Star Trek: Defiant

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A Bit of Escapism

Posted on Wed Mar 24th, 2021 @ 5:48am by Captain Veronica Reynolds & Lieutenant Rinix

Mission: Episode 1: The Helios 6 Incident
Location: Observation Lounge, USS Defiant
Timeline: En Route to Arcadia, MD -3

It was late at night the day of Defiant's departure. After ensuring his department had been readied to his own strict expectations, Rinix had retired for the day. Although he had now been aboard Defiant for several days by this point, and was over the initial excitement of a new posting, he still felt restless as he sat in his quarters' admittedly comfy chair. It was certainly more spacious than most of the digs he'd encountered in his time in Starfleet. He finally gave up, pulling his book away from his nose as he sighed.

His choice was perfectly clear.

Getting up from his chair, he clutched the book in his left hand, and went in search of a quiet part of the ship. The walk would do him good, and the change of scenery may help him relax enough to get into his story. The Denobulan figured the staff lounge and rec rooms would be busy - noisy and disruptive and the opposite of what he wanted right now. He made a beeline for the Observation Lounge, thinking that at this hour it would be empty, or quiet at least.

The walk from the turbolift was a short one, and he entered the Lounge, humming a traditional Denobulan tune as he went. Looking around he saw no-one, though he was mostly distracted by the spatial scenery outside the viewport. Rinix approached one, slowly, marvelling at the starscape beyond. Space, whether a starfield, or warped by the starship itself, was a beautiful site.

"Quite the view, isn't it?" The voice came from the far corner of the room. It was loud enough to be audible, but not overly so. Tucked in a corner, book in hand, with a warm cup of tea next to her, Captain Veronica Reynolds was lounged comfortably. She'd been pleasantly surprised to find the Observation Lounge so quiet, though at this hour it made sense, especially with a celebration in the works in the Mess. After an obligatory stop by, she decided to remove herself from the scene. She enjoyed time with her crew, but the quiet was a nice escape and many officers would celebrate more comfortably without their commander right there in front of them. She'd been making steady progress in her book, with the occasional gaze out the window, until she heard the doors open. "I've found that one of my favorite things to do aboard a starship is find a book and a window and just spend some quality time with myself."

Starting as he heard the voice carry from the corner, Rinix almost dropped the book. 'Captain ... I hadn't noticed you there,' he said lamely as he clutched the book in both hands. He indicated the windows, 'quite the beautiful sight, I agree. Nothing quite like the quiet of space as you're reading. Honestly, though, I'd usually be quite happy reading in my quarters, but tonight I felt ... restless, I think is the best word.' He stood still in the open space, unsure whether his presence was actually welcome. He erred on the side of caution, 'if you would prefer to be alone ... I know quiet is at a premium on a starship. I can find another room.'

"Nonsense. You're as welcome here as I am. Besides, I've just gotten to a decent stopping place for the moment," Veronica replied, before turning her gaze toward the book. "What have got there?"

'Oh this?' Rinix held up the book as he approached her, taking a vacant seat not too far away from the Captain, and facing her, away from the viewport. 'Nothing much in all honesty. I read to relax, so this is just the Denobulan equivalent of a pulp novel. Perhaps you've heard of Enforcer Thrax and his adventures?' He didn't hold out much hope, to be honest. Most non-Denobulans had either never heard of the series, or had never gotten around to it if they had.

She set her book aside and gave an amused smile. "Unfortunately, I can't say that I have. But I do love a good pulp novel. Earth certainly contributed its fair share of those. Sometimes the ridiculous antics are exactly what you're looking for. What's the general idea?"

'Well an Enforcer is somewhat analogous to an Earth police detective I believe - though some of the duties do differ. On Denobula, they were charged with chasing down suspects of particularly violent or abhorrent crimes, and were in extreme circumstances were given extraordinary powers to do so. I'm sure you can see how this translates into a particularly satisfying pulp novel.' He paused as he thought, 'on Denobula it's a genre particularly influenced by Earth literature of the type. Before our First Contact, there were very little novels of the sort in existence.'

"I think I might have to check out the series. I have a soft spot for some good old fashioned crime thrillers. The twist your culture places on it would probably make for some fun surprises," the Captain said, tapping her own novel. "I've been digging into an older Trill horror story series. Well, horror might be the wrong word. More eerie. I must admit it's caught me off guard more than once. Without the usual tropes from my people, it seems I'm much more easily startled."

'Yes, I find Bolian horror stories are perhaps best not read immediately before bed, or in the dark even,' Rinix chuckled as he settled more comfortably into the chair. 'Their conception of horror is quite unique, in my experience, and is quite worth seeking out. There've also been some great adaptations recently. I did once sit through a horror novel written by an Akamarian who's idea of horror was of too many people in one place at a time. It read more like a social commentary of Denobula, unfortunately.'

The final sentence brought a smirk to her face. "I suppose that's the inspiring thing about the Federation. So many of us have joined together, each so different as to resemble things others could view as horrific. Yet we are together nonetheless. Not without our flaws of course, but no one ever truly is." She gazed out at the stars. "I wonder if our very existence in that way inspires someone else's fears.

'Most likely there would be a species or culture out there that would view our heterodox society as anathema,' surmised Rinix, 'there have been societies on all planets in the Federation at one point or another that has had the fear of the other ingrained in their culture, I don't see why that would be different at a galactic level.'

"That's a fair point," she said, fiddling with her hands. "I guess it's worth noting that even recently, the Vulcan's have had issues with terrorist cells of their own, which opposed cultural mixing. And the Klingons certainly have flirted with it plenty." She sighed. "Maybe it's naive of me, but I'd like to think that those are thoughts that cultures grow beyond. Ideas we finally reject and move past at some point. I suppose maybe that's a bit idealistic of me though."

'It's less idealism, than a cold fact of life that we need to move beyond our prejudices in order to survive - history is replete with societies that have been afraid of the other and engaged in destructive behaviour, from terrorist incidents to full-scale war. In most cases, given advanced enough weaponry, those conflicts lead to a wiping out of entire civilisations,' Rinix smiled, 'we're simply lucky to be products of societies that have mostly learned that lesson, though it is a recurring test. A society can only survive it if proves mutable.'

Veronica let out a chuckle after a moment. "I'm beginning to see why we might take solace in stories like these. Reality can be a bit overwhelming at times. It's no wonder we prefer universes with a more playful ruleset from time to time."

Rinix waggled the book he carried in the air, 'very true. Enforcer Thrax doesn't believe in any rules that don't get the job done. Certainly a less rigorous process than the scientific.' He smiled widely, 'and I suppose it's why many of us enjoy the spooky nove l- a controlled fear that isn't too overwhelming.'

"Indeed. Makes a lot of sense when we look at it that way," Veronica replied, before gesturing to their books. "Well...shall we enjoy a few minutes in these simpler little worlds before we return to the complications of ours?"

'Not to appear rude, Captain, but, yes please,' replied Rinix with a relieved smile. He doubted either of them had expected such a weighty conversation when they'd wandered to the Observation Lounge. 'Enforcer Thrax is not a patient man,' he chuckled.


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