Plates of cookies had mysteriously appeared up in the senior officers' lounge for the past two mornings. The first incident seemed like an aberration of late-night baking, but the second showed the beginning of a pattern and with that pattern, the beginning of a betting pool.
"They're Hamantaschen," Pavel said around a mouthful of cookie, somehow managing to grin with his entire face and chew at the same time.
Nyota took a cookie and nibbled while Pavel told the story behind the cookies to the last few leaving the room for alpha shift. He wondered aloud whether they would they would see any more of them over the next two days.
Considering the remaining third of her own cookie, Nyota realized that it would extrapolate into a (nearly) perfect equilateral triangle. She popped it into her mouth as she took her seat at the Communications console.
That evening she met Spock at the ship's chapel where the thirty-one Jewish crewmembers and twenty more who were simply interested had gathered to hear Marla McGivers -- also the ship's historian -- read Megillah, the Book of Esther, and for dinner afterward. Nyota knew Esther's story only vaguely, from a Christian perspective, which sometimes glossed over the Hebrew Bible.
When she found out that Spock had learned Hebrew as a child, Nyota had decided to study the language for herself as well, although she did not yet grasp well enough to understand the source text. Even if she had been able to read for herself, she would have sat with held breath while Marla told how Esther, wife of the king of Persia, had won her people the right to defend themselves from those who would massacre them.
One of the several batches of cookies was made up entirely of cactus-jelly-filled, perfectly formed equilateral triangles.
The second morning's reading was interrupted by an unexpected spectral cricket the size of a small planet, and Nyota did not have the chance to ask Spock whether he had liked the cactus jelly. She did, however, stay awake well into gamma shift, finishing some of her translation work in the small kitchen off of rec room 7B. Spock arrived at 0330 and looked surprised -- briefly, with fractionally raised brows and facial muscles tightened as if before speech, rather than still -- to see her waiting up for him.
"I was not expecting you here," Spock said by way of explanation. Then, "How did you know it was I?"
Nyota shrugged, then drew a triangle in the air between them, and moved to order flour, butter and sugar from the synthesizer slot in the wall. "Pavel was the only other person to bake himself, and his cookies the night before last were ... "
"Not equilateral," Spock finished for her.
It was quite clear that their navigator did not bake regularly.
The wall slot buzzed the appearance of the first round of ingredients.
After a short while, Spock said, "I have often found the historical reading of the story discomfitingly violent, and I had not joined in celebration since entering the Academy." Spock said. He considered for a moment longer. "Purim was my mother's favorite holiday. As a child, she told me that we ought to remember that we are alive, while we live, and that that -- rather than the defense itself, is what we celebrate."
Nyota nodded, her body still but for that motion. She said, "I'd like to share that with you."
Spock nodded once more, and handed her the flour.