Ambrosia & Amargosa
Episode 01: "Vestal Hearth"
Location: Private Dining Room, USS Vesta
Timeline: Mission Day 03, 1852 Hours
ON: [[Private Dining Room, USS Vesta, Mission Day 03, 1852 Hours]]
Drell stood looking through the viewport that dominated one wall of the dining room. Beyond his own reflection in the transparent aluminum, he could see the planet rotating slowly below. This was to be their last night at Starbase Montgomery and he was gland many of the crew had taken the opportunity to indulge in a little shoreleave during their stay. Having them back refreshed and re-energized would no doubt make the journey ahead that much easier.
He thought about his own visits to the surface and how invigorating they'd been. Finding the time in between welcoming new arrivals and attending to ship's business hadn't been easy, but he'd managed to make it happen for the sake of his own spirit as well as those of his crew.
The sound of the door chime drew the El-Aurian from his thoughts. He turned slowly away from the viewport, casting one more glance at the planet before facing the center of the room. The table had already been prepared with two place settings and an arrangement of wildflowers from one of the station's botanical gardens. This was not the first time he'd chosen to dine with one of his officers. In fact, he'd made quite a habit of it over the years, having found that a shared meal often went a long way toward improving one's relationships. It was, however, his first time dining with his new executive officer.
"Enter," he called.
Pausing outside the door, Temperance smoothed the front of her dress and made sure her boots weren't scuffed or dirty before she stepped through the parted doors. "Captain," she said with a smile.
"Good evening, Commander," Drell said, greeting the woman with a smile, "Please, come in."
Making her way into the dining room properly, Temperance glanced around quickly, taking in her surroundings, her gaze finally falling on the wall to the almost wall sized view port. "Impressive," she said quietly, almost to herself before she turned her gaze back to Drell.
"May I offer you something to drink?"
"Thank you Captain, what ever you recommend will be fine," she replied politely. Manners, as always, were something that had been deeply ingrained into her childhood and upbringing.
Drell moved toward a nearby stand upon which was a tray with an assortment of glasses. There was also a bottle of iridescent, semi-clear purplish liquid. He uncovered the bottle and poured some into two of the glasses. Then he set the bottle aside, lifted the glasses from the tray, and proceeded to hold one out for Zachary.
"Thank you," she said, again with a smile, as she accepted the drink, turning her full attention to him. "Thank you, for inviting me to dinner, your invitation was very generous." She raised her glass slightly in his direction. "Shall we make a toast?"
"To the start of a new season," Drell said, raising his glass to match hers, "and the journey ahead. May we be open to whatever possibilities lie beyond the horizon. Salute!"
Temperance smiled, inclining her glass toward his slightly. "To Hearth and Home, may she forever keep us warm," she said with a smile.
Slowly her gaze drifted back toward the stars beyond the viewport. "The view is spectacular," she commented quietly. "Do you think if I asked really nicely Engineering would install one of these in my quarters?"
The older man chuckled to himself. He knew, of course, that Zachary's quarters did not suffer from lack of a view. None of the senior officers' quarters did. In fact, there were several places aboard the Vesta which could have been said to offer "spectacular" views of their surroundings. Where those places were, however, depended on who you were asking. The viewing lounges, the wardroom, even some lonely viewport down on deck twenty-one all held a certain value for someone. It was just a matter of finding the right place for oneself.
"I would hold off on that, if I were you," he suggested, "at least until you've had a chance to check out the Hearthstone. You may decide you like the view better from there."
"Hearthstone?" There was a moment of confusion in Temperance's voice. "Oh, the lounge!" She grinned easily. "I haven't been down there yet, but I've heard it's impressive to see. I might put that on my agenda for tomorrow." She took a sip of the purple liquid, surprised by the pleasant taste. "It's different, but rather nice, isn't it?"
Drell tilted his head in agreement. "It's called ambrosia, nectar of the deities," he told her. The look of recognition that passed across Zachary's face did not escape his notice. He figured that even if the beverage itself had not been familiar to her, the name certainly would have been. It's connection to ancient Greek and Roman mythology was not likely something lost on her. "They say that if you look closely enough, you can actually see it glowing from within."
As if to illustrate his point, Drell looked down at the liquid in his glass and studied it a moment. The light from the overheads caused it to sparkle a little, but nothing that would have appeared to be an internal luminescence. He moved the glass around in a circular motion, watching the drink swirl, then took another swallow. "Regardless," he said, "I figured it was worth sharing."
"It reminds me of something," she replied with a smile, "I just can't quite figure what it is." Swirling the liquid in her own glass, she watched it under the lights. "It is rather pretty though isn't it?" Taking another sip, she turned her attention back to Drell. "Have we received our marching orders yet?" she asked curiously. "Not that I'm not enjoying the quiet time to settle in," she followed through quickly. "It's been quite, uh... interesting? Getting to know the ship and the crew so far."
The El-Aurian did his best not to appear too amused by his first officer's curiosity. It was one of the many things he admired about her and had been a major influence on his decision to choose her over several of the other candidates. Of all the staff positions to be changing over, welcoming a new second-in-command could sometimes feel like the greatest challenge. Yet it did not surprise him in the slightest that Zachary took to it with such enthusiasm. No doubt, that attitude had played a big part in helping her make the transition as successfully as she had.
"As you know, ours is a five-year mission," Drell said, "which means we have a certain amount of...freedom...when it comes to determining our next course of action." He motioned toward the table, inviting Zachary to join him, and the two began walking in that direction together. They crossed the relatively short distance in only a few steps and each took their seats.
"Our next objective is the remnants of the Amargosa supernova," he continued, unfolding his napkin and draping it across his lap, "We won't be the first, obviously, but Starfleet wants an update on the situation and we happen to be in the neighborhood. From what I hear, the stellar sciences division is really looking forward to spending some quality time there."
"Amargosa? Really?" Temperance asked, leaning forward, resting her elbows on the table, her chin on her hand as she watched Drell with keen interest. "I've heard about the Armagosa Supernova, it's fascinating isn't it? I can understand why Stellar Sciences is so excited to be within the proximity. I know lots of ships have requested to be able to go study it and very few get permission." She stopped speaking and grinned quickly.
"Someone in Command must really like you..."
Captain Aviram Drell
USS Vesta (NX-94200)
Commander Temperance Zachary
USS Vesta (NX-94200)