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Cafe Encounter

Posted on 04 Apr 2020 @ 8:12pm by Lieutenant Jennin Rhula & Lieutenant Zayna Ryler

Mission: Sentience
Location: Crew Lounge
Timeline: MD 2 || 0730

It had been a long night in his medical lab. He had lots of projects he was working on, several of which might be worthy of publication. When he'd realized it was coming up on 0730, Rhula decided he should take a break. He walked down the corridor to the turbolift. When the doors parted, he stepped into the car and it whizzed off to his destination.

Whoosh the doors went.

The Bajoran man exited the turbolift and headed forward. It only took a few moments to reach his destination.

He walked into the lounge and beelined to the replicator. He keyed in his order and watched as his coffee and bagel materialized. He picked up his items and headed towards an empty table tucked in a corner of the room.

Having been sipping some coffee in the lounge, Zayna glanced up when she saw another scientist enter the room. She knew he was on the team but didn't know who it was. She'd been busy and knew the others had been too. She hoped to catch his eye, as she was at her own empty table. "Lieutenant? Why don't you join over here?"

He ignored the voice, assuming that it was directed at someone else. Despite having been on Black Hawk for some time now, Rhula didn't have random social encounters around the ship. He attributed it to always being holed up in one of his labs. And his less than sparkling demeanor.

Jennin continued on towards the solitary table in the corner.

Frowning, Zay searched her mind for a moment, "Lieutenant Jennin?"

That was my name, Rhula thought. He looked around briefly to see if he could spot the source. His eyes fell on a brown-haired woman, seemingly Human, wearing a sci/med uniform. He approached the table where she sat. "You called," he stated.

"Science team, right? Sorry, didn't meant to startle you," Zayna said with a small smile. "I'm the new assistant chief for the department, and I'd been trying to meet up with everyone. Just, didn't plan on it during breakfast. But, if you have other things to do, I understand."

He tilted his head forward and peered over his glasses at the woman. Not a Trill, he said to himself. Good so far. If she was Djinx' deputy, then he would do well to make nice with her. Anything to get around having to deal with the Trill science chief. He attempted a smile, though he was decidedly rusty. "Science team," Rhula confirmed. "And medical. Double billet," he continued, setting his food and drink down before lowering himself into the chair. "I'm a pathologist for them. Exobiologist for you."

Zayna smiled. "The one thing I was never good at, the exobiology. I understand the basics." She was glad he decided to sit. "Pulling double-duty too? I'll have to remember that. I haven't read over everyone's information in full yet, so I didn't realize."

"It can be...tiring, working in multiple departments. But it allows me the best environments and opportunities to work on my various research." He took a sip from his steaming mug. "How do you feel about Trill?"

"Have nothing against them, worked with many of them in the past." She took another sip of her coffee. "Why do you ask?"

"No reason," he said hurriedly. He picked up half of the bagel. "That they voluntarily allow a vermiform parasite to take over their body...." His voice trailed off before he took a bite of his food. The bagel had smoked whitefish salad smeared thickly on top of each half. It was something that a Human doctor serving on Bajor had introduced him to.

Raising an eyebrow, Zayna thought for a moment. "You...don't like them, do you?"

"'Them?'" he asked with fake shock. He took another swallow of coffee. "So, you're Human? From Earth, or one of the many colonies?"

"Boring old Earth human," Zay said with a shrug. "Just...because I'm curious and do also need to make sure the team will be okay working together..." She bit her lip, "What do you not like about Trill? I'm not sure I understand, beyond what you've already said outloud."

The Bajoran studied his companion. "You said you've worked with Trill before. So you should know." He picked up a bagel half and took a bite.

Zayna shook her head, "I've never once had a problem with any Trill I've encountered before, Lieutenant. I still don't understand."

"Really?" he inquired. "I'm not necessarily the best at reading Human humor."

"I have never once had an issue with any Trill. I'm not attempting to be funny."

"Good fortune for you then," he answered. Where he'd hoped there was an ally, he had quickly discovered another person fooled by the treacherous Trill and their vermiform overlords. "What have you got there?" he inquired, wanting to change the subject.

"Hmm? Just some coffee. Figured I might need something to wake up before going on duty. I tried to go off it once, lasted a whole week before I couldn't do it anymore."

Rhula nodded. "There is beverage on Bajor that is used similar to coffee. It is awful. Coffee, on the other hand, is one of Human's best contributions to interstellar society." He looked at his bagel. "Ever had smoked whitefish? It's from Earth too."

Zay thought for a moment, "That might be one of the few fish I've not had smoked. It sounds good though, like most smoked fish are."

"Doctor Cohen...he was serving at a hospital on Bajor with me...he introduced whitefish to me. Herschel explained that it was a part of his ethnic culinary tradition," Rhula said. "He told me about the history of his people and I, as a Bajoran growing up during the Occupation, felt a kinship with them," he quietly voiced. Through his mind raced the faces of people he'd known and lost to the Cardassians. He had been born in 2349, 30 years into the Occupation of his home planet. For the first 20 years of his life, he'd witnessed the brutality of the Cardassians. Friends taken and worked to death. Family murdered in front of him because they were too old or ill to work. When he'd told Herschel about it, the Jewish neurosurgeon had shared stories from Earth's history, when Humans had done similar things to other Humans.

"Delicious food," he said, trying to be cheerful.

"I might have to try that one. Normally I have smoked salmon if I do get a chance to have any. But, I'd rather cook it myself. I don't think the replicator does it right honestly."

"You cook? We should be friends. I enjoy eating," he offered. "I'm sure there is whole world of Human foods you could introduce me to. And I could expand your horizons into Bajoran cuisine."

Zayna gave a small shrug as she took the last sip of her coffee. "I don't mind cooking as long as I have advanced notice. It drives me nuts if I don't. And that's if I even have the time. This ship so far has made my dinner companion the replicator."

"I see," he said slowly. His companion had just finished her coffee and he didn't want to keep her from whatever she might have planned. "Well, perhaps we should plan a little dinner sometime. A potluck, I believe is the term. But, we can discuss that later. I'm sure you have other things to do."

Looking into her empty coffee cup, she gave a small frown but shrugged. "Just starting on things. Reports and catching up before I dig into my actual work. Joys of an assistant chief, gotta do all that kinda stuff."

"I don't envy you management types. Paperwork and the like. Too much of a distraction from my work." He noted her empty cup. "Another round? Or are you needing to get back to the paper shuffling?"

Zay smirked, "Paper shuffling, though one for the road I think is a good idea. Thank you for the chat, Lieutenant."


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