NCC - 81102
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Just A Friendly Conversation

Posted on Sun Jul 12th, 2020 @ 5:55am by Lieutenant JG Cassandra Thorn PhD & Lieutenant Commander Bear Jasper

Mission: Mission 0: Prologue
Location: Observation Lounge
Timeline: Mission O: Prologue

Bear had remained steadfastly standing in the room as people left in an orderly fashion. He stepped before the dark haired counselor and prevented her from easily leaving the room, not by any mission to threaten, but simply to detain her for a private chat. Thorn had been particularly forthright in asking questions during the briefing, and Bear was intrigued to know more, from her professional point of view.

"Lt Thorn," he stated rather than asked. "Spare me a few minutes." That wasn't a question either, but Bear didn't push or press that initial request as his pair of dark eyes met her emerald pair.

"I prefer Docter, or just Cassie or Cass." The small woman smiled brightly at him. "I'm not' needed' anywhere a' th' moment, so I'm all yers, wha''s up?"

"Okay, sure," noted Bear out loud. He tried the names out in his head and settled quickly. "Cass." Bear said. "Bear," he added, as he pointed to himself and mustered up a brief, but warm grin.

"You seem good at asking intelligent questions," he continued then, his tone implying that this observation was definitely a compliment. "And as a counselor I figure you're skilled at reading people, understanding their motivations and such."

Stood to reason since Tau had assembled a crew he considered to be the best hope of retrieving Kaz, hadn't he?

"I'd like to discuss such matters in relation to both our present allies and our quarry," Bear suggested.

Cassandra nodded, observing the man. "Go on. Yeh obviously 'ave an observation of yer own ter share."

Bear nodded. She'd passed it back onto him, and he'd noticed, but that was okay. He didn't have anything to hide. "Well, Cass," Bear said. "I noticed that the Admiral put a crew together than he thought would get the job done, but didn't tell everyone the details. I can already see the Captain and his XO are having issues. Did you get a briefing up front on the staff or are you figuring everyone else out on the fly, same as me?"

"I've read the briefs an' personnel profiles, aye." Cass nodded. "Profiles an' briefs only tell yeh so much though." She said, gesturing with her hands as she spoke. "Yeh can 'ave an idea o' 'ow people will gel t'geth'r, but' circumstances usually dictate the rest an' fill in the picture. As for fillen' e'eryone in, tha's somethin' I'm as unsure of as yeh."

She knew why, and to anyone with even a little training in information circulation, it would be obvious that the leaders of the operation were trying to control the spread, to avoid possible leaks. A fairly standard procedure in intelligence circles.

"Agreed," said Bear curtly. "Profiles and briefs are no substitute for actual physical interaction. People change, especially when under stress, or confined on a ship with those of differing moods, intelligences and motives." He let her hands weave the air between them, but focused mainly on her eyes, on the little motions of her facial expressions. Subconsciously, he was looking for detail, learning this new person's signals and tells, establishing a base line of sorts, or so he thought anyway.

"So," Bear continued. "Do we have anyone on board who sends up any flags to your trained eye?"

"No' at' the mom'nt', no." Cass shook her head.

She understood what he was asking. At this stage of the game, even if there were potential issues, they were dormant, or at the very least well hidden.

One thing was certain, it was good to have someone else keep their eyes open. Provided they had the right motives. Which Cass had yet to establish, as she did her own subtle 'establishing of baseline'.

"Too early in th' game, I reckon." She added.

Theirs was a waiting game.

Bear offered up a small smile.

There followed a raising of a wry eyebrow and a shift in emphasis from one dominant footing to favour both for a strong comfortable stance. "Though I suspect there'll be more private conversations while the Captain and the XO... figure each other out," Bear said. "Straightshooter our Commander Hawkins it seems, dangerously predictable, perhaps?"

That wasn't the man's primary concern however, there were others on his watchlist.

"Early days, yes," Bear concured, quietly. "Though, in case you weren't aware, I've served with Tavis before." And I know what to look for, was the unspoken subtext.

Cass nodded, finally folding her hands behind her back, "we're all figurin' eachoth'r out, Bear. Yer tryen t' figure meh out as we speak." She gave him a warm smile, "as fer Command'r 'Awkins, straight shooter, aye. Dangerously so? No, I don't believe so. The Command'r was right t' bring those details about' the Cap'n ter oor attention. Shame, regret, or wha'e'er it' was tha' stopped the Cap'in from tellen us 'imself, i' needed ter come out. Yeh need as many facts as possible ter build a profile. The way 'e went about it was...awkward, I'll grant yeh that, but as we said, early days."

Bear's face creased in amusement at her observation. "I am, yes," he admitted, openly. "Good to know my subtlety is super covert, but I don't think either of us expected any less?"

He considered their first two subjects once more, pulling attention deliberately back toward them rather than himself, because, well, Bear knew he could be trusted. "My personal view of Lt Hawkins is that he's fully committed to the mission and has no issue with disagreeing with the Captain. So long as no harm comes to the latter." He grinned. "I kinda like that."

Bear shrugged, then, all amusement vanishing. "Would definitely have preferred our Captain to have fessed up that information himself though," he said, with a silent sound and gesture that conveyed disapproval. "Makes me wonder if he's hiding anything else..."

Cassandra gave the obligatory shrug, yet again opting for feigned ignorance. "Mind yeh, 'e may not be. Often i''s just knowin' someone 'oo's been accused of somethin' tha' will make one feel uncomfortable. Say, if yer friend did wrong an' say is AWOL an' being pursued. Would yeh feel any defferent than the Cap'n?"

"I don't know how he feels," Bear countered. "That's the problem. It was his place to brief us on said friend, not Hawkins'." His dark eyes sought her green pair. "But yes," he said, that gaze locked and open. "I'd have done that differently. New crew, tricky mission. Best to be open and honest, in my view."

Cass had to bite back a chuckle at the irony of his statement. "Always a good out'look." She nodded, "I'll talk t' the Cap'n, try ter see 'is state of mind."

He wasn't sure if that was genuine or gently mocking his suggested naivety, so for now Bear gave the counselor the benefit of any potential doubt. "Okay," he said. "Thanks." He opened his mouth to say that was a good thing, her checking in on the Captain, because he, Bear, was worried about the guy, but for some reason he changed his mind at the last minute and stood there with the words caught in between brain and vocal chords.

"I'll talk to Hawkins," he said, finally. "Compare notes later?"

Thorn smirked, "now now, le''s no' sound all conspiratory 'ere, eh?"

The ironies were mounting, Cass was well aware. In this case, it might not be a bad thing.

"Teamwork," Bear suggested coolly. "Two heads are better than one." And her point of view, as counselor, would surely give him better quality information on said parties than his alone. "We're on the same team," he queried directly and with a casual air to the word itself. "Right?"

Cass gave an amused nod. "Aye, ser. Tha' we are."

It was very interesting to see Jasper go from a confident Security Chief to a suspicious investigator and back several times in a row during this conversation. Trusting her at the same time and not.

"Interesting. Very interesting." Cass thought to herself quietly.

Cass seemed competent, intelligent and useful, Bear considered, as he saw that gleam of humour in her eyes when she nodded back at him. Certainly knew how to throw questions at the Captain in an open meeting, and he didn't doubt her ability to drum down into a personality or psyche either. The admiral, it seemed, had chosen well so far.

Her accent lilted with a brightness that pleased him, her form was neat, body (from what he could tell) toned and well taken care of and she revealed little about herself, while focusing on others. Signs of a good listener, and no doubt a trained professional. He'd pull her file later, have another read through, but Bear was content for now. Cassandra wasn't a problem he foresaw happening, though she was someone he wished to touch base with again, and often. There was, after all, a lot of crew to consider.

"Good to know," was all he said, and the smile that accompanied those words shone in his gaze as he once again levelled those dark eyes directly down at her. "Perhaps a drink, or something, later then?" Bear offered, unsure as yet what Cass considered a fun social activity. "Friendly discussion and all."

Still retaining her amusement, Cass nodded, "sure. If yeh include food in tha' drink, I think we'll be good an' friendly." She said, a full blown chuckle threatening to escape her.

For now, she was satisfied, that Bear Jasper wasn't going to be too big of a problem, if at all.

Bear's serious expression broke into an openmouthed grin at that counter offer, and he nodded emphatically.

"Drinks and dinner? Deal," he accepted gracefully, gifting Cass with a flourish of a casually formal bow, complete with extended hand.

A welcome start, Bear considered, to a new ship assignment and a dangerous mission brief, despite some personal issues likely to cloud that clear intention. At least he could count on some open conversations and amicable drinking time with Thorn, and it just might help to keep them both sane.


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