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  Lt. Commander N'Tazzia & Centurion S'Talon Ruwan, SD
 
DL - Evaluating Ruwan
 
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USS Excelsior NCC-2000-C

SD 201811.30

Lt Cmdr N'Tazzia

Centurion S'Talon Ruwan

DL - Evaluating Ruwan


Taz drummed her fingers on her desktop.   Ruwan, their Rihannsu “liaison” and former Tal Shiar operative was her next scheduled appointment.  Actually, she should have seen him a long time ago but her trip to Earth had delayed a proper evaluation.  She saw that Helen, bless her, had done her best to pick up some of the slack that Zach had not been able to, but for the most part Ruwan had not had a review by her staff.

She looked at her chrono.  He should be here any second.  She thought rising and shutting off her computer.  Taz still preferred to do her psych evals without a desk between herself and her client.  She sat in one of the two upholstered chairs, made sure the computer unlocked her door and waited.

Ruwan approached the office with about a minute to spare. He looked at his personal crono and waited outside for the desired appointment time and activated the chime. In was Romulan fleet tradition, he wore his Centurion's sash over his normal civilian clothes since this was a formal meeting.

“Come in.” Taz called out cheerily.

.    Upon open the door he saw the Teshuan in the dimly lit room. “Centurion S'Talon Ruwan, reporting as ordered.” He spoke formally. He stepped into the room and moved to the traditional spot three feet in front of the desk facing where the counselor should have been seated traditionally and promptly came to attention.

The Centurion felt uneasy with the counselor seated behind him to the left. He had not been able to ascertain if she had armed herself for this visit or not, and that was truly a concern for someone who had served in the Tal'Shiar. His last counselor had actually plotted to take his command and had used an office visit to get him alone to try to spearhead a mutiny by assassinating him. He had a guard outside in that case but today he was alone.

`Taz shifted in her seat.  She could sense a wave of strong emotions coming from the  Rihannsu man, not the least of which was a healthy dose of distrust toward her motives.

“Uh...maybe I need to increase the lighting in here…….”  She said chucking, noticing where Ruwan had positioned himself.  “I dislike seeing people, especially for the first time, staring over the top of that desk.  So, please, have a seat over here. I promise, I don't bite.”

Turning to the voice on his left heel, right toe he showed no sign of letting his guard down. He maintained a rigid body stature as he sat down with a palm on each leg maintaining the at attention posture by doing so. “Your bite is not my worry,, the concealed phaser might be.” he admitted.

There was a momentary silence as he waited to see her reaction as he was watching out of the corner of his eye/

Her large green eyes widened.  “A phaser?” She asked incredulously.  “I'll admit some counseling sessions can be intense, even unpleasant, but I've never found a weapon necessary.” Taz paused.  “You know, even though my future daughter-in-law is Rihannsu, I realize I know very little about how counseling sessions are held among your people.  I can't tell you how every Federation or Starfleet counselor works, but I try to foster an environment of mutual trust and openness. Unless you reveal an intent to harm yourself or others, whatever is discussed with me is strictly between us, no one else.  Would you like a beverage from the replicator? I'd be happy to get you one when I refresh my tea.” She stood and walked toward the replicator on the wall near the desk, then looked back and winked at him. “Feel free to check around for hidden weapons or recording devices.  I assure you there are none but I'd rather you see for yourself before we continue.”

The centurion pulled a small  scanning device from a concealed pocket within his sash. The incident mentioned above being the reason the unit was devised.  He held it out so the counselor could see it was not a weapon just a wand like scanner which he activated.

Taz nodded at Ruwan when he displayed the item.  She leaned against the replicator and sipped her tea, apparently not at all distressed by his possession of the device or his use of it.

“If you insist I have a beverage, I will replicate it. To many of the Tal Shiar “counselors” are actually operatives for specific powers within the organization. They tend to hold secrets that would make the Praetor blush -- but other officers need watch their tongues for all that is said is recorded and liable to be used against yourself in court or at promotion.” he explained  Looking at his scanner he was surprised that even the computer was set to the off setting though he suspected that command codes could be used to activate it at any moment by her superiors.

She moved away from the replicator and gestured for him to help himself.  “You'll find we actually have a decent selection of Rihannsu drinks and foods.”

He came back quickly with an “I know, I've been aboard for a while now.”

“And still so untrusting of us?  I had hoped that the Excelsior's crew had done more to put your mind at ease, but I I do understand how your background can color your perceptions. After all, our peoples still have a long way to go to become allies.”

“Not so…… Just hyper cautious because of the perceived bias of the Tal'Shair of which I was reluctantly part of. There have been officers as well as a larger number of the noncommissioned crewmembers who still perceive me as a threat - that much is clear. I cannot trust your security to protect someone who is perceived as evil.” he stated.

“To my own people I a lone wolf…… to the Tal'Shair I am Rogue and that make me dangerous - even expendable, if I am determined to be compromised.  To the Romulan Fleet I am someone to be Feared for I know some of their dirty little secrets including who is suspected of colluding with our enemies. Given I am here under the protection of your captain's  asylum - I am a man without a country. I have no protection against a deportation back to the Romulan worlds,,, only his honor to protect me.: he sighed.

“Do you blame me for being cautious?” he asked replacing the device.

“No, the only thing to blame is centuries of distrust and misperceptions, so no, I don't blame you in the least for being cautious and unsure of your situation.  I'm actually pleased that you felt comfortable enough to admit your unease and to be willing to take me up on my offer to check for weapons and bugs.”
    She strode over to her desk and opened a drawer.  The counselor put a small statue on her desk. “This is a device you may appreciate.  It's a jammer. When active it emits a signal on a frequency which serves to block surveillance in this office.  Occasionally my word and promise of confidentiality isn't good enough for a crew member, mainly when we are just getting to know each other.  Most people aren't keen on the idea of anyone knowing their feelings or thoughts -- especially if there is a reason to worry. I like to put that kind of worry to rest.  If you'd like to employ it, there is a simple touch pad on the bottom which will ensure your conversation with me is completely private.”

“At times, if trust alone permits me to do so,I may employ that device of yours as a discretionary tool. There

must be a way to make confidential contacts with you people in delicate situations that will not impugn my honor with in the fleet or pose a threat to my remaining sibling or their families back in the empire.” he intoned. His hand moved to the device on her desk..

Judging by his body-language, there was something more he needed to say.  Wordlessly, she picked up the little figurine and activated it, nodding to confirm the device was now working.

“I need to keep my few links to family and the few officers within the fleet that can keep them safe if the situation turns sour for them. The masses are being told I am being held against my will from what my recent contact through backdoor diplomatic channels have revealed.” he paused. “This means I am a marked man,,, if they send a rescue bird the chances are they will be on a Force my removal or Kill or be killed kind of orders.” his voice was grave. “Your timing for this meeting was exceptional…… I needed to get that info to your captain without compromising the fleet ship they are likely to send…… If a Tal”Shiar Bird is sent, it will be without the consent of the Praetor.”

“You live a complicated life Mr Ruwan, even in exile.” She allowed him to glimpse her genuine concern through her tone.  “I can bring my husband your message without raising any suspicion.”

He gestured with a wave across the table. “I have no love for the Tal'Shair or their tactics. I still have siblings in the Fleet and owe a couple of officers assistance when I am in a position to help them but again I swear on my oath as an officer in the service to the Praetor, this ship has my parole and word of honor to do no harm. You can re-confirm that with this message.”

        “I can assure you that the Captain understand and accepts your word.  Otherwise, you would not have been allowed to roam the ship unaccompanied.  Also, it may allay some of your fears to know that Captain Holden is not without his own contacts within the Galae. He may not want to involve them unless it were a matter of great importance, but I don't think he would be adverse to doing so if it came to that.  Then there are the Rihannsu we know living on Earth. If you need to disappear so to speak, I'm sure you would be well hidden in their enclave which is over 300 strong and growing.”

    “Three hundred and two to be exact.  The Tal'Shair are very well aware of those of the Rihannsu who have chosen to live on Earth.  The only reason I am not considered to be a traitor by the Galae is that I have not chosen or been forced to go to Earth.  If I set foot on Earth, I will lose all further contact with my people and with the remaining contacts I have within the fleet.”

    “Then they must know that the Federation has allowed those who live there to retain their affiliations and Rihannsu citizenship.  Something like an expanded version of a Rihannsu embassy on Earth. Without the formality or an ambassador. This conversation has been quite enlightening but I actually do have a question for you.”  She paused again.

    He waved his hand again to indicate they needed the device.”

    “Before I answer, and staying on the topic of the Exiles of Earth…… the official word from my fleet sources confirms what you have just told me but the Tal' Shiar has run a Smear Campaign against them since the incarnation of there community on Earth, even going against their families on other federation worlds as well. Most are considered Traitors to the State and if they are spotted in Romulan territory are marked for punitive actions not excluding execution if the hold rank or privilege.

Again he waved his hand to indicate a “all clear”.

“Such a shame that so much damage has been done to prevent an mutual understanding between the Federation and RIhannsu. Especially with all the work Aenaek has done over the past couple of years.  Then again, suppose that if such understanding were too easy to achieve, it could be perceived of as a sham. A hard won peace is more likely to be eventually used to build a new relationship. Now to my question.”  The counselor had sat again in the chair where he had found her. She didn't wait for his nod to go ahead this time.

    “What is your intention Mr Ruwan? Do you simply want to wait for the opportunity to catch up with the Breen who destroyed your colony and killed your family and then return to the life you once knew? Or have you come to realize yet that your old life is dead as well and that you will likely need to find a new place in which to stretch your skills.  Unless being a bartender suits your needs that is.”

    Ruwan winced at her remarks. This was a topic he had hoped to avoid. If he fully turned his back on the Galae, he would disown his family, his home, the Fleet and everything that had ever been important to him.  He seriously didn't mind turning away from his Tal Shiar past, the only reason he had been roped into their ranks was that he had seen something of political significance while he had served in the Galae, but they would likely come after him and that could risk war, or at least a military conflict, with the Federation.  Ruwan wasn't sure he could trust this woman after all, he had not expected her to shift from friendly and conversative, to blunt and straightforward so abruptly. Again, he was reminded of the tactics used by his former handlers in the Tal'Shiar.

    He swallowed hard.  His jaw dropped as he started to respond but his words were not forthcoming. Trying again, he managed.  “Working in the lounge for now is challenging. I would prefer to put my skills to proper service, but I doubt your fleet would provide me an adequate position. And just a word in your husband's ear, I wouldn't mind the opportunity to get off ship every now and then.  But for now, the duties of liaison therefore will be maintained until I win the trust of the crew.”

    Her eyes softened again, her voice too. “I'd say that's a good start.  And I hope to speak with you at more length soon, but I do have another appointment.” She scooped up the little statue and tossed it to him.  “Just in case you need privacy.”

    “I thought you needed it for your other clients? He said setting it down gently on the table. “Maybe I can requisition one through the proper channels.”

    “You just did.” She smiled.


END



   
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