[Backpost] Go Fick Yourself
Location: Pandora's Box
Timeline: about 24 hours before "Ready Set Go"
Mindo had gotten little sleep the last two nights. He'd been occupied with repairs to the severely damaged structural integrity to the ship, as well has his own personal feelings about the previous mission and his command of the away team.
He'd led away teams before, but on rare occasions. Most of the time, he was excluded from those events and left to maintain operations on the ship. This away mission had been the hardest. It was filled with difficult decisions, as well as danger to two crewmen who should not have been there in the first place. The presence of a very pregnant woman and a half-crippled officer presented more danger than Mindo would have liked. He remained confused by the Captain's decisions in picking the away team, but everything worsened once there with tremors from the planet surface and a giant cave-in, in which Mindo sustained a minor concussion.
But Krysia and Sandoval had known the risks and had gone willingly. What was bothering him was the full objection from one of Mindo's closest friends, Lieutenant Fick. Vecon made no secret of his disapproval of the mission. Mindo knew he was partly to blame. He knew Fick to be a rational person, someone who kept the personal separate from the professional. It didn't matter. Mindo had been leader, the one to decide. He needed this issue with Vecon resolved.
That was why he was now sitting in a booth in Pandora's Box, waiting for Vecon to show up. It was lunch hour on the ship, and several crew were here on break with their families. Mindo was not surprised to see few children. His own establishment, Little Caesar's, was a big hit with the kids. While Mindo took some pride in this, he had purposefully limited the type of food served in the barcade, so as not to compete. Personally, he preferred to eat at the Box, partially because of its very extensive menu, and partially because of the noise. Or in this case, lack thereof.
Mindo had only just sat down when he saw Fick enter the restaurant. Both were five minutes early. Mindo waved Fick over to his booth.
Fick was in a pretty good mood. It had been a good day. He smiled at Mindo and made his way to the table. "Heya! How's it going?" he asked before sitting down. "Man, I'm starving." It was rather apparent that if Fick held anything against Mindo about the away team incident he wasn't showing it or acting on it. He picked up the menu and started to look at it. "I love that this place still has menus..." He grinned across the table at Mindo.
"Wouldn't be that good of a restaurant if they didn't," Mindo said, picking his up. "It'll be good to get a fresh meal. I've been swamped with repairs the past two days. Haven't gotten much sleep either. Know any alcoholic drink that's also caffeinated? I usually get the Klingon Fist Bump, but today I'd kind of like something sweeter."
"What about Irish Coffee? They're pretty good and the Irish creme is sweet. Makes the coffee tasty good." He grinned impishly. "I just can't figure out what I even want to eat. Recommend something!" Fick demanded of his friend, staring at Mindo over the edge of his menu, expectantly.
"I suppose coffee's not a bad idea... I've never had the Irish kind, though." Mindo thought for a moment for his friend. "Try the seafood crepe," he said at last. "It's stuffed with crab, small shrimp, and has a sweet cream to it. I think of it as a good breakfast or lunch option. In fact... I think that's what I'll get."
"Ooo seafood. I like the sound of that. I'll do that too!" He closed his menu and set it on the table, then downed his glass of water. "Ahh... that's so much better. So... why are we here? I mean, it's not like I'm complaining, cause you know, how can you go wrong with good company and good food? I'm not stupid though... did you want to talk about something?"
Mindo laughed. "Well, to be honest, I wanted to do a quick assessment of the mission. I was going to try and catch you in the hall or something, but it's been a while since we've actually gotten together. I figured a chat and a meal would do us both good."
"Ah! Okay... we can talk about the mission." He nodded, still smiling. "Although, I'm going to need more to drink. What would you like me to tell you?" Fick asked and tipped his head to the side, curiously. "I mean, I could just start too. However you want to hear me out."
"Just lay on me," said Mindo. "Er, lay it on me... you know what I mean."
Fick busted out laughing. He laughed good and hard for several minutes, possibly a little more than it was really funny, but it felt good to the pilot to laugh with his friend. "I'm not really sure that you need it explained to you, cause I know you're smart enough to know why I protested. I will go over it anyway, just so we can have this conversation." He took a drink and a deep breath. "We were supposed to observe... not merrily run off and try and blend in. We were supposed to follow the Prime Directive... I'm sure I don't really have to explain that to you, how that went wrong. Regardless of what those people knew or how they were going about their lives... they were their lives... we can't interfere. We have to hold on to that. Remember it. No matter how desperate or wrong a situation seems for people, in our eyes. It was not our place to help or even offer help."
"That's what I figured," Mindo said. "I just needed to hear it from you. I'm not usually in command of away missions. I did what I thought was right at the time. I realize the end result was pure luck on my part."
"I know you did." Fick nodded, smiling at Mindo across the table. "And other than those things you did a great job. It was also an important learning experience that I stand up for what I believe in too and that you can learn that your team isn't always going to support your decisions and you're going to make bad ones. It's okay. No one is perfect, nor can they be expected to be perfect all the time."
"Tell me about it," Mindo said with a grin. "Once Engineers fix one thing, something else breaks. And when we finish the second something, the first something breaks again. Our mantra is, 'there's always something to fix.' Apparently for me, it happens off duty too. I could be in anyone's presence right now. I chose Fick's!"
Fick laughed again and raised his glass for a moment, in response. "I'm glad you're in good spirits and not running around all sad over the away mission. So what else has been going on in your life. I mean, I know you're my friend, but we haven't really gotten to spend a lot of time together lately."
Mindo nodded in agreement. "It's been too long, I agree. To be honest, I'm exhausted from repairing the ship after some maniac landed it on a planet! On the up side, business is resuming in the Palace, where I have two enthusiastic employees who are doing some event planning... hey, you should help them! Have you met Raven or Terrekal?"
"Raven Mattel?" Fick asked, his eyes widening. "I'm a huge fan. I'm not sure who Terrekal is, though. What sort of event are you all planning?" he asked, looking around, hoping that food would be arriving soon.
Mindo grinned. "I'm a fan too, though I've only seen her most recent work. She's incredibly talented! Terrekal is, or rather was, a merchant I met on Paradise. He's having a little trouble fitting in with Starfleet people, but he seems to be adjusting okay. He's also a Fesarian. He's currently the new bartender in the Palace."
Mindo continued. "The work you'd be doing with them are planning events like shows, contests, trivia nights, and whatever else you come up with, as well as alternating the themes and atmosphere. Raven and Terrekal already have a number of ideas, but I think you'd be a very valuable asset to them."
Fick stared at Mindo for several moments. "Me? Why me, though? I'm not really good at that stuff. I had to get someone to help me make the emblem for K'Laus' baldric... I mean, I want to! I just hope I don't suck at it." He laughed and then shrugged. "I mean if you want me to, I will totally give it a shot for you." He picked up his drink again and sipped at it. "Is there still a music shop on this ship?"
"Sure!" Mindo replied. "Zo goes there all the time getting various supplies for his band. As for your 'sucking at it,' I don't think that will matter. You're a very fast thinker with a lot of great ideas. You might be surprised as to how useful you'd be. I also have a second motive. Terrekal is having trouble getting acquainted with members of the crew. I think having a Bridge officer for a friend would help him get to know people better. Plus, I know you'll like him. He's a good guy."
"Hey! I'm always down for new friends." Fick sipped at his drink again, his eyebrows furrowing over the edge of his glass. "Who's Terrekal again? That name totally does not sound familiar." He eyed Mindo, lowering his glass. "I mean, I'm always up for helping a new crew member feel more comfortable... he is new, right? Wait... you said you met him on Paradise? And made him a bartender... right? Man, I can't keep crap straight anymore." Fick chuckled. "Where's our food? I'm starving and yeah... we should totally take the guy out and stuff."
"Sure," Mindo said.
After a moment, the seafood crepes arrived piping hot, sweet and delicious.
"So..." Mindo said in between bites. "Why do you need a music shop?"
Fick was eating too quickly to care about manners and talked around the food in his mouth. "I was just thinking about that Cardassian... He liked to plan things too. And we need some live music around here. Like... yesterday."
"Do you play something?" Mindo asked with manners out the window on his end as well. This was a perk of eating with Fick. You didn't have to do any of that boring etiquette crap, and damn it all if someone else was watching. Besides, this wasn't a date. You dressed up for dates.
Fick snorted, shoveling more food into his mouth. "I can play a flute... and a little bit of keyboard, like the piano thing. My mother insisted that I learn an instrument. I mean Risa is the land of tourism. It helps you get better work if you can play something. The more things you can do to entertain people the better. Sing, dance, art... play an instrument, act, have sex. Lots of public speaking." He chuckled. "I know the Cardassian can play instruments too... I forgot his name."
Mindo tried to remember the music shop owner's name. "You certainly are good at sex," said Mindo. "What else did you learn? I imagine acting might be up your alley."
Fick busted out laughing, trying not to choke on his food. "Thanks, Mindo. Most people on Risa are good at sex... It is the pleasure planet after all. Most of us spent at least one summer having sex with tourists. As for what else I learned... I can recite a whole bunch of stupid romantic Risian poetry, if you ever want to hear any of that. It's pretty sappy and I didn't write any of it and I'm a horrible actor! I can sure put a motorcycle together though!" He laughed again before taking another bite of food. "It's more like I'm a bad liar... and bad at pretending to be someone else." He grinned at his friend. "What about you? You have any extra talents?"
There was the smallest of pauses as Mindo tried to think. "I really... I really don't think so. I've always wanted to try acting, I guess."
"Well, we can get a play and practice if you want to. You might really like it, although I bet there's someone on this ship that might be better at teaching it then I am..." He chuckled, starting to slow down his intake of food. "I can teach you to carry a tune in a bucket... I can probably teach you to read music... I can show you how to paint, but I'm no good at art." He tipped his head to one side. "Hey! That's what we should do... have an art contest! Or some sort of contest that has nothing to do with sports..."
"I used to love sports on Fesaria," Mindo said. "These days I seem to have some 'shortcomings' that get in the way. I was never a jock, but I did like competing. So yeah, that said I think you have a great idea! We've done talent shows before. Why not make it a contest?" Mindo leaned forward excitedly. "See? You're a perfect choice for this kind of thing. I think you'll fit in with Raven and Terrekal just fine!" Mindo quickly added, "If you still want to."
"Of course I still want to," Fick replied with a grin. "I'd love to help come up with more activities for the ship. Activities do a lot of things for a crew. Build rapport, help us to better understand each other, and give us a chance to show off talents people might not even know we have. We've all been through a lot together, but in a lot of ways I feel I still don't know people that well."
"I know what you mean," Mindo said, taking a drink. "I seem to have developed a bad reputation here. I think it's because I don't let people really in to my life. I don't have relationships the way others do. I don't have the same lover waiting for me every night. Intimacy is different for my people. Others seem to judge me for it. Maybe it's time I surprised them. You're really on to something here, Vecon. Talk to Raven. She's got great ideas. I think you and she could really come up with something great!"
A blush rose at the top of Fick's cheeks. "If I can get over the fan boy part..." he muttered. "I mean... do I just walk up to her and be like... so I wanna help plan stuff? Or are there already meetings and things? And there's nothing wrong with you. People are stupid. If they can't handle you or how you feel or what you do or even how you live your life... then they're not your friends, Mindo... and you shouldn't give a crap about how they feel about you or what you do. Let them be whatever. It's not like you have to all that crap to be someone anyway. Just my two cents..."
"Two cents well spent, my friend," Mindo said with a smile. "As for approaching Raven, I'll let her and Terrekal know you're on board. She'll be expecting you. And don't worry about gushing. She loves it when people gush over her!"
Fick nodded. "Sure... she didn't seem to like it much the last time it happened." He chuckled. It sounded a little sarcastic. "Anyway... you don't have to be like the humans. You're not human. Don't let them make you feel bad about not being human. They're sort of insidious like that." He looked around for a moment. "I'm trying to decide if I want dessert too..."
"I imagine there's some delicious Risan dessert I don't know about," Mindo said. "Perhaps we could share one?"
Fick's eyebrows shot up and he grinned wickedly. "I just got just the thing. Triple chocolate Risian fudge cake with ice cream. Ohhh yeah... we're totally getting one of those!" He started to look for the waiter again. "You're not like... allergic to anything are you?"
"Nope," said Mindo. "Why do you ask?"
Fick shrugged. "It's got nuts... and chocolate. All the chocolate..." His follow up grin was wicked.
"Well that's good, because I want all the chocolate!" Mindo said, wickedly grinning back.
Soon the dessert came, and Mindo's eyes were wide as it was set down on the table. It was a huge, towering piece of dripping chocolate ice cream, oozing chocolate syrup, excellent dark chocolate frosting, and the cake itself was triple chocolate.
Mindo took one bite and his whole mouth seemed to rejoice. Never in his life had his taste buds been so happy. "Fick," he said, eyes closed as the cake and ice cream came together in his mouth in the most beautiful way. "I think I love you."
Fick took a spoonful of dessert as well and savored it with his eyes closed. It had been awhile since he'd let himself eat something so indulgent. It made him feel like he was home briefly. He laughed at Mindo's enjoyment and his comments. "You better love me! I don't share this with just anyone! Hopefully, it will help you feel better. I always find that chocolate can really alter my mood for the better. They say it has to do with it causing the same sort of chemical reactions in your brain that sex does..." He chuckled.
"I never would've thought of that, but, you're right!" Mindo said. "It's an aphre... afri... afro-danzig?"
Fick burst into laughter. He laughed hard for several moments and then struggled to get himself back under control. “Okay... okayokay... so the word you’re really looking for is aphrodisiac.” He took a deep breath trying to stop himself from bursting into laughter again. “An afro, however, is an Earth hairstyle...” He tipped his head to one side, his brow furrowing. “At least I think they started it... Danzig is a twenty-first century Earth music band. They called it heavy metal or something stupid like that. I’ve heard heavier music from Klingons.” He made a scoffing noise. “I’m also not sure what music has to do with heavy metals, but what do I know...” Fick grinned.
"Apparently more about hair and music than I do!" said Mindo, who couldn't help but laugh too.
Fick was still giggling. "I went through a phase where I couldn't seem to find anything that was loud enough or hard enough." He shrugged. "I got over it... So do these planning committees have regular meetings or anything?"
Mindo shrugged. "How do I know? Probably not yet. Go there and strike up a conversation with whomever is tending bar. It'll either be a handsome young Fesarian or a very tall diva with incredible hair. I'll let them know you'll be coming and I'll tell them I recruited you. Or do you need me to hold your hand and drop you off?"
Fick snorted. “Man, I’m from Risa. We don’t do hand holding on Risa. The whole planet is geared toward customer service. I knew how to speak politely to stranger people by the time I was three. We have bar tending classes in our public schools. And Raven’s met me. I just gotta control myself and not act like I’m a fan of hers this time.”
"And I have the fullest confidence in that," Mindo said with a smile. "I think... no, I know that your Risan upbringing makes you the perfect person for this. Who better than a Risan to plan parties?"
Fick laughed. "Most Risans. Although, I decided on the bright idea of becoming a pilot..." He shrugged. "I'm sure that could have been useful in the tourist industry too, but none of that stuff goes fast enough for me. I didn't just want to spend my life fixing hover skis and boats engines." He grinned broadly and put his spoon down. "Well... I'm full now. I always forget how rich these things are..." he said in reference to the dessert. "You can finish that if you want."
"Well, if you don't mind..." Mindo said, reaching for the plate. "You know, I'm glad you followed your heart and became a pilot. You're a damn good one. Down in Engineering we have to keep a very close eye on your flying. Any sudden maneuver or change in speed can require a lot of reconfiguration. So we're happy to have a pilot as skilled as you."
Fick leaned back in his seat and relaxed. "Oh yeah? I'm glad you're glad... I've always been fast at math... just something I can do. I'm grateful that I'm like that... otherwise piloting something this size would be close to impossible. Not to brag, but it's really what sets me apart. Not a lot of people can do computations quickly, not in their head anyway." He shrugged. "Thanks. I'm glad engineering appreciates me, instead of fearing me." He chuckled. "You're a great engineer. I don't really know what we'd do without you and your team. Float around, I suppose..." he joked.
Mindo grinned. "It's very nice to be appreciated. I have the best team in Starfleet. I don't know if you knew this, but two of my officers served under me on the Tornado. I've known Zo and Greep for a really long time. I'm glad they were reassigned here. It helped with adjusting. Having two people who already understood how I run things made it easier on everyone else I think."
"Yeah? That's totally awesome and I did not know that. I didn't know anyone here. I was pretty much assigned right out of the Academy." Fick shrugged. "I felt grateful for the assignment though. It's not every day that a rookie gets to fly a ship like this. I mean, I did spend an extra year for Advanced Flight Training... so that might have something to do with it, but I really do feel like I lucked out getting this ship. I'm glad you guys don't hate me." He chuckled.
"What's there to hate?" said Mindo with a shrug. He finished the last of the cake, downed the remaining ice water in his glass, and hopped off his chair. "Duty calls. Thanks for the talk, Fick. I cherish our friendship."