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All That Jazz and Popcorn

Posted on Mon Oct 30th, 2017 @ 4:21am by Fleet Admiral Donatella Figueroa & Lieutenant JuniorGrade Fethraie D'Darra

Mission: S01E01 - At the Brink of Night
Location: USS Musashi | Captain's Quarters
Timeline: After "A Chapel in the Stars"

The smooth Earth Jazz played subtle notes from saxophones in the background of the faintly lit quarters of Captain Donatella Figueroa. The illumination was rather low for entertaining any guests, but the Captain, a single and solitary woman had retired to her quarters alone. This was not in the least bit out of the norm, nor was the bottle of red wine setting on the coffee table in front of the sofa accompanied by wine glass nearly emptied say for a few small drops puddling at the bottom of a wine glass, tilted with a few fingers loosely laced around the stem.

Donatella was passed out somewhat peacefully, sprawled out on the sofa. It was not her bed, but it sometimes came to be her impromptu bed on late evenings when she was resistant to go to sleep, telling herself one more page several times over until she finally lost consciousness right then and there. She would have slept straight on through to the morning and awoken by alarm for her next shift on the Bridge. That was...if there had been alarm set. However, life had other plans for her and so did the Chief Medical Officer who effectively ordered her to get some rest and threatened her into taking some leave given her 'condition' which Fig was not at all pleased about.

Still dressed in a silky evening gown with her bathrobe around her as she lie passed out on the sofa, the sound of her her jazz music being cut out and interrupted by the annoying pestering of communications notifications caused her to stir with only a few groans as she let go of the wine glass and rolled over, trying to get back to sleep once the communications alert silenced. If it were the least bit important, someone would contact her and wake her up. It sounded like a simple notification for a private communique. Probably my mother checking in on me she thought as she yawned and closed her eyes.

The Captain was not quite asleep yet when another alert went off, but not from a communication. This one was softer. It was the chime to her quarters. At this hour? she thought letting out a sigh and rolling off her sofa and pulling the belt straps on her bathrobe tighter to keep herself at least somewhat presentable. She had no intention of flashing any of the crew, especially the young ensigns like EJ whom she was rather fond of in a somewhat older sibling sense albeit a much older sibling that could practically be their mother, but she was not going to confess her age anytime soon to anyone. So long as she could pull off looking 30, she would continue to stay in her 30s and dye at the first sign of a graying hair.

“I'll be there in a moment” she said as she grabbed for a PaDD and gave the screen a quick tap to turn off the soft Jazz music. The Captain made her way to the entrance of her quarters and unlocked them at the control panel. The doors slid open and the Captain found herself face to face with one of her officers albeit not one she had much interaction with thus far. Intriguing she thought to herself. She was not expecting to find her Vulcan Chief Weapons Officer and head of security at her door.

She looked at the woman and gestured for her to enter. “Ensign, please come in. You are not intruding” said Fig. Well you are, but what the hell do I care. I could use the company anyways thought the Captain. “Please, help yourself to a drink if you'd like” added the captain gesturing towards the food and beverage synthesizer.

Feth was also in a night-time civilian attire, a Vulcan night-robe traditional for Vulcan females. Yet, Feth wore it a bit differently. The robe was not as loose-fitting as it was supposed to be. She wore one that was size too small but still fit her build nicely. It accentuated some of her features and did little to inhibit movement.

“I thank you Captain,” she said with a nod and then entered. The door slid shut behind her as she noticed a slight imbalance in her captain’s step in lieu of the alcohol. The smell was slight but present. She looked at the food synthesizer as the captain had pointed out and then back at her Fig. Feth furrowed her brow a bit in an attempt to understand for she knew alcoholic beverages were generally disallowed for women in Fig’s condition.

From her last security report, Fethraie knew of the captain’s condition but she decided not to read too much into the situation. Feth wanted her captain to know she had a companion should the need arise. But the topic would have to be approached delicately, Feth decided after using her Vulcan training to draw the most logical of all conclusions; that humans were far too emotional and that encroaching upon said topic too soon would nullify her attempts outright.

“Does your synthesizer produce Romulan Ale, Captain?” she asked as the slowly stepped toward the synthesizer.

Fig looked at the woman a tad perplexed. "Honestly, I am not sure Ensign. The Romulans remain so much of a mystery to us even after having fought a war against them albeit primarily ship to ship. No one has ever lived to see one face to face and lived to tell about it" replied the Captain. "At least that is what they have taught us. Though I've heard stories about golden helmets or possibly brass. Really the only thing we know about their culture is they make a damn fine ale" explained Fig.

The Captain gestured to the synthesizer "Knock yourself out and see. Someone may have programmed it or at least an approximation."

“I have heard similar stories, Captain,” Feth said as she approached the synthesizer. “Many Vulcans do not partake in alcoholic beverages, but, as you will certainly come to discover, I am not many Vulcans. Computer,” she said to the synthesizer as she pressed the button, “one glass of Romulan Ale.”

No, you certainly are not any Vulcan I have ever met or read about thought Fig.

Feth was immediately responded to with a bleep indicating error. “Hmm,” she raised an eye brow. “It seems even the synthesizer knows that Romulan Ale is illegal. However,” she turned to Fig, “I have sampled this beverage as it does seem to make its way into Federation space from time to time, mostly through the Orion Syndicate. I can assure you, it is, as you say, ‘damn fine ale’.” Feth turned back to the synthesizer. “There is something that, in my time on Earth, I felt could be considered a close cousin to Romulan Ale however.” She pressed the button again. “Russian Vodka, triple distilled, mixed with 1 centiliter of absinthe.”

Fig smiled a bit "Sounds potent enough" commented the Captain.

As the synthesizer started working her order, Feth turned away and returned her attention to her captain. “I do not mean to impose upon your privacy, but I confess to have had difficulty finding slumber because of the final security report I read before the end of my shift only hours ago.”

The Captain looked at the wine bottle. It was one of those times she felt that she needed every last drop to deal with the problems of the day. "I cannot speak for what was in that report or any reports made. I've been exiled from The Bridge on Doctor's orders" replied Captain Figueroa. "However, you are head of ship security. I will not withhold anything that may be crucial to the safety of this starship or its crew. So, whatever it is you need to ask or have to say, just lay it out and we will handle it in the here and now" said Fig. "I know you aren't every Vulcan, but I welcome that blunt straight to the point Vulcan approach" she added.

Feth took a step forward, ignoring the food synthesizer dinging her order complete. "This report I read was put to me by my chief petty officer. After reading it, I marked it as SECRET so that no one else may read it unless I give the authorization. There was mention of a slight Klingon life sign being picked up by the ship's sensors. To my knowledge, a 'slight Klingon life sign' does not pose any clear or present danger to the Musashi nor her crew in the least. My only security concern is that someone may attempt to put an end to this life sign and that widespread knowledge may destabilize the morale of the Musashi. I have sense declare the matter of sensitive nature and not to be spoken by anyone at anytime, though I am uncertain how well all will follow that order." Feth looked around briefly deciding to drop the Vulcan attitude a bit. "It would please me, Captain, if I were to hear of this situation, this condition of yours, from you and you alone." She relaxed her stance some. "How did this happen? And what are your thoughts. I know I am no counselor by any measure, but I do find myself wishing to know."

"Feth" said the Captain with a bit of warmth and sincerity. "You needn't mark anything secret. The Bridge crew was present, word will get around, and I am not afraid of anyone on this crew doing anything. I fully trust you and ship security" commented the Captain. "The fact of the matter is, the biggest threat to the child's life is honestly its own mother at this point" she stated as though it were a matter of fact.

Feth raised an eyebrow, honestly perplexed how a baby’s mother could be the child’s greatest threat. She was so perplexed that Feth even added a tilt to her head.

Captain Figueroa looked at the Vulcan "My thoughts are straight forward and simple. I do not like this daemon being within in me. I am not fond of carrying it to term, and I still have not entirely dedicated myself to it, but I also do not want to make any brash decisions in an emotional state of mind" assessed Fig. "I will tell you what I know" she added.

"A few months ago after the end of the 'war' with the Klingons, there were still skirmishes and conflicts in abundance along the Klingon border. The Musashi was tasked with border patrol and ensuring the safety of Federation colonies well within our side of space, but the Klingons contested these planets as being theirs. I fell into a Klingon trap and was lured into one hell of a dog fight. The Klingons practically ripped the Musashi apart."

Feth took it upon herself to locate and take a seat. Such a gesture normally illustrated interest and attentiveness and Feth was honestly both interested and attentive.

Fig took a deep breath. "The Klingons ensnared us. We had hull breaches and shields buckled, they boarded the ship and abducted members of my crew. They forced me to go after them and I did...relentlessly chasing them into Klingon space, violating orders from higher up. I crossed into Klingon space and lead rescue mission on a Klingon moon. It was a trap, my missing crew already dead. Their heads mounted on spears. The Klingons were brutal and savage. They slaughtered everyone even those who accompanied me on my failed rescue mission. Commander Ke'gak took me prisoner and held me captive for several weeks, tied me up and beat me senseless. I wanted to die. I welcomed death after the things he did to me, but death never came and eventually I was released" explained Captain Figuera. "I was examined once or twice afterwards, but...I never expected this" she added shaking her head.

Feth truly felt a sinking feeling within her and said, “Captain, I cannot even pretend to fathom what you may be going through or feeling. Even if I were in the profession of counseling, I would find myself unable to offer any form of commiseration. Life is mostly filled with unexpectations. However, I can offer you this. My people, the Vulcans of my commune that is, are very fond of proverbs. One in particular has surfaced in my memory. ‘Life does not ask why and life has no choice.’ This lifeform growing within you does not have a choice and it cannot consciously ask why; why it is loved or hated or why it is growing…or dying.” Feth moved about in her seat for comfort.

Fig nodded fully understanding the route the Vulcan was going. "I believe that can be applied both emotionally and logically" replied the Captain. "I am aware that this thing I carry within me has no choice nor had any choice in being planted within me, but there's a difference between a the roses one plants in the garden and the weeds that creep in and destroy everything" said Fig standing her ground. "But please continue" she added politely.

“Furthermore,” Feth continued and her stern Vulcan mannerisms returned, “whilst I was at the Academy, I did extensive studies into Earth history, particularly the history revolving around conquest, dictators and empires. My studies ranged from the Legend of Romulus and Remus to the exploits of Kahn Noonien Singh. Something in particular stands out in my memory, though I may wish to dedicate more time to this research for accuracy, but a group of conquistadors from the country of Spain, during a time you would refer to as the 1500’s, journeyed west to explore, to stake their claim, and sometimes to bring peace to the chaos to an area referred to as the ‘Wild West.’ Many of these explorers shared similar surnames, though may not have been related themselves. That surname was ‘Figueroa.’ I have no knowledge if you are related to these explorers, but your name added to your commission in Starfleet seems to be an extraordinary coincidence; that you were born to explore, stake your claim, and possibly bring about peace. If I were one to partake in the act of gambling, then I believe I would wager actual money that, if there was a possible peace between the Federation and the Klingons, then a hybrid child could make that possibility closer to a reality.”

Fig smiled slightly at the Vulcan. "If you are ever looking to get out of Security and Tactical duties, I am sure we could find work for you as Ship's Historian or as a Research Officer" replied the Captain. "While I greatly appreciate you my geneology and family history, exploration was something I came to enjoy with acquired taste if you will. As for peace with the Klingons, I doubt that is possible. Perhaps it is because I fought them in battle for a handful of years or perhaps because they slaughtered my crew, but I don't shed a single tear when I see the blood of one of those savages" she said firmly.

’Home is where the heart is,’ Feth thought as a proverb arose in her mind. The rest of it was, ’Some hearts lie in love, some in logic, some in battle, some in hate.’ But she vocalized none of it. Truth be told, she found it personally appalling to hate any child, regardless of its species. All life should have the chance to live.

“I feel sorrow for all that you have experienced in your time involving the Klingons.”

Feth saw where the captain’s emotions and her mind lay at the moment, so she decided a change in topic. “I must apologize, Captain, for I may have lead you into believing a falsehood. I did study extensively on Earth and do fancy myself something of a researcher, but I never did come across your possible heritage. That was not until I was on board that I researched into the origins of your name. I have an affinity for names. Please tell me, is ‘Figueroa’ something your parents chose for any particular reason?”

The Captain let out a bit of a heavy sigh. "I am the one who should be apologizing for being overtly emotional. Everything is still very fresh..raw and I have not really had the time to let things settle" explained Captain Figueroa. "I'm rattled and shaken up over everything and I am listening to everyone give their thoughts, opinions, remorse and so forth. I just need a second to breathe" added Fig.

“I understand, Captain. It is customary, in times of confusion, to weigh all opinions and options and to take all the required time to decide upon the course of action best suited for all. Seeing as how we do not have a Counselor on board, I would like to extend myself to be your confidant should you need. Even among my own kind, we sometimes need the listening ear and the confidence of another.”

The Captain nodded. "I will keep that in mind. Between you, the Chief Medical Officer, the XO who is also Ship's Chaplain, I am certain that I have enough shoulders to lean on if need be" she replied.

"As for the name Figueroa, my parents did not pick it. It's my family's usually passed down from the father assuming their is a father. Family dynamics can be rather interesting and complex in some cases. Historically, Spanish and other Hispanic surnames tend to me a little more confusing. But to just put it simply, my parents did not have much control over the name Figueroa" she tried to explain. "My first name is Donatella" added Fig.

“Fascinating,” Feth said with a tilt to her head. “I admit to being under-researched in human naming conventions but I do understand that the bulk of the population, in an area referred to as the Far East, regard their first name as their family name and their last name is the given one.” She let that thought settle a second. “I suppose it makes sense that not all humans have the same conventions. Just like on Vulcan. Whereas most Vulcans practice a single naming convention, the Vulcans of my commune have a given name followed by a family name.” She raised an eyebrow and thought about her own name. “Not dissimilar to yours.”

"When in Rome" replied the Captain with a small smile. "The name Figueroa as I remember being taught once before... I believe is has a meaning of a fig tree. The fig tree has some symbolic meaning in ancient Earth culture" she added.

“When in Rome,” Feth said to herself. “I am unfamiliar with that saying, though I did read up on the Roman Empire during my studies. It seems that Rome was built by a man named Romulus. There is even a theory that the Romulans may have had a part to play in that. But that is only speculation at this point in time. I would rather enjoy hearing of this ancient Earth culture you speak of. That is…if it is not too long in the night; if you are not in need of slumber.”

Fig nearly snorted. "When in Rome is an old Earth saying, Feth. It basically means when you visit another culture, it is sometimes best to do what the natives do" she explained. "I am not sure how much longer I can stay awake, but perhaps we could schedule something for another evening? Maybe we could watch an old Earth film and call it a girl's night" added Fig.

“If that is part of this Earth culture you mentioned then I shall find your…’girls night’ most agreeable. Have a good night Captain.” Feth stood, but, before she took her first step, “and if you do ever find that you need a confidant for any reason, aside from a counselor, you will find nothing greater than a Vulcan.”

Figueroa looked at Feth and nodded. "I think I'd prefer a Vulcan rather than a Counselor. Fortunately, it's extraordinarily rare for a Counselor to be assigned to a starship. At least at this point. I have heard reports that Starfleet was looking into posting them on starships...I'm hoping that is never the case" added Fig.

“As we continue to explore space and as the Federation interstellar population increases, the posting of a counselor is ultimately inevitable. In the interim,” she barely cracked a smile, “I find it agreeable that you would consider me. I will provide my best and, if you need, I have an array of meditative items and practices that you could sample.” Feth nodded to her captain. “Have a good night, Captain.”

Fig flashed a small smile. "Thank you Feth. Enjoy...well, have a productive evening. Meditating somewhere or doing whatever it is Vulcans do in their free time" added Fig. Her image of a Vulcan off duty was one who deeply meditated or read through philosophies to find the illogicalness in them.

Another Vulcan proverb among the many that were drilled into Feth’s head during her studies shot to the forefront of her memory. It was in response to something Fig had just said, but, considering the possible double-meaning, Feth only concluded it to be logical not to vocalize it. She stilled her tongue and regarded Fig with a slight bow of the head. “And I thank you.” With that said, Feth turned and left.


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