It was a bit early by ship time, before the Alpha watch headed off for their duties for the day, but Kahnr hadn't let that get in the way of his plans. He'd been up hours earlier to double check his research, make the changes he needed to given available supplies, and to rig up the small heating element and cooking stove he'd replicated for his quarters. Cooking wasn't exactly a past time of his, but growing up on a farm back home meant he had plenty of experience with the process. His family hadn't owned a replicator ever - there was no need for one when they grew enough food to contribute to the nearby communities - and though he might not be an expert he at least though he knew more than the average Federation citizen these days. That was, at least, until he had tried his hand at his latest culinary creation.
The big Betazoid held a large metal tray in his hands and juggled it carefully to press the door panel chime outside of the Portland's newest crew member, Malbi tai-Konjah according to the personnel file. Interesting aromas wafted up from the assortment of covered bowls and plates, most of them making his mouth water and stomach growl, a few of them making him feel a little queasy. Kahnr hoped that they would taste better than they smelled, but he was pretty sure he'd done things right. He also hoped that his effort at making the new systems specialist feel welcome would go over well and not wind up with him covered in food and bruises before he had to report to the bridge; hadn't he heard somewhere that Klingons could be grumpy when woken up? He put a big smile on his face, and waited.
Malbi was already awake, but still drowsy when she heard the doorbell. She stood up from the couch and walked over to the door, adjusting her uniform on the way. She pressed the button to open it and was surprised to see a man standing there with arms filled with trays. A confused expression crossed her face, and after an awkward second, she realized she should invite him in. "Oh, um, hello. Come in, sir. Let me help you with those," she said, reaching for a few of the precariously balanced trays. What is he doing here with... She sniffed the trays, Bregit lung with Grapok sauce, Rokeg blood pie, and Zilm'kach?
"Gooood morning!" Kahnr said, entering right on the heels of her invitation, his cheery voice bright and bubbly for the morning. "Ensign Kahnr Dai," he introduced himself as he handed off some of the food to her and then the rest was offloaded onto the closest table he could find. He smiled broadly, the skin around his black eyes crinkling as he did so, and started uncovering the food as if it wasn't at all strange he'd shown up at her door with food. "I know what its like, being new on a ship and not really knowing anyone yet, especially when you're just right out of the Academy. So, I thought you might need a friend, and what better way to make a friend than to share a good meal, am I right?" Though the Betazoid seemed quite chatty, he spoke slowly, nearly drawled actually, each word coming out lazily and relaxed. He clapped his hands together eagerly, glanced at the food, gave Malbi another smile, and asked, "Alright, so where should we start?"
"Oh, well, thank you." Malbi replied, understanding a little better now. She hadn't eaten Klingon food in a while, so she hoped she hadn't lost her taste for it. She looked down at the plates, noting that it was all tame. Or in other words, dead. But she couldn't expect a non-Klingon to enjoy wriggling food, so she replied, "I suppose we should start with the Bregit lung, before it gets cold." She sat down and gestured for Dai to do the same.
"Bregit lung it is then," he said with some relish and trepidation both. He sat himself down on her couch, long legs sticking out underneath the table, and reached out to take a portion.
"I hope you don't think I have bad manners, but these meals aren't meant to be eaten with utensils," Malbi continued, taking a portion of the lung and putting it on her plate. She was glad he'd chosen a dish that was fairly simple to make, and the Grapok sauce looked well done, too. She passed the platter to him and waited for him to put some on his own plate before she too a bite.
"This is... Quite good," Malbi said, honestly. It was certainly different than Klingons prepared it, but it was still quite tasty.
"Hmm?" Kahnr looked up, a big piece of the meat in his mouth, fingers dripping with juices. He seemed to have no problem with digging right in, forks and knives or no. He tore off the bite, chewed, but his eyes were once again squinting with a smile. After he swallowed he spoke up, "I'll admit, I'm sort of surprised. It's good! This isn't anything like we ate back home. Lots of fruits and grains, you know." Kahnr took another bite, obviously enjoying himself. Though he stayed out of people's heads, he could still pick up on that his visit turned out to be not entirely unwelcome. That was enough to make him smile, let alone the good food.
"So, Malbi, settling in okay?" Kahnr asked, eyeing the slice of the pie he'd taken for his plate. This one produced less of an enthusiastic response from him. so far.
Malbi finished what was on her plate, then took some of the blood pie and Zilm'kach as she replied, "I'm doing quite well. The crew here is very competent, and very welcoming as well. I believe they mainly are kind just because they don't want to anger me. A wise precaution, I suppose." She joked, but it probably was true. She didn't mind, though.
The Betazoid chuckled at the answer, and without thinking tried another bite of the blood pie. His smile turned into a grimace as he force himself to chew and swallow. Obviously he was not a fan, not with the way his tan face went pale and his forehead started to sweat. "Ooh, I don't know about that," he countered. "I think they'd be kind whether you were Klingon or a fluffy Trib-" Kahnr caught himself before he nearly mixed a Klingon woman and a Tribble in the same sentence. "Uh, fluffy Caitain." Good save! "Hmm, the Zilm'kach looks good, I think I'll have some of that."
Malbi nodded, taking a bite of her own. "It's very good, and tastes fresh for one this far from Qo'noS." She finished chewing before she commented, "I'm surprised you've got a stomach for this food. Most non-Klingons can't handle such pungent food, particularly since we like to eat ours while it's still alive." She wasn't kidding, she was impressed by his fortitude. Most people would have thrown up by now, although she did catch his discomfort over the blood pie. "But Zilm'kach is just a fruit, so you'll probably like it."
Malbi was beginning to be surprised by her sudden talkativeness. She was usually too uncomfortable to speak up around other species because their cultures were still a mystery to her, but this ensign had prepared her a meal she was familiar with, emphasizing her culture instead of his own. She recognized this, and appreciated it. Usually, people never went out of their way for taciturn individuals like Malbi, so this was new to her. She rather liked it.
Kahnr shrugged at her and grinned as he chewed on a piece of fruit. This obviously went over better for the Betazoid than the other two dishes had; she was certainly right that his own people's food was not nearly so dramatic! "Thanks," he answered cheerily after swallowing. "To be honest, I really like trying new food from other cultures, but I think I'm probably going to need an antacid after this." He laughed a little at himself and continued to nibble at the Zlim'kach, winding down from eating but still letting the Klingon woman open up. "So, you're an engineer. What makes you so interested in that? There's so many more exciting things you could be doing!" Like piloting a ship, he thought to himself.
"Not engineering so much as computers," Malbi clarified, "It's a long story, but I was facinated with programming from a young age, and continued to work with computers throughout my teen years, and since my Klingon career was a dead-end job - so to speak - I signed up for Starfleet." She didn't want to go into too much detail, as everyone had their own sad history and she didn't need his pity. She asked, "And what about you? What does the Chief Flight Control Officer do?"
Staying out of her head, and not familiar enough with Klingons to read body language, Kahnr didn't pick up on any of the heavy history that might wait behind her words. Instead he brightened once again and chatted amiably, "Ah, computer programming! That's some heavy stuff, and I bet you're great at it; I get the feeling that our Captain likes taking on the best personnel she can. We're lucky to have you in Starfleet! Oh, and well, I run a staff of pilots, and we handle the ship as well as any auxiliary vessels on board like shuttlecraft. There's schedules to make, personnel performance reviews to write up for the XO, fuel consumption reports, maintenance to CONN systems and shuttles, and training sessions when we can fit it in. Plenty of stuff to keep us busy!"
Malbi nodded, "That sounds quite interesting," not sure what else to say. She wasn't a great conversationalist. "What made you choose that career path?" she inquired, then chided herself on sounding so much like a counselor. She had been doing so well making conversation just a minute ago!
"Hmm..." For once, the talkative young man seemed without an immediate answer to her question. He thought about it for a moment, wondering exactly that. "Well, I guess because that's what I found out I'm good at, when I was at the Academy. I never really decided, just went with what seemed right. Does that sound strange?" He gave Malbi a guileless look, honestly seeking her opinion.
"No," Malbi replied simply, then added "If you're good at what you do, that makes you an asset to Starfleet. If someone follows their passion but isn't very good, they can be a setback. So that makes perfect sense," she concluded. He may have seemed a little unsure of what he was saying, but she thought he was being perfectly reasonable.
The big man's face brightened with yet another smile, obviously pleased by her response, "Thanks! I guess we're both lucky, getting to do what we like in an organization like Starfleet. And on a ship like the Portland." He slapped his thighs and looked around at the remnants of their breakfast, "Well...would you like to keep the leftovers or shall we pile everything into the replicator to be reclaimed?"
"I'll keep it," Malbi replied, "It's not very often that I get to eat Klingon food in Starfleet." She chuckled, the sound resonating in her chest, and let herself grin with thanks. Then she stopped herself, fearful that her terrifying Klingon grin would scare him off, and said, "Thank you very much for this breakfast, it was excellent."
If he was at all worried by Malbi's fearsome smile, Kahnr didn't show it. The young man bowed ever so slightly after standing up and offered, "It was my pleasure. If there's anything else you need, you know to help you get used to being on board, please let me know. Maybe you could introduce me to some more Klingon dishes sometime too; most of it was a lot tastier than I had expected." Honestly, Kahnr wasn't sure he'd ever eaten such a rich and filling breakfast before in his life, and was certainly going to replicate some antacids before his shift started, but it had been worth it. "I hate to eat and run, but I'm due on the bridge within the hour."
"I have my shift too," Malbi replied, "And thank you again for the breakfast." She walked him the short ways to the door, reaching out a hand for him to shake.
He gave her hand a firm shake after following to the door, "You're welcome, Malbi. I guess I'll be seeing you around then." The large Betazoid stepped out through the doors and into the corridor, moving with a slow and lazy grace, then turned and offered, "If there's anything else you need to get settled in, I'd be glad to help out."
"Thank you, sir. Have a nice day," Malbi replied before the door slid shut. A very pleasant start to a hopefully equally pleasant shift, Malbi hoped as she began preparing herself for work.