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Posted on Sat Aug 27th, 2022 @ 12:42am by Debbie Gless & Lieutenant Nico Oliveria & Ensign Noah Balsam & Lieutenant Timmoz
Edited on on Sat Aug 27th, 2022 @ 9:35pm

Mission: Echoes and Effigies
Location: Debbie's Diner
Timeline: Mission Day 1 at 2212

[In hallway transit]
[MD 1: 2000 Hours]

"I'm sorry. Again. S-sir."

The third apology of the evening stalled Timmoz's long stride only to have a slightly smaller, thinner body collide against his back. Timmoz was blessedly pleased that his eye roll was facing the wrong direction for the Midshipman to see. The mini-collision elicited another apology.

"Cadet," Timmoz pivoted on his feet. "Did you always apologize this often in your Academy coursework?"

The searching black eyes of the cadet met the Orion's and skirted to the same danger zone that had led him to collide into Timmoz's back. "Not... usually." he said, truncating. His long fingers teased up his tricep, nervously. "But I've never killed my Professors this much."

Timmoz made a sub-vocal sound somewhere between patience, irreverence, and amusement. "Fortunately for us both, your practicums aren't live yet, Cadet." When Noah nodded noncommittally, Timmoz's lime face tilted. "Speak freely, Cadet. You look like you're about to collapse, or explode."

Again the bedroom, hooded eyes of the Cadet blinked- wider. "Uhhh... ab-about what, Sir?" He rapid-blinked, distracted while an Ensign sidled by.

Timmoz's bottom lip pursed. "Whatever is bothering you. Besides your ongoing war with Lieutenant Margarar," Timmoz gestured away with two fingers, "That is a given."

Noah looked, briefly, miserable- before he routed his auxiliary reserves to a placid if exhausted neutral. He put his hands behind his back. "I-I have had a lot going on. Socially, sir." His head bobbed slowly, "Buh-but I feel like I'm studying and-and trying with my certification and I'm not getting any better. And...." He nibbled at his lip. "I have to pass. Somehow."

Timmoz bobbed his head slowly, almost sagely. "In all candor Cadet piloting is not your strong suit," Timmoz stated. He raised those two fingers again to pause. "Your fault isn't in knowledge. You have clearly studied the entire course material. Multiple times." Timmoz's eyes rounded to emphasize. "But you are self-doubting and you are distracted. You contradict yourself in mid-course and then try to rely on your text knowledge to save you. There is a," Timmoz smiled in a slow, wolfish way,, blinking slow to emphasize the cool husk of his voice, "To use your Human terms, a Zen, to navigation and flight control. You need to find it. And until you are able to resolve some of your distractions... I would recommend we pause your coursework."

Noah's brows knit in the sting of failure, even though he knew the Orion was trying to help him. How did he find Zen with something that made him anxious? "Understood, Sir."

Timmoz cupped a feverishly warm hand on the Cadet's shoulder. "Get some rest. Connect with your friends. Work on your hobbies. You need to refill your confidence and distance yourself from the doubts your superior is putting into your thoughts."

"Yessir," Noah nodded, his eyes dropped again. He was keenly aware of just how strangely warm an Orion's body temperature must have been.

Timmoz bobbed his curly crown of hair once. "It will be alright, Balsam, ultimately," he said in his slightly exotic brogue. "Consider refocusing your coursework on your security rotation." He chuckled, "Knowing how to use a phaser and holding one can make one feel powerful. As can knowing how to defend oneself."

Noah's smile was a nervous rictus. "Y-yessir. Am I dismissed Sir?"

Timmoz inclined his head. "You are. Goodnight Balsam."

"Goodnight Sir," Noah said. He turned and walked toward the nearest turbolift. Timmoz watched him go with a vague slip of his Cluros. But when the turbolift doors closed to a distracted Noah rubbing the flat of his nose, Timmoz had to reassert his own Zen. It would work out. But what he needed now was dinner. And so the rangy Orion turned himself sternward toward Debbie's Diner.

[Debbie's Diner]
[A few minutes later]

When Timmoz set foot inside, it was rather devoid. A small gaggle of Yeomen were playing cards. None looked up at the newcomer, nor at another being who left soon after Timmoz sidled inside. Timmoz studied the few inside while he strolled to the replicator. There was no immediate sign of Debbie. So Timmoz glided fingers over the replicator interface. He reminded himself that replicator Kanar was dreadful.

"Bovril. Warm. Extra strong." The computer whirred the drink to life while he pondered. And finally, he followed up. "Ralkalar Tolor. Very rare." The food dispenser synthesized a Rigelian dish that looked similar to Steak Tartare or a chunky pate, with some kind of reddish jus. Timmoz picked it up and settled into a table.

With a hiss, the doors parted, allowing Nico entry, and he bounded in with a characteristic youthful bounce. It wasn't hard for the Vegan to spot his Ashka, meat tea in hand. Seeing Timmoz was busy enjoying his dinner, the short Engineer did his best to sneak over, slipping into an opposite chair. Nico, was sure he had probably spoiled the approach, he wasn't precisely stealthy, and his grin was so wide it threatened to turn to giggles, "Busy day?"

When Timmoz sensed the shadow presence drop into his chair, his Orion territorial instincts flared. He glanced up.

And he chuckled. "I see." He said dryly, finishing a cheek full of the chunky pate. Standing up, Timmoz reached across the table, took Nico by the back of the neck, and touched their foreheads together. Then he sat down. "Busy enough that you arriving in my shuttlebay skipped my attention. Or," he added, "You and that Risian planned this while I was tutoring her little protege." Timmoz sat up and nudged his plate a few centimeters away to emphasize he could talk. "Did the Warden of Pathfinder Station release you on good behavior?"

"Oh. My. GOD!" came a pelting scream from across the way. The shrill bark was especially loud given the lack of people in the diner at the moment. In between dinnertime and the late night drink hours, the diner wasn't as busy as it'd been earlier in the day, it seemed. "I had no idea you were back," Debbie Gless exclaimed, coming around the counter to engulf Nico in the biggest Mama Bear-esque hug ever to have been hugged. "Hi baby!" she said to Timmoz even as she squeezed the Vegan for all he was worth, eyes shining. Finally stepping back from the hug, Debbie looked squarely at Nico, eyes roving up and down his form. "Too skinny. Didn't they feed you on that damned station?!"

The scream of delight startled the Vegan for a moment, interrupting his reply. He accepted the hugs, gladly returning them, grinning, "Nothing good!" he exclaimed in response. "Mostly ended up eating out of food packets. Even the shuttle's replicator stores were depleted before we headed back. Please tell me you've got some kind of Debbie special back there tonight." He dashed his focus back to Timmoz, "And yes, they finally let me go. The Captain met me in the shuttle bay, so I'd blame him if you didn't know."

"I'm sure he did it on purpose," Timmoz remarked with smirked bemusement. "I've been training a cadet for his piloting certification so I haven't been on the Bridge for a few hours." He glanced at the rotund matron, "Another one of Kaheedi's children." Timmoz eased back and surveyed his Ashka. "You are thinner." He confirmed with a gesture of his drink-holding hand, agreeing with Gless. He looked at Debbie. "But you can fix that."

"Hell yes I can," Debbie beamed at Timmoz, going into action at once and producing a PADD from her apron. "What can I get you, baby?" she asked Nico, chomping her gum and blowing a rather large bubble as she waited for a response. The bubble popped with a loud crack, triggering Deb to use her tongue to collect all the gum back up and into her mouth. Standing there, stylus in hand, the matron seemed perhaps more tired than normal, though she tried not to let it dim her spirit any. "You need or want anything else, honey?" Debbie asked of the Verdant One, flashing him a smile.

Timmoz shook his head in a quick negative to return the focus back on Nico. He layered his hands before him, elevated almost chin level.

Grinning, Nico shrugged his shoulders, giddy in his reply, "Some kind of pasta, surprise me, I'm looking for a total carb coma here." He tucked his legs under his bottom and flicked his eyes to meet Timmoz's gaze, launching himself into a spate of questions, "So, what's new? Why haven't you been sleeping in our place, and who are these lower decks peeps you may or may not be corrupting? Are you living in a shuttle?"

"One carb coma, coming up," Debbie beamed brightly. The woman seemed to positively vibrate with the idea of fattening Nico up. Without wasting a moment, she whisked herself away, leaving her two boys to chat.

"The Waverider," Timmoz corrected with a sweeping gesture of a finger before he collapsed them atop one another again. He shrugged,, ever-smiling, unconcerned, even amused at his Ashka's presumption he would do such a thing, "It's hardly appropriate for me to take over our place with you not there." He took a healthy swallow of his Bovril. He winced, "It's fine until it gets cold," he said in a cough, fist to his mouth. "My Lieutenant. The Risian, Irynya. We have become close friends. She has attached herself to Parsons, one of your cadets named Balsam, and the new Chief Medical Officer."

Timmoz gestured with his fingers again, "Parsons has become... tolerable. You may find him quite changed. He's looser. replaced by the new Doctor... he is their group's new dilithium-making suppository. The most conservative Human I believe I have met. Arbazans and the Kostolain would find him..." he tilted his bushy head and smiled, "Tame. A kindred cousin, even." He chuckled. "As for the Balsam-cadet." Timmoz quirked one end of his smile. "I will let you make your own judgment there.".

"And Orions say Humans are odd," smirked Nico in reply regarding their shared quarters,

"We do," Timmoz agreed with a spreading smile.

"Speaking of Parsons... is he seeing anyone? I have a feeling, more than a feeling really, that Dravor is going to seek him out." Thinking of his journey with Dravor spurred the Human to keep speaking, hands gesticulating, without giving Timmoz any time to respond, "Oh, and Tamblem is great. But if anyone ever sends me in a two-week shuttle ride with only a Trill to make conversation, I will resign my commission."

Timmoz pondered that. "I've only seen he's mellowed. I don't know who's visiting him at midnight. It's a small ship. Probably no one. Except who he conjures in his night theater," he grinned. "Be thankful Dravor isn't Joined. When they get the Co-Pilot they draw on multiple lifetimes to enthrall you with." Timmoz leaned in some. "Speaking of bubbly you will have to adjust to Irynya." His smile spread impishly again. "She's very Risian. Few filters. Fewer inhibitions."

"I'm not a prude, Timmoz." Nico teased a grin. Though he knew the verdant one was far more open about most topics than the majority of Humans, Nico knew he wasn't exactly an exception either. "I'm not sure I could have handled several lifetimes of enthralment," the Vegan shuddered, making a face. "So, Balsam," he started, circling back, his smile returning, "Did I see him on Risa? The one they called hawk or something?"

The haze of Timmoz's memory largely obscured the nickname. And he did not remember meeting the Cadet on the surface- though he'd been there. Those last few hours were all fuzzy. "Tall and thin," was Timmoz's answer and all he could immediately say, adding a gesture at his nose like it was caricaturish and long. "He seems capable," he raised an eyebrow, "If naive. And over-fascinated by..." He furrowed his brows. "The only word that comes to mind is dolls. And strange clothes." Timmoz leaned on his folded hand and smiled at the Vegan. "Maybe my memory is that you are a prude. Care to re-educate me?"

Nico placed his hand on his chest in mock surprise, mouth agape, "I think all that incense you burn has gone to your brain if you think I'm a prude." "But," his mouth closed, smiling suggestively as he bit his bottom lip, "if it's re-education you require, Ashka, I am more than happy to provide you with several rounds of... tutelage."

It was, at that very charged moment, that Debbie came roller skating over, laden under a heavy tray full of food. Lowering it, she began setting one plate after another down in front of Nico. "OK handsome, I hope you're hungry! We've got Italian wedding soup, a chicken caesar salad, spaghetti and meatballs with extra sauce, and the best damn garlic bread you've ever had, I promise. And," she clucked, "every damn bit of it is vegan, just for you baby," Debbie grinned, reaching over to pinch Nico's cheek. She regarded the young man like a son. They were all her kids, really. But with Timmoz and Nico, the matron was especially protective and doting. "You need anything else?" she wondered.

Timmoz toppled his hands over the other and smirked at the food shoveled Nico's way. Meanwhile Timmoz nudged the extra chair out at the end of the table. "Sit down, woman. I can hear your ankles screaming from here," he teased. "Ashka can regale us with his stories of Pathfinder Station. Before I take him to our quarters and tear his clothes off."

Nico exclaimed to Debbie, "I doubt the table could hold anything else!" before glowering in mock protest at the Orion. Elapsing into guffaws gesturing wildly at the array of food, "I honestly don't know what you are expecting after I eat all this. She has ensured I'll be asleep." He forked the Ceaser salad and smirked, "Et tu, Debbie? She's accounted for all carb-related variables."

The Orion merely chuckled and slid sly eyes over to the matron.

"Thanks sweetie!" Debbie beamed at Timmoz as she took the offered seat. "The skating is a fun gimmick for this place but yes," she chuckled, "my ankles ain't what they used to be." But then Timmoz was talking about ripping off Nico's clothes and the matron could help but regard the pair with a hawkish look. "Kinky," she said through pursed lips, eyes sparkling. To Nico's assertion that she'd be responsible for a carb coma, the woman reached up to primp her wig -- which today was a color that matched her bubble gum -- and said, "Who? Me?" She couldn't hold the look she was giving for long and soon broke into a guffaw.

Timmoz had meanwhile pushed back on his chair and seized one of Debbie's feet. And with muttered Orion words, his agile thumbs and fingers began to push into the sore myofascial tension of her ankles. He smirked into a cheek and tsked a slow head shake at the word Kinky. The wig reminded Timmoz of Chaali and she wondered if the two wig-wearers compared notes on wig fashion. "Well, plot a course," Timmoz muttered at Nico, "But be cautious of the singularity that is your stomach."

Debbie, meanwhile, was enjoying the application of pressure to her ankle. She didn't usually complain much but she wasn't as young as she used to be. In fact, the matron thought, she should probably leave the skating to the younger volunteer servers who fancied them. But the skates were fun and fun is what made the days go by, so...continue to skate, Debbie would. But she certainly wouldn't say no to the magic Timmoz was working on her. "Thank you, baby...that feels great," she smiled before popping another bubble with her gum. "You two taking up in your quarters? Or has the Waverider become a honeymoon retreat?" she clucked, looking at the pair expectantly.

Nico busied himself in attempting to satiate his singularity of a stomach, as Timmoz referred. Giggling at their banter, he cast a wink toward his Ashka as the other plied hands. However, Debbie's mention of the shuttle brought a clatter as his fork fell to his plate. Hands spread wide as his shoulders rose. He had barely swallowed his mouthful before ranting, "And he has the gall to say Humans are weird? Sleeping in the shuttle cause I wasn't here? Maybe it's not the Humans who are weird, eh?" Retrieving his fork, he grinned, "Ok, maybe I'm a little weird."

The Orion's wolfish smile turned, hands pausing on Debbie's edemic ankles. "You're the weird ones. We've been around a hundred times longer than you," Timmoz teased back. "As I explained to him, Kaheedi, Orions believe that some things are shared in the union of a marriage. And some things- like a sleeping bed- are kept separate. We compartmentalize what is theirs, and what is an individual's. Your world had it right, at one point. I believe you called it your... Europe Dark Period. Why you abandoned it for..." Timmoz smirked and waved a hand, "Something called a Bungalow and for the Kings of California Bed is beyond me."

Nico snorted, choking amid fits of laughter, "King of... California Bed?" He gripped his side, shaking with laughter, tears streaming down his face, "I might actually die. And you LIKE the Dark ages? No one liked the Dark Ages, Timmoz, most of all, the people living in the Dark Ages." Shaking his head as he reclaimed control of his faculties, he rolled his eyes, exasperated, "Orions."

"I don't know who has the right of it," Debbie clucked, "but I'd much rather sleep on a king bed than the little twin in my quarters. This lady needs room to roll over at night. Spread my arms out without them falling off the edge of the bed, cutting off blood flow. I'll take a big bed over a shuttle any day of the week," she chuckled.

"Deb!" came a voice from behind the counter, which was accompanied by the ringing of a counter-bell. "You've got three orders up, where did you go?!" The voice belonged to Mel, the short order cook who whipped up or replicated the orders Debbie and her servers took.

"Shit," Debbie said, slowly pulling her leg away from Timmoz with a kind smile for the man and his ministrations. "I've got orders up to my ears. Wrong time to sit down, I guess," she laughed huskily, rising carefully back to her feet. "You boys be good. If you need anything, just give me a holler, hmm?" Picking up the tray she'd set down, the matron reached over to pinch Nico's cheek and then affectionately squeeze Timmoz' shoulder as she skated by, heading back towards the diner's counter.

Timmoz rested his hands on a bridge of his fingers and watched Nico eat.

A Post By:

Lieutenant Nico Oliveria
Chief Engineer

Lieutenant Timmoz
Chief Helmsman

Midshipman Noah Balsam
Systems Specialist

Debbie Gless


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