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Lost Bets Part 1

Posted on Tue Jan 19th, 2021 @ 1:08am by Lieutenant JG Reagan Quinn & Lieutenant Gavin Ross

Mission: Between the Pages
Location: Reagan Quinn's Quarters

[Reagan's Quarters]
[Time: 1730 Hours]

“Okay, 30 minutes left until he should be here. I’ve gotta get the salad, amberjack, and potatoes. Table is already set, quarters are already cleaned up….ok, good, I’m on track.” Quinn went through the to-do list with herself as she worked to prepare everything for the dinner she owed Gavin. She was nervous but excited. RJ always held herself to a high standard and she wanted to impress Gavin, but she knew that he was an excellent cook himself. That meant the bar was set high. She just hoped that her skills and custom replicator recipes would be enough to meet the challenge.

With 20 minutes until Gavin’s arrival, she grabbed her summer salad supplies and started chopping the spinach, avocado, and grapes. Then she threw it together in a bowl and drizzled an orange vinaigrette on top before tasting it. Perfect! She gave herself a positive review as the flavors melded together in a perfectly bright combination.

RJ looked at the time, 10 minutes remaining and that didn’t account for the possibility that he’d show up early. Now she was running behind. She quickly replicated her favorite seafood delicacy: amberjack. Then amply covered it in her family’s specially concocted blackened seasoning and “fired up” the only real piece of kitchen equipment she had outside of the replicator, her flameless grill. She replicated her family’s seafood boil red potato recipe and instructed the replicator to keep it warm on the pad while she waited for the grill to get to temp.

[Gavin's Quarters]
[Time: 1745]

Gavin had finished freshening up inside the sonic shower. He had quickly pulled out some clothing from his drawers, pressing closed each one after taking out something he liked. Ross walked into his washroom with his boxers to look in his mirror and splash on some cologne, polo blue.

Nodding, Gavin then left to put on the chunky silver wristwatch that his father had given him years ago. Checking the time, he had not a minute to spare. The background music had some techno music playing, and Nanook was spryly jumping up and down, trying to elicit Ross to come out and join him. Ross turned from his bedroom. He grinned at Nanook. "Aww… Dance time!" He slapped his thighs, bending down and then jumping up and down to the flashing music.

Not wanting to get too distracted, Gavin had then reached into his cabinet near his computer and pulled out a freshly new replicated sneaker. "Here, Boy!" He hung the sneaker with the fresh white laces above Nanook's head. Nan instantly accepting the shoe as it was dropped in front of him, and he picked it up and strolled towards his corner of the living room.

"Good Boy! Chew it up!" Ross egged him on.

Then slipping into a pair of khaki pants, a nice leather belt, Gavin slipped over his head a white polo shirt. He decided to gangster things up and lace-up with a chunky silver necklace.

"Awesome." Gavin clasped his hands together.

Then reaching for his bottle of wine to bring RJ, Gavin pulled out one of six bottles that had come from his parent's regional reserves from Alberta Premium label of Whiskey. Long since shut down, his parents Dane and Lindsay Ross had given him their estate holding 300-year-old alcohol.

Then he reached into his quarters' portable cooking oven to top it off and picked out the hot 6 pastries from its tin. The butter tarts were made with fresh maple syrup again from his parent's reserve back on Earth. Real sap, from real maple trees.

Ross smelled them and popped each one into the brown paper lunch bag he had replicated.

"Alright, RJ, ready, or not. Here I come!" Gavin grinned. Walking out of his quarters, he left, ensuring that Nanook was comfortable chewing away on that running shoe.

Exiting the turbo lift on RJ's deck, Ross walked along the hallway. He was excited to spend more time with her. Gavin was beginning to develop fond feelings for her, more than a friend.

Stepping outside Quinn's quarters, Gavin had chimed the pad and stepped back. He held his large hand up to his mouth and checked his breath. "Check…" He then heard a noise from within.

[Reagan's Quarters]
[Time: 1800 Hours]

Reagan did a quick final look around as she heard the chime ring. At least her quarters were more put together this time as she had finally found some time to unpack everything. The walls were lined with photos of her family and their adventures. A picture of every ship they had lived on and plenty of photos of her favorite beach back home in South Carolina as well as pictures of them surfing in that same spot. Engineering books lined the shelves on the wall and her favorite book about ancient Earth aircraft was set on the coffee table next to a succulent. The final piece that threw it all together was the ultra fluffy blanket Gavin had once replicated for her, neatly thrown over the couch.

“Come in!” She yelled, satisfied that things looked presentable enough. A moment later Gavin walked in, looking dashing as always.

"Hey!" RJ smiled as he walked in, still busily working on finishing everything for their meal. "You mentioned that you went fishing from time to time, so I assumed that Seafood would be an acceptable dinner option. Hopefully, that's okay. It'll be ready in about ten minutes. Feel free to make yourself at home in the meantime."

"Hi, RJ!" Ross had smiled. "Seafood, are you kidding. That's supreme!"

Entering Reagan's quarters, the room had changed entirely. Gavin spotted it around, noticing the wall's pictures, really nice scenes of surf and beaches. She also had many what looked to be Federation and other Engineering books stacked on a shelving unit, along with a nicely potted plant. "Wow. Your place." He placed his hands into his pockets as he had entered. "It looks great!"

Taking a look at Reagan's preparations, she was busy cooking what looked awesome fillets of fish encrusted with seasoning. "That smells. Incredible!" He couldn't help but taste the actual smell as it had filled the small room. "Nonsense, anything I can help with?" He asked Reagan, but she had looked to be nearing the finale of her cooking session.

“Nope, I’m all good. It’ll be ready soon. Thanks for offering though.” She said with a smile. He was always so considerate and although RJ almost always preferred to do things herself, she did appreciate the offer.

A few minutes later, and the fish was done. She grabbed their plates and put a piece on each, and placed it back on the table. "Ready?" RJ asked as she took the dish of potatoes off of the replicator surface and placed those on the table as well.

"Definitely, wow." Ross was impressed. "You made all this in your quarters?" He was surprised. Many officers had dabbled in some cooking, but skills were few and far between. Reagan must have been understating her cooking skills because the fillets she was plating looked perfectly cooked.

Ross had waited for Reagan to take a seat and join them. "Is this Ocean Fish?" He was not sure, but it certainly looked ripe for the tasting. He shook his head. "You didn't tell me you cooked? At least, this good." He was dying to dig in to taste Reagan's cooking.

“Well, it depends on your definition of made,” RJ chuckled. “For the salad literally all I did was chop everything and throw it together. Easy. The potatoes are replicated, it’s just a custom family recipe that I use. The fish is the only thing I really cooked if I’m being honest,” she shrugged, “and yea it’s ocean fish. Commonly found in the Gulf and the Atlantic back home on Earth.”

Taking his first bite, it was still very hot from the hot plate, as he cooled his mouth, and closing his eyes, tasting the freshness of the ocean fish, along with the spiced, encrusted seasoning. The fillet, moist, and tender, white inside. Opening his eyes. "This is serious!" He held his fork to the plate.

RJ smiled, “You flatter me. So what is this wine that you brought? It looks amazing.” She said, noticing the bottle that he had set on the table.

Gavin had looked down at the plate a bit embarrassed. It wasn't wine, it was Whiskey. However, he had wanted to see how long it would take RJ to notice, rather cheekily. He had smiled.

After he had poured her a glass, RJ swirled it around. She didn’t know why swirling the wine in your glass was a thing, but her parents had always done that so it was a habit she adopted as well. Bringing the glass to her lips, she lifted it and tasted the perfectly balanced liquid.

She cleared her throat, taken aback by the drink. “Wow, this is fantastic! But it’s not wine?” She gave an honest review. Impressed with not only how it tasted, but also how perfectly it just happened to pair with the meal, wine or not.

"I’m glad you enjoy the Whiskey, RJ.” He had nearly burst into laughter. Ross was enjoying this.

“Oh my God, how did I miss that?!” Reagan said, embarrassed, but laughing anyway.

“So, how was your day? Anything crazy happen in the medical world?” She asked as they continued to eat. It was a simple enough question, but it seemed appropriate. It was the one question always asked at family dinner growing up and it just felt odd not asking it anytime she shared a meal with someone.

Gavin enjoyed the question. This is what he had craved, being able to relax with someone who had cared about his day, and the same him as to RJ’s day.

He lit up at the question and smiled, in between his enjoying Reagan’s fantastic diner and cooking. “It was a good day. I worked on setting up a sequencing DNA profile for a patient. Effects of the alternate universe transition have had some surprising and unexpected consequences on the crossover crew's biology. Working on that was pretty interesting.” Gavin had nodded and smiled as he swirled the Whiskey in his wine glass and held it up to RJ. “We haven't cheered together yet.” He turned surprised. “Our first cheers is with Whiskey!” He winked. “What shall we cheers to RJ?” He looked at her and winked.

“To good company.” Reagan smiled and lifted her glass. Just enjoying dinner together was simple, yet she was enjoying every minute of it because of the company in her presence.

After taking a sip, enjoying the tastes of everything combined. He clinked his glass to RJ’s, "to good company.”
“So, tell me. How has everything been going on in Engineering, Chief?” Ross asked curiously in return.

“Oh, same old same old. Finishing up the medical center, then it’s on to housing and water reclamation for the colony. Besides that there have been standard ship side repairs, crawling around in jefferies tubes.” She chuckled. Most people hated the jefferies tubes, but she loved them. Getting her hands dirty and working on repairs within the depths of the ship was probably her favorite activity. “Oh, power circuits seem to be getting fried more often than usual lately so that’s kept me busy too. I’m working on mapping them. I have an idea as to where it’s originating, but I need confirmation. Should be an interesting project once I get all of the data.” Reagan smiled. She could talk about engineering forever. It was her passion.

Gavin had paused, taking in what RJ talked about. He found it relaxing, with a nice drink and her company. She could speak forever, loving the sound of her voice, her brains.

"That's a lot of work. I can't imagine your everyday schedule ensuring pieces of this goliath is efficiently operating. Not to mention, all the software." Being reminded that RJ was in Sickbay just earlier this week, he sat down his glass. "How are you feeling? That was a load to the body. Suffice to say, your back at it. I need to see you for an update on our computers. As soon as possible." Ross was about to add, or I could check you out right now. But, he chose to remain relaxed. RJ looked great.

“I’m good,” she smiled, “but you need an update on your computers? I didn’t have an update for sickbay on my software upgrade list, but sometimes they get missed. Are you getting some sort of error?” She asked, thinking when Gavin said update he meant that something was wrong with the computer system.

Gavin leaned inward. “You RJ. I need you in Sickbay.” He could see how she could have taken that in Engineering Terms. “There you go. As you were prior. Thinking about your job. Of course. That’s what is endearing about you. Your selfless.” He had nodded. “But… We’re talking about my files, medical.” He had winked, and then took another drink from his glass, as he then decided, RJ might be ok with another to relax as he had filled some to hers.

“Aww, you think I’m endearing?” She chuckled. “I’ll stop by sickbay as soon as I can, I promise.” RJ wouldn’t have made that promise to anyone else. Normally she’d have to be dragged down to sickbay for almost anything, but for Gavin, she’d do as he asked.

“Also, you can’t give me too much flack for always thinking about work. You do the same thing.” Reagan retorted with a smirk. “Here we are, off duty, enjoying a meal and you think to remind me to stop by sickbay sometime so you can update your medical files. Plus I happen to know that you’ll stay past your shift to watch over a patient. And you call me selfless!” She stuck out her tongue playfully and chuckled. She would bet that he was as much a workaholic as she was.

"What's your favorite thing to catch back home? Since you went fishing from time to time." She asked, curious as to what the local fare was up in Canada.

"Dad and I caught Walleye and Pike in the northern lakes. After all these years, it's still nice to be able to catch a fully grown trout and not to have it been DNA modified for survival." Gavin added. "I’d love to take you some time. Maybe to meet corduroys parents?” He chuckled.

“That would be fun! As long as we don’t have to go in the middle of winter.” RJ chuckled. She liked the idea of fishing with Gavin, and meeting another bear was a plus. “You should come to South Carolina sometime too. I can teach you how to catch a wave!”

“That’d be great!” He lit up. “Hang 10.” He cocked his head sideway. “That’s the lingo right?”

RJ laughed. “I’m not sure anyone actually says Hang 10, but you’ve got the right idea.”

As they neared the end of the meal, RJ looked at her glass of Whiskey. “So where did this whiskey,” she emphasized Whiskey after having previously mistaken it for wine, “come from anyways? It’s quite good. Strong, but good.” She chuckled. After having almost completed the glass, she was starting to feel its effects slightly.

“It was Mom and Dad’s. They were never much for Whiskey. It’s been passed down the family line some old casks. I have six of them. So.” He shrugged. “More where that came from.” He replied. Setting his hands together, he started to feel some of the quiet relaxation of the drink himself. “Tell me. What did your Father and Mother do?” He paused. “Or do?” He found himself already jumbled. “I don’t think I’ve ever asked, RJ.”

“My dad is a Marine Combat Engineer. My mom is a Starfleet Operations Officer. They’re both currently stationed on the USS Washington. What about you? I don’t think I ever asked you what your parents did either.” RJ inquired as she finished what was left of her glass.

“Interesting. Both serving the Federation.” Gavin was not surprised. “I think that’s where you get your dedication to service to the job I bet. The Washington, Engineering and Operations. They are lucky to serve together. Did you learn a lot from them?” He asked.

“I did. My dad is somewhat of an engineering genius, not that I’m biased at all,” she chuckled. “My mom is also an excellent engineer, but she’s equally good at other things so she chose the operations route. She’s pretty amazing at multi-tasking. Whenever my dad wasn’t off on a mission and I wasn’t in class, I was pretty attached to his side. Learning from him and helping him with what I could when I could.” RJ smiled, thinking about all the times they worked together. Her father was tough as hell and he expected a lot from both Reagan and her brother Cameron, but he was also the kindest person she knew. He always took the time to patiently explain things and showed her the tricks of the trade.

Being a gentleman, as RJ had cooked, Ross had known he should clear the table, but he was enjoying sitting there and talking. Perhaps a stroll in the Arboretum RJ had wanted would be fun. Or maybe just sitting beside her was just as enriching an evening.

“How has your brother been? Have you mentioned that you had seen the Conjuring?” He had grinned.

RJ smiled, she had just caught up with her brother recently though they didn’t get to chat for long. Between their schedules, it was hard to find more than 10 minutes for a video chat. “Cam is good but busy. I did tell him that I saw the Conjuring. He was a little disappointed that he didn’t get to watch it with me since he loves to make fun of me for jumping during a movie.” She chuckled.

“That’s nice that you keep in touch. I’ve never had a brother, he sounds very protective, a good guy.” He grinned. “Not to mention, someone to egg you on, which is oh too easy!” Gavin chuckled.

“He does love to egg me on. Speaking of which, you two are not allowed to hang out when you meet him. You guys will give each other too many ideas.” She joked, knowing that Gavin had done his fair share of egging her on too.

“As for protective...I think I’m actually more protective of him than he is of me. I always view him as my baby brother, so I’ve always felt like I’ve had to watch out for him. We used to get into mischief all the time as kids and I would try to take all of the blame so he didn’t have to. He was always the more emotional one between us. He had a harder time dealing with our parent’s disappointment and punishments when we got caught. Not that it always worked!” She chuckled, “I think more often than not our parents knew we were both to blame regardless of who actually confessed.”

“How about you? How’s your family doing?” She asked, enjoying just talking about regular things with Gavin. Most people might find it boring, but it was refreshing to her to just share everyday stuff with someone else.

“Dad is good. Mr. Ross is currently in Sao Paulo, Brazil.” Gavin grinned. “Warm enough for you? He is a correspondent within Earth’s Continental Alliance. Some big story. Dad always seems to drum up something interesting.” He then relaxed. “Mom, Mrs. Ross.” He laughed. “She works for a Geneva think tank organization. Contracted by the Federation for outsourcing ideas, plans. I usually say, mom just likes to talk a lot. So it’s her thing, very involved.” He sounded in a mocking joke.

As they finished updating each other on family dealings and everyday life, Reagan thought to suggest an activity to continue the evening. “So, I was thinking. If you’re interested, we could go for a walk in the...dangit, what’s the name for it?! I always just call it the gardens, but I know there’s an official name for it…”

“Engineering? Reagan.” He paused, crossing his arms. “Your trying to fool me so you can check up on systems aren’t you?” He shook his head. “I’m joking. The Arboretum.” He nodded. “That would be nice.”

RJ laughed. “Hey, I am totally not opposed to stopping by engineering. I am interested to see the results on a couple of diagnostics I started before I left for the day, but the arboretum would probably be a better place to walk on a date.”

“Wait. I almost forgot.” Gavin then reached to the side and placed a plain brown bag on the table top. “We need something for desert.” He then handed the bag with the six baked butter tartes, with maple syrup mixed filling. “Butter tartes. A bit of maple syrup from home.” He had then tapped at the side of his head gesturing.

“You made these?! Wow!” She was impressed. They looked amazing.

After RJ had taken one from the bag, so did Gavin. He enjoyed baking, it calmed him the warm smells. Fishing it up, the short cup sized treat, he licked his lips. “Might be a bit too sweet!”

“Too sweet? Nonsense, these are perfect. Definitely better than any replicated dessert I’ve ever had.” RJ gave him an honest compliment. “You have some serious baking skills, Gavin!”

Gavin had finished up and then cleared the small table and cutlery. He didn’t want to have RJ come back to a dirty table to see. After the quick move to RJ’s replicator on recycle, he then gestured to her doorway.

“M’Lady.” He then bowed slightly forthwith his forearms to the doorway, as the sensors gently slid the doorway open.

“Always so chivalrous,” she chuckled as Gavin bowed and they both exited towards the arboretum.

To be continued...

Lieutenant Gavin Ross
Chief Medical Officer
USS Shanghai

&

Lieutenant JG Reagan Quinn
Chief Engineering Officer
USS Shanghai

 

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