USS VINDEX - NCC-2474-A
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Mission of Mercy

Posted on Tue Mar 7th, 2017 @ 11:07am by Commander Akiva ben-Avram & Biynah
Edited on on Tue Mar 7th, 2017 @ 11:11am

Mission: S1E4 - Remnants Of A Lost Cause
Location: Observation Lounge
Timeline: MD 68 ; 19:30

Akiva had moved from the captain's Ready Room to the Observation Lounge. Spending too much time behind that desk made it seem like Claudia would never return. The open space of the Lounge helped keep the walls from closing in.

With all the bustle on the Bridge, it seemed best to have Paul take Grace down to the captain's mess hall for some food. Biynah, of course, remained with him. Akiva had never though of becoming a father, especially not before taking a wife – and, truth be told, he never saw himself doing even that.

Yet Biynah was proving herself a capable assistant. She had aptly coordinated his schedule, arranged his paperwork in order of priority, and offered him quiet reassurance with every look. Akiva reminded himself to get that work study going in earnest once this was all done and over.

“What's next on my schedule?” Akiva rubbed his forehead and sighed. This day felt as though it would never end, yet he longed for it. One way or another, this ended tonight.

“There are tactical updates from the Endurance, intelligence reports from DS-9, maintenance reports from Lieutenant Atkinson in Engineering, and medical reports from Dr. O'Reilly in Sickbay; material requisitions accompany the latter two.” Biynah said by rote. “But first Counselor Maera wishes to speak with you.”

“Thank you, Biynah.” Akiva smiled despite his fatigue. “See her in if she's here.”

“You're welcome, Father.” Biynah returned his smile and shuffled to the door. When she opened it, Jaya stood with her hands folded in front. “Father will see you now,” Biynah said with a subtle warning disguised as a cordial greeting.

Jaya grimaced for a moment. “Yes, thank you.” She put off the disconcerting awkwardness with a faint shake of her head, then put on her best smile marched with an eager step to Akiva's table.

Akiva made to stand, but not before Jaya had already cleared the distance. She folded her arms behind her back and swayed merrily. “Good evening, Commander,” she said with a smile.

“Good evening, Counselor.” Akiva rubbed the back of his head and grinned sheepishly. “I know I've missed a couple sessions.”

Jaya smirked and nodded in the affirmative. “Mhmm. But that's not why I'm here.”

“It's not?” Akiva was simultaneously relieved and suspicious.

“No, sir.” Jaya turned solemn, her hands folded back in front, her chin lowered in a demure bow. “Well, I suppose it should be the reason, but...” She chewed her lip. “I am conflicted.”

Akiva chuckled wryly. “I can relate to that.” He gestured to the table. “Have a seat.”

“No, thank you, I'd rather stand,” Jaya said, swaying again with her hands entangled together. “I don't intend to use up more of your time than necessary.”

“All right, then.” Akiva sighed, embracing his fatigue to block out the otherwise alluring nature of the Deltan counselor. He forced his eyes upon hers and not the rhythmic sway of her body. “What's on your mind?”

“First of all, I need to formally advise you that I've received several complaints regarding your temperament and mental state.” Jaya turned stock still. Her face was neutral, but her eyes pleaded for his understanding. “There is concern that you are not holding up well under the circumstances.”

Akiva nodded. “I hope you don't mind if I sit down,” he said, taking a seat. His elbows scattered the PADDs piled in front of him as he dropped his face into his hands.

“There is no official record... yet.” Jaya hesitated to state the final word. “At least, not in my log. Any such notation is purely at my discretion, and I do not feel it necessary.”

“Yet,” Akiva said. He heaved several deep breaths, then flung a PADD at the wall. “Ben-zonah!

The outburst startled Jaya even though she had expected it. “Commander...”

“What am I supposed to do?” he asked rhetorically. “What would they rather I do? You know what? It doesn't matter.” He slammed his hands on the table and stood to his feet. “I am not a strong person. I wake up in cold sweats every night. I worry and fret over the smallest personal interaction. I cannot accept the compliments of my peers or even the attentions of a beautiful woman. What the hell was I thinking accepting a command position?”

Jaya took a breath and nodded, stalling for time to form a response. “It has been said bravery is not the absence of fear in the face of danger or adversity, but the choice to act in spite of overwhelming fear.” Ever so slowly, Jaya reached her hand upward to rest on Akiva's shoulder. “You do that every day, Akiva. You have done it today – this day of all days.”

“It's not good enough,” Akiva said, biting back a torrent of repressed frustration. “It's never good enough. I am never good enough!” He removed his commbadge and set it on the table. “Please notify Commander Himmel that I am relieving myself of command effective immediately and that he is the new acting captain.”

“Stop it.”

Akiva balked at the blunt imperative. “I beg your pardon?”

“I said, 'stop it.'” Jaya raised herself up to her full height—all 5'4 inches—and glowered at Akiva. “If Captain Ainscow thought Commander Himmel was the right choice to be her right hand, then she would have chosen him in the first place. Instead she kept him where he is best utilized, just as she did with you before all of this happened. Soren is so effective and indispensable in his role because he does not cut himself off at the knees. He might doubt his chances of success, but he does not give up on his friends. We all need you to be the man you are afraid you cannot be.” She took up his commbadge and put it back on his chest.

Akiva did not resist, but neither did he concede. “But what if I fail?” He turned away from Biynah, though his heart clearly went out to her. “What if I get us or the hostages killed in this suicide mission?”

“Then we all die the hero's death,” Jaya said. “I've already tasted the thousand deaths that cowards face every day. I'd much rather die once, thank you.” She backed off somewhat and lowered her tone. “I'm sure our missing people feel the same.”

“You're right,” Akiva whispered. “I'm sorry, Counselor. I... just... have wrestled with so much doubt.”

Jaya offered a merciful, knowing smile. “Humility is a wonderful trait in a leader,” she said, “but it must be tempered by courage. Do what is right not because it is a sure thing, but because you believe it is worth doing. No one can do more than that.”

Akiva nodded. “Thank you, Counselor.” He paused, then added, “I'll try to keep our next appointment.”

“You bet you will.” Jaya gave a teasing wink. “Now, with official business out of the way, I have a favor to ask.”

“Anything,” Akiva said. “Within reason, of course.”

Jaya spread her lips in a sly grin. “I wish to be assigned to the strike team.”

“What strike team?” Akiva turned his head and furled his brow in pretense of ignorance.

“Commander,” Jaya said with a roll of her eyes, “Cara already briefed me on the security measures for Sickbay. The rest wasn't hard to get from her. Frankly, many captains invite their counselors to participate in their senior level meetings.” She shot him an accusing eyebrow.

“Fine.” Akiva bit his lip, refusing to show his chagrin. “May I ask why? That hardly seems the place for you to be.”

“Say I'm a combat medic,” Jaya said with a shrug. “I can patch a flesh wound. If Storr is going into the jaws of death – first a Bird of Prey, then onward to an enemy facility – then I want to be at his side.” Her tone was respectful, but her face and posture were unyielding.

“Do you really think you will be able to help?” Akiva asked in final consideration.

“Saalkan is a very powerful telepath,” Jaya said. “There is no telling what he may be able to do. I will not let that son of a bitch do to Storr what he... what I saw him do...” She trailed off and averted her eyes as they blinked back tears. When her eyes returned to Akiva, they were dry and firm. “I will do everything in my power to ensure the success of our mission.”

Akiva met her eyes with a firm stare of his own. “Very well,” he said at last. “It is likely that when the Marines find our people, they will be in dire need of your services as well. I'll approve it.”

“Thank you, sir.” Jaya bowed deeply and graciously. “I expect the major will object, so I appreciate your support.”

“Just give hell to our enemies and bring our friends home,” Akiva said. Anger bristled in his voice. It gave Jaya pause.

“Akiva, if we are too driven to accomplish both, then we may end up with neither.” Jaya assessed him with a look of pity. “Beware this path of anger you've set down, sir. I worry it may consume you.”

Akiva made to argue, but his words caught in his throat. “I will consider your advice,” he said. “Thank you.”

“You're a good man, Akiva.” Jaya smiled at him and Biynah in turn. “Biynah is a lucky girl to have such a wise father.”

Akiva warmed a bit by the compliment. Biynah stared at Jaya with an unreadable look. She nodded in agreement, but said nothing.

“I'll see you on the other side, Commander.” Jaya turned to leave.

Yasher koach.” Akiva nodded in dismissal.

After Jaya had left, Biynah moved to gather the PADDs that had scattered across the table. One had found its way to the floor. “She does not compute,” Biynah said.

“Oh?” Akiva asked. He had come to appreciate his daughter's unique insights more and more. “How do you mean?”

“She uses what the Rabbi Heschel calls 'double-talk,' where language is reduced to labels.” Biynah sorted the PADDs in their proper order and narrowed her eyes. “I don't trust her.”

“You lack the benefit of feeling her empathy,” Akiva said. Not to mention her pheromones, he mentally added. “Perhaps her words, if taken literally under suspicion, could appear contradictory, but she did tell the truth.”

“She was rude to you.” Biynah looked at him with a perfect expression of offense.

“Sometimes you have to be cruel to be kind,” Akiva said. “But even so, hers was a mission of mercy.”

“Which part?” Biynah asked. “Counseling you or getting permission to join the Marines as a combat medic?”

Akiva curled the corners of his mouth in a prim smile. “Both, yedidah. I believe they both were.”

 

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