Location: In orbit of Jutus
Speed: Standard Orbit
Shields: Nominal
Hull: Nominal
Systems: All Systems Nominal

The Search Part IV
Episode 11 - Family Matters
Stardate 73834.3
MD004 2200 hrs

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Food Brings Everyone Together

Posted on Mon Jul 2nd, 2018 @ 1:12pm by Lieutenant Richard Ballston M.D. PsyD
Edited on on Mon Jul 2nd, 2018 @ 9:12pm

Mission: Episode 3 - Weary Travellers
Location: Empok nor Promenade
Timeline: MD003 1300 hrs
2790 words - 6 OF Standard Post Measure

The bag Richard was holding smelled like a summer day on Azzia, sweet and worm under the twins sun that graced their homeworld. From the top one could see a large purple and green melon and something that looked like grape that was just as big peering over the outer rim. Towering even over these was a long baguette looking loaves of fresh bread.

For a moment Richard was puzzled to find the items for sale so far from the temporal anomaly where his homeword resided then yet again there was money to be made in curiosity and the Azzians were eager to get to know other species.

He hummed a little as he made his way across the smooth predictable terrain of the space station, that is until a young Bollion, no more they six ran in front of him and he overcorrected just a little too much.

The mellon struck the floor and began rolling like a basketball across the floor away from its owner and Richard tried to keep the remainder of the items where they were in his bag. The most of a response it rose from his was a chuckle though that wasn't the feeling he would be projecting.

Dan was walking with his wife T'San over the promenade to find some stocking for the Juno, when a mellon rolled towards him and stopped against his feet. He picked it up and saw a man trying to keep his groceries together. He tapped his wife on the shoulder and she followed him.

"Is this yours?" Dan asked as he held up the mellon.

T'San recognized the uniform, he was a member of the Pioneer. Medical even. When the man rose to take the mellon she saw the rankpips on his collar. She wondered if he could make the same assessment while looking at her uniform.

Dan noticed it too. "Commander Ballston, I presume. I am chef Dan. And this is my wife T'San," He said. "Out for a little shopping, sir?"

Richard nodded and offered a smile as he took the melon and listened to the introduction, "I'm getting ready to cook an Azzian meal if you're interested." He tilted his head, "you must be from Juno, I understand both our ships are docked here."

"Yes," said Dan, "Yes they are. And I am certainly interested. Cooking is not just my work." He smiled. "I am also interested to learn more about the cuisine of other cultures. Did you say Azzian?" He asked curiously.

T'San stood there with her hands behind her back and straight up. She and Dan always looked like an odd Vulcan couple. Dan always smiling and very open and friendly to everyone he met, while T'San was quiet and more the expected Vulcan. She just observed the Pioneer doctor and her husband.

"I did." Richard's [ale eyes twinkled as he offered a broad smile, "I'm headed towards one of the holodecks on the Pioneer to cook and let people see and taste a little if the Azzian culture, would you care to come?"

"Would I? Of course! I am not engaged in anything at the moment," Dan replied with great enthusiasm. He turned to his wife. "Are you coming to, sweetie?"

T'San looked to the doctor and almost seemed like smiling. "I would be honored to join you in your cultural tasting." She said.

"Then please, follow me." Richard grinned and began walking with what groceries he still had left towards the docked ship he called home, "so have any of you heard of Azzians before?"

"Can't say I have," Said Dan as he looked over this wife. She just shook her head. "And my wife neither," He responded for T'San as the two of them followed Richard to the docking rings. "But then this is our first time going further than our comfort zone."

Richard nodded as he continued to walk, "your comfort zone?" He offered a smile, "well I don't think Azzians have too exotic a diet so that shouldn't be an issue."

"Oh I meant I haven't traveled that far out as here. Well we just been to the Gamma Quadrant and back. That was exciting," said Dan, "I am fine with exotics. It's just before I joined the Juno, I traveled a lot back and forth between Earth and Vulcan, beyond I never met an Azzian, and just my luck I happen to meet one that is a cook as well. We should exchange recipes." He offered.

"You cook?" Richard glanced over at the one speaking with a broad smile, "we certainly should." He let out a chuckle as he continued to walk, "the Azzian diet is primarily fruits, nuts, and grains but they do eat a little meant, only seafood and a bird." The man tilted his head slightly, "Azzian is in the Alpha quadrant not far from the borders of the Klingons and Romulans. "Oddly it was probably an accident that protected them from being overtaken by either of them."

"Sounds even lucky as well, from what I heard of the Klingons and the Romulans, they're no saints. Especially to people close to their territory," said Dan and then added, "And, yes, I cook. You are looking at the chef of the USS Juno. Don't want to brag but it's no easy task to keep that crew happy," he grinned. Hew knew word was going around on the Empok Nor of his cooking. He even had some requests from Pioneer crew, but even though he was passionate about his cooking, he was also a modest man.

Richard chuckled, "well I don't envy you." "Cooking for a group even occasionally can be challenging." He glanced over at the cook, "years ago I started out doing it as a morale officer, during the Federation-Klingon war."

Dan nodded. "But it's what I love to do. Back on Earth I had my own restaurant. It's hard work, but it's worth it. I go to bed, satisfied. I plan a lot of the menus ahead. So I can, like now, enjoy some time off. I also have a great staff on the Juno. The Kitchen is like it's own department." He smiled. "Maybe next time you come over to my kitchen?" He continued to suggest.

"I'd really like that." Richard began walking down the corridor to the turbolift and waited for everyone to catch up before letting the door close, "Holodeck two," he gave the order to the lift and fought back the urge to be overly polite to the inanimate computer system."

"So I found that the drink set the tone with food, can I expect the same with Azzian foods?" Dan asked as he wondered about that.

T'San just stood silently next to her husband. She knew a thing or two, but she was a doctor, that was her work. She just kept quiet for the moment.

The doors began to open and Richard headed out the door to lead the way, "well the beverage in Azzia is intended to complement the meal, to enhance the flavors of the food." He glanced behind him to ensure his guests were still following, "I have some wine and other beverages to sample." "Some of the wine comes from a vinyard ran by one of my sisers."

"Well, that's great. At least we are on the same page. I generally think food and wine go hand to hand," said Dan, "I would love to try your sister's wine. Is she is as passionate as her brother I can only expect good things from the wine." Dan cracked up one of his smiles again.

"I'll let you be the judge of that." Richard chuckled as he reached the holodeck entrance. It slid open for him and he walked into already running holo-program.

The hologram showed a large courtyard surrounded by an Azzian style home. The atmosphere was different from the rest of the ship with the atmospheric controls set as Azzia would be. Oxygen levels were slightly higher and the room was warmer, more tropical. Tall palm-like trees were scattered in a few places and colorful flowerbeds were in full bloom. There wasn't a single cloud in the sky and the air was filled with the fragrant aroma of bread baking. It was easy to see the eight-sided gazebo-like structure at the opposite end of the courtyard. The structure was made from eight living trees blooming with white and red flowers. The breeze gently rippled the water in the traditional pool that sat in front of it and an ornate sundial designed to track two solar bodies as they traversed the Azzian sky.

Off to the side of the pool were a group of women all playing traditional Azzian instruments in a music similar to earth's classical style. They each wore their traditional colorful dresses that looked much like an Indian sari. Among them was a beautiful blonde woman who didn't quite seem like a holographic simulation playing an instrument similar to a flute.

Several tables were set with various items on them and what appeared to be white plaques writen in Federation common to explain the displays set up on each one.

Richard took in a deep breath as he entered obviously enjoying the change in environment. He turned around and smiled as his guests, "well welcome to the Pioneer and my simulation of Azzia, I hope you like it." He paused for a moment and nodded, "I'm headed to the kitchen inside and you are more than welcome to come with me or wonder about in the courtyard. There are tables set up to help explain life and culture on Azzia." He smiled broadly, "if you choose to come with me I can pour you a glass of wine to enjoy while you wait."

Dan took in the smells and the light breeze and then looked over to his wife. He thought he detected a little bit of a smile with her.

T'San just nodded to her husband. "You go ahead with Doctor Ballston, I will look around here." She replied with a nod.

Dan grinned. His wife knew him better then anyone. He was really curious about the Doctor's cooking. He walked to the doctor. "I would love to take a look inside your kitchen. That's where the action is anyways. If you need any help, just let me know."

Richard chuckled at the offer and nodded, "be careful what you ask for good sir I might just take you up on that."

He looked over at the blonde who had stopped playing her flute and nodded towards her, "would you like to meet one of our missions?"

The woman stood gracefully letting the pale blue gown that matched her eyes flow gently around her as she ran her cupped hand around a round ear to place her long flowing locks behind it. The red and green floral embroidery all seemed to add to her presence there. She places her wooden flute down gently on her seat and began walking towards them.

"May time grace your paths," the woman said curtsying as if she had done so a thousand times.

"I would like you to meet Fahli Sov domi' she's a talented musician and is currently teaching her Azzian flute one the station."

Both Dan and T'San nodded to the woman. They both put up their hands in the Vulcan greeting. "Live long and Prosper." Dan said. "It is an honor to meet you."

The woman lifted up her hand and performed the same familiar hand jesture. She smiled broadly and looked over at Richard, "I should have known if we sent you to market you would come back with guests."

"You know me well don't you." Richard blushed a little and looked back at his guests, "Commander T'San I will leave you in the capable hands of Fahli'. Not only is she beautiful and talented but has worked for the Azzian Board of health."

"Richard you are flattering me again," Fahli' teased as she turned her attention back to their guests, "he is correct I was sent by the board of health on Richard's behalf, we can discuss that as we take a look at the displays if you wish?"

"That would be interesting," said T'San, "And maybe you can tell me what all this is is?" She continued as she motioned for the displays.

Dan turned to Richard. "How about a tour of your kitchen, or is that too much to ask?" He chuckled a little.

"Then come on," Richard motioned Dan to follow, "I could use your help if you'd like."

Dan followed Richard. "If I like?" Dan said with a big smile, "You mustn't know me that well then. Any help I can give you to see another artist at work."

Richard smiled at the man and nodded as he turned to make his way inside the holographic home. the door slid to the side as he entered and found himself in a large kitchen well stocked with all the utensils and tools of the tray. Pots and pans hung over a large island in the middle.

It was obvious the plan had been well thought out and the attention to detail evident. Granite table tops displayed a nearly white surface interlaced with lines of brown and red covered much of the cabinets and blended well with the pecan like wounds found in them.

The room was fairly large with windows on the far wall looking out into the rolling hills dotted with similar homes and the palm-like trees that waved in the breeze. To the left of the room, three wall ovens awaited his handiwork while a long cooktop with gas burners were in the center island along large preparation surfaces nearby.

"Well sir," Richard asked as he sat down his bags on the counter, "what do you think?"

Dan looked around amazed. "This almost looks like my kitchen back on Earth, France to be exact. All though I may not have as many ovens, but the center island, that is amazing. I think all kitchens must have it. But that is my opinion." He then clapped my hands. "So, doctor, what can I do for you?"

Richard began unloading the bags and placing things in small piles along countertops closet to the entrance, "we need to get the main dish in the oven first for would you chop up these?" He held up some onion looking much like scallions though their color was more purple than white, "they're called joh' latara and are a bit spicier than the human variety."

Dan repeated the name and said, "Interesting," then he smelled it. "Smells good too." He went over to the knife rack and took a knife. "How many do you want chopped up?" He asked as he started chopping."

"I need two hands fulls chopped," Richard said with a smile, "they will be sauteed before they are cooked in a souffle-like dish known as Dov'ora." He took out another vegetable that looked much like a red pepper on earth only it had seven points at the bottom where the blooms had once been," These are called Gar'tis and they taste surprisingly like a bell pepper though they come from seven blooms instead of one and have a more spicy aroma."

Dan just nodded as Richard explains all the different produce and just kept on chopping as if it was all he did all day long. He took the Gar'tis and smelled it. "Very nice, do they go in the dish as well?" He asked as he washed his knife after cutting the joh'latara. Dan like to keep himself busy as he was talking to the chef slash doctor. In meantime he made mental notes of everything he saw and smelled.

"They do." Richard chuckled as he finished emptying the bag, "some of the rest goes in a tossed salad with a vinaigrette that I think is simply amazing."

"I am really exited to try it," Dan said putting the cut vegetables on the cooking Island.

"Then let's get busy," Richard chuckled as he began placing various bowls on the island, "thanks for being willing to help."

"It was my pleasure, thank you for showing me your kitchen and these marvelous produce." Dan smiled.

A Joint Post By

Lieutenant Commander Richard Ballston M.D. PsyD
Chief Medical Officer/Second Officer, USS Pioneer

Lieutenant Commander T'San
Chief Medical Officer/Second Officer, USS Juno

Chef, USS Juno
PNPC Masters


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