ON, VSV Astarte
Bukor 12, 936
12:03, Commonwealth Standard Time
Mu'Tasim grunted in frustration as he settled out his report on a small table in the Officer's Wardroom. The Wardroom was always nice, it was usually empty, but even when it did have people, it was still quiet enough to get things done. Though, if for any reason for him to avoid leading a squadron, having to file out after-mission reports and manifest approvals was high on the list. He settled the piece paper down on the table and leaned his head back on the chair, taking a short break from all his writing. If not for the Marranr's promotion, I wouldn't be doing this right now. thought the Temple Guard, in fact, he would've likely gotten to enjoy more of his day off before having to go in for shrine duty. At any rate, he was not one to shrug his duties, so he straightened back up, and dived back onto his work.
Two stinkin' hours ta kill before I go down there and say hello to the prisoner. Rashek mused while strolling through the door to the wardroom. He didn't often get to apply his normal trade skills to Vanguard duty outside of either drilling recruits on how not to die, or fighting. Even then being mindful of just how far to go was work unto itself. After all, it was second nature. So then, how best to kill some time? Couldn't get drunk even if he tried, and his current favorite was on duty so she was likely busy. He'd just have a meal and wait it out. Having placed his order to the mess hall kitchen prior to entering the wardroom he now went to the dumbwaiter and pulled the covered tray out.
If he had another set of hands they'd be rubbing together like a merchant fleecing a rube right about now as the scents wafting from under the cover told him they had done something right for once. Now it was just a matter of being content while making his way to a empty table, having not even noticed the Guardsman using it and sat the tray down. It was only then that he took notice briefly, shrugged and instead decided to eat. Out of sight, out of mind.
Mu'Tasim looked up at the soldier that had sat across from him. Why did he sit down at his table? As the Temple Guard looked around, he saw plenty of other empty tables. Perhaps he needed something? That had to be it, otherwise he just sat their without even paying much mind to him, and that was a rarity. Most people took notice a Temple Guard, and with their large robes, they were hard to miss. So, he set down his pen for a moment, and started to organize his papers.
"Morning." Mu'Tasim said warmily as he shuffled his report in order, setting it down in a way that gave the man a comfortable amount of space to eat with. If he had something to say, it'd probably be easier to come out with if the Guard started first.
Rashek had been busily preparing his food for consumption while Mu'Tasim took notice of him. Didn't take him long though to start wolfing the food down with gusto until he was suddenly addressed. Instead of saying anything to the Guard, he just kept on eating for a few moments longer and then decided to respond. "Mornin'." he said offhandedly before pouring some sort of eyewateringly spicy sauce over his rice not even bothered by it.
Mu'Tasim continued to stare for a moment, before looking away, apparently uncomfortable. Was he wrong? Maybe the man 'did' fail to notice the Guard, and there was a bit embarassment in that. The usually humble Sund Wakir thinking was too important to be missed. It was silly enough to make him chuckle, before picking his pen back up and going to work.
He'd been contentedly sawing at a piece of herdtitan when he noticed it hadn't been properly cooked through. Rashek simply sighed, putting his knife and fork on the tray. "Saints damned cooks can't ever get'a herdtitan fillet right. I swear if Bahbi came along an' kicked'em in the fuckin' teeth they still couldn' do it right." he continued to curse under his breath, grumbling a little before glumly continuing to cut at the fillet. Really, it sucked being on assignment out in the field instead of at home where all he had to do for good food was drive to a restaurant.
The Temple Guard eyed the soldier across from him, before looking back down at his own paperwork again. This man was very ungrateful for the things the Commonwealth provided for it's soldiers, and for some reason, it made Mu'Tasim feel vocal. "You know, Mirza tells us that we should be thankful for what goodness is given to us, even in a place as dark as this." quipped Mu'Tasim as he wrote a little further, before looking back at Rashek with just his eyes, "You should enjoy the fact that we have things like steak and kebabs, or meat for that matter."
Rashek looked up fork in hand. "Well I ain't one for bloody meat when I like it nice'n pink on through. 'Sides if'in you ain't gonna get it right, why do it at all then? Pink. I said. Not rare. They jus' do it ta' piss me off. Ever since I went and said I don't like them kebabs all the time they do it."
"You know," Mu'Tasim leaned forward on the table, "I do not know what people seem to dislike about the cook's kebabs! They're delicious! We should be happy that we're not eating field rations, and also happy that most of our cooks take great lengths with what they're provided!" The Temple Guard spoke with pride of the cooking staff. "Besides, you shouldn't bite the hand that feeds you, friend, it's just not wise."
"I dislike kebabs 'cause I had ta eat'em every damn time I was out in tha' desert on them caravans!" Rashek boomed stabbing the meat with his fork. "Hell, field rations ta' me are better'n kebabs any day of tha' week! I mean come on I go to Khuyun, and that daft bastard with his funky hat is yellin' at the top'a his lungs. 'BEST KEBABS' like he dun got insight from Ruh himself only makes it worse for me. Frankly, Mazerin has better food then meat on a stick."
"That meat on a stick has been the fighting food for the gritty Saali Warrior for ages. It is the breakfast, lunch, and dinner of champions, especially those who know their place in the world." Mu'Tasim said, clicking his pen in and out a few times.
"Chuh~ Food'a champions? Saw'a guy who ate'em all the time. Now he's bigger'in a damn Herdtitan. Suuuure. Go on'a head. Eat the meat on a stick. An' them Saali had more then tha' ya' think they didn't get tired of them either? Even my old man hates'em after a hundred years of havin' to gnaw on it. Really gettin' splinters in ya'mouth from stick meat is real smart."
"You work and you eat, not just eat out in the desert. Whoever you saw fattening themselves off the labor and toil of others was something other than a desert nomad. Like I said, the Saali Warrior is one who knows his place in the world, if kebabs are what that are provided, he will gladly eat what he has not cooked." Mu'Tasim gave the soldier a plain face, "You could take a lesson from our ancestors."
"In what? Slashin' Burnin'? Pissin' off the Saints and then gettin blown up? Plus there ain't anymore Saal. You think they never had aspirations an all tha'? To go beyond their 'place in the world.'" he scrunched up his middle and index fingers in the air as he said this. "Puhleese. An' that fatty I saw was an Elder to jus' so ya know. Ain't you ever heard'a tha' old sayin' 'A happy worker is a productive one.' ? Don' you think eatin tha' same charred meat on wood gets old an borin'? Or are you one of them kebab enthusists?"
"If a person wishes to be happy with the food they eat, then they cook that food themselves. Everyone wishes for happiness, but as Mirza says, it is the duty of the individual to pursue that happiness, not wallow in it's responsibility." Mu'Tasim responded with a little more fire in his words, "That is why we enjoy our kebabs, because the person that made it for us, was caring enough to provide a meal. We are thankful and should wish for nothing else!"
Rashek leaned back in his chair, hands behind his head. "Oh sure, I'd go'in do it myself. Then I'd have ta' fist fight tha cook for the privlage of usin' his pots an' pans. And sticks." adding in the last little tid bit as another small jab. "Ya'know. You sure seem to be 'wallowin' in it's responsibilty'. right now for kebabs." pointing out as he then toyed with the fork again. "An' who you mean by 'we'? I don' like'em. Sure as Mu'Klamal's tighty whities seems ya'do though to tha' point of wantin' to wage a one man verbal wore over'em."
"If the steak is that bad, why not just return it to be cooked further?" Mu'Tasim sighed, twirling one of his hands. A little frustration lined his tone, not enjoying the way the conversation was going."You're clearly missing what I'm trying to convey, so why not just return it? Eh? Just politely ask them to cook it for a little longer. Otherwise, just enjoy the fact we have steak."
"Ya' ever try returnin' food ta' someone who ain't exactly friendly towards ya'?" Rashek asked, pointing the fork at Mu'Tasim.
"You shouldn't have insulted them in the first place." Mu'Tasim responded, pointing his pen at Rashek.
"What? I can't say I don' like kebabs? They suddenly the food of tha' Makuori now an' sacred? We required by law ta' eat'em?" Rashek retorted, still pointing the fork. "Or is it jus' really impolite 'cause they're tha' food of the champions."
"No," Mu'Tasim jabbed the pen towards Rashek, "It's really impolite because that food is prepared by a stressed crew who is hassled by people like you, when they have to feed an entire ship."
"I'm tha' one out there maimin' the enemy makin' sure they can. So it's jus' impolite ta say. 'Oh hey, I don't much care for kebabs.' An then get'a little pissed when my meat ain't done the way I like? Do ya' see tha' cook out there fightin' Soono and rebel scum? I sure as hell don'. So ya'd think they'd be a lil' more grateful for me savin some skin from tha' fryin pan when I'm out there." Rashek mirrored Mu'Tasim at that point and sucked on his teeth.
"Not like it matters when ya' have ta' take on whole squads on ya' own or anythin'. But oh low and behold. It's like tha' damn Nok'nista suddenly came in and were snatchin' caravans when I have an opinion!"
"We all risk something when we come out here. The cooks, the caretakers, the priests, and everyone on these ships. With one misplaced tactical maneavuer, this ship could be scuttled." Mu'Tasim leaned forward, on one elbow, still pointing the pen at him. "Sure, you kill quite a bit, but does that give you the right to a self-importance that puts you above a person who has no-control of their fate? Of the outcome of the battle? You go out, and you are the master of your own destiny in battle, as Mu'Klamal was. This war stretches everyone thin, not just those who fight it."
"No one ain't got control of their fate ya' dafy guard. Mu'Klamal went an' done himself in. He wasn't no master of his own destiny. He killed his main squeeze an' then paid for it." Rashek grimaced then. "Don' tell me. You're one'a them guys who'd start'a fight over kebabs. 'Cause if'in ya' are I'ma tell ya' somethin real special. I heard ol' Ahrim don' even like'em."
Mu'Tasim's hand slapped on the table, with and audible THWOMP.
"This arguement has ascended such a minor topic! You may seek to say it's something pointless by refering to it's original subject, but I pursue the heart of it. As I am a Sund Wakir of ideals, I pursue the depths of meaning out faith and resolve. If you wish to carry on then I won't back down." declared the pious Guard, as he settled a little more and added one more thing, "Besides, that is only a rumor."
"Shit fire son, ya' don' know how ta' pick ya' fights well do ya'? Ya' go an' persue the depths of meanin' outta' faith and ya' resolve. Ain' I'll tell ya' I did it with real life experience." Rashek smirked then. "Ain't much'ofa rumor if'a Master Guard was mutterin' about it in Seddir I bet." he chuckled under his breath slightly. "I bet I could walk up ta' the old codger an' ask'em myself if'in we get back from this trip. Just so I can tell ya' for sure. Sound good there acolyte?"
"How dare you," Mu'Tasim slammed his fist on the table, and standing up to lean forward, his face nigh inches from Rashek's, he growled angrily as he shot back, "How dare you speak of the High Guardian in such a way. I don't care who you are, but High Guardian Ahrim Eehrish deserves your highest respect. He has done more for the Commonwealth in his life than any other Iromakuanhe in existance, and I will not. Will not stand for your mockery of him."
Rashek merely wore that ingrating, mocking smile. "So sayin' tha' truth is'a crime now to, ya?" the table creaked slightly as his hand bent the edge he'd been grasping. "I respect'em well enough ta' speak truthfully about'em, sugarfluff. An' he'd get my highest respect if he did somethin' for me personally. Otherwise I treat'em like any other Iromakuanhe. Or are'ya goin' ta' say we all ain't equal under the Saints' eyes now jus' cause of your personal opinion about how I should act?"
"It is not the Saints who are telling you this. It is me, and I am done trying to convince some sort of humility and understanding within you!" Mu'Tasim growled. Having to be disciplined and quiet about all of his trully personal beliefs was something that always raked at him. According to the Saints this, and advice of the Dreamers that. In a usual situation, he was able to contain himself, but with this man, it was suddenly impossible. Another twinge, and the man would feel Mu'Tasim's fury, not even caring of Rashek's true ability.
"FAROUK-SERAAAAA!" yelled a feminine voice from the edge of the room. From the entrance to the officer's lounge, entered a curly haired, dirty blonde steward girl. She scanned the room, and when she spotted Mu'Tasim she started waving cheerily at the Temple Guard.
Rashek just continued smiling with nodding off to the side for him before going back to his meal. He just wore a somewhat smug look of satisfaction on his face as he did so.
Mu'Tasim growled silently at Rashek, before taking a seat, and dipping his head for a moment. As he did this, the steward girl made her way over.
"Farouk-Sera, are you well-alright?" asked the steward girl. In response, the Temple Guard raised his head up, an opposite face representing his turmoil. A genuine looking smile, warm eyes, and a softening of the features that would ease anyone.
"Yes, Skuli. I am fine! I was simply discussing the menu here with my friend." Mu'Tasim gestured to Rashek with a warm smile, if not a little strained. "My friend, this is Skuli Rahimah, a very helpful aide of mine. And Skuli, this is..." the Temple Guard abruptly ended his sentence, as if waiting for Rashek to pick up on the line.
Rashek looked up then his smile somewhat mirroring Mu'Tasim's if not strained. He gave a dip of his head in a seated bow to her. "Rashek, Rashek Baseil. And yes. We were having a lil' discussion about the menu that I found really pleasant." he continued smiling while pointing with his thumb at Mu'Tasim. "Got a rather spirited boss here when it comes to some of the items on the menu."
"Indeed!" Mu'Tasim chuckled, "It's amazing how much one person's opinions can differ!"
Skuli smiled warmly before going on about what she was there for. "Well, now, I just wanted to let you know that I've cleaned the shrine, and have it ready for shift!"
"Ah--... really? Thank you." the Guard nodded, patting Skuli's arm, with an affectionate, but still strained. Though, unfortunately for Mu'Tasim, the steward girl felt the uncontrolled turmoil within the Temple Guard. Which apparently unsettled her considerably.
"Are you well-alright, Farouk-Sera?" asked Skuli.
"No, I a--..." starte Mu'Tasim, before Skuli, standing beside the Temple Guard, rested her chest on top of his head, while wrapping her arms around him.
"You can tell me, Farouk-Sera..." Skuli said affectionately, the warmness on her face apparent. Though, Mu'Tasim only became considerably more strained in the face. He knew he may regret it, but he threw a glance at Rashek.
Rashek just looked at Mu'Tasim innocently as he seemed non-repulsed by eating the rare fillet, shoving a piece into his mouth without restraint.
"Ah, Skuli, thank you, but... I... I'm not in need of counsel." answered Mu'Tasim, sighing.
"Um! Are you sure?" said Skuli, looking hurt.
"Yes." responded the Guard.
Skuli pouted heavily before pulling herself away from the Temple Guard, and walked off, fairly saddened by this development. As she did, Mu'Tasim cut his gaze back at Rashek, visibly more calm than before. The Sund Wakir was silent as he regarded the soldier.
"Got somethin' ta' say there?" Rashek asked, not even looking up from his tray as he continued to eat. He didn't seem at all angry, or annoyed. Just, happy and content.
"I am... not as prideful as most to deny that I may have... overreacted to some of your..." Mu'Tasim said in a muttering tone, before growling, "...your comments. So... I will apologize for my rash actions." The Temple Guard sighed, before taking more of an interest in his paperwork.
By then Rashek had been covering his tray and gotten to his feet. "Naw man, S'cool. 'Sides she said yah'd need ta vent some. Been in tha' military thirty years an' I ain't ever seen'a doctor do all tha' for a patient." he walked over to the dumbwaiter and put the tray in and sent it down to the mess hall.
"Owe'd Al-Sumed a solid so she called it in. Knowin' I wouldn' mind pokin' at'a Guard or be all afraid'n what not. Told me to tell'ya to. 'Don't have another weight lifting accident like before.'" he snapped his fingers. "Ah yeah. 'And moderate pressing your views on others.' Funny lady. Then again she seems ta' know ya a bit better'in me since she suggested the kebabs. Figured it'd do ya some good'in all that."
Amari...? thought Mu'Tasim, a bewildered look on the Sund Wakir's face. The more he thought about it, the more it seemed to make sense. It was almost scary, but amazing at the same time. Of course, her methods were a tad questionable, which he may have to discuss with her later on, but for the most part, he saw the purpose behind it. It made him laugh, as it all sunk in. "Heh heh, I see..."
" 'Burden of command.' She said. Since you'a newbie an' all at it. Frustratin'. Thought if ya didn' take it easy at first to ease on in to it you'd pop." Rashek continued on. " So. Ya pissed?"
"Hm, no. Al-Sumed is wise beyond her years, I trust her methods, even if I do not absolutely agree with them." Mu'Tasim sighed, resting his chin on his palm.
Rashek leaned against the wall near the door. "Moral'a tha story? Patience, man. Patience. Seems she knew ya'd get pissy wit' me an all that. So I figure she's tryin' to do you a favor'in remindin you of whatever it was I 'unno, she guesses you forgot, or wanted to reaffirm or somethin. Lady's scary man. An' not in tha' creepy killer way."
Mu'Tasim laughed more audibly this time as Rashek went on with the summary of this entire game. It seemed he found his way back into his work, finishing up the report he was working on. "No offense, Baseil, but I'm sure that not even Ruh could have the patience to deal with you."
Rashek held up a hand then. "Don' go'in say all tha' now. I was actin' too ya'know. I jus' happen to be real convincin' when I gotta be."
Again, Mu'Tasim laughed, shuffling up his reports. He still couldn't get over the fact that Amari had orchestrated the entire thing. "Well then! It could be seen as unwise to have made this your first impression."
Rashek shrugged. "Maybe. Dunno. Figure with this outta' tha way I better get goin'. Need ta' say hello to sleepin' beauty down in tha brig."
"Yes, yes, back to our responsibilites." Mu'Tasim sighed, now appearing a little tired. "If you have need of my services, I will be taking the next shift in the Shrine." The Temple Guard straightened his robe, and his uniform, making himself fully presentable.
"I believe we are done, for now."