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Capt Waterhouse & Cmdr Tomar - "The Will to Greatness Clouds the Mind"

Posted on 2018-03-25 12:37 by Captain Amelia Waterhouse & Commander Alleira Tomar DSc.Dn

Mission: Planet of the Sequined Love Nun

Amelia paced the corridors, lost in thought. She knew that Starfleet protocol recommended the executive officer beam down on away missions and the captain stay on the ship, she knew that a Cardassian would draw less attention on an Orion colony, and she knew that just because she wanted to go wasn't a good enough reason to ignore all that. Which meant that Alleira was headed on the away mission, no matter which way Amelia sliced the pizza. She sighed softly and found herself outside of Alleira's quarters. It was her business to help plan and prepare for the away mission though, so that she could do. She rang the chime.

"Who is it?" the Chime asked in Alleira's voice.


"Oh my... um... hang on..."

Noises of scampering were just audible through the door before Amelia was given the all clear.

"Come in."

Alleira's quarters were of course very familiar to anyone who had seen the inside of the captain's, being largely identical. The double bed which had been down when Amelia rang the chime was now stowed again so the pair could make full use of the couch that ran along the left wall and various hair care products were strewn over the same couch. The walls and storage about were personalised in a fairly minimalist fashion, a few personal decorative items and models, some PADDs, some artwork (landscapes of Denobula) set it apart from Amelia's own quarters, that and the door near the back of the right-hand wall which lead into Alleira's office just next door. The ambient temperature of her office was set a couple of degrees higher than the rest of the ship, To give equal comfort to the current executive officer and any guests who may stop by, but her quarters were warmer still and bathed in a low light that was orange, almost red, reminiscent of the Cardassian home world. All of this was interesting, but perhaps not quite as interesting as Alleira herself who was sans both uniform and her trademark hair style, the former being replaced by a cream silken robe and the latter loose about her shoulders and running to her waist down her back and her chest in equal measure. Hair brush in hand, it didn't take the most experienced intelligence officer to deduce what she had been doing.

"Please come in," the Cardassian invited with a smile.

Amelia stepped through the door just far enough for it to shut behind her, and looked around a moment before she spoke. "I was hoping we could talk about the away mission to Protos VI, but we can put it off until tomorrow if that's easier, in my ready room first thing?" Truth be told, on duty and off duty blended almost seamlessly for Amelia, having grown up on Starfleet ships and surrounded by Starfleet personnel, so Amelia never truly switched off all the way even if she was quick to let her hair down when given the chance. Fortunately Alleira was much the same, even if she did need longer than average time per day to look after her hair.

"Of course, please!" Hair care products various were quickly removed from the couch and the XO offered her Captain a seat. "Would you like something to drink?"

"Iced tea, raspberry, please." Amelia shrugged out of her duty jacket as she settled on the couch. The drink was replicated in short order and Alleira placed herself toward the opposite end of the couch after passing it over, making sure the long skirt of the robe covered her legs.

"Is the temperature and lighting a problem for you?" she asked Amelia quickly after sitting down. "I can change it to something more... universal...?"

"Don't even think about it, these are your quarters. It's a nice break from Starfleet norms anyways, though it assures I won't invade your space too long, I'll soon miss twenty degrees." Amelia grinned and took a sip of the ice tea. Alleira grinned back.

"It's nice not to have to wear three or four layers all the time," she remarked, "but you didn't come here to talk about the weather."

"I wonder how quickly the crew would mostly switch to wearing the skant uniform if we raised the standard temperature up." Amelia couldn't stop herself from musing aloud. "But yes, I wanted to talk about the away mission. I've been reviewing options for transport, and while I know Ensign Jarkil would like something sexy, as he'd put it if he's even remotely like most pilots I know, that might draw too much attention..."

"Agreed." Alleira nodded a few times. "Cardassians, especially post-war, are famous for lurking in the shadows. To arrive in something... sexy... would I think look out of place and this aside would still be ill-advised. Ensign Jarkil will have to put his ego aside for this trip."

"I don't think it's his ego we need to worry about. More likely he'll be broken hearted, but I'm sure we'll have reason for him to fly something more to his taste in the future. Now, I was able to find a dead drop that's supposed to have a Cardassian shuttle, but the maintenance report says it might be in need of some repair..."

"I would consider Ensign Jarkil's taste in spacecraft entirely irrelevant to this or any other mission, Captain, but I think that is a good example of the differences between you and I." Alleira was a scientist, very methodical, very logical. She didn't mean to come across as cold but sometimes she did. The reputation of her species did her no favours there. "As for repairs, I shall supervise with Lieutenant Oswin for the purposes of interpreting the language. Ensign McKenzie will be useful there too. His ....... is very good, for a human."

The universal translator was either switched off or had missed a word and Alleira had said it in Cardassian.

"Of course he'll do what he's ordered, I don't doubt it—his record indicates he's a reliable officer—I've just found that taking the edge off on missions of this nature can help morale and performance. Regardless, it might be helpful for him to be involved in the repairs, to allow him to become familiar with the craft before hand." Amelia felt comfortable assuming the word missing in Alleira's sentences was 'Cardassian', as the rest of the sentence implied pretty clearly she was speaking of translating the ship's interface.

"Duly noted. I'll make sure he has that opportunity." An advantage of being a logical and methodical scientist was that Alleira would be under no illusions about her level of experience in certain areas. Working with officers who weren't scientists or engineers was one of them.

"On the subject of Ensign Jarkil, I am compelled to mention your sparring match earlier in the week." The Cardassian didn't look amused. In fairness, she rarely did but somehow at that point she looked even less amused than normal.

"I've since found out that the safeties in the program can be adjusted up to Starfleet's normal recommended levels, and they will be next time." Amelia had spent plenty of time berating herself for what had happened in the holodeck, and Dragomirov was still giving her the stink eye in the corridors though she hadn't taken the chance to rip Amelia a new one in the medical report. It had seemed inevitable that it would come up with Alleira too, so it was almost a relief that it finally had. The Cardassian eyed her too, although unlike Veda her face was largely unreadable.

"When one reads of disasters through history," she started calmly, "a mine collapsing, a ship sinking, a starship being lost in space or crashing into an asteroid, almost without fail there a combination of factors, each of them quite unlikely but when occurring in the correct order lead to an historic failure of one sort or another. The safeties in the holodeck is but one factor. What concerns me is that you allowed the situation whereby there was even a small chance you could cause harm to one of your own crew to occur in the first place. Ensign Jarkil is young -by Denobulan standards-, relatively inexperienced, male and eager to prove himself. You are a tall, beautiful, powerful woman and his Captain. His taking the situation too far I can understand, in a way. You..."

She didn't wish to say anything further, no way she could formulate the words would be of any assistance and might serve to drive a wedge between the two command team officers if Amelia didn't take her words in the way she hoped. Inside Alleira was a little torn. A conversation she had had with Hades before embarking played again in her mind. The half-Cardassian Commodore had sought her out after years of avoidance. It was no giant secret he was not at ease with the Cardassian side of his heritage, but it struck her as selfish he should make efforts to avoid one of the only other Cardassians in Starfleet when she most particularly could have used the companionship. What grated even more was that he had asked her to keep an eye on Amelia for him and stay in touch, reporting anything she thought was unprofessional. Even before boarding the Joshua Norton Alleira had decided to remain loyal to her Captain and take the Commodore's request under advisement rather than follow blindly. She hoped very much to find Hades was being melodramatic but after the incident with Ensign Jarkil this hope was starting to waver.

"Honestly, anything we do has a chance of harm. We're in a dangerous line of work, and we have to train to do dangerous things and handle dangerous weapons. Should I have stopped him sooner than I did? Yes. I've spent every waking moment since the incident with that on my mind—trying to decide what point I should have reigned him in, wondering how much of that mistake in judgment was the fault of my being too eager to start teaching these skills I've been learning since I was a small child and how much of it was just that teaching is a lot harder than it seems." Amelia sighed. "If he's interested, we'll continue with the safeties turned all the way up to where Starfleet dictates they should be, and we'll focus on drilling until he's learned a lot more control with the weapon. And if he chooses not to continue, then I'll work on learning better skills for teaching."

"I hope he is interested." Alleira returned after a moment. "It's a great opportunity to learn from a highly rated instructor. But we don't need to say anything more on that subject."

On a shelf behind where Alleira was sat something small moved in the relative gloom. It pushed off from a cosy oval bed on all fours, yawned, stretched, and two large eyes flashed orange as it looked directly at Amelia. Sphinx leapt from his position on the cat bed and padded over to see what new life form had disturbed his nap.

Denobulan Bobcats were similar in size to a large domestic Tomcat one would find on Earth. Reminiscent of the Earth Caracal by the tufts of fur on their ears, they were set apart by bony ridges on their brow and forehead, similar to Denobulan bipeds. A longer thinner snout than Earth felines housed a long tongue, typical of advanced lifeforms on the planet that would have been used for hunting large insects and grubs in it's native habitat. Denobulan Bobcats were mostly domesticated and whilst as independent as their Terran equivalents were rather less highly strung. Sphinx sat down in front of Amelia, looking up at her in a calculating fashion.

"Well, hello there," Amelia said, holding her hand out for the bobcat to sniff if he so wished. Amelia hadn't met one of his kind before, so she approached him like she would a Terran house cat. Alleira smiled as Sphinx investigated the hand before him, the initial cautious sniffing giving way to a quick rub, and stood, taking a couple of steps around her pet to the replicator.

"See the thick mane-like fur around his collar?" she asked as she started pressing some buttons on the replicator. "It acts like whiskers on Terran felines. There are nerve receptors around the base of those hairs." The replicator buzzed and Alleira turned and held a plate out towards Amelia.

"Put one of these on your hand and hold it about a foot in front of him." Alleira offered Amelia a small bowl filled with large, dead, moth-like creatures. "You'll like it, I promise!"

Amelia ran a hand down Sphynx's back, then took one of the insects from the bowl, holding it like Alleira directed her to. "How does he do with other animals around his size? Mikey gets exercise walking around the ship on a leash, and runs loose in the holodeck on occasion, but I think he'd appreciate being able to play with another creature close to his size. He likes cats, though he's only met the Terran sort."

A moment was all it took to calculate his aim. Sphinx had the insect from Amelia's hand in one quick movement of his long, sticky Denobulan tongue. He lay down on the thin, hard-wearing carpet and started to crunch. Alleira grinned.

"Always entertaining. Bobcats are fairly placid, I'd expect him to get on alright with Mikey. Rusty -Jarkil's Degu- might not fare so well, that's just entering food size."

"Yeah, I'm not sure Mikey would behave with Rusty either, though I haven't seen him eat anything bigger than an insect. His home planet is in Klingon space though, and we know very little of the species." Amelia shrugged. "But a holodeck play date for Mikey and Sphinx might be good."

"It would be a change to scampering around the holodeck." Alleira conceded amiably and took another insect. This one was thrown in the air at head height above her pet who sprang up from his hind legs and collared it easily with his tongue.

"Let's tentatively schedule a play date for them after you return from away mission then? For now, I can let you get back to your evening." Amelia finished her ice tea as she stood up, collecting her duty jacket off the arm of the couch. She looked down at Sphinx, then reached to give him an affectionate rub on the head. "It was nice to meet you, Sphinx."

"I'd like that." Alleira put the bowl of insects down on the shelf for a moment. She was glad their talk was ending on a friendly note. "Thank you. Enjoy the rest of your evening, Captain."

"You too, Commander." Amelia set the empty ice tea glass in the replicator, and hit recycle. "And maybe while Sphinx and Mikey play, you and I can compare notes on hair styling." She grinned as the door out of Alliera's quarters slid open and she moved into the corridor, walking backwards as she went.

"Yes! Maybe." Alleira said awkwardly, coming closer to the door to see her guest out, but not particularly wishing to be onserved in a gown by passers by. "I should probably adopt a look requiring less maintenance, but I can't quite bring myself to cut it all off..."

"With practice, and maybe a few inches off the end, there are some lower maintenance styles good for duty. French braids were my salvation in the field and lower ranks." Amelia grinned. "I still occasionally fantasize about getting an undercut or mohawk, but don't think either is quite suited to the image the fleet wants captains to project, and I don't want to have to mess around with a follicle stimulator any time brass might be around."

"Or you go on an away mission and wish not to be remembered by everyone in the vicinity?" Alleira suggested in a friendly manner. "I plan to sport a less individual style for our away mission." She added by way of reassurance. An advantage of being Denobulan was that she was brought up practicing ornate up-dos and could wind her cascades of black hair into many more commonplace styles than the one she wore day to day.

"Surprisingly enough, the unusual haircuts blend in better within the seedy underground of society. I had an undercut during some of my field work between my two ship tours before this assignment." Amelia shrugged. "At any rate, have a good evening!" And off she went down the corridor.

=/\= End Log =/\=

Captain Amelia Waterhouse
Commanding Officer
USS Joshua Norton, NCC-74819-A

Commander Alleira Tomar
Executive Officer
USS Joshua Norton


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