Mission 3: Diplomacy, what’s that?
Timeline: Mission Day 8 at 0700
Phelan walked with a lighter step than one might expect of his 6'3" frame and there was, in the way that he moved and the way that his restless gaze searched the area around him, something of the security officer who never seemed to be off duty entirely. People gave way before him though he was always prepared to go around or stop to help. He had a sort of predatory gait combined with long legs that covered a lot of ground when needed.
At the moment, he was following the directions he had been given to the base commander's office and, as he always did, he took in his surroundings. He noticed things that others missed. Like pair of patrol officers who lounged at a small cafe, flirting with one of the waitresses, and the dark-eyed security officer who was more watchful, fixing him with a sharp stare as he passed. Phelan noticed too the passersby, some strolling at a leisurely stroll, while others, like himself, had a more purposeful stride. He noticed it all. In part, it was his nature, and in part, his job. Eight years in Security aboard the Theodore Roosevelt, affectionately known as the Rough Rider, had taught him much about his job. He had learned every inch of that ship and made sure that everyone in Security did as well.
Starting over seemed almost punitive but that was Starfleet. You went where you were sent. Orders were orders; and so, he pressed the chime on the door and waited patiently for a response.
A yeoman rushed up to Phelan. She was a tall, lanky brunette with a hawkish nose but with mousy eyes. "Excuse me! What do you think you're doing?" she asked Phelan. "May I ask who you are and what you're doing?"
Phelan pivoted as she rushed up to him but didn't give ground. "You may," he said, in accented Federation Standard. "I'm the station's new Chief of Security with orders to report in as soon as I arrived." He fixed her with a direct stare and leaned forward slightly. "Why?"
"Um, sir," the yeoman squeaked out in a hesitant voice. "You have not met Commander M'Mira. You do not understand how she thinks or works." She blushed embarrassed. "Most likely she is taking a nap, though that is not talked about officially. She would deny it. But she very much likes visitors to be announced. It gives her a moment to gather herself, you see?" She gulped hard, hoping that Phelan would not press the issue too hard and would allow her to do her job.
Phelan stepped back and to the side, out of view of the door, and gestured for her to proceed. "I can wait," he said.
The yeoman exhaled deeply and gave Phelan a meek smile. She touched her commbadge and said, =^= Commander M'Mira, there is a Lieutenant Phelan Zhaan here. He's reporting in as the new Chief of Security. =^=
M'Mira stretched off her desk and lazily picked up a PADD in her office. She wondered how Tomer Chaim would take this news as he had been the Acting Chief of Security for some time. Stretching out an opposite leg and arm to nearly impossible lengths, she yawned. Her posture returned to that of an awake Caitian and she responded after the delay, =^= I can see that. Please allow him in. =^=
The yeoman stepped aside and allowed Phelan to enter into M'Mira's office.
Phelan entered, his gaze took in the office, quick glances that provided him with enough information to act if it became necessary, and walked up to the desk. "Lieutenant Zhaan reporting as ordered, Commander," he said. His voice was a warm tenor, capable of belting out orders or humming softly in the shower, and though his command of the language was good, he would always carry a bit of an accent. Formulaic but again, that was Starfleet, built on traditions such as this one, that harkened back to the days before there even was a Federation. Again, in keeping with a long-standing tradition, he proffered a PADD containing his orders.
M'Mira took the PADD, looked it over for a moment and then handed it back. "At ease, Lieutenant," she told him with a lazy purr. For a non-Caitian, he was reasonably good looking, she noted. Of course, that would not matter because her parents would not hear of her being with anyone less than a Caitian of well rearing. "Would you like a cup of coffee?" she asked as her tail slowly swished from the left to the right with a slight upwards curl. "And tell me about your time on the Theodore Rrroosevelt?"
"Absolutely," he said, and then because he was more used to doing than he ever would be sitting still, "Allow me. Can I get you something as well?"
M'Mira purred happily, her tail lifting in a greater curl. "You may do so. Do you know how to rrreplicate a White Rrrrusian with extrrra crrream?" she asked interestedly.
"White Russian," he repeated as he stood. "You know, we had a contest on the Rough Rider, that's what we called the Theodore Roosevelt where everyone had to come up with an interesting drink. Non-alcoholic of course," he said as he walked over to the replicator. "As I recall, the Gamma Shift lead in Engineering came in second with just that drink. White Russian. The winner was this amazing looking thing called a Magic Mule." He chuckled as he programmed in the White Russian he'd learned back then and amended it for extra cream and waited for the drink to appear. "It was everyone's favorite drink for the longest while." When the drink was finished, he brought it to her and set it down, "Hope you like it."
When he had his own cup of coffee, straight and strong, he returned to his seat and took a cautious sip, waiting for her response.
"A Magic Mule?" M'Mira mused. "Perrrrhaps you will have to intrrroduce me to that drrrink at some point," M'Mira answered, pleased that this officer knew how to properly care for her. She took the drink and sipped it, cream forming a white mustache on her fur above her lip. "Mmmmm," she purred. "You know yourrr way arrround a rrreplicatorrrr."
"Engineering taught people how to do it without causing problems. It was just part of how things worked on the Roosevelt," Phelan said. "Worked long hours. Not much in the way of shore leave on our patrol route." He shrugged lightly as he lifted the mug to his lips and took a sip. "We learned to make our own fun." He chuckled over the brim. "Had some very unique replicator programs, I must say."
"I will take yourrr worrrd forrr it," M'Mira responded. "Perrrhaps you should tell me a bit about yourself."
"What would you like to know," Phelan said, his expression turning serious again, as he settled into his seat. Body language dropped away as the individual was replaced by the security chief who didn't telegraph anything to anyone. "Within reason, I'll answer any question you feel the need to ask."
M'Mira wondered at Phelan's protectiveness but let it pass for the moment. "Tell me about yourrr interests, maybe yourrr favorrrite colorrr, whetherrr you have a family, and the things that you do when you arrre not on duty."
"Interests," he said, his voice dropping to a rumble as he said, "hmmm. All the usual things, I guess. I study different forms of martial arts so at the moment, it's kickboxing, but my style is definitely mixed. Probably the same reason I learn unusual weaponry." He smiled, a shy flash, as he said, "At the moment, it's a quarterstaff. Love the water, swimming, diving, and all that. Right now, I'm working on surfing. So, I suppose all of that tells you something. I'm always pushing the limits. Doing something more. Harder. Different. But I like quiet times. Reading a book. Spending time with friends ... especially friends that can cook because I can't. I mean, at all. Though I'm really good at fetching for someone who can." He took a sip of coffee, balancing the mug on the top of his thigh. "As for color, well ..." He lifted his cup and took a sip, studying her over the edge of the rim. "I'm partial to green."
M'Mira's green eyes sparkled back at Phelan, more than a little pleased. She honored him with a toothy grin. "Well, I'm cerrrtain that you will be a fine addition. Misterrr Chaim might be verrry happy to be rrrelieved from the Acting Chief duties. He's a good soldierrr. I think you will like him."
"I'm looking forward to meeting him," Phelan said. He took a moment to finish off his coffee and then returned his mug to the reclamation chute. "Was there anything else you wanted to know?"
"Therrre is quite a bit. Has anyone told you about ourrr Santa Claus prrrroblem?"
Phelan slipped back into his seat, head quirked slightly to one side, as he considered the question. "Your Santa Claus problem? I haven't had a chance to review reports about ongoing cases as yet."
"Let me summarrrize. Seven days ago, we werrre visited by Santa Claus who said that he was going to judge us. A day laterrrr he rrreappearrred and said that we werrre naughty and have a week to abandon the station. That is tomorrrrrrow. I have put togetherrr some unrrreporrrted anomalies. Firrrst, the Ferrrengi Ambassadorrr appearrred at the same time as the second Santa appearrrance. I also saw a rrreporrrt from our Counselor, Kara Quinn-Chaim who thought the minerrrs on Luna were hiding something. They werrre not over enthusiastic about having us therrre in the firrrst place, and accorrrding to the Counselorrr, they could not rrrush us out fasterrr enough eitherrr. Howeverrr, the minerrrs were here afterrr that Santa Claus was. They wanted to meet with the Ferrrengi Ambassadorrr, so the rrreporrrt says.... I was debating who to send to investigate but now that you arrre herrre, you can. Lieutenant Chaim is a good officer, Lieutenant, but he can be like a bull in a china shop, as humans say."
"I'll keep that in mind," Phelan said. He made a mental note to review the service records for everyone in security; something he would have done in any case. Knowing the strengths and weaknesses of those who worked for him helped him in making assignments. A 'bull in a china shop' was an idiom he did not quite understand though he believed it meant someone not given to considering his actions and that sort of information would be important to know. "Would you mind if I asked you a few questions about Mr. Claus?"
"I will tell you whateverrr I can. It is a human myth, so I may not be the best being to do it," M'Mira responded simply.
"Were you present either time this individual appeared," Phelan asked.
"Both times, in fact. It was neitherrr a living being norrr was it a holo prrrojection. Odd, no?"
"Very," Phelan responded, leaning forward slightly in his seat. "Did it appear solid or semi-transparent? And did it respond to what you said or to its surroundings or was it just a recorded message?"
"It seemed interactive but was semi-trrrransparrrent."
"And were you able to identify the point of origin for the transmission," he asked.
"No," M'Mira replied, some of the cream on her upper lip finding its way down to her. She let her tongue out and licked some of the cream off her upper lip, spreading it further.
"Now, that's odd," Phelan watched her for a moment, gaze tracking her tongue and forced himself to return to the task at hand. A frown furrowed his brow, as he made a mental note to speak with Operations and Engineering about the transmission source. When questions were asked and answered, data was passed from receiver to sender and vice versa, and that meant an energy signature of some sort. "How long did the conversations last?"
"Not long. Nobody timed them. Perrrhaps a minute."
"Long enough to begin to trace the signal," he said quietly and amended the list in the back of his head to include Science as well. "And tomorrow, presumably, he returns to see if we complied. Did he appear in the same place both times? And where was that?"
"Prrromenade. You may wish to investigate the minerrrs and the Ferrrengi Ambassadorrr. I have a special assistant going to Luna to investigate morrre on the minerrrs."
"And who is that," Phelan asked. "Your investigator."
"Candy Templeton, she is a rrratherrr infamous rrreporrrterrr to the prrriorrr Faltan Station Captain. She exposed the CO and XO rrrelationship and some otherrr rrrratherrr unsettling facts. She also is the only perrrson allowed into the Faltean lands frrrom Starrrfleet. She has only one rrreal loyalty and that is to finding the trrruth. Herrr methods arrre not always palatable but I feel she is rrreliable."
"And will she bring back what she finds or publish it," Phelan asked.
"I believe so. It is against herrr naturrre not to rrreveal discoverrries that affect something."
"I see," Phelan said and immediately clamped down on any thoughts he might have on the subject.
"Well, I should let you get to it, then," M'Mira replied taking another deep drink of her White Russian with Extra Cream, more of the cream forming a new white mustache over her upper lip. "Just let me know if you need anything."
"Thank you, Ma'am," Phelan said as he surged to his feet. "I'll let you know what I find out." And as he headed toward the door, he amended silently, and of course there's no need to ask the reporter, I can just read about it in the newspaper. Shaking his head he walked out of her office. Lot to think over.