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A serious discussion

Posted on Thursday March 11th, 2021 @ 1:29pm by Wraet tr'Melanth & Niyahra Riohn

Mission: Marauder's Map
Location: Captain's Ready Room, Deck 1, USS Walraven
1397 words - 2.8 OF Standard Post Measure

Niyahra was pacing the room, she didn't really feel comfortable in their current predicament and there was just this feeling that somehow the Dominion would come poking their noses in at the worst possible time. She had asked Wraet to meet her in the ready room and hoped that they could straighten some things out, make a plan for next possible steps, try and stay ahead of the curve. Stealing the California class ship was only supposed to be the beginning, but to what, and how. She hadn't bothered to ask.

The hand in her pocket was passing the vial of KRed through her fingers. She wondered how long she'd be able to keep up without having to return to the civilised life. There was no way there was going to be any supply here on board, and the doctor would definitely not be able to synthesise it. Suddenly the doors opened.

Wraet entered with the barely noticeable pause that was nearly instinct by now when passing through a doorway, and yet in that half beat he took in both the parameters of the room and the sole occupant's pacing and tell tale movement of a hand in a pocket. There was only so much he could do about that at present, beyond displaying a degree of ease on his part in hopes that it would help with her anxiety. "At present my long range scans indicate no signs of pursuit," he reported, offering a small smile. "I regret not having a bottle of ale to toast a successful heist."

"I'll rest more easily when we get to Romulan space," Niyahra never really thought that was something she'd be saying out loud, to a Tal'shiar operative no less, "So, where are we headed? The coordinates you gave us are a dead zone. No bases, no habitable planets, nothing." She needed to know what to prepare for, she needed to make sure that the RSE wasn't just going to throw them into the meat grinder as part of some sort of long-con.

It wasn't an unreasonable request, but until they were safely - or as safe as anywhere might be lately - in Romulan space, it would be unwise to divulge too much. "I will rest more easily as well," he admitted simply. "As to our destination, for now it would be best not to say until we reach safe harbor, but I assure you all is not as it appears."

Niyahra simply shook her head, when was it ever? "Just so that you know, I don't intend to become the Tal'shiar's lapdog. I'm glad for the resources and intel, but our primary goals might not always align so well. And I have to put the people of the Federation first."

"You are a patriot. I appreciate that." Wraet inclined his head to her fractionally. "I am as well. It is in fact the reason I, and my associates, are helping you. There's an old earth saying: 'The enemy of my enemy is my friend'." He chuckled softly, walking to the viewport behind the Captain's desk and looking out at the passing stars. "Romulans have always considered that bit ...naive... but it is true that the enemy of one who poses a serious threat can be a valuable ally." He looked back around at her. "I have no expectations of friendship, nor certainly of you or anyone else here being a lap dog - you would be of little use for this if you were the sort inclined to that."

There was definitely some logic in his statement, perhaps the Vulcan influence from their exodus to Romulus was rubbing off on the Romulans, "I'm glad at least our expectations are the same," She started to walk towards the window, "so what do you think?" It was difficult for her to try and assess just how much impact they would be able to have in the ship. In that sense Ty had been right, so what they have a ship, one Jem'hadar attack squadron and they would be toast, "will we be able to make a difference?"

Wraet inclined his head in agreement on expectations. At her question he pursed his lips, staring for a long moment the vastness of the view outside as he considered how to how to answer. "Tell me," he finally said. "Are you familiar with a Vulcan game called Kal-toh?"

There was a pang of recognition somewhere in the pit of her stomach, "Yeah, I think I might've played it in a former life," she couldn't quite remember the rules, or whether or not she used to be any good at it, "get a strong sense of Vulcan arrogance from the mention of it, so it might have been in the Academy." She, or rather Riohn, hadn't been too fond of the Vulcans in her Academy classes. They had challenged her to all sorts of things knowing of her symbiont. They always wanted to prove themselves superior.

"It is a game they enjoy using to demonstrate superior logic," Wraet chuckled. "But it is a game of patience more than logic. You begin with what seems to be a disorderly jumble of rods, but by placing them correctly, in concert with the other players, it transforms into a perfect sphere." He looked over with a knowing smile. "It's frustrating for beginners because it's very difficult to see the perfect shape emerging, so you move one rod at time - each time hoping it won't be the wrong move and collapse the whole thing - but if done carefully, picking your rods and placement, suddenly," he lifted his hands moving as though outlining a smooth ball, "It all transforms. The Vulcans say it is about finding the seeds of order even in the midst of profound chaos."

"What do the Romulans have to say about that?" Niyahra could see where Wraet was going with this analogy, and she knew that they would only be a small rod in the larger construct of things. She was just hoping that the particular rods they were pulling at wouldn't bring the entire construct down.

"An excellent question." She was young, and an addict, but he was feeling more confident in his superiors' judgment in choosing her. His slight smile grew into a grin. "There is a Romulan game, Khariat, that uses the same set of rods. Vulcans hate it. You see, in our version, you start with the rigid perfect construct, and withdraw rods. There are two modes of competition: in one you remove each rod with the goal of leaving your opponent with no option but causing collapse," his grin grew slightly wider, "and in the other you try to find the most efficient way of removing rods to make the structure crumble."

Niyahra couldn't help but smile, "I was half expecting some profound insight into how all order is chaos and all chaos is order, or something like that," She shook her head a bit, laughing at the fact that somewhere a Romulan game creator had sat down and figured out exactly how to screw with the Vulcan's precious game of logic and made it do everything they so hated, "I'm pretty sure I'd be better at Khariat, Trill know a thing or two about entropy."

Clearly he had played a Vulcan too long if anyone expected philosophy instead of pragmatism. On the other hand, it was nice to know the cover was effective even with those who knew what he was. "I will have to teach you Khariat. A large part of why I came to you with this proposition is that I think you will be a natural at it."

With Romulans one never actually knew what conversation it was exactly that they were having, the one that everyone around you thought you had by listening to the words that were being exchanged, or the implied one below the surface where every word and syllable was carefully chosen to convey a hidden meaning that only held significance to the two people involved in the exchange. "I would really appreciate that," Niyahra replied, whether it was the actual game or the underlying implication of teaching her how to best sow chaos in the structure of the Dominion didn't really matter to her, both those options were equally enticing, "and thank you, for giving us this opportunity."


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