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Round 3 Captain Herrera & Lt Cmdr Reinard: Connections

Sedrin Belasi

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((Counsellor’s Office))

::Greir was running out of time and had been procrastinating about watching the news feed from Britta Daysa. He’d even gone so far as to coax Eerie into coming in for his yearly psych eval. Anyone would think he wasn’t taking his task seriously, especially given how important his task was and the greater things at stake – things that mattered a great deal to him personally.::

oOSo what was the problem then? Oo

:: He knew how the battle went, he’d read the reports, talked to surviving relatives. They’d won, massacred the Klingons and drove them from their home so what was he afraid of? He cracked his fingers as he thought about it. This was hardly the first battle he’d seen or participated in for that matter. It wasn’t the first time his planet had seen strife either –there had been the Romulan occupation.::

::The battle had been fought outside the city, in the ridge at the far end of the valley that led in towards it. A few small groups of townspeople in the city had caused a riot and some damage; he’d lost family due to that but that wasn’t the cause of his problem either. He’d lost a few family and friends from the militia, but he’d lost friends in his Starfleet career too. He had barely even bothered to keep in touch with his family and friends, now that did bother him. Those that he’d lost, he’d never have a chance to express what they meant to him or even say goodbye. He had no one to blame but himself for that and for one person in particular that he’d lost the thought was unbearable.::


:: Most fielders in Greir’s family were of average ability but Rori had a lot of natural talent for it. When Greir was small he had suffered terribly with headaches and other symptoms and at times he’d been inconsolable. Rori had frequently stepped in to give his parents a break from the constant crying and fuss he’d kicked up. He could remember most clearly looking into the man’s big, yellow and copper flecked, warm eyes. He had always been so patient and kind soothing Greir with stories and song. They had spent hours drawing what they fielded. In this and other ways Rori had helped Greir learn to use and cope with his fielding abilities. This continued for years and when a new school was found for Greir it was Rori who went with him. His parents had commitments in Bondi that they could not leave behind . Greir’s older brother Loffe was at school too, he was doing well and had friends and did not want to move. There were also elderly, frail grandparents that needed constant care. Coupled with their jobs it was a lot of upheaval, so it looked like Greir would not be able to attend and would have to make to where he was.::

::It was a great relief when Rori offered to accompany him as the two had always been very close...::

oO What are you expecting to see? It was a big battle there’s no way… Just grow a beard and be a man. Oo

::He was getting frustrated and irritated with himself.::

::Also he was now procrastinating by considering the merits of, and imagining himself… with a beard.::

::He slammed his hand down on the table flat and hard making the PADD resting on it rattle.::

Reinard: Do it!

::He prodded the touchscreen aggressively making the newsfeed finally begin.::

==========THE BATTLE OF BONDI=========
((Bondi, Manar Providence, Til’ahn))

::The Laudean militia assembled in the ridge at the far end of the valley. The invading forces had to pass through here to be able to get into the coastal city Bondi. The Laudeans were equipped with disrupter weapons and there were explosive charges and grenades ready to be used.::

::The Laudeans in the valley looked tense but very very determined as they waited on the Klingons advancing far enough into the valley for them, and the StarFleet Officers supporting them to shoot them like Meeka in a well. The Starfleet Officers were up on the ridge in strategic positions. Much preparation had gone into this - fielders, including Rori had done sweeps for Houdinis , mines and other traps before assembling in the valley.::

::You could tell the Laudeans wanted to open fire but Daysa and his Lieutenants held them in check. Greir had so much respect for that man. Once the Klingons had come forward enough they finally let rip! The battle roiled this way and that, all sides were losing men. The sight of blood, energy burns, explosion damage, dismembered people – Laudeans was tough to behold. There were his people, fighting hard and dying for the freedom of their very planet.::

::Greir had been blissfully unaware at the time. The news hadn’t reached him until sometime later and what a pile of dren he felt. He’d been quite comfortably sat in his officegoofing off! He’d been wasting time, flirting and cracking jokes with a terran called Aidan. There probably wasn’t anything he could have done about it even had he known what was coming prior to it, but he still felt he should have been there. He felt like he’d abandoned his people.::

::Up on the ridge StarFleet Officers fought fiercely. They shot and dropped grenades on the invading Klingon and Scarlet Brotherhood invaders– Grier should have been among them! The Klingons were ferocious and held their own for a long time. It was the Brotherhood that crumbled first, their flank began to collapse forcing the Klingons to try and resupply them.::

::The sound of Klingons roaring, people screaming and dying in agony filled the air, along with the boom of yet more explosions and the familiar sound of mortar fire. There was rock fall and dust as weapons fire impacted the walls of the cliffs. Greir remembered climbing those as a child but now he’d never look at this area the same again. As the battle unfolded before him it was clear that the Laudeans would be finished for if the Klingons managed to get their reinforcements up through the gully, and resupply the Brotherhood. ::

::Laudean fighters circled overhead and fired down upon the invaders relentlessly. Greir had wanted to be a fighter pilot – like many young boys – and had collected toy models and read the articles in the ezines, but had not possessed the required reflexes. A Starfleet shuttle could be seen zipping overhead as well depositing the previously recovered mines in strategic positions. ::

::It seemed the StarFleet Officers were having the desired impact because their efforts were starting to draw attention causing some weapons and mortar fire to be concentrated on their positions. A lot of that fire however was just hitting the rocks causing… more rock fall… It was actually rock fall that had killed Rori.::

::The Laudeans were never let up or faltered, they fought with passion and determination. With StarFleet and the air support the battle was won. These were true heroes. Greir knew that a lot of them had little or no combat experience but they still put themselves forward, put themselves at risk and died for their people – their loved ones. The Laudeans finished them off while StarFleet went on to locate the cowardly leaders of the brotherhood and prevent them from sneaking off and re-surfacing to cause evil and damage elsewhere at another time.::

==========END OF NEWS FEED=========

::As the news feed faded to black Greir slumped back in his chair, absorbing it all in a way he hadn’t had to before. He missed Rori terribly and wondered if there was some kind of memorial he could pay his respects at some day. He was sure Rori knew how much Greir had cared for him and hoped he hadn’t passed on thinking that Greir had stopped caring, that he’d abandoned him.::

::He had to pull it together and he had to watch it again. This time he’d watch it from a more tactical and strategic viewpoint. He needed to see the battle as the Zakdorn would, he had to anticipate their reaction to this, what questions they might have. What in here had merit to the Zakdorn and how was he going to sell the Federation to the masses.::

::He went to get a fresh drink of tea and was feeling a little jittery now. His cup trembled slightly in his hands as he pressed the button to play it again. He took notes on his PADD and drank the calming tea as he watched the second play through. Viewing it with a more focussed mind helped him regain his cool a little. When it was done he put the PADD down and set the chronometer. Ten minutes.::

::He took out a small device that resonated energy, it wasn’t very powerful. His terran friend Aidan had seen it once and likened it to a ‘Lava lamp’ whatever that was, but it gave off soothing energy and he began a small meditation exercise to bring himself back into balance.::

((USS Vigilant, Deck 5: Counsellor's Office))

::Happy to have had the chance to sit down with his first officer at long last, Herrera had taken to the corridors once again. The coffee he had drunk had started to take effect and had stemmed the onslaught of yawns that had begun to take hold. Quite apart from the fact he knew he needed to be alert for the task he and Counsellor Reinard were about to undertake, he knew quite well from experience that yawns were contagious. He imagined Reinard was probably a little tired himself and having the captain sat in front of him half-asleep wouldn't exactly be conducive to making progress.::

::Pushing the chime on the door to the office, he waited to be called inside.::

oO(Greir)Is that the Captain? So soon? Perhaps not… Oo

Reinard: ::Calling out:: Come on in.

::And so it was that Diego stepped through the now open door into the Counsellor's office, hefting a PADD of information he had hastily downloaded and believed would help both of them in their cause.::

Herrera: How's everything going?

Reinard: Ah… well… I-uh- … Well… ::Stammering a bit::

::He was trying to think what to say about it. He hadn’t made as much progress as he’d ideally wanted to. It seemed to be an annoying constant right now but as always, he was determined to get on top of it. By now though he was getting tired, the meditation at least had helped soothe some of the sour mood that had been forming earlier however. Even so he wasn’t half as cheery or optimistic as normal. ::

::Depositing his PADD on the desk, the captain's eyes were immediately drawn to the replicator.::

Herrera: Do you mind if I grab a coffee?

Reinard: Oh. Not at all Sir, help yourself.

Herrera: Thanks, do you want anything?

Reinard: Yes actually, that would be nice. I’ll take a Jestral Tea please.

::Placing his order, Diego quickly returned to the desk putting down Greir's drink where he could reach it. Fighting the urge to push his seat backwards and put his feet up on someone else's desk, he instead activated his PADD.::

Herrera: So... what have we got so far?

Reinard: ::Clearing his throat and cracking his fingers:: Well, I got in touch with Britta Daysa from home. The minister and I were both of the opinion that we needed something more… concrete to show them, as proof. We don’t expect them to simply trust and believe in our word and heart felt sentiments. ::Slurping his tea and gulping it down in one go.::

Hererra: I'm with you on that too. The more hard evidence we can show them, the better.

Reinard: ::Rolling and cracking his neck this time:: She sent me a data packet – a newsfeed of the Battle of Bondi. It’s a bit of a … tense battle. A bit of a slaughter really. ::Pointing a finger:: …Of the Klingons. ::He wasn’t too sure what he was trying to convey right now but he was going to have to step it up quite considerably for tomorrow.::

Herrera: ::Encouragingly:: Well, that sounds like a great selling point. The Zakdorn public will definitely be interested in hearing about things that are recent, relevant and local. I figured that I'd maybe try a more historical approach that reaches further afield with the Assembly. They're more likely to be concerned about the political picture over the Alpha and Beta quadrants.

Reinard: ::Picking himself up a bit:: I think that’s an excellent approach Captain, it will reinforce our position quite well I think. What will you tell them?

::He took a swig of his drink before setting his PADD to display an old mission report from the USS Challenger.::

Herrera: I crossed paths with the Klingons some time ago. They requested assistance from Starfleet to deal with a race that had suddenly withdrawn from a war they had been fighting under mysterious circumstances. When the orders came through it took me a while to understand exactly why that was a problem, until we all realised that there was something else to it.

Reinard: Yes, it does seem very odd. ::Scratching his left cheek with his right hand as he mulled it over.::

Herrera: To cut through a lot of complications, we found out that the Klingons had been completely duped by a third race who they didn't even seem to know existed. I'd say it's a perfect example of a tactical blind spot and a result of their collective overconfidence. Not something a Zakdorn would necessarily approve of.

Reinard: I agree. I tend to wonder, if the Zakdorn only sought ‘muscle’ in their alliance they’d have sided with the Klingon’s long before now. Klingons are not known for having great achievements in science for example. Almost all Klingons are warriors and they actually look down upon their scientists as inferior. In some ways it’s amazing they even made it out to space… don’t you think?

::Put like that, it did seem like quite a feat for them to have accomplished, although despite the fact that scientists weren't exactly top dogs in Klingon society, they had made some important advances of their own.::

Herrera: Maybe it was the urge to conquer that spurred them to develop better technology... but yes, I think we can probably play on that a little.
Reinard: I know we’re short on time but what about giving a shout out to some of the technological or scientific or medical achievements the Zakdorn have benefitted from due to the Federation?

::The category of 'medical achievements' was home territory as far as Diego was concerned and the same could probably be said for Greir. They wouldn't have to look too far into those topics to find useful things that Starfleet had developed before the Klingon Empire being as the Klingons had been through a period of sharing technology with the Romulans in order to further advance themselves in the past.::

Herrera: Good call. I'll focus on military... why don't you look at day-to-day things? Hospital equipment, communications technology... the sorts of things that we can't do without. The only thing I can think of that the Klingons have that we don't is cloaking technology but even those aren't completely impenetrable any more...
Reinard: I doubt it will be long before we crack it though. We have working Klingon and Romulan devices that researchers are working on and a growing number of aliens coming in with knowledge of the technology. However I agree, our alliance is not based only on one thing and it would be good to remind them of the every day things they have and take for granted that can be attributed to the Federation.
:It was as his thoughts drifted to how he might feel if he had to make the public address that Diego got the feeling that he could have been asking more of his chief counsellor than he first thought. He didn't doubt his capabilities to make the address for a second, but his mind lingered on the fact that a battle that had taken place on Til'ahn would be included as part of that event. Putting himself in the Laudean's shoes, he had the unpleasant feeling that were their situations reversed and Earth had been hit, he might have been less than comfortable. He didn't want to patronise Greir, but then he didn't want to just railroad over him without considering in more detail what he was asking him to do.::

Herrera: Greir, where...

::He stopped short of asking the question. Maybe it was just tiredness that was making him overthink it; that wasn't normally his style. Or maybe he knew he should have been listening to his own counsellor's training and continued with the question. Either way, he'd already attracted the man's attention.::

::Greir was fidgeting and shunting his cup around with one hand as he scrolled through databases looking for some hits for the additional strategy they were going to bring in. His nostrils flared as he stifled a yawn and he raised his eyes and brow to look at the Captain.::

Reinard: Sir?

Herrera: Whereabouts on Til'ahn did you say you were from again?

::He knew the answer even as it was being given. Diego had asked in the turbolift. He was from Bondi. The same place as the battle in the newsfeed.::

Reinard: ::Returning his eyes to the PADD his reply was monotone, clipped and fast.:: Bondi

::Eyes dropping to the floor for a moment, Diego sighed. Had he had to pick through a newsfeed about a Klingon invasion of Santander, he knew exactly how he'd feel.::

::Reinard raised his hand and wiped his eye before it could shed a tear.::

Herrera: God, I'm sorry. I should have realised as soon as you said it. Are you alright?

Reinard: Well I knew about it before this. Just... wa'ching it. ::Choking up a bit:: So many... dih dih... ::Strained:: lost. Terrible. Heroes.

::Greir slapped his PADD down in frustration. He was tired and mostly shocked, he'd barely just finished watching these events and after everything that had been going on he felt like his mind was still trying to catch up. He couldn't afford to lose it though. There was too much at stake.::

Herrera: ::Sympathetically:: That's not true...

Reinard: What really gets me right now. Those StarFleet Officers... Fleet Captain Turner, Major Parker, Marine Captain Hella, Lt Cmdr Allison and Tallis Rhul among others... they've done more for my people than I have.

::Greir put his head in his hands.::
Herrera: They're permanently assigned to the Embassy, you don't get to choose where you get posted.

Reinard: I should have been there! I did nothing... I didn't even touch... ::He felt shaky and despairing all over again::
::Diego wasn't sure what the significance of the word 'touch' was, but Greir's emotions were unquestionably raw. He wished he'd had the chance to put two and two together before he'd had to go through this ordeal but hindsight wasn't going to do Greir any good. The counsellor's guilt was understandable but hardly rational and this wasn't the kind of thing that just passed like a cloud in the wind; Diego knew from his own experience that he would need support in the coming days and he had no intention of forcing him into something so difficult and painful.::

Hererra: You can't blame yourself for not being there. ::He knew that the comment would provide cold comfort if any at all.:: Would it help if someone else made the presentation tomorrow? We can find a different case file, anything that will make this easier on you.

Reinard: ::Bucking himself up again. He was quite determined:: Captain. I can do this. I won't crumble tomorrow and I won't let you down.
::The captain took a second to digest that. Even in the wake of such personal tragedy, here was a man who was determined not to fail him and to do his duty. Was this what a commanding officer and service to Starfleet represented to those in its service?::

Herrera: I can't think of a way that you could let me down right now. This is one hell of a thing you've just put yourself through and lesser men would have crumbled. The truth is, I've served with Captain Turner, Hella and Parker. They're [...] good officers. But just because you're not serving on your home world doesn't mean you're doing less for your people than they are. Your actions tomorrow will prevent an alliance between the Klingons and the Zakdorn. I know that because you've put every ounce of your expertise into drawing together an address that will bring the Zakdorn who have lost their way right back to their senses. You're fighting for your homeworld just by being here and in everything that you do.

Reinard: ::Nodding in agreement:: I try to see it that way too.
::One question remained and Diego purposefully pushed it to the back of his mind. At some point, he knew he would need to bring it to light but at the present time it would hinder Greir more than it would help him. Finding out whether or not he'd heard the names of any friends or loved ones on the death list would have to wait for another day.::

Herrera: I think we both could use some rest. I'd like to talk about this again some time when you're not under so much pressure. ::Effectively, it was a request for an appointment. There were enough trained mental health experts aboard that in this situation there would always be someone to counsel the counsellor if it was needed.:: It would be good to talk about some happier things too.

Reinard: ::Trying to smile:: You're right and it certainly will, I'd like that but for now let's focus on the mission.

Herrera: ::Nodding:: Alright. ::He stood from his chair, PADD in hand before looking Greir in the eye and offering him something that rank, position and previous training did not generate; it was a genuine gesture from one person to another.:: If you need anything, call me. I'll probably be up for a little while yet.

Reinard: ::Sincerely:: Thank you, I really appreciate that. I'm going to stay up a bit more. There is some more work I need to get done on this before I will be remotely happy and i'm going to need some more meditation to focus and balance myself properly again.
::He knew he was going to have to address what had occurred here today but he needed to do it at an appropriate time. He would muster every ounce of determination and professional resolve he could and steel himself for tomorrow. It was going to be a tough day but he was a Lt Commander now, his fresh faced ensign days were long gone. He'd gotten to this stage in his career by handling tough situations, by coping with pressure and he would make this work.::

Herrera: See you tomorrow.

::Waving over his shoulder as he reached the door, Diego sincerely hoped that Greir really would be alright.::
Reinard: Goodnight Captain, rest well. ::Turning over his notes and looking to make sure he'd covered all the points he wanted to make, searching for weakness.::
A JP by:
Captain Diego Herrera
Commanding Officer: USS Vigilant
Lt Cmdr Reinard
Chief Counsellor
USS Vigilant

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