NCC - 81102
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Science vs Security

Posted on Mon Jun 21st, 2021 @ 9:33am by Commander Tavis Inahri & Lieutenant Commander Bear Jasper & Commander Magnus Hawkins

Mission: Mission 1: Dirty Little Secret
Location: Tavis' Office
Timeline: MD21 18:30

Bear took a deep breath, cleansed his mind of frustration as best he could and hit the chime for Tavis' office. It had been a long, irritating few hours since one of his men had filed a report regarding a very particular balls-up in security protocol, and Bear had one of those spiky headaches dug in behind his right eye. He had the distinct sense that, to Tavis, his mood was visible on more than one spectrum.

He'd arranged to meet both Commanders for a debrief, but there was still that line of respect that made Bear wait rather than simply stroll in unannounced. He waited for the call, then stepped into that private space.

"Ensign Clarice Pichette," Bear said, after acknowledging both Tavis and Magnus with a curt nod of his head. "Any history of mental illness that either of you are aware of?" Not on her record there wasn't, but that wasn't necessarily accurate.

Tavis shook his head as he read the report Bear had sent over prior to his arrival. "Not that I'm aware of. I'll be honest, I'm not super familiar with a lot of the junior staff, yet."

"Aside from an onboarding meeting back at drydock, it appears she has had no contact with any of us," Hawk noted as he perused old logs. "Keeps to herself. Runs what passes for the science department on this ship with a skeleton crew from the pool of enlisted non- rates." Looking up from the PADD, he said, "No record of any past issues. I've got to say that it does not bode well for our 'guest'."

Tavis looked up at Hawk and then back down to the report. "No, I suppose it doesn't. But it seems odd. She claims he threatened her with assimilation but that it doesn't quite feel right." Tavis looked up at Bear. "Did you interview either of them yourself?"

Bear glowered at Hawkins then shifted his attention back to Tavis. "Doesn't feel right to me either," he admitted. "And yes, I've spoken directly with both of them individually. The versions of events wildly differs. And," he exhaled sharply as he added. "While this might surprise you, I'm currently leaning far more towards Five's being the accurate version."

"Really?" Tavis asked, his eyebrows raised. "What makes you think that?"

Leaning forward in his seat, Hawk was eager to hear more himself. Security training and life experience dictated that the truth often lied somewhere in between two versions of events. For Bear to be leaning so heavily in one direction so quickly was not a determination Hawk took lightly.

"Well," noted Bear with a mixture of awkwardness and amusement. "I've noticed that Ensign Pichette seems a little... enamoured with you, sir," he answered, giving Tavis a look that said 'please don't make me explain this in detail'. Bear steeled his gaze. "Meanwhile Five has not in any way threatened Dalton or Aurora, or any of my security team, despite them actively working to contain him. He has everything to lose right now by making threats to any member of the crew."

Bear regarded Hawk for a long silent moment, then locked eyes with Tavis as he added. "And also, I have a recording of the conversation."

"I'd love to hear more about this alleged enamor," Tavis stated. "But that can wait. I assume you've listened to the recording, and as such, have a correct accounting of the conversation. Please, enlighten us."

After hearing the theory of infatuation, Hawk turned his head to the side and let out a discreet chuckle. Clearing his throat, his head swiveled back to face Tavis and Bear again.

With a subtle roll of his eyes, Bear nodded to his friend. "Not all of the conversation, but enough - I believe - to get a good feel for the personalities," he qualified. "While I will openly admit I was fully expecting Five to be at fault here, the Ensign approached him with a need for detailed answers to questions that were absolutely not sanctioned by any of us, and seemed designed to fulfil a report for your good self, sir." Bear paused for a moment, allowing Tavis or Hawk to speak, then pushed slowly onwards.

"Five refused to give personal details, asked Ensign Pichette to leave and... well, things escalated in her mind from there without any real need to." Bear had less ill will for the relatively unknown Ensign than he had (certainly initially and still to some extent) harboured for the xBee, and yet he still felt she'd overreacted. "I think she got caught up in the moment and panicked."

Hawk considered the oral report for a moment. It seemed plausible. "If Five had wanted to harm her, it would seem he would have succeeded before Security could intervene--given that they were not present. "Did she indicate at what point she was triggered with panic?"

"Agreed," Bear confirmed. "He could, at any point, have silenced her permanently if that had been his desire." He sighed and frowned darkly at the mention of Security not being present. "They've been reprimanded," Bear noted. "My people. She should never have been allowed in there at all, especially not alone."

As for that shift from questions to panic, there had been a clear line in the proverbial sand, so Bear simply stated what he knew without judgement or emotion either way. Five, in his opinion, was a danger to have on board. Pichette, was one of their own and the prime member of the Tavis Fan Club. She'd meant no harm, she hadn't truly deserved to be terrified.

"She pressed for Five's reasons for mistrusting the Federation," Bear answered Hawk. "He refused to answer. She told him," Bear's gaze shifted from XO to captain now. "That Tavis was an honourable man so Five had no reason to worry or be afraid. Apparently Five reinforced his need for her to leave with the promise of 'firmer tactics'."

"Dare I ask what those firmer tactics would have been?" Tavis asked.

"Does that matter?" Hawk asked. "Obviously the ensign was triggered. Five's intent is irrelevant to whatever she was acting on from inside her head. What I take from this is situation is two things: that OSI or whoever assembled our crew did not give much care to who staffed our Science department, and that Security needs to be taken up a notch."

Bear nodded emphatically. "Security was supposed to be topnotch already," he said, not defensively, but with a clear and definuite annoyance at his own team's failure. "They were briefed to not allow anyone - even me - inside without an escort. They're supposed to remain with whoever is visiting, keep a guard on the door..." He exhaled sharply and cut off his own sentence. "They've been reprimanded. It won't happen again. Anyone who wants to go into that room needs to clear it with me first." Bear looked stern as his gaze shifted from Hawk to Tavis. "Or the two of you, but I'd prefer it if you'd let me know when you're visiting him. Just keen to ensure no further triggers are brought into play here. On either side."

Tavis nodded as he listened to both of them. "Well, it sounds like Security has been dealt with. While this encounter is quite concerning, I don't wish this to derail our mission. While this guest is certainly a safety concern for many, his assistance has been invaluable to us. Hopefully we can get our target captured quickly and send Five on his way. Sound like a plan?"

"On his way?" Hawk asked. "I thought we agreed that we would report his presence to Starfleet Command? That he would be remanded to wherever Command decides he is to go?"

"I never agreed to your suggestion," Tavis said. "You told me that's what you wanted. But I haven't made any final decisions as to what's going to happen to the young man yet. So far, he's been upfront and reasonable in his assistance. He's worked with us and given us credible intelligence. And you haven't brought me any evidence as to his involvement in the mutiny aboard the Chimaera. From my vantage point, he's just a young kid trying to make his way in this galaxy and we plucked him away from his life. Unless you have more to add, we'll revisit this topic after we've captured Kaz."

"No evidence?" Hawk balked at that. "He only confessed to his collusion, Inahri, and I have already stated on more than one occasion, including the first officer's log. Consider that in your decisions."

"He said he took a job there, Magnus. That's not the same thing," Tavis said with a sigh.

"He took a job aboard a mutinied ship," Hawk clarified. "That's collusion. He admitted it to your face in all of our presence. Did you forget or are you intentionally giving him special consideration?" He raised his hands dismissively. "Never mind. I am happy to let Security, Intelligence, or even JAG sort it out." Standing to his feet, the XO said, "I think we're done here, yes?"

"We are, Commander," Tavis said. "You're dismissed."

Hawk snorted with contempt at Tavis and left without another word.

Once the door had closed behind the XO, Bear leant back against the wall and regarded Tavis for a couple of heavy seconds. Then he raised one eyebrow as he asked. "You're really just gonna let him go?"

"We get nowhere by arguing with each other," Tavis stated, leaning back in his chair as he turned to face Bear. "He and I see this mission very differently. And our approaches to problem solving are polar opposites. I feel like we just keep going around in circles."

"I understand that," Bear confirmed simply. He did. And Magnus was far from the easiest of individuals with whom to interact which didn't help. "He does have a point," he added, then qualified his own position. "But I'm with you. Five doesn't deserve to be prodded and poked at for the rest of his life."

"I guess consider Magnus to be your extra-lawful conscience," suggested Bear, with a lopsided grin. "He's very good at thinking he's right, and having the opposing view to yours is kinda an XO's job? By the letter of Fleet law, he's correct. But we're not running this ship on a normal mission, are we? We need to walk in the shadows and step over some lines."

"That's what he's not understanding," Tavis said, looking at his friend with frustration. "This isn't a typical mission. And I'm not going to just blindly agree to whatever Starfleet protocols he thinks I should follow. What we're dealing with is complicated and intricate. It's a puzzle that has to fit together just right in order for this to work."

Tavis leaned back in his chair, his hand rubbing his chin. "And I'm not ready to just blankly punish an individual because he may have broken a Federation law. He's not a Federation citizen and as far as I know, has never been within our border. His past actions are of no concern of mine."

"Definitely hear ya on the puzzle pieces," Bear agreed. "Something's going on that we don't have anywhere near all the details for just yet. Kinda feel like we're both the fisherman and the bait," he added with a wry expression. "I trust you to work the puzzle."

He stood tall as Tavis leant back though, and cast his glance briefly in the direction the XO had left. "But like Magnus," Bear admitted. "I will call you out if I feel a need. In the interest of us all surviving this," he qualified. "Far as Five's concerned, sure we can figure something out. But y'know I have issues with Starfleet and punishment..."

Tavis nodded. He was more familiar with Bear's background than most on board. "I really do appreciate how you keep it honest with me," he said. "I'd rather have a hundred of you telling me I made a mistake than a single person following me blindly."

Those dark eyes searched Tavis' own as Bear considered their situation for the millionth time since coming on board the Odyssey. "You're my friend, sir," he noted, with the flash of a smile. "I'll always be honest with you. But I'm also not so overconfident as to assume we're always right simply because we agree on something." A brief pause as he considered this briefing in its entirety was followed by the simple observation they both knew to be correct. "When we let Five go, Magnus will report you. Do you care?"

"Not really," Tavis stated. "I've been given a specific mandate by the Admiral, and I highly doubt he's going to care much for a single person as long as we succeed in our mission." Tavis returned the gaze Bear was giving him. "Though to be frank, I haven't quite decided if I'm letting him go or not. I plan to make that decision once we've reached that point. Far too much could happen between now and then for me to make promises to any of you that I may not be able to uphold."

And there it was, the cold hard truth of it. One single person didn't matter. Likely none of them really mattered, Bear considered, so long as the Admiral had his man at the end of it. He sighed, demonstratively and overtly and gave his friend a slow nod in confirmation and understanding of said predicament. "No promises, gotcha," said Bear and there was no smile now as he couldn't help but mull Tavis's words over. "We're all expendable," he noted.

That was just cold hard fact. Maybe Tavis might matter, but if it came down to one or the other, Bear suspected it would be their quarry.

"You're not expendable to me," Tavis said. "None of you are. That's why I'm trying to do my best to stick to the mission and damn everything else. The faster we can get this done, the faster we're all out of danger here."

"I appreciate the enthusiasm and the sentiment," said Bear. "But I'm not sure speed is the right answer. Efficiency maybe?" He asked, a hint of a crooked smile at the edge of his mouth now. "Speaking of which, I should probably go check on our guest. If you don't need me for anything else?"

Tavis just shook his head. "No, but thanks, Bear. I appreciate you bringing this to our attention."

"Always, Captain," Bear acknowledged, the warmth about that second word suggesting it to be truly 'my friend'. "Plenty of danger to come yet," he added. "But whatever happens, we're in this together." You're not alone.

 

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