Demotion and Promotion
Location: Science Lab
Timeline: Before "A Little Too Easy"
Caradan has some unpleasant business to tend to it seemed from the way Riaan sounded over the comms. Her voice was softer and a bit more profound than usual. Caradan had gotten used to Riaan’s voice throughout their time together. Subtle changes that many would never even notice could mean the difference between Riaan having a good day and her about to break down. This time though, her voice contained the sound of business she wanted to avoid at all costs.
Riaan waited in her office for Caradan. From the sound of it, Ivy's encounter with her 'history' lesson had not gone well. Then again, Riaan supposed that learning the pepole who had picked you up had genocided and entire race of people like you was not exactly the most comforting thing. She was not sure of how to deal with it, so she had called Caradan for help. Perhaps the two of them could work out the best way to proceed.
The doors parted and Caradan stood there a second before entering. The lab was in good order. The only occupant at the moment was Riaan. Then there were two as Caradan stepped inside. At first she felt Riaan had some nervous or anxiety attack but she seemed well enough, save for the present look of distress.
“Riaan,” Caradan crossed the room to her, “is everything alright? What happened?”
Riaan considered how to explain the situtation. "I'm alright, but I'm worried that Ivy may not be ok." She briefly explained what had happened, what Legano had showed her, even the PADD with the information displayed. "I'm not sure I'm the best person to go and talk things through with her. I've been there when something like that was happening and I did nothing."
Caradan took the PADD and scrolled through it, looking at the past incidents where the U.S.S. Enterprise interacted with a vegetative species. One ended in genocide. It was in defense of the galaxy but it was genocide all the same.
Caradan looked up and connected with Riaan's eyes. "Lagano showed Ivy this?" She did not wait for an answer. “Working in the Science Department, he should have brought this information to you first, you to me, the captain, and then we figure a way to inform Ivy.” She deactivated the PADD and put it away.
Caradan thought a moment, feeling Riaan’s tension in the air. “Don’t worry about Ivy. There have been no reports of anyone rampaging across the ship so she took the news well enough. She and I share something of a bond I think, so I will go speak with her.” She could see Riaan’s concerned eyes moving about and she moved until she caught those eyes. “Riaan, everything is OK. Though there is a difficult job I need you to perform. As Chief Science Officer, everyone in the department is now your responsibility. You need to reprimand Lagano. He came to you in confession so he knows what he did was wrong. Ivy needs to know these things but his methods could have proved disastrous.” Caradan pulled her own PADD from out her torso and brought up Lagano’s military profile. “I see Lagano is a Crewman 1st Class.” She tapped on the PADD a few times. “It is not your duty to draw up the paperwork demoting him to Crewman 2nd Class. Perform whatever further disciplinary action you deem necessary. Make sure he sees your counseling statement for him. Make sure he signs it.”
She could see anxiety growing in Riaan. “You can do this. You are strong Riaan.”
Riaan looked at Caradan, "I don't know. I've never had to reprimand anyone before. It wasn't ill intentioned, just a bit of overenthusiastic over-sharing." Riaan tried to steel herself, "No, it wasn't a good idea. Well intentioned bad ideas are still bad ideas none the less." Riaan said, slightly torn. "I'm disappointed in him. I expected better."
“As we all,” Caradan agreed. “He may have had the best intentions but his presentation was ill conceived. And that kind of work ethic is not becoming of a Crewman 1st Class, which is why he needs to be demoted. He could be promoted again…later, but he needs to show that a lesson has been learned. This is something the chiefs of all departments have to face at some point.” Caradan felt a comparison was in order to better aid Riaan. “At least you are not dealing with a fight or a dispute between crew members. This is a simple infraction stemming from bad judgment. That is all it is.”
Riaan nodded and spoke softly. "I can do it, I will do it." She gave a weak smile at Caradan. "All part of learning to be an officer." She said, trying to be hopeful and failing. Her eyes lingered on Caradan. The sight of the changeling she loved helped sooth the turbulent emotions she was feeling.
Caradan was relieved and had full confidence the Riaan could see this situation through. She was eternaly grateful that this was not some serious infraction or dereliction of duties but just a case of bad judgment.
"Do you know where Ivy is now?" she asked Riaan. "As XO, it is my duty to make sure she is fine and that there is no cause for concern. I need to speak with her."
Riaan thought for a moment. "She is probably in her room, we converted it to be more like her home so she's probably most comfortable there."
Caradan was unsure if she should just show up at Ivy’s door. Being the executive officer aboard the Tornado made her authorized to appear anywhere aboard the entire ship unannounced, but Ivy was, by definition, a civilian.
As she watched Riaan prepare herself for her own unfortunate duty, Caradan slapped at her commbadge. “Eunidas to Sharzin. Ivy, do you read?”
Hearing the speaker in her quarters, Ivy almost dropped her food, as it's little flippers flapped and tail wiggled in her hand. She tapped the comm-link on her uniform with her free hand. =^=Ivy here. Is there something I can do for you Lieutenant=^=
“Ivy, can we meet?” Caradan asked. “Right now. And…in private?”
Ivy looked down at the water dwelling animal in her grasp and frowned. The expression on her exterior face followed suit as expected. She replied, "Yes. I can . . " She was about to explain her situation and realized that the XO probably didn't care for any reasons at the moment, so she queried, "Where would you like to meet?" She grimaced again, still looking at the fish that wasn't moving as much anymore, thinking she should put it back in the water tank, she had installed in her quarters for food such as this.
“I can drop by your quarters if that is acceptable,” said Caradan. “I will not take up too much of your time.”
Ivy, puzzled, glanced about her room of photo-quality wall murals of jungles, plants hanging everywhere, and a moist Earth smell in the air and wondered, why she would want to come here ? She shrugged and replied, "Yes. All right. I guess that would be fine." She looked down at the fish in her hand, barely breathing and quickly walked over to the tank, dropping it into the water with a noticeable, 'PLOP'!
Caradan heard the noise emanate from her commbadge and she furrowed her brow in curiosity as to what that was. “Well, I will be along momentarily. Eunidas out.”
It was only minutes later that Caradan arrived and chimed her called at Ivy’s door.
Ivy stepped over to the door and pressed the open activation button. She knew the voice activation for the door worked, but felt that not being at the door when 'one' entered her 'home' would be considered rude.
The door slid open, Ivy couldn't help but smile and said, "Hello Blue-eyes. Please come in," and she extended a hand motioning for the Lieutenant to enter. She certainly hoped it was acceptable to call her 'that' name. She was one of the few people that truly helped her after arriving on the Tornado.
“Hello Spud,” Caradan said as she entered and looked around at the room in admiration. “Is it OK that I call you Spud? The name kind of grew on me. You are,” she looked at Ivy’s figure, “you are much bigger than a spud now though.”
Ivy smiled at the familiararity that which Blue-eyes still had with her, even though, Ivy had come to understand, that she was the executive officer, meaning 2nd in command of this vessel. "You are most welcome to call me 'spud', although as I have learned from my reading, those things are usually reserved for private moments and not typically used in public situations." Ivy was pretty sure she got that right, and smiled again and said what she had learned, "Welcome to my quarters." She extended both arms out to her sides, encouraging Blue-eyes to feel free to look about.
Ivy was very pleased with the way the Operations personnel had helped her with the comfortable padded furniture with a foliage print, the lighting which was mostly indirect, and the one entire wall that was a display screen. It could be changed from time to time and even provide visuals of animals passing by.
“Thank you,” replied Caradan. She took in the room in greater detail and sensed the various aromas with her being. “And you are correct. The pet names…I do not know why they are called ‘pet names’ as we are certainly not pets…but the pet names we use for each other are generally used in private.” She shrugged. “Sometimes in public but in informal situations. You are looking well,” she looked back at Ivy. “I trust you are getting along well aboard the Tornado.”
Ivy was about to reply, but was cut short when Blue-eyes continued.
Caradan decided this was no time for small talk. She said her visit would not take long and she felt the need to honor that promise. “Actually. Riaan’s reports indicate just that. I need to speak to you about another matter.”
This comment brought Ivy's full attention. She looked at her friend with curiosity, her lips coming to a thin line and then nodded slightly.
Caradan stepped up closer to Ivy but maintained some distance as she was still unaware of the amount of personal space Ivy and/or her kind enjoyed. “I understand you spoke with Crewman Logano in the Science Department and that he shared with you some information involving Starfleet’s past encounters with vegetative species. One encounter, I understand, lead to the eradication of the entire race.”
As Blue-eyes' explanation took shape the expression on Ivy's face seemed to sag to being somewhat blank, moving to slightly repulsed. Ivy took a half step back, away from her friend. She slowly said, "Yes. It was a terrible . . incident." Ivy chose to use a socially acceptable word, and not the word she wanted to use. She turned away slightly, looking down and away, but responded further, "I know now that I over reacted." There was a long pause as she remembered the incident, then said, "I do realize that sometimes the intensity of reactions can not be reversed, no matter how sorry one might be. But the devastation . . was . . a tragedy." She sighed, she wasn't sure what else to say, as she continued to look down and away, her shoulder sagging.
“I don’t think you over-reacted,” Caradan took a step closer to Ivy. “There are no reports of you rampaging, no one got hurt, there are no mysterious deaths. What was disclosed to you was…I believe I can imagine it. As you may know, my kind, Changelings that is, we were the founders of an organization called the Dominion. The Dominion went to war against the Federation. To my knowledge there was not any genocide going on though a team, standing against the Dominion did travel to the Delta Quadrant and decimated the surface of a planet that the Changelings once inhabited. We had left before then.”
Still, Caradan could see the pain in Ivy’s compound eyes, if she was reading those eyes correctly. “What I am saying is…I can commiserate with you if you need. I just came from meeting with Riaan. Crewman Logano confessed to showing you that information. Though you have the right to know, he should have gone through the chain of command instead of showing it to you himself. He is being reprimanded and demoted as we speak.”
“Tell me,” said Caradan, “how do you feel?”
Ivy thought for a moment about the question and how she currently 'felt'. She really had no desire to rehash all the emotions that she experienced recently. She replied, "At the moment . . I feel good. And I have no desire to think about those awful things again. Well, . . at least for a while . . if I can help it." She smiled at her friend. She was very glad to spend time with her.
Being a Changeling, Caradan possessed many collective memories of conquered planets, destroyed civilizations and whole Quadrants in shambles because of the Dominion. All she could do was, “Agreed. Let’s not dwell on things past, but make the best of now so we can make a better future.” She smiled at Ivy feeling her to be another who could possibly understand her better than most.
Ivy smiled again, pleased with her friend's mutual attitude. She stepped back extending her arm toward a sofa, "Would you like to sit for a while?"
Caradan smiled. “I do have some time before I am due back on the Bridge.” Nodding, “I would love to.”
Ivy took a few steps to in front of the sofa and sat down gently, extending her are toward the other cushion.
Understanding the gesture, Caradan moved closer and sat right beside Ivy. It seemed she had grown comfortable with others, Caradan even, being within her personal space. Caradan looked about the room again, taking in the sights and the smells. Ivy’s quarters reminded her, through collective memory though, of a world the Changelings once inhabited.
Ivy now felt very perplexed. She realized that she never had considered what to say or do with a 'guest' once she got to this point. She hesitated with a questioning look on her face as she looked about her quarters.
Aside from the fish aquarium off to the side, there was little in Ivy’s quarters for sound. The place looked and smelled like a tropical environment but the sounds of wild animals and insects was missing at the moment. Caradan felt Ivy either forgot to turn on any audio or had it deactivated before she arrived. She looked back at Ivy, smiled, then cast her gaze out at her quarters once again.
Ivy finally smiled, turned to face her friend, and asked, "What do you think of my decorating style?"
Caradan nodded a few times in acceptance. “It is very comfortable for you I am sure. For me as well,” she turned to Ivy. “This actually reminds me, though collectively, of a planet my kind once inhabited. I have no personal memory of it, but the images are there.” She looked about the arrangements of plants, taking in, again, the smells. “I will certainly applaud Lieutenant Mindo and Riaan for being able to modify the environmental controls for you.”
"Yes!" Ivy exclaimed, "They have both helped so much." She looked about the room once more, as if for the first time, and added, "This is very much like the home I remember." Looking back at her friend with a sadder expression, "But no one to share it with." After a second, "One day I will find my family."
“Yes,” Caradan nodded. “One day you will find them. Perhaps we can find them together. In the meantime,” and she paused as she thought about the suggestion before suggesting it, “I could see about the installation of holo-emitters in your quarters. You could program some of your own kind to share this with. I know they will not be real but it could help. That, or maybe,” and Caradan brought an arm up, liquefied it and reformed it similar to Ivy’s arm, complete with an intricate weave of vines and fibers. Caradan’s arm was spotted with small leaves. “I can mimic just about anything.”
Ivy was considering the 'holo-emiter' idea and was really not prepared to see an arm like her own before her eyes. She was a bit shocked, but then made a motion of apology and said, "Sorry, that just startled me. I was thinking about the emiter, then you changed." Her face became concerned and a hesitant question came out, "I guess I don't understand. Why would you change into someone like me?"
Caradan’s arm shot back to its normal state. “I was…just letting you know the options you have,” she explained. “A holo-image is only that. And it is something you program to your liking. It is still only a holo-image though. My mimicking of your kind would be only a mimic. I would learn more of your species but you would have another sentient person to share this all with.” She sat back and folded her hands together. “I have an idea of how lonely you may feel. There are no Changelings in Starfleet. None that I know of in this quadrant even. I have none of my own kind to socialize with.” There was, of course, the two Changelings she knew of somewhere and plotting their own mischief. “I have only the crew of this ship, my friends, my family here. In time, I am sure you will view them similarly.”
Ivy had listened to Blue-eyes' explanation and then thought for a moment quietly with down cast eyes and prim lips. She then looked up to her friend smiling and replied, "I think I understand now. You are offering friendship . . even to the point of looking like me, for a time. That is a very generous gesture. Thank you." She paused for a moment and added, "I too hope that the crew here on the Tornado become like a family to me . . as you have already."
Ivy's smile widened as joy filled her. It was a glorious feeling knowing that others about her wanted to become part of her life, provide her needs, but even more importantly provide new experiences and friendships.
“Well,” Caradan started, “You can’t make friends and family being cooped up in your quarters or in the Science Lab all the time. How would you like it if I were to see about a field promotion for you to Cadet? Possibly get you some time on the Bridge? You could even divide your time among several departments if you like. Try your hand at Security, get dirty down in Engineering, maybe some Operations. What do you think?”
As Blue-Eyes explained further, Ivy's facial expression changed. Initially the mouth dropped open in shock and amazement, but then every thing seems to 'sag'. A great deal of clicking noises exploded from her. The translator began to squeal a bit as Ivy began to bounce up and down, in place.
Caradan didn’t know what to do. She thought Ivy was excited at first, but then she seemed distressed at the same time.
Ivy placed her hands over her face and physically turned away. It just took a few seconds before she turned back to face her friend.
“Ivy…,” Caradan paused. “I am sorry. Did this come as a surprise or is this not what you wanted?” She also wondered if she said something or made a noise that would have translated into a stinging insult in her language.
Ivy then stood before her friend with a big smile on her face. She began making the usual clicks and snaps, which the translator replied, "I am soo sorry. I got soo excited . . I guess I lost control of everything." The translator was able to pass along the Ivy's excitement in the reply.
Caradan stood likewise, finally realizing the excited and happy state Ivy was in. Smiling, “Well I am glad you are happy. Sorry, there is still much to learn about your species, I didn’t know what to make of your response. Once this mission is done. I will speak with the captain.”
Still very excited, Ivy reached forward gently, extending her hands toward her friend and stated, "Yes. Thank you so much. I would very much like the opportunity to learn and help out about the ship. If the additional opportunity is available to be considered a Cadet, then . . I would . . " She stopped, not knowing what else to say. Then after a moment adding, "I would very much desire to achieve that goal."