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Hospital Food

Posted on Mon Aug 24th, 2015 @ 8:28am by Lieutenant JG Geneviève Charmignon

Mission: Discovery
Location: USS Gladiator Mess Hall


Peridot Samsoe was not where she was supposed to be, for a couple of different reasons. In the first instance, she was almost certainly supposed to be sitting in her Ready Room on the Banting, reading the latest Starfleet Journal of Infection Diseases, in which there was a very boring article on the common Bajoran cold. She had no idea how it got published, and suspected nepotism was involved. There was much too much of that these days, which is why she was happy to be off in the middle of nowhere, playing hooky from her first command. She'd achieved her secret childhood dream at a very early age, and then promptly wanted to nothing more than find some war torn planet and play medic for a while.

In the second instance, the doctor was supposed to be having lunch with her older sister, but Vanora had almost certainly stood her up. Again. She was about to buzz Vanora on the comm and make sure that everything was okay--because of course her sister was fifteen minutes late and Peri was absolutely certain that meant that she had been maimed in some horrible EPS relay explosion and would die without Peri's medicial expertise--when she recognized the signs of her unnecessary protectiveness kicking in, took a deep breath, and went over to the non-replicator portion of the mess hall to see what the Gladiator's old-fashioned burner-and-oven kitchen had prepared for today's midday meal.

Standing at the counter, Gwen had just grabbed her plate of food. She was exhausted, as a whole group of reckless kids had gotten in a holodeck accident earlier that day and so she had spent the whole day tending their injuries. She was anxious to go sit down, and quickly turned about, not noticing until too late that a woman had been standing right behind her. She knocked the woman with her elbow, and barely managed to keep her food from spilling all over the two of them. Gwen immediately spoke up, her voice filled with remorse, "I am so sorry! I wasn't paying attention! Are you alright?"

Peri laughed, and then her forehead wrinkled in concern. "I'm fine, dear! But are you?" she asked sympathetically as she put a hand on Gwen's arm and another on the tray to help steady everything. "Why don't you sit down and I'll get you a new..." she looked down at the plate, unfamiliar with the offering. "Whatever that is. And I'll get one for me, too, okay? Be right back," she said, the smile never leaving her face.

Gwen nodded, thankful the woman wasn't mad. "Alright, thank you."

After quickly grabbing two fresh meals, she slid into the seat across from Gwen and slid one of the spill-free trays over to the nurse. "There we go. Go ahead, the... um, the food--what is this exactly?--isn't going to get warmer. At least, it would be unusual if it did," Peri mused, narrowing her eyes as she began to inspect the plate with curiosity.

"It's an Altarian fish soup, not exactly fancy, but quite good nonetheless," Gwen replied. She placed her napkin over her lap and picked up her spoon. She took a delicate sip before asking, "I haven't seen you here before. What's your name?"

"Peridot something something Samsoe, it's all very long and tiresome," she laughed at herself. "Everyone calls me Peri, except for everyone on that ship." She pointed out the large viewport at the Olympic-class hospital ship that was traveling parallel to the Gladiator. "I run that circus and they all think that means they need to call me 'Captain' or 'Commander' or 'Your excellency'... Okay, the last one wasn't true."

Gwen, not usually one for smiling, suddenly found herself busting a gut laughing. "Whatever you say... excellency." She managed to calm her laughter, a smile still alight on her face. She liked this woman. "I'm Gwen, I'm a nurse."

"Ah, the true heart of Medical," Peri nodded with respect. "How long have you been with the Gladiator?"

Gwen shrugged, "Not long, just a few weeks, almost a month," She replied. She had honestly lost track, time flies when you're having fun. She had come to love this crew so much, it was hard to remember that she had ever been anywhere else.

"A month?" Peri looked thoughtful for a moment, and then very serious. "Then I owe you my profound thanks. You were with the Away Team on that slave planet, Cherth, right?"

Gwen nodded, confused why she was being thanked. They had gotten stranded down there, and Gwen had simply survived and helped as best she could.

"My big sister was with you there. But more importantly, my sister's boyfriend was there, and from what she told me, you must be the one who patched him up when he was looking like he was going to kick the bucket." The smile returned to Peri's face. "And given how hard it has been to get Vanora into another stable relationship, I'd prefer to keep this one stuck to her side as long as possible."

Gwen smiled softly, letting out a small chuckle, "Well, as they say, it's all in the line of duty. I'm just glad we all came back alive." She wasn't used to getting compliments, and she awkwardly cast her eyes down. She also had no idea that Khelev and Vanora were in a relationship. She really needed to get to know people better.

"No need to be humble. The best part of getting to save someone's life is getting to know you saved someone's life. It's a pretty incredible thing that we do. Well, that you do. I mostly do administrative tasks these days, bureaucratic paperwork... Who knew that being a captain meant that you get to do even less of what you want to do?" Peri made a fake frown but couldn't hold it for more than a moment before laughing again.

Gwen smiled and laughed as well. "You must really have your hands full. I could never handle being in charge of that many people," she remarked, and meant it. She really had never been one for leadership. But nonetheless, she figured even seasoned captains would have quite a job managing a ship like that.

"I heard you handled yourself quite well on Cherth, given that they were pre-industrial in their medical supplies. My guess is that leadership is more or less just that: making the best of what you are given. At least, I hope that's the case, since they just gave me this ship and I don't really have any better ideas!" Peri finally tried the soup. "Oh, it really is quite good, despite looking like something I might make. I'm not much of a cook," she admitted. "How about you, Gwen? Tell me what you do when you aren't saving lives, and spare me from continuing to embarrass myself by blathering on. It's a good thing Vanora isn't here, or she'd have shut me up ages ago."

Gwen laughed again, "I just spend time with my kids. As much as I love getting out like this," She gestured to the room, "I don't want to miss watching them grow up." She smiled nostalgically almost sad that they'd already grown up so much. "How about you? Do you even get any free time?"

"I have an equation somewhere that calculates the amount of personal time I get. The major variables are lack of sleep and liters of coffee," she giggled in a quite un-captain-like manner. "I can't go more than a few days without my early morning hour or half-hour in the holodeck. I think my yeoman had figured out the equation for my grumpiness level, as well, and makes sure that happens. But children!" she exclaimed with real enthusiasm and a matching open-mouthed smile. "How many? What are their names? How old are they? How do they like growing up in space?" She only barely stopped herself from rattling off more questions.

Gwen smiled proudly and giggled as well, "They're twins, 5 years old, Gracie and Gustave. We went with the 'G' theme while naming them," She paused to laugh, "I think they're enjoying it. We've spent a lot of time traveling, so they're used to ships and interstellar travel, but this is the biggest - and most permanent - one yet."

"Five!" Peri exclaimed, almost squealing. "And all G's, that is absolutely adorable. If I had any free time at all, I would absolutely volunteer to take them off your hands for an evening. Maybe I should arrange for them to get a tour of my ship... have they ever been on an Olympic-class hospital ship before? I'd love to meet them! Has my sister met them yet? Vanora is jealous of Gracie and Gustave's childhoods, I'm sure. Maybe when they turn sixteen, they'll run off and join a planet-based colony," she joked.

"I'm sure they'd love a tour," Gwen chuckled, her mind racing to comprehend all that had just been said, "I don't believe she has met them, unless they've gotten into some trouble I didn't know about. " She paused, her face contorting in confusion at that last one. Did she even want to know? "I certainly hope they stick around until they've finished school. After that, it's their choice, but no running off when they're just 16! I survived living with my parents until I was 18, so they can certainly handle living with me." Then she laughed again, more nostalgically this time. Even thinking about them growing up was making her sad. And a little bit nervous. Gustave was a troublemaker at age 5, so how would he be as a 16 year old? She shook of the scary thoughts, and allowed her smile to creep back onto her face. Hard to stay sad in this company.

Peri joined in Gwen's initial chuckle. "Getting into trouble and hiding it from parents is pretty standard child behavior where I come from. Truly, though, any time. Well, any time that the Banting is still traveling side-by-side with the Gladiator. I'm sure we'll get our next assignment soon..." Peri's eyes widened slightly as she remembered work and checked her chronometer. "Oh no, I'm late getting back! Which is, of course, more okay since I'm the boss, but still... Gwen, it was lovely to meet you. I really hope you'll stay in touch and that I'll get to meet the little ones soon. Sorry to eat and run."

"Of course! Duty calls," Gwen shrugged and smiled. "I'll be sure to call you later!" She was sad to see her new friend go, but at least they were only a short transport away. She never really made close friendships with other women her age, so she hoped that she could make this brand-new one last a while.

"If you don't call me, you can always just run into me with a tray of food again!" Peri laughed, waiving before she turned and jogged out of the mess hall.


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