Horns to the Captain
Heart and Soul
Location: Captain's Ready Room
As Enalia sipped at her tea and tapped at her desk terminal, looking over yet another stack of documents for her review, she wondered if there would be an end to the number of reports Intel Command and her own ship could generate for just one day, especially after the last mission. There was enough excitement, but there was an equal share of paperwork. Right now though? She could use a distraction from the exciting paperwork she had been staring at for what felt like hours on end.
In the hallway, seven foot soldier Tanaak Sado went over in his mind the greetings he had practiced. His heart beat a little quickly as he tried to remind himself: You've earned this. They want you here. He took a deep breath and marched up to the doorway, raising his fist in a completely unnecessary attempt to knock. The doors slid open before he touched them and he beheld the Captain of the Hera in person. Despite the fact that he was a little old for a recruit, and a little tall for being intimidated, he was absolutely starstruck. The glamour of the position was no match for his practiced speech. "Captain," he said bluntly. He quickly lowered his fist, then raised his hand again in a salute. "Ensign Tanaak Sado, reporting for duty."
"Please, come in and have a seat," Enalia replied, her mood brightening immediately at the sight of the tall Ensign. Returning the salute as quickly as she could, she motioned to the thermos of tea on her desk. "May I offer you some tea? My wife made a wonderful Yorkshire blend for me today."
Tanaak completed his salute and crossed the threshold. Although his nerves were still high, there was a pleasantness in the room and in the Captain's voice that gave him a warm, hopeful feeling. "That sounds wonderful, actually, thank you!" The words bubbled out energetically in his deep, dark voice. He took a seat and a genuine smile spread across his lips. As it always did, the tide of his initial anxiety was turning to excitement now that he'd found a place for himself, though that wouldn't save him from a little bit of gushing. "This is a magnificent ship," he said in a hushed tone, as if he were sharing gossip. Remembering himself, he cleared his throat. "As you well know, Captain," he managed in a professional tone, but the smile remained on his face.
The Captain chuckled softly as she pulled out another gilded teacup and saucer and poured some of the steaming red tea into it for her large guest. "Normally that's my line, but you're right. She's quite the amazing vessel. Too bad in all the refits, they couldn't give me a bigger office." With a wide grin, Enalia motioned around at the office she held that was only slightly larger than a closet. It was still large enough for a terrarium, a couch, her desk, and chairs, but compared to the rest of the ship, the beige walled room was decidedly cramped.
"I had hoped that when they installed the Hope series Intel bridge, I'd get more space but no, it's still the smallest office on the Hera. At least the chairs are comfortable."
Tanaak gingerly accepted the cup and saucer and took a sip without blowing on the contents, but he didn't seem to have burned himself. He was putting his naturally high body temperature to use. He raised his eyebrows in appreciation when the aroma and flavor of the tea settled in his nose and mouth. Tea was actually something Tanaak loved--when brewed by someone else. He'd tried, and although he could cook plenty of things, preparing tea was just something he wasn't good at.
As Tanaak looked around the office, he wasn't sure if it was more polite to agree that the office was too small, or say that it was very nice, anyway. He gently set the cup and saucer down and decided to nod thoughtfully instead. He chuckled as he finally thought of a response. "I'm sure it feels that much smaller now that I'm here!" In truth, Tanaak had found the the ship to be surprisingly accommodating of his size. He hadn't clipped his horns or elbows on anything, though he was sure that record wouldn't remain spotless forever.
"I suppose you have questions for me," the new Ensign said, settling into his chair. "I know I have some for you."
"Then how about we start with your questions?" Enalia asked, looking up to the larger man with that piratical, lopsided grin of hers. "I'm curious as to what you want to know and it'll help me get to know you better."
Tanaak cleared his throat and laced his fingers together. He stuck his lower lip out in thought for just a moment. "Commander Paris has already given me a rundown of my duties, I'm not unclear on those, but I would like to know your thoughts on the position I'll be taking. Before I settle into a routine, I wanted to know if you have a vision for me." The giant's silvery purple cheeks deepened in color. "That is my first question. The other would be an indulgence, but... I would ask a similar question about your position. What is your vision of a starship captain? What does that position mean to you?"
The spotted woman leaned back in her chair and took a deep break, letting it out slowly. "Not questions I often get. My vision for you is to be the best Starfleet officer and person you can be and to expand your horizons within your position and without it. I know that's a general and vague answer, but I can't just repeat what Rita's already said, now can I? No, I'd like you to apply yourself to more than just your job. That's what that means. Take initiative, learn more than your duties, volunteer, and become a well rounded person."
"As for myself, I have the same goals for myself. On top of that, I endeavor to spread freedom across the galaxy and be the best Captain, leader, mother, and wife that I can be."
"I hope my questions didn't trouble you, because I appreciate your answers very much." Tanaak smiled hopefully, his face still dark with embarrassment over his personal questions. "You've confirmed for me that this is where I need to be. Expanding the horizons of my soul, learning and doing good; these are the goals I have for myself as well." He nodded and broke eye contact for a few moments, allowing the intense feeling to subside. "You are proud of your family," the Oriasi said softly. "Would you like to tell me about them?"
"It's no trouble at all," the Trill woman replied with a bright smile. "My wife is an amazing woman. I know most people frown on arranged and mail order brides these days, but I met another Maica and after some negotiating with the main one, she agreed to spawn another version and have her delivered to the ship to see if we could hit it off and... Well, we did. I mean, it wasn't all sunshine and flowers at first. She knew how to do a lot of things, but because of the randomizer she had no experience and had to learn everything on her own."
With a chuckle, Enalia continued. "Making tea the first time, she actually burnt the water and destroyed the tea leaves. She's able to tap into a set of enhanced cooking sensors in the kitchen now so that hasn't been an issue since, but still - it's one of our favorite memories."
"As for our dear little Moira, she's a curious little minx. She'll beat you down with that play sword of hers and scamper off to try and steal your treasures without a second thought." The light smile she had faded slightly at that thought. "At times I wonder if she has a bit too much of her grandmother in her, but then I see some of myself and Maica and even some of her great grandmother and I remember that the future isn't really written yet and she can still become anything she wants to."
Then Enalia switched tracks. "So what about you? Any family back home? Looking to start one?"
Tanaak's face brightened. "Some day. I left Vandor, my partner, back on Itthakor. I couldn't settle down without doing this for myself first, and Vandor wouldn't let me give up on it either. He knew I needed to see the stars and be a part of Starfleet and the Federation that helped push our world toward freedom. If he hadn't loved me enough to urge me to go, to promise to wait for me until I got back, I might be living unfulfilled." Tanaak laughed, low and warm. "Well, I say he's waiting... I have no doubt that he's faithful, but I know he's keeping himself busy in the capitol. Vandor has always been politically minded, and his family has a fair amount of influence. He's been on a tear for racial equality since the day that I met him, and I know he'll make our homeworld a better place than I left it.
"As far as children are concerned, I'm much closer to being an uncle than a father." The Oriasi's face fell for just a moment. "I'll probably miss my brother's wedding." He shook his head and smiled again. "My brother shocked our parents when he brought home a Rasalian girlfriend. They loved her, of course, and they loved that he loved her; they were just afraid of the prejudice my brother might face. It has been difficult for my them, but they want to have children. Vandor is fighting for a world where their family will be accepted. I couldn't be prouder of all of them."
"Sounds like you're on your way to an amazing family as well then, be it immediate or extended." With a grin and a nod, Enalia continued. "You answered my question about professional and personal goals pretty well, I think. What about hobbies then? What kinds of things do you do to de-stress and relax?"
"Well, back on Itthakor, I went riding with Vandor at every opportunity. On Earth, I discovered the delights of swimming. Here, I suspect I'll spend time continuing my physical training. I am quite fond of simulated martial combat." He paused, thoughtful. "That's not to say I don't have other interests. Vandor had an extensive library. In this age, an actual physical library! We spent hours sitting in a window tucked between a pair of shelves, reading to ourselves and each other. I liked romantic poetry the best; something Vandor found immensely humorous." The giant smiled, lost for a moment in warm memories that he could still feel and smell. "In the past few years, I've developed an interest in medical texts as well. Alien anatomy is fascinating to me. Discovering that interest was what prompted me to take the extra classes to go into medicine."
"From what I've read, you'll make a wonderful addition to the medical teams aboard the Hera. Your skills in emergency medicine in particular..." Enalia furrowed her brows as she glanced over one of the PaDDs on her desk before looking back up at Sado. "I can't promise you an actual library aboard the Hera, but I can give you access to the holodeck program of my library back home. It's got a fair few books from around the galaxy if you're interested in it. There's a lot of history and mythology as well as what's considered great masterpieces, but a fair few light novels and manga worked their way in over the years as well."
"I should open up access to the whole crew..." the Trill woman muttered thoughtfully. "I bet there are a lot of readers aboard."
Ensign Sado's eyes lit up at the suggestion of the chance to peruse a new library, even holographically. It wouldn't be the same, not because it was a holodeck program, but because Vandor wouldn't be there. He wondered if it would make him homesick to visit, but very much looked forward to risking it. "Thank you! I'm not very well versed in alien mythology, but I am interested in it." He smiled. "And I look forward to joining the medical team."
"And we all look forward to having you aboard," Enalia replied with a warm smile. "Do you have any other questions for me? You've somehow answered all of mine without me having to ask them."
Tanaak raised a hand to his head and trailed his fingers over the ridges on one of his curled black horns. "None that I can think of at the moment." He paused. Family had been on his mind a lot during their conversation. "Actually, I do have one more question. I understand that security is a very high priority for the Hera, so I don't have any expectations, but I am wondering... how often is the crew able to connect with family off-ship?"
"While we have some of the most state of the art holo-comm systems in the Federation, actually getting to use them can be a bit more tricky since we're an Intel vessel," the Trill captain replied with a solemn nod. She understood the desire, though she rarely had anyone to talk with that wasn't already on the ship. "As I understand it, with mission requirements and comm system and local subspace relay loads, recorded messages are often daily for some people, but for the coordinated effort of a live call we tend to take time out only once or twice a month for them. When we're near a major communications hub."
The Oriasi nodded gratefully. Just sending recorded messages out would do him good. "Thank you, Captain. I'll be sure to make use of those times when they are available." He felt good about his position; about the people he'd met so far. The Spirits his people believed in were surely with this vessel; Purpose, Learning, Courage. "With that, I think... I've no more questions," Tanaak said. The first few words came out slowly, but he finished his sentence with confidence. Yes, he felt good about this.
With another bright smile, Enalia stood and offered a handshake. "Then once more, welcome aboard. We're happy to have you and again, if you need anything just let me know."
Tanaak stood as well and took the Captain's hand. As they shook on a happy meeting, she noticed that his skin was a little warmer than expected. "Thank you, Captain, I will." The genuine smile on the giant's pouty lips lit up his eyes. He bowed very slightly as he let go, not because of a difference in height, but out of a habit of his. He did it with taller people, too. The still rather star-struck Ensign was almost reluctant to leave, but as he headed for the door, he remembered the settling in he had to do and the other appointments he had to keep. He carried himself out of the office with considerably more confidence than he'd entered it.