Shore Leave: Welcome to Drozana
Location: Kaiae's Quarters, IRW Dominus
Timeline: Before The Dominus Crew Leaves Their Ship
Kaiae loosened the collar of her uniform and turned to the mirror on the wall of her small quarters aboard the Dominus; she had to admit she enjoyed the private space that was finally hers as the senior communications officer aboard. She reached up to undo the intricate updo that held her hair in an appropriate position for duty, and let it fall down her back, then grabbed the nearby cup of tea and the datapad with the book she had been reading - a collection of bread and pastry recipes she was hoping she could convince the cook into letting her try - when the door chimed.
Kaiae quickly swept her eyes around the room for anything that would need to be stowed, but found nothing, and simply casually moved on hand closer to where her blade was stashed beneath her jacket....just in case. "Enter" she called out.
Areinnye strode into the quarters with an appraising glance. The Commander usually avoided fraternizing with the crew, but exceptions were made for senior staff. They dined together nightly, so working relationships were implied. “Excuse my intrusion, Lieutenant. I need to speak with you, if you’re not preoccupied” said the Commander.
Kaiae stood straighter and taller automatically the moment the identity of her visitor became clear. “Certainly.” She glanced at the cup of tea she’d been sipping at. “Tea? Or something stronger?” There was a bottle of ale on the shelf with the books and datapads; two thirds full. As she spoke, Kaiae also pulled out a tiny device she flipped the switch on, running interference against any bugs that might have been planted or other electronic attempts to overhear any subsequent conversation. The device in question was neither affordable nor strictly legal, either; most communications officers and most senior officers and commanders overall possessed such things, born of fear of the Tal Shiar and the need to speak frankly with less fear of discovery; but desire the ubiquity of such items they remained a careful secret; one would only show such a hand around those they trusted with life, given the potential consequences.
Areinnye gave a wry smile at the officer’s shrewd cunning. She stepped further into the quarters. “Tea, please.” She answered before sitting. “I’m going to be frank, Kaiae. I’m troubled.” She paused, considering her words. “This Empire was built on savvy leadership. An Imperial family and senate directing us towards our destiny, supported by a strong military. All of this facilitated by a group of families, whose sense of duty and honor set them apart from the rest.” She paused, meeting the younger officer’s eyes. “The Reman coup did more than kill most of our leaders. It killed the few remaining people who could hold our empire together. Right now, every single person in the Senate is hoping to exploit the upcoming disaster for personal gain. Or at the very least, aren’t willing to commit to a meaningful solution due to fears of being compromised.” She finished.
Kaiae said nothing for a moment, as she gathered and presented the second cup of tea: The statement went beyond ‘frank’ into perilous towards the end of it; requiring a considered response. “I believe that troubles many. Though unfortunately not those whom it should.”
Areinnye took the proffered tea cup and sipped. It was delicious, Smokey and floral. “ Optimistic estimates say that one fourth of the population in the blast radius can be relocated in time. The real numbers are more bleak.”
“Because each day without action reduces them.” It was a statement as much as a question; from a member of a warbird’s crew apt to hear and know more than many others by virtue of position held. This conversation overall though had Kaiae off balance—trying to figure the end to which these statements were the means to; and her own responses until then.
The Commander nodded “Just so. My family has served the Empire with distinction. Senators, Admirals, and Engineers. When I took my officer’s oath, I swore to protect the empire. Not just the Senate, or the highborn. Can we really sit by while the vast majority of our people are destroyed by neglect?”
“I would wish not to. But the noble blood in my veins is so diluted as to be worth only little notice more than any other citizen, if I attempted to petition against it. Others with more standing and power have tried and failed.” Kaiae set aside her nearly empty cup.
Areinnye nodded. Those that had failed were called traitors of the Empire. They were executed, and their families rounded up and shipped off to labor camps. “I will not sit by one more day, serving a system which ignores it’s people’s most obvious needs. The Romulan Empire has some of the brightest minds and most sophisticated technologies in the quadrant, perhaps the galaxy. And they expect us to believe that a better solution cannot be found? I’m sorry, but I’m disillusioned.”
Now the conversation had turned from ‘perilous’ to downright catastrophic levels of danger. This was the sort of conversation people often did not survive—either because they were discovered in it and executed for it; or because one or more parties killed one or more of the others to avoid such discovery. It didn’t matter how warm the tea had been, now Kaiae’s hands were pure ice cold. “I am...uncertain as what you mean to imply, Commander.”
The Commander clenched her jaw for a moment before fixing the Lieutenant with a gaze. “We have a duty to save every life we can. Now I don’t know about you, but I’m not about to ignore that duty, and ferry some impotent old Senator to safety while our people die a fiery death. I’m trusting you with my life. You can either report me to the Tal Shiar, and allow your Commander to die a traitor’s death, or you can work to help me” she said, standing. She was trembling inside, but out of fear or anger she couldn’t decide. “I’ll expect your answer will make itself known. Goodnight, Lieutenant Kaiae” she said.