Getting a Feel for the Place
Shore Leave: Business As Usual
Location: Diplomatic Suite, USS Defiant
Veronica Rios stepped inside the Defiant's Diplomatic Suite and was almost immediately blown away. She'd served on numerous other vessels in her role, but she had never seen a room quite this impressive for her position. Digital file storage, physical books, copies of treaties and surveys and historical records. And numerous advanced computer terminals to complement it. Defiant's Diplomatic Suite wasn't just a small annex in the library or communications offices. It was a full-fledged work center to itself.
She wanted to walk the row of books and files just to admire it but reminded herself she was here for a reason. Finally, back in a blue uniform dress and tall boots, she was starting to feel more herself. The uniform seemed to act as a bit of a shield, fending off the emotions of what she'd most recently dealt with and making her feel a hint of purpose again. She spotted the Chief Diplomat, a bit farther into the office, and decided to announce her presence.
"Um, Lieutenant Acainus?" She called. "I'm Lt. JG Veronica Rios. I was wondering if you might have a moment or two to talk."
Ian was feeling a little better about his situation. He'd resigned himself to the fact that there was little chance that Elias would be coming back and though he hadn't put things behind him 100%, he was feeling considerably better. Meditation had played a key role in his turn around
He'd spent part of most mornings doing just that and he had just finished a rather lengthy meditation time and had started to review some reports when Veronica spoke up. He slid the PADD he'd been reviewing to one side and stood to his feet. "Of course, Liuetenant," he said extending his hand, "what can I do for you?"
The Lieutenant approached a little tentatively. "I'm still not sure how far the story has gotten. Defiant picked me up in an escape pod about a week ago and I've been aboard as a guest ever since. Captain Reynolds asked what I'd like to do as my next step and...well..." She paused for a moment looking around at the room. "Aboard my last ship, I served as the Diplomatic Officer. And I wanted to talk to you, since you're the Chief Diplomat, about the possibility of me...well, of me staying aboard as a part of your department."
Ian picked up another four PADDS that had been scattered seemingly haphazardly on his desk and stacked them on the right corner of his desk.
Then turning to face her fully he said, "Please, have a seat and we can talk. I'm sorry I've been a little preoccupied the past week or two and I try not to pay attention to the ship's scuttlebutt. Why don't you tell me about your situation?"
Lieutenant Rios took a seat, trying in vain to feel comfortable as she chose her next few words. She did her best to maintain a matter of fact tone. "As I mentioned, Defiant recovered me from an escape pod. My last vessel was lost, with all hands but me. I've mostly been recovering from my injuries."
The Diplomatic Officer shook his head slowly side to side before he too took a seat. "I'm glad you survived, but I'm sorry for all you've had to endure. How are you holding up?"
How was she supposed to answer that? She doubted the truth would be the best option. Saying you were broken on a level you didn’t know you had wouldn’t exactly inspire confidence. And it wouldn’t exactly help her achieve her goal either. So something simpler then. “I’m...eager to have something else to focus on,” she managed with what was likely a less than convincing smile. “Which is why I wanted to speak to you.”
Ian shook his head and his mouth opened then closed without him saying anything. He didn't need empathic ability to know she wasn't being completely truthful but he wasn't going to push her now. He was, after all, a diplomat, not a counselor.
"I am sure we can find something to keep you occupied he said, "so tell me about the time you've spent with diplomats, especially recently. If you can that is."
“Certainly,” Veronica replied, suddenly getting the feeling this was more of a job interview. “I served as Junior Diplomatic Officer aboard the Bellerophon and have since served as the primary Diplomatic Officer aboard the Chaucer. I have several hundred hours of negotiation time under my belt and substantially more research. I am fluent in the primary dialect of each of the Federation Founding Races, as well as Klingon, Denobulan, and Rigelian. Additionally, I have certifications in mediation, psychology, and historical analysis. Aboard the Chaucer, I initiated numerous first contact negotiations as well as border discussions. And I only got shot at twice,” she joked, before getting serious. “All in all, I have a lot more hands-on field experience than most officers my age.”
"I am definitely impressed," the diplomatic chief replied leaning back in his chair, "that is quite the resume. You really do have a lot of experience. And I think we should complement each other well. Among your many other talents, you seem to be quite the linguist. That should serve you well."
He paused, looking at her intently. "With all that you've been through, are you ready to jump into things now?"
"I think I need to jump in, sir," the woman replied, as she sat up a little straighter. "If I just sit here twiddling my thumbs, I'll just focus on everything that happened. I need something to do, and I think doing something I'm good at is the best choice."
"Fair enough," Ian replied with a warm smile, "I think that can be arranged. Why don't you plan on starting tomorrow morning. Is that soon enough for you?"
Veronica's head was sent whirling yet again. That was substantially sooner than she expected. In fact, it was so soon, she'd need to get an awful lot of things in order. She doubted she could get them done in the fraction of the day that was left. "Oh...um...It actually might be too soon," she admitted. "I hadn't written up the transfer request yet. I wanted to speak with you and the Captain first, to know if it was even an option. It will probably take a few days to process."
She hesitated for a moment, not sure if this would ruin her chances. She'd need quarters, more than the 3 outfits she'd be given since coming aboard, a bunch of official paperwork, and ideally, a good night's sleep. "Would it be possible to have a few days to get settled?"
Ian didn't say anything for several long seconds. Instead, he gave her a long measured look before shaking his head. "I'm sorry," he apologized, "after all you've been through and I'm trying to rush you. I shouldn't have done that. "
"Let's do it this way. You fill out the necessary paperwork and I'll sign off on it. Then whenever you're approved you can start. Is that better?"
"That works, sir. I'll try and get things sorted out as quickly as possible. And I'll try and offer some of my time even before the transfer goes through," Veronica replied. "Do I have your permission to approach the captain then?"
'Of course, you can," Ian replied holding out his hands in front of him, "but there's one more thing you should know. I'm pretty informal. At least while we are in the office here it's Ian, not sir."
"Ok. I think I can get used to that...Ian," Veronica said, forcing her to use name instead of rank or sir. "Diplomatic settings are often stilted. It'll be an interesting adjustment, but one that seems right in line with the job description."
He smiled at her. "That's better. I'm sure you'll get used to it. I'll let you go so you can talk to the Captain.