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Mocha Madness

Posted on Sat Sep 16th, 2017 @ 9:34am by 1st Lieutenant Tanithil Heilana & Captain Alierin Javindhra III

Mission: Final preparations.
Location: Marine Office-Deck 13
Timeline: MD003-0930 (before 'Settling Differences')

Tanithil was relieved to be out of the meeting and away from Sigrun he walked to his office next to Captain Javindhra’s setting the datapad on his desk before taking a seat. He grabbed his mug of Mint Mocha Iced Coffee which had been left out all morning and took a drink. Tanithil quickly noticed the ice had all melted and his drink was all watered down repulsed by the flavor he sat up and walked over to the replicator to order a fresh refill.

Alierin only took a moment in her own office, securing her datapad and stashing it in a desk drawer. She wanted to catch the XO before either of them got too deep into their duties for the day. Alierin wasn't exactly looking forward to the chat, as she wasn't great at interpersonal skills... at least, not when it came to being critical of another's behavior. But conflict resolution was a necessary part of being an officer, and there was no escaping it.

"Could I have a moment, First Lieutenant? I wanted to talk about the briefing." Alierin said, stepping inside Tanithil's office. She may have sounded polite in asking to have a chat, but the way she was already closing the door behind her suggested that she was expecting to have the chat one way or another. At least this way, they could have it in private.

"I noticed some... animosity between you and Lieutenant Sarif, mainly coming from you. Is there something that is... going on, or has happened between you and the lieutenant that I should know about?" Alierin had seen the two of them talking to one another in the lounge, and though she'd overheard snippets of the conversation she didn't know what had been said and wasn't about to assume anything. He'd left the table in anger though, and his mood towards her hadn't seemed to improve any. She needed to get to the bottom of this before it got worse.

Tanithil had his back turned to Alierin as he was in the midst of ordering a refill of his Mocha when suddenly he heard her mention Sigrun. His right hand balled into a fist before hitting the bulkhead next to the replicator and hung his head, not in anger but annoyed that Alierin mentioned that woman. “Fu,” Tanithil said. He turned to Alierin taking note she had closed the door to his office obviously seemed like she didn’t want him to go anywhere. But when she asked about the ordeal between the both of them his brow creased followed him setting his jaw before sticking out his chin. If there was one thing about Si’Loren males it was they were naturally protective while females were naturally nurturing but both shared an animosity about sharing their feelings with aliens.

Tanithil wasn’t exactly sure how to approach this situation as he appeared to be caught in a rather strange predicament he could stay and much as he hated the idea share his feelings with the alien. Or he could simply push her aside and leave maybe not even touch her but use his telekinesis lift her off her feet and out of the way then get away. But instead, he caught himself off guard when he just crossed his large arms over his chest and planted his feet. “Are you asking me as my superior or as a....friend?” He asked. Although to Tanithil it seemed Alierin was more concerned as a friend than as his superior officer.

Alierin looked at the man askance, he was even more upset than she thought. "I'm asking as someone who needs to be sure of your physical and mental fitness. And if you're punching walls the moment I say her name, I can't really be sure of either, now can I? Alierin said. It might have sounded harsh, but it was the truth. He could've broken his hand punching that wall. Out of anger towards an another officer whose back he might have to watch in combat hours from now.

"Look. I know we don't know one another very well yet, but I'm trying to keep this as private for you as possible. If you don't want to talk to me, then I'll have to recommend you speak to one of the Starfleet counselors. And if you keep balling up your fists like that, they're going to order a psychological evaluation for sure. You don't want that. Then, as the Humans like to say, the... cat will be out of the bag."

“Alierin, stop.”

Tanithil had said before he suddenly realized he had addressed her by her name and not rank he was already kicking himself for it. He let out a sigh and walked over to her and placed his arms behind his back. “Look, there is no need to go that far it is just......” Tanithil paused trying to find the right words to say. “Well....we Si’Lorens do not discuss our feelings with outsiders very well as some things are hard to explain.” He said calmly.

Tanithil slumped into one of the empty chairs next to Alierin. “But I respect that you wish to....assist me in a matter that I will admit has certainly become problematic.” He looked up at Alierin and offered her a seat in the empty chair next to him. “Although we have known one another for less than 24 Earth hours and you are indeed concerned as my superior officer I shall...attempt to express my feelings with you.”

Alierin was surprised, yet relieved that Tanithil seemed to be willing to be cooperative about speaking up. He'd seemed so bottled up she couldn't have been sure what he would do, even if she'd resorted to other.... unfortunate measures. Serving in space was very stressful, dangerous and demanding, and she had a duty to make sure that her people weren't going to crack under pressure... whether that pressure was due to combat, or simple insults.

Not saying anything, Alierin simply sat in the offered seat and waited for Tanithil to speak his mind.

Tanithil watched his superior take a seat before clearing his throat and shifting in his chair. He felt his right leg begin to bounce up and down uncontrollably as he certainly was not comfortable in doing this with a non-Si'Loren. His mind was racing as he was trying to figure out how explain his feelings with Alierin did she mention something about a small furry mammal in a bag? Why would it even be in a bag, to begin with? Tanithil wanted to ask her about it as he was curious about it but he was getting off track as she wanted to know about his issue with Sigrun.

Finally, he closed his eyes and took a deep breath as he composed himself. “Captain, I am from an era where things were different in this Galaxy, therefore, my culture may be a little.....outdated by your standards. I will be honest and admit there are many social customs and situations I do not understand such as.....sharing my feelings with other beings. However, I do my best to try to fit in but it is difficult for me to do so, therefore, I do not have many......interpersonal relationships with others beyond my own species. I may have made a few companions during my time in Starfleet but I tend to mainly keep to myself and focus on my duties as it is difficult to make what is that word?.....” He trailed off trying to find the word was thinking of.

“Friends, I believe.”

Tanithil interlaced his fingers and shifted in his chair before continuing. “Yesterday, when you mentioned about the lounge I felt it would be an opportunity to attempt to make a....friend. I am not certain how well I was trying as I had interactions with an another Human before that Sigrun female arrived. It felt like things were going well till she felt it was needed to.....indicate that I was an imbecile for my lack of social interactions knowledge.” He told her.

Tanithil leaned forward in his chair. “Captain, I must admit that she had unknowingly insulted my honor and by my people’s customs she has subjected herself to be punished for it. But by Starfleet regulations and the oath, I took upon entering this service voluntarily I can not act upon that. Not to mention she is an alien who is not aware of her blatant actions against my honor. Therefore, I am uncertain how to proceed nor what must I do, therefore.....I could use a.....friend right now to assist in this matter.”

Alierin sat silently for a moment. Not judging, just thinking about how to proceed. In her mind the situation was quite trivial, but what she thought didn't matter. This was about how Tanithil felt, and clearly his feelings on the matter were quite severe.

"You were baited into an argument, First Lieutenant." Alierin said. "It is a game some Humans like to play. They find humor in pointing out each other's shortcomings and fallacies. Whoever is the most clever and keeps their cool wins. Whoever loses their cool does not. I don't understand why one would risk friendships in such a manner, but I can see the benefit in tempering one's psyche. You are less likely to react poorly in a situation with far more dire consequences." Alierin paused, surprised that Tanithil had never been exposed to this game before. His size and demeanor were no doubt a deterrent, but it was probably his hesitation to socialize with non-Si'Lorens that was the deciding factor.

"You have to give the Humans credit. They are born diplomats, cunning and adaptable to the extreme. To the point where they make most other races seem staid in comparison. But I've also found that they are short-sighted, easily provoked, and too casual and misleading with their thoughts and opinions. Which might explain this game they play." Alierin realized she was starting to ramble, so she tried to some up a helpful reply quickly.

"Anyway. My point is that you will never understand the Humans, or anyone else on this ship unless you spend time around them in a casual setting. And if you decide to do that, you run the risk of appearing ignorant of their ways. Some people can't help but point fingers at those who stand out too differently from the crowd. You don't have to socialize with the people on this ship, but you do have to work with them in a professional manner. You will have to find your own balance on this. I don't know enough about your honor to advise you on that, but unprofessional conduct, and lashing out in anger are not acceptable modes of behavior here, even if you were deliberately insulted."

Tanithil sat and listened to Alierin’s words carefully as she did her best to offer an explanation of what she thought occurred. But if it was a game as she said they play it was a rather stupid one that he could agree with. But it seemed she was worried that he was going to start going on a killing spree or something which for one Tanithil could understand her concern. But when she mentioned her lack of knowledge on his honor and such the large red alien instantly perked up. If there was one thing Tanithil was certainly fond of it was his willingness to teach others in the ways of his people and enlighten them about their goddess. Again though he was getting off track as this was about him and his feelings, not cultural exchange opportunities.

“I do not like this game they play it is rather....stupid nor was I willing to take part in it. It would seem you and I share a common opinion that Humans are certainly a rather strange species. But if you are worried that I will lash out in violence then I must inform you that you need not worry, Captain, I certainly am able to continue to function in my duties. Although it would appear I have allowed my anger to show as you and I are here having this conversation. If it would make you feel better I shall attempt to restrain myself and suppress my emotions. As it appears you find it rather.....imbecilic for one under your command to have hurt feelings.”

Tanithil wasn’t sure if that is what Alierin was meaning but she was implying that having feelings was something she didn’t like. He wondered if she had expected him to be a Vulcan as they were able to suppress their emotions easily. But maybe he was over thinking this he was not sure anymore as he was feeling very lost right now.

"I never said it was imbecilic to have hurt feelings. Everyone has them. Most of us would like to act on them. But letting them affect your honor to the point where you would dishonor me in front of the captain is much worse. Even if you were only trying to treat the lieutenant the way she treated you. Half the officers in the briefing probably think less of me now for letting you act the way you did back there. How would your code of honor dictate I respond in such a situation?" Alierin shook her head, she didn't really want Tanithil to answer that. It probably involved something particularly violent and unpleasant. For some reason his ways reminded her of Klingons... honor-bound and confrontational.

"Nevermind. Just be very careful reading into what people say. Just the other day another officer on this ship expressed doubt that members of my species were fit for soldiering. Not in those exact words but that was the general meaning. I could tell he regretted the comment immediately after saying it, but still, on the inside I was hurt. I could've assumed that he said that because my people were defeated and almost annihilated by the Borg, an enemy the Federation seems to have much less trouble with. But I didn't. I don't know why he said it. Maybe he's never met an El-Aurian before. All I know is that there are too few of my people left for me to go looking for fights that don't matter."

Think... You'll live longer. Alierin's grandmother used to tell her. But she hadn't listened. Alierin felt a bit hypocritical about what she'd just said to Tanithil. She'd left home to join the Marines... to go around looking for fights. And to tell the truth, she didn't really want to admit that it was true; compared to many others in the Federation, her people weren't much cut out for soldiering. Still, she hoped the advice would help her XO. She had no idea that in reality, his species was probably more at risk of extinction than her own.

Tanithil listened to Alierin confess her feelings to him it seemed she too needed someone to talk to as it ranged from others commenting on her stature and size. To him apparently embarrassing her back in the conference lounge earlier which was not his intention. But what made him feel bad for her the most was her talking about the Borg wiping out her planet making her species endangered something he knew full well about himself.

Without thinking Tanithil sat up walked over to Alierin and gave her a hug wanting to comfort her. It may seem out of line but he felt she needed one badly before kneeling down to meet his eyes with hers. “Listen, I must apologize for my actions in the briefing I had no idea that I had.....embarrassed you I must admit it is rather foolish that I was so focused on my honor than thinking about you and how you felt.” He released her. “But there too are a few of my people left as well but we have a saying....it is best to die with a blade in your hand than one in your back. However, you speak the wisdom of the goddess when you say it is best to not go look for fights and therefore I shall reflect on this.”

Tanithil stood up and sat back down in the chair across from Alierin. “But let me least offer you a bit of wisdom as one warrior to another there is a passage I have learned in my years that says one must never judge another warrior by their size or strength.” He adjusted himself in his chair and proceeded to interlace his fingers. “But judge the warrior by their heart and courage and........I see you have both much wisdom and courage as you are willing to face danger not flee from it. Which I am honored to be at your side when we shall go into battle together.”

Alierin squirmed a bit uncomfortably at the sudden, unexpected hug, but since he let her go and backed off after only a moment she didn't immediately bolt from her chair. It seemed he'd felt the sudden urge to comfort her upon learning her people were in as dire straits as his own. That was unexpected. She wondered what had been the demise of his people, but of course that was something she would never be callous enough to ask. Still, she couldn't help but stare in disbelief. You didn't hug it out with your superior in the Marine Corps. It just didn't happen.

It was becoming clear to Alierin that they came from very different backgrounds, at least in the way they viewed the universe around them. She didn't believe in honor, or in any gods or goddesses, and she hadn't brought any of her people's warrior traditions with her when she'd joined up. It wasn't easy for anyone to think about things from a different perspective, but she did her best. Alierin didn't think she was wise or courageous. People who served under her usually learned that she was intelligent and cautious. Courageous people often accomplished great feats, but in warfare they often found early graves. Alierin wasn't so eager to have a stature bearing her name.

"Yes well, we'll see. Hopefully not anytime soon. In the meantime lets try to focus on living and keeping our knives sheathed. I appreciate your words, First Lieutenant, I really do. But from now on, let's try to keep our hands to ourselves." Alierin stood up from her seat, but didn't make any move to leave just yet. "I'm hoping you will keep our conversation in mind the next time you find yourself near Lieutenant Sarif, yes? I would be most displeased to hear of any future incidents. Understood?"

Tanithil stood up from his chair and placed his arms behind his back he didn’t mean to make Alierin feel uncomfortable when hugging her he was merely trying to make her feel better. But he could see honor in her request as for one they were still getting to know each other and it was best to establish a proper companionship between them first. As for her second request, he grumbled a bit but he didn’t wish to insult his superior further nor dishonor her.

If that was the case he would by a tradition of his people have to give her one of his daggers and let her kill him for his callousness. “I shall do one better, Captain, I.....give you my word the next time I see, Lieutenant Sarif, I shall....attempt to resolve this matter between us. But I will do my best in the future to not further displease you than I already have.” He replied. Tanithil took a step forward towards Alierin keeping his arms behind his back. “Captain, may I ask you something?” He asked.

"Yes... what is it?" Alierin said. Tanithil had given his word to try and resolve the issue, but 'attempt' was not a word spoken from a position of confidence, so she wasn't quite sure what the outcome would be.

“In my past positions I have come to notice colleagues tend to discard protocol and address one another by name instead of rank when in private. I am merely wondering if you will permit such actions between us when we are alone in private? If not I will understand and not speak of it again however, I was merely attempting to help us work better together running the detachment on the Infinity if we become more...friendly with one another to a degree.” Tanithil said.

Alierin gave the matter some thought. After a moment she shook her head. The chief engineer might have gotten away with calling her by her first name in private, but he was the chief engineer, not someone in her detachment. You didn't mess with the chief engineer of a Starship unless you had good reason. "I don't think that would be a good idea at this point in time, First Lieutenant. Friendship is earned through familiarity and trust, neither of which we really share at the moment. It is not something that can be forced. Pretending that something exists in hopes that it will one day exist is not how we accomplish things. Following my orders, providing reliable leadership, and serving as am example for other Marines to emulate is how you will earn my trust, familiarity, and respect. If we both do that, I don't see how we can't one day be friends. For now, we must content ourselves to showing each other the proper respects afforded our ranks."

Tanithil was little dumbfounded he wasn’t trying to force her to be his friend nor was he suggesting they pretend to be. He was just trying to offer a sort of relaxing environment between them to help them be more efficient together. But she was his superior and if she felt now was not a good time then who was he to argue. “Understood, Captain.” He said.

"Very well. I won't take any more of your time then. Good day to you, Lieutenant." Alierin said before making her way out of the office. She was almost always polite until the end, and while that did help in diplomatic endeavors, some people no doubt found it a little grating.

Tanithil watched Captain Javindhra leave his office after having their private conversation he felt that it provided some good insight. But he felt ashamed that this issue between Sigrun and him had made her upset. He wanted to try to make Captain Javindhra proud to have him as part of her staff but it wouldn’t do her any good if her XO couldn’t get along with members of the crew. His mind raced as he tried to think of how he could better himself in the future but in truth, he had narrowly passed the course in Interspecies Protocol and Interspecies Ethics. By a margin of one point over the minimum score or he would have been forced to retake the entire courses over again.

His tutors at the Academy had noted their concerns about his lack of understanding the point of the courses but it was something, unfortunately, took decades not a semester for someone like Tanithil who was trained to be a soldier to learn. Sadly he would have to face a lot of scrutiny and hardships in his career in Starfleet learning the ins and outs of these matters and it was something that Tanithil was willing to face head-on. But in the mean time, he needed to get to work on a side project that he wanted to do for Captain Javindhra as a surprise after reading a report of concerns about some outdated training programs. Grabbing a tricorder and datapad from his desk he walked out of his office and into the corridor to get started.

 

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