Charon's Opus ::
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Posted on Mon Dec 7th, 2020 @ 7:51am by Medical Officer Florian McLennan & Executive Officer Kenneth McTigue

Mission: The Forgotten Arm
Location: Galley

Finally, Flo had been let free. The doctor, after having co-consulted with the auto-doc, decided that he was free of whatever kind of radiation toxicity he'd succumbed to during his daredevil escape on board this ship, and was finally cleared to depart the medical bay.

Bossman had assigned quarters - with two women whom he hadn't had the chance to properly meet yet. He'd seen them at the conference meeting, though. The one doc had semi-dragged him to, the one where Wulf had offered him that wondrously aromatic mug of coffee...

And now he was back for some more, having been given access from bossman to the ship's galley, getting himself acquainted with whatever cooking facilities were available and their supply of foodstuffs and lack of fresh produce. He better start making a list for their next stop.

"Coffee, coffee, coffee..." the kid mumbled to himself as his eyes darted across the racks, looking past the clear cabinet doors.

He found it. Not beans, but a tin can of instant powder stuff. He had a feeling Wulf hid the real coffee elsewhere, but he'd have to accept this can for now. Reaching up, he opened the cabinet door, pulled out the instant coffee, and soon managed to find the tap for some water, which he had to wait for it to boil a specified volume.

"You're not making Allegra's coco coffee, are you?" Ken asked from the doorway. His overall was covered in a variety of greases from the work. "She is very protective of her coco coffee..."

The boy nearly jumped out of his own skin when the man's voice seemingly came out of nowhere. Startled, he fumbled with the small tin of coffee, specks of it falling out and all over the countertop. The lid clattered loudly onto the floor.

"Oh!" he yelped quietly, looking up at Ken. "Sorry... I didn't know you were in here."

Ken chuckled and walked over. "Better assume I'm everywhere at all times. Keeps you out of trouble." He licked his finger and dipped it in a little cluster of coffee powder. Chocolate and coffee. "You're playing with fire, making this stuff." The XO chuckled again.

Flo looked at the tin can, then at Ken, the lid on the floor, then back at Ken. A brief moment of quiet contemplation went across his face.

"Should I be... making coffee for everyone as well?" He bent over to pick the lid up, screwing it back over the can. The water boiler system attached to the wall above the counter beeped several times to indicate that it had reached the appropriate temperature.

Ken gently took the can out of Flo's hand and resealed it before putting it back on the shelf. He then closed the cabinet and opened another to hand the young man a different tin with coffee. "That isn't a bad idea. But maybe use this. Less chance of getting spaced."

The kid felt a lump in his stomach at the thought of being spaced, not merely that alone but to suffer such a fate simply for having taken a small bit of coffee without asking, from a pantry that he thought was to be shared amongst all members of the crew.

"Thanks," he said, taking the other tin and opening it, smelling the whiff of a slightly different scented instant coffee. "This one is yours?"

"Communal." Ken pointed out the red sticker label on the container. "Guess we didn't explain it yet. Red's communal, green is Mickey's, blue is Mine, Orange is Wulf's, yellow is Allegra's, and brown is... Well that was Soto's." Ken was quiet as he held the real wooden tea box with Soto's sticker on it before replacing it. "Feel free to grab anything with the red sticker on it, but use anything else at your own risk." He gave the kid a friendly slap on the back. "And don't worry, I was joking about the spacing. Having Allegra shout at you is far worse. Spittle and all that."

Flo wondered whether he'd eventually get a colour of his own, and then looked over at the few belongings that were marked brown. "Who... was Soto?" he asked quietly, despite quickly realising that whoever that person was, was probably a long-timer on board and eventually departed - either to some other place in the system, or no longer amongst the living.

The question came as a punch to the gut for Ken. It hadn't been that long ago that it was the five of them on the ship. Ken sighed to let just a bit of that feeling go. "Soto was the captain. We were on Eros when it got all weird and escaped, but he didn't make it off." Ken then glanced at the clock in the bulkhead. "Listen, you make that coffee, I got some work still to do, okay?" And before the answer came, Ken stepped to the lift, and down towards Engineering again.

Flo's eyes remained wide as he watched the other man leave. The abrupt conclusion of their short conversation was, well, abrupt. The kid reckoned he'd touched a nerve. Something that stirred an unpleasant memory. The man's friendly and open persona had suddenly closed off. He wanted to find out more, but wasn't sure how the rest of the crew might react. Perhaps it was a subject to be left alone.

The water boiler beeped again, impatiently requesting for the boiled water to be released.

Turning back, Flo grabbed his cup, dumped several small spoons of the communal instant coffee powder within it, and pulled on the water tap.


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