_A Measure of a Marine _by Selyf, Fred Batty, and Ezri DaxIt had been his observation, Selyf thought as he strode from his new vessel onto the station to arrange the delivery of a shipment of medical supplies that both Major Harak and Dr Calhoun were awaiting, that the inter-Forces relations had been done to a high standard on the Tempest. He was sure there had been teething problems but, on the whole, the flow of communication was strong and positive.
These were the thoughts that brought him around a corner, to find a small, squat Marine shoving a smaller, less robust Starfleet cadet around the corridor.
"Not so tough now, are ya?" Batty snarled as he pushed the little cadet hard, making the smaller man trip.
Ezri was leaving her latest appointment and returning to her office. Usually she preferred that people come to her but the work being done in the storage bays had to be done just so according to Commander Vaughan and there was no way Killt was getting out of it. Again. So she'd sat under the shuttle while he worked. Now, as she walked back, she hadn't been paying too much attention until she almost walked into a Marine.
"Oh, excuse me, Corporal," she began before she realized that the man was standing over a cringing cadet. "What's going on here?" she demanded, her pretty face drawing into a scowl.
Batty glanced over his shoulder and spotted the gorgeous Trill. Oh he'd do her in an instant. He leered, his eyes roving up and down, then he turned back to his prey and pinned the boy to the wall. He raised his fist to smash the guy's face in but as he swung forward, he found he couldn't. He looked back again, half expecting the Trill to be holding him but instead found a huge Vulcan in a Marine uniform.
Selyf pulled the Corporal back in one smooth motion, lifting him by his shirt front and pinning him to the wall just inches from here the cadet had been. "Not only," the Vulcan breathed, "is this conduct unbecoming of the uniform that you wear but it is also bullying." He pushed his face close to Batty's, his dark eyes boring holes into him. "I do not like bullies."
Ezri didn't gape often. It was not only not becoming of an officer, it was just something that Trill did simply because they hardly got that surprised. She did, however, cover her mouth as eyes traveled upward. Another Marine, she noted, and a rather huge one! It was she who shook herself mentally to break the stare as she reached for the cadet.
"Come here before you get hurt by accident," she suggested gently, tugging the young man's arm slightly. "I've learned it's always a good idea to not stand near people who are being held up off the floor by their uniforms."
Batty spluttered a little until he was shaken hard, then he shut his mouth."There is no excuse," Selyf said softly, his voice low and dangerous. "What is your name?"
"B...b...b...Batty..."He dropped the Corporal who fell in a heap on the floor. "Report to Field Marshall Quon's at 1700. She will be informed of your behaviour and will deal with you then. If you fail to appear, I will see to it that you are sent straight to the brig."
From her place next to the cadet, Ezri piped up. "And you can be sure that both Commander Vaughan and Colonel Kira will be getting a report, too, Corporal."
"Like I care about 'Fleeters," Batty muttered."You will care if I care," Selyf said sharply. "I care, therefore if you receive bad reports, you will answer to those as well."
Ezri stepped forward, the smile of a wise old man on her face. "You know what I heard? My good friend Odo is good friends with a certain Romualn I've seen skulking about the station and that Romulan happens to be rather close to the Field Marhshal," she mused. "Now, all I would have to do is find Odo..."
Selyf turned to look down at the little Trill officer. His dark eyes stared hard at her but he inclined his head. "Should the 'grapevine' version of these events reach the Field Marshall before I manage to make my way to her office, I would imagine she will take matters into her own hands." Those dark eyes swivelled down to the Corporal. "I walk very very slow. If you wish to do the right thing and turn yourself in though..." He left it hanging, his eyebrows raised.
Ezri held back a smile. Curzon would have definitely liked this man. She made a shooing motion, usually reserved for getting rid of Quark. "The transporters are that way," she said with a completely straight face.
Batty gathered himself up and then bolted in the direction the Trill woman had pointed. He didn't look back, knowing he had to go straight to either Le Beau or the Field Marshall and not liking the prospect of either.
Selyf watched him go then nodded. "I dislike Marines of his type. They give our uniform a bad name."
Ezri shook her head, scowling at Batty's retreating form before looking up at Selyf. "Sometimes there are reasons that people end up like him but then there are people who are just naturally mean." She pointed up the hall at Batty. "I'm going to guess he falls into the latter category."
"I do not know him so I cannot comment," Selyf said simply. "I will leave that to the Field Marshall to judge. She is both wise and fair. She will do what is best in this situation."
Ezri offered a wry smile as she tapped her temple, elegant fingers brushing at her spots. "I don't know him either but Dax is quite old and experienced. Curzon was very good at reading people and Ezri's /job/ is reading people."
"Then I will cede to your greater experience," Selyf said with a small inclination of his head. "If we are to put the grapevine in motion, should we not find Constable Odo?"
"I saw the whole thing," came a gravelly voice from up above.Ezri almost, but not quite, yelped in surprise as the Changeling flowed from an overhead light to his usual form . "Odo! You're the only case of it's true that the walls have ears," she chuckled. "I didn't mean to put you on the spot but that was..." She waved a hand at the direction Batty had taken.
"Inexcusable," he grumbled before taking a good look Selyf. "Good work, Lieutenant."
"Behaviour such as that is unbecoming of being a Marine," Selyf said. "I dislike bullies. It is quite fortunate for the Corporal that I was not alone when I discovered him."
Ezri's eyebrows rose just slightly. How very un-Vulcan, she mused. "Odo, you know how to get a hold of me if the Field Marshal has any questions. You might want to add in that the corporal has the filthiest leer since the Grand Nagus, too."
"I believe Grand Negus Rom does not leer," Selyf offered innocently.Ezri sighed. It still happened sometimes, that Ezri spoke in Jadzia's past. "I hate when that happens. Jadzia meant Zek, not Rom. Rom's a sweetheart really."
"So I am lead to believe," Selyf nodded. "I have only met him once."Odo growled in Zek's honor, his oddly shaped face still managing to scowl. "If you are discussing that shifty little troll, I'll be on my way. I have to pluck some grapes from a Romulan vine. Lieutenant, Counselor, If you'll excuse me."
Selyf inclined his head in a small bow of respect. "By all means. Please pass on my respect to the Field Marshall's bondmate."
Odo hmmphed and walked away, shaking his head. The others in the Great Link could never understand missing this.
"Don't take him personally," Ezri mused as Odo walked away. "He's always been gruff."
"I see nothing to take offence at," Selyf said, turning his dark eyes to regard the Trill. She was definitely aesthetically pleasing for a small woman, quite attractive really.
"Ezri Dax," she said with a nod and a smile, which most Vulcans never returned. "Chief Counselor on station."
"Selyf," he said with the same nod but no smile, though his eyes were warmer than they had been. "Tempest medic."
At that, Ezri's eyes shone. "Oh now that is just perfect!" she exclaimed. "I'm being temporarily reassigned there while my fellow counselor is away on a mission."
His eyebrows raised. "I have only recently joined the crew myself. It appears to be a most efficient ship. I have not been on a ship in ten years. It will be quite enlightening."
"Walk with me?" she asked. "It'd be nice to get to know some people before I go aboard."
"Of course," he said. "I am on orders to supervise the delivery of medical supplies. Would you care to walk with me to the cargo bay?"
"Glad to," she said simply. "You know, I haven't been on a ship in a while either. I'm doing it as a favor to JD since he was worried about leaving his crew unattended or tended but by a stranger."
"I do not believe the counsellor has been replaced at all," Selyf observed. "It is my understanding that Captain Craig wished to leave the position open for him. Cases of psychological distress are being dealt with by the CMO and the nurses."
"He'll be glad to hear that though that may mean I'll be as avoided as I am here. It's a rare thing that someone comes to see a counselor voluntarily," she told him. "It's a good thing Dax is used to it after all this time."
"I am told that the CMO is equally avoided but for different reasons," he said easily as they walked. He changed a glance at her and wondered why people would avoid going to see someone so appealing.
Her face sobered slightly. "If you're aware of the POW rescue that Tempest took the lead in, the doctor was one of the men held there. He's a fine physician but he outright told Julian that he considers himself, to use his terminology, not wrapped too tight," Ezri told him. "He actually punched Captain Calhoun while they were both here on station! It must have been something Xenexian because Calhoun was officiating at his wedding a few hours later."
"I am aware of the Tempest's mission." Selyf paused for a moment and looked at her. "They are brave men and other brave men died saving them. It is why I took the transfer. The Marines on that ship are impressive."
"Then you'll fit right in," she said simply. "You might have been doing the right thing back there but it was also a decent thing."
"Thank you." He nodded down the corridor. "We are here. Would you care to join me?"
"Please, I'm enjoying the company," she told him, not adding that it was nice to talk to a man whose focus wasn't himself all the time. "I was just down in one of the other bays, talking under a shuttle, so it'll be nice to be vertical."
He raised one eyebrow in the classic Vulcan move. He entered the bay to find that it was filled almost to bursting point with shipment crates and there was no cleark to be seen. "I have a list of the supplies but it appears that I will be here for a while."
Ezri blinked. Vaughan would have a fit if he knew how full the hold was. It was dangerous tactically. "I can help," she volunteered. "I can count just as well as anyone else and it would make things go faster for you if you don't mind the company."
"The company is appreciated," he nodded. If he had been any other man, he would have sighed, but instead he retrieved his PADD from the inside pocket of his jacket. "Let us begin by attempting to find the emergency supplies."
"Who packed this all in here? Tobin would have been horrified," Ezri stated as she took a few steps. "You know, it's quite possible Quark's got things hidden in here. We ought to be careful."
"Very good advice," he said as he approached the nearest box. "I would hope that our boxes are close to the front." He read the ID number on the box. "I truly do hope."
"Err...I hate to dash them, Selyf, but these here are for Wilderness..." Ezri stared up at a high stack and shook her head as she looked around. "There are a LOT of crates in here."
"I am not one to shirk my duties," he said carefully as he started further into the stacks, "but I do believe this is verging on impossible."
Galactically, it was generally know that it was impolite to touch Vulcans unasked but Ezri was used to touching in her duties as a counselor. She rested one small hand on Selyf's arm as she followed him. "It'll only seem impossible," she said deadpan. "Maybe there's a pattern of distribution in here?"
He looked down at her hand on his arm and found that it was not unpleasing, the coolness of the touch actually rather soothing to his jangled nerves. "Let us go and see," he said softly. His dark eyes held hers for a moment and then he looked over at one of the stacks. "Here, some emergency supplies for Tempest."
"See? Not impossible but it did kill my theory of a pattern," she said with a wry smile even as the thought occurred to her that he had rather warm eyes for one of his species. "How many are there supposed to be?" she asked as she ducked under his arm to inspect the boxes.
"Six, how many do we have?" he asked as he consulted his PADD.She gave an annoyed grumbled worthy of Odo as she counted. "Five," she told him.
He raised one eyebrow. "Interesting." He scanned the codes on the five boxes and they disappeared in a flurry of transporter particles. "Let us attempt to find that one missing box then."
"Maybe...what was in the missing box? Maybe that'll help?""Bandages," he said as he consulted the PADD again. "And suechars. I believe our Marine medic unit are slightly paranoid about being caught without technology. I have been told that the initial mission of the ship had many technical irregularities. One lead to the death of two medical staff."
Ezri smiled at what he said. Vulcans were always blunt but how he said what he did just struck her as genuine rather than harsh. "They're being what Emony says are good Boy Scouts," she chuckled.
"To quote a Parris Island colleague: Dib dib dib," he mused, peering at each of the stacks in the desperate hope that he would find the missing crate.
"Dib dib dib?" Ezri asked as she crouched to see if maybe the missing box was closer to her eye level or lower.
"I am told that, on 20th Century Earth, it was the chant of the youth organisation known as the Boy Scouts. One group would call 'Dib dib dib' and another would repond 'Dob dob dob'." He turned to her, one brow raised. "I have always found the exchange curious and rather pointless but apparently Human children found it amusing."
"You're funny," Ezri said brightly, "because I was just remembering Benjamin playing hide and seek with his son, calling 'come out, come out, wherever you are.'"
Selyf turned to her to give her a very considered look. "I have often attempted what non-Vulcans call humour but you are the first to find my jokes funny. I am told that it is that I am too straight to be a true 'straight man'." He nodded to her, his eyes warming again. "Thank you."
"I've learned to appreciate humor in quite a few forms, Selyf, and don't thank me. I should thank you. You not only reminded of me of a very dear friend, you made me laugh," she replied as she flashed him a warm smile.
"You have a most pleasing smile," he observed. "You are perfectly welcome though. It is my pleasure." He nodded again before moving deeper into the stacks.
Men flirted with Ezri all the time and she generally ignored it. They'd flirted with Jadzia too but it had taken Worf, who just didn't do flirt, to catch her eye. He was himself just as it seemed Selyf was being himself and she found that she liked it. "Don't get lost in there," she called as she hurried to catch up with him.
"Do boy scouts become lost?" he wondered. He reached out to tap three crates. "These. One is our missing emergency supplies. Two are for the Marine medical facilities. Blankets and emergency rations."
She found herself chuckling again as she caught up to him. She stood on the tips of her toes to read the labels then up at him. Nice, Jadzia thought, not Klingon but not bad at all. "Do you think we ought to move the extra two so that your fellow Marines can find them?"
"A fine idea," he nodded. "Once we have done so, I have completed my mission."
That, Ezri thought, was rather a shame. It had been quite some time since she'd had any fun while actually working. "What then?" she wondered.
"Then I am off duty," he replied, tilting his head as he lifted the three boxes, carrying them through the rest of the stacks. "Perhaps I should spend time on the station, see the 'sights'."
Ezri watched him with admiring eyes, even though her counselor's mind warned that the man was a Vulcan and no doubt not interested. Even still, it couldn't hurt to keep very pleasant companionship. Easy on the eyes and fun were not bad qualities in a friend, not at all. "Fortunately for you, you know an experienced station dweller."
"I am fortunate indeed," he said, his head inclined. He moved back to scan the remaining box and send it on its way. When he was finished, he returned to her side and hit his comm-badge. "Selyf to Harak. The emergency supplies have been transported aboard. There are medic supplies here also. Do you wish me to continue?"
"No, Lieutenant, I'll send a grunt to do it," came the disembodied reply. "Go, have a good afternoon, relax some, we've got a full programme tomorrow."
"Yes, ma'am. Good afternoon." Then he clicked off the connection and turned back to Ezri. "I am free."
"I bet that nameless grunt will be thankful for you moving the supplies," Ezri told him but then she looked at him quizzically. "What do you do when you're free?"
"I meditate," came the simple reply. "I spend time alone or with a meditation partner in contemplation and self-improvement. What do you do when you are free?"
"Meditation when I can't straighten out whose thoughts are whose but I've learned to like baseball and jazz and I simply like talking to people. The last satisfies both Ezri and Dax," she explained.
"Do you meditate alone or with a partner?" He started towards the door, choosing to start the conversation with meditation rather than any of the others as it appeared to be a commonality with them.
"Usually alone if only because there are no other Joined Trill aboard and any other species usually isn't interested," she mused, "except for when Kira is either very overwhelmed and she needs it or has the time and needs it."
"If you ever require a partner when you are aboard Tempest, please feel free to come and find me, I will be pleased to offer what assistance I can."
"I may jsut take you up on that, especially since the last time I was aboard a ship, it was as Ezri Tigon." She sighed aloud and shook her head. It seemed a lifetime ago. "Can I ask a personal question?"
"You may ask," he said simply."You're a Marine medic. Don't you find it hard to give yourself tiem to meditate?" she asked simply.
He looked down at her as they approached the door then slowed to a stop. His eyes took on a serious edge as he replied, "There are certain things that are so fundamental that time must be sought for them, even when it would appear to another that there is no time. For me, meditation is not a luxury, it is a necessity."
"Nourishment for the mind and soul just as food is for the body," she said softly. "You must be a good medic."
"If ability is judged on the merits of commendations and success rates then yes, I am a very good medic." He continued to stare down at her, watching her. "Not all success is judged based on professional achievement. There are many areas for which I am quite lacking."
"You seem like a wise and caring man, Selyf, and you do have a fine sense of humor," she began, returning his gaze directly. "Why would you say something like that?"
He found himself suddenly wishing to open up and tell her everything, starting from the day of his first ponn far when he snapped the necks of three Academy cadets who had been bullying a smaller, younger cadet, through the dissolution of his betrothal due to it, his inability to control his temper leading to being shunned by other Vulcans, right up to being offered solace in the Marines by the once Major, now Field Marshall, Quon. As he stared into her eyes, he knew he may very well tell her all of those things one day but for now he left it with a simpler explanation.
"I am young, for a Vulcan, and thus still mastering my control," he told her as simply as he could. "I am not as strong as I should be."
"But you just used the right word," Ezri said gently. "You're young and nobody expects young people to know it all and do it right th first time. I know fairness doesn't factor into many species lifetimes but be fair to yourself. Give yourself a chance."
He inclined his head to her. "I would say that you are the wise and caring one. For myself, I meditate and learn and try as best I can to come to terms with my own shortcomings. As a wise teacher once said, one must have the serenity to accept the things one cannot change, the courage to change the things one can and the wisdom to know the difference."
"I know the saying," she said with a thoughtful nod. "It's a wise one and you know, I don't consider myself all that wise. It's just several lifetimes of experience."
"Which is still more experience than I would ever claim to have," Selyf said with a small, careful shrug.
"I still think you should give yourself a break and some credit," she opined. "I know quite a few immature idiots and you certainly aren't one of them."
"It is not in the nature of Vulcans to be immature though I am sure there are several who would be termed as idiots," Selyf offered with a raised brow. "Shall we leave this death trap to another poor ensign?"
Ezri laughed brightly, resting her hand on hsi arm again. "You're a funny man, Selyf. Come on, let's take a walk and I'll show you the sights."
Once again, he found her touch gentle and not unpleasurable. "You know, I find your laugh quite enjoyable to listen to."
"That's very sweet of you," Ezri said simply. "And you make me laugh so, if Dax doesn't drive us both crazy, stick around so we can both be pleased."
"Why would Dax drive us crazy?" he wondered as they wandered out of the cargo bay.
"Because you are just making both Curzon and Jadzia all kinds of curious," she admitted. "It's hard to control at times..."
"What are they curious about?" he asked, leading her slowly to the Promenade.
"Most people find Vulcans to be shy and retiring but you aren't," she said simply. "You also meet with Jadzia's approval for being a Marine but the contradiction is still there and they find it mysterious."
"I am what I am," he said with a gentle shrug. "I am also the result of my youth, my upbringing and the generosity of those who have been kind to me when others chose to denounce me. You will not find a record of my youth in my file. My sponsor had it removed at my request but if you wish to know, I am no longer ashamed of it."
"Only when and if you feel you want to, Selyf. If taht never happens then I, just plain Ezri, am still pleased to be in your company," Ezri said soberly. "You are what you are and that, so far, is a good thing. I won't denounce a good man."
He felt his face flush a little but he managed to keep his face calm even as his eyes warmed. "Thank you, Ezri, that is definitely appreciated."
"Very welcome." An idea sudddenly occurred to her and she grinend up at him. "It's just about the right time, Selyf. There's something you need to see, something that Bajorans find beautiful and mystical, their own Mount Seleya."
"The wormhole?" He nodded. "I have often wanted to see it for myself.""The wormhole," she confirmed. "I've seen people watch it to meditate. I've done it myself though not with the religious intent the Bajorans have. I appreciate the natural beauty but they're worshipping."
"For the most part, I meditate by candlelight but I can see the attraction," he said. "Though I do prefer the simplicity of a single flame to concentrate my mind."
"If nothing else, it's beautiful." She led him to one of the many observation windows on the wormhole side of the station the rested her elbows on the railing. "A part of Dax likes to think that Benjamin's in there somewhere."
He leaned next to her but rather than watching the wormhole, he found his eyes attracted to her. She was, in his opinion, a rather pretty woman. Not Vulcan but softer and less judgemental than his peers. "We must all have faith in something."
"Trill have much more reason to think life goes on after the death of the body," she mused. "I'd say it's a shame that he wasn't Trill but then he wouldn't have been the man I knew: Benjamin Sisko, one of the few very dependable men in the universe."
"You miss him," Selyf observed. "He was a lucky man to have such a dedicated friend."
"I do miss him," she agreed. She liked standing close to Selyf. It just felt right. There were deep things in him and he seemed troubled but he was a warm man, not just for a Vulcan, but for himself. "He'd have done the same thing you did with that cadet you know, especially as a young man."
"If there had been no witnesses, I would have pounded the Corporal into the deck plating," Selyf admitted simply. "He is a disgrace and this uniform deserves more respect."
"I might have been amenable to being asked to forget," she chuckled. "But don't you see what else I see, Selyf? If a good man like Benjamin Sisko could get by youthful impulses and be who he was then so did you."
"I have no doubt that, with aid and much reflection, I can overcome my shortcomings," he told her quite frankly. "To know and accept one's inabilities does not mean that one cannot work toward improving oneself to overcome them. I accept that I will never be the perfect Vulcan, I do not have the control and neither do I wish to fully attain it."
"You're fine the way you are," Ezri teased, poking his arm lightly. "Why not just be the perfect Selyf then? Anything more or less wouldn't be you."
"Another wise sentiment from a sweet Trill who claims not to be wise at all." He reached over and touched her arm, the most he had ever shown affection for someone in public outside of family.
"The Marines are lucky to have you and I'm glad I'll get a chance to spend some time with you, Selyf," she said with a shy smile. "A decent man is a wonderfu thing."
He felt his cheeks flush sage for a second time since meeting her. "Perhaps, when you are settled, we can spend an evening together."
"I'd like that, Selyf, I'd like it a lot," she said, not daring to tease about the color in his face. It made him, in her opinion, look quite handsome, like a warrior flush in battle. "Shipside life is always better when you have a friend."
-- "I like to write when I feel spiteful; it's like having a good sneeze"---D.H. Lawrence