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Dinner on the Docks

Posted on Wed Jan 26th, 2022 @ 2:14pm by Quinlan Barrett Poe & Ezra Rainbird & Ashe Sparrowhawk & Addy Stone & Shepherd Harley & Ono Young-Jae & Kane
Edited on on Tue Apr 26th, 2022 @ 10:02pm

Mission: The Xiao Jin Chronicles
Location: Dining Area, Xiao Jin
Timeline: Mission Day 2 at 1700

With the memory of breakfast, and that before Young-Jae had finished his grocery run, Poe was actually looking forward to dinner for once. He stood at the top of the ramp and watched Charlie Fields, bag in hand, disappear into the crowd. More to him than first meets the eye, he thought. Weren't time to figure it out though, him not being the trusting sort and all. He shook his head, lips pressed together. Wouldn't hurt to keep an ear out though. He turned and walked back into the cargo bay, stopping only at the control panel to hit the button. Satisfying, he thought. Closed up tight with a full crew, passengers, and the promise of work. He listened as the ramp began its lift for the tell-tale groan. The Xiao Jin voicing its protest and when he didn't hear it, the left side of his mouth lifted the tiniest little bit. Addy. He bet coin on it.

Having tidied her room, Sula felt much more at home, though she wondered if some more color in the room would help more. Then again, she might only be there until Boros. Who knew? There was information out there that she needed to know. When she found it was God's will. Lost in her thoughts, she lost track of time. "Shǐ bǎ ba," Sula quietly whispered at herself. "Maybe I can still get there before the Captain."

Luck was not on Sula's side, as she saw the Captain's back. "Captain," she said deferentially.

"Shepherd," Poe said as the newest member of the crew came up beside him. "You'll be pleasantly surprised, I think. Young-Jae is a fine cook."

Sula was not certain who Jae was, but she was certain she would find out before the dinner was completed.

Addy, after finally settling that the Shepherd was the last visitor they'd have on the ramp for the day and making sure all the oil and rags found their way back to being stowed, had taken the opportunity to visit her bunk and was more than a touch dismayed at the amount of grease that had found its way from the rags to her hands and then on to her face and neck. Did she really touch her face that much? She sighed, taking a moment to evaluate whether the mess could be cleaned here or if a shower was needed. With a small shrug she settled on the shower, making quick use of the facilities and, dressed with wet hair dampening her collar, she made her way down the gangway and into the kitchen, nose waiting for the tantalizing aroma that she knew to be Young-Jae's particular brand of delicious.

The Shepherd and Quinlan were already present and she stopped at the door, looking between them, before making her way in with a quiet hello to both and over to see if she could be any help with the dinner.

He murmured a greeting back, watching her retreat into the kitchen, and wondered if this was how it would always be between them. Polite neutrality. Rather than think about it he turned his attention back to the shepherd.

Sula smiled back at Addy and gave her a nod as she seemed to be in a hurry to get into the kitchen. Her gaze strayed back to the Captain, who seemed a bit distracted by Addy's appearance. She wondered if he realized how Addy obviously felt about him. The room momentarily having been emptied, the silence weighed heavily upon the Shepherd. "So, uh, Captain, are there assigned seats? As I've only been on the crew for a few hours, I thought that perhaps I should know something like that."

"Not so far," Poe said. He turned as Ashe walked in and drew her aside. "After dinner, I want you to get us moving. Give me an ETA for Boros."

Short answers without much conversation. And he accused me of hiding things. What is it that he hides? Sula excused herself and found a seat on the right hand side of the table.

Ashe watched the woman leave with professional disinterest in her eyes. She was paid to fly the ship, not to wonder about everybody's opinions. "About three days," Ashe responded to Poe's inquiry. "A bit less."

A slight Japanese man produced himself with the first sets of dishes. "Dubu Jorim," he stated over what looked like braised, spiced cakes of tofu with some green onion. "Jjajangmyeon," he said of a thick noodle dish that looked to have a pungent black sauce to it. As usual, he plated the first offerings to the first in station- that being the Captain. Then he whisked himself back into the kitchen for the rest of the crew's. His shopping companion was nowhere to be seen, and Young Jae recalled that something seemed to have spooked him. But with the ship heading away, he wondered what would possess the man to stay on Persephone.

Young Jae produced himself again with another round of noodle and cake plates, having conscripted Addy to carry another round.

Poe slipped into his seat and waited while the others did the same. His hooded gaze took in the group assembled around the table, crew and passenger alike. "Welcome to the Xiao Jin," he said to the Ezra and Kane. "As passengers, you'll be expected to restrict yourself to the dining area, bathroom, and your quarters while we're en route to Boros. The bridge, engine room, and crew deck are strictly off limits."

Sula swallowed hard, not realizing that she had violated one of the Captain's rules. Then again, how could he blame her for violating something that she never was told. Looking over at Kane, she gave an apologetic shrug.

Kane hadn't heard the Captain's words regarding his rules on-board as he was elsewhere. He couldn't remember the last time he had a communal meal like this before. Following assisting the Shep-Doc in bringing her bedding to his quarters, he hit the head, then returned to his cabin where he drank a few more glasses of scotch before it was time for dinner. It was the Judge that had reminded him about meal time. He begrudgingly came along. His mind was lost on her words from earlier as he looked up to Sula, remembering what had happened. Was he the tadpole or the butterfly? He felt croaky like a toad or was it a frog?

"Of course, of course," Ezra said. "Perfectly acceptable." He watched the crew serving individual portions and blinked in surprise at the sight of actual food. Most transport vessels just served something heated up and he congratulated himself on making the right choice. This, he thought, is a ship I would travel on again. Clean rooms. Real food. Reasonable price.

A moment later, Ezra's plate space was filled with Korean cuisine- tofu proteins, noodles, a few veggies and best of all, some sauces to give the whole thing some flavor. And next, Young Jae settled a plate before the Shepherd. His ears had perked to the guidelines the Captain had laid out for his guests. Without judgment or voice, he went into the galley to fetch the last of the dishes, including one for him. His shoulder brushed Addy's as they passed.

Addy's head tipped to the side to look at Young-Jae, giving the man a warm smile and a soft tap with her shoulder when he brushed her. There were many things for which she was appreciative, but finding herself berthed on the same ship with the man who had been so kind to her as she sorted through the change from Sweethome to the black was very high on her list. She set her bowls before a rough looking Kane, leaning over his shoulder to the scent of something alcoholic. A frown crossed her features, but she didn't pry, turning instead to place the other bowl in front of Ashe. She offered the other woman a smile. They hadn't had opportunity to know each other yet, but she was eager to do so.

Kane froze slightly as Lil' Red as he had started to call her, she was Addy to the others had leaned over to place his bowl in front of him. She smelt like clean and soap. He couldn't recall the last time he had showered since... he turned his face over his shoulder to thank her but turned back around when he saw the frown across her features.

All of her dishes settled, she turned to return to the kitchen finding Young-Jae exiting with the last two. She took one of the two open chairs instead and grinned at him. "This looks amazing," she said quietly.

Sula watched as everyone filled their plates. The feast looked exotic to her but she was not shy of new foods. Back in the war, anything would have sufficed. "Does everyone mind if I say Grace?" she asked the crowd.

"I don't mind," Ashe lied with a smile. Honestly, she would rather just dig into the wonderful looking food instead of waiting for it to get cold while somebody prayed to a god that she didn't believe in, but she wasn't here to make enemies. A reasonable tone of politeness was the least she could offer.

Addy looked from the Shepherd to Poe and back, waiting. She tried to search her memory for whether Poe had ever mentioned being religiously inclined, but couldn't recall it if he had. With how the man had responded to Sula on the ramp she really couldn't say what she expected.

"Long as you say it to yourself, I don't mind at all," Poe answered as he took a first bite of the food. It came as a surprise the taste of it though it shouldn't have considered the wonders that Young-Jae had performed for breakfast given the meager state of the pantry this morning. He hummed appreciatively. "Young-Jae, you have again, outdone yourself."

Sula's eyes widened at Poe's response and then narrowed harshly at Poe when he took a bite. Choosing to bite her tongue, she clasped her hands together over her plate, bowed her head, and then recited in her head a small prayer of thanks and grace. Having completed that, she picked out some food, put it on her plate and determined that she would have to pray for Poe's guidance before bed this evening. Her bottom lip pushed forward as she mulled her meal and took some hesitant bites.

It only took the signal from Poe for Addy to shrug and dig in. She mumbled her appreciation around a bite full, grinning at Young-Jae and rolling her eyes back appreciatively. Once the first few bites we consumed she slowed and nodded to her friend. "You sure cooking isn't your calling?" She asked with a wink. "Even some of my Mama's good can't compete with the magic you produce." She shoveled another mouthful and popped her eyebrows at him before turning back to her meal.

Kane looked from Shep-Doc to the man they called Poe. He recalled he had issued a demand that passengers were restricted to certain areas of the ship, "Let the good Shep-Doc say, Grace, Cap'n. Maybe she could perform a blessing or two."

Slowly, Sula raised her head and looked at Kane with wide-eyed awe. Hesitantly, she said, "It is alright, Kane. It is the Captain's ship. His rules. God repays each person with what they have done in life and we are told to obey. Even in slavery, we are taught to curry favor with our masters with heart and reverence for the Lord."

From his perch of leaning against the kitchen cabinets and able to watch the crew, Young Jae shook his head with some bemusement. He fished at some of the kimchi that bordered his main dish with chopsticks. Anglos had amusing notions of spirituality. So very.... external.

"Alright," Kane nodded to Sula while he looked down at the glass of water half-empty wishing it was the amber liquid of his choice. He picked it up taking a sip before setting the glass down and taking a few bites of his meal before looking over to Young Jae, "Xiexie for dinner. Very good."

Dinner continued. Awkward silences interspersed with bits of conversation. Poe wondered privately at the wisdom of having passengers on board and resolved to stay on the lookout for cargo instead. As the meal wound down, he gathered his dished and stood up, stopping nearest the newest member of his crew. "Shepherd," he said quietly, "you help Young-Jae with cleanup."

He took his dishes out to the kitchen, a bit of early training that just never went away, and headed toward his cabin. He had some work to do and a whole lot of thinking about how this was all going to work. The wisdom of an armory, for instance, and ammo storage. He nodded to Young-Jae, who was already proving his worth, "I"ll be in my cabin," he said. "Got some work to do on the books."


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