Posted May 6, 2021, 10:51 a.m. by Lieutenant Alexis Bonner (Scientist, Medical Researcher) (Jennifer Ward)
Posted by Lieutenant Dr. Solomon Kane (Medical Research & Development) in Peace Offerings
Frigga thumped her tail happily in agreement and took the beef. But instead of moving back to Alexis afterwards she laid her head across his foot.
Sitting back up he looked at her. “So has that helped? Having her? You still seem pretty well engrossed in your work. I mean, I did see you walk into the side of the door at the lab yesterday while you were reading and walking.” and he half-smiled again and gave her a wink.
“She does. You didn’t see me before I had her though.” She looked under the table at her dog that was contentedly resting against him. “She takes care of me more than I do her. Sometimes I think she’d be happier with someone else. But I’d be lost without her.”
He made another bite and slid it over as the server cam back by. “So what do you want for dinner, Alexis? Or should I take a stab at ordering and hope I don’t screw it up too bad?”
Another smile. “I’ll let you order.” She picked up the bite savoring it. Now having eaten all the ones he’d placed in front of her, probably not aware he was keeping his promise to Frigga to make her eat.
Kane looked at the server. “Two ribeye steaks, medium rare, baked potatoes with everything but on the side, grilled asparagus and dark bread, please. Thanks” and he looked back at Alexis. “How’d I do? I figured if I missed the mark, I can give the steak to the pup.” and he winked.
It was much heavier a meal than she would ordered on her own, but she didn’t object. Her mind raced over the nutritional value and then landed on the protein value and then jumped to the protein sequence she’d been manipulating on the 3D imager. He’d see, if he was watching, the difference in her gaze as it flashed back to her work, her attention split. It lasted a moment before she fought with herself and give him her full attention again. “It sounds delicious.” She ripped her head to the side. “Are you bribing my dog?” Then her gaze glancing over the picture. “How did you do that? Pick the same card every time?” She was focusing on him, “Will you tell me about the tattoos on your hands? Or do you just like them?” Her gaze returned to him. “What have you been doing all week? What would you want to research if you pick anything? How did you make the last two cards show up like that?”
Kane grinned. If it wasn’t in her head, it had to go somewhere, he guessed.
“Ok, let me see if I got all that. Yes. Years of practice. Also and I’ll tell you, but some aren’t nice.Most I like, some weren’t put on by choice. Studying up on current events. How to make the definitive best cup of coffee. I didn’t, they just did.” and he took a breath.
“How’d I do?” he asked with a twinkle in his eye.
That would be a first. No one ever answered all her questions. She grinned her gaze not just on him but she was watching his eyes now. “Why are you bribing my dog?” He said he never drew for other people, “Will it bother you if I keep my picture? Will you teach me how to shuffle the cards like that?” She was building on his answers but she was also asking about things he had said earlier and asking those questions too. “You really think meeting me wasn’t a bad thing? Would you remove the ones that aren’t nice? Or are they important, why? How do you like your coffee?” She reached over touched his hand, “What does this one mean?” She blushed softly at the heat in the touch.
Kane’s eyes peered into hers. Without blinking or looking away, he said “Because if your dog likes me then I have an in with you. And I like dogs. I drew it for you, so its yours. I’ll teach you if you agree to have dinner with me again. Meeting you is probably the most fun I’ve had since I moved. No, I won’t remove any of them. They are all part of me and my history. I like my coffee like I like my women: strong and given proper credit for their contributions to the home and work environments. And that one -” and he took her finger with his other hand and used it to gently trace the outline of the poor quality, black, scratchcy tattoo of a bird at the base of his left thumb “- I got from the first gang I was in.” He let go of her finger, but the hand she touched turned over and held hers gingerly, like he knew she would pull it back and wasn’t going to stop her.
While they traced the tattoo she studied the image of the bird and would be able to sketch a rough design of it later. She did not remove her hand but rather flushed a deeper shade of red. “Oh.” Was all she said about Frigga. But Frigga seemingly knowing they were talking about her popped her head up next to Kane. Glancing from him to the roast beef, tongue lolling as if agreeing to be willingly bribed. “Then you should just order a third steak.” She glanced at the sketch and with her free hand pulled it towards herself. She wanted to keep it and she didn’t want him to change his mind. “Do you speak Mandarin? Or did you have the computer translate for you? When?” In response to having dinner again. The comment about the coffee confused her but she didn’t ask. She was smart but not strong. “Why are you on Ogawa? Do you want more than work? What’s that one?” Not removing her hand her thumb tapped one on the back of his hand.
Kane’s eyes stayed where they were and reached over and scratched Frigga behind the ears with his free hand, but the thumb on the hand she held rubbed back and forth lightly against her skin. “你真了不起。奇怪 但很棒.” (You are amazing. Strange, but amazing.) and he grinned. “No, no computer translation. Tomorrow night, but somewhere less crowded. I’m here because this is where they put me. Yes. That one is an ownership mark from one of the Orion Syndicates.” He wondered how the last one would effect her.
Her skin tingled where his thumb moved across her skin. “你真了不起。奇怪 但很棒.” She repeated it slowly but knew she didn’t get it quite right. “What does that mean, what you said.” She shook her head, “I don’t know if I can. I have to prepare cellular samples and dna splicing to complete and they have to go into stasis with…” she went on for several minutes listing out, in detail, what she had to do. It wasn’t until she finished that she realized she’d been going on about work again. “If they won’t last long enough to go into stasis I will have to stay to finish. I.. I’m sorry.” And she was, she was surprised that right at that moment she would rather have dinner with him than work. “What did you do before? I don’t know more than rumor. What does that mean, for you now? A mark of ownership? Would they make you go back? Or is that frombefore too?” She hesitated. If she couldn’t do dinner tomorrow would he want to another day? With Solis it had always been his way. And she knew that was wrong. “If not tomorrow, when? Where would we go?” Her thumb rubbed over his knuckles, “Hard luck?” She’d read the words across both his hands.
Kane smiled as she rambled and chuckled when she caught herself. “You said ‘You are bricks. Dinner is ready, but bricks.’ Don’t worry, I’ll teach you if you want.” and the thumb kept its motion. “As for what it means, you’ll have to learn Mandarin if you want to know. And you can’t tomorrow, and thats okay. Whenever you want to. And before what? And what rumor? That I’d like to hear for sure. It means nothing now, then it meant I was property. And I’m pretty sure they won’t bother me anymore. And if not tomorrow… how about the next night? And we can go to the Observation deck. Or your or my quarters, entirely up to you. And ‘Hard Luck’ is as close to a family motto as I’ll ever get.”
She grinned, she knew she’d gotten it wrong, or maybe not. Maybe that’s what he said, and he was teasing her; she had no idea. “If a card trick costs me dinner, what’s learning Mandarin going to cost?” She was flirting with him, or trying to. “The day after? I should be done unless something goes horribly wrong.” She studied his face a moment but it didn’t tell her much, she wasn’t good at reading people. But maybe it was all that I’m not allowed to tell you stuff. “Before Star Fleet. That the Syndicate deals in black market trading, human trafficking, and they either kill or torture people who don’t do what they want. What I know of Orions as fact is what is in medical journals.” She didn’t know what to say to the rest. She wanted to know what happened to him then, how he ended up ‘property’ but at the same time she didn’t think she had the right to ask, and she was fairly certain she didn’t want to know the details. “Observation deck.” There was a fleeting look at the other suggestions, but she didn’t pull her hand away. “I’d rather Hard Work. Everyone thinks it’s so easy for me, but it’s not. I can’t just look at something or hear something and know everything about it. I still have to study and work hard at it. I just happen to remember and analyze faster than most people.”
The steaks arrived then and he nodded and said “Oh, and one more please. Just the steak. Cut it up into small pieces, please. Thanks.” and he looked back at Alexis. He squeezed her hand once, held it for a moment, and then let go. “Well, this’ll do the trick.” he said as he looked at their meal.
She glanced down at Frigga petting her softly. Frigga laid back down seemingly oblivious to the food. When he let go of her hand she pulled it back quickly and focused on the food. She refrained from critiquing it. It looked good and smelled good. She cut the steak, and it of course it was cooked exactly how it was ordered. “Can you tell the difference between replicated food and real food?”
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