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Mirror Universe
2190
ISS DEFIANT

 “Captain? I am no captain,” Erika explained. 

“You’re no chef, either,” snorted Philippe, the MACO Corporal.   

“Philippe?” asked Lili. 

“What? How’d you know my name?” 

“I just do.” 

“We should take Erika here to the galley,” Naurr said, “and finish cooking the meal, there is a mission.” 

“You can’t leave,” Philippe said, “Empress’s orders. Major Nahuel’s, too.” 

“Huh.” Lili thought for a moment. She sidled up next to Philippe. “Maybe we could make a trade.” 

“Tr-trade?” asked Philippe. There were so few women on the Defiant, and this one was new. And she was, inexplicably, interested in him. 

“Sure,” Lili cooed in his ear, and blew on it a little, an act that made him shiver. “You let us borrow Erika here for, I dunno, two hours, let’s say?” 

“And, uh, then wh-what?” 

“Then I’ll show you what I really use the olowa paste for.” 

“I, uh, I never did it with a pregnant woman before.”

“Not to worry,” Lili smiled at him as seductively as she could, even though Jeremiah was kicking her something fierce, “we can even say this one’s yours. But give us two, no, make it three, hours.” 

“Three hours it is,” Philippe squeaked out. 

The walk to the galley was a fast one. It was a dirty place, with dusty shelves. A small greyish bundle of fur brushed along Lili’s foot, and she jumped. “What the hell was that?” 

“Mice,” Erika shrugged. “I hear the infestation started in ’57.” 

The mice, Lili realized, were directly related to Doug being brought over to their universe, but she kept quiet about that. “Let’s see. What’s in your stocks?” 

Erika brought out the spices. “Nutmeg, cardamom. I think we’ve got cinnamon and sugar. We might have some hotter stuff, but the labels are off about half of the spices.” 

Naurr opened up the refrigeration unit. “There is whole milk, it seems. And I do not know what this is.” He showed a huge carcass that looked like a large squid, but with fourteen legs. 

“That’s prako,” Lili explained. “Huh, we can roast the prako. It tastes like deli when it’s raw, and like barbecue when it’s roasted.” 

“She’ll want dessert,” Erika said. No one needed to be reminded of who she was. 

“Naurr, what’s in that smaller container? No, to the left. Your other left.” 

“I have another left? Oh, yes, I see it.” The Caitian opened up a square plastic container with something orange in it. He sniffed at it, his whiskers twitching. 

“That’s pumpkin purée,” Erika explained, “I use it to bait the mouse traps.” 

“Is it poisoned?” asked Naurr.

“No, it’s just bait,” Erika said, “no poison. I can never have anything like that. Empress Hoshi wouldn’t stop at the Agony Booth if I had any poison in here.”

“Got it. We can use this,” Lili decided. 

It was an hour or so later, and they really had something. The mysterious spices turned out to be garlic powder and onion powder. There was also some oregano and thyme, and cayenne pepper powder. Naurr added salt to the mixture before rubbing it onto the huge prako. “This is Cajun spices,” he explained to Erika, as she took notes on her PADD. 

Lili mixed the cinnamon, sugar, pumpkin purée and nutmeg together with a pinch of cardamom. She was able to approximate a dough by mashing up flour with water and prako fat. She molded it and poured the filling into it, and baked it in the oven. 

“What’s that going to be?” asked Erika. 

“Pumpkin pies,” Lili said. “Do you have a hand mixer?” 

=/= 

The Empress was back, albeit a little pale. She sat in her private mess, awaiting the evening meal. “And you said it would be good this time?” she asked Philippe, as Naurr, Erika, and Lili arrived with the dishes, walking through the doorway from the common mess. 

“Uh, yes, Empress,” replied Philippe. “That’s my understanding.” 

“That’s not good enough,” snarled the Empress. “Now serve me!” 

Erika and Naurr bowed as they offered the roast prako meat on a large plate. The Empress looked at it skeptically. “What the hell is this?” 

“MACOs brought down prako recently,” Erika explained, “including Philippe here.” 

“Oh, really?” complained the Empress, raising an eyebrow. 

“Y-yes. The Eska hunters we tortured said it was good.” Philippe shifted from foot to foot. 

“We’ll see about that.” The Empress waited for Philippe to eat a bit of the roasted meat first. She stared at him, waiting to see if he’d been poisoned. When he clearly hadn’t been, she asked, “Well?” 

“It’s a little spicy. But it’s good.” While he was eating, Lili prepared the dessert and topped it with whipped cream that she had specially made for the occasion. Philippe’s mouth watered. Despite the fact that she was enormously pregnant – and maybe fifty years old and none too attractive – to have his own woman; and one who could cook? That was a bonus. Even the men on board with hotter women would surely envy him for that. Out of the corner of his eye, he noticed a small packet of white fur running along the side of the room, hugging the wall. “Excuse me a moment.” The mouse was near the door, which led to the Defiant’s main mess hall. Philippe opened the door and the mouse ran through.

But the mighty Empress Hoshi Sato didn’t notice. She was too busy eating. When utensils proved too slow, she began eating with her hands like a cavewoman, shoveling the roasted prako into her mouth. “More!” she commanded; mouth full. “This is the first good meal I’ve had since, since forever! Except for those hush puppies! Make me hush puppies next time!” 

“Yes, Empress,” Erika bowed as she responded. 

The door was opened again, as Philippe returned. “It’s like a mouse army out there,” he reported. 

And it was true. There were most of the Defiant’s crew members, but there were also hundreds, if not thousands, of mice. “Close the door!” yelled the Empress, between bites, but the onslaught of mice was too much, and they were enough to force the door open. 

Erika, Naurr, and Lili were ankle-deep in mice. “Attack!” yelled Naurr. 

“Save the dessert!” yelled the Empress. 

“Do you want it?” yelled Lili, thinking of Doug, and how the Empress had mistreated him. 

“Yes!” yelled back Hoshi, her face turning purple in her fury and lust for the pumpkin pie with fresh whipped cream. 

“You asked for it!” Lili yelled back, hurling the pie at Hoshi. As the mice struck, Hoshi was hit in the face with the whipped cream-covered pumpkin pie. 

The weight of the mice held the door open and the Defiant’s crew got a full sight of Hoshi’s face caked in whipped cream. In her blindness, Hoshi stumbled and knocked the table over and sent all the fine food to the floor where the hungry army of mice ate well. “You’re going to the booth for this! And then we’ll leave you on a rock!” she screamed, whipped cream flying everywhere. 

Just then, Lili and Naurr were bathed in a blue light as they were temporally transported back to 2158 and Reversal.

 



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