NCC - 81102
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A Little White Lie

Posted on Mon Jan 17th, 2022 @ 12:11pm by Commander Tavis Inahri & Lieutenant Ayanja Tusalo & Chief Warrant Officer Javiylah MacArthur

Mission: Mission 1: Dirty Little Secret
Location: Captain's Ready Room - USS Odyssey
Timeline: Mission Day 39 - 1902 hours

The chime rang, jolting Tavis from the report he was reading. He looked at the clock. "Punctual," he said before looking at the door. "Enter."

The doors opened as Lieutenant Tusalo and Warrant Officer MacArthur stepped into the room.

"Thank you for joining me," he said as he motioned for them both to sit.

"Of course sir," Aya replied politely if a bit reserved. The young woman was not quite sure what the Odyssey's Commanding Officer wanted to discuss. Still she kept her composure, trying to read the room a bit. Of course 3 Betazoids in one space all with varying degrees of ability, and mental shields... it created a lot of noise.

Javi sat as Aya did, letting her friend's answer speak for them both. She felt a bit out of place, not having expected such a meeting, and it definitely put her on edge. Knowing the captain was a full Betazoid didn't help.

"I want to thank you both for the hard work you've put into this mission. A mission you know almost nothing about and yet you've put your all into it. That's what I like to see in Officers," Tavis stated.

"Just doing our duty Captain. Even if it got us a bit banged up along the way." Aya was still nursing a reconstructed rib and Javi had a fair few bumps and bruises too.

"As is expected, Captain," Javi was a bit surprised at the praise, they had been tasked with something and they did it. "The shuttle survived and is repaired, sir," she felt compelled to add. It had taken less effort than their own treatment.

"I appreciate that, as well," Tavis stated. He reached into a drawer next to him and pulled out two PADDs, laying them on his desk and sliding them towards the ladies. "I'd like to make you both an offer. We're on a very interesting mission that's just gone in a direction I wasn't expecting. I need good people under me to help it succeed. I'd like to invite you both to join the crew of the Odyssey."

Surprised at the offer, Javi picked up the PADD and read it. It was a transfer to the Odyssey as the Assistant Chief Operations Officer, which was unexpected, and not particularly welcome. She set the PADD down as she looked at the Captain, ”I must respectfully decline, Captain.” Their assignment was temporary, her responsibility to her department and the Starbase wasn’t.

Aya had remained silent, staring at the PADD the Captain had passed over... Chief Tactical, Chief - her. Aya didn't know what to say, sure she'd taken to commanding the Postage Due treated it fully real, even if temporary. This was different. This would be her own department on a top-of-the-line vessel. Aya couldn't help but smile widely, her control slipping for that moment.

But hearing Javi's reply sobered her some, Aya slowly letting the PADD return to the table. She didn't want to go? What did Javi's PADD say, did it matter? Aya found that the position didn't have the same luster, all a moment and it was more a burden than an opportunity.

"I... I don't believe I can accept either sir." Aya frowned, her tone sad. "Wouldn't be right, leaving my crew." It was a fair point, the freighter crew would be left without their CO and Senior NCO when they needed some leadership. It would also be a good cover to the more personal feelings twisting in her gut.

Javi wanted to look over, hearing the sadness in her friend's voice, but she resisted the impulse as she waited to see what the captain's reaction to their refusal was. It would be a good indicator of how he commanded, whatever it was.

Tavis slowly nodded, looking down at his desk for a moment. "Your crew is getting the same...offer," he said, looking back up to the two ladies. "And as much as I hate to do this, this offer doesn't have the option to decline. I've already filed these transfer orders and your former CO has been made aware. They go into effect immediately."

"So not much of an offer then." It was a statement, not a question. Any enthusiasm Aya had been feeling, even regret was now gone. No, at this point she was just angry. Orders she could understand, more than once she's been transferred to a new post or put on temporary assignment because that was the need. This, this felt underhanded, slimy like they were being used. "Couldn't find a way to be upfront about it from the beginning?"

"I was hoping it would be less of a blow if you both wanted the position and we could avoid any unpleasantries," Tavis said. "The truth is, this ship has been driven into a top secret mission that is much more concerning than we originally thought. And I'm preparing to undermine my orders and actively work against my Commanding Officer for the greater good of Starfleet and the Federation."

Tavis looked at the two of them, the pain in his gut twisting him as he knew what he was asking these two ladies to do. "I cannot take the risk of this information getting out. So the best way to do that is to keep you on board. Your CO has been informed that this is temporary, and your positions will be waiting for you when this is eventually over. But until it is, I need you both on my crew. I can't afford to do this without you."

At first, Javi could only stare in utter shock at the announcement. After the implication sunk in, her jaw clenched tight as she throttled the extreme spike of anger which flared, teeth grinding from the force. During decades of service, there had been several incidents where she had almost died at the hands of those who proclaimed the same assurance that they were actually acting for the best of the Federation as a whole; they had been proven to be false. This man wanted her to abandon her oath and everything she stood for. “I refuse” The short words were accompanied by a flat look, disregarding the rank of the man sitting across from her. Javi fully expected to spend the undetermined amount of time in the Odyssey’s brig for her answer but that didn’t matter.

"I know this is a lot to take in right now," Tavis stated. "And I'm asking you to trust me with information that seems wildly implausible. But I'm calling a senior staff briefing to tell them the same information, as well as answer any questions they have. I want the senior staff to be on the same page as I am. Would you both please join that meeting, at least? Hear us out."

"Why should we? You've given us no reason to trust you." Aya was nowhere near happy anymore. On top of the rest of the rollercoaster of this mission, they'd just been solicited to betray the Federation, all on the word of an Officer that was going to force them to serve his ship? "I've half a mind to arrest you now for treason." She was SO going to give Hawk a piece of her mind after this, regardless of what was going to happen.

Tavis nodded. "I know you have no reason to trust me, nor am I asking for trust. I'm merely asking you both to join the rest of the senior staff in a briefing and to keep an open mind. If you are still opposed to joining us afterwards, then I'm happy to make sure your protests are logged and you will not be required to participate in our actions."

"Alright, we'll be there." Aya stood, feeling there was little else to say, nor the need to stick to strict Starfleet decorum anymore. "I will say, regardless of what we end up deciding, the level of deceit you've demonstrated here... for one of our people..." Aya had so much more she wanted to say, to scream at him. Instead, she could only sigh. "Take a long look at who you really are, Captain."

Javi stood when Aya did, not feeling the need to speak, a solid presence beside her. She would attend as Aya had stated.

"I appreciate the feedback, Lieutenant," Tavis stated.

"I'm sure." Aya said with a nod and turned to leave Javi close behind.

As the doors closed behind the ladies, Tavis sighed, leaning back in his seat. The truth was, she was right. This wasn't normal for him, it wasn't like him to lie and try to deceive people. He always strived to be open and honest with his crew about what was going on. But these were special circumstances, the mission they were about to embark on was going to require everyone to change.

But resolve grew within him. Change was one thing, but who he was at the core would never change. He couldn't allow this mission to reshape him into a person he didn't want to be. From now on, he needed to stick to his principles. He needed to be the Captain he knew he could be.


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