AWD #607: The Diplomatic Corps
The Diplomatic Corps
Summary: Jimenez brings Samtara back to The Rally Point and prepares her to head out.
Date: 18/Feb/2017 (OOC Date)
Related Logs:
Samtara Jimenez 
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AWD #607

Jimenez has a lot of bags to pack. She'll be gone for probably at least a week or two Arpay-time, which is only a couple minutes at the Colonies. Sam is told to just wear her duty greens, boots, and her sidearm. Once on the Weller Hill, things move quickly. The Captain radios the fleet for departure and moves off. They spend about twenty minutes getting clearance from the fleet and heading away from Picon. There's a routine jump countdown and the viewscreen on the bridge, where Sam is invited to be with Jimi, shows what happens next. Empty space begins to look like jello and then a portal suddenly opens from the center, out, and Sam can literally seen down an illuminated tunnel. A normal jump count and then there's a white flash… and they're suddenly 'In the lane' according to the Nav Officer. Over the next thirty minutes they sail down the tunnel, curving through space, and it is explained that they open a wormhole and use a traditional FTL to plant themselves right into the center and accelerate down the 'lane' of the center.

The arrival at Arpay is counted down and they arrive far enough out to see the lush green and blue planet with two small moons. And a third. The Captain is quick to get comms established and Jimenez explains that the small 'third moon' is actually a massive space station and ship-building facility. But that's when Jimi is called to the radio to speak.

"Sir, this is Blue Wing Actual. I pass Buster plus Two."

Silence on the radio, then a request for confirmation. "I say again, Actual passes Buster plus Two. We found them, sir."

Cheers erupt on the other end, shouting can be heard. Celebration. They're instructed to dock as soon as possible. Jimenez explains that the word 'Buster' has been the codename for the Erfriki and 'plus two' means they've brought two of them back. But docking takes about another hour and when they finally do make their way down the docking lane, everyone goes through strict decon with booster shots given. Once outside of that airlock, they're met on the other side with a line of people that look like they must be Admirals. All of them want to meet Sam and Alastair and shake hands, congratulating Becks. Its a lot to take in. The mood is quite jovial, to the point that Sam might be surprised there isn't a band. So many questions from so many people. Everyone wants to know how many of the Erfriki are left. The answers leave minds blown. Some are particular about wanting to know combat strength but when it starts getting down to details, Jimenez announces that they will need to wait for the report and that the two of them need to come with her. About fifty officers are left chattering at each other about the implications.

Standing with her hands clasped behind her back, one hand curled over it's opposite wrist, Sam studies the image on the viewscreen of the ship, not something she's actually spent a great deal of time doing before. She doesn't even try to fight the intrigued and slightly awed look on her face as the ship begins the transition, keeping mostly quiet as she listens to the chatter on the bridge and eventually the arrival at Arpay. She gives a small jump of surprise when Becks explains that the third moon is actually not a moon at all, drawing a quiet, "Well, isn't that something," from Sam in return. Angling a glance toward Becks as she speaks into the Radio, then sharing the same curious sidelong glance with Lt. Piers, Sam starts to voice a curious question only to have the question answered before she can put voice to it. "Ahhh," she exhales the sound and watches with a bit of a smile slowly forming as she hears cheers and shouting, celebration. The strict decon and booster shots that she receives make her, yet again or possibly even more, very very pleased with how seriously the Arpay take these matters and she shakes a number of hands, trying to put faces to names without a great deal of success right off the bat, but she listens with intense focus all the same. All in all, she keeps finding that a half smile has settled in place, bruises and all, especially because, the smile remains.

Jimenez takes time to introduce Alastair to several people from Projects & Plans and hands him off to a group of very excited Arpay. The requests made to them, along with the equipment brought with them, have them all making calls and typing out texts rapidly. Becks smiles and leads Sam off down the corridor. Becks explains what the markings and numbers on the wall mean, telling her that the letters and numbers represent hemisphere, deck, position, etc, like coordinates. Sam probably has no issue grocking it. She's lead into officers quarters and shown her room. A temporary space. A spacious bed with a desk, plenty of viewscreens, phone for making calls needed, a computer with a login already set for network access, and a closet of droll military clothing and some generic womens clothes and workout. "You'll be here for about a week while I speak to Diplomatic Command and make arrangements. I will be bringing you with me whenever possible. You'll stand in front of a certification board to drill you on anatomy and diagnostics. You will have -zero- problem with completing it. You're a trauma surgeon, not an orthopedist. Now, the computer has full network access. Obviously certain things would be restricted to our own military. But you are welcome to read anything else, watch any videos, whatever piques your interest. Our own history is what I told you - plagued with mistakes. We are not perfect. But you will read the truth. Additionally, you do have movement restrictions. You will not have an escort on my authority, but stick to recreational areas and medical. I will get you a badge for medical access, as well. Talk to anyone about anything you want. But don't wander outside where I've stated without an escort. Just ask for one. You are my guest. Feel free to take shifts in medical, also. You trust me with your people, I trust you with mine."

Eyeing the markings and numbers on the wall, Sam studies them with a curious gleam to her expression before making a quiet 'ahh' of sound once Becks explains the reference points. "I see," said with a nod, picking up the pattern once Becks points it out and takes special care to map her way from the bridge to the temporary quarters so that she doesn't get turned around on foot trying to get from point B to anywhere else on the ship. A slow look is swept around the room, and as nice as it is, it's a room and she's already focusing forward on what Becks is saying. "Count me in," she says immediately, "I mean. Put me on the roster, how ever it works, I really look forward to working with your people in medical. I can't remember the last time I was this excited to report to a new duty station, which sounds ridiculous, but it's true. This," she turns slowly around in a circle then back to face Becks, that smile already in place again, "is amazing. And I won't do anything to violate your hospitality or customs. You did everything possible to respect ours, which has to have been awkward at times. Thank you for that, too."

Everything Becks tells her turns out to be fact. Sam is given total unrestricted access and when word spreads that the Colonials are descendants of the Erfriki, she has no shortage of people interested in talking to her about the Colonials and their society and history. Admirals all the way down to teenage enlisted. There are official interviews, and Becks takes her everywhere she can. Sam even gets to spend a day on Arpay. They visit Naval Headquarters and then do dinner at Beck's house. Husband is met, children as well. It's every bit the sort of family she would expect a maternal woman like Jimi to have. Obviously there are little spats and that ilk, but overall a warm environment. Sam stays the night there and has oral boards the next morning. Sam could have probably passed it in her sleep considering her experience with triage and making hard decisions about survival. The board, which Becks sits on, makes its decision that afternoon. Its a blur. Only five days and Jimenez picks up Sam at her room the next day for departure.

Becks has a briefing packet under her arm when she arrives and takes Samtara into the hallway. "Your uniform will be sealed and placed in storage. When you return, it will be returned in full. You will return to the Colonial Fleet in the same clothes. Assuming they still fit. Most people lose a few pounds on these deployments." She smiles over as they walk. "Nervous?"

"It's always easier to take a seam in than to insert pieces to take a seam out, so I'm not worried about the uniform looking perfect or presentable in a year," Sam replies as she falls in step with Becks, moving in a way that conveys both a measure of ease and confidence while at the same time she gives a rueful sort of chuckle. "I'd be passing the point of stupid into imbecillic if I wasn't nervous. And before we get to the next phase, let me say again how much all of this means to me. And it was wonderful meeting your family," she gives a slight shake of her head. "I can't think when, last, I spent any time at all around children in general. Yours reminded me why children, in general, aren't actually a bad idea, on a case by case basis," this last part said with a grin.

Becks walks her easily, gently tapping her chest to a security patrol that passes. "Good. Nervous makes you aware of your surroundings." Becks just smiles with it. "Even the last one I went on, I still got the jitters. That sort of hyper, nervous energy. You want to leap but you just don't know where you will land. Its a true high that is hard to escape." The point about her family gets a laugh and she leans a shoulder into Sam, nodding. A little comraderie. "I love my family to death but hate the headaches. But, they're worthwhile headaches. They are our future. I'm not going to try and convince you to have your own family, I know how important your career is to you. But if you live a much longer life, it does open up options. Maybe a family is right for you, maybe not. I think whatever you decide will be the right choice for you." There's real love in her voice. "Sam, I cannot possibly express how much this has all meant to me, personally. You and I aren't very prone to having the girl chats so its less clear. But I want you to know that you've changed me and how I view this life. Its one thing to be a Doctor on the front lines and work with a team and know you have support. Its another to retain poise and professionalism when you have no support coming and only the people around you looking to you to make the right call. I wish I could say that I understand what you have been through, but I never will. I admire you greatly, Sam. You're someone I hope to be friends with until we are old women, sitting on a porch, debating surgical triage."

Sam shares a smile sidelong with Becks while replying, "There are two phrases that are almost always lies. The first is 'I know how you feel' and the second one is 'I understand'. The reality is that you, of everyone that I've ever known, understand more about what it is that we've had to do, what I've had to do, than anyone else ever has, maybe ever will. It means a lot to me that you really understand the scope of what my people have been through, what the fleet has been through, just getting this far. Surviving, this long. All of this?" She exhales a slow breath and feels that smile tugging into place again, "It's already changed me for the better. No matter how all this goes, I'm a better person, I feel more solid, more real, more centered and balance than I have in a long time. And in fifty or sixty years when we're debating surgical triage sitting on the porch somewhere and shaking our heads at what new fangled approach some idiot has come up with to do something that we solved sixty years back? It'll be worth it. We're already friends, a few more decades will just add seasoning to the mix. Will you do me a favor though?"

Becks laughs airily with the explanation of 'I understand', nodding. "Nobody will ever understand. I may be close, but I can't. One of the guiding principles of the Diplomatic Corps, which you will learn quickly, is that you cannot judge those you treat. Especially where you are going. You will learn humility, Sam. I'm excited for you. Everything you feel you've already experienced? It will be magnified. You will experience tragedy and triumph on very deep scales. But you will know who you really are. No more paperwork, just raw Doctoring. The Dee-Cee believes that what we do makes us better people because of the people whose lives we change. We are not better than others, simply better than who we were. You will be who you need to be, and that's all that matters." Becks stops them outside a set of doors marked for a security station and smiles at Sam. "Anything, Sam. Name it."

Taking out a single envelope from one of her pockets, Sam passes it to Becks. "There's three letters in here, one to the admiral, another to Leu and the last to a marine that I didn't have time to say good bye to. In case, just in case, can you see these handed out? I'm not going to call a jinx on the whole thing," she adds with a half curve of a smile, "but this is life. And life? it happens. Until it stops. You've already said, tragedy and triumph. This? This … maybe it completes me, I don't know if that's the right words. But I think that they are. So if I have to say good bye, it's better to have it written down than to never have made the effort at all. And hey," she chuckles quietly, "I'm the one who argues that the word 'normal' is a cultural and social judgment that ought to be stricken from every day language in the first place."

Becks looks to the envelope and she actually doesn't hesitate to take it. "It would be my honor, Sam. Thank you for choosing me." It seems that here this role takes a different sort of social place. "We do these as well. Most of our soldiers and sailors write them. We have a registry that we use, actually. But I will keep these personally." The rest has her smile easily. "I already know you will succeed, Sam. I don't even question it. Whether or not you come back? I think you will. Your will is so much stronger than you know. You think you do, but you don't." There's a wink with it. "If you think about the Arpay definition of it, its just a statistical average in the context. Under Colonial context? Yes, it makes me crazy," she laughs. "C'mon, lets get your gear."

She leads Sam through the doors into the security station and a few people stop to stare. An Admiral and a..non-Arpay. People hop-to. "Sorry, sir, didn't realize you would be by personally. We have her gear set already. If you'll follow me." The Sergeant leads them back into the armory and through the gates. There's probably a thousand guns and pieces of fighting equipment in here. Maybe more. The Arpay apparently do not subscribe to the idea of 'overkill.' Back at a desk, the Sergeant opens a very poor looking sack with a ragged leather strap. "Okay, this is a kevlar lined pack. The exterior looks typical for your destination, sir." He's speaking to Samtara. "Exterior camo only. The leather strap has also been reinforced. It looks terrible but it is our standard issue for a deployment. Inside, you have a stethoscope, pen light, a pocketbook guide to local flora and its medicinal uses, a book on local customs and society, a scalpel with ten replacement blades, one roll of sterile gauze, one small squirt bottle of isopropyl alcohol, one ACAM poncho," which Becks asides as Adaptive Camouflage, "three mags for your sidearm with weather-sealed rounds, two frag grenades, and one suicide capsule. The last will simply put you to sleep in two minutes and that's it. Anything else you need, sir? This is standard."

With the letters accepted, Sam exhales a quiet breath and nods, just the once, having this last bit of personal details attended to, she focuses entirely forward. "Well, normal is really just the median between wildly diverging extremes. People strive for 'normal' because it's what 'society' and our respective 'cultures' press 'everyone' toward. And it changes from generation to generation. which is fascinating and frustrating, at the same time," she admits with a grin before she follows Becks through the doors into the security station. She shares a cordial nod to those in the room but it's the armory that has her just taking a slow startled breath and exhaling it while admitting, sidelong to Becks, "I can name at least a dozen marines off the top of my head who would take one look at this room and practically weep, or possibly leap with joy." She examines the sack and it's outwardly appearing ragged leather strap, makes a quiet hum of appreciation as she lifts it to get a feel for the weight of it and it's contents. Each item is examined with care before she nods again, "Standard is standard for a reason, Sergeant, if I need something that isn't here, then I'll just have to figure it out as I go along. Is there a local currency that I should be making note of?" The suicide capsule is examined with equal scrutiny before returning it to the compartment in which it belongs for the moment. "And I'd like at least one blade, preferably two, if possible. Boot sheath and a second that I can conceal under my clothing."

Becks stands aside without saying anything. She just watches and listens for the moment. The Sergeant nods in agreement with Sam, though. When she mentions the knife, he nods. "We can do that. But the women on this planet do not wear boots. Let me get you something appropriate." There's a glance to Becks and she nods to him before he moves off. That's when Jimi reaches into her pants pocket and offers over what looks like a rock. She uses her other hand to manipulate it and slide it open, the thing about the size of a nickel. "Put your pill in this. Don't try to hide that pill in your bra. It'll end badly." She figures Sam knows better but just speaks to it for humor. "Practice opening this. Press down hard, twist, then slide the cover off." The item looks completely seamless when its closed, too.

Sam retrieves the tiny capsule then works the mechanism to open the rock-like object and fits the pill inside, seals it again. She works with it for a few moments, "Because lumps in the side of my boob would definitely draw attention, in all the wrong places, that's for sure," she agrees. A quiet laugh slides free, "So many bad ideas just came to mind, too," she shakes her head then glances to Becks again. "Features wise,' and she uses her free hand to indicate her eyes and ears, general appearance, "am I going to stand out from the population base?" she wonders then follows it with a glance toward the Sergeant then back, "They don't wear boots," not making it a question but a point of ponder as she flips through the book on local customs and society.

Becks snickers, unable to help it. "Yes. We had some failures with those not too bright." The question to features has her shake her head. "No. We selected a location where you will blend. You will have others there on a similar deployment. You will all speak the same language. I'll hit you with a razer before you depart." Sam cracks the book and begins reading. This sounds… medieval. Very close to it. Looking at women's cultural norms for fashion among the peasantry? Low shoes made of leather. Men wear boots. Women aren't expected to travel on foot like men do. Great. The Sergeant returns with a roughshod-handled knife. The blade is probably two inches long. Long enough to kill. There's a clip on it. Given its thin, it should be easy to conceal. "That should work. The wood on the handle isn't local to the planet, but its pretty close for a quick glance. If someone catches you with it for a deeper look? You're probably going to be using it."

"Male centric and patriarchal?" Sam wonders with a glance up at Becks, "should i have been learning how to handle some manner of herd animal as well? Horse back riding isn't exactly a skill that I had before I joined the fleet," she adds with a smile, there's a measure of excitement in her tone of voice already. So many challenges, so much unknown, no clearly defined checklist to be ticking through every step of the way to make each day exactly like the one before and the hundred before that. She eyes the knife that the sergeant passes over and examines it before she debates on best place to conceal and then does so. "Anyone looking that closely at it had better have a very good reason in the first place, or a very bad one," she agrees.

The Admiral laughs and nods. "Oh, darling, they are all like that. Women are naturally weaker fighters and have to train harder to be on the same level. The men don't tend to like it. So yes, get used to a horse. We have those here and on most planets." Once Sam has completed her inspection, Becks thanks the Sergeant and walks Sam out of the armory towards the doors again. "We'll have a change of clothes on the transport for you. A thick wool skirt, top, everything. You'll have to pick up more when you get on the ground. You asked about money? Don't. You'll want to learn to barter. Trade treatments for goods. It will be expected. This isn't like the military. If you don't barter, it will get hard to live. Very. So keep it simple. Also, you'll have to get used to passing time. Get a hobby. A lot of people raise animals or garden or take up some kind of alternate trade. I spent a year learning how to veterinarian. I never learned, but it helped pass the time. Do yourself a favor, though. Read that society book and then burn it. If its found, the locals may inform on you. And trust me, you don't want to be taken alive."

Sharing the laugh, and the actual humor itself, "Ahh. Well. It'll be like practically every other assignment I've ever had. Why is it that men think having external genitalia make them inherently experts at anything they take a fancy to?" she wonders, not entirely rhetorically. "You've been married for how many years?" she wonders. "Explain how that relates to the use of any sort of power tool, and I'll show you a award winning demonstration of circular illogic," she moves at Becks side again, shouldering the bag and it's contents, wearing it cross body by instinct. "Skirt. Alright," she makes that quiet and off key hum of sound while taking more of the data in stride. "Burn after reading, check. Barter, check. Learn hobbies and make myself invisible and just like everyone else, check. Aha, strive for normal."

Becks just laughs as they walk. "I've been married about sixty years. Sometimes you just have to let the men be the way they are. Let them open a jar or two. It makes them happy. Whole health, right?" Becks grins and moves them back towards the docking section. "Careful, you're using bad words. 'Normal' …Should I arrange for you to wash your mouth out with seltzer and soap?" she giggles happily. But they end up stopping at a closed hatch for bay access. The heavily armored doors take a heavy hand. She looks at it and takes a long breath before looking back to Samtara. "This is where you embark on your own, Sam." She looks more fond and loving. "I will meet you back here in one year your time. I've been where you are going. It isn't fun, but it will reward the proper soul. I think you will understand when you get back. Having worked with you, I know one thing absolutely: Where you are going, you will take well-earned pride. No matter what happens."

Laughing again, Sam almost makes that snort of sound that means she's to entirely entertained to keep the sound from turning into that. "Sixty years?" she sounds both impressed and a little floored by that. "Well, you would be the expert, then, and the only person I've ever known who's remained married that long to the same person in a continuous linear fashion," she shakes her head once more and laughs. "Let them open a jar or two, I'll keep that in mind. Also don't get offended when a man opens a door, offers to carry something heavy, or in general displays a need to be the Man." She pauses at the hatch as she turns to face Becks. "I'll see you on the other side. See if you can convince Major Ommanney to allow you to begin the next phase of surgeries to finish the repairs for Sergeant Ynyr while I'm gone. Returning a combat ready marine all the way back to combat ready status may go a long way toward reassuring the Major that making use of medical electives in this manner isn't a bad thing." She adjusts the carrying strap that rests over one shoulder and takes one more sobering breath, "Thank you again, for everything. Oh," and she turns slightly and grins at Becks, "when the mess is offering what amounts to mystery meat? They call it meat loaf, by the way. You're going to want to have one of the ration bars that are in the bottom right hand drawer at my desk instead of embarking on an epicurian adventure that won't end well. Never eat anything that's an indeterminate shade of brownish gray. Ever. And there's a whole box of coffee concealed in the bottom drawer of the last filing cabinet furthest from the door in my office," said as she works the heavily armored doors open and moves through. "always keep a pot going. Ensign Penta knows everything there is to know about coffee pot mechanics and proper maintenance," she adds with a smile over her shoulder. "See you in a year."

Becks listens, smiling at her friend. A lot of this gets a laugh and nods. "I'll keep the pot going. Trust me, I'm already an addict. So much better than what we have. I'm going to advise the Colonials invest in the coffee trade heavily." She watches Sam before suddenly moving forward to take her in a tight hug. "It won't be long for me, but I'm going to miss you, Sam. Come back safe. I can never give them the same care you've shown them." She kisses Sam's cheek then steps back to let her go on, on her own.

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