Previous Next

Blessings of the Prophets

Posted on Thu Sep 30, 2021 @ 7:30pm by Lieutenant Jaro Antos

Mission: Mission 1R - Vigilance Be Our Shield
Location: Quarters
Timeline: M1 Day 1 2100 Hours

Antos entered the living space he shared with Aiko, with a moderately sized padd in hand, which was to be his homework after a long duty shift. Unlike earlier during the day, he had quickly learned that it was far preferable to have all the information on one device rather than multiple devices. Not only was it easier to refer to materials, but it also meant he had less devices to carry and subsequently less to lose.

The antechamber leading into the main living area was small but was cozy. He could already see Aiko had already started decorating. For one, there were paintings on the bulkhead. He did not recognize them so he assumed they must be newly acquired or replicated.

Antos was grateful for the umpteenth time for Aiko’s good eye for decor…and fashion in general. He had no skills in that department and would have typically led with functionality. She on the other hand had a knack for infusing functionality with style.

He thought about their home on Bajor and the endless hours of labour she had put in there just to make it perfect only for the two of them to leave it empty and unoccupied save for the maintenance bot that ensured it remained tidy and pristine. He wondered if she resented him for letting her put in all that work only to uproot their lives for the Hornet.

If she did, she was yet to tell him or show him.

Walking through the small antechamber to the larger main area that opened to a large open space that included the living space complete with couches and a small centre table, a small dining area with a table and two chairs, and in an adjacent section to that the beginnings of what Aiko had mentioned she was going to turn into a kitchen.

While Antos was used to, and familiar with replicator food, Aiko was not, courtesy of having spent most of her adult life on Earth.

To be fair, they had both been raised on home-cooked meals because this was the preference of Aiko’s mother as it had been for Antos’ adopted father. However, Antos had soon abandoned that practice when he went off to the Academy. It was not until he started dating Aiko again, and the two of them moved in together that he started getting back into the routine of cooking meals from the scratch.

There was no choosing between home-cooked and replicator food because it was not even worthy of comparison. There was something about manually cooking your own food that the replicator could never duplicate. There were subtleties to taste, texture that could not be matched. Then there was just the labour of love that went into it.

There was also something else - the perfect imperfection. Even when the food was not perfect, there was, at least from his perspective, something perfect about its imperfection. It was not some sterile, standardized food. There was variety and complexity to the same dish.

Those were the things he had come to appreciate about home-cooked meals.

Antos was an “okay cook”, as Aiko would say, which was no doubt a generous interpretation of his culinary skills whereas she was proficient – particularly with Asian, and strangely, Klingon cuisine. Antos’ favourite meal she cooked was her famous stir fry bregit lung served over perfectly steamed udon noodles. Of course, she also made a mean steamed gagh.

In another life, Aiko would have been a world-famous executive chef, or perhaps some kind of restaurateur. She had a natural skill for it. But she equally had a natural talent, and more love for diplomatic relations as attested by her various educational credentials in intergalactic relations, political science, public policy and administration.

When Antos was finishing of his Academy training, Aiko was joining the Starfleet Diplomatic Corps. She had served in various diplomatic aide roles, mostly on Earth and most recently on Bajor before they had collectively decided to come to the Hornet.

Abandoning her promising career was yet another sacrifice she had made for him…

Shaking the reminiscing from his mind, Antos found Aiko easily enough. She was in the living area digging through one of many boxes arranged in a neat row in the centre of the living area, no doubt the bulk of their personal effects she had been able to get the quartermaster to deliver.

There was half a bottle of red wine sitting on the centre table complete with a wine glass that held a sizeable portion of the deep purplish red-coloured wine. He did not have to read the label on the bottle to know that this was a Merlot…Aiko’s favourite, and more than likely from the rapidly dwindling collection they had brought with them from Tuscany, Earth.

The unseen speakers filled the room with classical music – a mellow ensemble of stringed instruments playing a familiar sonata, but one he could not name. Aiko would no doubt have been able to name it in a heartbeat in the middle of her sleep. She was quite the cosmopolitan, no doubt by virtue of being the daughter of Ambassadors, and an aspiring ambassador herself. She had also been raised on various planets and had been exposed to multiple cultures from a very young age.

Realizing that she had not spotted him yet. He gently tiptoed behind her back and wrapped his arm around her waist, resting his chin on her right shoulder and gently whispering “boo”.

He felt her jump, no doubt startled, but she quickly recovered and relaxed into his embrace. She turned around to kiss him and then hugged him. “I didn’t hear you come in,” she said.

“I’m a ninja,” Antos exclaimed, making a motion intended to simulate a martial art move he had seen somewhere.

“Uh huh…” Aiko replied ignoring his bad attempt at humour. “How was the first day at the office?”

“Pretty good,” Antos replied smiling. He walked to the soon-to-be kitchen area suddenly developing a thirst. He opened various cabinets looking for a wine glass but finding emptiness instead. “Looks like I lucked out with some truly impressive set of officers…and not just in my department. I think this is going to be a good crew to work with and good commanding officers to work for as well.”

He furrowed his eyebrows and turned to Aiko to ask a question only to see her pull a wine glass from one of the boxes.

“Looking for this,” she said grinning at him.

“As a matter of fact, yes” he answered. He walked back to her to grab the glass. “How’s…unpacking?”

She picked up the wine bottle and started pouring it into his glass as they both sat on the carpeted floor. “Not too bad at all. I estimate I’ll be done by tomorrow. I requisitioned a kitchen stove from the quartermaster and hoping that we’ll be able to get it soon, but I suspect we are going to be at the bottom of the totem pole.”

Antos nodded. “Well, if the quartermaster is by the book, our request is likely a ‘nice to have’, which is trumped by ‘need to have’. We’ll get it eventually though. You’ve at least done the hard part of specifying the dimensions and features that would need to be replicated.”

“Can’t you use some of that famous Jaro charm to expedite the time? I don't know the quartermaster that well, but the one I met seemed like the type that would fall for it.” Aiko asked as she snuggled into his arms, her back to him and her head comfortably rested back on his broad chest. The warmth of her body was a welcoming invitation as was her pleasant fragrance.

Antos gasped feigning surprise as he knew his betrothed was joking, “Aiko Hinata Kato,” he called her by her full name. “I am a kept man I would have you know. The irresistible Jaro charm is retired indefinitely.”

“Uh…huh, except when it comes to Natalia Oporska?”

Antos grinned. “You are never going to let that one go, will you?”

“Nope…never will,” Aiko stated, her turn to grin as she clinked her wine glass against his.

Antos feigned a sigh as he smiled. She had always held his childhood crush against him. He kissed the top of her head, “I’ll see what I can do.”

“Thanks hon…nice blackmailing you.”

There was a comfortable pause as they both took sips of their wine. Antos tasted the familiar notes of ripe blue, black and red fruit that were backed by undertones of coco, vanilla and various earth tones.

He took a moment to savour the moment, thankful for this blissful moment the Prophets had blessed him with. He was thoroughly satisfied here in this moment – glass of wine in hand, his betrothed pressed against him, her pleasant scent thrilling his senses, the smile he could not see but could tell was in her voice as she made conversation, the room in which they occupied that was quickly becoming home and the other beings gathered around them that would, he hoped in time, become a family.

He was truly undeserving of the blessings of the Prophets…


Previous Next