Honesty is always the best policy, isn’t it?
Location: Ready Room
Summary: The ship's newest Counselor reveals a secret to the ship's Captain and Chief of Security.
Timeline: Mission Day 22 at 0800
Even though it was her first true day as part of the Blackhawk crew, T’Mari had already decided who she trusted, and as much as she was supposed to be sworn to secrecy she had a secret that needed to be told. Pasquale had proven to be a security officer that would eventually dig up any secret, and her new Captain was the man she wanted to earn the trust of most of all. The longer her secret remained a secret, the more chance that it would become harder to explain.
She’d already requested that both meet her in the Ready Room, making her way to there T’Mari pressed the chime and waited for a response before walking inside. “Captain, my apologies for calling you here. There’s something I need to tell you, something that does not leave this room, or appear on any reports to Starfleet.”
Harvey, seated behind his desk, simply raised an eyebrow. This meeting was quite peculiar. After all, it wasn't often that he was summoned to his own Ready Room. At least he wasn't alone, so he didn't have to worry very much about being shot at again by a fellow officer. "What seems to be the issue, Counselor?"
Camila had shown up in a pair of black tight pants with cuts across the legs, a tight black top, and shoes with balls on the bottom of them, and had been sweating when she made her way into the Ready Room. "Apologies for the delay," she said as she pulled her ombre hair back and wrapped it in a scrunchie.
T’Mari offered Camila a smile. “As I just said to the Captain, what I’m about to say does not leave this room, or appear on any reports.” She turned back to Geisler not bothering to take a seat just yet. “Have either of you encountered anyone from, or know of, the Vulcan V’Shar?”
Camila looked at the Captain and gave a slight nod of her head, but questions came to her mind immediately. However, she stayed silent and let the Captain take the lead.
Harvey had heard of the Vulcan V'Shar once before, back during his assignment at Starbase 211. The Starbase had been well within Vulcan's reach at the time, and some of his medical research had caught their attention. Harvey recalled the experience was less than pleasant. "I have," Harvey admitted. "Go on, Counselor."
T’Mari moved around to a seat and sat down. “I am a member of the V’Shar.” She paused to give that fact time to settle in. “The V’Shar is split into three departments, Internal Security, Galactic Intelligence, and Scientific Inquiry. I work for the Scientific Inquiry Bureau. I am breaking every rule in the book just by telling you, the only reason I am Is because I feel I can trust you. I don’t want to start off here with a secret.” She looked at Camila.
Again, Camila stayed silent, but now she was inclined once again to mistrust Counselors and made a point to dig deeper into the woman's past, family, and other relatives on both sides of her family.
Harvey remained silent for a moment as well. He leaned back in his chair and crossed his arms as he tried to compose a diplomatic response. "What is the exact nature of your assignment with the Bureau?" Harvey asked, wanting some more information before he jumped to assumptions.
“It’s purely scientific Captain, the Bureau has it’s fingers in a lot of pies so-to-speak. I’m not here to send off reports about every single scientific endeavour, it’s got to be something that the bureau would consider to be worthy of attention.” T’Mari paused. “I didn’t have much of a choice in whether or not I became part of the V’Shar, when you’re chosen, you’re chosen, refusals are not taken well.”
"That sounds a bit like a certain non-existent organization in Starfleet, but even they offer a choice, or so I've heard," Camila said. "What do they require of you in regards to report back?"
“Don’t get me wrong” T’Mari offered a smile. “I haven’t been forced to do anything, as for reporting back. I provide what information I consider to be important. I will not go against orders if I’m ordered not to report something specific. I will not conflict with my duties as a Starfleet Officer.”
Harvey nodded. He was keenly aware of Human/Vulcan history, especially the Vulcans' need to remain close to issues they considered to be of utmost importance. It was a miracle that Captain Archer was able to accomplish as much as he had, all things considered. "If I may be so bold, Counselor, why do you feel the need to hide this at all? I mean, surely this is something that could be noted in a personnel file. Why the secrecy?"
T’Mari shrugged her shoulders. “To be honest, I have no idea! I guess I can understand where operatives of Internal Security, and Galactic Intelligence are concerned, anonymity is all important. As for those of us in Scientific Inquiry, we abide by the same rules as everyone else.”
"As far as science goes, the Federation publishes everything that's verified by that community and deemed safe for release," Camila said. "Why do the Vulcans have a division dedicated to scientific inquiry alone? That would seem to defeat the entire purpose of science."
“Well this Science department keeps on top of practically everything.” T’Mari offered a smile. “I can’t go into details of what I don’t know, I’m not privy to the secrets they keep behind closed doors. I’m not even supposed to tell anyone, but I didn’t want to keep this a secret, only to have to reveal later on down the line."
"In the grand scheme," Harvey stated, "it is better that we know now. But I have to admit, Counselor, it's a bit difficult to sit here and hear this admission. At least," Harvey looked over to Camila, "that she's on the scientific bureau and not part of their security. I know that if you were, Commander Di Pasquale here would be far from pleased."
"I'm not pleased as it is, Captain," Camila said. "I seem to recall asking the Counselor here pointed questions during our interview and even the tricorder indicated that she wasn't lying."
“I haven’t lied to you Commander, on that I simply told a half truth.” T’Mari offered Camila a brief smile. “That’s why I’m telling you now, I want you to be able to put some trust in me. I promise you there are no more hidden surprises about me.”
Harvey remained silent for another moment. "I'm sure you can understand how difficult this is for us," he said after a moment. "In the last three years of my command, we've seen a handful of infiltrators aboard the ship. My former yeoman was one, and a previous Chief of Security. Miss Di Pasquale's direct predecessor, I might add. Just a couple months ago, we had a saboteur on board, and a V'tosh ka'tur who was tricked a sentient AI into attempting murder. It is difficult for us to trust anyone, and I'm not going to lie here. We're going to have to keep an eye on you for a while, and you'll have to earn our trust."
The Captain sighed and leaned back in his chair. "I want to believe that there's good in everyone, and I think what you did today was an honorable step. It's just going to take us a bit of time to make sure that our trust in you isn't misplaced."
T’Mari nodded. “I would rather earn that trust with you knowing my background, than hide what I am from you Captain. I will earn that trust, that I promise you.”
"He's not the one whose trust you'll have to earn back," Camila said. "I'm the one that matters in this regard. No offense, Captain, but you placed the safety of the ship and crew in my hands."
“I plan on doing just that Commander” T’Mari offered Camila a brief smile. “I will do whatever is necessary to earn that trust, and to keep it.”
"Just don't make me regret my offer," The Security Chief said.
T’Mari nodded. “You won’t.”
The Captain's eyes moved back and forth between the two women during their interchange. "Well, since we're all here, are there any other dark secrets that need to be said?"
“Definitely no more secrets Captain” T’Mari offered a warm smile.
Harvey turned his attention to Camila. "No offense was taken, and I certainly haven't forgotten the duties you've been charged with." He planned to ask her to look further into the Counselor's admission, but he wouldn't ask her that until they were alone. "In fact, I want you to stay after this meeting to discuss the events that have transpired on the surface thus far."
"Of course, Sir," Camila said, knowing he would want her going in hard and deep up in the Counselor and she planned on making Vulcans whimper.
He looked back to the Counselor. "Is there anything else we need to discuss? If not, I'm sure you have a full day of appointments to attend to."
“There’s nothing else Sir” T’Mari smiled and stood ready to leave. “I’ll leave you both to it. Thank you for hearing me out I appreciate it.”
"And Counselor," Harvey added. "I know this was difficult for you to do today. Please remember that my door is always open."
T’Mari nodded. “Thank you Captain” she nodded politely to Camila. “Commander” Then exited the office leaving them both to talk.
After the Counselor had left, Camila sighed and shoved a lock of hair over her shoulder. "Let me guess. What's next and how soon do you want to know before they get on the ship next?"
"Finding out from the individual several days after the fact is definitely out of the question," Harvey replied, referencing the most recent episode. "But for now, we should start seeing what sort of connections the V'Shar have out here in the Gamma Quadrant. And keep an eye on the subspace transceiver. I want to know if anything out of the ordinary shows up."
"Let me just put her under the brig now and if the V'Shar come looking, we'll just tell them that she doesn't exist," his Security Chief said with no trace of humor. Her mood had soured entirely on Counselors before this, but now she viewed them as enemies.
Harvey couldn't blame her for that comment, especially seeing how her processes had been thwarted by the new Counselor. "Observation first. Aside from withholding the truth, she hasn't done anything wrong. Besides, she's got to earn our trust now."
"That's not going to happen," Camila said. "In fact, it doesn't even seem to matter what protocols and defenses that get put in place. People just keep waltzing onto the ship like we have an open airlock policy."
"Well, short of having her followed, we're out of options. In the meantime, let's dig into the V'Shar. Check our database for anything we need to be concerned about regarding them."
"Understood, Sir," she said but clearly wasn't happy about the situation. "Is it me, or are they just getting smarter?"
Harvey sighed. "Smarter. Quieter. More resourceful. Nothing can ever be easy for us, it seems."
"Right. I'll get on it," Camila said. "Are mnemonic chip implants still illegal in the Federation?" She asked.
"They were the last I checked," Harvey said with a shrug.
"So it's the old fashioned way. Improvisation," she said. "And lots of digging and research. In the meantime, the report for the planet?"
The Captain nodded. "I was down there for a short while yesterday, but I know the base camp's been under your tutelage. Anything to report?"
For the new few minutes, the Security Chief gave him the overview of what she, Joey and the Security personnel had learned, including the journal and Joey's specific find of medical notes. "Everything has been preserved on site, sir."
"Let's keep digging," Harvey said after listening to her report. "In fact, we should seek out some other cities, maybe locations that may have been capitols. Perhaps they have more clues than what our current location has revealed thus far."
"Then after I launch an inquiry on the V'Shar, I'll head back down to the planet," Camila said. "Unless you have something else for me to do first?"
The Captain shook his head. "Not at the moment, but if I do, I'll be sure to call."
"I'll get on it right away," she said and headed off, grumbling to herself about counselors and the need to eliminate the position.