NCC - 81102
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Tensions Rising

Posted on Wed Jan 6th, 2021 @ 1:54pm by Commander Tavis Inahri & Lieutenant Commander Bear Jasper & Commander Magnus Hawkins

Mission: Mission 1: Dirty Little Secret
Location: Captain's Ready Room - USS Odyssey
Timeline: Mission Day 13 - 2249 hours

Tavis stepped into his Ready Room, walking immediately from the Conference Room, followed by his First Officer and Chief of Security.

"You kidnapped him?" Tavis asked, giving little time for small talk, though his voice betrayed no anger or hostility to the question. As the doors swished shut behind the officers, Tavis turned to face them. "What happened?"

Standing in the space between door and desk, Bear gauged the Captain's mood before he responded to the questions. When he spoke, his tone was calm, clear and devoid of sarcasm or guilt or accusation.

"Temporarily removed him from a complicated environment," Bear said, opting to support the action that they couldn't now take back. "Is more what we did." He might not agree with Hawk's decision, but what was done was done now. "And it paid off," Bear added, his tone carefully neutral.

Tavis looked at Hawk for his explanation.

As Tavis' visual attention shifted away from him, Bear shot an accusing frown of a look at Hawk and shook his head slowly as if he were silently scolding a small child.

"Starfleet does not 'kidnap' people," Hawk said indignantly. "We apprehended a person of interest believed to be in collusion with our target. He went on to admit as much under questioning. For all we know, this XB could still be working with Kazyah Linn, yet you insist on giving him run of the ship as a guest of honor. My log will reflect my objection to the commander's decision, of course, but we will do this your way."

Bear raised an eyebrow. "Run of the ship? Guest of honour?" He queried, voice sternly serious. "If that's your intention, Captain, then I want it on record that I advise secure quarters and a guard at all times."

"First of all, no one said anything about being a guest of honor or having run of the ship," Tavis said, crossing his arms. "I may not be as suspicious of this individual as you might be, but I'm not ignorant of the threat that exists with him on board. I did just send two officers to escort the gentleman."

"You promised him protection, advocacy, treated with him on the basis of favors," Hawk persisted. "There is a time for diplomacy, but dealing with enemies of the state is not it. What are you going to do if we are required to remand him to a supermax? There's no way Starfleet will let him go, not when he is connected to both our target and a recent mutiny." His dark eyes drilled Tavis with an intensity reserved for fools. "You're going to end up breaking your word to somebody, Commander. I hope you make the right choice."

With a curt nod, Bear seconded Hawk's concerns. "He's right," he said, the tone of his voice implying he wasn't entirely happy about that, or at all happy about the choice to keep their 'kidnap victim' on board. "Are you even planning to tell Starfleet he's on board?"

"Enough, both of you," Tavis said, taking a deep breath. "I need you both to trust me in this. I'm doing this and handling it in the way I feel is best."

Tavis met Hawk's glare with one of his own. "So far, this gentleman hasn't done anything that makes me think he's a threat to us at this moment. Has he done some questionable things in the past? Probably. And if he's involved in the Chimaera's mutiny, I'd rather him be aboard so we can arrest and question him as needed instead of traipsing about the galaxy evading us."

"There's an old human saying," Tavis said, glancing between the two for a moment. "Keep your friends close and your enemies closer. At this point, we don't know if this individual is one or the other, so I think the best course of action is to keep him here, under guard, until we can determine which he is. And then we act accordingly."

Hawk listened carefully and considered Tavis' new approach. "Agreed," he said at length. "I just want our guest to be fully aware of the situation in which he's found himself. Guilt by association is sufficient cause to keep him detained. Giving him the wrong idea can lead to future problems best avoided. I hope we remain agreed there."

Tavis raised an eyebrow. For once, Hawk was agreeing with him, even if to a point, and it was almost unsettling. "The reason I'm not informing him that he is basically a prisoner is because I want him to cooperate with us. If he sees us as a threat to either himself or our target, then I'd have to gather the information from him in a more...forceful manner. If our mission dissolves to that point, our battle is more uphill than we may be able to fight."

"Be ready for his rude awakening, then," Hawk advised. "I don't expect it to be pretty or kindly."

"I'll be honest with you, Commander," Tavis said, "I couldn't care less about how he handles the future. My concern is apprehending Kazyah. Anything else is collateral damage."

Bold talk from a man who had been so apprehensive a short while ago. Hawk let his brow rise up in honest skepticism. "I suppose we are in full agreement," he said. The half smirk on his face plainly suggested that he suspected otherwise.

He'd quietly listened to the two of them interact, the Captain and XO, the two main powers-that-be on this boat and Bear had taken in their mannerisms, tones and facial expressions as they'd traded opinions. Did he trust Tavis? Yes. Hawk? Mostly. And the XO's direct manner was a big help in that regard. Hawk spoke his mind freely, unafraid to question others regardless of their position, and that was always a good trait to have, in Bear's opinion.

As for their newest guest? Definitely zero trust there. And given now their mutual decision on this matter Bear was going to maintain a tactfully close eye and ear on the man.

"Okay," the Chief of Security said, finally. "He's a prisoner, but also guest, and one none of us trust, but you're asking us to trust him. I get that about right?" He forged onwards regardless of their points of view. "So, under escort whenever he's outside of his quarters," Bear decided. "And I'll assign a small detail to take turns in monitoring his movements. Obviously he won't have access to any of the operational areas, and his computer access will be limited and accordingly."

"Trusting him would be unwise," Tavis said as he stepped away from the group towards the replicator. Pressing a button, a cup of tea materialized. The Captain gestured towards the machine to see if either officers wanted something.

"Tea please," Bear said with an upward nod towards Tavis.

Hawk just shook his head.

"What I'm asking is that we take the information he gives us and extrapolate a possible scenario where it's true and we can utilize it to capture Kaz." Tavis said as he handed a cup of tea to Bear. "Do I trust that this Drone's information is correct? No, not quite. But do I trust that he's being as upfront and honest as he can be? Yes." Tavis tapped his temple. "I know when he's lying."

Bear had never entirely been able to fathom exactly how this side of things worked, and there were a few alcohol-fuelled discussions with regards to telepathy and the nuances of its reaches in their mutual past. For now, he simply sighed and canted his head. "But if he believes his truth isn't a lie," Bear noted. "Then it gets complicated. For now we're just using him to find Kaz's last known location though, right?"

"He's a walking compass as far as I'm concerned," Tavis said. Bear was right, if Five believed what he was saying was truth, it'd become more difficult to distinguish his emotion with insight. But for now, they had nothing else to go on; this was their only option.

"Is there a way for us to track his location at all times?" Hawk asked. "I want our bases covered in the event he subverts our internal sensors or subdues his Security escort."

"Viridium?" Bear suggested and asked simultaneously, his gaze locking with Tavis' as he spoke. "It's an isotope, absorbs into the bloodstream." he added, in case the others weren't aware. "We'd just need to get him to ingest something with it in."

Tavis raised an eyebrow, "You plan to hold him down and force-feed it to him?"

"Uh, no," said Bear, scrunching up his face in response to this question. "I plan to put it in his food and for him to have zero idea of that fact."

"I think the commander's point was that Borg drones do not eat food," Hawk said with a wry smirk. "Short of injecting him, which he would most definitely be aware of and may have countermeasures for, Viridium may not be the best option."

Tavis gestured towards Hawk, who had clearly understood what the man meant.

"Oh," Bear looked at the floor. "Right." He rolled his eyes for a moment in self-effacing chastisement, considered and rejected a few other suggestions in the privacy of his own head and then rallied. "Fair point. Any other suggestions then?"

With a shrug, Tavis looked at Hawk. "I'm not sure, at the moment. For now, I think we may need to rely on the security detail and internal sensors."

"Which brings us full circle, it seems," Hawk said with a knowing shrug. "There's no way to avoid informing him that he is not our guest but a person of interest, perhaps even a suspect, in our investigation."

"We could just offer him the choice," decided Bear. "Either he sucks it up and carries with him some kind of tracker or he has an escort wherever he goes. Chances are high he'll be expecting us to try and curtail and monitor him somehow, maybe being honest about it will make it less... intimidating."

"Look, there's nothing we can do about it at this point. He's here and so far he seems willing to help us find Kaz," Tavis said. "I don't condone what happened," he said, looking at Hawk, "but it did. And I'm going to use this opportunity to further our interests."

"If you want a tab kept on him, then internal sensors and a security detail are the only measures I'm willing to give." Tavis crossed his arms. "For someone who was minding their own business, we swept him up and stole him away. I'm not going to push this any further."

Bear frowned darkly, the intensity of his gaze resting entirely on Tavis for a long few seconds of silent internal contemplation. A sharp exhale preceded a curt shake of his head. Better to ask for forgiveness than permission, he decided. "Duly noted," Bear said.

"Short of doing a full evaluation of his implants and their capabilities, should the time come for this Five of Seven to make his move, there's no guarantee any of our countermeasures will be successful," Hawk said. "When I made the call to apprehend him, it was with the intention to securely question him and possibly hand him over to a secured detention facility, not bring him along with us to the Gamma Quadrant of all places." His dark eyes turned gravely serious when he next spoke. "So long as we are agreed to remand him to the custody of the nearest secure starbase, I will suspend my protest and objections to the present course of action."

"Frankly, I don't give a damn what your intentions were," Tavis stated. "Are we on a secret mission? Yes. Are we suddenly going to throw our Starfleet values out the window to do whatever we want? No. We do this my way. And unless this gentleman does something we don't appreciate, we're going to treat him as a guest. The moment he crosses the line, then we handle him as a combatant. Not a moment before."

The hand that rested on Hawk's shoulder was heavy, while the mood coming off Bear must have been a lighthouse of emotion for someone with keen telepathic ability. His tone was confident and sharp, but not argumentative when he opened his mouth.

"I'll treat him like a prisoner," Bear promised. "Like an untrustworthy and potentially volatile criminal who needs an escort whenever he's outside his quarters. And if you don't like it," he said to Tavis. "Tough. You literally brought me here to protect all of us, to provide security for all of us. Let me do my job, so you can do yours."

"Enough!" Tavis said, walking slightly away from the two men. "I've already told you both that I do not trust this drone. I've explained to you my plan if he tries to deceive us. I've agreed that if he slips up, we detain him. I already ordered a security detail for him while in the conference room."

Tavis turned back to them. "At this point, we're going in circles. You don't trust him and you don't like that I don't have him in the brig. But frankly, I'm unwilling to do that until he poses a threat. And that's my final word on the matter." Tavis took a deep breath. "Commander Hawkins, check in with Ensign Dalton regarding the updates needed to accommodate the drone. Commander Jasper, talk with Aurora and align your priorities to make sure we always have eyes and ears on this gentleman from an engineering standpoint. He should always be in his quarters unless otherwise needed, and a security detail at all time."

He stood there for a moment, thinking if he forgot anything. But quickly realized he hadn't. "You're both dismissed."

A moment of sustained eye contact, and Bear nodded his acceptance of the Captain's orders. As he moved to fall into line behind Hawk to leave, Bear spoke quietly. "Meet you in the Training Room in an hour, and compare... notes?"

A silent but definitive nod was Hawk's only response. Whatever might happen, he was sure it was going to get interesting before it got boring.

Tavis stood there, sighing as his two lead officers stepped out of the room. They doubted him and the direction he was taking this mission. Hawk went so far as doubting Tavis' abilities as a leader, though he'd never admit that out loud. Sometimes being a Betazoid wasn't all roses and sunshine; sometimes you felt or heard things you didn't want to know.

But Tavis knew he was right. His instinct was driving this path and he'd long learned to follow his instinct. Even if it was wrong, he could rest assured he did everything he could.

Five was a variable, a dangerous one at that. But he was the only lead they had on Kaz's location, and so far it was panning out. Kaz fled to the Gamma Quadrant, hoping to use Fiddler's Green as a safe space. Unfortunately for his old best friend, Tavis still had a few tricks up his own sleeve.

 

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