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Tete A Tete A Tete [PLOT]

Posted on Fri Jul 24th, 2020 @ 11:44am by Captain Malcom Llwyedd & Lieutenant Jackson Smith & Lieutenant Commander Rhiana t'Aegis

Mission: Mission 6: To Your Scattered Bodies Go
Location: USS Firebird, Conference Room
Timeline: 19 May, 2395 - 1130 Hours


While most of the other department heads filed out of the conference room, Lieutenant Commander t'Aegis remained in her seat, avoiding the Captain's and anyone else's eyes by pretending to be reading something on her PADD. She was not quite seething, but she was annoyed with the apparent slow pace of just about anything right now. At how she was confined to the ship while she should have been seeking out Bokot from the start. For all she knew, he could be dead or these Romulans had taken him with them. Maybe he needed medical attention. Rhiana found herself impatiently bouncing her foot underneath the table and stopped it. She could not lose her self-control right now.

Malcom looked up from a PADD he'd brought into the meeting. It was full of communication from Star Fleet Command. He was going to have to answer some tough questions about what had happened and his next course of action. But not yet. He watched his command staff file out and then saw that only Rhiana remained seated.

"Did you have something to add, commander?" Malcom asked.

Jackson was one of the last to start to file out, but he let the door shut without stepping through. Jackson turned back towards the conference table and leaned against the bulkhead, his whole demeanor relaxed and casual. He looked to the Commander, frustration flowing off her, and then back up to the Captain, who appeared tense but poised. What was Rhianna's next move here? And above all, can she be trusted?

"I need to go to Empok Nor, sir." Rhiana repeated what she had said during the previous conference, but did not appear quite as composed as before. The urgency in her voice was real and she was looking at the captain intently - while ignoring Jackson entirely. "It is the only way for me to find out who exactly is responsible for these actions."

"I see," Malcom said, considering her words. He had no doubt that she believed she had to be the one to find out what had happened. "What exactly do you think that you could do on Empok Nor that would give us more insight into what happened? I know that all of my other department heads are going to be working to figure out what happened as well."

Rhiana took a deep breath. She had never planned on having to reveal Bokot's existence to anyone. Not because he was who and what he was, but rather because it was a part of her life she did not want to share with Outworlders. But given the circumstances, she could not think of a good reason that would allow her to keep this information private. She exhaled again. "I have a contact there who likely knows who attacked us."

Jackson raised an eyebrow at this, but stayed silent. He had been watching her closely, especially after he had found out about her underground fighting. There was much he still didn't know, but perhaps it was time to find out about all of Rhiana's secrets. Jackson continued to watch the interplay between the captain and the commander. How much would Malcolm push for the truth? Would Rhiana try to hide it?

"I don't recall seeing anything in your reports about an on-site contact. Is this a new contact? Someone you've worked with for a while? I need to know who this person is before I will give you the go ahead to pursue things. I'm already under pressure from Starfleet Command to begin a formal investigation, which we both know would make it impossible for us to pursue whoever took Xavi," Malcom said, holding up the PADD.

Rhiana's jaws tightened at the news. How could Starfleet Command put a formal investigation over the wellbeing of a child? "It is not an official contact, but an acquaintance, which is why he is not in my reports. He has a business on Empok Nor," she explained doing her best to speak calmly though it was becoming increasingly difficult, for all she wanted to do was bolt out of the room and do whatever it took to find Xavi.

Jackson had received similar inquiries from SFI. He knew that he could make those formal investigations disappear if he assured SFI he was doing an informal, more thorough investigation. Jackson decided not to interrupt with this information, he definitely wanted to see how much the Captain was going to be able to get out of her, before he tried his methods.

Malcom sighed. "Commander, you can't have it both ways. Either the person is a source and has information or they aren't and you are perhaps grasping at straws. Who is the person and why do you think they will have insight into Xavi's kidnapping?" Malcom asked, his voice becoming harder. He had a growing suspicion that Rhiana was hiding something and his patience was nearing an end.

The change in the captain's voice did not go unnoticed and caused Rhiana to... not reply immediately. She maintained eye contact with him, just to show that she was not afraid of him, while pondering how much to tell him. How much did he really need to know? And did she need his collaboration at all? On the other hand, every second she sat here meant one second longer Bokot might be fighting for his life. Not to mention that with every second wasted in here, Xavi was being taken several thousand klicks further away.

On the other hand, however she tried to explain things in her mind, it sounded so suspicious that she would not hesitate to arrest herself if she was in the captain's place. Maybe she should have listened to Bokot when he suggested she talk to the captain. But it was too late for regrets now.

"He warned me that Xavi was in danger." To forestall one of the captain's likely follow-up questions, she added, "Xavi is a cousin of Sela and thus a person of interest to both, her and the Tal Shiar."

Malcom dropped the PADD onto the table and looked over at Jackson. He couldn't believe what he'd just heard. His regular meetings with Commander Leed kept him up to date with the larger political movements around the Federation so he knew who Sela was but the idea that Xavi was her cousin was dumbfounding.

"Jackson, did you know about this?" Malcom asked. He felt his temper rising, which hadn't happened in a long time. Starship captains didn't have the luxury of getting angry.

While Jackson could tell that the captain's temper was quickly rising, his anger had already reached it's peak. This information was a slap in the face. He had wasted precious time trying to track this information down. Everything would have been different had she trusted them. Instead of a flash of anger and hate flowing from him, the small bit of the vulcan doctor that was part of him diverted this energy into a cold calculated burn. His eyes narrowed slightly and he casually pushed off the bulkhead, "I had some thoughts, but nothing concrete." He responded to the captain as he took small deliberate steps towards Rhiana. "Had you trusted us and had faith in us, you might have known that several days ago, I discovered that Romulans were interested in this ship. I had told the captain. Perhaps, if you had done the same, we might have been able to take the appropriate steps to protect Xavi. Now, because of you," Each word punctuated by the clank on the metal floor as he deliberately walked slowly towards her, " he is gone." His eyes bored into her with the fire that he did not display in his words or actions. "Now, I did not know this secret, but I have discovered others. Choose your next words carefully commander. I will no longer abide you keeping any secrets from us."

Rhiana watched the little show Smith was putting on and almost sneered. He was a boy, only slightly older than Xavi and he thought he could impress her. It would have been almost cute had the situation not been so serious. She slowly rose from her chair and turned to face the chief of intelligence directly. She was taller than him by three inches. "Had you trusted me as this vessel's chief of security and informed me of an impending threat, Lieutenant, I could have taken additional measures to keep Xavi safe. Now," she continued before he could interrupt her, "Stop wasting my time with your tentatives to threaten me, Lieutenant. There is a possibly wounded or dead man on Empok Nor who right now is the only person in our reach who knows who took Xavi." She turned to look at Malcolm. "I will leave the Firebird with or without your permission, Captain. You can court-martial me once I have rescued my ward." Rhiana calmly stepped around Jackson and began walking towards the exit in a measured pace.

Jackson smiled, she was so predictable, "Security Override, Alpha seven eight Delta three". As Rhiana approached the doors they failed to open. "Don't bother trying to over ride it. After I discovered you were keeping secrets, I built this in for the day when you would betray us. And before you try to kill us, one wrong step and you will be transported directly to the brig." Jackson stood calm and collected, but inside he squirmed. He had pushed her and she was definitely enraged enough to kill. The only question was, could Jackson avoid dying long enough for her to be transported to the brig? Knowing her skill, he wasn't sure.

"That is enough!" Malcom said, slapping the table. He stood up, his eyes blazing with fury at his two subordinates. He hadn't felt anger like this in many years, not even when they'd discovered a traitor onboard. This anger washed over him like a wave. He stood up. "Both of you will stand down immediately!" He yelled and turned to look at Jackson. "Computer, Command override zulu, echo, one, eight. Authorization Llwyedd Malcom."

=^=Command aknowledged=^=

"Lieutenant Smith, you exceed your authority. Perhaps you forget that this is MY ship. I make the decisions, especially when it comes to secret security modifications in regards to a senior officer on this ship. We will be discussing your actions at a future date," Malcom said in a harsh voice. He turned to look at Rhiana.

"And you Commander. You no longer serve in the Romulan Star Empire, where insubordination is something acceptable. I am the captain here! You will do what I tell you to do even if you don't like it. If you fail to obey my orders, I will charge you with willful disobedience, failure to follow a lawful order and abandoning your post. My judgement will be immediate and final and you will end up in your own brig. Sit. Down. Both of you!" Malcom yelled, his throat raw from shouting. His pulse was pounding in his head as he watched for their responses.

Jackson flinched at the captain's words. He felt battered and bruised by both of them and neither had laid a finger on him. As the captain lifted his protocols, Jackson tensed, he was sure Rhiana was going to come flying across the room to rip his throat out.

Rhiana had long since turned around to glare at Jackson when he dared use some childish security override to keep her inside the conference room. Now, her gaze turned to the captain and her jaws tightened at his outburst. Not that he was wrong. His admonition was merely so... unnecessary. Without a word and in a calm and dignified manner, she returned to her chair and sat down. "Insubordination is never acceptable, sir," she explained calmly, as if she had not just been about to do just that. "The punishment for this crime in the Empire is usually execution."

Jackson let out an audible sigh of relief. His shoulders relaxed and he moved quickly to the conference table. He did relax a bit, but he kept his eyes on Rhiana, this still could be some ruse of hers. The Romulans were well known for toying with their prey.

Malcom waited until both of his officer had seated themselves, and then sat himself. "Commander, if you have an issue with Lieutenant Smith's decision to not inform you of his findings, the blame rests with me. There was no actionable intelligence, no threat and I made the decision that the best course of action was an intelligence operation and he would be the one to continue that. The existence of an intelligence source on Empok Nor, and the disclosure of that information, would have changed my decision. I would have brought you in. Since that opportunity is past, we have to work forward from where we are. I want you to know that I consider Xavi to be a member of my crew. His safety and return are a top priority," Malcom said, locking eyes with Rhiana. "We will get him back, whatever the cost. My orders are these, you and Lieutenant Smith will go, together, to meet with your source." He looked at Jackson. "Commander t'Aegis is in charge of this and you will show her the respect she deserves. Are my orders clear?"

Finally someone was showing some concern for Xavi. That came as a bit of relief to Rhiana even though she did not show it. It was actually more of a disappointment, because she had expected the captain to react differently from the start and not block her at every turn. "Very clear, sir," she replied. "But I refuse to reveal my source to Lieutenant Jackson. After what he has just done, I simply cannot trust him any longer."

Jackson raised an eyebrow as the Captain discussed Xavi as one of the crew, more importantly one of the family. He had been watching Rhiana for even the slightest move and there was the slightest twitch in the corner of her eye. Did that touch her? A wash of realization flooded over Jackson. Rhiana had not betrayed her family. She was protecting her family. Her fault was that she did not consider us as family. A slow smile started to come to his face, which was quickly squashed with the Commander's words. Of course she couldn't trust him. He bristled slightly at this.

"You don't have to trust him, Commander. I do. Lieutenant Smith may have faults, as do we all, but I know he is as loyal and devoted to the safety and well being of this ship and the crew as I am. He will accompany you and that is not up for further discussion. Go and find out what you can and then return and report to me. I will prepare the ship for departure. You are both dismissed," Malcom said and picked up the PADD he'd dropped on the table.

For the first time in awhile, Jackson felt like his eyes were fully open as to what was going on here. The Captains words were a salve to all the verbal abuse he had recently taken. Xavi was family. Rhiana, whether she accepted them or not, was family. It was time to act. Jackson stood up and nodded towards his captain and then turned to face Rhiana. This might be his toughest assignment yet. He had to follow her directions, she was one of the most egotistical and self righteous individuals he knew and it nearly made his blood boil just thinking about it. But Malcolm had told him what to do, and one of their own was in trouble. "Lead the way, Commander."

Rhiana was not about to get into an internal philosophical debate with herself. She rose from her chair and picked up the PADD she had abandoned there seemingly ages ago. Turned towards the captain, she briefly straightened up into the half-hearted at-attention Starfleet liked to use. "Aye, sir." Then she turned around and walked out of the conference room, thoroughly ignoring the Lieutenant. She knew he would follow her. After all, he had as little choice in the matter as she did.

Malcom sighed after they'd both left the room. He worked hard to maintain the type of composure that being a captain required. He was disappointed in himself for losing his temper but there wasn't much he could do about it but try to be better next time. He tapped the table in front of him, activating the computer station that had been installed during the upgrade. Another tap brought a floating screen in front of him and a final one opened a window, where Kipp appeared.

"Sir?" Kipp asked.

"Kipp, could you please get me Star Fleet security?"

Kipp nodded. "Yes, sir. In fact, they've been trying to get in touch with you."

Malcom sighed.


Captain Malcom Llwyedd
Commanding Officer
USS Firebird NCC-88298

Lieutenant Commander Rhiana t'Aegis
Chief Security/Tactical Officer
USS Firebird NCC-88298

Lieutenant Jackson Smith
Chief Intelligence Officer
USS Firebird NCC-88298


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