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Getting to know your Allies

Posted on Tue Apr 13th, 2021 @ 6:50pm by Lieutenant Mila Lynn & Ellie Greaves & Freya Mannerheim & Colonel Sehan t'Varis & Subcommander Kaiae t'Lien & Lieutenant Xia Idris & Lieutenant Hatham tr'Krotash & Lieutenant T'Ango & Sublieutenant Renee Hernandez

Mission: Chapter IV: Unravelling the Mystery
Location: Mess Hall, Ourainavassa
Timeline: 238702.16

"Thank you, Lieutenant, that was rather fascinating," Captain Mannerheim said as she and Mila walked towards the mess hall. When the tour had reached the science lab, the captain had decided to stick around and chat to the young scientist, while Arnason continued to view the rest of the ship with the two Rogerses. Within moments of getting her hands on the Hobus data, Mila had come up with a plan to eliminate the station and the threat of Omega with it.

Mila shrugged. "They don't call me a genius for nothing, Captain. I was genetically engineered for improved analytical thinking, and, frankly, I am surprised none of your crew have come up with the idea. We just need to find a way onto the station, overload the four singularities, and the resulting black hole should take care of the rest."

"Well, yes, you are making it sound easy," Freya responded with a laugh. "What the--?" She looked down at her leg, where a little furry creature was trying to get her attention. Smiling, she knelt down. "And who might you be?"

"That's Eavy. She wouldn't leave me in peace until I took her with me," Raven said with a chuckle as she approached the other two. She had changed back into her usual white leather jacket, and left her sabre in her quarters. "I reckon she realised I was going to the mess hall, and thought she might as well tag along and grab any food she can."

Freya ruffled the hair on Eavy's head. "As clever as she is adorable, eh? You have a very impressive ship here, Colonel. And your science officer and I had a very interesting conversation just now. We might have the beginning of a plan on how to take out Hobus."

Raven nodded. "Wouldn't have expected any less from Lieutenant Lynn. Her mind is remarkable." She led the other two the rest of the way to the mess hall, as Mila explained what her and the captain had discussed. "Very intriguing, Mila," the colonel finally said. "Keep working on it, I think it's a good idea. We just need to figure out how to pull it off."

The doors to the mess hall slid open, revealing it to be full of people. "Welcome to the mess hall," Raven said with a smirk. "Make yourself at home, Captain."

Renee greeted the Terran captain; she'd been briefed on her arrival earlier. "Welcome to our humble mess hall, Captain Mannerheim. I'm Renee Hernandez, the chef. I hope that our fare meets your expectations." She then smiled, "If not, I should point out that your Commander Rogers helped make the stew."

When the party divided, Hatham had trusted their Rogers to keep the other one and the not-so-harmless-looking version of Arnason in check, and hung back just outside the science lab so as not to give too obvious an impression of guarding Mila, or of guarding Raven once she met them. More because he suspected the colonel would be annoyed by it, despite the fact that realistically it would be a good idea even if she wasn't barely recovered from severe injuries. So when they headed for the mess hall, he had followed at a discrete distance, arriving then shortly after they had. His eyes swept the room almost on pure habit before he moved around to the side, casually heading for the food. It was, after all, what anyone would expect a man his size to do here.

Renee walked up to Hatham. "If you could be any more tense, you might actually cause your own supernova."

Freya turned to Renee. "You will have to excuse him. He is, after all, Romulan, and there are people on this ship that he has no reason to trust." She held out her hand. "Captain Freya Mannerheim. I think I am not exaggerating in taking credit for the lieutenant's tenseness."

She smiled at the captain politely and shook Mannerheim's hand. "I don't blame him." Renee shared his sentiments, but she also knew better than to voice it out loud, diplomacy and all. "There's a lot at stake here, even without what you've all brought us into. I'm just glad we have the time to at least get a good meal in everyone before everything goes to hell again."

Hatham simply inclined his head to a precise degree to the captain. "A good meal is always appreciated," he said, tipping his head next to Renee, grateful she had stepped in to take her hand. However much Mannerheim might claim of Romulans, she clearly did not know that they disliked the Human custom of shaking hands. Either that she did and was playing some game, testing him. "And it would be a poor security chief -- of any species -- who was not tense with strangers suddenly appearing with the story you tell and what it may draw us into."

"A healthy sense of paranoia is always warranted, isn't it, Captain?" Renee chimed in. Between Terrans and Romulans and Tal'Shiar and Section 31 there was simply nothing simple or ordinary in this mess hall, ever.

Kaiae sat quietly at the table nearby with a bowl of stew; willing herself to fade into the background of sorts, simply listening to those around her. Something about Mannerheim simply gave her an odd feeling of warning; rubbed her the wrong way. She had no idea what the woman's true mission was; and in the end she could in fact only be confident that one of those around her shared her mission first and foremost.

Freya nodded. "Very apt observation. One can never be too sure about who can be trusted." She looked around the room and noticed the Romulan in the corner, trying to be as invisible as possible. She nudged the colonel. "Who's that back there?"

Raven looked over. "Subcommander Kaiae t'Lien, the senior Romulan officer on board."

"Thank you." With a nod, Mannerheim walked over to Kaiae and sat at her table. Time for the direct approach. "Subcommander Kaiae, yes? Captain Mannerheim. I have a question for you, Subcommander. How do I prove to the Romulan members of your crew that I can be trusted?"

Mila observed the captain approaching Kaiae and shook her head. "Bold move," she commented, to nobody in particular. "But then, I guess in her universe you don't get to be captain without pulling a few of those."

"Curious to see how that works out for her," Hatham chuckled quietly. He felt a little bad for Kaiae having to find a way to walk the line, be polite and honest, but the answer was 'spend several years being trustworthy and maybe we will consider it'.

"This will be a master lesson in diplomacy and tact," Renee said, coming back with a bowl of popcorn, which she offered to Hatham and Mila. "This will be worth taking notes on," she said, putting a couple of pieces in her mouth.

"Ooo, popcorn," T'Ango said, wandering in and immediately gravitating toward Renee. "What are we watching?" she whispered.

Renee nodded towards Kaiae and Mannerheim. "Kaiae and the Terran captain are going to non-fight fight. I actually had the popcorn ready for earlier for the special delivery I dropped off in the medbay, but I had no one to share it with. So here we are."

Kaiae set the spoon for her stew down and gave Mannerheim her full attention, or at least as much of it as she ever focused on a single person in a crowded room. "One proves one can be trusted by having behaved in a trustworthy manner for an extended length of time, generally." She tilted her head to the side slightly, considering. "Under certain circumstances, a degree of trust might be issued more quickly to those who a trusted party has vouched for; but that does not seem to be feasible in this case."

Renee looked over at T'Ango. "I can read lips, but can you hear what they're saying?"

"Thanks, but no need." T'Ango rotated an upright felinoid ear. She nearly snickered as she put the pieces together on what was probably happening. "I take it the mirror captain wanted an inside track on trust?"

"Mmmhmmm," Renee said, chewing on more popcorn. "She has to convince Kaiae of her intentions before any Romulan on board would even give that Terran crew the time of day."

"I'd wish her luck," Hatham said around a mouthful of popcorn. "But even if by some miracle she charms Kaiae, I'm still at most pointing to a chrono for any of them asking time of day."

"Indeed, I've already had their Ash try to charm me," Renee pointed out. "They're really going all out to try to endear themselves to us, which makes me inclined to not trust them at all."

Xia walked into the mess hall. She was less than dressed for guests, however, in a pair of comfortable sweatpants, bare feet, and tank top over an athletic bra. The tank top had two pairs of icosahedrons with the number twenty on them over her breasts, and the words, YES, THEY’RE NATURAL underneath. Despite the dressing down, Xia still managed to look amazing, though her hair was only quickly brushed, and her eyes were a bit dark. She’d been working late the last few days on Raven’s plans for her to do the impossible and remote hack a Tal Shiar research station and database.

“Don’t suppose you have any more of that tea, Hernandez,” Xia said, giving Renee a quick kiss as she passed. “And I wouldn’t say no to a bite to eat. I missed breakfast and lunch.”

Then Xia stopped, looking around at the extra people in the mess hall. “Oh. We have company.”

T'Ango didn't say anything but her fur ruffled at the woman so casually familiar with Roger's mate ...ex-mate, whatever... She side-eyed the outfit. Even for someone clueless about the event it was not to sort of thing anyone wore in a ship's public space. Renee must be really mad at Rogers to choose this person for an affair.

Renee blushed at the kiss, even if T'Ango didn't voice it, she could feel her friend's judgement. But... she couldn't help but think, yes they are natural, "Yes, there's tea behind the counter..." she said, trying to keep her voice down.

Mila looked at Xia and held her finger to her mouth. "Shush. Just enjoy the show."

Raven shook her head. "Rude. No respect for privacy." However, she did not move an inch, instead taking a sip from the bottle of beer she had gotten herself and taking a handful of Renee's popcorn.

Freya saw the others watching in her peripheral vision, and inwardly chuckled. "It would seem your colleagues are quite interested in our conversation," she said to Kaiae, slightly louder to make sure the audience would hear as well. "That was a very diplomatic answer," she continued, switching to speaking Rihannsu - with a noticeable accent, but fluently. Lip read that, she thought inwardly with a laugh. "I need to assure your people on this crew that our goals are aligned. We are allies. Our motivations may be different, but our goals are the same. We want to save lives, Romulan lives, and everyone else's. Finding and freeing the abducted refugees will throw a big spanner into the enemy operation at Hobus, And maybe even create the window of opportunity we need to stop it. I need to know that I can trust your crew not to compromise this. We need to work together, not against each other."

Raven laughed. "Clever, switching languages. But does she really think that on a ship with this many Romulans, we don't speak Rihannsu?"

Mila shook her head. "I speak it, I read it, but I can't lip read it. Someone will need to translate for me." She hit her palm against her head. "Duh, or I turn up my hearing. Silly Mila." She ran her finger along the implant's control panel behind her ear, increasing its sensitivity. "There we are, I can hear them as if they were right next to us. Just don't talk too loud, please, folks."

"No need." T'Ango pointed to her ears, still oriented toward the conversation. "I know Rihannsu. She's making the standard 'we need to work together. I need to be able to trust you too' argument. Good thing Kaiae has Galae training, otherwise she might just laugh."

Renee resisted the urge to roll her eyes, it's conspicuous enough that there was the ship's commanding officer, a large Romulan security officer, a Dosadi Raider, and the ship's science officer standing around the chef passing around a bowl of popcorn whispering to each other. And Xia.... she shook her head. If this wasn't a show of force for the crew of Ourainavassa she didn't know what was.

"I know what you are thinking," Mila said to Renee, in a hushed voice. "We are definitely making an impression right now. Not sure if it's a good one, though."

"Yeah, the Captain is not one to be messed with. But you are showing her that neither are you. So, I'd say, keep it up. Also, can I get a beer, too?" Raven turned her head as she heard a very familiar voice from behind them. Ellie, now in her full uniform as the Amelia's chief science officer, had walked into the mess hall.

The colonel glared at her. "Get. Off. My. Ship."

Ellie raised her hands. "Nice way to greet an allied officer, and an old friend. Captain Mannerheim asked me over, since I know you, Sey. I'm here purely on business."

Raven fought the urge to punch her in the face as she stood. "Good thing I haven't got my sabre with me, Lieutenant. Good thing for you, that is."

Greaves shook her head. "Look, I'm sorry. I know we need to talk, I know I betrayed your trust. And I am sorry for that. I really am."

"And you really think that is going to make me any less angry? You have a lot of explaining to do. And if your explanation is really, really good, maybe I won't shove you out of an airlock. But not now. We'll have that conversation in private, later."

Interesting as the scene with Kaiae and Terran Captain was, Hatham turned, taking a position just behind Raven's shoulder when Greaves appeared. Raven was handling it, but he scowled, aiming a glare to bore holes in the woman to make it clear she was unwelcome by more than just the Colonel.

Renee also turned to see the interaction between Raven and the newcomer. While she was relatively certain that Kaiae and Mannerheim wouldn't result in physical blows, she was less certain about these two. "I'm starting to hate that other universe," Renee muttered.

Raven shook her head. "This one here is no more Terran than you and me. Born and raised on Earth. No, the fact that she is a traitorous bitch is all her. From this universe."

Ellie took a deep breath and stood right in front of Raven. "If you want to punch me, just do it."

"What, and provoke an incident with our new allies on the first day of our working together?" The colonel gave a hollow laugh. "You really do not know me, Lieutenant Greaves. Hell, for all I know, you could actually be Terran. You're definitely not as good a fuck as you used to be."

Without any warning, Greaves slapped Raven across the face. The colonel responded by punching her in the gut, and, as she keeled over, throwing her down to the floor. "Damn, that felt good," Raven gloated, before holding out a hand to help Ellie up.

"I guess we're even now," Ellie replied, her grimacing in pain as she took the offered hand and pulled herself back to her feet. "Can we work together now, not against each other? Please?"

Raven smiled and pulled Ellie in for a hug. "Only if, from now on, you are always, always honest to me. Next time you betray me, that won't be my fist."

Hatham's brows raised, but he limited his reaction to that. It was interesting to see that human lovers fighting followed a pattern not dissimilar to Romulans - with the glaring exception that no Romulan would ever let any of that play out in public.

Renee's eyes widened as she put the bowl of popcorn down as she glared at Raven and Ellie. She walked over to the two of them and quietly threatened then, "I don't care if this is your ship and I don't care if you are going to live happily ever after when this is said and done... but if you ever start a fight in my Mess Hall, in front of guests... I will ensure both of you suffer long and painfully before I kick you out. Understood?"

Tracking the different conversations or situations around them was...Well. A lot more chaotic than Kaiae was used to; if she hadn't had eyes she would have pegged the mix more to Quark's than to a warbird. "You may be assured that you can trust my personnel not to compromise freeing the refugees or saving Romulan lives." She stated confidently to Mannerheim. Though if we are presented with reasonable proof your aim to preserve a favored timeline will instead massively cost them; you may be assured we will still not compromise those goals..., thought Kaiae. In contrast to Mannerheim, Kaiae's native tongue flowed easily from her lips; the only 'accent' she possessed the more subtle variety that would have let another native speaker perhaps guess the general area she had grown up in.

Like most felinoids, and especially ones trained in situational awareness, T'Ango could pay attention to two things going on at once. The Colonel and this other woman were a new data point as far as why she and Gunnar had been contacted, and so worth knowing. The ear trained on Kaiae though picked up the response, and for someone who had worked with Romulans and whose t'mewt was a bit of a xenology buff, the unspoken part was almost as clear as if it had been voiced. She popped a handful of popcorn into her mouth, wishing Gunnar would get off duty. He didn't like conflict, but he was missing quite a show.

Mannerheim nodded at the Subcommander. She had learned during her time with Section 31 that this was as much as she was going to get, and even then, the Romulan was being generous. "Thank you, Subcommander," she said, and got up. "I will leave you to your meal, and deal with my Chief Science Officer over there."

Raven looked at Renee and shook her head. "My ship. My mess hall. My Ex attacking me. So I responded. It won't happen again, or will it, Ellie?"

Ellie winced when the colonel referred to her as her "ex", and shook her head. "No. It won't."

"I would hope so, Lieutenant, I don't want to have to discipline you. And you know what that means on a Terran ship," Freya said as she arrived. "I apologise for the conduct of my Chief Science Officer. It would appear that her time among Terrans has rubbed off on her behaviour."

Renee sighed inwardly, glad the situation de-escalated, "I see tensions are high... but let's leave all of that outside. This is the Mess Hall, neutral territory. We are here to eat, drink, and be merry. Even if you have to pretend to be merry. Understood?" She didn't bother to listen to anyone's response. Renee knew she was borderline on being insubordinate, but she was over it. The last thing she needed was for both of her pains in the asses to show up and throw more fuel to this fire. "Good. Now please continue to enjoy the food."

Keen to see the situation defused, Freya nodded. "Excellent idea. With one little hitch. I haven't got any food yet. And I am starving. So, what's the chef's recommendation tonight? Other than peace and quiet?"

Renee nodded politely, "The stew is tonight's recommended dish. My recipe, but your Commander Rogers helped make it, so you can be assured it wasn't poisoned. Or as assured as you would be with any subordinate." She smiled as she joked with the Terran.

Right. Cross the stew of the menu options Hatham thought, eyes shifting toward the kitchen. "What else do we have tonight?"

Kaiae's spoon stopped a third of the way to her mouth when this information was divulged. After a brief moment, though, it continued it's way to her mouth for another bite: She had already eaten upwards of 80 percent of the bowl before this new revelation; if it was poisoned, the odds were high at this point she was well past a fatal dose and hesitation here would not save her, but would make her look as if she lacked both courage and grace in the face of such.

"And I do have fresh fish from Cera. Apparently seafood is a delicacy on the planet, and for that you can thank our Ashley Rogers for bringing some back from her trip visiting the Miles family home with the twins. I prepared that myself, Hatham," Renee said, knowing exactly why the Romulan was uncomfortable with the stew.

He smiled broadly. "Marvelous. I haven't had fresh seafood in ages."

"Fresh fish?" T'Ango smacked her lips. "I'd jump at that even if it wasn't prepared by one of the best cooks I've ever met."

"Flattery will get you extra portions... and maybe even seconds," Renee said smiling at the big Romulan and the big cat. "I knew T'Ango would appreciate fish, but good to know that you like it too, Hatham."

Mila chuckled. "You mean Lynn, Renee. Miles is my idiot brother. He's taken his girlfriend to the planet."

Freya smiled. "Yeah, you obviously don't know how Terrans get their promotions, else you wouldn't joke about the stew not being poisoned. Fish sounds good to me."

The Science Officer nodded. "If it's one of my dad's Nygardian recipes, you are in for one hell of a treat."

The Captain looked at Mila with wide eyes. "Did you say Nygard? How would he get a recipe from my homeworld?"

Mila cocked her head. "Because it's his homeworld?", she replied in Norse. "Such a small galaxy, finding someone with the same roots."

She turned to Renee. "Fish for me as well. And I think Ash brought back some ice mead, too?"

Freya's mouth fell open. "Ice mead? Nygardian fish recipes? Lieutenant, I think we are going to be friends."

"Well, if you want to be my friend, stop calling me Lieutenant. Mila." She held out her hand.

Mannerheim grasped her wrist in a warrior's greeting. "Freya. Now, let's sample some of that fine cooking I have heard so much about."

Renee was pleasantly surprised that there was so much interest in the fish, she will make the Terran Ash eat the stew. She then quietly told T'Ango and Hatham, "Don't worry, I'll make sure you two still get seconds..."

"If you weren't human and uninterested in men, I'd propose," Hatham replied with a joking smile.

T'Ango laughed. "I can't use that one for flattery, but I do love you," she said swishing her tail and giving Big Adoring Kitteh Eyes. "Though, I should ask you to save a serving for Arnason. Given the Norse being tossed around, I'm guessing the recipe will taste like home to him."

"I'll be sure to save some for him. Maybe you two can convince Ash to make another run to Cera to pick up more fish," Renee said. "I think she'd be far more likely to listen to you two than she would say more than a few awkward words to me."

Mannerheim turned her head. "Wait, you have another Arnason on this ship? Oh, great. As if having two of Rogers wasn't chaotic enough."

T'Ango's ears shot straight up. Another Arnason? A mirror Arnason... that didn't seem possible... unless maybe, just maybe, these people really were exiles of some sort from the mirrorverse...

Renee nodded at Mannerheim, "Now that's an understatement... no one needs more than one Ash Rogers in their life. And sometimes even one is too many."

Freya tilted her head. "Do I sense history between you and the Major there? Come to think of it, the Commander once mentioned an ex back on Terra where things went sideways. Parallel universes, parallel people, I guess."

"I'd rather not talk about the Major, Captain," Renee said politely, hoping that she would just drop the line of conversation.

Freya nodded. "I understand. Apologies if I caused offense."

Now that introduced a twist. "Is there a version of me in your universe?" T'Ango asked. She kind of hoped not. She was pretty sure that version of her would be a hardened ruthless killer. And her Arnason was too honorable and good to have a version that would love someone like that.

Thank you T'Ango, Renee thought to herself. "I can't imagine that version of you..." she said. "There's more than enough chaos without another T'Ango," she laughed.

"Well, I haven't met your mirror counterpart, but that doesn't mean she doesn't exist. From what I know, everyone exists in all parallel timelines. That's why they are called parallel. Of course, lives may play out very differently. My counterpart from this universe was killed when her ship was destroyed in an ion storm - the same storm hit my ship, too, and I was thrown over here and took her place. And then you have stories like that of Philippa Georgiou, or that of Gabriel Lorca. Oh, wait, Lorca's story is highly classified in this universe, isn't it." Mannerheim shrugged. "Eh, I'm not with the Section any more, or even under any Federation jurisdiction. Who cares."

"So in your universe your Arnason probably wouldn't have met the other me." T'Ango nodded slowly. That was more acceptable than the alternative, though now she kind of wondered if there was an Orion doctor on the Terran ship. It didn't seem likely though, and she decided to refrain form asking. No need to get the other Arnason in trouble by suggesting he might have a thing for non-humans. "Do most ...transmigrated... Terrans end up in the Section?"

Renee spoke up, "The Section is more apt to embrace Terrans and their unique perspectives and skill sets. I mean, you've seen both of the Ashes. Could you imagine them doing anything else?"

Freya nodded. "There are not many confirmed reports of Terrans crossing over and staying on this side. Most crossings are temporary, either accidental, like what happened with the Enterprise when the two Kirks swapped, or to achieve a goal, like the Terran Rebellion on Terok Nor did with Deep Space Nine, or Lorca did when he crossed over and then took Discovery back with him. But those that choose to stay, like Georgiou, or myself, yes, we do tend to end up in the Section, or similarly shady operations. Like you say, the universe we grew up in is very different from yours. It's a harsh, brutal place. And I don't actually know of anyone, ever, having crossed the other way permanently and surviving." She chuckled. "This universe, in many ways, is a lot easier to live in."

Renee couldn't help but think that the Ash of this universe wouldn't have a hard time at all with the Terrans.

"Perhaps among humans," Hatham remarked. "Your universe is little more than rumor in the Galae, but one persistent rumor is that certain divisions of the Tal'Shiar go there to train. Most likely Tal'Shiar who disappear are killed or on long term undercover missions, but it's said that some find your universe easier and slip away into it."

"Definitely adds an additional wrinkle to all of the subterfuge and introgue that fuels organizations like the Tal'Shiar and Section 31," Renee said. "Now you're adding time travel into it... this is either a fantastically complex ruse or you're really in a lot of trouble."

"You don't believe the time travel part of the story?" Freya chuckled, and, with a smooth movement of her hand, activated a holographic PADD integrated into her combadge. A few taps later, a file appeared, which she flipped around so Renee could read. It bore the seal of the Terran Imperial Starfleet, with "CLASSIFIED" emblazoned in large letters across the top. "Read it for yourself. My personnel file. The Terran Empire never stopped using the old calendar, so the dates should be easy enough to follow."

Freya Svanirsdottir Mannerheim.
Rank: Captain
Assignment: I.S.S.
Amelia NCC-1939-D
Date of Birth: March 28, 2370
Place of Birth: Jotunstead, Nygard, Alliance of Independent Worlds

2388-2392: Starfleet Academy, Terra
2392-2393: Junior communications officer, I.S.S. Cromwell (NCC-19631), Lieutenant (junior grade)

She closed her fist, and the projection disappeared. "You will find records like this for each of the members of my crew. I was born seventeen years ago, I enlist in Starfleet Academy next year. And yet I stand here before you, with the rank of Captain, thirty years old. You can verify those dates in the Starfleet database. Well, no, you can't, my counterpart won't enlist until next year either. This, former Section 31 operative Hernandez, should be proof enough. But if you still think I am faking it, look up an incident two and a half years ago. An independent trading vessel from Nygard was attacked by pirates. The fifteen-year old daughter of the owner and her younger sister were the only survivors. You will find the name of that fifteen-year old to be Freya Svanirsdottir. I didn't adopt the surname Mannerheim until five years from now."

Curious, T'Ango glanced up, and up a little more, at Hatham. Nope. He wasn't buying it. At least if she was any judge of reading Romulan stone face. She wasn't surprised - she wasn't intel but she worked infiltration enough to know all of that was easily created, adopted and/or adapted to produce a cover. The Korat could do it in days, and the Tal'Shiar probably in half that time so Section 31 had to be in that ball park. And this cover was even easier to mock up - it needed only someone with the same first name from the parallel world in this universe, who of course was too young to be involved but appeared in an easily searchable news item. Verrry convenient.

She was right - roughly the same thoughts were going through Hatham's head. He wasn't going to tip his hand on that by saying anything. Not directly. "Why change your surname?"

Renee's curiosity was piqued. Mannerheim referred to her as former 31 operative, not exactly a secret. She saw how Hatham and T'Ango reacted. They're far too good to be outwardly skeptical, but she can read body language. It shouldn't surprise the Terrans though. She just hoped another fight won't break out.

"Wondering how I know what she used to be?", Freya asked with a smirk. "I was Section myself, remember? Well, if you look at it in a straight time fashion, I guess I will be in seven years. Either way, we recognise each other." She shrugged. "As for the name thing, the culture I came from doesn't use surnames, only patronymics, and the fact that 'Svanirsdottir' was not my surname threw off many people I worked with, in both universes. So, to make life easier for everyone, I decided to take the surname of my most famous ancestor. In our universe, he was a Finnish field marshal who led the joint Finnish-German-Japanese attack on Novosibirsk that marked the defeat of the Soviet Union in the second Weltkrieg. In your universe, he was a field marshal as well, and then became a politician, if I remember my history right."

She drew her sword out of its sheath and held it flat in her hands. "This sword was given to him, along with a noble title and lots of other honours, by the Japanese Emperor in 1947, only weeks after the Battle of Vladivostok and the surrender of the communists. And yes, it's the real thing. This sword right here is over four hundred years old. It's absolutely priceless."

Renee raised an eyebrow at the sword, mentally noting how many of her kitchen knives were within reach if this interaction goes awry.

The sword was nice. For a Romulan, 400 years was basically less than two lifetimes, so not quite so impressive to Hatham. His father had been a weapons master and had had training swords older than that. The rest of the explanation... an eyebrow lifted slightly, the Romulan version of a 'cool story bro' look. Romulan also didn't use surnames - tr'Krotash literally meant 'son of clan Krotash' - and he knew Klingons used patronymics exclusively. In fact, if he recalled correctly, a number of humans did too. He looked at T'Ango. "Isn't your friend's name a patronymic? I thought Arnason was 'son of Arne', right?"

T'Ango nodded. "Yep. There are a few Klingons who still insist on saying ti that way in fact," she chuckled. She knew exactly where his suspicions had gone with that explanation - 'how conveeeenient' as an old earth comic's tag line went - but in the interest of keeping the peace of Renee's mess hall, she added, "but I can see where there might issues. I remember answering a comm from someone named Thorgilsson and we talked for 20 minutes before I realized it was his dad." She grinned, whiskers flicking out. "On the other hand, it comes in handy for intel gathering. I probably said ...a bit more... that I might have if I'd known he wasn't just an old friend from back home."

Renee laughed, "Hopefully it wasn't too much more, because I know T'Ango stories are always quite... interesting."

Freya chuckled and sheathed the katana again. "I used that a few times when I was with the Section. I'd love to hear some of those interesting stories, although the longer we keep the chef out of the kitchen, the longer we'll be hungry. So why don't we let her make some food and share stories over dinner?"


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