Feeling Blue, Drinking Blue
Mission 0 - Leaving the Blue Marble
Location: Romulan Embassy, Earth
Timeline: Day 3
After the meeting on her new assignment, and the subsequent meeting with Colonel Loval, they made their way out of the communications center and through the corridors, but Eilaea surprisingly did not lead them to the embassy's staff lounge area with it's associated small bar area. Instead, they eventually found themselves outside the door leading to her quarters, where she proceeded to once again tap out or otherwise provide a string of passcodes, biometrics, keycards, and other challenges for ID made by the security computer that Eilaea responded to by now as easily as breathing. The door slid open, revealing a small but single occupancy apartment as she stepped through the door. "...This should do."
"Indeed. Khnai'ra," Vriha said as she entered, trying to politely contain curiosity but nevertheless glancing around slightly. If they were going to the Orion together, it seemed likely they would share a room and her current roommate, while a good companion for technical discussions, had a tendency to leave bits she was tinkering with lying about on every level surface. Waiting until the door had closed and cycled to sealed, she offered a slight smile, nodding toward luggage neatly stowed beside the bed. "I see you have already packed as well."
"For the most part." said Eilaea, reaching into one of the bags and pulling of a pair of cut-crystal goblets...followed by reaching into the drawer she might otherwise have stowed her weapons in to pull out a bottle of deep royal blue liquid and unwound the foil and pulled the stopper, drawing back her breath appreciatively as the first wafts of it reached her nostrils. "Considering the situation, however, I may have perhaps sworn that _this_ would not leave the building alive..." She poured a generous measure into each of the goblets and set the bottle aside within easy reach.
Vriha's eyes widened slightly when the bottle had been brought out. It was a very fine vintage, far better than anything available in the lounge to be sure. Not to mention quite potent.
"I'm not sure how much I can help with 'killing it'," she said, lifting the glass in a small gesture of salute. "but I am grateful for the chance to contribute to its demise."
Eilaea raised her own glass in return, and they both took a small sip. "So. I assume you were given no more...information...on our new assignment than I was." In point of fact, Eilaea thought as she took another sip from her glass, she rather suspected the younger, more junior woman had been given rather less.
"In all likelihood, probably less," she replied, taking another sip of ale, though more measured. Based on the beverage's strength and quality, Eilaea was a far more experienced drinker and Vriha did not want to start a closer association with her by embarrassing herself. "I am still uncertain why I was chosen at all. I've hardly been outside the embassy except for a few conferences since I arrived, so my experience of the Federation is still limited. I did work with Starfleeters as a cadet, during the relief efforts after Hobus." She paused looking into her glass. "...but so did many others."
"Perhaps availability and your proximity on Earth at the moment aligned with your records as it did not with others." said Eilaea, rolling her third sip around on her tongue for the full effect. "Or it is possible--", a quick glance confirmed her personal jamming device was active, just in case she might have....missed...any bugs the embassy's Tal Shiar agent might have place, "--that some combination of desired traits, knowledge, skills, or attributes aligned in you or I."
"Perhaps..." Vriha swirled the ale in her glass, but did not yet take another sip. "On that, I was told only that I would serve as resource for you. However, it sounded as though they expected there some issue requiring scientific knowledge, in which they naturally assume the Federation would be deficient, but..." She shook her head, rolling a single shoulder in a half-shrug. "After this comm, I wonder if they simply wanted a scientist's training in observation, or if there are ...less savory reasons." She could think of any number that would fit that description, from her original fear that she was being set up as catspaw, to other ways this might be a test or set up, either for her or for others she might be used against. Or, given her background and past questions of loyalty, the Colonel's allies (presuming they were the ones who had selected her) thought she could be more easily coerced with promises of reward for showing loyalty by doing their bidding.
Eialea noted the just-so phrasing of words in 'naturally assume...is deficient', and filed it away as a data point for later use--it did not surprise her, given the files she had read on Vriha, but was worth noting nonetheless, the way in which it subtly indicated that she was perhaps not entirely sure that would pan out to be the case. Eilaea also knew expressing similar opinions more openly and blatantly in the past had led the younger officer into trouble, and that others would be offended by such statements, but she saw little reason to be: If there were things to be learned elsewhere that would be of benefit to the Empire, it was her own opinion that only a fool blinded by their own personal pride would eschew them for that reason. It was not unpatriotic to recommend things that could benefit them, if anything it was utterly pragmatic...though she was aware that a good percentage of the Tal Shiar probably disagreed with her on that point. Perhaps she could school the younger woman eventually in how to polish her suggestions such that they were more...politically palatable. Elements only knew, she thought with wry humor, that she had required that lesson herself to a degree as well; her first reports warning of the dangers of the Dominion had hardly been calibrated to the proper tone or medium to be palatable to the Senate at the time she had, younger and less polished, written them.
"Perhaps it is meant in part as a political maneuver. Show good faith in the relations between our peoples. Or perhaps," she grinned slightly, "there is a desire to be...present...when they are to be operating near or in our space; to ensure we have eyes, ears, and a voice at any potential table. The Federation takes a particular interest in its scientific endeavors. Perhaps your involvement is meant as..I believe the humans would term it..."an olive branch"."
Vriha sighed inwardly. It seemed too much to hope that it was a sign of good faith, particularly given the admonition that they were to be observers for the Empire. "I suppose it could make sense to pair a diplomatic observer with one who might note anything ...unusual... they might be doing on the technical side. As to being an 'olive branch'..." She lifted a hand, turning it in the light as her lips turned in a wry twist. "I think the only resemblance may be that our skin tone is the right shade."
Lieutenant Eilaea t'Keirianh
Operations Officer, USS Orion
Sublieutenant Vriha t'Ehhelih
Science Officer, USS Orion