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 Lonesome lunches, OPEN
Darren Graham
 Posted: Apr 12 2012, 12:39 AM
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The regular hum of the mid-deck kept Darren's thoughts at bay. He didn't want to think about work for once. This time he would rather let himself get lost in the din. Darren had spent all morning recoalating data that was improperly entered by one of his partners in the lab. They had stayed late in the lab together to finish this project and the data was wrong.

Idly, Darren grabbed some fruit for part of his lunch. What more should go in a lunch? He needed something perfectly balanced. A salad with some chicken, no dressing. The amount of fat in dressing wasnt worth it. He added a little balsamic vinegar, though.

Once he made it through the line and paid for his food, he looked for a place to eat. It was the middle of the lunch rush so there were a lot of tables taken. Darren hated eating alone. He avoided it whenever possible. There were many people on the Exodus that he liked to dine with regularly. He didn't immediately recognize any of his lunch buddies. If he stayed there much longer, he might look strange. Which table?

Not the far left with the rickety legs, not the middle one in the back, the acoustics in the room were backwards and it made it hard to hold a conversation there. Darren knew the best spots. He finally chose a table, after getting a few glances from people confused by his behavior.

He sat down, hoping one of his lunch-room acquaintances would find him. There were a few people that had looked like promising lunch buddies, but he wasn't exactly in the best of moods to make new friendships. He would if they sat with him. He just didn't want to be the initiator.


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Rebecca Stanwood
 Posted: Apr 12 2012, 02:54 AM
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Rebecca Stanwood stepped into the seating area of the cafeteria, holding an anemic looking tray with a plate of something she was pretty sure was some sort of mix of meat and potatoes. It was an unrecognizable pile of mush that looked like someone had already digested it, but she didn’t particularly mind. She was hungry, besides the cup of coffee next to her plate was the thing she really wanted to gulp down.

Her eyes scanned the room for an empty table. She was used to eating alone most of the time, people usually left her alone when she was clearly not working, which was a good thing, sometimes. And sometimes, as much as she hated to admit it, it could get a bit lonely, and boring.

Suddenly her eyes spotted someone familiar. Darren Graham, the only person who she could refer to as a lunch buddy for better or for worse. He was sitting alone. Rebecca smiled slightly, knowing he must have been feeling rather uncomfortable. For what she had gathered, the man was practically incapable of eating alone. She shrugged mentally and strolled over to his table. “Look at you, all alone here.” She greeted him as she took a seat opposite of him. Her eyes instinctively hit his plate. “ A salad, no dressing? You know, your plate always makes mine look pathetic...”


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Darren Graham
 Posted: Apr 12 2012, 02:01 PM
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Darren immediately smiled when he saw Rebecca. She was a good lunch buddy, even if her eating habits were less than perfect. It was more about the company. It was obvious to everyone that eating alone was Darren's least favorite activity.

"I'm not alone anymore," he offered taking a bite of his salad. As he chewed he looked at her plate. That was possibly the least healthy option in this place... but it was cheap. That was the tradeoff. Healthy food never came cheap. If it did, Darren would have a lot of extra money.

The nutritionist in him wanted to correct her errors in food choice, but he didn't want to offend his best lunch-buddy. "I am always very conscious of what I eat. It comes from being a botanist. Plants have a very good effect on our bodies. Plus I studied nutrition in college." He smirked. He had probably told her this a thousand times by now.


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Rebecca Stanwood
 Posted: Apr 12 2012, 04:07 PM
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"Yes, Mr. Nutritionist." Rebecca grinned. The man had mentioned his education so many times during their lunch breaks that she was fairly sure he was hinting she should utilize his services. Meanwhile, she had avoided talking about the specifics of her...education. "So long as nothing's moving on my plate, I'm usually good." She prodded the potatoesque gunk with her fork. "I just want to stop being hungry so I can do my job."

She finally gulped down a forkful of the mystery mush. It was indeed potatoes and some sort of mince meat. It barely tasted like anything. "Although, I have been thinking about starting to eat better. People always say it's good for the stress to eat better. Drink lots of water...so on" She said, rolling the fork in the potatoes and threw a glance at her coffee cup. "Um. Probably should not drink coffee with lunch either." There was a slightly embarrassed smile on her lips. She conveniently left out the fact that that cup was her fifth for the day and it was only noon.

Rebecca had never been a health nut and she had always wrinkled her nose at people who insisted it somehow helped her immense stress if she nibbled on a piece of cucumber or something. It sounded stupid. All she needed was enough energy to stay up and running through the day. However, nowadays she had started to feel like that was not enough. Maybe she was just sick of herself? Maybe it was the flash of concern in Darren's eyes when ever he caught the first glimpse of her dish. He was a nutritionist, and a botanist. Practically a magical shaman of good things to digest! He knew about that stuff. Or it may have had something to do with the fact that her doctor had told her that if she kept this up, she'd get an ulcer. Again.



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Darren Graham
 Posted: Apr 13 2012, 12:42 PM
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"After eating that you're going to be tired in two hours. The coffee might keep you going, but caffeine can hurt you in the long run. Your dependency on it can cause headaches and even withdrawal symptoms if you are without it for too long," Darren offered before taking a few more bites of salad. He tried not to judge his lunch-buddy's plate, but today he couldn't help it. It was just the mood he was in. He sipped some water.

He put his fork down and studied her face for a moment. "If you ever do get serious about trying to eat better, I am willing to help you." he said smiling. "We can come up with a diet plan that will work for you... so that you're not giving up everything you like to eat." He shrugged his shoulders and continued munching on his lunch.

"Just... out of curiosity. How much coffee do you drink in a day?"


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Rebecca Stanwood
 Posted: Apr 13 2012, 04:51 PM
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Rebecca searched her memories after his claim on her getting tired after two hours. Had she ever gotten tired that fast? She thought that was about sugar. Maybe it was the constant flow of caffeine that kept her awake and without it she would crash. At the mention of head aches she snorted. "And that is why I do not go too long without a cuppa." She took a sip and to her surprise it was still fairly hot. It washed down the tasteless food quite nicely too.

As Darren asked about her coffee consumption. She was quiet for a while, glaring at him. She had hoped he wouldn't ask, but there it was. "Krehm," she cleared her throat, "well, it depends." Yes, starting out vague was good. That would give the illusion she wasn't hopped up on caffeine most of the day. "Around 7 cups a day lately." Today would likely be more, but the man would have probably pinned her down and slapped her mug away from her that instant if she had revealed him that bit of information. "...Yeah okay, maybe I really should hire you." Rebecca squeezed her eyes shut as she said this, as if it had hurt her to admit it. "Do you do an hourly rate or something?" She then looked at Darren again, offering a lop-sided smile.


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Darren Graham
 Posted: Apr 14 2012, 06:10 PM
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Seven cups. Seven. That was about the same number of glasses of water Darren drank daily. Seven cups of coffee. How did she sleep at night? Hiding emotion was not one of Darren's strong points. On the contrary, he could not hide his surprise when she told him she drank seven cups of coffee daily.

He opened his mouth several times, but he let his mouth rest again, so he could take a few bites of his wholesome lunch. He tilted his head at her when she asked for his hourly rate. He just laughed.

"For you, if it will help you drink less coffee, Becks, I will give you advice for free." he said chuckling. "On one condition..."

He paused thinking it over while he took a sip of his water. "You follow the diet plan we come up with for two months."


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Rebecca Stanwood
 Posted: Apr 14 2012, 06:56 PM
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For a moment Rebecca thought Darren was going to have a heart attack over her coffee consumption but luckily he was able to handle himself. He even managed to laugh. "Consider it a deal. Should be interesting." She grinned at him before moving on to looking around at the table. Rebecca was fairly sure every table was supposed to have salt and pepper shaker. She leaned slightly forward and spotted the salt few seats away from her. "Excuse me, could you pass the salt?" She asked a man closer to it, before looking at Darren again. "Amazing how a mixture of god knows what can taste so damn bland."

"SIR YES SIR!" The man by the salt bellowed, causing Rebecca to startle. Her hand flew onto her chest. "JESUS!" She gasped. Sure enough the shaker did appear in front of her abruptly, but she wasn't sure it had been worth the shock. Now that she finally actually looked at the man, she realized he was one of her soldiers. He was sitting straight as an arrow with his hand resting on his forehead in a military salute - god only knew how long he had been sitting there like that, all quiet. Rebecca held in a groan. There was a good reason she usually made damn sure the table she sat in didn't have any soldiers. Incidents like these were a part of that reason.

"At ease, soldier!" She said and allowed her hand to fall back onto her lap as glared at him. Then she threw a slightly worried glance at Darren. Had he not been there, she would have had a few stern words with the private, but she had already made enough of a scene with this already, for her taste anyways. Especially considering she had conveniently avoided mentioning what she did for a living to Darren. At least the soldier was now focused on his own food and not on her or military protocol. "Sorry about that." Rebecca smiled in a pathetic attempt to bury the awkwardness of the situation.



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Darren Graham
 Posted: Apr 15 2012, 01:40 PM
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One did not learn to deal with loud, sudden noises through quietly studying in libraries and reading books alone in one's quarters. Darren was already at a disadvantage because of this fact. He was not expecting a shout from anywhere. Especially not so close to him. He jumped out of his skin and swiveled his head around to see where the noise came from.

He blinked a few times, trying to wipe away the shock of seeing someone salute Becks. He looked back at her, and then to the soldier a few times, trying to figure out what was going on. Once the woman told him to relax, he looked so relieved. He went back to eating and Darren looked at Rebecca. He studied her for a moment.

"No, it's fine..." he gave a weak smile. "So I take it you're some kind of ... officer in our miliary?" he asked her, raising an eyebrow. She never told him what she did for a living... or why she was on Exodus. Darren didn't make a point of asking his casual acquaintances their life stories, either. He was too curious to just let the subject drop.


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Rebecca Stanwood
 Posted: Apr 15 2012, 02:35 PM
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There we go. Now she would have to explain herself and then there would be awkwardness over not knowing how to address her or treat her anymore. She already missed the simplicity of the lunch buddy relationship they had had. Rebecca cleared her throat, carefully choosing what tone to use. She would treat this like ripping off a band aid.

"Yes. I am an acting colonel and the military liaison for the council" She explained with an almost nonchalant tone and straightened her back subconsciously as she did so - there was always a certain level of non-conceited pride she carried towards being associated with the military and holding an esteemed position, no matter how awkward the situation, and she could never fully hide it; there was always a hint of it present in the way she carried herself. Somewhere in the back of her mind she sort of hoped Darren was not well versed on military ranks, despite ending up on Exodus. Undoubtedly he would be able to look them up somewhere though so there was no real point to hoping that, but she couldn't help it.


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Darren Graham
 Posted: Apr 17 2012, 07:24 PM
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Acting colonel... colonel. That was higher than Major, right? Darren knew little of the ranks of the military, but he knew enough to know that she was important. Here he was, telling a most important woman that she should drink less coffee, more water. She spouted off this important information like she was reading the movie showtimes for a B movie in the paper. He stopped chewing, mid-bite. He tried to take this all in without letting his face show exactly what he thought. He swallowed the bite he was working on, and opened his mouth to speak.

Darren stuttered when he tried to talk. He stopped and started again. "Acting Colonel?" he asked. "What does that make you ... like the highest rank here?" he added... and then what if she wanted to be called Ma'am? What was Darren going to do? He liked the nickname Becks. It was a good name for her. Why did he all of a sudden feel like that wasn't appropriate? "err... ma'am?"

He didn't sound like he knew what he was doing. He was intensely nervous, even though it wasn't like he was actually part of the military. He didn't have to call her Ma'am. Plus they were lunch buddies. She even told him she wanted advice on her diet. They were coming close to that line between acquaintanceship and friendship that Darren rarely ever crossed.

But then she dropped this bomb. Darren didn't know how much he actually knew about her, other than her stress levels and how much coffee she drank. It was no wonder she was stressed... with a job like that.

Darren took another bite in order to stop his mind from dragging the subject on further. He could concentrate on his chewing instead.


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Rebecca Stanwood
 Posted: Apr 18 2012, 01:18 PM
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She cringed when he called her ma'am. How the hell would she word this? Rebecca stared at Darren for a while. "Well..." she started after she figured she couldn't just quietly try to think of how to put things while he was sitting right there in front of him. "Not really. There's the council, we all have our own pull there, and the captain, who's responsible for the ship and takes over in an emergency. I'm the highest ranking military official. I'm responsible for the military personnel." She sipped her coffee, throwing a quick glance at the soldier nearby. A man had once put it in a rather crass manner to her face: 'so you're the one who tells them where to point their guns, when to shoot, and then listens when they whine'. She cursed herself for still remembering that drunken asshat of an official.

"And no need to ma'am me. You're not in the military. And we've had lunch." She smiled in an attempt to make him feel less uncomfortable about everything. If only she had been able to either avoid this whole ordeal or at least break it to him in a less...eventful manner, one that didn't involve yelling. "Becks is perfectly fine, for someone who will have the pleasure of trying to pry this crap out of my hands." She nodded at her coffee, arching one of her brows.


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Darren Graham
 Posted: Apr 23 2012, 12:50 AM
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Darren was not put at ease by her words. She was one of the most important women on the ship. She was almost as important as the captain. If they didn't have her, they wouldn't have a military presence... and where would they be then?

He took another bite of his food, trying to digest both his lunch and the conversation. It was no wonder she hadn't mentioned her profession before. Because Darren would act like this. Was he that predictable?

He chuckled once he finished his bite. "All right, fair enough." he said. "I'm going to say two cups a day, and you're going to laugh at me, but I'm serious. Two cups." he said, looking as stern as he dared toward a Colonel.


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Rebecca Stanwood
 Posted: Jun 12 2012, 04:08 PM
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Rebecca could tell the man wasn’t completely comfortable, but she didn’t know what else to do. Should she explain why she hadn’t told him before? That seemed awkward, maybe not. Regardless, she could only hope that over time he would either forget her status or get comfortable with the idea. She was proud of her rank and what she had done for the military, but it did tend to complicate things outside of the work life.

“Two cups huh. This should be interesting.” Rebecca looked at her coffee, wondering for a while how long she could nurse one cup and whether she could ration those two cups to last for an entire day. “I guess people better keep guns away from me.” She smiled and looked at him for a moment, until she figured she really did owe him an explanation, even though it felt painfully awkward for her to give - it somehow felt too close to talk about the reasons behind her actions, even though it really wasn‘t, not in this case. She let out a small sigh.

“Listen, I’m sorry I didn’t mention my job before. I have a habit of avoiding talking about it. Especially to people outside the military. And when I’m off duty.” She made a decision not to use the term civilian, it always felt rather cold for her to use towards people she knew. “Kind of tends to make people nervous.” She looked slightly apologetic. “Too bad you found it out by someone practically shouting it at your face.” Rebecca glared at the soldier, he was blissfully unaware of the superior officer’s disapproving expression.



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Darren Graham
 Posted: Aug 10 2012, 10:11 AM
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Darren was nervous. She was right about that aspect. He didn't want to piss Becks off, that was for sure. Of course, that was true before he knew her job. She was obviously a woman of power... she was used to getting her way. As far as Darren could tell.

"Well, who you work for doesn't change the fact that you drink too much coffee," Darren said, effectively trying to end the discussion of her job. She didn't want to talk about it, and Darren felt uncomfortable with it.

At least he didn't actually have to answer to her, since she wasn't in charge of the science division of the ship. Their friendship couldn't be strained by this knowledge of how important she was.

"What do you eat for breakfast, usually?" he asked, getting as far away from her job as possible. "Don't you dare say coffee."


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