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The baker and the taster

Posted on Saturday September 4, 2021 @ 6:31am by Ewo’tOst Merrova [GM] & Trinity Anderson

Mission: Lower Decks
Location: Food prep

Trinity was grateful for the distraction after the last mission. She had just completed and sent in her mission report and as such she had finally been able to critically assess what had transpired and her own actions. While it was true that hindsight is always twenty-twenty, meaning that it is always easier to analyze and criticize decisions through the lens of time looking backwards, Trinity had come to the realization that she had been lapse in her duties.

The close-knit relationship she shared with her crewmates on this small ship was such that various Starfleet formalities and protocols were relaxed. Although the Cardinal was a Starfleet vessel, its unique assignment to the Federation Science Council, the equal representation of military and science personnel on the ship - hell, even their uniform - all blurred many lines of military discipline that ipso facto led to informal and relaxed protocols.

And that was why, in Trinity's concluding analysis in her mission report, she had nearly lost her commanding officer - and the crew - on her watch. She was likely being a bit too harsh on herself, she reckoned. Nevertheless, she saw the truth in her assessment. She did not quite know what the right answers were in terms of trying to fix the issue as they were not quite obvious to her. On the one hand, there was tremendous value to the informal protocols and the close knit relationship everyone had on the Cardinal. Yet, on the other hand, there was a risk that it could interfere with decisions that were military in nature - which, at the end of the day, this ship was still a Starfleet vessel.

Needless to say she was grateful for Ewo's pre-scheduled baking date, which broke her deep rumination about the past, present and future.

Speaking of Ewo and baking made Trinity's stomach rumble in hunger and an easy smile came to her face as she thought of all the treats she had in store for her. The turbolift doors parted way and the security officer found herself on a new deck. There was a new spring in her step now as the imagined taste and smell of delicious treat beckoned to her. She rounded a corner and quickly made her way through the doors of the rather large lounge and recreation room, which had an enclosed section dedicated to just a kitchen.

"Ewo!" Trinity greeted as she entered the kitchen spotting the Betelgeusian already prepping for their culinary adventure of the day. "Sorry I'm late."

Ewo was at that point plunging a scoop into a larger container, of one of three such containers of the primary ingredients, she paused and smiled at Trinity's approach. "No apologies needed." She said before lifting the heaped scoop out and taking to a smallish one, and tipping it in, a reasonable amount missing and falling on the worktop, which she paid no mind to, baking was a messy activity and she enjoyed the sense of freedom that came with it, something she felt would be welcome change right now given the success but awkward result of the recent encounter, that said further down the utensils they would need were lined up in a neat row, in between two mats placed at right angles near a corner. "I believe I have most of the ingredients, some of the main ones are in these huge containers which are just going to get in the way, I transferred enough to ones of a more manageable size. I was about to return the larger containers back to storage, care to give me a hand?" She asked looping both hands round a barrel-like container and lifting it from the worktop.

"Happy to," Trinity responded, providing support to Ewo in returning the large containers while eyeing the various smaller containers of assorted ingredients trying to see if she could guess at what Ewo was making. Not having much luck, she turned to Ewo. "What's on the menu for today's baking session?"

“Do you recall I mentioned picking up the recipe for those square bites?” She asked setting the final container down with a little grunt, staring back over and gesturing to the ingredients. “Well this is all we’re going to need. Aside from the oven.” She flashed a wide and genuine grin, looking forward to the process. “I looked up a buttercream topping thy would compliment it, a honey and walnut flavour sounded intriguing.”

Trinity reflexively licked her lips as her mind imagined the square bites complimented with buttercream, honey and walnut. "You sure you were not a cook in your previous life Ewo?" Trinity asked half jokingly. "I'm thinking you and I could go into business after our Starfleet career ends. You be the cook and I'll be the taste tester."

"Trinity, you absolutely have a deal there. It's how I got into it. Hanging around a little bakery at 128, a bit of lose end trying not to fall back on old habits and hobbies." Ewo offered with a little sigh, she was close to telling of misdirected actions of times gone by, and felt less discomfort or shame than usual when brushing up against such times. "I asked, the owner showed me a recipe or two, and here we are." She gestured quite positively and defiantly at the flour. "Now let's start with 3 cups of flour if you could get those, I will see to the sugar, which is an andorian variety that the proprietor swears by, gives that slight tang, if you recall."

Trinity nodded as she reached for the flour and began portioning out three cups, as she had been instructed. She knew she had to be precise, as that was the requirement for a successful baker - which perhaps also explained why Trinity was terrible. She was not the greatest cook, but was descent. Cooking allowed for some measure of creativity and spontaneity - the same could not be said about baking. It was a very precise art that only rewarded adherence to recipes and punished any deviation.

"Three cups of flour...check," Trinity stated.

"Very nice." She commented with smile, as she poured in the equal amounts of sugar into the bowl, and reached for the package of Rigelian butter, with it in one hand she reached for a spoon with the other. "Can you grab that ricorded and prime program MZ-MZ-232, I have gone sonic with the mixer, but am going to have very greasy palms and digits in short order." Giving the half packet one last scrape, the effect of the butter was apparent as the packet got away and dropped into the bowl, scooping it out with one hand and gave it a small throw further across the work surface, with a smile wiggled both outstretched palms at Trinity. "Case in point."

"Oh...aren't we fancy," Trinity replied in jest. "Sonic mixer huh?" Nevertheless, Trinity initiated the program as instructed and watched as the sonic mixer activated. "What do you want me to do with the mixer?"

She gave a broad grin and a shrug, while shuffling round to the sink. “What can I say, born techie, always on the look out for a unique twist.” Giving the sonic panel a nudge to activate. “ if it’s worth it.” She added extending a finger. “If you point it into the middle of the bowl about hands width above, and then move it in slow circles out to the edge and then back to the center.” Before pushing her hand under and letting the pulses run the grease off into the sink beneath, looking across she asked. “So how are you, with everything that has transpired?

Trinity nodded, noting that the instructions were easy enough. She swirled the activated mixer around the bowl of mixed flour, gently moving in repeated circular motion in various areas of the bowl. She watched the flour mixture pulsate in response, creating swirling orbs that was almost as therapeutic as it was satisfying playing with the sonic mixer. "

She paused to ponder Ewo's last question. "If I am being honest, I have a range of emotions ranging from gratitude that we made it out in one piece and anger and disappointment that I was unable to protect Canaan...I mean Commander Serine from danger."

Hands now free of grease she moved around to pick up a number of eggs, considering the response from Trinity, sympathetic to the quandary security persons must find themselves in all to often, she made her own observation that she hoped would be positive enough. “It seems Dok’s past adventure was the major trip up, and likely hard to find if Ferengi reputation holds true. I noted you switched method of referring to the boss.” She looked across enquiringly.

Her nostrils flared in a combination of anger and frustration at the mention of Dok and his role, however unintended, in contributing to a not so great start to their first mission. Pondering on Ewo's last question, Trinity realized that she was increasingly struggling with chain of command. On the one hand, she enjoyed the carefree, ranks are not really important attitude. On the flipside however, she felt it was some of that lax attitude that may have contributed to her failure to protect her commanding officer.

"Yeah...it's complicated," Trinity finally stated, "but the short of it is I can't help feeling that the familial relationship that we have built on the ship may have contributed to my inability to protect Commander Serine. I'm wondering perhaps we are becoming more of a civilian ship, when in fact this ship, although a science ship, is still a Starfleet ship."

Ewo nodded carefully as she selected four eggs needed for the mixture. “Protocol is something we can look at, if you prefer I can refer to you by rank, on duty, going forward, It might set you apart, but that itself could act as a check.” She stepped back around the work surface, just on Trinity shoulder setting two down and moving the remaining two into each palm. “Can you move over a little but keep the mixer going, as I crack in the eggs start working them in, if you would.”

"That could work," Trinity said in thought. She moved over as Ewo requested and watched her crack the remaining eggs. "I'm also not sure if I'm just spinning in my wheels, if you know what I'm saying. How are you doing with everything that has occurred?"

"Maybe but I suppose reactions like that are natural, when things do not work as we intend we question our methods it can work to an advantage, we improve.” Ewo counselled as she tried to work with Trinity, she understood the need to learn. One egg cracked, “But I have questioned my acceptance of the order to keep watch on the bridge” Another egg cracked. “ if perhaps the goings on externally could have prompted a closer eye on things internally.” Then another egg cracked. “But I have accepted I affected the events I could. But certain parts were beyond my control.” Final egg cracked. “The result is certainly more than I expected, but we are in this together and that gives me confidence.”

"True," Trinity responded partly mesmerized by the egg cracking. "I suppose it is like the eggs you've cracked...there's no putting it together once it's cracked." She paused before adding with a mischievous smile, "We can only hope to make delicious baking treats with it afterwards, rather than letting it go to waste."

"That's exactly what we do. That sound be about done now." Ewo commented as she returned the smile, she liked the hint of mischief that Trinity had at times, it was wonderfully opposed to the strictness just put forward to carry out with her duties, sliding a tray towards them. Once Trinity had removed the sonic whisk, Ewo lifted the bowl, positioned it above the trays center, then half tipped it allowing the mix to stream out and spread across the tray. Setting the bowl aside, she shook the tray to even the mix and then moved it to the oven. "Give that A little time, enough to do the toping."

Trinity nodded patiently as she mentally fantasized about how good what they were baking was going to taste.



20 Minutes Later........



"Okay should be done." Ewo announced as she left the second bowl full of now prepared topping, and slid to the oven, flipping open the door, grabbing a heatproof glove, she withdrew the bake, transferring it to the work surface. The aroma of the bake seeping around the room, with a smile she flipped it over, a little to eagerly, the fall of the bake split it roughly in half. Ewo flashed a momentary concerned look then a smile. "Oh well thato is it in half. At least. It will probably taste the same. How about you take a chunk and find out.?"

"Really?" Trinity asked even as her hand reflexively reached for a piece. She did not need the taste to know this treat was going to be good. She had been smelling the divine aroma for some minutes now and could hardly wait. But she knew baking was a science...and apparently one that required patience. Trinity was neither particularly good at science or with patience. So she had jumped at the opportunity to taste Ewo's baking.

"Hmm...yeah, that's a good one Ewo," Trinity muttered, resisting the impulse to lick her finger. "I think you may just have outdone yourself this time."

"Your to kind., I think I may forgo any frosting and leave them as is." Ewo responded, cutting out a square for herself, and after a few sort meant of savoring, pleased to be able to share the results with someone who enjoyed them so much. "Yes that will do, now enjoy as much as you please but I will parcel some up to share with the rest of the crew at our next meal."

Trinity nodded, not needing to be told twice. She cut a rather large piece for herself and set it on a plate as she gleefully rubbed her hands together, mouth watering, as she eagerly waited to devour the treat. She smiled as she pictured her mother saying something to the effect of her eyes were bigger than her stomach - an admonishment intended to warn about not being too greedy with food.

She cut into the piece, not even bothering with cutlery and slipped a piece in her mouth - and just like that everything around her disappeared leaving her in a universe where nothing but the baked treat mattered.

 

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