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Pain and Prejudice

Posted on Wed Apr 14th, 2021 @ 5:14am by Captain Indrala Xerix & Staff Warrant Officer Maven Standiford

Mission: Side Posts
Location: Ds12
Timeline: Before Swarm

Chief Enaran Quattro was an oddity amongst Starfleet’s ranks. The only member of her species to ever don a Delta-shaped insignia, the symbol of an organization once mortal enemies of the Dominion. Even now, there was something of a Cold War between the two massive organizations.

Enaran Four had been awoken twenty some years prior, found in a stasis pod mingling with the flotsam and jetsam left in the wake of one of the largest space battles in known history. Every day for months, she imagined that Starfleet would shuffle her out in front of a crowd and kill her.

Seeing the horrors and devastation of war firsthand kindled something in the Vorta she couldn’t explain. Being fed and clothed and sheltered by an enemy who ought to have executed her only fed the fire.

Her calculating, analytical mind was forced to concede that they weren’t keeping her alive for some self-serving plan. And after a period of time, she was even granted official refugee status.

Instead, this alien culture had risen above its baser instincts and let her decide her own fate. So Enaran Four decided she too could rise above the genetic hardwiring begging her to return to his own people.

Instead, she woke up every day and chose to protect the ideals that had protected her. She ignored the endless whispers in her mind that told her she wasn’t wanted. That she would be betrayed. That this was all some elaborate scheme to study her. She stuffed those neurotic thoughts down into a hole.

And that fight had brought him here, to the Aerie-class ship bound for Deep Space Twelve. The small ship’s quarters were cramped, and worse, they lacked replicators. Which meant that the Vorta needed to visit the mess hall for every meal.

Invariably, her appearance prompted frowns and whispers, which her ears picked up as if the speaker was addressing her directly. It seemed ironic that while collectively the Federation clung to her higher ideals, individual encounters always resulted in Enaran being placed on trial.

She ignored the chatter and keyed up the replicator for some delicious kelp broth. The verdant soup was a favorite of the Vorta’s, rich with plankton and tasting of the ocean itself. As she sat down to enjoy her repast, the gossip across the room once again reached her ears.

“Could you imagine serving with her? How do we know she isn’t relaying classified info back to the Dominion?” Said a particularly unsubtle grazerite.

“Loresh, be quiet!” Said his dining companion.

“Yes Loresh, do be quiet. I’m trying to listen to your three stomachs attempting to digest that massive meal you’ve been stuffing into your enormous trap. I’m certain the Founders themselves will be impressed by your gluttony” said Enaran sarcastically.

The room was completely silent for a long moment, before the other diners erupted in fits of laughter. The grazerite stood and beat a hasty exit, leaving the Vorta to dive into her soup with a modicum more respect.

Five days later

Captain Xerix had just slipped off her boots and was preparing a very hot, very bubble-filled bath when the door chime sounded through her apartment. This sent Choupette, her Phalene dog into a chorus of comically aggressive barks. The Betazoid recognized the familiar brush of Maven Standiford’s consciousness against her mind.

“Come in, Standiford. You’re supposed to be off duty” Indrala chided in a friendly manner.

The yeoman flashed a smile that told the captain neither of them would be off duty anytime soon. “I’m afraid we have a candidate for Chief Steward to interview and the only time I could fit in your schedule was after hours.” She explained.

The captain grimaced. “If it’s after hours, you didn’t fit it in the schedule.”

In response, Maven merely shrugged her shoulders. Captains were rarely ever actually off duty, and the yeoman was seasoned enough to know Indrala would gripe a moment and then slip back on her proverbial and literal work boots.

“Well I’m afraid you’re going to have to change the location. This interview just became a dinner meeting. I’m absolutely ravenous. Who is this candidate anyway?” she asked as an afterthought.

“Her qualifications are impressive, previous postings recommend her without reservation. However, you may take issue with her due to her species” Standiford replied, sheepishly.

Indrala nearly gasped at the assertion. “Mister Standiford, how dare you accuse me of such casual specism!” She barked.

Maven held her palms up in a display of apology and deference. “Chief Enaran Quattro is a Vorta, Sir.”

Xerix’s mind reeled at the implications. Having lost her mother and infant brother to Dominion forces during the occupation of Betazed, she had less than warm feelings towards the group. In theory, the peoples of the Dominion ought to be considered as individual just as the people of any other group. However, the Jem Hadar and Vorta were unique in that they were cloned and crafted to serve the Founders with absolute loyalty and dedication. The fact that this woman could serve in Starfleet was a marvel in and of itself, however uncomfortable the idea made Indrala.

“Very well….Vorta are largely herbivorous in diet. Bolian sea grape salad. Plomeek soup. And for dessert, Caraway seed cakes. In one of the private observation lounges, please.” Said the captain.

Standiford nodded “Very good,sir.”

An hour later, Indrala entered the observation lounge clad in a fresh uniform complete with boots. The room offered expansive views of space, unhampered by the nearness of a star as most stations were. A nebula laid nearby enough to offer some color to the scene

Taking in the celestial beauty was a shorter, slim woman with hair of a similar length to Indrala’s, though much darker and of a more coarse texture.

Maven was notably absent, the captain lamented. Hopefully only delayed momentarily. She had come to depend on the yeoman, who proved remarkably intuitive for a human. Without her, Indrala realized this would be a bit of a struggle.

“Beautiful, isn’t it?” Offered the Captain.

After a moment’s pause, the Vorta turned and met Xerix’s gaze. “It is, Captain. Chief Enaran Quattro. Thank you for considering me for this position.” She said amicably

“I must say, someone traveling all the way out here for an interview.. certainly shows you would like the job.” Indrala said, gesturing for the Vorta to take a seat as she did so herself.

“Accumulated leave time and a lack of interest in tourism, I’m afraid.” Enaran replied, placing her napkin on her lap.

A server entered the lounge, placing salads for each of them, and not for a third. Standiford evidently wouldn’t be joining them.

TBC

 

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