Stranger In A Strange Land
Posted on Sat Apr 21st, 2018 @ 6:11pm by Centurion Eilaea t'Keirianh
Mission 0 - Leaving the Blue Marble
Location: Deck 14
Timeline: Day 6
After a thorough examination and careful scans of their new quarters, Eilaea finally set to work unpacking her bags. The space was fairly large for rooms meant for only two; aboard a warbird she would have expected to find a pair of centurions bunking in it, not a lieutenant and sublieutenant.
She hung a series of uniforms in the closet, along with her workout clothes, a silken sleep robe, and a set of civilian clothes, tossing her spare boots at the bottom. The shelf in the suite's bathroom filled quickly with her comb, lotions, and other items; and on the table in the main room--set in front of a plush couch that had made her raise an eyebrow in surprise at the sight of it--she placed a trio of potted plants she gently unwrapped to thankfully find undamaged, from a tiny succulent to a beautiful blooming flower that added a splash of color to the room. All had been grown from cuttings from plants in her mother's garden years ago, and had traveled with her to all her postings since. In the bedroom, a pair of framed images went on the table next to her bed, one of her parents and siblings from her younger years, the other a much more recent image of her husband and daughter; followed by a silky smooth ice blue coverlet on the bed, a decidedly non-regulation indulgence she'd used in her small apartment at the embassy.
Moving back to the main room, the shelf built into the bulkhead near the door was the next order of business, filling with a variety of padds of reading and entertainment files and several old-style paper books as well; one of them had been passed down for generations through the family and had been gifted to her by her grandparents on her commissioning. It, and the cut-crystal jewel box she sat next to it which she had filled with her favorite teas, were some of the few tangible pieces of that history left anymore. Most of the rest of those she had possessed had been lost years ago on the V'rela, and the rest in the Hobus incident with most of the rest of her family...
---20 Years Ago---
The Dominion forces had outnumbered them, alone in their mission to gather data on a potential new threat and weapons system the Dominion was supposedly developing. But more than that, the whispered rumors that they had been upgrading their weapons of late appeared to have been true. She had been assisting in damage control; ever-aware of the data chips nestled against her chest inside her uniform...The fact that her superiors had chosen to distribute them, with the readings on the new Dominion weaponry stored on them that they had sold themselves dearly for and that would hopefully allow for the development of countermeasures in the future, spoke as much as anything about the grave nature of the situation and the odds against the survival of the V'rela or anyone aboard her. It was one of the the last things Eilaea remembered aboard, in fact; save the searing heat and noise of the sudden explosion of fire and debris; and instinctively turning away and throwing her arms up to protect her face and eyes.
Her next memories were mostly a fuzzy, disorganized mix of moments; lights, and pain, and hands upon her that she fought with everything left in her, determined she would not be taken alive by the enemy....and then voices speaking her own tongue with an accent too perfect to be any Dominion agent as they urged her to remain still and everything faded to oblivion once more. An indeterminate number of days of a few clear recollections at all followed; only occasional moments of the sense of a hand lifting her head slightly and holding a cup to her lips to drink, or voices so slurred and distant seeming in her hearing she could not decipher them. Her first clear memory was those voices coming into focus at last with an accompanying increase in pain so strong she could barely bite back crying out at it; struggling to breath and finding herself immobilized, blinking her eyes against harsh lighting overhead, inner eyelids closing reflexively as she looked up into the face of the senior Tal Diann officer of the ship which had rescued her and the few other survivors from the wreckage of the V'rela. Of course, she had thought at the time as he had introduced himself, his hand unfolding to reveal the singed datachips which had no doubt been retrieved from the scorched mingling of her flesh and uniform: He would need her lucid enough for a trustworthy report; and she had done her best to give it, struggling to speak and biting back the urge to scream in pain; at the end of her report, she recalled, he had brought his arm up into a crisp salute, backwards in its offering by a senior officer to a more junior one, and one he knew she could not, at the moment, return...Both of them knowing that if she did not survive her injuries, this would have been her last duty to the Empire, to pass on the information she had.
After that it was unclear again for her for quite some time afterwards as pain and consciousness faded again alike, until memories of the sun of home on her face through the window of the hospital she had been taken to, and opening her eyes to find her father by her side.
Eilaea looked carefully around the room once more, still bemused somewhat by its size, her eyes falling again on the artwork hanging on the bulkhead over the replicator....this time not to take it off the wall to examine behind it as she had the first time during her initial search of the rooms, but to consider the work itself: A wash of colors blending together on a lacquered surface against a black and silver background, depicting a nebula. She had to admit, it was a nice piece. One she might have purchased for her own home...though she wondered why the Federation would waste resources placing such items in quarters aboard its starships on a seemingly routine basis. At least they appeared to have one sensible practice in common: She had, during her initial review of the quarters, found a small wall safe to store weapons or other items; though she had yet to rekey it for their own use with whatever access codes they would be issued aboard. She had noticed during the walk here that most of the ship's crew did not seem to be carrying sidearms; but was not about to part with hers from its holster at her side unless so ordered directly, and even less likely to part with the blade concealed under her tunic...it seemed a poor practice to not have all crew and officers armed at all times: If they were boarded unexpectedly they would be at a great disadvantage, and if they found themselves in a ship-to-ship battle with the risk of such, they would have to take time and manpower from that fight to distribute weapons. As she took the last items from her bags - her carefully packed collection of ale - and placed the elegant crystal bottles with their azure ambrosia on a credenza near the window, she was sure however that the observation was just the first of many differences she would no doubt encounter serving aboard a Federation vessel.
Lieutenant Eilaea t'Keirianh
Operations Officer, USS Orion