Cultural Exchange in a Bar (RP Log)
|12 May 2014|
A lively tune by Perry N'Kwomo starts as nobody in particular pays attention to it. Midshipman Starfall is out of uniform at the bar, sitting next to Corso who is still wearing his. Both men appear to be drinking from tall, frothy mugs of a pale amber fluid.
A family of Vulcans, or part of one, enters the bar and makes its way towards the holosuites. The mother chivvies along a pair of children, a boy of about 10 and a girl of about 5. The girl is very tired and doesn't look all that well, but is trying to keep up her end of things. As they pass by the bar, both children look at the two humans at the bar and notice Corso's uniform. A discussion insues. "A lieutenant in sciences," the boy murmurs with certainty. "Not a lieutenant," the girl corrects, "and that is an engineering uniform." "My daughter, how and why have you chosen to become familiar with Starfleet's uniforms?" The girl looks up at her mother, smiles, and says with no guile at all, "since this is the last place I will live, mother, logic says I should get to know it." "That is a lieutenant," the boy affirms. "A junior lieutenant," the girl corrects. Both look at their mother. She raises an eyebrow. "It is of no importance." Boldly, the girl takes off towards Corso. The boy, belatedly, follows. "My sisster and I are in a disagreement as to your rank and station, sir," he says. "Because my brother is mistaken. you are a junior lieutenant in engineering," she states. "Let him tell us," the boy affirms. "He will only tell you I am right." "Kroikah, (stop)" the mother commands. "Apologies, Lieutenant."
Carey enters some way behind the family and gives the mother a sympathetic smile as she watches the Vulcan children's version of a tiff play out. She walks up to the bar, but before she can order, the bartender gives her a crooked smile. "Civvies this evening, ma'am? Does that mean you're drinking for a change?" Carey gives a quick glance back, her eyes falling just for a second on the little girl and taking in her condition. "No," she says almost brusquely to the bartender. "Peach zinger, and..." She leans slightly forward and lowers her voice to the lowest possible murmur, "They're on my tab." As the man starts to ask questions, she raises a finger and shakes her head, then pays for her drink and turns away.
"You're only partially correct," Corso says amiably to the older of the two Vulcan children as he casually pushes his mug of mead away. "I'm a Lieutenant Junior Grade in Operations. Now, do you know the difference between Operations and Engineering?" Corso asks the Vulcan girl, resting his elbow against the bar and clasping his hands.
She studies your uniform. "There does not appear to be one. Both wear that yellow, do they not?" The boy also studies your uniform. The mother, seeing that Corso wishes to participate in the conversation, takes a position near Carey, still within earshot of the children and keeping an eye on them. "Your offer to pay our tab was generous, but we were enroute to the holosuites. I thought perhaps I would determine whether there were any Vulcan related programs available. Do you perhaps know if there are, or if anything there is suited to children?"
Carey smiles and lowers her eyes, coloring slightly. "Vulcan hearing," she murmurs. "I guess I should know better by now. Yes, you'll want Holosuite 2. I don't recommend the desert...it's combat-related. My favorite is the seaside, and there's a rock garden that's really beautiful, too. I also have something in the works that's child-friendly that I can run up and finish, if you'd like. It just needs some touch-ups."
Starfall chuckles quietly to himself, watching th exchange and takes a large drink from the foamed glass. "Here, have one on me." He says, toying a holosuit token between his fingers before flipping it at the nearest of the children.
"That's correct, both departments wear the yellow uniform," Corso says, shifting off of the bar stool and casually moving to kneel in front of the girl so that they'll be closer to eye level. "However, Engineering is very different from simple Operations. As an Operations officer, I help coordinate ships through the station, assist with basic maintenance of the station and I also handle scheduling of hardware or resources through the station. Engineering is much more focused on the mechanical aspects of the station. They focus on the functionality of the station, among other things," he says politely. "Do either of you have an interest in Starfleet? Would you like to hear more?"
"Logical," the boy says. "I have more of an interest in Starfleet tactical," he adds. The girl smiles. Her emotional control is less developed, as she's half her brother's age. "Mother tells me I would have made an able scientist." "I said, would make," her mother adds. The girl offers her mother a smile. "This is my brother, So'sov," she says to Corso and Starfall if he's in range to hear. "My mother, T'Priel. And I am T'Lila."
Carey leans lightly against an unoccupied table, sipping absently at the drink she ordered. Something about her face suggests abstraction as she listens to the conversation.
"So'sov, T'Lila, my name is Lieutenant Junior Grade Corso, but I'd prefer that you call me Lukas," Corso says, giving the girl a small smirk that shows more in his eyes than his lips. He turns to So'sov. "Now, if you're interested in the tactical side of Starfleet, I'll see if I can get one of my Tactical Officer friends to pay you a visit. I'm sure they'd be happy to answer any question you have." Now, his eyes focus on the younger of the two. "And I've heard great things about the Vulcan Science academy as well as the Starfleet Academy graduates that focus on the sciences. If you decide to join Starfleet one day, I hope we get to work together." He raises his hand gestures to both children, "That goes for both of you."
"That would be acceptable," the boy replies. "You are kind. But there is only a 6.227% likelihood that I will live that long, Lucas," the girl says. She offers this information as casually as she would anything else. She seems less disturbed by it than even her mother, who glances at her, though she herself says nothing. "How readily children seem to adapt," T'Prielf finally comments sodo voce to Carey.
Carey nods to T'Priel, closing her eyes as the muscles in her face tighten and her brow furrows. "I'll just go and finish that program," she murmurs, "in case you all decide to use it. And if you change your mind and decide to get some food or drinks or anything..." She nods toward the bar. "It's a standing order." She manages to quirk her lips upward in a small smile.
Carey leaves for Holosuite Corridor.
Corso's attention appears to be solely on the children. In response to T'Lila's statement, Corso inclines his head towards her a bit. "That still leaves 6.227% possibility that one day, you'll be calling me to recalibrate a sensor pylon, T'Lila," he says, finally giving her a wide smile. "A possibility is still just that, a possibility. And, if you would be interested, I could ask someone from the Science department to bring you some declassified sensor findings. Believe me, the sector beyond the wormhole is very different to this sector."
"That is logical," she concludes after turning it over. "Who is your science officer?" T'Priel nods at you as though to concur with what you said generally. So'sov studies a dabo wheel.
Carey arrives from Holosuite Corridor.
"Our Chief Science officer is Lieutenant Senka," Corso answers, glancing at the mother and nodding in kind. "Though, if he's not available to speak with you, we have two other Ensigns that could inform you. Still, I'll see if I can convince Lieutenant Senka to speak with you." He turns back to the mother, "Have you and the children eaten yet? The replicators make an excellent t'miirq soup. I'm actually partial to it myself."
The mother and the children trade what would almost be quizical looks if they weren't Vulcans. The boy speaks for the bunch. "Sir, why would you need to persuade Lieutenant Senka to speak to my sister? he is her physician." "Have you perhaps made an error concerning Lieutnenat Senka's role aboard this station?" T'Priel asks kindly? "And we have eaten, but thank you for the consideration."
Carey reenters in time to hear all this and chuckles, despite her pained expression when she left. She flashes a friendly smile at Corso as she sits down near T'Priel. "He's both," she explains. "Cheif medical and chief science officer."
"No, madam, there is no error," Corso says. "However, Lieutenant Senka does stay rather busy even when he isn't seeing patients or heading up our Science division." Corso smirks and nods to Carey as she rejoins them. "That's correct, of course."
"The girl looks delighted at this news. "They use Vulcans logically," she says happily. "As opposed to illogically?" Her mother asks. T'Lila explains quite innocently, "since Vulcans have more stamina than humans, they can do more jobs and sleep less often. Is that not true?"
Carey's eyebrows lift slightly at Corso's smirk, and she shrugs slightly, not understanding whatever joke there may be. T'Lila's remark makes her laugh, though, and she puts a hand to her mouth to smother it lest the child think she's being made fun of. "You're essentially right, dear one," she says, using a translation of a Betazoid term of endearment typical for children. "Although humans can learn to go longer without sleep, too."
"That and typically, Vulcans have minds better suited for analysis and--it goes without saying--logic. Let's not discount the worth of Terrans in Starfleet, either. Terrans are very adaptive and are very quick learners. As Lieutenant Junior Grade Carey says, humans can learn to go longer without rest as well. I've worked with many humans that achieve much on very little rest. If you ever visit Starfleet Academy, you'll meet a lot of people just like that."
"Indeed," the girl says, smiling. Now So'sov is curious. "How long can you function without sleep, Lucas?" His gaze takes in Carey too as though to suggest he is curious about her answer. "This discussion is lacking in logic," T'Priel chimes in. That only makes T'Lila's smile grow. "We are gathering cultural information," the boy defends himself.
Carey's expression, as Corso speaks, suggests she doesn't wholly agree with him, or perhaps not at all, but she lets it pass. "On the day you came here," she says to the children, "I had been up for twenty-five hours by the time you arrived. I think the longest I ever had to go was three days. I don't like to do it, but can if it's absolutely necessary."
Of course, Corso doesn't notice Carey's expression, only catching a shadow of that look as he turns to look at her when she speaks. "Generally speaking, all of those serving in Starfleet are expected to have the stamina to go without sleep from time to time. There are periods where I might sleep only three or four hours a night. I would say that during any given work-week, I'll be up for twenty four hours at least once. The longest I've ever gone without sleep is two and a half days."
The children exchange looks, seeming to communicate silently. "Indeed," So'sov says. "I am as yet only able to remain fully awake for 4.112 days on average, but father tells me this will improve as I age." T'Lila shakes her head. "I cannot stay awake so long," she laments.
"Nor should you at your age, my dear," Carey says to T'Lila with a gentle smile. "But you'll learn as you get older." She sips her drink, not allowing her fear that the child may not grow old enough to learn show in her face or be heard in her voice.
"I agree with her," Corso says, nodding assent as he moves to stand. "I'll pay my tab now," he says to the bartender, who brings over a slim PADD for him to accept charges on. Once he does this, he kneels back down in front of T'Lila. "Please excuse me, T'Lila and So'sov. I have some studying I need to get to. I'll see you again, I'm sure." He turns to So'sov, "As I will you." He smiles warmly and stands to address the mother, "Madam." He turns to Carey, "Lieutenant." His bar tab paid, he moves towards the exit with a small wave back at the children.
Quietly, T'Priel has taken a peach zinger from the bartender. She sips it, content to keep a watchful eye and ear on her children as they engage the pair of you. "Do you find them overly inquisitive?" She asks Carey. "We do not desire to cause offense."
Carey smiles at Corso and raises her glass to him in a sort of casual salute. "Good night, Lieutenant." Then to T'Priel, "Overly inquisitive?" She grins. "Not at all. I love children, very much, as you probably know by now, and lack of curiosity would actually concern me."
The children make their way over to the pair of you. "Aliyah," T'Lila says quietly. So'sov nods to you in a cordial fashion.
Carey smiles at the both of them and reaches over to pull out the other two chairs from the table. "Hello, you two. Are you enjoying looking around Deep Space 9?"
"It is a peculiarly circular design," So'sov says. "I liked the spa shop," T'Lila says.
Carey nods to So'sov. "Yes, I thought the design a little strange when I first came here and was constantly lost because I was used to sharper angles." She smiles at T'Lila. "Ah, so you've visited the older T'Lila's shop, hmm? Did you meet her assistant?"
T'Lila smiles. "Yes. Tabora. She was very nice. But ... she called her Emily."
"Yes, Emily has two names. Emily is her human name, and T'Lila is her Vulcan name. Most people call her Emily. But she gave me permission to call her T'Lila."
Even So'sov raises an eyebrow at that one. T'Lila glances at her mother. "She has a human name," she remarks. "Perhaps I should be called Emily too, Mother?" "You should not, my daughter." T'Priel glances at you, and the corners of her mouth quirk up just a tad. "Your confusion is understandable, Child," a voice says in Vulcan. Sutok has walked into the bar in time to hear the last exchange or two. WHile not knowing the children, he's heard enough to interest him. "Lieutenant Carey," he murmurs as he approaches. "Congratulations on your recent promotion."
Carey's grin in response to T'Priel's tiny smile changes to startlement and then relief in quick succession, and then to a broad smile of welcome "Counselman Sutok," she says brightly. "Welcome...and thank you. This is T'Priel and her son and daughter So'sov and T'Lila."
The older Vulcan exchanges salutes with T'Priel. Taking a chair, he orders a Vulcan spiced tea and regards the children. "You were discussing my daughter?" He asks mildly. T'Lila smiles. "Yes, Sir." "A worthwhile discussion point," he comments.
Carey grins. "Look at her eyes, Counselman. Aren't they just like your T'Lila's? Beautiful eyes," she says to little T'Lila with a smile. "But yes, we were talking about her because they've visited her spa. And...I think I caused some confusion."
"The resemblance regarding the eyes is striking," Sutok says. He studies the girl almost pensively. "My daughter was raised on Earth, by humans. They named her Emily. T'Lila is the name I gave her. Thus, she has two names, and even I am uncertain as to which she prefers," he finishes lightly. "She was raised by humans?" T'Lila asks. Sutok nods. "But why?" "Kroikah," T'Priel intervenes. Sutok stays her with a hand and answers for himself. "It was a most complicated and not entirely logical series of events." At some point, who can say how, T'Lila's hand has wound up in the hand of the older Vulcan. So'sov looks fascinated as though he'd like to ask. But he knows better than to do so. T'Lila also seems to understand that he's said about as much on that as he means to. T'Priel opens her mouth, but again, Sutok interrupts her gently, quoting Surak. "There is no offense where none is taken."
"She isn't sure, herself, yet," Aliyah says quietly to Sutok. "She'll work it out, though. I'm sure of that. Do you hear from her? I wrote to her, but she hasn't answered my letter yet."
"She may be on a delicate mission," the older Vulcan says quietly back. T'Lila's hand continues to rest in his, and he glances at her as he senses the pain of her condition and the truth of it.
Carey nods and says no more about that. Her gaze, too, drops to the two Vulcans' joined hands, and she looks away, her eyes coming to rest on T'Priel as the soft smile touches her lips. Her gaze continues around the table, taking in each face in turn, and her expression becomes more thoughtful with each one.
Senka arrives still in uniform. Spotting the cluster of Vulcans, he crosses the bar to them. Belatedly, he spots Carey in the middle and raises an eyebrow. "Greetings," he murmurs to the bunch at large.
Carey catches the look and can't keep back a laugh as she returns Senka's greeting. "You read my mind," she says jokingly.
"In what sense?" The Vulcan officer asks.
"We had a conversation earlier about the differences between human and Vulcan abilities," she says, still grinning. "Most humans like to glorify their abilities, and that was true again, predictably. But it made me realize, for one, that I have no human friends, and for another, just how many friends and acquaintances seem to be Vulcans." She smiles around the table as she says this, apparently not troubled by it in the least.
"Indeed," Senka murmurs. "You also have much experience with Betazoids." "Perhaps," T'Priel offers, "you find yourself more comfortable with telepathic species?"
"Oh, no doubt. More comfortable by far," Aliyah admits lightly and with complete truth. "There are exceptions to every rule, of course. It's uncomfortable when an entire conversation is happening in a group that I don't even know about, but..." She shrugs. "On the other hand...I've noticed that most telepaths are much more honest and easy to get to know than most non-telepaths, and not as likely to be superficial."
"Dishonesty," Sutok offers, "violates c'thiah, because it perverts the purpose of speech, which is to describe reality and the universe as they are."
Carey's lips quirk up. "How interesting," she says. "I'd truly never thought about speech in just that way before."
Senka, Sutok, and T'Priel all raise an eyebrow, the same eyebrow, actually. "In what manner have you thought of it?" T'Priel asks for all of them.
Carey looks at all the adultsand her eyes widen under those identical questioning looks. "Ah..." She blushes, then takes a breath, collecting herself. "Well...you know...speech is the only means of communicating needs and complex ideas that humans have. So...I don't know. I guess I never thought much about it. Maybe even took it for granted. On Betazed, I learned that I communicate better with thoughts than with words, but still..."
"What of writing?" Sutok asks.
Carey smiles. "Writing is probably in between. My adoptive grandmother used to make me write every day in a journal. I didn't understand why she'd want to read my writing when she could read my thoughts without the extra effort. But she knew what she was doing. Parents and grandparents usually do," she adds with a softer smile for the children.
The two children exchange a look. "Indeed," they offer in perfect unison.
Carey grins at that. "The two of you seem close," she says to them, a question implied but not there, just in case there's yet more cultural information she doesn't have here.
"They compliment one another well," T'Priel comments. "Indeed," Sutok murmurs. He studies T'Lila again, seeming drawn to the girl. "In any event, it is due time that my children should rest," T'Priel judges, glancing at both of them. "But Vulcans can stay up for many days," T'Lila protests. "Your logic is in error," T'Priel admonishes gently. "The fact that you are capable of doing a thing does not convey with it the obligation to do so in all cases." "Quite logical," Sutok compliments her. "I will anticipate your arrival in the morning," Senka says to T'Priel and her children, particularly T'Lila. "Good night, Aliyah," T'Priel murmurs to you, and the children follow suit. Finally, T'Lila pulls her hand from Sutok's though she studies him as she moves off.
"Good night," Aliyah says softly as they go. Then, her eyes resting especially on T'Lila, "Sleep well." As she turns back to Senka and Sutok, her mask drops, and all the heartbreak and tenderness she feels for T'Lila and, by extention, the rest of the family, is plain to see on her face.
"You seem quite drawn to T'Lila," Senka murmurs to the older Vulcan. "And that is unexpected?" Sutok asks sharply. "It is not." "Forgive me," Sutok says. "That was unintended." "I take no offense." Sutok sips pensively at the tea he's ordered in the meantime.
Aliyah reaches out instinctively toward Sutok in a sympathetic gesture he might have seen her use with his daughter, but she draws her hand back before it even comes very near and rubs disconsolately at her forehead. "It's impossible not to be drawn to her," she says softly. "I've rarely met a child I didn't like, but...she's something else again."
"In what way?" Senka asks.
"I'm not sure," Aliyah admits, lowering her hand from her forehead to rest momentarily over her heart. "One of those illogical heart things." She tries to smile, but it completely fails.
Carey drains the last of her peach zinger, grimacing at the taste as if it's no longer sweet to her, and then pushes to her feet with a sigh. "I'm going to bed," she says to Senka and the older Vulcan now sitting at the table with her. "Good night. See you bright and early," she adds to Senka, and this time her forced smile actually almost resembles one.