S1-A1-Ep. 1: Spectrophobia
Location: Science Lab
Timeline: Arrived at Betreka Nebula
Perkins walked into the science lab and made his way to one side. Where a number of potted plants were stored. One of the posts was chained down. The small cactus-like plant inside the pot gave a disgruntled shriek.
“ It serves you right Norman you did escape and try to eat Kord. “ Perkins told the plant.
He moved over to an alpine plant sitting in a simulated setting. He gave the rocks around it a little wipe. Cardassian alpine plants were always treated with suspicion. Due to the obsidian orders habit of using them as eavesdropping devices. Because of the plant's density. It was hard to detect anything abnormal.
Perkins liked the plants colouring. He picked up a small spoon filled with water. Then slowly tapped it over the plant.
Lt JG Jarok entered into the science lab and looked around, unsure if this was the one he was looking for. Having attempted for ten minutes prior to figure out which one LtCmdr Perkins was in, he was starting to wonder why there were so many of these offices, although it was becoming apparent now just how many labs were needed for all the different sciences he had come across just trying to find this one person. His eyes finally stopped on a man facing away from him, watering - was that what he thought it was??
Jarok coughed. "Excuse me, do you know where I can find Lieutenant Commander Perkins?"
He thought he had met all the Poseidon’s crew by now. Perkins did not recognise this person. Sam was feeling a little cheeky and decided to have some fun. Covering up his rank insignia by putting on a lab coat. He turned around waving a small spoon in the air.
“ Well. He is around here somewhere. I think? He hasn’t done anything really silly again has he? I mean letting that plant loose in the Jeffries tube. He is a rascal.” Sam said smiling.
Jarok looked directly at the man without any expression on his face, not really giving him an indication of whether he found what was said as funny. "Let a plant...loose? In a Jeffries tube no less. What on Rihan does that mean...??"
"I see. We can discuss the...Jeffries tube incident another time. However, for now Commander, I am the new Intelligence Officer on USS Poseidon, I specialise in counter-intelligence. I was reviewing the ship's logistics manifest, and I noticed an irregularity - do you have a moment to discuss that?" He held his hand out towards the door to the lab, and just held it there as if to say 'this isn't an option'. His intention was to step outside of the lab containing the plant, and discuss it there, but of course he couldn't have that conversation next to the thing, and he wasn't going to take no for an answer.
Perkins looked at the outstretched hand then at the open door. He looked back at the officer's outstretched hand. Sadly he gave a sigh and put the spoon down.
“ Oh dear.” He said sadly, taking off the coat. He then turned and Perkins slowly walked out of the lab as ordered.
However, once outside. Perkins stopped and faced Jarok. This made him sad because he hated having to say this. But Jarok had given him no choice.
“ Firstly, please don’t talk to me again like that.. You're not only speaking to a higher ranking officer. But also the head of the science department. Secondly it’s always better when you're new to introduce yourself fully. Now yes I am indeed Lieutenant Commander Sam Perkins. Chief Science Officer. Now I understand fully you have a job to do. But let’s be polite here shall we. What is your name please?” Perkins replied politely.
Jarok stood still and thought to himself, "ugh, these hevai are so fickle. This would never have happened in the Tal Diann, or any part of the Romulan Star Empire for that matter." He then held out a PADD for LtCmdr Perkins to take.
"Lieutenant Commander Perkins, I am Sub-Lieutenant Jarok from Starfleet Intelligence, posted to the Poseidon as your new Intelligence Officer. I apologise for the awkward interaction in the lab, I meant no offence to you or anything remotely like it. Why I didn't introduce myself was simply because I couldn't under the circumstances, which I'll explain in a minute. Earlier today I was going through a routine ship's manifest review, as I do at the start of every posting. I noticed you had claimed a Cardassian Alpine plant for scientific experiment, and when I walked into the lab I noticed you had it in there, and were watering it. Under normal circumstances, I would have properly introduced myself immediately and talked with you normally about what I wanted to talk to you about. However, in the intelligence trade we cannot discuss anything sensitive, including our names, in the same room as one of those plants. So I tried, as politely as I could, to move that initial conversation into the hallway where it was more secure. It's an awkward task, but I hope that explains my actions a little better sir."
He smiled fakely with his most sincere eyes. Not that the LtCmdr would know what his real smile or look of sincerity would look like just yet, but he was trying to appear friendly on the front, and appeal to the Terran's sympathetic side so he understood where Jarok was coming from. In reality, however, Jarok was already annoyed with this hevam.
Perkins thought about this.
“ So you were not being intentionally rude. You were just concerned about giving anything away in front of a potential ease dropping device. Quite logical really when you think about it. But a word of advice Sub-Lieutenant Jarok. I am one of the most mild mannered members of the crew. I’d be very careful acting that way in front of the Commodore. He’s not as forgiving as I am. So let’s be friends. Sorry about that if the tables were turned I’d probably behave the same.” Perkins said. “ Let’s move a little further away just to be on the safe side.” Perkins suggested.
"I appreciate the advice Commander, it was a an awkward situation so I do appreciate your understanding on the matter. We can discuss here or in your office perhaps, as it's just a routine follow up really. You lead the way, when we arrive we can talk about the plant itself but more importantly now that I'm out of earshot, we can get to know one another so there is less tension from the awkward first encounter."
Jarok turned and allowed the senior officer to decide where to go, and just followed his lead. As they walked, he made small-talk with the Terran, albeit with an ulterior motive.
"Commander, would you mind if I asked your opinion on our Chief Medical Officer? I understand he's Rihan."
Although he wouldn't be able to tell just yet, he was in fact interrogating the Terran. His goal in this encounter was to get as much information from the LtCmdr about a few different subjects, while simultaneously developing a friendship he could exploit for use later on. Privately, he already knew he would regret meeting this hevam.
This was one road that Perkins did not wish to travel down.
“ Jarok look. I am new to this crew. I am not really the person best suited to give you information on other crew members. As for the CMO I have not really had to many dealings with them. Also I feel very uncomfortable with this course of questioning Lieutenant.” Perkins replied
"Perhaps a different approach is needed for this hevam; he's more emotional than the rest and certainly the best definition of Federation professionalism," Jarok thought to himself. He had to diffuse the situation. He had to do something to shift balance again..play it as a silly notion!
He chuckled softly and put his hands up in a defensive manner, as if he were pushing away that idea, but also laughing to diffuse the tension.
"Whoa, course of questioning? Commander you make it sound like I'm interrogating you! I was just curious if you had an opinion on him, it's fine if you don't have one yet. No need to worry. Also, if I had wanted information about him or any of the crew, I would've asked you that directly, I'm a pretty direct person as you can probably tell. If it makes you uncomfortable, then let's talk about yourself. How are you enjoying your time on the Poseidon so far?" Jarok asked.
Perkins was beginning to like Jarok. He had a directness that was quite refreshing.
“ Well. Apart from when I first arrived. When the Cadets got drunk and wrecked the science lab not to bad. Um....Jarok I don’t know if anyone has informed you of this. But there may be a threat to the Poseidon?” Sam told him.
Jarok shook his head as the Terran mentioned about the drunk cadets, in shared annoyance of the destruction. Then he heard the last part and stopped dead in his tracks, looking directly at the Terran, wide-eyed.
"Is this a serious threat, and if so, have you told anyone else?" He pulled out his PADD as he asked, ready to start a file.
Sam shook his head.
“ Sorry I did not mean to scare you. It’s silly I know to think that some bully from my academy days. Is hiding in the nebula waiting to strike. But I did hear he was last seen in the area. With a band of bandits.” Perkins explained.
Jarok kept writing on his PADD and looked up after Perkins had said the last part.
"Alright. So what I understand, and please correct me where I'm wrong, is that a former adversary of yours from the academy is now working with a group of bandits who have been last seen in the nebula we've just arrived at. Is that all you know about the situation or is there more?"
Perkins looked at him.
“ Let me explain a bit more. You see it was during my first year at the academy. We had an Gorn exchange student called Russhook. We got on very well. He was not doing too well. So I helped him with his studies as much as I could. Anyway the first year end of year exams came round. I have no idea why he did it. But Russhook tried to cheat on his practical exam. There was an explosion and he lost his left eye.” Perkins said.
“ He blamed me. But the review board cleared me. Russhook left in disgrace vowing revenge on me. Anyway, cut through to today. When we were briefed on our mission to the nebula. There were some reports of bandits operating in this area. One stated that one of the bandits was a Gorn with a eye patch over his left eye.” Perkins said
Jarok kept writing away, making a note on the next steps needed to secure the Poseidon and prepare for a possible confrontation, if needed.
"Ahh I see, so you suspect your old academy buddy-turned-bandit is the one they're describing. I understand now. Thank you for bringing this up to me, I've already started a file on this and I'll be working with the security team to ensure we take the appropriate steps to protect yourself and the crew from this threat. You're in safe hands, Commander. I won't let anything happen to anyone onboard Poseidon."
Jarok wrote away and then looked up with an inquisitive look, remembering something was said earlier he wanted to follow up on.
"Oh, just before I forget - is there a way we could work together on mitigating the potential vulnerabilities that Cardassian Alpine plant might present? I don't want to impede your work but I also want to limit the possibility of that plant creating problems or security vulnerabilities for us at a later point."
Perkins looked at a padd.
“ You know thinking about that. Maybe it would be best to put that plant into quarantine until we get back. Then have it taken off the Poseidon. We don’t want any problems or future troubles.” Sam said.
Jarok nodded and made notes on his PADD.
"Alright Commander that is acceptable. I'll pass this along to security as a heads up, and you obviously know the quarantine procedures so I'll leave that portion to your capable hands. Just be sure to update security as needed, who may follow up with me if warranted. Also, if you have any questions or further concerns about what we talked about earlier just come find me, I'm always happy to help. In the meantime however, I have some paperwork to do and a meeting to prepare for so I'll say Jolan'Tru here and I hope to work together again in the future."
Sam nodded in thanks. He gave the officer a friendly smile and moved back to his lab.
Jarok watched as the Terran went back to the lab. As he turned out of view he sighed in relief, glad to be finished with that uncomfortable conversation. "Yielded some good intel though, so it wasn't all bad," he thought to himself as he walked back to the Intelligence Department office.
Lieutenant Commander Sam Perkins
Chief Science Officer
Lieutenant Junior Grade Vaebn tr'Jarok