The Control Group
Location: USS Poseidon; Biology Lab, Deck 6
Timeline: Day 001 - 0945 Hours
Tags: Post-Departure, Post-Fighter Incident, Pre-Meeting, Science
"As I said in my report, they've gone dormant and aren't responding to stimuli." Ensign Dok gestured emphatically to the artificial habitat housing upwards of ten Regulan blood worms. The Trainee's bulbous forehead wrinkled in consternation. "I'm afraid we're going to lose the entire colony if we don't find the cause." He mewled on in visible frustration.
Canaan patted the Ferengi Ensign's shoulder sympathetically. "It's quite alright, Dok. Let's review the overall conditions of the habitat and see if we can track down what's going on." For his part, Dok nodded, lips pressed tightly together while he peered into the empty container.
"I'm certain there's a clear and reasonable explanation for this type of reaction. You followed the appropriate protocol in notifying me as soon as you noticed the worms' change in behavior. So, let's think about what we do know." Canaan plucked the data PADD from its cradle in the housing unit and accessed the most recent data submissions.
Of the trainee's comprising the Science Department, Canaan found that Dok benefited from a bit more attention and a steady hand, especially in following the prescribed scientific methods for the numerous experiments he was supervising. The Ferengi Scientist was diligent about adhering to policy, and it was procedure Canaan found Dok to be more resistant to following.
The doors to the Biology Lab opened as two figures stepped in. One would've been immediately recognizable to both Canaan and Dok: the Second Officer and Chief Counsellor walked with the same sense of poise and purpose she always had, though accompanying her was someone completely new. A slightly taller human female with long brown hair and a light tan, she wore the teal uniform of the Sciences Division and had the rank of an Ensign on her neck. Following closely behind Kana, they both approached the Chief Science Officer and his trainee.
"Lieutenant Serine, Ensign Dok." Kana smiled as she approached them both. "I trust we're not disturbing you both, but I was wondering if I could have a moment of your time, Lieutenant?" She looked at Canaan. "I'd like to introduce you to the newest member of your department. Your new Assistant Chief, in fact."
"Counsellor!" Dok exclaimed jovially, offering a sharp-toothed grin to the Lieutenant Commander and the Poseidon's newest arrival. "How lovely to see you again. Have you given any more thought to my invitation to dinner?" The Ferengi Ensign asked, undeterred by the Counsellor's gracious decline when first asked during an informal gathering both had attended in the officer's lounge.
Canaan watched Dok, amused, if not wholly impressed by the young man's persistence. More so, however, he admired Kana's ability to maintain a high degree of poise when confronted by the Ferengi's seemingly relentless attempts to pursue his superior officer.
"No, you're not disturbing as at all," Canaan spoke, gesturing to the habitat. "Ensign Dok was just about to excuse himself to verify current climate conditions within the Regulan habitat. Isn't that right, Ensign?"
Dok wore a confused expression as he exchanged looks with the three officers, his jaw askew. "Oh, right, yes, of course!" He suddenly realized, understanding proper decorum intended to form him to excuse himself from the conversation. "I'll do that right away. Counselor, we must confirm a time soon!" He admonished the Second Officer with a salacious wink."
"Dok," Canaan warned.
"Yes, yes, right away, sir!" With that, the Ferengi biologist turned on a heel and went to a nearby bank of console computers.
Canaan offered both women an apologetic smile, "My apologies for the precocious Ensign's behavior; Ferengi's aren't often accustomed to hearing the word 'no.' Now, what's this about an assistant?" Canaan asked, a subtle edge in the question.
She didn't know the backstory to the exchange she just witnessed, but Aislin raised an eyebrow and held back a smile, trying to maintain her professionalism. "That would be me, Ensign Aislin Finnegan. I've been assigned to the Poseidon as my first position after my cadet cruise. Assistant Chief of Science to you, more specifically. Pleasure to meet you." She nodded politely.
"No apologies necessary, Lieutenant." Kana waved him off with a slight grin appearing on the side of her face. Throughout the entire exchange with Dok she had maintained a calm posture, seemingly unperturbed by the Ensign's professionally inappropriate advances. "Ferengi Rule of Acquisition Number Thirty-Three: 'It never hurts to suck up to the boss.'" Clearly, this wasn't her first run-in with a Ferengi, who seemed to have a strong infatuation with Betazoid women; Kana supposed that, for them, it was 'the ultimate conquest'. Fortunately for her she had got to know them well enough to know the biggest rule of all, that which was unwritten: If a rule doesn't exist, make it up.
Turning her attention swiftly back to the matter at hand, she let the two Science Officer's get through the tedium of formal introductions before commencing with small talk. "Aislin here is a Master's Graduate in Physics; I imagine she'll be a great compliment to your own expertise in Biology, wouldn't you say?" She looked over to Canaan with a warm expression. Focusing on work was something which she knew the Chief Science Officer enjoyed, and which she hoped would get them off on the right foot.
"Oh, right... Yes, of course." Nonplussed, Canaan stumbled over his words a tad. "The physics division needs some genuine leadership." He began to explain, "The trainee's, especially; they're eager to get started on a bit of research and experimentation with no clear direction." Canaan had placed the data PADD he'd fetched earlier, back in the habitats cradle. "My experience in physics is rudimentary at best, so you'll surely be welcomed with open arms." He smiled, "Uhm, you'll forgive me, though, as I wasn't aware of needing am assistant?" His tone of voice was more nervous than it was rude. He'd proven himself to be an exceptional Science Officer thus far and thought he was doing well in guiding a department full of trainee's up until now. The logical part of his brain knew that the department would benefit from the additional support in leadership, and he could share the workload a bit, too. The less logical part of his brain was having difficulty being willing to let go of any such control when he had so little of it in other parts of his life.
Sensing a bit of the Chief Science Officer's nervousness, Kana maintained a warm smile as she placed a firm but gentle hand on the young man's shoulder. "It was not so much a case of need, Lieutenant, as it was a desire to afford you the choice. The Commander and I are immensely impressed with the work you and your Science Department have already been producing, and we anticipate that as we venture out into the Alpha Quadrant, your potential for research will increase exponentially. To that end, we thought you might appreciate having an Assistant Chief to give you greater flexibility in your work and someone you could rely upon. Ensign Finnegan fits the bill exactly."
Turning to Aislin, the Chief Counsellor encouraged her to chime in. "Ensign, why don't you tell Lieutenant Serine here about your work on board the U.S.S. Rheus?"
Aislin's face flushed slightly at being put on the spot, but she didn't let her expressions betray it except for a smile. "I was assigned aboard the Rheus for my cadet cruise, and in one instance I was fortunate enough to be in the physics department and running through some of the data that had been compiled when I managed to find a few anomalies that hadn't been detected before. I was tasked with overseeing the extrapolation of data for other experiments after that." Her tone was confident but she wasn't too sure if her accent was coming across thick or not so she hesitated slightly, "As the Commander mentioned, I have a majors degree in Physics and am confident in most areas of the science department, including Biology, so I do believe I will be highly beneficial to being your assistant in the long run." She smiled again, hoping it wasn't an information overload she'd just blurted out.
Canaan's bemused expression softened, the subtle etch in his forehead smoothed as he listened to Aislin with interest. "Anomalies, you say?" Like a child in a toy store, Canaan's mood shifted to one of curiosity as a smile played at the corner of his full lips. "I have a stack of PADDs sitting on the corner of my desk that I've been anxious to have the data extrapolated from and analyzed for anomalies. Most especially an experimental series conducted by Doctor Plinkton, our resident experimental physicist." Canaan explained excitedly, "You and I should brew a pot of coffee and start on that!" He suggested, all but forgetting that Kana and Dok were still present.
"Let me get my belongings and my quarters sorted out first, then I would be more than happy to get stuck into them. I like organization." Coffee was sounding amazing at this point, but Aislin just smiled through the wariness.
"Oh, yes, right." His embarrassment somewhat stifled his excitement, cheeks beaming red as a result. "I'm sure you'd like to unpack and get settled in first. And Mr. Dok and I have a bit left to accomplish here, still. Perhaps if we were to meet in," Canaan thought for a moment, eyes searching the kindness in Kana's eyes, oddly seeking approval from the Counselor. "An hour?" He suggested, hoping that would provide Aislin enough time to get situated.
Kana simply pulled an amused smile as she raised her hands in a gesture of withdrawal. While she wasn't intentionally hiding it, deep down she was glad; this was exactly what she had hoped would be the outcome of this meeting. With that achieved, she saw her work here as done. "That's up to you and Ensign Finnegan, Lieutenant. I'm sure you've got a great day ahead of you. I'll leave you to it." This was one of the rare occasions where the Chief Counsellor allowed herself to feel proud; proud that she had brought two great minds together. She couldn't help but imagine the things they'd be able to accomplish as a team.
Turning to leave and with one foot out the door, she stopped herself to take one last look back at Canaan. "Oh, and don't forget about our coffee tomorrow. I look forward to it." Taking the opportunity to also say farewell to Aislin with a confident nod, she then swiftly departed with the authoritative step she possessed.
"Wait! Counsellor Shakura, wait!" Dok's high-pitch squeal preceded the Ferengi scientist's hasty departure from the biology laboratory, "But we never finalized our dinner plans! Counselor!" He called out through the open door, much to the chagrin of several passersby.
"Incorrigible, I tell you, simply incorrigible," Canaan stated flatly to Aislin before the pair broke into laughter.
"If you desire to move forward, your choice must lead the way."