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JDL | Captain DiAgessi (CO), Commander Satie (XO) | "Dinner by Moonlight"

Posted on Wed Nov 8th, 2017 @ 4:32am by Captain Jacob Satie & Captain Aine DiAgessi

Mission: The Round Table
Location: Arboretum | Cold Station Theta

After their time together in the Arboretum monsoon, Jake had reserved the Admiral's Walk Platform for a two hour block of time starting at 18:30 station time. That would give him plenty of time to set up the table in anticipation of their second dinner. Oddly, even after the grilling he had endured the week before, he was looking forward to sitting with Aine DiAgessi for a quiet meal under the moon or moons that would be rising about the time he set the table. They had experienced some tense moments in the past week as they struggled to find their footing in the new command. They had been trapped in a lift for more than an hour where Jake learned of her fear of lifts. He had been able to calm her down but not before having to reveal his singing voice. Things didn't go smoothly in the first command team briefing because he had overstepped, and now the Stenellis delegation was on the station. Security and emotions were heightened as everyone waited for the Vindicator to return from their jaunt though time.

The area on the Admiral's Walk Platform Jake had chosen was nestled in a grove of flowering trees similar to the Rose of Sharon in appearance. He had set up a wrought iron, circular, Paris sidewalk cafe table and chairs and adorned it with a square, white silk table cloth a glow orb set as centerpiece bathed the table and nearby area in a warm peach and pink light which danced as if reflected off of water. He had decided against candles because the holographic moons would be full tonight by chance and they would more than adequately light the area. A silver table service was lain out and ready to receive whatever food the Captain deemed to bring. Jake walked to the overlook and gazed down at the Arboretum spreading out twenty decks below and marveled at the feeling it gave him of home. He checked his chronometer and walked back to the entrance to wait for his dinner partner.

Chinese take out, nearly as good as New York, was one of the many surprise cuisines offered on the massive station's promenade. While it wasn't exactly picnic food, it was excellent, portable, hot, and... Well... Perfect. The way someone handled chopsticks explained a lot about them. Were they adventurous? Dexterous? Bashful? Ill-tempered? All of it, and more, was quickly revealed to questioning minds as they watched their dinner mates navigate noodles, rice, and other messy improbabilities with the bamboo sticks. Granted, the ones that came with her order were plastic of some format, but it made little difference.

"Sorry I'm late," Aine greeted him, holding up the package as a shield and peace offering, "I know it's not my cooking, but it's kind of one of my most favorite things ever and I figured what the Hell." She shrugged with a resilient grin, "Even grabbed extra soy and duck sauce just in case you're a fan."

A smile broke on Jake's face as she held up the greasy white paper bag containing what he could only imagine was Chinese based on the character's printed on the front of the bag. "Soy yes, duck no. Any chance you grabbed some Crab Rangoon? I love those little fried dumplings with crab meat." Jake rubbed his stomach just thinking about it. He had spent some time in China Town while in San Francisco and had even learned a little of the ancient Mandarin language. "Xièxiè nǐ de shíwù," he said "Thank you for the food. I think? I'm not conversational but can understand a good bit. I had a friend at the Academy that was raised in China Town. I spent a lot of time with him and his family while there." Jake realized he was leaving her standing and reached for the food. "Come right this way, Ma'am. Your table awaits." He pointed with his empty hand and followed her down the path toward the table he had set up.

"Oh please, like if it's even a meal without Crab Rangoon!" The bay maned Captain scoffed softly as she clutched the warm bag back to her chest. Whether he enjoyed duck sauce or not held little bearing over her. It just meant there would be more for her and her favorite little egg noodles and spring rolls. She was happy to make her way on down to the softly glowing table he'd produced for just such an occasion. "I can't speak a word of Mandarin or Cantonese or whatever... I'll be honest. Completely lost on me, but this?" She gestured to the table as she set the bag down, "very very chic." A hand came up in the 'ok' symbol and she winked before opening the bag and setting out the food containers, both plastic and stereotypical white boxes with their little metal handles, across the table. "If I didn't know any better, I'd say you were trying to impress me or something," Aine chuckled, turning to face him with two sets of chopsticks held in her hands. One of which was presented to him in kind.

"Oh... Do you want me to impress you? I just didn't want to be outdone. You hosted me in a luxurious Captain's suite. I only have nature and the moons to host you with. Are you... impressed?" Jake grinned. The coy game of cat and mouse they had been playing over the past week had left mixed signals but despite the difference in rank, he wanted to push forward and see if a relationship with Aine could be more than just supervisor and subordinate. He stepped around to her side of the table and pulled her chair out as he waited for an answer to his questions.

"I might be." She shrugged and took her seat with feigned indifference alight in her tone, "I don't usually go off and share Crab Rangoon with just anyone, so you could consider them a token of appreciation that may or may not indicate that I'm impressed by your choice of venue." Big words, all so easily cast in conversation between two intellectuals. She knew there was a fine line they were skating along, though she couldn't be sure exactly why it was that he chose to play with that brand of fire. Singing along to rock songs in a death trap was one thing, but spending quality time with moons and stars and glowing orbs that cast coral ambient lighting was something else entirely. Especially when crafted in frame by delicate flowers. The 'snick' of her chopsticks coming apart heralded a gesture towards the chair across from her, "I suggest you sit down before I change my mind and keep the Rangoon to myself, though."

Zipping around the table, Jake quickly sat himself down across from her. The glow orb made her skin look warm and her eyes twinkle. He was growing to appreciate her in ways that confused him. He was a by the book lawyer for Pete's sake, he knew better than to fraternize with senior officers. Not that it hadn't been done before or that it wasn't still being done for that matter. "So you are going to share the Rangoon?" Jake jested as he snapped his own chopsticks apart. "How do you feel about intimate relationships with coworkers? There is a security officer on the night watch that may be dating his Lieutenant. I'm not sure whether to squash it or let them have at it?" The situation was non-existent but it was the only way Jake could come up with to broach the subject and not make her feel put upon by a request to date. He reached for the box of noodles using his chopsticks to scrape a portion out for himself.

"Top carton, you get first dibs." Aine replied, tugging away one of two smaller containers of soup. A combination of egg drop and wonton, it soothed the weary soul with it's salty, savory goodness and quick bite of scallions and spiced pork as an after thought. Chinese just wasn't Chinese without it. Tugging the tupperware lid off, her mouth couldn't help but betray a smile, "You're asking the product of an intimate relationship between a ship's XO and her CO how she feels about fraternization?" The woman teased gently and she captured a wanton, "Star ships are gone for years at a clip and stations are basically floating colonies. People will grow attached, it's only natural and if it doesn't interfere with their duties, so be it." She shrugged and took a bite, but held up a finger to indicate that she still had a thought to add as she chewed and swallowed, "Of course... We have to realize that a superior will be expected to make tough calls and potentially order crew members into situations that could result in their deaths. That's always something to consider."

Sitting back in his chair, Jake chewed his fist bite of noodles and thought about his next question. "If you were in love with a crew member, how would you deal with that?" Jake suspected that she would deal with it just like he would. Send your partner off and hope against hope that they came back safe. When it came down to it what more could you do? He reached across the table and snatched a Crab Rangoon. Jake cracked the fried, crispy dumpling open and a creamy bit of crab jumped out landing on his shirt. Smooth, real smooth. Well, so much for impressing her now. he thought to himself as he picked the piece off his shirt and popped it in his mouth reaching for a napkin.

Tilting her head quickly in one direction, she considered the question in earnest. How had her mother handled it? Had she ever had to? She couldn't remember a story or a memory in which she had. Her father on the other hand, that shrewd son of a bitch would likely have had no issue nor remorse to go with it. "You know... I like to think that I'd be able to go by the book on it, but I can't say for certain. Emotion is a very powerful thing, and being that I'm not Vulcan I know that I'm not immune to being selfish or possessive or whatever it is that would keep someone from being able to do that. To me it seems like a real life Kobayashi Maru scenario. Damned if you do, damned if you don't." Aine responded, watching the rangoon get its revenge and slid the pile of napkins towards him before settling back into her soup. "How would you?"

Jake almost choked on the crab. He hadn't expected her to return the question. Clearing his throat of the sticky sweet sauce, he said, "I would hope that the person I pick to date is a competent officer with a good head on her shoulders. Then I would trust her to fate because there is never a safe situation in space for terrestrial beings." The answer seemed cold to Jake but when it came down to it that was what would happen. "In my case I don't think that is likely to be an issue though." He wound several noodles around his chopsticks. "This is good. You get to cook more often." He said with a smile.

"No... No I suppose there isn't even a safe situation in space for terrestrial beings. The lifts prove that." She quipped in response, shuddering at the thought and bringing her Tupperware bowl to her lips. The broth would do what it could to chase away the unmistakable chill of displeasure and fear that crept along her spine. It had no place there with them. "Glad you like it. It's an oldie, but a goodie." Aine smiled, setting the dish back down, "There's a lot to be said about old Earth street fare." She all but sighed happily. For a nervous Nelly, Satie was a decent enough conversationalist and that made all the difference when it came to relaxing and just simply trying to enjoy the moments where duty could almost be forgotten for sake of simply living.

All around them, the night was cool and crisp enough to keep the senses alive and allowed to fan out over the myriad of noises and scents that swaddled them. Crickets. The flickering scratch of leaves and branches as they moved in the gentle evening breezes. The distant sound of a stream. The almost imperceptible sigh of waves meeting the shore. Sitting there, content, Aine almost envied the little Vorta doctor who, undoubtedly, would have been able to pick out so much more with a simple flick of an ear. It almost wasn't fair, but she'd settle for what she had and love it for all that it was worth. "Really is a marvel how this place came together," She offered, "I could almost forget that we're in the middle of a space station and believe that we're somewhere near the tidewater region of Virginia." There was a little sigh, a small smile, "My mother grew up there. We visited pretty often when my brother and I were kids. Even spent whole summers learning how to fish for crab and wade for oysters and mussels. Good times."

They had both grown up to some extent near the ocean, Jake in the Pacific Northwest and Aine on the Atlantic. Their love for the outdoors was another shared interest. "I agree. A person could easily forget we are on a station. Especially from ground level. The trees make the illusion all the more realistic when you can't see the edge of the station beyond. The holographic ceiling completes the feeling of being on a planet. Though I'm not sure I recognize those moons." Jake looked out at the two moons that had risen halfway up in their travels across the mock night sky. He was glad she hadn't pressed his statement about having to put a junior ranked love interested in harms way. Part of him desperately wanted to say, I like you and would like nothing more than to build a personal relationship beyond the constraints of Captain and Commander. Instead, he shoveled another bit of noodles into his mouth and sat back to look at her. She was simply amazing and that is all he could see. Her insecurities, phobias and rank didn't cloud his vision of her and he was sure they never would. "I like you, Aine." They hadn't reached love yet, their relationship personally and publicly was too fresh for that. More than a hint of a desire to go farther toward love was evident in his tone and demeanor. She was easy to talk to, fun, and a good singer if a little shy about it. "Would you be my date to the masquerade ball?" The party offered the perfect opportunity to formalize their relationship it it was going to develop further.

"Mm. No, I can't say I do either. Might be a good question for my mother and Valeese." Aine replied, her head tilted up in order to study the sight of the pale holographic astral bodies as they hung ever so elegant in their faux-orbits. They were worthy of attention being taken away from the chicken lo mein that waited for her. It would have been so easy for her to just grab a blanket, pick a place somewhere on the hill side, and spend the night staring at the stars from that perspective. Satie, however, had chosen a far from terrestrial target for his eyes and she was becoming more and more aware of his gaze and the intentions behind them. When he announced that he liked her, she wasn't entirely surprised. It was enough to guide her eyes back towards him and lift her brows at the sound of his next utterance. "In a capacity other than the official one?" She asked, pushing gently for clarification and understanding, "I could be convinced."

Jake let out his breath. He hadn't realized he'd been holding it and it felt good to breathe again. He looked down at his plate and set his chopsticks down on the napkin. He raised his eyes back to hers, "Yes in an other than official one. I would like to date you and see where that takes us." His throat was tight and he picked up the water glass and drank deeply. He was nervous now, not just because she was drop dead gorgeous. She was his boss and if she said no things would be awkward between them, at least for a while.

She considered the offer for a second, her mouth twisting to one side as she did. There was a deep implication and stigma that came along with the dating of a fellow officer. Worse when it was a command team. Starfleet knew it, and that was why they so seldom put members of the opposite sex together on these directives, but Aine had never been one to worry about it. As she'd said, her own mother had been her father's Executive Officer at the time she'd been conceived. "Only on the condition that we do exactly that, just see where it takes us. No dramatics, no weirdness, and if it impedes our ability to do right by this station then we call it quits without any hard feelings." She replied, working through her own amount of apprehension and concern, but enjoying the idea of adventure and the possibilities that came along with it. As it was, spending every Friday night dining with him was more or less dating in and of itself. Calling a spade a spade was simply commonsense.

An ear to ear smile replaced Jake's apprehensive look. "Agreed. Our commitment to the station needs to be our chief concern. I think we are both adult enough to understand that." Jake picked his chopsticks back up and wound a ball of noodles onto it. "I am relieved and terrified at the same time." He grinned lopsidedly at her. "Did you happen to grab a couple fortune cookies?"

"Glad we're on the same page." Aine replied, and reached to pick up her own container of lo mein. "There's a bunch of them still in the bag," She answered, popping off the lid and finally allowing herself the chance to settle into the chicken, noodle, and veggie goodness. Dinner was easy, as far as she was concerned. He was an over thinking, eager, quick to try and please... But he was smart on top of it all. His quick use of chopsticks said as much, if you really gave actions with them any credence. It could only be said that she hoped he wasn't a little too eager, and that her agreement to see him outside of a professional context wouldn't be viewed as weakness by an individual that had already questioned her age and rank once. Nah. He'd be a fool to do it twice or consider her as anything more than the consummate professional at home with her command and her profession. "They're among my favorite things as well. Glad to know you enjoy them."

Reaching into the bag, Jake withdrew a single crisp cookie. "I always enjoy the fortunes but I kind of like the taste of the cookie." With that, he snapped the cookie in half and pulled the thin slip of paper from one half. He popped the other half into his mouth and crunched. The thin slip of paper read: You have embarked on the journey of a lifetime. Chewing his cookie Jake wondered again about the validity of a good fortune cookie. He slipped the paper into his pocket and enjoyed the rest of his dinner.


Captain Aine DiAgessi
Commanding Officer

Commander Jake Satie
Executive Officer
Cold Station Theta, SB-1170


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