‘Tis Charity to Show
The dining area was a long, gray, rectangular room, empty of any furnishings except for a singular, long, rickety dining table situated right in the middle of it. Chairs had to be carried in from the kitchen area if one wanted to sit down for breakfast, unless one didn’t mind standing throughout the whole meal.
As Scotty, Spock, and Riley brought chairs over and set them around the table, Rand was busy in the kitchen, taking out packets of food and placing them on the trays, which were lined up along the counter. Dr. Begay and Nurse Rose placed napkins, condiments, and utensils alongside the packets and waited while Rand poured steaming cups of coffee from the newly working pot into rinsed cups.
While she worked, Rand smiled fondly to herself as she thought just how Khobran would feel if he saw her working in the kitchen like this. What was it he had said to her on that day, when she was lying in sickbay being treated for a head injury:
“The Captain could get his own damn coffee…”
She chuckled to herself, remembering him sitting there by her bedside, his charming awkwardness melting away as the two of them began the journey towards getting to know one another.
But then, the fondness was replaced by an ache, so she had to force herself out of her head and back onto the meals she was helping to prepare.
“Busy yourself, Janice,” she reprimanded herself. “After all, there’s coffee to be served and packets of dry, tasteless astronaut food to be handed out.”
After the last of the meals were served, Rand poured the rest of the coffee from the pot into the carafe and carried it to the dining area, placed it on the breakfast table, and sat down next to Riley where her meal was already waiting for her.
“Oh, yumbo,” she exclaimed rubbing her hands in jest. “Maybe I can whiten my teeth with this stuff, it’s so hard.”
Riley turned from the conversation he was having with Scotty and laughed.
“Hey, at least it doesn’t taste like toothpaste,” he chimed in.
“No, it just won’t taste like anything,” Rand said.
Riley sat forward with his elbows propped on the table and looked at Rand.
“I noticed that you brought your yoga mat along with you.”
“Damn straight! I don’t go anywhere without my yoga mat, or my yoga routine,” she said with a bright smile. “Name a position, I never leave home without it.”
A particular pose appeared in her head, the cow pose, which consisted of one being on their hands and knees and then curling their chest and butt up towards the ceiling on the inhale. Then, another image flashed in her brain of herself in this same position, but naked, with Khobran nailing her vigorously from behind in an erotic dance of cries and sweaty bodies.
“Wuh-watch eh-it, la-lassie! Yoo- your c-coffee!” exclaimed Scotty.
“What? Oh, shit!” Rand was able to snap out of her dreaming and lift up the carafe before the coffee overflowed in her cup.
“Jeez, thanks Scotty! Guess I was off somewhere else!”
“I-tuh it hu-hu-happens,” Scotty said with a smile and shrug of his shoulders.
Wait a minute. What’s with Scotty?
Is he stuttering?
Rand looked at Riley, who was sitting right next to her, to try to gage his reaction, since he was close enough to hear Scotty, but Riley didn’t seem to notice.
Rand shrugged her own shoulders. “Maybe I’m just hearing things,” she thought as she put down the carafe and started to tear open her packet of freeze-dried food.
She looked at the brown and yellow chips, wafers and cubes that tumbled out of the white container. Before she became an astronaut, Rand had always looked forward to a fine meal at home, or in one of the many chic eateries that lined the main streets of Montclair. But ever since joining the Academy and entering Starfleet, she’s had to struggle through freezer-burned entrees on the Enterprise and barely edible concoction during on- planet missions, that either came crunchy, dry and rattling in a box, or as a paste to be squeezed out in a tube.
Rand shook her head, utterly grossed out. She’d have to force this stuff down with her coffee. Rand reached for her cup, and when she looked up, she noticed Riley with his crossed arms propped up onto the table, his head cocked to the side, looking at her.
“You know, speaking of yoga mats, I can remember back in the Academy this real asshole of a phys. Ed instructor named Russo,” he recalled with a snort.
“He didn’t like me, and he knew I didn’t like him! Gave me a real hard time! So hard that he fucked me over by giving me a C for the class, just because I tripped during one of his famous obstacle courses!”
“Sounds like you’re still pretty angry at him,” said Dr. Begay, who was sitting across from him at the table.
“Oh you have no idea! He messed up my GPA! I can’t even begin to tell you the amount of revenge fantasies I’ve had for that jerk! One of them was smacking him over the head with a piece of his goddamn gym equipment! He used to guard that junk like they were his little babies or something,” he said with disgust.
Everyone at the table laughed good-naturedly. All except for Spock, who sat silently at the head of the table, eating his meal and drinking his water, oblivious to the mirth around him. Rand had noticed this and simply couldn’t understand how Spock could ignore Nurse Rose, who laughed the loudest of everyone at the table, with her irritating gasps and snorts, her mouth revealing the partially chewed food in her mouth.
After she recovered, Rose turned to Dr. Begay’s plate of food and then tapped him on the shoulder.
“Do you want that?”
Dr. Begay gave Rose a look. “Ah, yeah. We literally just sat down for breakfast, Hyacinth.”
Rand couldn’t believe that one, and rolled her eyes in response to the nurse’s ill manners.