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JP: Lt.Cmdr. Sabrina Holly & Cmdr. David Cody - Cooking Lessons & Kitchen Curveballs

David Cody

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((OOC - This happens around eighteen hundred Night One of Shore Leave. ))


((Command Dining Room, Deck 2 - USS Athena))


::Sabrina placed the replicated food on the table as she hesitantly awaited Cody’s arrival. Her last one on one meeting with him didn’t go as well as she had hoped. Sabrina knew that first impressions meant a lot, and people rarely got a chance for a second impression but Sabrina hoped that this dinner with Cody would give her a chance to prove that she was more than just a screw up with delusions of Grandeur. Sabrina also wanted to ask his help in preparing her for Command, mostly because she knew she needed help and now that she had read his file he seemed like the right person to ask.::


::The doors swooshed open as David’s nose twitched, responding to Sabrina’s earlier message. He was reviewing a number of things coming through on his slimpadd, including the data dump the tracker gave before Pavi and her crew warped out of the area. He had the woman’s file from the Bajorans now, and carefully reviewing it. He glanced at the Command dining room area, noting a door where he suspected might lurk kitchen facilities, before tucking his slimpadd under his arm and smiling as he spotted Sabrina.::


Holly: Hello Commander, thank you for joining me.


Cody: Evening, Commander. I understand you’ve had a stressful day.


Holly: Could have been worse. I can’t imagine your day was much better.


::Sabrina took her seat. Sabrina knew she had made a mess on the planet and the lecture only helped her realize that she wasn’t perfect and she wanted help getting that promotion.::


Cody: ::a slight nod:: It’s actually been a productive day. I was in the observation room attached to the interrogation room at the end of your run in with Prendar.


Holly: Ah..that..well...I can’t say I didn’t deserve it.


::David recalled the comments from Thomas, guessing correctly the nature of the conversation. He turned his eye toward the food on the table and arched a skeptical brow.::


Cody: You survived. ::indicating the plates:: Did this come from the kitchen?


Holly: :: Laughing :: I wish, I’m a dreadful cook. Its replicated. I hope it’s okay.


::David stared at her with widening, horrified eyes.::


Cody: I think you may have misinterpreted something. ::grabbing both of the plates, and marching them back to the replicator.:: Come with me, Commander.


Holly: Umm...okay…


::Without taking no for an answer, David got rid of the plates and marched directly for what he hoped was the kitchen, explaining along the way.::


::Sabrina followed him to the Kitchen, she was very confused as to why he seemed horrified at the thought of a replicated meal.::


Cody: In every quarters I’ve ever had, even if it’s not equipped with one, I cook my food, Miss Holly. I avoid replicated meals if I can, except during the lunch hour. When was the last time you’ve had a home cooked meal?


Holly: Last shore leave when my boyfriend cooked…


((Kitchen, Deck 2, USS Athena))


::Entering the kitchen, David proceeded to examine the contents on hand before selecting a Prime Rib, au ju, and several vegetables. He went to the stove top and turned on the heat, selecting a pan appropriate to sear both sides, then found the knives. He cut the rib into appropriate portions, set it aside, and used another knife to cut the vegetables.::


Cody: We can talk while I prep dinner.


Holly: Yes sir.


::Sabrina’s voice was almost meek, she was very timid and kind of embarrassed, all she had wanted was a nice dinner and to prove that she wasn't a screw up and she seemed to be proving the opposite.::


::Finishing with the cuts, David selected another pan, found the olive oil, and gave a small coat before tossing the vegetables into the pan. He quickly eviscerated a clove of garlic and studded the rib with it, along with a sprig of rosemary. He went to the oven and turned it on to the temperature he wanted.::


Cody: The key is your herbs. ::smiling:: Believe it or not, cooking is both therapeutic and relaxing. ::nodding to the counter:: Grab a knife and a couple of potatoes.


Holly: Okay, I guess adapting is part of the job.


::Sabrina grabbed a knife and some potatoes.Sabrina sliced the potatoes but they were very uneven. She has no idea what she was doing, but the point was to learn so she was treating it like a class at the Academy.::


::David glanced down and found what he was looking for, a couple of small empty cans. Grabbed them, he went to the sink, turned the water extremely hot, and dumped both of the small cans to sterilize as he checked on the room temperature of the meat. Not quite yet…::


::Coming back to the sink, David grabbed a towel, removed the smoking hot cans, and took them back to the cutting board station.::


Cody: Let those cool off a moment, then you’ll want to stuff those potatoes into both cans. Add a  little parsley, a dash of sour cream into the mash first. ::chuckling:: It’s an au gratin recipe I came across years ago.


Holly: If you say so. So the reason I asked you to join me tonight...


::Turning around, David grabbed some butter and spooned a small scoop onto the vegetables simmering in the pan. A dash of salt, a dash of both black pepper, oregano and cayenne… David smelled the flavor beginning to develop and smiled.::


Cody: Go ahead, I’m used to cooking and talking. What’s on your mind?


::Sabrina thought about it, the words just weren’t rolling out of her mouth. She wasn't used to asking people for help, so asking a Commander for help was really hard for her.::


Holly: I’m not very good at this, but um...I wanted to ask you for your help. I know I’m not the best Command choice, but I’d like to be.


::Perfect… the vegetables were simmering nicely and glancing back, David saw Sabrina mashing the potatoes into those small aluminum cans and smiled. Checking the oven temperature, he made a slight adjustment before finding a jar of whole black peppers. Swiping it, he returned to the rib and began studding the meat with peppercorns back at the station. He glanced up into Sabrina’s eyes with a wink and smile.::


Cody: What do you think are the qualifiers are for being a Commanding Officer? ::glancing at the potatoes:: How are you doing stuffing those cans?


Holly: Diplomatic skill, leading away missions that actually manage to complete the missions that don’t get most of the team killed, and proving to be a leader. However if this mission proved anything, its that I’m not as ready for Command as I hoped.


::Sabrina stuffed the potatoes into the cans. Prendar and Selene had given her a lot to think about and she still hadn’t fully processed everything.::


Cody: Command… is just like cooking.


Holly: Oh?


::Checking on the vegetables, David made a couple of adjustments before taking the potatoes stuffed in two cans, dumped them onto a sheet, and stuck them in the oven, setting a timer.::


Cody: Think about it like this. You’re given (x) ingredients to accomplish a meal. So you get the vegetables set up and let them do their thing, keeping an eye on how they’re developing because you may have to make a few adjustments here and there. You do the same with the potatoes, as well as the meat. The trick is making minor tweaks here and there while they do what they do best, keeping everything steered to the end result, what you’re going to put on the plate. ::grinning:: That is what command is all about, Sabrina. The ability to manage what you’ve set forth, knowing you’re going to have to make adjustments along the way. If you trust your ingredients, and add the right amount of herbs and spice with a few tweaks here and there… you end up with an excellent meal at the end. Try and turn them into something they’re not meant to be… your meal is a disaster you end up having to toss into the incinerator, and start over.


::Cody’s analogy actually made sense to Sabrina, and oddly enough it made Sabrina want to replicate a cookbook and teach herself how to cook. Maybe she could get Kani to teach her to cook if nothing else.::


Holly: That makes sense, I’m following you so far.


Cody: Now… let’s say the vegetables aren’t doing what they’re supposed to be doing, and somehow get stuck halfway. That tells me I have to go in, see what isn’t working, add some stuff to get it rekindled and back on track. ::winking:: You use what you have on hand and make the best of it, knowing you have to steer it here and there. The trick is recognizing when it needs to happen. Most of the time, your ingredients know what they’re doing. And if you pay attention and listen, you add or subtract as needed.


Holly: Okay that last part sounded a bit silly when applied to cooking.


::David barked a laugh.::


Cody: Same applies to an orchestra, if you like music. You have all these different instruments. Your job is to make them shine, both individually and collaboratively. It’s all about learning when and when not to act before everything spins into a disaster.


Holly: I guess that makes sense. Oh yea, after our last meeting I read your file. I felt a little embarrassed taking that meeting unprepared, and didn’t want to make the same mistake twice.


::Sabrina looked at Cody. She had managed to get a dinner with him but for some reason she couldn’t get five minutes alone with her own boyfriend and she wasn't too happy about that.::


::Leveling her a long stare, David raised a hand.::


Cody: Let me finish your question and we'll get to that, okay?


Holly: Alright.


Cody: Now... the more you get to know your ingredients, you'll realize the various combinations are going to develop interesting and different flavors. That's not a bad thing. If anything, you want to see what those flavors develop and add to the meal at the end. Unique flavors are always encouraged when they develop, because they can add an unique spice to the meal you're preparing. But... don't let them get out of control, either.


Holly: That makes sense. Now I kinda want cooking lessons.


::With everything simmering and baking to the end, David took the meat and set it on the heated pan, searing one side, then the other.::


Cody: And then we get to the grand finale... that final touch which makes the experience memorable.


::Taking the pan of seared meat, David removed it from the stove and shoved it into the oven for a few minutes, then pulled it out.::


Holly: Kind of like a promotion banquet as the final touch on a grueling mission in the middle of nowhere?


Cody: Yep.


::Spinning around, David took a padded pot holder, removed the vegetables, and set them aside to rest. He pulled the oven open, removed the canned potatoes au gratin, setting both of them aside to cool. While letting them rest, he went and extracted two good plates, a pair of napkins, and silverware for two place settings.::


::Plates on one of the side tables, David plated the vegetables first, then dumped the potatoes out of their tubes, two logs, then took a carving knife and went over to slice thin slices of medium rare prime rib, laying all of the ingredients on the plate for final presentation.::


Cody: You could replicate a meal, and sure, it might have the same taste... but if you go directly from point A to point Z, ::with a direct stare:: you miss the experience of the journey that gets us there. And, you don't learn how to multi-task. Many up and coming Command officers mistake multitasking for micro-managing. Your job is to multi-task, with however many dishes you've got in the works. Not micro-manage them.


Holly: The journey...I guess I lost sight of that, there was my first mistake.


::Sabrina realized that she had stopped focusing on the journey somewhere after seeing Gwen die on the Atlantis. She was going to lose officers on the job, it came with the territory but she had to remember that she couldn't lose sight of the journey no matter the destination.::


Holly: Shall we take this delightful meal to the dining room?


::David's crooked smile formed as he grabbed the plates.::


Cody: Let's eat. If you wouldn't mind grabbing the napkins and silverware, I'd appreciate the help.


Holly: No problem.


::As such, teamwork from beginning to end. David led Sabrina back into the dining area and set the plates down before considering.::


Cody: One sec.


::He disappeared back into the kitchen briefly, and re-emerged with two wine glasses and a bottle of 2373 Picard Cabernet Sauvignon, along with a corkscrew. He set one of the glasses at Holly's seat, the other at his place setting, popped the cork, sniffed, then poured her 1/3 of a glass as well as himself.::


Cody: ::feeling a sense of relaxation:: With the final embellishing touch.


::Sabrina tilted her head, if she didn’t know any better this felt a little more like a first date then a casual dinner the casual dinner with a coworker that it was supposed to be. Though Sabrina noted that that was mostly her fault for not realizing that he didn’t like replicated food in the first place.::


Holly: So Commander what are we toasting to?


::Coming around, David slid into the seat, unfolded the napkin to set it in his lap, and toasted the wine glass.::


Cody: A toast to your eventual success as a command officer. ::taking a small sip:: So... what else would you like to talk about?


::Sabrina toasted her glass and took a sip herself. She liked having someone she could talk to. She would have love to have this chat with Cassie or someone who was in the Temple but other than Cody and the Captain she was pretty sure Prendar was the only one with the right clearances to talk to about this kind of thing.::


Holly: Something on the planet actually...the Temple hologram called itself the Warden and said something that was kind of bizarre when I tried to ascertain its purpose.


::Sabrina thought back to the conversation in the Temple. She wanted to word it just right so she choose her next words carefully.::


Cody: ::with one raised brow:: Oh?


Holly: The hologram said it was a caretaker maintaining a synchronized connection to its assigned waystation points within this galaxy and that it was not at liberty discuss anymore about its operations besides that. I’m fairly certain it’s relevant to the mission, I’m just not sure how. Do you think the Captain would know what the hologram was talking about?


::Sabrina looked at Cody for a reaction and a response. All of the people in the Temple had been just as confused as she was. The difference between them and her, they probably would think little of it and Sabrina wanted to know what relevance it held to their original mission.::


::Well, if nothing else, that confirmed something David postulated to himself. Revealing nothing, he ate a bit and took another sip of wine as he considered this new influx of information. So... the Waystations were Yeltan in origin. While he was doing research, David didn't pay too much attention to the symbols already logged from the other two places. He meant to do that later, but he felt a tug of familiarity.::


Cody: Well, you've been read into why we went to Sigarus III. What do you think?


Holly: I think it means that there could be Yeltan waystations in our galaxy that could hold Yeltan secrets, possibly even gates and if that’s accurate then we need to find and close them before the Hunger figure this out and use it against us.


::David eyed her a moment, assessing what Sabrina said.::


Cody: I have to admit I'm curious why you would ask me. I wasn't a part of the away team and didn't get a chance to look at the temple or converse with Bashir about the symbols.


Holly: I’m asking you because frankly as far as Command level officers, even on a ship this big are kind of limited and I’ve read your file, its colorful to say the least. The people high enough on the chain of Command I think I am actually allowed to ask about this are you, the Captain, and Commander Prendar. I do intend to bring it up with them, but you were first on the list mostly because out of the three I think you’re the least mad at me right now.


::Sabrina wasn’t usually this nervous but she’d never been confronted with classified anything before. If the hologram deemed it classified she didn't want to be discussing it with the Ensigns who were in the Temple with her, she wanted it a bit higher up on the chain of command.::


::David indicated the food as he continued to eat as he contemplated this.::


Cody: Tell you what. The room here  isn’t secured for this kind of conversation, and I don’t have the tools on hand I would need to secure this place. If you’d like to discuss aspects of this mission, I would prefer to have that conversation in a place I can secure without ears listening in.


Holly: Fair enough.


Cody: How did the plate turn out?


Holly: Really good, thank you.


::They continued eating until they finished. David stood and collected the dishes, indicating Sabrina to follow.::


::Leading her back into the kitchen, David began cleaning up, washing the dishes, putting ingredients away, wiping the counters, sweeping up. As he would on any given night if he were cooking for himself.::


::Sabrina followed Cody, the indication that they needed a more secure room the the Command dinning room was a shallow indication of just how classified the information she was requesting actually was.::


Holly: Any other Command tips for me?


Cody: There’s one last thing I can teach you about command.


Holly: I’m all ears.


::Whirling, David took her hand, spun her as if they were dancing a Waltz, before bringing her close, their mouths inches apart.::


Cody: ::whispering:: At any given moment, a curveball can happen. Before a blink, and this close. Prendar took you through one aspect. Now you’re in a complete opposite situation. Remember, a kiss can be just as deadly as a blade.


::Sabrina felt her heart racing, she really did feel like this was a date more now than it did as they sat down to dinner a few moments ago. Sabrina didn't know how to respond.::


::He stepped back, breaking off all physical contact with a nod of respect.::


Holly: Um…


::Sabrina locked eyes with Cody as she stood against the counter. She had almost wanted to kiss him a second ago, and if he hadn’t pulled away she may have. That would have led to an awkward conversation with Jason later.::


Holly: So you said something about wanting a secure location, my office, yours or do you have another location in mind?


::David narrowed his blue gaze as a knowing smile flashed.::


Cody: ::softly:: Where is your head at right now, Commander? And be honest. A lie you tell yourself is a lie you'll tell someone else.


Holly: I would say cloud nine wondering if you’re making a pass at me Commander.


::Sabrina couldn't believe she had just vocalized it, but there it was. He was the one being flirty after all. Sabrina just didn’t know how to feel about it.::


Cody: ::gentle:: And how did it make you feel?


Holly: Awkward would be the word for it seeing that I’m already in a relationship and that you’re my acting mentor.


::Sabrina had to sort out the rest of her feelings, but she didn't want to do that right now. Maybe an actual counseling session with either Mellie or Kani would help..she could probably use one of those after this mission anyway.::


Cody: Sabrina… ::smiling::


Holly: Yes?


Cody: The point of the exercise is you need to guard your heart. I’m not going to say there is or isn’t an attraction. First and foremost, I am your friend, and your mentor. I have never, in my entire run in Starfleet, ever abused my power, nor ever will. I play by a very strict code... but the truth is any romantic interests in my life usually become targets. ::smiling and crinkling his eyes:: I’m damaged goods.


::Sabrina met his eyes. There was chemistry, it was almost undeniable, but she had a boyfriend who she cared for deeply. He was safe, the kind of family man she had dreamed of her whole life. Sabrina didn't know why Cody had flirted as he did only to explain himself like that, but in a way she was glad he did.::


Holly: I...don't believe you’re damaged, maybe you just need the right girl.


::The right girl… David nearly laughed. He knew exactly what he was. A father, a bachelor, a man who was considered a legend by some, but no one really knew outside of a few people who shaped and forged him into what he became. He had yet to meet the woman who understood and accepted him for who he was.::


::Sabrina would find her way. He treasured being her mentor, and admitted to himself, deep within himself, yes, the chemistry was there… but for all he knew, he might end up in an unmarked grave. A hornet’s nest of extremely powerful people with far reach were out there.::


Cody: I’ve seen several potential candidates lead by the heart. It only lasts so long. This is the final lesson you need to learn. The mind must lead the heart, not the other way around. If the wrong person gets inside your heart…


::Stepping back in, David gave Sabrina a hug, and a fast lightning kiss.::


Cody: ::whispering:: Go back to your boyfriend, and think about what just happened tonight.


::Sabrina saw the truth in his eyes, he honestly believed what he was saying to her. Sabrina smiled at him, the kiss still lingered on her lips. She would have to explain that to Jason, and tell him that she was kissed by a Commander...and that she wasn’t sure how she felt about it just yet.::


Holly: Yes sir…I...should go…


::Almost unwillingly Sabrina gave David one last smile before leaving the kitchen. She wanted to catch some shut eye now that the hard stuff was out of the way, though she would have to make an appointment with David so they could have that other chat.::


Cody: ::calling out:: One last thing. Do not, under any circumstance, take a bullet for me.


Holly: I would put myself on the line for you or any other officer I serve with, for the good of Starfleet. It comes with the job, David.


::His words made even less sense, through it all she just wanted to go to her quarters and cuddle Princess Cupcake the one person she could love unconditionally.::


Cody: ::shaking his head:: I made my bed a long time ago. ::the soft, unrevealed smile came out, usually hidden from decades of sorrow, painful experiences:: Remember what I’ve taught you, and steel your heart. Your boyfriend is a lucky man. Don’t let go of him.


Holly: :: Meekly :: Even you can be saved.


Cody: ::an exhausted, sad smile:: I go to bed every night with that thought. Whether it’s true or not, that’s a different story.


::Sabrina didn’t even wait for him to stop her again, he had confused her enough for one night. Departing the kitchen, she left for her quarters.  Her eyes had already started watering and she couldn’t help but feel conflicted that she had cheated on her boyfriend only to be told that the man who had just kissed her wanted nothing to do with her and wanted her to stay with her current boyfriend. She had no idea how Jason would react, if he reacted at all and even if their relationship did survive, would it ever be the same?::


::After she left, David slumped against the counter and closed his eyes. He never hated himself more than just now. He remained there, quiet and disgusted with himself, hearing the hums of engines and the quiet space of the kitchen along with the dining area. A lightning flash within his memory from earlier today ghosted.::


Cody: Doesn’t make your job any easier. ::a moment:: If it matters, I think most understand you’re just doing your job.


Prendar: ::chuckling:: Very few think that. I think I’ve been mostly described as a [...].


::Right now, David felt like one. And he deserved it.::


JP by


Lieutenant Commander Sabrina Holly

Executive Officer

USS Athena







Commander David Cody

Mission Specialist

USS Athena, NCC-97780


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