One of the highlights of Peter Flynn’s life aboard an Alliance Fleet ship was dinner with the officers. It was a time when they could relax somewhat and enjoy what the cooks had prepared, and the SuppO would often get something a little more palatable for the senior officers. But it was still a military vessel, and protocols were observed. Inevitably, ship’s business would come out, too, but it was still a highlight of the day.
Now, on board his own ship, with a hand-picked crew and without the formal regulations, Flynn found he loved dinners even more. First, they were no longer preparations by a handful of cooks on the ship, but a contribution by nearly all of them. Though most of the food was vac-locked into metal pouches or cans, they still needed preparation to have real flavor. Ann had put together her spicy cornbread, Reese made a strange curry using vegetables from Alpha Centauri III, and Flynn contributed a simple pasta with tomato sauce. Simple dishes, comfort food, and the entire time they prepared, they traded stories and acted as one.
And when they served dinner, the stories and good times kept coming out as Ann shared how she got the cornbread recipe from a male exotic dancer at Orion’s Spur. Reese dazzled them with the stories of learning to cook while trapped in a safe house deep in Consortium space. IN contrast, the story of Flynn’s mother teaching him how to cook his grandmother’s pomodoro sauce was practically commonplace, but everyone still smiled at the idea of a young Flynn sneaking extra sips of tomato sauce from the pot because it tasted better than candy.