tanithryudo: (IDIC)
[personal profile] tanithryudo
AN: Again, this is an omake fanfic of a Quest (fanfic) called To Boldly Go, based primarily on Star Trek.

Both this and the previous segment takes place in early 2318.Q1. Betazoids and Caitians are both canon species.

The Academy by the Bay (2)

The great hunter stalked its unwary prey, slinking smoothly on silent steps, through the cold jungles of steel--er, transparent aluminum--and the bustle of student bodies...ok, that metaphor was getting away from him.

“Hoi, Oichi!”


Yeoman Oizzizuichi jumped at the sudden shout next to zir ear, and whirled around to see the grinning face of zir friend, Petty Officer Eishr K’Kumarr.

“Eishr! What was that for?” the frazzled Apiata rating demanded, sounding more aggrieved than affronted.

“Oh, nothing,” K’Kumarr waved airily. “It’s just been a while since I’ve seen you around. Is our new high lord such a harsh taskmaster?”

It took the Apiatan a moment to translate the flowery masculine reference. “Of course not! Admiral Thuir is an accomplished and venerable leader. There’s just a lot of administrative work involved in a big change like this.”

“‘Venerable?’” K’Kumarr snickered. “You didn’t say that in his hearing, did you?”

“No?” Oizzizuichi tilted zir head in confusion. “Why? Isn’t that a compliment?”

“Technically, but--” K’Kumarr paused to grasp for words, “--well, let’s just say he’s probably not old enough enjoy the reference. He’s not that old for humans.”

“Ah, I suppose,” Oizzizuichi mused, nodding, before returning the conversation to its original tracks. “Why were you looking for me? Shouldn’t you be busy too?”

“Nya, don’t remind me!” K’Kumarr veritably sulked at the reminder of his current position as basically the handyman of the senior cadet dormitory. A thankless task, according to him, full of witless, negligent slobs, concerned only with pretentious posturing and irrational--

“I get the point,” Oizzizuichi interrupted quickly as the speech threatened to go on and on, and zir eyes threatened to glaze over. Zie awkwardly patted the much shorter Caitian on the head in consolation. “Well, your punishment detail is only a year, Eishr...two at most.”

“Nyaaa-but it’s torture!” K’Kumarr moaned melodramatically. “I never should’ve let Terry talk me into helping out that self-proclaimed Blue Squad science themselves into trouble. I could be assigned to Utopia Planitia right now!”

“Terry?” Oizzizuichi mumbled in confusion. “Wasn’t his name Tom?”

“--Or shipping out on the USS Opportunity!” K’Kumarr continued his rant.

“The crew of the Opportunity was already picked out last year,” a sudden voice broke in from the two noncoms, this time startling both.

“Lt. Fujei, sir,” Oizzizuichi politely greeted the Betazoid, one of several counsellors who looked after the mental health of the student body of the Academy.

“Kya! Xuusuk, don’t do that!” K’Kumarr, on the other hand, greeted his friend with an affected look of shock.

“Saa, I’m off duty right now, so just Xuusuk will do, Yeoman,” Fujei replied to the Apiatan with his ever-present half-smile. “After all, I was but a humble cadet recently too.”

“You technical specialists and your cheating rank skips,” K’Kumarr mumbled under his breath. Not quietly enough, unfortunately.

Fujei promptly proceeded to pinch the Caitian playfully on one twitching ear. “What’s that, oh unprofessional one?”

“Perhaps that is another reason he has been assigned to his current position.” Oizzizuichi tittered at K’Kurmarr’s look of mock outrage as the Caitian ducked his head away from Fujei’s reach. “But as we are apparently all off duty now, I suppose you may also refer to me by the nickname Eishr here has given me.”

“I’d like to think I have better manners than that, Oizzizuichi,” replied Fujei, who then made a come-hither motion with his hands. “For instance, we are blocking the path, gentle-beings.”

Chagrined, the two noncoms quickly followed him away from the busy hub and corridors of the main administration building. It wasn’t until the traffic around them had died down that Fujei restarted the conversation.

“You’re off pretty early today, Oizzizuichi. Admiral Thuir is as typical a workaholic as a man married to the Fleet can get. I wouldn’t be surprised if he works longer than you even on normal days.”

“Ha, you would be correct, sir,” Oizzizuichi affirmed. “But tonight he will be attending... ‘not a party’, a dining event in the city. My assistance isn’t needed.”

“Hm...a party that’s not a party, and not a Starfleet event if you’re not needed…” Fujei tilted his head in thought.

“Is this a riddle?” K’Kumarr piped up. “I’m going to guess...a date!”

“Ah, would that it was,” Oizzizuichi lamented. “I think the Admiral would make for a good parent, insofar as among you presocials.”

“In that case, I would guess...something political,” Fujei stated with certainty. He grinned at Oizzizuichi’s suspicious look. “No, I’m not reading that from your mind. But I did see some interesting news on the Pacifist Party newsfeed.”

“Xuusuk, you subscribe to Pacifist feeds? But I thought you vote Expansionist!” K’Kumarr looked over at his friend in confusion. “Wait, Admiral Thuir is Pacifist? One of the heroes of the Arcadian War?” The Caitian now honestly looked like the sky had fallen and everything was upside down.

“I doubt he is,” Oizzizuichi assured him in between another tittering laugh, “but his former first officer, Langa Mbeki might be. They still keep in regular contact even though the commodore has left the Fleet, and the admiral received an invitation from him recently.”

“I saw Mbeki’s name on the special guests announcement for the Party convention at The Garden Court tonight,” Fujei revealed. “I’d guess he’s going to be endorsing Trina Bettelheim’s candidacy for the upcoming elections. It would be a big boost for her against Langford.”

K’Kumarr had already pulled his personal padd out, and was quickly placing a search for the event and venue. He whistled when information and pictures began to pop up. The other two leaned in to look as well.

“Classy place,” Fujei noted wistfully. “Almost makes me wish I voted Pacifist.”

Oizzizuichi looked up from zir speed-reading of the convention details. “Ah...I guess my assumption was wrong that Commodore Mbeki was going to run for Earth councilor.”

“Oh, he is going to need a lot more than just one high profile win with the Caldonians if he’s going to run for Earth,” Fujei remarked. “At the heart of the Federation, there’s a lot more scrutiny of the candidates, and more picky voters.”

“If you say so sir,” Oizzizuichi sighed. “I still find non-Apiatan politics to be quite opaque.”

Fujei shrugged. “If he does want to become an Earth councilor, he’d be better served running for United Earth parliament now.”

“You know what he could also do though?” K’Kumarr spoke up. “He should run for Caldonia.” He grinned at the confused looks on both of his friends’ faces. “Or their major colony...Lomay something?”

“Lomay II,” Oizzizuichi supplied absently. Then, zie hesitantly added, “but...the Commodore is not a Caldonian, nor does he have residence on any Caldonian world.”

“So? There’s no rule against that, as long as it’s a fair vote, right?” K’Kumarr challenged.

“I...can’t recall any such rule on the Federation books,” Fujei replied slowly, “but that doesn’t mean the Caldonians might not have any such rules.”

“Eh, they haven’t ratified yet, so by definition they can’t have any rules yet about electing a Federation councilor,” K’Kumarr said airly. “They love him there, and they can absolutely be sure he’d work on their behalf at the Council.”

Oizzizuichi stared at the proud Caitian for a long moment, before shaking zir head in resignation. “I give up. I don’t understand non-Apiatan politics at all.”

Fujei snorted. “He’s just having a joke on us, Oizzizuichi. Don’t listen to him. The Caldonians value scientific credentials in their governance. Even if they love Commodore Mbeki, they wouldn’t vote for him.”

K’Kumarr stuck his tongue out at the telepath for spoiling his joke, then quickly ducked out of the way of another incoming pinch to his ears.

“All right, all right! I give!” He called as he hid behind the taller Oizzizuichi for protection, then firmly changed the subject. “Where are you taking us anyway?”

“Oh? Have you forgotten already, Eishr?” Fujei teased even as he led them into one of the staff-only break rooms. “Your mind has been nattering on about it non-stop for a week now.” So saying, he retrieved a large flat box from the refrigeration unit that was used to hold temporary and unfinished food items for the Academy staff.

“What--Oh!” K’Kumarr perked up when he saw the ‘Benkyodo’ label on the box. “You didn’t! You did!”

“What is it?” asked Oizzizuichi curiously as Fujei lifted the lid to reveal neat rows of small pale colored mounds.

K’Kumarr scooped up a pinkish mound and waved it in front of the Apiatan’s eyes. “This, my friend, is the strawberry manju - an ancient delicacy of this region.” With that, he promptly bit the confection in half, then tilted his hand to reveal the bright red fruit within the pastry. “Obsherve!”

“Please don’t talk with your mouth full,” Oizzizuichi lectured him automatically, before picking up another piece of dessert. Zie curiously squished it once to get a feel of the soft texture, before taking a cautious bite. “Hmm!”

“Good, isn’t it.” Fujei spoke his thoughts aloud with a light chuckle. “The shop it comes from has been around since before all of Earth’s world wars.” He then picked out one of the darker shaded sweets. “Try this one. It’s got an uttaberry center.”

As Oizzizuichi did just that, K’Kumarr picked up another strawberry piece.

“I still like the strawberry ones the best, but isn’t uttaberry a Betazoid fruit?” the Caitian asked before popping the confection into his mouth.

“It is,” Fujei confirmed. “And before you ask -- with your mouth full again -- apparently they come from a group of agridomes up in Napa that specialize in growing non-native food plants. Strictly controlled to avoid contaminating the local ecology, of course, and there are some things that taste just slightly different in alien soil, but it’s still a small taste of home.”

“Oh?” Oizzizuichi began to examine the rest of the box in interest. “Do they have anything from Apiata?” Zie paused. “Or, ah, Caitian?”

“The only other non-Earth fruits I recognized on their menu were gespar and icoberry.” Fujei shrugged. “I prefer the Earth flavors myself, especially dipped in wasabi.”

The other two stopped to stare at him in disbelief, having had bad experiences with the sushi condiment before themselves. They didn’t see any signs that Fujei was joking.

“Your tastes are weird, Xuusuk,” K’Kumarr announced what both noncoms were thinking.

“So they all tell me,” the Betazoid admitted easily enough. “But anyways, even if they don’t have plants from the newer Federation members, they probably will in the future. Humans are predictable that way.”

“You should check the shop out yourself, Oichi” K’Kumarr offered, pulling up the details of the shop in question on his padd before handing it over.

“Thank you,” Oizzizuichi told him, already memorizing the information even as zie forwarded it to zir own padd. “I’ll want to bring some of these back to the embassy. The queens will love these.”

(no subject)

Date: 2017-08-23 04:13 pm (UTC)
cashew: Sumomo acting like Sumomo (Default)
From: [personal profile] cashew
So, I didn't comment on the science in the google doc you sent me, but I figured I'd comment here a little bit:

I don't know how Star Trek handles the eusocial concept, but here's how it works, biologically, on earth with respect to the concept of gender vs. sex.

Firstly, sex and gender are two different things altogether. Sex refers to the biological make up of the organism, which falls into male, female, hermaphrodite, and inter-sex. Male and female obviously refers to the carriers of sperm or egg. Hermaphrodite refers to carrying both sperm and egg, which many sexually reproducing species evolve into thus increasing their reproductive success. (Needless to say, in a non-sexually reproducing species, the sex is a non-issue.) Then there's the intersexed individuals whose genetic make up says one sex, but their hormonal make up says another, causing the body to sort of be both and neither at the same time. Intersexed individuals are also never fertile and cannot (naturally) produce offspring through normal sexual intercourse (however that form takes).

Meanwhile, gender is the psychological identity of the individual, independent of the biological sex. Gender identity can be male, female, agendered, or queer. In the case of male and female, pretty straight forward. Agendered individuals do not identify as having a gender, or in other words, would identify the gender category as Null. Queer identity is anything that doesn't quite fall under the previously mentioned three, many of whom identify as gender-fluid, as in, identifies themselves as something between a male and female.

Second, the use of neutral gender pronouns, such as zir, hir, etc, stemmed from the gender queer community that doesn't identify with either him or her. As such, the use of these words signify a neutral gender identity, not sex category. Biological sex category is pretty hard coded and not nearly as debatable (either you carry eggs, sperm, both, or none).

Third, in terms of eusocial species (which we think of as hive-based insects, although some have argued the naked mole rat is a mammalian example) it is kind of weird, to me, that they use gender-neutral pronouns when there's no indication that there's a wide-spread gender neutral-ness. What I mean is this: yes, although the workers cannot breed and are thus rendered reproductively neutral, they are nonetheless distinctly female in terms of biological sex. Meanwhile, drones are fertile and inseminate the queen and carry sperm, and are biologically unquestionably male. There's no reason to believe that there will be gender identity politics when the reproductive roles are so clearly defined. Hell, one can argue that they probably have less gender identity dysphoria due to the fact that the society is so much more rigidly defined by their reproductive roles. As such, it doesn't seem to make much sense for these races to use gender neutral pronouns.

Now, a hermaphroditic species probably will have much more gender identity sensitivity, due to the fact that the reproductive roles are less defined and thus the psychological effect of gender identity will probably play a much bigger effect.

/two cents

(no subject)

Date: 2017-08-23 09:57 pm (UTC)
cashew: Sumomo acting like Sumomo (Default)
From: [personal profile] cashew
Well, I know, but usually the choice to pick a gender neutral pronoun is a political point more than a scientific one. Of course, I'm not sure what kind of point they're trying to make. Also, drones are definitely male...and also sex-bots, so...what exactly are they trying to say again? (On the other hand, making male drones effectively eye candy is a political stance that I'm surprised the show didn't take, given Trek's history of fairly progressive politics. Just imagine, wouldn't it be cool if you have a eusocial species that treated males as sex-bots, since their only job is to make babies, and they're useless outside of that one role? Wouldn't that have said something interesting about gender roles?)

I think my point is that Hollywood missed a chance to make a real statement, and the use of gender neutral pronouns was kind of tacked on, instead of a more deliberate choice, which is kind of a shame. We could use a little more female gaze in our entertainment.

(no subject)

Date: 2017-08-24 03:41 pm (UTC)
cashew: Sumomo acting like Sumomo (Default)
From: [personal profile] cashew

I recommend you, as an omake writer, take the Apiata and do something cool with it, like making drones the sex-bots. *fluttery eyes at you*

Well, the thing is yeah, Trek had limits, but it seems to be more studio side than writer side. That's why I was kinda surprised they didn't go further when it came to the writing. :p But since the stuff isn't canon, that makes a lot more sense. Silly kids.

(no subject)

Date: 2017-08-24 03:57 pm (UTC)
cashew: Sumomo acting like Sumomo (Default)
From: [personal profile] cashew
Well, you don't have to be explicit about it. Just brief mention of how odd it is that a drone is in the academy, given their only real social role is reproduction and nothing else. Like, literally they are not able to do anything other than breeding biologically. (I think it's really the sheer misunderstanding of eusociality that makes me go hga;lhgf;adlhfld;asjf *keyboardsmash*.)

Well, you keep struggling and I'll happily help proofread whatever you finish if you want a proofreader. Currently working on editing my dad's writing (PAIN!), so y'know, I'm definitely in proofreading mode.

(no subject)

Date: 2017-08-24 06:06 pm (UTC)
cashew: Sumomo acting like Sumomo (Default)
From: [personal profile] cashew
But sex-bot has that certain ring... Much more obvious and makes more sense than the gender-neutral pronoun. Especially since the gender-neutral pronoun makes it sounds like that they aren't involved with reproduction.

(no subject)

Date: 2017-08-24 09:53 pm (UTC)
cashew: Sumomo acting like Sumomo (Default)
From: [personal profile] cashew
Eh, guess without the Quest background, the gender-neutral pronouns sounds more tacked on and less thought out.
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