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Topic: Day 13 [0900 hrs.] Silent Complicity (Read 75 times) previous topic - next topic

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Day 13 [0900 hrs.] Silent Complicity

DAY 13 [0900 hrs.] SILENT COMPLICITY


STARDATE 57588.8
MARCH 23, 2381
0900 HRS.

[ Lieutenant ThanIda zh'Wann | XO Ready Room | Deck 01 | Vector 01 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @Top Hat 
[Show/Hide]
With her jaw set, Ida walked down the corridor towards the XO Ready Room, a PADD in her hand - the meeting request approved the night before. It was not the first time she'd been in that particular office - having spoken with Commander Rez one morning which seemed so long ago - and she wasn't sure which of the two meetings would be worse. Either way, she would not shirk her duties, and she was compelled to make the request to Commander Ducote because of what she'd found.

Ducote's predecessor, Edena Rez, had summoned her because of the events preceding the Niga incident, and as much as Ida had expected punishment for her loyalty to the crew and the protection of them - having believed that Rez was a threat to the mission - Edena had understood her motivations and had decided against disciplinary actions. After that, one thing had led to another, and the two of them had ended up being intimate down on Theta Eridani IV - the heat of the night at the thermal springs getting to them. Unfortunately, a couple of weeks later, it turned out Ida's initial judgement of Rez had proven true. With the help from the Infested Chief Medical Officer, one of the Rez symbiont's former hosts had taken over Edena's body, and compromised the mission at Starbase 84.

Knowing this, Ida was unsure what her findings and her take on Commander Ducote might portend.

She ran her hand through her white hair and took a deep breath, before chiming the door to the Theurgy's First Officer. Once she'd heard the call to enter, she stepped through the sliding doors, finding the pinkskin mind-reader inside. He struck her as someone completely different from his other predecessor - the late Carrigan Trent - and she thought it might be for the better. While an efficient task master, Ida had partaken in the events preceding the attempted Borg invasion, and had found Trent's motivations and attitude towards the mission reprehensible. He'd served the ship well on many occasions, but it appeared to Ida that the man had never really forgiven himself for the fate of the USS Harrier. As the reports went, Trent had initiated a combat with the Jem'Hadar, only to fall into a well-planned ambush. In a matter of eight and a quarter minutes from entering effective weapons range, the Harrier was adrift and venting atmosphere; a broken husk. The man had even chosen to leave his old-model prosthetics bare from synth-flesh. As a reminder, rumours had it.

"Commander, my gratitude for making the time to see me," she said levelly, willing to keep her antennae still. Half his iron-based blood being from Betazoids, he didn't need to interpret her she conducted herself. He would likely already guess why she'd come, lest her thoughts already betrayed her. She decided to bring up something entirely else first, which might and mightn't reflect on her decision. She came to stand at some distance from the desk, the PADD loosely held at her side still.

"Also, my congratulations on a successful overtaking of Commander Trent's responsibilities," she commented quietly with her back straight. With a small frown, she glanced out the viewport as she continued. "By Lor'Vela I can but imagine what manner of challenge this ship ought to be, given what the faceted crew has been through. From what I pick up in my duties, sir, you are doing very well, regardless the challenge."

Looking back, she let the silence linger, as if in silent query if the Commander knew why she'd come.

Re: Day 13 [0900 hrs.] Silent Complicity
Reply #1
[ Cmdr Ranaan Ducote | XO's Ready Room | Deck 01 | Vector 01 | USS Theurgy ] attn: @Auctor Lucan

Ducote sat in his empty office, for all appearances as bare as it had been when the ship had slipped from dock over Mars. He had never cared to decorate this sort of space on any post he'd filled, partly because he hated sitting in one place (for more than one reason) and partly because he preferred things to be stark and impersonal if he used it for his preferred purpose, which was official dressings-down. Not that he'd been around here long enough for that to be known, really. There had been some friction during the layover, but nothing that had been punted as far as his link in the chain of command. Just the way he liked it. They're blowing off steam and not causing trouble.

So he whiled away the short time he had left himself with by reading a few reports, having arrived a little early for the meeting. Given who had requested it, and that it had been set away from most other people, left a rather short list of potential subjects, to his mind. But he'd remain open; Ida hadn't actually nominated a subject for the meeting.

He was sipping his coffee when the door chime sounded. "Enter," he called, and placed his mug on the desk before him. A knife of ochre light cut across the room as the dusty crescent of Aldea rose into view in the porthole to his left - the dockyards' orbit giving them another spectacular vista. The Andorian came to rest in front of his desk, ramrod straight... not even her antennae outwardly betraying her emotions. Ducote studied all this. He had a private thought that she was probably able to be silent in five languages.

It would take a minute to 'tune in' his empathy anyway. He spent it listening in sceptical quietude to her opener, though he kept his face neutral.

"... From what I pick up in my duties, sir, you are doing very well, regardless the challenge."

The XO let out half a breath, then picked up his coffee again to sip. He wasn't sure what to do with that, in truth. His therapist had often said in their meetings that it was okay to let people say nice things to him now and again. He could even hear Hadiya's voice saying those exact words right now. But even if this particular spiel was genuine, he suspected it was but a smokescreen regardless. A way to get him to drop his guard. Interesting that his subconscious had already made him frame it that way, really.

"Help yourself to the replicator if you'd like, and take a seat, Lieutenant."

With his other hand, he blanked his PADD and pushed it to one side, before setting the mug down and leaning forward onto the desk. His weathered hands clasped, the rosewood of his ring standing out against his skin, and his black eyes regarded Ida across the surface.

"You didn't call me to my office rather than to the Centre or on your rounds so you could blow smoke up my ass, Deputy. What's wrong?"
  • Last Edit: January 30, 2020, 09:59:06 PM by Top Hat
Nator 159: "I accept no responsibility for the ensign's manifest stupidity. Sir." [Show/Hide]
Ranaan Ducote: "A ship is a home; its crew a family." [Show/Hide]
Evoras: "Your odds of prevailing against us are... slim." [Show/Hide]
Valkra: "Come! We will shake the gates of Sto'Vo'Kor!" [Show/Hide]

Re: Day 13 [0900 hrs.] Silent Complicity
Reply #2
[ Lieutenant ThanIda zh'Wann | XO Ready Room | Deck 01 | Vector 01 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @Top Hat 
[Show/Hide]
Unsure what kind of impression she'd made on the Commander, Ida had to remind herself that Ranaan Ducote mightn't have understood where she was coming from, and what to expect when it came to her candour. His comment made her chuckle a little in mirth, but not in a judgemental way. She was quite surprised that she had the reaction herself, in all honesty, given the gravity of the matter at hand. Perhaps it was some kind of subconscious defence mechanism to see humour and enjoy it... right before having to deal with an issue like the one on her PADD. Then again, perhaps it was just Ducote's deadpan delivery of the pinkskin saying that got to her.

"Oh, I assure you, Commander, I am a woman of cold truths rather than wispy smoke."

Having made that affirmation, the true purpose of the meeting seemed unavoidable. Apt, really, since she couldn't quite see how her findings were circumstantial. She'd be very surprised if there were smoke and mirrors that could explain the evidence she'd brought. She had interest in neither drinks nor sitting down, having declined with a minimal shake of her head. Instead, she lifted her PADD, unlocked it, and set it down on the desktop between them. The sound of the metal against the desk seemed louder than it ought to be, and she quietly folded her hands behind her back - shoulders squared. Her question would, perhaps, seem evident given what the internal sensor readings said on the screen.

"I have yet to submit any report of this matter, sir, coming to you first," she said quietly, without accusation in her stare. She kept her face impassive, her antennae angled forth like adders, but she hoped her addendum would serve to settle any upset nerves on the Commander's behalf.

"All I am asking... is if you've told Captain Ives, and if you've done so, if the egg she carried was mentioned as well?" she said, thinking that Ducote likely knew whom the other parents to the egg were. "For the way I see it... our child's future might have been motivation enough to have Shar's departure sanctioned by the Captain, rather than ending up the deserter she turned out to be at the meeting yesterday."

Ida was not prepared to carry the child to term, her duties making her unfit to be pregnant and she wasn't prepared to beget a child of rape to begin with... but that didn't suggest she was completely without feelings towards Shar and the egg. Having heard of Shar's fate, she was angry, and wanted to set the record straight, and keep the shen from a court-martial. She was firmly in the understanding that her lost bondmate had sabotaged the Versant in fear of what that ship might do to the Theurgy once they got off that bug-like dreadnought. Just because the Savi had presented an olive branch didn't suggest they'd been any less of a threat back when Shar did what she did. And frankly, Ida couldn't give any less shelat about this Old Code of theirs.

"You've already helped her, so please tell me, sir, that you won't abandon her now."

Shar and the unborn didn't deserve this, especially since a court martial would happen at the request of the Savi.

Re: Day 13 [0900 hrs.] Silent Complicity
Reply #3
[ Cmdr Ranaan Ducote | XO's Ready Room | Deck 01 | Vector 01 | USS Theurgy ] attn: @Auctor Lucan 

"Oh, I assure you, Commander, I am a woman of cold truths rather than wispy smoke."

Ducote wasn't sure what to make of that, either. Perhaps it was his own cynicism, or constant self-recrimination... perhaps it was just the fact that she had called him to his own office, a space wherein he would usually be chewing someone out for a disciplinary issue under any normal circumstances and staying far away from the room otherwise... but had little time for the compliments in this context. If you want a meeting, stay on point and get to it as soon as possible. Don't waste time with flattery when that isn't what you're here for.

Perhaps it was the fact that she hadn't sat down when he told her to. It hadn't been an invitation.

A small thing to get annoyed about, he conceded. Not worth making a point of, anyway. Certainly, none of the above annoyances reached his face apart from a small movement in his jaw before he took another sip of coffee.

The hybrid reached for the PADD with his other hand as Ida pushed it towards him. It was a security log, timed the night of Shar's departure, with his and her combadge transponder codes clearly identified in close proximity for some minutes. He'd been correct in his assumption, then. He sat back, cradling his mug in his lap, and studied the blue-skinned woman still stubbornly refusing to sit with him on level terms.

"All I am asking... is if you've told Captain Ives, and if you've done so, if the egg she carried was mentioned as well? For the way I see it... our child's future might have been motivation enough to have Shar's departure sanctioned by the Captain, rather than ending up the deserter she turned out to be at the meeting yesterday."

Ducote's eyes closed for a second at that, and he nodded, his face forming a silent 'Ah' of understanding. And understanding washed away the background irritation at the opening of the meeting.

"You've already helped her, so please tell me, sir, that you won't abandon her now."

He leaned forward again just far enough to deposit the coffee on the edge of his desk, and then sat back again. "I haven't told the Captain, no. Nor will I, but for the briefest amount of detail that plausibility will allow. Shar is AWOL. That's all she is. I couldn't give her leave to depart, because she didn't ask for it. What I did was not stop her."

The dark-eyed XO gestured to the chairs in front of his desk again, indicating that she sit at last. It was important that they be here as equals as far as possible, because he wanted Ida's understanding, not her compliance.

"Shar... has always pulled away from people," he began, the gravel of his voice scattering over the desk. He had no idea how well the forced group had gotten to know each other during their ordeal, but he figured he may as well start at the beginning. "God knows she's a gifted officer, but if there's a more slippery person to get a hold of I've yet to meet them. I remember having to site-to-site her into sickbay on the Endeavour - with warning, at least - because she'd ducked out of her physical for so long that Ayden was threatening to send out a security team to bring her in.

"After what happened on the Versant, I tried to get in touch with as many of... what I thought of at the time as 'my people' - separate from the Theurgy crew - as possible... she was the only one who wouldn't even answer me. I respected that, and left her to it. She and Commander Tiran had some dispute... I suspect she thought I wouldn't be fair with her because of our relationship. Then the disaster with the ensign in your... well, in the bond-group, and I tried again. Only Shall saw me, and I still had to chase him for it.

"Perhaps I should have spared more time. Or site-to-site'd her again," he ruefully half-joked. "Maybe I could have persuaded her. I can say with confidence that we'd have enjoyed her skills during the overhaul. But I didn't." Whatever guilt he might feel or second-guesses he could make there went unexpressed.

He glanced out of the porthole briefly, before looking back at the staring Andorian. "My point is that she is capable and resourceful, and fully intends to get the viable egg back to Andoria. A potentially-cool welcome stemming from her history with the Guard notwithstanding, she'll make sure that that stasis unit is protected and delivered to the right people. As far as anyone back there knows, she's still from the Endeavour. It won't be hard for her to hide, if she has to. It's a risk, yes. But I have faith in her," he stated. And, unsaid, better than having her here wishing she weren't; even if she never said anything aloud to anyone (likely) it would still be deleterious to morale around her over time.

"As for the Savi-" he cleared his throat to forestall any particular comment he might make about them specifically, "Even if she gets court-martialled for her action, it'll be a short one. The Savi were an implacable enemy at the time of her sabotage, and she did it to protect her incidental allies from those that had so harmed them, and might have every opportunity to do so again in future with no concrete guarantee of cease-fire. As the contact yesterday so eloquently proved, Shar didn't even go far enough to form her own guarantee. So, yes - say she does go to the tribunal, down the line. A big 'if', in several ways. There would be a far-better-than-even chance she is absolved, or given a slap on the wrist, and that's that.

"I don't care what agreement is made; no one but Starfleet decides who gets a court-martial on one of their own ships."
Nator 159: "I accept no responsibility for the ensign's manifest stupidity. Sir." [Show/Hide]
Ranaan Ducote: "A ship is a home; its crew a family." [Show/Hide]
Evoras: "Your odds of prevailing against us are... slim." [Show/Hide]
Valkra: "Come! We will shake the gates of Sto'Vo'Kor!" [Show/Hide]

Re: Day 13 [0900 hrs.] Silent Complicity
Reply #4
[ Lieutenant ThanIda zh'Wann | XO Ready Room | Deck 01 | Vector 01 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @Top Hat 
[Show/Hide]
At the insistence of her sitting down, Ida complied in stride, lowering herself down in the seat and yet remaining upright - shoulders squared and chin raised even though she rested her forearms on the armrests. A past member of the Guard and devoted to the protection of the crew, she knew she might be considered a soldier more than anything, but it was actually a relaxed posture for her. The matter at hand certainly didn't invite for slouching, though. This was no off-duty conversation about trivial topics. Her antennae moved minutely as she studied the Commander across from her - blue eyes scrying for uncertainties of evasions.

Gradually, whilst the halfblood mindreader spoke, Ida's fears were somewhat allayed - hearing not just how letting Shar go had come from the best of intentions. No, the Commander also spoke of the possibility of a trial for what she did, and his sentiment reflected her own in a pristine way; how regardless the amount of hurt they had suffered - emotionally and otherwise - Shar's intentions hadn't solely come from a place of retribution.

No, though Ida didn't know Shar very well at all, they were both of the Guard. As past Guardsmen, the motivation had been to shield others from the same hurt that they had suffered from the Savi. What kind of Andorians would they be if they'd let others suffer the same fate? Ida, for certain, had been sure that the Savi would have come after them with everything they got after they'd commandeered the bridge on the Versant. It had surprised her, and it still did, that their tormentors had refrained from firing at them whilst they were in drydock. It suggested that the Voice was a man of his word when he'd spoken to that away team, but Ida would be the last to accept that as fact.

"Indeed, if we all make it through this, Starfleet will make decisions for us all, not just in regard to Shar," she commented after the First Officer fell silent. She leaned back a little, not in acceptance, but in bitter contemplation. She ran what had been said through her head, and looked up at the Commander again. "My request still stands, sir. You have already illustrated how well you know her, and where she comes from. I do not suggest that you wont, but I am telling you... that I will fight for her, and stand witness at any trial that address her actions on the Versant. By Lor'Vela, if Starfleet wish to pry into what they made us do in that observation pen, I will leave nothing unsaid if it will help her remain free and able to resume her duties... should she so wish one day."

The quiet undercurrent of vehemence in her tone wasn't directed at anyone but the Savi. Sehl bore blame for the aftermath of the nightmare they'd shared, but right then, Ida's focus was entirely on the injustice towards Shar. No, she would not dwell on the second violation that she'd suffered, for she'd been through worse before then - not even counting the Versant. She shared Commander Ducote's sentiment in regard to the agreement with her captors, about this deal that would grant them benefits for the mission still ahead of them. She saw the advantages, of course, but it irked he to no end that they were about to rely on a species like the Savi in order to do what they must.

"I came here merely in hope that Shar won't be on her own in any tribunal to come," she said, almost halcyon in the wake of her quiet insistence. As if drained of emotion, almost Vulcan in her certitude. "Judging by your words... I am relieved in my assumption that I won't stand next to her alone."

Her blue eyes fell to the PADD that rested on the desk. It represented the weight of her duties, and in regard of her findings, seeing it lying there... it felt like she'd already cast it off. It went against her nature to turn a blind eye to something like it, but the Commander had offered a valid point. Shar would have left without his aid, and he had merely not stopped her. She looked up again, unblinking as she stared at the Commander. She'd already left the decision to him when she put those internal sensor readings on his desk.

"While I hope you don't think less of my conduct in saying so, I don't care if you choose to speak with Captain Ives of this matter or not, for as far as I am concerned, it is already out of my hands. The data is solely on that PADD." Frowning, Ida glanced out the viewport. "Yet nor do I know what might happen if this becomes known later on... The chameloid has endured much, ranging from betrayal to mutiny. Persecution and torment. I cannot foresee the reaction to something like this."

She turned back to Ducote, a grim expression on her face. She really hoped Ives would see the reason in letting someone like Shar go, given the circumstances. Surely s/he would? A word of caution seemed appropriate, nonetheless. "I have let hir down before, all in favour of the mission and the protection of the crew, and while I have regained good standing through my efforts and resolve, sir, I do know that the Captain can be unforgiving."
  • Last Edit: February 14, 2020, 09:05:44 PM by Auctor Lucan

Re: Day 13 [0900 hrs.] Silent Complicity
Reply #5
[ Cmdr Ranaan Ducote | XO's Ready Room | Deck 01 | Vector 01 | USS Theurgy ] attn: @Auctor Lucan 

Ducote listened, in both ways available to him, as Ida said her piece in turn. It appeared they'd both misunderstood each other at least a little, but the meeting was having a welcome side-effect in that regard. The more people trusted him to have their backs and ensure their best interests were pursued, the easier his life would become.  Likewise, the more people he could get a good read on would make interacting with them all the smoother going forward. 

Though he did wonder what sort of officer she thought he must be. They'd only known each other a few weeks now, and his embarkation to the ship had been... fraught. And given this ship's apparent record with first officers, he couldn't really blame her caution.

"... I am relieved in my assumption that I won't stand next to her alone."

The hybrid cocked his head slightly at that, the faintest smirk tugging at the corner of his mouth. Of course, what was axiomatic to him was less-obvious to those outside. "Of course, Lieutenant. I haven't abandoned a crew yet, and I don't intend to start."

He took a moment to drink more of his coffee - now cooled to that perfect temperature that tempted the drinker to drain the mug entirely. He resisted; coffee was its own reward and bore savouring. Ida filled the silence with a clear implicit offer to simply delete the log and bury the event. Aside from Shar herself, the only two others who knew where she had gone were in this room. There was the accompanying question of what Ives might do when s/he found out, of course... but Ducote was no stranger to uncompromising COs. However much he (and several others on the Endeavour crew) owed Captain Amasov for giving them a chance, he still had some very strong ideas on what constituted proper conduct. It was part of the reason Blue had spent so many nights in the brig for an officer not actually in a stockade, for instance.

Nevertheless, he thought for a moment. What did he actually want to do, here? There was every chance Ives would agree that Shar's departure had merit, her unconventional departure notwithstanding. But at the same time, she had done nothing but pull away from everyone since the escape from the Endeavour (and, honestly, a little before that, too). She therefore was far less a Theurgy concern, and far more an Endeavour one.

She's one of mine.

Ducote finished his coffee, and set the mug down on the desk with a satisfied sigh.

"You leave the captain to me, Deputy," he said. The PADD sat undisturbed on the table between them. His black eyes met hers, then he nodded - decision made. "Dismissed."
Nator 159: "I accept no responsibility for the ensign's manifest stupidity. Sir." [Show/Hide]
Ranaan Ducote: "A ship is a home; its crew a family." [Show/Hide]
Evoras: "Your odds of prevailing against us are... slim." [Show/Hide]
Valkra: "Come! We will shake the gates of Sto'Vo'Kor!" [Show/Hide]