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You really want a killer?

Posted on Wed Nov 8th, 2017 @ 8:45pm by Lieutenant Mark Whistler & Captain Emily Jones

Mission: S2E2 - Vindeux
Location: Captain Jones' Ready Room
Timeline: Mission Day 127; 18:00

Admiral Lewis Connelly was not a happy man. He had received too many reports about troubling officers, and now it was up to him to deal with them. After shouting at his aide to connect him to the USS Vindex he was waiting to speak to the new Commanding Officer. He just hoped she would see things his way, and make his job easier.

Emily had finished moving her stuff onto the Vindex and sat down at the desk in her ready room. Just as she did so a communications request came up on the console - so Emily reached for it and accepted the request whilst wondering who it could be. Her question was answered the moment a Starfleet Admiral she was familiar with appeared on screen.

"Admiral. What can I do for you?" Emily asked.

"You can dismiss Mark Whistler from your crew. He's becoming a problem, and I've been assigned to keep an eye on him. Frankly, I don't want the job, and want him gone." Connelly replied.

Emily scoffed. "You don't have the authority to tell me who I can and can't have on my crew because I am not under your chain of command. Lieutenant Whistler's latest actions where he assaulted two former members of the crew were highly questionable...however I will discuss that with him myself. What exactly is your issue with him anyway?"

"The man is a killer. He's only in Starfleet because people want him as an ally than an enemy. Why do you want him on your ship?" Connelly asked.

"He's the Chief Tactical Officer on this vessel and I am not prepared to start playing musical crew members the moment I arrive. Do you actually have proof of that accusation?" Emily responded.

"Have you read his file? On his homeworld, he was known as Hell's Messenger. He's killed more people than anyone alive that we know of, including Klingon's. He's a cold killer." Connelly said. He sighed. "He seems to have his share of supporters though, including yourself it seems. You want him, he's yours. But keep him in line." Connelly said. He shook his head. "I don't want to hear of any problems with him. Connelly out" The Admiral said. He knew he didn't want to deal with the man, but it was clear she would keep him. He made it his mission to find out why, though.

Emily had indeed read his file. She gave the Admiral a look to suggest how serious she was about retaining the man aboard her ship. Mark had the chance to prove himself otherwise Emily would ensure he would be leaving the ship at the first opportunity. Before she could reply the screen went blank.

"I'm more than capable of keeping him in line Admiral..." Emily said.

Emily wanted to meet Mark for herself. She tapped her commbadge to summon him.

=/\="Jones to Whistler. Report to my ready room"=/\= Emily instructed.

Mark sighed as he stepped away from the bridge console, surrendering it to his subordinate, as he went to the ready room. Walking in, he looked at the new Captain. "You wanted to see me?" He asked.

Emily looked up as the doors opened without a chime preceding it. She was less than impressed with that - in fact she despised it. Nevertheless she was going to let it slide this time.

"Yes I did...although I'd rather you knocked first. Anyway now you're here I've had a call from an Admiral - Admiral Connelly to be precise - who was rather insistent that I offload you from the ship. Is there anything you wish to explain to me before we continue?" Emily said.

"Other than the guy being an asshole? Not really." Mark replied, looking at her. "Hell, half of Starfleet wants me gone. The remaining half are torn between respecting what I do or fearing me for be able to do what I do. Frankly, I couldn't care which. And for the record, you wanted to see me, and generally I knock if I'm not expected." He added.

Emily responded. "Firstly Lieutenant you will knock before entering my ready room regardless of whether you're invited or you aren't. I'm aware of your record and frankly I'm not sure how you're still in Starfleet - however you are and you'll be pleased to know I told the Admiral he doesn't choose who I have on my ship. Please sit down before we continue"

Whistler sat down, looking at her as he leaned back in the chair. "Something to do with Starfleet wanting me as an ally rather than an enemy. I think the old saying is 'Keep your friends close and your enemies closer' if I remember rightly." He said.

Emily stood up and moved over to the replicator to get herself a drink. She then turned to Mark to offer one to her guest.

"Would you like a drink?" Emily asked.

"Sure. I'll take a Pineapple Juice. Something my sister got me into a few years back." Mark replied, with a nod.

Emily replicated a pineapple juice and a cup of tea for herself. Taking the drinks over one at a time she took Mark's and then her own over to the desk. As she sat down she received another communications request - this time from inside the ship itself. She tapped the button to accept the call but looked away - not knowing who was on the screen until they spoke.

"What is it?" Emily asked.

It was her eldest daughter Cassia. She wanted to know if her mother wanted a number of her belongings bringing up to the ready room.

"I found those photo frames you were looking for. Do you want me to bring them up for you?" Cassia said.

Emily nodded. "Yes please. Come up to the bridge and head to the door in the far right corner"

A few minutes later Emily heard a chime. Summoning her daughter into the room she asked Cassia to place the photo frames on the desk as they were.

"Thank you Cassia. I'll be down shortly - just a few things to do here first" Emily said.

Cassia nodded. "Alright mum"

She then notice Mark sat in the chair. He was responsible for helping to save her from the Orions when she along with a number of other crew members kidnapped them a year previously.

"You were at the slave market. You helped save me and the others" Cassia said.

"I remember you as well, kid." Mark replied. "You still have that necklace I gave you?" He asked, ignoring the dumbfounded look on the Captain's face.

Cassia lifted the necklace out from under her jumper.

Cassia nodded. "I've never taken it off since"

Emily looked at the two before looking directly at Mark.

"Is that true? You were part of the team that rescued my daughter and crew from that slave market?" Emily asked.

Mark smiled. "Keep that on, and I'll always be able to find you if you're in trouble." He promised. He then looked at Emily, his smile gone. "That team were the biggest idiots I've ever seen. I went in alone, and was about to save everyone with no casualties when they came blundering in, shooting everyone they could. I got your daughter clear after an Orion Slave Master took her to his ship. If it had been anyone else, she wouldn't have been saved." Whistler said. "Wasn't supposed to be there, so I left, quickly. I was meant to be undercover, but that team blew my cover completely."

Emily listened and nodded. It gave her something to think about for sure - in fact she began to warm to the man more than she thought she would.

Emily spoke. "Well I guess that means I am in your debt Lieutenant. How about we wipe the slate clean and start again?"

Mark raised an eyebrow. "Sure." He replied, as he took a sip of his drink. "But don't worry about being in my debt. Way I see it, you stood up for me against Connelly. Man's been trying to get me booted for years. Doesn't like the fact that I made him look like an idiot shortly after joining Starfleet." He explained. "By the way, I sent a request to your terminal earlier, just a training schedule that needs approval. I train my people hard, but they get the job done."

Emily nodded and took a sip of her own drink before placing it back down on the desk. She checked the console as Mark spoke to find the request was there as he said. Emily checked it over and nodded before responding.

"This is fine with me Lieutenant. I'll have to come down and see how you conduct them - just as a courtesy of course. I spent my earlier career in your field so I may get involved myself" Emily replied.

"I should warn you, my training can be...intense. I don't like the standard training. Starfleet doesn't like my training, so I've modified it a little." Whistler said. He then looked at the girl, and back at Emily. "I should tell you though, you have one brave kid. She was ready to fight the Orion Slave Master herself. If you like, I'll teach her to fight and defend herself." He offered.

"She is a brave girl...her father and I are very proud of her - and her siblings - to say the least. I'll have to think about that though although I appreciate it and I'm sure Cassia does too" Emily said.

Cassia nodded to confirm that she was.

Emily asked. "What command experience do you have Lieutenant?"

Mark couldn't help but begin to burst out with laughter. It took him a few moments to calm himself down. "I thought you'd read my record. Who would put me in command of anything?" He asked, smirking as he wiped a tear away from his eyes.

"Well as I said earlier I did read your record Lieutenant. What I was referring to is whether you have been placed in command of a bridge before" Emily replied.

"I've never met anyone who would give me command of a bridge before. They seem to think I'd start a new war." Mark replied, taking a sip of his drink.

Emily nodded. "Alright. I've discussed it with the first officer and we'd like to put you as second officer pending a command test which I will lead myself. You will be given new responsibilities such as taking command of the ship if necessary and being a point of contact for the crew outside of your current department as well. Are you interested?"

Mark's eyes widened. This was...hell, this was something he had never expected. His eyes narrowed as he looked at her. "You know Starfleet will call you insane." He said.

"Let them say what they want. They don't make the decisions on my ship Lieutenant" Emily responded.

"Well, when you put it that way, I'm not going to say no, am I?" He asked. "I'll do it. And I'll do my best not to start any wars." He said, with a smirk. He felt...a new affection for this Captain. She seemed to trust him enough to want to give him more responsibility. He knew Carrie would be thrilled, but he was surprised. Still, he would make sure he proved himself to Emily. She deserved that much. Often, people deserved to have their faith rewarded.

Emily grinned. "No...we don't want any wars being started Lieutenant. But I'm glad to hear you're willing to take up the new role. It will allow you to gain some command experience to add to your personal record too - just in case you ever decide to go up to the next level"

"And on that day, Admiral Connelly will resign from Starfleet to become a ballerina." Mark replied, with a smirk.

Emily laughed. "I think you and I are going to get along just fine. But in seriousness it's an option at least. I never initially planned on being a CO but here I am talking to you from behind this desk. You never know may change your mind one day."

"My mind doesn't need changing. I can command, but I'm used to leading men and women into battle. My's not exactly what you would call a good life." He said.

"Well although the Vindex is a powerful ship I'm hoping we don't have to use her armaments too much - although this is the Gamma Quadrant and we don't know what's out there. I'm aware of how difficult your life has been Lieutenant and...if you ever need anyone to talk just have to ask. I'm here for you and everyone else on board" Emily replied.

"With all due respect, if I shared some of what I've experienced, you'd probably get chills. Plus, they aren't stories for kids. No offence Cassia." He said, looking at the young girl. "But one thing I do know: Wherever we go, there will always be someone looking to kill us. I've seen that happen, and believe me, the best thing I've done is strike first."

Emily took another sip of her now warm tea and listened before speaking.

Emily nodded. "Well the offer's there if you change your mind. I can't say my experience of the Gamma Quadrant has so far been a positive one after we got caught up in The Consortium crisis. Needless to say I'm sure you'll do everything in your power to help protect this vessel and everyone on board it."

"With my dying breath." Whistler replied. "That's the promise I made when I was assigned to the ship. And it's the promise I make now."

"I'm glad to hear it. Now...before I let you get back to whatever you were you have any questions for me?" Emily asked.

"None that I can think of." He replied. "In fact, I should probably get back to work."

Emily stood up and offered a hand to Mark.

Emily smiled. "Very well. It was a pleasure to meet you and I look forward to working with you Lieutenant - and if you need anything or just someone to talk to all you've got to do is ask. It's what I'm here for"

"Understood. I do need to tell you something, however, something I didn't mention at the meeting. Cassia, can you give your mother and I some privacy?" He asked the young girl.

"Of course" Cassia replied.

Cassia disappeared out of the room and back to Emily's quarters to continue with the unpacking of their belongings. Once Cassia had left the room Emily turned back to Mark to see what it was he wanted to talk about.

"What is it Lieutenant?" Emily asked.

"Two weeks ago, I became aware of the fact that Admiral Ingham had been replaced by someone from the alternate reality. I found some information in a hidden database that I've kept private. I can confirm it's the same universe that has been encountered before, although how your new XO learnt of this place, I don't know. At the moment, I'm not sure who we can trust on this ship. I've got my people on patrol at all times, and I've brought a few...friends aboard, who were with me on Turalek. I falsified their records, showing them as crewmembers, because I needed people I could trust." Mark stated. "The duplicate Ingham killed himself before I could, but I think it might be the start of an attempted invasion."

Emily didn't quite know how to react. She simply nodded to confirm she'd understood what Mark had said before responding.

"For now we will study the conduit...conduct your own internal investigations but do not do anything without my approval unless there is an immediate danger to the ship or anyone on it. I will inform the first officer about your investigation - if we encounter anyone from...the other the mean time then we will deal with them appropriately" Emily replied.

"Understood." Mark said. "I'll keep you apprised. Anything else you need, Captain?" He asked.

Emily shook her head. "Nothing at the moment Lieutenant. If I think of anything I'll let you know"

"See you at training then." He said, turning and leaving the ready room. He would tell Carrie later about this conversation, but he had never expected this to happen. 'Second Officer? She's either insane, or has more faith in me than anyone else I've seen.' He thought. Either way, she was definitely someone he would watch, and help, as much as he could.

Respect was earned, not given, and she had just earned his.


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