Starting on the Wrong Foot
Location: Mess Hall
Statzia carefully maneuvered herself in a circle, giving an apologetic smile to the Trill behind her. The mess was crowded, and she had timed her breakfast poorly. Moving one crutch, and then the other, and then a hop, she slowly worked her way through the crowd, trying carefully not to tip her tray.
Nokomis was late and she was never late. Yet today, she was because she'd somehow she'd slept in much later than usual. Of course there was a line. All she really wanted was coffee and something she could grab on the way to Logan's office where she was supposed to be meeting him this morning.
Statzia had just managed to maneuver around another crew member when the tip of her crutch hit a wet spot on the tile floor. Her left crutch went out from under her, and she took a hand off the tray to catch herself. Her kava juice and scrambled eggs flew forward off the tray as she landed face-first on the mess hall floor.
Nearly the entire contents of the tray ended up down the front of Nokomis's new crisp uniform, giving her a cold and warm splash of drink and food all at the same time. She looked down at herself, blinked then down at the woman sprawled on the floor in the midst of everything. She was covered with the stuff as well. Mis reached down and offered her a hand with a sigh. "Are you all right?"
"I'm fine." Statzia waved away the hand, pushing herself up onto her right knee. She didn't make eye contact with the Commander, but began picking up the food and utensils and piling them on the tray.
"You have either the best or the worst luck, I can't decide. To come aboard the ship in the middle of an attempted Borg takeover and then to have our next meeting be this. Life is never boring for you is it?" Nokomis joked mildly.
Statzia gave a quiet sigh. She was well aware of the dozens of eyes on her, and on the XO who was now covered in her breakfast. "I'm certainly not a lucky rabbit's foot, Commander." She felt a knot in the pit of her stomach, remembering the snide comments of former crewmates about how much bad luck she was. She wasn't one for superstitions, but she couldn't help but to admit that bad luck did tend to follow her.
She finished picking up most of the food and utensils, and finally looked up, scanning the room for a mop. A crew member, however was already standing by with a bucket and rags, and took the tray of food bits out of Statzia's hand.
"I've never met anyone who was. I was a bit pressed for time this morning but now my schedule is going to have to change. Sit with me for a moment, I'll get you some more breakfast." She turned to fetch it, leaving the woman to pick a table after she'd risen from the floor.
Statzia gave a barely audible sigh. In that moment, she wanted nothing more than to disappear. The eyes of half the mess hall were still on her and the mess at her feet...but this was the First Officer making the request of her, and Lt. Commander Stepanova's parting words before leaving the Mercutio still played in the back of her mind.
After wiping down the rubber tips of the crutches to make sure she didn't take another spill, Statzia picked a table at the edge of the hall. She sat, messy uniform and all, and waited on the Commander.
"There you go, breakfast of champions." And since she was already going to be late but had taken the time to call Logan and let him know of the situation, she now had time to sit down and actually eat something without running off. "May I ask you a personal question?"
Statzia didn't pick up the fork on the tray. She wasn't feeling as hungry anymore. Finally, she made eye contact with the Commander, and nodded.
"Does it bother you when people try to help?" Mis asked as she sat down across from her. She imagined that Stazia might think she wanted to ask how she'd lost the leg in the first place and would therefore be surprised.
Statzia looked away from the Commander for a moment. "When I lost my leg, it wasn't the only thing I lost. My entire team died in that mission. In every step of my recovery, I had to prove that I could still do this, not just physically, but emotionally. All of the tests, all of the psych evals, and everyone in the room second-guessing whether I could still be a Starfleet officer."
She finally picked up the fork, prodding absently at the eggs. "I am aware that those evaluations are still being made, Commander. Anything that someone has to do for me is one more tally mark on the column in favor of my discharge." Statzia made eye contact again. "I don't want anyone to do anything for me. Not out of pity, not out of charity. I need to prove that I can do this."
Nokomis nodded, she had expected as much. "Since you're so freely offering up information I'll give you some as well. I'm not on that committee. I know that you can do things yourself. I've seen you attack the Borg. Doesn't mean I can't still offer a hand to someone, which I would do to any poor soul who ended up on the floor covered in their breakfast. I'm sure you're not the first person that's happened to." Mis gave her a smile.
Statzia gave a soft chuckle. "After everything I've survived, I wasn't about to let the Borg be the thing that ships me home in a pine box. I'm not about to prove my father right about this line of work."
"He doesn't approve?" Mis asked, nibbling on her own meal. Parental dynamics were always so complicated, even between her and her own parents.
Statzia gave a sarcastic chuckle, finally deciding to take a bite of her eggs. "I grew up bouncing from one scrap hauler to the next scavenger ship to the next ship graveyard. I've been taking these things apart since I could walk." She waved her fork at the ceiling above and around them, before stabbing another glob of eggs. "Not only does he think it's safer to be on one of these once it's dead in the water, but surely I am not good enough to be on one of these things while it's flying around. Stay home, reproduce more hands to take apart more ships, that kind of thing."
"Ah, yeah. My mother thought I should be wearing skirts, meeting dignitaries and giving everyone that fake glass smile that she always had ready. My father . . . he was less judgmental." She couldn't help but wince since finding out she may not have known her father as well as she thought.
Statzia noticed the flinch, but simply put another bite of breakfast in her mouth. It wasn't her place. New ship, she's the XO, and such. "That sounds infinitely more glamorous than hosing explosively decompressed biomaterial off of salvaged deck plating so it can be sold for scrap." She paused. "I'd offer to trade you, but you'd have to lose half a leg for it to be convincing." It was a rare thing, lately, but there was a hint of a grin in the corner of her lips.
"I would have taken the bargain up until that point. You would have done well there, smile, be friendly. It wasn't such an easy task for an introvert but you have better social skills than me I suspect. Funny I ended up as an XO where social skills are needed on a daily basis. I'll tell you a secret, I pretend."
Statzia gave a smile. After a bit of an awkward pause, she looked up from her plate. "Commander, if I may?...I should probably get cleaned up and report to my new office. After our Borg encounter, I'll have a lot of work to do."
"Of course. Try to enjoy the rest of your day Lieutenant." Mis remained for a moment more before rising and making her way to the exit as well.
Commander Nokomis Diza
Executive Officer, USS Orion
Lieutenant JG Anastatzia Liski
Chief Operations Officer, USS Orion