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A Chance Encounter

Posted on Sat Mar 7th, 2020 @ 3:09pm by Katie James & Fleet Captain William Hood

Mission: Under A Glassy Surface, Where We Don't Belong...

The spice market in San Francisco was an amazing place. It didn't matter how many hours she spent there, she couldn't get enough. It was a multicultural meltingpot, a thriving mecca for foodies, and definitely one of her favourite things to do on Earth.

So much so in fact that she had been there since well before the sun had even started to rise. There had been so many new vendors, so many new things to try. Coffee, soooooo much coffee... so many types of coffee, all freshly ground, tantalizing her senses as soon as she near enough to smell it. And the food... she was starting to think she had about consumed her body weight, if not more, in treats and delectable yumminess, which was part of the reason she was walking back to her accommodations.

That little voice in her head that was chanting the mantra 'moment on the lips, lifetime on the hips' and reminding her that her metabolism really wasn't what it used to be.

It was only as she was walking across the bridge spanning the stream in the middle of the tea gardens that she realised there was a solitary figure standing in front of her, leaning against the barricade, watching absently as the koi milled in the water beneath them.

A smile broke on her features as recognition set in. "Will," she said warmly, stepping up next to him. "Penny for your thoughts?"

"Katie." Will remembered her from his time at the cake shop. "I was just thinking about when I was younger, at the Academy, looking out at the same view as now." A minor trip down memory lane, but a pleasant one of younger years.

Katie laughed softly. "Well, I never went to the academy, but I know what you mean about trips down memory lane. A single scent of Rosewater and I'm walking right down that lane with you," she said with a smile. "I hope it's at least pleasant memories."

"Some, I look back and I wonder if that person knew the life he was growing into. I didn't exactly see myself commanding a ship but I hoped as I'm sure all the command line officers did." Another smile, a rub of the chin. "So what brings you to Earth?"

Katie grinned, leaning over the rail of the bridge, leaning into him momentarily before standing upright again. "The spice market," she said with a soft laugh. "The market here is one of the best in the quadrant, and, well, I can get away with hanging out there, you know, by calling it work? I need spices and coffees and ideas."

"I suppose it is in a way, shopping for work." Will mused. "Business ok since we entered orbit?" Knowing full well that when a planet was in view people would flock to it to have the chance to get off ship and a change of scenery.

"It's been quiet, but that's okay, it gives me a chance to be down here and explore the market," she said with a smile. "And if I had never come down to the market I'd never have run into you. So, really, small universe indeed, isn't it?"

Will chuckled as he watched a boat sail slowly by. "Yeah." It was good to get off the ship, he needed it. With Vash gone and out of his life he wrapped himself up in duty but even duty came at a price, one he only just managed to pay. "So should I expect to see a lengthy inventory report from my cargo staff?"

"Uhmmmm...." Katie bit her bottom lip and offered a sheepish grin. "Well, it's definitely not the smallest order I've ever placed," she said with a soft laugh. "But, you know, if you want to know what's what, I'm happy to share some samples... just to prove it's worth it and all."

"Not me you have to square it with." Will knew his crew would screen anything of harm or risk to the ship. "Just make sure that the cargo crew don't sample it themselves, otherwise you might find yourself eaten out of business."

"I've not had a bad experience with your staff yet," she said with a smile. "And everything I order comes certified, so it should be fine." She paused, turning to watch him for a moment. "So now that I interrupted your trip down memory lane, what are your plans?"

"I was going to go into the city a try and mingle in." Will had been surrounded enough by Starfleet, Admirals and duties already and he needed a break. "I heard there are a few nice places to eat so I thought about a walk."

"I was going to head back to my hotel... but.." Katie turned to look at him. "Do you trust me?" she asked, raising one eyebrow quizzically, well aware of the precarious nature of her question.

"Bit early to be asking for that don't you think, only met you twice including today and you run a shop on my ship." Will replied to her surprising question. "Trust takes time to earn, not easily given in my line of work."

"There's a market, maybe a mile from here..." she paused, turning so she could get her bearings. "That way... maybe a mile at most? Most people have never heard of it or been there, but they have the most incredible food you could ever imagine. Proper street food, unfettered by the demands of xenophobia. I can guarantee you won't be disappointed."

Will could do with a bite to eat, keeping fed was something he knew he'd been neglecting with everything that had been going on with his duties and the aftermath of his last mission. "Lead on then."

The walk was maybe fifteen minutes at a leisurely pace. Neither of them were in a hurry, content to enjoy the other's company. Finally, they arrived at the gates. Katie pushed her way through the gates, holding one open and reaching her hand back toward him to lead him through.

Will followed, taking in the view, the people that passed. "So how did you come to find this little retreat of culinary delights?" Will spoke following through the gates before the people behind him pushed past.

Katie smiled. "You know how kids get into trouble? Run off, join gangs, do bad things? This was my trouble." She sighed, standing upright and inhaling deeply. "I was thirteen when I wandered in here and knew that this was where my life was destined to take me. The smells, the food, the people... This is my mojo."

"So why a shop on a starship instead of here?" Will asked clearly seeing her enthusiasm for where they were currently.

"Because as much as I love the food, I love the stars too. The Dreadnought gives me the chance to share my love of food with the stars. Sooooo...." She looked across at him again with another grin. "What strikes your fancy?"

"Nothing too wild, had enough of that already back at HQ." Last thing Will needed was a talking to from Dr Patrovski about not only eating but watching what he was eating.

Katie turned toward him, casting a discerning gaze over his form, one fingertip resting at the corner of her mouth as she contemplated. "How about Italian?" she asked with a smile. "Carbs, meats, flavours, not a lot of veges but still not entirely unhealthy..." her voice trailed off momentarily before she spoke again. "And if you're really good you get to finish with a really indulgent sweet treat for dessert," she ended with a wink.

"I'm sure the Doctor won't mind." Wondering the backlash he'd get for the not so healthy selections consumed. "Do you know of a place?" The place was busy for sure, the aromas filled the air and it was pleasant.

She slid her hand into his and offered a quick smile. "I just don't want you to get lost," she offered by way of explanation. "It's a bit busy here, it wouldn't do if the Dreadnought didn't have a Captain because I lost you in a back alley street food market."

Holding his hand she wound her way through the crowd like someone on home ground. A 'hi' here or a 'wave' there, but mostly just random comments offered between the two before she stopped in front of a very nondescript blue doorway. "Be nice," she cautioned before pushing the door open and making her way inside, her hand still in his, leading him behind her.

The intoxicating smell of food was the first thing that assaulted them, shortly followed by a rather short statured woman who seemed to be shrieking and rambling in gibberish as she descended upon Katie first, drawing the small blonde into a tight embrace and kissing both her cheeks before rounding on Will with the exact same exuberance, only adding a squeeze of his cheeks and an extra set of kisses for good measure.

Will went with it seeing as Katie had lead him here though it was far from the norm of his usual lifestyle on the Bridge he was used to. "Certainly lively." Will spoke as he followed Katie's lead though the foods he was smelling smelt wonderful and inwardly he was looking forward to non replicated food for a change.

At the assault, Katie cast an apologetic smile toward Will before turning back to the woman and unleashing her own quick sentences. "Sorry," she offered as they were finally lead to a table. "There's a lot of places in here that technology and translators don't work. A few people are still very old school and don't like technology." She paused as they were shown to a booth and handed menus. "What strikes your fancy?"

 

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