Reporting to the New XO
A New, Old Journey
Location: XO's Office
The good and bad about a new assignment was having to meet the senior staff in a very short period of time. It wasn't that Fenora minded, but she really wanted to have a look at her department and settle in first. But she knew if she didn't get the required things out of the way, she'd probably get caught up in one thing or another and not get to it before they launched. She paused outside the XO's office, took a deep breath, and then rang the door chime.
Jilrak was sorting out his small office. He hadn't brought much to adorn his office with. He was hoping that Emma would be right about the duration of his stay here. He looked up as the door chime rang.
"Enter", he said allowing the doors to swish open.
A Vulcan woman walked in and bowed. "Greetings, Captain Jilrak. I am Lieutenant Fenora."
"Welcome aboard Lieutenant", Jilrak replied with a smile, extending a hand to one of the chairs in front of his desk. "Please, have a seat."
"Thank you," Fenora said, returning his smile. She looked around the office as she sat down. She was curious to see what he thought was important enough or interesting enough to keep in his office.
"So, what brings our Chief Science Officer to my Spartan office?" Jilrak asked, looking at her. His eyes were very intense and slightly unnerving and calming at the same time.
She liked the directness of his gaze. It said a lot about his character. "I like to meet the people I'll be working with when I join a new ship, and since I'll be reporting to you, I thought I should at least say hello first."
"That works for me", Jilrak replied with a smile. "So, hello. Why don't you tell me a little bit about yourself that I won't read in your personnel file."
"That's a question I'd expect from a counselor," she said, her smile softening the comment. "It's an odd feeling to work with people who started their careers after I resigned my commission. It makes me feel...old."
"A good XO is part counselor", Jilrak replied. "You feel old? Try being from the 23rd century. I actually got to listen to Captain Kirk speak at an academy symposium."
She leaned forward."Really? That would be fascinating. Although I did get to hear Ambassador Spock speak on Unification."
"I imagine", Jilrak said. "I was assigned to the USS Bozeman on my cadet cruise. We encountered a temporal anomaly, almost destroyed the USS Enterprise-D, and the rest they say is history. It took a while to get used to the 24th century and some of the political shifts for sure."
Fenora nodded. "I read a lot of history. There have been a lot of changes in those years, yes." She waved to the ship. "I was away for seven years. Even in that short span the changes are notable."
"Indeed", Jilrak said. "Even though I have technically been in Starfleet for the last 9 years, being the cultural attaché at the Federation embassy on my home world does keep one a bit removed from the changes. Not saying that I am complaining. I spent a lot of time with my great, great nephews and nieces on the beach while there and attended a lot of social gatherings."
"I needed a complete break from Starfleet and went back to teaching on Vulcan. Academics and knowledge were more the focus than exploration and politics." She didn't want to be around family for the first year, but her parents came to visit her often. She appreciated the value of being around family.
"I can understand that completely", Jilrak replied. "the reason why I went from a starship captain to working at the local embassy was that I needed a break. If we don't listen to our body and heart when we need a break, often the mind tends to give us the break, whether we want one or not."
Fenora nodded. "Definitely. So, since you are here now, do I take it you've worked through what made you leave?"
"Oh, I had worked through it within a year or so", Jilrak said. "After that, I was staying because I was enjoying myself. I actually hadn't learned that I had extended family here until I was the executive officer on Starbase 12. So, the time on Cait let me re-connect with my family and my own race as well. Even though the Federation is about an intergalactic melting pot, there is something to be said for living amongst your own species for a while."
"There is. Although I'm a hybrid, so I don't really have one home. I'm part of that melting pot. There is still something to be said for families."
"Yes, families are indeed important", Jilrak said. "Annoying as hell sometimes, but still important. Did you grow up on Vulcan?"
"I spent my childhood on Vulcan, then we moved to Earth. I think Earth is more my home than Vulcan, but it was good to get away for a few years."
Jilrak nodded and said, "I have never been to Vulcan. Not sure if my fur could take it. I think I would be brushing sand and dirt out of it for ages."
"Only if you go into the desert. The cities are quite nice, if you like heat." She smiled. "I've never been to Cait."
"Outside the cities, mainly savannas in the four northern continents and jungles from the southern one, where I come from", he replied. "There are some ice packs on the poles, but they are not stable or warm enough for having a settlement there."
"Makes sense. I like deserts ad jungles, but I haven't spent much time on a savanna. Most of the places I've worked are either sand or jungle."
"As far as I am concerned, I am going to stay away from the savannas. Too many fleas and ticks", Jilrak replied shaking his head with a slight frown on his face and his ears lay down some before perking back up.
"Just about anywhere has the potential for some sort of vermin," Fenora said. "If it's not caused by nature, it's caused by man."
Jilrak chuckled and said, "So true, so true."
He paused and then asked, "So, what are you looking to accomplish during your time here?"
"I have a lot of life to live, and there's a lot of space to explore. Summers aren't enough." She shrugged. "I like the variety and the stability you get on a starship."
"Variety, I am sure there will be", Jilrak said. "Stability, that depends a lot on the variety of encounters that we face. Your answer however, doesn't answer my question, what do you want to accomplish? "
She looked at him for a long moment. "I'm not sure. I need to move on with my life. Coming back to Starfleet was the first step. Taking the position of Chief Science Officer is the second." She shrugged. "Doing my job well is accomplishment enough for now."
"Fair enough", Jilrak replied. "Do you have any questions for me that I haven't answered already?"
"What do you expect from me?" she asked.
"I expect hourly status reports, for you to win a Daystrom Innovation award by Tuesday, and solve Veriad's temporal improbability theorem by the end of the month", Jilrak said with a slight smirk. His tail swished about a little playfully.
"In all seriousness though, my expectations are simple", he continued. "Do your job well, be prepared, communicate, and be a good team mate."
She made a mental note to pay attention to his tail. It was very revealing. "As long as others speak the same language." There was a mischevous twinkle in her eye as she spoke. "I speak a number of languages, but science geek seems to elude a number of people."
"Well, it does have a number of dialects that can make it difficult to learn", Jilrak replied with a smile. "I've only learned enough not to be totally lost when as science officer is speaking to me."
Fenora nodded sagely. "That's true. I admit my theoretical mathematics is only standard, but I do speak advanced literature and ancient history. It comes in handy when studying ancient civilizations."
"I can only imagine", he replied in Vulcan. "It must make things much easier."
She inclined her head and smiled, pleased at how well he spoke the language. She replied in Vulcan, "It does. I would look quite foolish if I didn't know my own language."
"Not necessarily", Jilrak said. "A child not exposed to their native tongue is not any less of a member of that race than one who is."
"Very true. Not all children who are born in a culture grow up to embrace it, either. I love Vulcan history and its people, but I'm more Terran in my attitudes and ideology. And you..." She shook her head. "I can't imagine how hard it must have been for you."
"In what aspect?", he asked, cocking his head to the side slightly.
"The time jump," she said. "Suddenly, you're in a world where everything is the same but different. Where the family you knew is gone and the galaxy has advanced significantly. In a matter of minutes, you're a stranger in a strange land."
"It actually wasn't as hard as one would think", Jilrak replied. "I was young, so didn't truly appreciate such things as family. In addition, given life on a starship back in the 23rd century, the ones during the time I came in were rather comfortable."
"Fair point," she conceded. "And traveling the stars is a lot more comfortable now."
"For sure", Jilrak said. "I was very pleased with the advancement of food replicators. Food from replicators back then tasted like mud on a good day and sometimes came out looking like it."
"True." She cocked her head to one side. "So, what can you tell me about this ship?"
"Besides it being small?", Jilrak answered. "As a class it was designed for diplomatic missions and when not doing that, survey missions, so I am sure your department will have a lot to do. The Axca herself still has that new ship smell and I am not one hundred percent sure as to what Starfleet has planned for us."
"We will, but I'm used to something larger, so it'll be interesting to see how creative we can be with spaces."
"Yes, I am used to much larger as well", Jilrak replied. "But, necessity is the mother of invention."
Fenora nodded. "Yes, indeed. For many things." Sometimes just getting out there was a necessity.
"Do you have any other questions?" Jilrak asked.
"Not at the moment," she said. "I should let you get back to your work."
"Thank you Lieutenant", Jilrak replied. "I have enjoyed our discussion. We must do it again sometime."
"Yes, we should." She smiled. "I'm not hard to find."
Commander Gra'sh Jilrak
Chief Science Officer