Let Them Eat Cake

Posted on 23 Jun 2022 @ 1:14am by Lieutenant Ronnie Broward & Command Master Chief Petty Officer Hector Gonzales & Lieutenant Commander Ciara Mcclellandi & Lieutenant Commander Elizabeth Watts & Lieutenant Isabel Castillo & Chief Warrant Officer 2 Kemo Paahao & Lieutenant (N) Rhys Finch & Commander Nathan Lewes

Episode: E1: A Historic Voyage
Location: Wardroom
Timeline: Date 2025-04-22 at 1930

The wardroom was a comfortable bustle of chatter. They were underway, through the first, albeit abbreviated, watch rotation, and all of the watch standers from WS1 had recently come off their first full watch of the tour. The CHOP was in her element. There were any number of things Isabel got to coordinate as CHOP, but the ones that fell into the celebratory category were amongst her favorites. It was good for morale, sure, but more than anything it was fun.

“Think Finch suspects anything?” she asked Ciara. The two women were posted up against a wall, Isa cradling a coffee mug. The cake that Sam and her team had produced sat proudly on the middle of the ward room table complete with the last minute changes that Isa had requested the day prior to make sure the cake reflected a wedding rather than an engagement.

"He hasn't let on, I sure haven't told him. But you know how subs are, Highschool with torpedoes."

The CHOP grinned and rolled her eyes. "Oh lord yes," she quipped back.

Hector had been invited to the surprise party for the Canadian officer, but he knew he wouldn't stay for long. It was a nice morale booster he knew that, but as the COB he knew he couldn't spend too much time in officer's country. He was there representing the enlisted crew, but he also would never turn down a slice of cake.

Making his way through the perpetually busy companionway, Kemo got himself a cup of coffee and found an out of the way place (as much as there was one in the wardroom) and slid into enjoy the cup while people filtered in for the party. For a moment he reflected on his and Tricia's own wedding receptions and shook his head, remembering how her mother had been positively shocked at how short the grooms invite list had been.

While the officers who weren't on watch gathered in the wardroom for the surprise elopement party Liz entered the control room with one of the junior officers in tow. All of the wardroom knew of the surprise and the crew and chiefs would find out afterward with an announcement on the 1MC.

"Mr. Finch, Mr. Broward," Liz said, approaching the two with a serious expression. The two officers had been on watch for three hours now and having wanted to give the mess crew time to clear all of the messes from dinner Liz decided now was the time.

Ronnie looked up from his spot at the OOD station at the XO. He was aware of the day and the plan regarding his bunkmate, but he went along with the XO's role. He nodded to her, "XO, nothing to report here."

"Nothing to report here either," Rhys replied from the JOOD station.

"I need to see you both, in the wardroom," Liz said, in a tone indicating that the two men were not going to enjoy this conversation. "The RCA will relieve you until we are finished."

Ronnie looked over at Rhys, a worried expression on his face before looking back at the XO. Even knowing it was just a show for Rhys, Ronnie couldn't help but get actual goosebumps at the XO's tone. He'd been to a meeting like one she was alluding to before back on his first boat, and he never wanted to go through that again. "Aye ma'am. May I ask what this is regarding," he asked.

Rhys turned to the RCA and then to Ronnie and the XO, "Well, if you insist, Ma'am."

"I think it's best to discuss this in private, Mister Broward," Liz responded. "Relieve the Officer of the Deck," she said, turning to the RCA.

"I relieve you sir," the RCA said, looking at Broward.

"I stand relieved. The boat is currently at a depth of 300 feet on course 310 speed 18 knots. Standing orders remain in affect and nothing new to report," Ronnie replied to Lieutenant Otto.

"Attention in control! This is Lieutenant Otto, I have relieved Lieutenant Broward as Officer of the Deck per the orders of the Executive Officer. There is no Junior Officer of the Deck posted at this time. All standing orders, course, and speed shall be maintained from the previous OOD. I have the deck and the conn, Carry on."

"This is Lieutenant Broward, I stand relieved," Ronnie replied after the RCA had properly relieved him. He then turned and waited to follow the XO out of the control room.

Finch waited for Watts to lead, Broward to follow and then he came in behind him once the two of them were relieved for the moment. He was curious why they were headed to the wardroom.

Ronnie and Liz led Finch, the only one of the ward room who didn't know this was all a big surprise party, walked solemnly back to the wardroom. Once outside Liz turned to face Finch, "wait here, two minutes and then enter," she ordered. Without waiting for a response she turned and pulled Ronnie into the wardroom closing the hatch behind her.

She waved attention over the hushed crowd and gave them the thumbs up and then waved them to the far side of the room to gather to get a good look at Finch's reaction to the surprise. All of the off duty officers and the COB gathered together with a beautiful cake on the table large enough to feed an entire submarine and then some.

Rhys waited outside of the wardroom for the duration that the XO had specified. He was curious why he was asked to wait outside momentarily. He raised an eyebrow. He was curious, there were a lot of US Navy customs he was unfamiliar with. Perhaps they were celebrating the weapons officer which he felt was unnecessary. Once the duration to wait outside had expired, he opened the latch and stepped inside the wardroom full of people.

"Surprise!" They all yelled in unison along with some clapping and cheers.

"Congratulations Lieutenant!" The Captain added in once the room quoted down.

Ronnie gave Rhys a wide grin and held up his hands. "They all swore me to secrecy, as hard as that was," he offered with a laugh.

A small light uncomfortable chuckle broke through Rhys' lips. He had always disliked being the center of attention. He looked over to Broward and gave him a thumbs up, "All good, Ronnie."

Isabel's grin couldn't possibly have been wider. She was pleased they'd pulled this off and pleased with the work of the culinary specialists. Smack dab in the center of the cake was a brilliant red maple leaf with an image of two wedding bands settled against each other in the middle of it. The leaf had been her idea, a bit of a nod to a nickname she'd given the man early on in their assignment.

"Congratulations Maple Leaf," she said when the opportunity arose. She wielded the cake cutting knife, waving it generally in his direction in a move that looked careless, but was most certainly carefully crafted for effect. "Trust you to go and elope just before we leave."

"Muchísimas gracias (thank you very much), Fuega." He replied in Spanish to Isabel with the nickname he had coined in response to her nickname. He looked over at her and raised his hands in the air gently, "It was a promise Faith and I made when we were kids that we would get married before we were thirty. And, this sailor keeps to his promises." He chuckled at her while he looked over the cake itself and then back to Isabel, "Great artwork. Love the design. Faith would too."

Isa beamed at that. "I'm glad to hear it."

"Why don't you do the honors and cut the Cake, Finch?" Liz suggested. "I'm sure you and Mr. Broward are itching to get back to the conn."

"Certainly, Leftenant-commander," He shot Watts a grin and then he looked over to Castillo with his hand extended for the knife to cut the cake.

With a flourish Isabel turned the knife so that Finch could take it by the handle. She raised her eyebrows slightly as he took the knife. "The honors are all yours," she said.

Finch took the knife carefully from Castillo and then moved closer to the cake and used it to move in. He knew there was enough cake here to feed the submarine. He took that into count as he sliced down a line down and then continued to got diagnollaly before repositioning to cut the rest. He hoped that satisfied the CHOP herself with his cutting ability. It was close to methodically but slightly on the messier side of things before he found himself stopping, "So who wants the first piece?"

Ciara watched, the cutting of the cake, she'd let someone else grab the first piece, "Congratulations Leftenant." she said to Finch.

"Thanks, Leftenant-commander," Rhys shot Mclellandi a smile.

"Tell us about the wife," Liz encouraged.

"Yeah, Maple Leaf, the elopement too... where'd you go?" Isa chimed in, accepting her own piece of cake and leaning back against the wall as she speared a corner with her fork.

Rhys looked and smiled at both women while his eyes lit up. He loved talking about the people in his life that he loved, mostly his best friend and now wife Faith. He nodded his head while his iconic dimple-laden smile remained across his facial features, "Her name is Faith. She's a software developer at Microsoft." He turned to Isabel, "We eloped in a small coastal town called Seaside on the Oregon Coast down in Oregon."

"Is she American?" Liz asked.

The only person on board the submarine knew that he held dual United States-Canadian citizenship which his newly wedded wife also was, "She has dual citizenship. She became a Canadian citizen shortly before we started dating."

Isabel's eyebrows crept up at that, but she kept her own council. There were plenty of different reasons for a person to seek citizenship elsewhere, but so many were used to living on visas. The idea that Rhys's wife had sought citizenship without a romantic relationship tied to it was intriguing."

"Very nice," Liz said, honestly not sure really what to make of all that. "Maybe she'll talk you into coming to the US Navy instead," Liz teased.

The Executive Officer was the only member of the crew that knew he held dual citizenship himself. He was uncertain on how to proceed here, "If that were the case, I'd still pronounce it Leftenant-commander."

Kemo kept one shoulder against an out of the way bulkhead, coffee mug sitting on a nearby counter as he tasted the cake, feeling the frosting coat his tongue and the sugar hit his system. At Finches words, he chuckled. "I had a Customs officer explain to me once that only US citizenship or Lawful Resident status really carries much weight. Telling them you're a dual citizen gets you a scowl if you try and give them your non-US passport. And they really don't like you carrying oranges around."

Finch himself wasn't able to travel with his United States Passport. He had it locked up in a safety deposit box at the credit union his parents had setup for him when he was a child. He wasn't allowed to carry it with being active Canadian armed forces member, "US Customs had a hoot when I pulled up with Canada military plates with my fiance. She traveled down with her US passport. They were very curious."

"We're banning the word leftenant," Liz said, with a glanced at the Captain who gave an approving nod.

"You should never annoy the XO," Lewes said.

"It's a good rule," she said, finally sticking her fork into the cake to take a bite.

Hector approached carrying a plate of cake and offered his hand to the Canadian Officer, "Congratulations Lieutenant. If you'll excuse me I have to get back to my office, but remind me to tell you the story about how my wife and I got married. It was quite the event," he said giving the man a weak before nodding to the captain and XO. "Sir, Ma'am," he said before making his way to the exit, taking a bite of cake as he did so.

Ronnie had eaten half his own slice before looking towards Rhys, "Don't worry ma'am, I'll have plenty of time to get that trained out of him." He gave Rhys a sly grin quickly before the XO could catch him.

Sipping more of his coffee as it cooled, Kemo grinned at Finches comment, then tuned to the discussion on rank and he said thought fully, "Perhaps they utilize the term Left-tenent, because they're rarely Right-tenents and it would be rude to use the term Wrong-tenents?

Rhys shook the COB's hand and told him that he looked forward to hearing his wedding story. He watched him leave the wardroom before shooting Ronnie an exaggerated what for look before looking over to Kemo, "Not the first time I've heard that one, Mr. Paahao."

Then he turned to Lieutenant Castillo, "Thank you again for having your team bake a cake for the occasion." Then he turned to both Commander Lewes and Lieutenant Commander Watts placing his plate down only containing the remnants of once was a slice of cake, "Commander, Lieutenant Commander. I should head back to the control room."

"It was our pleasure," Isa said warmly encompassing her whole team in the acknowledgement.

"That's up to your babysitter," Lewes said, nodding toward Broward.

"It is good to see you anxious to be on the watch though," Liz said, nodding with approval.

Ronnie downed his last bite of cake before looking towards Rhys, "Oh I think I can manage without him for a while. Besides, It is his party." Ronnie patted Rhys on the shoulder before looking towards the CO, "With your permission, sir." Ronnie excused himself from the wardroom and started making his way back towards the control room. He could manage without Rhys for awhile, besides, he had a lot of cake to finish off.