USS Healy
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The (Coffee) Fix Is In

Posted on 29 Jul 2018 @ 7:38pm by Captain Jason Wilcox & Lieutenant Kesari Lor

Mission: Mission 0: The Healy Returns
Location: That One Replicator
Timeline: Monday 14 Feb 2394, 0600

It was early on a Monday morning—Kesari's second Monday aboard the Healy. She was dressed and ready for her usual gym appointment, but she needed something first. She needed the taste of her great love on her lips. She needed coffee.

Over the past ten days, she had methodically tested the replicators available to her for the quality of their coffea arabica, coffea liberica, and coffea canephora preparations. She had narrowed it down to the one in the shuttle maintenance office and this one, second from the left in the officers mess. With careful tweaking, she supposed that the replicator in her quarters could be "the one," but she didn't have time for that.

Just as she stepped to its panel, she collided with a tall, lanky figure who had approached at the same time.

Six in the morning was not a good time for Jason. The one advantage was that he could instruct this specific replicator to make the coffee to his exact specification. It had taken him a few years of massaging the machine, but it was finally there.

And then his still sleeping brain was jostled awake. Jason blinked some sleepiness away and glanced down at the diminutive woman and almost croaked "Can I help you lieutenant?"

Rubbing the tip of her nose, which had bonked into an arm or some other solid tissue mass, she looked up and recognized the ship's executive officer. "Not unless you are that replicator, sir, no."

With a shrug Jason turned, "Computer, Wilcox-One." A pleasant beep followed the command, and moments later a stainless steel half-gallon drinking mug appeared. The steam came off it just as Jason preferred. He removed the mug from the replicator and stepped aside.

Kesari was impressed. "I like the way you roll, commander," she stated, hoping the idiomatic choice was correct. When it was her turn, she ordered, "Lor AM-Four." This produced a tall, sealed travel mug, which would last her at least until she checked into her lab.

The smell of coffee, and the first swallow of coffee cleared the fog in Jason's mind. The second one created a smile. "Thank you lieutenant. It's quality and quantity combined. What is in yours?"

Her fingers wrapped around her own mug and she seemed to hold it close to her heart. "A Yirgacheffe strain—southern Ethiopia," she almost sighed as it warmed her. "It's pretty light bodied but packs a punch for energy. Yours?"

"An Alpha Centauri cross breed. It's a strong taste, but less bitter than a Raktajino but it has the same kick." He sniffed the vapors up again, almost groaning at the pleasure he took from it. "I love my morning coffee." His tone almost wistful.

"I love my anytime coffee," Kesari replied, squeezing the mug more tightly. "It's Earth's greatest achievement."

"Remind me to have you taste some of the wine my home vineyard produces sometime. It really makes the coffee pale in comparison." His smile was a mixture of pride and passion.

The Trill grinned—the chemistry of vinification was something she especially appreciated. "I've heard that the soil acidity and mineral content of Alpha Centauri is especially suitable for viticulture."

"It's the acidity, but also the proximity and rotation of the planet." Jason said enthusiastically. It's a few thousand kilometers closer to its star, and the rotation allows for longer summer seasons. So the fruits get that much sweeter." He continued in a rant about the certain agricultural techniques he had used when running the plantation.

Kesari jumped in and asked questions about how the weather patterns on the planet affected harvest periods, drawing comparisons to Earth's Sonoma and Willamette Valleys. Soon, she found that she'd need another fix of coffee before her previously projected time. The size of Wilcox's mug suddenly seemed appealing. "Well... I need a refill already," she said, sheepishly holding up her cup. "I shouldn't have taken up so much of your time."

Jason smiled at the small woman, "No worries miss Lor. I barely get the chance to discuss these things. I was just happy to have an attentive audience in you." He glanced down into his bucket, and then. "And it seems I need a refill too."

With her beverage refreshed, Kesari stepped aside. "As a matter of personal preference, which machine do you prefer?" she queried. "It's between this one and the shuttle maintenance office, for me."

"A few years ago I had an engineer remove that replicator", gesturing to the one left of them, "and have it replaced the one in my quarters, because it made better coffee. Having refined my recipe, the one in my quarters is a bit less great than this one. I haven't tried the shuttle one yet."

Kesari nodded knowingly. "Don't let anyone tell you that all replicators are the same. I'm very close to getting my own to an acceptable place, but I'm telling you... Shuttle maintenance office. Very decent."

"Duly noted." Jason agreed, smiling at the woman. "Now you'll have to excuse me, I need to be about doing executive duties."

"And I need to go exercise," she replied a bit sadly. "Have a good day, Commander!"


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