Diagnosis: Training I
Heart and Soul
Location: USS Hera, Deck 11, The Armory
Tags: Rita's Office
Dr. Mah finished her patient files for the day, and looked over her upcoming duties. She realized her security training schedule was falling behind, so she pulled up the security team members to see who might be available for help. Let's see, my options are fresh Klingon made Tova pancake, or possibly being spaced if I piss off the head of security. Decisions, Decisions. Tova sighed deeply as she thought over her options and decided that she would make a horrible pancake.
Okay Tova, you've faced worse and you know how to drug someone if all else fails. She went to the replicator thinking about an appropriate gift to thank the Commander for the favor she was going to ask, a habit left over from her family. She new the XO wasn't a lollipop kind of person, so she chose something more appropriate for her and headed up to her office.
As she stood in the turbolift she called Commander Paris =^=Dr. Mah to Commander Paris, are you available for a moment?=^=
"I have as many of them as you need, Doctor. My office or yours?" came the cheerful reply.
"I'm currently in the turbolift enroute to your office on deck 2, I should be there in a minute," replied Tova. She stepped off the lift making her way toward the Commander's office. On Deck 2 there were only so many destinations, as it was the small deck only slightly larger than the bridge, used for junior officer's quarters, and the Commander's office. While she intended to press the door chime, the door slid open at her approach to reveal the office of CDR PARIS, R as the modern signage on the bulkhead advertised.
Said office, however, looked considerably less modern.
The forward facing office of Commander Paris appeared, for all intents and purposes, to be a reproduction of her old office on the USS Exeter from 130 years ago. Clutter covered the bluish-purple painted bukheads, covered with shelves magnetically holding the bric-a-brac she had accumulated from years of strange adventures exploring space. The old irregularly-shaped conference table with the tiny tri-screen monitor was still there, for old time's sake, as were the pleather padded plastic chairs of the era. Photos of heroes of Starfleet past, mostly handsome white men with cocky smiles in uniforms not seen for a dozen decades or more were scattered here and there on the walls.
Including an image of herself, an older man and a young man closer to her age that all wore the same gold uniform, the masculine version of the one she sported to this day. Both men bore a family resemblance, which one might surmise to mean they were perhaps perhaps her brother and her father. Another image depicted an animated pair of characters, one of whom looked like a black-armored cartoon version of Rita, standing beside a nebbish wearing a blue button-down shirt and a ballcap, mugging for the camera like a happy couple.
A trideo image showed a handsome blonde captain in the captain's chair of a shiny version of the old-school bridge, leaning forward smugly with his hand on his chin. Beside and slightly behind him was to the right, the somber scientist Sonak, and to his left, Rita Paris, in the same uniform she wore today with only one and a half braids on the sleeve, a large and clunky PDD on her hip, posed like a pin-up model and bearing that million-watt smile. A photo behind her desk bore a photograph of an aged and dignified fleet admiral in a stiff white formal uniform of very long ago, which was clearly autographed, 'To Captain Rita Paris, Admiral Jonathan Archer'.
Alongside the books and a few odd geometric shapes were models of old starships that had never existed in this reality, as well as some that had. Vostoks and Mercuries, Apollo Soyuz and a Phoenix. One shelf at her own eye level when seated was the USS Constitution of the 2260s, the original ship of the Constitution line. Then there was a model of the more rounded-nacelled USS Exeter from her own universe, as well as a model of the refit USS Enterprise-A. Near the door hung a pair of bronze bracers and a gladius. They were not ornate workmanship, a bit thick and crude appearing, yet clearly Grecian in style if not origin. Behind her desk hung a stylized dagger wrapped in a torn golden sash, which anyone familiar with the dimension and era might recognize as the type worn by a ship's commander in the Terran fleet.
Clearly a deeply sentimental woman, in her own office, as with her uniform, Rita Paris surrounded herself with mementos of her past.
Yet here in her anachronistic office, the security chief also reviewed footage holographically. Thus the archaic-appearing office was currently awash with holos and screens, as she reviewed reports, did research and tried to ensure that even in a crisis, the starship ran efficiently and without incident. That was her job as First Officer, and she enjoyed keeping a tight ship for the Captain as the viewscreen facing forward, showcasing the stars streaking past at warp between her and whomever sat opposite her.
Part of which was tending to the crew, which meant a conversation with Lieutenant Junior Grade Mah, who arrived to find the door opening at her approach, to admit her to the office where the lights were currently dim, illuminated by the dozen various sized holographic 'monitor' screens the Starfleet survivor had open and working at the moment.
A fossil from the faraway era of rocker switches and dials she might have been; but despite her claims to be technologically challenged, Rita Paris was nothing if not adaptable.
"Come in and have a seat, Doctor. What can I do for you?" Paris asked, glancing up to confirm the entry of the physician and make eye contact. "What's on your mind?"
Dr. Mah took a seat while looking around the office observantly and then back to her Commander, "First I wanted to offer a gift, a familial and somewhat cultural tradition for when one is asking a favor, since this is yet to be an official request." She slid a pearlescent white box to Paris which she carried in.
"For you," Tova said with a small smile as she sat back, much less bubbly than typical, more professional and calm. The last time the doctor appeared this way was when she was treating Paris' own husband in sickbay, seeming to adjust her mannerisms to whom she was speaking to. It was reminiscent of how Dr. Dael mirrored those they sparred with.
"Well, thank you Doctor. A gift is unnecessary, but appreciated," the commander said, somewhat cautiously. Opening the box, she found it contained a replica of a starship, carved from beautiful white quartz. Eyeing the replica of the famous starship, Paris recognized it from history. "This is the T'Plana-Hath, the vessel that detected Cochrane's warp signature and introduced Earth to a galactic society. The first bridge between Earth and Vulcan culture... a very appropriate gift, in my case. Thoughtful and well-considered, Doctor... thank you!"
The words of the commander were not mere lip service, but sincere, and it was clear that she was touched not only by the gesture, but the thought and care that had gone into choosing it, as it was quite appropriate for the human woman married to a Vulcan male.
"So, with that said," Paris continued as she fished the small stand out of the box and set to displaying it in her desk, "now I'm only mildly afraid to ask what the favor you need might be? Tell me you don't want to keep experimenting with transporters..."
Tovanna shook her head, "Not at this point, it would be counter productive to our missions at this time. I would however like to continue working on Dr. Dael's research given my sensitivity levels to temporal disturbances. My request has to do with my phyisical training on security tactics. My prior experience as a doctor didn't lead to a great need for such long term confrontations. My strength is in medicine, patient confidentiality, investigation and research, restraining patients at most, fighting not so much. Thus I have come to you for your help."
Noting the doctor's lack of surprise at her anachronistic office and realizing apparently that conversation wasn't on the table, Paris addressed the issue at hand. "I'll be frank, Doctor, I'm not much of a fighter. I know the Judo they taught at the Academy many years ago, and I've become a fair swordswoman, but beyond using the targeting systems and improvising as I always do, if you want someone to teach you how to fight, there are far better qualified personnel on the Hera. What sort of 'fighting' did you wish to learn?"
Tova smiled at Paris, "There may be better fighters, but I was hoping not to be a pancake when all is said and done. From all reports, you seem to be one who thinks first- thus my selection of your advice. In Starfleet Medical, well non-Academy medical school, we are taught to restrain patients, to then sedate them. The same technique can be used with hypos, and was done during my time with the Captain during our little excursion. I can use daggers and such, because I know how to effectively slice and dice; however, I loathe doing so."
"That doesn't mean I don't know it may be a skill that is needed from time to time. Thus I am coming to you for a manner of self-defense that can inflict the least amount of physical damage with the most effective manner of knocking someone out, with or without the assistance of a hypo is needed." Tova shrugged. "Not to mention being thrown into a fight within my first few days on the Hera reminded me that despite my position, we are still all part of a team, and none are above entering the fray when needed for the sake of our crew." She looked at Paris with respect and understanding of where she fit into the crew, and her commitment to the job.
"My people call that a phaser, Doctor. It can be used on a wide-beam low power setting to stun a room. Is that what you're asking?" Paris tone wasn't confrontational nor derogatory, but bemused. No one came to her for advice on how to fight, after all. On a ship of remarkably dangerous opponents in personal combat, Rita Paris ranked rather low on the list of individuals sought out for combat training. Then realization dawned on her, and she felt the light of understanding might just be presenting itself.
"You read some of Dr. Dael's logs, didn't you? You familiarized yourself with their account of the action on Meroset 347, and it has you concerned over your own combat readiness?"
At that, Tovanna looked at Paris and nodded. "I would be remiss if I didn't review my predecessor's work. To see what was currently being worked on, what my crew needed of me, and so on. It's how I knew of your issue with the transporter ,and how I might further Dr. Dael's research without your involvement. And yes, my possible lacking in Security protocol. Thus I came to you, head of Security, for what you feel I might need in any given situation to be ready for our crew's best interest.
"And to avoid a pancake-like state of being. I rather like my current shape, and prefer having a solid rather than powdered skeletal system." The last part was said with a twinkle in her eye, and a small playful smirk she had yet to reveal, similar to the dry sense of humor one might see in certain other species. It showed the variance in Tova's ability to express herself in different ways given her surroundings.
"Avoiding a pancake state of being is an admirable goal. I will be frank, Doctor- I sometimes go where angels fear to tread, and I do call for others to accompany me. In such moments, best they be familiar with the options available to them and have some confidence in their training. So, in short," in that moment, Paris leaned forward, dropping the formal First Officer mein and relaxing a bit, her tone softening in sympathy. "Of course I'll train you, Tova. We can keep it private if you like so no one need be aware, and we can take it as light or as far as you like. If you decide you like combat, we have experts in dozens of styles onboard."
"But for now- just thee and me and a holodeck makes three. Once you're fitted for the EVA armor, of course," she added casually. "That we've got to do down in the Armory."
Tova nodded "Perfect," she leaned forward conspiratorially, "Now, one other thing before I squeeze myself into a vacuum pack for our training. Completely off the record, Commander," she looked around with a great deal of caution and then stared at Paris intensely, "What sort of nefarious deed must one get up to in order to acquire such amazing office decor, because mine sucks in comparison." She grinned widely at Paris with a bright twinkle in her eyes. "I can trade in lollipops," she lifted one slowly at Paris and waggled at her slowly.
"This does have a story, of course," Paris smiled indulgently. In her youth, she had watched as the young officers had asked of the old men's stories, of their souvenir, of the legends they had carved amongst the stars for themselves. In it was often feigned interest and obvious flattery, hoping to curry favor. But for some of them, those stories were what filled their dreams and inspired them to get out there in the galaxy. To boldly go, as the poster said.
Now she was Commander Paris, not her pig-headed father. Now she was the senior officer, likely on track to finish her rise in rank somewhere in Starfleet Command. She had designs on Daddy's old house on Francisco Street wasn't on the market, but she was watching it, just in case. Because when they settled back on Earth, she'd want to entertain, much like her father had- inviting the next generation to come and mingle with the old salts and establish a kinship between the generations of beings taking to the stars to explore and discover the wonders of the universe.
All of this ran through her mind as she settled back into both her chair and the role... both of which were quite comfortable for her.
"So I assume my file says it all- I am not native to this universe, but instead I was born in a universe similar to yours, but with a divergent timeline. A time traveler named Nero blamed Spock for the destruction of his world. In seeking his revenge he traveled in time, creating a splinter reality, an alternate timeline, a variant dimension- call it what you will. Thanks to my little 'talent'," Paris actually paused to raise her fingers in air quotes as she said it, "with transporters and a jury-rigged transporter panel in an ion storm during solar flares- see? Told you, exciting life sometimes."
"I ended up here in this universe, as an energy pattern, a ghost again. But when I ended up here there was nothing to turn me back into matter again until the Hera hit me, and I got splattered against the back of her warp field. Which pulled me back into a warp ghost again, so since I was kinda familiar with this state, I started exploring. Warp engines are a lot stronger now, so they could actually see my 'ghost' mucking about in Engineering, so the crew figured out I was here, Captain pulled me back together, and here I am. One universe and 130 years from where I started." The casual manner in which the old-school officer in the very old-school office was a bit surreal, yet it did explain a lot.
"Skipping a lot of that story, at one point we flew through a dark matter cloud that held some portion of the essence of a galactic consciousness. It ended up trapped in the holographics system when we escaped from the cloud, and it tried to communicate with us, by showing us something the computer couldn't know- my old office from the USS Exeter, back in 2268." Paris gestured around to it all before winding up her story. "We freed the entity, but as a parting gift, they left the file with my office accessible. So while they are reproductions of the originals... they're original enough for me. The Captain gives us considerable leeway to maintain our offices in a manner in which we see fit. in my case I am by far the most old-fashioned officer in the fleet. My uniform says it, my demeanor says it and my office genuinely screams it," the buxom blonde grinned at her own joke, which turned into something of a bashful smile.
"Thanks for letting the old lady ramble. I used to listen to the old men tell stories, and now I'm the 'Old Lady'. But I'm okay with that... it's tradition, and that's very important, I think. Adapt them to the times, but traditions help us remember where we came from, and those who went before us. It honors them, and honors the generations yet to come." Pausing, Paris eyes opened wide before she burst out in good-natured laughter. "And I am rambling again!"
Tova stared at her for a moment and pulled out all the lollipops she had from her pocket without breaking eye contact and placed them on her desk, "Now that is a story worth all the lollipops I have on me." She sat back in her chair and looked at Paris with fascination, "I really want to pick your brain now. You're a science and history lesson all rolled into one. If you were a book I would read you cover to cover." Tova laughed at the thought. "Alright, first training to make sure I'm up to specs on your Security protocols. Later dinner and more stories at some point, fair deal?"
"Absolutely, Doctor. I don't mind at all- I mean, I am something of an expert on Starfleet history of the period from which I came, and while my history is a bit different than yours, it is still very valid in many cases. Honestly, just between us, one of these days- after I've attended the modern version, at least- I think I'd like to teach at the Academy. History I suppose, most likely. Or possibly command ethics." Pausing to lean over, select a green lollipop, unwrap it and pop it into her moth, stick protruding prominently, Paris rose from her chair.
"Dinner and stories is a go," Paris confirmed with a smile. "I'll let Sonak know we're having guests tonight. Meanwhile, let's get you down to the Armory on Deck 11, and get you suited up for a little field work, hm?"
Tova's smile faded a bit, "I guess it's time to get vacuum sealed, I must admit I have little fondness for those suits. I feel like a compressed lab specimen." She stood up, "Lead the way Cognoscenti and I will follow," she giggled and waited for the Commander, "Your hamster awaits her maze."
"Not at all. We'll get you suited up and give you a feel for it. Bodies come in all shapes and sizes, Doctor. I would think you to be more of an advocate of body positivity, no? Or is it just the form-fitting nature to which you object? Not a fan of anything that close?" The question might be penetrating, but it was asked lightly, as the emotional executive got up, habitually smoothing down her skirt as she did so then walking around the old-school conference table that served as her desk. Clearly the plan was in motion.
Tova laughed as they walked along, "I appreciate bodies of all races, shapes and sizes and their beauty no matter their gender. I merely prefer the more flowing clothing style I grew up with. It allowed for our arms and legs to move with greater freedom, nothing more. Besides, it avoids awkward interactions between myself and others I am uncomfortable addressing." Tova shrugged.
"Fair point. I didn't know if it was a 'self conscious around me' thing," Paris explained as they departed her office and headed for the turbolift down the corridor. "I get that from a lot of people- these days due to rank as well as how I'm built, but I assumed yours was more the clothing preference. Well, no worries, Doctor. The suits are skintight, yes, but then covered in hard armor plates for additional protection, but I think you'll find the custom body suit to be quite comfortable."
Arriving at the turbolift, pressing the call button and almost immediately the doors opened for Paris, as if the universe responded to her timeclock. Stepping inside, she kept talking. "So would you like to do with the standard USS Hera black nonreflective stealth version, the white with the red cross that not every culture understands but the can all see clearly, or Medical blue?"
"I tend to lean toward whatever doesn't get me shot or make me a target," Tove replied as she stepped into the turbolift.
"Deck 11, the Armory, please," Paris called out, then motioned for the chief medical officer to continue.
"Somehow I think bright white might be a poor choice," Tova managed to get out before the ride was done, and Paris was off and moving again in that martial gait of her that ate ground so effectively. Hustling to keep up, Tova continued. "So when you say medical blue, how dark are we talking about? I don't think the enemy is going to care if I am a medical professional. If my reading about historical battles has taught me anything, it's that it can make me a priority target to be shot at, taken hostage or taken prisoner. That's one problem with being a history buff- too much knowledge, so I will defer to your field expertise." said Tova with an eyebrow cocked in concern.
"Not at all, Doctor. It's a choice we make, each of us," Paris replied as the arrived at a circular room, with industrial scan bars and replication stations, with grooves in the walls for waldoes and such. there was privacy, which the CMO was uncertain if that was by design or not. "Computer, please bring up holographic representations of three standard humanoid female EVA armors- one in standard Medical blue, one in Hera stealth plating and one in Doc Dael configuration."
The representations, lifelike to a fault, hummed into being before the gold-clad commander, who began pacing before them as she indicated them during her speech.
"Medical blue says Starfleet science or medical. Identifying yourself to the enemy on the field is a potential hazard- in that you are clearly correct, as history bears you out time and again on that front. However, doctors were usually prized, and preferred for capture as they could be put to use- I believe that is also historical fact. My point being, for some it is preferred that the bright colors of Starfleet are meant to be seen. Because we are here to help, and we wish to serve as rallying points for those who encounter us."
Pausing to turn ad smile self-deprecatingly, the curvaceous commander draped her hand on her collarbone, as if touching pearls there. "Obviously this is my school of thought. When I got here and saw those black and charcoal uniforms with the hint of color at the collarbone, I was afraid I had landed in the Mirror Universe again. I believe that we wear these colors because they identify us as helpers, as heroes when people need help."
Moving on, Paris indicated the jet-black, so dark as to be seeming to absorb the light that touched it, suit of Extra Vehicular Armor.
"Hera hull plate stealth coating can be activated at any time on any EVA armorsuit. It provides a degree of ablative protection, and is mostly light absorbent- not black, but a pearlescent violet that will react under certain stimulation, as you can see by the lighting on the Hera's exterior hull. It is excellent for stealth missions, and will very much enable you to be far less noticeable on the field. But to my mind," Paris paused to wag her finger at the solid black nonreflective armorsuit. "This does not say 'I come to help'. This says, 'I am an assassin who has come to slip past you and murder you."
The old-fashioned officer pointed to the Medical blue and black armor.
"We come in peace, I am here to help."
Then she pointed to the stealth armor.
"Not quite the same message."
"Now Doc Dael, they had some ideas when it came to being there to help," Paris moved on, pacing over to the white armor with the wide red cross emblazoned across the front and back. "They wanted it very, VERY advertised that they were there to help, and to heal. Which they did with a rifle in their hands and more bravery than I've seen in admirals under fire. But that... was a very personal choice. I bring it up here because I think it's important to make the distinction to you."
At that Paris turned and regarded Tova Mah with all due seriousness. "No one expects you to be Doctor Dael. Your choices, how you choose to run your department, how you comport yourself, will not be compared to our former chief medical officer. That is the past, and the past is a distant country... trust me on this. Just know that you are not being held to a standard borne by the memory of your predecessor. This is Starfleet- you're here because we need you here. Understood?"
Tova looked over the three sets of armor and scrunched her nose at the stealth set clearly not in favor of it. She then looked to the other two and smirked, "Must be an El-Alurian trait but I agree with Dr. Dael. I would prefer to risk my own well being in an effort to help others than look like an assassin or even just a Science officer. I want people to know I'm safe to come to, so white it is apparently. Never thought I would go for it but upon seeing the options the other two just seem wrong. Does that make sense?" She looked at Paris obviously surprised at her own choice but quite settled on it.
"It very much does, Doctor. Well, with that settled, let's get you scanned and suited, shall we? You just step on the pad there- exactly." Paris worked the controls while she kept up the patter- a good way to keep the subject distracted. :The scanner will do detailed exterior scans so that the pressure suit will fit, and the plates will all be the correct size and shape. There's little standardization in this process, after all. While you might be able to ger the skeinsuiot on, the plates would fit foorly. Each EVA is unique, precisely like it's owner."
"There we go, scans complete and replication beginning now." As some of the machinery hummed to life, the familiar sound of a replicator was heard, the sound continuing for a bit longer than the replicators found in quarters. "There wqe are. Your black underbody armor, which I call a skeinsuit, while Starfleet calls it a body glove, is coming out of the replicator- that one is the easy part. There's a privacy screen if you prefer, and let me know if you need help getting into it, alright?"
Tova looked st the skeinsuit and scrunched her nose, "I remember the vacuum bag," She sighed and went behind the privacy screen, able to get in with ease due to its similarity to many medical restraint devices. She came back out with a look on her face reminiscent of a cat who just got washed.
"Alright, I'm properly sealed up." She looked at Paris with her hands on her hips with a harumph. In reality she didn't look bad, it was obvious however she hid her self behind her medical coat and wore her uniform on the larger side for comfort. She had more muscle than one would think, the skeinsuit showing her more athletic proportions. If anything she had the pin-up T&A look rather than the typical female hourglass. She was obviously working out and muscular so maybe there was hope for her.
An upraised eyebrow was her response to the harumph and defensive body language. "You came to me for this, Lieutenant Junior Grade, so I'd drop the negative attitude with a quickness if I were you." As quick as the rebuke had been delivered, Paris pressed on as if it hadn't happened, continuing to instruct.
Tova giggled and scrunched her nose at Paris with a wink, getting her head back in to it.
"Now, there are the gauntlets and boots, as well as the thigh and bicep armor plates. The replicator should be producing and dispensing those, so feel free to start getting those on as the replicator produces them. The 'clamshell' of the thoracic body armor will be the last piece to be produced, as it is the most complex, and I'll show you how to get in and out of that when we get to that point," Paris explained, handing over a white gauntlet complete with forearm guards.
"For now, let's get focused on getting you armored up with the available components and insure there are no manufacturing defects in the production model, as the computer will replicate this for you on demand, stored as bulk matter rather than it's assembled state, for ease of storage. So we just have to make sure we get it right the first time."
She nodded, "If I remember it's boots first and then work up from the feet? I only had to do this a couple of times," she was putting on her boots as she looked up at Paris for a bit of guidance to remember the proper procedure.
"A matter of personal choice, but it does tend to work well that way in my experience," Paris agreed, offering a few suggestions for ease of insertion, pointing out where the securing clasps were located and how to lock them, and basically walking her through the early stages of donning the EVA as one would an Academy student. Surprisingly, rather than seem put out by the doctor's lack of understanding, Paris seemed quite happy to instruct and guide the physician through the process.