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Guilty All the Same

Posted on Wed Feb 15th, 2017 @ 3:13am by Lieutenant Commander Martha Cusack & Commander Akiva ben-Avram

Mission: S1E4 - Remnants Of A Lost Cause
Location: Chief Science Officer's Office
Timeline: MD 67 - 1230

The ship never seemed so big before. Between losing more than half its crew and having the responsibility for the rest fall on his shoulders, Akiva felt smaller than ever. Soren was doing an excellent job overseeing the various repair teams while temporarily transferring Main Engineering over to his assistant chief, Megan Atkinson. Even so, Akiva felt like he was barely keeping his head above water.

Before long, he would return to the bridge and settle in for the long pursuit, but first he needed to consult with his CoS. The turbolift dropped him off nearby, and it was but a moment before he chimed at Martha's office door.

Martha was listening to music in her office when suddenly the chime went - causing her to jump slightly and become very slightly agitated. The situation was already bad enough but the last thing Martha wanted was surprise visitors that made her jump.

"Computer pause music"

"Come in" Martha said.

As Akiva entered, he noted Martha's agitated disposition. "Is something the matter, Lieutenant?" he asked. "Aside from, well, the obvious."

Martha felt it was best not to tell Akiva his surprise arrival had made her jump and agitated.

"I'm fine. Is there anything I can do for you?" Martha asked.

"I just spoke with Major Garlake. He's preparing as best he can with what little information is at hand." Akiva rubbed the back of his head. "We have precious little... Martha. Can I call you Martha?" Akiva offered a half-grin. He felt it was important to begin fostering closer relations with others, at least when in private.

"I prefer to avoid ranks if I'm talking to that person - Martha is fine" Martha replied.

"Great, Martha. I came to tell you what I told him: we have a heading. That's the good news." His smile faded. "The bad news is that it leads nowhere. Literally. There is nothing around it for light-years, which could... well, mean anything."
Akiva took a breath to still his nerves which were increasingly on edge of late.
"I know it's a tall order to be ready for anything. How far short of that do we fall?"

Martha sighed. "I've armed most of the remaining personnel for a reason - the Security department is virtually non existent. The final death toll indicates we have 24 dedicated Security personnel on board - including me"

"Oi vey." Akiva grimaced. "So you would not be available for a boarding party." He put a thumb to his chin. "In the event that we need Security to supplement the Marine detachment, who might you be able to spare?"

Martha wasn't prepared to spare any further personnel from her extremely depleted Security department - even the Tactical department was struggling - so for now Martha had decided to pool the resources and make every remaining officer dual-role until more personnel were sourced.

"Nobody at the moment. You'd be better asking me once I've managed to work out a stable roster that doesn't involve having unbalanced shift sizes" Martha replied.

"Not what I had hoped, but better than to be expected under the circumstances." Akiva sighed. "At least I can still count on defensive measures in the event we're the ones who get boarded."

"In exceptional circumstances I can maybe send Lucia and Beaumont - but that's the best I can do. Again you will have to ask me at the time whether I can spare them or not" Martha replied.

"Martha... can I ask a personal question? Off the record." Akiva went on, looking away from her face and so took her silence as permission.

"Am I doing the right thing?" He grunted a wry chortle. "This time last year, I was an assistant Operations chief. We saw action from time to time, but I had barely fired a phaser. Now I'm in the thick of it, potentially sending people to their deaths armed with an unlawful emergency order to commit potential war crimes." His eyes met hers. "But if I relent and we all die anyway, what then?"

"You're doing the best you can in the circumstances and I'm sure Captain Ainscow will agree. Sometimes we have to make decisions - whether we like them or not. I'll do whatever you ask me to do - but if you cross a line I'm not comfortable with - I will tell you without hesitation" Martha advised.

"I appreciate that," Akiva said. "There is just a darkness growing inside me that I've never known before. I want... I don't just want to recover our people, Martha. I want to take from our enemies what they took from us. I want to kill them all." He could only bring himself to partially face her. "How does that make me any different?"

Martha nodded. She knew that feeling very well and decided to share a story with Akiva she hadn't shared with anyone else before.

"When I was on my last ship there was a mutiny and The Consortium took control of the vessel. After I escaped from the brig with a few others we managed to retake the ship but afterwards I found myself wanting to make the instigator of the mutiny feel the pain he had caused to the loved ones of the people his cronies killed. You're not alone in that...I still find myself wanting to do that even now. I have no idea why Starfleet posted a known Consortium agent aboard this vessel and sure enough he's done it again...I think you know who I'm on about" Martha replied.

"So we were set up," Akiva said. "I still feel guilty all the same. How do you face the darkness without letting it consume you?"

"I just tell myself it's for the greater good. I've never faced anything as dark as this before but whatever we do now to counter them is for the greater good" Martha responded.

Akiva stared at the wall and crossed his arms. "I hope you're right, Martha. Some lines, once crossed... you can't come back." He stood up and shook his head. "At any rate, thank you for letting me bend your ear. I know I can count on you to do what needs to be done. Be ready for potential enemy contact on standard Beta Shift."

"I know that feeling. I've crossed one or two I wish I hadn't but I can't change the past - but we all make mistakes. You can't say you've learned anything if you haven't made a mistake" Martha replied.

Taking a moment to get herself a cup of tea she returned to her desk.

Martha continued. "I might not know you but I think we're similar people. If you want anyone to talk to then come and find me - but we'll be ready on your command"

"I appreciate that." Akiva bit his lip. "I just may take you up on that before long." He nodded to himself in quiet contemplation. "Well, if there's nothing else, Martha, I will leave you to it. Thank you again.'

Martha gave Akiva a nod before turning back to her console and trying to work out a suitable duty roster - but it was still proving quite troublesome even after a short break away from it.

"Computer...resume music"


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