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A Late Dinner

Posted on Mon Oct 31st, 2016 @ 8:17pm by Captain Claudia Ainscow & Paul Foster
Edited on on Sat Dec 17th, 2016 @ 2:07am

Mission: S1E1 - Booby Trap
Location: Officers' Mess Hall
Timeline: Mission Day 7; 22:30

Claudia was tired. They'd managed to retrieve the crew from the Bozeman and they were resting in guest quarters ahead of their return to the Renown the next morning. The Vindex's commanding officer still hadn't had her meal so she decided to pay her friend Paul a visit in the officer's mess to see if he was still able to cook her a meal. Claudia had barely seen the friendly Yorkshireman over the past week - but she knew that her friend was still there to talk to if she needed to.

Entering the mess hall - which was deserted - she went over to the kitchen to find Paul was still there. He wasn't doing much as he the main rush had finished and Bovek was due to come in soon to cover for the night shift whilst Paul would rest up ahead of the morning shift.

"How are we this evening Paul?" Claudia asked.

Paul smiled. He was happy to see Claudia again after a few days of not seeing her - he walked over to her and gave Claudia a hug before asking if she wanted anything to eat. He still had some leftovers he was planning to have for himself - but even then it was too much for one person.

"I'm good thanks Claudia - how are you? I guess you want something to eat if you're down here at this time of night" Paul replied.

Claudia smiled. "If you have anything"

"Well I've got some casserole left over - but it's too much for one person. I'll get some plates and we can sit down and have something to eat. Can I get you a drink too?" Paul asked.

Claudia nodded. "That sounds great Paul. I'll have a glass of apple juice if you don't mind"

"Take a seat Claudia - I'll bring it all over in a few minutes" Paul responded.

Claudia smiled and made her way over to the table closest to the kitchen. She hadn't eaten a whole lot that particular day - perhaps it was the lack of time or the nerves she had that morning - but now she was more than looking forward to Paul's casserole. Claudia hadn't really used her own mess hall before save for one breakfast at the start of the week. She preferred to have her meals in her quarters or down in the officers' mess to make herself more visible to the crew.

A few minutes later Paul brought over the food and drinks on the wheeled trolley he kept behind the counter for moving vegetables from the hydroonics bay to the kitchen. He placed Claudia's portion and drink in front of her before placing his own on the table and sitting down.

"This looks great Paul. Just what I needed" Claudia said.

The aromas the casserole gave off were extremely pleasant. Paul and Bovek's cooking was certainly extremely popular with the crew as they very rarely had anything left over after each meal time. Today was just lucky for Claudia as there was enough casserole left for them both.

Paul smiled and raised his glass of beer.

"Thank you. Cheers" Paul said.

Claudia smiled. "Cheers"

Claudia touched her glass against Paul's before she took a sip of the fresh apple juice Paul had made for her with the apples she had given him earlier in the week. Claudia liked the replicated juice but she felt home made apple juice was even nicer.

"How did you get on then? I heard from a couple of people this dinner time there was some trouble with The Consortium" Paul commented.

Claudia finished a mouthful of her meal before replying. It had been a tense day for her and she was happy to have some company that evening instead of eating alone. Given the time of day Claudia was surprised even Paul was still in the galley and Bovek hadn't yet taken over.

Claudia nodded. "We've done what we needed to"

"I'm glad to hear it. How's your meal?" Paul replied.

Claudia smiled. "It's lovely thank you"

Paul was also enjoying his. He'd had a few light meals throughout the day but he always enjoyed his much larger evening meal. Generally Paul usually ate with Bovek but the Bolian was running a little bit late that evening as he was checking the hydroponics bay to see what needed planting next.

"I usually eat with Bovek but he's in the hydroponics bay at the moment. I'm sure he'll be here soon though" Paul commented.

Claudia liked Bovek from her meetings with the Bolian chef. He was a very cheerful man and he was also an extremely competent cook - Claudia planned on learning a few things from him as well as Paul.

"That reminds me. I need to bring your hot plate back down at some point. Thank you for the ingredients - the food went down well" Claudia said.

Paul replied. "It's no rush Claudia - whenever you have the time"

Claudia simply nodded and ate some more of her meal. There were other things on her mind but she didn't feel able to talk about them - although if there was anybody she could talk to in confidence about how she felt it was Paul Foster.

"I appreciate it" Claudia mumbled.

Paul could see Claudia had something on her mind which could be the other reason why she came down to visit him at this time of night. He'd had a few deep conversations with Claudia in the past - but this seemed different.

"Are you alright Claudia? You seem bothered by something" Paul asked.

Claudia shrugged. "I'm alright I guess. It's just...feelings...I guess - nothing that I can't cope with. I'm just not sure now is the right time to be talking about it. No offence to you Paul - it's just hard to talk about it or think about the right words to say. I appreciate the offer though. If I change my mind I'll come and see you about it"

"Are you sure? You know I won't tell anybody what we talk about" Paul replied.

Claudia nodded. "I know Paul. I just don't feel it's the best time to talk about it - maybe another time yeah?"

Paul smiled and accepted it was probably best to leave the subject for now and carry on with their meals. He had always looked out for Claudia as he had served with her for over a dozen years and he was honoured Claudia asked him to come over to the Vindex with her. He always wanted people to feel they could talk to him in confidence but it appeared that at least this time Claudia didn't want to talk about it. Whatever it was Paul hoped that it would resolve itself sooner rather than later.

After half an hour they'd both finished their meals and Claudia had wished Paul goodnight just as Bovek walked in and greeted them both. Once the two chefs were well into their preparations to change over Claudia made her way to her quarters. There were a lot of things on her mind right now but she did her best to put them to one side and focus on the task at hand. Once she retired to bed the Vindex's commanding officer was asleep within minutes.


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