Guardian Station

Barzan Sector

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Post 13 - Breakfast at Curmudgeon's

Posted on Wed Mar 25th, 2020 @ 7:31pm by Captain Nathan Cowell MD & Elizabeth Cowell
Edited on on Sun Apr 5th, 2020 @ 6:09pm

Mission: Episode 1: Changing of the Guard
Location: [Sector Kilo-Indigo: Captain Cowell’s quarters]
Timeline: MD 2: 0530hrs

[Sector Kilo-Indigo: Captain Cowell’s quarters]

[MD 2: 0530hrs]

A rich aroma spread throughout the room, the savory scent dominating the space as it filled the lungs of the occupant of the couch that sat across from the large viewport that took up the majority of the wall that dominated the living area of the living quarters. A soft moan erupted from her lips as the scent of rich, fatty bacon pulled her ever farther away from her dreams. The sound of bacon being seared to perfection in an adjacent room finally had enough pull on her to motivate upward locomotion. Once she was sitting upright, the sounds of metal scraping metal interrupted the hypnotic sound of bacon being prepared.

“About time you got your lazy ass up,” the voice of Nathan Cowell suddenly jarred the woman out of her blissful haze.

A mug appeared in front of her face, which she took from the man, only to be assaulted by yet another smell that seemed like a distant memory. The mug contained coffee, and not just any coffee but a cup that had been flavored with cream and just the right amount of sugar to make it pleasing to the tongue.

“It smells heavenly,” Elizabeth offered up a compliment as Nathan plodded back into what could only be assumed to be the kitchen.

“It damn well ought to, I made it,” came the predictable retort. The problem with the retort wasn’t that it was arrogant, almost flippant in nature. The true issue was that he wasn’t in the least bit wrong, the scent rising from the cup seeming to mock her attempt to refute the claim. Without uttering a sound, Elizabeth placed her lips against the mug and imbibed the semi-sweet elixir that had been gifted to her. The moan of pure joy that escaped her lungs surprised the woman.

“Damn I missed this…” the woman admitted as she pulled the cup closer to her.

“Did you now?” came the snarky comment from the kitchen.

Elizabeth wanted to retaliate, but she bit her tongue knowing full well it wasn’t going to lead to a conversation she would have come out smelling like a rose from. Indeed, had she opened her mouth at all, she was certain the only thing she’d have had to look forward to was wiping mud from her face.

“Besides bacon, what are you making?” Elizabeth opted for the much safer route of changing the subject as she rose from the couch, letting the blanket she didn’t remember having slip off her and crumple to the ground.

“Got some eggs on the scramble, some toast being toasted, and a pot of grits bubbling away,” Nathan said without looking back toward the woman.

Elizabeth nodded to herself as she crossed the threshold between the living area that she was fairly familiar with into the kitchen she hadn’t noticed when she’d been brought there the night before. The kitchen space was rather nice; there was a full dining table, counter space for food prep, a working oven and stove, though instead of an icebox like the couple might have had back on Earth, there was a replicator station nestled in the middle of everything, as if trying to hide.

“This is pretty fancy. How’d you manage to get a setup like this?” Elizabeth said as she slid into a chair at the table that had a plate set in front of it.

“Being a Captain does come with certain privileges that some of the younger folks around here can only dream about,” the old man chuckled to himself as he finished dumping some freshly scrambled eggs into a bowl.

Grabbing another bowl, Nathan pulled out a ladle that had been resting in the pot of grits and dumped a rather generous helping inside. He grabbed the bowl of eggs with his free hand and walked them to the table, sitting them in front of Elizabeth before returning to stove.

“Thank you,” Elizabeth said in a low voice.

Nathan merely grunted in reply as he started fixing his own plate. He grabbed some bacon from the nearby cooling rack he’d put it onto after it had been sufficiently seared, then dolloped some grits on the plate before setting it down on the table.

“Toast?” he asked, which was answered by a simple nod, “Two or four?”

Elizabeth held up two fingers, which was answered by a curt nod before Nathan went about extracting some of the recently finished bread from the toaster. Making sure to slather a generous amount of butter on the surface of the bread for good measure, Nathan set the small plate near Elizabeth and grabbed some toast of his own before sitting down at the table finally.

Elizabeth had waited patiently for him to get his meal situated before she tucked in, her fork stabbing rather violently into the scrambled eggs as Nathan watched her with a smirk on his face.

“Act like you haven’t had a hot meal in centuries,” the old man couldn’t help but chuckled as he began his own breakfast.

“Oh, I’ve had plenty of meals… just haven’t had one as good as your home cooking in… what feels like far too long,” Elizabeth said before realizing how open that comment had left her for rebuke.

“Before you say it,” the woman held up her hand to stop the man as he started to inhale for the comeback comment, “I know it was my own damn fault. Let’s just leave it at that.”

Nathan grunted at the self-deprecating comment but left it alone as she’d suggested. The two sat in relative silence, though the scrapping and clacking of silverware could be heard in the dining area with great frequency. Half the meal proceeded with only those faint sounds before Elizabeth put her fork down and cleared her throat.

“I was honestly not sure if you were going to even talk to me when I came up with the idea of coming to see you. I played the scene over and over in my head, and not once did you not throw me out on my ear…” the woman admitted.

“Thought about doing just that, too,” Nathan remarked bluntly, “Almost did. But some part of me wanted to know why you were here, what you hoped to accomplish. Couldn’t rightly find out if I tossed you out on your ear.”

Elizabeth smiled sadly at that, “Guess I didn’t give your inquisitive mind enough credit.”

“Imagine that…” Nathan retorted sarcastically.

Elizabeth shot the man a glare, but it didn’t last more than a second or two before her face relaxed, “I wasn’t really prepared to have to talk to you like this. It’s brought back so many… good memories.”

“Lost yourself in the past, eh?”

“Didn’t you?” the woman snapped, “You were in here making breakfast for two like it wasn’t even unusual… like you’ve been doing it for…”

“Centuries,” Nathan interjected.

Elizabeth sighed at the word, “Yes… centuries… centuries that I didn’t stick around to share with you.”

Rather than offer up more scathing commentary, Nathan laid his elbows on the table with a thud and clasped his hands together in front of his face, “So now what?”

Elizabeth blinked at the question, “What do you mean?”

“Just what I said, now what?”

“Err…” Elizabeth muttered, “I don’t… I don’t really know. Like I said, I hadn’t really thought this was a possibility.”

“And yet here we are,” the old man remarked, “And I’m asking you what you want to do now that we’re sat here comfortably chatting like there isn’t a huge gap in time between now and the last time we did this.”

The woman mulled it over for a long time before she managed to find her voice again, “Honestly?”

“Preferably,” Nathan nodded.

“I wish I’d never left you,” Elizabeth said as tears welled up in her eyes.

“Not what I asked you.”

Elizabeth sniffed sadly as she looked up at her estranged husband, “Can we maybe save our marriage?”

“That depends,” the old man said gravely.

“On what?”

“On how long you intend to stick around this time,” came the blunt reply.

The woman sitting before Nathan sucked in a long, hesitant breath before balling her fists up in her lap. Tears cascaded down her cheeks as she contemplated the words that had just been uttered. They hurt a great deal to hear, but they also were the only thing she could possibly have expected him to say given the circumstances.

Elizabeth let out a long breath and looked up at the man, “I’ll stay as long as you let me.”

Nathan stared at the woman, his eyes probing hers. He waited patiently to see if her resolve was lacking, to see if there was any shred of doubt that she could stick to such a promise like the one she’d just given him. In that moment, Nathan was exactly what he was supposed to be, a true El-Aurian. He was listening to her with his entire being, weighing her words against the scales of his vast experience and his own deep well of emotions. And in the end…

The old man picked up his fork and started eating again as if their entire conversation was a distant memory.

“Pass the salt, would you?” Nathan said, pointing to a shaker that was conveniently just out of his reach, but well within Elizabeth’s.

The woman couldn’t help but choke a little on the laughter that his sudden change brought on. They’d been married a fair little while before she’d vanished on him, and yet she knew exactly what he was trying to do, and what that meant for her… for them. She reached out and grabbed the salt shaker, rolling it in her fingers a few times before handing it over to him.

“You’ll have a heart attack with that much salt in your diet,” Elizabeth repeated words she’d said to him more than a few lifetimes ago, when they were still living in a tiny run-down apartment in the small town they had first been married in.

“Lucky for me, I know a pretty good doctor who told me that stuff you read in those magazines is nothing but garbage,” Nathan replied, a smirk dancing across his lips.

“Oh really? That’s funny, Good Housekeeping usually gets it right…”

“Next thing you know, you’re going to tell me a man landed on the moon,” Nathan rolled his eyes.

Elizabeth laughed at that. It was ironic that he would say something like that while they were sitting in a room that overlooked a world the people of Earth didn’t even know existed at the time they last sat at a dinner table together. She couldn’t help but shake her head at the absurdity of it all.

“Maybe someday we’ll live in giant ships floating out there in space, hitching rides on comets like they do in the movies,” Elizabeth offered up as she finally resumed her breakfast.

“Now you’re just being silly,” Nathan chided.

Elizabeth shrugged, “Stranger things have happened…”

A not so mission post by

Captain Nathan Cowell, MD

Chief Medical Officer

Starbase 38

Elizabeth Cowell


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