NCC - 81102

WTF Hawk?!

Posted on Mon Jun 13th, 2022 @ 7:30pm by Commander Magnus Hawkins & Lieutenant Ayanja Tusalo
Edited on on Tue Jun 14th, 2022 @ 3:34am

Mission: Mission 2: Chemicals React
Location: XO's Office
Timeline: MD 1

There was a conversation that Hawk had been expecting from the moment everyone walked out of the secret briefing where they all had committed to benevolent disobedience to an admiral's orders. The hope was they would expose a deeply entrenched and highly seated conspiracy against Starfleet and the Federation itself. Failure meant death or life in prison. It didn't surprise Hawk that everyone had agreed. Given the circumstances, there really wasn't any other choice. And that was what gave Hawk the real surprise.

Aya had not tracked him down yet.

But she would. If Hawk knew anything, he knew that. Gone were the days of the bright-eyed and bushy-tailed ensign who was eager to please and prove herself to the chief. The full LT of today would have a piece of her well-endowed Betazoid mind to give Hawk. He sat in his office chair, feet propped up on his desk, and read through various reports from the ship and the Starfleet Security grid, ignoring the proverbial Sword of Damocles dangling over his head.

Said Betazoid was currently on her third lap of the deck, shooting a glare at Hawk's office, all her efforts at calming down completely undone as soon as she caught sight of his door. How, just HOW!? How dare he bring her, and Javi and the crew into this mess. This wasn't just a mission that turned hazardous. This was a choice, a choice for the crew to go down this rabbit hole and drag their little cadre with them. Aya didn't know these people, didn't trust them... she didn't have a reason to distrust them either... but...


Aya stopped in her tracks, not caring about the crew that saw her, they'd already seen her pacing, what was one more bit of strangeness.

Not wanting to waste any more time she stalked back over to Hawk's office, her hand slamming down on the entry panel. Not that it made any difference to the volume or insistence of the chime, but it sure did make her feel better. Almost as much as the second and third strikes she laid into the closed door.

"Open up, you bastard!"

"Come." Hawk gave the order without setting down his PADD, though he did lower his feet from the desk corner down to the floor. The doors parted aside to let the living maelstrom of a furious Betazoid make her entry. This was her show and he would let her have the first word.

"You have a hell of a lot of nerve!" Aya stalked right up to the desk, palms slamming down on the surface, leaning forward to get as close to Hawk's face as she could. "You pulled me, specifically me and my people into your little shitstorm. You've put their careers and lives at risk for what? Your guess!?"

"Requested." Hawk set down his PADD as he corrected her wording and looked at her for the first time. "I called in a favor. You've always had my back in the past." He pursed his lips and gently nodded his understanding. "You've got every right to be angry. I won't deny that. But you need to check your target, Tusalo. Mission parameters changed for all of us, not just you."

"Semantics, as if I'd turn you down and you know it." He might not be completely wrong... but considering how his CO had acted and unilaterally assigned not just her, but Javi and Mara and basically the whole of the freighter crew to their ship. That's where they crossed the line.

"I might have even forgiven you if we hadn't been summarily assigned to the Odyssey, request kinda goes out the window once leaving was no longer an option."

Hawk grunted. "And here I thought we'd never have to say sorry to each other." He shook his head and sighed. "I don't know what to tell you. It was a secret mission, but seemed simple enough. Like I said outside the holodeck when you first got here, it would either be boring as fuck or it would go south and I'd need you." He looked at her with his dark eyes which were as sympathetic as they were unapologetic. "I guess we've figured out how that gamble went. Now I guess the question is what are you going to do about it, Tusalo?"

Aya reached across the table and struck Hawk before she even processed it. How... how dare he?! Of all people to question her honor, to question their friendship? "I'm still here aren't I!?" What felt like more of a growl in her heart came out lacking... not quite soft, but defeated. She slumped back into one of the chairs in front of the desk, the fight more or less having left her.

"What other choice did you have?" Hawk rhetorically asked, soaking the hit with every ounce of his being. He would not flinch. "I'm well aware of the position you are in without you coming here and telling me. You had the choice of betraying the letter of the law or betraying your fellow officers which is no real choice at all. What I want to know is why you are pissed at me and not with this Director who has forced all of our hands?"

"Why did I have to find out about this from your pissant of a Captain?" Aya crossed her arms over her chest, ignoring the, now, rather noticeable throb in her fist. Hawk had a much harder jaw than she remembered, not that she'd show it right now, she was still too pissed at him.

Hawk smirked back at her. "He's not a captain yet. But agreed to present the choice to everyone together. I would've read you in sooner if we wanted to sit on it for awhile. You know that. As soon as I got my head put back together after beatdown..." A tic overcame his cheek at the admission. Had Kaz not been one of the good guys after all, Hawk would have had a long goodnight. "... we called the secret meeting."

"Still had long enough to shanghai my crew." Explanations sure, not necessarily excuses but she still wasn't happy about it. And she didn't have to be, fuck accepting that this had been ok. "I don't even know what t tell them."

Without missing a beat, Hawk said, "Blame me. I'm your superior officer now as well as theirs. If they have an issue you can't answer, then it falls to me." He fixed her with a challenging stare. "I don't have to tell you I can handle mine."

"I don't shirk blame, you know that... especially not about this, even if I was doesn't exactly mean my hands are clean." She had picked her crew, even if it was for a milk run, wasn't that supposed to mean she was responsible for them? How was she supposed to square that with them possibly throwing their careers, even their lives away?

Hawk walked around his desk in order to stand closer to Aya. It wasn't a power play, but a gesture of the human element. His full height advantage couldn't be factored away though.

"If I knew what comes next, Aya, then I'd tell you. I've had to keep the rest of the skeleton crew in the dark. Adding your people to that list isn't anything extra." He gave her arm a comforting squeeze near the shoulder. "Chain of command means you don't carry shit that's beyond your rank. It's no shirk for you to send anyone to me with the hard questions. That's you keeping me on point."

Cracking a smile, he added, "Maybe we could keep the slaps to a minimum though."

"Only if you keep the lying to me to a minimum." Aya couldn't help but let a small smile of her own cross her lips. The comforting touch, a familiar presence at least. She could depend on that, she might not be able to trust the mission or her new Captain but she could trust Hawk... and she could trust Javi. That's all she needed.

"I've never lied to you," Hawk pressed. "I've..." Well, he had done things to her that a superior officer should not have done. "I've never kept anything from you." Certain memories flashed back to him that did not put that statement into a good light. He closed his eyes and cleared his mind with a breath before speaking again. "The mission will always come first, but there will always be honesty between us."

Aya could feel Hawk's guilt, the moments of their shared past that weighed upon him. Even with her walls up they were too close, too much shared history to ever be fully blocked from the other. Flashes of their lives intertwining came before her eyes, most making her smile... others, well, she didn't exactly regret them but understood why Hawk might.

"I know."

Now it was her turn to feel guilty. A man she'd cared for, who cared for her, mentored her... she'd forgotten that, forgotten that important thing about trusting an old friend.

"I'm still pissed at you, but I know, I get it." Aya sighed, sitting forward, hands clasped, rubbing her now very bruised fist as she rocked in her seat.

"That's all I need," Hawk grinned wrly. "More women pissed at me." A sinking feeling came over him that maybe he shouldn't have said that. The feeling made his body stiffen. "So..."

"So..." She didn't miss his little quip, but it also wasn't her business. If he wanted to say something he would. Not that she had any real hold on him, nor did she want one, not anymore. What she wanted was answers, a reason to support this probably suicidal idea. A reason to risk it all and convince others to do the same.

Hawk stared at her, debating on whether he should say. It was private. But on the other hand he had already told Tavis. A gentleman didn't kiss and tell, but then he had just promised there would always be honesty between them.

"You may find out eventually," Hawk said at length. "Might as well hear it from me." Taking a breath, he steeled himself for the admission. "Before our rendezvous..." Bad choice of words, given the context. "...with your freighter, I had dinner with Lieutenant Aurora. We made a connection and then..." Hawk forced himself to look into those knowing Betazoid eyes, though it was like staring at a solar eclipse. "We made love." As soon as he'd said it, his speech picked up speed. "It was a mistake, a dumb mistake, especially in light of our new circumstances. Bad for morale, bad for discipline, just bad all around." Taking another cleansing breath, he said, "So, there's that."

"That..." That was NOT what she'd expected he was going to say. She figured some admission of his hesitance about the secret mission, his frustration with all that was happening. But a fling? And why was he embarrassed, is that how he felt when they had been... whatever they had been?

"I appreciate you telling me, not that you had to or I'd judge you." She really didn't know what to say, it totally threw her off. Sitting back she kinda looked around the room a moment before letting out a little chuckle. "I'm a little disappointed in your taste... she's kinda a bitch."

"There were three of her, Aya," said Hawk in defense of himself. "And they were being all clever and articulate and vulnerable and..." He rubbed the back of his neck and shook his head. "Point being, I had to break it off for obvious reasons and... it's not gone so well."

"Ahh, well I mean I guess I can't blame ya for taking advantage of having a foursome with triplets." Aya was practically giggling at Hawk's discomfort, she shouldn't and felt a little bad. But seeing this towering half Klingon looking so flustered was too adorable. "Sucks that it didn't go well tho. I say this as someone who used to be in her position, you deserve someone to make you happy."

"Shit..." Hawk couldn't hold back the chuckle like he had the flinch from Aya's earlier punch. "You can't go spreading that around. Aurora did not taking our parting well. If she found out about any of my past indiscretions..." Calling Aya an indiscretion seemed dishonorable, but he couldn't take the word back once he'd said it. Hawk changed tack and feigned indignance. "I'm glad you're finding this so fucking hilarious, Tusalo, but it's hard enough running a ship when I'm not exactly on speaking terms with the chief engineer. If she found out about our history, then it would only get worse. We need that engine room in tip-top order, not a bitter and vengeful chief engineer."

Aya did flinch a bit, just a moment, just barely but it was there. Indiscretion... it sounded so tawdry like they were wrong. Like it never should have been? Aya for one didn't regret their time together, she hoped that he didn't either. But this wasn't the time, Hawk was already moving on, she could feel his discomfort even through her barriers.

Instead she chuckled, maybe with some slight hesitance... but she'd play along for now. "Can't say I'm impressed or surprised that she'd hold a grudge..."

As if Aya could have a had a lower opinion of the woman than she did before. In a way she was loath to even call her a fellow Officer. It was one thing to have a personal issue with a person and still get the job done. It was a very different thing to hold a personal... indulgence, and one in the past no less... but to hold a personal indulgence against another? Aya truly couldn't comprehend how someone could be so selfish, but then there were those who put on the Uniform and had no sense of what sacrifice may be called when wearing it.

"Not that I would go and spread our business around to anyone, since it's none of theirs."

Hawk's mouth pursed ever so slightly. It wasn't to hold back a blush. Never that. He just had a spontaneous facial tic. "I'm glad you see it that way because I totally agree," he said. While he was not proud of every moment of their shared history, Hawk could not bring himself to regret even a moment. "And I hope you can understand, both despite the circumstances and in light of them, I'm really glad you're here."

"I can't exactly say I'm glad to be here, but I'm glad we're on the same ship again." There was a part of her that was glad to be aboard the Odyssey; the chance to serve aboard a Century class, even one with issues like this one was quite a treat. Really it's issues made her feel more at home, Venture was a cobbled together mess and SB471 was barely habitable before it went operational.

"Can't say the others much share my view. I still need to check back in with Javi and O'sullivan, they're the other seniors on this mission. I should see where they're at."

Now that tensions had eased, Hawk couldn't hold back a grin. "Should I expect either of them to come punch me?"

"Only if you do something to deserve it." Aya grinned back, she did feel bad about hitting him. Even if there was someone that wouldn't take it personally it would be him. It was a very Klingon reaction to his actions and her feelings. Aya had always respected his Klingon heritage, and looked up to it in a way. Still, she tried not to act on those moments, those almost trained cultural instincts. They weren't her own, and they weren't his either, at least not by choice. Even if Hawk did act more Klingon than he admitted more often than not.

"Sorry about that... I shouldn't have reacted that way. I was out of line..."

Hawk nodded. "Yes, but it wasn't the first time and probably won't be the last." He smirked again. "I'm glad we talked though."

"Same, hopefully, Tavis doesn't necessitate another one." As pissed as she had been at Hawk, Aya didn't quite know how to describe her feelings about the ship's Captain.

"If you ever feel the need to slap Inhari, please let me know before you do." And then he grinned. "Or, on the other hand, don't." Clapping Aya on the back, a gesture that would have been too rough for most women her size, Hawk said, "Come on. I need a drink and it seems like you do too."