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Here We Go...Again

Posted on Thu Jul 1, 2021 @ 3:11am by Lieutenant Commander Briar Tovan & Captain Jason Faulkner

Mission: Episode 1: Coda
Location: Faulkner's Quarters
Timeline: Mission Day 4 at 1830

Jason quietly hummed to himself as he puttered around the small kitchen installed in one corner of his quarters. He'd replicated a large chunk of the meal he'd planned, but he'd decided to try to add a personal touch to the main dishes. Cooking wasn't an expertise of his by any means, but he was fairly confident in his ability to make at least a few things that were fairly good.

Briar paused outside Jason's quarters, hesitating to hit the door chime. He believed what Jason had said about it being not a date...however, he couldn't stop thinking about the chemistry that seemed to exist between the two of them. Maybe it was one sided, although by the way that Jason had responded, he really didn't think that was the case. He shook his head and pushed away those thoughts before hitting the door chime.

"Come on in," Jason called. "If you're Tovan, that is, otherwise come back during office hours."

Tovan stepped through the door and smiled at Jason. He offered him whiskey that he brought, from his personal stash no less.

"Smells amazing in here? Did you actually cook?"

"I did," Jason replied. "Mostly. I've gained a few new skills over the last decade or so."

"Thats impressive," Briar said.

"It really isn't," Jason said. "I try to stick to stuff that's fairly straightforward."

"Still a better cook than me," Briar replied. "Although that's really not saying much at this point."

"Sadly, outside of professionals not a lot of people are," Jason said with a slight shrug. "At least on most Federation worlds where there's high-quality replicator infrastructure. I did eat a lot of hand-cooked meals on Romulus, but I doubt most of the people I was eating them with had much idea how to actually make them."

"Maybe I should take up cooking, I've been looking for a new hobby."

"It's certainly a useful way to impress people," Jason agreed. "If you want lessons, I can hook you up with an instructor, or a good teaching holo."

"I think we can both agree that I should stay away from the kitchen," Briar said. He paused a moment before looking Jason directly in the eye. "Permission to speak freely sir?"

"We're not just in private, we're in my quarters," Jason pointed out. "You don't need to worry about formalities."

"Where is this going Jason?" Briar asked.

"I was assuming that you'd eat the food I'm making and we'd talk about things that aren't strictly mission-related," Jason replied, "now that there's no longer a crisis taking up all our time."

"Always the diplomat," Briar obeserved. "I don't think there's any point in saying there isn't something still there between us, I can feel that and I think you can do. I know that you're with Mr. Pierce, I can certainly learn to deal with those feelings if they aren't reciprocated but I need to know where you stand. Keep in mind, I'm not a diplomat you need to talk around."

Jason frowned. "I'll have you know that where I'm from, I'm considered almost scandalously direct."

"Then be direct," Briar said.

"All right," Jason said. "I wasn't lying about this being something my previous captain and I did regularly. But I was also interested in gauging whether you'd like to rekindle our previous friendship - and which parts of it."

"You mean the parts where we got all hot and sweaty?" Briar asked.

"Exactly, although I'm flexible if you prefer just the fencing or the competetive poetry reading," Jason replied. "Ideally not all three at once, though."

"I'm open to the idea," Briar said. "Very open in fact but what about Mr. Pierce?"

Jason acknowledged the question with a slight tip of his head. "Ray's aware of my intentions. There's always been a bit of flex built into our relationship, even if it's been quite a while since either of us excersised that option. If this did turn into an ongoing romantic situation with..."

"Dating Jason, its called dating."

"Fine, yes, dating," Jason admitted in exasperation. "If we start dating, he'll probably want to have a chat with you. If he threatens you, just nod and go along with it, it's probably a joke."

Briar arched an eyebrow. "Probably?"

Jason shook his head. "Don't worry about it, I'm fairly certain that stabbing was entirely professional. If he actually objects, he'll just say so like an adult."

"That's good to know," Briar replied. "Although I can think of some other adult things that might be far more entertaining."

"One step at a time, Briar. One step at a time."

Briar grinned. "Alright, so is this our official first date?"

"Uh..." Jason hesitated. "I guess that depends on how high your expectations are, because there is absolutely nothing even vaguely romantic planned for this meal."

Briar laughed. "Fair enough, what did you make?"

"A creamy pasta with bell peppers and spicy targ sausage, plus stuffed mushrooms, garlic bread, and what hopefully will be a good strawberry gelato I picked up back on Derecho."

Briar whistled. "Sounds amazing. You didn't have to go to all this trouble though."

"Well, yes, but also no," Jason admitted. "The bread and pasta are replicated, so are half of the ingredients, and honestly a lot of it just involved making sure nothing burned while it browned, baked, or simmered."

"Still better than I managed to do," Briar said. "When the replicator systems on the Lady Luck failed, I just ended up eating rations."

"Really? You couldn't even bother with packaged meals?"

Briar shrugged. "I usually forgot to pick those up when I was at a port."

"This does not instill a lot of confidence in your abilities as my chief managerial minion."

"Minon? You did not just call me that."

Jason spread his hands. "You fit the definition."

"So, I guess the next date is on me, then, right?"

Jason considered what he knew of Briar's history, thought about whether that was a good idea, and decided he couldn't complain too much. "Trading off sounds like a good plan."

"To boldly going then," Briar said, holding up his glass.

"Where someone's gone before," Jason finished with a chuckle. "Now, you need to stop distracting me for a minute so I can get all this off the heat, otherwise we'll be experiencing strange new tastes."

"I can't help it that I'm that good looking," Briar said. "But go on, scoot, scoot."

"I don't scoot," Jason grumbled before scooting back to the kitchen nook to save dinner.



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