Star Trek Hunter
Episode 24: A Trillian Problem
Scene 19: Red, Flowers and Wine
Red, Flowers and Wine
"Hello Citizen Dolphin, you are completely dressed out to the yardarms, yes?" Rear Admiral Serge Mykel Chekov was smirking at Dolphin from a viewscreen in a small, secure communications compartment aboard the U.S.S. Ark.
Dolphin was wearing the brown pinstriped suit given to him by then Governor Emory Ivonovic. The white shirt was buttoned to the top collar and a beautifully detailed collar clasp made from tiny stained glass beads (which had long ago replaced the necktie as a formal accessory for formal suits on formal occasions) glittered with blue and aquamarine colors where it joined and peeked out from under his shirt collar.
"It appears one of my officers has arranged a date for me – or facilitated such an arrangement," Dolphin replied. "But I have a few minutes before I am scheduled for this mysterious rendezvous…"
"I just wanted to call to let you know that I really hate you," Chekov smiled. "So you stood alone in front of the Symbiont Sanctuary and faced down a trill army?"
"That was the plan," Dolphin replied. "However there was a Star Fleet lieutenant who happened to be there when I got there. Big furry fellow. Carrying a plasma cannon on his shoulder, no less. It was just a little less spooky with him there by my side."
"Well, I have to inform you that I will be one of the officers at your inquest," said Chekov.
"Then we run the risk of this being ex-parte communication," Dolphin responded.
"I just thought you might be amused to know that there are rumors of a lone Star Fleet captain staring down an army of 50,000 trills until he could see the spots on their necks – that's the way the klingons are telling the story…" Chekov chuckled.
Dolphin rolled his eyes. "Great," he muttered. "Just what I need. Glory-hungry klingons after my scalp."
"Such price fame, yes?" Chekov rejoined. "I just thought that would brighten up your day. And you should know that I have a very cold bottle of very high quality vodka waiting in my cabin for the next time we are in the same parsec. Oh and Kenny…"
"Yes Rear Admiral?"
"Do not say the word 'love' tonight unless you are talking about how the chef prepared your fish…"
"Roger Willco Serge," Dolphin replied with a salute.
"Don't salute when you're wearing civvies, Kenny. Enjoy your mystery date!"
"Thank you sir… Good night Serge Mykel."
Dolphin stepped out of the communication box – one in a bank of a few dozen available on this part of the beach for passengers aboard the Ark who did not have formal quarters – beach bums. He was not on one of the four gargantuan saucer sections, but aboard the main engineering hull itself. Each of the saucer sections had room for a small ocean among other environments.
The beach Dolphin was standing on was one edge of a much larger ocean carried inside the engineering section - an ocean teaming with life. Sailboats could be seen out to sea. Surfers rode the waves closer to the beach. And here along the beach were hundreds of stores, shops, restaurants – as there were on the other shore on the other end of the engineering section.
The U.S.S. Ark was humanity's first attempt to do what the romulans had been doing for nearly a half-century - preserving and growing living planetary environments inside massive space vessels. Only the Ark was designed to do something more – to transplant entire environments from doomed planets onto new worlds where that life might have a future. It was an almost unimaginable triumph of technology and collective action. Destroying life was easy – could be done entirely accidentally. Preserving life took an effort.
Dolphin's eyes strayed across an exceptionally beautiful, dark skinned Persian woman wearing an elegant red evening gown. He laughed and bowed gallantly. "Captain Red… are you whom I was summoned here to meet?"
From behind her back, Red produced a small bouquet of red roses. "You are such a woman, Dolphin…" She handed him the bouquet, which he took with no small amount of confusion and looked at strangely. "Fortunately, I like women…"
"Well, you have me completely flabbergasted," Dolphin replied, looking at her, then at the bouquet of roses she had just handed him. He was holding them rather tentatively, as if she had just given him a handful of squirming ferrets.
Red gave him an exasperated look. "Those are for our table. You really are quite bad at this dating business, aren't you?" She held out her hand.
It took a few heartbeats for Dolphin to realize she meant for him to take her hand. He let her lead him by the hand to one of the nicer restaurants along the shore and a bolian waiter brought a vase for him to place the roses in. "I… I'm not really certain, but I think this might be the first formal date I've actually been on," Dolphin said. "Aside from high school homecoming, that is."
"Well, our last time together…" Red started. "I guess something went wrong. You've been cold fish to me ever since…"
"Well, no, I mean," Dolphin stammered, "It was amazing, intense… more than a little scary. Nothing short of mind-blowing. But… you know… you can be quite scary…"
"You seemed to like it at the time…"
"What's not to like?" Dolphin looked down, took a deep breath. "You know, but, my life is rather full of intense and scary… I guess I just felt a little… overloaded?"
"That's why we're starting with wine this time," said Red. The bolian waiter appeared on cue.
The waiter displayed a bottle that had recently been uncorked - turning it so his guests could see the label: "A rich, dusky, and rather mellow merlot from the vinyards of California should be comfortable to the New England palate…" He poured the wine.
Dolphin was completely ignorant about wine, but he had to admit the waiter had made a decent choice.
"Okay, so we're kind of starting from scratch, but not quite," Dolphin said. "I have a personal question – a very personal question I've been dying to ask you…"
"Only for you," Red replied. "If I answer, you must keep the answer strictly to yourself. Not even your scar-faced vulcan friend…"
"Fair enough," Dolphin replied. "So I was told that you changed your name to Red in protest when you were seven years old..." he paused, looked down, then looked up again into her eyes. "What were you protesting?"
Red started laughing. She rolled her head back, eyes closed, a merry sound. "Okay - almost no one knows this… You know I was born in Iran…"
"Yes… You're Persian…"
"Not entirely. My father is Egyptian. And he gave me a typical Egyptian name, which is a boxcar list of every female ancestor for whom a name is on record. My given name was more than 50 words long, more than half of which would be a nightmare for anyone to pronounce. After they tried to teach me my name for the – I don't know – millionth time I just lost my temper and put my tiny, seven-year-old foot down and informed them my name is Red…"
24 – A Trillian Problem