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Topic: Day 09 [1400 hrs.] Camellia Sinensis (Read 160 times) previous topic - next topic

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Day 09 [1400 hrs.] Camellia Sinensis
"CAMELLIA SINENSIS"

STARDATE 57579.26
MARCH 19, 2381
1400 HRS.

[ Lt Evoras | Hydroponics Lab | Deck 07 | Vector 02 | USS Theurgy | Make My Day ] attn: @Triage

It had been an oddly difficult week. Even the news that the Aldean (well, more likely their Klingon benefactors) had decided that the Theurgy's forward battery wasn't sufficiently well-armed, and they had submitted a work plan to add a quartet of torpedo launchers to it, hadn't been sufficient to cheer her. Perhaps it was the endless administration work. Her new superior, Cross, shared more in common with her than she'd anticipated, though given what she had learned of his history that wasn't necessarily unexpected.

All the same, in her irremovable boredom, she had gone through every pattern of tea in the replicator that was palatable to her, meditation wasn't helping, and she hadn't been able to get into the right frame of mind to reach Sreilen in days. It appeared that she had reached her limit at last.

The guilt over all the casualties, the endless reams of after-action reports, getting used to a new collection of colleagues after onboarding the latest round of additions... and nothing to employ her chief skills; gunnery.

In the sort of brilliance that only came when one's brain had already played with and discarded every other passable idea, Evoras found herself on autopilot heading towards Hydroponics. It was mostly given over to rarities, plants with employable medicinal qualities, or various crew members' own favourite blooms and herbs. But there might be something - or someone - there who could help her find something suitable. She doubted there would be enough space there for a significant tea crop, and she certainly didn't have the time to properly dry or ferment the leaves... but perhaps she could find a way to program a new pattern.

Or rather, find someone who actually knew what the hell that entailed, and have them do it.

Distraction-plans are terrible. Work on improvisation tomorrow.
  • Last Edit: June 20, 2019, 10:39:36 PM by Auctor Lucan
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Re: SD 57579.26: Camellia Sinensis
Reply #1
[ Lt. JG Sinead O'Riley | Hydroponics Lab | Deck 07 | Vector 02 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @Top Hat
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Considering the level of alcohol that could be consumed by Meony alone, Sinead thought it would be high time someone created a proper distillery around here. She wasn't sure how the captain would take it however, and she would have to broach the subject most creatively. But she obtained all the items and material she would need to start building a small and simple distillery from Klingon and Aldean merchants. The Klingons in particular were almost abrasive when they learned she was not obtaining the parts to repair an existing distillery, but she was looking to build one. Now she had to produce a bottle of the finest Bringloidi brew for the Klingon merchant and get it to him somehow for the retention of honour to her family name.

Out of some leftover emotion and pride for the O'Riley name, Sinead had agreed.

Sigh.

She was using the Hydroponics Lab to grow some of the primary ingredients, mainly potatoes, lemons and oranges. They were almost ready for harvest, and she could start producing some home-grown Poitín. Back home, on Bringloid V, this process would have taken months to complete, but thanks to their time on New Mariposa, and then in the Federation proper, Sinead had found new and innovative technology that could speed up the process to mere days or less. With the way this crew could knock back alchoholic beverages, they'd need the speed to keep up with the demand. There would be no such thing as a surplus around here...

But not everyone would be hitting the winesack, for sure. So Sinead also maintained a healthy supply of plants and ingredients that she could grow to make a variety of kitchen delights, including tea, coffee, soup, and dishes. Captain Kendrick had a healthy supply, many of which the late James Mariner managed to swipe before they evacuated the Resolve, and now, new crops from that supply was growing in Theurgy's lab. The auburn-haired woman walked over to examine the chamomile, mint, lemon balm and lavender growing quite quickly. Some were ready for harvesting. There was also some Cardassian herbs, as well as Vulcan, and Denobulan varieties, some of which she knew how to prepare.

As she absent-mindedly ran her fingers through several leaves, she felt at peace in here, her mind distracted by the sight of thriving life and supply, and she thought about the preparations she would make for the various crew, if nothing but to cheer them a little. While she seemingly didn't need cheering, she knew many others would prefer or welcome it.

She noticed a Vulcan woman approaching, and she stood up, brushing her hands off, she did the Vulcan salute and said, "Peace and long life, lieutenant, are yeh lookin' fer somethin'?"

Re: SD 57579.26: Camellia Sinensis
Reply #2
[ Lt Evoras | Hydroponics Lab | Deck 07 | Vector 02 | USS Theurgy | Make My Day ] attn: @Triage 

There were a couple of blueshirts tending the plants here, and someone over by the banks of consoles collating data. A goldshirt, too, of slight profile and partially obscured by the intervening vegetation. Evoras spent a moment just listening to the bay - the gentle sound of the specialised environmental circuit that made sure the various similar but distinct atmospheric requirements of the plants from dozens of different worlds were met. They were clearly organised to some scheme, some categorisation, but it was beyond her.

She walked along one of the long beds, first trailing a hand along the alloy rim and then gently through the various leaves and spines. She came to a flower, alone without a pollinating pair, with spindly blue petals that blended to a rich purple close to the centre. Sreilen's memories told her it was a terrestrial 'cornflower'. Not that she had any clear idea when he'd studied Earth botany... if he hadn't just picked it up by osmosis on his way to other degrees.

The Vulcan straightened as the sweet odour reached her nose, the combination with its neighbours becoming cloying to her tastes. She continued down the line, away from the floral and towards the herbal. Perhaps I am understanding the delineations after all, she mused, skirting around the end of the bed and moving up the other side.

"Peace and long life, Lieutenant, are yeh lookin' fer somethin'?"

Evoras looked around, belatedly returning the ta'al while she wondered if this was an officer she should recognise from before her stasis, or an addition from after it. "Likewise, Lieutenant..." she looked back at the plants as her hand dropped, covering her delay in checking for a name. She gave up. "I am, yes."

She gestured around. "I am looking for tea," she said, perhaps over-simply. "The patterns suitable for my physiology are not all suited to my tastes, and of the ones that are... none work any longer." Excellent. From 'blunt' to 'vague'. "They... bore me. I require new ones."

Give her a gun battery any day. A torpedo silo and a sky full of targets. This interaction was... not what she wanted. But here she was.

"Are you able to assist me? I could ask one of the scientists..."
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Re: SD 57579.26: Camellia Sinensis
Reply #3
[ Lt. JG Sinead O'Riley | Hydroponics Lab | Deck 07 | Vector 02 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @Top Hat
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Sinead's eyes crinkled in the closest hint to a smile, as the rest of her face remained unexpressive. It was a curious response that the Vulcan woman gave, but Sinead found that quite appealing for some reason. If she wasn't familiar with farm life, hers and botany, she would have passed her on to one of the attending personnel, but as it stood, due to her unrequited love for Captain Tristan Kendrick, she'd spent a great deal of time learning about the kinds of things he liked, many of which included the study of herbs, tea, the applications and value of them all.

What was most curious was how lost in thought and possibly troubled the lieutenant seemed to be. She wasn't used to Vulcans that behaved in a distracted manner.

"Aye," said Sinead, "I certainly can assist yeh...my name is Sinead O'Riley. B'fore I joined Starhfleet, I w's a farmer'on Bringloid V."

Her words inflected and ran together in a naturally melodious but unusual inflection from the standard Federation language. She gestured behind her, leading the lieutenant to the section where all the herbs used for making tea could be found. Not all of them were native to Earth. There was a section dedicated to the herbs used by the Kelpiens to make their version of tea. "Can yeh tell meh which types o'tea yeh be takin' alreadyh?"

She gestured to one section, "There be th' section for Earthen 'erbs. Over there is th' section for Vulcans, an' over there, is th' section for....Klingon...tea."

Re: SD 57579.26: Camellia Sinensis
Reply #4
[ Lt Evoras | Hydroponics Lab | Deck 07 | Vector 02 | USS Theurgy | Make My Day ] attn: @Triage

A farmer, indeed? "How fortunate," she said, nodding once and following the Bringloidi's gaze. "If it wouldn't be too much trouble," she added.

"Can yeh tell meh which types o'tea yeh be takin' alreadyh?"

Evoras sighed heavily, counting back. There were hundreds of Earth varieties stored in the computer (and the thousands of blends they represented), and a similar number of Vulcan types. Not all of the former agreed with her, though, so those had been sloughed off as part of the initial filtering. Then there had been the ones she merely disliked - some of the heavier, smokier fermentations from Earth, for instance. "Ah, there have been ninety-two tests, not counting the fact that I began to find my usual spice tea blend unappealing. One moment."

She picked up a PADD and began to type, listing the specifics. Even pulling the items from the pattern bank wholesale, it would take a minute or two.

"There be th' section for Earthen 'erbs. Over there is th' section for Vulcans, an' over there, is th' section for... Klingon... tea."

The Vulcan paused, the steady staccato trill of button presses from the PADD ceasing. "Did you say Klingon?" she asked, one eyebrow quirking upwards. "I... find myself scientifically curious, though I doubt I'm about to make the wisest decision for my palate."

She moved over to the indicated bed, and gently caressed a couple of the leaves of some of the individual plants, rubbing her fingers together under her nose after each one. They smelled pleasantly earthy and rich, but the true test would of course be the steeping. "Are these patterns in the replicator already?"

It was probably too much to hope that there were samples already dried and ready to brew. And in the case of the samples from Qo'noS, that could well turn out to be a blessing.
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Re: Day 09 [1400 hrs.] Camellia Sinensis
Reply #5
[ Lt. JG Sinead O'Riley | Hydroponics Lab | Deck 07 | Vector 02 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @Top Hat
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"There do be some," said Sinead, the barest hints of a smile on her lips, intrigued by this Vulcan woman, "some Cardassian varieties are also available."

She didn't miss the heavy sigh when she'd asked what flavours she'd tried before. It seemed she had something of a tea savant on her hands, so that made the challenge of finding her an agreeable flavour more challenging. Fortunate for the Vulcan that tea seemed to be a universally available beverage across multiple cultures and races, with a large amount of variations of preparations. For some reason, there was a people who loved their tea cold. She fixed her silvery-blue eyes on the woman when she decided to add a note of warning to her, "Do rememberh t' proceed wi' caution if yeh intend t' try anythin' Klingon. A great deal of their food or drink have proven poisonous or even lethal to others."

She looked at the defiant Klingon tea leaves, "Everythin' in their culture is a battle, and their drink o' choice be no different."

Vulcans generally had a stronger constitution than even humans, so she would most likely be fine, but Klingons had something of an titanium stomach, and it would be foolish to dismiss the hazards.

"If it no be to yer likin', the Kelpien, Andorian, Denobulan or Hell tea migh' be much better." Hell tea, so named since it was obtained from one of the planets the Resolve and its crew had visited in Hell Sector, and found it was one of the few things they could safely harvest to replenish their resources. It had a unique texture or feature that resulted in the drink tasting different to each person, and adding anything over it just created more variations of flavours. Some people had fun trying to catalogue or create new tastes with it.

"Ye have tried many, but I be thinkin' yeh woul' no' have had a chance t' try Hell Tea." she bent down to pluck a small shoot of the plant and offered it to the Vulcan, "Nobody can determine th' exact taste b'cause it changes according t' each person, but it always be appealing and good t' them."

Re: Day 09 [1400 hrs.] Camellia Sinensis
Reply #6
[ Lt Evoras | Hydroponics Lab | Deck 07 | Vector 02 | USS Theurgy | Make My Day ] attn: @Triage

There was a calm in the lab, Evoras decided, as she listened to O'Riley speak. Despite the somewhat clinical context (or perhaps because of it), she found that the sound-absorbing leaves and the gentle whispering of the air between them combined to form something of an oasis from the usual noise that went along with living on a starship. As a happy bonus, the goldshirt's particular accent in Standard was almost musical.

The warning that the Klingon tea could be fatal almost triggered a response not dissimilar to some Humans she had met; bravado. Sure, I can take it. Nothing can kill me without my permission. And so on. However, practicality won out, as did the need to appear as baseline-Vulcan-stereotype as she could in unfamiliar company. One never knew who might get the wrong idea about a Vulcan who eschewed half of the teachings of Surak.

As she considered, though, her temporary companion suggested something else. Hell Tea. Her ears flared back as if to try and catch the word again, unsure that she had heard it at all, and another curious eyebrow reached for her hairline. Evoras took the offered bud with a grateful incline of the head, and sniffed it experimentally. Prognosis; favourable. A suspicion which only grew with the Bringloidi's further assertion that its flavours changed depending on who was drinking it.

"'Hell', you said..." her gaze affixed O'Riley once more as the little shoot was moved away from her face to allow her to speak clearer. "You were on the Resolve." The tea would be named after the aptly-named Hell Sector, she assumed. It would also explain her difficulty in recognising the other woman at first.

"I must apologise; I did not introduce myself in turn earlier. I am Evoras... I mistakenly thought that you might have been part of the original roster," she explained, then leaned towards the bed and planted the little shoot in the soil next to its parent plant.

"Could you kindly show me how to prepare the Hell tea?"
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Re: Day 09 [1400 hrs.] Camellia Sinensis
Reply #7
[ Lt. JG Sinead O'Riley | Hydroponics Lab | Deck 07 | Vector 02 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @Top Hat
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Sinead nodded her head slightly when Evoras asked about the method of preparation. She knelt down beside the crop of the produce, and spread her arms out to hover over the crops. "Yeh will be needin' close t' a fist full o' th' leaves." she said, and then she checked the individual timer of the daylight setting for the growth. "Th' best time t' collect th' leaves be at ten hundred hours, tha' be when th' flavour is best, an' its medicinal value strongest."

She brushed her hair back as she regarded Evoras thoughtfully, then plucked a few leaves off from a stem, placing them in her palm. She stood up and showed the leaves to the Vulcan, "Yeh can use th' sunlamps t' quickly dry and cook the leaves an' flowers until it be dry 'n' crisp. There be a mortar an' pestle 'ere tha' yeh ken use t' powder them, put 'em in tea bags." She specified the time to let the water and tea set, before finally serving or pouring it out to drink.

"Yeh cain add any other condiments that yeh fancy to enhance or change th' flavour," she continued, "but I do suggest yeh try it by itself first. After'n yeh be gettin' bored enoff wi' tha', then so begins th' experimentin'."

She slipped around the gardens and quickly came back with a small box. "Here be pack o' 'bou' a dozen tea bags, alreadyh filled wi' Hell Tea. Next roundh, if it be t' yer likin', yeh cain harvest some fer yehself."

She looked at Evoras a moment, then stated, "I do wonder if Aldeans have their own tea...p'haps I shoul' go downh and find some. Migh' be a good addition t' our supply."

Re: Day 09 [1400 hrs.] Camellia Sinensis
Reply #8
[ Lt Evoras | Hydroponics Lab | Deck 07 | Vector 02 | USS Theurgy | Make My Day ] attn: @Triage

Evoras watched closely as O'Riley demonstrated how to harvest and prepare the leaves. She was surprised that the curing was so short a process - though perhaps she shouldn't be. There was more than one variety, from many planets, that didn't rely on leaf fermentation at all. Similarly, the stipulation of the best diurnal time to pick the leaves was simultaneously surprising and not. Idly, she wondered how much experimentation had gone into this plant on the Resolve, or if they had been told of it by some trader or other.

The mention of teabags almost brought another raised eyebrow - she far preferred her tea 'loose' - but she was most definitely not the voice of experience here, and so deferred.

"Yeh cain add any other condiments that yeh fancy to enhance or change th' flavour, but I do suggest yeh try it by itself first. After'n yeh be gettin' bored enoff wi' tha', then so begins th' experimentin'."

The Vulcan nodded, bringing the teacup to her nose first and giving an experimental sniff. Not immediately offensive. Mild spice. Almost floral note in the background. And... something else? What was that? She sipped, and the flavour was entirely different to that which its aroma implied. A wonder indeed, this tea. The aftertaste was different again. The gunnery officer strongly suspected that she could spend a lot of time simply trying to ascertain what she could taste in this brew, let alone playing with it to find out how she best preferred it.

"Here be pack o' 'bou' a dozen tea bags, alreadyh filled wi' Hell Tea..."

She set the cup down next to the pot, and took the box carefully. "Thank you, Sinead O'Riley. I look forward to properly enjoying them."

The goldshirt looked at her for a moment, then: "I do wonder if Aldeans have their own tea... p'haps I shoul' go downh and find some. Migh' be a good addition t' our supply."

Evoras nodded thoughtfully. "I imagine they must have - at least an analogue. If you find one, please do let me know." Her PADD beeped, announcing her nearly-due appointment in the magazines. "I won't take any more of your time, Lieutenant. Thank you again."

Evoras inclined her head, and headed for the door, tea in hand.

~FIN
  • Last Edit: July 14, 2019, 04:33:31 PM by Top Hat
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