NCC - 81102
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Hops & Grape Juice

Posted on Wed Aug 12th, 2020 @ 4:00pm by Commander Tavis Inahri & Lieutenant Commander Bear Jasper

Mission: Mission 1: Dirty Little Secret
Location: USS Odyssey
Timeline: MD6 - Late Afternoon

He'd had enough of trawling through files some time ago, had wandered into recreational surfing of old datafiles, recordings and images and then descended into simply singing along with some music and drumming out the beat on his desk. Definitely felt about time to leave the office and change the scenery for something less cerebral.

But as Bear strode purposefully from his office towards his very shiny, very comprehensive security training rooms, he'd seen a familiar form crossing the corridor in the opposite direction.

"Hey!" Bear called out to Tavis as he picked up his own pace to walk alongside his friend and CO. His tone was amicably intrigued as he added. "Whatcha up to, boss?"

"It's a good day, Bear," Tavis said, over his shoulder with a toothy grin, "A very good day."

Bear shook his head and forced up a smile. "Uhoh," he said, with mild amusement. "What's happened?" Which was, one might think, the opposite of the correct reaction. But with Tavis, who knew what was afoot.

Tavis slowed down slightly, allowing Bear to catch up with him. "Well, unfortunately all of my possessions are still aboard the Starlancer." He turned to Bear, "I was told this mission will only take a couple weeks, then I'll be back. "But unfortunately, I wasn't aware I was leaving, so my cases of wine are still on board. Hence why we were drinking vodka last week."

He listened, respectfully, as Tavis spoke, yet Bear hadn't really bought the old 'it'll take two weeks and you'll be done' line that the Admiral had spun. The man they sought had evaded everyone else sent to apprehend him, and, well, Tavis had a complicated set of emotions that were likely still applicable here. It had been with expectation of delays, that Bear had said goodbye to his girl on the Harlech, and it was with amusement that he regarded his friend now.

"You thought you'd last two weeks without wine?" Bear asked, eyebrow raised in confusion. He didn't get into the potential for an extended mission, not yet. No, he simply grimaced. "Sounds unlike you. But there's gotta be alcohol left on board, right?"

"In my defense," Tavis said, continuing his stride. "I left the Starlancer without knowing what was happening, no one told me I wasn't going back to the ship. I didn't realize I'd need anything. And once I found out, I was told it'd be six weeks before the Starlancer would be back to retrieve my things." Tavis shrugged. "Maybe we'll be lucky and be finished by then. But if not, I'll be able to get my stuff in six weeks."

Tavis smiled, "As for the wine, I called in a favor and when we transported over our new Chief Engineer yesterday, a present for me was brought over as well." The Betazoid's grin widened. "There's an entire case of 2352 vintage cabernet from Bordeaux in Cargo Bay 5. Not the best vintage of that decade, but definitely top three. And I have an entire meal prepared in my quarters for it. Just need to retrieve a bottle or two."

Bear nodded. Tavis had always, in his experience, placed his own needs after those of others, so it didn't shock him that the man had moved without thought for his own possessions. There was, however, a dark frown as a potential six weeks was thrown in as an end date. It vanished slowly as Tavis kept talking.

"Just like you to find a way to turn a new member of staff into a wine delivery," Bear noted, his words accompanied by a warm chuckle. He had no idea if the aforementioned wine was good or bad, but he did know it was red at least. "A whole case, huh? You're gonna need some help moving that somewhere safe." He grinned. "Though I doubt you'd need help drinking it..." Bear let that sentence fade in case Tavis disagreed.

"Oh, you're welcome to join me, friend," Tavis said. "I replicated the perfect decanter for the wine, so we could have some good conversation while we wait. And dinner is going to be spectacular."

Bear extended his arm, elbow pointing outwards as if Tavis were a fair maiden who needed escorting to some fine dinner. "Sir," he said, the grin broad and gleaming in those dark eyes. "I'd be delighted. Allow me to escort you?"

Tavis rolled his eyes and chuckled as he pushed Bear's arm away. "Don't be silly," he said as the two turned and entered the cargo bay. It didn't take long for the new package to be discovered and soon the two were carrying the large box back through the corridor to the turbolift.

"Maybe bringing the entire case wasn't a smart idea," Tavis said, walking backwards as best he could, holding the large case.

"You know," Bear said as he guided them towards the Captain's quarters, giving the occasional verbal nudge to adjust Tavis' direction. "If you'd left it down there, you'd only have been worrying about it. This'll mean you can relax." He paused for a moment, unsure if the Captain needed a break, so allowing for one.

Tavis chuckled as they made their way through the bowels of the ship, eventually leading them both to the Captain's quarters.

They set the case down and Tavis opened the top, pulling one of the green bottles out. "Can I interest you in a glass, or would you prefer something more grainy?" he asked as he walked into the kitchen and pulled out a corkscrew. Twisting the metal into the soft cork, Tavis pulled and the pop of the cork echoed in the room. He lifted the bottle and took a deep breath.

With a thoughtful, semi-amused shake of his head, Bear watched Tavis baby the bottle and inhale the vapours that had been sealed within. Man loved his wine, and while Bear would drink it, happily, it seemed churlish to waste his own rougher, far less fussy senses on such a highly treasured beverage. "Grainy sounds good," Bear nodded. "But y'know, just so I can see what all the fuss is about, you could maybe pour me one glass." He beamed a grin. "If it's not like stealing a child from his father..."

"Nothing quite so sacred," Tavis said as he began to pour the contents of the bottle into the glass decanter. "Sadly my fridge is devoid of beer, but I'm happy to replicate one for you, if that'll suffice?" he asked, glancing at Bear. "The wine won't be ready for another half hour."

He'd forgotten, over the last couple of years, just how much work was involved in this drinking wine properly business. "Replicated beer's fine," Bear nodded. Honestly, where the beer came from or how it came into existence really didn't matter that much to him, but he didn't say that out loud. "You're really gonna wait half an hour, aren't you?"

"Waiting isn't a choice, Bear," he said as he moved towards the replicator and came back with two dark bottles of beer. He handed one to Bear, "Decanting serves two purposes. It separates any sediment that forms in the wine and it aerates it as well, releasing the aroma. This vintage is pretty old, so there is plenty of sediment that I don't want in my glass." He smiled at Bear as he moved back to the replicator. "Staying for dinner?"

'Blah blah blah... sediment.... blah blah blah vintage.' That was what Bear actually heard, but he grinned as he took the offered bottle and nodded in silent agreement. "Sounds complicated for a beverage," he noted, cracking open his bottle and raising it in a solitary toast to his commander and his friend. "Be more than happy to, sure. If you'll have me?" Bear asked.

Tavis gave Bear a look. "I wouldn't ask if it wasn't also an invitation."

Bear's dark eyes studied Tavis' own for the longest moment. Then he took a gulp of beer and gave an upward nod. "Then yes," Bear said, a smile flashing warmly for a second. "Definitely staying. Thanks." Old habits died hard. "I'll help you set the table," he offered.

"Perfect, and I bet you're going to enjoy dinner." Tavis moved to the replicator and began to press at the buttons. "So how have you been aboard? Getting to know everyone?"

He laid a couple of mats and the usual cutlery out and Bear watched Tavis rustle up dinner, hunger teasing at his belly. He always enjoyed dinner, but there was a definite wider anticipation of this one.

"Doing good, thanks," Bear answered. "And yeah, I've met most of them now I believe. An interesting mix the Admiral has landed us with, huh?" There was a brief pause, then he couldn't resist asking. "How are you getting on with Magnus?"

Tavis' eyes darted to meet Bear's before he looked back at what he was doing. "Fine, I suppose," he simply said.

"Yeah," Bear noted. "Me too. Hell of a temper on him when you hit right button..."

"I don't quite know him well enough to judge, yet. But he does seem to think he walks on water. Or at least comes across that way," Tavis said as he continued to press buttons on the replicator.

"Oh, I think he's already judged the both of us," Bear said with a frown. But he didn't want to spend the evening talking about Magnus. "What are we having?" He asked, then smiled as his stomach growled on cue. "Or is it a surprise?"

"We're having prime rib, served medium rare. Cauliflower gratin on the side with balsamic roasted carrots and fried brussels sprouts." Tavis grinned as he pulled two large plates from the replicator and set them on the table, the food fragrant and steaming hot. "This was the first meal I had on Earth when I was introduced to red wine. I visited a vineyard in France and this lovely couple invited me to eat with them. My life was forever changed."

"Wow..." Bear simply stared for the longest moment at the plate of food that was set down before him. He took his seat and leaned forward, eyes closed, and took a luxurious and long inhale of the warm vapours emanating from this new experience in dining. "I definitely approve," he said, feeling his mouth water as he waited for Tavis to give permission to start eating. "Think this might actually be the prettiest meal anyone's ever prepared for me..."

Tavis grinned at the compliment. "Honestly, I've never cooked for anyone before. Not that I would consider this cooking. Prepared is a better word, but either way, my point stands."

Walking back to the counter, Tavis retrieved the decanter and set it on the table next to one of his long-stemmed glasses. He took a seat and poured the contents into his glass, taking a deep breath from the fragrance. "This is going to be amazing," he said as he took his first sip.

"Well, I've never been wined and dined by a Captain before either," Bear said with amicable amusement. "So this is a first for us both, huh?" He watched Tavis savour the moment, took up his bottle of beer and hesitated. He had the common decency to wait while the other man took his first taste of the clearly exclusive alcohol, then reached for the spare wine glass and offered it across the table.

"Any chance of a taster?" Bear asked and then added, with a wry smile. "Looking at your expression right now I kinda feel like I'm missing part of the French experience."

"I thought you'd never ask," Tavis said as he picked up the decanter and poured some for Bear to taste.

As he'd seen others do when they drank wine, Bear swirled the glass and took a surreptitious sniff before taking a sip. To his uninitiated taste buds, it tasted... well like wine. He nodded in gratitude, took a mouthful of steak, and then followed up with another gulp of wine.

"Kinda wraps about the meat with an extra colour," Bear said, and grinned. "You're making me sound like a food critic..." He added, sounding embarrassed.

Tavis' grin beamed despite the piece of cauliflower he was chewing on. "Good food and wine will do that to anyone," he said, finally, after swallowing his bite. "And good company."

He raised his glass to Bear. "This mission sucks, and I absolutely hate that we're doing it. But if I had to do this, and confront the ghosts of my past, I'm glad to have you by my side to do it," he said.

Mirroring the gesture in an initially silent return of the toast, Bear's dark eyes caught an impish glint. When he did speak, a rough smile caught the edge of his mouth. "Wouldn't have it any other way," he replied, sincerely. "And whatever happens, wherever we have to go, anyone with intent to harm you has to go through me first."

He hoped that would be enough, but considering their quarry, Bear was stoically well aware it might only be one of them coming back from this mission.

Briefly locking his gaze with the Captain's own, Bear clinked his wine glass lightly against Tavis' and then took a good sized sip of the expensive beverage to seal the deal.


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