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Adventures Across The Starways - 13
By
Kari

Adventures Across The Starways - 13

Jason passed the word to Zlanta that the passenger might be trouble.

Chapter13

by Kari and Rascal

Jason was about to protest his innocence when she suddenly calmed down, smiled, and seemed to roll with the situation. He watched her gather the shreds of dignity around her as she announced she was off to see to her duties.

After she left, Jason looked at Donny. "How are the rest of the crew taking this? I...I like Sive. I'd like this to be...more like what the two of you have. But I don't want to hurt our relationship as a crew. So, what's your take on initial reactions?"

Donny thought for a minute, then grinned. "Well, the betting pool was mostly for sometime after our next landing. I was the only one betting you two would be quicker about it. So...far as I know, aside from the lost credits, we're all cheering you two on. Just, ah-" Donny grinned. "Be a little more discreet?" He held his thumb and forefinger about a centimeter apart.

Still feeling stiff, Sive continued on her way to the ship's galley, wondering about how she could get back at the crew for laughing at her and Jason, Oh, the hell with Jason, he's just as bad, I'll think I'll include him in my little revenge. Once in the galley, she looked around at the supplies. There seemed to be plenty of the usual fare, dried meats of all kinds, vegetables, fruits. Then she spotted the food synthesizer, Great, I hope that it works.

She wandered over to it. and after checking it over she figured that it looked in good working order. Turning away from the synthesizer she took a good look around the galley. Then bang, the idea came to her, A stew....a nice stew would be good, the perfect first meal that I prepare for the crew. Even though I haven't cooked for more then two people in my entire life, how hard can it be? Forget the food synthesizer, I reckon I will be cooking the crew a meal they won't soon forget. Donning a well worn apron she tied it around her waist as she thought about what she needed.

Sive proceeded to look in the various cabinets, until she finally came across a huge cooking pot. Pulling the heavy thing out she set it on the cooking range, put the heat on and poured some oil on the bottom, Now I believe I need some meat, the synthesizer should help me out in that department.

She soon had a few lbs of hamburger type material sizzling in the pot. Once it was browned enough she started to throw in some of the ingredients she had come across earlier. Namely onions, carrots, celery, ending with some stewed tomatoes that she once again had the synthesizer make for her.

She was kept busy for the the next few hours, adding spices and stirring the pot. In this way she was able to forget how sore she was, plus the stew seemed to be starting to smell pretty good. She kept on tasting it, and throwing some more spices in. Sive couldn't help nodding to herself, Mmmm not bad...not bad at all, even if I say so myself. At one point as she was shaking the pepper she smirked to herself, I wonder if I added more of this pepper maybe they'd learn it's not a good idea to laugh at the cook. Suddenly the lid fell into the pot along with half the pepper in the bottle. OMG ... Grabbing up the mixing spoon she tried to scoop it out, but there was no way, it quickly disappeared.

Sive stared at the bubbling stew for a full minute before going over to the nearby table, sat down and wondered what she was going to do now. After a few minutes, she got up again and walked over to the pot, sniffed it, OK, it seems to still smell fine, maybe no one will notice it. Looking up at the clock, she knew there was no other option, they would have to eat what she had made. She finished preparing the rest of the meal, buns and a thawed cake for dessert. Then set out the dishes and cutlery and a couple of jugs of cold water in the common room for the crew to come in and help themselves. Feeling very nervous Sive now waited for the crew to file in for their lunch.

Jason spent most of the morning working with his engineering crew on the ship. What wasn't broken usually needed preventative maintenance; what didn't need preventative maintenance needed monitoring or adjusting. By the time lunch rolled around he was tired and thirsty.

He thought about skipping lunch, then realized he couldn't hide from the crew forever. They'd see it as weakness, and the teasing he faced would be good-natured enough. So...he drank some water and headed for the common room. He could smell the stew from here and it smelled pretty good. Sive apparently had picked up some domestic skills along the way with her other, more... alluring skills.

As half the crew filed into the common room, Sive kept an eye on things from the galley. If anything went wrong she intended on making a quick exit and hiding out in her room. Now she could hardly stand still, thinking I should have tasted it after spilling all that pepper in there, I hope it isn't too hot. She nibbled on her fingertip as she peaked around the corner of the doorway, keeping in mind exactly where the exit was situated.

Donny came in first with Zlanta close behind, joking between themselves. Then in came two others she had not been introduced to yet. Smiling at Sive they all commented on how good the food smelled and looked forward to chowing down. Finally, as Jason walked in, the comments stopped as they all looked at him and started to chuckle. One glare from him and it stopped suddenly as they settled down in their places, still peeking and grinning at Jason.

Once he had his plate full, Jason took a drink, saw that there was a vacant seat beside Zlanta, walked over and sat down. She smiled and asked how the systems were working. They both put their heads together talking shop for a few minutes before digging into their meal.

By this time Sive was really regretting that she had not tasted the stew, Oh gods, what if its too spicy? She looked at the exit again. Suddenly she heard a roar, this was her signal to make a run for it, which is exactly what she did. Whipping off the apron she had been wearing, she threw it on the sink just before reaching the door. She could hear footsteps behind her, screaming. Sive broke into a run.

Jason watched Donny take off after the fleeing Sive, grinning. The stew was insanely peppery, but he'd had worse. Oh, he didn't plan on eating any more of this if he didn't have to. They could add to the stew, reduce the peppery taste. Donny, on the other hand, wasn't much into spicy foods. Jason figured they'd sort it out.

As Sive ran down the corridor she took a quick look to find that it was Donny, and he didn't look too happy. She doubled her efforts, if she could only reach her quarters, slam the door and lock it. Maybe he would cool down with a little time, she could then explain what had happened.

Donny pursued Sive through the corridors. His knowledge of the ship showed very quickly, allowing him to get an arm around her before she could make it to her quarters. He hoisted her over one shoulder easily with an arm used to pushing the large cargoes of the ship here and there. Sive cried.

“Donny, Donny wait, let me explain that its all been a terrible mistake, I didn't mean to make the stew so spicy. You have to believe me. I just wanted to make it a little bit peppery, but the lid fell off the bottle.” It was hard to talk as she was bounced up and down on his shoulder. She continued, “Let me down Donny and I promise I won't run away, I just want to explain, it was just an accident, really it was.”

He was silent, as he continued to march. Sive could only hang on and try and think of some way to get out of this predicament. Finally they entered the common room, Donny plunked her down in a chair, then stood behind her and waited. Sive looked at everyone in the room, no one smiled including Jason. "Sylvie, would you please serve Sive a bowl of that...interesting stew? Thank you," said Donny. Sylvie filled a bowl with the offending stew, walked over to the table and slid it in front of Sive, then went back and sat down.

Jason watched all this, a small smile playing on his lips. The smile vanished with a thought. Does Sive understand they're treating her like family?

Sive looked down at the stew, then back at everyone. Defiantly she picked up the spoon and took a big mouthful chewing it while looking at each one. Sticking her nose up in the air she said, “See? It's not bad, not bad at all!” All of a sudden her eyes became huge and she started to choke. “Water...water,” she croaked, waving her hand at her mouth.

Donny, feeling a little guilty, ran to get the pitcher of water, but still couldn't stop himself from grinning. Everyone started to laugh. Grabbing the pitcher out of Donny's hand Sive didn't bother pouring water into a glass, she just started gulping it down straight from the pitcher. Looking at the water dripping down her chest she peeked up to see that they were laughing happily, not maliciously, and she joined in the laughter. Wiping her mouth with the back of her hand she coughed a few more times to clear her throat, smiled slightly, and said, “Sorry about the stew, how about I make you all some scrambled eggs instead.”

Jason smiled. She'd taken that like a trooper. "No need, Sive. We've got rice and bread enough to make it more palatable. And this", he looked at the rest of the crew, smiling "is a good reminder to not tease the person cooking your next meal. Now, eat up. We've got a lot to do and we make planet fall in 47 hours."

Matching deed to work Jason got out the rice they kept on hand for stretching meals. Mixed in with the stew the rice spread out the peppery taste and brought it more within edible standards. The crew settled down and starting eating. No one noticed their passenger in the corridor with a video recorder. The eye pointed right at Sive.

With a sigh of relief Sive looked at everyone sheepishly. “Just so you all know, I was going for just slightly peppery, not melt your brain peppery. I promise to do better for dinner.” Taking her bowl she walked over to the pot and dumped it in, mixed it up, then ladled herself another portion. As she was going back to her chair Sive noticed their passenger in the corridor, “Come join us,” indicating the chair beside her. Sitting down, she watched him walk over to the table .

When Sive called out to the passenger, he quickly put his recording devise away. Smiling, he walked into the common room. As he approached the long table he commented, “I don't think I have been introduced to most of you here, I'm Victor, Victor Orson. Nice little transport ship you have here.” Everyone nodded as they continued with their meal. They had met plenty of passengers over the years, and didn't have to be overly polite. That would be the steward's job.

Sive looked at him as he sat down next to her. He was a tall dark man and even though he was smiling, she got the feeling that something was not quite right about him. He was not bad looking, but there was a hint of smarminess about him. Putting on her best dumb act, she turned to him tilting her head , “I hope you like the stew I made, sometimes I get a little carried away with the spices. Do you like lots of spice,” as she batted her eyes at him.

Everyone at the table had their ears wide open now, as they busily consumed their food.

Sive continued flirting as she leaned forward, “So Victor, tell me, what brings you to our part of the galaxy?”

Jason watched Sive work. This had always been Zlanta's job as steward, but Sive seemed determined to make her mark. He also wondered what the guy had been doing in the corridor. He either should have been in his quarters (some folks did that, stayed away from the crew) or joined them for the meal. This passenger had been...watching? Lurking? Hard to know and that put Jason on edge.

Victor grinned at Sive's flirting. "I'm headed out to the same facility as your cargo. I'm the chap they expect to install all that and make their mine work better. We'll see. A lot of times it's not the equipment but the boys running it that's the problem. What about you, little lady? What's got someone pretty like yourself running with a lot of starjacks? No offence to the crew, I mean, but you're a rare flower and no mistake."

Sive pretended to be flattered by Victor's remark, but after 5 years of running she had developed an instinct for sniffing out trouble, She knew that it had been Zlanta's job to take care of the passengers but she had been on her own for so long, it was automatic for her to take charge. “These starjacks, as you put it, are my family, been with them for years.” She felt that she had to exaggerate in order to see where he was headed with his remark. She put on her sweetest smile, “Maybe I can show you around later on.”

He nodded when she mentioned a tour. “I'll just get some of that stew...it smells great.” He walked over to the side and started to help himself.

Sive immediately leaned over to Jason frowning and whispered, “There is something about that guy that I don't like, but I just can't put my finger on it.” She looked at Victor as he filled a bowl with stew and picked up a bun. “I'm going to see if I can draw him out, what do you think?”

Jason nodded. He'd also keep open the intercom to the common room while Sive and Victor were there, though he wouldn't tell Sive that. He'd keep the mike on the bridge muted, but intelligible, no point in taking chances. They'd both twigged to something hinky about their passenger and that meant being on guard.

Victor came back a few moments later with his meal, sat down beside Sive and dipped his spoon into the stew. Tasting it, he looked a little taken aback. Looking at Sive he said; “Now this is a very tasty stew indeed.” He took another spoonfull. His face was getting a little flushed. Seeing his discomfort, she grinned, “Why, thanks Victor, everyone here looks forward to when it's my turn to cook.” She looked around at everyone grinning, “ Now, don't you all?” There was some nods and grunts in answer to her question.

Turning back to Victor, “Since I have to leave now, why don't we meet back here say... in about an hour?” Getting up, she smiled down at Victor before sauntering off.

Jason passed the word to Zlanta that the passenger might be trouble. She'd let those of the crew that would be of help in a fight, know. They'd be as prepared as they could be. And who knew? Victor might just be weird in some other way having nothing to do with Sive or the Angel. They'd find out soon enough.

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