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A Gift For Yan, Part One

Posted on Thu Jun 15, 2017 @ 1:23pm by Captain Edward Pearson & Ensign Solok

Mission: The Eye Of Sin
Location: E Deck - Pearson's Quarters
Timeline: December 26, 2156 - 1300 Hours

What do you get a MACO turned Armory Officer for their Secret Santa present? This was the question that Captain Edward Pearson was being faced with right now. As a former Armory Officer himself, Eddie initially believed that finding something for Ensign Yan Tia-Jai would have been an easy task. It was proving to be anything but that. He'd looked over the man's Starfleet file in the hope of getting some insight for a gift and while it did give him a few ideas, Endeavour’s distance from Earth made it near impossible for Eddie to acquire the majority of the things he had in mind.

Therein was the challenge of the Secret Santa activity that he put forth to his crew; they had to come up with something meaningful only using objects or materials found on the ship. One option was to give Yan an item from his own personal collection. The only drawback with that idea was that Eddie didn’t feel quite ready to part ways with some of the things that were of such high sentimental value to him. As a result, he was forced back to square one.

Pearson read the ensign's file a number of times, to the point where he could recite some of the sentences almost word for word. Yan was from Hong Kong. He owed his life to the MACOs. He'd served aboard Discovery before joining Endeavour. With regards to some of his interests, like alot of people of his ilk, Yan was a skilled close combat fighter with an extensive knowledge of martial arts. There were also rumors that the ensign was involved in a long-distance relationship with a Vulcan.

How could Eddie use any of that as inspiration for a gift? He leaned back in his chair and drummed his fingers over the surface of his desk as he mulled over his dilemma. He then looked up to the shelf just above his desk and to the sword that he was given when he served aboard the Olympus. It was an obvious choice. One could say that it was a predictable one. No, it was given to him. He couldn't just give it away to someone else. Eddie followed that train of thought though. Yan had a background in martial arts. Okay. Maybe he could make some kind of weapon like a bo staff or nunchakus? Again, that was a bit predictable. He had to think of something else. His eyes moved to the left of the sword at a small case of data modules that contained a number of hockey games on them. That was when Eddie had an idea.

He accessed the computer's video library from his monitor and performed a search for 'martial arts'. Ten entries came up. As Eddie had never watched any of the films listed, he had no idea if they were any good. He suspected they were likely to be somewhat decent as the library only contained those which were deemed 'classics'. It would have to do for at least part of Yan's present. Pearson grabbed a blank data module from the box and inserted it into his personal computer so that he could transfer the movies over. What else could he give to the armory officer to complete his Secret Santa gift?

Again, Eddie had an idea. Once he'd finished uploading the videos to the data module, he removed it from his computer and left it on the side. He then ran a new search, this time in the Vulcan database, for the same term as before to see if it was going to generate any results. While there were no video files for him to choose from, a number of text entries did appear to indicate that the Vulcans did practice various forms of martial arts as well. That made Pearson wonder. Would Ensign Solok have anything that he could 'borrow'? He'd replace it in time, but books were more tangible compared to their digital counterparts. It was worth a shot to find out.

Knowing that Solok had been on duty during alpha shift, the Captain had the computer locate him; the ensign was in his quarters. Eddie headed up to D Deck. It only took him a few minutes to get there. Once he was outside the Vulcan's quarters, he pressed on the door chime.

T'Lar opened the door to find Captain Pearson standing in the corridor. "Captain, this is a surprise. Are you here to speak with Solok or myself?"

Pearson smiled. "Solok," he clarified for her.

The woman nodded. "Come in. He is tending to the few plants we have, and... Ah, he has finished." She stepped aside, allowing the Human access.

One of the first things that Eddie noticed when he stepped into their quarters was the temperature. It was like a wall struck him. Whilst it wasn't so hot that he couldn't handle it, there was a palpable difference in temperature compared to the rest of the ship. He looked around briefly. There wasn't much in the way of decor. The room was simple and practical, more or less the way he expected a Vulcan's quarters to be like.

Solok stood up and faced Pearson--he had heard him come in. Setting down the ceramic water pitcher he had been using, he saluted. "Captain, what may I do for you?"

"What kind of plant is it?" Eddie wondered, momentarily distracted by the vegetation as he'd never seen anything like it before. He walked past the Vulcan to look at it more closely.

"Redspice," replied Solok promptly. "I have been told it has a flavor like that of chai tea. I mix it with favinit"--he motioned to another plant with distinctive ovoid leaves--"for a distinctive tea blend. I will admit, it is both subtle and strong--T'Lar doesn't particularly care for it."

"Well," remarked the other from the chair she had taken, "there have been times..."

Solok quirked an eyebrow at her. "I don't think the Captain wants to hear about that, as... interesting as they are." He turned back to the human. "I apologize, Sir. I forget myself. How may I help you this afternoon?"

"It's okay," Eddie said as he smiled. "I came by because, well, I need a pretty big favor."

Solok cocked his head. "If it is within mine or T'Lar's power, we shall aid you."

"I was wondering if you might happen to have any books about Vulcan martial arts?" he asked.

Solok stared at him for a couple of seconds. "You don't seem the type to have taken an interest in our martial arts, Sir--no offense meant of course."

"None taken," Eddie replied. "And you would be right. I tend to rely on my ice hockey background when it comes to self defense. It's difficult for someone to hit you back when they have their shirt over their head. Actually, the book would be for Ensign Tia-Jai. I've been trying to come up with something for his Secret Santa present. He seems to have an interest in your people."

Solok nodded. "You are very lucky--it just so happens that we have something..."

T'Lar broke in. "Are you sure?"

"It breaks no code nor law; I am not a member of the Security Directorate any more, and my loyalty oath does not cover this." He went over to a somewhat precarious shelving unit and took down a thin book. He handed it to Pearson. "This is a handbook on some of the more common Vulcan martial arts, particularly those practiced by those the Security Directorate may have run into in their dealings with certain elements of Vulcan society. The ensign should find this most informative, and it will also improve his comprehension of our language. T'Lar may even want to test that knowledge, perhaps?" He shot a look at her, which she returned with a quizzical eyebrow.

Pearson accepted the book and flipped through some of the pages. He smiled and nodded, liking what had been given to him "This is exactly what I need," he told Solok. "I realize that it's impossible for me to get you a replacement right now but I promise that I will find a way to get you a new one once we're closer to home."

"Thank you, Sir. However, I doubt I will have need of it--it is an older copy, and the Vulcan government would be loath to part with it, despite warmer relations with Earth."

"Which is precisely why I asked if you were sure," said T'Lar. Solok gave her a look, then turned to Pearson. He hoped he was conveying his slight exasperation at her caring so much non-verbally--it was always difficult making humans see the little things that might give them a better emotional impression of his people.

"If it's going to be a problem, I can always find something else," Eddie told the two of them. "The last thing that I want is for Vulcan security to be pounding at my door." He wasn't really certain what he would get Yan as an alternative but he still had time to figure it out if need be.

Solok would have laughed were he human. "Hardly. I hope the book will help the Ensign to be a bit more relaxed. Also, if he wishes to test his skills, I would be happy to spar with him."

"I will let him know. Thank you for this. I owe you one," the Captain said.

"Don't mention it," responded Solok, using a human phrase he'd heard a few times. "And Captain... If Vulcan security ever had a problem with you or the Ensign having that book, they wouldn't pound on your door--they'd just shoot you." He desperately hoped the other man got the joke.

"Somehow that doesn't really surprise me," Pearson replied with a light chuckle and a shake of his head.

After thanking Solok and T'Lar one last time, Eddie departed from their quarters to return to his. All that remained for him to do was to put the data module and the book in a box and wrap it up. Then, he could finally give Yan his present. Despite the initial difficulties he'd had in coming up with either of them, he was confident that the Ensign would like them both. Even if he didn't for some reason, as was always the case with these types of activities, it is the thought that counts.


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