Vegetables Rule


By Britta

"God, Tom, you won't believe what happened last night on the holodeck!"
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Blue eyes watched with amusement as his best buddy collapsed into the chair opposite him in the mess hall, barely keeping the tray full of food from spilling. "What happened?"
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Harry Kim's over-excited voice replied, "I've never seen the captain's face turn that many colors." As if he'd realized he'd turned up the volume too loud, and his words had carried beyond the table for two they were sharing, the ensign ducked his head.
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"What colors, Harry?" Tom asked as he speared a piece of sweet kale in his salad. "Tell me everything."
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"It was so weird," Harry paused and actually looked at his food, then ignored it. "I was in the Fairhaven program, in the pub, hoping to meet up with my flower girl later. You remember her, don't you? The one you turned into a cow?"
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Tom had the grace to be ashamed and mumbled, "Yeah. I said I was sorry, didn't I?"
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Harry munched on something for a moment then let Tom off the hook. "Yes. And, you're still forgiven."
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"Good." Relieved, Tom pushed the empty salad container aside and pulled over a plate and bowl to deal with his artichoke and its attendant leaves. "So Ayala doesn't mind sharing you?"
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"We're not exclusive, Tom. Besides, she's just a hologram."
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Tom shrugged and replied, "Okay. So what happened next?"
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Spurred on by Tom's curiosity, Harry waggled his eyebrows and said, "The captain came in to see her barkeep of a boyfriend, as usual. But somehow, he looked different this time--sort of more intense. Before I could figure out what he was up to, I got distracted by Dalby and Vorik arguing over something stupid."
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When Harry took a breath, Tom spent a moment deciding whether he'd dip the next leaf into a tiny bowl of melted butter, or mayonnaise. Mayo won, simply due to the fact that he'd found myriad uses for the stuff over the last several months. He smiled as he raked his teeth over the green leaf.
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Harry watched him like a hawk the whole time, then blurted, "Are you even listening to me?"
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"Of course I am. Please, tell me the rest of the story." As a peace offering, Tom held out an artichoke leaf.
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Frowning, Harry waved it away and went on, "The next thing I knew, Geron was poking me in the ribs and pointing at the bar."
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Tom scooped out the thistle of what remained of the artichoke, and was positive this was the story he'd been waiting to hear for days. Too bad he couldn't have been there himself to get the satisfaction of seeing the captain get her comeuppance. Using a hand gesture, he asked Harry to continue.
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Kim gulped down some unidentifiable substance that Neelix offered for dinner and said, "The only thing I heard clearly was the captain shouting 'Computer, delete this character!' yet he didn't disappear. She got really mad then and stomped away, but he stuck to her like glue asking all these weird sexual questions and pointing to a page in a book. When she finally got to a semi-private place, she called for an arch and that was that. I swear, if Michael could have followed her out, he would have."
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Tom popped a finger-sized cashew into his mouth and sighed with more pleasure than the food was able to give. It sounded like the captain had been paid back in full. He refused to consider the ramifications should his part in this drama ever come to light.
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Harry brought Tom back to the here and now by asking, "Why are you only eating fruits and veggies?
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Tom grinned then slipped a chocolate-dipped macadamia nut between his lips, "It's Vegetarian Day and I'm proving to Chakotay, by spending his rations, that I can live on plant matter alone."
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"Uh huh." Harry sounded disbelieving. "I know you love cheeseburgers and pepperoni pizza and steaks and stuff. Don't you miss meat?"
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Winking and slugging down the rest of his wine, Tom replied, "Oh, I think I'll manage to convince Chakotay that I deserve to eat his meat for dessert, at least for tonight."
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Harry only groaned.

THE END

Comments? Suggestions?
E-mail me at Britta