USS Triton
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Inviting Darkness

Posted on Sun Apr 5th, 2020 @ 9:16pm by Lieutenant Commander Vriaral Dariars & Commander Soraya Rezvani
Edited on on Wed May 6th, 2020 @ 12:32pm

Mission: Tick-Tock
Location: The Ritzy Rigelian Cafe, Starbase 50
Timeline: MD-12: 1400 hours

This time around, Soraya didn't have quite so many luxuries as she'd enjoyed during her first command. When she'd assumed command of the Viking, she was able to pick and choose the majority of her senior staff. Now that she was back in the center chair only by the grace of some "friends," people playing a complex game of chess and using her as a pawn, she was largely at the mercy of the Office of Personnel Management. In short, the ship was being staffed by Starfleet Command.

However, she'd decided that didn't mean she couldn't at least meet them at the outset and make a final determination before the Triton left Starbase 50. If she made a loud enough fuss, she could probably dispense with anyone who was likely to cause trouble. Not that she expected anything close to it from the Dariars symbiont, but it was better to err on the side of caution.

She'd opted for the base over the ship as a meeting place, assuming the informality of it might make for a better introduction than hovering around the warp core like moths to a lamp. For that reason, she'd also foregone the officers' lounge and chosen a Rigellian cafe in what she'd come to understand was called "The Commons," the busiest area of the station. While she waited, it made for fascinating people watching.

It had been a long time since Vriaral had been on Starbase 50 and it had never been in the current host. The man leaned against the promenade barrier and looked down at the dizzying height of all the ships, bars and restaurants before growing bored with his own people watching to waste time. He was far too punctual for his own good some days.

He soon found himself following a familiar path that he had been informed was the location to meet his potential new Commanding Officer. “I’m here to meet Comma…” he stopped as he noticed her and sidestepped the cafe owner who was trying to see if he needed a table of his own.

Anything she might have said to Vriaral on his approach was interrupted by the Rigellian server presenting her with a cup of coffee. Perhaps looking for a few extra slips of latinum, he must have assumed a human in a cafe would want coffee. She gave him an apologetic smile and touched the rim of the saucer before he could set it down.

"I don't drink coffee. I take tea, my dear," she said. She was no stranger to Rigellian tea - or most teas, for that matter - and knew precisely what she wanted to order. "I'll take a cup of Iotrobsead tea, double strong, double sweet." Soraya turned her attention briefly from the server to the arriving Trill officer. "May I get you something, lieutenant commander?"

He would file that away that his potential commanding officer was not a fan of coffee and how she took her tea. It was relevant information for another time and place but what struck him was how she addressed him. That was not his rank, was it? “Lieutenant Commander?” He wondered coming to a complete stop for a second before he looked at the offending coffee and smiled. “I will take that coffee.” He said with a smile trying to put everyone at ease.

"Plain?" Soraya asked, practically aghast.

“It has been a long week Sir.” He said with a bigger smile as he finally settled into the seat across from her and took a sip of the coffee. “It is good. Thank you.” He said to the just as aghast server.

"I prefer ma'am," Soraya said, then held up a hand. "Every commanding officer is different, and I feel like it's virtually the first thing that should come out of my mouth when I meet new crewmembers." Before he could respond, she pressed on. "A long week? Were you not provided any leave before reassignment?"

“Apologies either way, ma'am.” He said without hesitation. He should have asked before just assuming before saying anything but he was autopilot. “Um four days before my camping trip was cut short and some officer appeared in the middle of the camp with transfer papers and told to report here.”

Soraya balked at that. Sat back in her seat, she was a little wide-eyed. "That seems quite audacious, even for the Office of Personnel Management. Though they did once send me to interrupt an officer's undercover mission in a pre-warp civilization just to pull him away for assignment. It was nearly as absurd as the mission itself. Well, I do apolo-"

The Rigellian server returned and went through the near-ritualistic presentation of her tea. First, he showed her a small tin and confirmed that it was still sealed per order of the Rigellian Trade Commission. Once she seemed satisfied, he broke the commission's seal and presented the tin of loose tea leaves for her inspection. It was a bit of an ordeal, but she dared not give it a thorough going over so as not to offend him. Her inspection yielded the expected results: they looked as much like loose tea leaves from Rigel V as anything else the man might have presented her with.

With a nod to him, the man set about steeping the tea to its desired double strength. "As I was saying, I apologize for your recreation being interrupted. I can't fathom why they'd have bothered as we're expected to be docked here for several more days. And I assure you I didn't insist upon it."

Vriaral stayed silent watching the ritual. It was always interesting to what different species and the rituals they held dear, it always made him sorry for the Trill that they were known purely for the joining of host and symbiont and not something else.

“It is the Office of Personnel Management.” He said it in a way that spoke volumes. He knew far too much about them and did not respect them what he did know. “Commander they have not changed in fifty years. Not the Jem’hadar or Romulans have stopped them in there quest for fulfilling crew manifests.” He shrugged it did not matter to him. Alicia and Jarrett, on the other hand, had not been impressed but he was sure he could make it up to them another time. Alicia forgave most things and Jarrett would go along with her so it was okay in his eyes.

Soraya laughed a little, a brash and loud sound that seemed at all odds with her conservative nature. "I suppose there's something to be said for consistency. Where were you camping?"

Vriaral smirked a little at making the woman laugh. At least he was not coming off as the usual boring self. “Los Padres National Forest on Earth. My previous ship was being refitted after an incident.” He was sure she knew about the spore that had caused the ship to mutiny and caused no end of trouble before they were subdued by a cure.

"I believe I read a report about that incident," she replied while adding some sweetener to her tea. She gave it a sip, found it too hot, and decided to let it sit until it was more agreeable. Unlike most people from her homeworld, she preferred to drink it when it was tepid instead of approaching temperatures that would put it in a plasma state. "It seemed to leave command with a favorable enough impression of you to authorize your promotion."

The man frowned. He was not sure how as he had succumbed to the spore eventually. “I am not sure exactly how Ma’am. I was affected by the spore.” Maybe it was the only way to get him off the ship after everything that had happened there. He had been quite unlucky especially with the new host that had been created thanks to the science lab accident. “But there must have been something in my file that got you to agree to meeting me?” He asked his burning question.

"Your personality assessment. Or, personalities assessment?" she said, questioning her own semantics. "Essentially, your file with command. I rely upon my senior staff a great deal, more than other commanding officers, I believe. I trust your disciplinary competencies and the expert advice that you can provide in your individual fields. But, more importantly, I need to be able to rely upon your moral compass and decision making. There will be times that I will be wrong in the field, and I need people serving with me who are capable of saying as much."

“I believe all my former host have brought something to the man I am today Sir. My moral compass is never to be doubted as long as I don’t get the device in my shoulder electronically shorted or anything.” It was his only limitation to keep dark Vriaral at bay. “I have always been able to tell someone if they are wrong. Hurin could tell you as much if he was still around.” He took a long sip of the coffee allowing the slightly sour taste warm him up.

"I must have missed that portion of your medical file," Soraya said, tilting her head slightly. "You've been implanted with an assistive device?"

“It was better than daily hypro sprays.” Viraral pulled out his PaDD and offered it up to her. It showed her his professional report of what had happened to him from the moment he had been knocked out to waking up to then starting to experiences lapses in time where the new host took over as well as the device in his shoulder. “There was a malfunction in a microscanner and we were hit with some energy pulse, the human it did not effect but me it took all the darkness in five lifetimes and moulded it into a new host.”

All the darkness in five lifetimes sounded daunted; truthfully, it gave her a bit of pause. To some extent, it seemed like a liability and made her wonder about the Office of Personnel Management assigning him to her command. Punishment for him? Punishment for her? Or just filing away two potential problems in the same place to keep one another company?

"My knowledge of Trill physiology is fairly limited, Mr. Dariars, but I can't ever remember hearing of two hosts possessing one body."

“It is not common but it is known by the Trill Commission. They were the ones who were able to create the ‘cure’ for myself.” He admitted knowing she was having doubts but he would rather have her fully aware than not at all.

"Does the assistive device work by... suppressing the other host within the symbiont?"

“It does. He isn’t very nice.” Vriaral said with a shrug as he looked at the dregs of his coffee.

"No, I can imagine that he isn't," Soraya said, though she started to quietly trail off toward the end.

It was hard to ignore that Lieutenant Commander Vriaral had something of a liability. But then again, she chided herself for thinking of it in those terms. After all, she was certainly no stranger to unorthodox crewmembers. Once upon a time, she'd traveled two weeks in a shuttlecraft just to convince an odd Betazoid man dressed as an avian creature and working undercover in a pre-warp civilization to be her chief of security. She'd taken in an absolute pariah in the scientific community, a woman who was impossibly mouthy and irreverent with virtually no regard for Starfleet procedures. A Marine whom she'd held in contempt became one of her closest confidants.

It was important, she reminded herself, that everyone be given the opportunity to flourish.

"I know you're a responsible enough officer to see to its maintenance, and I have every confidence in your ability to manage the condition," Soraya finally said, and she seemed to mean it. "I'd be a poor commanding officer if I let the Triton miss out on the opportunity of having you serve as our chief engineer."

“Trust me Ma’am it is the third thing I think about after warp core configurations and crew rosters.” Vriaral tried to make light of it but he had not realised that he was holding his breath waiting for her to say something positive. It was something that was always going to stay with him, it was impossible to do so but he was never going to let him hurt anyone including himself ever again. “So does that mean I am your new chief engineer?” He checked thinking he needed to still ask about the promotion.

"Indeed. If you'll accept the position?" Soraya said, lifting an eyebrow. "As far as I'm concerned, it's as much your decision as it is mine or the Office of Personnel Management."

“I am here now so I would love to be your chief engineer Ma’am. I can get started within the hour.” He said with a hopeful smile. It had been a long time since he had been thrown somewhere and not had any idea of what he was going into. He was so used to just being sent places to damage control other Engineers' mistakes and this did not seem like it was that type of situation.

"Perfect," Soraya said, sounding genuinely pleased. "I'll file the necessary paperwork."

Commander Soraya Rezvani
Commanding Officer
USS Triton, NCC-62389

Lieutenant Commander Vriaral Dariars
Chief Engineering Officer
USS Triton, NCC-62389


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