A Matter of Communication
Shore Leave: Welcome to Drozana
Location: Main bar, Drozana Station
Drozana Station was, as always, a bustling hub of activity. With its huge bazaar, numerous workshops, docking bays, stores, cantinas, hotels, entertainment venues, and whatever other business premises one could think of, if there was a service or item you wanted, you were sure to find it here -- provided you came with enough latinum. And sat on the top deck of this aging hunk of space junk was the main bar, the only single business on the station that did not bother with a name.
In the centre of the huge space sat a large, circular counter, with the rest of the room filled with chairs and tables, dance poles, dabo tables, gambling machines, and many more amenities. Opposite of the main turbolifts, a number of doors led to a variety of different rooms, from storage to holosuites to a number of small, private chambers that were hired out as needed.
It was in one of these private rooms that Raven and Gedak had set themselves up to interview any prospective new recruits to the crew. While the Ferengi handled most candidates, Raven preferred to deal with those likely to hold senior positions herself. So she sat at the sole table in the small room, wearing her usual uniform, with her black leather trench coat hanging from a hook on the wall beside her.
Once again, she looked over the files on the padd in front of her. Today's applicant was a Betazoid. Her CV certainly looked impressive, with service both in Starfleet and the private security sector. If the person was anywhere near as impressive as her application, she would be a great asset to Raven's crew.
Xia rolled out of bed, the disturbance getting only a grunt from Erebus Caine beside her in the small bed. She stretched and left the Human man sleeping as she grabbed a quick shower. Vink’s No-Tel lived up to its billing. No frills. Just a bed, a chair, and a table, to keep things interesting. Not even a closet. Most clientele were only in for the hour it took to turn a trick. Frankly, she wanted to drop a barion radiation grenade in the room to kill everything organic before she slept in it, but Caine was right, Vink’s was cheap, and it was...discrete.
Since she had a job interview, Xia decided to dress a little bit more professionally. Black combat pants with plenty of pockets, and her combat boots. No band t-shirts today -- no Millenium Sex Pickles, Steampunk Zombies, UltraBaroque, or DJ Dred. Instead, she opted for a simple athletic bra, leaving her midriff bare. She could have pulled on a black t-shirt, but she decided it might be overkill on the black. Over the athletic bra she hung a combat vest -- more pockets, again -- but left it open. She tucked her Social into one of the vest pockets and added a couple of her throwing knives into sheaths there and on her combat pants. Her combat knives went at her hips, and her new Type 2 phaser went into the back of her pants. A Type I was hidden inside her bra. She tied her long brown hair up in a messy bun and stuck two throwing knives in there, too. Okay, so she had a thing for knives. Jack always said never be without a knife, and Dobri had taught her how to throw them telekinetically. She could punch through even Klingon or Cardassian armor.
Finally Xia swung on her armored coat. She grabbed up her duffel and paused, staring at Caine on the bed. They’d said their goodbyes last night -- three times -- so he wouldn’t be offended. If she didn’t get the job, she’d just hop the next shuttle to wherever. No use drawing things out. It was the mercenary life; no goodbyes, just see you later.
Xia nodded to the Ferengi at the desk on the way out. She didn’t know his name. She’d been in enough No-Tels to know they were all just “Vink”. It was something in the contract, she figured. She hopped on the first lift up to the top of the station where the main bar was located. It didn’t even have a name. Xia preferred The Lonely Star. It’s clientele were a little more dangerous, and the bartender and bouncer hotter than the Ferengi here. Xia smiled fondly of the memories of that night.
Xia made a quick stop at the bar for a drink and directions to the private room. She scarfed down a ration bar -- not tasty, but quick and filling, so her stomach didn’t grumble during the interview -- and Xia crossed the bar, checking her chrono. She was walking in ten minutes early. Excellent.
Xia knocked on the door.
Upon hearing the door, Raven looked up from her PADD. "Enter," she called out, and the door opened. Before saying anything, she took a good look at the woman standing in front of her. She saw an attractive young woman, clearly someone who got in regular exercise -- and she seemed to be well prepared, too, with combat knives and throwing knives all over her. The half-Romulan smiled, and indicated the chair opposite her.
"You must be Miss Idris," she said, with a businesslike smile. "Good to meet you. Military calls me Colonel t'Varis, most people simply know me as Raven. Please do take a seat. Would you like me to call for any refreshments?"
“Xia Idris, yes, sir,” the Betazoid said with a smile. “Thank you. Refreshments would be fine. I scarfed down a ration bar before I came, but I never say no to a drink or food,” she said with a smile. “Never know when your next one is coming sometimes in this line of work.”
Xia took a seat, sitting up straight and proper, as Dodri had drilled into her during training. “You got my resume?” she asked. “I brought another copy, if you need it.” She pulled out her Social.
Raven nodded. "I have it all, yes. Makes for some very interesting reading for sure." She pressed a button in the centre of the table, and a holographic projection of the bar's menu appeared. She tapped the button to order herself a strong coffee. "Feel free to get whatever drink you fancy, we have a running tab in this place."
Xia selected a large cup of mocha raktajino. “I know I am a bit young, but I work hard,” she said. “I specialized in communications and computers at Starfleet Academy, so I know my way around a comm system, and I seem to have a natural talent for languages, and that includes computer languages. I know I can handle the job.” Be confident, self-assured,” she told herself.
Straight to business then. Raven could already tell that she was going to get along well with this one. She nodded. "Good. And I assume from all the equipment you are carrying that you are also well-experienced in operations in the field or as part of a boarding party?"
She fell silent for a moment as the door opened and an Orion waitress brought the two coffees. Raven nodded her thanks and passed her a slip of latinum as a tip.
After taking a sip from her coffee, she returned her attention to the interview. "Tell me, then, how experienced are you working with Romulan systems?"
“Yes, sir. I have done fieldwork with Blackwatch,” she said. “As for Romulan systems, my training included work on systems of all the major galactic powers, including Romulan. I obviously can’t speak in specifics,” she said, “given the nature of my previous work, but I am familiar, and what I don’t know, I can take,” she said. She stared at Raven to see what she would think about that. Starfleet and Betazoid culture had strict rules about telepathy. However, she’d been trained by Dobri, where the ethics could be dependent on the situation. She didn’t, however, know how Romulans might feel about that, though this woman looked Human.
Raven nodded. "Good. You will find that our current vessel is a rather eclectic mix of technology, as we had to scavenge quite a few components over time. We are, however, aiming to soon acquire a new vessel. In fact, that will be our next operation."
She took another sip from her drink. "On to operational matters. As with any privateer crew, you will receive a fixed salary based on your rank, as well as an appropriate share of any takings. One third of any profit we make, be it through paid jobs or selling off loot, goes into the ship's operational fund, to pay for maintenance, equipment, and provision. The second third goes towards the salaries of all crew, and the last third is split between crew, again according to their rank."
With a smile, Raven took a little black box out of her pocket, and placed it in front of Xia. "As a privateer operation in service to the Romulan Empire, we, accordingly, use Romulan rank. Whether they are given army or navy ranks depends on their background, as well as their position." She opened the box, revealing a badge in the shape of two silver crescents. "If you accept a role on our crew, you would be wearing the naval rank of Lieutenant."
Xia picked up the badge and looked at it. “Don’t really need rank, but okay,” she said. “I left Starfleet right after my lieutenant promotion,” she admitted. “Do I need a uniform or something?” She wasn’t sure how these were supposed to be worn, not being Romulan military.
Raven shrugged. "We have a few crew members who are full members of the Romulan Imperial forces, they do wear uniforms. As far as the freelance part of the crew, of which you will be part, is concerned, no uniform, unless you choose to wear one. As for the rank insignia, most of us choose to wear them on our collar. Gedak has his on the lapel of his suit, and I think some people have them on their chest. Doesn't really matter as long as they are clearly visible. If you need a second pair, for your coat or something, just let me or the quartermaster know."
Xia shrugged. She pinned the crescents to her vest, since she didn’t have a collar. “Are the Regulars going to have a problem with non-Imperial freelancers?” she asked. After all, the Federation and the Romulans were hardly the best of friends, and Xia was still a Federation citizen and former Starfleet officer.
"There haven't been any problems so far, and I doubt there will be in future. It's my ship, and my crew. The Romulans are not in charge." Raven smirked. "I am not even sure if they would want to be, at this point."
“Do they know that?” Xia asked with a smirk. “But fair enough. What are they getting out of this?” she asked. “You don’t look Romulan, and they aren’t known for being too friendly with non-Romulans.”
Raven returned the smirk. "I am half-Romulan. My father was a respected general, serving the Empire all his life. As for what the Romulans are getting out of it, we are working with them. The Romulans on my crew are there because they need me more than I need them. Are there any further questions?"
“I think that about covers it,” Xia said. “Thank you for hiring me on. I look forward to working with you. When do you want me to report?” she asked.
"My pleasure." The colonel nodded with a smile. "Report to the ship at your earliest convenience, the quartermaster will go over the details of your contract and assign your quarters and duty rota. Welcome to the crew."
“Glad to be aboard, Colonel,” Xia said.