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Lunch in Osaka

Posted on Mon Oct 4th, 2021 @ 12:24pm by Major Ashley Rogers & Lieutenant Mila Lynn & Sublieutenant Miles Lynn

Mission: Chapter V: The Calm Before The Storm
Location: Osaka, Earth
Timeline: 238703.03

After spending the night watching her sister and the twins actually be model detainees, Sara breathed a sigh of relief. Her team came back with usable intelligence on their target, Ezra Perez.

Ash woke up first and looked up to see the twins still asleep and her sister still maintaining guard over them, "Good morning. I'm going to have to leave a review, most comfortable detention cell in the Alpha Quadrant."

Sara chuckled, "Just the Alpha Quadrant?"

"Can't give you too big of a head... no need to give you more of a power trip," Ash said.

"You still think this is a power trip for me?" Sara asked.

Ash shrugged, "It's not every day someone like me passes through checkpoints."

"Now who is egotistical?" Sara shook her head.

"We're on the same side, Sara. We always have been. I just do things a little differently," Ash shrugged.

Sara grabbed the PADD with the data on Perez and where they are and showed it to Ash, "We have confirmation of your crewmember. Now all I need to let you go is to know what exactly you plan on doing...."

"Simple," Miles chimed in, stifling a yawn. "Find out what they are doing here, why they left without telling anyone, and then try to convince them to come back with us. And if that fails, well, I guess we'll be down one crew member. We're not forcing anyone to join us. We're not the bad guys, Lieutenant Commander."

He nudged his sister, who was in the process of waking up. Mila yawned, and reactivated her implant. "Ugh. Coffee, black, double strength. Actually, make that triple."

Miles chuckled. "And good morning to you, too. The LTC was just telling us that her people found Perez."

Mila sat up and stretched her arms and legs. "Right. But before I go anywhere, I'm going to need that coffee."

Sara eyed the trio suspiciously, "That's it? You're not going to cause a scene?"

Ash looked at the twins, "I only would if Miles and Mila were in danger...."

Sara then asked, "So you're just going to politely ask them to go back with you and you'll walk away if they don't?"

Ash nodded, "So about that coffee?"

Sara shook her head, "I'm coming with you then. I won't interfere. I just.... know Ash. And I'll get you coffee and breakfast on the way. Deal?"

Mila slowly stood and groaned. "Fine. But you better make it a good one."

Mila had researched the opening hours of the Shanghai, and determined it would be best to arrive there at around 1300, by which time most of the lunchtime rush would be over. So, after taking Sara up on her offer of breakfast, the four of them had taken the "scenic route" to Osaka, finally arriving there just after 1230. After a leisurely stroll through the city from the transit terminal, they finally reached their destination - a fairly plain looking building in a very old-fashioned style. A large sign read out the name of the teahouse in Japanese kanji, with a smaller sign underneath repeating it in Federation standard.

As the small group approached, they were spotted by a young woman with long, black hair standing by a small sign advertising the day's specials.

"Ah, you four, over there!" She called out to the twins and the Rogers sisters in slightly accented Standard - obviously having recognised Sara's Starfleet uniform. "How about some nice lunch? Traditional recipes only, you won't be disappointed!"

Ash chuckled at Sara, "Told you that you should've changed..."

Sara gave Ash a look, "Shut up." She then turned to the woman, "Sure. Table for 4 please?"

Ash asked Mila, [Do you see them?]

Mila shook her head. [No, but doesn't this girl look familiar to you? Cut and bleach the hair, take away the boobs and replace the kimono with a combat suit?]

Sara looked over at Mila, [Really? Boobs? Can I not take any of you anywhere?]

The girl smiled and nodded. "Wonderful! Follow me, I'll find you a table." She led the four into the teahouse. Once again, the decor was very traditional, and rather plain, but still elegant. A scatterbrained-looking woman with glasses and messy hair, in a simple dress and an apron was working behind the counter in the centre of the large, open room lined with booths. Only one of them was occupied, by a group of young people who seemed to be students.

Their host led the twins and the Rogers sisters to a booth, and handed them some menus, printed on paper. Miles opened his, to find that it, too, was in Federation Standard. "My name is Shizune, the owner and manager of the Shanghai, and I will be your server today," the young woman said cheerfully once everyone had taken their seats. "Can I get you something to drink while you take a look at the menu?"

"Hot green tea, please," Ash said.

"Same," Sara echoed as she continued to look around. "This place is beautiful. Is it all original? I've been stationed here for a long time and I can't believe I've never been here. "

Shizune shook her head. "No, unfortunately not. The original Shanghai was destroyed in a fire when I was little. It had been in the family since the late 1900s, so my grandparents immediately started planning the rebuild, as true to the original as possible."

She turned to the twins. "And for you?"

Miles shrugged. "Green tea sounds good to me." Mila nodded. "Make that two."

Shizune clapped her hands. "Excellent." She turned to the woman at the counter, and shouted something in Japanese. The woman promptly dropped the chopsticks she was returning into their container and stammered something as she bent down to pick them up. As the manager went over to speak to her, a door in the back of the teahouse opened, and out came another person, with short, white hair, and dressed in a plain black yukata.

Mila's eyes went wide in realisation. [I knew it], she signed. [Shizune is the other Perez. Did you forget what they said their birth name was?]

Apparently not noticing their crewmates, Perez went straight to the counter, and, after a brief conversation with Shizune, began brewing the tea for the twins and the Rogers sisters, while Shizune helped the other woman put everything back in order.

Sara looked at Perez and was fascinated at how alternate univeses can impact people. She idly wondered what an alternate her would be like. She had to suppress a chuckle about the possibility of an alternate Ash, maybe she'd be a pacifist botanist or something. She looked over at her sister and the twins, [So, do we want first before possibly causing a scene?]

Ash nodded, [Let's just play it cool. We are allowed to eat lunch.]

Perez had finished brewing the tea, and placed the pot on a tray, with four small cups. Just as Shizune was about to take the tray, Perez shook their head and picked it up themselves, carrying it over to the table.

"Welcome to the Shanghai," they said with a smirk as they put the tray down. "I'd thought it would take you longer to find me. I take it you've met and recognised my other self, then? Don't worry about revealing anything, she knows exactly who I am. Took her only a few hours to figure it out."

Ash smiled at Perez, "Well, that answers that question. You owe me a drunk, Perez. We spent a night in a detention cell because we wanted to come say hi."

Sara nodded, "Nice to finally meet you, Ez....."

Ash immediately kicked her sister in the shin. "Meet Sara, my sister."

Sara glared at Ash confused, "Ouch!"

Perez chuckled. "Pleasure. Now, since I have agreed to help Shi out while the other server is dealing with some family stuff, have you had a chance to go over the menu? The Shanghai closes for a few hours in the afternoon, we can talk then."

Mila put down her chopsticks and burped. "Okay, I know Perez gave Renee the recipes, but the real thing is even better." She leaned back in her seat. "I could do with a nap now."

Ash smirked, "I dare you to say that to Renee's face."

Sara looked at the interaction and is starting to see that as dysfunctional as her sister usually is, there may be something to this new life of her's.

"Arigato, I am glad to hear you liked it." The other group had left, and so Shizune had closed the door and removed the lunch sign, before she and Perez pulled up a chair and joined the four others. Hansha here tells me you're their friends?"

Perez groaned. "Shi has taken to calling me her 'reflection'. That's what Hansha means."

"Well, I am not going to call you Perez, that sounds silly in Japanese. And it's weird to call you by my name, so, Hansha is accurate, no?" Shizune chuckled, causing Perez to roll their eyes.

"Whatever. Anyway," they continued, "sorry for going AWOL on you. The last few weeks have been crazy, and I needed to get out. I know, there's a procedure, I should have simply asked for leave, and so on. But I needed to come here. See this place. See that it didn't have to turn out the way it did."

Ash nodded wistfully, "What is it that the Vulcans say? Infinite diversity, infinite combinations? There's an infinite number of universes out there. There's a happy ending for us somewhere." She then had to put on her XO persona, "But you're right. There are procedures and processes. And unfortunately, the appointment you missed was with CommanderRogers. You couldn't have waited until you fully transferred to us before going AWOL?"

"Who's Commander Rogers?" Sara asked.

Mila chuckled. "Look at those two, and then imagine the same situation with your sister. And let me tell you, the Commander is everything you'd expect a Terran version of Ash to be, and just a little bit more."

"You can say that again," Perez added, before turning to Ash. "I had an appointment with the Commander. I am, however, no longer under her authority. If I was, I certainly wouldn't have gone somewhere I'd expect anyone to find me. And I knew you would find me, I just thought it would take longer. You really think I would have risked Terran discipline? I've got issues, but I'm not suicidal, thank you very much."

Shizune put a hand on her counterpart's arm. "I won't let them do anything to you, Hansha. I've got a phaser and a katana, and I am pretty sure I know how to use them."

Perez put their hand on Shizune's. "Ah, Shi, as much as I appreciate the gesture, I can guarantee if they wanted to get to me, to hurt me, they wouldn't have any issue cutting right through you. Trust me, you don't want to mess with those people."

Ash nodded, "I know what I'm capable of... the other me is worse. Considering you do work for us now... when do you plan on coming back? I can handle the Commander for you if that makes a difference."

"I'm not sure," Perez replied, hanging their head. "I really don't. Part of me wants to go back with you right now. Part of me wants to stay here. Part of me wants to go back to my universe and rebuild this place. I just don't know."

Mila smiled. "It's fine if you don't want to come back with us. But we could really do with your help."

"Take your time, Perez," Ash said. "You don't have to choose now. Or ever, to be honest."

Sara looked on quietly, curious about what Ash is saying because it wasn't the words of a ship's XO...

"You gone through a lot. The last thing you should do is make rash decisions about your future because people want you to. Believe me. I've been there. If this feels right for you... then be here. You're not beholden to us. There always be a spot for you on the Ourainavassa... but only when you're ready to take it."

Sara sipped her tea and considered the words of her sister. Maybe she did misjudge these people when she first met them. Now she felt a twinge of guilt for throwing them into a detention cell. She shook it off, she did her duty.

Perez stayed silent for a while. "You know, this doesn't feel right, actually. I need to stop kidding myself. This is not the same place as the one where I grew up. It's just a reflection of how things could have been. I need to move on. People are relying on me. Coming here, seeing this place, it's given me some closure, I think." They turned to Shizune and smiled. "I know this place is in good hands. And you know how to get hold of me if you need help. But this is your life, not mine."

Shizune nodded. "Your life is in the stars, fighting the good fight. Go."

Ash smiled at the exchange between the two before looking over to Shizune, "Any super secret recipe I can bring back to our chef? Something that'll make Perez feel better on a bad day?"

Sara spoke up, "I do miss Renee's cooking. Your ship is pretty lucky to be so well fed."

Perez shook their head. "Nope. Got all the recipes and passed them on. Same family, same food. Except that in this universe, I apparently learned to cook."

Shizune sighed. "Well, if you're going, you better go now. You'll be in Tokyo by sundown at the latest. Unless your Starfleet friend here can get you into the transporter. Shame those require a special permit to use, really. I've got a friend in Scotland I'd quite like to visit, but who has the time. Can't even take a single day off until Misha gets back."

Sara shook her head as she shot a knowing look to Ash, "There's always time to visit friends and family, Shizune. If you can spare some time, come find me and I'll get you a permit to go visit your friend. Just ask for Lt Commander Sara Rogers."

"I'd visit more if I don't get detained at security checkpoints.... just saying," Ash pointed out.

Perez looked from one Rogers to the other in confusion, causing Mila to burst out laughing.

"That's a hell of a story. I'll tell you on the ride back." She turned to Ash. "If you don't mind, Major, I'll keep them company on the Terran shuttle. We do need to return that one as well, after all."

Ash raised an eyebrow to Mila with a smirk, "Don't do anything I wouldn't do..."

Sara chuckled, "I'm really not sure what exactly that excludes...."

Ash shot a look at her sister.

Mila blushed. "Stop it, you. I have no ulterior motives. You should know me better than that, Ash."

Miles shook his head. "Yeah, right. You always act so innocent, but I know what you get up to."

Sara shook her head at the interaction between Ash and the twins, still surprised at how different she seemed. "I barely know you at all and I have to agree with Ash there," Sara smirked.

Ash stifled a chuckle, glad her sister has warmed up to the group.

"Well then," Perez finally said. "Lieutenant Commander, do you think you could get us use of the transporters to get to Tokyo? Otherwise, we should probably get going."

Sara nodded, "Of course. We can all use the transporters. No need to prolong your journey. Maybe we can have time to stop off and home ans have Ash see our parents, they'll kill me if they knew she was here and I didn't drag her ass home."

Mila chuckled. "Meeting the family? Sounds fun."

"Yeah," her brother interjected, "but we've been away from the mission for quite some time already. We should get back ASAP."

"They're right... we need to get back. Maybe, Miles should head back with Mila and Perez and I can take a quick detour?" Ash said grinning at Mila.

Mila wanted to protest, but both Perez and Miles nodded their agreement. "Sounds like a plan. We'll take the Terran shuttle back then," Miles said. "Don't take too long, though. Raven will want you back soon as."


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