Mission: Mission 4: Letting the Hair Down
Statzia paused at the doorway to a small, cobblestone building, indicated by a simple wooden sign with a basket of baguettes painted on its face. The smells drifting through the door were the only other indication this was an eatery. She gestured with her head to the door. "This is the place, Commander."
"As you reminded me. we're on leave. I think you can call me Mis." She glanced around at the place, it was comfortable, an old world Earth feel not like the resort that put her on edge as she was always expecting to get interrupted by some of the staff looking for their next appointment. She had to admit though. the drink in her hair was a new one.
"Chérie!" A portly, red-cheeked woman stepped past the counter, wiping her hands on her flour-dusted apron. She cupped Statzia's face in her hands, planting a loud kiss on each cheek. "You have returned! And still without a leg?"
Statzia returned the kisses and laughed. "You'd think that Starfleet would find one that worked." She turned. "Mis, this is Antoinette. Be careful--her cooking will put twenty pounds on your hips by the end of leave."
Antoinette gave a huff. "You needed the weight, child. You were all bones the last time you were here." She turned to give Nokomis a look over. "But, it seems your appetite has improved. She's a pretty one." She gave a Statzia a wink.
"And she can hear you, " Mis replied. She frowned slightly, what exactly did the woman think this was, what did Stazia think this was?
Statzia flushed in embarrassment. "A table would do just fine." As the women were seated at a side table, Statzia leaned over. "I'm sorry about Antoinette. The last time she saw me, I was--not in good shape. Physically or mentally. She can be a little--overzealous."
"Yeah, I noticed. A lot of people on this planet seem to be." She waved her hand. "Don't worry about it. So you were here before Orion?"
"The USS Mercutio, before this. I was sent to Risa for three for recovery after losing my leg." Statzia passed one of the lunch menus to Nokomis. "I wasn't responding well to therapy--or to anything, if I'm being totally honest. Ship's counselor thought I might respond better to a more holistic treatment program, along with fresh air and the reliable daily dose of sunshine."
"Did that drive you crazy?" Mis glanced up at her and realized that was probably a poor choice of words. "I mean all the cheerfulness and paradise? You do seem to have this streak of sarcasm in you, I should know, I have one too. There's too much about this place that sets it off in me. And I've tried to just relax here. It's only been a day."
Statzia chuckled. "Yeah, I probably spent my first couple of weeks snapping at the service staff. The last one I snapped at was Antoinette's daughter-in-law. She told me she wasn't about to take my nonsense, and brought me here for dinner. It had been so long since I'd eaten a full meal, I promptly threw up the whole thing on the walk back to the resort. So she held my hair while I vomited, took me back to my room, cleaned me up, put me to bed, and was still there when I woke up the next morning."
"That's . . . dedication." Mis answered, unsure of what else to say about the situation. She was sorry that it happened but was not one to know how to process grief well. "I am sorry that happened to you. Do you ever write? A journal or do a personal log? I often find that helps me process what's happened." She glanced down at the menu and took a deep breath, letting it out slowly. "So what was it you recommended?"
Statzia leaned over, pointing at the menu. "I'm getting the Gratin Macaroni Fromages." She grinned. "I think on Earth the would call it 'Macaroni and Cheese', but trust me, this is FAR better than anything that would come out of a replicator."
Mis glanced down, somehow becoming hyper aware of Stazia's skin touching hers. Their hands had brushed when she pointed out what she was getting on the menu. Ignoring the sensation as much as she could she made a tisking noise with her tongue. "I know I should be good and have a salad or something that resembles actual food most Starfleet officers eat for lunch but I'm on vacation and you lured me here with the promise of chocolate."
Statzia sighed dramatically. "Well, they do have salads, if you really insist..."
"You're supposed to talk me out of it! Seriously, you said something about chocolate. I don't care what the menu has on it, that's all I want," she chuckled. "Even Kriosian women have an obsession with chocolate. It's one of the great wonders of the universe." The admission suddenly made her quiet again as she remembered what she had discovered about her father. Had her mother known? No wonder she ate so much of the stuff while Mis was growing up.
Statzia grinned. "Fine then." She waved down one of the wait staff. "One Brikette, one Gratin Macaroni Fromages." She handed both menus back. "And ask Antoinette to go ahead and start two chocolate soufflés." She flashed a smile at Nokomis. "See? I promised chocolate, and I'm delivering on that promise."
"Good, for a moment I thought I was going to have to put up with Antoinette kissing me on the cheek before I got some. Desperate times call for desperate measures though." She sat back. Mis had thought that some sun and sand would improve her mood but honestly just having a laugh and some conversation had already done that. "Orion has such a varied crew, I wonder if anyone else is enjoying themselves?"
"I think the crew members are grown, and perfectly capable of handling whatever mischief or nonsense they get themselves into on a pleasure planet." Statzia squeezed the slice of lemon into her water before taking a sip. "Focus on you. You have plenty of time to worry about the crew once we're back on the ship. How are you blowing off steam while you're here?"
"I was arrested and imprisoned the last time I was on shoreleave," Mis answered. "Can't blame me for being a bit pessimistic." In response to the other question she just shrugged at first. "I thought that I wanted some time alone and had planned a day on the sand in front of the water, but then K'Larn interrupted me and I had the mishap with the waiter . . . so maybe that's not what I need. I don't know."
"Well, if it helps, it's really hard to get arrested on Risa. Believe me, I tried the last time around." Statzia chuckled, holding up her glass of water. "Would something a little stronger than water be a good start?"
Mis grinned and then thought about what Stazia had asked. "Yeah, I guess it might. I'm not much of a drinker, but since I'm on leave and having chocolate for dinner I might as well. Anything in particular that you would recommend in that area too?"
Statzia winked. "I know just the thing." She lifted a hand to flag down one of the wait staff.
"I practically had to tie him up to get him to kiss me," Mis said exasperated. "Then there was Will, also intel, who told me in what should have been a romantic moment that my father had another family. Needless to say that ruined the moment. And finally Logan, apparently an apparition of me confessed to having been in love with him when we were at the Academy. That was true . . . but since then he's hardly looked at me."
Statzia set their empty plates at the edge of the table. "Wait--is this Logan, as in Logan Barrett?"
Mis blushed slightly at that particular admission. "Yeah, we grew up together. Our fathers were friends."
Statzia refilled her wine glass. "And the sonofabitch hasn't done anything with that information?" She took a healthy sip. "If he weren't my Captain, I'd have half a mind to knock some common sense into him--and I probably still would if I weren't trying so hard not to get drummed out of Starfleet." She offered the mostly-empty bottle to Nokomis.
"No," she said quietly. the subject sobering her up. "I think I've had enough. I should go actually. "
As if kismet, the soufflés arrived.
"He's a fool, you know." Statzia extended a spoon to her. "But I guess his loss is my gain, right?"
"Hmm, I'm not sure about that. Half drunk Kriosian isn't a prize I don't think." But there was chocolate in front of her so she let the subject go. She was feeling a bit more tipsy as if the wine had taken it's time to enter her bloodstream. Savoring the dessert she looked up and asked Stazia, "What about you, what are some of your past relationships? I hate to be the only one sharing."
Statzia went quiet for a moment, using her spoon to fiddle with the souffle. "There was only ever one. Frey." She bit her lip before reaching for the wine and taking a big swig--for courage. "But--they never stood a chance. Starfleet brochure is all First Contacts and Explore the Universe. But they never mention watching the people you love being mauled to death on some forsaken planet while you're pinned to--to the goddamn floor of the cave." Statzia shoved a spoonful of chocolate into her mouth, not wanting to say more.
"Oh god, I'm sorry Stazia. I'll keep talking so you don't have to answer. Let's see. I have a younger brother, the favorite child. My mother doted on him and ignored me. I was much more of a daddy's girl or so I thought until I found out about his other family."
"Mis--" Statzia reached over and placed her hand on top of the other woman's hand. "You don't have to do that."
"I know that, but I don't like seeing people in pain. There's a reason I didn't go into medical or counseling. I don't mind." She shrugged and offered a small smile.
Statzia gave the hand a squeeze. "Yeah, I do better with machines than people."
That got another smile from her. "It was a good thing you were on board to help repair all the damage from the Borg. " She briefly remembered how the last chief of operations had tried to kill her, not really, but it was kind of an amusing story. She took her last bite, Stazia's hand still over the top of hers. She discovered it didn't feel weird, it was nice, having someone willing to reach out to you. Mis's mind felt kind of warm and fuzzy.
Nokomis hadn't pulled her hand away. Between that, and the woman's smile, it made Statzia's cheeks feel warm. That, or it's the wine. "A part of me wonders if I should have asked the Borg to hook me up with a leg replacement that will accept brain commands. At least the rest of me works, right?" Without really thinking about it, her thumb softly brushed along the back of Mis' hand.
That sounded like a really bad idea, but for the life of her she couldn't think why. All she could focus on was the touch on her hand. It hadn't been that long since she'd been touched. She and Will had kissed at least, or she had kissed him anyway. Still, this was different. It was warm and tender and completely honest and that was somethings she hadn't felt in a long time. "Uh, no," she said pulling her hand back. "I think they'd want to give you a few commands for that brain as well and we wouldn't want that."
"I'm sorry, Commander," Statzia apologized, pulling her hands into her lap. "I didn't mean to make you uncomfortable, I just--"
"It's alright, I'm not offended." Mis took a deep breath. "Maybe we should go somewhere and talk about this?"
Statzia nodded. "I know a place."
Commander Nokomis Diza
Executive Officer, USS Orion
Lieutenant JG Anastatzia Liski
Chief Operations Officer, USS Orion