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Tramasilik Belt: Republic of Cardassia

Phil stammered as he looked down at his plate.

"It's…um…it's very…green," he said trying to maintain a semblance of British politeness. The Pershing's senior staff sat around the dining table in Annabeth's quarters. In front of them were plates of undercooked noodles topped with an overcooked, lumpy green sauce.

Annabeth cleared her throat from the head of the table.

"It's a Solonian recipe I found in the computer database," she said trying to explain. "The example picture looked a lot more appetizing…It's just the tradition of the captain cooking dinner for everyone once a week was so nice I didn't want to lose it." She blushed with more than a hint of embarrassment. "I'm sorry. I'm not as good a cook as Dan was."

"Nonsense," Katie said shaking her head. "I'm sure it tastes amazing." She picked up a forkful and then shoved it in her mouth. Instantly, she pursed her lips and tightened ever muscle in her body to swallow the mouthful down. "See," she said gasping for air. "It's great…Excuse me." Katie grabbed her glass of wine and downed half of it to get the taste out of her mouth.

"Kinzo," Annabeth said turning to the Betazoid doctor a few seats down. "I suppose I shouldn't ask what everyone really thinks of it?"

"Well, Ma'am," he said nervously. "I think we should let people speak for themselves."

"I'll speak for myself," Scharr said straightening his antennae. "We have a phrase for things like this on Andoria: Cu'thervossh Trhesh Na Than Trsserasch Meklan Schress Chan."

T'les took a deep breath as she cocked her head to one side.

"I am by no means fluent in Andorian," the young Vulcan said, "however, I believe Mr. Scharr said something to the effect of, 'the quality of this food is so poor that people would question the legitimacy of your parentage.'"

Annabeth laughed.

"Ok, Everyone, Plan B," she said pushing the plate away from her. "My replicator is your replicator. Get what you want," she said pointing to the glowing slot on the far wall.

With massive amounts of relief, the staff quickly materialized a selection of replacement entrees and returned to the table.

After a few minutes of a much improved culinary experience, the conversation picked up again.

"Any word on when we'll get our new first officer?" Katie asked while taking a bite of Mexican style fajitas.

"Not yet," Annabeth said swallowing a mouthful of caesar salad. "Starfleet is still trying to figure out the reshuffling of the command slate. I'm afraid you're going to have to suffer through the job for at least a few weeks more."

"At least they're keeping you in the big chair permanently," Scharr spoke up. "It's not so bad having you in charge and I would hate to have to break in a new 'frozen behind the antenna' four pipper."

"Tren," Annabeth said sarcastically putting a hand over her heart. "I'm touched."

"Take what you can get," Phil added. "I think that's high praise from an Andorian."

"I'll tell you how much he actually loves you later," the telepathic Katan whispered with a wink. Scharr furrowed his brow and glared at the doctor before silently mouthing the words:

"I will kill you, Pinkskin."

"I do not believe that Katie has anything to complain about," T'les grumbled. "I think the arrival of Laria's replacement is a far more pressing matter. I am an engineer and unqualified to be acting science officer."

"Again, I'm sorry, T," Annabeth said. "We don't have anyone else who can do the job. Besides, you went to high school on Vulcan. That probably makes you more qualified to be a science officer than most people in Starfleet Science."

Most laughed, but T'les merely raised an eyebrow.

"I am not sure if that better speaks to the quality of the Vulcan educational system or the flaws of Science Division…"

"In any case…" Annabeth continued after the laughter died down, "we won't meet either of them out here. They'll be waiting when we rotate back to the Federation next week."

There was a sudden silence across the room. Annabeth knew what they were thinking without the help of her chief medical officer.

"It's funny," Phil said wiping his face with a napkin. "It hadn't really set in we're leaving Cardassia without two of our own on board."

"Phil, we talked about this," Katie said shaking her head. "Starfleet made the call. L and Captain T aren't part of this crew anymore."

"Well, it was a t'schvalshrass of a call," Scharr muttered while downing the rest of his drink.

"Translation, T'les?" Katie said looking over.

"It is a word that I do not feel comfortable speaking aloud," T'les answered.

"It's not our job to say whether what happened was right or wrong," Katie continued. She had been taking her role as acting first officer much more seriously of late. "It's our job to accept it and understand its Captain Geist's show now."

"If you've accepted it," Phil said turning to her. "Then why are you still calling him Captain T?"

Katie answered her husband by taking another sip of wine.

Annabeth sighed.

"I'd like to raise a toast," the Pershing's new CO said holding her glass into the air. "To Dan and Laria Tigranian: always a part of this crew, and always a part of this family."

The rest of the table all raised their glasses.

"To the Tigranians…"

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