The Insanity Interlude
*Special Note: I named this part The Insanity Interlude for a reason. It's just a bit of silliness that sort of fits in, but really has nothing to do with the story. Enjoy.
Seven’s mind was a jumble of emotion. She felt like she’d just been swept up in a hurricane. She had no idea what was going to come next. She found she didn’t really mind.
Taking the time to look around the mess hall, she noticed their table was the center of intense attention. Feeling suddenly self-conscious, she slid her chair slightly back. "I should be leaving." she stated stiffly.
B’Elanna had noticed the stares of the crew some time ago. "Don’t let them bother you." she said reasonably. "They aren’t staring at us, they’re staring at our leftovers." B’Elanna continued with a laugh. With a fierce grin she pointedly popped a slice of apple into her mouth. The groans that went up around the room were audible as B’Elanna turned her attention back to the blond.
"Is that why that ensign drooling?" Seven asked as the ensign in question stared at the still heaping plates of fruits and vegetables and sighed.
"Tina?" Asked B’Elanna with a nod to the woman in question. At Sevens confirming nod she supplied. "She made a bet with Tom. Lost all her replicator rations for the month."
"How can this produce the effect of drooling." Seven asked with a raised brow. Sometimes she really didn’t understand humans at all.
B’Elanna explained. "She’s been eating marsupial surprise all week. A couple of minutes ago she noticed what we were eating." Seven’s eyes widened in understanding.
Playfully, B’Elanna growled at the woman. She was a little surprised when the ensign immediately growled back with an impressive show of teeth.
"Is that why the rest of the crew are also staring and whispering?" she asked looking around once more.
With a nod, B’Elanna answered. "Replicator rations won’t be distributed until tomorrow. Most of the crew have already used their rations for the month, so they haven’t got much of a choice either. At least the rest of them have only had to eat it for a day or two. "
Seven could understand the crews reaction at seeing something more familiar. When she has seen and smelled, Neelix’s marsupial surprise it had taken all she had not to simply turn and leave the room. Though her experience with foods was limited, even she could tell that the chunks of purplish meat and grayish vegetables swimming in a thin sauce of it’s own grease was not a favorite of the crew.
Neither women had trouble discerning the whispers of the surrounding crew. ‘nasty’... ‘gooey’... ‘stinks’... ‘year old sweat socks’. That and a host of epithets could be heard as the various diners tried to eat the slightly purple contents of their plates. With enhanced senses, both women had been subjected to the burnt grease smell of the food. They didn’t envy the crew.
Watching Tina, the drooling ensign, cringe and pull what looked like a segment of prehensile tail off her fork, before holding her breath and putting the dripping mass into her mouth, made both women feel a twinge of pity and nausea.
"That is disgusting." Seven commented with a raise of a metallic brow.
B’Elanna laughed. She wasn’t about to admit to Seven just yet that she’d eaten worse. Instead she said. "It’s getting late anyway. I guess we better go."
Seven reluctantly had to agree. Rising she moved to pick up two of the plates to take to the recyclers.
"Don’t do that." B’Elanna quietly whispered for Seven’s ears alone. At the questioning rise of an implanted brow, she nodded in Tina’s direction and then turned slightly to indicate the rest of the room.
Everyone was watching them like hawks. Tina had actually moved to the table next to theirs and could be heard growling softly as she glared at the rest of the rooms occupants.
"Just leave the plates there. I’m sure someone will clean this up for us." she said loud enough for everyone to hear.
"I concur." Seven agreed. Quickly setting the plate back down, the two women walked very carefully towards the door.
As the doors closed, a mass of people led by Tina the drooling ensign, could be seen converging on the table.