Literary Challenge #56 : Academy Teachings
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Join Date: Sep 2013
Reflections on a Mid-career Vulcan
01-10-2014, 07:45 PM
She came in, she was dressed in her brown, tan and white robes. One of the foremost scientists of Vulcan, now a pagan priestess of a very high order, I had invited her for chess. My futility was known to her, I could not imagine any other way to create a device in which to allow for her visit. I knew she would stay for at least a few if not several moons. She would of course realize that I was interested in children and family.
I was researching the latest scientific data while my proposal to Starfleet was being examined. I had already been informed that my proposal had been sent to Earth for further scrutiny. The bottom line was that neither my wife nor I wanted to spend any more time teaching at the Vulcan Science Academy. I was willing to entertain teaching at Starfleet Academy on Earth while my transfer orders were being considered. I also had requested command befitting my rank. I had passed the 'post-graduate' Vulcan Science Academy tests, some of them they had said. The directors were not certain that any further testing would prove to be relevant to my credentials, is what had been said.
"Don't worry about your proposal results, that can just mean anything, they could have been rude due to your prowess, or likely enough, there would be no logical point in further embellishing your pride or ego." My wife had said."?Ta'an, really, I myself am stuck between a multi-faceted multi-cultural paganism and a reactionary scientific community, what should I do? Well, I want to stay with you and find out my solution, I want your company, I want to examine your meta-data."
"How alarming," I conceded. This comment was indicative of my arousal at her finalization. I was transfixed upon how much further than a simple game of chess that this event had become and I no longer had intellectual appetite, as I had discovered, my other yearnings. Perusing meta-data is what we pretended to do at the Starfleet Academy on Earth for many reasons, the humans however would generally conclude that only one outcome could be possible, who were we to disagree? It however was a childless marriage, and our Starfleet careers were largely responsible for our frustration. At times we were assigned to the same ship, on two occasions. As joyous as those instances were, they were odious reflections of a stagnant Starfleet career, each occasion in fact in which I needed to once again return to the examination of meta-data, rote officer tasks and training notwithstanding.
"For someone who hated gaining rank in the fleet, you did well, and always satisfied me when you were aboard and not on some damn fool mission." She smiled sweetly at this. I had a cold meal being stored.
"Permission to board granted lieutenant-commander?" I wasn't exactly saluting.
. . .
After reminiscing on quaint colloquialisms that we remembered from our time with humans, I reheated my soup, and then went back to a relaxed position. Although I liked her cooking better, there wasn't anything wrong with my technique, if anything I was methodical. There was further reflection however.
The meta-physical and spiritual often exchange in moments of passion and love. Love for Vulcans is a difficult and complicated ritual. We found that the humans had liberated us somewhat, we embellished and relished this, yet with such profound understanding came responsibility. Her fundamental understanding of complex spiritual and metaphysical concepts, and my own had been impacted greatly by our free expression of love. She had decided that the best thing to do would be to become something akin to a Terran druid, except the Vulcan variety, which was literally a priestess. This had interfered with her Starfleet career. For a time she had been assigned to DS9 and was promoted to on-planet duties on Bajor. Her spiritual link was appreciated by Bajorans and Starfleet members alike. All could find comfort on her variations of comparative theology. For some reason it seemed remarkably humanizing.
Even Klingons would rather at times pray at a Vulcan pagan alter than a Bajoran one. Tal'aan even helped the staff of a prominent Klingon Captain, a 'Mong-Dech,' in officiating a prayer sight on Bajor for Klingons. Captain Mong-Dech had cited that although he did not mind praying with other species, it is a very personal experience for Klingons, and frankly he was not a member of the monotheism in the Empire. Tal'aan had taken initiative and even went to lengths to find orange, green and red candles for the Captain to light. She even went so far as to find a brimstone pyre and a sage variety that smelled like a war or an enormous festival frankly, and this comforted Mong-Dech greatly. He himself funded the Klingon pagan worship site on Bajor. Tal?aan, a handful of Klingons, and her Bajoran counterparts worked together to create a structure that could honor the old gods. Amusingly enough when Vulcans mistook it for their Vulcan site, Mong-Dech, who was present during its coronation, found Vulcan candles and incense and created a unique section for guests in an impromptu manner, knowing both the names of Vulcan and Klingon gods he guided the Vulcan to the proper representation, and then had Tal'aan address them to the location of the Vulcan pagan place. Other than complete her command training, she also was commended for diplomacy, as Mong-Dech had, on the Klingon pagan site?s coronation, had introduced her to Galron, and his wife, who were speech-less at the selflessness on the behalf of the Federation and Bajorans.
Galron's wife had commented on the authenticity, as it was a very accurate megalith, and Galron himself had said that Mong-Dech had spoken highly of her, and to his comfort amongst the brimstone pyres and smell of vanquish-he had to say he even felt nostalgia! This was an unfounded compliment, and Mong-Dech and his wife began the busy task of pouring ever one in attendance bloodwine. This was some time after the war with the Dominion, and publicly it was known that Galron had no wish to revisit this place. He was proven wrong, and his speech reflected well on everyone involved in the project. Mong-Dech had later suggested to Tal'aan that certain combat trophies from the Dominion conflict could be used to embellish the Klingon god of war?s structural depiction. Galron had then noted that it was in the old style, ancient, no modern embellishments, the sculptural representations barely looked Klingon! Of course his wife had studied ancient formations and was quick to note on the accuracy to that point also. Galron and Mong-Dech had their metallurgical fragments and electronic fragments beamed down to the megalith, and they were placed as honor trophies indicating the struggles that had been had in that vicinity of space. Galron and his wife as well as Tal'ann had complimented Mong-Dech on his creativity.
I recalled arriving late to the event, having to accomplish duty transfer protocols in another location nearby in the Bajoran capital. We were to serve on DS9 together, and it was our second time working together in the fleet. The Klingons were handsome, drunk and extremely grateful to be acknowledged and honored for their troubles. Martok had arrived early and had left early also, he was due to patrol, and said nothing further. Galron had acknowledged that unfortunately the honor of protecting the planet remained in the general's hands as long as the chancellor was deemed to visit. Surprisingly Martok had worked something out with his command structure and arrived later than I. He was the first Klingon to stare at me and then suddenly give me a large hug. He had appeared out of nowhere to do so. He then slapped my shoulder, almost knocking me down while exclaiming, "Qapla!" I had been introduced to everyone other than he, and it seemed this sudden outburst had divided my wife's attention somehow. The general made grandiose, and general statements about the relevance of the megalith, I didn't find it too hard to follow, and it seemed to make sense. Galron, on the other hand squinted as if he need eyeglasses to hear better, I thought immediately not to mention. Remembering so much amused Tal'aan and I finished my soup in light of her brevity.
"You don't remember, I said, 'How did you know this is my husband,' and he laughed the way old men sometimes do when it isn't worth the explanation." I conceded to the accuracy of her account. I remember having pointed out to him Galron and Mong-Dech's contributions to the war god alter. Galron had crossed his arms and Mong-Dech was surprised that Galron would so rudely challenge the general in such a display of expectancy.
Mong-Dech had mentioned, "Did you save those spent energy-coil conductors?" Galron had indeed had, and every public place aboard his ship had one on display with a plaque and specific dates and other relevant historic information. The conflict with the Dominion had worn out the Klingon fleet extensively.
"I have three of such in my special on-board quarters, and another three in my captain's office, also aboard, I will have four beamed directly here, and have plagues manufactured for all of the relics!" I recalled that the General would not be outdone, and I had complimented him, on his addition to the megalith, insisting on shaking his hand, with both of my own. He was genuinely pleased with himself from that point onward and the Klingons carried the evening to a renewed measure of amicability.
"The Klingons are always interesting, especially when they aren't completely terrifying, the humans however are more fascinating in that they are continuously profoundly weird." This won me a chorus of Tal'aan's laughter.
"We had spent time with Captain Mong-Dech comparing his eccentricities to that of normative human behavior." She had added.
"Galron had said that he was even weird by human standards, and that had been embarrassing to him-until he realized that it was apparently true." I added.
"'Truth is stranger than fiction,' his wife liked that comment." Tal'ann embellished.
"I think Galron was drunk. He said that humans had to act out because they were so plain otherwise, at least in appearance. Although it is true, compared to Bejorans and Vulcans," I mused.
"Indeed. They must make up for it by being so inventive."
We had for a time been aboard a ship, the Incessant. We were to make the DS9 and Bajoran Fleet members and civilians comfortable, and find ways to make them able to adapt to the incoming deluge of Gamma Quadrant refugees. We had finished very far ahead of schedule, mostly due to Tal'aan's guidance with networking. With Klingons, when one project is done, another begins. The Empire, like Starfleet, wanted to have stations on DS9 as well as Bajor, so the Megalith was a beginning of diplomacy for them. The Bajoran had to be constantly cajoled and prodded by Tal'aan and myself, they saw the Klingons as invaders like the Cardasians. We repeatedly assured them of Klingon philosophy, the enemy of my enemy, is my friend! And the like, the General, the Captain, even the Chancellor, had repeatedly confirmed this at the coronation. I'm afraid the Bajoran Ambassador was a little too retroactive, however everything would work out for the best. Bajorans don't like having to concede out of their comfort zones, they would prefer neutrality in all things, this is not at all possible in stellar politics.
The consequence of these Klingon posts would ultimately be that a join Fleet / Empirical task force would be needed to build a Gamma colony and transfer place, in order to make them feel at home, and to help expedite them to the Alpha Quadrant. As it turned out however, they were generally highly adaptive and many only needed minor transference. This did not reflect poorly on the Gamma colony on Bajor however, it never filled to capacity-in such a regard that a secondary colony was ever built. Regular traffic through the wormhole, now guarded by Klingons and Starfleet alike continued.
Working with the Starfleet embassy wasn't my primary concern, and Talaan's neither. We were working on adapting technological knowledge from all primary sources. Galron and the Klingons had promised some leeway, and we sent an official inquisition form to his office. We were quite surprised by his reply. He gave us all data on almost everything Klingon up until the second decade of the 23rd century. This was extremely much more than we had bargained for. The Klingons were obviously secure in their information network. Comparative technological improvements from Gamma quadrant sources however, were very hard to come by, this was a much slower process. We interviewed every Gamma quadrant scientist and engineer that came through the worm hole. When aboard the Incessant we toured secured areas of the Gamma Quadrant, mostly trade networks, and continued our research. Trade and diplomacy had made this possible, yet there were constant tensions with the Dominion. The Incessant, was primarily a military vessel, it was a large D class vessel, Daedalus designation. My wife and I had the luxury of maintaining the areas of science aboard ship that crossed over into foreign engineering. It's called developmental and/or proto-sociological mechanics. We wanted to find rational conclusions to the study in order to be able to tie more leads into the comprehension of Borg technology. Teams of scientists and engineers from all over the Federation were pouring over the Klingon data that we had managed to secure. The thinking is that universal understanding of the general polemics of engineering should help us to logically rationalize the Borg technological construct. Klingons and Fleet vessels would often negotiate the Gamma quadrant together. Safety in numbers, security in the diversity of discovery, this is what Martok had told Galron at the Klingon megalith, their gateway to Sto'Vo'Kor. Mong-Dech had described a correlation between the wormhole as a star-gate and the qa'lojmIt on Bajor, and had further predicted a great understanding between the two factions that would lead us into victory against the enslavement of the Borg. I stupidly chose to question his experience against slavery. I was instructed by both the Chancellor and the General that this Klingon Captain was pro-equality, and pro-civil labor union, and had before joining with the KDF as a commander, completed major grassroots community civic efforts that helped to maintain and stabilize the sanctity of the urban on Qo'Nos. I merely at the time imagined that I could research these facts, as I knew not of such records. This was good enough for the Klingons to dismiss what might have been mistaken as an insult, my own admittance of ignorance to the matter. That conversation ended on a positive note as my wife and I, and the Mong-Dech couple discussed comparative systemic civics in our respected fields. The other Klingons listened intently with Martok and Galron occasionally nodding towards one another. Towards the end of this discussion Mong-Dech explained that there is no shame or dishonor in discovering comparative civics. All could readily agree. My wife and I lamented time apart and the frustrations of continuing research, which was greeted with a general sense of sympathy from the Klingons. The Mong-Dech couple had similar difficulties, however civil engineering had to him been replaced by command some decades prior in his career, and he found it difficult to reinvent or restage further development at times on older projects that would require review, yet he did, and also would follow up research on such projects with continuous new proposals for civic renewal. Martok and his wife had no such previous experience of civics before his glory had been achieved as a Captain, he would build something near the House of his family for the benefit of the community, a library, a replication station, a new aqueduct, things that were needed that only successful generals before him had implemented. Galron was very quick to point out that many Captains followed this example thereafter, and that it quickly became a noteworthy chapter in the legacy of K'mpec. The Klingons could smile at this and Mong-Dech recited memories of such examples that lead to his volunteer efforts as early as before he had even joined with Klingon Academy. I found that such fascination conversation had given me time to appreciate bloodwine. This fact was met with grins of satisfaction by the Klingons. My wife did not hate the wine.
"This is still something I will not drink away from diplomacy." Tal'aan added.
"Last month the lecture I gave in San Francisco was much more formal of course, however I did mention that you will not otherwise drink bloodwine." I waited for it, humans would savor the pause in the moment, expecting an outrageous response-I savored the comfort of being with someone I consider to be a crucial part of my existence.
"Well I was on my last pilgrimage with a mixed group of Romulans and Vulcans, there was nothing I could do." Ouch, the telling pained us both.
"I did note that your faith largely puts diplomacy in a position of primacy to most other regards." She smiled. I was 'off the hook.'
"Captain B'Elanna told me as much, she is still doing xeno-cultural diplomacy as a neutral third party advisor for the Marquee. She wants my students to teach on Bajor for the betterment of all species involved in theology there. Starfleet was against it until B'Elanna expressed interest."
"She interrupted my lecture twice to give current updates actually. She is still a Federation Captain, and a Klingon Captain, so she kind of has respect everywhere at once, in most to all quadrants also." It is considered dry humor to humans, although it is when I am performing comedy at my best, I decided to remind Tal'aan that I was only Vulcan after all.
"Yes she does." She replied with some wit to her tone.
"I didn't know, and in fact was rather shocked when a half-Klingon / Human academy student asked me what I thought of the fact that Klingons used the megalith on Bajor as a mecca for pilgrimage, as well as a tourist attraction for off duty officers. I hadn't known it had grown to such use, I merely replied that I would be interested in a more detailed report on those circumstances and that naturally that cross cultural miscegenation was indeed the purpose of its existence. Although before approving my lecture outline Belanna had informed me that Klingon Captains had begun to visit the megalith regularly."
"I was unaware that it had gotten to be such a center for heroic acknowledgement, warriors face the reliquary there in hopes to someday add their own to their god of war. The Romulans seemed to have heard some of it, I thought perhaps it was their close proximity to Khittomer and normative Klingon trading routes."
"Perhaps polytheism will make peace in the local stellar neighborhood."
"Perhaps." Tal'ann had noted.
"A cadet also had an engineering question regarding Borg data compilation, and I was forced to concede that 'only standard research practices' would be necessary to make the appropriate analysis's necessary to examine new technologies to such a degree. I wish one of the Klingons were there from the megalith coronation actually. I told B'Elanna so much and she said, "I swear I won't be so staunch." Her explanation was that unfortunately due to the covert nature of such analysis trans-mechanical currency was the best hope for a design philosophy miscegenation that was universal enough to begin to understand Borg comparative structuring. I liked her answer better."
"Again, I concede to her wisdom on such matters."
"The cadet looked somewhat frustrated by her response, it sounded better, however it was not much different in all actuality."
"I hate to think of the tribunals that we suffered in Academy, but I do remember the Redwood trees." She had a certain look in her eyes as she finished her plomeek.
"I remember surfing and camping with you. I will never ever in my life forget the times we had on that planet. Honestly B'Elanna had asked what was my best memory from our Academy years, in front of all of the cadets so even the officers sitting in could hear in the side front and top rows."
"So you told them that. What did she say?"
"Well my husband was in a penal colony after I was in Academy, so I transferred to become a marquee hoping that I could save him, although in all honesty we had not really met."
"I then asked, 'It is difficult to save the mating bonds of an interdisciplinary couple, is it not Captain?' She of course just smiled and said, 'We at least know how to make it work do we not?' At least we do I replied, hoping that some idiot officer was in attendance that could understand how frustrating it was to have two masters as we do."
"No she told me of this actually, and there was a Captain Paris, her husband was there, B'Elanna told me they were accommodating to your blight of my absence. Well, they cannot get assigned to the same ship because no Admiral wants both a former Marquee member and an anarchist / cavalier pilot hooligan to lead them against foes and keep diplomacy in the Delta quadrant, although they still are occasionally assigned to help Admiral Janeway, which is no small favor to them."
"It was all I could do to ask them to give the Admiral my regards, I felt defiant in their confidence and all of the damn bureaucracy that keeps us apart at times. Cadet members in trans-xeno relationships had many questions, 'Is your wife going to become the new Ambassador to DS9?' 'Will you return to New Vulcan should you develop progeny?' The most unique question was, 'Will deborgified people find the unborgified attractive, and if so will the opposite be true?
"That had to have been an above board hit with the Captains." Commented Tal'aan.
"It was, but following the path of our personal development as a couple in Starfleet the questions were then from the Captains themselves to steer us back to my lecture, because I was more than happy to accommodate the cadets inquiries, and eventually did. 'Is Ambassador Tal'aan more attracted to Romulans or Klingons,' is what B'Elanna had asked." This comment received a chorus of laughter from Tal'aan.
"No more than I am was my answer." She kept laughing of course. "Indeed the Cadets found it amusing also. Lots of genuine smiles there, it was nice to be surrounded by so many interesting people, and I naturally said so also. Paris, his question was different, serious. "If you are on a ship and making formal technical corrections in compliance to the Federations New Borg Initiative Protocol Standardizations and you come across a higher ranked officer, such as myself, who is either too inquisitive or who is adamantly opposed to your work, what do you do?"
"I have met them both personally, that is just like Paris to give credence to the highest formation of consternation." Tal'aan said.
"I admited that I have had to relieve a Lieutenant-Commander, and on another occasion a Lieutenant for similar reasons, which I couldn't specify. In these cases there is usually a team of engineers there to assist, so they would be learning something new, Captains are free to watch as often as they like, as long as they aren't in the way. Usually an engineering chief accommodates these procedures. They cannot actually know exactly what I'm doing or how, they can see what they can for themselves, they might not know all of the specifics, such as the physical properties of specific formations of augmentation, or in some cases how circuitry is being re-routed. There are insignias in place so if certain areas that I had been working on should for some reason come in to scrutiny, at the least engineers can determine easily enough that whatever the work was that was done was my doing. At the worst there are standardized A.I. holograms that instruct engineers what to do should these insignias not be properly recognized. 'Its' okay if you don't get it, Scotty will help you, although he will likely drink your scotch and whiskey also.' No cadet could give an answer like this to a Captain however. Paris looked me dead in the eye, and addressed the crowd."
"That's right, that might be exactly who, and don't sweat that, by the time you are a lieutenant you'll be correcting the A.I. because you'll know that much more about it by that time."
"Actually that's likely correct, remember to depict exactly what transpires should the A.I. direct your technical applications in the future into your own personal logs and situation reports to your commanding officers." I was actually kind of impressed with how Paris didn't undermine the relevance of my duties, and I related as much to Tal'aan, as I had previously done with both Captains in question.
Last edited by allen1973; 01-14-2014 at