Fred pushed her glasses back up on her nose and scurried to her place in line, careful not to bump into any of the large and imposing men on either side of her. She'd seen worse things of course, nobody here was scarier than the Pyleans, well maybe Dr. McKay, but it was a different kind of scary. Still, people as big as all that made her nervous. They might crush her, accidentally even.
She grimaced at the food that was placed on her plate, some unidentifiable meat in a greyish brown gravy, some bright yellow goop that vaguely reminded her of mashed potatoes, and some kind of stringy beans. She added a generous bowl of bright blue jello cubes, those at least were just as she remembered from home. She supposed, the food shouldn't bother her so much; it certainly wasn't any worse than what she'd eaten in Pylea, but it did just the same. She signed as she made her way to a nearly empty table, there was only one other woman there. Fred was pretty certain she was millitary, but she looked nice just the same. "Excuse me, can I sit here?"
The blonde woman looked up at her and smiled warmly. "Sure. You're one of the new bunch of scientists aren't you?" She gestured at the seat across from her. Fred nodded and sat down with a shy smile of her own. "I'm sorry, but I don't remember your name. Some of the science team seems impressed with your work though, I even heard one of them say that it was amazing how well you were taking to the strangeness of it all. How long have you been with the Stargate program?"
Fred was a little taken aback by the woman's interest. She was almost certainly millitary, the black on her uniform had confirmed it. Maybe she was wrong, but it hadn't seemed that the millitary personnel spent all that much time with the scientists, unless of course you counted Colonel Sheppard who could be found in the labs at any hour of the day or night, or at least any of them when Dr. McKay was there. And that they had been talking about her. She blushed, but held out a hand. "Winifred Burkle, but everyone just calls me Fred. About nine weeks now."
"Really, then it is surprising that you've adjusted so well."
Fred shrugged. This wasn't as alien as Pylea, and besides, here at least she had her work. "My father always says that I live in my head, so the place I'm in doesn't matter so much. Anyway, I've known something like this was theoretically possible since I was nine. It's interesting to see it for real, fascinating even."
The woman laughed and held out her hand. "Laura Cadman. You can call me Laura, but I answer to Cadman or Lieutenant too. I can see why they're impressed. How are you settling in." Laura was picking at her food as well, more shoving it around on the plate than eating it.
"Alright, I guess. I have to confess that I'm a little frightened of Dr. McKay."
Laura laughed again, "You and about half the rest of the mission, probably should make that two-thirds." She leans in conspiratorially. "I'll let you in on a secret. He's really not as bad as everyone pretends. He'll yell if you screw up, and he's easily irritated, but he isn't going to bite your head off without at least some reason. Some advice. Argue with him if you think he's wrong. He respects the ones who argue."
Fred nods, "I'm not really good at arguing."
"It takes practice, but you'll be happier in the long run."
Fred shoves her practically untouched plate to a corner of the tray and starts eating her jell-o. "What do you miss most?"
"Weekends at the movies, I think, or maybe pizza."
"I miss my mother's cooking. I haven't had it in a long time, but I still miss it. We're from Texas, right down on the border. She's actually from Atlanta though. I miss fried chicken and greens, and tacos. I loved tacos."
"The food here's not the greatest, but you get used to it." Laura smiled. "I've got to go, but I should let you know. A lot of us girls, have a regular poker game. You're welcome to join if you'd like. Katie Brown in the botany department comes. She can fill you in on the time and place."
"Oh, I don't really play cards, but I suppose it could be fun." Fred smiles. "Thank you."