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Taco Tuesday

Posted on Sun Aug 23rd, 2020 @ 8:47pm by Ambassador Kyrza Jadoss & Lieutenant JG Christine Resnik
Edited on on Sun Aug 23rd, 2020 @ 9:37pm

Mission: When The Circus Comes To Town

It was indeed a big station, as advertised. Kyr had stopped through many stations but had yet to live on one. The whole thing seemed to float effortlessly until it grew and grew on approach. It filled the window long before they docked, and this was a fair-sized freighter.

Kyr had heard of stations being described as towns or maybe small cities. By the size of it, this felt more like a megacity, maybe even a small world. It was somewhat difficult to wrap his mind around over a thousand decks. Even just this deck was large and busy, with people briskly moving about their business. Perhaps the whole station was bustling like this, or maybe it was just here. Not even ten steps in, and Kyr was admittedly lost.

Shifting the small duffel on his shoulder, Kyr blinked and gave his head a quick shake. He had to get moving. If nothing else, to keep from getting run over. Focus, look for a sign, and get out of the way before he --

Chris’s attention had been so hyper-focused on the PADD she held the outside world passed her without notice. She muttered curses under her breath at it. She was just trying to find a taco stand that was supposed to be somewhere around here. About to give up for the day, willing to put up with replicator mush. Resnik had just started to look up, aware of the influx of bodies around her all of a sudden when her shoulder was rocked and she stumbled a step, the PADD launching forward and out of sight.

The bump to her shoulder didn’t hurt, just startled her and she recovered her balance quickly, but her hands went to her hips, brows furrowed and eyes searching the ground for the discarded PADD, not yet glancing at the offender.

"Terribly sorry," Kyr blurted out of reflex, taking a stutter step backward to buy space, even as he rapidly glanced back to see if we weren’t stepping on someone else, "my mistake."

Chris sighed, shaking her head dismissing the apology, eyes still laser focussed on the ground. “Yeah, no worries. Just lost my PADD though…” Her arm gently tapped a lithe woman in her search path, urging her out of the way. “Maybe a hand looking for it?” Resnik didn’t have a great track record with keeping tabs on her issued technology, let along keeping it in working order. This was not how she wanted to start her assignment here, showing up to the Engineering kiosk to get a new PADD. “Maybe you can help?” She tucked her long brown hair behind her ear and finally looked up, raising an eyebrow at the reptilian present in front of her.

Kyr's nostrils flared, and his tongue involuntarily flicked out, trying to catch it. It was such a strong feeling, an incomplete memory, jumbles of emotion, but it was fading away almost as fast as it struck. It was so terribly familiar but he couldn't quite--

Chris cocked her head, curious at the moment of awkward silence. Her brain was desperately trying to remember the name of the species in front of her. He seemed to be smelling her, distracted.

"So sorry," Kyr replied, blinking a few times rapidly as he caught up with himself, "you just... smelled familiar."

“Huh…” She uttered, not sure what to think of that. Chris racked her brain trying to figure out where they would have encountered each other before. She unconsciously tugged at the bottom of her uniform tunic, stretching her neck out of the collar a bit before extending her hand, hoping the gesture didn’t offend. “Chris Resnik, Dr Resnik I guess.” She smirked. “New here, but it looks like you are too.” Chris heard a crunch behind her, and with her hand still extended, her trunk twisted as a groan escaped her lips. “Dang, guess someone found that PADD.” The crowd parted and the PADD with a new heel size indent in it presented itself on the high traffic flooring. “Damn, only made it a day.” She shrugged and sighed, looking back at her hand, but itching to grab the broken device.

"Kyrza Jadoss," he answered quickly, as he clasped the outstretched hand, mildly embarrassed now at his stuttering mis-steps (figuratively and literally). It was a human greeting, but one he'd grown familiar to. Already, by reflex, his mind ran down his memorized briefing note for humans. A side effect of being a diplomat. He cringed inside as he remembered human olfactory systems were less acute, and that their tongues were not part of that system and stayed generally inside their mouths. Stepping lightly, he picked up the newly created paperweight and handed it back to its owner, "and yes, quite new indeed. May I ask where you were heading?"

“Well, I was trying to find a rumored taco stand that should be in this general area.” She smiled, “Not sure how good the tacos are here, but I figured they had to be better than replicated food in my quarters.”

"Would you mind if I joined you?" Kyr asked, even as he was bumped in the shoulder from someone hustling by, "I'd appreciate a chance to apologize for damaging your property."

Chris raised an eyebrow at Kyrza, surprised that he would want to join her, but dismissing her internal judgments before they steered her thoughts. Her face softened as she assured him, “No apology necessary, I can assure you. I would love the company though, I really don’t know anyone yet. This place is so crowded, especially in this area.” To emphasize her point her shoulder was knocked into again. “See…” She chuckled, “We better move on, there is a food court on another level. I think we’ll have better chances of finding somewhere less congested.”

Resnik decided to lead the way, glancing over her shoulder to make sure he was still with her as she confidently moved through the beings near the docking rings. They got into a lift and up to the area she had heard about but hadn’t experienced yet. The smells as soon as they stepped out were almost overwhelming, but her eyes caught sight of a taco stand and it made her chuckle and shake her head. The stand she had been looking for was in front of a Mexican restaurant and not where she had been told at all.

“Well Mr Jadoss, what type of food and drink do you appreciate? It looks like they have just about everything here.” Her own mouth was salivating over the thought of some street tacos and cold Mexican lager, but she was also pretty adventurous in her food sampling.

"I very much enjoy sampling new things, Doctor," Kyr replied, "I have never tried a... tac..oh stand before. Is it human cuisine?"

“It is. Very specific to the North American region, though it has found its way all the way out here.” Chris tried to think about how to explain a taco, it was a simple thing, yet…”A taco is chopped up and grilled meat. The meat can be whatever, chicken, beef, pork…” Her mind wandered a bit trying to figure out how to describe the rest when she remembered, “Oh fish too! Fish are some of the best ones. But the meat is seasoned, well it can be done in a lot of ways and depends on the type of meat flesh used I guess...and that is wrapped in a tortilla… which is mashed cornmeal flattened into a round, think like a pancake, but even thinner… like a crepe…” Resnik realized that to someone who wasn’t from her planet, none of this probably made much sense. “Tell you what, I’ll order up a variety and you can try them all and figure it out.”

When he was younger, such food bazaars were quite overwhelming to him. But over time, he'd adapted, and grown to enjoy the mixing and mingling of scents, especially when the one closest to him started cooking, as they had now. Kyr's nostrils flared slightly as he took in the smells. Not overly complex, but he could smell each ingredient, and how they changed under heat. His tongue darted out just once, grabbing more depth, as he said absent-mindedly, "Wonderful."

They had arrived at the stand outside the restaurant and she asked the vendor as they got to the front of the short line, “¿hablas español?” The young adult that was taking orders was taken aback and surprised, “Si si…” And out came a string of fast-paced questions about where Chris was from and how she knew Spanish. She was horribly out of practice but picked up enough to understand the main question. “Texas, y tu?”

The dark-eyed man exclaimed, “Igualmente!” Chris was pleased, it meant there was a good chance this would actually be good, this far from home. For the sake of new friend and for ease of conversation she switched back to Standard and ordered a large assortment of each kind of street taco they offered and two cold beers making sure that they gave them limes and salsa to go with the tacos.

Looking over to Resnik, Kyr asked, "Is this a food from your childhood?"

“It is, I’m from an area of North America known as Texas when Earth was segmented into many different countries this region was tossed back and forth between Mexico and the United States. It’s a rich culture that lives on in many hearts and stomachs. I’ve traveled around the galaxy and it’s rare to find this food so far away from Earth.”

Looking at Kyrza she tilted her head a bit as they waited for the feast to be delivered. Resnik was excited to be sharing her love of tacos with someone. “I hope you don’t mind me asking, but you’re Saurian correct?” His large eyes were captivating in the way that they reflected what was around them like mirrors.

"Correct," Kyr nodded once with a slower blink.

“I’m a doctor on the station, a surgeon and I’ve not had any experience with your species. So in addition to getting to know you in general. I also think it prudent that I study up on your species and your unique traits.” The number of different species on the station that she did not have experience with was almost overwhelming, but it was a challenge she was looking forward to as she started her duties here.

"A wise precaution," Kyr paused, opened his mouth to speak, but hesitated again before finally adding, "I must admit I am unsure of what to answer. I am a diplomat, and quite versed in cultural differences. I am much less certain of unique biological distinctions."

Kyr pressed his finger into the small payment PADD, and nodded in appreciation to the proprietor, before picking up the tray of food. There was an empty table and chairs nearby, and Kyr lead this time, sliding into a seat as he replied, "I suppose we are somewhat more robust than the average human. I am quite small for my species, but Earth's gravity and atmosphere are quite... pleasant compared to Sauria."

Chris was carrying the beers and placed them on the table as she sat across from him. Listening with interest. “Honestly there are a lot of species more robust than humans. I’m surprised all the time that we’ve been successful in venturing off our homeworld. I guess that is owed less to our physiology and more to our spirit and determination. Chris grabbed a beef taco from the tray onto her own plate and prodded him, “Dig in friend, I’m curious as to what you think.” She poured some green salsa on her taco and turned her head to ingest it.

Kyr watched Resnik pick up one of the items and tried to mirror the action, picking up the nearest taco. It was a chicken one he believed, although admittedly uncertain if he remembered what a chicken was. It was somewhat difficult to ensure the fillings did not tumble out, but Kyr decided to take a chance and relax a bit with less formal manners. It didn't feel like a delicate or formal food - it wasn't served with cutlery after all - and so he laid the morsel mostly on his tongue, before throwing it back in two quick bobs of his head and swallowing.

“Did you even taste it?” Chris asked him, trying to limit her bemused smile should he take offense to her observation. “Do you like spicy things?” Resnik didn’t wait for him to answer as she dressed another beef taco with some green salsa and a chicken one with a red that burned her mouth, but had an intense smokey flavor. “Try these.”

She sat back and lifted her beer, waiting for his reaction this time, wondering if it would be any different.

Kyr graciously accepted, trying again. This time, he took more care to break up the food in his mouth, rather than a more whole swallow. It was a more delicate affair, his lips not quite as long or as well sealing as those of some other humanoids. The advantage, of course, was an extra dimension of different flavours and textures to enjoy.

It took a moment for the salsa's kick to arrive, but when it did, Kyr was both delighted and mildly uncomfortable. His large eyes got just a little larger. There was great flavour to the sensation, which was quite the treat. Swallowing, he found the sensations lingered and travelled down with his bite. A small cough escaped, once, then twice. He wasn't expecting the sensation and flavour to travel, or to remain as strong after he swallowed.

"Please excuse me," Kyr added, the feeling in his mouth slowly fading, "that was delightful. The chewing does allow the sensations to grow and become more intense. I am uncertain if I entirely enjoy the effect, but it is a wonderful addition."

Kyr reached for another, curious how the different ingredients and sauce would change the flavours, or perhaps the sensations. Not all planets had food that generated such feelings.

“It can take a while to get acclimated to spicer things.” She delighted in the way he was really getting into experimenting and tasting something new. She also loved to experience new cultures as well. “Perhaps you could share some food from your home with me someday.”

She started on a new taco before going back to her beer. “You should try the beer between tacos, it's refreshing and clears the palate a bit before moving onto a new flavor.”

Kyr nodded, finishing his bite. The flavours were indeed different. The textures were similar, but this had a bit more chew, and the flavours were quite different. Even the spicy feeling was different, tingling on different parts of his mouth. What an interesting cuisine this was!

"I have had a carbonated beer from Earth before," Kyr admitted, holding the drink closer to his nostrils. The smells from this were mild and easily overwhelmed by the more fragrant food, "but it was a dark liquid, quite sweet. A root beer. Is this similar?"

“No, not at all, root beer is its own unique kind of soda, it's mislabeled as a beer. This is totally different.” She looked at the light, yellow colored lager, “It's light and refreshing and seems to pair perfectly with tacos. Not really sweet at all. Some people like to squeeze a lime wedge into it.” She offered him a piece of the quartered fruit.

Kyr gave the sliced fruit a quick squeeze, and was about to try it, before pausing, beer in the air, "To new friends?"

She liked that. Chris had set off today to grab some tacos and a beer and instead ended up with a new and very interesting friend. “And tacos of course.” She chuckled and clinked her glass against his.

Kyr tried a reasonably small amount, somewhat more careful and hesitant perhaps than the solid food, and in part to try and avoid an uncouth mess. Immediately, he nodded, understanding how the beer fit with the food, "It pairs well indeed, a good recommendation. I have not had many carbonated beverages. The sensations are different. They aren't common back home."

Taking another drink, Kyr's head angled to a side, "Is this... alcoholic?"

She raised an eyebrow, forgetting that he wouldn’t have known that about beer. “Oh yeah… it is, but very lightly so. Is that ok?” Chris asked, “Sorry I should have said something ahead of time.”

"No, not at all," Kyr replied quickly, "we quite enjoy such beverages, although not typically... fuzzy?"

She nodded at that, pleased he wasn’t upset with the alcohol. “We call them fizzy,” Chris offered a soft and gentle correction to his wording mistake. A smirk formed on her face as she informed him, “Not all of ours are fizzy either, just like I’m sure your own planet has, there is a wide variety of ways to consume alcohol for humans.”

Without warning, an audible burp escaped from Kyr. His large eyes widened more, and if Saurian's blushed, his face would have looked like a red giant. Dabbing his mouth with a napkin, an embarrassed diplomat tried to recover, "Terribly sorry. That was quite rude of me. My apologies for such lack of decorum."

Chris was at first taken aback by the sudden noise emitted from him, but then laughed out loud. “Well some say that’s a sign of a good meal.”

Saurian's didn't laugh like humans, but Kyr had learned how to chuckle, or at least as close as he could get. It was perhaps a bit more of a cackle, but it seemed to convey the appropriate expression. Over many years working with more jubilant species, it was beginning to become a natural reaction for him, too.

She knew that as a diplomat he had an image to project at all times when out in the public. In a way, she felt that pressure too as a Starfleet officer and doctor. “It’s ok, I don’t think anyone from any media outlets are spying on us.”

Chris started to clean up her trash for the recycler. “Kyrza it has been an unexpected pleasure in meeting you today and sharing this meal. I hope we can do this again sometime. I unfortunately need to get back to studying medical records.”

"Of course, Doctor," Kyr nodded, standing too, "Thank you for this introduction to tacos and beer."

As his new friend walked away, Kyr sat down, finished his last swallow of beer, and began to mull on what foods he could introduce in return. Everyone was familiar with Saurian brandy, but he'd be hard pressed to find any food from home as delightfully interesting as the taco. Random chance smiled on him twice today, and as he picked up his duffel bag and prepared to recycle his rubbish, he found himself looking forward to sharing another meal. Perhaps this posting would not be as strange and uncomfortable as he thought.

Lt. (j.g) Christine Resnik, MD
Cold Station Theta

Kyrza Jadoss
Chargé d'affaires
Cold Station Theta


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