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    ((Deep Space 6, Level 21, Function Room A1)) ::Varaan entered the multi-function room, which was decorated in an extravagant manner, to say the least. The last time Varaan had attended a formal gathering of crew like this, had been less than a year ago on Deep Space 26. It had been a combination of promotion ceremony for the crew of the USS Atlantis, and a "fun" get-together for the crew after the completion of the Outpost Bravo mission. It had also resulted in a terrorist attack on the station which trapped the crew and threatened thousands of innocent lives, and Captain Raj Blueheart had been kidnapped in order to brainwash him and implicate him in the assassination of some politician or diplomat within the Par'tha Expanse. Fortunately both plots were foiled. But, needless to say, Varaan did not have fond memories of the event. Couple that with the fact that Varaan was never an individual to enjoy a social gathering, and Varaan had serious reservations about attending tonight.:: ::Plus, his tuxedo was riding up.:: ::Captain Renos of the Darwin had announced that this get together would be as a masquerade ball. Varaan had to do a little research into the subject. It seemed that his uniform, even his dress whites, would not be sufficient attire to attend this function. He could have donned his ceremonial Vulcan robes, but seeing as this was following an ancient Terran tradition, he had opted for more traditional Terran garb. Now, he was thinking that maybe he had made the incorrect choice. Hoping no one would notice, he carefully positioned his back towards an wall devoid of onlookers, and used his left hand to attend to removing part of his undergarments from near an orifice where they did not belong. He was successful. Again. This was not the first time, and the Vulcan was sure it would not be the last tonight.:: ::In addition to the traditional black tuxedo, he had also chosen a very simple mask that only covered his brow and eyes, and the bridge of his nose. Half was silver metallic and the other half was electric-blue metallic, but the entire piece was covered with inlaid scroll-work. It was simple, yet elegant. Conservative, as would be the Vulcan way, but serving the proper function of attempting to his identity. Of course, his pointed ears would give him away.:: Renos: Mister Varaan? So nice to see you here, how are you doing? ::How very quickly had his ears given him away. Of course, Varaan was not ashamed of his ears. Conversely, he was not proud of them, either. They were simply...ears. They served a purpose and a function. Tonight, that function was to bring himself to the attention of the Darwin's captain. They had met briefly before, and not officially. They had both been on Away Teams sent to rescue Talaxian survivors of a doomed mission on a Dyson Shell. During the intervening time, when both the Darwin and the Triumphant were delivering the Talaxians to their world, and then returning to Deep Space 6, there had been some inter-ship movement and much communication, but there had never been an actual opportunity for Varaan to meet his new captain. Until now. Luckily, he was Vulcan. There was no anxiety about meeting your commanding officer for the first time. However, Varaan did feel a tad uncomfortable. His trousers were riding up again.:: Varaan: I am well, Captain Renos. Renos: How did you find your time on the Triumphant? ::Often Varaan's first-impulse answers were very literal. His old friend Torin Jamar, who had really been Varaan's coach towards understanding humanity, said that Varaan should skip his first impulse. Most people did not say what they meant, or mean what they said. Granted, Captain Renos was J'naii, and not human. But far too many sentient species operated under the same principles. Vulcans were direct and to the point. Why couldn't other species be the same? Renos was most likely making small talk. But Varaan had always had trouble with idle conversation in the past. A waste of time and energy.:: Varaan: Satisfactory. Renos: I've heard good things about how the crew performed and am delighted to welcome you aboard the Darwin. I hope your time here will be ::pause:: ...productive. Varaan: Well said, captain. Renos: Will you join me for a dance? ::Varaan had expected this question to come up at some point during the ball. Not necessarily from his commanding officer, but one generally did not attend a ball to stand around and make small talk. The entire purpose of a "ball" was dancing. Vulcan dancing was unlike anything he had seen from other cultures. Certainly nothing that would be appropriate for a Terran-based masquerade ball. Varaan's first thought had been to decline if someone inquired. However, thinking about his purpose for actually attending the get together, that answer would have been counter-productive.:: ::So Varaan had decided early on to study the types of dancing that would be appropriate for a ball. Waltzes he had tried, and could handle the steps easily. After all, they were a basic mathematical formula. Tangoes and flamencos were another story, as they required an injection of "passion." That was not something that Varaan was prepared to provide. Luckily for Varaan, the musicians had just started a waltz.:: Varaan: I only learned how to dance 23.7 hours, so I am not an expert. But I accept your invitation. ::From what Varaan knew of the J'naii, they were neither masculine nor feminine. So was Varaan to lead, or would the captain? Judging from the dress Renos was wearing, ne had chosen a slightly feminine tilt to his evening, so logically Varaan would lead. But Renos was the captain...how would ne feel about someone else usurping nir authority, even unofficially? Varaan decided to go with the higher probability, and extended the crook of his elbow for Renos to take, as per tradition.:: ::The two walked out onto the ballroom floor, Varaan very aware of the eyes watching all around. Watching, but not judging. That was an important social advancement that the Federation had over many of the cultures they had encountered. Individuals were free to be themselves, and did not have to conform to society's precepts. As long as no laws were broken. Varaan knew that the J'naii culture was a unique one to the Federation, being a genderless society. The Laudeans were also unique, in that they had three genders. Varaan was aware that at least a smattering of the Darwin's crew were from Duronis II, as well.:: ::Varaan stopped in the center of the floor and assumed the proper position for the lead dancer, allowing the captain to assume the more submissive position, should that be what ne wanted. If not, Varaan was sure that Renos would let him know. Varaan could take correction...he had no ego to bruise. While the captain and he began to move to the music, Varaan continued to wonder at the J'naii culture. Now, while dancing, he had a J'naii specimen 'captive.' Their conversation would not be interrupted. Varaan popped the question.:: Varaan: Captain, your species is unique. May I inquire as to the level of difficulty for a genderless J'naii to integrate into a gendered social construct, such as the Federation? I know that you may only be speaking from your own perspective, but the sociological implications are intriguing. --------------------------- Lt. Varaan Engineering Officer USS Darwin-A, NCC-99312-A Serial: V237810V10
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