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Lt. Varaan - Spooks


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((Deep Space 6, Deck 73 - The Surak Arboretum, the day after the ball.))
::This was not the first time Varaan had done this, but it had been a while.::
::The Vulcan was dressed in civilian clothes, sitting reflectively in the Surak Arboretum on the station. He was sitting on a bench that was facing a topiary of what was supposed to be a large predatory Terran feline at the beginning of a pounce. Most likely it was supposed to represent a lioness or a tiger, but without the benefit of coloured hide on the green bush, it was difficult to tell. Vulcan didn't have any felines that large. It barely had felines at all.::
::The topiary was bathed in a soft white light from overhead, casting a large shadow on the deck-plated path and sodded ground that surrounded it. It was both disturbing, when one thought of the violent nature of the act that the herbivorous feline was supposed to be performing at the conclusion of its jump, and peaceful, if one simply stared at the bush. It had an aesthetic quality about it that most species would probably find positive. Varaan was not one for aesthetics, unless it also improved performance or efficiency. The structure of the large felines was both aesthetically pleasing and a very efficient design. The topiary..."looked nice."::
::Having spent the past 6 years in the Par'tha Expanse, flitting from world to world undercover on a Starfleet Intelligence mission, Varaan had seen a great many wild animals he had never seen before. Obviously. The Par'tha Expanse had been secluded away from the Federation behind the Jenatris Cloud until a dozen years ago. Millions of years of evolutionary processes on worlds very different from the ones he was familiar with...obviously creatures would develop differently. Some were near copies of species in the Federation, some looked like they could be distantly related. Many were unique. Aesthetically, some would be called beautiful, but most would have been termed "ugly." Varaan had only appreciated the evolutionary processes that allowed these species to survive and thrive in their respective environments.::
::There were other topiaries in the arboretum. Many of them Terran animals, presumably since the majority of gardeners on the station were from Earth. There were some species representatives from other planets, and many topiaries of non-animals. Varaan hadn't ever been to this arboretum before, and had done a tour by himself to see the place, named after the Vulcan "father of logic." Varaan did not have enough data on Surak's personality to know if the stoic Vulcan would have approved of putting his name on this haven of nature surrounded by millions of tonnes of metal, and then...nothing. But that was the way of the living, to honor the dead by naming things after the deceased. The deceased could not approve nor disagree.::
::This was certainly not his favourite topiary, but this is where he was.::
::This was where he had been for the better part of the day. Sitting on the bench, pondering nature as he visually absorbed his surroundings. The Darwin was not scheduled to depart the station on their next mission yet. Many of the crew had accepted the captain's offer to teach them a form of J'naii martial arts. Many forms of martial arts doubled as fighting techniques and as a form of meditation. At least, the Terran ones did. And the Humans had many different forms. Vulcan had a couple of its own forms of martial arts. None of them would double as a form of meditation. All of them had been developed in the pre-Surak days, when Vulcans embraced their emotions, and violence ruled their history. Vulcan martial arts were designed to either kill or incapacitate your opponent in as little time as possible, with the minimum amount of energy expended. Very violent, yet very efficient. Ironically, there was a certain logic to that.::
::So most of the crew was busy preparing for whatever was to await them. They had not been briefed yet on what that mission was, but there was speculation. There was always speculation. Varaan did not believe in speculating. If you speculated correctly, you may be more prepared than others, but if your speculation was incorrect, then you were further behind. Better not to take the chance. If you wanted to be more prepared, then one should simply ask. You would either be told, or not. Either way, you were no worse off than you were before. Varaan was as prepared as he could be. He had surveyed Engineering, met a couple of his new colleagues. There was a Laudean crewmember he hadn't met yet...another lieutenant. And the scuttlebutt was that the department would be receiving a new chief.::
::No one knew who the new chief would be, whether it was an existing Darwinian, or a transfer. Not that it mattered to Varaan. His job was his job, no matter who was in charge. Interpersonal relations would be where the work efficiency would suffer, if the new chief did not "like" him. But Varaan virtually never had problems working with others. His old friend Torin Jamar used to use the phrase "plays well with others," though Varaan never would characterized what he did as "playing." Engineering was a serious job. Lack of attention to detail could result in injury or death, in certain circumstances. Varaan never played. Except for kal'toh.::
::Until now he had been alone in the arboretum. Now a young humanoid female, probably human, with an infant in a hover-stroller, came strolling into view. She was wearing a floral print dress, and sensible shoes. The infant was wearing a pink onesie, and appeared to be mere months old. Humans equated pink with female, so the infant was most likely a girl. She was sleeping, a pacifier in her mouth. The dark haired woman was not in a hurry. Most people in an arboretum were not. The arboretum was a place where most people came to relax and enjoy the atmosphere, to relieve stress and forget their troubles. Not Varaan. The woman and infant continued to move through the area, but before they had left his vision another individual came into his view from another direction.::
::This gentleman, who also appeared human, strolled into the area studying the topiary, and referring to a PADD in his hands. He kept looking up at the topiary, then back down at the PADD. He was wearing a brown jacket with dark pants, and black shoes. At one point he was close enough to Varaan for the Vulcan to see the text of a tour guide program running on the PADD. The man was on a tour of the arboretum. Varaan knew of these PADDs, available to rent at the entrance of the arboretum for only a couple of credits. Varaan had not bothered to get one when he came in. He was not interested in learning of the arboretum at this time. Perhaps if he came back at a later date. The man continued on his tour, soon leaving the area for the next topiary.::
::Varaan reached up to his face and scratched an itch he had on his left temple. His internal clock was telling him that it was approaching dinner time. His stomach concurred. He had skipped lunch today. He had received a communication from an old friend, and had been busy doing him a favour. It had taken most of the afternoon, and Varaan was almost done. Dinner would be most welcome. Chief Marquette had mentioned a restaurant on the station here that he highly regarded. Varaan was willing to try it out. Varaan, as a Vulcan, was a strict vegetarian, and many entrees at restaurants included some form of meat. Having salads all the time was very...repetitive. Finding a restaurant that served new and interesting vegetarian cuisine was a welcome distraction.::
::The man with the PADD returned to the area and stood in front of the topiary for another moment, studying it. Then he turned and moved to the empty spot on the bench beside Varaan. Neither man looked at the other, and neither said anything. The man put the PADD down on the bench between them, and bent over to tie his shoe. Varaan looked down at the PADD, and read the single word on the screen. "Hyperion."::
::Varaan stood up and strolled out of the arboretum on his way to the restaurant. He did not look back. He did not need to, knowing that once he was out of sight, the man with the PADD would finish tying his shoe. When he sat up he would bring with him the metal case that Varaan had left under the bench, and would spend another couple of minutes wandering the arboretum before leaving by another exit.::
::And that was how a covert ops drop was done.::
Lt. Varaan
Engineering Officer
USS Darwin-A, NCC-99312-A
Serial: V237810V10
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