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50 Shades of Earl Grey Pt 2

Posted on Saturday 20 February 2021 @ 06:05 by Lieutenant Breana Rathburn & Commander Caroline Miller & Major David Scarlet

Mission: Homeward
Location: Holodeck 1
Timeline: MD2
3494 words - 7 OF Standard Post Measure


Bree tensed slightly when she heard Caroline say it was time to switch and took a couple slow deep breaths. There was a reason she hated these things and had managed to usually avoid them. Giving up control in life had become hard on her over the years, to many people had used and free trust to the point of breaking her. Now, the amount of people she truly trusted, she could count on one hand. Swallowing hard, she gave a glance over to the trigger happy pud next to her and worked hard to settle the flip of her stomach. She could do this.... it was just making pud, right?

The words were barely out of Caroline's mouth before the mask was off and Scarlet's arm juted out toward Rathburn with the mask in hand. He remained slient for the time being and took a step back from the stove after turning it off and moving the pot aside.

He stood in a position to maximize his view of the counter and give a good idea what was next. Waiting, he watched as Rathburn put on her mask and nodded ever so slightly.

"Let me know when you are ready and in place. Then I will begin the instructions." Scarlet informed Rathburn firmly. He took the time to review the instructions and mentally prepare the instructions in his mind as Rathburn made herself ready. Once this was done, he could get back to work and away from the agent of chaos.

Slow deep breaths were taken as she stood ready... and blind. She didn't say anything quiet yet as she took a moment to settle the twisting of her stomach that happened anymore when she was forced to give up control. Hands rested lightly on the counter before her before she finally gave a spoken word. "Ready" Her tone softer than normal, yet she hoped it sounded more confident than she felt.

Caroline smiled. They seemed to being more civil to each other. David had even taken the time to specifically get Bree to tell him when she was ready.

He took the time to look over her position and how it related to the remaining ingredients. Finally he began to speak. "The sifter and large bowl is right in front of you with the handle on the right hand side."

Breana moved her hands with ease over the counter as she reached for things. Finding placement of the bowl and sifter, she gave a little nod of her head to let him know she was ready for the next set of instructions.

"Next, the flour is in a bowl six inches to the left of where you have placed the sifter." He paused then and allowed her to trace and find the flour before continuing. He was also judging how concise he needed to make the instructions. Hopefully she was competent enough that he wouldn't have to explain to her how to bend her fingers.

Reaching four inches, she paused and felt around a moment before reaching a little farther as she muttered softly with a little smirk. "So you wasn't exaggerating about the length." After a light brush of a finger as she felt the light powdery flour. A quick lift and taste confirmed that it was indeed flour. Lifting the bowl of flower she carefully poured it into the sifter, then hoping the bowl was empty she sat it down before lifting the sifter up, and as fingers wrapped to the handle she started turning it, sifting the flour into the cooking bowl.

"Of course not." Scarlet said firmly, obviously not getting the innuendo in the remark. He stood at ease with his hands behind his back. Yet even in this casual position he was still tense and ready.

He watched silently for a while as Rathburn sifted the flour. When she was nearly done he began to speak again. "Once you are finished sifting the flour, which should be soon, you will need to add the spices. They appear to be in already pre-measured bowls beginning roughly four inches to the right of the edge of the bowl. you are currently using. There are five small bowls all in the area next to each other." He paused and looked at the book. "It does not specify which order they are to be added so I do not think there is any specific order."

"There usually isn't when it comes to dry ingredients." Breana replied softly as she reached and picked up one at a time, giving them a sniff to make sure what she was adding before slowly pouring it into the bowl before her. Nope, no trust issues for her here, just being a diligent cook. At least that's what she would claim.

"Its an interesting mix of spices don't you both think?" Caroline asked them trying to get them talking a little more than just giving instructions. "Reminds me of something but I can't put my finger on it."

"My grandmother used these spices in her christmas fruitcake recipe." Scarlet answered briskly. "There may be a common historical or geographic reason for it."

Turning his attention back to Rathburn and the baking, he continued. "Next you will need to check the ingredients in the pot to make sure they've cooled sufficiently. The pot is next to the stove on your right. Be careful touching it as it could still be hot."

Breana was still quiet as she listened, focused and working hard to keep this operation going well. After all if she could get them though this mess, maybe Caroline would leave them be , and the pud might think of her as something more then just .... whatever he thought of her. Side stepping, she carefully gave a graze of her fingers against the side of the pan to test the heat level from it. slowly and carefully she trailed her fingers upwards and over the pan to check the level of heat coming from the bowl. With a slight nod of her head she moved the pan over two steps to where she had been standing. Or so she thought as she accidently hip bumped into Scarlet.

Scarlet clenched his jaw and tensed. He quickly put down his first reaction and moved to the side. His eyes bored into the back of Rathburn's head. "I was in the way... I apologize." The words came out of his mouth, but the tone spoke volumes more as he backed away from where Rathburn worked. It took a minute, but he soon composed himself.

"Add the wet ingredients to the bowl with the dry ingredients and then we will find the blender." Scarlet stated quicky and efficiently.

Glad she'd set the pan down before the hip bump she glanced blindly over to him with a soft mutter of "sorry", before working on refocusing herself. Dry ingredients into the wet... though that seemed off to her, she wasn't about to question him as she slowly poured the flourer mix into the pan with the wet stuff.

“No blender. Unless your going to operate her hands while operating machinery, ” Caroline told them. “Health and safety. I don’t want any fingers flying off and having to face our Andorran doctors explaining why. There's a spoon though.”

She nudged it forward doubting Scarlet would be brave enough to go stand behind Bree and operate her arms for both to safely use a blender and that Bree would actually let him without ripping the blindfold off and punching him. It was a shane as she could easily recognise the classic “love to hate” dynamic they had quickly settled into.

As a counselor she couldn't order them to spend the night together and get it out their system. What a shame the blond mused. Oh well she would watch from the side lines till they figured things out themselves. She wondered just how stubborn they could both be.if this exercise was anything to go by, very...

Scarlet glared at the spoon as if it had insulted his mother. Rathburn was an engineer who bragged about her handling of a warpcore, but couldn't use a blender blindfolded. He sighed heavily.

"There is a mixing spoon to use instead of the blender. It is five inches to your left."

Bree also blinked behind the mask she wore as she looked towards the sound of Caroline's voice. Seriously no blinder! All she had to do was pour it in, put the lid on and push a button! After all the puds head wouldn't likely fit into the blinder... or would it? Hearing Scarlet tell her where the spoon was she reached down and grabbed it before, in a fit of frustration now, slammed it into the flourer mix.... of course the mix wasn't strong enough to stop the spoon and a portion of the dry ingredients went flying out the other side of the bowl and right onto the side of Scarlet.

The man blinked a few times and blew a puff of flour out of his nose like a bull. Scarlet's eyes narrowed as he wasn't entirely sure it had been an accident. Instead he took a deep sigh and walked away from Rathburn completely. He walked over to the holographic wall and looked out the holographic window at the holographic tree. It took a few deep breaths and clenching and unclenching of his fists before he walked back near Rathburn.

"Gently continue to stir the ingredients Lieutenant. Emphasis on gently please." Scarlet growled as he wiped more of the flour off his face and uniform. He glanced at Commander Miller.

"Explain to me again how this is better than just using a blender." Scarlet muttered.

"Explain to me why it isn't without using the words "I want to get this over and done with faster and out of here," Caroline said locking eyes with him. "Or it would be more time efficient.

And there is a health and safety aspect. Its got sharp moving parts. If you miscommunicate or she is slightly out handling it she might lose a finger or something. And I for one do not wish to have to march her down to Dr Ch'rehron and explain that. Its baking a cake David. Your an big brave marine and Bree's an engineer. Between the two of you, you can manage this with a less primitive and efficient tool."

Scarlet narrowed his eyes and met Miller's stare. Before turning his gaze back to Rathburn. The primitive tool part was correct at least.

"The mixture has almost been completely wetted. It is time to add the chopped nuts. I assume these have been pre-chopped as it seems you can not be trusted not to chop off your own fingers." Scarlet said with a tongue-in-cheek glance to Miller.

"Of course," Caroline told him firmly. "But I would be careful David. She's perfectly fine at chopping nuts when not blindfolded and if you keep antagonising her like that .... well all I will say is your the only one here with "nuts" to worry about."

Breana had been quietly stirring the mix together, actually oblivious to the fact that she's made a mess on Scarlet, or anything like that. While stirring with a spoon was... primitive in a way, it was also a bit relaxing. The steady swirl of the spoon against the thickening mixture as she pondered things, thought back to a few memories, and listened to the rambling talk between the Pud and the Councilor, a slight smirk touching her features as she heard the last part.

"Watch it Commander, you might bruise the mans ego even more than it already is." Rathburn added after a moment as she reached for the nuts and started stirring them in.

"Can we finish baking this cake? Today preferably?" Scarlet grumbled. "Just add the nuts Lieutenant so we can move on to the next step in this madness."

"If you stopped whining about this we would be done by now. If you would look you would see I added the blasted nuts." Bree said snippy as she scowled over to where the sound of his voice was.

"Next you will have to get the pan ready for the mixture. The pans should be in the cabinet under the counter in front of you. Use your best estimate to find one roughly eight to eight and a half inches in diameter." He began to cross his arms over his chest, but stopped and just continued wiping the flour off his uniform.

After opening the cabinet, she scatted down and started feeling around a moment before pulling out a pan (9x9) and holding it up. "This one work?

"Looks perfect to me," Caroline said positively. She stood up and went to the sink dampening a cloth and handing it to Scarlet. "Might help," she suggested. He certainly seemed uncomfortable with a little flour on him.

Scarlet grumbled. "No. I said diameter, which would be a circular pan. Not a rectangular one. Try again."

Taking the cloth from Miller as it was offered, he gave her a quick nod as he sighed. "I'm going to need a drink after this beer cake..."

"Eight by eight is a square." Bree muttered as she attempt to sat it on the counter.... missing of course it went clattering down on the ground, causing her to jump a little and bump her head on the top of the cabinet she was still peering blindly into. "Son of a...." She blurted out before yanking out another pan, round. As fingers trailed over the edge and sides she lifted it up and gave it a wave. "This one????"

"Really a square or round dish will do as long as it will hold the entire amount," Caroline appeased. "That one looks good too Bree. David," she pulled another bottle of beer off the counter next to her and handed it to him.

"If this is a trust exercise then I need to trust that she can follow directions." Scarlet said firmly. He looked over to the pan, a round one, that Rathburn was waving. "That one will do."

"There is a butter dish next to the wall in front of you." Scarlet continued begrudgingly. "Using your hand, you will use some of the butter to grease the inside of the pan thoroughly."

"Grease the pan... no problem." Rathburn said with a grin as having stood up and reached forwards, as fingers bumped into the wall and lowered downwards, she scooped up a good size blob of butter within her hand. Returning it to the pan she held in her other hand, she unknowingly started greasing the bottom of the pan. That was till she realized she was holding the pan upside down. Dammit.... turning the pan over in her hand, she started rubbing the pan again, reaching for a bit more butter, cause well.... she wasn't sure she had enough. That and one can never have to much butter. "Next!" She said happily... mostly because if she was greasing the pan then next should be pouring the mixture in and baking. They where almost done!

Scarlet watched her closely, rolling his eyes as she greased the bottom of the pan. "Making sure the pan is right side up, pour the mixture in."

Looking to Miller, Scarlet paused. "Considering your safety concerns in Rathburn using a blender, is it really safe for her to set and use an oven?"

"No which is why I want you to do that bit then Bree can take off her blindfold and we all enjoy one of these lovely holographic synthenol beers while we wait for the cake to bake," Caroline told him. "Your going to need it when I start asking "and how did you feel about that?" "what could have gone better?"

It was a good thing that Brea had the blindfold on at the moment as otherwise everyone would have seen dramatic eye roll as she heard Scarlet and Carloline. With one hand still holding the buttery pan, right side up this time. She reached and carefully lifted the mixture to slowly poor it, hopefully, in. A slight swirl of both things to try and make sure it was a nice even poor. Of course that trick works out so much better when one can see, so the fact that she drizzled mix outside of the pan at times clearly couldn't be helped. "If your going to ask questions like that, we might need real beer." Rathburn said finally as she sat the dishes down .

"Finally a good suggestion Lieutenant." Scarlet said as he walked over and turned on the oven. He looked at the temperature reading for the oven and paid attention to it until the temperature reached 350F.

Scarlet reached for the pan and frowned at the mess and butter over it before placing it in the oven where the butter on the bottom of the pan sizzled.

Setting the timer, he turned to the other two ladies as he wiped his hands on a towel. "We could speed up the simulation and get this cake baked now."

"Well both of you. Two things just happened. You managed to make a cake together and actually just agreed on something," Caroline quipped. "Computer speed up Cake baking to instant and replicate a plate for it."

The plate materialised on the counter and Caroline looked at David as the oven binged. "Want to do the honours David and we will take it to the round table to have with a proper beer."

Putting on a pair of flower printed oven mits, Scarlet turned off the oven and slowly opened the door to let the steam escape before reaching in and putting the cake pan on the cooking rack. He took off the mitts and gently touched the side of the pan to test the heat. Still warm, but not scalding hot. He took a good look at the pan and noticed that somehow Rathburn had found a spring form pan. He undid the latch and slowly allowed the pan to release the cake before moving the ring clear. The dark cake jiggled slightly, but still looked firm.

Finding three plates in the cupboard over the counter, he grabbed a knife from the block and cut three slices from the cake. He balanced the three plates in his hands as he brought them over to the table. "Someone get the forks."

"I got um" Bree said finally as she moved to get the forks, she'd also eyed the cake once the blindfold was off. While she wasn't to sure on what they had cooked, she did know enough about baking to feel like the cake seemed.... just a bit.... off. Maybe it was because it was still hot? Sure... she'd go with that. Heading over to the round table she sat out the forks before sitting down and glancing to the cake and then the other two.

Scarlet didn't really look around. Once the fork with next to him, he dug into the cake and took a bite. The quicker this was gone the quicker he could get back to work.

His usual scowl deepened and he placed his fork down on the table and slowly chewed and mulled the piece of cake in his mouth before finally, painfully swallowing. He looked at Rathburn and then Miller. "I've eaten expired MREs that taste better than this." He reached out and grabbed the beer in front of him and popped the top off by clicking it against the table.

Taking a large and lingering swig of the beer. Scarlet let the cold liquid set in his mouth for a moment in hopes it would dilute or burn away the taste of the 'cake'. "Honestly, I wouldn't wish this cake on an enemy." He looked to Rathburn. "Don't eat the cake."

Bree of course had opted for a drink of beer first and had just gotten around to picking up her fork for a bite when she heard Scarlet... and then blinked. Wait... what? he spoke to her? Warned her even?? And nicely, even warned her before Caroline. It took a moment for that to sink in before she smiled softly as she sat the fork back down. "Thanks for the warning, David."

Caroline was brave enough. After all she had just made them make this thing. "Its ... " she coughed. "Interesting .... I wonder what went wrong."

However something incredible had also just happened. David had made a positive suggestion towards Bree. Maybe there was hope for them yet.


| 1st Lieutenant David Scarlet
Marine Company Commander
USS Merlin

●●● Commander Caroline Miller
Chief Counselor
USS Merlin

●● Lieutenant Breana Rathburn
Chief Engineering Officer
USS Merlin


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