Saturday, December 4, 2010

[USS Charon] SD241012.04 || Joint Log "Marines ante portas" Part II || Col Aria Falcon, V'Les

=/\= Shi'Kahr, Gardens outside the Council Chambers =/\=

9th Day in the month of T'lakht, YS 9022


 Aria recalled the images of the devastation the bombardment had left and gave serious thought to the wonder of whether or not that question was a serious one. She knew little of Vulcan customs.  In fact most of her memories of the planet involved burning buildings, but that was a reality of circumstance, never having visited the planet before or after the war, save for today.


"I was under the impression that it was a potential combat zone," the Colonel replied flatly.  "At least, that is what it appears to be to me."  She tended to view Vulcans the way Romans viewed Greeks, so it occurred to her that logic traps might be the name of the minister's game. Stupid rhetoric.


"Look, minister, I'm not here to ruffle feathers. Nothing in it for me to do so."  She removed from a hip pouch the data pad containing her orders. "As the little orange text there says, I'm here because Command got the wise idea that we needed a show of force in wake of the incident.  Not to mention that maybe, just maybe, there are a couple survivors skulking around in the alleys waiting to spring out." it was awfully diplomatic for Aria.  Normally she'd have ignored the minister entirely, but this time was a bit more politically charged than others and she had no larger war to explain away her actions.


"Colonel Falcon, this entire planet is a potential combat zone if one applied this logic. And fortunately I do not have any feathers which can be disarranged."

While the Vulcan was certainly appreciative of the restraint the other woman showed – in fact, she was rather more amiable than the V'Ket commander who had been here earlier – this strict adherence to 'orange letters' was precisely what she had anticipated. And they like as not were not even aware of the inherent illogic. Anyone but a Vulcan might have rubbed their temples by now. As it was, V'Les steepled her fingers on the smooth, cool marble table and raised one elegantly slanted brow.


"Tell me, then – how will your Marines react in the theoretical – and I must point out, highly improbable – event of the Sundered attempting to secure a monastery which is inhabited by Vulcans who will not abide bloodshed on their behalf? Who will most certainly interfere in any potential firefight by simply stepping between the combatants? And in the interest of diplomacy," she gave a brief nod of acknowledgement to Kerev who had presented their guest with a glass of water in the customary, exquisitely polite way and was now withdrawing, fading into the background like one shadow among many "I am not going to forward the High Priestess' protest that weapons have been brought at all. Nor the V'Ket protesting the same. And most certainly not Commander T'Linel's protest that the Yel-Halitra not saw fit to coordinate with her. However, I am minded to question the … 'wise idea' in its entirety. This is Vulcan. We do not 'show force', Colonel."


Aria repressed the urge to roll her eyes at the 'wise idea' comment, but she should have realized her sarcasm would be lost to the Vulcan.  She knew there would be objections, complaints, maybe even threats, but she had not expected to be presented with the prospect of pacifist objectors actually getting in her way.  Fuck - they were more likely to cause death and destruction than prevent it, why couldn't those people see that?  Maybe that didn't matter to them.  Maybe that made them worse than those they protested against.


Aria shook her head, as much to dismiss the Minister's argument as to dismiss her own philosophical musings.  "Minister I am not here by choice, so before we get too deep into this debate, accept the fact that the soldiers are here and that they aren't leaving, at least not until I'm relieved by Vex."


She accepted the glass of water from the creepy Vulcan that seemed to, very literally, melt into the shadows, though she did not partake of it.  "And it isn't Vulcan showing force, it's Starfleet showing force.  Vulcan just happens to be the stage but, if it makes you feel better, I'm sure the show will be brief enough to avoid criticisms of 'occupation'."  Now she took a drink of the chilled water, feeling the change in temperature as it moved through her.  It felt good, refreshing and helped to cool her own temper.


"Every effort will be made to avoid civilian casualties, Minister, of that you can be sure."  Her hand went up, emphasizing an addendum to her promise, "But I will not tie hands behind the backs of any marine under by command, temporary or otherwise." Aria had dropped the pleasantness of her smile, adopting a far more stern look. She didn't think it would effect the Minister who, frankly, had the vibe of an ice cube, but it made her feel better. "I do not pretend," she added, "to understand Vulcan society or Vulcan politics and I am willing to take suggestions, but I am not willing to let social peculiarities hinder marine operations while they are here."


"When you are hindering them yourself?" there was a dry note creeping into the Vulcan's level and deep, almost husky voice, as close to a true contralto as one could get when one added the impression of velvet rubbing over sandpaper.

V'Les pushed one of the little data devices across the table and it skidded a bit on the moisture dripping from the Colonel's glass, coming to a perfect stop with the Federation Standard lettering facing the other woman. Not quite orange. Though she had instructed the tablet to translate, the deep ruby hues dancing on black remained the same.

"Andorians and even one Efrosian assigned to Xen'Tal. More Andorians at Seleya which is yet another religious site, however the High Priestess appears more concerned with your troops than the peace of her realm. As well she should be. Are you aware of the climatic condition of those sites, Colonel? Orange letters seem not to allow for logic. Do they allow for common sense?"


V'Les had heard the phrase 'desk jockeys' and found it both puzzling and mildly entertaining. However in this case the equally nonsensical term 'Boondoggle' would seem to apply.

"I shall not presume your superiors bothered to ponder the illogic of stationing troops at Xen'Tal. One might as well assign Starfleet security to guard Quantico. Though I daresay your Marines will be made to feel more welcome than said personnel would in return."

She found it unnecessary to point out that even being the stage of Starfleet showing force as the Colonel had seen fit to put it was … coating with carbohydrates. They didn't know. After all those centuries, they had no idea what or whom they were dealing with. Not when it came to the Sundered, not when it came to their own allies. She couldn't blame them. For one, it would be rude. For two, she had to admit the same was often enough true in reverse. But it was a nuisance all the same.


Returning the stern gaze with features schooled to a marble statue's perfect serenity, V'Les briefly unfolded her fingers to point at the data padd with a gesture more familiar to humans than the subtle tilt of the chin a Vulcan would have used "Accept that they are here, you say. Acceptance is the cornerstone of Vulcan philosophy, Colonel. But like your race, we are divers. And with different limits to what we will tolerate. You are willing to take suggestions? If you will not remove any species accustomed to cold climates, reassign them to Viltan or Han-Shir, which will not be comfortable but less likely to endanger their health or lives. If you insist on guarding 'Quantico' for the sake of making you 'feel better' instruct your Marines they would be wise to heed the base commander in all things. And if you are willing for one moment to consider reason above orange letters, speak with High Commander T'Linel of the V'Ket. If not for the sake of … 'our feelings'," the wry note was back, come and gone in the space of a Vulcan heartbeat "then for that of your troops."


Reason above orange letters, Aria smirked, the arrogance of logic is strong in this one.  "Now you brought up the Andorians," Aria said as she picked up the glass of water once more, "and did so in relation to the desert wasteland they're stationed in. Hmm."  Her eyes darted up, then to the side, then rolled in thought. "If only there was some substance that could stave off the dryness of desert. Something, a liquid perhaps, that was quick, cheap and easy to supply to marines stationed in friendly territory while on a largely stationary deployment, that would hydrate them. Man... that would really take care of the problem."


The Colonel sat back, sipping the water. "But for the life of me, I can't think of anything that would do that." She set the glass down. "Well then I suppose I'll pull the Andorians off Vulcan. You know we should probably not let them into the Marine Corps at all. Not versatile enough." She still wasn't sure if the Vulcan would pick up on the sarcasm, but for her it was an easy way to check her temper.


She leaned forward, setting the glass back down. "Really, Minister, the Andorians will be fine. If they can fight in a pressure suit in hard vacuum like the rest of us then they can stand around in the desert like the rest of us. They will leave with the expedition leaves."


The unreadable grey-green eyes seemed to grow brighter, almost luminescent under the pergola's shade. Or it might have been a trick of light.

"As you will, Colonel."

For all the inflection in her voice, V'Les might have stated that Nevasa was rising in the east, but there was a faint rustling in the shadows, as if a little bird had started at the sound of soft footfalls, the swishing of the predator's tail.

Blunt and inelegant sarcasm was rarely lost on a race whose humor is as subtle as it is dry, but that did not mean they found it necessary to reciprocate in kind. Quite the contrary.

"Send Athenians to defend Sparta if you must. I shall not stop you, as wisdom apparently cannot either."



=/\= To be continued … =/\=


Col Aria Falcon

Marine Commander


USS Charon



Former Minister of Trade

Current Liaison to Federation Forces