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Dining In

Posted on Tue Sep 26th, 2017 @ 2:25am by Lieutenant Commander Arturo M'Rohass & Lieutenant JG Xiulan Song

Mission: S2E1 - Secrets
Location: Quarters
Timeline: MD101 18:00hrs

When his relief arrived, Arturo quickly zipped through shift change and headed off to the quarters he shared with his Graceful Orchid. He had steadfastly and resolutely resisted the urge to call Xiulan during the emergency and after the emergency was over to make sure she was alright. She hadn't been in their quarters when he picked up his fighting gear, nor had she been there when he returned it. Now that his day was done (a few hours later than planned) he could finally go and make sure everything was still right in his world. He opened the door to their quarters and looked for Xiulan. He didn't immediately see her. He fought down a feeling of dread. He didn't expect Xiulan to be waiting for him with pipe and slippers or anything stupid like that, but with the attack, he was concerned for her safety.

"Xiulan?" he called out. As he walked towards the bedroom to see if she was there.

As he approached the bedroom, he would hear the sonic shower running, only to turn off at the sound of his voice. "Arturo?" Xiulan replied as she grabbed a towel and wrapped it around herself.

"It's me!" Arturo said walking over to the bathroom. The thought of Xiulan naked made him feel a bit lightheaded and giddy. First, however, he wanted to see and hear for himself that she was unharmed. "Can I come in?"

"Like you've ever needed to ask before," Xiulan replied with a grin as she began combing her damp hair at the sink. "So I hear we had some action today! Makes me kinda glad I'm back in the lab," she mused as she worked through the tangles.

Arturo entered, walked up behind Xiulan, and wrapped his arms around her, giving her a gentle squeeze before relaxing and just holding her for a moment. Finally, he let her get back to brushing out her hair.

"Yes," Arturo said. "The cyborgs woke up and escaped the morgue. They tried to take the ship. They took over engineering. The captain thought they were going to make a play for the shuttle so she sent Lieutenant Muniz and I to rally the bay crew and set up defenses. We were prepared to hold them off. They never made it out of Engineering, though, so it was all for naught. Can I help you with your hair?"

Arturo liked when Xiulan let him brush out her hair. It was a kind of intimacy all its own.

"Sure," Xiulan replied and held out the comb for him. "I was with Biynah, the Captain and XO's electronic love-child; she apparently had a bit of audio from the shuttle, helped me get a foot in the door with the translations, then I took her back to the lab to show her how I do things. We locked the lab when we heard the red alert, so we were safe," she relayed as Arturo combed her hair.

Arturo continued to brush Xiulan's hair, being very careful with any knots he found, and taking some opportunities to run his fingers through it. She had beautiful, dark, soft, silky hair and he loved the feeling of it.

"I'm glad you were safe," Arturo said. "Are safe. I was...concerned. I know you can handle yourself, but that doesn't mean that I don't worry when it's possible you could be in danger."

"I worry too," Xiulan replied with an understanding nod. "You know, I kinda got used to being in command on the Beifong; it was hard, all the little choices you've got to make, it was so crazy, but rewarding... But I tell ya what, I do not miss being in charge during times like these! The idea of being responsible for a ship of this size when all hell breaks loose, I do not envy the Officers who earn those positions," she said with a new-found respect for authority. It may have just been a relatively minor scuffle today, but after months on the Beifong not being able to tell friend from foe, even a minor scuffle was enough to help her reach that level of appreciation.

"Hmm..." Arturo said. "I don't mind the responsibility. In a way, I miss being the second officer of a small ship out on the frontier, always flying by the seat of my pants. There was a sense of adventure there. Nonetheless I am certain I will find a sense of adventure here as well. It will simply take time to adjust."

Arturo stopped brushing and combed his fingers through Xiulan's hair. Satisfied that it was all combed out, he set down the comb.

"All done," he said. He grinned mischievously. "So, shall I feed you before I sweep you off of your feet and carry you off to bed, or can I just give in to my insatiable carnal desires?"

"Wow, no foreplay or nothing, just straight to the carnal desires?" Xiulan said with a snicker. "Food sounds good, I was waiting for you to get off duty before I replicated anything."

"Oh, you know me better than that," Arturo said. "There will be plenty of foreplay. It's no fun unless you threaten to kill me if I don't hurry up. Now, dinner...perhaps tamagoyaki? I've loved eating that style of omelette every since Nerys introduced me to it. And, I managed to pick up a nice bottle of plum wine on my way to rendezvous with the Vindex. We could open that as well."

"You know I'm Chinese, not Japanese, right?" Xiulan replied with amusement as she wandered to the closet to pick out some clothes for the evening, though if her randy Caitian boyfriend had anything to say about it, she wouldn't be wearing them for long. "But that sounds good. Throw in some miso shiru and a grilled fish and we can do Japanese breakfast for dinner."

"Your wish, my command," Arturo said. "'re Chinese? I thought you were an Eskimo! Just kidding. Yes, of course I know you're Chinese. I also know that you at least sometimes enjoy Japanese food."

Arturo took one last loving look at Xiulan and then left the bedroom to get dinner together. He replicated two bowls of miso soup and set them out on the table, one at each of their places and placed spoons next to them. The he replicated two grilled salmon fillets and placed them on the table. Finally, he replicated the tamagoyaki, which he sliced into pieces perfect for being eaten with chopsticks. He replicated chopsticks and set them out as well. He set out two glasses and put ice in a small container for the table, designed to keep the ice cold enough for use for at least the time it would take to eat dinner, along with a set of tongs to pick out the ice cubes. Plum wine could be drunk straight or 'on the rocks' and Arturo liked to have both options available. If Xiulan could see, he would have set out candles. He might have still done that if she was completely blind. However, because of the infrared input from her implants, he never set out candles. They would just cause her to 'see' a big green blob in the middle of the table. On the other hand, he could see, so he did set the atmosphere a little. He dimmed the lights to give their meal a more intimate feel, at least for him.

"All is ready, my Graceful Orchid!" he called into the bedroom. "All that is needed is you."

Xiulan found a pair of leggings and a tank top to wear, then twisted her still damp hair into a messy bun, holding it in place with a single hair stick. Then, with the simple room layout being so easy learn, she navigated easily to the table. She took a seat, then reached out to find all the plates and bowls available to her, then she grabbed her chopsticks and started digging in as easily as anyone with normal vision.

"Mmm, I gotta give it to the Japanese, they do make a tasty omelette," she said around a mouthful of said omelette. "Except for that 'omurice' crap. I'm okay with egg over some fried rice, but then they add ketchup, and sometimes even mayonnaise! Uhg!" she said with a shudder.

Arturo grinned as he watched Xiulan dig into her food like she hadn't seen food in weeks. She was very rough and tumble and could be very tough. Part of why he called her 'Graceful Orchid' (besides the fact it was the Fed Standard translation of her name) was that she was about as graceful and delicate as an avalanche and had a vocabulary of profanity that would make a marine gunnery sergeant blush.

"Would you like some wine?" he asked. "If so, straight or on the rocks?"

"On the rocks," Xiulan replied, taking a sip from a glass of water to clean her palate, then rested her hand on the table to wait for the iced wine to be served as Arturo touched the back of her fingers with the glass. She sipped at the sweet plum wine with an approving nod, then resumed her attack on dinner. "So, how's it going with those star charts?" she asked to get the work related chatter out of the way. "I may have some translations of the glyphs soon, but-" Xiulan suddenly grew quite still when she heard something odd, a sort of soft scraping sound. "Are you eating your soup with a spoon?" she asked.

"Er...yes?" Arturo said. "Unless I'm not supposed to, in which case I have no idea what you're talking about, I would never use a spoon to eat my soup, and I'm offended that you would even suggest such a thing."

Xiulan snickered at his response, then picked up her bowl of miso soup to demonstrate how to sip from it. "See, and then you use the chopsticks to get the solid bits, like the tofu, and slurping is encouraged, especially when eating noodles, makes it taste better!" she explained. She never understood why Earth 'Westerners' thought slurping was rude, but she just chalked that up to a cultural thing. "You doing okay with the fish or do you need to cheat and use a fork?" she asked teasingly, and she wasn't even going to ask if he was managing the rice okay, most people who hadn't grown up eating rice with chopsticks typically had problems figuring out how to do it without making a mess.

"I've been practicing," Arturo replied, setting down his spoon and taking a loud slurp from his bowl of soup before going on. "I'm doing okay with the fish."

Arturo washed this down with a healthy sip from his glass of plum wine. Like Xiulan, he was drinking it on the rocks. He liked it very cold, followed by some water. Eating and drinking water along with his wine would keep him from getting completely plastered.

"I'm making some progress with the charts," Arturo said. "But anything you can add would be greatly appreciated."

"I've been able to work out some rudimentary translations, but it's very 'work in progress'. I just wish I had some more audio from the shuttle, that's been a godsend!" Xiulan stole one last piece of omelette then washed it down with the last of her miso soup. "I can pop by tomorrow with what I've got so far, see if that helps you any," she offered.

"That would be great!" Arturo said. That was another thing he loved about Xiulan. Her mind was as hot as her body. "I'll let you know when I can get away from the Bridge and we can meet in the Stellar Cartography Lab. Thank you very much. I don't know what I'd do without you."

"Probably get lost trying to figure these charts out on your own," Xiulan replied with a grin. She quickly finished off her fish and rice then started to clean up her dishes to run them back through the replicator; for such a small woman, she could definitely pack the food away, and fast! "Anyway, send me a message when you're available and I'll be there."

Arturo drank down the last of his wine and then cleared his place.

"I will," he said. "Though I object to the idea that I could get lost in space. You know flying starships around without getting lost is my chosen profession, my calling, my raison d'etre as the French say!"

My only one, until I met you, Graceful Orchid. Now being a pilot has to share the spotlight with being your loyal and adoring paramour.

After he put everything away, Arturo walked up to Xiulan, took her in his arms and kissed her.

"I have no idea why it has taken this long for me to do that," he said. "It should have been the first thing I did when I saw you. Then again, considering I found you wearing only a towel, if I started kissing you then, dinner might have had to wait."

"Not like we never skipped dinner and went straight for dessert," she remarked with a grin. "But thank you for being a perfect gentleman; I missed out on lunch today, so I was hungry, and the tamagoyaki and wine was delicious. So, if you want to be naughty, you may abscond with me now," she said playfully.

Arturo grinned. He scooped Xiulan up in his arms (which looked a little awkward, him being four inches shorter than Xiulan) and carried her off to their bedroom.


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