You Won, But Did You Really?

Posted March 31, 2023, 1:25 p.m. by Civilian Cort Belanger (Executive Assistant to Lt. Gov.) (Lindsay B)

Posted by Civilian Dorma Fen (Governor’s Assistant) in You Won, But Did You Really?

Posted by Civilian Cort Belanger (Executive Assistant to Lt. Gov.) in You Won, But Did You Really?

Posted by Civilian Dorma Fen (Governor’s Assistant) in You Won, But Did You Really?
Posted by… suppressed (2) by the Post Ghost! 👻


Dorma said “It is a small village in the mountains between the cities of Osaka and Kyoto. Kōya, it is called. It is located on a wooded plateau atop Mt. Koya in Ito District, Wakayama Prefecture. It is known as the headquarters of the Shingon sect of Japanese Buddhism. There are only around three thousand people in the village, but we get many visitors because of the many temples. It is…serene. Peaceful. Many of the children born there say ‘boring’-” and she laughed slightly, “- but as we get older, most of us learn to appreciate the tranquility.” She took a drink and then said “Thoughts on the gazpacho?”

Dorma Fen

“You know, regardless of the technical stuff, I always thought the best foods for any one person were the ones that evoke pleasant memories. In this case, it reminds me of a summer side trip in Seville, Spain while visiting family in France. But… it needed more salt or something. I’m not sure what but it was decent for what it was and I was glad for the memory,” he said before taking another sip of wine.

“Invoking pleasant memories is a sign of a good dish, but thus fell short.” Dorma said. “It lacked the punch and bite if a true gazpacho. Salt would have helped, yes, but I think he de-seeded the peppers. That is a costly mistake.”

Cort nodded, taking in her feedback, happy to learn as he went.

Cort studied her for a moment. “I hear that a lot from people, that when you’re younger people want adventure and excitement and then as you get older you wish for more quiet, more peace. I think you can have both, though maybe not always doing our jobs,” he said with a grin.

~Cort Belanger

Dorma nodded and said “Our jobs tend to favor one side far more heavily. That is why I asked the Governor as part of my hiring if he would have a Shrine built here. It is in a small park on the far southwest side of the city. They used wood from my village to make it. There are a few people who practice Buddhism and Shinto on Oed, so we all share the shrine. It helps me find that balance… especially with the Vren arrival.” and she sat back heavily and opened her eyes wide. “I mean… what was the Federation thinking? Dropping that on all of us at the last minute? I tell you… our bosses were not happy when that meeting was over.” Dorma never spoke of work with people from outside the staff; but Cort was her counterpart, so the talk was not out-of-bounds.

Dorma Fen

Cort snorted. “I know what you mean. I’ve dealt with a lot of bureaucratic nonsense over the years but that was a new low. The Council really can’t have been that surprised when they were read the Statement. And if they were? Well, I hope they’re more awake now,” he said with a tiny smirk.

“Anger has a way of shaking off the cobwrbs…” she said with a wry smile.

He leaned back in his chair and sipped a little more of the wine. “I think I envy you your shrine. I just hit the gym more often, especially this last week,” Cort said, shaking his head.

~Cort Belanger

“It’s open to everyone. And there is a monk there who educates the public on the Shinto and Buddhist religions.” she offered. “You should go. I think you would find it a nice respite from our typical chaos.”

Cort was genuinely surprised by the invitation. “You know, I might just do that.” It would be good to clear his head a bit ahead of the Vren arrival. And while things in the office were under control, they were dealing with not only their usual operations, but also the press on three fronts. And then there were the ways in which every assistant navigated the personal details of their boss’ life. When the personal became public, things could get very messy, but they were all managing pretty well from his perspective.

Again the dishes were cleared and then another student arrived. They carried two small plates with a single, very small brown sphere on them in a streak of bright yellow paste. “Chef. Sir. I present to you what I am calling the ‘Honey Bomb’. And Chef, no, before you ask. This is not intended as dessert, but instead as a palate reset between highly flavorful courses. The sphere is a burned honey shell surrounding a puree of Tarkasian mint, Devalian sage, Cardassian carrot, and Deltan hot pepper. I suggest a drink of water before and after and, hopefully, you will experience a brief tingling sensation followed by… well… nothing. You should have no residuals to taste on your tongues at all. Enjoy.” and they turned and left. Dorma looked a bit impressed and said “Highly complex to make, but if it achieves a palate neutral profile, I will want them to teach me jow to make it.” She popped the small marble in her mouth and bit down. Her eyes went wide for a moment, and then she started to laugh. “Oh my… that is brilliant.” and she began making notes.

Dorma Fen

Cort took a sip of water, trusting the student’s recommendation, before eating the sphere. A myriad of flavours all coalesced into something neutral and his brain was honestly confused for a moment. He took the other sip of water. “Huh. I…” He looked at Dorma with some confusion. “I have no idea how that works. Feels like a magic trick, even if it’s probably just chemistry,” he said with a chuckle before he recorded his reaction. It indeed seemed to neutralize a lot of the lingering flavours from before and he noted as such.

~Cort Belanger

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