USS VINDEX - NCC-2474-A
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I Guess We Gotta Eat

Posted on Sun Jun 26th, 2016 @ 7:40pm by Lieutenant Kazyah Linn & Lieutenant Elijah "Eli" Dreznik

Mission: S1E1 - Booby Trap
Timeline: 1923 hours

Lieutenant Kazyah Linn stood in the turbolift, his hands clasped around a moderately sized box behind his back. He was wearing a pair of dark blue jeans that had a few holes worn into them along with a bright teal button-up shirt and black oxford-style shoes. While he wasn't sure exactly what he looked like, he felt extremely comfortable in his favorite pair of jeans. That would just have to do.

The lift came to a halt on deck three and he exited, walking through the various corridors until he came to his destination: Lieutenant Dreznik's quarters. With a bit of a hesitation, he reached out and pressed the chime to announce his presence.

Eli almost called out and said the door was open, but instead he went to open the door personally. He was dressed casually in a bright red form-fitting shirt, khaki cargo pants and a pair of black low-top Converse shoes. He pressed the control panel on the wall and smiled broadly. "Kaz," he said with enthusiasm. "Right on time. Please, come in."

"Thank you," Kaz stated, taking a step into the man's quarters after he moved aside. "Spacious. I guess being a Department Head has its benefits."

"I was pretty surprised by it myself. This ship has more people than my home town does," said Eli as the door closed behind them. "I hope you like Italian. I had planned a lot...um, heavier meal. Country fried steak, biscuits. That sort of thing. I had to improvise."

"I'm sure it will be delicious," Kaz replied. "I've never had that variety of human cuisine so I am looking forward to it. Oh-" Kaz pulled the package from behind his back and held it out to the man. "It's customary to bring some sort of token when invited over. I figured flowers would be a bit...much."

"You shouldn't have," said Eli with enthusiasm. On North Star, such a custom did not exist. He opened the package like a three year old would open a Christmas gift. He lifted the candle from the box and admired it before placing the box on the counter. "I don't know what to say."

"It's my favorite scent. When I meditate, it can only be with one of these candles." Kaz reached out and ran his fingers along the rim of the glass.

"Can I offer something to drink!" Asked Eli as he moved toward the kitchen. "I have wine...iced tea...good old H2O...and a 570 year old bottle of Skagaran Whiskey."

"I think for now, ice tea will be fine," Kaz stated, following the man into the kitchen. "So have you been on board long?" he asked, avoiding the other questions he had for the man.

"Only a few days," said Eli as he took a glass from the cupboard. He placed several ice cubes in the glass and poured the iced tea, setting it on the counter in front of Kaz. "I'm already unpacked though. Frontier life means you get used to a more Spartan existence. Less to fuss over."

"Understandable." Kaz picked up the glass and took a long sip from it. "I normally don't travel very heavy either, but as this is a long-term assignment, there are a few essentials I would require necessary."

Eli poured himself a glass of the iced tea as well. He tipped his glass toward his companion and said "Dory, Dorek-yah." He hoped that Kaz would understand the sentiment, even if he didn't understand the words.

"Dory, Dorek-yah to you," Kaz stated, tipping his glass towards the man until they clinked delicately. After taking a drink, Kaz set his cup down on the table and walked around the room a bit. "Why did you ask me to dinner?" he asked, turning back towards the man who had re-entered the kitchen, no doubt to continue cooking.

"I thought it might be fun," the science officer countered. Eli stopped stirring the pasta sauce on the stove and placed the wooden spoon on the counter. "To be quite honest, you remind me of someone. Someone that is...or rather, was...a very important part of my life. Someone that helped me see the better parts of myself."

Kaz raised an eyebrow, "So I'm being used as a replacement for some long-lost lover? I hate to break it to you, but I doubt I can help you see anything."

Kadziko, Eli cursed silently to himself. This was not going as he had intended. He chose his next words very carefully. "I am not trying to replace him, Kaz. What he and I had died long ago." Eli waved a hand in a dismissive gesture. "I should never have said anything about that. Perhaps this wasn't such a good idea..."

"Relax," Kaz said, taking a few steps towards the man. "I was making a joke. I didn't assume you were trying to replace him. I just figured that the subject would be a bit heavy and I tried to lighten it."

Eli exhaled loudly through his nose for a few seconds. "Sorry. That was a knee-jerk reaction. My first instinct nowadays seems to be to tuck tail and run." He reached for a set of plates on the shelf. "Food is ready...mushroom ravioli with a classic marinara sauce. I do confess that I had to replicate the garlic bread, but it still tastes okay. How do you like your ravioli? Light, medium or extra saucy?" Eli let a small chuckle escape at his odd phrasing.

"I'm not sure," Kaz said, leaning on the counter. "How about I have it whatever way you have it."

Eli smiled. "Extra saucy it is, then." He poured the ravioli into a colander to drain them for a few seconds, then used a pair of tongs to put several of the pasta pockets on each plate. He used a ladle to pour a generous amount of sauce over each serving. Then he said in a faked Italian accent "Dinner is served, Signore. Please join me at the table."

Kaz picked up his glass, and the Lieutenant's glass, and walked to the table, setting both down at the each pan's place. "It smells fantastic," he said, smiling.

As the two men began eating, Kaz set his fork down for a moment, wiping his mouth on a napkin. "Tell me about him," he simply said, adding nothing more to the statement. But he knew Eli would know what he was talking about.

Eli finished chewing a bite before he spoke. "His name is Drew. He's from Kennovere...you know, the low-tech agricultural colony on the Outer Rim. We were Academy room mates. He...was my first real friend after moving from North Star." Eli paused to take a long drink and wipe his mouth. "He was so funny...he could always see humor in the most dire situations. Such an optimist. We were together for over three years before a bar fight left him with total amnesia...no memory at all stretching back til before he left home. When I got my first posting, I made the choice to let go since he didn't remember me anyway. All I was to him was somebody that he used to know."

"How long ago did you two part?" Kaz asked, taking a drink of his water.

"Eleven years ago," said Eli with a slight frown. "Just a few weeks before Graduation."

"Do you think of him often?" Kaz hesitated for a moment. Perhaps this was turning into more of an interrogation than a conversation. "I"m sorry, don't feel obligated to answer. I am intruding."

"It's okay, Kaz. I don't mind." Eli gave his companion a wan smile. "Not nearly as much as I used to. But there hasn't been anybody since that I've really opened up to...if that makes sense."

"Do you feel that your past relationship is holding you back from opening up to someone new or are the two unrelated and merely coincidental?" Kaz took a bite of his ravioli before placing his fork down again.

Eli pushed the last of his ravioli around the plate with his fork, attempting to soak up a last bit of sauce before eating the square bite. "I think I just chose to focus on my career after that, try and keep things strictly professional. That's not really working for me anymore though. I guess I just need somebody to understand the baggage I come with first."

"I suppose that's true," Kazyah said, taking another drink of water. "Though there is something to be said for keeping your personal business to yourself."

Eli placed his silverware neatly into his plate. He folded his hands loosely on the table in front of him and leaned back slightly. "So what about you? It's only fair that you dish a little about yourself."

Kaz raised an eyebrow, "What would you like to know?" he simply asked.

"I dunno," said Eli as he got up and removed the plates from the table. "Anything? I know next to nothing about you." He reached into the small refrigerator and pulled out a container of chocolate gelato. He put a generous scoop in each of two dessert dishes, garnished it with mint leaves, and placed a bowl in front of each of them before sitting down. "Something that will surprise me?"

"Well," Kaz took a drink of his tea, "I am part Betazoid part Romulan, I am completely blind and I have a twin brother," he said.

"This I got from your personnel file," said Eli with a slight smile. "The declassified portion that I was able to access with my paltry Omicron-3 clearance." He took a bite of the gelato; it was surprisingly tasty considering that it contained no dairy. "I might hafta have you over again to find out more."

"You'll have to understand something," Kaz took a deep breath. He hated having this part of the conversation. This was when all of the guys stopped calling. And it was a shame, this guy actually seemed worth his time. "I work in Intelligence. My life is about keep secrets. It's not that I have an issue divulging information about my personal life, it is just something that I am not accustomed to. So if you want to know more about me, it's probably not going to happen, at least not quickly."

Kaz stood, "I'm sorry to have ruined the evening, it was a wonderful dinner," he said, turning to walk towards the door.

"Wait," said Eli, standing and placing his spoon in the dessert dish. "I didn't mean to press. I'm sorry." He took a step toward the door. "If there's one thing my profession has taught me, it's that some of the best discoveries are worth waiting to make. If you want to leave, I won't stop you." Eli gave Kaz an almost pleading look. "Just don't leave thinking less of me for trying."

"That's the thing," Kaz looked at the man with a sad look, "It's not you. It's me. I'm the one who isn't going to let you get close."

That's the oldest cop out in the book, Eli thought to himself. "You know," he began. "I pick my battles based on which ones are winnable and which ones aren't. I honestly thought this one was winnable. Thanks for proving me wrong." As his heart sank down to deck four, Eli said "You should probably go. Good night, Mister Linn."

Kaz nodded as he turned around. "I wish I could have given you more," he said as he walked out of the room.

Immediately, Eli regretted telling the Intel officer to leave. He crossed the distance to the door quickly, opened it and saw that his dinner companion was still there, about to step away. "Don't go," he said in hoarse near-whisper.

"It's better this way," Kaz said, without turning around. "Thank you for dinner."

"Thank you for coming," said Eli. He pushed the control stud and the door hissed closed. This was not over...not by a long shot.

 

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