Q’orvha was an albino…her skin and hair were pale white, a far cry from the usually darker and more earthy skin tones typical to the Klingons as a whole, and her eyes were the colour of her blood: lavender purple. Her mutation had its drawbacks, though what those drawbacks were, depended entirely on context.
In the Empire, Albinism had long been associated with a list of negative connotations, stereotypes, and urban myths…those with the condition were more often than not ostracized to the fringes of society if they even survived into adulthood. Q’orvha herself had been given up to a remote monastery, as payment for some deed or rite performed by the sisterhood that had dwelled there…when she left the monastery, she had become adept at concealing her condition with cosmetics and disguises when the need move amongst outsiders without notice became a necessity. Her eyes were also weak at long distances, which had almost resulted in a failing grade when training with disruptor rifles at the Warrior Academy.
In Starfleet, her drawbacks were less social in nature, with such issues being little beyond the typical friction for a Klingon working in the organization. Instead, it was far more environmental and ever-present.
She might have faced derision or even attempted assassination on a Klingon ship, but at least those vessels tended to keep the ambient lighting low to conserve power and keep a warrior’s wits sharp…Starfleet vessels were almost omnipresently brightly lit, oppressively so. Even the maintenance tunnels, the so colloquially called “Jefferies Tubes”, were lined with strips of bright light fixtures. Half the time the lights weren’t even dimmed for the so-called “graveyard shifts”, as the decision to try and maintain some semblance of a planetary day-night cycle on board was left up the individual choice of the officer on deck.
This posed a consistent problem for Q’orvha, as she was now once again assigned to a Starfleet Vessel. The light was an irritation for her eyes and long-term exposure to her bare skin wasn’t exactly comfortable either.
It was for this reason, that she had yet to adopt the new black and red command-division uniform of her posting, instead opting for her traditional blackened metal and dark leather Klingon armour, complete with the long flowing robes of an “HoD”, a captain and shipmaster, with the cowl the robe pulled up and over her heavy black-dyed wiry dreads and boney forehead structure, granting blessed shade and solace for her eyes.
The warrior’s dress of course came with multiple points to mount weapon sheaths and holsters, though currently she only carried the d’taghk, the traditional three-bladed dagger that every Klingon worth their mettle carried and had training in. She honestly felt a bit exposed and naked with just the single knife, as she had become used to the weight of a brace of disruptor pistols and paired dueling single-edged swords…but such things were harder to get away with carrying day-to-day on a Starfleet vessel.
Instead, her armour had been amended with two additions instead: a Starfleet comm badge over the left breast of her robe and the new trio of command pips of a Starfleet Lieutenant Commander, opposite on the left breast.
She had even quickly sutured a replicated rectangle of red fabric onto the robe for them to affix on, to indicate the Command-division colour of her new posting.
As Q’orvha exited the turbolift and walked her comparatively impressive 6-foot-5 frame onto the Aquarius’s bridge, she took a moment to enjoy the comforting weight of the robe and armour, and the pleasant, if imperfect, the shade of the drawn down cowl that protected her eyes.
She gathered surprisingly few looks from the crew of jumpsuited technicians that were scattered around the command deck, most of them to absorb with the frantic work of getting the finishing touches ready in time for the Aquarius’s launch date…and Q’orvha instinctively walked with the silence of a predator stalking its prey at a closing distance. She kept to the sides of the room, and made her way around the bridge, past a blister of consoles and workstations, till she reached the doors for the Captain’s ready room.
By that point, she could start to hear the whispers and gasps from the drydock workers who had managed to tear themselves away from their tasks long enough to notice the imposing figure in full warrior dress, but no one had so far dared to approach or address it…out of fear or politeness? Possibly…after all, if someone had managed to make it all the way to the bridge, dressed as she had, they were supposed to be there…right?
She broke her operational silence to thumb the nearby panel, resulting in the sound of a signaling chime coming from the other side of the door.
Looking up from his reports, seemed today was an endless day of check-ins which was to be expected with everyone reporting on board. He was hoping for a small reprieve before the next one would come but not such his luck. “Enter,” he replied as the doors parted to reveal the Klingon in full Klingon uniform, he knew about her and was fine with her not wearing a Starfleet uniform. “Welcome Commander, please heave a seat,” Tajir replied with a soft smile gesturing for the open seat in front of his desk.
Q’orvha glanced towards the offered seat and paused for a moment, before striding forward to accept the offer. She adjusted her robes as she sat and shifted slightly…Klingon Armour and Starfleet Furniture didn’t always agree with each other, at least, not right away.
“Thank you, Captain Derohl.” She said, taking reaching to take a DATAPAD out of one of her robe’s various pouches and pockets. She held the datapad up for a moment with a gauntleted hand, briefly reviewing the contents before placing it down on the desk between the two officers. “Straight to the formality…My transfer file…by reading it, you acknowledge the date and time of my official arrival to this vessel and my posting as Chief of Strategic Operations for the Aquarius, complete with the activation of all necessary command codes and security clearances that entails.”
Raising an eyebrow before taking the padd from her and reviewing it carefully, “I have already reviewed your file and accept your posting as our Strategic Ops Chief.” Tajir replied setting the padd down on the desk in front of the Commander “you should already have those clearances,” he replied. “So tell me, Commander how did you end up in Starfleet and now assigned to the Aquarius?” He asked, though he already knew the answer he just wanted to gage her.
“…I see Starfleet Intelligence already sent the ‘paperwork’ ahead of my arrival,” Q’orvha commented a somewhat derisive exhale of breath. “In that case, you should already have at least the unsecured basic details of the sordid tale.
“The last survivor of first a Klingon house of exiles and then later, her own commanded bird-of-prey, gets rescued from dying slowly in the void by a Starfleet vessel…” The Klingon continued, her voice gaining in volume and richness: Story-telling was practically an intrinsic part of the DNA of most of her species. “This fool of a Klingon woman then swore an oath of service to her rescuers in response, as a way of maintaining what little personal honour remained…and that led to her serving within Starfleet itself.
”Over a standard Federation decade passes, and this one is found to have up-to-date knowledge of a lawless and long-neglected sector of a dead empire…and there happens to be a ship about to launch to remove ‘long-neglected’ from that description.” Q’orvha folded her hands together, the bare fingers of her fingerless spiked gauntlets interlocking and resting in front of her waist. “As the Federation had spent the previous years hiding behind its own borders like a motherless p’tagh, there are few others available with such expertise.
”…so, now, that foolish, dishonoured, and motherless Klingon woman now sits before you, by the glint of what secrets her mind holds, bound by oaths made while suffering from nitrogen narcosis and blood loss, but still bound nevertheless.”
Q’orvha leaned back in the chair again, conveying her resignation with the situation. “At least, that is as honest as I am allowed to tell the tale at this time. In spite of my words being laced with such acrid blood salt, I assure you Captain that I am above all, a professional…you will never receive less than the best I am capable of.”
Tajir looked at her for a moment, “I see.” He replied as he wasn’t exactly expecting a response like that which made him think of his next question which he didn’t have as she covered it in one go. “I won’t keep you long as I am sure you want to get settled, though I expect you to do your job and my door is always open if you need to talk,” Tajir replied looking at the woman, he would just have to see how she does as she has quite the history.
“On a Klingon vessel, a Captain leaving their door open was either a sign of bravery or foolishness,” Q’orvha stated, raising one of her thick eyebrows. “How fortunate that killing ship commanders for showing signs of weakness is less commonplace in Starfleet.”
Raising an eyebrow not sure if this was her attempt at humor or what, “well good thing this isn’t a Klingon vessel Commander.” He replied as he sat there still unsure of her at this point in time, but it was still too early to really be too judgemental.
Q’orvha studied her new Captain’s reaction and then allowed the stern surliness she had worn upon her face for the entire meeting up till this point to relax, going even so far as to allow a small smirking grin. “That was a joke, Captain…or at least, an attempt at one…perhaps I should just stick to being grim and severe…”
“Very well Commander,” Tajir replied as he stood up from his desk extending a hand towards her. “I will let you get settled and expect a report on your department by the end of the day,” came his reply before continuing. “Welcome aboard the Aquarius,” he finished.
Q’orvha stood up in timed precision with Tajir, but paused momentarily to look over the presented hand. She was familiar with the human gesture that had been become so prevalent across the members of the Federation, but it still invoked an uncanny strangeness to her, compared to the more familiar forearm grabs of the Klingon Empire…the grasping of hands between Klingons was more associated with mating signals…not that she had much of any of that in Empire either, with her condition.
A bit tentatively at first, she also extended her hand forward and grasped the Trill’s, forgetting for a moment to dial back her strength, resulting in a tightly crushing grip before she remembered the ‘frailty’ common to many non-Klingons.
…and with that awkward exchange over, she released and gave the Captain a nod from beneath her hood. “Of course, Captain.”