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One More Meeting

Posted on Wed Jan 23rd, 2019 @ 8:32pm by Lieutenant Limmi Ovim & Captain Sun Mei Xiang

Mission: Between the Pages
Location: Seppala Station, Counselor's Office
Timeline: During Points of Light

[Seppala Station, Counselor's Office]

Mei had finally gotten tired of being in Lieutenant Adams' office, and vacated as soon as she had a free minute. She needed to stretch her legs anyway. And she could read and walk. Starfleet finally came through on her requests for more experienced officers, that was for sure - but it couldn't have come at a more awkward time. With her ship down and the station crammed full of people, she felt like there was no semblance of an official meeting. Trial by fire always worked better anyway. It had given her a few minutes to collect herself, before moving off to Christine's office on the station, which she had talked her into letting her borrow. It was much nicer than Adams', even if she hadn't gotten it as nicely decorated as the one on Shanghai yet.

So there Mei sat, reading over yet another new officer's profile. She was Betazoid, so there was no reason to keep from just going bluntly into everything. She always looked forward to meeting a new crew member, but she couldn't help but be a bit nervous.

Nervousness also contributed to Limmi's frayed state of mind, perpetuated in part by the abruptness of her reassignment to the Shanghai. Her resultant movement put a premature end to an R&R that hadn't amounted to much of either, and the distance from there to here bestowed two and a half weeks to peruse the details of her new posting. Yet ruminations about the utter maelstrom that'd been the past year of her life dulled her focus, denying her the honed-in feeling with which she'd delved into past postings.

A glance at her personal tablet confirmed that she'd almost reached her destination. Despite the unique situation further punctuated by the congestion within many of the corridors she'd passed through, Limmi still thought it strange that she was seeking out Captain Sun in the station counselor's office. Viable rationales for that development nor expectations of what she'd find once she arrived were coming to her in abundance. And it was just as well; she stood before the pertinent door not long after taking stock of her ruminative stagnation, permitting her to discern part of the mystery. The extension of her perceptions into the room revealed that she wouldn't be intruding upon a counseling session or any other interpersonal interaction, as Limmi sensed only one presence, reinforced by the insularity of its thoughts.

She pressed the chime.

"Enter," Mei said as she stood up and stepped away from the comfortable couch she had been laying on to read the jacket. She dusted herself off quickly enough, she hoped, and adjusted her jacket.

Folding the tablet behind her as she stepped in, Limmi might've spotted the disturbance in the couch if it were more toward the room's center. Instead, her eyes found Sun, who was not only perfectly presentable, but attractive in ways similar to her previous CO. It was a little ironic given the extent to which just about everything else about her surroundings had changed with this transfer.

"Captain Sun Mei Xiang," Mei added quickly, with a little bow. "Welcome to Seppala Station. Sorry that I can't show you around the Shanghai just yet. How was your trip across void space?"

"Long," Limmi sighed. There wasn't any other way to put it. The transit corridor alone was nearly 40 light-years across, and Betazed was approximately a further 40 back. Though it could've been much worse if not for the Torricelli’s impeccably-timed layover at Betazed en route to Krazzle, the ship's amenities were largely dominated by the legation that was also picked up there.

Continuing forth, she extended a hand.

"Lieutenant Limmi Ovim reporting in."

Mei smiled, and took the hand though it was clear that it wasn't her normal reaction. She gave a quick shake and then let go to step back and give a quick bow. "Lieutenant, thank you. Sorry for the..." She motioned around her as she raised back up, "Unusual meeting space. I'd much rather have my office, but Shanghai is being scanned and cleared of any Borg nanites, so." There was a clear bit of frustration in her voice. She shook it off quick enough. "I'm going to forego my usual niceties here, I hope you'll forgive that."

"Alright," bade Limmi with a distracted nod, attention momentarily piqued by Captain Sun's awkward reaction to her. Her subconscious note of Sun's appearance sparked the recollection that she was from East Asia, the same cultural region of Earth as Captain Seong. She'd developed some familiarity with the common customs of its nations in anticipation of working with her on the Oberon, only to discover at another crewmember's expense that Seong–per her own admission–was something of a deviant.

The Betazoid's cheeks flushed slightly with the realization that she'd need to dust off that since-dormant knowledge.

"I have a colony of over three thousand civilians, and over a thousand fleet personnel stranded here - displaced and with nowhere to go - nothing other than us, only a Saber, Yeager, and Curry class are here protecting them permanently." Mei let out a sigh. "I do have a Prometheus running border patrols right now, and that's a god send, but it's temporary." She spoke quickly. "The space out here is young, and in a lot of ways odd. My crew was originally assembled with plans for this to be an exploration mission. We knew there would be dangerous anomalies. But, there is also an alien organization out there that has only been aggressive so far. Not just to us, but to their own people. Our first meeting was catastrophic, the second wasn't much better. They are reckless, and they use chroniton weapons. So, we're outnumbered, and if our shields are down outgunned. Not to mention the Sovereignty might know where we are now, so we'll likely have that to deal with. Exploration and colony work was the original plan, but we've become much more rapid response than I would like." She gave a small shake of her head. "Basically, I need a dedicated tactical officer. Desperately. But," She said with a quick glance to down, "I also saw you have a dependent. So, I know it was at my request that they sent you out here. You fit what I'm looking for. But, if that isn't what you signed up for, I need to know that now."

From behind an even mien, Limmi nearly swooned at the other woman's raw, vibrant earnest. It deviated massively from the persona of confidence and authority conventional wisdom advised of someone in her position, especially when beset by lethal adversity. That Limmi could glean others' authenticity didn't stop her past superiors from trying to impose it—which along with a career history portending to Captain Sun being the most apt to—profoundly affected the Betazoid's first impression of her new commanding officer.

"Captain," Limmi began, a small, yet genuine smile having bloomed across her face, "I appreciate your concern for me and my daughter's welfare. I've certainly reflected upon both in light of our ordeal aboard the Oberon, which I expect you're familiar with." Their last three months aboard certainly tested Limmi's resolve for having Delilah on-station with her. Among other things, the lack of contingencies imposed by the Consortium's mass infiltration of Starfleet assets in the Gamma Quadrant kept her up late and fretting. . .

And yet it was an aspect of her life she'd have no other way.

"However, that only reinforced what I've believed since my father was abducted by Cardassian radicals when I was a child: we can't take safety and security for granted anywhere, especially not if people expect someone else to step up and bear the sacrifices ensuring them entails. Some may question my fitness as a parent for wanting to keep my child with me, but I'd rather she see what preserving our way of life takes than the illusion that we're free to flee bellicosity without consequence." Limmi took a small, affirming step toward Sun. "Perhaps there may come a time when I feel differently. But at present, I wouldn't have come if I wasn't intent on fulfilling the obligations of my position."

Mei nodded lightly. There was a glimmer of a memory there, and a bit of a pain in her chest at the statement - a phantom reminder of that fragility of the illusion of safety. She finally smiled and gave a steadier nod. "Good answer. I admire that. The entire reason I joined the Fleet, or the Corps, technically, is because that illusion was shattered by the Breen attack on Earth." She gave a light shake of her head. "Seems my daughter has done alright being raised on that edge we walk, but I might be biased." She took a breath and then gave a look over to the woman for a moment.

"I'm asking you to be my tactical officer. You'll be in the thick of it. I need to know one answer, one thing I ask everyone, and I feel in your case it is more important than most." She let out a long sigh, and adjusted to stand straighter. There was part of her that knew this was more dangerous of an ask than with most officers. "What is your regret? The ghost that keeps you up at night?" She raised a hand, "I've seen your career on paper, figuratively - so you don't need to go into too heavy of details."

Limmi didn't have to think long about her answer, though she wasn't nearly as quick to offer it.

"Providing the decisive vote that kept Oberon in the wind after neutralizing our share of Consortium infiltrators," she finally said, tone matching the weighing down of her demeanor. "We were apprised of their having hijacked half of Starfleet's assets in the quadrant not long after, and the crew was torn on what to do. There were some. . .situations. . .in which I assumed a more militaristic stance for the sake of maintaining order and cohesion. It was difficult enough to act against shipmates who'd gone turncoat despite the untenability of their agenda. Although I'd do it again, suppressing others who were loyal other than wanting to fight the Consortium or were just scared out of their depth was even more so."

Mei just nodded. That said a lot, which is what she wanted. It was a good insight, and a good sign that she could make harder decisions, if they should come up. Still, she needed to make a note to go over the incident more in depth in the records. That was not important at the time, though.

"I won't ask you to dwell on that," she spoke with a little rise of her hand. "I do understand, though." She spoke with a small nod and let the question rest for a moment before taking a short breath. "And for another question to try to get to insight into your mind. As a tactical officer - do you have a favorite strategist? Modern or ancient, either works. It helps understand how your tactics might mesh with my own." She paused, "I suppose, if no strategist then a general strategy."

"I don't have a favorite strategist," answered Limmi, brow knitted. She appreciated the perspectives of some more than others of course, yet struggled to develop hard preferences out of mind for each having different circumstances underpinning their lives and accomplishments. "I respect those I've studied for contributing to my understanding of martial strategy, as Betazoid culture isn't inherently suited to an early appreciation of it. But I will say that as a cadet, I was most impressed by the number of major conflicts that in retrospect, were preordained long before their defining battles. Which brings me to my preferred approach: understanding and leveraging a foe's economics against them. It's a recurring theme of successful martial leaders throughout time and space, and Starfleet has few true peers in that respect. Most would-be equals still rely heavily on scarce, even non-renewable materials that would severely hinder their capabilities if made scarcer. Or they utilize extensive supply chains with several relatively easily severable points. I know we won't always have the scope to employ such a grand strategic outlook, but even then, I look to preempt an opponent's systemic capitulation." One would think that the rather obvious aim of every Starfleet tactical officer given the Federation's doctrine, but as with just about any institution, some were less apt than others to develop the wisdom and discipline conducive to letting it guide their actions.

"That is an incredibly good answer, Lieutenant." Sun spoke with a clear nod. "Part of strategy is understanding there is more to the picture than the combat and maneuvering, and that is often lost." She gave a shake of her head. "I feel confident with that answer that we'll be able to work well together." She sighed, "And given you've seen the crowded situation we find ourselves in, you'll be slipped into work rather quickly. I'll try to give you a minute to get adjusted, but I need all hands on deck working to contain this. We have four thousand people on the station, not sure what's happening with their homes, and I don't have any answers for them yet. It'll take time, and we're going to need to stretch our resources."

"I suspect we're already well on our way to doing that, Captain," Limmi gaged. "4,000 people is pushing the emergency capacity for this facility. Add the potential needs of servicing the ship along with those of your escorts and support craft, and we could find ourselves pinched in a just a few weeks assuming all else remains constant." Her subsequent sigh wasn't quite out of besetment, but consciousness of the inopportunity of her impending question. But she had to ask, and she figured Captain Sun would understand why given her earlier acknowledgement. "Will I be able to have accommodations here?"

"Yes," Sun replied simply enough, "Shanghai crew has temporary quarters here normally - given you have a dependent we'll find you a private room, but it will likely be small temporarily. Likely Junior Officer shared quarters with another family on the other side of the common room. Just touch base with Logistics, and they'll find something quickly." She paused. "If we have to, we'll rush Shanghai's scans and take them to one of our backup colonization worlds. But, I'd like to avoid that if possible." She nodded slightly, rising her head just a bit, "Do you have any other questions?"

"Several," Limmi admitted through a terse smile, inspired by struggling to see herself as anything other than redundant at the moment. There were Fleet and Corps tactical divisions abound from both Shanghai and Seppala. With hers by far the most displaced, she could see her tour here getting off to a frustrating start. "But I need to receive my daughter from the Torricelli and settle her in before I'm ready to be at your disposal. May I be excused if you have nothing else for me?"

"Of course. Family first. Once you're settled, report to Commander Alexander," Sun spoke with a nod. "We'll speak more in detail once this is a bit more under control, so, prepare the questions. I'll be ready for them. Until then," She gave a light bow, "I'm glad to have you aboard - and you are dismissed."

"Thank you, Captain," Limmi said in the midst of returning the gesture, indeed thankful that they'd had an agreeable first meeting. Professional prospects aside, she needed some positive energy to counteract what she expected would be stiff disappointment from Delilah over their housing situation. . .


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