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A Chance Meeting

Posted on Tue Apr 23rd, 2019 @ 10:03pm by Lieutenant Commander Magnus Grey & Lieutenant JG T'Pruk
Edited on on Thu Apr 25th, 2019 @ 6:01am

Mission: Mission 6.5 - Obtaining New Crew
Location: Magnus Grey’s Office
Timeline: 2296/02/15 - 1455

She had been contained within hers and Pendragon's quarters for much too long. Her desire for a change in scenery was becoming more prevalent. Maybe meditation was more difficult because Pendragon's belongings made her consider what Pendragon might think. While that was illogical, pon farr was nearing and it was difficult to trust what might be rational and what might not be at certain junctures. Lost in her thoughts, she walked until just a millisecond before colliding into the Executive Officer.

Managing to avoid the collision she professionally told him, "Excuse me, Commander. I did not intend to nearly collide with you."

Magnus had been walking back to his office via the turbolift, having gone to the mess hall for a coffee. The Vulcan Lieutenant’s inattention almost made him spill on himself. For a quick second he was somewhere between angry and annoyed, but it passed fairly quickly. “No harm done, Lieutenant....” He dragged the last syllable, prompting her to give her name. He knew she was in science but that was all.

The Vulcan raised an eyebrow, understanding the cue. "Commander, if you wish to hear my name, perhaps rather than allowing someone to misinterpret your meaning by drawing out a sentence needlessly, you could ask for it. Would it not be so much easier to say, 'Lieutenant, what is your name?'" She gave a small sigh, realizing that like most humans, that this discussion regarding the logical way to handle things would be lost on him. "The name is T'Pruk, Commander."

Magnus was taken aback by the reaction, but also found it amusing. “Nice you meet you, Ms. T’Pruk. I’m Magnus Grey, the new First Officer. And I would have assumed that you, having clearly lived among humans for so long, would have learned by now that the drawn out sentence is a legitimate social cue. You understood it well enough to explain how I should have been more logical, meaning you could have simply responded to the cue, but chose not to. I wonder why that is.”

"T'Pruk, just T'Pruk. There is no need for Ms. While I have lived amongst humans for some time, I have also lived amongst, Andorians, Vulcans, Caitians, and other species permitted in Starfleet. It would be illogical to assume that just because I made an accurate deduction that all humans are identical. Matters would be much simpler if you simply asked for the information that you desired."

“You’re not wrong,” said Magnus. “But out of curiosity, and given that you admit you understood what I meant, can you tell me what other possible interpretations might have been? All I can think of otherwise is a nervous tic. I’m supposed to be an expert in communication, and I’d love to know if I’ve been doing it wrong this whole time.”

"There are several possible explanations for the lengthy pause. One could be the one which I deduced was correct. Another could be that your mind went astray. A third possibility was that you meant to end the sentence completely but wanted to start another sentence but were lacking a new thought to open conversation. There are several more, but I do not believe that you wish for me to continue on this conversation as a computer. I find that most humans like more concise answers with the most likely outcomes."

“You’ll find I’m not most humans,” replied Magnus. “Most Earthborns probably think as you said, but that’s their problem. You offered some reasonable options, and I’m not above exploring them. I believe I’ve tamped down the urge to make noise to fill gaps when thinking of the next phrase, and I hope most Starfleet officers have more discipline than to let their mind wander mid-word. I would like to continue this conversation, but my coffee is getting cold and we’re blocking the hall. My office is this deck. Would you kindly talk with me further? It’s not an order, just a request.”

Not having any reason to be anywhere in particular and being somewhat impressed by the Commander's willingness to consider his human flaws, she acceded to his request. "I accept your invitation," she told him formally and started following the Commander to his office.

It didn’t take long for them to reach their destination. “Please make yourself comfortable,” said Magnus as he walked around his desk. He didn’t have a sitting area; there wasn’t space for it. He did have a small cupboard that was turned into a refrigeration unit. “Can I offer you some water? I keep some in the office.”

"You could offer me water but I have no desire for it, regardless of whether you offered or not." Her eyebrow raised. There almost seemed to be a sense of amusement in the manner in which she raised it. She then sat stiffly in a chair, as directed by the Commander.

Magnus laughed at her phrasing. “Another imprecise expression on my part. Had I said ‘would you like some water?’, your answer might have been simpler. But then again, if I had asked that, I wouldn’t have heard that gem of a response.”

T'Pruk gave a small nod, acknowledging her appreciation from the imprecise human commander.

"How long have you been a science officer aboard the America, T'Pruk?" he asked, taking a sip from his coffee immediately after, the now-slightly-cooler drink offering less satisfaction.

"Since Captain O'Connor took over," she said simply, recognizing that Magnus probably did not want an exact time frame and up to the millisecond count for her time on the ship.

Magnus nodded. “I see. And what scientific field or fields are you in? I know science officers on starships often dabble in everything, but most have some specialty.”

T'Pruk nodded. "I have specialties in warp theories, temporal mechanics, and astro physics. I also excelled in the soft science of philosophy."

"Philosophy?" Magnus asked. "How interesting. As a xenolinguist that dabbles in xenoanthropology, I've found wonderful similarities in thinking among very different cultures, as well as stark differences where you might not expect them."

"Can you be more specific?" the Vulcan asked, her right eyebrow rising to express interest.

"Well, a straightforward one is between the Rigellians and the Romulans," Magnus began. "Both splintered from Vulcan at roughly the same time and for similar reasons, but the two societies are almost as different from each other as they are from Vulcan. One channeled their emotions into aggression, the other channeled it into passion, arts, love. It's quite beautiful. By contrast, Nautolan IV has a population of sentient squid that independently developed the same ideas as Pallar zh'Thein of Andoria. When you translate them, it's really hard to tell them apart."

"I fail to see stark differences where you might not expect them," the female Vulcan retorted. "I would expect great differences between Romulans and Vulcans given their different philosophies and millenia of living in different environments. It is only logical that the cultures would develop with distinct differences. With regard to the squid, there are only so many ideas that can exist in a universe. Why would it be surprising that there would be similarities?"

“I disagree,” Magnus replied. “Ideas can have slight differences and are influenced by their development. Similarities can be expected, but not to the degree that we sometimes see. And I wasn’t talking about Vulcans and Romulans; I was talking about Rigellians and Romulans. They left Vulcan for similar reasons, but diverged to an unexpected degree.”

"I do not think that it was unexpected," T'Pruk told Magnus. "Rigellians have a completely different biology, being what you might call a giant turtle. Romulans have the same biology as Vulcans but they chose not to forsake their emotions which caused death and destruction on Vulcan and we have recently seen, continue to cause death and destruction wherever they go. It is wasteful."

“I was referring to the Vulcanoid Rigellians, who are sometimes called V’Gelnians, who live on Rigel V,” Magnus clarified. “Not the turtle-like Rigellians, who are sometimes called Chelons, from Rigel III. I assumed you’d realize that through context, but maybe that comes back to our original discussion on clarity.”

"Indeed. There is a Terran saying that I have learned, which you might be familiar with: To assume is to make an ass out of you and me. I believe that ass is not intended to mean a donkey in this instance but an individual who is undesirable."

Magnus couldn’t help but laugh. “Too right. It’s also a word referring to one’s hindquarters. Often, but not always, its unattractive characteristics.” He sipped his coffee again. “T’Pruk I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my discussion with you this afternoon. Would you object to doing it again sometime?”

"I would not." T'Prir was about to rise and leave when she had a question. "Can you explain to me the point of this Terran holiday called Valentine's Day that was observed yesterday? There was a plethora of red and pink heart shapes, which, is not an accurate depiction of any heart that I have ever seen."

“Oh, was that yesterday?” Magnus asked, not realizing that he had asked Shri out on Valentine’s Day. “I don’t fully understand it myself. It’s meant to celebrate romantic love, but romantic love should be celebrated every day. I would ask if you agree, but truth be told I don’t understand much about Vulcan relationships. Whether what we think of as romance is valued.”

T'Prir visibly shifted in her chair uncomfortably at the mention of Vulcan relationships. "I would tend to agree with you Commander. I do not claim to understand love but were I to experience it, I would think, based on my readings, that it should be done every day, opposed to one day. So, why does this holiday exist?"

Magnus smiled widely and could only shrug. “Earthborn humans are strange. I can barely understand their motivations sometimes. But I agree with you entirely. I have experienced it a couple of times and it is worth celebrating every day.” He took another sip of coffee. “I may just look into the origin of Valentine’s Day though. A topic to follow up on next time?” he suggested.

"As you wish, Commander." She inclined her head slightly to him and then rose. "Live long and prosper," she told Magnus.

He rose from his seat as well. “Peace and long life, Lieutenant.” He sat back down and turned to his computer to resume prelaunch paperwork.


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