I did it! I DID THE THING!
I asked for Veronica’s help in distracting Sarah for about an hour or so, while I sat in front of the food processors slowly churning out various fruits and vegetables. I haven’t yet figured out what Sarah’s favorite foods are (she’s been trying a little bit of everything, I guess she hasn’t had this amount of variety… ever), so I just figured if I prepared a little bit of everything, she’d have a whole bunch of stuff to pick from and it would be great!
And so, with that in mind, I turned on the farming program, picked an empty patch of grass, and laid out a giant table cloth and started giggling while running back and forth to the food processor to collect different parts of the meal. I had initially forgotten to turn off the simulated pests, so a whole bunch of digital ants started making off with my grapes, but after shooing them away and ordering MORE grapes, I was ready.
I tapped my communicator and Veronica came up with whatever excuse to send Sarah to the reality dome.
I was so excited that I started fidgeting, I wasn’t sure how to sit, or stand, or present myself and the food, so I settled on some awkward squat and oh my gosh I can’t stand thinking about it, I must have looked like a complete idiot.
But apparently, it didn’t matter. When Sarah walked into the simulation, she seemed to spot the food before she even saw me squatting behind it, and immediately rushed over. Immediately pointing at the largest item on the table cloth, she practically shouted, “What is this?” I sort of adjusted to be on my knees, while picking up a rather sizeable watermelon. After explaining that it was a large, sweet fruit, she took the damn thing and just sunk her teeth into it. Skin and all, she was just going to town, until she realized she ‘very much preferred the red part.’
I was… admittedly afraid. Was she so excited about the food that she wouldn’t notice the emotion behind it? I wasn’t sure if I’d ever reach find the right ‘moment’ to speak up, because frankly we were both so distracted by her excitement at trying a few foods for the first time, and numerous others for the second or third time.
But, eventually, we settled down. I mean it was inevitable that she would get full, and when she did, it was like a switch flipped. She sprawled out on the blanket and basically went full starfish on her back, while humorously moaning aloud about how she ate too much. I had to admit, it was good food. I hadn’t really THOUGHT about the food I was eating, but just like the farming program itself, she was showing so much excitement towards the small details and all the little things she was noticing about every bite she took. It was so endearing to see how appreciative she seemed towards all that she was being given.
I must have had this goofy looking smile on my face just thinking about it, because she actually confronted me, straight up asking, “so what’s on your mind then?”
I couldn’t help it. I just… I said “You.”
I wish I could say it turned into an immediate smile and reciprocation, followed by just hours of staring into each others eyes, but instead, she said something along the lines of “What?” which was immediately followed by awkward nervous conversation and laughter. In the end, it turns out that, yes, Sarah does like me too, but goodness, neither of us were smooth about that at all.
After quietly discussing our thoughts and feelings on the matter, we eventually laid out in the fake grass and just started talking, for hours. About her life on her ship, my life on mine, things we’d seen, done, places we’d been. It was nice. By the end of it, she gave me a hug, a very meaningful hug, and asked if she could have access to the Reality Dome controls so that maybe she could surprise me some time.
As captain, it is my duty to grant access to those who need it, when they need it, under circumstances that reasonably require them to have access. In this case, I just blurted out “sure!” and activated her in the system. Oops.