Spear Of Influence
Location: Executive Officer's Office
Timeline: Day 1 - BACKPOST
After having met with the ship's commanding officer, Erik found himself in a turbolift heading towards his quarters so that he could arrange his belongings and organize his room to the exact way that he liked it to be. Without a certain case in his possession anymore, he was able to stretch around more and, upon shifting his head around, he was able to catch a glimpse of himself in certain parts of reflective material in the lift. While nowhere near close enough in detail to be a mirror, he did see one of his most distinctive features, that being his red uniform. And then it hit him that he needed to have another meeting before he could get to his quarters. He voiced a new destination to the turbolift and it changed its heading towards Erik's new place of interest.
The lift arrived on the requisite deck and offloaded a certain Ensign only to leave him with only his wits about him while he walked through the hallways of the deck looking for a specific nameplate. It didn't take long for him to recognize the striking feature and Erik plopped himself in front of the double doors. He shifted his uniform to once again look as presentable as possible and adjusted the duffel bag he'd been carrying around with him to be as natural as could be. And then Erik pressed the door chime hoping to be admitted the room for a meeting with the ship's Executive Officer.
"Please come in," the XO bid. She was elbow deep in a small shipping crate, which seemed to be full of carefully wrapped hardbacked books and a few bundles of strategically placed wrapping. "Mind the mess if you would."
Still behind the doors, Erik's imagination ran wild with what mess could actually exist in the office. Fortunately for him, his automatic response to someone welcoming him inside a room was to press the control to open the doors, revealing the contents therein. Suffice to say, Erik's imagination was topped by his own perceptions of the First Officer's office. He was able to see a few crates scattered around, as well as the one that the Commander seemed to be buried within. "Trust me, this is nothing at all compared to what I've seen back at the Academy. More and more, the cadets get messier and messier it seems. Thankfully I'm not there anymore...I'm here now," quipped the Ensign. He was curious as to how his introduction was going to be taken, even though he hadn't given his name, rank, or position on the ship yet.
"No, you're here in my mess. What controlled chaos that it is," the XO offered with a slight smile. She didn't stand to greet him, rather she rested up a small sculpture from its packing contents and admired it. The thing resembled a Buddhist monk's head, weathered and greened in patina. "What can I do for you?"
As soon as the assumed religious artifact was brought out into the light, Erik walked over to the front of the desk and took a seat, even without permission from the Commander. "I figured I might check in with you officially, but you seem to be rather busy right now. Instead of me coming back later, shall I help you unpack? That's a stunning piece of sculpture you have right there...," trailed off the Ensign. The monk's face had him in a slight trance. The facial expression and the emotion conveyed were sights rarely seen by Erik, and so he wanted to stare into the face of peace for as long as he could.
"You're a bold one, aren't you?" mentioned Sebell as she gestured to the packing crate. "And, yes, he's lovely. My brother gave him to me as a good luck charm. It's sort of a.. I guess you'd call it an inside joke. Our father was briefly nicknamed the surf buddha since that was the only place that he got away from the rest of us."
"Fortune favours the bold, as I'm sure you know," quipped the young man, still gazing into the stillness and quiet of the immovable face. "Surfing eh? We've got some of that happening on Betazed. Absolutely stunning oceans, beaches, and waves too. We're natural swimmers for the most part, but I chose to come out and explore the star ocean, if you will. Why did your father need to get away from you guys?"
"My father is.." Sebell stilled for a moment, contemplating her answer. "ell, for one he was a single father with three difficult children. He didn't date. He had no family to back him, and we were pretty wild. All of us were very active and always doing something, and he was a 'sit and contemplate the deeper meanings of the universe' kind of person. We lived right off of the beach. Wake up and swim. Run the sand. Swim some more. Honestly, I'm amazed that he caught us long enough to feed us some days."
It was then that Erik broke his impossible to win staring contest with the Buddha and redirected at the Commander. A revelation like the one just told required a more personal touch going forward now. "Would you be surprised to know that I can actually relate to that? I was quite the rambunctious little boy myself. I suppose being able to see this figurine each and every day now will help you to keep centered and solid instead of running amok, eh?
"That is the idea of it, yes. A reminder to center, filter and balance. The fact that he's worn a party hat twice now also reminds me to insert levity into my daily flow," sighed the XO. She set the statue on the shelf behind her desk and fidgeted with it until it was straight. "So who are you?" she asked once she was pleased with the placement.
The rather pointed question suddenly took Erik quite aback. It wasn't like him not to introduce himself to new people, but the moment he saw that Buddha, his control over the situation had greatly diminished; so much so that he mistakenly ignored social protocol, something that was ingrained into him from his internship on Betazed, or so he thought. "Oh right! Ahem...I'm Ensign Erik Vargesson, the new Chief Flight Control Officer for the Asger. It's a pleasure to meet you Commander. I had intended to meet with you just to check in, but it seems I got a little carried away, eh? Heh heh..."
"I like your energy, Vargesson. It's refreshing," She thought for a moment, then picked the statuette back up. "Here," she said, holding the piece out to him. "You probably won't get this now, but if you ever look into it, you'll know why I'm giving this to you."
Erik's eyes grew wide and surprised. "Wh...what? I can't possibly take this from you, knowing how much it means to you. It'll help you far more than it'll help me. You actually need it. If I wanted one, I'd replicate one for myself later." Erik put his hands up in an attempt to refuse the gift. He was truly amazed that the First Officer would do something like, especially to someone she barely even knew.
"Nope. Done deal." Sebell uttered, refusing to take it back. "The spirit of the message will stay with me. I've been practicing it for thirty plus years. Enjoy it. It's meant to be enjoyed and inspiring. And I have several more little monks in other boxes. My father gets me a new one every year."
With the sudden revelation that the figurine wasn't as unique as he thought, Erik's mind changed and he was able to accept the gift now, given that its inherent value had decreased. "Well, seeing as how you have others, then I suppose I can accept this one from you, eh? Thank you very much Commander, I know exactly where to put this in my quarters, right on the nightstand beside my bed ought to do it." Erik's hands changed from blocking to holding the Buddha in them. "Do you often give such gifts to new people that you've just met?"
"No," she said, digging another figurine out of a box. "Sometimes something comes into your life that isn't for you. It may have been given to you, but when it lights up someone else's eyes, you know that it's really for them. If he brings you peace, he belongs with you."
Erik quickly adorned a smile upon his face; one that quickly lit up the room. "Well...you saw how I reacted to it at first, I was completely lost. I might be running the risk of being late for a duty shift or two if I stare at it for too long," chimed the young man, hoping to bring even more levity to their conversation and show much more of his personality to the First Officer.
Sebell found herself mirroring his grin. It was contagious. "I find them particularly good to talk out problems with or meditate in front of. It's terribly hard to stay upset or troubled in the face of serenity."
"Make sure you don't tell the Counselor that you talk to yourself or the statues, okay?" chuckled the Ensign. "I suppose if I look at it for a while before going to bed each night, I won't be going to sleep with negative thoughts and feelings, but with positive ones instead, and trust me, that's most definitely a good thing for myself," he replied. 'And the rest of the crew,' as he concluded his thought without it being spoken aloud.
"There's nothing wrong with tasting your words aloud. Sometimes those are the most telling realizations come from us listening to ourselves. Our needs, our wants, our emotions." The conversation was turning into territory that Sebell knew often made people uncomfortable. Introspection was a guarded thing often paired with perceived weakness. None of it bothered Sebell. "Regardless, welcome to the ship, and best of luck with your new Buddha."
And likewise, it wouldn't have bothered Erik either, being a Betazoid and what not. He was more open with his thoughts and feelings about any kind of subject matter than most species, although he definitely respected others boundaries and would normally contain himself to expressions of words alone. He made a mental note to come back and discuss more about philosophy of life with the First Officer at some other time. "Thank you Commander, I appreciate the welcome and the Buddha. I suppose next time I see you will be on the bridge." Concluded the Ensign, as he stood up from the chair with gift in hand and left the office with a renewed sense of clarity and stability. Little did they both know that this first encounter was going to have profound ripple effects that would be determined in time ahead.
Ensign Erik Vargesson
Chief Flight Control Officer
Lieutenant Commander Sebell Briggs