Posted by Captain Iphigenia Henao (Captain) in A Sitdown With the Boss
Posted by Commander Jaieh Vrenek (Executive Officer) in A Sitdown With the Boss
Posted by Captain Iphigenia Henao (Captain) in A Sitdown With the Boss
Posted by… suppressed (21) by the Post Ghost! 👻
Jaieh wandered through the corridors of the USS Leviathan. As good as this assignment had been to her, she didn’t feel like she knew the crew. Her feet stopped outside the Captain’s ready room. As good a place to start as any. She pressed the chime and waited.
Iphigenia was enjoying the final piece of her green chili chicken tamale when the unexpected ring of the chime echoed through the room. In a flurry, she hurriedly devoured the last bite, her mouth still full, she somehow managed to mumble, “Come in!” Before her visitor entered, she promptly disposed of the greasy paper towels that crumbled on her desk in a discreet waste basket concealed beneath it, all while deftly reaching for her Mandarin Jarritos bottle and taking a sip.
Jaieh stepped into the office, fully aware she had interrupted something. “I hope this isn’t a bad time Captain. It occurred to me…” she paused, uncertain how to convey her thoughts. “It occurred to me that though we arrived close together, and have worked side by side, we haven’t taken the time to properly introduce ourselves.”
Iphigenia quickly composed herself, smiled at Jaieh, and gestured for her to take a seat. “Not a bad time at all, Commander Vrenek. In fact, I welcome the opportunity to get to know you better. Please, have a seat.”
Jaieh took the offered seat and did her best to relax a little.
Iphigenia leaned back comfortably in her chair, taking a moment to appraise her colleague. She was curious to learn more about her.
“Let’s rectify the lack of proper introductions then. It’s my fault we haven’t had time to become properly acquainted. I think the workload we faced when we took command was a factor. However, I’m glad you stopped by.” Iphigenia paused, taking another sip from her Mandarin Jarritos bottle before continuing. “So, what have you been up to? Anything interesting?”
“Since getting back to the Leviathan?” She had been on the Leviathan crew roughly a year before receiving a return assignment to it. “I’ve been trying to settle some things that have been left in the air far too long. Since I came to the Federation, I haven’t really spoken to my family. Tricky now to get a message back, but… the time has more than come. What about you, Captain? What keeps you busy?”
Iphigenia smiled at Jaieh’s response, appreciating her openness. She leaned forward, resting her elbows on the desk, and clasped her hands together.
“Well, Jaieh, hopefully you dont mind me being informal at the moment, my responsibilities as captain certainly keep me occupied. Running a starship is no easy task, as I’m sure you know,” she replied with a chuckle. “But aside from the day-to-day operations, I try to make time for personal pursuits as well. I find solace in reading and exploring different cultures. It’s fascinating to learn about the diverse perspectives and histories across the galaxy.”
“There’s so much to be learned from other cultures. Exploring the people of the galaxy, you can find more wisdom than in any book.” Jaieh agreed.
She paused for a moment, her gaze thoughtful. “And, of course, I have my fair share of family obligations. They may not always be close by, but I make an effort to keep in touch and spend time with them when I can. Family is important to me, just as I’m sure it is to you.”
Jaieh nodded gently.
Iphigenia’s expression softened as she continued, “It sounds like reconnecting with your family is a significant step for you. I hope you’re able to mend those connections and find the closure you seek. Is there anything I can do to assist you in that endeavor?”
“Unless you can persuade my mother that coming to the Federation was not about betraying the Empire, probably not. The offer is appreciated though.”
Iphigenia could sense the complexity of the situation and the deep emotions tied to it. “Family dynamics can be complicated, especially when there are differing perspectives and loyalties involved,” Iphigenia replied empathetically. “It can take time for others to see the intentions and choices we make in a different light. While I may not be able to directly influence your mother’s perspective, I can offer my support and understanding during this process.”
After a brief hesitation, Iphigenia decided to share her own family experience. “I can relate to your struggle. My father also believed I was making a foolish choice when I left behind the protective bubble he had built for my brother and me and ran off, his words, to join Starfleet. Whenever I contacted him, his first response was not a warm greeting but rather, ‘So, are you ready to give up this ridiculous dream of making a career in Starfleet and come back home?’ He couldn’t understand why I had to go, why I chose to live like a soldier when I had an infinite number of resources at my hand. However, I eventually mustered the courage to express how his words made me feel, as if I couldn’t succeed or wasn’t good enough. Surprisingly, he stopped saying those things to me and became more supportive.” She shrugged her shoulders then continue, “Sometimes, all it takes is open and honest communication to bridge the gap between family members. If you’re comfortable, perhaps sharing your reasons for joining the Federation and how it aligns with your personal values could help your mother understand your perspective better.”
She locked her eyes on the desk between them, but didn’t really look at it. “People who are still loyal to the Empire are hard to persuade.” Jaieh laughed lightly and slowly lifter head. “Where are you from, Captain?”
Iphigenia nodded a little “Yeah, I understand that it can be challenging to change someone’s deeply ingrained loyalties, but it’s not impossible. Sometimes, people need time to process new information and adjust their perspectives.”
“To answer your question,” Iphigenia continued, “I’m from Texas. My father was a weapons expert and built a successful empire centered around technology and weapons. He had strong ties with the Federation, which influenced my own journey and choices. But it wasn’t always easy for me either. I share this with you because I believe that even in difficult situations, there’s hope for understanding and acceptance. If you’re willing to have an open conversation with your mother, sharing your reasons for joining the Federation and how it aligns with your personal values could help her gain insight into your perspective. Your mother may not come around overnight, and it’s important to be patient with your mother. Sometimes, all it takes is for them to see your determination and hear your heartfelt reasons to consider a different point of view.”
“I need to speak personally with her. Letters and messages back and forth are never going to cut it. Not for the conversation we’re trying to have. What did your family have against the Federation? Or Starfleet at least. It’s an easy story to tell for me.”
Iphigenia smiled and then said, “Well, I hope sharing my story makes it a little easier for you. You see, my father didn’t have anything against the Federation itself; he actually worked very closely with them to distribute his weapons throughout the various branches of the organization, contracting to equip starships with the latest weapon technology. However, there was a deeper reason why he initially didn’t want me to join.”
“You see, my mother unfortunately passed away before I was born. Cosimo, my twin brother, and I were conceived from frozen embryos that she had left behind. So, for my father, we were truly precious, a part of her that he cherished dearly. Losing my mother was an incredibly traumatic experience for him, and it left a deep scar on his heart.”
“When I expressed my desire to join Starfleet, he couldn’t help but be anxious and worried about the idea of me putting myself in harm’s way. He wanted to protect me from the dangers that might come with being a part of this incredible organization and from the different microbes and illnesses I could catch from exploring the universe. You see, my mother died of Andorian measles after a trip off-planet. It wasn’t about him having any animosity towards Starfleet, but rather his love and fear for my safety.”
“It’s true that Cosimo initially chose the path of Starfleet like me, but he eventually decided to step back and take up the responsibility of running the family business. We all make choices in life, and sometimes circumstances lead us in different directions.”
“But despite my father’s concerns and my brother’s change of plans, I still felt this deep calling within me to explore the stars and contribute to the greater good as a part of Starfleet. I believe in my heart that this is the path I need to walk, even if it means facing challenges and hardships along the way.”
“It hasn’t been easy, and I’ll miss my family dearly. But in time, my father came to understand my decision and support me. As a result, I sit here now with you,” she said with a smile.
“I can’t imagine you’ve told them the nature of this assignment if safety is the concern.” Jaieh laughed. “But they have to be proud of you at this point. Captain of your own ship. And an assignment very few officers would ever be a candidate for.”
Iphigenia nodded, her smile widening. “You’re right. I didn’t disclose the details of this specific assignment to them for that reason. I know it seems somewhat deceptive but I didnt want to deal with the constant concerns. In any case he has come to be proud of my accomplishments in Starfleet, especially as a Captain now. It’s a rare and prestigious opportunity, and I’m grateful for it.” She paused then said, “So enough about me. What about you. I have heard a bit about your mother. Do you have any siblings? What about your father?”
Jaieh returned the smile. “My father was… on Romulus. when there stopped being any such planet. My older brother, I don’t know where he is. Haven’t heard from him since I left the Empire. Hope he’s okay. I’m sure he is. If my mother was in a hurry to tell me anything, it’d be bad news. Since I haven’t heard anything, I’ll assume he’s getting by.” She laughed. “My father would be proud of me. XO of some experimental anomaly capturing Starfleet ship. In a sense he’s encouraging to think about. I always hope my mother and brother will decide to flee to Federation space and we can be a little family again. We’ll see.”
Iphigenia listened and then said. “I’m sorry to hear about the loss of your father’s homeworld. It was truly shocking for even me when I heard the news.” She shook her head sadly as she continued, “It was a tragic event for the entire galaxy,” she said with empathy. “It’s natural to worry about your brother, but it’s good to hold onto hope that he’s doing well. I can imagine your father would be incredibly proud of you,” Iphigenia continued. “Being the XO of any Starfleet ship is a remarkable achievement. It sounds like you’ve come a long way and accomplished a great deal. Your dedication and skills must have impressed your superiors. It certainly impresses me.”
“As for your mother and brother, it’s always difficult when the family is separated by circumstance. The Federation is a vast and welcoming place, and if they ever choose to come here, they will find a supportive community. Until then, cherish the memories and keep hoping for a reunion someday,” Iphigenia said, offering her support.
Iphigenia paused for a moment before adding, “Family can be complicated, but it’s also what keeps us grounded and connected to who we are. We all have our unique journeys, and sometimes they take us far from where we started, but the love and bond remain.”
“The love and bond are always there… no matter how inconvenient it gets. But family aside for a second- I’d like to just say” Jaieh hesitated. “I’d like to just say that it seems like we have a lot more in common than might originally have been evident. A Romulan defector and human, from Earth no less, I had my doubts that we were going to be compatible as people. But even beyond our backgrounds, we’ve both made it further up the Starfleet ladder than I think anyone anticipated. And I don’t think either of us is looking for this to be the end of that.”
Iphigenia nodded in agreement, appreciating the candidness of their conversation. “You’re right, Jaieh. Our backgrounds may be different, but it’s our shared dedication, determination, and our ability to adapt that have brought us here. Starfleet values diversity and unity, and I believe that applies not just to species but to the individuals who make up our crew.”
She leaned forward slightly, her expression thoughtful. “I’m glad to have you as my Executive Officer. The trust we build within our senior staff is integral to the success of this ship. Your unique perspective and experience are assets that complement the strengths of this crew. I have no doubt that our combined efforts will continue to drive the Leviathan forward.”
“ Ã¦khra” (Agreed) Jaieh responded with a smile.
Iphigenia’s gaze softened, revealing a hint of a smile. “As for the future, I have no intention of this being the end of our journey. There are challenges and adventures ahead, and I believe we’re both ready to face them head-on, just as we have until now.” There was a pause then a smile, “So while your here I wanted to get you take on our new Vendorian counselor.”
“I haven’t had the chance. Tend to avoid counselors if it’s at all possible. Do you have… reservations?” Jaieh was always concerned about someone privy to every secret on the ship wandering its halls without breaching privacy or security at some point in their day.
Iphigenia nodded, her expression growing more serious. “I do have reservations, Jaieh. The history of the Vendorians being spies concerns me deeply. The fact that they possess the ability to ‘steal personalities’ only adds to my unease. Despite my belief that the new counselor means no harm to the crew, these concerns persist. Our priority must be safeguarding the well-being and privacy of our crew. We cannot overlook these considerations. If we can find common ground with the Romulans,” she paused, glancing briefly at her executive officer, “then we should extend the same opportunity to the Vendorians. After all, both species were once mutual adversaries of the Federation.”
Taking a moment to collect her thoughts, Iphigenia continued, “Despite my reservations, I’ve had the chance to meet Lieutenant Nyman, and I must admit, I’m quite impressed. His logical approach and calm demeanor reassure me of his capabilities as a counselor and a Starfleet officer. However, during our meeting, when I proposed a thorough medical examination, he displayed reluctance.” Iphigenia raised her hands in a defensive gesture, “Now, Jaieh, I understand that nobody welcomes being subjected to medical scrutiny as if they were an experiment. But given our limited knowledge about the Vendorians, I was compelled to take this step.”
Looking around the empty office, she leaned back in her chair, her tone more confidential, “Between you and me, Admiral Webb strongly recommended that I order the examination and promptly forward the results to Starfleet Medical and Science divisions. I didn’t want to force the issue, but our hands were somewhat tied. The Admiral believes the insights we gather from Lieutenant Nyman could hold significant value for Starfleet and the Federation in the long run.”
“Permission to speak freely Captain?”
“Yes, of course”, she said with a smile.but braced herself to hear some criticism about the situation.
“I would be reluctant too. Speaking as a member of what not so long ago, within my own lifetime, was considered a ‘hostile race’ I think dealing in generalizations is a mistake.” She had never met the Counselor, but she felt somewhat protective. “We have to demonstrate to Lieutenant Nyman that his value to this crew and to Starfleet are his actions on this ship. Not potentially providing an upper hand against a perceived adversary. It’s important he knows he’s here because he earned his place, just like everyone else.”
Iphigenia appreciated Jaieh’s input. “You make a valid point,” she replied thoughtfully. “You’re right, we cannot generalize or treat Lieutenant Nyman differently solely based on his species. It’s our duty as Starfleet officers to uphold the principles of equality and fairness. He’s a part of this crew, and he should be judged by his actions and dedication to our mission, just like any other member.” Iphigenia continued, “I do believe in giving him a chance to prove himself. If we’re going to build bridges with the Vendorians, it has to start here, within our own crew. We’ll treat him with respect and trust until he gives us a reason not to.”
She smiled appreciating the thoughtful conversation. “Thank you for your counsel, Jaieh. Your perspective is invaluable as always.
Jaieh smiled, appreciating that the Captain heard and understood what she had been trying to express. “I do my best Captain. It’s an honor and a pleasure to try to help where I can.”
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