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Ensign Derovan Saalik: Please hold for the President

Alex Blair

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(( USS Apollo-A, Deck 11, Ensign Saalik's quarters))

:: Fortunately, the tree had survived the trip with very little damage, and Saalik was able to install it in an appropriately respectful location in his new room. With the tree attended to, Saalik had the opportunity to survey his new home. He walked to the other side of the room.

He kept walking.

It was a very long walk.::

Saalik: ::muttered:: I think this was the size of my entire dorm floor at the academy.

:: Saalik wandered over to his viewport, which looked out onto a streaked field of stars. ::

Saalik: oO I won't get tired of this. Never. Oo

::The computer trilled suddenly, startling him out of his reverie. Saalik walked to the bare desk and accepted the personal hail. A middle-aged Valakian appeared on the screen. His hair was tastefully streaked with grey, and his expression was the practiced face of one whose every public appearance was scrutinized::

Saalik: Prime Minister Rielo! This is a surprise! I'm honored.

Rielo: No Derovan, you honor me and our people in your service. I thank you and the Valakian people thank you.

:: Rielo's eyes twinkled, and then the politician's mask dropped a degree. ::

Rielo: And so on and so forth. But really, Derovan, I wanted to see how you were settling in. The Apollo is an impressive ship, is she not?

Saalik: Incredibly so. I think she's larger than the L-5 station. One warp pylon alone is as big as one of our planetary defense skiffs.

Rielo: Of course, she's the best in the fleet. The best of Valakis with the best of Starfleet. Just like it should be.

Saalik: You flatter me.

Rielo: Old politician's habit. And here's another one. This isn't strictly a social call. Now that you're aboard the Apollo, you're mingling with the cream of the crop. Some of your fellow officers will be admirals one day. Some may even become something more. You need to make sure they remember you favorably. Valakis has invested a lot in you, and it's not just for reasons of pride. You may be representing the Federation out there, but don't let yourself forget that you're representing Valakis as well. And we're far more in need of your attention.

:: Saalik sighed. ::

Saalik: I can only do what I'm able to do, Minister.

:: Saalik was brought to a halt with a short, sharp realization. ::

Saalik: Minister, how did you know I was on the Apollo? The new duty posting won't be public until tomorrow.

:: Rielo grinned conspiratorially. ::

Rielo: We're not complete rubes on Valakis. I have connections inside Starfleet.

Saalik: Oh no. Oh no, it was you that did this. I thought Captain Varak had pulled some strings for his own reasons, but it was you, wasn't it? This post was far too generous for an ensign of my experience and standing. But not if I had the leader of a species running interference behind the scenes! This was a [...]ed political appointment!

Rielo: Calm down, boy. Everything is a political appointment. You can either make that work for you or spend the rest of your career on a glorified tugboat like the Achilles. Valakis can't afford that.

Saalik: Oh for—you don't know what you've done, do you? Starfleet does not respond well to this kind of manipulation. You may have won me a plum assignment, but it's one I may not ever exceed. I have to earn my station. I have to earn my respect. Otherwise, they'll never let me be anything more than a junior comms officer. Since you seem to think so much of me, do you think Valakis can afford that?

Rielo: Don't you dare throw this back at me. I did you a favor. This cost me a great deal.

:: Saalik put his head in his hands, then pulled them back through his hair with a long exhalation.::

Saalik: I—I appreciate your intent, but please, don't do me any more favors. Your political instincts won't serve you as well out here as they do in Parliament. You're not in the middle of the situation. You can't judge what will work and what won't.

Rielo: If you say so. I have confidence in your ability to correct course on this.

::Prime Minister Rielo grimaced one last time, then resettled his face into the initial neutral expression.::

Rielo: Your father says hello.

Saalik: Thank you for telling me. Please tell him I'm well. And tell him that he's supposed to be keeping you reined in!

::Rielo grinned::

Rielo: I'll tell him you're settling in.

Saalik: Good day, Prime Minister. I have to go try and fix this. And please, no more of these schemes.

Rielo: I make no promises. Rielo out.

:: The comscreen went blank and Saalik's stomach churned ominously. It had gone from dream to disaster in just a few short moments. Thinking back, had the captain seemed a bit cold, somewhat overly formal? Had the interest in Valakis been polite or political? Had he misjudged the motives of everyone he had met to date? ::

:: Saalik groaned ::

Saalik: I'm going to have to talk to the captain.


Ensign Derovan Saalik

Com/Ops Officer
USS Apollo-A
Serial: A239209DS0

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