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“Ice Cream Is Never Dull”
JPL: Dr. (Bones) Harris & Commander Lobren
The transporter beam let Commander Lobren, Dr. Stacey (Bones) Harris, and Maverick off on a deserted area of the promenade level of Starbase 295. Lobren glanced around, seeing many darkened shops. Bones shook herself, "I don't care what you say about EV suits...it had to be better than that, geesh, I hate those things! Why do I let you talk me into these things??" She looked at herself to make sure all of her limbs were still attached.
Lobren sighed, Mav might have too. “Doc, you're th one who talked ME into this little excursion." He pointed at the shops, closed with metal gates barring their entrance. "Are ya sure this ice cream shop is still open, Doc?” the Brikar asked.
Bones took a few steps and whistled, "This place looks like a ghost town, creepy!" She turned back to Lobren to answer his question, "No, I'm not sure...," she said testily, "how the hell should I know? Do I look like a visitor's bureau? I just know that it WAS here."
Lobren ignored her tirade and started walking. They passed a clothing shop that was open, and a place called the “Impulse Drive.” Loud noises came pouring out of that establishment, indicating just how crowded it was inside. Maverick turned his head toward the place and his ears went up.
“I think that's their local waterin' hole, Mav,” Lobren commented. “We don' wanna go in there.”
Bones sniffed at the loud dirty alcoholic-smelling place with longing, “ah, in my younger days maybe...ya know, like a few weeks ago.” She continued walking, “these days I'm under strict counselor and doctor's orders not to have anything stronger than vanilla ice cream, dammit,” she noted sourly.
“I'm proud of ya, Doc,” Lobren remarked. He saw two security officers coming toward him and not recognizing them, he figured they were starbase security. “Hey, Fellas. We heard there was a real good place ta get ice cream here. Is it still open?”
“Yes, Sir,” the one officer, a lieutenant, replied. His partner was looking at Maverick with skepticism. “The Ye Olde Ice Cream shop is still open. It's right around the next corner that way.” He pointed over his shoulder.
“I don't think your pet will be allowed in,” the other officer, an ensign, cautioned.
“He ain't my pet,” Lobren told them in a no-nonsense voice. “He's my deputy.”
“Come on, let's go,” the doctor said impatiently. “I'm buying. Maybe I'll get real adventurous and go for Rocky Road...but don't tell Dr. Greene or Counselor Zuniga,” she smirked.
“Awright, awright,” Lobren griped. “Don't get yer stethoscope inna bunch.” He turned away from the security officers and started in the direction they had instructed. The three rounded the corner and saw lights from the ice cream shop. The entire front of the shop was open, and there were tables set out in front of the counter. Behind the counter were two Terrans, a girl and a boy that looked like they were in their teens. They didn't even bat an eye when the Brikar came in with Bones. Maverick sat at the edge of the shop, just outside it.
“Hello, Sir,” the boy said. He had sandy hair and his face was slightly freckled. “What can I get for you?”
“I'll have a double large banana split, and a bowl of vanilla ice cream.”
“Very good, Sir,” the attendant said. He looked to Bones. “And you, Ma'am?”
“Hmmmm,” Bones looked at all the flavors, “I'll have a triple scoop of mint-chocolate chip in a waffle cone with sprinkles and whipped cream.”
Once they had their desserts in hand, they sat down. Bones licked along the edge grabbing the whipped cream before it fell, then dove into the ice cream. “Yum! Now this is what the doctor ordered. Real dairy homemade ice cream, not that replicated crap.” She looked around at their surroundings, “say, the last time I got kidnapped was in an ice cream place just like this. Remember that?” She shook her head nonchalantly as she licked at the treat. “Was that the time I ended up with those bozo rat people as their queen?? No no, I got abducted from a planet that time...this was the time I ended up in a cage with a bunch of other crew-people, I think. All of my kidnappings are running together...and people wonder why I drink.”
Lobren had placed the bowl of vanilla ice cream down for Maverick. They had taken the table closest to the outside of the shop so there would be no hassles about Maverick coming inside. The Brikar then carefully sat down across from Bones so he didn't break the chair.
“That's pretty bad, Doc,” Lobren said, “when ya been kidnapped so many times ya can't remember, an' yeah, yer queen days were on that backwater planet in Rommie territory.” He started to eat his ice cream.
The girl attendant approached their table tentatively. Her blonde hair was pulled back into a tight pony tail and she had clear blue eyes. She wore a uniform similar to that of the boy behind the counter.
“Excuse me,” she said, looking a bit nervous. “Can I ask you something?”
“Somethin' more than ya askin' if ya can ask us somethin'?” Lobren replied. “Sure, go fer it.”
“Do you know where our owner is? He simply disappeared over a year ago, and no one has said anything to us.”
Bones looked incredulous, “so who's in charge here then?” She looked to Lob to see how he would answer the girl.
“Yer owner?” Lobren asked. “Don't ya mean yer boss?”
“No,” the girl answered timidly. “The man, Mr. Simpson is the owner of the shop and of us.” She indicated herself and the boy behind the counter.
Bones sat forward, “wait, what do you mean YOUR owner?” She was about ready to let a string of curse-words fly about human dignity and slave labor but Lobren quieted her with a hand gesture so he could get to the bottom of this.
“Like th' Doc said,” Lobren asked as gently as he could. One thing he knew is he could be very intimidating to Terrans. “What do ya mean about yer owner? Where are your parents?”
The girl gave Lobren a curious look, sort of like, …€Â˜That's a silly question.' She glanced to the boy behind the counter then back to the Brikar. “We don't have parents. We came as part of the shop.”
The doctor couldn't contain it anymore, "you what? What do you mean you came as part of the shop? How old are you? Is that your brother? Where were you before you were here?"
The waitress had a confused look on her face, like maybe the doctor had spoken to her in a foreign language. She looked over toward the counter, then back at Bones. “All I wanted was an answer about our owner.”
“Ya ain't …€Â˜sposed ta have an owner,” Lobren told her. “At least not in th' Fed…€…” His sentence was cut off by a whimper from Maverick. Lobren looked over at the wolf.
~~No real,~~ Maverick sent. ~~No scent.~~ Lobren looked from the wolf to the waitress. “Not real<” he asked, confused. “no scen…€… Wait! Ya're a hologram, ain't ya?”
“Of course,” the girl replied matter-of-factly.
Bones blinked her eyes and raised her eyebrows, "well, I'll be...what in the hell?" She looked at her ice cream, "How...is this fake too??"
Lobren let out a laugh, which if you didn't know the Brikar, might have scared you because it sounded a lot like an avalanche. The waitress was not fazed by it either. She glanced to Bones.
“No, Ma'am,” she said. “I assure you, the ice cream is real.” She paused a moment then asked, “So, will we be finding out about our owner?”
“Th' owner,” Lobren started, “along with any other living bein' aboard th' station at th' time were taken by some kinda object that we're still in search of. IF he was Terran, like the both of ya are patterned after, he could still be a prisoner.”
“Oh no,” the waitress exclaimed. She had a look of horror on her face. “Whatever shall we do?”
"It will be ok," Bones soothed, "does anyone else work here?"
“Mrs. Simpson comes in to work, too,” the waitress replied, “but now it's just me and joey. He's been keeping the books and doing all the reordering of our stock,”
“Do ya like the Simpsons?” Lobren asked.
“Oh yes,” the blonde girl answered right away. “They treat us so well. Mrs. Simpson always says Joey and I are her kids.”
Bones looked to Lob, this was getting weirder by the second. Since they were holograms and didn't require medical attention- she was out of her purview and it was up to Lobren to decide next steps.
“Well, it seems ya been doin' awright so far,” Lobren told the girl. “I'll talk ta someone aboard the starbase an' maybe thy can keep ya apprised as to what's goin' on.”
The waitress smiled. “That would be helpful, thank you.”
“Ya're welcome,” Lobren replied. The waitress turnd back to the counter and rejoined Joey. Lobren looked back to Bones and ate some more of his ice cream.
Bones shook her head, “never a dull moment, eh?”
“Dull is th' last thing it gets,” Lobren commented, continuing to eat his banana split.