Part of USS Achilles Archive: It Resides in the Purview of the Diplomats

A Most Peculiar Conversation

USS Achilles, En-route to Cardassian Border
Stardate 24582.19: August 1st, 2347; 1130 Hours
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It was dark, quiet, and very cool. As the doors closed behind him sealing off the light coming in from the corridor and leaving him standing in the entrance to the main astrometrics labs, looking at the wall-to-wall consoles and displays being manned by various members of the astrometrics team. He was, however, looking for a very specific individual, Ensign Kiaol, the teams only Caitian.

Spotting her at one of the main consoles Varrik began to make his way towards her. His hands were folded behind his back, one of the new data PADDs securely clasped in his left hand. As he approached her he glanced around the labs, taking in the various things he was seeing, and marking those which were of an intriguing nature for him to look into more closely when the progress reports for the projects were submitted.

Finally approaching her station he stopped an appropriate distance away and then spoke, "Ensign Kiaol, may I have a moment of your time?"

Dazia couldn't help but roll her eyes as the Chief of her department interrupted her analysis of the cloud of stellar debris that had, for reasons unbeknown to anyone, appeared around the third planet in the Xendi Sabu system. She was just starting to get somewhere! Pressing pause on her analysis so that she didn't miss anything crucial, the pale coloured Caitian turned on her heels. "Yes, Lieutenant?"

Noting the tone of the woman's voice, and the body language she was employing, likely subconsciously, Varrik had to suppress his urge to raise an accusatory eyebrow. He had heard she had a bit of a temper and could be somewhat feisty at times, and apparently that information had been quite correct. Turning his attention back to the reason he was here, he brought the PADD out from behind his back, holding it out to her.

Once she had taken it he began to explain, "I understand that your duties ensure you are busy, Ensign, and that you already have a project you are working on, however, you are also the most qualified team member when it comes to gaseous anomalies. I have just received word that we will be passing incredibly close to one in the coming days. I request that you put together a small team, get some probes ready, and get a station set up so you can study it effectively," he said.

"From what I have been made privy to, it seems to be fairly unusual. Starfleet is wanting as thorough an investigation as we can supply. There is even talk of sending a science vessel out to study it depending on what our study finds. I have seen initial scientists pulled to head up such assignments before, so that is not outside of the realms of possibility if you find something truly impressive," he finished.

"That'll be..." she paused as she noted the expression on her superior's face, and also channelled the reminders of her parents when she had told them of her intentions to join Starfleet. Patience and tolerance would be virtues required in extreme amounts on a Federation starship. Instead of her intended response, the Cardassian nodded slowly, "that'll be exciting sir. I'll put a team together immediately."

"Thank you, Ensign. Now, before you do that, please, tell me how you are finding your time here on the Achilles? Are you happy with your assignment? Is there anything I can do, short of interrupting your work, to make things easier for you?" he asked, in a truly un-Vulcan like way.

'Ah, crap!’ she cursed inwardly; not only had he rumbled her irritation and was now mocking her for it, but he was acting in a very peculiar manner when doing so. It was time for her to make amends in the eyes of her superior or her assignment to the Achilles would probably be quite brief. "Don't get me wrong sir, I am loving my time on the Achilles, and as a member of your department specifically, it's just..." she trailed off as sat back on the edge of her console and folded her arms across her chest in a protective stance, "every time it seems like I'm going to get my research done, or I'm going to complete a project, something else comes along. Like last week, for example. What was supposed to be a quiet time where I could get my research done, was interrupted by Petty Officer Jackson hogging all of our sensor time," she moaned, no doubt sounding like a petulant child in the process.

Waving his hand to the console Varrik asked, "May I join you?", and then leaned against the console as well, hands clasped at his waist. Looking out over the room he pondered how best to address this with the woman beside him. Finally, looking over at her he nodded, "I understand your frustrations, Ensign. You have every right to be frustrated. Such disturbances are, however, par for the course when one first begins their career. Especially if they show talent. When I first started out as a science officer, I too found it… frustrating. I would get something started, and suddenly something else would be reassigned to me. Suddenly the old project would have to be put aside. Sometimes I never got to revisit them. Sometimes they got reassigned. But do you know what I discovered?" he asked, and waited for her to reply.

"That once you became Chief you had your pick of the assignments?" she smirked as she loosened up a little. Maybe he wasn't so bad after all?

Varrik gave the woman a sideways glance and then shook his head, “What I discovered was that so long as I was able to contribute in any way, even if it was not as the person who got to start and finish a project, it still allowed me to be of service. Once I realized that, it got a little easier to accept that sometimes I would not get to do exactly what I might want, or get to be the main contributor on a project. It let me understand that my work mattered, and I was still doing important work to further the knowledge of the Federation."

"But I want to do a doctorate," she admitted to him, the first time she had told anyone of her desire to fully commit to the sciences for the rest of her career. "To do that, I need to start and complete research and studies. If I never get chance to do them now, it'll be too hard when I come to do my doctorate," she frowned sadly. She had been in love with science since the first time she had scanned the stars with her fathers telescope and it made her sad to think that she'd struggle to get where she so longed to be.

Varrik gave her a sympathetic look. He knew exactly how she felt, and he was very glad to know he had someone on his team that had such a drive to succeed and reach her goals. Or he would have had it not been for the pointed ears. "How about this? Ensure you continue to work hard, keep focused, and I will ensure that you get as many assignments as I can that you will be able to complete. Is that agreeable to you?" he asked.

"Thank you sir," she nodded in acceptance, "I'd appreciate it." Perhaps the Vulcan wasn't so bad after all?

Moving to stand back up, Varrik nodded, "Very well.  Should you need any further assistance, I will be located in my quarters," he said with a simple nod.

"Why is it that most scientists are... what was it my father said?" she mused, before a light bulb moment triggered by a memory, "ah, yes! Antisocial gits..." she added. "Something he learnt from the Federation Ambassador if I remember rightly," she smirked.

"Unknown. I think it is because that particular personality quirk makes it easier for our colleagues to be dispassionate about things, and look at them more logically. Scientists are not as sentimental, so the social niceties often elude us, or seem silly. That is just my hypothesis, however," Varrik said, answering the question.

"And a sound one I am sure, sir," the Caitian grinned before sheepishly pointing to her research. "I should get back to this before it gets delegated elsewhere..." she trailed off, waiting for permission from her superior.

"By all means, Ensign," Varrik replied with a nod, and then turned to leave.

Dazia watched the Lieutenant leave and, when she was content that she was alone again, she let out a sigh and shook her head as she turned back to her research. If she ever got promoted, she would make sure she got all the best assignments. But, for now, she was the junior and she’d just have to hope that whoever picked up where she left off would be competent enough to finish her task.

Then, of course, there was the fact that her superior never ceased to shock her. If she hadn’t known better, she would have almost believed he wasn’t who he said he was…


  • TBD

    I love the level of detail you write your stories with. Plus any story with a mention of a Caitian immediately gets my attention. Well done.

    October 2, 2022