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Cptn Irae Varen

While the Dog Sleeps

Vice-Admiral Misha Abronvonvich’s office on Avalon base was never as busy as his office on Camelot Station, partly because he spent less time on the planet and partly because there weren’t, at any one time, twenty starship captains running around, alien dignitaries needing his ear (or pound of flesh), or any of the other myriad of things going wrong at the moment that required his attention. No, beneath the light blue skies of Avalon, Camelot was a distant, but bright star in the sky looming over-head and life seemed to move at a slower pace.


Taking in a deep breath of air as he opened the veranda doors, letting the sweet fragrance of roses fill his nostrils he smiled happily. Though he was career military, he’d never lost his appreciation for the provincial benefits of colony life.


“Admiral,” the voice of his Avalon adjutant, Ensign Ja’tin Lonan said over the speakers. “Your first appointment is here.”


Sighing and turning back to his desk, leaving the window open, Abronvonvich tapped the pad on the corner of his desk. “Very well, send him in.”


In the spacious waiting room outside, Lonan smiled. “The Admiral will see you now.”


Captain Irae Varen nodded. Standing, the tall, lanky Captain straightened his crisply pressed command uniform. His coal black hair was combed back neatly, but he smoothed it back anyway before tucking his arms behind his back and heading into the office.


He took a brief moment upon entering to sweep the room visually. It was clear that the Admiral didn’t spent the majority of his time, as the office remained almost entirely barren of personal items that so often cluttered the workspace of individuals. It was also far more open and airy than the standard Starfleet facility, owing in no small part to the fact the bulk of the facility’s purpose was housing the civilian colonial administration.


Civilians in a warzone.


Varen rewarded himself for not letting that thought actually escape his lips as he made his towards the light tan leather chairs. That was the other thing he noticed right away, the earthy tones the building had been constructed in as opposed to the neutral, metallic grays of a starbase. Though he wouldn’t fully admit it, that warmth bothered him.


Stopping at the wooden and glass desk that crowned the center of the room, he came to attention. His eyes followed up till they met with the weathered and cragged face of the Vice-Admiral. While he’d never met him, the Russian’s character and history was certainly of note. Like most of the middle-range brass of the modern fleet, he’d started his career in a time of relative peace and joined to be the next great explorers but who’d been hardened by wars with the Cardassians, the Tzenkethi and the finally the Dominion. They’d all lived through the Borg Incursions and knew how dangerous life was outside the bubble of comfort and security that enveloped the Federation. For Varen’s part, this was a man he could relate to in many ways, and that bode well.


“Admiral,” he finally said.


“Captain Varen,” Abronvonvich replied in his slightly accented standard. “Please have a seat.”


Nodding, Varen took a seat and neatly crossed his legs. Abronvonvich made a mental note of just how stiff the man looked but let it pass without comment.


“I assume the Osiris’ crew is finding the Gamma Quadrant to their liking?”


Dubiously, Varen glanced towards the Admiral. “I wouldn’t say we’ve exactly had time to find ourselves, Admiral.”


The Admiral smirked. “I suppose not, only been here a week. Though didn’t you all have to deal with the locals before you even got half-way here?”


“If you’re referring to our run in with that Dominion patrol ship,” Varen said rather mirthlessly, “Yes, though I wouldn’t say it was particularly fruitful in the larger scheme of Dominion-Federation relations.”


“Not much is, to be honest. You know how the Vorta are – they talk a lot but they don’t ever really say much.”


“They were engineered to be diplomats.”


Abronvonvich tipped his head. “Gotta point there. Anyway, I am sure you’re wondering why I’ve asked you down here.”


“The thought had crossed my mind, though I assumed you’d want me to check-in since the Osiris is slated for a full three month tour, mapping the Quasali sector and…”


“I am aware of the Osiris’ mission profile, Captain.”


“Of course, sir.”


After a moment of silence as the two decided the exchange was needlessly tense, Abronvonvich smiled again, shifting the deep lines on his face in various directions. “Actually what I called you down here for has almost nothing to do with that.”


Though he rarely showed any emotion, let alone surprise, Varen couldn’t help but lift both brows skyward. “Oh?”


“As you may have noticed as you pulled into port, Excalibur just got back from a milk run.”


“I’d read something about it, yes. I understand Captain Corizon is in recovery on Camelot. Must have been one hell of a milk run.”


“You could say that.”


“So, how does this relate to me and or my ship?”


“You’re almost as to the point as the aforementioned canine, Mister Varen.”


A small laugh escaped him before he bottled the emotion back up. “I haven’t had the pleasure of meeting Captain Corizon, but if he’s anything else like the rest of his species I am sure that’s possibly a compliment or an insult depending on your feelings about small talk.”


“Depending,” Abronvonvich said without elaborating. “Anyway, I suppose there isn’t really any use dancing around this, is there?”


Varen shook his head.


“You won’t be with the Osiris when they ship out to Quasali on Thursday.”


Holding his hand to stop the protest he knew was coming, he continued. “You will, instead be aboard the Excalibur preparing to ship out to the M’Tan Globules as her commanding officer.”


“Admiral, sir,” Varen said, doing his best to keep his tone in check. “You’re reassigning me to the Excalibur? Sir…”


“I know this is coming somewhat short-notice and likely out of the blue but trust me there is a method to my madness.”


“If it wouldn’t be too out of line, would you mind me asking you to explain that?”


“Not at all, Captain.”


Motioning for him to continue Varen listened intently.


“Captain Corizon is in recovery as you noted. The doctors assure me he’ll make a full recovery, but that could be anywhere from three weeks to three months before he’s actually up to the task. That leaves Excalibur without a CO. Normally we’d just let his XO keep the seat warm and send them on some softball missions, but their XO hasn’t been on the job long and she isn’t from command tract – she’s a doctor.


On top of that, Excalibur is the best ship suited to this assignment, otherwise we’d send someone else and give Excalibur some softball missions – you get the idea?”


Flaring his nostrils slightly, Varen resisted the urge. “I think. Why me though? There have to be other seasoned Captain’s around that could fill in…”


“There are,” Abronvonvich conceded. “None of them, however, have your particular skill set. A skill set that Command and myself feel makes you highly qualified. We were just lucky you happened to be in the area, otherwise well… things would be more difficult.”


“My… skill set.”


“Yes, Captain, your skill set. I think you’ll understand once you’ve had a chance to look over the brief that Lonan will give you when we’re done.”


“And what about Osiris, you said they’re still shipping out?”


“Yes. Commander Dathen will be given command for the duration of their mission.”


“So this is a…”


“Permanent assignment?”


“I wouldn’t say that. Dathen will be keeping your seat warm for now, but if Corizon isn’t able to be back up and running for an extended period of time well, there’s only so long I can toss soft-balls.”


“Does he know about this?”


“Do I have claw marks on my face?”


“When do you plan to tell him?”


“When he’s no longer sedated, sometime after you’re half-way across the sector.”


Varen nodded. “And his crew?”


“They’ll live with it. I haven’t told his XO yet, I was going to let you do that.”


Another nod. “Understood. I’ll have to get my things packed up on Osiris first. I’d prefer to get started if we’re leaving on Thursday.”


“Sounds like a good plan. I’ll let you inform Dathen of his promotion, I am sure he’ll be thrilled.”


“Yes, sir. If there’s nothing else?”


“Just remember, Captain, you’re not just keeping Corizon’s seat warm. Excalibur is your ship for now. Don’t hesitate to…”


“You did say you picked me because of my skill set, Admiral. I take it then you’ve read my file. You should know then, that won’t be a problem.”


“Didn’t think it would be or you wouldn’t be here…”

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