Mess Hall - Midnight Stew (ENG/Anyone Interested)

Posted Jan. 26, 2022, 12:28 p.m. by Ensign Kastarak (Doctor) (Richard A)

Posted by Ensign Umbri Zayne (Security Officer) in Mess Hall - Midnight Stew (ENG/Anyone Interested)

Posted by Crewman Sega’a (Yeoman / Steward) in Mess Hall - Midnight Stew (ENG/Anyone Interested)

Posted by Ensign Kastarak (Doctor) in Mess Hall - Midnight Stew (ENG/Anyone Interested)
Posted by… suppressed (16) by the Post Ghost! 👻
The chef’s eyes lit up when Umbri mentioned his latest brainchild—jam sessions. “Really?” He meet her shake with greater vigour than he intended. “Please,” he released her hand and tossed his to a desolate table nearby, “I cannot offer a cup of tea or brandy… but I’d love to hear more about this composer slash pianist side of yourself.” Grin undying, he made a beeline for that table and plopped down in an empty seat. “And, in return, I’ll tell you a little more about our next jam session.”

— Sega’a, a thoroughly interested chef

Umbri smiled as she joined Sega’a at the table, happy to meet someone who was just as passionate about music as she was. “Well, I’ve been playing piano since I was eight, and I started composing in my freshman year of high school back on Earth. I’ve always said that music isn’t just something that I do, it’s my heart and soul. Without music, I wouldn’t exist. It’s gotten me through the tough times in my life, and there certainly have been a lot. So while I was studying Security at the Academy, I also continued my studies in piano and Music Composition. I actually just finished writing a piano piece last night. If you’d like, I’d be happy to play it for you sometime,” she said.

Ensign Umbri Zayne, Security & Friendly Neighborhood Crazy Music Geek

Sega’a rested his chin atop large, emerald-stained hands and listened.

He’d encountered a few musicians in his stint aboard the Chernov. Lady Konrad—as she was affectionately known—rose from the Utopia Planitian dust to starships, but she never lost her love for the banjo. Tilohr played a wild instrument primed to spill blood as eloquently as it did its tune (but Sega’a suspected, despite his talk, that he lacked a mean bone in his body). And Setvik plucked the strings of his Vulcan lute with such tender vigour that Sega’a refused to subscribe to his indifference. These faces popped into his mind as Umbri relayed her tale. But they were not the culprit of his grin.

“I know you came for a snack,” Sega’a observed, “but would you care for a mini-jam session tonight?”

— Sega’a

Umbri’s eyes lit up. “I would absolutely love that. What do you want to do?” she asked.

Ensign Umbri Zayne, Security

“First,” he shot an indignant glance at the synthesiser, “we need to find a better venue.”

“And…” Sega’a heaved himself to his feet, “…I know just the place.”

An impish spark enlivened his green eyes as he tossed his hand to the door. “Pianists, first.”

— Sega’a

Umbri let out a giggle before exiting through the door.

Ensign Umbri Zayne, Security

Sega’a slid into the corridor and shot Umbri a conspiratorial grin. “This way,” he beckoned with a playful snap. The first leg of their journey guided them through a maze of serpentine halls and a short turbo-ride engaged by a hoarse: “Deck Six!”

Dark, sleek doors peeled open to reveal a nearly identical hall… save for the few passersby who waved as they bimbled on. Sega’a led the woman to nearby quarters and lifted a ‘wait here’ finger. When he emerged, he carried a mauve hydroflask and harmonica.

“And…” he thrust the flask down the hall, “…of we go, again!”

Sega’a guided Umbri to the Crew Lounge, where he stepped aside and shoved his free hand into the doorframe as if holding it for her. “If I recall… there’s a piano in here somewhere.”

– Sega’a

Umbri nodded as she walked in. “Yeah, I know where it is. I used it a few days ago to finish up my piano piece,” she paused as she sat down on the piano bench, playing a few scales to warm up her fingers. “So, where do you wanna start?” she asked.

Ensign Umbri Zayne, Security

Sega’a hooked his arm under a chair and lugged it to the piano. Releasing it, he swung his legs over and settled against its back. “Hmm…” he seemed to contemplate, but there was no denying his curiosity at what she could do. “Why don’t you give us a tune?”

— Sega’a

Umbri smiled, hoping he would say that. She decided to resort to a song by a 20th Century Earth band called the Beatles. The arrangement she was about to play wasn’t written until a century later, but it was still absolutely gorgeous. Umbri knew it was sure to get Sega’a’s attention.

Ensign Umbri Zayne, Security

Sega’a commanded the harmonica from its case and held it curiously to the light. But his attention was instantly absorbed by Umbri’s music. Jerking his head toward the sound, Sega’a furrowed his eyebrows until they formed a bushy and attentive line across his massive green forehead. Where had he heard this tune before? It sounded so… familiar.

A broad, unquenchable grin touched his lips as he hoisted the harmonica and released his breath into its mouthpiece. He kept several beats behind her, echoing her lead with an unconscious rat-a-tap-tapping of his foot. (OOC: because I know nothing of musical jargon! LOL) It was safe to say he appreciated her choice of music.

— Sega’a

When Umbri finished playing, she looked at Sega’a, grinning from ear to ear. “I haven’t had a jam session like that since the Academy. That was absolutely amazing!” she said.

Ensign Umbri Zayne, Security

“And I must say,” Sega’a whistled, “you’re a mighty fine pianist, Ms. Zayne!”

On his way to his quarters to meditate and sleep, just an hour or so from getting onboard the Chernov again after his stint away on medical duties elsewhere, Kastarak passed the Mess Hall. He heard some music, very strange to his ears, such music he had never heard before. It was tantalizing, fascinating and curiously inviting, it was as if it played with the harmonies, like the expected harmonies threw him off, yet was surprisingly enjoyable. Kastarak decided to explore.

He heard the two people play a tune, one of them was his roommate Umbri and the other a tall male Orion (someone as tall as Kastarak himself!). It was curious, fascinating, and interesting.

Sega’a brushed his calloused thumb over the harmonica’s comb, tracing the thin and slightly uneven divets he designed years prior, and halted. Hairs prickled along his neck, warning him of the wandering eyes soaking in their performance. Were they hostile? Sega’a sensed no malice. Curiously, he turned and narrowed his eyes to peer through the darkness.

Once the music stopped, Kastarak chose to engage in an Earth custom. He clapped his hands slightly. It felt strangely odd to do so, but for some reason he wished to reconnect with Umbri, show an appreciation to see her again, and gain her attention, and show respect to the art of music which he knew she regularly engaged in.

However, after doing so, he stopped, thought it was illogical to do so, and simply regained his neutral pose. He nodded to the Orion player, a yeoman judging by the insigna, as to invite him to introduce himself, and tried to make eye contact with the two of them.

– Ensign Kastarak (Medical Officer)

“If I’d know we had an audience…” Sega’a let the words hang and donned a large, unquenchable grin to take their place. “Chef Sega’a,” he announced in a quick assent to his feet. “Who might you be, sir?”

— Sega’a, Chef

Chef Sega’a, as the man had introduced himself, was an imposing figure, though Kastarak felt at ease. He had not met many Orions in his life, and he understood that he needed to put away the stereotypes he had learnt as a child in school. He decided to ignore them all, and take the man as he was.

“I am ensign Kastarak, junior physician on board. I wish you peace and long life, Chef Sega’a.” Kastarak made a Vulcan salute to show that he was a man of peace and approachable.

Sega’a raised his hand in a Vulcan salute, struggling briefly to part his ring and centre finger. “So, you’ll be the man treating my burns and cuts?” He razzed, lifting his eyebrows with an impressed head tilt. “Or are you one of those fancy, specialised doctors?”

“I have only just been re-assigned to this ship. I regret that I did not meet you last time I was here. Permit me to ask, are you chef as in a culinary chef here?”

– Ensign Kastarak (physician)

“Tsk,” Sega’a chided. “No sense in wasting energy on regret. We’re meeting now, so why not appreciate that instead?” He considered Kastarak a moment, a playful grin spreading across his otherwise hostile features. “The only kind I know of, Doc…”

“Say,” he gestured to the piano and wiggled his harmonica, “you want to join us? We were just warming up.”

— Sega’a, Chef

Kastarak noticed the pun. He shouldn’t have used an emotive word, even when he knew most people used it without words. Federation Standard was full of non-specific words, all with emotional nuances. He missed speaking Vulcan to people who appreciated the Vulcan language. It was so much more precise. The universal translators would often translate Vulcan to to the closest word in Federation Standard, but then it would still be added an emotional component to the nuance. As such, Kastarak preferred speaking Standard instead, so he would have control over how his speech might be interpreted by the receiver. That said, the Orion here used it against him. It was a playful act, perhaps an invitation to bonding, establishing rapport and alliance? Kastarak pondered on the meaning.

Sega’a possessed minimal (read: no) psychic abilities, but he didn’t need telepathy to see the conflict in Kastarak’s face. He recognised the look. It was the same wheel-turning look that crossed a Vulcan’s face when presented with something unusual or fascinating. He’d seen it warp T’Aria’s stoic cast and reduce many Vulcans to an eternal cycle of questions… many the result of a simple and otherwise trivial gesture. But never once did he judge. Vulcans were curious creatures, and he suspected they thought the same of Orions. After all, they existed in antithesis. Where Orions embraced emotion in their art and language, Vulcans divorced emotion through life-long discipline. They embodied everything Vulcan society loathed. Hedonistic. Mercurial. Fierce. Though he knew his assessment was subjective, Sega’a wondered whether their conflict arose from Orion aggression or their striking resemblance of a distant version of Vulcans. Sega’a knew better than to speculate — it violated every fibre of his being to assume based solely on culture.

At the same time, Kastarak looked at Sega’a, and noticed something in himself. A rush of heat, a physical reaction of sorts. Unease in his stomach. Was it attraction? Was it just a sudden fever coming on? At the same time, Kastarak felt at ease. So he was at unease and ease at the same time. Last time he felt something similar – though much increased in attitude of course – was at his last pon farr. He quickly counted the years since, and was relieved – relieved (an emotion!) – that now was not the time. Yet, why did he feel this?

Setting his harmonica in its case, he watched as Kastarak’s pensive expression dissolved into something wholly indescribable. Was he angry? He seemed a little greener than Sega’a recalled. Perhaps it was too warm… for a Vulcan? He doubted it. Sooner than to assume, Sega’a offered the man a warm smile and hoped he would take it as a gesture of camaraderie and not childish mockery.

He looked at Sega’a, and saw a handsome, majestic figure. Surely it couldn’t be physical attraction? Could it be the Orion pheromones? He had not heard of them affecting Vulcans, though, on the other hand, Vulcans had tried to avoid them.

The logical thing now would be to decline the invitation, go back to his room and meditate. There were emotions and odd sensations. Yet, Kastarak was fascinated.

“I cannot play,” said Kastarak, careful to avoid emotive words. “though if you wouldn’t mind, I’d like to stay and listen.”

– Dr Kastarak (Ensign).

“‘Mind?’” Sega’a echoed, placing an almost offended hand to his chest. “Doctor,” delight touched his eyes, “it would be an honour to play for you.” Though embellished, there existed a degree of genuine joy that Kastarak had decided to stay. “What do you say, Umbri?” He yanked a chair from the table, brushed off its cushion, and offered it to the good Doctor. “Are you up for another song?”

— Sega’a, chef

Umbri eagerly nodded. “How could I refuse a performance for my bunkmate? Let’s do it,” they said. They turned the piano, decided on a jazz tune, and began to play.

Ensign Umbri Zayne, Security

Kastarak took the chair that Sega’a invited him to sit on, and then heard how Umbri joined Sega’a in creating that jazz version of that melody. He recognised it. He pondered where he had heard it – it must have been on Earth – the melody appeared very much Earth-like, even if one hypothetically removed the jazz aspects of it. This was an Earth-like harmony – even if jazz seemed to be the kind of genre that plays on harmony. If words can be turned into puns, would that be an apt metaphor for jazz? He decided to leave that question aside, he knew that Umbri might be able to help him explore all those musical questions at some other time.

Then he heard a passer-by from outside the mess hall sing along to the melody:

Blue skies
Smiling at me
Nothing but blue skies
Do I see

That reminded Kastarak of Earth, the blue skies there, and how different he had found them from the skies back on Vulcan. On a clear day, the sun would rise and turn the black sky red before moving to blue, and being blue all over the day, until moving to red at night. On Vulcan, it was the other way around. A clear mid-day would have a red hue on the sky, but when the sun was rising or setting, the sky would turn ever so slightly blue.

– Dr Kastarak (ensign)

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