Previous Next

A Opera Asinorum

Posted on Mon Mar 29th, 2021 @ 12:27pm by Gunnery Sergeant Roderik Kos & Lieutenant Commander BaoJun Qiao

Mission: Mission 0: Everybody Has A Story
Location: Overwatch Station
Timeline: 5 Days Post "The Hills Have Eyes"

"Sunny, are you sure this will work?" For probably the twentieth time in an hour, the question was asked, and it was beginning to grate on the nerves of the AI to whom it was being asked.

"Yes," came the reply across an entopic display, somehow managing to convey annoyance and a clipped tone despite the textual form. "For about half an hour. After that, no promises."

That was still good enough as far as Commander BaoJun Qiao was concerned. He finished uploading the probably illegal, and certainly violative of security protocols communications scrambler on the padd. He could tell his pet AI was still confused about why he was choosing to use what was almost certainly a 'good only once' trick on someone else. He supposed he should question that, since she was not supposed to have opinions on such things to begin with. Another time though.

Instead, he included a set of instructions on how to use it before he started on a more personal note.

Respected Artillery Sergeant Kos,

It is with pleasure this one has heard you had been seen outside your quarters. He can only assume this means your family was unharmed, as he recalls you mentioning that Ireland is your home. While he does not feel impolitic suggesting that he hopes a next time never occurs, should it happen, spot inspections of the shuttle bay with oddly responding doors and staircases are far less efficient than asking your friends for assistance. This one was most distressed to learn that his favourite bodyguard's unfortunate incident left the bodyguard unable to provide the necessary security to suggest a trip to recover a few potentially hazardous items from the ruins of London.

This one hopes the attached brings you some solace. Should you be amenable, this one did secure fresh tea from the Pentad that he thinks you would find agreeable to share.

This one ends his words with respect,
Qiao BaoJun

Satisfied the Lagashi got to his feet and made his way to Rodi Kos' quarters. He hesitated briefly before laying the padd against the door before retreating to his own quarters. One of the few benefits of their posting was the relative surety that no one else would pick up the padd before its intended recipient.

It had been a late workout for Rodi. Fear and frustration still coursed through him, even if he had received word for the safety of his family. In his workout clothes, a set of shorts and a tanktop, Rodi walked back to his quarters. Just a few steps from his door he spotted a mysterious PADD before his door. His suspicion was raised as he dropped his bag and approached slowly. One of the few benefits of this posting was the relative surety that nobody would leave a PADD just laying about. But when Rodi activated the device he recognised the writing, and of course the signature. He collected his bag and unlocked his home.

A quick shower, fresh clothes, and fresh tea were achieved in that order. When Rodi sat down with his book he noticed the PADD again. He put the book away and activated the PADD, reading the letter. His heart stopped at the realization that his teammates knew what had happened in the shuttle. Shame filled him for a long moment before continuing and reading the offer of help. The instruction-key that allowed him access to a one-time private call to Earth almost made him fill up with tears.

Fourty minutes later, after a prayer for safety as well as thanks, Rodi opened his comm-link. "Sergeant Kos for Commander Qiao."

In his own quarters, Bao had changed clothes himself, and had made himself comfortable for the night, a small pot of (replicated) tea next to him as he sat at the table with a scroll in front of him gently painting characters onto it. The practice was relaxing. He looked up at the communication request, having not expected a response so soon, if at all. He put down the writing brush before engaging the contact. "Good evening, sergeant," he said. "Is everything alright?" he asked, just to make sure there was not an actual work-related issue.

"Good evening Commander. All is well. I wanted to convey my..." Rodi went quiet as he thought about his phrasing for a long moment. "I wanted to convey my gratitude at your gift." He finally said. "And wondering if there was a way I could repay it."

Bao hummed as he remembered Confucious' admonition that faint perfume clings to the hand of the one who gives roses. He smiled. "If repayment were expected or required, it would not be a gift between friends but a transaction of business, Sergeant Kos. I wish for the former," he said. "And, if you are amenable, perhaps you might call be BaoJun instead of 'Commander' when we are not on duty," he added, somewhat on a whim, hoping the other might extend a similar invitation to him.

In a moment of silence, Rodi considered Bao's words. He then chose to follow what he was raised to do. "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. It's a principle taught to me from boyhood. You have shown me a great kindness BaoJun, and I wish to do unto you what you have done unto me. And if you'd like, you can call me Roderik, or Rodi if you prefer."

The Lagashi's skin prickled at hearing the other man actually use his name. He gave him permission, but part of him expected Kos to keep calling him commander. He decided to try out the other's name as well. "I would like that, Rodi," he said, deciding the shorter name was easier. Despite the years of practice he still found it difficult to string together words with multiple rhotic sounds in them. He debated downplaying, as modesty demanded, versus a simple acknowledgment. "And you have a bit of a tendency of being around when a certain party of whom we are both aware gets my life threatened. A circle has no beginning or end, but perhaps you might consent to have tea at an agreeable time that we might converse more naturally," he added, teasing slightly about having the conversation through a commlink.

"Tomorrow evening, 1900 hours. My quarters?" Rodi offered. He attempted to keep his cool, but the slightest nervous flutter ran through his voice. "I can't offer an expansive tea ceremony. But I do have some real, Earth-grown, loose leaf Irish tea."

If the Lagashi noticed anything in Rodi's voice he didn't comment on it. "I am sure it will be fine," he said instead. "We Lagashi may drink tea, but the tea ceremony would be far too formal anyway." He made a note to his calendar and told Sunny to give it the highest priority in his day. "You could serve water and I would still come, Rodi."

"Until then, Bao." And with that, Rodi tapped his combadge to end the conversation. Tomorrow he'd drink tea, Rodi thought to himself, but tonight he would be calling home and having some proper Irish whiskey.


Previous Next