Equal and Opposite Reactions
Posted on Mon Apr 9th, 2018 @ 11:46am by Centurion Eilaea t'Keirianh
Mission 0 - Leaving the Blue Marble
Location: Romulan Embassy Compound, Earth
Timeline: Day 3, 1600
When Eilaea had been called personally into the ambassador's office for a meeting it had been unusual enough, especially to have an otherwise unscheduled one. Still, it was not the first time in her career she had been called upon to mingle with "air rather above her pay grade", as she understood the humans sometimes put it; it was an occupational hazard of her particular field of employment. It had been upon entering the room and realizing she was the only other person besides the ambassador in the meeting, however, that she had her first moment of hidden pause, snapping a sharp salute and a small bow of her head while her mind had raced down a rapid-fire review of what, if anything, she might have said or done, recently or in the past, which might bode ill for her; or what could have been misconstrued as such, and how it might relate to the nature of the audience, not to mention what might--if anything--be the appropriate response and solutions to various scenarios. Whether fortunately or unfortunately, however, she was hard-pressed to think of anything which would lead to this particular event, and so decided she had little choice but to wait for the cause to reveal itself.
It had been nearly an hour later when she finally made her way out of the ambassador's office, a datapad and a stack of encrypted chips in one hand as she departed with another crisp salute, which she hoped masked any show in her eyes of her confusion and surprise, rapid-fire calculations and adjustments, and the questions still whirling within her head, the ones she had dared not ask. What went unsaid was often at least as important as that which was spoken, and for all that had been, as many things had not. The standard mentions of the reasons to place a pair of officers aboard a Federation starship for an exchange assignment had been bland at face value, but undoubtedly hinted at the usual political maneuvering behind them....Which was if anything even more perilous of late than usual, and far less predictable or unified.
The selection of specific personnel was perhaps slightly less puzzling than the existence of the assignment itself--they were both on Earth already and able to reach the ship much more quickly than had a decision been made to select personnel elsewhere who would have needed to travel...Though a corner of her mind wondered if some variation of this decision had been in the works all along; and if her placement at the embassy slightly less than a year ago had been a test of sorts in preparation for this moment.
She was not especially seasoned and experienced by the traditional standards, though nor was she exceedingly young and junior; possibly in her case it was a selection made with the age-old balance of selecting someone with enough experience to have the trust and skill to be considered capable of an assignment vs junior enough to be expendable and deniable to be sacrificed if the need arose. But still, her only direct experience working alongside Federation personnel--other than brief interactions on carefully controlled diplomatic social events this past year--had been during the brief period she had been active against the Dominion before her injuries had ended her part in the war prematurely. There were, she knew, a variety of officers in service who had greater experience in such circles than herself. Not to mention who had skills more seamlessly transferable to an exchange post aboard a Federation vessel: It was unlikely, she thought with a smirk as she packed away the few personal effects in her office and made her way out and towards her quarters, that she would be accepted aboard to serve it her own field of expertise. Or, if the powers that be were set on handing the mission over to intelligence personnel for that matter even, she was equally certain that there were plenty other officers of the Tal Diann--and probably even more agents of the Tal Shiar--who had more experience or knowledge of Federation culture, technology, or customs.
She briefly wondered if perhaps she had been preferred for some other reason--another officer someone favored for the position she held here at the embassy; or an unknown grudge against or concern about her--but could not, given the research she had done in the brief time since learning of the assignment, think it likely. Undoubtedly as stated, she was in part meant to serve as the Empire's voice and observer alike aboard the Federation vessel; but also likely to serve as supervision and guidance for Vriha...And the no-doubt advantage seen in assigning a pair, both in terms of meaning for them to....watch...one another, and perhaps also in meaning them to support one another among an alien culture aboard an alien ship, in both the day-to-day sense and should things go ill. And naturally there was the equally as likely possibility that all of the aforethought reasons came into play. Along with a variety of others she had yet to consider or uncover. Of course, for every risk inherent--politically and personally; to herself and the Empire; to her life or her career or her honor; from those inherent in the assignment itself to those still hidden....For each concern, there was an opportunity to balance it, from the potential for eventual advancement of her career, power, and ambitions accorded by the assignment; to the opportunities to serve and support the Empire and the signal of the trust placed in her skill and her loyalty to do so.
Tapping out codes and other such measures, the doors to her quarters finally slid open and she ducked inside as they closed behind her, glancing around the room that she had only less than a year before unpacked, wasted no time before starting to pack it all away once more; the books on the shelf that had been a gift from her grandparents so many years before and were a family heirloom; the small potted flowers and succulents on the desk; the photo of her mate and daughter; the bottles of ale.
By the time she placed the last of her uniforms into her bags, there was a knock on her door, revealing a junior officer who seemed distinctly nervous on first glance.
"Yes?" Eilaea fixed the young man with a gaze that, combined with her stance in the doorway, implied he should most certainly not think of entering the room.
"You have a call, Lieutenant." The young man stated, giving a less-than-perfectly-polished salute and making her wonder for a moment exactly when they had started graduating personnel so young and seemingly clueless.
One eyebrow rose slightly at this statement and a lack of action on it, glancing subtly but pointedly over at the comm terminal on her desk. "Transfer it, then."
"It is...apologies, it is not that type of call, rekkhai."
If anything he was almost fidgeting in place now, and given the definite nervousness combined with the refusal to transfer the call to her otherwise secure terminal in her quarters, Eilaea began to get an inkling of perhaps exactly what sort of call it was; and exactly where it would have to be answered from: The secure communications room in the embassy basement, and nowhere else. Which generally also meant whomever was on the line was not someone she would do well to keep waiting long; and she wasted no further time in exiting her quarters, securing them behind her and gesturing for the younger officer to lead the way.
Lieutenant Eilaea t'Keirianh
soon to be Operations Officer on USS Orion