, one that she had only barely begun planning in her head, and the Caitian had indicated this Human dish to be among her favorite foods.
As the tiny motes of energy winked away and her dinner settled into the small alcove Ema scrunched her face up skeptically at the sight. It smelled wonderful, but it was much... sloppier than the cuisine from her homeworld, Halii. Regardless of the appearance, she had committed to trying her hand at this. Maybe once I understand the ingredients and the flavors, she thought as she lifted the plate and turned to find a place to sit, then I can clean it up a bit.
Toward the center of the room she spotted another young lieutenant, her reddish hair pulled back, but still revealing its curly nature. Ema was sure she wasn't part of the science staff, so that left the medical division as her most likely division. New to the ship herself, Ema was aware that many others had recently joined the ship.
"Mind if I join you, doctor?" she hazarded a guess as to the woman's profession and smiled down at the stranger, her hand resting gently on the back of the seat across from Thea.
Thea looked up, completely unaware that anyone had approached until they had spoken. She'd had her nose in a PADD and had been eating with one hand mulling over the idea that she should actually engage someone in conversation but not having the faintest idea how to do it.
"No," She answered softly. "Please sit." It wasn't a brilliant introduction but it would have to do. "I'm Thea. You don't have to call me doctor."
Ema slid down into the chair opposite Thea and put her plate on the tabletop. "A pleasure, Thea. I'm Ema," she introduced herself and extended a hand across the table. While a handshake wasn't a traditional Haliian gesture, Ema had worked with enough Humans that she was more than familiar with their introductory rituals.
Thea took the hand. "Likewise." She searched for something else to say. "Have you been on the Endeavour long? Thea turned off the screen and pushed the PADD away. "I've never served on a Nebula-class ship before, not that it matters much being in medical, sickbays are similar no matter the ship and the patients are always different."
The Haliian woman giggled lightly. "I suppose you're right about that," she said. "I just came aboard, actually."
"What position?" Thea asked curiously. "After all that please don't tell me it's medical."
"Chief Science Officer," Ema answered. "From the looks of the department, the position has been vacant too long."
"Ah. Maybe it has. Good people are often hard to come by, even in Starfleet. It's not as if there's a draft. Can you imagine the people who would get in if that were the case? I can just see my best friend from third grade trying to recalibrate the sensors. He's the one who had the bright idea of sticking his tongue on the metal pole during winter. It went downhill from there."
Ema swalled the bite of chicken she had been chewing and smiled at Thea's jest. "Sounds like a good thing you left that friend ship in your childhood," she smiled.
"Have you ever had this?" she pointed to her plate with her fork. "Chicken cacciatore," she explained in case Thea was not familiar with the Terran dish.
"Hmm, probably. I don't recognize it though. That doesn't mean anything, my dad usually did the cooking and I love him to death but he wasn't exactly a gourmet chef." Thea looked up at her. "Is it good?"
Ema bit her lower lip and took a few seconds to mull the doctor's question over. "The flavors are very rich," she said finally. "It isn't bad, just different from what I'm used to."
"Why try it, curiosity?" Thea wondered watching the woman test the first bite and slowly chew and swallow.
"I'm going to have to learn to make some version of it," Ema brushed a stray hair out of her face. "I dabble in the kitchen, and I'm going to be having a few people over for dinner. You should come," she beamed at Thea. "Anyway, this is what my first guest requested." She plucked another bit of replicated dish and brought it to her mouth.
"Ah I see. So cooking is a hobby of yours?" Thea passed over the invitation without comment. "Have you been doing it long?" All these questions and yet Thea had not offered much about herself except the story of a childhood friend whom she had not spoken to in over two decades.
Ema giggled. "Most of my adult life, I suppose. The majority of it over a camp stove or open fire, though. I merely dabble at the gourmet variety." She put another bite of the chicken into her mouth.
"I like to bake," Thea offered but I'm afraid I'm lost when it comes to doing any other cooking and I've often admitted that my baking isn't exactly healthy for my patients or myself so I don't do it often."
Hastily, Ema chewed and swallowed. "Well, then this is the perfect excuse!" she exclaimed happily. "You can bring the dessert!"
Thea raised her eyebrows, her mind backtracking to the invitation and wondering how she had just acted. "Oh, all right. I guess I could."
"Wonderful!" Ema called out happily. "I'll forward you the details as soon as they're finalized." She chomped down on another bit of replicated chicken and sauce.
The outburst of emotions completely baffled Thea. She blinked a few times more and managed her own small smile. Why anyone would want to have dinner with her, she had no idea. "Great." She put her sandwich back down on the plate. "Guess I'm not as hungry as I thought I was," Thea's stomach was now doing backflips over the thought of attending dinner with a bunch or strangers.
Picking up on the disparity between her own nearly devoured meal and the doctor's barely bitten sandwich, Ema's wondered briefly if she'd done something wrong. She couldn't imagine what boundary she might have overstepped. Being invited to a dinner party with new crewmates seemed like it should be a good thing. Maybe the sandwich just isn't very good afterall, she thought before putting her own fork down. "I haven't met much of the senior staff yet," she segued gracefully and folded her hands in her lap. "Have you?"
"No, just the Captain really. Then I met this ensign who used to be a member of the Borg collective, course that's not how he started out I'm sure. I didn't ask about his family. I suppose that's why lounges were put on starships, so people could chat about the things they didn't have time to ask about while on duty." Now that the other woman was asking her questions Thea's stomach seemed to settle a little and she nibbled some more.
"And with what we heading into duty shifts are sure to be plenty busy. Pirates... can you imagine?" Ema shook her head, black hair dancing across her shoulders. Even during her wild and untamed years as an archaeologist she had never come across pirates. These were different times though, and people seemed more desperate now than they were back in those days.
"I'm trying not to," Thea answered honestly with a small sigh. "Pirates, thieves, mercenaries . . . so many words that usually mean I'm going to be busy in sickbay. And even though I do love helping people, I'd rather I never had to practice what I've learned."
Lieutenant Thea Davenport
Chief Medical Officer
Lieutenant (j.g.) Ema Ourielle
Chief Science Officer