Into the Dark Mirror
Location: Holodeck 2
Francisco was in the holodeck preparing lunch for himself and Kali. He looked at the chronometer, she would be arriving shortly. He had selected for a program a small, cozy apartment. Where the two of them could eat and talk.
Kali walked into the holodeck and while she did not recognise the surroundings, she found them comfortable. She was still wearing her tight thermal suit, because she was taking a break during her shift, and had therefore not changed into evening wear, but at least she left her belt with medical tools at the door. "Hello", she called, then stepped closer and took in the scent of the food. "Smells good in here."
Francisco peered around the corner, "Doctor! Hello and thank you. I hope it is as good as it smells. Please come in and have a seat, lunch will be ready shortly. Would you like something to drink?"
"You humans make this wonderful drink called wine", Kali said. "Some of that would be marvellous." She did not take the offered seat but instead joined him in the kitchen, curiously poking her nose into his business, albeit not literally. "You're going through a lot of trouble here."
"One glass of red wine coming right up." Francisco replied, not the least bothered by Kali watching him prepare their meal. "Not really." He answered, "I like to cook. My mother made sure I could feed myself when I got older and I just stayed with it. I'm always looking for something new to try. Of course the results are sometimes less then what I would like."
"That's normal when trying out new things", Kali said. "Even bad surprises aren't always bad." She smirked. "I know, it makes no sense. But it's how I feel."
"No, it does make sense. We learn by trying, failure is part of the trying and only through repetition can we get good at a specific task or tasks." He poured her a glass of wine. "Here you go. See what you think of that."
Kali took a swig from the wine. As an Andorian, and a hedonist at that, moderation wasn't one of her strong points. "Hm, yes, this is good. You see, one of the first things Andorians loved trading in from Earth was alcoholic beverages. And it's easy to see why."
Francisco smiled as he poured himself a glass. "I have several bottles in my quarters. I will give you one so you can enjoy a glass whenever you like. Now please, go sit down. Lunch is ready."
Kali took the offered seat. "So what is it? I can see it's some kind of bird, though it looks a bit weird. Not a flyer, right?"
"Correct, it is a bird, a turkey to be exact, and not a flyer. It's bigger than your duck or pheasant." He placed it on the table and went back and brought two more bowls to the table, "Yams and stuffing. I really hope you like it."
"Turkey, you say? By Izmir, if it's simple and strong, you can cook it?" Kali grinned.
As Kali spoke, Francisco was slicing the turkey and putting some on her plate along with the yams. "Try the stuffing, see if you like that as well. And yes, I can cook it."
Kali wasn't famished enough to dispense with manners and waited until Francisco had finished carving and arranging the food before trying any. "You've looked into what Andorians like, lots of fat for calories, few carbohydrates?" The meal presented wasn't a particularly healthy choice for most humans, but for Kali it was great.
"I wanted to prepare a meal you would enjoy and be beneficial to your well being. I hope I succeeded." Francisco answered as he prepared his own plate.
"And all of this just for not telling anyone you were clumsy", Kali grinned. "Good thing you didn't burn yourself cooking." She stuck her fork into a piece of the meat and figured it was time to try it, so she did.
"Yes. It would not inspire confidence in the crew if they knew a security officer got injured during a training exercise preforming a task he should have been prepared for." He looked across the table at her, "So? How is it?"
"Wonderful", Kali said. Though, in truth, she probably would have said that no matter what. Someone making an effort, she'd feel bad disappointing. But of course, what Andorian would not enjoy a meat dish?
Francisco cut a slice of turkey and put it into his mouth. After swallowing he spoke. "You're right, it is good. I got the seasoning just right on it."
"And you're so modest about it, too", Kali teased. "Not that I've ever valued modesty, so it's all good."
Francisco blushed scarlet at Kali's teasing. "I'm sorry. That did sound arrogant didn't it?"
Kali laughed. "I'm a fan of the idea of 'flaunt it if you have it', so I'm not complaining."
Francisco laughed, "I like the way you think Doctor, I truly do. It is so refreshing."
"You say that now", Kali smirked. "Wait until I start running tests on people who get hurt on the holodeck. Oh, and just call me Kali. Especially when I'm on break." She popped some of the stuffing in her mouth.
"I won't change my mind Kali. That is a nice name. Does it mean anything in Andorian culture?"
Kali shook her head. "In truth? It only sounds Andorian. My parents liked the sound and actually took it from Earth mythology, the name for a goddess." She gave him her sweetest smile. "It's fitting, wouldn't you think?"
"I think it is absolutely perfect. Your parents couldn't have picked a better name." Francisco agreed whole-heartedly.
"Of course, it's the goddess of death..." Kali grinned.
"Yes, I know but I wasn't going to mention it. Besides it's still a beautiful name." Francisco smiled as he poured more wine for both of them.
Kali helped herself to more of the food, again showing that moderation wasn't in her playbook. "Just mention whatever it is that comes to mind, Francisco. The crazier the thought, the more entertaining it'll be."
"No crazy thoughts right now but give me time and I can probably think of some. Besides we haven't known each other long and I wouldn't want to offend you."
"A fair concern with most Andorians", Kali admitted. "Not everyone is as peaceful as I am. In fact, people on my home world consider me defective in that regard."
"Defective? You? Never." Francisco scoffed. "I think the opinion of your people is the one that is defective."
"I suppose it does fit much more closely with Starfleet's ideas, doesn't it?" Kali smiled. "Maybe that's why I'm enjoying this so much."
Francisco sipped some of his wine as Kali made her observation. "It does." He said after a moment. "After all you're a doctor whose primary duty is to save lives not take them."
Kali nodded. "But don't think for a moment that means I'm not a capable fighter. And I'm handicapped by my build, so it's even more impressive, even if I say so myself." She grinned, indicating her bust.
Francisco nodded and took a big gulp of his wine. "Oh no I would never think you were not a capable fighter Kali, never." His eyes went to her chest and quickly away. "Yes, most impressive." He stammered.
Kali laughed. "I've just recently learnt how to throw an axe so it can bounce over a shield wall and strike home. Some of Earth's history makes for fun programmes. Though, I admit, I do run them with safeties on."
"Impressive. Though I'm wondering, why would you want to throw an axe?" Francisco wondered. Yes please run the programs with the safeties on. We don't want a repeat of what happened to me in the holodeck."
"It's easier than going all the way over there to clobber the enemy in the face with it", Kali joked. "No, I'll invite you to join me on one of those adventures some time, you'll see."
"I suppose that's true." Francisco replied, "But if you throw it you lose your weapon." He shook his head, "Yes, please invite me so I can see this in action."
"You're assuming it's the only weapon I'd have", Kali said. "It's specifically designed to throw at the opening stage of an engagement, before drawing your primary weapon." She paused to take a sip of the wine. "Earth history was remarkably violent, for how fragile human bodies are. No exoskeletons, for one thing. And there are so many diseases on your world. No wonder your people realised much sooner than mine that warfare must be a last resort."
Francisco smiled, "No, I made no assumption other than you'll lose your weapon. I made no statement if it was your only weapon." He paused a took a bite of the yams. "Yes." He said slowly, "We finally wised up about war but look at the millions of lives it took to do it." He shook his head, "War, the ultimate tool in self extermination."
"Once you reach a certain level of technological sophistication, yes", Kali agreed. She was thrown back to some of what she had been taught as a school child, how clan warfare had set the stage for modern Andoria, and how it was the advent of modern technology that first completely destroyed some, then preserved the other clans as the planet began to unify and replace warfare with a duelling culture as a channel for aggression. "I've got aggression issues just like any other Andorian, which is why I love being able to live out my inner destroyer on the holodeck."
"I think the holodeck is the perfect place to work out any aggression issues you may have and get it out of your system. On the holodeck you can kill, maim or destroy to your heart's content." Francisco answered. "It's also the perfect place to live out your various fantasies as no one gets hurt."
Kali nodded. "My problem is, killing, maiming and destroying isn't part of my fantasies, so I have to book two separate programmes for it. Some people, they can combine the two. They're luckier." She tried her best to sound as serious as she could.
"I don't think they're part of many people's fantasies, Kali." Francisco remarked. Most people want to escape, do something they haven't done before."
Kali laughed. "I know, Francisco, I know. Me, I love sunbathing in the snow, with a good book. But precious holodeck time, oh the choices."
"I can see where an Andorian would like that." Francisco remarked. "I think that is the greatest advantage of the holodeck, the choices it offers the user."
Kali nodded. "But Starfleet ships, they're so luxurious, it's almost like booking a trip on one of those starliners. And this one especially. So I foresee having a great time. And with people like you around, even better."
Francisco blushed at her compliment, "Aw Kali, what a wonderfully nice thing to say. I think you're pretty special as well." He made a note to Talia of the compliment.
"No, really", Kali said. "Anywhere is bad if you're lonely."
"Yes, you are." Francisco insisted.
"Well, being normal is boring, so I guess", Kali grinned, draining her glass of wine. "Well, as much as I'd like to linger and go through another bottle or two of this wine with you, my lunch break is over, I've got physical scheduled starting in five minutes."
"Thank you a lovely lunch and even better conversation. We'll have to do it again Kali." Francisco answered.
"And you could do me a favour", Kali said. "Encourage people in security to come see me. Tell them I don't bite, unless that's what they want. And it's for their own good."