Previous Next

Face Value

Posted on Jun 12, 2020 @ 4:21am by Lieutenant Eve Dalziel & Iphigenia Bonviva
Edited on on Jun 12, 2020 @ 4:21am

Mission: Dog Days Of Summer

“Face Value”

(Continued from “A Spoonful Of Sugar”)


Location: USS PHOENIX, Docked at SB 56
SD: [2.20]0611.1709
Scene: Dalziel’s Office

The Cardassian-born woman breathed a sigh of relief upon finding out that Ben Crichton had been found on the Starbase. She’d been told a report would be forthcoming, but for now Jake was with him as he underwent a routine examination. Eve wondered if she had been able to speak with him before his disappearance, she might have prevented whatever reason caused him to go awol in the first place. She tossed the stale cup of coffee into the matter reclamation unit, knowing that Byte would be punctual, and the door chime proved her intuition was correct.

{Good morning, Lieutenant,} the android stated with his usual placid tone as the entry slid open. {I have an appointment,}

“Yes you do, Mister Byte. Have a seat,” Eve answered after a quick glance at her schedule, not sure in what way she could provide help. She also wasn't sure if trying to make the Operations officer comfortable was necessary, but it was an ingrained part of her behavior, so she just went with it.

{We will be initiating training on the new HCARS system, and I am asking for your assistance, meaning the Counseling department.} Byte’s cornflower blue eyes stared blankly at Lieutenant Dalziel.

“What do you need?”

{We need trainers that can pass the information along to each crew member. Your department has a reputation for being high-touch and detail oriented, which are the same qualities one would expect in a trainer.}

Eve looked at him skeptically, while she pulled up a three dimensional rendering of the current schedules for her staff. Despite the few stragglers that would do anything but seek professional help, the majority of the sessions were filled. “I appreciate that you looked at our skill set, but it’s not that simple. Let’s say I allocate one Counselor to spearhead this training. Even if I rescheduled their clients to the remaining staff, it would still cause about ten percent of the current requests to be cancelled.”

Byte examined the model with the eye of a computer. {{It would be closer to twelve-point-three percent,}} he responded in logical agreement.

Eve nodded. “So, while I understand the need for every single crew member to have this training, as HCARS is a mandatory system that will affect all of us, it’s not like we have the time to handle this. Our patients are the top priority. I’m sorry.”

Byte paused. If Eve hadn’t known better she would have guessed he was disappointed. {{Then the matter remains unresolved.}}

“Despite the fact that we are docked at a Starbase, that does not mean our jobs stop during the upgrade. Have you been asking this of other department heads?”


“We weren’t even your first choice,” Eve replied with a bit of a smirk.

Byte plowed ahead, not catching her amused tone. {{My calculations indicated that the medical staff would be more likely to interact with the majority of the crew during medical exams, and due to this they became the first department I visited.}}

“I don’t see any different outcome, regardless of which department is given the opportunity. Do you mind a suggestion?”

{{Not at all. What is your idea?}}

“Bring in an outside trainer, someone whose actual *job* it is to train different systems on behalf of Starfleet, have them train each of the department heads, who then have the responsibility to pass it along to the people under them. It divides the workload and provides a better chance of each person receiving equal training from a sanctioned curriculum. We are all responsible for making sure we can operate the ship after the refit is complete.”

He cocked his head to one side, looking somewhat like a bird. {{I will consider that, Lieutenant Dalziel.}} Byte paused again. He then looked to the holographic image of the schedules and noticed a change. {{I see Commander Crichton is now due for a session.}}

Eve blinked, only seeing this for the first time, allowing herself an internal moment of ‘I told you so’ regarding the needs of the crew. “Don’t be a stranger.”

The Maddox-type android stood up stiffly. {{I could not be a stranger, due to our time in service together. Also, my positronic brain is incapable of losing information in most duty-related conditions. Therefore, that is not possible. Thank you for your time, Lieutenant Dalziel.}}

“Good day, Lieutenant Byte,” she said as he left, allowing herself a small smile.

Eve replicated two cups of coffee. She knew she wouldn’t have to wait long for her newly scheduled arrival. She leaned against the front of her desk and gingerly sipped her mocha latte.

About a third of a cup later, Jake walked in. He didn’t look like a man happy to have located his son. He looked like a man with an unshakeable amount of insecurity.

“Is Ben okay?” she asked, handing him the other cup.

He looked down, immediately setting the beverage aside. “I don’t know.”

The words were simple, and Eve didn’t understand the layers of meaning that came with them. “Are they still examining him?” she asked, surprised that Jake would leave his side if that was still the case.

“No. He’s in our quarters. Under two types of kid-friendly lockdown, I might add, thanks to Silsby. They couldn’t find anything wrong.”

Eve set her cup down, crossing her arms. “But you don’t agree.”

Jake gestured furtively. “He looks like Ben. But he doesn’t act like him.”

“In what way?”

“He ate like he was starving to death, as though he had never seen ice cream before. We had dinner like we always do. He had chicken nuggets. When they found him, he looked at me like he hadn’t seen me in years, instead of just a few hours before. He says his name is Billy and that a blonde woman brought him to the Starbase to see me.”

“Did he mention her name or where she came from? How did he get off the ship without being detected?”

The ExO of the PHOENIX shook his head. “No. And he didn’t have his comm badge when they found him. But he didn’t seem to understand why I was asking him about it.” Crichton grumbled. “I want you to talk to him. Please. I need another opinion, to prove I’m right.”

Eve had seen more of Jake’s emotions in the past few months than she had in the years they had been aboard the dreadnought. But this was different. “Of course I’ll see him. Smooshy will be there, too. But whatever happened to him, he’s been through a lot. I’ll be happy to see him once he gets some rest.”

“You don’t believe me.” Jake looked defeated. “You think a nap is going to straighten him out and he’ll be himself again.”

“There are no physical signs of trauma?” Eve asked hesitantly, because she knew that could cause dissociation, or other ways of acting out. She didn’t want to go there any more than Jake did, but it was a question that needed to be asked.

Jake shook his head. “The examination was thorough. But at the end, he is Billy. He says I’m his father. That’s all that seems clear, and that’s not much.”

Eve walked back behind her desk and sat down. “Have you been able to reach Xana to let her know what happened?”

He looked guilty. “I seem to be the only one who thinks anything *has* happened. I’d prefer to keep her from panicking from however many light years away she is, if it really is about nothing. Even if it *is* something, I don’t expect her to be able to drop everything and come running.” He wondered how many times Xana had felt this way while he was off sailing the galaxy, and shuddered a little.

It was clear that Jake was miserable. Eve restated her promise. “We’ll do everything possible to help him. Whenever you think he’s ready, just let me know. I’ll handle it personally. Try not to worry.”

Jake cast her a look that gave the impression he was beyond worrying at this point. “If I’m wrong- then something happened to him on that base. If I’m right, that means Ben is missing. I can’t accept either of those outcomes.”


Scene: The Vulgar Tribble

“Dahlia,” Iphie said as she threw down her rag and stared at her niece, “what do you mean there’s something wrong with Ben?”

The fourteen year old shrugged her shoulders at that. “I mean Ben is having some kind of nervous breakdown. He’s not even answering to Ben.”

Iphie rolled her eyes. “We don’t have nervous breakdowns in this family, we just cause them.”

“Ha-ha,” Dahlia said as she organized the spice rack; it was a mindless job that she could handle right now. “I mean it. He will only answer to Billy.” While her aunt just stared at her, she explained what happened that day leading up to Ben’s disappearance and Billy’s appearance.

“So,” Iphie said carefully, “you don’t think this is at all like about a year ago when you refused to answer to Dahlia?” When Dahlia looked over at her her aunt picked up her rag and continued her cleaning of the glasses. “Oh, think I didn’t know that one? Please, child, I invented that one. Wait, wait, has Ben; no, I mean Billy, started sneaking in friends yet?”

Dahlia dropped the jar of yamok sauce, shattering it and causing the delicacy to splatter everywhere behind the bar.

“Get the cleaner, let’s go,” Iphie said. When Calvin and Hobbes came over to help, Iphie shook her head at them and pointed them away. She didn’t want their help for this.

When Dahlia came back, she knelt down to sweep up the glass. “Ben hasn’t snuck in friends. There’s no one on the ship to sneak in,” Dahlia said softly.

“Good to know,” Iphie said as she finished up the shot glasses and moved onto the margarita glasses. “So have you -- wait I mean Ben Billy -- just moved onto sneaking out?”

Dahlia refused to look up and continued to furiously clean up the broken jar. So much so that she ignored her aunt when she put down the glass and leaned over her shoulder. “You did a good job wearing a higher collar tunic, but you didn’t do quite a good job of blending the makeup to cover up that hickey. Now your mother and I are more of a cerulean on the shading for the coverup but I think with your shading you could get away with a chetwode.” When the fourteen year old looked up with wide eyes, Iphie straightened up and said, “I assume that’s what you’re trying to cover up.”

Iphie watched her niece slowly stand up, but she was proud that she maintained eye contact even though it was evident the teenager was scared. “You’re as nervous as an Orion dancer in a church,” the chef wryly grinned. Leaning against the wall she said, “Look, I know my sister. She probably already gave you the talk about being safe, yes?”

“Mom talked to me and Grandma talked--”

“Please don’t say my mother, please don’t say that. Please don’t say Xana was so stupid as to involve our mother in this,” Iphie muttered.

“No, she asked Grandma Crichton to talk to me,” Dahlia admitted.

“Okay, so everyone knows that you’re dating or whatever the cool kids are calling it. Your mom, your grandparents, Jake…” Iphie said and then trailed off as she looked at Dahlia’s face.

Dahlia bit her lip and for a moment she looked much younger than her 14 years. “He can’t know. Aunt Iphie, Jake *can’t* know,” she begged. “He’ll freak out if he knows I’m going out.” Looking around she said, “He’s gotten stricter than mom, and I thought mom was bad.”

Iphie stood there and wondered how strict Jake really was and how much of this was just Dahlia. Rubbing her face she muttered, “You’re going to have to make me be a responsible adult, Dahlia.”

“NO! No, no, no. No one wants you to be the responsible adult, Aunt Iphie. I mean that would be a disaster,” Dahlia said. Grabbing her arm she begged, “Look, everything will just like before. Except my brother is a headcase….so minor change but just like before.”

Iphie was going to say something else but then she saw Captain Kane come in. “Of course he’s come in now for his damn sandwich,” she muttered. Tilting her head to the side she said, “Get out of here. Some of us work for a living.”

It didn’t take long; oven baked bacon was simple. Quickly Iphie whisked up the olive oil and vegetable oil together; on a cutting board she generously salted and peppered some garlic which she smashed with the flat side of her knife and then scraped into a separate bowl. To the garlic she added 1 egg yolk, a dash of lemon and water and finally she drizzled in the oil mixture until an aioli formed. Once the bacon was cooked and drained she drizzled the aioli onto some fresh sourdough, added some tomato and greens (Cap’n Homie was as bad as Kass about not getting his greens) and topped it with the extra crispy bacon. She poured some Darjeeling tea (known as the Champagne of tea) into a white teacup and placed it all on a tray.

Carrying it over to where the CO was sitting, by himself, Iphie waited until Captain Michael Turlough Kane finally looked up from the PADD he was reading. “Yes, thank you, very good,” he said nodding his head.

“Hi, Cap’n Homie,” Iphie said as she laid out the lunch.

On the next table away from him. Then she took the seat in between him and his food.

Kane at first was so engrossed in his reading that he didn’t realize what was going until Iphie sat down in between him and his food. “Is there something wrong with my lunch?” he asked not looking up from his PADD.

“No, your lunch is fine,” Iphie said.


Kane waited in the space of a heartbeat. Then two. Then he silently cursed the stars, for while the stars were infinite, they continually caused him to be near bloody Bonvivas. “Miss Bonviva,” he began.

“I think we’ve been together long enough, you can call me Iphie,” she pointed out.

Putting down the PADD he said, “Miss Bonviva. Where is my lunch?”

Iphie jutted a thumb behind her, “Back there.”

“I see that,” he said.

“So why did you ask?”

“I shouldn’t have to ask,” he pointed out, wondering why he had to speak in these mad circles whenever he talked to his chef.

Iphie leaned in. “I serve you lunch and you’ll go back to reading,” she pointed out. For a moment, the chef looked conflicted. “I have a serious problem and I don’t know what to do. I don’t know where to go. People trust you and your decisions so I thought I’d trust you with mine.”

Kane felt himself sighing; he had no idea what kind of problem Iphie could have. But he knew that it was not one he would be equipped to handle. “I am not a chef,” he pointed out.

"Did I ask you to flambé something?” Iphie retorted. “People are more than just their positions.” Shaking her head at him so her orange and pink pigtails shook about she said, “They have lives, loves, feelings; many of which have *nothing* to do with what they do when they are working.”

The Captain said nothing to that impassioned speech, silently saying goodbye to a warm bacon sandwich. Finally he said, “Even if I was qualified to assist you with whatever it is you need help with as the Commanding Officer of the PHOENIX, my position requires me to maintain some distance from the crew. Perhaps a Counselor would be better.”

Iphie leaned in and whispered in a conspiratorial fashion, “The Counselors are here for the crew. And I’m not the crew.”

At this point Michael Kane was looking at his lunch with as much longing as he looked at anything. “What was your question--”

“No you don’t want to help me,” Iphie said dusting off herself.

“The question--”

“It’s fine, I get it.”

“IPHIGENIA BONVIVA, say your question!” Michael Turlough Kane snapped.

“Damn, full named me and everything,” Iphie said, for once shocked, her jaw ajar. Settling herself back down she said, “Okay see normally, I’m just here for everybody. I listen, I offer advice, help out when I can. I know something. Something that, well I think someone is in over their head. And I think it’s caused, or could cause, problems. I don’t know for sure, that’s just based on experience. Do I have to say something?”

Michael Kane looked out the windows for a moment. Iphie had simultaneously offered a lot of information and too little information. Someone was in trouble, that much he was sure of. But what kind of trouble, or even who it was, he didn’t know. Only the chef knew, and she wasn’t sure of the next steps. “It’s been said that there is a solution to every puzzle. However, that does not mean you yourself need to figure out that solution. It may be that you just need to tell someone that there is a puzzle that needs to be solved,” he said as he turned back to the chef. “But to have a puzzle, or a problem, and to leave it where it could hurt someone is thoughtless.”

There was silence, and it was unclear to the Captain what the next step was; it was clear that Iphie was thinking. Finally she got up, picked up his tray and placed it down in front of him. “Lunch is served.” Then she bowed and left.

As Captain Kane picked up his sandwich he was happily surprised that his sandwich was still warm, a fact he was able to attribute after a moment of investigation to the warming device built into the tray. Digging into his sandwich, he picked up his PADD but kept one eye on the doors to the restaurant and was not terribly surprised when he saw Iphie leave shortly after their conversation.


NM: Su here. So tired I’m not even sure what to comment. Thank you Sarah for all your hard work!

A Joint Post By

Susan Ledbetter
Lieutenant Eve Dalziel


Sarah Albertini-Bond
Chef Iphie Bonviva
Proprietor/Bartender for The Vulgar Tribble


Dr. Tulla Keiku, LT


Ambassador Xana Bonviva


Previous Next