Posted by Civilian Marishka (Lounge Host) in Going for a drink in the lounge (Shock/Marishka)
Posted by Lieutenant Shock (Chief of Security) in Going for a drink in the lounge (Shock/Marishka)
Posted by Civilian Marishka (Lounge Host) in Going for a drink in the lounge (Shock/Marishka)
Posted by… suppressed (17) by the Post Ghost! 👻
For the first time for a few weeks, Shock found himself with a free day. He thought of what he could do. He had already done all the regular physical exercises. He considered going back to studying Klingon or meditating, when the thought of Klingon made him think of Marishka. They had promised one another to “catch up” (as his human crewmen would say), and she had been looking forward to sharing a pitcher of mango-infused black water – whatever that was. Shock took his promises seriously, and decided to see if Marishka might be in the lounge.
As he walked to the lounge, he thought of their shared experience over breakfast a while back. It was a strangely intimate conversation between near-strangers. What would it be like this time?
He entered the lounge, and looked around to see if he would see Marishka.
– Shock (off duty, but wearing his uniform because why not)
Marishka always seemed to be entering or exiting some part of the Parthenon. At his moment, however, she was seated on, not at, the bar. Every once in a while the place was very quiet and this was one of those rare times. She had been catching up on what passed for personal correspondence before the next wave of people and staff arrived. That didn’t mean that Shock’s entrance went unnoticed though.
Tucking a PaDD away behind the bar, she decided to greet him herself.
“Well well. Seems you’ve made it here yourself. Nice to see you again. Have you come for that pitcher of blk water? It just so happens I have some fresh mangoes in.”
It was odd seeing her sitting on the bar – in fact seeing any one. The purpose of a bar is not to be sat on, especially as there are chairs and stools provided. Indeed, today was even a quiet day. What function did the behaviour of sitting on the bar serve? Should Shock ask her about it? He decided on no.
“It is agreeable to meet you again,” he replied in his Vulcan voice devoid of feeling. “Indeed, I should like that. Would you join me?”
– Lt Shock (COS)
Marishka’s mind inwardly settled as she remembered what it was like to be in the company of a Vulcan once again.
“Yes. I have a lovely little pocket of time to do just that. Come, I’ll show you to the best table in the place.”
Marishka lead them to a table that, to most other people, would seem to be hosen at random. From a security standpoint one could see all entrances/exits and, from Marishka’s standpoint, she could watch the comings and goings of her staff with ease.
“And how are you today?” she asked waving Ted over.
Shock sat down at the designated spot. A security officer himself, he deduced Marishka’s intention of sitting where she chose. Would it mean she’d pay him more or less attention this way, compared to sitting elsewhere?
“I am well,” he replied, “I’ve been busier than usual lately, which is why it is only now I’ve picked up on your offer of sharing a drink. I hope I have not dishonoured you by being so late.”
He looked at Marishka’s face, trying to discern her feelings and attitudes at this moment.
Marsihka smiled slightly at Shock.
“I felt no dishonor at all. My invitation didn’t have an expiration date. They usually don’t. This ship is a hub of activity and, unless something is time sensitive, I try to work under the operating theory that people will get to something as soon as they have the time available to them.” she said as she slipped intot he seat across from him.
“I appreciate that,” Shock replied, “I continue to hold you in high regard.”
When Ted approached he waited silently before interrupting at a natural lul in the conversation.
“Hello Chief. Boss, I thought you’d want to know that Daphne has decided to try her hand at pastry chef today.” Ted said.
The tone in Ted’s voice did not inspire confidence in Marishka but, she knew she didn’t have to tell him to keep an eye on Daphne.
Nor did it inspire confidence in Shock – but this was certainly not Shock’s arena to act within.
“Well it’s a good thing we have more capable hands int he kitchen at the moment. Please bring us a pitcher of Blk Water with Mangoes, extra mangoes on the side and a deluxe appetizer platter.” she said.
Nodding, Ted walked away.
Shock acknowledged Ted with a nod signifying “off you go”.
Marishka glanced from entrance to entrance sensing the next wave of patrons and staff would be arriving soon.
“Your colleague appears…” Shock began, speaking of Ted, – he wanted to say apprehensive, gossipy, and un-independent, but he decided not to continue in that line. After all, it was not Shock’s arena. It was not his place. “… jovial.” He hoped the adjective saved the situation.
“How many people do you manage? What is it like for you, managing them? I can’t help but notice your glances away from us to the lounge itself, even this positioning. It appears to me that they need your watchful eyes.”
Marishka settled in and leaned back a bit. She should have remembered how observant any COS of a ship this large would have to be.
“It’s my job to know the ebb and flow of things around here and that includes when we’re about to be hit by the next wave of hungry people. They really don’t need my eyes on them but I guess I enjoy my job. My staff are volunteers that come from all departments. They do this in their off time. You might even find a few of your off duty people here on any given day.”
This was news to Shock, but it was refreshing to him to learn new – and quite important – details about the functioning of the ship. The lounge was important for everyone onboard, it was necessary for the very function of the ship.
“I appreciate learning this,” he said with genuinety in his voice.
As Marsihka was finishing, Ted returned with the pitcher and a platter of snacks. She had the sense he wanted to linger a bit but, today was far too busy.
Shock noticed Ted’s wish to stay further. He wondered why – was Ted curious about Shock? About Marishka? Was there something actually requiring Marishka’s attention? Shock decided not to comment on it – it was not his place. This was Marishka’s arena, she was boss here. Shock was simply her guest, which was an honour for him in itself. This ship was big, and Marishka was a central person for hundreds, if not thousands, of people. He had respect for her important work.
“Thank you Ted. I see the new caviar was finally put on the menu. Oh, and I left the schedule behind the bar for you.” Marishka said.
Nodding, Ted took his cue and left. Marishka poured them each a tall glass of the water making certain there was a generous amount of small mango chunks in each.
“I find this very refreshing after a morning of Kelpian tea or just when I really crave mangoes.” Marishka explained.
Shock nodded, and took a sip. It was a curious sensation to drink something with chunks in – a new one too. In Vulcan cuisine, or as far as Shock himself could ascertain, drinks were fully liquid. Yet, he did eat (or did he actually drink?) soup and porridge and so on… It was chewy, but such things were eaten (or drunk?) by spoon. It was curious, indeed, fascinating. Then came the taste. It was pleasant and enjoyable. He was almost surprised – he managed to suffocate the emotion of surprise before it became apparent.
“I can sense why,” he replied, again with honesty. “Perhaps it will be a routine I will pick up on, too.”
The large platter between them contained a variety of nibbles. Sweet, savory, vegetarian, and non-vegetarian. She had a strong feelign the Shock would find something to his liking. She also knew from personal experience that not every Vulcan was a strict vegetarian.
He looked at the platter and could not ascertain really what it was he was seeing. He was not a nibbler – it was not how he was raised but he knew the importance of it. He would always try and be respectful and at least partake in a little of it.
He picked up a piece, it looked like something that had been baked in the oven, and was about the size of his thumb.
“I shall try this,” he said, holding it in his hands (thus breaking Vulcan mores of never touching food, but when in Rome, as his studies on Earth had taught him), “Pray tell, what is it I am to eat? I have never seen it.”
– Shock (off duty)
“Spanakopita, although the shape has been altered a bit. Usually it’s a triangular shape but I’ve decided that appetizer size would be better suited to this shape. It a delicacy from Earth somewhere in the Mediterranean I believe. It’s filled with spinach and feta cheese, the pastry is quite flakey.”
As Marishka explained, syue took one for herself.
“If you would prefer something sweeter, we have eclairs on the side closest to you.”
“Spanakopita”, he said, tasting the word in his mouth, before taking a bite. Shock would mostly eat vegan food, but he was known to compromise on it. The feta in his mouth had an interesting umami and salty flavour, while the spinach had a most pleasant vegetable and nutritious flavour. Together with the dough and other ingredients, the novelty of this regional Earth food’s taste made the experience unique. How odd was it, he thought, that two non-humans on board this ship would engage in eating Earth food. “I enjoy it.” he said, flatly, after having swallowed a bite.
He took another sip of the water, before engaging in conversation again.
“Most of the things on this platter appear from Earth. Do you have a connection to that planet? How come you chose these items?”
– Lt Shock
Marishka had chosen a few of the meat items on the platter to satisfy her protein requirements though the strawberries did look delicious.
“I don’t really think I have more of a connection to Earth than most people here who aren’t originally from it. I guess it just happens by osmosis and I actually didn’t choose most of the items on the platter today. I let the head chef for the morning do it. I just explained that we needed a wide variety of things and to err on the side of vegetarian.” she said finishing a small chunk of what might have been chicken.
“That makes sense,” he said, “Starfleet is, after all, human-centric in its form. Osmosis is a good metaphor. I shall remember it.”
After cleaning her fingers she took another long drink of water and picked up some of the strawberries.
“You’ll have to forgive me, given my lineage and dietary requirements, I’m very nearly an obligate carnivore. However, I am quite the indulgent creature and have grown quite fond of most food types.
“There is nothing to forgive,” Shock replied. “I understand.” While he did understand, he did not like it. When in an emotional state, he could find himself ‘pitying’ other species for not being able to eat without exploiting animals. Though, at the same time, even vegetarian food would exploit animals by the very agricultural routine. Luckily, replicators now existed, so even meat could be enjoyed without exploitation. “My culture teaches me that I must eat food without having injured or exploited animals. Even though we have replicators, I wish not to eat meat or other animal products, as I wish to honour my own lineage.”
“I ‘cheat’ sometimes ––” was that a hint of a smirk on Shock’s face? “and I enjoy the Spanakopita’s cheese. I am no fundamentalist. Honey is my favourite food from Earth, aside from tea. Is there anything here with honey?”
Marishka looked over the tray and pointed to something that, at first glance, did look similar to the spanakopita.
“Have you heard of baklava? It’s actually from the same region of Earth as the spanakopita you just ate. It’s made with puff pastry, nuts, honey, rosewater, and, sometimes, cinnamon. I believe the honey used in this recipe is from our own ship’s arboretum. I use as many non replicated ingredients as possible.”
He had not heard of baklava. He knew what a balaclava was, but the context of the conversation made clear that there was no relationship between the items. He appreciated the background, the nuances of detail that Marishka pronounced. She was engaged in the conversation with him. If he listened to the emotions tightly kept under a lid, he would know that he liked it, he would feel seen and appreciated for. Cared for even.
Marishka had learned that many cultures preferred other people not touch food that was going to be consumed by somebody else so she could either serve him or let him do it himself.
When she had served the Captain and Khabal in the ready room she had brought them plates and cups and not touched the items they would be eating. That was a social difference and thus made the situation palatable.
He picked the baklava up with the utensils that Marishka had kindly provided. From the look of the pastry, he realized it was not to be eaten by utensils but rather by fingers, but this addition of Marishka’s showed her cultural sensitivity. While he had learnt to eat food with his fingers (such as what he did with the spanakopita), by using the utensils she had provided, Shock hoped to show his respect and acknowledgement of her kindness and sensitivity to his cultural norms. He nodded to Marishka, before biting off the top of the baklava. As he chewed, he was shocked by the sheer sweetness of it. It was a lot sweeter than he had anticipated. He had to stop himself from making grimaces in his face. It was too sweet, but the cinnamon–nut mix was the part he did like.
“Thank you,” he said, having swallowed, “I can now state that I prefer the spanakopita, but I did enjoy the mix of what I believe were cinnamon and nut. Overall, the pastry was too sweet for my liking. Which one do you prefer?”
Shock hoped that he could steer the conversation to more about Marishka, but smalltalk was not the easiest skill for a Vulcan to master.
Marishka nodded and smiled.
“Yes, the baklava can be rather overpowering in it’s sweetness that’s why we only serve them in very small amounts most of the time. I have known several pregnant women who absolutely crave them. Pardon my curiosity, do you have a mate? Perhaps you are familiar with such things.”
It was an interesting turn of conversation topic from honey and sweetness to Shock’s relationship status and sexuality. It was an uncomfortable topic for him – which he had brought up with Janna Kingston in counselling (but not returned to, but perhaps this was a sign for him to return to her office after all). In an effort to diffuse the situation – mainly for himself, he said:
“Mate? A mate in the meaning of friend, I have many. Mate as spouse, I have none. Mate as a sexual partner, I currently have none.”
Immediately, he regretted what he said. He had said too much. Perhaps he could bring the conversation more to about Marishka, to avoid further questions from her about him. On the other hand, for their friendship to be nourished, a near-equal balance of giving and taking was necessary.
“How about you? How would you describe your relationship status?” he asked with genuine curiosity.
Marishka paused and finished her glass of blk water. She refilled her glass and replenished the mango chunks. Taking another minute, she topped off Shock’s glass before looking at the platter and picking out one of her favorite nibbles.
“Between the spanakopita and baklava, I do prefer the spanakopita however, I much prefer East Asian delicacies if we’re discussing Human food. Most wraps and rolls can be filled with anything, vegetable or meat. This is a pot sticker and, perhaps, I just like it because of it’s shape.” she said pointing out the uniquely crescent shape of a traditional pot sticker.
“This one, I believe, is filled with cabbage, carrots, chicken, and spices, most likely ginger.”
“Curious,” he said, “when it comes to human culture of food and drink, I am familiar with the East Asian region, but mainly from the teas. I believe I must decline the offer of eating it. I believe chicken is an animal and not a vegetable. I mean no disrespect to you or your chef, but I must follow this one line out of respect for my people, my lineage, and my culture.”
Marishka had a feeling he would say that. He was a completely different Vulcan that the one she had spent time with in the past after all.
“I understand completely. There is a vegetarian option sitting next to the one I just picked up. It’s basically the same thing but with the chicken omitted. What I find most interesting are the sauces you can use for these things. They range from cloyingly sweet to quite spicy and some people had even used the word astringent.” she paused and finished her pot sticker, “As for my relationship status, it is always complicated. I am half Orion after all. It is something I have learned to embrace and even use to my advantage.”
Shock picked a piece up. “So that each bite might give a unique experience?”
Marishka’s reply was interesting. Why would it always be complicated due to her Orion heritage?
“How do you embrace your heritage and use it to your advantage?”
Marsihka studied Shock for a few seconds. She wondered how much of society at large this Vulcan COS had actually seen. Leaning forward she studied him a bit closer and smiled.
“I have the greatest respect for you at this moment and for your people in general but, I find your question astonishing. You may not know very much about me but it’s obvious that I’m half Klingon and half Orion. My physiology works in very unique ways. Let’s just say that if there weren’t certain atmospheric filters in place in the Parthenon, this would not be a place to come for food and drink, this would be a place to, perhaps, take in an afternoon orgy. We may be civilized beings but, sex will always get you places even the most delicious meal can’t.”
Shock attempted to analyse the reply. What had astonished her? Questions about heritage were normal, not astonishing, he’d thought, and not necessary related to sex – but that’s where Marishka took it. Why had she? Was she attracted to him? If so, why? And how? Surely she would know that Vulcans are immune to Orion pheromones? Or perhaps she has had experiences to counter that – perhaps the pheromones had been altered through her Klingon heritage, and the way that she was conceived. So he should not be certain he would be immune. But perhaps he was not the point or object of the attraction, but rather a partner in conversation. He had after all pushed to get to know her more. What she had defined as ‘advantage’ was nuances beyond what he would think of. This was an interesting but confusing topic.
“Yes, indeed,” he said.
He was uncertain whether he should continue on the topic of sex or if he should move to what he had originally intended – how she honours her lineage and different cultures and species, how she carries their stories with her, how she consolidates her own identity, for example, by being here on the Athena, belonging to two non-Federation species on a Federation ship. There was much he wished to know – but for what reason? Why was it so important for him to form a connection with her?
He took another sip of the blk water, and thought of how culture and sexuality interlink. When in the Academy, he had heard of the nightclub running a ‘pon farr night’ (no Vulcans obviously attended), the experience of how people would often misinterpret Vulcans as rigid and cold devoid of sexuality, love, and feelings. It was not always easy to navigate the stereotypes and speciesist attitudes. Perhaps it was something similar for Marishka, too.
“I apologise for my question. It appeared more oblivious than I intended. I did not wish to venture into the realms of stereotypy and assumptions. You can imagine, I am sure, what Vulcans might experience in terms of stereotypes and assumptions on sexuality.”
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