‘Trekkie Brekkie - the way to start your day'
The relentless chiming of his door told Noah exactly who it was at his door. With his mouth frothing with toothpaste he spluttered, "Come in Jex!"
"What's keeping you?"
He moved out of the en suite and traversed the room to pin on his comm. badge before replying to Jex. "I'm ready now aren't I? Let's go get breakfast."
They set off for the mess hall, currently serving up breakfast canteen style. Unusually, because of a clerical mix up in the refitting of rooms, Cutler had the good fortune to have his own replicator. On the frontier, ensigns were far from such luxury as individual quarters equipped with their own replicators. Officers higher ranking perhaps, but even a few of them graced the mess at mealtimes. How and ever, because of his friendship with Jex and her personal tastes, Cutler had had little opportunity to make use of it or indeed, of his common room area he shared with his roommate whom he was still to meet. Apparently he was currently off ship on leave from the little Cutler had learned.
"I love trekkie brekkie. I mean more than other crews we have real chances to get know each other and indeed became familiar with ship wide systems because of the floating rota system operated by the Captain." She said something of the like everyday. Whether she was truly as optimistic as she made out or whether she was trying to convince Cutler of the merits of the canteen breakfast rather than using his replicator he was not yet so sure.
"Yeah. But it takes a little getting used to. I mean I've never much liked the sight of blood but today I have to report to Dr. Monroe for a shift."
"Oh Noah you're such a pessimist. What are you expecting, a flood of casualties just because you have a shift in the med lab?"
Noah actually did secretly fear this very thing would happen. He deemed it wiser not to voice that fear though.
They joined the breakfast queue and gave a number of courteous hellos and good mornings to those they spotted and were quickly getting to know. The ship had a smaller crew contingent but Jex was correct that the floating rota system, whereby in order to allow a day off, a crew member worked a double shift one in their normal post and one in another area of the ship. The area you ended up working depending on whose day off it was.
"So tell us then all about the trip below. I cannot believe you didn't come and find me after you had returned. I was dying to know what had happened and what was it like."
"Well ... it was unexpected." She looked quite unsatisfied as to that answer. "Well it was rather grotty. A real hellhole in many ways. It was wet and mucky and it smelled. Well it was all rather confusing. That place is a warren of cramped streets and bars. And the mission was well ... unorthodox. The away team didn't stick together and it was all, well like I say, quite disconcerting."
A surly, aggrieved voice cut in. "Whine, whine, whine. Is that all you do? I sometimes wonder how it is that Starfleet churns out such feeble inept clueless saps. If you are the future of the Federation, then the Academy should close its doors."
Jex and Noah turned with their so far empty trays to face an unkempt Vulcan teenager, if Noah guessed correctly, looking rather pissed off playing with the food on his plate. "Sorry who are you?"
"Oh the damsel to the rescue." To Noah he turned his contempt. "That is lame mate."
Jex continued to square up to him placing hands on her hips. "Who are you, I asked?"
Disdainfully acknowledging her at last he retorted, "I know you did. My ignoring you implied my wish not to talk to you Freckles."
Although it was rather churlish and a feeble reply at best, Jex found herself saying, "You started it." She fumed inwardly at herself as the Vulcan turned his attention away from her; obviously, her presence was of no import to him. Instead, he malevolently looked to Cutler.
"What's the matter, cutie pie? Cat got your tongue?"
Deciding it was best not to be involved in any manner with him, Cutler opted to give a meagre defence of himself and hoped to coax Jex to move on afterwards. "Look, I never said anything to you."
From behind them, the friendly tone of Becca Swift told them, "Guys, never mind him. He's best left to it."
"What, you want me to yourself Becca?"
"Ronak, leave them alone. They don't need to be hassled by the likes of you."
"You'd imagine they ought to be able to put up with the likes of little old me. I mean they have Fien pirates, badass Klingons and cheating Ferengi to contend with. What's one Vulcan bastard to the mix?"
She placed her palms on his table and leaning into his face, she warned him. "Just leave well enough alone."
"Oh you're scary Bex. I better not mess with you." Becca knew better than to rise to his bait. "What cat got your tongue now? Pathetic."
All of them turned to the voice of Tac.
"I know a certain cat that would delight in having all of your tongues. So shut it." To the Vulcan he directed, "The Captain wants a word with you."
"Tell him I'm busy."
The eyes of Jex and Cutler almost popped out of their heads in astonishment at his insubordination. The behaviour was not unexpected by the reactions of both Becca and Dexter. Appearing nonplussed, the security chief stepped forwards to be beside Ronak.
"He didn't ask if it suited." With that, Tac hauled the lad up from the table and seat, frog marching him out of the mess to presumably the Captain.
Jex was astonished. "Who was that?"
"The thorn in the ship's side." Becca remarked from the corner of her mouth in a dry, crisp tone.
"Does he serve aboard? I haven't seen him before today. I know Lt. Commander T'Vel only came aboard yesterday, did he too?"
"Yeah something like that." Becca turned to face the two of them. "He doesn't exactly serve aboard. He's more of a regular passenger but officially, he does appear on the manifest as yeoman third class Ronak. Look, get your breakfast and forget all about him." They did so silently but Jex steered Noah towards a quiet corner of the mess hall to sit.
"What do you think his story is?"
"I dunno and I don't think I care to even." Noah considered why it was Jex insisted in coming to the crew's mess hall when they could avail of the officer's mess instead thereby avoiding that particular incident. He hated himself for the apparent snobbery of that particular thought but he knew all too well that he did not like confrontations.
Jex shook her head despairingly. "Where is your curiosity Noah? There's nothing wrong with being a little bit curious you know. I mean that guy and the way he talked to us all is a bit much and I can't imagine the Captain would let someone as unprofessional as that serve aboard."
Noah thought silently of Lt. Commander T'Vel and the predicament in which she was discovered. "I wouldn't be so sure. The Captain lets fly quite a few of Starfleet regulations and protocols."
"He's hardly the first Captain to ever go on away missions." However, she in turn was thinking about the little she had gleaned from Becca about Templar.
"I don't mean that!" However, he could not say what he meant for he had promised Commander Cartwright not to mention anything about yesterday. "I just mean in general the ship is rather relaxed in certain regards. Who is to say that such an attitude doesn't encourage the behaviour of the likes of Ronak?"
"Maybe. Somehow, I doubt it, since it is a border patrol and most such vessels operate differently. Not to mention every ship has its own dynamic. Though it is mega weird for a Vulcan to be so aggressive in manner. I mean Lt. Commander T'Vel surely was nothing like him."
She certainly was not aggressive thought Noah. Nevertheless, he did consider the fact that of the two Vulcans he had met onboard both had seemed uncharacteristically Vulcan. "I didn't really get much of an opportunity to talk to her."
"Oh. Well I'll find out for myself on the bridge. Are you having that egg? Gosh I could really do with some more toast."
Uninterested in what she was saying he lamely remarked, "Yeah?"
"Yeah! Hint, hint."
"Oh. You'd like me to get you some more toast."
"Thanks ever so much Noah. That's really decent of you." He let out an exasperated and resigned sigh. Begrudgingly he got up from the table and returned to the self-service canteen.
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