It needed only three more minutes. He was sure of it.
Confident in his decision, Picard pulled his head from the smoky depths of the grill and closed the lid with a snap. The clearing smoke revealed a particularly idyllic day on the Holodeck; an Earth day in June, maybe. Most of those assembled were sprawled along the lakeshore.
Data watched the proceedings with a frown on his face. “Captain, I do not understand. We can get all the steak we need from the replicator. What is the point of this ritual?”
Picard clapped Data on the shoulder. “That’s just it, Data. It is ritual. It’s more than the preparation of some meat; it’s fellowship, bonding. And the creation of a perfect steak represents mastery of a craft, not mere preparation for consumption.”
Data nodded slowly. “I see, though I still wonder -” he stopped when the Captain lifted a hand.
“Just one second, Data -” The hand drifted to his chest. His chin lowered slightly, an old habit. “Wesley, we’ll be needing that onion now.”
The voice came back crisp, though the engineering room seemed a world away. “Right away, Captain. It should be in the transporter any second.”
Smoke and steam filled the area – and it wasn’t from the steak. The onion had arrived damaged, fried and in pieces.
Picard found that he was glaring at Dr. Crusher. Her eyes met his, cool and unaffected. “He’s just a child. Surely you can’t blame a bad transport on him.”
“I can do whatever I damn well please -” The Captain’s mumble was cut short as Data decisively lifted a crispy piece of the destroyed onion and sniffed it.
“Based on the chemical composition,” said Data, “I believe this will actually be quite complimentary to the steaks. Although,” he sniffed again, “I do think it would be even better with a little Thousand Island dressing.”
This is the closest I will ever come to fan fiction.
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