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April sixteenth of 2153. Hoshi Sato looked at her PADD as it skittered into sleep mode. Then the time flew by – eleven hundred fifty-one hours. It was nearly lunchtime. She was on the Bridge. They’d break soon. Good; she was starving. 

Captain Archer said, “Today we’re taking on the MACO contingent. I know you all know this. But we’re also taking on a new – let me see if I have this term right – sous-chef.” 

“What’s a sous-chef? Is that like what Preston did before the Xindi attack?” asked Travis Mayweather as he piloted the NX-01

“Kind of,” answered Jonathan Archer. “But she can apparently do more than Preston Jennings ever could. He was really just a steward until we switched him to Navigation. But this new sous-chef,” he emphasized the word a little; “she has restaurant experience. I’ve had her food; it’s very good.” 

“Her?” Malcolm Reed asked, looking up from the Tactical station. Perhaps she’d be a blonde. 

Jonathan smiled a little. “Yes, her. We’ll have lunch in the Observation Lounge and Chef is having her do the cooking. You’ll also meet the MACOs’ CO then; his name is, er,” he checked his PADD a moment, “Major Jay Hayes.” 

“And this assistant chef’s name?” asked Hoshi. 

“Uh,” another check of the PADD, “Lili O’Day.” 


It was them, and the doctor, a Denobulan named Phlox, the Science Officer, a Vulcan named T’Pol and Charles Tucker III, the Chief Engineer, along with a tall, muscular fellow with a high forehead and a steely gaze who was clearly the Major. 

The Major stood at attention as he was introduced to everyone, stopping for just a moment every time to shake hands but otherwise kept his focus. Once the introductions were done, Malcolm stepped back to talk to Tucker. “My,” he quietly said, “I had no idea he’d be such a, well, such a damned giant.” 

“Well, the cap’n wanted muscle. It looks like he got it.” 

“Still! We’re supposed to find the Xindi ultimate weapon and destroy it, not wrestle it to the ground.” 

“Lieutenant?” it was a soft tenor voice – the Major’s. 

“Yes?” Malcolm turned around, perhaps a tad too quickly. 

“I’m here – and my men are here – to help you. And if we have to wrestle the Xindi ultimate weapon to the ground in order to do so, then we will.” The Major walked a little bit away and Malcolm swallowed. This was not going well. 

They turned to the sound of the doors swishing open. The chef, William Slocum, was followed by a middle-aged woman. She was a little short, with extremely light blonde hair that was straight and held back by a New England Red Sox baseball cap. She wore chef’s whites, as did Slocum. She was wheeling in a small cart. 

“Sorry we’re late,” said Will, “we were getting the last of it all together. Captain?” 

“Yes,” Jonathan said as the sous-chef began to hurriedly set the table, occasionally clattering flatware together. “This is Lili O’Day. She comes to us from her restaurant, Voracious, which was a fusion place in San Mateo. Lili has her degree from the Mars Culinary Institute and will serve, make most of the desserts and a lot of the sides.” 

“Don’t forget the sauces,” Will prompted. “She and I will both make them. Uh, Lili? You can finish that in a moment.” 

“Oh! All right.” She wiped her hands on a small dish towel she’d stuck in her back pocket. “Um, today’s meal is a specialty of mine from Voracious. It’s a Harvest Salad. It is completely vegan, and I understand Vulcans are vegans so I figure that should work. The salad is a bed of mixed greens with various colorful fruits, vegetables and nuts on top. Dressings are orange vinaigrette, a Ranch and plain vinaigrette. Obviously the Ranch is dairy but everything else is vegan.” 

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