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Part of Starbase Bravo: Sundered Wings and Bravo Fleet: Sundered Wings

Hypothetical Comfort Food

Sector November-Magenta, Deck 710 Operations Office
June 2400
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As the doorway to the auxiliary operations office opened for Elegy, he found himself momentarily impassive at the aperture.  Watching the sea of gold-shouldered Starfleet officers working at various LCARS panels across the large compartment, Lieutenant Junior Grade Elegy Weld felt out of place in his teal-highlighted uniform.  He tended to spend his duty shifts relatively alone in his office, engaging in one-on-one conversations with members of the crew.  Once he strode into the office, Elegy only hoped no one would fear the psychiatrist had come to make an unexpected house call.

Elegy meandered in between a few of the workstation, looking for the identifier markings on each terminal as he searched for the one he’d been instructed to find.  Only when Elegy came to stand in front of Lieutenant Junior Grade Cynndle Oin’sun did Elegy stop to say, “Ah ha!  Lieutenant Oin’sun, hullo.  The Logistics Deputy Director said you may be able to assist me…”

Cynndle sat at his LCARS terminal monitoring the heavy traffic flow around the station due to the current circumstances in the Star Empire. Not seeing anything out of the ordinary but clocking that a couple of ships had been in a holding pattern for longer than expected he switched to the summary report he was making for the next shift highlighting this and several other items for them to keep an eye on. Focused on what he was doing he didn’t notice the officer with the teal highlighted uniform come to a stop before him. Hearing his name he looked up from his terminal and leaned back in his chair. “Hey, Lieutenant…what is it that I can help you with?” 

“I’m Elegy,” the Trill said by way of introductions.  He lay the flat on his palm on his chest, and he said a traditional Trill greeting that the universal translator mangled into, “How do you do?”  Elegy’s affable smile turned into a far more sheepish expression.  He glanced down at his boots before looking up again.  Elegy said, “I work in sickbay as one of the staff psychiatrists.  Because of doctor-patient confidentiality, I need your help with something of a… hypothetical problem.  It’s going to sound foolish, but I need to find an obscure replicator pattern.”

“Nice to meet you Lieutenant Elegy.” Cynndle says, “I am doing well, this whole Romulan situation though is keeping us on our toes. How about yourself?”

“Ah, about the same, and my toes are starting to get sore,” Elegy replied with a sympathetic nod.  Wryly, Elegy added, “If you find yourself in a turbolift with him, I’d suggest not asking that question of Lieutenant Dinalin, or he might need an hour to opine all the ways the counselling department is staffed the support the starbase‘s crew and residents.  He never thought we’d see two populations of refugees passing through our office doors.  (But you didn’t hear that from me.)”  Elegy all but winked at that last statement.  After clearing his throat, he explained, “One of my hypothetical Romulan refugee patients, all she can talk about is a dish her grandmother used to cook for her.  It would mean the world to her if she could be comforted by a steaming bowl.”

Nodding Cynndle continues, ”It shouldn’t be too hard to pull up a replicator pattern. Do you know the name or names of the item and roughly when it was first uploaded?” Pausing for a moment he continues, “Also a brief description of what it is will help me narrow it down.”

Elegy shrugged, saying, “From my initial search, I could see no clues to suggest such a replicator pattern has ever been saved to the Starbase Bravo computer core.  Stewed Hlai’vnau is a recipe that originated on Romulus and it has dozens of regional variants.  The Vulan-Romulan fusion restaurant on the promenade uses the spice blend from the Rel’enak region and they’ve replaced the Hlai with a Vulcan fowl.  I’ve put in queries to the Federation database on Earth and they don’t have a pattern for this dish either.”

Frowning slightly Cynndle runs his hand along his chin, “Ok, that will complicate things a bit but if we have a variation on the station already…Rel’enak, is one of the Romulan regions, correct?” he says as he quickly pulls up the information, “Yes….oh, it was very beautiful there. Pity…..Ok. so. Doesn’t appear that the restaurant replicates it but if they cook it we should then be able to get the computer to reverse engineer in, deconstruct it per see. Just need the Hlai, that will be tricky….”

Stopping himself he looks up… “Sorry I can think out loud sometimes. Have you tried the dish? We could head down and get it, then work backwards with the computer?”

Chuckling briefly, Elegy remarked, “Thinking out loud is how I do my best work,” to make the easy mental health joke.  After that, Elegy took a sizeably deep breath and he said, “This is where it gets interesting.  The Rel’enak restaurant on the promenade only gets us halfway there.  My hypothetical patient’s grandmother was raised in the Tel’Garch region and I’m told the flavour profiles are different.  The cooking method may even be different” –Elegy squinted in consternation– “but my patient has never actually cooked it herself.”

Sighing deeply Cynndle shakes his head slightly. “Well, I would say that halfway is an overestimation. That is like saying a stew recipe from North America is halfway there for one from Africa back home. Different spices, ingredients and cooking methods.” Pausing and leaning back in his chair he puts his hands on his head. “Ok – so not an easy find. Does the fusion restaurant or any other have spices from the Tel’Garch region? Could we ask amount the number of refugees here; I am sure someone will have an idea or the recipe if we are lucky?”

“I like the sentiment,” Elegy said, but the narrowing of his eyes and the downturn of his lips suggested otherwise.  “I believe the answer must lie among someone aboard the starbase today…”  In a defeated mien, Elegy shrugged though.  “But I’m not sure your, nor my, departments have the workforce available to manually canvas the refugees during the worst hours of their lives.”  Putting on a faux-smile, Elegy concluded, “That’s why I was hoping for computer magic and the synergy of teamwork to do the heavy lifting for us… while we otherwise attend to our other priorities.”

“Well….” Cynndle starts before pausing. “The computer should be able to do most of it. It may come down to manpower in the end but as all refugees come aboard we log their details – date of birth, location of birth and where they lived these include full system information right down to the region on each planet as well as professions. Not sure why I didn’t think of this earlier…maybe I just wanted to try that restaurant once you got me thinking about food…” he says with a bit of a laugh as he starts working on the console, “I can set up a search for individuals who were from that region on Romulus and cross-reference that with their professions. On top of that, if we search that database for other dishes from that region we might get lucky. It is possible that we may find a Romulan Chef who was from that region and with the help of something in the replicator database we may have some of the spices already on file.” Turning back to Elegy “Is that the sort of heavy lifting you had in mind?”

Clapping his hands together, Elegy shouted a quick, “Yes!”  In a far more reasonable tone of voice, if still exuberant, Elegy said, “Thank you, yes.  That’s precisely the brand of miracle work I was hoping to find.  Now, I’m not sure what I can do for you from the hospital, but I’m going to owe you a big, big favour after this.”

At that Cynndle lets out a laugh. “One can never have too many favours owed to them I feel.” He says before looking back down at the screen. “It looks like this will take a bit of time, ugh, 12 hours. With all the new ships arriving it will be adding them to the queue. I also have it set up to scan the databases of all docked ships, with their permission, in case there is some information there that might help. Do you want me to call you once this is done with the results? I will pick it up on my next shift. We may then need to go find some people.”

Enthusiastically, Elegy remarked, “That would be fantastic; thank you, lieutenant.”  He nodded his affirmation for the suggestion and took a self-conscious half-step back as if he’d already taken too much of Cynddle’s time.  “I can’t ask you to cut the queue on this.  We have to meet the essential needs of all the refugees before a passion project like this one,” Elegy said.  “But if we can sort this, you will have made one hypothetical Romulan far more relieved and comfortable in her stay at Starbase Bravo.”

Leaning back in his chair Cynndle stretches and puts his hands behind his head. “Well, baring any unforeseen catastrophe I don’t see why I cannot have a quick run-through of the results and see if I can narrow it down a bit. We can then go from there. The search has started so not much that can be done with it now. Hope about I message you tomorrow with an update? My shift is ending soon and need to get this handover report wrapped up.”

“I appreciate it,” Elegy said, taking further steps back.  “I’ll see you tomorrow.  For now, you can wrap up and get to your own comfort food, lieutenant!”