USS Vesta

A Play-by-Nova roleplay game.

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Follow Your Nose! [Food Heist pt.2]

Posted on Thu May 25th, 2023 @ 9:51am by Lieutenant Rufus Marocain & Lieutenant Commander Asahi Kita & Lieutenant Njalia Sayffier

Mission: R&R: The Reprieve
2649 words - 5.3 OF Standard Post Measure

The open door that Hojo sauntered through was held open by the presence of a deinonychus tail that wafted through the opening. This went unnoticed by the two dinosaurs and their human, who was busy fixing together his fragrant, kimchi and seafood filled meal. It was not until Asahi heard a giggle of two Denobulan siblings that the not-so-Intel Chief whirled around, tugging the larger of the two dinosaurs further into the room and letting the door shut behind her.

"Are you crazy?" Asahi asked accusatorily, tapping the snout of the large dinosaur, "If anyone sees you two, it'd cause a damn scene. And I'm not about to tell this era that I'm time-traveling with a pair of prehistoric chickens." The dissatisfied hiss from Bellie - or Ellie, Asahi always lost track of which dinosaur responded to what name - caused the man to roll his eyes. "Watch it, or I'll give Ellie a bigger portion."

What Asahi failed to remember was that the odor of kimchi may have attracted attention. To most, it seemed to repel the same way a wriggling taspar egg would have. But there were others who were attracted to the strong, fishy odors. He picked out Caitians and Kainans among the crew, but they all seemed the type to mind to themselves and their own. It didn't appear that this version of him had any of the feline or canine races in his friend group, or much of anyone at all for that matter. Even 'Captain Luka Mahone' seemed too busy to answer a call.

And while that made the package a welcome surprise, it also made the social aspect of this accidental adventure equal parts easy and hard. Easy in that few asked questions, but hard in that he would know only surface level knowledge of those around him. Maybe that was all he needed to know...

Njalia was tracing a weird intermittent fault when she encountered a most unexpected smell. "That had better not be another mutated replicator unit," she said and briefly thought about calling in one of the other Ops staff to look into it. Be she was here, so easier to do it herself, ah the joys of command. She tapped on the comm panel, "Everything alright in there?"

Further down the corridor, Rufus lifted his head, nose caught by the scent of food - real food being cooked somewhere...that way. His began automatically moving in the direction until he reached Asahi's door, right behind Njalia. "It smells alright," he said, sniffing appreciatively. "The only not alright would be not sharing."

The comm panel buzzed with the sound of a distinctive hissing from the inside of the room, followed by sounds of a commotion... then silence. "It's fine! Everything's fine!" came Asahi's voice. And the door slid open, with Asahi leaning against the entranceway with a charismatic smile. There were no signs of other life forms in the room, save for the mess of bed sheets and clothes on the floor. "Everything's good. Real good. Why do you ask?"

Njalia nodded to Rufus. "The Ensign smelled something cooking and wants you to share. I just wanted to make sure you were not having any problems with your replicator," she looked at Asahi before adding pointedly, "it has happened before, after all."

Now that the door was open, Rufus nose was actively sucking in the delightful fishy smell. "Smells like it's working just fine," he observed, tongue lolling out with a canid grin. But then his nostrils flared a moment at an unexpected nuisance in the ambient scents. "Hmm. Though you might want to have something checked. Something in here smells like lizard. Not that lizard isn't tasty," he added hurriedly lest he lose out on tasting for the critique. "It's just it doesn't smell cooked and I know most humans don't go for raw reptile."

"Lizard?" queries Njalia. "That does not sound right. May I look at the replicator? We had one on deck twelve that was shunting part of the food it made into a nearby closet." She is already fishing out her tricorder.

"Replicators don't do that -" Asahi stated in mild offense. Njalia would know better than he would, he assumed. The Andorian did not appear in many of the Intelligence notes, so that just told him she was fine. "I think he's just fishing for some food. Of which I have plenty of." He gestured behind him to the large pot that was teetering dangerously on the hot plate. "No lizards though. Y'all hungry?"

"I am fairly sure that is a violation of at least three safety protocols," said Njalia. "But why not, they are still going to have to do a total molecular rebuild of this section. But once the ship is repaired, never let me see you doing something like this."

Easily distracted by the prospect of food, Rufus headed for the pot. He lifted the lid and inhaled the wonderful scents, as he dipped a spoon, blew briefly to cool it and sucked down the luscious stew. "Ohhh, this is really good. No scent or taste of lizard in it at all though. There must be something else in here causing that."

"Yanno, it might just be something in the air," Asahi dismissed, waving a hand, before his eyes wandered to the giant pot of food. "It's not that bad. Trust me, I was an engineer. Why would I purposefully create something that's all safety-hazard?" He rustled around a giant crate for some bowls, of which he found and handed them off to Njalia and Rufus. "Help yourselves! I'll see if I can find us some spoons..."

"Spoons would be good," agreed Njalia. "I can replicate some if you cannot find any. And from my experience engineers tend to create as many hazards as they solve if not more."

"That's the truth - especially on this ship," Rufus agreed, flipping an ear. "Jack is one of my favorite humans, but he's only slightly less a safety hazard than Nolan. You know, given the kind of weird stuff that happens around here, it might not even be Asahi. Someone in the bio labs might have accidentally released a herd of tiny lizards into the air ducts and they just followed their noses to the food like we did."

"That would be terrible, the last thing we need is a xenoform infestation," sighed Njalia and snapped open her tricorder for a life scan.

"Ahhh LOOK, SPOONS!" Asahi whirled around from his rummaging in the crate, hand knocking into Njalia's tricorder as he handed her a spoon. He tossed the other utensil at Rufus, taking his free hand to snatch at the tricorder. "Woops! Wouldn't want to break that either." He offered Njalia a wide grin, hand still on the device. "Don't worry so much about work. Look, this place is set up with all sorts of alarms and stuff. And at least it isn't tribbles. Last time I had to deal with those..." He shuddered. "Lizards are easy enough to flush out anyways. Cold-blooded? Just turn down the temperature control and herd them to one area. See? Easy. I wouldn't worry. Take a break!"

Rufus caught the spoon and in the same motion scooped up a generous spoonful of stew and delivered it to his mouth. Eating took precedence over dealing with xenoforms, at least ones that didn't seem to be attacking anyone. Still, he could eat and think through problems at the same time. "You knows... *slurp* ...that's not... *slurp* ...necessarily true," he observed, pausing to lips his lips. "There are some warm-blooded reptiles, like the tegu lizard. Though we could try dropping the temperature in here and see if the smell lessens, to see if they avoid cold." He flashed a canid smile at Njalia. "I'm sure you'd be fine with that, right?"

"I certainly would, it is always far too warm for Andorians in the public areas of the ship," said Njalia. "Do you mind? We would drop it a few degrees and see if that leads to anything? And can I have my tricorder back? I have spent hours getting it tuned just right."

"The what what what?" Asahi thought a beat, then shrugged. After a quick order to the computer to lower the temperature in the room, he shook his head. "If I promise not to touch the tuning, you promise to relax and have a good lunch with us friend types? I'll give it back once you've done that." He gave a nod. "I know better than to tinker with someone else's tool set anyways. That's how things go awry."

Njalia sighed. Why were intelligence types so difficult? she thought, it was like they thought they always had secrets to hide. "Very well, but if something strange happens, I will need it back. I am not convinced that all of the odd changes and glitches have been tracked down."

"I'd bet they haven't," Rufus said, but snatched a spoon. "Though I'm perfectly happy to eat first and chase lizard smell later - which I'm glad to help out with." He looked at Njalia and tapped his nose. "Your tricroder is good, but it can't beat my nose."

Njalia nods. "Very true. But we cannot all have such an exceptional sense of smell." She took a bowl of stew and took a bite. "Not bad. Why make it this way and not use a replicator though?"

Njalia's question had Asahi stop mid-lizard catching protest. He gasped, hand to his chest. "You've gone too long with replicated food." It was a statement, clear as day. "You can't replicate the aroma of kimchi, nor the looks people will give you as you go down the hall with your greetings. It's just good ol' comfort in a big jar." He moved to the nearby table with his own bowl, tapping the end of his spoon atop the half-full jug of kimchi. "After Tholians and all this? Replicated chigae doesn't even hold a candle to the good stuff."

The Andorian nodded. "That is true the complex chemical interactions that fermentation causes have been a problem vexing proper replication of their taste and smell. There have been some experimental hacks, maybe sometime I can get your opinion of them."

"Oh have there? The last time I tried that, I started an accidental edible glitter virus on a station - it was my fault, not the hack's. Hack worked like a charm, but then I got bold. I think it was easy to sort the virus out, but I used to hear about it every so often..."

"I hope someone killed it, salted it and buried it at a cross roads," Rufus said, suppressing a shudder. "I don't care if stuff looks sparkly, but real glitter? I'd be shaking that out of my coat for weeks."

Njalia's antenna bend forward and she glares at Asahi. "I know, I have written a program just to hunt that virus down should it ever reappear. Ops has also agreed that glitter will not be replicated without the approval of at least one adult and require at least two 'are you sure about this' prompts before it is dispensed. That stuff is dangerous."

"I dunno what glitter you've been replicating," Asahi continued on, "But this stuff's just colored sugar - though, rest assured, it's not about and I don't expect it to re-appear in anyone's coats, hair, uniforms, or any of that." He gave a wink, leaning against the wall as he happily chattered on. "I hear about it, usually from an old friend. Ain't seen the stuff in over a decade."

Njalia pauses with her spoon just half raised and then finishes the action. "It is small and friable, it gets in everywhere and it is reflective. I heard some knocked a hologrid out of alignment on the USS Newark. If some of that got into the navigational array . . ."

"Yeah, and sugar-sticky glitter is NOT better to get out of fur," Rufus put in, and stuck out his tongue. "I'm not a felinoid. I don't lick stuff out of my fur."

"I cannot imagine that it would be any fun to get out with one's tongue either," said Njalia. "But enough about glitter. Does anyone have any plans for shore leave?"

"Esquimalt doesn't have much yet, since it's still under construction," Rufus mused. "But I heard there's some diners. I'll check those out. Maybe get shuttle piloting hours in."

"I only have my basic certificate in shuttle piloting, would you be interested in giving me some lessons in the future?" asked Njalia.

"Any time," Rufus agreed with a smile. "And if you already have the basics, I can show you some tricks."

With the pair seemingly distracted, Asahi sidled his way toward the nearby closet. While it did not slide open ceremoniously like normal, he leaned against it, giving it a small set of taps. "I'm honestly just gonna catch up on some holonovels. Not a lot of time to get in scary horror fixes about zombified Tholians when we're dealing with the real deal, right?"

Njalia nodded. "I never could get into holonovels. Just not my thing, I guess."

"It has to have a lot of action for me - not the shooting zombies kind though. The Admiral has a Top Gun one that's fun, but it's more a create-your-own-adventure than a novel," Rufus put in between bites of stew. He licked his lips. "Mmm. You know, there are some cooking competition show holos that are fun. You might want to try one." He said with a look toward Asahi. "You've got the talent."

"That might be amusing to watch," said Njalia with a smile.

"Are those the ones with that old British dude that yells at people?" Asahi asked, "Or the one with the weird cakes? Wait... talent? Me?" He looked over at the bubbling pot of stew, "That's a compliment I'll take graciously, thank you much. Just means I'll have to make more... when I get a more safety-rated set-up."

"That would be appreciated, I would like the newly repaired Vesta to stay that way," said Njalia with a smile.

"Hey, this is good," Rufus said, slurping down another big spoonful. "But absolutely agree on safety. I hate seeing Vesta all broken." His ears and tail drooped adding to the effect of expressively sad eyes.

Asahi snorted. "Like I'd pull this stuff off on the Vesta. Ship's too small. I just didn't wanna call attention to all the good smells. Never know who'd come running." He winked. "Besides, if I blow up a room or two here, I can just... yanno, assign some people to fix it before we jet off again."

"Well, please do not blow anything up, the repair crews have more than enough work as it is," she set the empty bowl down. "As do I, as nice as this chat has been. I will have to reclaim my tricorder and return to work, duty calls and all that."

Rufus looked at his now empty bowl, then the remaining stew, but he knew enough about humans to know it would be rude to take seconds, especially when the other guest was leaving. Containing a sigh, he sucked the last drops off his spoon and set bowl and spoon aside. "I guess I should be going too. Maybe I'll take a walk around the area and see if I can pick up the trail of that lizard scent."

"Huh, maybe." Asahi mused the thought, as if the answer was not trying to bust out of the closet behind him. Handing the tricorder back to Njalia, he gave the pair a goofy grin. "If I see some weird out of place reptiles, I'll let you guys know."


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