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An Innocent Meal...

Posted on 08 Oct 2014 @ 9:54am by Commander C. Kos & Captain Harvey Geisler

Mission: Razmena
Location: USS Black Hawk || Captain's Quarters
Timeline: February 2, 2388 || 2000 hours

Harvey hadn't been in his quarters long. He hadn't expected his 'chat' with D'rimo to have taken so long, nor his walk afterwards that was supposed to clear his mind.

He wished he could cancel the dinner plans he hastily made earlier that day. Yet, he'd been so long without an XO... If the Black Hawk was to return to normal, this dinner needed to happen.

The captain had cleared the table (after a late call to the galley to prepare a meal) just as a member of the cooking staff arrived to set the table. The enlisted man assured his captain that the food would arrive in just a couple minutes, and then left. Harvey stood in the center of the room, with the table to his left and the viewports to his right, a perfect image of the two worlds at war in his mind.

Approaching Commander Geisler's quarters, Mackenzie looked down at her uniform. She had gone back and forth about whether or not to wear her uniform to dinner. She'd even gone so far as to try on three non-uniforms in an effort to select the best attire for the evening. It was rare for Kos to have such a hard time choosing clothes, but because she wasn't completely sure of the intent of her dinner with Harvey. They did have some business to discuss, the matter of the investigation, but she thought that she had felt something more with him. She wasn't sure if it was just her usual awkward attraction/flirtiness with senior officers, or if she was picking up on something from her CO. Perhaps it was a little bit of both. Or neither. In the end, she had opted for her duty uniform since they did have to talk shop.

Mac rounded a bend in the corridor and stopped at Geisler's door. Suppressing some last minute nerves, she touched the announcer.

Hearing the chime, Harvey turned and looked towards the door. "Come," he ordered. The doors parted, revealing his first officer. "Right on time. The chef will be here any moment with dinner."

"That works out well," Mackenzie responded, stepping into Geisler's quarters. She glanced around briefly and saw that, unsurprisingly, the quarters were no different than other command level quarters on a Akira-class. "What are we having?" she inquired, feeling very unsure of what to say. As someone who typically was a great talker, this was disconcerting. Mac attributed it in a large part to her relative unfamiliarity with her new CO.

"Soup and salad," Harvey replied. "After days like today, my stomach can't take much." He paused, realizing that he hadn't considered if that would be sufficient for his first officer. "I could have another course prepared if you wish."

"No no," Mac responded, knowing that she'd need to eat some real food later. "That sounds divine."

Looking around for some personal effects that might give her something to talk about. Nothing jumped out at her immediately, so she opted for professional talk. "So Harvey, how long have you been in command of the Black Hawk?"

"A little more than six weeks," Harvey replied. "It's been a while since Starfleet and I decided that Command would be a proper career path. I've circled the center chair for years, and I guess it was finally time to land."

The door chime sounded, and Harvey permitted entry to the chef. A minute later, two bowls of soup and a larger bowl of salad had been left on the dinner table. Gesturing to Mac to take a seat across from him, Harvey continued, "There are days when I miss the research labs..."

His voice trailed off as his mind was not exactly eager to reveal the real reason why he couldn't step into a lab. That conversation was better suited for another date... er... meeting.

Taking the hint from the way Harvey had failed to finish his previous sentence, Mac decided to move on. "This looks great," she said, not yet sure what kind of soup it was. She was not a big soup eater, preferring solid food over the more liquidy ones. She had always loved a good smoothie, though that was really more a drink thank a food. Food substitute perhaps.

"I never intended to go into Command," she said, hoping they would be able to have a decent conversation despite Geisler's apparently low energy level. "I'm a 'nuts and bolts' kinda gal."

Harvey cleared his throat and he looked back to his Executive Officer. That subject was definitely one for another day, if that day ever came.

"It turns out," Harvey led, placing some of the salad mix on a small plate and prepared to drizzle some vinaigrette over top, "that our guests are at the bottom of the totem pole by choice. Sold themselves into servitude to save someone they love."

"Not a fan of small talk?" Mac asked bluntly.

"Not really, no," he replied. "Even when the situation calls for it, I offer only what's needed in terms of small talk." Harvey paused for a minute to connect with Mac's eyes. Her expression was one he was very familiar with, though he hadn't seen it in years. Before his mind could warp Mac's face into Alison's, Harvey looked down to stab his fork into the salad. "Besides, I'd rather see this day to a conclusion as quickly as possible. As much as the crew's been desiring action, I think we ran into a little more than we wanted."

Mackenzie sighed. "Far be it from me to attempt social bonding with my Commanding Officer." Ignoring the food, she stared across the table at Geisler. "You were saying something about indentured servitude. Sir."

Somehow, Harvey felt like he'd blown it.

Blown what? This was supposed to be a business conversation. The sigh seemed to be a result of frustration... at him?

Picking up on the business conversation again, Harvey continued, "Simply put, the fringe is a nasty place. And it seems like it's our fault. Indirectly of course. When the war ended, the Dominion withdrew to their borders, dropping several of their projects out here, and leaving the colonists to starve."

Though she had little interest in the conversation at this point, given Geisler's absolute lack of sociability, Mac felt compelled to engage due to his position as her boss. "There are always unintended consequences to winning a war. I'd tell you about the international political climate after the First World War on Earth, but I don't want to veer away from business."

"Oh?" Harvey asked. "There is an axiom about history repeating itself if a culture does not learn from past mistakes. I'm sure I didn't get that right..." Harvey allowed a smirk to creep onto his face, hoping it would show some curiousity. "Maybe history has some insight for us tonight."

"Perhaps." Mac dipped her spoon into her bowl of soup. Her desire to put something in her stomach beat out her desire to protest the food to spite Geisler. She wasn't sure what kind of soup it was, except that it was not a creamy one. And she much preferred creamy soups over brothy ones. "At the conclusion of The Great War, as World War One was called then, the victorious Allied Powers forced Germany, the primary aggressor in the conflict, to sign the Treaty of Versailles. Among the 440 articles of that treaty were requirements that Germany pay economic reparations for the civilian damage caused by the war. Germany was reticent to pay these reparations due, in large part, to the heavy financial burden making these payments had. Their long-standing adversarial relations with France didn't help either. The treaty also limited the military capabilities of Germany, in an effort to prevent another conflict of such a massive scale."

Mac paused briefly to eat a spoonful of soup before continuing. "Four years after signing the Treaty of Versailles, France and Belgium occupied the Ruhr region of Germany in response to Germany's failure to pay reparations. This led to a series of payment method adjustments in an effort to ease the the process for Germany. However, in 1931, the German economy collapsed, at least in part due to the strain of making the reparations payments. Of course, the economic situation made it ever more difficult for Germany to make their payments.

"All of this serves as a background to a series of political changes that occurred in Germany, bringing Adolf Hitler and the National Socialist German Worker's Party to power in 1933. Hitler began as Chancellor of Germany, rapidly agglomerating power into a totalitarian regime. He accomplished this by citing the unfavorable, and to Germany, unfair, conditions from the Treaty of Versailles."

Another spoonful of soup. She decided this soup wasn't that bad, though she still wasn't sure what kind it was. "Of course, Nazi Germany and its overly aggressive actions were the cause of World War Two."

Harvey, having finished his salad, leaned back in his chair to digest Mac's words. "If I recall, the Allied powers were victorious over Germany as well in the Second World War."

The statement was rhetorical, though he hoped Mac would catch that. "This certainly is on a larger scale than what Earth once faced, and I hardly think one little starship can make that much of a difference."

Harvey's eyes shifted to lock onto Mac's. "It's probably fool hearty, but I think we have to try. These are innocent people caught in the cross fire, just like those cities in the Great War. If the Dominion won't help them, we certainly have to."

"Of course," Mackenzie replied. "And we should do what we can. But we need to be mindful of both our limitations and the perceptions of the people we're interacting with. One of the long standing barriers to successful diplomacy is a failure to understand your 'opponent'. Think about how long it took the Federation and the Klingons to have meaningful relations. We thought we understood them, but they continued to surprise us.

"The Romulans have only recently been somewhat demystified, and that was largely because Captain Sisko got them into the War. Without that, I suspect we'd still be an effective detente with the Star Empire." Mackenzie took a gulp of water before continuing. "With the exception of a few species with whom formal relations have been established, the Federation has had little to no interaction with most species we're now encountering. Some of those we meet are undoubtedly going to blame us for impacting their comfortable way of life. Say what you want about the Dominion, but if a member race of the Dominion played their role and didn't buck against the Founders, they were taken care of. It was in the Founders' best interest to keep their member worlds at least moderately well-off."

Mackenzie eyed Harvey. She was beginning to sound like her father once he got a full head of steam behind him at the lectern. "The power vacuum after the War ended has allowed so many minor powers to struggle for dominance. This has appeared to be to the detriment of most species. Piracy and border skirmishes are a relatively new phenomenon in the Gamma Quadrant. And we're here in the middle of it."

Harvey leaned back in his chair and folded his hands in his lap. History's lesson was vastly informative, but the question now was what to do with it. "Are you sure you're an engineer?" he asked. "You sound like this Vulcan history professor I had back in the Academy days."

Mackenzie chuckled. She was glad that Harvey was beginning to loosen up and have a personality. "Definitely an engineer. But that doesn't mean I'm ignorant of other fields. I've served in Astrometrics and Operations also. And I started as a helmsman out of the Academy." A quick gulp of water, and Kos continued. "I majored in Systems Engineering and double minored in Astrophysics and Interstellar Relations. The influence of my parents there."

"Engineering and Interstellar Relations?" Harvey repeated. "My major was in medicine, and I didn't think to take a minor. To this day, I'm still not sure how the Academy let me out the doors."

"Having a well-known diplomat as a father and a widely respected and cited astrophysicist as a mother can cause a slight narrowing of focus. It's not that either of my parents tried to push me into their respective fields, but I picked up a lot of knowledge tagging along on assignments. Charting a stellar cluster in the Rehelar sector with my mom. Accompanying my dad on a first contact mission with the Kre'al. You just learn things."

Mac's mind wandered briefly to some of the many adventures she'd shared with her parents, though typically only one at a time. "It was quite a childhood. By the time I applied to the Academy, I had developed an interest in engineering. I was glad that I could have a field of my own, and not have to compete with the legacy of my parents. However, with a moderate to high base level of knowledge in both astrophysics and IR, it made sense to formalize my education in them. Having a broad educational base can some in handy."

"I wasn't a naturally talented engineer. I had to work at it. I specialized in systems because it was the one branch of engineering that I seemed to 'get'. I didn't have plans of moving up the ranks much. I figured I'd stay a mid-level staff engineer for most of my career. I was fine with that. For me, knowing that I was good at what I did was enough reward for me." She chuckled. "We see how well that turned out. Here I am in a red uniform, Executive Officer. Never saw that coming. I can only attribute it to hard work and luck, rather than some innate skill for leadership."

"I can respect someone wanting to take a path different than their parents," Harvey said in reply. "Medicine runs strong in my family, but I didn't like the private sector. It wasn't until after the war though that I found my desire to continue had disappeared." He paused, glancing over at the desk where the photo of Alison lay. For a moment, he thought how Kos might react if she saw it. Harvey was puzzled by the thought, wondering what basis Kos would have for a negative reaction.

Fortunately, the picture was turned away from the dinner table. "Command for me was just something different. I was forced into it briefly during the war. Wrong place at the wrong time kind of thing. But it wasn't until my last assignment, the Schuster, when I found a reason to try and enjoy command."

"Well Harvey, from my extremely limited experience as your Exec, I think you make a good CO. We likely wouldn't have met otherwise," she said, smiling brightly.

Harvey gave a smile in return. "And I'm sure we'll get to know each other very well over the next few weeks. Then you'll know for sure how bad of a CO I really am."

He stood to his feet and extended a hand. "I'm certainly glad you're here, Mac."

"You ain't seen nothing yet Harvey," she replied with a wink and a smile, taking his hand.


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