Dinner Time

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OOC Date: April 23, 2011
IC Date: February 4, 2128

Nicolas finds out that his sister is awake and the twins get to know Yin a little.


Dining Hall — Deck One


A fairly large cafeteria style dining hall, this room is capable of seating all 220 members of the crew at once. Tables are round, each set with six backless circular seats that allow plenty of elbow room. In addition to these, there are also several sets of square four seat tables along the edges of the room. The artificial lighting overhead is slightly dimmed, more relaxing and subdued than the corridors of the ship.

A service counter lines the far wall, several service robots taking the orders and dishing out the meals of the crew as they are ready. All of the fruits and vegetables are supplied by Hydroponics, and most are fresh year round, supplemented by additional fruit and vegetables from dry freeze storage. All of the meat and protein, however, is a special synthetic recipe similar to soy and based on a formula provided by The Givers. It is far more capable of reproducing the texture and taste of various types of meat and consists of a mixture of soy, algae and basic raw animal protein stored in dry freeze. By mixing these with synthetic flavor additives, it becomes almost impossible to tell that the meat of any given entree, from beef to fish and everything in between, is not exactly what it tastes and feels like. The service robots have been programmed with over 50 different ethnic cuisines and a total of over 1000 recipes, meaning that just about everyone can find something that tastes like home.


I suspect, Laurel reflects with a grim little smile, that this probably wasn't what they had in mind when they came up with the slogan 'Army of One.' Sitting alone at the very center of the galley, the slender woman looks dreadfully out of place amidst all those empty chairs, her metallic uniform the rare spot of black in a sea of gunmetal grey. And judging from the thin manila folders spread out before her like a buffet comprised entirely of intelligence reports, she's been making the most of her forty-eight hours of light duty. So intent is she on her reading that her meal — a vegetarian pizza, just to be on the safe side — sits largely untouched beside her, though every so often the sound of satisfied crunching will echo in the oddly empty room when she bites into a baby carrot (or three).

Nicolas moves into the Galley, music playing from the comm-unit attached to his wrist. It's amazing what you can rewire this thing to do. The rock music precedes him by several feet. He glances towards the soloist going it alone at the table. Should she look towards him, he'll offer a nod in greeting before he moves towards the chow line and gets himself some food.

Still trying to process the revelations of the day, Violetta enters in search of her second meal since waking up. She has yet to really make contact with the twin she last spoke to some six years ago, but she's comforted by the knowlege that he's awake and in good health. She doesn't make quite as large of a production of entering as Nicolas does, her only accompaniment being the soft sound of her boots on the floor. She doesn't really pay any attention to the other two in the room until she realizes that she's hearing music.

Music that sounds like something her brother would listen to.

She blinks a couple of times before focusing on Nick, her eyes lighting up for a moment before she walks up behind him and gives him a little poke in the ribs, just trying to get his attention so that he'll turn around. She doesn't know, and really doesn't care, to tell the truth, whether or not he already knew she was awake, but he's sure going to know it now…

Reserved though she may seem, there's no delicacy to this woman when she eats. Yin's in the process of devouring a piece of carrot that's fallen to the floor when the pair of new faces arrive — and to her credit she at least has the presence of mind to wipe her fingers on her uniform in case someone wants to shake her hand. As for greetings? The walking DJ gets something of a disapproving glare, one she means to soften (but doesn't quite get around to doing) when her eyes swivel toward the petite girl on his heels. That one she knows, and so it is that she reluctantly begins to clear some space on the table, gathering up the folders farthest away from her tray. Consider it a tacit invitation.

As he arrives at the line, the music stops and he goes about studying the menu until he gets distracted by a jabbing into his side. He does spin around and comes face to face with his sister. His face lights up and he gives her a hug. "Vi!" He says before he lets her go. "Sorry I wasn't there for the big unthawing, but my tool of a supervisor had me chasing electrical bugs throughout the ship. By the time I was done, you were already a heaving, ravenous drone again." He turns around and grabs the first dish he sees, a small bowl of Jello. He turns back and offers it to her. "Jello?" He's had more time to come to terms with Earth's destruction than his sister has.

Violetta grins as she's grabbed up in a hug, wrapping her arms around Nick and grinning like a fool, "Hey, Nick." She gives him another light, playful poke in the stomach when she's released, "Oh, sure he did." She giggles softly, and nods, making a face at the mention of her experience with being revived, "Yeah, thanks for that. The other girl they woke up lost it all over the floor…" She rolls her eyes at the offer of Jello, but takes it with a small, amused smile, "Thanks." As for coming to terms, she's just refusing to think about it. If she doesn't think about it, then it didn't happen, right?

She grabs the first real meal she sees, a hamburger and fries, and turns to spot Yin sitting at a table alone, "Actually… That's her…" She gives a little mirthless chuckle at that and offers the other woman a little wave, "Come on. She looked like she could use a friend earlier." That's all the warning she gives before she's walking over to slip into a seat without a by your leave, "Hello, Petty Officer."

A faint flash of — well, of something — crosses Yin's face as she observes this merry family reunion from her courtside seat. Her unblinking gaze freezes on the Stone siblings for as long as it takes to commit that picture to memory; then, flushing with the realization that she's been staring, she returns her attention to the grisly photographs laid out before her. Long fingers toy absently with another (whole) carrot, tapping it against her teeth while she flips through a gallery of alien guts. "Good evening," she says by way of greeting, her breath whistling through her teeth as she encounters one particularly gruesome image. "I am Yin Qingyu, but in English my name is Laurel." Her lilting accent sounds a lot more natural when she lapses into Chinese. "Also, please do pardon me. I am looking at many dead things."

Nicolas nods as he follows Violet to get food, grabbing whatever she orders since he had no clue what he wanted in the first place. As the petty officer is pointed out, he glances back and smirks. "Nice." He chuckles again before he follows her to the table, offering a nod after Violet makes her greet. "'Sup?" Is all he offers in way of greeting. He glances to the guts that the woman is studying and nods. "Yummy." He says before he looks back up to the woman. "I'm Nick. Vi's brother and the better looking of the two." He says with a simple nod before he sits down without waiting to be invited.

"Violet." The petite woman offers a bright smile, "It's nice to officially meet you, Laurel." Beat, "Or would you prefer Yin?" She glances at the pictures for a moment, grimacing and looking away quickly, "Ugh… How can you look at stuff like that while you're eating." Then Nick makes his introduction and she rolls her eyes, "And here everyone's always said that I'm the good looking one." She brushes her hair back behind her shoulders and picks up a fry to nibble on.

"I would prefer Petty Officer on duty. But since we are not on duty — Yin is my family name. Qingyu is my given name. It is Laurel in English, though Qingyu does not mean 'laurel.'" Judging from how she tries to preempt subsequent questions, this isn't the first time she's had this discussion. "Just use the one you can pronounce." That, at least, is spoken with a hint of a smile, one that grows incrementally wider when she looks at each sibling in turn. Nicolas in particular gets a few contemplative taps of tuber against teeth before, with a shrug, she turns her attention back to the autopsy reports. "You are both quite beautiful," is the woman's attempt at a diplomatic solution, offered while she demolishes her carrot.

Nicolas raises an eyebrow as he looks up at Yin as he is called beautiful. While he's not sure how to react, he simply says nothing but gives Violet a look that she has probably seen more times than either of them can count. "So, what do you think about our destination?" Probably not the best of topic conversations at the moment, but at least he's trying to make conversation.

Violetta blinks a couple of times when the twins are both called beautiful, glancing over at Nick and offering a little helpless shrug. She's had a few girls hit on her before, but it was back in high school. She winces a little at the question and sits back a little, making a face at her mostly full plate, "That's about enough to make a girl lose her appetite, Nick…"

Yin looks a little puzzled when neither party reacts very well to what was intended as an innocuous compliment. Clearly something got lost in translation. But as for the question at hand: "Your guess is as good as my guess." Yin finally makes a move for a slice of that pizza, folding it up by the crust as she's seen others do. If she's bothered by the hot oil that dribbles onto her palm, she doesn't show it, though she does pluck a napkin from the holder on the table. The woman's not that much of a troglodyte. "This is the first time I have ever been in space. I checked my dictionary to make sure I understood the Commander correctly when she told me about the 'wormhole.' But from what I can see, it feels like the best of many bad choices — which of course does not mean it is a good one."

Nicolas smirks as he looks to Violet, reaching over and picking up a fry from her tray. "That's okay. You need to loose some weight anyway." He says to her with a grin, sending an elbow to her side to lightly nudge her. "You know you've got to watch that figure, dear sister." He says with a grin before he looks back to the Petty Officer on the other side of the table. "I don't know much since I'm just another turd on the bottom of the officer's shoes. I just usually pick up bits and pieces when I'm working and whatever rumors float down to our level."

"Oh, please!" Violet rolls her eyes, "I've still got the same figure I had in high school." She smooths her hands over her hips as though to illustrate this fact. She does grin and bumps into him with a shoulder, "You're one to talk, anyway!" She reaches over to give him another light poke in the ribs, "You're one to talk, anyway! I think you've got a little more padding on you than the last time I saw you." She suddenly frowns as something occurs to her, "Hey! You woke up before me…" Beat, "You're older now!" Mock sulk, "That's not fair…" There's an undertone of laughter in her voice when she makes the complaint, though it fades when Yin talks about their choices, "Yeah… It just sounds bad all around."

Yin watches the siblings get reacquainted as dispassionately as she can. For the first part of it, she can at least busy herself with the task of wolfing down her pizza, hardly bothering to chew before swallowing. In less than ten seconds the small slice evaporates, leaving behind oily hands and a napkin stained red with tomato sauce as the only traces of its passing. Then, aloud: "It — it just sounds bad all around," she echoes without really meaning to, her high soprano sounding particularly airy and wistful in the cavernous room. Whether she's still talking about the Captain's decision is an open question as she reaches out for another handful of carrots. NOM.

Nicolas glances towards his sister and smirks. "Oh on the contrary, my dear sister, I happen to already have prospects. One being a lovely young red head from Engineering. She is quite yummy." He says with a grin at her realization. "Yup. I am the older twin, so I'm in charge now." He says with a simple nod of his head as to make it official before he finally takes a bite of the stolen fry. He looks back to Yin as she speaks, frowning slightly before he tries to change the subject with a new smile on his face. "So, what is it you do on this tub?"

Violetta nods, smiling faintly as Yin echoes herown words back at them, "The captain, I'm sure, has a plan, so…" She shrugs, trailing off without finishing that thought. As for Nick having found himself someone to chase after, she rolls her eyes, grinning a little, "I always said you work fast when you find someone that'll pay attention to you…" There's another eyeroll and a shake of her head at the thought of him being in charge and she gives a harder poke in the shoulder, "You think so? I bet you'd have both of us in the brig in a week if I listened to you…" She smiles a little, eyes dancing as she half-teases him, pulling her tray back over so that she can actually eat her meal, falling silent and watching the other woman expectantly as she waits for her responce to Nick's question.

It'll be a moment before Yin answers that question, so engrossed is she in all the gory details of a lobster-like parasite burrowed into a bipedal alien's head. The woman doesn't even look mildly uncomfortable at the sight; if anything, she takes a somewhat clinical view of the entire thing. Beak here, spindly legs there, brain tendrils there, and — mmm. Carrots. Only when she flips the page does she meet the twins' eyes. "I served with the 116th Mechanized Infantry Division in the People's Liberation Army before I joined your Alliance," she explains. This answer too seems given by rote. "My rating now is Intelligence Specialist Third Class. It is my job to determine what the enemy will do and to recommend appropriate responses to Command after making that determination." Oddly enough, the woman sounds far more comfortable speaking in bureaucratese than conversational English. "Of course, when the enemy looks like this — " One knuckle taps against the back of that photo. "Like everybody, I suppose I am starting from zero."

Nicolas shrugs his shoulders slightly. "What can I say? It's hard looking this good. I can't help it if the girls flock to me." He grins and nods. "Yeah, but you'd be sitting there saying, 'Shit, that was fun but next time let's not get caught'." He laughs softly as he looks at her, stealing another fry from her tray as it's pulled closer towards her and eats it before he starts on his own fries, glancing to Yin. As she describes her job, he raises an eyebrow slightly and the look on his face shows that he obviously has no idea what she just said. "Right…" Beat. "You're cute. Got a boyfriend?" That's asked with a playful smile on his lips before he eats another fry from his tray.

The now younger twin shakes her head and laughs, swatting at Nick's hand as he swipes another fry, "Well… Maybe." Violet will lay all the blame on her brother's shoulders if they do get in trouble for something, that's for sure! She blinks a couple of times, munching on a few fries, as Yin lists off what she used to do an just swallows, shooting her brother a look he's probably very familiar with when he asks the Chinese woman if she has a boyfriend, "Oh brother…"

Quick, Yin, stall for time. The woman goes through the four remaining carrots in her hand while she racks her brain for the appripriate response. "No," is what she finally comes up with. "Not any more." She doesn't even blush at the compliment — and when she meets the twins' eyes, her expression is as carefully controlled as it can be. "We … went different ways after I was posted to this station. I have not seen him since." Which, given that she's been in cryogenic freeze for the better part of six years, shouldn't come as a surprise. It'll take her some time to get used to present realities in her speech. And then, to extricate herself from having to deliver a messy explanation, Yin does the only thing she can do: she changes the subject. "Do you got a boyfriend?" she asks Nicolas before she can parse the implications of repeating his question word-for-word.

Nicolas nods as Yin answers his question and explains a little bit. "That's too bad. His loss." He says before he chuckles at the question given in return. "Me? No. That was more Vi's thing. They just don't have the right equipment for me." He shrugs slightly and he starts to say something else, but gets interrupted by a beep on his comm-unit followed by Eve's voice reminding him of an appointment. He sighs and rolls his eyes. "Yay me. I get to go talk to a shrink." He stands and slides his tray towards Violet. "I'll catch you guys later." He looks to Yin and offers a smile. "It was a pleasure to meet you." He turns his attention back to Violet. "You." He says to her with a stern look and a finger pointed to her. "Put in a good word about me and don't make me look like a total tool." He grins and gives her a hug and a kiss on her cheek. "I'm glad to see you again. Come by my quarters later and we'll catch up." And with that, he heads out of the mess hall, leaving Violet with his tray as well. Not even two seconds after the doors close behind him, the muffled sound of his music is heard.

There's a little wince of sympathy at the thought of the other woman losing her boyfriend when assigned to the ship, "That sucks… I'm sorry to hear it." Then Yin is asking if Nick has a boyfriend and Violet chokes a little, coughing and beating on her chest to clear her airway. It takes a moment, but she's finally able to breathe again, nodding in agreement with her twin, "Unless it's something new in the last couple of years he hasn't told me about, Nick's as straight as I am." When her twin moves to leave, she makes a face, "Oh goodie." He gets a little wave as he stands and she rolls her eyes a little at the order to make him look good, "Yeah, sure. Whatever, Nick." It's said with a smile, though, and she returns his hug, "I'll come by before hitting the hay tonight." She rolls her eyes and shakes her head, "He's a really good guy, really. He's just a little full of himself sometimes." There's real affection when she says that.

She eats for a couple of minutes in companionable silence and then stands, stacking the two trays, and goes to dispose of them before heading for the door, "It was nice talking to you, Laurel. I'll see you around." With so few people awake, surely they'll run into each other again, after all.

The man's remarkably gracious response doesn't stop Yin from feeling slightly embarrassed, especially when his sister gets to laughing out loud. "Yes," she says to Nicolas' back. "Yes. That is what I meant." Of course, thanks to the awful bleating racket coming from his personal communicator, the odds are slim that he hears, and given all the other things on the woman's mind, her momentary lapse is soon shunted away in favor of more important things. After a while, she slows down the pace of her eating, taking contemplative nibbles from her second and last slice of pizza while her clean (or at least cleaner) hand flips through the doctor's detailed notes. So it is that the only response Violet will get is a brief nod of dismissal. It won't be long before Laurel's left alone in the mess once more — Laurel, that quiet, reserved army of one.


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