The Romulan Equation
Departure and Trial Run
Location: USS Poseidon; Captain's Ready Room, Deck 1, Bridge
Timeline: Pre-Poseidon Launch; Pre-Departure; Pre-Officer's Meeting
During the quiet before the evening, when the Commander was expected to meet with the Chief Medical Officer, Gregory and Franklin were continuing their banter as they concluded their private meeting with another another. This was as much an informal meeting as it had been for everyone other Officer and Enlisted crewman or woman to have entered this Captain's Ready Room today. The only difference is the brief interruptions.
"He should be here any minute," Gregory concluded as he put down his coffee after a drink. "Once this Romulan gets here and we conclude, I think I'll call it a night."
"Probably a good choice," smiled Franklin. His mentor and him had endured a rather strenuous day. Unfortunately, Franklin's was far from over. The door chimed then, the Commander speaking up, saying, "Come in!"
Lieutenant T'vek didn't drop a beat as he strode in through the doors a PADD pocketed and a stony expression on his face as he came to a halt, "You requested to see me Commanders?"
Impressed, the two sat a little bit more upright. Gregory faced the new arrival, nodded, and Franklin gestured to the open seat beside Gregory.
"We did! Have a seat, Lieutenant. We'd like to have a discussion with you, if you have the time?"
"Curious," was his only word as he swiftly took his place, "So Commanders, would you care to elaborate as to what it was that you wish to discuss" his expression placid and measured, 'Perhaps a poor first impression, we shall see the mark of them in the times to come no doubt he thought,' he eyed up the pair subtly, neither shifting his subtly disdainful gaze nor his faintly emerald features unchanging and unflinching.
It was strange for Gregory, seeing this Romulan. He acted much like a Vulcan. There was an unspoken opinion shared between Gregory and Franklin as they glanced at each other, then both turned back. They hid their opinions behind smiles.
"Lieutenant T'vek, right?" asked Franklin, leaning inward as he grabbed the PADD on the top of the desk. He skimmed the screen briefly, then looked back. "Exchange Officer from the Romulan Empire? Would you be okay with expressing your opinions on that?"
As the two turned to each other a smirk in turn tugged at the corners of T'vek's mouth, it bad become increasingly more apparent to him that even despite the thawing of relations between the Federation and the Star Empire that few in the Federation had even seen a Romulan yet alone encountered one, certainly the Security Officers of Starbase 99 believed every Romulan they saw was a member of the Tal Shiar and had treated him accordingly,
"Opinions," he began, "Yes I can certainly share a few, but first a question, it is not I presume standard procedure to strip search nor perform a Cavity Scan not one, or twice, but three times within the space of 24 hours to Personnel, or just those on exchange, I trust such displays of trust and friendship will not continue during my tenure here?" the distasteful tone and wry smirk put to the lie that he lacked emotion, merely like all Romulans that he possessed an immense groundswell of control, channelling the tendencies the Vulcans suppressed into useful endeavours.
Gregory spoke up first. "No," he replied, his expression stern and serious. "Is this what happened to you?"
"Indeed," T'vek returned his tone the same almost stern distasteful tone mixed with a combination of distaste and agreement, "there is also the matter of my personal effects, which apparently now require your authorisation before they can be released, they were unable to penetrate the locking mechanism and were unwilling to risk damaging them when I refused to divulge how to," he paused for a moment to eye up the two commanders, humans were still quite difficult to read "Now I must admit, I would not be dismayed so, if every crew member had been subject to such diligence, but I suspect that was not the case."
"It was almost as if they thought every Romulan were a member of the Tal Shiar," he finished with a good natured chuckle, his emerald eyes twinkling as he dismissed the thought.
Gregory's face had turned red, an impossible shade of red considering his natural slightly darkened skin tone. There were sweat-beads and bulging veins visible, a very controlled rage had entered his expression. He had personally went through every loop possible to get this Romulan safe passage here, to help this individual and get every possible facet of educational avenue possible for the future cadets. Now Starfleet Security was interfering with that.
"If you'll excuse me," Gregory said, rising, eyes on the door. His voice trembled as if he was about to punch through the bulkhead itself. "I will rectify this situation post haste."
Franklin had an expression that was confusing to read; fear, dread, worry, anger - all hidden behind a professional mask. He nodded to the Commodore, turning his attention back to the Lieutenant as Gregory left in what appeared to be a hurry.
"I - we - both apologize for your very inappropriate greeting. I was led to understand that the necessary strings had already been tied to allow you a smooth entry. I imagine that the Commodore will quickly rectify this situation." He cleared his throat, nodding to the Romulan, "in the meantime, while the Commodore deals with this situation, is there anything I can get you for refreshments? I may need a drink myself at this point."
"It could also have something to do with them likely desiring to gain access to the large supply of Romulan Ale I brought with me, that I hear you Starfleet types are so fond of, though I suppose that is a rather general term given that I am myself one of those," he gently chuckled once more, in a more good hearted nature before the other Commander left, learning a new crew would be interesting, the IRW Tarix had had a most interesting ensemble when he had served aboard it, and this ship was certainly different to that one.
"Kali-fal if you don't mind," he requested smoothly as he folded his hands in his lap, the show so far had been quite amusing, it almost made the indignity worth it, almost.
"I wouldn't think too much on the matter, I can only imagine they thought they were doing a good job," he was by now allowing the cliff face of a mask to soften somewhat, if this were to be another form of interrogation, though he highly doubted it, he may as well play along, and if it were not then being on friendly terms with the crew would not be a hardship, provided of course he kept both his wits and guard about him.
"Now, I understand that this is a training ship of sorts," he paused for a moment to take in the Commander's office, eyeing up curios and bric-a-brac and mentally comparing them to the man in front of him "How curious that I end up still teaching after all, what a strange world in which we live," his voice, while still holding that typical Romulan drawl was now flavoured with tones of amusement and contemplation."
The Commander listened, even when he entered the foyer. He replicated the requested drink for the Lieutenant, asking for himself a glass of sweet tea, extra sugar. The door to the Captain's Ready Room stayed open, the ship's computer intelligent enough to register the ongoing conversation. The Commander returned and handed the requested Kali-fal to the Lieutenant, and doing something different as he took Gregory's empty seat just adjacent to the Lieutenant. Setting his sweet tea on his desk after a drink, he visibly relaxed and crossed a leg, resting an arm on his knee. The apparent beginning of ease on the Romulan was not lost to him.
"They probably thought so," Franklin mused, "In the end I'll let the Commodore handle the rest. In any case, yes, this ship is one of a few planned to be under the authority of the Starfleet Academy. We're going to be a moving, floating classroom designed to prepare our future cadets for what is expected of them in space. It was all Gregory's idea, actually. He was - is - an instructor at the Academy and pushed hard for this."
"A fair approximation, but somewhat lacking in aroma," T'vek paused to swirl the pale cobalt liquid around the glass, visibly sniffing and eyeing up the drink. "Real Kali-fal should forcibly open ones sinuses well before the first sip."
"But as for what you said," pausing as he returned from the subject of beverages to the matter at hand, almost too rapidly as if to catch off guard, the smooth drawl giving away little even as he paused to take a sip, "I personally find the idea intriguing, I was, before my entry into the exchange program to become part of the teaching staff at the Imperial Academy on our new Capital and Homeworld, that I will still be teaching and practising medicine is something of a boon I feel."
"I'm very happy to have you on board," Franklin said, sipping his tea. "You're the second in our participation of the officer exchange. The first is Lieutenant Karn, our Chief Security and Tactical Officer. He's a Lurian. Talkative bunch, if I may say my opinion, but very friendly."
He eyed his sweet tea, setting the glass down. The condensation visible as droplets gently rolled down the side of the glass surface. Franklin turned back to T'vek, seriousness in his expression.
"What exactly do you expect out of me as your superior officer, Lieutenant?"
"It really is a good replica, the aroma is starting to grow on me," he drawled as swilling the glass again, "As for what I expect, an interesting question indeed, I am of course used to the standards in the Romulan Star Empire, so adjusting would take time," cradling his drink before leaning back somewhat.
"I suppose I can at the moment, answer your question, with a question, what do you expect out of me as your Chief Medical Officer?"
Franklin's expression momentarily lapsed into one of appreciation. He leaned back, nodding to his Lieutenant.
"I expect you to keep up and maintain the health of the crew. Be creative with it, even. I also expect clear records of the staff, including myself, and I fully expect you to adhere to Starfleet protocol should I become too sick to function, or any other number of conditions where your authority as CMO is needed. You hold a very strong position on my ship now, because if you say I'm unfit for duty, that sticks, and the XO takes over. I'm sure you're familiar with that protocol? Does the Star Empire have something similar?"
"You will not find me wanting, I am something of a perfectionist when it comes to my work especially, as to protocol however on review of Starfleet medical protocol in regards to crew health and records I shall feel obliged to adhere more to that of the Romulan Star Empire," here he held out a hand forestalling interruption. "I feel that your protocols do not go far enough, medicine is not yet perfect, there are several conditions which have not yet been cured, I am putting together a proposal which I intend to present at the staff briefing, so as to build up detailed medical records on the crew, with the end goal of any underlying problems being picked up long before dealing with the condition becomes about a managed decline, so in a fashion, I intend to exceed the requirements of your protocol to be entirely more through." His tone steady and low yet somehow managing to keep that drawl throughout, he had somewhat prepared for confrontation over this after reading through what he considered to be wholly inadequate procedure, which to him at least had explained the state he had found his Sick Bay and Medical Labs.
"As for the latter, There is something similar yes, and this I hope should link with my intent, as such a decision should not, I feel be taken lightly, but if it must be taken, it shall be done, and I trust there should be no argument about it, as I fully understand how poorly such decision taken by myself would be viewed by some, given my origins," T'vek finished with an arching of his eyebrows further emphasising his already highly pronounced forehead ridges and shifting his hair somewhat in the process.
The Franklin observed the Romulan briefly, then nodded, smiling. "I like it. I like that answer. I already like you, Lieutenant. I think we'll get along just fine, and I can't wait to see what you have in mind."
At that juncture, the Commodore returned, briefly seeming out of place at the fact his chair was taken by the Commander and swiftly recovering as he leaned against the far wall after a fashion. He'd be damned if he made an impression of stepping on the Commander's authority, even though he could. He gave a nod to Lieutenant T'vek.
"I investigated the issue and provided the appropriate level of discipline for the situation. Your belongings are now being personally handled and offloaded by the extremely caring personnel who initially forestalled you. If you find anything out of place, let me know." His expression turned grim, almost angry. "Because if anything is, I might have to airlock some people."
Franklin, for his part, did a double-take. Did he just hear that correctly?
"I think I shall indeed like it here," T'vek chuckled warmly gently clapping his drink against his hand carefully, managing to be both audible and also not spilling his drink, "I believe I have a bottle with each of your names on it when I unpack."
"But Yes," he continued, "you shall have my full talents at your disposal, but I must admit my knowledge of Starfleet Academy curriculum is rather lacking in comparison to that of the Imperial Academy," his tone considerably warmer even if the drawl still lurked in the background much like his stony expression, which had softened somewhat to going from a sheer cliff face to one now adorned with a smirk bordering on a warm smile.
Gregory spoke up then. "It encompasses generally every possible position one could take on a ship. The major courses for students are command, logistics, science, and medical. All four encompass a variety of further sub-courses that completes the general curriculum. What the Poseidon is going to attempt to accomplish is adding another dimension to that; live experience. That way any lesson I could ever possibly teach can be applied with a hands-on experience, and the lesson could theoretically stick on a more permanent basis as habits."
"You shall pardon my ignorance, but I am unfamiliar with the general curriculum of Starfleet Academy, in the Star Empire, the Imperial Academy is mandatory and a continuation of further education," T'vek felt somewhat put out, he ill liked admitting any lack or to appear less than competent, feelings he clamped down upon tightly, and made no show visible show of such disappointment in himself.
Gregory shrugged. At this point Franklin had stood and withdrew to his chair, offering the Commander his seat back who gladly took it. After a moment of settling in, Franklin spoke.
"I've heard you commenting on your drink all throughout," Franklin said. "Seems our replicators got something right?"
T'vek appeared to ignore the comment for a moment, haughtily swilling the half full glass for a second before shifting his grip to have the rim between index finger and thumb to set the glass silently yet somewhat forcefully down, albeit without disturbing the contents, "Ah, I was yes, I had been lead to believe that Starfleet Replicators were quite poor at replicating Romulan beverages, or indeed anything Romulan, indeed, I had brought the replication patterns for a great deal." He paused for a second to eye up both of his opposite's with a slightly dismissive glance, "By the same token I was also given some warning that my every word would likely be analysed for hidden meanings and that even to compliment would be taken with suspicion, no doubt overblown hyperbole," he continued wryly and sleekly.
"But as to your question, I could elaborate further, but my total expectations mean little in a vacuum, so instead I answer your question with a question, what pray tell do you expect of me?"
"Honestly?" Gregory said, speaking up first. "With what Franklin stated before, I'll add that we expect you to not go soft of these cadets. You have the disposition of a great teacher, Lieutenant. The way you analyze us and challenge us is a perfect example of someone who is quite capable of holding their own. If I can speak for the Commander and myself, which I'm sure I do, we both are excited you're here."
"Agreed," Franklin said, leaning forward, "and also I think it's expected you'd believe we're suspicious of you. We're not, but what you believe is beyond my capability to challenge. If you being suspicious of us makes you a better teacher, better Doctor, then I won't stand in your way. What I will say is that we're here for you, for anything, and we're not here to press you for anything you cannot or are unable to provide. I believe the Commodore said it best, we are excited to have you here Lieutenant T'vek. You are a sign of improving times and I have no intention of ruining that."
Franklin looked to Gregory briefly, then back at T'Vek. "I'll add," the Commander said, "that I also expect you to challenge us, both of us, when we ourselves get out of line. We've stated that before too, I believe, but you seem to be as if not more of a capable officer. I will not hold you back in that affair."
"Oh, I never said that for a second I was suspicious of you, I merely commented," T'vek chuckled, "If there was one thing my father told me, was that word play with Starfleet officers was an entertaining past time, he told me several stories of one of your more famous captains and his way with words, and so far you have yet to disappoint," his pale lips tugged gently into what could be a smile or a smirk, and a genuine one at that.
He reached forward for his drink again, his posture softening almost imperceptibly, almost acceptingly as he eyed his new colleagues over the rim, "but it is good to hear that you expect for me to not tolerate mediocrity and to expect only for everything to be challenged, as it should be, now, I do have something of a request to make."
Franklin nodded, "Of course. Anything. How can we help?"
Gregory wanted to add "within reason" but kept quiet, smiling.
"In short, I would like to conduct a crew wide medical, I was forwarded some records en route, but when I enquired I could find little information out as to regards to protocol on how frequently the crew should be examined, indeed, it seemed that it was very much arbitrary matter," he paused to take a sip from the glass before cradling it between his fingers in his lap. "In the Empire checkups are frequent, usually no more than every 18 months, and then compared to a recorded baseline unique to each patient."
"Such things tend to streamline the diagnosis and treatment process, as well as serving to mitigate any long term conditions due to early identification," his drawl tinged with almost wistful airs, as he cast his mind back to the empire during better days, of course that did not mean that better days did not await, only that they did indeed wait. "Naturally I do not expect childhood records of the crew, but establishing a baseline now would go some way, especially given this being a training ship, I can imagine many of the students will be under varying degrees of stress, stress which can have various undue effects."
"Now this may seem at first a simple request, but my request is twofold, a baseline in sickbay is one thing, but I would also like to establish a baseline during a period of physical stress, for example during intense physical activity as should anything untoward happen it would simplify matters, as well as allow any heretofore unidentified issues to rise to the surface, such examinations are standard procedure at the Romulan Imperial Academy and in the military, performed yearly, or upon conclusion of recovery from a serious condition or injury."
Both Gregory and Franklin looked at each other, nodded to one another, with both turning back and Franklin nodding to T'vek. He spread his hands a bit in an accepting gesture.
"Yea, no problem here. Anything against regulation with that, Commodore?"
Gregory shook his head, "No."
"Didn't think so," Franklin said. He smiled to T'vek. "Permission granted. If there's anything we do to help you in this, let us know. Anything else?"
"Excellent," he returned with a satisfied drawl steepling his fingers gently, "would I need to discuss this with the various department heads or am I free to begin making preparations for the preliminaries, I am after all still associating myself with proper Starfleet procedure. As for anything else, I may after taking a proper inventory of Sickbay, have some equipment requests, but you will find that I confine myself to the realm of the reasonable, flights of fancy are decidedly not my preference, of that I can assure you, my only desire is to perform my duties to the highest of standards." Mentally, he reflected that he would perhaps need to lower his standards, and certainly the standards of the physical testing and fitness of the Imperial Academy would likely render several of the crew in Sickbay for other reasons, and he had little desire to do anybody any harm, far from it.
"Requisition requests go straight through the ship's Quartermaster, a Junior Grade Lieutenant by the name of Sydney Allen," Franklin replied. "As for anything else, you're free to make preparations. You are the Chief Medical Officer, so the crew's health is taken very seriously, and soon the cadets. If you have any further concerns, feel free to address them to Lieutenant Commander's Phoebe Graydon or Kanaka Shakura, First Officer and Second Officer respectively. I run a smooth command structure here, so I trust they'll do the job."
With a smile, Franklin sat back. "So, shall we enjoy the rest of the evening together here? I think that about ends our business for the day."
"Ah, Excellent, and I can agree to that, perhaps a small adjournment and if you wish I could bring up a bottle of Romulan Ale, even though the Embargo was ended during the war with the Dominion I hear that it is still difficult to comeby in Federation Space?" He smiled again, a seemingly rare thing upon the face of the moss covered mountain, even as he drawled.
"That sounds marvelous," Franklin said, and Gregory couldn't help but agree.