Science? Al was security, so why science? I must ask her about that later. In the meantime, I quickly checked my station before heading down to my little office on B-Deck.
The paperwork had piled up in my absence. T'Roc was not a lover of administration so had seen to everything that needed to be done but pushed all the cataloguing and filing aside, preferring to leave it for me upon my return. I was grateful for it though. It gave me the chance to catch up on things ... and to find out our losses from our encounter with the Dancers.
It was heartbreaking to see so many names, but after a while, the sensation of loss dulled. That saddened me even more and I remembered a quote from Stalin: 'The death of one man is a tragedy; the death of millions is a statistic.'
Something interrupted my musings: a sensation. I smiled and pressed my feet deeper into the carpet. I had missed that too: the almost indiscernible vibration of the engines. We were breaking dock.
Eager to witness our departure, I hurried back up to the bridge. It was always a wondrous sight to see, to watch as space dock slipped away and star spangled space took over. I took my seat catching T'Roc's eyes as I sat.
"Welcome to the bridge, Ensign," she said, and we watched our departure together, so smoothly handled by Rutter at the helm.
As soon as we were clear and in open space, she gave Rutter new co-ordinates and ordered us to engage at warp five.
"Ensign Terran, I need to see you in my ready room," and she stood up, leading the way.
Unsure if I had done something wrong or not, I obeyed nervously. The doors closed behind us, and T'Roc turned and grinned.
"You really should stop being so paranoid," she chastised.
"Yes. Your whole body language tells me you're nervous. If you are nervous, it's either because you have a guilty conscience or because you're paranoid. So, have you done something wrong?"
"Then, obviously, you are being paranoid."
Such Vulcan logic.
T'Roc signalled for me to sit down so I did.
"Now, we—you and me—we have a problem."
For a moment, I leapt to the conclusion that I had done something wrong after all, and then realised that was especially stupid in light of what T'Roc had just said.
"The Dirrians ... you remember the Dirrians?"
Of course I did. It was my first assignment, when I was allowed to take the lead, and all because I had experience of the Dirrians that no other Starfleet officer had.
"Well, a month ago they invited Starfleet to visit their planet, which was most unusual as you know ..."
This was true. While the Dirrians were happy to trade their carva seed with Starfleet, they didn't want visitors to their home world. They considered most races to be brash and overbearing. Most of that was because they were a very petite race who found most other species physically larger and thus felt intimidated by them. In reality, if you ask me, the Dirrians were one of the brashest races I have ever met, especially Fergan who had led the Dirrian delegation to the Drakonia, my former ship.
"... but they insisted that it was the Drakonia," continued T'Roc. "Not a problem. The Drakonia was duly sent, but when Captain Burrows arrived and greeted the Dirrians, they became angry. It seems that the Dirrians didn't want the Drakonia at all. They wanted you."
"Yes. So that's where we're going." T'Roc tipped her head, studying my reactions. "Do you know why?"
"No, sorry, not a clue. Do we not have any inkling at all then?"
She shook her head and giggled impishly.
"So in the space of the last few days, you and I have managed to hack off both of the Admirals Rutter and much of Starfleet, Captain Burrows especially. The Dirrians were not polite to him."
I sighed. "The Dirrians are quite an ignorant race, Fergan in particular. I didn't like him," I admitted.
"But you do know how to handle him, don't you?" assured T'Roc.
I nodded. "Yes, in theory, but he's quite unpleasant—smarmy even," I remembered how he had pretended to be my friend, Traeth, just to throw me off my game.
"Okay, so now you need to tell me all about them, every last detail," and so I began.