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Mess Hall Philosophy

Posted on Mon Feb 5th, 2024 @ 8:14am by Lieutenant Commander Rin & Lieutenant N'vok Holv & Teevs Dosivi & Lieutenant M'Tuuri Sh'iss [S'hib]

Mission: Season 6: Episode 4: Memory Lane
Location: Mess Hall
Timeline: MD6, after "Reorganizaton"
2133 words - 4.3 OF Standard Post Measure

With another day's training complete, Rin and N'vok stepped into the mess hall intent on food and conversation. Rin had enjoyed getting to know the Vulcan better in the last couple of days.

"It is rather nice to have a bit of structure to one's days again," said the Vulcan. "Though that will all change once we set off on the mission."

Rin paused in thought. "I think I've actually taken a liking to less structure. I'm not sure when that changed. I suppose I have the habit of hiding behind it. When you fall into a pattern you don't have to make choices other than whether to follow the pattern."

N'vok nodded. "My usual routines were so shattered by my injury and the situation we found ourselves in, that a bit of imposed structure is pleasant. At least in the short term." He said getting a meal comprised of soup and bread,

"What sort of injury? If I may ask," Rin asked.

N'vok took a seat. "Let me see, it was a long list: shattered right leg, seventeen broken ribs, pierced lung, concussion, brain hemorrhage, and a variety of other traumas. I was in a coma for four weeks." He took a sip of soup. "But I am mostly better now," he added.

"Good to hear," Rin replied. She hadn't heard of anyone who had survived that level of trauma during the accident. Plenty who suffered it but few survived.

"Vulcans are tougher than we look," said N'vok. "But the recovery has been occasionally frustrating. Still, one must move forward."

"I admit, it was quite a shock to emerge into such a changed world," he said. "Almost like a holonovel."

"Yes, I imagine it was." It had been shocking enough for those who lived through it, thought Rin. But to be comfortably on the Elysium one moment and then waking up in a makeshift medical suite on an icy world, that must have been jolting.

"Perhaps sort of like me separating for the Collective," Rin mused. "Order, unity and purpose one moment and utter chaos the next. And pain. And all sorts of other weird sensations. And then trying to put the pieces back together afterward."

“At least we’re ssstill here.” M’Tuuri grumbled, almost complaining at the fact as she walked past the pair with her tray of food, almost throwing it down as she sat at a table.

"That we are, and we're going to get home, one way or another," Rin added with uncharacteristic optimism.

"Indeed, I feel that every day we are getting closer to a solution," said N'vok. He looked to M'Tuuri. "Please join us, Lieutenant. You seem in need of some company."

She glanced at the plate of raw meat in front of her, poking at the pink meat with a claw as she mulled over her choices. In truth she just wanted to eat and leave, having no desire for company.

Another day of working with a variety of people left Teevs in need of some non-work socializing. After checking on Kerilia, he headed for the mess hall to see who he could converse with, and maybe even finish his meal this time. The lack of appetite was due to stress, but he knew he couldn't do his duty to this ship, he couldn't protect Kerilia, if he wasn't at his best. So that meant food.

Normally, Teevs would try one of the many dishes in the computer's database, but this time he chose one of the options that were included in the information he had given Lalor and Orin during their diplomatic talks. He wanted a familiar comfort food. A bowl of some kind of meat stew appeared, and the Lonian picked up the bowl before looking around for someone to talk to. He recognized Rin and N'vok, but not their company, so he decided to pay them a visit. He liked their company. "Good to see you again, Rin, Mister N'vok," he greeted.

"Ah, Mister Dosivi," said N'vok. "Please join our company. Lieutenant Rin and I were just speaking of the future. And hopefully we will have another member for our discussion." He looked again to M'tuuri and gestured to an empty seat.

“Yeah, alright…” She mumbled begrudgingly as she got up, dragging her food and herself over to their table.

"I do not think we have met, I am N'vok, chief of science," said the Vulcan. "Do you know everyone else or are introductions in order?"

M'Tuuri glanced up at N'vok, a slither of wet meat already stuck between her lips and her fingers.

She paused for a moment, chewing once to drag more of the meat into her maw before flicking her eyes towards Teevs and Rin.

Chewing silently again she looked back at N'vok "Well, ssshe's my boss... I don't know the other one." She finally answered, her words slurred around the meat she was still chewing on.

"This is Mister Dosivi, a local to this region of space and a most helpful guide," said N'vok by way of introduction.

"Ah, you are another intelligencer. A most interesting line of work though I suppose it must be as frustrating for you as it is for I to have such limited information about our current situation," he said before nodding to Teevs. "Despite the best effort of our ally here to help us learn the local area."

"This mission should help improve that situation," Rin replied. "When we don't have the data, we go find it. This is really the first chance we've had in doing so. I wish the stakes were a little less dire, but we work with what we have."

"Indeed," nodded N'vok. "Much as it is in science. I am hoping to gather some information to gain a better understanding of the culture of the Slavers. I have some theories but they need information to support or deny the ideas involved."

"Anything worth sharing yet?" Rin asked.

"We have some clear ideas on how they act," N'vok said. "Thanks in no small measure due to the information shared by Mister Dosivi," he nodded to Teevs. "They seem to perceive themselves as the Rightful Inheritors of the Firmament. Making them treat everyone else as lesser beings fit only to serve them. It is not pretty."

Teevs raised his eyebrows in a 'no kidding' form of agreement as he mixed the soup. "Their culture is very unknown, even to us locals. It's probably because so few people escape, and those who do are too traumatized to provide anything meaningful. But the culture of those who enslave others can never be good."

“Honestly, they sound pretty cliche…” M’Tuuri began, still chewing as she spoke. “I mean, think about it…” She added before swallowing.

“How many empires have been built on the backs of those they claim as inferior, tells you all you need to know.” She concluded matter of factly as she licked her whiskers clean of meat juices.

"Unfortunately that is not true. While there are similarities between Empires, the actual ways they function are very different," said N'vok. "Or do you believe that the Cardassian, Klingon, and Romulan Empires are functionally identical in how they govern and act?"

"I agree with N'vok," Rin said. "Even in the 24th century, Cardassia Prime has suffered repeated famines. It is a resource poor world. That is a significant reason why they expanded. The Klingons, quarrelling among themselves, were united through war with outsiders. The Dominion formed in response to the persecution of Changelings. Motivations are complicated, and we benefit from understanding them. You try to cure the sickness, not the symptom.

"One of the reasons the Federation holds together is the system benefits everyone," Rin continued. "If one world suffers famine, other worlds provide food and technology to avert it. Starfleet does well to protect all members. Like the Klingons, we formed in part in response to conflict between founding members. But when a world feels they are no longer benefitting from this arrangement, they start considering leaving. It is true we do not build ourselves up on the backs of others, but we are not completely altruistic. We do what we do because we benefit from it, and because we can afford it."

M'Tuuri squinted as everyone spoke, this was why she sat on her own she thought while silently judging everyone. "Idiots..." She thought while picking up more of her food, scowling at Rin as she bit down.

Rin raised an eyebrow in M'tuuri's direction, a sort of silent "Is there a problem?" before turning back to N'vok. She dealt enough with M'tuuri's scowls at work. She really wasn't going to pay them much mind now.

"Perhaps we are," said N'vok looking at M'Tuuri. "But as a Terran stateman once said: ‘Indeed it has been said that democracy is the worst form of Government except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.…’

"Interesting..." Teevs thought out loud. He had been silently listening, absorbing the conversation to learn a little more about these people. Maybe he could uncover something that would help him understand why these people were so insistent on travelling toward certain death. "Are your people usually so pessimistic about your government? It of course happens out here, but it seems like your histories had stronger opinions about how... society was maintained, I supposed is one way to put it?"

N'vok adjusted his glasses. "I believe it is the nature of society to be pessimistic about its government. Understanding that a system is prone to certain types of failure makes you watch out to prevent those failures from happening. While I am no expert in the history of Cait, both Terra and Vulcan almost destroyed themselves in violent warfare, so we have developed an interest in preventing that from happening again."

"I don't see myself as pessimistic," Rin added. "But I'm realistic, and I believe idolizing our civilization is a dangerous viewpoint. The idealists think we have the perfect system, which means they see every other system as imperfect, lesser, needing to be fixed. And that can send you down a pretty dark path, a path we try to avoid.

"And, honestly, it's my job," Rin added. "I don't merely study what a civilization does. I also study the why. That allows us to more easily predict future behavior and strategize our responses."

M'Tuuri glanced about, mid-tug on her replicated meat as it slowly split in twine. "I purrredict your food's gonna get cold..." She added with the slab of pink and raw meat still between her teeth.

"A good attitude," said N'vok to Rin, "with understanding comes wisdom."

He looked to M'Tuuri. "Some foods are meant to be eaten cold. This is why cultural understanding is important." He speared a section of his salad and ate it.

"Oh, fuck off..." M'Tuuri hissed as she tossed the remaining meat in her hand across the table, crashing across N'voks plate as she pushed away from the table and thumped towards the exit, leaving them in a moment of stunned silence.

"Excuse me a moment..." Rin said to N'vok, stomping after M'tuuri.

Once they were out of earshot, she continued. "Lieutenant, that was rude even for you. Does this have to do with the mission? Old memories?"

"I'm not good with people OK!?" M'Tuuri whined, spinning around but still walking away from the mess hall.

"I spent most of my adult life on some no-name, backwater Romulan shit hole, avoiding people!" She added stopping to scowl, bordering a hiss as two crewmen walked by.

"So now... whenever I open my mouth people look at me weird, or they talk down to me like I'm stupid!"

"I don't think you're stupid," Rin said. "We were having a discussion. We disagreed. That's all. N'vok and I disagree sometimes. It doesn't mean anything more than that. I'm sorry to appear dismissive. That was not the intent. I will leave you be."

M'Tuuri didn't know what to say, she expected a fight, an argument or to be scolded.

She clenched her fists, claws digging into her pads as her mind raced, she didn't understand what had just happened.

"Thank you." She said quietly, rubbing the dampness out from under one of her eyes as she turned and walked off.

Rin made her way back to the table. "We talked. She'll be ok. Sorry for the disruption," was all Rin said. She considered the matter done with, and what she and M'tuuri discussed was no one else's business.

N'vok had already cleaned the mess up by the time Rin returned. "Should I apologize? It was not my intention to cause any disruption."

"If you feel it appropriate," Rin replied. "But I'd give her some time."

N'vok nodded.


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