Posted by Fleet Captain Alexander Cochrane (Commanding Officer) in side-sim: Stowaways (Tag Cochrane)
Posted by Commander Shedda Mal’athar (Executive Officer) in side-sim: Stowaways (Tag Cochrane)
Posted by Fleet Captain Alexander Cochrane (Commanding Officer) in side-sim: Stowaways (Tag Cochrane)
Posted by… suppressed (8) by the Post Ghost! 👻
“I’ll let it slide. So… Harv is or was a wanted fugitive. He had multiple warrants issued for his arrest. Federation warrants, at that. Conspiracy to commit murder, assault with a deadly weapon, inter-species homicide, flight to avoid prosecution, inter-planetary flight, inter-system flight, … um… assault on law-enforcement personnel (that one I think was a trumped up charge, personally.), endangering the public, falsifying of travel documentation, and about a dozen violations of the Risian Public Health Code. Oh yes.. and murder in the first degree. It was on vid, so its certain he did it.” and he took a bite of the reuben and let the charges simmer in his XO’s mind for a bit.
Shedda paused with the sandwich midway to her mouth and put it down. She crossed her arms and leaned back watching Alex. Then she picked up a fry, pointed it at him, “Alright, out with the rest. Because there is no way you are harboring an outright fugitive. You are loyal to Star Fleet, but I have also seen you act on your own sense of justice, but never without cause and reason.” She was willing to give Alex that much trust. Then she paused, was this going to bite her later, ruin her chances to adopt Maava? With a sigh she dipped the fry in ketchup and popped in her mouth. It was too late now she already knew enough. “And I will only admit it is the best Rueban I’ve eaten.”
“Thats what I meant. His peanut butter and honey sandwich on toast is where you’ll lose your mind. Anyway…” and he took a drink.
Shedda didn’t bother to answer, remember that very odd morning where he’d shoved a plate of toast with peanut butter in front of her. The man was uncanny…and annoying. Don’t forget annoying.
“So Harv....Char’les Harv is not his real name, thats been scrubbed… is and was a chef. And not just any chef. He was the Head Chef of the Pinnacle Resort on Risa. You know it?” he asked.
“Not personally, but it has a reputation.”
“Anyway, he started there as a sous chef and truly came into his own there as well. He created recipes for desserts, entrees, soups, breads… anything and everything for all types of species. The reputation of the formal dining room at the Pinnacle grew and it became known as the place to eat on Risa. Reservations booked years in advance. He was that good. After a few years as Assistant, the Chef retired and named Harv to take over. He spent five years as the head chef, he was good to his staff, and considered all of them his friends. They all worked long hours and very hard, but apparently they cared for each other and became a kind of informal family. So when one of his Risan pastry bakers came in with bruises and a black eye, Harv was concerned. He asked her what had happened and, at first, she refused to tell him. Finally, after a few days, she broke down in his office crying. She told him that she had been violated… more than once… by an Orion Syndicate Underboss, and that he threatened to kill her family if she said anything. Men like that do not make idle threats, as I am sure you are aware. Apparently Chef Harv went into a rage and almost destroyed everything in his office before his staff could restrain him and calm him down. He brought all of the staff together and told them that one of their own had been violated and that they were going to do something about it. All of them, to a man, agreed. And they hatched a plan.” He paused long enough to take a bite and chew slowly, watching to see his XO’s reaction as the story unfolded.
Shedda set her glass down, carefully, before her grip cracked the glass. It wasn’t the first time, and it wouldn’t be the last time she’d heard such stories. Her father had told her enough of them when she was growing up. Shedda was hyper aware at that moment of the life her father had taken her from.
“They hosted a huge banquet, the resort invited all of the notable people on Risa to attend a gala… including the Underboss. Course after course flew from the kitchen, each one more amazing than the next. There were live vid streams just about the food. As the main course was being served, Chef Harv and his staff came out to a standing ovation and began walking around the table, shaking hands and having their pictures taken with celebrities and figures of note.” Cochrane stopped talking and looked at the closed kitchen door with a look partly of fascination… and part reservation. “Harv neared the Underboss, he pulled a filet knife from out of his sleeve and slid it between the man’s ribs and into his heart… he killed him almost instantly. I watched the vid… and I have to say his face was perhaps the most cold I have ever seen on any beings face in my life.” and he shook his head and cleared the memory from his mind. “He left the blade in place to avoid blood spill and just… walked to the next person, shook their hand, and then walked out the door.” and he shook his head and smiled in amazement at the memory of watching Harv just up and leave without a look back. “Well, a few moments later, the Underboss fell face forward into his plate, and all hell broke loose. By the time the authorities arrived all of the kitchen staff had disappeared, every last one, and none were apprehended for several days. Those that were all claimed responsibility for the murder, but the knife and the vid proved who committed the act. When it came out why he did it, a huge swell of support from the public erupted and it really put the authorities on Risa in a difficult position. On the one hand, he did murder a man in a cold blood. On the other… he murdered a sexual predator with his hands in who knows how many criminal activities. So they compromised and gave everyone but Harv light sentences if any. Harv, though… he was wanted… and not just by law enforcement. An enormous bounty had been placed on him - five thousand strips of latinum for his head. And Harv knew that until he was either dead or so far out of their reach as to be no longer of interest, he was in danger… as were his friends. A few months later, he was seen boarding a freighter from Denev VI to Bajor. As the freighter cleared the shipping lanes and prepared to go to warp, it exploded in full view of several other vessels. An investigation stated that a fault in the warp core caused a breach of the forming bubble and it caused ‘catastrophic structural failure’. There were no survivors… officially. The truth was Harv had enlisted the help of some of the family of his staff at the resort, those he trusted implicitly. And some of them were connected to a.. let’s call him an ‘acquaintance’… of mine from some years back. It was through them that he had arranged to be ‘killed’. He was actually beamed aboard one of the witnessing vessels, a civilian Federation ship called the Majestic. The Majestic took Harv to a station, and he spent the next three months bouncing from ship to ship, station to station; never staying in one place more than a day or so at the longest. Finally, he was brought aboard a Star Fleet vessel as a civilian passenger under an assumed name. From there he traveled to Event Horizon, and from there to here. My ‘acquaintance’ and I had arraigned for him to become the chef in the Officer’s Mess. And it was here he has remained for the better part of almost three years.”
He looked at Mal’athar. “So that is the background. Now you have a choice to make, Commander. This is a blatant violation of Star Fleet rules and regulations. He is a fugitive, and if he is discovered on board I can almost guarantee that we will both wind up in a penal colony. So… you can choose to report this to FedSec and save yourself that potentiality. Or you can contact Command directly and notify them and I’m sure you’ll get a promotion and a center chair of your own. You might even get the Manhattan. Or… you can do as I did. Look at the event as a terrible act done for a much greater good, and go on about your business as this ship’s Executive officer and take Mr. Harv’s history to the grave.. as I intend to. He’s a good person who did a terrible thing for the right reason. Lawful? No. But justified?” and he shrugged. I for one do not lose any sleep knowing what happened to that particular individual. And I firmly believe that the only victim was the young woman Harv acted for. And while you decide… I’m going to finish my sandwich.” and he fell silent and began eating in earnest.
Shedda blew out a very very slow breath. Oh she wished she didn’t know, but too late now. She turned to look at the doors to the kitchen. “V-zek,” she muttered the curse under her breath. She wasn’t going to call FedSec or Command. She wanted her own command, but not that way. Shedda wasn’t unaware of the need for such justice. “You know about my mother. You know my father took me from her, and I’m sure you’ve figured out it wasn’t as easy as walking out the door. I grew up on a colony world on the fringes of the Federation where, out of necessity, justice was very…cowboy style.” Shedda shrugged, “I have tried to live my life as far away from the machinations and twisted perspectives of my mother as I possibly can. I am not, however, going to condemn a man who took out a Syndicate Underboss.”
“Good.” Cochrane said around a mouthful of reuben. He took a drink and then said “I didn’t think you were the type. Now comes the hard part… you will have to keep an eye on Harv like I do. Run interference if anyone starts poking around or seems to be taking an interest in him outside of his culinary arts. And let me know if you even think something is off. Deal?”
Shedda didn’t quite stop the wrinkle in her nose like she smelled something bad. “You want me to baby sit him?” Great more time with the man playing King of the Castle. The rest she could do no problem. It’s not anything she wouldn’t do for anyone else. It just so happened that Harv, or whatever his name was, had bigger secrets than most. “He has a problem, he tells me I’m happy to take care of it. I’ll let you know if anything seems off. I can do that.”
Shedda picked up the sandwich, took a bite and stared out the window. If there was even a inkling of this to public record then Shedda had just lost Maava. Then again if it was even an inkling they would be swarmed with FedSec agents already. The only thing she could do now was wait. Sair had sent in her evaluation and Shedda had updated every. single. form. She was obsessing, it would be what it would be. “So what has you skipping meals today?”
“Work. It’s always work.” Cochrane said and chuckled. “Or it’s the fact that I hate eating by myself. Always have. Don’t really know why, but I just tend not get hungry when Im on my own. Is that odd?” he asked with a grin and finished his sandwich.
Shedda considered. “Not really. The gathering for shared meals is common in many cultures. So engrained into the societal rituals that the people of Gora 3Q would refuse to eat if alone, to the point of starvation. In Orion culture, not syndicate culture, family is very important. To prepare and provide lavish meals and be able to watch your family enjoy it, is very important. Our meals were never lavish, but my father and I took turns preparing food for each other. I remember feeling a great deal of happiness when he truly enjoyed it. Though he always pretended even if it was horrible.”
Hmmm…well now that sucked. She didn’t want to like the man. “I imagine it might be something similar for Harv. And you should find someone to share meals with. We’re both bad for that.” A bright white grin appeared on her face, “Of course you are the captain, you could always order us to eat with you.” Though a regular meal for the senior staff wasn’t a bad idea. It built bonds and culture and family. And they were all each other had all the way out here.
Alex thought for a moment and then shrugged. “I’ve never been one of the ‘mandatory fun’ kind of officers. I tend to try not to intrude of personal time. But… maybe a Command Staff meal would be a good idea. Yeah… I like that. Set it up, Commander. And maybe we could open up the Diplomatic suites once in a while… let the individual Departments host their own dinner parties. Thoughts?”
“I think it’s a good idea, and certainly not mandatory fun. I think it might do us all some good to be reminded of what we have here instead of what is waiting back home.” She picked up a fry and picked it to smaller pieces while she thought. “The diplomatic suites would be a good place for it. Plenty of room, they aren’t used often and McKenzie has her schedule up far in advance, unless something unforeseen happens. We have enough crew that has cross training that we can cover shifts for those that want to attend and not leave critical systems unmanned. Shouldn’t be too hard.” Another bite of the Rueban, it really wasn’t that bad. She supposed it had to be good if Harv really was as good as they claimed. She wasn’t touching the fish though.
“You want Harv to make the dinner or you want to ask the officers to bring a dish?”
“Let Harv cook. And speaking of…” and he pushed the bowl of chowder in front of her. “Its his specialty. At least try it. And yes, that’s an order.” Alex said and chuckled. as he took a bit of bread and dipped it into the Risean chowder.
Shedda “I’ll let him know once we get it on the schedule.” She eyed the bowl like it might bite her or something as Alex pushed it toward her. “Alex, really from one living creature to another, don’t make me eat that.” She glared at it and muttered, “This is why I don’t eat here.” She moved it around with the spoon. It looked okay, but it smelled fishy, and she hated fish. Ugh…she was an adult she could stomach a bite of it, she just couldn’t promise not to gag on it. Her dad used to tell her to hold her nose when she had to eat something she didn’t like. That was maybe a little extreme, or maybe not.
Okay the flavor wasn’t horrible, it was better than the smell. Actually the flavor was excellent, but the texture. She would not shudder, but it was…ugh yuck. It was spongy and rubbery and parts grainy and the chunky. How did people eat this? She downed half her glass and picked up the rest of her sandwich.
Alex watched her and was more than a bit surprised. Everyone… and he meant everyone… loved the Risean chowder. There had been people charged with breaches of Federation Security trying to get the recipe.
And then there was a laugh from the kitchen.
Shedda turned in her chair and glared at the kitchen and rolled her eyes.
Harv exited from inside and approached the table. “That’s what you get for not eating in here from time to time. Now here…” and he set a bowl of a different stew in front of her. This had a rich brown liquid suspending pieces of meat and vegetables. “Next time you come in, I won’t ‘doctor up’ the chowder so you can try it for real.” and he looked at Alex and winked. “You better make sure she’s coming in, Skipper.” and he turned and walked away. Alex shook his head and took a drink. “Leave it to Harv to punish people for not eating his food.” and he took a drink and smiled at Mal’athar.
“Told you he was a handful.”
Shedda looked at the new stew, “If he’s trying to convince me to eat his food, telling me he ‘doctored it’ isn’t going to get me to eat it.” Then she smiled, it not quite reaching her eyes like it should. “Good thing I don’t need much food for my nutritional intake.” She did try the stew because, setting an example and all that. “He’s your handful, not mine, Alex. I’m just helping out once-in-awhile.” Shedda looked at the food in front of her - stew, a rather impressively large sandwich, and fries. The man was probably going to shove some desert or another 3 courses in front of them. Shedda couldn’t eat that much.
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