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Another Meeting

Posted on Mon Oct 29th, 2018 @ 6:11pm by Cadet Sophomore Grade Triston Montgomery [Lalor]

Mission: Season 2: Mission 2.A: R&R
Location: Triston's Quarters
Timeline: During Shoreleave
3442 words - 6.9 OF Standard Post Measure

After a brief inquiry with the ship's computer, Estelle figured out where the young man was staying who she had encountered on Deep Space Nine. Carrying her personal medkit, which contained a few things not found in the standard model which Estelle never wanted to be caught without, she rang the doorbell to his cabin.

The door opened to reveal the teenager blinking at her. "Huh? Doctor? Is something wrong?" He looked like he had been sleeping which he had, on the couch while studying.

"That I'm here to determine", Estelle responded. "I wanted to see if you've fully healed up, without going through the official channels as you requested. Can I come in?"

He stepped back and waved her in. "Sure come in."

The cabin was neat and tidy. The couch was rumpled and there was a stack of PADDS on the coffee table. "My arm is much better thank you." Triston said. "Uh.. can I get you a drink?"

Estelle nodded. "Please. I've got this rare condition that I can never say no to coffee." She took out her tricorder and started to scan as he went about getting that liquid awake he had offered.

Triston moved around the kitchen and soon returned with two cups of steaming hot coffee on a tray with milk jug and sugar bowl with them. He placed it on the coffee table. "So have you settled in now that things are back to normal?"

"I'm beginning to", Estelle smiled. "I'm though customising about a third of my furniture, but more is in storage on Deep Space Nine." She added a touch of sweetness to her coffee and filled up the rest of the mug with milk. "Have you been in combat before this? I remember I was really scared my first time."

"I was born on a Starfleet Vessel, I have been in combat a few times over the years. I am rather used to it." He sat down opposite her. "As a civilian, you don't have time to be scared."

Estelle chuckled. "That's a healthy attitude, I suppose." She took a sip, then explained. "You see, the reason I came is as follows. Eighty-five per cent of women and sixty-five per cent of men will have back trouble at some point in their lives. You see, combined, that's a hundred and fifty per cent, that's more than one in every one person." She grinned. "Mostly, the cause is lifting weights the wrong way, or too much weight, or not doing any lifting at all, or someone else not doing the lifting, leaving a heavy object in the corridor and you run into it in the dark and break your spine. But there's another primary cause for back trouble, and that's unequal length of limbs, and the resulting uneven balance. I've just scanned you again to make sure it's not just one of your arms that's the same length."

He smirked at that. "You are checking up on me due to the broken arm. But nice explanation."

Estelle nodded. "Has the situation that's caused the injury been addressed? You can tell me in confidence, now that your girlfriend's not around."

Triston sighed, "One, she is not my girlfriend. She is a friend who happens to be a girl, and whose sister is the Captain of the Elysium. Not to mention, she is a girl who could kick my arse if she wanted to. Without her sister's help. And two, there have been conversations happening between the parental units and the other boy's parents. I believe they have been told, 'do it again and see what happens' ", he shrugged.

Estelle chuckled. "Well, good. But let me ask you this... why is her ability to kick your arse an exclusion criterion? I'm from Andoria, everyone I grew up with could kick my arse. Doesn't mean I didn't have relationships."

"Miran is not the type of girl you just assume is your girlfriend. I respect her more than that. And her family history is such that it would make it easier for her not to have that assumption forced onto her. The last guy who did that ... well he isn't very popular at the moment." Triston paused "Miran is an Erisian. Women on Erisian are seen as less than men by the men in their lives, decorative fluff you know. Think Dark ages Doctor. The fact that Miran is here, and her sister is a Captain is something of a miracle. She is my friend, and for her, and for me, that is all it is. For now... We have seen a future where we were more. But it is a future that is far away and one we are not going to force. Miran and I have discussed it a few times" He shrugged.

"I didn't mean anything by it", Estelle said. "If you get to know me better, you'll know most of what I say is best not taken too seriously, unless I make a point that it should be." She took a strategic sip to allow for a pause that wasn't awkward. "You didn't answer my question about the exclusion principle, though. It's entirely academic, I'm not trying to convince you of anything."

Triston smiled at that. "I do not want to wreak my friendship with her Doctor."

Estelle laughed. "Never mind, it's okay." She had meant to transcend these particular circumstances and attempted to understand why he was worried about the factor of arse-kicking in general, but apparently he had never considered it as a factor but was just using it as an excuse, and it wasn't Estelle's right to pry further into something he was trying to keep private. "But... if you don't mind me asking, considering you've got some expertise in the field, could you tell me more about the particulars of Erisan customs? Is there anything I should be sensitive about when approaching the skipper, or her sister for that matter?"

"From the database, their culture is a lot like Earth's in the Dark to Middle ages, but they are technologically advanced. I'd avoid Religion as a topic. Miran says that her sister does not speak about religion because she deviates from the Traditional Erisian Religion. Miran herself doesn't worship their gods overtly. It's a Feudal Society and their father is the head of it. Don't speak about him either I think. Miran changes the subject. And they do not speak of their brothers either. Well not nicely." He shrugged. "Most of that is common knowledge on the ship. That and the fact that the captain is very protective of her sister, Miran often has bodyguards shadowing her."

"Bodyguards... on leave, I take it? I can't imagine that's needed on a Federation starship", Estelle hoped. "Well, religions are a waste of time anyway, not the first thing on my mind." She had had to study some of them because it was hard or impossible to understand history without understanding what drove people to madness, but it played no part in her daily life. "Klingons are still a feudal society in many ways, would you say they're comparable?"

Triston shook his head. "Not fully. Klingons have honor. The Erisians perceive that they have honor. They treat women like second, almost third class citizens. Klingon women are respected and... feared." He smiled. "Erisia does have honorable people, Miran says but they are hidden deep due to the politics they have to play."

Estelle nodded. "There's usually a difference between personal honour and its public perception. But you're saying there aren't any special taboos I should beware of?"

Triston shook his head. "There is a limited database in the system on their race but do not expect to find a language database in there. Miran says Phoenix refuses to upload their languages. Apparently the Captain likes to be able to swear without translation."

Estelle laughed. "So swearing is one of the taboos? I've called people Oedipus on occasion, but not because I am too aloof to use the term motherfucker but because I wanted them to think really hard before realising they've been insulted, by which time I was already out of reach."

Triston smiled. "I think its more along the lines of the Captain shouldn't swear, but if no one understands her..."

It gave Estelle an idea, but she'd probably have to wait a long time before that came to fruition. What if she could judge the skipper's tone of voice and just pretend to understand? Or she could make up her own words in case an opportunity arose, and offer an information exchange? She grinned at her own thoughts. "Maybe IFFY has something Erisan, I'll see what they look like."

He looked puzzled."IFFY?" He asked.

"Oh, it's a shop on Deep Space Nine. Interstellar Fashion For You", Estelle said. "I know, trying too hard with the name. But they've got a great selection, and if you provide scan data or let them scan you, they'll make everything fit perfectly."

"Ah. Well from what I have seen, if you look up Camelot you will come close to their fashions for women. Men's are more modern almost, according to Miran, 21st century Earth in design."

"Fascinating, how such different worlds develop in similar fashion", Estelle grinned. She was bold enough to intend her puns and did not apologise for it. Camelot, which of the many representations did he mean? There were parallels, of course, between all of them. In any case, Estelle was just curious, she certainly didn't want to walk around in clothes signifying being merely a second class citizen.

Triston nodded. "It is rather interesting. But where our world grew to show everyone is equal, theirs did not. You will notice that the captain treats everyone equally. She is one of the few that do."

"I would expect nothing else from a member of Starfleet", Estelle nodded. "Especially not someone who made it to Captain. At her age, she must have some exceptional skill."

Triston smiled. "You should ask her or the XO how she became captain one day. It is not the normal process."

"Oh no, you cannot be doing this", Estelle complained. "You can't hint at something and then not give me the full story. I'd never do that to you either."

He smiled at that. "OK, fine, before she became captain, over what... 18 months now ago, the Elysium was lost in the Andromeda Galaxy for nearly 8 months. The Commanding officer was one Admiral Sharr. Lalor was chief of Operations. And second officer at the time." He paused. "I was not on board at the time. My family arrived about 5 months ago. So I heard most of this from Miran. They were stranded on a planet, L Class and the ship was in very bad shape." he frowned. "Hold on, its on file. Captain's debriefing." he stood and walked to the computer console. He brought it up and displayed it for the Doctor.

Phoenix was led by two security officers from the Starbase into a medium sized conference room. Even though she had never been debriefed before, she had, been made aware of the process.

In the room, stood Fleet Admiral Paul Carter, several other more junior admirals and a couple of commodores thrown in for good measure.

Phoenix was glad that her upbringing had enabled her to keep her facial features relaxed and unsurprised at the number of people waiting. 10 in all. They stood behind a long table, which was set at the far end of the room. Before it was a smaller table and a chair.

With a polite nod to the security officers, Phoenix walked up to the chair and table and stood beside them. "Commander Phoenix Penelope Lalor reporting as ordered Admiral."

Carter studied the slim Erisian female.

She wore her red collared uniform well, neatly pressed, pips neatly aligned on the collar, boots shining. Her hair was pulled back in a regulation ponytail and her eyes, that clear blue-silver gazed at them all passively. This was the woman Sharr had left in charge of his ship. In charge of his crew and had done so without reservation it seemed.

He was not fully sold on the idea.

When the Elysium had docked, Phoenix had sent a yeoman with a PADD which held Sharr's last wishes and orders. They had all read it.

"Sit Commander."

Phoenix gracefully sat, back straight, hands on the table, fingers laced. One her right hand a gold signet ring, from the academy glinted.

"Commander, we have reviewed the logs of the Elysium crew and computer. We would however like your personal view on the issue." A commodore said from the left.

Phoenix let her eyes sweep the group and then said, "Sir, the Elysium was assigned to escort 3 Raven class vessels, 1 Whofin class vessel, 3 Merchantman types, and 1 Norkova class cargo ship, containing a total of 500 passengers to a new colony world. We left on time. And not 3 days into the trip, everything went to hell and back." She paused. "I do not know what exactly happened. I was in turbolift 1 with 3 cadets heading to the bridge when it happened. The explosions of all 8 vessels caused catastrophic issues on the Elysium. I came around to 1 dead cadet, broken neck, and two alive, both with minor injuries. I got them out of the lift and sent them to the nearest medical station. I then climbed to the bridge to see if I could find the Admiral and executive officer. It was, to put it mildly sir, chaotic. We managed to make a stable orbit around an L Class planet. We had no communications and no idea where we were. But the planet was livable so we evacuated all personnel down to the planet."

She would have continued but one of the Admirals broke in. "Who made that call?"

"Admiral Sharr did sir."

"Did you argue with him about the evacuation?"

"No Sir. It was a logical course of action. The planet had breathable air, the Elysium was losing air. It made sense."

Carter nodded and said, "Continue."

"We evacuated and set up a camp on the planet side. We took stock, did a headcount, and got to work trying to fix the ship." She paused. "We lost a lot of people sir."

Carter nodded. He had seen the list of the dead she had sent over.

"After a 21 days, we made...sort of made.. contact with a race of androids on the planet surface. The Admiral made the initial contact, scaring us half to death when he vanished without trace."

"It was noted by Sharr that you reacted rather badly to his... disappearance." Another sneered at her.

"Yes Sir. Magnolia was playing least in sight, had no idea what she was up to. I was basically doing her job and mine and then Sharr wandered off. I did lose my temper at him. And threatened to hog tie him with duct tape to keep him in one place. Sir, we could not afford to lose him." Phoenix explained. "The admiral forgave me my words Sir."

Nods went around the table before her.

"We spent nearly 6 and a half months on that planet. The Androids avoided us for the most part. Any interaction they had, was with Sharr outside my hearing. Once the ship was habitable for the most part, we returned to the ship. It was there that apparently, Faye Magnolia made her move and attempted to kill Admiral Sharr."

"You say attempted?" Carter asked.

"I was not present at the event and all holo recordings are ... disrupted at the moment of the event. Most likely by ALICE."

Frowns flitted across faces. "The ALICE program was not sanctioned by the Fleet."

Phoenix gave a shrug. "Not surprised sir. We did pick up a new passenger shortly after our return to the ship, she has been integrated into our security team. A native of the Andromeda Galaxy who we have learned to trust in the short time we have known her. " She paused. "The investigation into Magnolia's demise was hampered by the destruction of our morgue. And we could not find any supporters of her so called mutiny within the ship. The admiral not 3 days ago, summoned me to his office. He had made a deal to get us home. There was a price. He would not tell me it at the time."

She paused and took a breath. "The price was him. Him, ALICE and a very dangerous person named Xi'ia." She paused. "If I may show you the last moments on the bridge?"

They nodded and she stood, walked over to a console and hit some keys.

=/\= BRIDGE USS ELYSIUM - Moments before the return of the Elsyium =/\=

Handing over a PADD Sharr smiled, ever so softly, "Would you ensure that this PADD reaches the named recipient?"

Phoenix took the PADD with shock and understanding crossing her face. "Sir." She said softly, lowering her voice. "Is this where you tell me the price they asked for?"

"The price was that we stay. Alice, Xi'ia and I. We no longer have a place in the Milky Way, it is here with our new 'guards' so you must head home without me. Do great things, Lalor, ensure you are never forgotten."

As he turned a gateway opened beside him, he sighed as two different hands reached through and ushered him their way, quickly binding his hands behind his back before the gateway closed leaving an electric taste behind in the air.

Phoenix bit back a growl at the price. The Admiral was not coming back. She turned to the crew on the bridge. "Take us through the gate." She ordered. She knew arguing would not work.

=/\= End Of File =/\=

Phoenix returned to her seat, her face passive. "The admiral gave up his freedom for us Admirals. The crew of the Elysium would not be here today without him."

They exchanged looks and murmured comments. Then Carter turned to where Phoenix sat, calmly awaiting their response. "Do you have anything to add?"

"Yes Sir. The Colonist ships that exploded. They were not truly colonists were they Sir?"

"We investigated the matter after the disappearance Commander. We are unsure where they came from and who gave the clearance. That matter is still with Starfleet Intelligence."

Phoenix nodded. "When that report is complete, I would very much like a copy. I know a few people who might want to speak with those who did this to us, very firmly."

Carter had to smile at that. "I can understand that."

"Sir, what will happen to the crew now?"

"Once debrief is finished, we will assess the viability of the Elysium remaining active." He paused. "Were you aware of the contents of the PADD Sharr gave you?"

"No Sir." She replied. "Not my place to read it."

Carter tilted his head. "You are dismissed with our thanks Commander. You may return to the Elysium or take quarters here on the Starbase."

"I will return to the Elysium Sir. I need to help the Admiral's aide pack his things." Phoenix stood. "Thank you for your time sirs."

=/\= End Record=/\=

Triston looked at her. "Shortly after, Phoenix was promoted to Commanding Officer, rank of Commander. She was given command of the Elysium and Commander Taylor was assigned as her XO."

"That sounds like quite the adventure", Estelle responded. She wasn't sure she understood all the details but she figured she had the important bits. "Let's hope most of ours will be less unpleasant." A trip to Andromeda. Every schoolchild knew that Andromeda was deemed uninhabitable by the Kelvans, which was why some of them had come to the Milky Way, and now more were underway, due to arrive in a little under two hundred years. But one planet at least seemed to do fine.

He nodded. "The chief engineer is from there as well. Seems the information provided by others was not correct. At least two natives returned with the Elysium. One has gone on her own way, the other is our CHENG."

"Cheng, hm?" Estelle smirked. Every generation of teenagers had their own buzzwords. "When I was your age, we used to say 'warp core whisperer', but I'll give you that, Cheng is shorter and more efficient." She emptied her cup. "Well, I hate to do it but I have to move on. Two more people to visit before an appointment I've got on the station." She stood and returned the cup to the replicator. "Thank you for the enlightening conversation, Triston."

"You are welcome doctor." He smiled. "I do hope you enjoy your time on the Elysium."


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