USS Adelphi


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Post 15 - Beer and Cider

Posted on Sun Aug 30th, 2020 @ 7:13pm by Captain Björn Kodak & Debbie Gless & Cadet Senior Grade Ezra Gonzalez

Mission: Epilogue 1: The Long March
Location: USS-Adelphi, Ten Forward Lounge
Timeline: Set during Adelphi's first few days in the DQ

[Ten Forward]
[Set during Adelphi's first few days in the DQ]

It'd been a long day. With the Adelphi now in the Delta Quadrant and speeding along on course, Captain Harrison had wanted to personally visit each department and assess its readiness. Commander Kodak hadn't objected, though he'd received reports already from the various department heads outlining their current status. Even so, the Captain wanted his own eyes on things and so, starting at 0700 hours, he and the First Officer had been systematically making their way from department to department. Their last stop, it seemed, was Ten Forward.

At this hour, the lounge had retired its 1950's Americana daytime diner decor. Instead, it had been reconfigured as a relaxing bar with flowing colors slowly shifting across the walls and ceiling. Tonight's selection of music was apparently a sample of piano melodies from various cultures throughout the Federation. Striding into the lounge, Commander Kodak found himself very much fond of the music selection. Spying Debbie Gless -- the proprietor of Ten Forward and a longtime friend of over 15 years -- the Chameloid Commander made a beeline for the bar, Captain Harrison in tow.

"Well hey there, gentlemen!" the enthusiastic older woman beamed, her purple mass of curled hair shifting about as she turned towards Kodak and the Captain. "What'll it be tonight? It's a bit quiet...starting to think piano music isn't anyone's cup of tea," the brassy, bossy woman smirked, shaking her head.

"Piano can be an acquired taste. Speaking of," Kodak smiled back, settling down onto a stool, "I could really, really go for a beer. Something hoppy? Don't much care which," he shrugged lightly. "As cold as you can make it, please," the Commander winked before looking to the Captain expectantly.

"Gin and tonic, Debbie," the man -- oddly younger than the First Officer -- nodded. "After the day we've had, it's going to..."

"Bridge to Harrison. Sir, we've got an incoming communique from Captain Koloth."

"Understood," Harrison tapped his combadge, closing the channel. "The drink will have to wait. Commander," he nodded to Kodak. "Debbie," he smiled at the woman in parting before turning about and exiting the lounge.

"Always something, isn't it?" Debbie chuckled, sliding over the beer she'd just replicated for Kodak. "How's it going with meeting the crew, baby? I know it's a lot of people to get through," she nodded with understanding.

"It is," the Chameloid confirmed after taking a deep draw from his beer. "But it's going well. It's just going to take awhile," came his light shrug. "Still, it's been nice getting to know the folks we're out here with."

"I feel you there," Debbie smiled back. "Not to abandon you, but I need to check on table six. You gonna be ok for a minute?"

"Oh, absolutely. I've got my beer and a PADD," the First Officer chuckled. "Thanks for the beer, Deb."

"Anytime sweetie," the older woman patted him on the shoulder and was off with a flourish, leaving Kodak alone at the bar.

After a moment, the doors slid open and Ezra stepped into the doorway. He stood still for a moment, dark blue eyes floating from table to table, person to person as he surveyed the room. He pulled a face at the shifting flow of colors on the walls. That's going to be a little distracting, he thought to himself. Then his eyes landed on the Chameloid commander sitting at the bar, and he remembered why he was there. He straightened up, tugged on his uniform jacket, and took a deep breath, exhaling in a short, quick puff. He took a half-step forward, hesitating for only the briefest moment, then began walking toward the bar.

"Um...excuse me, Commander--Sir? Cadet Senior Grade Ezra Gonzalez reporting for duty, sir. I'm here on assignment from the Academy for my senior field practicum. I apologize for the delay in reporting in, sir, but I've been buried in homework, and I'm only just now getting the chance to break away. I was told to locate you as soon as I had time, sir." He paused, creating a moment of awkward silence. "I've said "sir" too many times, haven't I...sir."

Looking up from his PADD, the Commander at first regarded the cadet with a curious smile. Then, as the young man explained who he was and fumbled with his "Sirs," that smile blossomed into an outright grin. Kodak set his beer down on the bar, wiped his wet hand off on his trousers, and then offered it in greeting. "Cadet Gonzalez, it's a privilege to have you with us. I was actually just reading through personnel records earlier today. The fact that we have a cadet onboard caught my eye. Join me, won't you?" he asked, gesturing to the barstool next to him. "And don't worry about the delay...or the extra 'Sirs,'" the Commander chuckled. "Your specialty is anthropology, right? What kind of course work brings you to the Delta Quadrant?"

It was, at that moment, that Debbie returned from the aforementioned table six, an empty tray held in the crook of one arm, a half-drank chocolate milkshake held in the other. "Can you believe it? Doesn't like chocolate! Wants something else," the matron of patrons huffed and rolled her eyes. "If I didn't like chocolate, I damn sure wouldn't order a chocolate shake..." she trailed off, shaking her head. And then, suddenly, she noticed Gonzalez standing there. "Hey new kid. I'm Debbie," she said, moving around behind the bar and stowing both the tray and half-finished beverage...but not before taking a sip of it. "What can I get you?" the woman asked matter-of-factly.

Ezra opened his mouth to speak, but no sound came. He flicked his eyes back and forth between the two, unsure of who to answer first. Finally, he shook the Commander's hand, wincing slightly at the feeling of the man's still-damp skin, then carefully perched himself on the edge of the barstool.

"I will have a hard cider, please," he said. "And thank you," he quickly added, briefly making eye contact with Debbie. He then swiveled rather stiffly on the barstool toward Commander Kodak. "Anthropology, yes, sir. As I mentioned, I have been assigned to the USS Adelphi for my senior practicum from the Academy, and in this case my assignment is to assemble a series of data files on each of the friendly species encountered by Admiral Janeway and her crew while they were out here. The assignment also includes performing live research on as many of those same species as we ourselves may encounter on our own mission. It is expected that my practicum work will likely take the entire school year."

Feeling his succinct and to-the-point report completed, Ezra paused, waiting for a reply. But he didn't wait long before another thought came to him. "On a personal note, sir, although you will have read about it in my file, I feel I should inform you that I have autism. It is a human neurological disorder, much less common in this century than it used to be. I don't anticipate any complications, but my psychologist at the Academy instructed me to inform my superior officers."

"Well, I imagine you'll have ample opportunities to further your research here, Cadet," Kodak nodded back, looking over as Debbie moved into action. It wasn't long before the woman had delivered the requested cider before floating away once more. His eyes trailed her for a moment, wondering how the woman always had so much energy. But then Gonzalez brought up what might be, for some, a weighty and apprehensive topic to discuss. The First Officer turned back to the young man once again, nodding slowly. "I did see mention of that in your file. I have a cousin with autism, so I'm familiar with the condition. Though I believe it manifests in a variety of different ways and may be different for each person."

Kodak took a long sip of his beer, then, his thoughts casting back in time for a moment. Lakeshore days with his cousin Bastion when they were children, with Bastion's mother trying to explain the condition. Kodak hadn't cared then: to him, a person was a person, regardless of such a condition. As an adult, that opinion had not changed. He smiled then, drawing his thoughts back from making sandcastles with Bastion under the German sun. "Cadet, I appreciate your candor. I've every confidence in you and your abilities," he said, his smile kind. "How's the cider?"

Ezra took a long sip. "It's very good, sir. Thank you. And thank you for your confidence. I will work hard to be worthy of it. I won't let you or the captain down, sir. I promise." He paused, twisting the bottle around in his hand. "I'm...I'm the first person in my family to serve in Starfleet in over a hundred years, so I've worked very hard to be here. If I may continue to be honest, great-great-grandfather was killed in the battle of the binary stars, serving on the Edison. After that, the anti-Starfleet members of my family forbid future generations from serving, arguing that Starfleet, and even space travel itself, was too dangerous."

He took another sip, swallowed hard, then took a deep breath. "But after my...after my dad and my oldest brother were killed in the Mars attack, my mom decided that Starfleet and space travel were a fact of reality, a reality that was too dangerous to ignore. And when I decided that an earthbound job wasn't going to be good enough, I was determined to go to space, and she supported me. I've worked very hard to be here, and I'm not going to waste my chance."

He finished his drink and slid off the edge of the barstool. "I'm really sorry to have to leave on such a...less-than-ideal note, but with your permission, sir, I'm afraid I have some more research to get to. I'd be more than happy to continue this conversation at your discretion, sir."

"I'm very sorry to hear about the losses your family has suffered, Cadet," the Commander said, spying his somber reflection in the cadet's cider. "I'm glad, though, that you've been able to turn tragedy into hope. I appreciate you being so open with me. I'm going to make absolutely sure," he stressed the word, "that your time here in the Delta Quadrant is as worthwhile as it can be for you. By all means," the Commander's smile returned, "back to the books, Cadet! And we'll see about getting you on an away mission or two when something interesting pops up." With a nod, he bid young Ezra good-bye and then rose from his stool, half-finished beer in hand.

His feet carried him to an empty booth along the giant windows looking out into space, where he slid down to watch the rainbow star-lines sliding past. Picking up his PADD, he accessed the vast library of personal photographs he'd taken over the years. The little instant camera that shared his namesake had recorded so many of his favorite memories, including the one he summoned on-screen then. It was Bastion on the day he graduated from Starfleet Academy. Just a few days before he...

"That kid remind you of anyone?" came a voice from behind, interrupting Kodak's thoughts. It was Debbie, who proceeded to take a seat opposite the First Officer.

"If you even imply that I was ever that young," Kodak smirked somberly, "I'll finish this beer and that'll be the last you see of me." He was obviously joking -- having known Debbie for many, many years, the woman would no doubt pick up on his mock-threat.

"I think you know who I mean," the woman said, her eyes drifting toward the PADD in Kodak's hand as she reached forward to affectionately pat his arm. "Mind if I join you for one of those?" Debbie pointed at his beer then. "Could stand to be off my feet for a bit."

"I...think I'd like that very much," the grizzled, 40-something Chameloid nodded, putting away the PADD and stowing his feelings.

"Parsons? Sweetie," Debbie spoke up as a man almost as young as Ezra walked by. "Please bring me a beer. Synthehol, though. And watch where you're going, capiche?"

"Um...sure, Deb," Parsons nodded, looking less than confident about his ability to carry out such a request without tripping over himself. "Commander, did you...uh...need anything else?"

"Fine here, Mr. Parsons. Thank you, though," he looked up at the young man and nodded. When the engineer-by-day-server-by-night had wandered away, Kodak turned to Debbie. "These kids get younger and younger every year."

"Welcome to life, baby. I'm just glad we're all here to help them take their first steps," she replied.

*** A post by... ***

Commander Björn Kodak
Then-First Officer


Debbie Gless
Ten Forward Proprietor


Cadet Senior Grade Ezra Gonzalez
Anthropology Studies
Science Midshipman


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