The New Diplomatic Officer
General Sim Postings
Location: Starbase 51 - Mira Sector - Various
Karyn was on the holodeck learning Tai Chi when the communications sounded =/\= Chief Somers, the new Chief Diplomatic officer will be arriving in a few hours, as per rules you will need to be there to greet the officer =/\= came to the voice of the duty officer.
=/\= Acknowledged, Somers out =/\= Karyn said and closed the link and grumbled loudly, she was a marine, not a greeting party, regardless orders were the orders "computer end program" she said and the familiar black with yellow lines grid appeared, she still wondered why all the holodecks looked the same, only difference was the holodecks always varied in size, depending on the Starbase or ship they were on. Picking up a towel she left the holodeck and headed straight to her quarters to freshen up and get dressed.
- Arrival's Lounge - SB51 -
Karyn was standing in the arrivals area as the transport carrying the new Diplomatic Officer arrived, she made sure she was presentable and waited as the final docking was completed. A short time later, the passengers, mostly service personnel, started disembarking. She noted an average looking man to her mind pause and look around, she waved at him for him to approach her.
Paul chuckled to himself softly and made his way over to the woman. In his relatively brief time in Starfleet, he had noticed one thing that was definitely not standardized were the welcome procedures. The Chief's demeanour rated something between bemusement and irritation. Paul figured there wasn't likely to be any corner of the service were receiving a junior officer's transport was the preferred assignment.
"I didn't realize I rated a welcome party." Paul smiled and extended his hand to the woman.
Taking the offered hand and giving it a good, firm shake "Lieutenant JG Wakeham Paul Alasia, welcome to Starbase 51, I will be your orientation officer until Captain Somers is ready to see you" Karyn said as she pondered the Lieutenants response.
"Wow, very official." He hesitated. "Wakeham is, uhh... Paul is fine. If there are no other officers around, Chief, and you won't get in trouble, you don't need to..." for a moment he considered how unlikely it was his interlocutor cared for the details regarding his preferred nomenclature. He stopped himself and swallowed. "Paul is fine."
Looking at him with a disarming smile "sadly El-tee I am a marine and it is going to be hard for me to do that, so please give me time. Now as your orientation officer I will show you around the key areas that are currently accessible as this starbase is still under construction" Somers said as some enlisted fleet personnel arrived "hand your bags over to them El-tee they will take them to your temporary quarters" Karyn said as one of the enlisted ratings handed Alasia a key card with a room number and level he was on to him.
Paul smiled, surprised. "I don't think I've ever had on-boarding that involved someone taking my bags for me. Thanks."
"No worries, *pointing at the card* that is where you will be received. So, if you would please follow me, our first stop is Station Security where you will be given your clearances and such. Until you got those clearances, you will not be allowed in the command centre" Karyn said.
"That's fine." He furrowed his brow. "Actually, I don't know that I've ever been given command centre clearance at all before. Is that a courtesy that's usually extended to a diplomatic officer? I've been on ship bridges before but I always had to ask permission each individual time."
*Smiling at him as she walked* "Captain Somers runs things differently on this base and the Tomcat" Karyn responded as they entered the turbo lift. "Main Security," she said when the doors closed, the lifts were not fast yet as power adjustments were still being done.
"So, I'm embarrassed to say, I don't think I caught your name."
*Small smile* "Chief Warrant Officer Karyn Lynne Somers 95th Rifles, but off duty call me Karyn, otherwise I would say Chief *pause* as for the CC clearances, the Captain will expect you to do more than just be a Diplomatic officer, when you finally board the Tomcat you will be expected to do a secondary post on the bridge, for that you will need to speak to the CO. Apologies for the slow ride, with this Starbase still being constructed power distribution is spotty" Karyn said.
As the ride continued, a remark the enlisted woman made finally landed with Paul. "So wait - a secondary post on the bridge?"
*Smiling as she looked at him* "finally sunk in huh! Yes Captain Somers will expect a secondary post to be filled on the bridge, as you are a Diplomatic Officer, you will need to keep busy when you are not required for Diplomatic duties, so I would choose an area you will be comfortable working in otherwise you will find the missions boring until you are needed" Karyn explained.
Paul did his best to hide a creeping frown. He'd never had bridge duties before. Occasionally, one of his postings would provide a console on the bridge in case the Captain needed a quick and dirty diplomatic briefing in real time, but even then, it was rare. His mind began to race through the implications as the turbolift eased into its destination.
- Main Security -
As the lift finally arrived at its destination the doors opened onto a bustling level, both exited the lift and headed to the main Security Office.
"Unlike Starbase 332, our Fleet Security personnel wear white and red armbands with Station Security on them and the marine after security the same colours, but MP for Military Police. 332, I hear tell, has their Security Officers wearing blue undershirts as the confusion with other Operations personnel was becoming a problem. Any questions before we enter the main security office?" Karyn asked.
"Do you know what kind of database access am I going to get? I've noticed that different outfits have wildly different security procedures for relatively benign sources of information."
"You will have access appropriate to your rank and Station, and any and all correspondence that requires Diplomacy, your secondary duty will have to be discussed with the Captain when you meet her," Karyn said as they entered main security.
Despite his best efforts, Paul could feel his frown growing at the non-answer. The pair approached a wide console/desk combination. They were greeted by a male Marine Sergeant Major.
"Lieutenant Alasia, this is Sergeant Major Christopher Kildare he will sort out your security clearances," Karyn said by way of introduction.
Kildare looked up and smiled "ah you are the new officer, judging from your colour shirt you are Diplomatic. Now Sir if you will come over to the console and place your hand on the scanner plate we will begin," he said indicating the console.
"Thank you very much for your help, Chief." Paul let slip an apprehensive smile. "Very much appreciated."
"Not a problem El-tee, I will wait for you while you get sorted out," Karyn said with a smile.
As the new Officer and Kildare approached a wall screen console with a touch keyboard on it. The console was a clear sheet of transparent aluminium connected to the starbase security systems. The touchscreen interface was a new innovation, and vastly more secure than those consoles on ships and other Starbases.
Paul gazed at the machine as it set about its hypnotic work. His eyes turned up to Kildare. Intimidated, Paul silently attempted to begin a sentence multiple times but swallowed his words each time. Paul's general understanding was that marines did not like him much and he couldn't quite say it wasn't mutual. Outside of his duties, Paul had spent years bemoaning the ongoing militarization of Starfleet both before he joined, and since.
Nonetheless, Paul made his best attempt to sound casual. "So, Sergeant Major" Paul began as the other man glanced up at him, "Marines running intake and security. That's interesting." Paul trailed off. "That's, uh - how did how did that come to be around here?" He smiled weakly.
"Okay, place your hand on the screen, then place your eye to the scanner. The computer will scan your handprint and DNA and the retina scanner will record your ocular signature," Kildare said before he answered the officer's questions. "The reason why Marines are doing the intake is that fleet security officers are few in number at this moment in time, so we do intake and help out in security. You will find the 95th Rifles are a versatile bunch. The Chief and I over there have worked in Fleet security before, so we have been wrangled into helping out. *pause* As for how I got here, I am a Bomb disposal expert by trade and I used to work alongside Chief Somers sister Major Somers. Can you imagine? The Major's hobby was creating micro-explosive devices, so it was logical to have someone to defuse such things when they went awry. Thankfully, after the first screw-up, the Major learned her lesson. I am here because I got antsy sitting back on Earth. I wanted fun and adventure, and here I am" Kildare finished with some irony in his tone.
The signal came across the console "complete" following the retinal scan. Paul sat back in his chair while his compatriot busied himself inputting relevant information on his padd. He seemed an affable enough fellow. "Have you heard anything about why they're so hard up for conventional security?"
Without looking at the Lieutenant, Kildare spoke "This starbase is still being constructed and currently in secret, there are sensor scattering satellites all around the perimeter. Those who arrive here have signed what was once known as an NDA, conventional security is slowly trickling in, already we Marines are doing less in security work" he answered, "I take it you mean in a different way?"
"I mean, you joined the marines to be planetside I would imagine. Right? If you wanted to be breathing re-circulated air you could have just joined Starfleet Security straight away. Is this what you were hoping for when you joined up?"
"El-tee I am a career marine, if duty puts me on a starbase or ship or on a planet, then that is where I go, I am demolitions I defuse bombs and as such most of my experiences in that aspect are on a base or ship, so I am easy, but I have often thought duty to a planetside base would be nice at some point. To help I usually go to the Arboretum or the Holodeck" Kildare answered.
"You definitely know the right things to say," Paul smirked, thinking to himself the Sergeant Major had the patter of a true soldier down cold. "I think I'd be a lot more useful to Starfleet if I had your attitude. When I don't like my assignment, I have a tendency to complain."
"Little bit of advice, sir: do not upset the Captain. She will accept valid arguments on things, but she is none too keen on those who whine too much," Kildare said with a smile as an ID Card popped out of the dispenser followed by a strip of paper, Kildare took them and walked over to the Security desk "El-tee, if you could sit down in front of this desk we will move on to the last stage, then I will hand you back over to Chief Somers and she can take over from there" Kildare said.
Paul followed to where the Sergeant Major gestured. "What's this last bit?"
"I need a voice print," Kildare said setting up the device that would record the new officers signature tone, he gave him a passage to read out that would account for all the nuances of speech "read that Sir please then I can issue you your credentials and we are done here" Kildare said.
Upon reciting the passage, the Sergeant Major gestured that he was down. Paul stood and extended his hand to the Sergeant Major. "I appreciate the help."
*Smiling* "no problem El-tee, it will be a moment while your ID card and security clearances are set, you look like someone with more questions Sir, out with them?" Kildare responded.
"Any chance the next thing is a meeting with the quartermaster?" Paul asked. "I literally don't even know what time it is on this station right now."
"After the Chief has given you some final information, you will be free to move about the station as you please, she may show you command, but may not as you will have clearance to go up there. This base is currently secret there are sensor scramblers at its perimeter, hence why security is so high and the name SB 51, but the name is temporary" Kildare responded "as for the time, we go by earth standard time-keeping and such" he added and handed the Lieutenant his ID badge, and security clearance codes.
"All done, Lieutenant. I will return you to the capable hands of the Chief" he finished as Karyn approached from behind.
Paul nodded. "Thank you very much, Sergeant Major."
*Smiling* "not a problem Sir" Kildare simply answered and left allowing Karyn to take over.
Paul turned to his attention to Somers. "Alright, it's your show, Chief. Where to next?"
*Looks at him* "Well I can show you to your assigned quarters, or we can stop off at a cafe for a drink. Also at some point Captain Somers may contact you, she would have been notified you would have arrived, so expect an assignment call from her. As a Diplomatic Officer, you will be spending more time away from the ship than on it. Our presence in the area you see has ruffled some proverbial feathers. The Minister on Galen IV and the various ambassadors there, the Talarian Patriarch and the High Minister of Mira system, they are not full members, but they are under protection from the Federation, so you will have work cut out for you *pause* so what first drink then escort to your quarters? I am your guide until we get to your quarters, after that you are on your own, so besides the two options, what would you like to do before going to your quarters?" Karyn asked.
"I'm so glad you mentioned something to drink. I've been parched since before I arrived." Paul asked.
*smiling* "okay the local cafe it is then," Karyn said heading to the Promenade, the multi-level area was practically empty as there were mainly cafes and a couple of restaurants and a club that did retro nights. She stopped at a human run cafe and sat down, she called a waitress over.
The waitress seemed happy to see Karyn as she walked over "hi Karyn, what can I get you and your companion?" she asked.
*Looking favourably at the waitress* "I will have a Tarkalean tea, El-tee, what is your poison?" Karyn responded then looked at Alasia as she asked the question.
"I guess I don't know much about what you have. Just any black tea, sweetened and cold, please." He responded. The waitress smiled before her exit and Paul turned his attention back to the enlisted woman. "So, you're a Somers. The Captain is a Somers. Is it presumptuous to ask if that's a coincidence?"
"no, it is no coincidence, the Captain is my cousin, my sister is a Major on SB332. I and my Sister grew up among the Federation's elite: my parents are diplomats, my mother is an aide to a Vulcan diplomat and my Pops is a diplomat to the Klingon Empire, well one of them anywho. So from a young age, I and my Sister were trained on Klingon melee weapons, she was groomed to be a diplomat too, but chose to be a Marine, I just started my Diplomatic training when I enlisted in Starfleet" Karyn responded and allowed what she said to sink in as the waitress arrived with their respective drinks.
"Thanks," Karyn said and with a smile, the waitress left the pair alone, looking back at Alasia, "something tells me you have more questions!" she said with a smile.
Paul pointed indicated the colour of his collar. "With that background, I'd think you'd be wearing purple."
*smiling* "and if I was in the Diplomatic corps or my Sister was, then I would agree, but our training - however brief - was informal. Neither of us went through the Academy for Diplomacy, this is why neither of us practices the craft. So what made you decide to become a diplomatic Officer?" Karyn asked after she took a drink.
"It's funny you say that, actually," Paul replied. "I didn't go to the academy either. To be honest with you, the decision to work in geopolitics came a long time before I decided to become a diplomatic officer."
"I see, well with my family if it could be compared to that of the 20th and early 21st to 22nd Centuries families were, my family would in the old world be influential, rich and powerful *pause* but in today's world we are just influential, well my parents are not me or my sister. Our house stands on five acres of land and it is a large mansion old style building, so we have comfort *with a self-depreciating chuckle* probably why I became a marine and moved out" Karyn said. She then looks at him "I suspect my sister did it for the same reason too, what did you mean, exactly?" she said ending with a question.
"I guess what I mean is that I never really envisioned myself in Starfleet. Of course, I worked with people from Starfleet throughout my career at the various think tanks and NGOs and all that, but I never thought that would be me. I guess I'm just more of a pointy-headed academic type. If you envisioned a 'Starfleet officer,'" Paul gestured to his body, "I'm guessing the image you'd conjure up wouldn't look too much like me."
"At some point," he continued, "the opportunity just kind of presented itself. I don't know. I guess I felt like I had something to prove? Maybe I justified it that I would get access to new data? Maybe I just wanted the legitimacy that comes with having military service in my background."
Studying the Lieutenant closely as he spoke "interesting, logical on some ground, but still very interesting" Karyn said as she took another sip of her tea.
"So, I guess to answer your original question the reason I got into diplomatic work is that I believe in it. I feel like the overriding lesson a lot of Starfleet took away from the War and everything else that happened during that period was that we must be forever vigilant and prepared for battle. Well, I think we tend to be over-vigilant about the possibility of some future battle while we're way too complacent about the benefits of cooperation. I think that—for all of the new weapons technologies and war colleges and battle tactics we can generate—the thing that's really kept us safe for centuries has been building a framework for sharing a fate with all the species in the quadrant. Cooperation. Full and radical cooperation. No one ever talks about the lives that weren't lost in wars with Tellar, or Delta. No one ever talks about the destruction caused by the Andorian War, because that never happened. They are us, and we are them."
Paul sighed. "So, my takeaway not that we have been insufficiently prepared for was, it's that we have let our knowledge generation languish. We have been way too precious and way too conservative about forging new alliances. The alpha and beta quadrants are full of interstellar powers with whom the Federation should be building stronger alliances—the Talarians, the Tholians, the Tzenkethi, the Ferengi. There are entire expanses of Delta Quadrant powers that—if we don't cooperate if we don't forge alliances—will almost certainly be consumed by the Borg within the next hundred years." Paul took a breath and thought for a moment. "I guess, in the end, I want to be a part of reminding Starfleet of its true mission. Does that make sense?"
"Sort of," Karyn said "I have a strong feeling, El-tee, that you will be spending more time smoothing over ruffled feathers, to use a metaphor than you will spend on the ship, but I would not discount the possibility of doing some duty on the ship. So I know you are not hardcore Starfleet, but do you have any skills outside of Diplomacy that may be called upon in an extreme emergency? Besides what you have already said, as there will be a lot of shuttle rides and your pilot will not be able to do everything, on the Tomcat there are plenty of others to fill in on a moments notice, but on a shuttle, there is usually just two of you" Karyn said.
Paul could tell the Chief was not interested in a discussion of the broader values of the Federation mission. He sighed. "That's true and, no, I've never piloted a real shuttle in deep space. Just a short tutorial and some sim time during my training." Paul furrowed his brow for a moment. "I minored in electrical engineering in college and I enjoy tinkering with and coding comm systems." He shrugged. "I'm not much in a fight, unfortunately. I guess that's where you come in?"
She smiled "sometimes El-tee it may be me, other times it may be Kildare, the only differences are I have more diplomatic training than him and I look better in an evening gown," she said giving him a mischievous smile. "There are holodeck programs on this station that will help you train up with a weapon if only for defending yourself because in a combat situation there is only so much an escort can do" Karyn added.
"I mean, I can fire a weapon in hand-to-hand. I'm even a reasonably good shot—at least I was in OCS. But if I'm in a position where I'm firing a rifle, that means I'm in a position where things have gone terribly wrong and I'm probably already dead, anyway. As far as space travel, I know how to press a button and fire the shuttle's phasers—the same way anyone could. But, I don't have any particular training in ship-to-ship combat tactics and, frankly, I'm not particularly interested to learn. The time I'm spending learning hot to operate ship systems is the time I'm not working on my research. For all I know my, next detail will be planet-side or on a station, so there's just a huge opportunity cost to stuff like that to me. Does that make sense?"
"Yes it does, but you must realise that the use of a weapon will sometimes be required, but you do sound a tad bit carefree," Karyn said.
"My understanding is that Starfleet is quite large, and there are plenty of tactical officers to go around. If I really do find myself in a situation where a marginal understanding of starship ordnance would have saved the day, I guess it'll be my tough luck." Paul chuckled, stymied. "I know I'm supposed to care about ship operations and making rank and all that, but that's just not why I'm out here. I see my job as avoiding combat situations altogether, not winning once I'm in them." He smirked with his eyebrows arched incredulously. "Is this, like, a common thing with diplomats on the Tomcat? Should I be expecting a lot of firefights?"
"Captain Somers may be a former Marine, but she is not reckless, she tries for the diplomatic solution first and thinks before entering a situation. To date, she has only fought when attacked. You should read up on the Second Hydaransz mission, it was in an area of space that was close to both Klingon and Romulan borders, but filled with Pirates and a lost Xindi Avian species. What I am saying is if she has to fight she will not back down and will do her best to keep her crew alive, but she prefers diplomacy first. Still, there are a lot of people with ruffled feathers that has nothing to do with the Tomcat being in the area and that is why you are here if I understand correctly" Karyn responded.
Paul chuckled mirthlessly. "I serve at the pleasure of the United Federation of Planets. Today for ruffled feathers, tomorrow for whatever else." Paul downed the last sip of his tea. He shook his head and smiled to himself. "Can't shoot. Can't fight. Can barely pilot." He looked up at Somers, smirking broadly. "I suspect, Chief, working with me is going to be a source of nearly endless disappointment for you." Paul stood from his chair.
"A worthy challenge, of that doubt I have none," Karyn said with a smile.
"I think it's time to find my quarters. Thank you for your help and I hope you have a wonderful rest of your evening."
Standing up as he did "If in doubt ask the computer" Karyn added and with a nod to him let the diplomatic officer find his quarters, while she returned to security, she had a feeling that life was about to get a lot more interesting on the station now.
Lieutenant Jg Wakeham Paul Alasia PhD
Chief Diplomatic Officer
CWO1 Karyn Somers [PNPC: Somers]
Station Warrant Officer 95th Rifles
Sgt Major Chris 'Maverick' Kildare [PNPC: Somers]
Drill Sergeant 95th Rifles