“Lady Starling,” the striking Betazoid man standing before the rear command chair of the Healer’s Hope said. “Welcome to your ship. I am Luvrudo Ka, your first mate. In the forward seat is Taimili Voit, our pilot. Your grandmother indicated that you would be bringing Starfleet personnel to fill other stations?”
Eden looked the man over. Tall – far moreso than her, almost as tall as her father, with dark Betazoid eyes and a firm demeanor. His clothing – the red coat, the boots of amphibian leather – marked him as a member of the nobility, if far lower in rank than Eden’s grandmother, and that he wore the circled songbird of House Starling on his right lapel and his own crest – twin serpents, silver and gold, dancing – on his left indicated that his house was in service to her own. The colors at the wrist of his coat, though, told her the proper address. “Sir Luvrudo, thank you for your welcome. I introduce Noelie Thibeau, who will lead my security detail, and Llira Ral, who will be operating the sensors.”
Ka’s eyes darkened, and behind the barriers he held in place frustration mounted. It took Eden a moment to place its source. “I apologize for any offense to the honor of the House Starling guard,” she said. “But this is a Starfleet operation, and the Cardassians have not authorized House Starling security to set foot on their worlds. When I return to the homeworld, of course our guard will take the lead in my protection.”
Ka nodded, seeming appeased, and a voice rose in Eden’s mind. Voit, at the helm. Supply transfer from Roosevelt is complete. We are prepared to depart.
Eden smiled across the room at Voit. She, too, wore a coat, though it was blue, with insignia matching Ka’s on the lapels. Part of his house, then, but not of the nobility. An honored commoner. “One favor. During this trip, I’d like bridge staff to speak aloud. Given that we have members of other species joining us, it’s only fair.” She took her seat. “Course for the Cardassian home system, maximum warp, at your convenience.”