trekwriter151: by <lj user="cedarrapidsgirl>" (malcolm hoshi)
[personal profile] trekwriter151
Chef does wonders with mokka on Movie Night. Hoshi wears 'that dress', and the crew discovers the joy of Dnayui chocolate.

Mentions of 'Charlie and the Chocolate Factory', 'Chocolate' and 'Winnie the Pooh'

Italian: pasticceria di cioccolatto (chocolate shop), captiano (captain, referring to Archer), amore (love), Tenente (Lieutenant), ragazzi (people, used in this case, it's more like the Southern ya'll), ciao a tutti! (See you later, everyone!

OCs: Ensign Philippe Trieste appears in "Five Weddings (and a Funeral for my Sanity)" and "A Klingon and an Englishman Walk into a Bar". He's Travis's gamma-shift helmsman. Lieutenant Capetl and Ensign Mujera work in Astrometrics and will appear again in a future story, "A Crack in the Universe"

The 'Dancing Courtyard' lived up to its name. The main square of the Dnayui capital city was composed of green and silver glass tile, inlaid with ruby and sapphire. The butter-yellow marble columns reflected the sunlight like huge prisms. The whole effect dazzled the eyes and brain. Liz wondered aloud how much this entire block was worth; Hoshi estimated it cost a small moon and then some.

The Enterprise crew met at a portico on the eastern side of the Courtyard. By the time Hoshi and Liz arrived there, a majority of the senior staff took refuge in the shade. Captain Archer waved them over, while Chef regaled his adventures to a bemused Malcolm and Trip. Hoshi noticed Travis and T'Pol weren't there.

Chef smiled as the women approached and turned back to Archer. "And Signorina Hoshi and Signorina Elisabetta found this pasticceria de cioccolatto that is the gem of the quadrant, Capitano," added Chef. "The Master Baker spent the better part of two hours showing me the process of cooking the mokka. The completed product is heavenly."

"Mokka, eh?" Jon said with a glance at Hoshi. "Leave it to Hoshi to find chocolate on an alien planet. She's got some kind of internal radar for it."

She shrugged. "What can I say? It's a necessity in the universe."

"Maybe we can rig up something in the sensor array to detect the faintest trace of the stuff," Trip mused. "It might be a lifesaver one day. Whaddaya think, Malcolm?"

The Armory Officer rolled his eyes. "I can just see it now. 'Lieutenant Commander, we need to realign the chocolate-detection sensor array. It's throwing off the targeting sensors.' Perhaps we can pack the torpedoes with a healthy dose of Cadbury Dark."

"Hey, that's a waste of good chocolate!" Hoshi protested, punching him lightly on the arm. He smirked in reply.

"You gonna share, then, Chef?" Trip asked.

Chef grinned. "I have a special menu in mind, Commander Tucker."

"Can't wait for it. I think it'll be great," Liz Cutler piped up from the back. "I know Phlox is gonna appreciate it. Denobula has something like chocolate and I know he indulges now and then. Most Vulcans don't care for chocolate, though; it's too sweet for them.”

Malcolm shook his head. "Pity."

"More for us then," Trip said cheerfully.

"Trip, be nice," Jon warned with a grin.

Hoshi frowned and asked, “Speaking of Commander T'Pol...where is she? Travis, too.”

Chief Desgauld answered her question. “Commander T'Pol and Lieutenant Mayweather went back to Enterprise, Lieutenant Sato. I believe he mentioned that the commander wasn't feeling well.”

Trip frowned at the master chief's words and exchanged a quick look of concern with Liz. “She okay?”

“I think Travis said that Commander T'Pol needed to get away from the crowd. Something about needing to meditate. I called Crewman Thielmann in stores and had him break out the lavender candles for her. Sounded like she needed it.”

Desgauld shrugged and said modestly, “It's my job, Commander Tucker.”

“I'm still on leave, Chief. You can call me Trip.”

Hoshi breathed a sigh of relief. It made sense that so many minds in one place could overwhelm someone as psychically sensitive like T'Pol. Hoshi had managed to distract herself with the exciting goings-on all around her, but now that she had time to catch her breath, she did feel faintly uncomfortable.

A gentle hand dropped on her shoulder and startled her. “Are you all right, Hoshi? You look tired.”

She looked up at Malcolm, whose blue-gray eyes betrayed his concern. She managed a smile and replied, “I'm all right, but I can definitely sympathize with T'Pol on how the crowd can overwhelm you. I'll be glad for a little peace and quiet when we get back to the ship.”

He nodded in agreement and the hand on her shoulder tightened slightly. “I wholly agree. It does get to be a bit much, even if you're used to it.”

She sighed; she, T'Pol and Malcolm shared that in common. Of course, this organized chaos might set even people like Phlox and Travis on edge, and those two were used to crowds and cramped quarters.

The shrill whine of a communicator cut through the noise of the square. Jon flipped his open and said, "Archer."

"We've got you on final approach, Captain," came the Gallic-accented voice of Travis's gamma shift helmsman, Ensign Philippe Trieste. "Did you have a good time on Dnayu, sir?"

"I certainly did, Ensign," Archer replied heartily. "I heard a certain helmsman won first prize in the Dnayu Hotsled Races."

They all could feel Philippe's blush over the comm channel. "Yeah, it was quite a ride, sir, but I think I'll settle for something a little less thrilling for a while."

"You can tell us all about it later, Philippe."

"Aye, sir."

It took twenty minutes for Trieste to land the shuttlepod; the skies were just as busy as the ground, but somehow Dnayui Ground Control handled the chaos with relative ease. The trip back to Enterprise took less time-and that included the time for the bay to repressurize. When the landing deck officer gave the all-clear, the crew went their separate ways. Malcolm headed for the armory, Trip for engineering, Archer to the bridge, Chef for the galley and Chief Desgauld to stores. As Hoshi waited for Liz to climb down from the shuttlepod with her packages, she noticed something glimmering in the bright lights of the shuttle deck.

"What's this?" she asked aloud and picked up the thin crystalline rectangle. It had Dnayui script on it and a circular disk wrapped in maroon foil in the corner. Hoshi sniffed and caught the deep aroma of mokka from the disk.

"You find something, Hoshi?" Liz asked.

"It's a calling card of some sort," Hoshi answered, her eyes on the characters. "A courtesan's name, and a set of numbers."

"A com-code?"

"I don't think so. It isn't in the right format for that. Maybe directions?"

Liz snorted. "You mean to tell me one of the guys dropped it?"

"Had to be. I wonder who it was." Hoshi frowned at the thought of Malcolm having a courtesan card, but she shook her head. It's not like you have a permanent hold on the man. He's a good friend, that's all. It's not like you're married to him or anything. But a little voice in her head wailed, Yeah, but—"

"I bet it's Trip's. He's always had a way with the ladies. I mean, he got that fabric artisan to make him that horrid-looking tunic in less than an hour." Liz put a hand on her shoulder. "Honestly, I don't see Malcolm, Chief Desgauld or the captain carrying that around. And Chef? Can you imagine a courtesan giving him one of those? He really had to whip up one hell of a meal for her."

"Filled with aphrodisiacs and spices," Hoshi said with an evil grin. "And a hefty slice of mokka."

Liz grinned back. "Uh-oh. Why do I have the feeling you've got some kind of naughty idea?"

Hoshi's smile just widened a fraction, but she didn't say anything else.

Tuesday night was Movie Night. Trip arranged it to be a double feature: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Chocolat. Granted, neither movie promised huge explosions, but Hoshi managed to convince Malcolm to go. She spent the day in the galley with Chef, translating and organizing the Dnayui recipes. Like everything else, the culinary creations were beautiful and delicious, but took several hours to prepare. She couldn't imagine a better way to spend her day off, unless she was learning a brand new language, which she was.

Chef combined his pastry skills with the mokka and the results were stunning. A three-tiered mokka cake for the centerpiece, decorated with whipped cream and cherries, surrounded by piles of the triangular-shaped candy, small rounds of chocolate cheesecake and muffins. Hoshi poured the ingot-shaped, maroon-wrapped candy in a clear glass bowl.

"There's enough for everyone on board to have at least one," she said. "There are ninety pieces."

"Then we have to make sure all who are currently on duty has a piece," Chef said. "I will recruit Crewman Cunningham to help me distribute the candy."

"Thanks, Chef." She sighed and looked around the decorated Mess Hall. "This is going to be a special night; I can feel it."

"Ah, amore," he said in a knowing tone. "However did you manage to get Signor Reed to say yes to this event?"

"I bribed him," Hoshi replied with a smile, then she wandered away, leaving a curious Chef in her wake. She headed for her quarters and ran into Liz Cutler on the way. Liz wore a blue silk tunic, bought from the fabric stand on Dnayu, and black slacks, with her brown hair held back by a simple blue band. Liz grinned at Hoshi and waved.

"It's all ready," Hoshi said. "All I have to do is get ready in time for Malcolm to come pick me up."

"What're you wearing?" Liz asked. "That red dress you got from Dnayu?"

She nodded. "Mind if you give me a hand?"

Liz grinned widely. "Sure. Don't want to uncover anything you don't want uncovered, right?"

Hoshi blushed and motioned Liz into her cabin. Luckily no one was in the corridor to hear Liz's remark.

"Hey, Cunningham, nice of you to stop by!" called Lieutenant Anna Hess.

She waved as the captain's steward left the Engineering deck and brought her attention to the wrapped chocolate in her hand. The piece was smaller than most candies she was used to; barely the length of half her pinky finger. Yet the most wonderful aroma tickled her nose: chocolate with a touch of spiciness, like the Mexican blend of cocoa her father brought home after his long trips. She unwrapped the foil with nimble fingers and popped the candy into her mouth. The taste exploded on her tongue and she leaned against the railing in reaction.

Wow! This thing has a kick! But it's so wonderful! A sense of euphoric bliss came over her; she felt like she was standing in a warm beam of sunlight after a night's rain. Slowly, it faded, but it still left a rosy feeling in the pit of her stomach.

"Wow," muttered Crewman Rostov. He looked about as stunned as she felt. "I gotta get the recipe from Cunningham. He'd give Chef a run for his money."

"That, or he'll have every woman on board running after him for another piece," Hess quipped, "and I wouldn't blame them a bit."

Lieutenant Capetl from Astrometrics brought the candy close to his face. "I hope you aren't trying to give me some kind of message, Antonio."

Chef laughed, a bass rumble that attracted the rest of the on-duty Astrometrics team. "No, no, Tenente Capetl! This is a token of goodwill from our friends the Dnayui, a piece of delicious mokka to tempt your taste buds."

"Smells divine," murmured Ensign Mujera. She eagerly accepted her piece and smelled it, as if inhaling a fragrant bouquet of wine. "Floral smell, like someone dipped a rose petal in chocolate."

"You should've been a poet," Capetl groused, but he smiled as he said it.

"Poetry is in my blood, Tenente," she said with a shrug. "It doesn't matter if it's a piece of candy or a double-barreled spiral galaxy. Though given the two, I'll take the candy first."

Chef laughed again as the rest of the Astrometrics team each took a piece out of the glass tray. "A woman after my own heart. Well, I must make more deliveries before the start of Movie Night in the Mess Hall. I'm glad that I was able to lighten your day, ragazzi. Ciao a tutti!"

"Ciao!" "See ya later, Chef!" called the team as Chef took his tray of delights elsewhere. Capetl sighed and tucked the morsel in his jumpsuit pocket. He wanted to get back to his data analyses; Commander T'Pol wanted them by the end of the shift.

"All right, let's get back to work!" he called. Several of his people had already consumed their mokka and were chattering about how each person had tasted a different flavor. Mujera said she'd had the scent of roses flood her nose as she ate her piece. Bellings claimed that his had a touch of vanilla. Navarrette was convinced she had mint in hers.

Capetl was tempted to try his, but told himself it could wait after he got off-shift. It would be a reward for a job well done, providing his analyses met up to Commander T'Pol's exacting standards.

He sighed and went back to his console. This was going to be a long evening.

"What a delightful movie!" Phlox said, as the lights came up after Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. He smiled at Liz, who sat next to him. "The boy, Charlie, inherited the candy factory because of his honesty and fortitude. Definitely a good tale for children!"

"It's always been one of my favorite movies," said Liz. "My sister thought the Oompa-Loompas were kinda cute." She hummed a snatch of the "Oompa Loompa Song", much to the amusement of the people around them.

"And what about the part when that girl swelled up into a grape-like thing?" Trip put in. "When I was a kid, I couldn't touch bubble gum for the longest time after I saw this movie for the first time.. Kinda worried I would puff up like a balloon if I chewed it too long."

Phlox chuckled and waved a finger. "The Denobulan Huffalump exudes a toxin that when ingested in large amounts, causes fluid build-up in the body. But the smallest drop or two is used to flavor medicines for children."

"Huffalump?" Trip repeated. "Like in the Winnie the Pooh stories?"

At Phlox's confused look, Liz laughed and tried to describe the elephant-like Heffalump in the A.A. Milne stories. The Denobulan brightened as he finally understood. "I don't know who this Milne was, but he must have been to Denobula. That is exactly how the Huffalump looks like!"

Trip blinked, then burst out into raucous laughter. He turned to see Malcolm sitting there, rolling his eyes, and said, "C'mon, Malcolm! Don't tell me that your mama never read you bedtime stories!"

Malcolm groaned and was about to say something when the intercom beeped. "Armory to Lieutenant Commander Reed."

He walked quickly to the com and said, "Reed here."

"Sir, we've got a problem."

Malcolm sighed and shot an apologetic look at Hoshi. She glared at him. Don't you dare, her eyes seemed to say.

"What's the problem?"

"Um...we were cleaning the phase pistols and rifles like you ordered, Lieutenant Commander, and...well, we're missing a few pistols."

"Missing a few?" His voice was a low growl. Such sloppiness was abominable! "Define 'a few', Crewman Michaels."

Michaels gulped audibly on the line. "Three, sir."

"How the bloody hell could you lose three phaser pistols?" He kept his tone low, but cold anger ran through it. Out of the corner of his shoulder, he saw Hoshi there. She'd overheard the conversation, and was now standing there, biting her lip.

"I–I don't know, sir. We've done a search for them, but they're not in the Armory, and no one has signed them out..."

"I want a thorough scan of the decks, Ensign. Three missing phase pistols in the wrong hands is a danger to the ship and crew. I'll be there momentarily."

"Yes, sir." Michaels closed the channel with a snap.

Malcolm sighed and closed his eyes for a moment. Then he turned to Hoshi. "Hoshi, I—"

"I understand, Malcolm. This is something you need to take care of." She managed a smile. "I'll save you some chocolate and mokka."

"I owe you one, luv," he murmured. He squeezed her shoulder, then headed for the doors.

Hoshi watched him go and sighed. Damn. Ah, well. I suppose I'll have to enjoy the evening by myself, then. At least I still have Liz, Trip and Phlox to keep me company.

She was so upset that she hadn't noticed he'd called her "luv".

And she didn't know that events were about to take a strange turn.

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