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More than Words

Posted on Mon Apr 6th, 2020 @ 10:10pm by Lieutenant Commander Taeler Santu M.D. & Lieutenant Savin

Mission: In the Family
Location: Guest chambers
Timeline: following "Summons"

The queen's guards continued to drag Savin away and he allowed them to even though he was walking with them as fast as he could. Their hold on him was tight as if they feared he might wrestle himself free and return to their queen. They didn't release him until they reached the guest rooms they had been assigned to, and roughly deposited him inside.

Quietly, Savin straightened his dress uniform jacket and tried to smoothen the wrinkles from his sleeves. He knew his arms were probably sporting a few bruises in the shape of their fingers but that didn't quite seem to bother him. Instead, he tapped his comm badge. "Commander Santu, if you could please come to my assigned room... we need to talk." He pulled out his PADD to be able to see any response that might be given.

Face down in her pillow, Santu's loud groan was muffled by the down pillow. She flipped herself over and pressed the commbadge, "Lieutenant Savin, Commander Taeler, roger that. On my way." She pressed the badge again and pushed herself off the bed. As she put on her dress uniform jacket again she wondered how Savin would be able to hear her confirmation, but then shrugged it off as she made her way over to the hallway, the counsellor would see her arrive shortly.

Immediately seeing two guards by the sides of her doors, "Good afternoon" she gave a small polite bow to the guards, who didn't move an inch, "Could one of you fine ladies tell me where I would find Doctor Savin? My Chief Counsellor?"

The two of them looked at each other for a moment before one of them spoke up, "they have been confined to quarters, ma'am, in the west wing." The woman pointed in the direction of the main hallway where they had come in from.

"Thank you." it wasn't much help but she figured she'd narrow it down once she'd gotten to the west wing. She hadn't bothered zipping up her dress uniform and with her navy whites flapping behind her she made her way down a long corridor, lined with paintings. Some of which she recognised from the study she had done yesterday. Thinking back on it made her head hurt again.

It didn't take long to get to the west wing and once there it was clear which of the rooms belonged to Savin, with it being the only one also having two guards posted outside of it, "Hi, mind if I step in and talk to Doctor Savin?" She asked, standing about two meters away from the guards on the other side of the hall, not wanting to prompt an adverse reaction.

The guards didn't move.

Santu stepped up and opened the door, "Doctor Savin, are you in here?" She looked around the room to spot the counsellor.

Since he was expecting her, Savin had already moved to the middle of the room. "I am here," he said, still holding his small PADD. "I was summoned by the queen earlier, and was just...returned... here.." He paused briefly. "She wanted to speak with me," he added slowly, not quite sure how to explain. "I must report that my conversation with her started well, but did not end well..."

"Oh. That's not a promising start," Santu walked into the room further and took up a seat in the corner. The room was significantly smaller than hers, there was a single bed and not much in the form of luxury in there. Similar to decent Starship quarters, but nothing more, "Please, from the top, what happened?"

"We spoke about my position as chief counselor and my duty to help and in general what I do. She thought my life would be boring but I explained to her it was not. She mentioned a little about herself and spoke of a brother she used to be close with. As I sensed a bitterness from her in regards to that, she changed her attitude and became all bitter and harsh. She claims men say they will listen but all they ever do is want... I tried to get a sense of what her bitterness was about but she dismissed me and threatened with punishment. She said that if men speak out of turn, they are publicly punished." Here he chose not to mention what kind of punishment as he didn't consider it to be of importance.

Santu ran a finger over the ridges on her nose and thought it over, "might not have been the best idea to call a sovereign leader out on personal family issues," she made sure to have eye contact as she made the comment, "The hierarchy is more strictly abided by than in our own respective cultures, Doctor," This was almost as if she was dealing with Cardassians again, "we'd do well to adhere to the cultural convention for the time that we are guests here. When we sit down around the negotiation table we can address this disconnect between Federation and Paratan cultural values."

"She opened that door herself ma'am, by mentioning she was close to her brother before, and now she is not. I asked her why and she slammed that door shut straight away. I did not make any mention of male equality though she herself mentioned knowing how it is within the Federation."

"What did you do when she 'slammed the door'?" Santu used her hands to make air-quotes. Things might have escalated, but she didn't expect Savin to be thrown out at the mere question if the sovereign had brought it up herself.

"She refused to discuss it further, and then dismissed me. I mentioned to her that I sensed her bitterness and invited her to talk about it. She refused, and called for her guards." He sighed. "I am a counselor ma'am, trying to get people to talk is what I do. Is that not why I am here? To talk to people and learn what goes on? Something happened between the queen and her brother, and I doubt it is solely to do with the gender inequality here. The way she carried her self as she said it, I believe there is more to it than she is letting on."

"I know you're a counsellor, and I've brought you here so that during our accession talks you can suss out whether they are lying, whether they're hiding something, not to give her majesty the Queen a thorough mental exam," Santu sighed, it was difficult to tell someone not to do what they were trained to do, what they were supposed to do in any normal day of their jobs. But today hadn't been a normal day and she needed everyone to play along as to make this a success, "Look, I appreciate your powers of observation, and I'm sure that if you simply backed down and apologised for the intrusion then you wouldn't have been confined to quarters," she took in a deep breath, "I'll talk to the queen to explain the misunderstanding and hopefully, with an apology, we can leave this behind us and get through this unscathed."

"She called for me," Savin countered. "she wanted to speak with me. If she had not mentioned a brother and worsened relations....I would never have asked." Savin paused. "Perhaps I should seek out her brother instead..."

Santu's eyes narrowed at the comment from the counsellor, "Perhaps you should let this one go, Lieutenant." She tried to remain friendly in her expression and wording, but to hear someone suggest pursuing that course of action after being forcefully removed from a room and put in their quarters was the kind of thing that caused diplomatic incidents. She was so not ready to be part of a diplomatic incident at this point on her young XO career.

"Is that an order ma'am?" Savin asked honestly.

"Do I need to make it one?"

"No ma'am..." Savin sighed, briefly looking out the window. "I cannot promise to let it go, but I will not enquire after it again."

Santu consciously waited for Savin to turn his head and face her again, "The Federation needs this accession to go right," the stability of the quadrant had been deteriorating over the past decade. It wasn't a secret that a lot of political tension grew around the relief efforts for the Hobus supernova. They needed a win. A nice, clean, addition of a new member planet, "I'm counting on you to help make that happen."

"I will do my best ma'am." He paused. "But how will the Federation react to males being treated as utterly inferior? How can I help, when here I am nothing?"

"There are certain conditions they need to meet if they want to join the Federation, doctor, and you can rest assured that equality amongst all genders is one of them," Santu knew the pain of being viewed as inferior, but she also knew that this wasn't the time, nor place, to fight that battle. Today was about getting to know everyone, all the players involved, especially the queen. Getting on their good side, "We had a saying back on Bajor, there's a lot more information in a bottle of kanar than in the sheath of a blade."

"Drinking is better than fighting?" He arched a single eyebrow at her. "You want us to drink?" He wasn't sure if that was such a stellar idea, getting intoxicated wasn't something he could afford with his handicap. But, if that was what the order was...

"No, I don't want you to drink. It's an expression, it means that if you're friendly with a spoo-..." Santu stopped herself, "an adversary, they are much more willing to part with information than if you stab them. Or pressure them. Or torture them." She had always considered herself good with people, but Vulcans were perhaps her Achilles heel, "be friendly, curious, allow them to talk, pour them a drink perhaps, but don't actively start digging around for sensitive information they don't want to part with."

"I will try." It was all he could promise, because it was his nature, and his job to ask questions. "I will... pour drinks..." He bit his lower lip for a moment. "Proverbially speaking," he added.

"Make sure to pour me one, while you're at it," Santu smiled and gave a wink, hoping to break the ice she was starting to feel between the two of them, "I better get back to my quarters, my dance instructor will arrive any minute now." She was slightly upset that this ordeal had cost her the opportunity of a quick power nap before the embarrassment of a dance lesson.

"Dance?" Surprise registered on the counselor's face. "You dance?" He paused, briefly looking away. "May I...join you?"

"I don't, but I'm expected to, hence the instructor," Santu was so not looking forward to that, "perhaps if, against all odds, they succeed in making me not trip all over myself, you can grace me with a dance tonight."

"I would like that. Perhaps all that swordplay comes in handy after all. I promise not to step on your toes." He offered a slight smile. "And I promise not to laugh."

"I will hold you to that," Santu pointed at him, as if to really double down on that promise. Which, in all honesty, was true. She was sure that she was going to make a fool of herself in a long gala dress, high heels, dancing. There was no way this was going to end well, "I'll see you at the banquet and gala."

"As you wish." Savin offered a slight nod in acknowledgement, though he had hoped he could attend the tutoring. While his parents had ensured he could dance, he only knew the basics. His grace was solely based on his experience with a blade.

With that Santu turned and left the room, to meet the person unlucky enough to have been appointed to her for a crash course of Parathan dancing. It was going to be a long night.


Lieutenant Commander Taeler Santu
Executive Officer


Lieutenant Savin
Chief Counsellor

USS Athena


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