Previous Next

Diner Daze

Posted on Mon Jul 4th, 2022 @ 8:34pm by Captain Björn Kodak & Ensign Sheldon Parsons & Debbie Gless & Andrew Munro & Lieutenant JG Irynya

Mission: Echoes and Effigies
Location: Debbie's Diner
Timeline: Mission Day 2 at 1200

[Debbie's Diner]
[USS Sojo]
[MD 2: 1230 Hours]

The Sojo's resident diner was in full swing. 1950's rock music was blaring from the place's speakers as servers on roller skates moved from table to table, taking or delivering orders. All of the tables and booths -- save one -- were occupied for the lunch rush, a small crowd milling about near the entrance waiting for a berth to open up. As wailing guitar riffs effused the busy diner -- accompanied by the clanking of silverware and the sounds of the whirring shake machine amidst many different conversations taking place -- Debbie Gless stood behind the counter, surveying her domain.

The Adelphi's version of her diner had been much bigger but, Debbie thought, the smaller digs of the Sojo offered a more hopping and bopping ambience for folks to enjoy. With everyone almost on top of each other, you couldn't help but almost drown in the clamor the smaller space created. Chewing on a big wad of gum, the matronly proprietor grinned and waved as the ship's Captain suddenly strolled through the double doors. With the chucking of her thumb, she launched herself from behind the counter and directed Kodak over to a table with a "RESERVED" sign on it.

"Saved one just for you, baby," she grinned at the Chameloid, tossing a wave to Irynya and Parsons at a nearby table as they passed. "Being Captain has got to have some perks, right?"

"But these people have been waiting," Björn replied with a bit of dismay, gesturing at the crowd gathered and waiting near the entrance. "Andrew and I don't mind hanging tight a little while for a table, Deb. Let's give it to someone else who--"

"Nope, stop right there," Debbie smacked her gum audibly. "What I say goes in here. And I say 'sit the hell down.' You got me, mister?" she said, looking supremely hawkish and just a little big testy.

"OK," Björn held up staying hands, "I can see this is a losing battle. Thanks Deb," he smiled at the woman warmly, acquiescing and sliding down into his seat even as he waved an apology at those still waiting for a table. "Andrew should be here soon. We'll try not to dally," he said, trying to assuage his own guilt.

"You take all the time you want," Debbie said kindly. "Once Andrew gets here, I'll come take your orders. Meanwhile," she gestured to Irynya and Parsons, "looks like they're ready to put their's in. I'll be back," she grinned before sweeping away.

[Iry and Sheldon's Table]

Sheldon watched Debbie seat Kodak nearby and sighed, keeping his voice low enough that only Iry would hear. "Must be nice to be the Captain. We waited twenty minutes but he gets a table instantly?" The young engineer shook his head as his eyes returned to the rather large menu in front of him. He was very hungry but his indecisive streak was in full swing. It'd been a long morning of working down in the bowels of the ship: what would chase away the hum drum of that? he wondered. As he turned the page, it suddenly hit him like a phaser blast. "Chicken fried chicken?! That...that's a thing?!" Sheldon's eyes lit up in wonderment.

"Course it is, baby," Debbie Gless appeared, sounding overly exuberant as usual. "We fry everything here. Wanna give it a try, honey?" she asked, pulling a PADD and stylus from the depths of her apron pockets.

"Yes please," Sheldon nodded up and down excitedly. "With a chocolate milk shake, please."

"Got it," Deb said, scribbling the order down. "How about for you, sweet cheeks?" she said, turning a blazing smile on Irynya. "I'm afraid it's a little early for shots," she smirked, knowing the young woman's penchant for the good stuff.

"Never too early," she replied, giving the diner's matron a wink.

The Risian had been struggling to decide herself. So much had happened in her personal life that she found herself craving some kind of comfort food. A broad smile lit her face as it came to her. "I know it's not on the menu, but could I get saag paneer with naan? Replicated works. There should be a recipe that Noah references..." She trailed off waiting for Debbie's nod of confirmation before adding, "And something with mango in it to drink please. Dealer's choice."

"...and dealer's choice on the mango drink," Debbie nodded, finishing her scrawl of Irynya's order on her PADD. "Got it, hot stuff. Alright, I'll put all this in. Be back when it's ready," she smiled at the pair before taking their very heavy menus. Turning to move off back towards the counter, the matron disappeared into the crowded diner as roller skating servers crisscrossed behind her.

"This place is so busy today," Sheldon said, looking around the diner. The crowd at the entrance had grown in size since they'd left it, the pair of them lucky enough to score a recently-opened table. "I mean, I have never had to wait more than five minutes. I think this nebula is getting to everyone," he said, voice raising an octave. "It's like the scans are never ending. Chief Margarar has had us scrubbing pretty much everything given all the downtime. But this ship is brand new. Everything is already so clean. But I guess it keeps us busy?" He shook his head and shrugged. "Anyway, how've things been on the Bridge?"

The Risian's chuckle was dry as she leaned back in her seat. "About as exciting as scrubbing everything," she said. "Not much piloting today when we're all sitting in one spot running scans. Science folk seem overjoyed though." She shook her head. "Maybe you and I need a holodeck date? Blow off some steam. Assuming the holodeck is even gettable if everyone is feeling antsy from the nebula."

Having a PADD on his person, Sheldon hmm'd and thumbed its controls, bringing up the holodeck availability interface. As he tapped through the days, the engineer's frown grew deeper and deeper. "There's something four days from now...but it's at 0400 hours. D'you want to wake up that early? I promise you, I'll try not to be a total bear. That's his job," he nodded towards Andrew, who'd just entered the diner and was waving at them. Sheldon waved back and then looked squarely at Irynya. "I meant that purely in the gay sense. I don't think I've ever seen him less than smiley. Have you?" he asked.

Irynya's laugh was a bright warm thing. "Maybe? But literally for mere moments and then he was back to his delightful self." She held her hand out then for Sheldon's PADD taking it when offered and continuing to scroll. "Ok. So maybe not the holodeck," she commented with a touch of disappointment. "I mean, we could just drink ourselves silly in our room and play never have I ever or truth or dare like we're back in school."

"I have a feeling I," Sheldon emphasized, "will get fall down drunk and you will still be upright and possessed of all faculties. Which means," he stroked his chin thoughtfully, "all of my secrets will be laid bare. All my secrets, Iry," Sheldon clucked. "If we're going to do this, I propose a special rule. For every one drink I have, you must have two. Yes," he pursed his lips deviously, "two drinks for you, one for me. And then we'll--" Before he could finish his thought, something not quite believable caught his eye. "You see that, right? It's not just me?"

Where Sheldon stared, Sheldon also looked back. A man who was the spitting image of the young engineer rolled along on his skates, holding a tray above his head. Dressed in jeans and a baby blue t-shirt tied at the sternum, his smooth abs made an appearance. Skating Sheldon made eye contact with, well, himself and then waved to Iry. "Hey pumpkin," not-Sheldon mouthed as he skated on by, handing off two plates of food to a nearby table and then disappearing into the crowd.

Irynya had been about to agree to Sheldon's terms when her roommate's doppelganger skated by. Her eyes widened to saucers and her head bounced back and forth between the two as if it were on a spring. "I see it," she said quietly. "But I don't know what I see..." Her brain soun trying to find an explanation. "Did Debbie have a hologram made of you?"

"" Sheldon said, eyes practically crossed at what he'd just seen. "She doesn't use holographic servers, even if it might be easier to find the help she needs. Says they never get orders right. Is it possible," he mused, his brain unable to accept the truth, "that there's just someone onboard who looks like me?" He didn't think that was the case; he certainly hadn't seen anyone who fit that particular bill. But then again he spent most of his time in the engine room, so maybe he just hadn't run into that person yet. Narrowing his eyes, he spied the other Sheldon across the way, taking an order from a pair of Bolians.

Though Sheldon wasn't looking at her, Irynya shook her head. "No. The crew's too small for there to be a look alike that neither of us knew about." Brow creasing, she drummed her fingers against the table as if that might somehow shake loose some sort of clarity. The other Sheldon finished the order and, with surprisingly smooth strokes of his skates, rolled back past their table, winking at them both along the way. "Ok..." Irynya said, indecision clear in her voice. She half rose as if to climb out of the booth before looking back over to Sheldon. "I'm going to go ask him who he is."

"I'm -- I'm coming with you!" Sheldon half-stuttered, similarly rising from the booth. Together, the pair moved towards the duplicate Sheldon, who'd come to a stop at the old style jukebox. He was hunched over the machine -- an impressive feat considering he was standing still on roller skates -- and flipping through the song catalogue. "Excuse me!" Actual Sheldon called out, waving his arms at his duplicate. "Mind telling us just who the hell you are?!"

"Me?" the other Sheldon asked, stabbing in his song selection before rising up to face Irynya and his doppleganger dead on. "Why, I'm the fun you," he said musically, chuckling to himself. "See?" he said, pointing down to his skates. They were purple with hot pink sequins and little rainbow-patterned wings. "Trying to get this guy to loosen up?" he asked Iry, checking a thumb back towards his counterpart. "Good luck with that. He's tighter than a tensile-strength twisted spring coil!"

Irynya's look of consternation as they approach turned to a scowl and she stepped ever so slightly in front of Sheldon so that she was only about a foot away from the doppelganger. She pulled her shoulders back drawing up to her full five feet and five inches. A warning flashed in her eyes as she tilted her head up to find Doppel-Sheldon's face more than a foot above her thanks to the skates on his feet. Too many people had put her friends through the ringer lately and she wasn't about to let another one do the same no matter what he was. Glaring, she tapped her combadge. "Irynya to security, we have an intruder in Debbie's," she said, tone full of steel. The response was quick and as soon as someone confirmed, she addressed the fake head on. "Apologize to him," she spat. "Now."

"Yeah no," Other-Sheldon shook his head, laughing. "Calling security? So predictable," he rolled his eyes. "Well, I'm off. Things to see, people to do. You know how it goes, pumpkin. I'm sure you've done them all," he smiled sweetly at Irynya. "Ta ta for now, babes," he said, mock-saluting Sheldon before waving at Iry. It was then that he skated away, heading straight for the diner's double doors. As they opened for him, he sailed on his skates right on out into the corridor beyond, disappearing as the doors swished closed again.

"I'm not like that, am I?" Sheldon asked, looking taken aback. "What the hell is going on, anyway?"

Irynya shook her head, anger in the lines of her body. "You are not like that," she growled. "And I don't know what's going on, but we're going to find out."

"Well that's a relief," Sheldon murmured. "Let's see if we can catch up to him," he said, gently tugging on Iry's arm and heading out of the diner. As they exited, the corridor was empty of other Sheldons but they pressed on anyway, very much on the hunt.

[Björn and Andrew's Table]

Björn sat at the table perusing the menu as the music played on. This number was about a dance called 'The Twist,' whatever that was. As he flicked through various pages of the menu, food porn pictures swam in front of his face. There was so much to choose from but how was one expected to narrow it down? The menu was at least twenty pages and was so heavy you could use it as a weapon. As the Chameloid waited for Andrew to arrive, he looked up and around the diner, smiling at this little corner of the ship: it was a great place to be.

Andrew was taken aback by the number of people in the diner. It was a small ship and he knew what the crew complement was, but it was rare to see so many of them in one place. Still, it wasn't exactly surprising that Debbie's would have this kind of pull since he certainly preferred popping in here for a coffee and a smile to the convenient but impersonal replicator experience. He must have just missed the peak times until now. There was even a queue waiting to be seated. He didn't know anyone in it, but had a feeling they knew who he was. None of them looked at him, and that was odd considering he'd just entered the room. His instinct told him they were politely trying not to notice him waltzing straight past them and getting a seat immediately.

Since he'd spotted Björn already seated at a table, he knew that was exactly what was about to happen. Even though he personally wasn't going to make their wait any longer, it still felt awkward. Iry and Parsons were seated not far from Björn and as they noticed his approach, he gave them a smile and a little wave. He failed to notice the server that he'd just stepped in front of, and who skillfully and effortlessly skated around him without even the slightest tilt of the tray balanced in their hand. Now feeling awkward and clumsy, he was relieved to be sliding onto the seat opposite Björn after only a few more steps.

"Hello handsome, how was your morning?" The sight of Björn in front of him always lifted his day, and banished any lingering thoughts relating to his entrance from his mind.

"Well hello there," Björn smiled warmly back. Normally the Chameloid would reach out and take his paramour's hand but, for some reason, he didn't do that today. "It's been the most boring morning since we arrived here," the Captain admitted. "On the Bridge at least, everyone is busy running scans, doing drills, working on preventative maintenance or cleaning things. I keep trying to get some small talk going but everyone is busy except me. So I kind of feel like an obstacle. How about for you, Andrew?" Missing was a term of endearment. Where Björn would normally use "handsome" or "sexy," today he simply opted for using the man's name, which might seem a little odd to someone who was used to being called a pet name.

"Uh, it's been a fairly slow morning." Hesitation made it sound as though Andrew was unsure about his statement, but the distraction came from a vague feeling that something wasn't right. "I've just been doing a bit of housekeeping. The Talbeethians shared some data with us about their biosphere and the computer has been processing it, but that still leaves a lot to confirm and review before it can be added to our database." Still unable to shake the feeling, he scratched behind his right ear, then ran his fingers through his already-straight beard. "It's an odd mix of tedious and fascinating."

"Sure, sure," Björn said, sounding in truth a little bored. "I guess that's probably the most interesting your day gets, huh? Not a lot for a civilian to do. Hard to find ways to actually make yourself useful around here, I'm sure. I imagine it feels like you're just an almost-pretty face taking up space?" He yawned audibly then, covering the exhalation of air with his mouth. "The good thing about you being almost useless around here is that I get to see you quite a bit at least," came Kodak's post-yawn smirk. "What're you hungry for?" he asked then, holding up his menu.

"I'll probably just get my usual," Andrew answered without picking up the menu. He observed Kodak reading the menu. It looked like him but it really didn't feel like him. The feeling morphed into an anxiety that gnawed at the back of his mind. "How about you?" Unsure of what else to do, it seemed like the safest course of action.

"Your usual?" Björn asked, his golden-yellow eyes almost rolling. "Predictable. But that's not always a bad thing, I guess," the man admitted. He looked up at Debbie as she sidled up to their table, PADD and stylus at the ready.

"Alright boys," she looked down, eyes twinkling. "What's it gonna be?" Debbie asked, chomping her gum and looking from Kodak and Andrew and back again.

"Actually," Björn said, "I don't think I'm quite in the mood for lunch anymore. But you stay and enjoy, ok? I know you don't have much else to do, so you might as well stay and enjoy the table," he smiled over-sweetly at Andrew. "Deb, I'll see you later, ok?" And without waiting for her reply, he slid out of his seat and evaded a roller-skating Parsons on his way out of the diner.

"What's eating him?" Debbie groused, looking extremely confused.

Andrew couldn't tell if the relief was from Kodak leaving the room or Debbie noticing that something was off, but he let the worry show on his face. "I .. I don't think that was him," Andrew stammered. "That didn't feel like the Björn I know."

"Well if it wasn't him, who else would it be?" Debbie asked, blowing a bubble and letting it pop with a loud crack. "Oh wait, he's coming back," she said, watching the Captain stride back through the doors of the diner. "He forget something? Like maybe his manners?" she asked hawkishly, folding her arms.

Kodak approached the table, walking rather quickly and looking a little flushed. "Sorry to be so late. Practically ran here," he said, holding his side as if it was hitching. "You know," he looked at both Andrew and Debbie as he slid into his seat, "you'd think that, parked outside a nebula for weeks on end, not much would be going on. But a little while ago, we had a strange ship show up, scan us, refuse hails, and then bug out without explanation. We've been trying to figure out where they came from but no luck so far." After a few moments of Deb and Andrew not replying, he asked, "What? Do I have something on my uniform?" he asked, patting himself down trying to find whatever it was.

"Oh, you weren't late." Andrew eyed the man sitting in front of him with suspicion, hoping that whatever his reaction was, it would feel familiar. "You were here for some time and you just left a minute ago."

"Wait...what?!" Björn exclaimed, looking between Andrew and Debbie. "I was just here? But I've been up on the Bridge. Are you sure it was me?"

"Hairy bearded bear? Likes short walks on the beach and changing into other people?" Debbie asked, eyes raking across the Chameloid. " was you. Unless one of your people stayed onboard and was impersonating you. Come to think of it," she let out a short hmm, "maybe that is what's going on here."

"Can't be," Kodak shook his head. "We offloaded all of the Chameloids before heading out here. Even Muriel's gone, though I wish she'd hung around," the Captain lamented. "I know this is confusing," he said, reaching out to take Andrew's hand lovingly, "but I promise...whoever that was, it wasn't me. Did he say anything? Or was he just, like, sitting here?"

"Well he said that the bridge was boring this morning and that no-one was chatty." Andrew raised his right eyebrow as he kept his gaze fixed on Björn's face. "Then he called me predictable and next to useless."

"Predictable and useless?" Björn's face grew stormy as he repeated the words in the form of a question. "I hope you know," he squeezed Andrew's hand with even more affection, "that I don't feel that way about you at all. Obvious bias aside, you've been a valuable member of this crew and you're anything but predictable. I should know," he chuckled lightly, thinking of all the times Andrew's spontaneity had surprised him. "But I do think I need to report this to security."

With a tap of his combadge, Björn had opened a comm channel. "Kodak to Security. This might sound weird but--"

"Let me guess, sir. You've just seen yourself walking around the ship?" came the exasperated reply.

"Well, not me personally. Others encountered him, though, and it definitely wasn't me. How did you know?" Björn asked aghast.

"We've had about 20 or so reports of this happening. We'll send someone to investigate, sir. Security out."

"Did she say '20'?" Björn asked, looking more than a little surprised. "I'd better get back to the bridge and find out what's going on. Sorry to cut lunch short," he said apologetically to Andrew and Debbie. "I'll see you later in our quarters. If you run into me again and suspect it's my double, ask for the code word." Sensing Andrew's next question, he said, "It's 'lederhosen.' And, if you're especially patient with all this, maybe I'll show you mine," Björn laughed gently despite the craziness going on. "I'll be on the bridge if you need me," he said with one final hand squeeze before rising. "Deb," the Chameloid dipped his head in parting and then turned, heading back the way he'd come only minutes before.

=/\= A joint post by... =/\=

Debbie Gless
Diner Diva


Captain Björn Kodak
Commanding Officer


Doctor Andrew Munro
Ship's Biologist


Lieutenant JG Irynya
Flight Control Officer


Ensign Sheldon Parsons
Engineering Officer


Previous Next