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Fly Boys and Engineers Pt. 2

Posted on Sat Sep 16th, 2017 @ 3:48am by Lieutenant Mindo & Lieutenant JG Vecon Fick

Mission: Into The Wild
Location: The Box
Timeline: Current

Ensign Vecon Fick was grinning like crazy when he stepped out of the shuttlecraft and prepared himself to follow Lieutenant Mindo to a restaurant called The Box. He was sort of excited because he hadn't had a chance to go there himself, except for a senior officer meeting. He was also proud of himself because he felt that he was starting to make friends aboard the Pandora. First the Klingon and now possibly an engineer. He didn't want to make any assumptions about Lieutenant Mindo's species because he honestly wasn't sure, but he didn't really care either. As many different types of people that visited Risa every year, Fick was far from concerned about the Lieutenant's race. "So... The Box actually takes money?" he asked Mindo, curiously.

"Well... no. It's just an expression," said Mindo, leading the way to the nearest turbolift. "What kind of food do you like? They have all kinds there."

Fick followed, still grinning like a fool. "I like all sorts of food. I eat Klingon food, Bajoran food, Terran food... what sort of food do you like?" He was hoping that perhaps Mindo could introduce him to something he hadn't tried. He was open to anything. He sort of felt that once he'd gotten a taste for Klingon food, there really wasn't much out there that could surprise him, considering most Klingon food was either live or bloody.

"I developed a taste for Terran food while at the Academy on Earth. I'm originally from Feseria. Much of our food consists of alcohol and aphrodisiacs. Most of that is hard to find out this far, but the chef has a few recipes. I haven't tried them though."

Fick's eyebrows shot up. "Oh yeah?" He grinned. He had personally never heard of Feseria. "Maybe we should try them." He fell silent for a moment. "You know... I can introduce you to some Risian food. You might really like it if that's what your people eat. We tend to eat a lot of things that are designed to get you drunk or horny too." He chuckled.

"I'd like to try Risian food. I've never actually been to Risa, but I've heard many stories. I imagine Risa as being much like Feseria."

"It sounds like it is with alcohol and aphrodisiacs." Fick chuckled and grinned. "There's a Risian bean dish that most people order when they go there. For some reason they really like that bean. I'm sort of sick of it, but I grew up there." He chuckled again. "I bet you have heard some stories. There are a lot of stories. Risa is also called the pleasure planet." He grinned at Mindo.

Mindo smirked. "Knowing me, I could really dig up some trouble there. I have quite a few stories of my own."

"Oh yeah? We're going to have to story swap when we get sat down somewhere. I'm always up for a meal and a good story!"

"Sounds good to me," said Mindo.

They made small talk as they headed to the Pandora's Box, the ship's signature restaurant. They got a table next to the giant aquarium filled with all sorts of exotic fish and sea life, some of which were on the menu!

"If you want a good Feserian dish, I suggest the Barratta noodles. Goes great with Tranya, Feseria's trademark drink... are you allowed to drink alcohol? How old are you, anyway?" asked Mindo, flipping his menu PADD over to the Risian section.

Fick was totally absorbed by the fishtank, but he still heard the bit about his age. He turned his face quickly back to the Lieutenant. "You should totally try the Mai-Tai and hey! I'm 20! I'm totally old enough... and I've been drinking since I was a kid!" He snorted. "And what's all that about anyway? I never understood the age limit thing. There's no age limit on Risa. We believe that we need to be taught to be responsible at an early age." He tipped his head back and forth, making a face and trying to give Mindo a hard time, jokingly. "Anyway... how old are you, then? Did you say something about noodles?" He grinned.

"I'm 25 next month," said Mindo. "Feserians drink at an early age too, though our definition of 'drinking responsibly' is not exactly the same. We drink to subdue our active... sex drive. I'm probably the only member of the crew who's allowed, almost required, to drink while on duty. Of course, no one knew that at the Academy. I got put into alcoholic support groups, therapy, and almost got kicked out of the entire school for drinking. Thing is, Feserians don't get drunk. At least, not easily."

Fick laughed. "Wow! That's messed up. I didn't know there was a species that didn't get drunk from drinking some sort of alcohol. I mean... some are immune to certain types of alcohol, but I had no idea. It must have been a lot of culture shock for you. Although, I'm glad they figured it out and let you drink." He nodded. "I'm sure that was frustrating! Sort of like trying to explain to people that sex doesn't have to be something you're weirdly embarrassed about... but you did say you drink to oppress your sex drive? That's pretty impressive. I bet your species would give some Risians a run for their money."

Mindo laughed. "Sex is seen more like a casual recreational activity where I'm from, rather than an act of love. It's definitely a sign of affection, but a lot more casual. You can imagine what a culture shock it was to leave there. But I needed to leave. Not all of Feseria was really to my liking. I think I had more enemies there than friends. Why did you leave Risa?"

Fick made a face and then shrugged. "I don't really know..." he joked. "But really... I wanted to fly something other than a cruise ship or a tour ship or a passenger ship. I wanted to go everywhere. I'm way too curious to stay in one place and Starfleet was really attractive. My whole planet is based around the tourist industry and I wanted nothing to do with it." He shrugged again, this time it was more sincere. "So what about you is so distasteful that you have more enemies than friends on an entire planet? Do your feet smell?" Fick dipped under the table, pretending to look at Mindo's feet and came back up grinning. "C'mon... the whole planet didn't hate you, surely... did they?" He suddenly looked a little worried.

"More the other way around," said Mindo. "I did leave some good friends behind. But I found Feseria to be a sort of boring place. The class system there was ridiculous. The lower class were practically slaves to the upper. Plus, I didn't fit in with the inherent narcissism that seems to be everywhere there. Feserians are generally not very nice to people they don't like, though I'm not really an exception. I've been known to clash with a lot of people. I'm sort of flawed in that way."

"Meh... flawed isn't a good word. You should just say you have a unique perspective that many people don't understand." Fick chuckled. "But yeah... I might want to get off that planet too if my people were that backward. We did away with any sort of separation of classes a long time ago. I take it your people haven't moved past a monetary based system?"

"Actually, we did away with that a few centuries ago," said Mindo.

"Oh yeah? I guess people still get separated by class, huh?"

"Not exactly. The people there can just be a bit... competitive," said Mindo.

Fick shrugged and looked around. "Does anyone work here?"

"Uh, yeah," said Mindo, looking up and making eye contact with one of the waiters, a young man who looked to be about Mindo's age. The man came scurrying over.

"I'm very sorry for the wait," he said. "Are you ready to order?"

Mindo looked at Fick with an inviting look for him to go first.

Fick grinned. "No problem. I'd like the Barratta noodles and some Tranya to drink... I hope I said those right... and if you don't mind, I'd also like some Racht." He leaned toward Mindo. "Their Racht is really good and fresh if you like Klingon food. That's it for me. Thank you."

"I'll take the same," said Mindo, "minus the Racht." As the waiter took their menus and walked away, Mindo said to Fick, "I'm not much for food that's alive. The Tranya here is pretty good, but I have a few cases of the real stuff in my quarters."

"Oh yeah?" Fick asked, his eyebrows raising. "Mindo, you just became my new best friend." He chuckled, grinning at the Lieutenant. "But I do like squirming food from time to time. So you're gonna just have to forgive me."

"I'm not very squeamish," said Mindo. "You won't bother me. I hope you like the Barratta. They're typically served with a sweet citrus sauce. This place isn't as good as the real thing, but they get the general idea right. I think it was a good choice."

Their tranya arrived just a few seconds later. Mindo held up his glass. "A toast to health, happiness, and excellent pilots!"

"I'll toast that! As well as great Engineers!" Fick grinned and raised his own glass. "Here, here!"

The two drank a hearty gulp and set their glasses down.

"So," said Mindo, "what do you do when you're not flying?"

Fick shrugged, casually and grinned at Mindo. "I like to take on some projects and like a lot of martial arts and meditation." He nodded. "I've got a Klingon motorcycle I'm trying to put back together. Most of the pieces are in really good shape, but some of them are pretty much rusted away." He suddenly got a bright idea. "Hey! Do you think they would let me use the industrial replicator to replicate some of the parts?"

"I think I can arrange something," said Mindo with a sly smile. "If I get to take it for a spin every now and then."

Fick chuckled, grinning at Mindo. "Of course! Hey it's a load off of my mind. What about you? What do you do in your free time?" Fick leaned forward and put one elbow on the table, resting his chin on his hand. He was pretty used to alcohol, but the drink had definitely loosened him up.

Mindo leaned back. "I enjoy many things. I'm often on the holodecks doing any number of activities. I also love old cinema, movies; you know, before they went interactive. I have installed over two million films from just about every culture into one PADD that's rigged to a tricorder projector, and show the films on a blank wall in my quarters. They're quite fascinating. There's no way I'll ever watch all of them, but I like the idea of an insane amount of options. Plus, they hardly take up any space. And if you like Klingon food, you've really got to see their movies!"

Fick's eyebrows shot up yet again. "You're right! I've got to see their movies! I'm really fascinated with their fighting styles I can't imagine that I would hate their films. Although it certainly will be interesting to see what it is that they make movies about. Probably fighting!" he chuckled.

Mindo grinned. "Their war films are second to none. Big stories with big casts and very strong performances. There's nothing more breathtaking than a good Klingon epic!"

"That's a really cool hobby," said Fick. "I have to admit that I like the holodecks too. For a lot of things." He wiggled his eyebrows, grinning. "I've got some pretty unique programs."

"Is there any reason to not like the holodeck?" said Mindo. "I mean, you can do just about anything in there with little restriction. Back on Feseria we don't have holodecks. When you're a kid you have to make your own fun. It was never dull, though. Feserians have extremely active imaginations. I think that's why I enjoy Starfleet. There's never a ho-hum day. You're constantly thinking out of the box. That's why I wanted to be an engineer."

"Funny you should say that." Fick chuckled. "I was just thinking how unprepared I feel... I thought when I came out of the Academy that I would be okay and just know what I need to know... cause they're supposed to teach it to me, but I've sort of found that it isn't exactly the way they say it's going to be in the textbooks. I mean... don't get me wrong. I'm enjoying it. Everyday there's a new challenge, but I'm amazed at how not prepared I was." He shook his head and looked into the bottom of his empty glass. "How long have you been in Starfleet?"

Mindo had to think about that for a minute. "About... six years?" he surmised. "It feels like a long time. I was accepted into the Academy at sixteen. I pretty much rolled through in just under four years. Been on ships of all shapes and sizes. But none as big as the Pandora. My last assignment was a Rhode Island class ship. Very small. I've hardly begun to explore the ins and outs of this ship."

"This is my first assignment, as I'm sure is apparent by my rank. I started at 16 too... and stayed an extra year for Advanced Flight Training courses. I missed top of my class by two students." He chuckled. "It always frustrated me that I was so close, but I'm not very good at competition. I guess maybe I just don't get it. I'd rather get somewhere on my own merit and not because I was pushing it to beat someone..."

Mindo chuckled a bit. "I graduated with dishonors. I spent most of my time getting into trouble. My grades were decent enough, but I nearly got kicked out a few times. It wasn't until I had permission to drink that I straightened out. Couldn't control the urges. And boy do I have stories!"

"We should get smashed and share stories sometime. I've got some pretty good ones, of course most of mine are from growing up on Risa. I did do a lot of partying when I was at the Academy but I didn't get in a lot of trouble. Not a whole lot anyway. That must have been really hard to deal with that and try to go to school at the same time. The worst thing I had to deal with was everyone saying I was a kid..."

"Try being the size of a toddler," said Mindo, referring to his own stature.

Just then the waiter came back with their food. The thick Barratta noodles were flavored with a smokey-sweet sauce. Mindo thought the chef did a pretty good job.

"This is far from home," said Mindo. "But it gets the idea right. How do you like it?"

Fick was already devouring his food with gusto. "Mmm..." he said around a mouthful of noodles. "It's really good!" He waited a minute until he was done chewing. "I really like the sauce. I've never really tasted anything like it. I had this one thing on Earth that they called bar-bee-q and it sort of reminds me of that. Like the smokey flavor... except they put it on meat. Thanks for the recommendation!"

Mindo wiped his mouth and swallowed another bite. "So..." he said, taking a drink of tranya. "My place or yours?"

Fick looked up from his plate and stared at Mindo for a moment. "Oh yeah?" He grinned and seemed to think about his options for a moment. What he was really doing was trying to remember the state he'd left his quarters in. "Mm... so mine will be okay. Unless you need something specific in yours."

"I've got more tranya in mine," said Mindo. "I was just thinking we could get out of here and boldly go where no one's gone before."

Fick busted out laughing. "More tranya sounds great! Although, I'm pretty sure I've been where we're headed before." He tipped his head to one side, thinking. "Well maybe not with a Feserian." He shrugged and grinned.

Mindo laughed. "OK, fly boy. Let's get out of here."

Fick shoved the last few bites of his dinner into his mouth and nodded, getting up out of his seat and preparing to follow Mindo wherever he might lead. "Hey!" he said, his mouth still full of food. "Do your people know about one night stands?"

"Sure," said Mindo. "We invented them."


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