USS VINDEX - NCC-2474-A
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The Riot Act

Posted on Sun Aug 13th, 2017 @ 11:16pm by Lieutenant Kazyah Linn & Commander Akiva ben-Avram

Mission: S2E1 - Secrets
Location: Chief of Intelligence's Office
Timeline: MD 100; 10:00

The senior staff briefing was over, and Akiva was right on Kazyah's heels as they marched into his office. He waited for the doors to close behind him before launching into his barely contained tirade.

"What the hell was that, Kaz?" Akiva threw his hand up in the general direction of the Observation Lounge. "I thought we had an understanding. Now I'm having second thoughts." He walked up to the man. "Help me out here."

"And what sort of understanding did you think we had, Akiva?" Kaz asked without turning to look at the man.

Akiva shook his head. "I'm not playing games this time, Lieutenant. You're an Intelligence offer. Demonstrate some, right now, or I'm calling your number."

Kaz turned to look at the man, "What would you like me to say?"

"You may start by telling me what 'things' required your attention," Akiva barked. "You're the Mission Adviser, yet you defied a direct order to remain in the senior staff briefing until dismissed. Fortunately I convinced the captain I would handle it, otherwise she would be here instead of me."

He crossed his arms. "Make it good, Kazyah. It had better be."

"I don't answer to you!" Kaz screamed as he slammed his hands on the desk. "And I don't answer to that spineless bitch you report to, either."

Akiva thrust a finger in Kaz's face. "Yes, you do, so long as you wear that uniform! Before you were reinstated by Intelligence, you put on a Starfleet uniform with a commission from Starfleet Command to serve as the Vindex's mission adviser. If you can't get with that program, Mr Linn, then I suggest you find your way to the door. I believe you already know where it is."

Tension hung in the air between them, thickening the lingering silence into an oppressive force.

"Let's try again. What demanded your attention to the point of disregarding the mission?"

"I had things to do!" Kaz replied, his voice still raised. He leaned his hands on the desk and hung his head, shaking it slightly. "I can't do this any more Akiva."

Akiva crossed his arms over his chest. "That's up to you. Report yourself to the Brig and stay there until I can get you the hell off my ship."

"I think we've already demonstrated that your brig can't contain me," Kaz said as he fell into his chair. "Sit down, there's something you need to know."

"I'll stand," Akiva said, unmoved and arms still crossed. "Speak. Took you long enough."

"I've been ordered to sabotage the Vindex's tactical systems," Kaz said, not looking up at the man.

Akiva chewed his tongue for a moment, considering perhaps the man was joking. It was a vain consideration, he knew, but his rational mind demanded it of him. Surely...

"Ordered?" Akiva's tone turned incredulous. "By whom?"

"You know I can't tell you that."

"You can if it was Section 31," Akiva countered. "You can, and you will. Was it them?"

Kaz simply nodded.

"I suppose they didn't say why." Akiva began to pace, then rubbed his head. "What's the timeframe?"

"I was going to finalize the plans after that meeting," Kaz said, turning his chair away from Akiva and towards the large screen that was inset behind his desk. "They want the alien shuttle. I'm supposed to be sabotaging our weapons so that we don't destroy their ship when they come to take it. I don't know when it'll be, but it sounded soon."

Akiva sighed. "No one was even supposed to know we had it." He cast a suspicion eye on Kazyah. "You weren't the one who provided that bit of information, were you?"

"Why is it that every time something goes wrong, I'm automatically assumed to be the snitch?" Kaz asked, visibly frustrated.

"Because you're a miserable mamzer." Akiva's scowled deepened. "And you're avoiding the question."

"No!" Kaz yelled, jumping up from his chair. "No no no! I don't just sit around here trying to find ways to undermine this ship!" Kaz grabbed the computer screen that was extended from his desk and pulled, cracking the casing as the technological appendage ripped from its housing. He threw it against the far wall and it collided with a glass case, sending the clear material to the floor in shattered pieces.

Akiva let the violent gesture stand for a moment before speaking. "You have demonstrated a propensity for sacrificing life and property for the mission," Akiva said with careful deliberation, "so forgive me for asking a necessary question. The remaining question now is what do we do about this?"

"I do my job," Kaz said, his voice boiling beneath the surface. "I do my duty. And once again, I am being asked to betray those I care about. I can't do this again." He turned away, "I won't."

That took Akiva by surprise. "Care? You just finished explaining to me precisely how little you do care." He sighed with frustration. "No, Kazyah. You're going to do this because otherwise they're only going to find another way to do so, and it will be a method we don't see coming with no way to counter."

He set his jaw. What he was about to suggest more than went against his grain. It ran contrary to every fiber in his being.

"Lieutenant, I order you to follow through with the sabotage, but only the appearance thereof. When the attack is sprung, then we'll spring a trap of our own. It will appear that we've managed to reverse the sabotage and defend ourselves, and we'll maintain your cover long enough to root out whoever means us harm."

"No," was Kaz's quick reply.

"It wasn't a request," Akiva said. "Do it, or I'll go by the book and blow this Section 31 sh'tuyot wide open--something I should've done from the outset."

"And what, you think I want this crew to hate me again for following orders?" Kaz scoffed, shaking his head. "You know, Akiva, Starfleet Intelligence treated me like a pawn. And then Section 31 did the same. I never thought you would though." Kaz walked around the desk to leave.

"You're the one who joined Section 31," Akiva said to his back. "Nobody made you do it. Either we play this out in order to catch the bad guy, or I call an emergency briefing with the captain and the commodore to settle it by the book. I see no other options on the table, so it's your call."

"I had no choice!" Kaz closed his eyes, willing the emotions within him to calm, but they wouldn't heed. Two tears pushed their way past his eyelids and rolled down his cheeks. "I'm tired of this, Akiva," he said, his voice full of vulnerability and fear. "All I've done is follow orders. Do my duty to the uniform. And every time, I lose. Don't you understand that, Akiva. Don't you realize how this is killing me?"

Kaz turned around, his eyes slightly red as he looked at Akiva with a pleading look. "I don't want to sabotage the Vindex. Despite what I say, I do care about this ship and the crew. Betraying them once, even though I was under orders, was hard. Doing it a second time." He shook his head, "I can't."

"Nobody will call it a betrayal," Akiva said. "It's a feint for a counterattack. I'll understand if you can't do it, but my position remains the same. If we can't turn Section 31's trap against them, then I will have to notify the captain." He ran a hand through his hair and sighed. "Either way, Kazyah, I can't do this myself."

With a deep breath, Kaz nodded, "Yea, alright. I'll take care of the sabotage. And we need Engineering to be ready with the countermeasure without telling them they're doing a countermeasure." Kaz wiped away the last remains of the emotions that streaked his face. "I'll draw us up some plans, alright?"

Akiva threw his hand out for a gentlemanly shake. "Sounds good. I'll even put it in an encrypted log for future evidence."

Kaz hesitated for a split moment but took the man's hand. "Thanks. And if I get thrown in the Brig, I hope you'll testify on my behalf."

"If we're not assassinated first," Akiva quipped with a sly grin. "Yes, yes, we've been through this before." He turned to leave, then stopped himself. "One other thing: be sure to tell your underlings, whomever they may be, to fear me like the hand of God. Everybody is under the impression that I came here to read you the riot act. It would be best to let them continue laboring under that impression."

Kaz rolled his eyes as he waved his hand for the man to leave, "Sure, just go. I'll talk to you later."

 

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