Silver Wordsmith: An author's journey
As Boro took the elevator back up to the galley, Boro wondered what could have went down there in the short amount of time that he was gone. By and large, everyone still seemed to be coexisting peacefully. Though it wouldn’t have been Boro’s ship if he hadn’t been aware of a few conflagrations of tempers over the past couple of weeks. A few days ago, he had received another call from Sufai, whose voice on the other end of the line was beginning to make him jumpy. What he found was Tuka Rose, one of the maintenance crew, with bruised knuckles and a swollen thumb, tight-lipped about what had punched his hand that badly, so all Boro managed to gather was that some form of card game had been involved. Boro didn’t push it – at least they were still trying to cover for each other.
Perhaps the situation up in the galley wouldn’t be as bad as he imagined. The Doctor didn’t seem terribly phased when she relayed the news, and she struck him as someone who would be phased easily – slight of build and with a voice that made the young face seem even more inexperienced, he figured she would be particularly sensitive to the friendly ribbing that came as second nature to more hardened Navy types.
When Boro entered the galley, a space equipped with booths and tables and more mood lighting than one would have expected from a starship, he made a note that perhaps he owed Dr. Sufai a mental apology. She was standing off to the side, next to the comms panel with her arms crossed. Dark wavy hair framed a rounded face whose brown skin with reddish undertones indicated her family’s origins as perhaps somewhere in the islands of the Mer Pacific. Only a slight frown signaled her displeasure with the fact that Meslina was in the process of showing her officer’s professionalism by trying to reach over the food counter and grab Meeron Thuliga, the ship’s cook and steward, likely not with the intent of pulling him into a warm embrace.
“Typical milkweed,” Meeron laughed as he moved sideways against Meslina’s attempt to jump the counter. “If you can’t control, you what, beat it up? Got soft in the brain while we do all the hard work. What are you gonna do when you get over here? Cook something for yourself for once? Be my guest.”
“Should’ve been bombed from orbit,” Meslina snarled, flipping a dish from the counter and smashing it against the wall beside Meeron. Boro moved his way slowly around the tables and towards the commotion and caught sight of Dr. Sufai staring at him, her eyes blazing with the question of why he hadn’t yet stopped it. But she was a civ, she didn’t understand that sometimes tempers needed to flare before they burned off.
“Get out of my kitchen, milkweed,” Meeron said flatly, wiping food debris from his apron. That word; ‘milkweed’. Even mashed together in a ship that was lightyears away from Human space, the divide between Earth and the colonies, the heirs to the homeworld and those who felt they thanklessly dragged Humanity forward by the sweat of their brows, all the disagreements and the senseless insults that came with it, was showing its ugly head on the Forseti.
“Get out.” Meeron gestured to the door. “I don’t care if you need to shove protein bars up your ass for the next year. Get out!” As Meeron finished, his hand, unseen even by Boro, slipped behind him and flung a heavy pan in Meslina’s direction. She moved her head, but it still grazed her in the mouth. Before she managed to slam into the counter, possibly taking it off its hinges, Boro squeezed in front of her.
“Hey, hey, hey!” He boomed, making sure it struck fear even into Tuka Rose, the maintenance engineer sitting in the back and trying desperately to pretend that he wasn’t there.
“Haven’t you heard of not biting the hand that feeds?” Boro asked Meslina, whose eyes were still locked onto her pray.
“Has he heard of knowing his place?” She answered.
Meeron responded with an obscene gesture though the anger in his face seemed to subside slightly at the sight of Meslina’s bloodied lip. “Needs to have a thicker skin about being a milkweed.”
“We’re on a ship together.” Boro made sure to over-articulate each word and emphasize it with a movement of his head. “This is our place.” He turned behind him to Meeron. “You are not going to starve my Comms officer, you understand?”
“If you insist.” Then, looking past Boro at Meslina, he added, “I’d check your food extra careful though.”
Meslina’s body only made the barest of movements in response to the provocation.
“Meeron!” Boro used the tone of voice he was convinced was incapable of being produced by Captain Pueson’s vocal cords.
“Alright, alright.” Meeron put up his hands. “Sorry, boss.”
“And you,” Boro turned to face Meslina, “Take some time to cool off, maybe get in stasis early this rotation. And get checked out by Dr. Sufai.”
Meslina looked at the bloody sleeve she dabbed at her face and then back up at Boro. “By the vet? No thanks.” With that, she shrugged out of Boro’s grip, and headed out the door.
Dr. Sufai remained where she stood, unflappable, and then with a shrug, went back to her unfinished meal. Tuka Rose tried his hardest to show that his interest lay entirely in his food and not in what had just transpired. Boro knew the food. It was not at all as interesting as that. Meeron was busying about his kitchen, not bothering to look like anything had happened, and leaving the food splatter on his apron.
Boro took a deep breath. Surch was right, this was going to require some paperwork.
Michael is a husband, father of two, lawyer, writer, and is currently working on his first novel, at a snail's pace. A very leisurely snail. All opinions are author's own.