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Date, Part 2

Posted on 19 Jun 2022 @ 12:34pm by Lieutenant Commander Harva Taliborn & Lieutenant Callisi Veera

Mission: A New Frontier
Location: Holodeck Three. It's always Holodeck Three.

"Telling them apart, though, is the trick indeed. We can't just ask someone what they want."

"Sure we can," Harva chuckled, enjoying another chunk of meat. It was impressive how much he could shovel into his mouth and and how quickly it was just done. "I've found that you can get a lot done by just asking politely, but directly. And smiling," he added, amusement in his eyes, as he flashed a very impressive set of dentistry, rows of razorsharp fangs, with canines the size of daggers.

Callisi gave a giggle, enjoying the cut and tenderness of her meal. Just not at the same proportion as Harva. Terrans always got so uneasy around a Ts'usugi enjoying a cut of fish, or a slab of beef. Like they never saw someone eat before. How rude. Sirrans didn't seem bothered by it, so that was a plus. "Easy for you, you have a winning smile. Ts'usugi culture frowns upon such directness. At least in polite company or among our own people. It's hard to turn that off after all these years."

She glanced back at those choppers, before looking elsewhere.

He actually laughed at her comment about a winning smile, tail giving a happy wag. "You know, that's valid. We all have our own backgrounds. It's interesting how much the Federation celebrates diversity, as long as it fits within certain boxes," he chuckled.

"And that's the concern." she pointed to him with a bone, stripped of its beef. "My people would have welcomed an ally. The concern is the blending of cultures. The ... what's the word... Mish Mash?" a pause, "Our government body, the Dairida, along with the Emperor herself, is concerned that by joining an organization as vast, as all encompassing, as the Federation we'd lose a piece of ourselves. Until that concern can be dissuaded we're just allies, rather than a full member."

"At least, that's how it was back home, last I heard." a pause as she put the bone back on the plate, her ears drooped slightly. "Another time, another universe, another Ts'usu."

"Hmm," he furrowed his brows, considering her words for a moment, then a moment longer. He slowly twirled his large mug of beer, now half consumed, as he thought, ideas and concepts milling around in that brain of his. After nearly too long a moment of silent contemplation he finally spoke again, glancing up at her. "There are a lot of thoughts I have, things I could say, that all fail to - " he hesitated a moment, trying to find the words. " - fail to materialize in a way that I would consider saying them. If you ask it of me, I would speak them - but know in advance that I mean nothing but the utmost respect for your heritage, your ways, and that of your people."

"Such a strong preface for a truth, from the sound of it." Callisi offered. She took a breath, then gave a nod. "Speak. I'm not afraid of what you have to say."

Harva heaved a deep breath, then took a large swig from his beer as if to steel himself. "Yours is a proud people. And, from what little I have heard and seen, with good reason. Your people are afraid to lose their culture, or see it diluted. But - what is culture? I know I'm Sirran, and proud to be one, proud of my heritage, but if you asked me to write down what Sirran culture, the Sirran identity is I'd be drawing a blank. Mostly I'd just write down a few superficial things, you know? Socialist leanings, respecting elders, nurturing creativity - all those are aspects of what it means to be a Sirran, but they are not the core of our culture, do not define us. Likewise, there'll be Sirran who exemplify some aspects and go against others. We're all a collection of individuals, with individual core values, personalities, upbringings, and so on."

"Beyond that even, if you look at Sirran culture now, we are different from what we were like two hundred years ago. And they were different from Sirran four hundred years ago. And Sirran culture two hundred years from now will be different again," He explained, his voice slightly quiet as if detailing a conspiracy, his hands animated, gesticulating with each point made. "Some of those changes come from violent revolution, some from subtle evolution of the general mindset, the cultural identity, so to say. Music, art, literature - all reflect the zeitgeist of their reflective period."

The fireworks show had petered out and died down by now. Gone not with a bang, but with a slow fade, pops and whistles following each other less frequently, bursts of colors slowing down, every now and then, and then no more. The simulated Sirran were starting to return home again as well, leaving just a few dozen or so people, milling about around Harva and Callisi - mostly just seeming to enjoy a nice evening with some drink and some food.

"My point is, culture is fluid. Ever-changing. It evolves. Sometimes valuable parts are lost, sometimes valuable parts change, sometimes new, valuable parts are gained," Harva leaned back in his seat, taking another swig of his beer, finishing it. "Sorry, dry throat. What I'm saying is, Sirran culture of five hundred years ago is no richer or poorer than Sirran culture now, and Sirran culture now will not be any richer or poorer than five hundred years from now. It'll be different, but just as valid."

"I fully respect being proud of your culture and heritage. Respect and support it. But be wary of stagnating with it, clinging too much to old values and resisting the natural change that comes with the passing of time," he frowned, reaching a hand out to rest on her, but holding it back and just placing it down on the table, unsure whether they were close enough friends to where that would be appropriate. "Too many people try to please the values and culture of people long dead, at the cost of those yet to come. I'd hate to see your people stagnate, instead of prosper," beat. "Though, all this is just one engineer's opinion. Your mileage may vary."

She listened as he spoke, he deserved nothing less. Her posture, her perked ears, everything spoke that this was the moment she would carry into history. Every time he paused to breath, she remained silent. With every motion, every change in the tempo of the statement she waited. She listened. This was important for him to say, so the absolute least she could do was give it the attention it deserved.

"Well informed for an engineer." she started with a smirk. Her hand remained near his, not taking it but not moving away. "Sirran culture seems rich in its history. Passionate, powerful, and proud." she took a sip of her drink, "But how much of it was marred by external cultures? How big of a mark have the Terrans left on your people? The Klingons? The Ferengi?"

"How much of your culture has been influenced externally? I'm certain your heritage and your society are very powerful, and very fluid, and very different then they were five hundred years ago, and will continue to be different five hundred years from now, but how much influence has the outside had on your cultural evolution? How much of who you are, as a people, will survive the next five hundred years? Will your children look back and wonder how you survived, or wonder how they did?" she posited. "That's the concern of my people's governance. We're a proud people, we're as fluid a culture as any. We just worry about how diluted our culture will be if we jump into the melting pot."

"We've survived our own history. Savage warlords waging war against the face of our world. We survived the exodus, and we adapted to life on the moons. We went from swords to science to the stars. We're a different people then we were a thousand years ago, two thousand years ago. But who we are now we became on our own. No one outside of our culture hinted or nudged. We're prosperous, we survive. The concern isn't adapting, it's diluting due to outside influences. Nothing wrong with wanting to keep it that way." she paused, and the wind in her sails seemed to die a little. "That is, if the Ts'usu here is even remotely like the Ts'usu I call home."

"Or if there IS a Ts'usu."

She dabbed at the corners of her mouth with the napkin at the side of her plate. "I'm a Daughter of Ts'usu." she looked back at Harva, "You misunderstood their concern. The culture of my people is strong, and moves with the tide. The concern is the affect that introducing other cultures will have on us, and whether or not joining something as massive as the Federation would even allow for our culture to survive. Or if it would be consumed by the consensus."

"There's moving on with time, and then there's crashing against the rocks. If your culture embraces the gestalt and feels it can survive, then I hope it can. Sirran success is not a measure of Ts'usu's success, though. Only time will tell that." she closed her eye, and took a breath. "Neither of us know enough about the other to really know. I don't even know if Ts'usu is here."

She reached up and touched her chest gently, "I know it's here, though. So even if I'm all that there is, I have to keep it alive." she relaxed a bit, returning her hands to the table, and opening her eye. Her prosthetic, hidden under the patch, never lost that single blue dot of a shine. The one eye she couldn't close.

Ts'usugi expressions might be very difficult to read, their ears and eyes not being as outgoing as, say, Sirran ones, but words spoke volumes. Especially if you knew how to read in between them. Harva remained silent as she spoke, his full attention hers, ears laying back a bit as she spoke, and after she'd finished he didn't speak for a moment of two either, as if contemplating what she had said, milling it over.

"If I have offended, I apologise. Was not my intention. I did misunderstand, and that is on me," he spoke, calmly, but with certainty and confidence in his voice. "You are right to be proud of your heritage, and it's valid that a large measure of that pride comes from having achieved it yourself, as a people," he added, reaching for his mug but finding it empty.

"To answer your question - I wouldn't be able to say how much our own culture was affected by outside influence. I'm sure some has, but the discussion of how much I'll leave to wiser men than me. I am certain there have been changes though," he flicked an ear. "I failed to take into consideration that other people, like yours, might find that to be rather more - problematic than we do," A slight smirk, though at himself rather than anything she had done or said. "For someone who prides himself in being social and respectful of other peoples and cultures, I can be quite dense, at times."

She waved the concern away, "You didn't know. Hence why we're here. Everything you know about my people you know through me, though, perhaps I'm not the best example." she shook her head slightly, looking down at her plate. "We are who we are. We're just very interested in making sure that tomorrow, we're still us. Rather than what the universe wants us to be."

"A glass is most useful when it's empty." she motioned to his empty glass. "And don't be so hard on yourself. You're your own worst opponent, or so it is said." she took another chomp from her plate. After a moment she cleared her mouth, "Respectful, you are. Social, indeed. You're fine. I take no offense to your concerns, as you don't continue to press them upon me."

"And that is Ts'usu's concern. Having the views of others pressed upon us."

As she spoke he ate some more. This was the life, for him. Good food, memorable surroundings, sharing culture, stimulating conversation with a friend. "Yeah, I can understand that," he flicked an ear. "I don't think the Federation is in the business of pushing culture. More like, inviting culture. Long as that culture is compatible with their laws and rules," 'Their', he'd said. Not 'our'.

She smirked, "Like boys in their treehouse. Secret clubs, secret rules and bylaws." she shook her head. "Though, whatever the future holds, we'll get there eventually." she took another nibble, "Thank you for sharing your holiday with me. It was nice to get out of the room and, I guess, mingle is the proper word. Otherwise, it would just be a night of snacks and Kinetic for me."

"Replaced snacks and a show with snacks and a show, and company," he mused, eating the last piece on his plate. "Unless I'm misunderstanding what you mean with 'kinetic'," he added.

"It's a sport back on Ts'usu." she started, "Played in an arena, rather than an open field. It's played with a ball about this big..." she gestured, about as big as an Earth softball, "...that gains momentum as it impacts objects. The objective is to pass the ball through the opposing team's capacitor ring, where the momentum is drained from the ball and stored in a capacitor. First team to bank enough momentum to pop the capacitor is declared the victor."

"So, snacks and sports for snacks and a show, with company." she mildly corrected.

"Science, mechanics and explosions," Harva chuckled. "Sounds like a sport I need to check out," he grinned. "I like how just barely scoring is less valuable than a big score, adds incentive to play hard," Beat. "Your people don't do anything half measure, do you. Knew there was a reason I liked you."

She offered a nod, "Every coach will tell you, playing it slow doesn't get you to the championships." she recalled, "So the incentive, as you said, is there to take the risk. Kinetic has its fair share of injuries, of course. Bruising from impacts, dental ejections, there're even some concussions during the championship brackets where the ball's limiter is raised to allow for higher speeds, and higher scores."

"Kinetic has a slogan. The First Law is the only law." she paused, "But every game calls up the other slogan for the matchups. Kinetic is about inertia, it's about always moving forward. As a team, as a sport, as a people. Always move forward." she moved her hand in a straight line from her form to further illustrate this notion of motion. "And I certainly think you'll enjoy it. Next time we get some time together, I'll show you a few matches."

She paused to regard her drink, "And, thank you. We... I ... no, we don't do anything half measure."

"You'll be alright," he said quietly, though with a soothing and confident tone in his voice, a smile on his features. "As a people, I mean. The strong survive, the wise thrive, and those who can learn from the past will come out on top in an uncaring universe. You'll be alright."

"Of that, I had no doubt." She responded with a smirk.


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