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First Impressions

Posted on Sat Sep 25th, 2021 @ 9:12pm by Lieutenant Commander Savin & Commander N'Garzi Zora

Mission: Character Development
Location: Counsellor's Office
Timeline: Pre-Mission
1852 words - 3.7 OF Standard Post Measure

Zora had been on the ship a full day now and she was starting to get a feel for the place. This was the first time she had served on an "escort" vessel and the feel and atmosphere was quite different from what she had previously been accustomed to. The officers here felt more serious, more stoic. She understood the need for these types of ships and crews, if Starfleet was a hand these types of ships would be the middle finger, ready to take over the primary duties of the index finger at a moment's notice; also ready to stick it to the "man" when the time called for it.

It was this very reason that she found herself heading towards the counsellor's office. Being in a zen frame of mind was important to the El Aurian and often was a source of strength in the darkest of times. A good ship's counsellor could greatly help her in her search for inner peace, so it was vital to nurture that relationship as soon as possible. Well at least, that's what experience had taught her, and being nearly 150 years old, she had grown used to trusting that experience and the instincts that came along with it. She had to admit, she was also extremely curious to meet the deaf-Romulan-counsellor who wore a Starfleet uniform and grew up on Vulcan. Reading his records had been an experience in itself.

Zora reached the door to the office and pressed the chime.

Alerted by the strobe on his desk, Savin looked up. "Come in," he called out, instantly rising and walking around his desk to greet whoever was visiting. There was an annoyed hiss at his feet, which went unnoticed by the counselor. The clawed swipe at his leg, however, did not. "Sheba," he muttered as the white -and equally deaf - cat jumped into his desk and found herself a new perch there. Quite probably in an attempt to annoy him, Savin mused with a small smile as he diverted his attention back to the now opening door.

Zora was greeted by the tall man with dark hair, and a very mischievous looking cat sat on the desk. "Commander Savin?" She asked in a clear, slow, and controlled way, allowing the deaf man to follow the conversation. "I am Commander N'Garzi Zora, the ship's new XO. It's a pleasure to meet you." She held out her hand for the man to shake, the cat made a hissing noise.

Savin didn't take the offered hand, offering a slight inclination with his head instead. "Yes ma'am," he answered, taking instant note of her rank insignia. "Please, you may speak at your normal pace, I will understand as long as you face my way." He reached for a PADD and showed it. "In case of emergency I have a PADD which will render speech to text for me, and on other occasions I will have my aide." He smiled. "But in here, I prefer to use neither, if possible."

He walked over to a set of comfortable chairs that were facing each other at a slight angle, rather than directly so. "Can I get you anything?" he asked, turning his head towards her so he could see her speak.

Zora was confused by the obvious snub until she remembered that he was raised among Vulcans and that just wasn't their thing. Being a diplomat for a large part of her life she should have remembered this fact but given the varied amount of company she liked to keep, things did sometimes get a bit scrambled in her head. She lowered her arm and mimicked the Vulcan's head movement.

Zora took a seat and turned to face the man. "Ferengi Moss tea please," she said politely.

Nodding, the counselor quickly ordered the desired drink, and a cup of coffee for himself, then returned to the seating area, carefully handing her the cup and saucer. "Additives are on the table," he said, nodding towards the small tray containing sugar and condensed milk. "What can I do for you today ma'am?" he then added, having to let it sink in that she was Taeler's replacement. He had felt a little hurt when he learned Taeler had left, even more when she had done without saying goodbye. It was yet another friend he had lost in a very short time, a friend whom he had developed certain feelings for.

"Thank you, but no," Zora said as she took the cup and saucer from the man. "Anything added ruins the bitterness of the tea." She placed the drink on the table, allowing it to cool a little before she took a sip. "You can start by stop being so formal, Commander, please call me N'Garzi, at least when we're not on duty or on official business, this moment is neither. I'm just making the rounds, meeting the senior staff, putting names to faces. You know how it goes when you get assigned to a new ship, these meetings are crucial," she added with a small chuckle.

"If you call me Savin," the counselor agreed, "and I do understand. Unfortunately I was met with the general feeling that people do not wish to meet with counselors, even if a meeting is casual and not formal. I suppose I am fortunate that unlike Doctor tr'Rehu, I do not look Romulan, or I would be met with even more resistance." He paused, sipping his coffee. "What would you like to know? I can tell you have questions."

"I see you're quite perceptive Savin," she said with a smile. "I am a curious person, I like to know the people under my command. My people are known for being listeners, and I suppose I inherited an inquisitive trait alongside that." Zora picked up the cup and took a sample sip before placing it back on the table. "I suppose my first question would be, why you think it's fortunate to not look more Romulan, if you don't mind me asking?"

"Perception is somewhat of a requirement in my line of work," the counselor responded with a genuine smile. "Romulans tend to be met with a certain prejudice as they have a reputation of being secretive, xenophobic and generally...deceptive. While I am Romulan, and was born on Romulus, I was raised on Vulcan, as Vulcan. Until about a year ago, I did not know about my true heritage. It appears my parents had our physical appearance altered, after they fled the home world." He paused. "The Romulan home world, not mine. Vulcan is my home, the only home I have ever known."

Zora thought about the man's words for a while. "Do you think everyone thinks that way about Romulans?" She asked. "I know certain species have reputations that by far precedes them, but do you think that extends to Starfleet, to this ship and crew?"

"No, not everyone," Savin admitted, "but yes, it does extend to Starfleet and even this ship and crew. I have been confronted with crewmembers who do not wish to be counseled by a Romulan. It goes even further than that... this ship has a Romulan hybrid surgeon and there have been rumours there are those who do not wish to be treated by him, because of his background. To me... that is wrong. We are medical professionals and we treat those that require treatment, without bias towards background or species, or even what the cause for needed treatment is. Should we not be treated with the same respect?"

Zora picked up her tea and took a huge sip. Savin's words troubled her, she wasn't naive to the general feeling about Romulans amongst Starfleet officers, however she had felt that since the disaster of their homeworld, their standing in the quadrant had shifted from suspicious to sympathetic. Clearly she was wrong to think this. "Absolutely," she said as she moved the cup from her lips. "You will find no such disrespect from me Commander, and if anyone on the crew shows you any in future, you can happily send them my way. I have a zero tolerance policy when it comes to xenophobia, it flies directly in the face of what the Federation Charter stands for as well as my own personal beliefs."

"Indeed," the counselor agreed, "I have my commission to draw upon. I grew up on Vulcan, and I was raised Vulcan. I always believed I was Vulcan, until a scan showed otherwise. It happened on a Romulan vessel, where I served briefly as exchange officer. My colleague however, he is a Romulan-Betazoid hybrid. Technically, a Federation citizen as his father is the Betazoid parent. However, he did grow up in the Empire, and he was in fact part of the Tal Shiar." Savin knew he was treading a fine line in sharing this, however he also knew NVeid made no secret of his past. "He is a refugee, and serves as a civilian on this vessel. He has no rank to give him authority or even demand the rescept that I can command. To a degree of course."

Zora nodded, understanding the man's words and the meaning behind them. "Well it sounds as though you can take care of yourself Counsellor, for that I am happy. If you should need anything, then you know where I am."

"Oh I can most definitely take care of myself," the Romulan laughed, "I am trained in various forms of combat, but I doubt that is what you mean."

Zora laughed, it was a sharp laugh that took her by surprise. "No, please don't go around attacking the crew, you wouldn't believe the amount of paperwork a court martial creates."

"I have no intention of attacking anyone ma'am. I do not usually carry a weapon, unless I am required to. And in such an event, even though I am qualified to use a phaser and am well equipped to use it, I would prefer melee weapons. An honourable fight is important to me."

"A weapon-hungry-counsellor, I see I am going to have to keep my eye on you Commander," Zora said with a smile.

"If you say so ma'am," the counselor replied. It seemed a serious response, however if one looked closely enough, one could see the mirth in his eyes. "I assure you my weapons are safely put away in my quarters. Not even her highness Sheba.... my cat... can get at them, not for lack of trying to get into things, obviously."

"Obviously," Zora repeated as she finished the last of her tea. "Well thank you for this talk Counsellor, it's been enlightening," she said with a sly grin. "I look forward to working with you on our next mission. Who knows, me may find some Romulans to slay," she added, her grin broadening.

Savin managed to look utterly shocked at her words. "Commander!" he exclaimed as she started to leave his office, "we do not slay people...." He shook his head in dismay as she disappeared from view, dearly hoping she hadn't been serious despite her grin.


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