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A Line in the Sand

Posted on Thu Sep 7th, 2017 @ 10:39pm by Commander Akiva ben-Avram & Captain Claudia Ainscow & Petty Officer 3rd Class Rebecca Ainscow

Mission: S2E1 - Secrets
Location: Captain's Ready Room
Timeline: MD 102; 1000

Akiva met with Claudia at her ready room bright and early. With the hostage crisis that made for a most unfortunate first contact between the Federation and a new race of aliens firmly behind them, Akiva set his mind toward a promise he had made the day before.

"Good morning, Captain." Akiva realized he had walked in on Claudia and Rebecca. "I beg your pardon, but I had something urgent to discuss. It's about Lieutenant Whistler."

Claudia was talking with Rebecca about their plan of action for the day ahead. There was a lot of paperwork to be done and Claudia needed a few jobs doing around the ship that she didn't have time for.

"One second Commander" Claudia said.

She passed Rebecca a PADD with a list of jobs to be done and instructed her to sit on the sofa for a moment. Claudia then took her seat behind the desk and gestured for Akiva to sit down.

"I had a feeling you might want to talk about that. Please take a seat - is there anything I can get you before we start?" Claudia asked.

"No, thank you. I believe this will be quick." Akiva handed Claudia a PADD of his own and then sat down. "I am formally calling for a general court-martial against Lieutenant Whistler. After the man pulled a knife on me in full view of everyone on the Bridge, I received word that he has been abusing the Security department with war games on the holodeck." Akiva frowned. "He's been running team after team through there with the safeties deactivated."

Claudia looked at the PADD and scanned the contents of it. She was aware of Akiva being threatened as she and others were witness to that - but the use of the holodeck for intense training was new to Claudia and her face said it all. Claudia was not a fan of using the holodeck without the safety features in any circumstances.

"I've already made the suggestion to my superiors Commander. Commodore Hutchinson's prompt response was to deal with it ourselves because JAG are still inundated with cases from The Consortium crisis. Even with this use of the holodeck without the safety protocols I doubt his stance would change" Claudia replied.

Akiva chewed on that a moment. "We'll have to downgrade it to a special court-martial then. I suppose it will have to do."

Claudia nodded. "I can try again but the chances are but I imagine his response will probably be the same. I could always ask...someone else...a bit higher up - especially as they owe me a favour for being such a self righteous tool when they were here the other day"

Rebecca sat on the sofa quietly and observed the conversation between the two officers. She was surprised Claudia had allowed her to stay and witness a conversation that was clearly quite sensitive.

"We need to do whatever we have to do." Akiva was uncharacteristically adamant in his tone and demeanor. "This loose cannon is going to get somebody killed."

"We will deal with him Commander...I..." Claudia said - reaching for her tummy.

Rebecca stood up and walked over to Claudia - concerned.

"Are you alright CeCe?" Rebecca asked.

Akiva was on his feet, though he was unsure of what to do. "Captain? Shall I alert Sickbay?"

Claudia placed her hand up and shook her head to the latter suggestion - sickbay wasn't where she wanted to be right now with the amount of work she had to do. It was just a short and sharp twinge that had caught her off guard.

"I'm fine. Seeing as I won't be able to hide it forever I may as well tell you Commander - but you have to keep it between us until I tell everyone else at a later date. I'm having a baby" Claudia replied.

Akiva balked at the news. "Congratulations are in order, I believe." He chuckled wryly and muttered, "Must be something in the air."

Rebecca stood behind Claudia and rested her hands on each of her wife's shoulders reassuringly.

Claudia smiled. "Thank you Commander. It's still fairly early days as you can see but with recent events I didn't think it would be too long before it became obvious. As for something in the air...what did I miss?"

Akiva closed his eyes with a grimace. With their last conversation putting things on hold until she figured things out, Akiva was unsure of whom Laena would feel comfortable with him telling about her pregnancy.

"I suppose it will become public knowledge soon enough," Akiva said. "Laena and I are... together now, and she is with child."

And that should be a cause for celebration, he glumly mused to himself.

"She... she isn't sure if she wants a child. It's... we don't know what's going to happen, only that, whatever she decides, I am keeping the child."

With his word vomit at an end, he turned away to stare out the view port. "She told me just yesterday, before... well, everything."

Claudia got up from her chair and walked around the table to Akiva. In the time they had been serving together they had gone from colleagues to close friends. He was Claudia's most trusted advisor and she wanted to support him as best as she could.

"Well firstly I want to offer my congratulations even if you don't particularly want to celebrate. I can guess that it isn't exactly an easy situation for you both at the moment but ultimately I think you need to give her time for her to think about what she needs to do. I know you want to keep the child and I respect that - however whatever decision you both come to you can always count on me to be there. I'm not talking as your Commanding Officer either - I'm talking as your friend" Claudia replied.

Akiva received her words with a wry smile. "I appreciate that, Cap... Claudia. Truly, I do."

Claudia smiled. "Any time Akiva. I can't really say I know exactly how you're going through but I can understand what Laena's going through. When I found out I was having Grace it was a bit daunting and I didn't know what to do. I had a career to think about and I would be raising her alone. I don't regret having her for one second and nor will I regret having this baby - Laena is probably feeling at least some of the feelings I felt and she'll need time to think about and analyse them. The best advice I can give you is to be there for her and hold her hand through whatever decision she makes. If I have to I'll hold each of your hands through it - and I mean that too"

Emotion welled up too strongly for him to speak. Akiva crossed his arms and nodded rather than reply. After clearing his throat, he turned back to the PADD on the desk.

"Ahem. Yes. As for the, uh, court-martial... I've never done this before, but I would like to proceed with it as quickly as possible." His voice turned grave. "Our crew deserves better than this rabid animal. I don't know how he ever made it into the uniform to begin with, much less get promoted."

Claudia smiled. "I'll speak to Admiral Ingham when we get to Starbase Unity. I'm not really keen on circumventing Commodore Hutchinson's authority but I'm not really sure dealing with this without a neutral perspective is really possible. He's far from my favourite of the Admirals I've met but I know he's pretty good at this sort of thing"

Skepticism was rife on Akiva's face. "Was he not the one who crept aboard and turned a routine transport mission into some sort of mysterious, top-secret fiasco?" He shook his head with a moment's consideration. "I don't like it, but I suppose we have no choice."

Claudia chuckled. Her dislike of the Admiral was extremely high but she was planning to use a favour she felt he owed after the assurances he gave her proved to be a waste of breath.

"He might be an arrogant tosser but he owes us all a favour or two for putting us through yet more bullshit when he promised there wouldn't be any. It's funny really - in the few days it's taken us to get from Nova Mercia to hear he's now a Rear Admiral when there's some people here still waiting for theirs. Hopefully once we sort this out we can stick two fingers up to him and he goes back to wherever he was before" Claudia responded.

That made Akiva chuckle. "I despise the political nature of fleet affairs, but I suppose that is the field I entered when I became your first officer." He sighed. "Command is... tough."

Claudia chuckled again. "I hate it too. I try and ignore it but now Hutchinson made me Task Group leader it's become a bit harder to just ignore the political crap that comes with it. Command is really tough but you're doing a great job so far and proving that I made the right choice"

Pausing to see Rebecca had made herself comfortable in her chair she continued. If Claudia ever vacated the comfiest chair in their quarters nine times out of ten she'd see either Rebecca or Grace were sat in it upon her return.

"When you're ready to make that step up you'll make a good Captain - but I hope you'll stick around here for a few years at least. I was First Officer on the Endurance for three years before coming here and admittedly I'd probably still be there if Captain Grundy didn't retire and go into politics" Claudia concluded.

Akiva shook his head and offered a nervous chuckle. "My feet are still wet, Captain. I won't be going anywhere for a long time. Some days I feel like this post is too much for me." Once more, he looked down at the PADD. "Like when court-martialing another officer. Have you ever done this before?"

Claudia chuckled. "I have once. It eventually worked out but to start off with it was a rather hostile experience. Someone refused direct orders from their department head, me and then the Captain. Not quite the same as this but when you're ordered to do something and the response is 'get to fuck' to three senior officers then you're just asking to be court martialed"

The area of his neck where Whistler had held the dagger tormented Akiva with a cold itch. He ignored it. "I think we need to investigate his past record. It seems highly likely that these renegade antics are not his first."

"I'll download a copy of it and have Rebecca take it to your office. I would do it myself but I've got a huge report to write about yesterday and a letter to Admiral Moron telling him he was wrong and needs a rocket up his backside back to the Alpha Quadrant" Claudia replied.

Rebecca immediately made a note on the PADD in her hand to ask Claudia for the profile to deliver to Akiva's office. She had a lot to do that day but that wouldn't take too long.

Akiva laughed aloud. "If only we could say just that in our reports."

Claudia grinned. "Don't tempt me Akiva. I'm probably about a hair's width away from telling him exactly what I think of him. Thankfully we won't be seeing much more of him anyway so I think I can tolerate him for just that little bit longer. After that it's two fingers up to him and off into the sunset for us"

"Why is that old man even here anyway?" Akiva asked, suddenly curious. "Commodore Hutchinson isn't facing any trouble of his own from Command, is he?"

"I have no idea. I think he was brought in to help out with cleaning up the last of The Consortium but that's long since been dealt with. Commodore Hutchinson was just as perplexed as we are but I wouldn't say he's got any issues with Command - although I'd imagine if anything is going on he might not be able to tell us" Claudia responded.

Akiva nodded in contemplation. "True enough. I suppose it's up to us to do our part, and that means getting a reckless, insubordinate officer out of the fleet."

Claudia sat herself up on the desk and thought to herself for a moment. She felt the book needed to be thrown at Mark but she had a trick up her sleeve to give him one last chance at proving himself.

Claudia smiled. "Well I'll speak to Admiral Ingham when we get to Starbase Unity - if he tells us to deal with it ourselves then we will - but I will push for him to do something about it considering he owes us a favour or two. Whether it's him or us though I have a feeling the proceedings are going to be say the least"

Akiva crossed his arms and frowned. "And in the mean time?" he asked. "I don't like the idea of him running free, much less holding any position of authority."

"I'll get him up here and have a word with him once we've done here. I think we should put a stop to any more of his training exercises at the very least" Claudia replied.

Akiva nodded. "I've already restricted his holodeck access. He won't be writing any more dangerous programs like the World War III reenactment I saw earlier."

Claudia reached for a PADD on her desk and started to make some notes on it to remind her of a few things she'd just thought of.

"Alright I think that should be enough. I'll have a chat with him and try and work something out where things are suitable for all concerned. I think his training sessions need to be supervised by either you or myself - at least for the time being anyway. Would you be willing to do that?" Claudia responded.

"Perhaps." Akiva pinched his nose. "I will have him arrested at the first sign of an argument, though."

Claudia nodded. "That's fine. Let me deal with him for the time being - you have enough to deal with at home. When we get to Starbase Unity I intend to get us some R&R for a couple of weeks at least. I suspect Lieutenant Atkinson - or whoever our next Chief Engineer is - will want time to sort the engines out as well"

"Not a bad idea." Akiva sighed and shifted his weight toward the door. "Thank you for your time, Captain. I'll leave you and your yeoman to get to back what you were doing."

Claudia smiled. "Any time Akiva. You know where I am if you need me"

Rebecca got up from Claudia's chair and stood next to her wife and rested a hand on her shoulder.

"You mean you know where we are Claudia. But yes I'm here for you too Commander - as a friend or if you want a hand with your paperwork. The offer's always there" Rebecca added.

Akiva smiled at them both. "Thank you. It is appreciated and will not be forgotten. Until next time," he added with a nod.

Claudia smiled. "Until next time Commander"


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