[ussgeorgetown] Zen & the Art of Surfing

_Zen & the Art of Surfing_
by Senek Menkara & Dinh Luong

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/Surfing soothes me, it's always been a kind of Zen experience for me. The ocean is so magnificent, peaceful, and awesome. The rest of the world disappears for me when I'm on a wave.--Paul Walker/

It was, in Senek's opinion, about time that Starfleet got around to reassigning someone to be their Chief Operations Officer. Humans used the expression 'in the nick of time' and it was rather suitable in this case. There was no one aboard they deemed suitable to take over the job which, if Senek were Human and prone to fits of pride, might have made him feel indispensable. He wasn't Human, however, and was simply pleased that the ship wouldn't go without. He had the man's file on his desk but he'd learned long before that what was written and what was actual were often two different things. That in mind, he told his aide that he'd be meeting new personnel then left for his old office.

Shipboard offices were always so bland. Dinh always hated those blank walls when he first got in so he had a box of decorations already in hand when he arrived. There were his surfing awards, a pretty picture of the California shoreline, a little Buddha with incense and lots of pictures of his family. With a fond smile, he put the picture of himself and his brother and sister on his desk.

It was a pleasure to actually walk these days, now that he could do so without pain, though it was really a short walk in any case. He wouldn't dare smile but he was pleased to be able to walk so freely and to meet the man replacing him. With that in mind, he touched the chime outside the door.

Dinh was just hanging the picture on the wall so he simply side-stepped and opened the door manually. "Commander," he said, carefully not smiling but he held out his hand any way. "Come in."

Custom was custom and Senek had enough control that shaking hands was not something he shunned. He took the proffered hand, noting the strength and firmness in the one he received. "Thank you, Mr. Luong," he said simply. "I've come to welcome you aboard."

"Thanks!" Dinh padded over to his desk and leaned against it. "I'd offer you tea but it's buried somewhere in one of my boxes back in my cabin so it's replicated or nothing."

"Not necessary for now," Senek said, looking about with one raised brow. "Though I do understand the value of, as a friend is fond of saying, the genuine article. I take you've been settling in well?"

"Sure thing," Dinh nodded, still reigning in his natural grin. "It's a very nice ship, much more comfortable than my last assignment. Cairngorm's a nice ship but a battleship's a battleship."

"Well, quite," Senek said, "yet they are a fine crew. Unfortunately, we've had several black marks in that regard and are still trying to shine our image."

"So Admiral Ross told me," Dinh said. "But he also said that the rot's been cut away."

"It has," he said carefully, "but I'm well aware of how such things tend to fester underneath even after the visible has gone."

"Then it's our duty to scrub and scrub until all the grime's gone," Dinh offered. "It's why I took the assignment. This ship has good people on it, it deserves a good name to go with it."

"And what do you intend to do toward that end?" Senek asked curiously.

"My job to the best of my ability," Dinh said with a shrug. "Add to that an inspection of each Department, starting with those directly linked with any disgraced former crew."

"Which would be this position, Engineering, and Captain Renaldi. The chief engineer is rather good at his job but there's been some friction between him and one of the new engineers," Senek said carefully.

"And Security," Dinh said as he lifted a PADD to consult it. "Science was briefly under the control of a questionable character but that seems to all be settled now. Sick Bay seems to be the only ones who've survived unscathed."

"Not quite," Senek said with a barely audible sigh. "If you were to look at guilt by association, then we do have a civilian serving there who was married to the chief of Security."

"I don't believe in guilt by association," Dinh told him. "Buddha teaches that guilt is on the actions of an individual. Was the man complicit in the Chief's actions?"

"Not in any way. I understand from our JAG officer that the good doctor became quite irate and tossed a table across his quarters and he's been overheard to use any number of rather vile adjectives when referring to her," Senek said mildly.

"Then Sick Bay's still unscathed in my opinion but I'll have a chat with the guy any way," Dinh shrugged.

"That I do not envy you," Senek said with a smirk. "And, again, you may wish to use caution should you talk to Aileas Mc Kay and 5 of 12 about that science officer. They had a rather bad experience with him."

"See now that's something I've been meaning to ask," Dinh said, tilting his head and folding his arms. "Aileas McKay and 5 of 12, really the same woman?"

"Yes and no," Senek stated. It was the literal truth. "If you asked them, you would get quite the argument."

"Now that's something Buddha never taught about," the man chuckled. "Two people in one body and both accepted as individuals enough to be on the manifest."

"I will admit that it takes a while to get used to but they certainly are different people. I rather enjoy their company," Senek said with a shrug.

"There are definitely a lot of interesting types on this ship," Dinh nodded then finally let out his bright grin. "I can't wait to meet them all."

"If it's interesting you're after then you will hardly run short of people to meet on this ship," Senek told him. He nodded toward the box where he could see the surfing awards. "For instance, I can tell you that Mr. Deaver might share your interest in surfing since he grew up on a planet with a lot more water than Vulcan."

"Mr. Deaver," Dinh pursed his lips as he brought the relevent information to mind. "Medical personnel, bondmate to Lieutenant ch'Thane, father to Somhelth and Challornetha, currently living with his uncle and the new Field Marshal of the Marines."

"And father to Lieutenant Pax, who used to be my aide," Senek added.

"I knew I missed one," Dinh grinned.  "But not bad, right?  For a Human."

Senek raised a brow. "I would never use that comparison, Mr. Luong, especially when my father is Human."

Dinh pulled his legs up so he was sat cross-legged on his desktop. "Sure but most Vulcans, even hybrids or fusions like yourself, do make the comparison. I can tell you most of the jackets of each crew person, plus the civilian personnel aboard."

"I am not most," Senek said easily. He noted the posture the man sat in and dismissed it. If it was comfortable and promoted ease, who was he to wonder? "To base comparisons on genetics alone is a dangerous ground that I do not tread on. I will, upon occasion, wonder about Marines and engineers however."

"Those are all crazy," Dinh snorted. "We had this little Trill woman as Chief Engineer on Cairngorm, hard as steel and scary to boot. She had a pet Klingon that followed her everywhere but she never noticed. People are the damnedest things, aren't they?"

Senek might have laughed in other circumstances. "I could not agree more on that. IDIC has made itself rather at home on this ship or otherwise our senior counselor's nanny would never have fit in."

"That's the Klingon lady, right?" Dinh bit back a laugh but he still smiled. "Gressa. Even your counsellor set up is weird, the senior one being lower rank than the junior."

"Correct," Senek said with a nod. "Dr. Kaartaren is one of the few true pacifists I've ever met. He refused several assignments that would have gained him more rank because they conflicted with his morals."

"Good for him," Dinh nodded. "Sometimes if we want peace, we have to work for justice but not all of us do it the same way. I know people who truly believe that to have peace, we must make a stand and refuse to take up arms."

"Pope Paul VI," Senek said automatically. "Fortunately, the counselor is not that extreme with regard to arms. He takes his family and charges quite seriously."

"Interesting take on passivity then," Dinh chuckled. "Then again, I had a teacher who taught me that there really are times to be still and accept then there are times to take up arms and fight for change."

"The obligation of the strong to protect the weak and vulnerable would be the reason in this case," Senek said with a nod.

"Then that's a very good reason indeed."

"What I would also like for you to do is to continue to root out any strange configurations that were put in place by former crew members. I rather distrust anything that was done. I know Mr. Zeeman has found a few in his department but we've been unable to tell if there are more," Senek began.

"I'll do my best," Dinh shrugged. "I'll start with a quick chat with Zeeman then move on from there. I'm sure Security's as riddled with them as Engineering. I hear the old Chief was a bit of a science nut."

"Certainly the second word," Senek said dryly.

At that Dinh let out a bright laugh, he just couldn't help himself. "No offense but you're a funny guy, Commander. I've never met a Vulcan, hybrid or not, with a sense of humour."

"None taken and you may thank my father for that should you meet him. You will find, if you ask enough Vulcans who have lived on planet, that my parents are what people used to call hippies. I grew up in the musicians' sector of T'LingShar and they were strange even for there."

"Hey that's cool," Dinh grinned. "This ship is definitely full of surprises."

--
"...and I had done nothing...but shoot an unarmed Cardassian in his 
underwear."-Li Nalas

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