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aphelion

PNPC Ensign Tad Cooper - My Dinner With Jordan, Part 2

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:: For someone who was trying to get Tad to loosen up, Jordan certainly seemed to be doing her best to keep him off balance. Everything from her surprisingly casual off-duty demeanor to the weird atmosphere of the restaurant she'd picked for their meeting - Tad refused to think of it as a date - was keeping Tad on edge. He decided to cut to the chase and try to make some sense out of the evening. ::

Cooper: So why exactly did you invite me here?

Jordan: ::shrugging:: I don't like to eat alone. And, also I guess I wanted to say again that I appreciate the help. You Constitution folks are all right in my book, no matter what anyone says.

Cooper: ::defensively:: Wait, what who says? What have you heard about....

:: Before he could finish his thought the waiter reappeared and laid a plate on the table before each of them. Tad was surprised at the speed with which their order was served. Then again, when the kitchen only offered whatever was handy instead of taking custom orders it probably cut down on preparation time. ::

Waiter: Here you are, two meats. Can I get you anything else?

Jordan: I think we're good for now. 

Waiter: All right, just call if you need anything. 

::The waiter flashed a grin that would have appeared predatory under other circumstances and left the pair alone. While Jordan began carving away at her meal without hesitation, Tad simply stared at his plate.  "Meat" was the only real way to describe it. There was a heap of it, and not only was it not all the same cut, it didn't appear to be all from the same animal. Still, it did smell appetizing enough. He cut a small piece from a larger hunk and chewed it tentatively. ::

Jordan: ::smiling hopefully:: Not bad, huh? The only problem is if you find somethin' ya like, ya really can't request it again next time. 

:: Tad nodded as he chewed. It really wasn't bad. ::

Jordan: Speakin' of food, I hear some of your crew got sick from that bad leaf. How are they doin'?

Cooper: They've mostly recovered, thankfully. Unfortunately some of them had complications. 

Jordan: I'm sorry to hear that. ::She shook her head.:: Gonna have to keep a closer eye on that black market for a while.

:: Tad nearly dropped his cutlery as he looked up in shock. ::

Cooper: Keep an eye...you mean wipe it out, right?

Jordan: ::snorting:: Wouldn't that be nice.

Cooper: ::His knuckles started to whiten as his grip on his knife and fork subconsciously tightened.:: It would be your duty. How can you acknowledge criminal activity on your station and do nothing to stop it?

:: Jordan put down her utensils and leaned forward to rest her elbows on the table. ::

Jordan: Lemme explain somethin'. You work on a ship. Now granted, it's a big'un. You got, what, maybe a thousand people on board?

Cooper: ::He forced down his rising ire.:: That's about right.

Jordan: And nearly all those people are Starfleet officers, trained to respect authority and follow orders. And most of the rest are families of those officers who probably ain't inclined to start much trouble, either.

:: Tad diverted his eyes downward as he started to suspect where she was going. ::

Jordan: ::She raised her hands to encompass the room in a sweeping motion.:: Have you seen the size of this place? At any given time there are nearly a million beings on this station, and relatively few of 'em are Starfleet. A lot of 'em are just visiting. They don't live here so they don't much care what happens here. They can raise all the hell they want 'cause they'll be in another system the next day. And a lot of the folks who do live here couldn't give two squirts about Federation law. My team makes up less than a percent of the population of this station, and it's our job to make sure the rest don't get too outta hand. If somethin' big happens, if there's a major threat, then believe we deal with it. If a couple 'a Ferengi are bootleggin' Saurian brandy from the back of their shuttle, we know about it, but we let it slide. We pick our battles here, Tad. We do everything we can, but nothin' we can't. Sure it ain't a perfect situation, but that's how it works in the [...] end of nowhere. 

:: Along silence fell between the two. Jordan resumed her meal while Tad just picked at his own, his appetite suddenly diminished. After some introspection he spoke up. ::

Cooper: I can see what you mean. I suppose I'm so used to having a structured surrounding I forget the whole galaxy isn't like that. 

Jordan: ::nodding:: I get that. I was the same way back when I was on a ship.

Cooper: ::looking up at her and chuckling:: You were on a ship? 

Jordan: ::frowning:: Uh, yeah. What's so funny about that?

Cooper: ::forcing his smile away:: Nothing, nothing. I'd like to hear about that, though.

Jordan: ::smirking:: Well, that's gonna hafta wait for another day. Recon I've bared enough of my soul for one night.

Cooper: Fair enough. I guess I'll just have to come back to the station again later.

Jordan: I guess you will. 

:: The rest of the evening passed in relative silence as they finished their meal. When Tad returned to the ship and retired to his quarters for the night, he reflected on what Jordan had said. Hearing the situation described from her perspective gave him something more to chew on. ::

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