An Early Meal
S1-A1-Ep. 1: Spectrophobia
Location: Officer's Mess
With little to do in the early morning hours just before his shift, the Commander decided to head to the Officer's Mess a deck below the bridge to grab a bite to eat. Normally when he had been busy, he would have secluded himself in his Ready Room away from the hustle and bustle. Since departing Starbase 99 however, that had all changed, considering the crew were in their routines now and not a lot was going on. That and Yeoman Williams was a beast at handling the majority of the paperwork and sorting through that mess.
Silently praising whatever space entity decided Yeoman's should be a thing, he approached the Officer's Mess. There wasn't many around, maybe one or two, but as he ordered he made note of his Chief Intelligence Officer a table or two away. He grabbed his order from the replicator and walked toward her.
"Good Morning, T'Pri," the Commander greeted jovially. "Mind if I join you?"
Enjoying her Plomeek soup T'Pri saw her captain enter and watched him, almost studying him. Humans were interesting creatures and much easier to be with than Cardassians or Jem'Hadar. She was actually enjoying this assignment. These Humans seemed to be good for her general disposition and her study of the IDIC. There was much to celebrate in their differences and while soetimes gregarious they seemed to be a very noble people.
"Good Morning, Captain. I would be delighted to share this meal with you. Please join me, you are most welcome". T'Pri said hoping she used the idiom correctly.
The Commander nodded, sitting across from her as he adjusted and readied his plate. It was an omelette with a side of hashbrowns, and some orange juice. He readied his utensils and nodded to the Lieutenant.
"How's everything been going since our tour?" Franklin asked, taking a bite of his plate.
"I believe I am ...settling in nicely. At first my presence was regarded with some skepticism. Apparently intelligence officers are seen as spooks of some sort. Believe me I understand. It's been much easier here than it was in Cardassian society where intelligence operatives were regarded with outright fear and hatred. I think my shipmates are starting to realize that I am here to add to the safety and success of the mission just as they are. and that I don't have my own secret agenda." T'Pri said.
Franklin nodded. "To be fair," he said between bites, "ever since Lieutenant Pavan's death, I think the skepticism is warranted. It's nice to see, though, that the crew is naturally warming up to newer shipmates and roles. That means people are moving on in their own way. I take it as a good sign."
Taking a sip of his orange juice, he asked, "and what about your department? Are you the only one there?"
"For now, I think it will grow eventually. I relish an opportunity to teach my craft to students. Being in intelligence is not so different than being a security officer. Its the difference between being a police officer and being a detective. the main difference is in being an operative. That is personally trying to manipulate a situation for the best interests of your cadre. Of course I am still bound by the rules of Starfleet and the United Federation of Planets." T'Pri said.
Franklin gave an understanding nod, taking a few silent moments to enjoy his meal and contemplate the response. After a healthy drink of his orange juice he spoke again.
"I have to admit, I never expected there to be this much paperwork specifically for Academy work," the Commander admitted. "Without my yeoman I don't think I would be able to eat right now, let alone have any off time. Hopefully you never have to deal with that."
"Not only are you a starship captain but you are also a dean or principal of a school. I don't think star ship command is really for me, Captain. I much prefer to work behind the scenes. All seems to be part of my wait and see profession. Although I have to say that administration is part of both our jobs. Perhaps you should hire an assistant for your yeoman. I am sure there are plenty of enlisted yeoman who would chomp at the bits for a chance to work directly for the the Captain of a starship." T'Pri said.
"That's actually not a bad idea," Franklin admitted as he finished his plate. He set his utensils down as he relaxed after a sip of his orange juice. "What about you? I know you said you were alone at the moment, but have any plans for a yeoman?"
"Perhaps when the administration becomes a challenge I shall request one. Right now it's not much of a problem for me." T'Pri replied.
The Commander relaxed a bit, placing both hands behind his head as he crossed his fingers together, crossing one leg over the other. He examined the Officer's Mess, watching a few crewmen he recognized enter, others just leaving. Most of the time it appeared that crew came here to simply grab and dine elsewhere; very few dined inside the provided area.
After a moment he returned his attention to the Lieutenant. "Anything you're reading at the moment? I remember from somewhere you were into books, right? Might be thinking of someone else."
"I was reading The History of the Dominion, by Cha'Pei. It is the most relevant study of the changeling history I've read so far. Spanning the last eight millenia." T'Pri said.
"How about you Captain, what peaks your curiosity these days?" T'Pri asked.
"When I get a chance I read up on the 'Life and Times of Jonathan Archer'", he said, giving a quirky smile. "I think it was written circa 2230's or so, but it gives a very interesting take on the first Captain of the Enterprise named ships. I sometimes feel like him, in a way. Anything about your book that strikes you?"
"Yes the book goes into how the Changelings were persecuted by the solids and how they at first became reclusive hiding. Several attempts to make peace occurred but never lasted more than two centuries. then they bred the Jem'hadar and the Vorta. then set up the Dominion, the Gamma quadrant take over only took 500 years. they have controlled expansion technology economics and conquest successfully for over 5000 years." T'Pri said.
"I see!" Franklin remarked, mildly surprised. He leaned forward in the chair, uncrossing his leg and sitting comfortably as he leaned on the table. "That actually brings up a good question. I know there's been plenty of discussions on this, but from what you said, can we hypothesize that the Dominion War was Changelings acting defensively? What's your opinion?"
"Hmmm. I think they recognized that the combined powers of the Alpha an Beta quadrants were at a level of technology that were a threat to them. I also think that the Obsidian order and Tal'Shiar proved that solids were every bit as dangerous as they thought. If they didn't then Section 31 certainly did with their creation and use of a changeling virus. I think for them acting aggressively or defensively was the same thing. They learned in the Gamma quadrant that the only way to ensure their safety was to control everything. This reasoning came from 5000 years of practice. One thing I have learned is that the peace wont last for long. Sooner or later some alpha or beta quadrant power will invade the Gamma quadrant for conquest. It is inevitable." T'Pri said.
"Perhaps," agreed Franklin. There were plenty of powers in the Alpha and Beta Quadrants that would eventually love to expand. Hopefully by that time the Federation would ease those desires somehow. "In any event, it does paint a new picture on things. At least hypothetically."
"Of course I don't mean to imply that it will be the Federation. For the Most part the Federation has abided by its treaties, however there are examples of ambitious politicians dissidents or high ranking fleet admirals that have little problem taking matters in there own hands. Of course there are other powers in the quadrants too." T'Pri replied.
"I agree, there are," Franklin said as he stretched a bit. "This has been nice, thank you Lieutenant. I'm actually quite enjoying our little get together, even if this time it happened to be by chance."
"I know you're a busy Man Captain, I quite enjoy our conversations as well, you are a very stimulating conversationalist," T'Pri said.
A post by:
Chief Intelligence Officer
Commander Franklin Johnson