Star Trek: Cygnus

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An Awkward Reception Part 2 (ALL HANDS JP)

Posted on Sat Jun 26th, 2021 @ 2:19am by Commander Helena Pope & Lieutenant Commander Abrum Micca PhD & Lieutenant Anna Cohen PhD & Asjani Sular & Captain Maxwell Stafford & Lieutenant Commander Angus McTavish & Lieutenant Elodin Devan MD & Lieutenant JG Lisald Vaat & Ensign Albert Spangler & Commander Evimia Zh'azhaath & Olerrin Telek

Mission: Episode 3: Search and Rescue
Location: Ten Forward
Timeline: 19:02

Helena plastered on a fake smile as the transporter cycled. Standing on the padd where Commander Zh'azhaath and Gul Telek, along with half a dozen members of what appeared to be his senior staff.

"Gul Telek, welcome to the USS Cygnus." She said with a small nod.

"Tell me Commander was the Captain to busy to greet me himself?" The Gul said, in almost a sneer.

"I'm sure you know that commanding a starship is a 24/7 job, he will be joining us for the reception. If you and your staff will follow me please." She said turning and walking out of the transporter room before the Gul could provide a come back. "We've arranged for personnel to welcome any additional members of your crew who are coming aboard and guide them to the reception. I'm sure you understand that you and your crew are limited to this deck at present."

The Gul huffed, "What? Doesn't Starfleet trust us?" He said, eliciting a few laughs from his staff.

"Trust has nothing to do with Gul, we simply have security protocols in place. From what Glin Sular tells me they are sustainably less strict than those in place on your own vessel. I do note that there was no offer to host this reception on your own vessel." Pope said as they approached the lounge. Stepping inside she gestured for a Boatswain to call the room to attention. As the whistle finished the Commander projected her voice loud and clear to the assembly.

"Crew of the USS Cygnus it is my pleasure to present Gul Telek and his esteemed crewmates from the CDU Lakarian City. I know that our crew, as well as myself and the Captain share Starfleet's hope that this mission can represent a step towards future shared work and community." Helena said. Finishing her remarks she gestured for the crew to return to their activities, although she noticed many eyes were glued to the new arrivals.

"Gul please enjoy yourself, we've done what we could to prepare a number of Cardassian dishes. Miss Sular informs me they are passible." She said with a small laugh.

Although Lisald heard the words that were being spoken by his immediate superior and supervisor, he would later admit that he could not quote back a single word she had said. He had been transfixed by the sudden and extreme change in the atmosphere of the room. The Cardassians dominated the cavernous reception hall that was Ten Forward. Once they moved to inspect the food and drink (and to confer with Sular), the spell had been broken. He looked over to his friend, Doctor Elodin, and wondered what was going through his mind right now, especially with the way he had reacted when Vaat verbalized his curiosity about the Bajorans on the ship and the Cardassian delegation. To add to it, Elodin had already partaken quite liberally with some of the alcohol being served. Vaat was sure the Doctor had his wits about him; he was a Doctor, after all.

Elodin kept to the back of the room as the Cardassians filed in. He felt Vaat's eyes on him and knew it was out of concern - the young man had asked a somewhat legitimate question, and voiced his uncertainties about the Cardassian presence on the station. The question had been clumsy and naïve, two characteristics that were perhaps not entirely unexpected coming from him. But they had reopened old wounds that Elodin had thought closed a long time ago.

He'd switched to synthehol after his second drink. He still felt a certain numbness from the first two Bajoran single malts. He was still in control of himself, but that didn't mean he had any desire to be close to the Cardassians.

Helena signalled the Captain that the Cardassians had arrived and he was free to join the party. She grabbed a drink at the bar and made her to where Elodin was. "Hey Doc, how are you?"

"I've had better days," replied Elodin, more curtly than he had intended. He winced and gave her an apologetic smile. She'd been standing right next to him when he'd told the story of his sister's disappearance, she'd heard everything.

Helena was torn, part of her wanted to say something, but despite their recent personal interactions she wasn't sure where they stood past the colleagues relationship. "If you need to get out of here it's fine." She said, taking a sip of her drink and making a mental note to cut the booze. Her head already past a professional level of tipsy.

"Oh, merciful Prophets, how I'd love to. And I'd love for you to come with me. But we both know that wouldn't look good, and it would make the Captain look weak in front of the Cardassians."

Pope raised an eyebrow. "True, I was tempted to get Anna to have some sort of engineering incident that required our attention as an excuse to cut the evening short. Not sure the brass would appreciate it. The number of times the Commodore reminded us to make this work would mean both Stafford and I would be out of a job if we did."

Elodin stepped closer to her and lowered his voice to avoid being overheard. "How about this then... We slip out as soon as it's diplomatically acceptable?"

He looked closely at her lovely hazelnut eyes. They were getting a bit sluggish and took a few fractions of a second longer than usual to focus - no doubt as a result of the few drinks she'd indulged in. "Or I could authenticate some medical reason for us to slip out sooner."

"I feel like we should at least wait for the Captain to arrive." She said with a smile.

----------

Anna could almost feel a chill in the room with the arrival of the Cardassians she had already noticed several of the crew heading for the doors. "So how do you feel about all of this?" She said to Angus.

McTavish was flabbergasted at Anna's question. He didn't know how to feel about the Cardassian delegation onboard. It pained him to see his Bajoran crewmates look on at horror for past trauma that has caused them. Lieutenant Lisald wasn't even born during the Occupation but he still experienced the trauma that the Bajorans endured for generations by Cardassian hands. He could do nothing to protect his crew from the invisible enemy of trauma but he couldn't but a moment a Cardassian steps out of line, he would be there to make sure they face the consequences of it all. He looked to Anna, "I hate that I can't protect my crewmates from past trauma."

Anna put her hand on Angus' arm. "You can't protect them from everything. Intergenerational trauma can take generations to work through, think back to all things humans did to each other on Earth. How long it took to finally have true equality and freedom. The Bajorans have come a long way in the last few decades, I think the number that join Starfleet is a testament to those who see a future as part of the larger galactic community. I just hope this mission is a success, that we can find and rescue those ships. "

McTavish knew that there wasn't much he could do, hopefully the Cardassians would conduct themselves properly by human standards while onboard the Cygnus. "Likewise, Anna." He looked over her adoringly, "You're very smart, very good looking and have such a great heart."

She laughed, and took another sip of her drink.

------------

After the introduction, Ensign Spangler managed to find himself back at the bar, mostly due to the bartender being the only person he'd managed to not offend so far. He eyed the room; pausing on the doctor for a moment. He still had no idea what to say to the man. He briefly glanced at Lisald, considering whether the Bajoran could provide some insight. Yea, maybe not.

He continued his people watching before coming across a member of the Cardassian delegation and nearly dropping his drink. The guest was staring wide-eyed at Albert, startling him more than a little. The slightly buzzed Ensign found a nice spot on the deck to focus on. "Oh look, it's the floor. How 'bout that."

------------

Sular felt the eyes of the Gul on her. She knew he would raise the point she was 'advising' the Federation on how best to meet his bombastic advances of trying to position himself as the sole leader of the joint ops. She caught his eye for a moment, gave him a smile, and then turned her attention to a server, accepting a small vegetable hor d'oeuvres of unknown origin. She ate it, finding the taste enjoyable but an oddly hard texture prevented her from having another one.

With the caution of a field mouse making its way across a field, knowing full well the predator was about to strike, Lisald made his way over to the Cardassian liaison. He wondered idly if Elodin had his eyes on Lisald, and what he was thinking about this turn of events. "Happy Evening, ma'am. I'm Dr. Lisald Vaat, Chief of Operations aboard the Cygnus," he said in way of greeting. He surprised himself having given his full, official title. He had not done that since the week after he had earned his Doctorate. He preferred to be called Lisald with most, but for whatever reason, he wanted to be a bit more official with the Cardassians. Attempting to change gears, he continued. "Thank you for all the work you have put in, and thank you for your efforts." He lowered his voice and leaned in a little. "I surmise your unique position is...challenging."

Sular gave the Operations Officer a smile. "Doctor Lisald," She said with a small nod. "I will admit, this assignment is certainly a unique challenge, but I believe that if my people are going to be successful we need to learn to cooperate with other space faring races. I see Starfleet as an ally not an enemies, hopefully in time more of my people will share that view. How is your evening so far?"

Lisald smiled. "It is," he started, then looked over at Elodin, who was talking conspiratorially with the Executive Officer, "Interesting as well," he concluded. "I imagine with more people like you and Captain Stafford, your dream, all of our dreams, to be allies and friends will come true. Ma'am, it was my pleasure to meet you. I best continue mingling, otherwise Commander Pope will accuse me of monopolizing all of your time. If you'll excuse me," he said, smiling warmly.

-----------

"I don't suppose not going is an option?" Maxwell asked Abrum, half jokingly, as the turbolift they occupied alone sped towards its destination.

"I mean, you're the Captain you can do whatever you want, Helena might murder you though," Abrum said with a grin, he gave Max a kiss before the doors opened. The pair moved towards the lounge, the doors opening. Helena had been in conversation with on of the senior Cardassians who had already taken it upon himself to try all the varieties of Kanar on offer. Seeing the Captain she nodded, signalling the boatswain the room was brought to attention again, the Cardassians generally ignoring the whistle that brought the crew to attention.

"Captain on deck." Helena said loudy, the starfleet crew snapped to attention.

Stafford pasted a smile on his face and approached the Cardassian with an extended hand. "Gul Telek, welcome aboard the Cygnus."

Pope could feel Gul Telek's eyes on her as he approached. "Captain good of you to join us, I thought I you would have wanted to greet my staff in the transporter room this being such a big occasion." The Gul said through a grin that made Helena nauseous, but that could also be the stink of the Kanar on his breath.

"Apologies for that." Max plucked a flute of champagne from a tray held by a passing waiter and took a sip. "Unfortunately my husband takes an age to get ready. You'd think that after years of marriage I would know to factor that into my timings, yet I still forget." His fake smile widened slightly as he took another sip.

Telek looked at Abrum for a moment before returning his attention to the Captain. "What is that human saying, better late than never." He said taking another sip of Kanar. "But I admit, Starfleet clearly has a line on good kanar."

"You have my Quartermaster to thank for that." Stafford replied, trying to keep his tone light and friendly. "I've known her for about fifteen years and she's always been able to get her hands on anything. I learned long ago not to ask any questions."

Telek gave a large laugh, the sound cutting through the air and causing several nearby conversations to abruptly end as heads turned to the Gul. "I had a logistic officer a number of years ago who was equally talented. Unfortunately, he was too good at his job, got promoted, and was sadly not as good a Commander as they were a logistician. I'll admit I was a bit surprised that Starfleet assigned a ship with so many Bajorans aboard to this mission." Telek said taking another sip of his Kanar, "But from what I've heard Starfleet has had trouble staffing all its new ships."

Stafford smirked as he lifted the champagne flute to his lips and took a long sip. "I don't know where you guys are getting your intel, but it's failing you badly." He didn't linger on that topic and quickly pivoted to address something else the Gul had said, "As for my crew, they're professionals. They know that the lives of two crews are at stake and can put their personal feelings aside to get the job done."

"Well then, we shall have to hope that we find the ships," Telek said, his eyes taking in the crew, many still watching the Cardassians out of the corner of their eyes.

 

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