Characters: Cat Rosha, Manaar Rashid
Cat walked into the Mess Area and grabbed some coffee and a bowl of cereal and sat down at one of the tables. Suddenly someone who looked like another pilot sat down next to her.
The woman’s grey-black eyes twinkled out of a golden-brown skinned face, and a long braid of black hair hung down her back. Her left hand was wrapped in a bandage. “Good morning,” she said. “Anla’shok Rosha, isn’t it?”
Cat looked up. “Yes it is, and your name might be?”
“Manaar Rashid, pilot of Desell Three,” she said, smiling. “We saw each other in the briefing, I think, but not really a chance to talk.”
“Oh yes, I remember. But we’re both sitting here now, soooo … When did you come aboard?”
“I first came aboard during the last mission, when we were out at Abbai. There wasn’t much action for the fighter pilots then; I ended up spending most of my time becoming a better cook!” She grinned, showing a mouthful of ivory teeth.
Cat giggled. “I was never much of a cook. My mother was usually the cook when we owned a restaurant back on Earth.”
“Your family ran a restaurant?” Rashid leaned forward, excited. “May I ask, was there a particular sort of cuisine?”
“We usually served seafood because we were right on the water. My Mom’s lobster was the best!”
“That sounds wonderful! I’ve mostly worked with the food from where I grew up — and Afghanistan is a landlocked country, so I never had a chance to do much with seafood.”
“I never really had a chance to try other food. Whatever my Mom had, we ate.”
“I remember what that is like, do I ever! I’ll make sure I set aside some of my specialties for you when I’m on galley duty,” Rashid said.
Cat smiled and slightly tilted her head. “I’d like that.”
They ate in silence for a moment, then Rashid looked up again. “I suppose one of the inevitable questions,” she said as she sipped a large mug of tea, “is, how did you come to join the Rangers? If you don’t mind my asking.”
“Well, I joined EarthForce first but that was not right for me,” Cat began. “So I took some time to myself and went to try to fulfill a lifelong dream to find the First Ones, but I got in trouble with certain people and found myself on Minbar. I had nothing else left so I decided to join, to do something with my life rather than let it waste away.”
Rashid nodded in understanding. “It’s important to have a purpose in life. I remember your truth, ‘to seek the knowledge of the First Ones.’ I’ve heard we’re on our way to Rolui — there was once a very old civilization there. Maybe there will be some clues to find.”
“That’s a really interesting theory. Maybe I could set some time aside and go exploring.” Cat smiled. “I’ve always wanted to be a spelunker.”
“I could definitely show you some caves, back home,” Rashid said, grinning.
“That sounds really cool,” Cat replied with a big grin.
“I’ll remember, next time we get more than two days’ leave,” Rashid said. She finished her tea and set the mug down. “Tell me, do you ever play video games?”
“I have before, yes.” Cat finished her coffee as well and put down her mug.
“I got a new game right before we left Minbar, but it’s a lot more fun when there are two people playing. Would you like to come by my quarters tonight and try it out?”
“Sounds fun. How about 1900?”
“I’ll have it all loaded and ready to go,” Rashid said, sliding her chair back. “I have to go for now — they want to see me in Medlab, hopefully take this off for good.” She displayed her bandaged hand.
Cat made a concerned face. She remembered that it was Desell Three that had been badly damaged in the fight. She replied, “All right, 1900 it is! I will see you later then.”
Rashid smiled and stood up, taking her tray away with her.
Cat finished her cereal, got up and went back to her quarters.
Copyright (c) 2003 Catie Dwinal and Jamie Lawson. All rights reserved.