NCC - 81102
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Setting The Plan Into Place

Posted on Mon Jan 17th, 2022 @ 12:11pm by Commander Tavis Inahri & Commander Magnus Hawkins

Mission: Mission 1: Dirty Little Secret
Location: Captain's Ready Room - USS Odyssey
Timeline: Mission Day 39 - 1848 hours

Tavis sighed as Bear left with their captive prisoner to take him back to the Brig. He shook his head. What they'd just found out what a lot to process. But that was for another time, with the Senior Staff. For now, there was business to take care of with his XO. He turned his eyes to Magnus who was still standing in front of his desk.

"You can sit, if you'd like," Tavis said. "I think we should talk about a few things."

"All right." The past few days had been surreal for Hawk. For a man of action like him, he did not question battlefield decisions, which was a policy and tactic he'd carried into the command division. But when a man comes up against unsettling new developments and revelations... well, hindsight was unavoidable. "I suppose we do."

Hawk leaned back in the seat opposite Tavis and folded his oaken arms across his barrel chest, but his eyes were softer than the last time he'd sat here. Contemplation had softened them significantly.

"I know that neither of us approves of everything the other has done. And I'm sure we could sit here for hours pointing fingers at each other and casting blame." Tavis sighed. "But I just don't think that would get us anywhere. The truth is, I think we've both made mistakes, but I also think we've both been right at times."

"Fair enough," Hawk said. Not much to argue about there, so he got straight to the point. "So what's this about?"

"We've got to find a middle ground, Magnus." Tavis sat straight in his chair. "I'm the CO, but a Captain is nothing without a good command staff. And so far, you and I haven't been working as coherently as we could be. I say that, not to place blame on either of us, for there is blame to share. But more of a way to try and find the right way that fits together for us."

Hawk sat pensively for a moment, considering the angles. "So Admiral Tau is having us continue onward then?" he asked rhetorically. "He still wants us to bring Kaz in, knowing what we know."

"I haven't spoken to the Admiral yet. I was hoping for answers so I could explain why he killed Lieutenant Thorne. And as you can see, we just got a lot more information than we bargained for."

"Yeah..." Hawk ran a hand over his ridged forehead and looked down at the floor in thought. "We might have to go off the book with this one, Inahri." Even though he'd said it, the words sounded like they'd come from someone else. He looked back up at Tavis. "If there's any truth to Linn's story, then there's no protocol to follow. We could be on our own out here. Do you believe him?"

Tavis was shocked to hear the man say that, but it was almost as if the Klingon was reading his mind. "I do," Tavis said. "I know that man almost as much as I know myself. I'd know immediately if he was lying."

While Tavis was speaking, Hawk hopped to his feet and began pacing. The situation was framing up in all the wrong ways. Was Tavis lying to save his friend, beloved, whatever the hell an imzadi was? Doubtful. Not even Inahri was that stupid. Besides, both men confirmed they had not made contact with one another until the abduction in Fiddler's Green. That meant collusion was out the window. Nothing could be improvised so swiftly as the situation would require.

And so Hawk punched the bulkhead of the office with a thunderous roar.

"I was afraid you'd say that," Hawk growled as he rubbed his bruised fist.

Leaning against the wall, continuing to nurse his hand, Hawk took a breath and finally calmed down. "I don't have any flag officers I can trust or even know on a first name basis. Do you? If not, then we're just one ship against an enemy that could be everywhere or nowhere."

The look he gave Tavis was one of resolute stubbornness. "Because I'll be damned if I hand over an innocent man to a fucking traitor to the uniform. Stopping a traitor is why we came all the way out here in the first place. Now we learn the traitor isn't who we thought. What do we do now, Inahri?"

Tavis sighed. "The truth is, Magnus, I don't know what to do." He stood, walking towards the large wall of windows that overlooked the beautiful starlit field of the Gamma Quadrant.

"We could hand Kaz over," he said. "Wipe our hands of this. A job well done, a boon on both of our records. I'd return to my command on the Starlancer, you'd probably get a command of your own out of this. We'd both get that fourth pip and we'd have freedom unlike any you've ever imagined."

He turned, leaning against the sill as his eyes rested on Magnus. "Or we let him go. Allow Kaz to flee and continue his work in finding out who this Director is. And we go back to the Admiral, tell him that we failed our mission, and hopefully we can just go back to our lives." Even as he said it, he knew that they'd never be able to go back to the way things were before the Odyssey.

"Or..." His stomach twisted for a moment as he second-guessed what he was about to say. "Or we can help him. Lie and tell the Admiral that we've failed, for now, but that we'll keep trying. Take the Odyssey and use it as a tool to help flush out this Director and help Kaz put an end to this secret organization."

"Not really a fourth option, is there?" Hawk said rhetorically. "Either we lie to a sitting admiral or we punish an innocent man. I don't like this, Tavis."

"I can't say I'm fond of our options either, Magnus," Tavis stated. "But I think we do have to choose what we're going to do here...together. I want to make sure that we're both in agreement of what's going to happen next."

Hawk nodded solemnly. "I hear that and I appreciate it. But let's be real. While we have multiple options before us, there really is only one choice." His dark eyes bore into Tavis and dared him to disagree. "We let your old boyfriend back out into the cold and we catch his pursuers dead to rights."

As he nursed his sore elbow which had already been healed I'm Sickbay but still had the dull ache from his nervous system that hadn't caught up with the advanced healing yet, Hawk said, "I owe him that much."

It was true that Kaz could have killed Hawk but spared him. Even called for emergency medical assistance.

"But if we do that, then how do we play it?"

Tavis considered this for a moment as he looked out the large windows. His eyes caught on one of the shuttlecrafts that were currently working on repairs to the Odyssey's hull. And that's when inspiration hit him.

"We tell the Admiral he escaped." Tavis looked back at Magnus. "We tell the Admiral everything that's happened so far. Even his break-out from the Brig. We use the attack from the subspace creatures to explain how he was able to get past our security measures. The Admiral is used to Kaz slipping away, from the reports I read."

"We say that you pursued him. Beat him within an inch of his life. But ultimately..." Tavis checked Hawk's demeanor when he said that, and quickly changed his verbiage. "Unfortunately...he was able to overpower you and escape. He got to the shuttlebay, boarded the freighter that we've borrowed, blasted through the shuttlebay doors and was able to jump to warp before we could catch him."

Hawk flinched a bit at the plan, both in falsifying a mission report as well as suggesting the target had gotten the better of him. In truth, Kaz had. And if falsifying the mission report was necessary in order to root out systemic corruption within Starfleet, would that be any different than utilizing confidential informants in any of the undercover sting operations he'd done in Starfleet Security? Admiral Tau could not be read in as he was not above suspicion. That presented a whole host of problems.

"I say that's as good of a story as any," Hawk said. "I just wish there was something we could do to cover our asses, anyone we could trust to close-hold our real logs for safekeeping when the time comes for us to pull the trigger. The real risk to this cloak-and-dagger bullshit is proving our case, otherwise we'll all go down regardless of whether or not we catch the bad guys."

"If we go down, but save the Federation from the threat in the process, that's a risk I'd be willing to take," Tavis said, looking up at Hawk. "But maybe, when the time presents itself, we could reach out to this ben Avram fellow. If Kaz is willing to trust him, and we trust Kaz, I see him as being our only ally."

Hawk frowned but eventually gave a slow nod. "I guess beggars can't be choosers." Letting out a sigh, he asked, "Need help drafting that report? Tau will no doubt put it to the highest scrutiny."

"I'd greatly appreciate the help," Tavis said as he walked back over and sat behind the desk.

"There is one other thing," Hawk said with reservation. "If we're going into this for the long haul, then I'd better disclose something." Taking a breath, he readied himself for a disapproving lecture. "A couple weeks ago, I broke fraternization protocol...with Lieutenant Aurora. It was a mistake. We...we hit it off and it seemed like a temporary assignment. But going forward..." Hawk's eyes were everywhere except meeting Tavis's. "It won't happen again, but I felt you should be aware." He cleared his throat. "For matters of crew morale and discipline."

Tavis nodded, "I appreciate the honesty. And while normally that would be a serious issue, I can't help but feel that our situation is not normal and thus I can't blame you for the incident. Though I'd prefer that it not happen again, so I appreciate that as well. Let me know if things change, of course."

"There were just a couple of other things I wanted to discuss." Tavis looked at Hawk. "Tusalo and MacArthur. They've been around quite a bit, they've seen a lot. I don't know how comfortable I'd be sending them back. Partially because we could really use their help, partially because I want to mitigate the chance of this information leaking. What're your thoughts?"

Rubbing his chin, Hawk said, "Tusalo was one of mine. I watched her come up through the ranks. If I ask her, she'll stay. MacArthur, though..." He waved his hand in doubt. "She is in the middle of sorting out a computer glitch. We could float that project along, maybe use it as an excuse to have her transferred."

Strangely, Hawk's demeanor changed. Not in a physical way, but emotionally. Mentally. While Tavis made a point to never intrude on people's thoughts and did his best to ignore any changes in their emotional state, he couldn't help but notice the way Hawk's mind shut out, almost as if he was intentionally blocking himself from thinking of something. But Tavis paid it no attention, at least for now. What was in Hawk's mind was none of his business.

The Commander nodded, "We really don't need an excuse," he said. "As a vessel operating under the flag of Intelligence, we have full power to keep them indefinitely with no reason. I'd like for them both to be fully aware of what's going on. We should call a staff meeting and brief the entire senior staff. Them included."

"They would be stronger assets if they knew what was going on," Hawk agreed. "All right. Let's do it."

"Alright, then we will. One last item..." Tavis was hesitant to mention this one, but he felt that they needed to talk it out now rather than later. "The drone. He was very helpful in getting us out of that situation. In fact, I'd argue that we wouldn't have survived it without him. What're your thoughts?"

This remained a point of contention between them. "He definitely saved his own ass," Hawk said. "Luckily he had to save ours in the process. I don't need to mention his own admission to helping mutineers. But since we're going off the book ourselves..." He winced, even grit his teeth, unable to believe the words that were forming on his own lips. "...maybe that is now to our advantage."

Tavis nodded, "How about we say, that's to our advantage for now. We can reevaluate in the future, and of course if anything happens. Does that sound reasonable?"

"It does," Hawk said, "though I'd still feel most comfortable having a ripcord to neutralize him with minimal collateral damage should it come to that. Ensign Dalton appeared reluctant to construct such a device."

"I'll be honest, I'm also reluctant to have such a device in play," Tavis said. "Just feels unethical."

"More unethical than getting your crew killed or worse?" Hawk asked. "If so, then you'd better find a reliable carrot to keep your Borg boytoy in line and on our side." Hawk's face hid the suspicion that Tavis found Five attractive, but when conversing with a telepath it was a futile gesture.

"Let's compromise?" Tavis asked, with a raised eyebrow. Hawk's implications were quite obvious, but he wasn't going to dignify that right now. "Let's develop a way to do it, find a way that we can neutralize the drone. But we won't implement it just yet. If it's something that can be done remotely, that would be preferable to implanting something in the young man. I'd rather him not know about our back-up options. We'll implement it if it becomes necessary."

Hawk nodded. "I'd rather be up front with the drone and let him know any attempts to betray us will end suddenly and sorrowfully for him, but we'll follow your play. There's nothing to argue about until we find a way to neutralize the damn kid anyway."

"Sounds like a plan, then," Tavis stated. "You start working on a way to neutralize the drone. Once we have that in place, we'll talk with him, let him know our concerns and our suggested plan. And we can go from there."

A nod of agreement between the two men set the plan into action. As Hawk stood to leave, Tavis stopped him. "I'm glad we're doing this together, Hawk. What we're planning to do is absolutely crazy and insane. But I'm glad we're on the same page now."

 

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