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New Growth

Posted on Sat Dec 9th, 2023 @ 9:12pm by Petty Officer 3rd Class Valentia Ferrón & Lieutenant Kestra Ral

Mission: Home Sweet home.
Location: USS Montana
Timeline: Current



Valentina approached the Arboretum on Deck 6. The crew in the science lab had told her that it was where she would find Lieutenant Ral. In her hand was a copy of the Captain’s directives to the senior staff officers. It would have been easier to send them electronically but Valentina want to take the opportunity to familiarize herself with the new ship. There was an urban legend about a cook aboard a Constitution-class heavy cruiser who had never strayed outside of his quarters or the galley who had died because he couldn’t find the escape pad. She was almost certain that it was entirely fabricated. Still, it was a good idea to be familiar with all of the areas of the ship. Just in case.

Delivering the orders by hand also gave Valentia an excuse to meet all of the senior officers and size them up. Her life depended on them and she wanted to judge for herself which of them could be trusted.

She arrived at the Arboretum and paused outside to gather herself. The personnel records had indicated that Lieutenant Ral was a full Betazoid and likely at least a partial telepath. Valentina stilled her mind, focusing on the logic exercises that she had learned as a freshman at the University of Barcelona. When she felt ready, she stepped through the door.

“I am looking for Lieutenant Ral,” she address the first crewman she saw.

The crewman pointed to a figure wearing maintenance overalls hunched over a flower bed.

Kestra smelled the flowers. This was one of her small pleasures working in the Arboretum. No stress here. The recording of birds was a nice touch. of course, if she got her way, this place might have a bird or two, but for now, that would be a no. Her head came up, looking around as she felt someone was looking for her.

A young woman was walking forward her. Kestra stood up, pulling her gloves off. "Hello, my name is Kestra Ral." She offered the information so the young lady wouldn't need to ask. Being telepathic, Kestra didn't hold out her hand. She found that if someone didn't want to get read, it gave them an easy out by not touching her. Besides, with her hand out, people would feel obligated to shake it. "Can I help you?" Kes asked with a smile.

"Lieutenant," Valentina responded with studied neutrality, "I have a copy of the Captain's directives for the upcoming mission for you." She held out the sheaf of hard copy documents.

Kestra took it, and with years of experience reading logs and reports, read it quickly. She raised an eyebrow at a few points, but in the end, she signed it and handed it back.

"If I might be permitted to ask, why did you join Star Fleet? Betazed has been in the Federation for only a little more than two decades and a military career seems ill-suited to a Betazoid." Valentina opined.

"You may always ask me anything. I am very open. One thing you will find out about Betazoids is that we believe in honesty. On Betazed, we live with our minds open to one another, and it can be overwhelming at times. I live for science and discovery. My father is a diplomat, and he had hoped I would follow in his path. I had graduated from the diplomatic corps for him." She gave a gentle smile." If I had stayed, I would have been a diplomat for the last 7 years. On the other hand, my mother is an Eco-Engineer she is where my love of science comes from. "

Kestra gave a little shrug, "In both fields, I would be married by now and my future set for me without having to worry my pretty little mind about anything." Kes laughed."My uncles favorite quote is to me. I don't see it as a military career, more like a discovery career. So far, it has been highly enjoyable. What made you want to join Star Fleet?"

Valentina's eyes narrowed ever so slightly before she caught herself. The Lieutenant's description of her options had she remained on Betazed so closely paralleled Valentina's own that she was a little suspicious. Especially considering the Science Officer's implied telepathic empathy, she could only wonder if she was being manipulated.

"I was bored," Valentina lied, "and was looking for something more adventurous than life in Barcelona." In truth, even high Earth orbit wasn't far enough to escape the reach of her family. Wanting to divert Kestra's attention, she motioned to flower bed. "They are very pretty," she commented, "Is biology your primary field of concentration?"

Kestra laughed she couldn't help it. A lie had a feel to it, but she wasn't going to push. That was humans, and she had grown uses to them over the last few years. "You don't need to tell untruths. Just say it's personal, and no more will be asked." she gave her a smile." And no, I have a masters in anthropology and zoology. Then degrees in biology, microbiolog, and exobiology." Kestra laughed, "Every time my family brings up grandkids and my hand-picked future mate, I add another degree just to tick them off. My intended, Oadid just laughs about the whole thing. I am thinking I'll add something odd to really mess with them this time, like linguistics." she laughed softly. " I do love Oadid, but in the same way I love my brother. " she made a face."It would just be too odd to marry him."

Valentina sympathized with the Lieutenant. Her brothers rather than herself carried the burden of providing grandchildren to her parents but she wasn't spared the pressure of the increasing expectation that she marry well.

Changing the subject herself, Kestra picked a flower. " All of the planets I added are edible." She pointed to another solf bushy blue plant. "Blue leaf, it grows on Betazed. very sweet and healthy. That white flower you can make a tea out of. Hydroponics is bursting with food right now."

"I was wondering if you could give me your assessment of the Captain?" Valentina asked, "As Command Yeoman, it is my responsibility to anticipate his needs but with the impending mission, I lack the time to get to know him through more traditional means."

Kestra blinked a few times. "I think getting to know him by any means will be difficult. Honestly, if he was to see me out of uniform on a base, he wouldn't know who I was. " Kestra laughed."Scratch, that he wouldn't know who I was in uniform and on the Comand deck. Perhaps it is the mission we are on, but I never knew a captain to be so......closed off. He seems to only want to drink, and that does have me worried. If I were the medical chief, I would handle it." She gave a shrug of her shoulder. " What I sense from him isn't very ........settling. I try to respect everyone boundaries and not read them. It helps if I don’t make physical contact. There are times that a thought will get pushed in my mind, and I can't help but hear it. It has not happened with him."

Valentina was surprised at the frank and rather unflattering depiction of the Captain, especially from a senior officer. Briefly she considered whether Lieutenant Ral practiced radical truth but decided that this was something different. "I thank you for your time, Lieutenant," she said, "I will leave you to your duties."



Lieutenant Ketra Ral
Chief Science Officer
USS Montana


Petty Officer Third Class Valentina Ferrón
Command Yeoman
USS Montana


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