Explanations Over Breakfast
Location: Debbie's Diner
Timeline: Mission Day 5 at 0900
[USS Sojourner - Docked - Starbase 2]
[The morning after When Worlds Collide - 0900 Hours]
Debbie’s was subdued in the way that a typically loud and brightly lit establishment was when there were fewer people to grace its tables than normal. The neon lighting, red booths, and checkered floors were stark, seemingly lonely without the press of people that usually graced them. The proprietress of the establishment could be heard in the kitchen.
A few tables were occupied, most by single officers--a few in pairs--who were getting a late dinner after an overnight stint at their posts, or were enjoying a leisurely breakfast. For an average day there was an unusually high number of people out of uniform. A quartet of crooning male voices blanketed the space overtop a jazzy trumpet, saxophone, and guitar combination while a high hat tapped away causing toes throughout the place to tap against the tile floor.
Irynya had made a beeline for the booth of her choosing as soon as she and Kennedy had entered the space. It was one of the larger booths that could accommodate 6 people comfortably--8 if everyone squeezed together. They weren’t too close to the kitchen, but neither were they in the back. She wanted to be able to see the rest of their party as they arrived. Kennedy sat next to her with a complicated expression on his face. She had explained what he had walked into the night prior after extracting promises from Noah and Timmoz that they would come to breakfast in the morning. It had been a complicated conversation to navigate, but she was hopeful that actually having a conversation with Timmoz would dispel some of the more visceral reactions Kennedy had experienced.
She glanced at him now, offering an encouraging smile before leaning over and pressing a kiss to his cheek. Her hand found his next to hers on the bench and laced her fingers through his, squeezing encouragingly.
He was embarrassed that he fainted the night before when he spotted Irynya and her friend Timmoz who he had mistaken for the Orion who had shot Nir Giorgou that had given him nightmares of the hellish world of Cho'thil ever since. Apparently, the two men had shared a banquet hall together but departed the crew temporarily for detached service.
He felt foolish that the two Orions were not alike. He knew how important it was to Irynya for him to know that there was some level of intimacy with her friends, it was culturally and spiritually Risian. He didn't understand it but he accepted it because it was part of her. In time, he would adapt and become use of it. He was worried he might not be able to. He felt her squeeze his hand at the table. He looked over smiling at her.
"Nope!" came a brassy voice from the kitchen. "I don't care, I've got way too much to do here, thank you very much." A storm of a woman burst out of the back, the face of Mel -- the ship's primary short-order cook -- staring after her through the open service window in equal parts disbelief and irritation. Debbie Gless swept over to the end of the bar and snagged a lemon bar from the refrigerated display case there. Plating the confectionery treat, she moved quickly over to Crewman Li'li -- sitting alone in his booth -- and thrust the plate at him. "Here you go, baby. Sorry for the yelling!" she said, raising her voice and directing it over her shoulder and back at Mel.
"Um...problems?" the froggy crewman asked, tongue flicking out to snag the lemon bar and draw it in whole. His eyes began to sparkle with iridescent joy over the taste of his newly-arrived treat.
"Vacation. He," Debbie chucked a thumb over her shoulder, "says I need to take some time off. After I've just got this place back in order and have fresh foodstuffs arriving from the starbase. I've got vegetables coming out of my ears and he wants me to visit a spa? What do I look like, a lady of leisure? I got tables to wait and lemon bars to plate. How was it sweety?" she asked, smiling down at the man.
"Delicious as always." Not a word was said about the vacation, however.
"I'm glad, baby," Debbie grinned, turning and spying Irynya and Kennedy. She made a bee line over to them and produced a PADD. "Well if it isn't the talk of the whole ship! What can I getcha?"
"Milkshake. Extra chocolate. And some of those fun curly chocolate shavings," came a prissy voice from behind. Sheldon Parsons -- who'd been invited as well -- slid down into the booth, sitting across from the pair of cooing lovebirds.
"Sheldon! I thought you were taking some time off?" Debbie beamed, happy to see the young man.
"From here," he nodded, "but not the engine room. There's a million things to do, Deb," Parsons sighed, sliding deeper down into the booth. If he were made of pudding, he'd be a pile of goop right then.
"Well alright. One milkshake. What else?" she said expectantly, looking at Irynya and Kennedy.
"Kaheedi." The voice was intentionally honey smoke with his unique accent. Next came that waft, that exotic smell of earthen musk. Timmoz stood behind the rotund, pleasant woman, his arms folded across his chest. Timmoz had opted for a uniform- his skant, with smooth green thighs and knees and half calf boots. His presence naturally drew a few glances from the thin population. How often did one see a tall, skinny Orion with a bush of hair, on a Federation starship no less.
Turning, Deb nearly dropped her PADD. "Oh my god!" she exclaimed, reaching forward to wrap the thin Orion in all. of. the. hugs. "I'd heard you were back onboard. Wondered how long it'd be before I saw ya," she smirked, pulling back from the hug then. "You look good, baby! Skantly clad," Debbie winked, nudging Timmoz with her elbow. "At least one of us has the legs to pull those things off!"
"Not long, turns out," Timmoz confirmed with his bemused turn of mouth into a cheek. His lankiness wrapped the woman. "Please. Discard those Human inhibitions. Wear what comforts you," he added. "A Kaheedi wears what she wishes.."
Irynya's grin could have lit the room single handedly. She squeezed Kennedy's hand again and glanced across to Sheldon, smiling at him warmly. Truth be told, she lived for having the people she loved together. "I'm glad you decided to join us," she said, directing her gaze to Sheldon who did, indeed, look as though he might slide off the bench and under the booth into a gelatinous pile of lanky limbs. She hadn't been sure he would join them when she managed to catch him in the common room early that morning, but she was thankful that he had.
Kennedy looked over at Irynya while she squeezed down on his hand, he lightly squeezed hers back. With his free hand he waved at Sheldon, "Good morning, Sheldon. How are you?"
"I'm just off an overnight shift. Been trying to track down a plasma leak," Sheldon replied, shaking his head. "Damn thing is a lot more elusive than you'd think. But we found it in the end. You got any apple fritters?" he asked, turning to face Debbie. "Could really go for one of those right about now."
"Apple fritters we can do," Debbie nodded her head voraciously. "What else can I get all of you, hmm? Would rather not make twelve different trips," she smirked, holding up her PADD and stylus. "Mine," Debbie whispered at Kennedy, looking pointedly at her data entry device. Clearly, she never intended to let the young man live down his taking of her PADD on their first meeting.
Irynya turned her grin on Debbie then. "I'd love a mint mocha if you've got the stuff for one. And scrambled eggs and toast?"
"Mint mocha," Debbie scribbled. "Scrambled eggs and toast. I'd ask what kind but who am I kidding, it'll be raisin and you'll like it," she smirked at Irynya. "How about you, kid?" she turned then to Kennedy.
Kennedy couldn't look Debbie straight in the eye while he shifted his lip and his cheeks turned a pinkish red colour, "I would love to have an Irish Breakfast Tea, black, please." His hand moved out for the PADD but resisted, "I learnt my lesson from the last time..." His eyes diverted over to Irynya debating what he wanted for breakfast, "I'll have eggs, toast with marmalade and a side of back bacon please with some hashbrowns."
"Uh huh. Ok, got it," Debbie nodded before angling towards Timmoz, all smiles. "And you, baby?"
The Orion smiled into his cheek again, "Bovril, extra strong, warm, please, Kaheedi. And a couple of Krada sausages, with blackspice." The Orion's eyes fell on Kennedy Walsh and then to Irynya. "You should join us, Kaheedi. Irynya is going to tell us about her pairing with the Doctor, and the skinny one with the big eyes." He grinned teasingly at Irynya before his sparkling dark eyes went back to the rotund matron.
"As amusing as that story likely is," Debbie scribbled Timmoz' order down on her PADD, "I think I'll pass. But I appreciate the invite," she smiled wide at the Orion. She waited patiently as others debated what they might want to have, taking orders as they were called out.
Unknown to Timmoz, Noah had stepped up behind them, wearing his morning jumpsuit variant. He was due for crawling around some Jefferies Tubes to lock down an anomaly in the Epsilon Primesets, which were already getting an upgrade.
Irynya noticed several things at once. First, that Kennedy's face was turning progressively darker shades of red as new people arrived at the table--Timmoz's most recent description of a pairing eliciting a new darker shade. Second, Noah had arrived and was not only behind Timmoz and Debbie, but well within hearing range. Third, the utter mischief in the Orion's eyes as he all but implied some particularly interesting activities amongst 3 out of the 4 roommates.
Eyes darting from person to person, taking in all of the reactions quickly she couldn't hold back the snort of laughter. And she did the only thing she could think of to do... she doubled down on Timmoz's joke.
"I am sure I could make room for one more, Timmoz..." she winked at him, her hand squeezing Kennedy's before she peered over the tall Orion's shoulder at the newcomer whom the pilot hadn't yet noticed. "What do you think Noah?" Then she turned to her beau, "Kennedy?"
Timmoz turned and sprouted his lean, bemused smile at the Cadet. He twisted back and looked on to the lovely matron of her establishment. "Not yet Kava. I haven't had my breakfast." Noah fiddled with a sense of discomfort, the inner cheek chewing awkwardness of being the shyer among a pair of live extroverts. He wasn't sure what to say- or really what was being proposed. He'd only walked up and overheard the big-eyed one while witnessing the reunion from afar.
"Can-can I help you with anything Debbie?" Noah asked, which seemed the safest approach. Timmoz had, meanwhile, eased into the seat across from Kennedy Walsh and Irynya. He reached back and, with the soft and oaken musk of an Orion, he began to gather his great mass of curls into a bundle to tie into a small bun. Lean, lime green biceps flexed and eased under his Skant's short sleeves, sinewy. Noah looked on at the muscles and then back to Debbie and his roommates.
"I appreciate the offer, baby," Debbie's eyes sparkled at yet another of her adopted children, "but it looks like you're ready to go crawling through the bowels of the ship. Why don't you take a seat and enjoy some time with your friends, hmm?" With the last of the orders given -- for now, at least -- the matron nodded a goodbye and made her way back behind the counter. She could be heard yelling out the orders she'd just collected, the rise in volume for Mel's benefit back in the short-order kitchen.
"Couldn't you just send them from your PADD?" Mel yelled back over the sound of something sizzling.
"Where's the fun in that?!" Debbie demanded, hands on her hips. While Mel got to work on the food, she got started on the requested drinks.
"Um...hello," Sheldon nodded to the newly arrived Timmoz. He'd not known the pilot well prior to his departure at Risa but they'd run into each other now and again. Usually when Timmoz came to see Oliveria in engineering or when Parsons had been volunteering in the Adelphi's version of Debbie's Diner. "Welcome back," he said, trying to sound warm and inviting but coming up somewhere around aloof instead.
Timmoz nodded at Sheldon with a smile, "It's nice to be back with you all," Timmoz replied.
"Are my eyes really that big?" Noah asked with gentle curiosity. Timmoz grinned like a wolf. "M-most people notice my," and he pointed at his beaky aquiline nose.
Kennedy remained very silent. He wasn't sure how to respond to that comment. He looked over to the Orion and then back to Irynya before looking back down to the table's surface.
Irynya followed the exchange between Noah and Timmoz quietly, noticing her friend's hesitation along with a distinct shift from the uncertainty of the day prior to a different sort of curiosity. She didn't wait for Timmoz to answer then, realizing with a light chuckle what must be happening.
"Your eyes are pretty noticeable Noah," she remarked gently, then scooted closer to Kennedy, patting the bench next to her.
The broad mouth of the cadet turned into an Oh shape again, whilst he nodded and accepted the spot at the booth next to Irynya.
She shoulder bumped her friend once he sat, whispering as she did. "It's a bit disorienting," she said quietly in a voice intended just for Noah. "But a pretty normal reaction. I just lean into it and enjoy."
Noah looked at her, not following what she had connected. The Orion's musk was strong. He couldn't fit exactly where it fell in a flavor. Earthen. Or spicy. Just... exotic? Umami. Truffle-like? It wasn't like a Klingon, or a Tellarite. In one way it was relaxing but in another, it tapped into the strange feelings of adolescence, the awkwardness of sensing potent sensuality and stimuli on display and not fully knowing how to acknowledge it.
She shot a glance across the table at Timmoz, look pointed as she knew he had likely heard the exchange despite the tone of her voice. Her eyebrows raised slightly and she pursed her lips, a touch of protectiveness entering her gaze as she did. It was clear from Noah's body language that he hadn't understood that she knew what was happening. She set that aside for now, but made a mental note to say something later... when Timmoz wouldn't overhear them.
"So after breakfast then?" She asked the Orion, returning to their earlier mischief as a way to distract.
His hair properly tied back, Timmoz rested his arms atop his frizzy head, "Perhaps." He grinned his Cluros grin as he and Irynya played Shaadu with the two awkward Human boys. It was low hanging fruit, and they were not truly game to dance the Dance of the Love Bite. "Enough love-biting your friends, Kava. It's not fair to play before food, or under Debbie's Xo-I. Tell me how did you meet." He asked the three of them.
Irynya put on an extremely fake pout at Timmoz's comment, but relented. She looked first at Kennedy and then at Noah before turning back to look across the table at Timmoz and Sheldon.
"Both of them were at the luau on Risa," she commented. "So officially speaking I met them both there, though..." her gaze did the hop from one man to the other again, "Did either of you meet each other at that event or was the first time you met when we found out we were all quartered together?"
Kennedy's cheeks rosened up remembering his first encounter with Sheldon Parsons. He had accidentally ran into him with his drink first, "I only met Irynya and Sheldon at the luau on Risa. I accidentally walked into Sheldon with my drink against his back and then... Irynya... she noticed me. Normally, I don't get noticed at parties. Because I usually leave quickly, but she saw and invited me into the drum-circle."
When Timmoz looked at Noah for his addition, he found the engineer's dark eyes on the lines of his biceps and underarms again. As indelicately his gaze dropped and Noah uttered an "Umm..." he chewed his lip. He shifted a little in his seat, leaning on the table, "W-well..." he looked at Irynya and Kennedy in turn, "I c-came on the Sojourner from Antares Fleet Yards. I-I spent a little time on the surface but... um... I-I... well, I'm not a planet person. I mean party person. Like Kennedy." He gestured at the Doctor. "I met Sheldon and Kennedy be-because we room together."
"He has a holographic butterfly," Sheldon spoke up then, having disappeared into the conversation for awhile. "It's name is Mood. I sat on it once." Why oh why Parsons chose to bring that particular bit up was a mystery: perhaps he was just feeling awkward and didn't have much to contribute to the conversation? "We've all been rooming together for awhile now. The awkwardness is a lot better than it used to be," he noted.
Iry grinned over to Sheldon. "That was quite the introduction," she said with a giggle.
Noah smiled into a cheek, blushing, "Y-yeah." Noah looked at Sheldon and bobbed his head, "Yeah it's better... and Mood is OK."
Just then Debbie returned, a large tray held expertly as a cinch of bracelets chimed around her wrist. "Alright, we got...well, just about everything on the menu here," she said, using her free hand to start passing out the drinks and requested food. "Hope you all enjoy yourselves," she grinned as the last plate was set down. "I'll be bouncing around but if you need anything, just flag me down. And Irynya," the matron looked directly at the Risian, "you be nice to these poor boys. They don't know what to do with you," Debbie smirked playfully before veering away.
The Risian's features popped in exaggerated alarm, taking in each of the four men at the table, starting with Noah and working her way around to Kennedy, before she leaned across Noah, sticking her neck out into the aisle to yell after Debbie. "They could always just ask!"
Kennedy's face flushed into a deep lobster read at both Debbie's and Irynya's remark while he looked down at his breakfast.
Timmoz and made motion for the cup of Bovril, a strange beefy-umami mingling with an undertone of something rancid from it. He sipped it and set it down. Bemusement danced in his face while he cut into a Krada sausage to assure the center was still a little pink. "Asking is the way to go... unless you're a telepath."
Kennedy started to smell something he wasn't familiar with and it was coming from across the table. He was unsure who it was coming off of but it was overpowering. He looked at his tea and then to Irynya then across the table to Timmoz where he made direct eye contact with him for the first time. He reached for Irynya's hand with his nervousness as he studied the Orion's face. He was attractive and Kennedy started to feel a level of tightness in his pants. He pressed his teeth against his lower lip before looking over to Irynya. He couldn't explain how he felt in that moment... as it felt all new to him. He looked down to their hands entwined together, handholding had never made him feel this way before... something was different.
Irynya's eyebrows rose slightly as Kennedy snagged her hand under the table. He was still the standard brilliant shade of blushing red that he so often was in situations he found uncomfortable, but there was something different in his expression as well. She watched with a slight shock as he worried his bottom lip, looking over to her with an expression that she recognized, but had never seen in a public setting before. Her eyes darted to Timmoz and then back to Kennedy, squeezing his hand tightly in encouragement.
Kennedy looked over to Timmoz again, "So... where are you... from?"
Timmoz had rather gracefully folded a strange piece of blackened sausage into his mouth, by way of a grayish-green tongue. His glance at Noah was the only break in the gaze to Irynya's curious new paramour and again, the young engineer skirted his gaze away from the Orion. "If you mean where I was born," he murmured with amusement. Timmoz sat back again, his long arms spanning the back of the seat he shared. "Botchok. Have you heard of it?" He asked the Medical Officer.
Kennedy picked up his fork and toyed around with the food on his plate while he watched Timmoz placed a piece of sausage into his mouth. Kennedy found himself moistening his lips while he watched the Orion eat his breakfast. He breathed in deeply while he shook his head, "No. I cannot say I have. What hemisphere is Botch-cock?" Kennedy's face blushed then corrected himself, "Uh... Botchok on?"
He stabbed a fried bit of potatoes and dabbed it in the beans before placing it in his mouth.
The Orion's lime lips spread in a smile. "The Orion Borderlands. On the Klingon side." He blinked and his brown gaze suaved toward Irynya and back, "Near Arcanis." He eased forward with lean arms crossing on the edge of the table. Noah stared at them like he was burning holes in the Orion's green flesh. "It was the third Orion colony when we left Old Ur'eon." He grinned wolfishly, "After we Bilati realized we wanted nothing to do with the Kolari's ambitions for Empire."
The verdant one's fingers lifted and gestured, "Irynya hasn't told me where you are from, Doctor." He asked Kennedy, "Or you, Cadet."
"I... have to admit... I know nothing about Orion history... I know some stuff... medically... of course... but..." Kennedy trailed off still unsure, "You can call me... Kennedy... we're off duty. Only call me Doctor when I'm wearing my doctor's coat." He looked over at Irynya smiling.
"That's not your fault," Timmoz added smoothly, "Records are almost nonexistent. It was over 200,000 of your years ago. Even we Orions don't know the details anymore." He glanced at Irynya again, "Most of us don't see it as relevant to us anymore anyhow."
Iry was beginning to feel like she was watching a game of eye contact tennis. Her eyes followed Kennedy and then Timmoz who was periodically darting over to her--gauging her reaction to the distraction of the two men on either side of her, then over to Noah who was, at this point, openly staring. The only person left to look at was Sheldon--the only other person at the table who had spent any length of time around Timmoz before and therefore was finding it far easier to consume his food. She wrapped her hands around her mint mocha, appreciating the warmth of the mug and lifting it to her lips while she made eye contact with Sheldon, eyes widening slightly in a this is not what I expected sort of expression.
Sheldon's eyebrows upturned in a It is what it is expression before the young man took a long draw from his milkshake. He didn't really have much to contribute to the current conversation being so focused on devouring his meal ahead of his next duty shift.
"Do you know much about Europe on Earth? I'm from Ireland," Kennedy told him.
"I was on Earth for Starfleet Academy," Timmoz explained with a cautiousness. His nimble fingers wrapped his drink and he sipped it's pungency. "We made trips to Europe. To a place called... Swiss... land... Switzer's Land. For cold-weather training in their mountains." He locked eyes with Kennedy again, "Is Ireland near there?"
"Close but not quite... Ireland is an Island Nation, west of the United Kingdom."
This felt like an opening to Irynya as she thought back through the many conversations she and Kennedy had enjoyed over several weeks. "You've got a lot of castles there, right?" she asked, interjecting.
"There are a lot of castles in Ireland, yes. But there are thousands scattered across Europe and the rest of the world. So not really unique to Ireland as an Irishman would claim..."
Timmoz had cut into one of the strange Klingon-inspired sausages again. His olive lips pursed with the lower more prominent, "I see." His brows knit, which for Timmoz was almost passing thoughtful; He forked a piece of sausage into his mouth and masticated it as a knot of motion in a cheek. "But your Ireland is not being occupied now..." he hesitated, "I assume, knowing Earth sells itself as a paradise... so why keep them around?"
"To remind us of how far humanity has reached within a millennia and more. To celebrate our advancement and remember where we came from," Kennedy continued, "are there any ruins from the past on your homeworld, Timmoz?"
The Orion seemed to accept that answer without judgment, his smile returning, "We've had twelve interstellar empires, twelve empires that someone dominated someone else, about as many Dark Ages and just under 200,000 years of travel beyond the warp barrier, Doctor." He grinned agreeably, "That's too much history to remember." His nose scrunched as he cut off a piece of sausage again, "Most Orions don't value history in the same way as you Humans."
Timmoz grinned again with bedroom eyes fixed on the Doctor, "Think of Humans as the fresh-faced child... lots of good memories, new experiences ahead, and every year feels long. Orions are the old man. Lots of memories, but more regrets than good. A lot more of them half-remembered. And its probably best they are." His brow arched at that with a chuckle. "We stick to simpler pleasures now and don't worry so much about the past."
Irynya listened to the exchange with interest, quietly sipping her coffee and working on her breakfast. With a small squeeze of Kennedy's hand, she interjected, "Some of us go for simpler pleasures without whole epochs of lessons learned." Here she winked at Timmoz. "Of course Risians don't have nearly the history of the Orions either."
She turned slightly them, hand still in Kennedy's, but body language directing attention to Noah. Gently she bumped him with her shoulder. "Noah grew up on an ice moon," she commented, simplifying her description in a bid to get him to add detail.
"I-I did... yeah," brought in from his comfort zone of listening, Noah hunched toward the table and the conversationalists. "Well," his mouth skewed some, "Actually its on;y ice for-for um," he glanced at Irynya and then back to the Orion, "A dozen kilometers. Then its an ocean."Well... a slush layer... an ocean and-and then as you go deeper it forms hot ice c-compounds." He shrugged, "Its a science colony."
Timmoz smiled into a cheek, "Mmm, I see," he noted.
"Well," Parsons spoke up again, "it's time I got to Engineering. The Chief's got a laundry list of things to accomplish during the downtime. It was nice seeing all of you," he said, setting aside his now mostly-empty milkshake. "Glad you're back, Lieutenant," he offered to Timmoz before rising with a wave to the others. And with that, the young engineer was off, pausing only to say goodbye to Debbie at the counter before slipping out of the diner.
"I-I should report in too," Noah agreed as he sidled out of his chair. "Nice to-to see you again Sir. From yesterday." Noah curled his fingers against his chair and smiled at the gathering. He pushed hair behind the shell of his ear. "See you guys at um, home."
Irynya fixed the two men with warm smiles before they left offering Noah a "See you at home" in reply. With the group whittled down to three she unwound her fingers from Kennedy's grip, using both hands to tip back the remains of her drink.
"I'm up too," she said. "Figure I'd better impress the new boss with my extreme traffic monitoring skills," she said wryly with a smirk at Timmoz. She leaned over, pressing a kiss to Kennedy's cheek. "See you at home, later," she said, grinning slightly like a cat who knew she was about to get something she wanted. Before either of the two men could stop her she slid out of the booth, finger waving as she went before making her way out of the diner.
Timmoz watched the Risian go. His gaze slinked back to Kennedy a moment later, having watched she and the two other men depart. "Do you Irish have a faith?" Timmoz asked. He leaned back into his chair with his strange, meaty-flavored drink. He sipped it.
Kennedy watched Irynya quickly vacate their table and Debbie's. He frowned then returned to look over to the Orion.
"Catholicism and Protestantism sects of Christianity and several other faiths," Kennedy offered. "I was raised as devout Catholic... but let's just say that's not what I believe in anymore."
The Orion looked into his drink and decided he'd had enough of it. Setting it down, he rose to his full, lanky height. He stretched arms over his head like some lean, limber sheetah. "Interesting," Timmoz added. He tapped the table with a finger, a double-vibration. "Good luck," he murmured with bemusement. "Time to go to the Bridge." And with that, the verdant one stepped away and walked out of Debbie's as well.
Kennedy looked around the table realizing he was the last one to leave. He was caught by surprise by this as he was usually the first to leave in a social situation like these in the past. He finished his tea and then brought himself out of the booth and made his way to Sickbay.