USS Triton
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An Even(ish) Trade

Posted on Sat May 9th, 2020 @ 7:05pm by Commander Soraya Rezvani & Lieutenant JG T’savo

Mission: Tick-Tock
Location: Metalworking Workshop, Starbase 50
Timeline: MD-10: 1647 hours

Soraya looked a little out of place in the metalworking workshop on Starbase 50. The requisite safety gear was cumbersome enough - shielded eyewear, heavy blacksmithing apron, and protective gloves - but she'd added to it the traditional head covering of her homeworld and a dress with an uncomfortably high looking neckline that was also long enough to be just centimeters from the floor. Given the temperature of the room from all the heavy equipment and forging, it was a small wonder she hadn't dehydrated.

She shared the space with three Tellarites working on something so secretive that it seemed one of them was looking over their shoulder at all times; a Gorn technician that seemed bent on hammering a sheet of metal into oblivion; and a hulking Vulcan woman tending to impossibly delicate looking silver filigree. Despite seeming a little out of place among them, she felt quite at home, if a little defeated. She was slouched in a chair near her reserved workspace when the doors opened, looking down at her feet at a very misshapen lump of metal that may have approximated a footed serving bowl... in a very abstract sense.

"Is that Ammari-pattered numidium?" T'savo asked, seeing the hunk of metal on a nearby workbench. She had always been keen to learn ways of adding textures and patterns to the metal tools and jewelry she fashion, and the famous Ammari weave had been one that had always impressed her. It was hard finding people who could teach it; the technique had a steep learning curve given that one the metals used in the process had a tendency to explode if the crafter didn’t heat it just right. Few people wanted to risk getting peppered with shards of glowing hot fragments. She leaned in for a closer look.

Soraya looked up from the defeated heap of metal in front of her to the Caitian inspecting the numidium. She'd been glad of her interruption, as things weren't going quite as well as she'd hoped on her own and this gave her an excuse to turn her attention elsewhere.

"Indeed, it is. Well. An attempt at it, at least. It would hardly pass even a cursory inspection from a weavemaster, but it's a start. I much prefer the finer points of metalworking," Soraya said, gesturing toward the nearby chunk of misshapen metal. "It's the broader strokes that trouble me. Ammari weave? Setareh ghalamzani? Vulcan filigree? Little issue. But hammering out a basic bowl - somehow beyond my skill."

"Don’t sell yourself short." T’savo reassured in a subdued voice. "The fact that it is still in one piece is an achievement by itself. I would love to learn the basics of forging these patterns. I can’t even get a simple Damascus blade to hold up." T’savo gave a slight bow "But I seem to have forgotten my manners. I am Dr. T'savo."

"Commander Soraya Rezvani," Soraya said with a knowing smile. She stood up, removed one of the protective gloves, and extended her hand for a handshake. "I apologize for not recognizing you, doctor. Lieutenant Commander Seong, Chief Elam and I haven't gotten to the medical department in our personnel review just yet, so I've seen your name but not your face... Until now, of course. It's a pleasure."

T’savo hesitated before shaking her hand. Most beings were reluctant to shake a medic’s hand; one never knew if the hand had rearranged someone’s insides in the past hour. Her posture stiffened noticeably, when she realized she was facing her new commanding officer. “Commander Rezvani,” she said with due courtesies. “The pleasure is mine, ma’am. Are you new to the Triton?”

"Quite new, in fact," she said as she strained to remove the other glove; sweat and the material were conspiring against her. She tilted her head and made a curious look. "Are you not? I know that Dr. Eurus has been with the ship for several years, but I haven't pegged down the junior officers just yet."

“I can imagine. So many beings to remember...” T’savo commiserated, as she had been trying to review the crew’s medical history. “I am new to the Triton as well, but it’s nice to that I have something in common with at least one member of the crew,” she said, nodding to the bowl. “What got you interested in metalworking?”

"A desire for creative expression. And perhaps some adolescent rebelliousness toward the conservative society of my homeworld," Soraya admitted with a sheepish look. "My grandparents would much rather have had me picking up something like calligraphy or weaving or the like, but I was always fascinated by the little cottage industry of metalworkers in my hometown. A few of them pursued it quite seriously as a career, tapping into the tourism and export market. I knew my career lay elsewhere, but I was always drawn to creating something extraordinary from something so... mundane."

“Ah,” T’savo replied. “I’ve never thought of it that way. I picked up metalworking out of necessity; at some of my duty locations, it was easier to work with raw materials than it was to replicate building materials. For some reason, however, I keep coming back to it. I suppose I enjoy making something unique, yet functional.” She retrieved a simple chef’s knife from a pouch she carried. Its blade was polished to like a mirror, but it lacked any personality. “Although I’m a bit at a loss as to how to give this knife character. A friend asked me to make a kitchen knife for them, but this looks like one that they could easily replicate.”

"If it works like one that's been replicated then you ought to take it as a compliment of your technical skill. It takes a lot of precision and expertise to make something properly functional. Ornamentation is just imagination with a little bit of skill," Soraya said. She held her hand out as a way of asking permission to see the knife. Once she had it, she turned it carefully to admire it. "What's your friend like?"

“Hm...” T’savo considered that a moment. “He is a very fun, lighthearted Bajoran who hosts a regular holo-stream on cooking. He always tries to make meals into works of art.” She nodded toward the knife. “I had hoped to make something that might stand out more. Perhaps a special handle...but I don’t want the design to interfere with the knife’s use.”

"No, he's needing it to be too practical for anything overly fanciful..." Soraya trailed off, deep in thought. Eventually, she started nodding to herself and moved off to a less intense portion of workspace, assuming that T'savo would follow. She placed the knife on a draft table and allowed the computer to scan it. Exchanging the knife for a stylus, she enhanced the functional looking handle and began sketching along it, speaking as she worked. "Three pillars of Bajoran cooking: hasperat, jumja, and spring wine, yes? In a tasteful Ottoman-style motif, which I'm quite fond of personally, but exceptionally silly given the content."

“Otto Man?” T’savo asked, looking over Soraya’s shoulder at the design on the table. “I am not familiar with that style.” She gave it more thought. “What if the handle incorporated design elements of a Bajoran orb ark? Or perhaps scroll work featured in their temples? He is very dedicated to the Bajoran religion.”

"Is that considered sacrilegious?" Soraya asked earnestly. She wiped her previous design but hesitated with the stylus.

“I’m not sure,” T’savo confessed. “I don’t know much about the concept of sacrilege; nothing like that exists in my own philosophy.” She considered that a moment. “But you are right; the knife shouldn’t have those designs if it would be considered some kind of spiritual crime.” She pondered on it for another second. “What about a design that has stylized images of Bajor’s plant life? I assume most of the ingredients he uses come from those plants.”

"Stylish and professional, I like it," Soraya said, sounding a little excited about collaborating. For the past few years, her position had barred her from working with other people as 'equals' on a project. She had to admit that it felt good to be part of a team again, even if it was 'just' a team of a two with a junior crew member. "Perhaps... Herbs? The most common herbs in Bajoran cooking. Which are... Not something I know much about." She cleared her throat, "Computer, display the ten herbs most commonly used in traditional Bajoran cuisine on the draft table display, please."

The computer made its customary sound of acknowledgment and soon an array of herbs were displayed on the draft table. None of them were particularly artistic or stylized looking, so it would be a stretch of her imagination and ability to turn them into something more suitable for artwork. She studied them a moment and then tilted her head toward T'savo. "Anything standing out to you, lieutenant?"

T’savo looked through the options. “Hm...not by themselves.” She ran her fingers through her mane. “Computer, pull up an image of the Kava plant and an image of the Moba tree.” She began making a rough sketch of her own. “Notice the unique texture to the Moba tree’s bark? We could make the Moba tree the main body of the handle, and make a stylized version of the bark into a textured handle to help with grip. Then the Kava plant runs up the back of the handle, and engrave a spiny basil leaf on the plate on the bottom of the handle.” After finishing a rough sketch, she tilted her head as she studied it. “What do you think?"

Soraya looked it over thoughtfully before picking up the stylus to tackle the draft. The changes she made kept the core elements but cleaned them up in places and refined the motif according to her own skill and ability. She made several passes over it until it seemed very much like a finished draft.

"I'm happy to barter a bit," Soraya suggested, her eyes darting to the lump of metal that she was tackling before striking up the conversation with T'savo. "I was hoping to make a serving bowl as a gift for my mother. The ornamentation won't be too much trouble, but, as you can see, the basic form of a bowl is eluding me. If you can shape that for me, I'd be happy to finish up the knife for your friend. Deal?"

“That’s hardly an even trade, Commander,” T’savo purred. “But one I am happy to accept.” She grabbed the lump of metal. “This shouldn’t take more than three hours. Will that be soon enough?”

Soraya gave a good-natured laugh and shook her head. "I work much too slowly for that sort of deadline. Let's reconvene tomorrow at 1130 hours for lunch at the Betazoid cafe, and I can present the knife for inspection then."


Lt. JG T’savo
Asst. Chief Medical Officer
USS Triton NCC-62389

Commander Soraya Rezvani
Commanding Officer
USS Triton NCC-62389


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Comments (1)

By Commander Soraya Rezvani on Sat May 9th, 2020 @ 7:18pm