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Of Commanders and Oaths

Posted on Tue Oct 3rd, 2017 @ 1:04am by Captain Jack Colburn & Lieutenant Commander T'Rhe

Mission: Episode 1.5: Shoreleave
Location: USS Kumari, Captains Ready Room
Timeline: MD3 - 1400 Hours

T'Rhe entered Commander--no, now Captain she reminded herself--Colburn's ready room with some apprehension. She hoped she wouldn't be dressed down for her behavior on DS9; she felt she had been acting in the best interests of the ship. If there was something in their new first officer's file that might prove problematic, as Kumari's second officer, shouldn't she be informed?

"Good afternoon, T'Rhe." Jack said as he looked out of his Ready Room window, a cup of steaming coffee sat on his desk.

"Good afternoon, Captain." She entered and faced him. "If I may make an observation... You seemed troubled about something. Something beyond this," she said.

"This?" Queried the Captain.

"Our previous mission and perhaps the upcoming one... Did something General D'Jinpok say to you put you on edge? I do not wish to pry, but I am... concerned about you, Sir."

"I am still waiting to hear if the Namur delivered Kahless to Starfleet medical. Once the Emperor has received treatment, I'm hoping things within the Empire will settle." Jack said still looking out of his window. "Our upcoming mission will prove a good test from the crew but there's a small personal matter that I must tend to during this mission."

T'Rhe nodded. "Indeed... Speaking of the emperor, he gave me something I'm not entirely sure what to do with. Dr. Macleod might appreciate it, but then again he might not. Take a look at this." She held out a bottle for his inspection. "Klingon whiskey--I had no idea they made spirits of any kind."

Jack turned from the window and chuckled as he took the bottle from the Intelligence officer. "They do, it's just not as popular as blood wine. At least our efforts haven't gone unnoticed."

"Quite... Do you think I ought to keep it? If not, I've got a Klingon friend who'll appreciate it. I just don't want to violate regulations or anything of that sort."

"It's a gift from a head of state, I don't see why we can't keep it." Jack said as he turned and placed it on his shelf. "After the next mission we may need to crack it open ourselves." The Captain said before looking back out of the ready room window at the Cardassian station.

There was a slight pause as T'Rhe mulled over the human's words. "I understand... On another subject, I must admit to some trepidation over our next mission. If the mission proceeds as I fear it will, I may have a personal matter of my own to attend to."

Jack turned from the window, "How so?"

T'Rhe considered how much to tell him. "I assume you saw in my file that I joined the fleet somewhat later than is typical for officers... Once I had reached enough maturity to be on my own, mentally, emotionally and legally, I went looking for my father. He had been a minor officer in a Cardassian prisoner-of-war camp during the Border Wars. I found him on a planet in what would become the Demilitarized Zone. He held me captive for two months. Eventually I was rescued by Federation forces, but the whole experience soured me on joining Starfleet... When hostilities with the Dominion intensified and Starfleet asked for volunteers, I felt my loyalty to the Federation outweighed my distaste, at the time, for the fleet... I am worried that we may encounter my father where we are going; the last I heard, he was leading a group of pirates and fringers near or in the site of our next mission."

"I understand your concerns but space is pretty big, there is only a small chance that you'll run in to him. How will you feel if you do see him?" Colburn replied.

"I will... Not be pleased, to put it mildly. If I were not in Starfleet, I would happily attack him. However, Starfleet has taught me restraint. That is not to say that I won't take a certain pride in the accomplishment if we apprehend him and use his ship for the mission."

"You never know." Colburn said with a smile. "So, what do I owe the pleasure, Commander?"

T'Rhe didn't speak for a beat, gathering her thoughts. "I am... Concerned about Commander Hendricks. It is not that I suspect him of any wrong-doing, but the fact that he wished to speak to you in private puts me a little on edge. Perhaps it is my Cardassian half making its presence known." She lowered her head slightly. "I also wanted to apologize for my behavior in Captain' Ro's office; I meant no disrespect to you or the Commander."

"Commander Hendricks wanted to discuss with me something that happened at the academy when he was a cadet. An incident that left a black mark on his record. If I'm honest, if I'd read his file I probably would have stopped after that incident. Thrown the pads on my desk and contacted Admiral Walker and refuse him as my first officer." Jack said before a brief pause.

"It takes guts to pull aside a new commanding officer and hold your hands up to a mistake." He said gesturing to the small couch in the ready room for T'Rhe to take a seat as he moved towards the replicator. "I like that in an officer. Plus he can't be a bad officer. Generally bad officers don't rise to the rank of Commander." He said he ordered himself a double strong Raktijino and a green tea for his companion. "As for your behaviour I wouldn't worry. You were doing your duty as acting first officer."

"Thank you." She took her tea from him and sat. After a sip, she said, "I assume that it is something on his record which seems worse than it actually is?" Privately, she was thinking of one of her own indiscretions while at the Academy. Although she hadn't been caught, if she had, it would have been in her record, much like Commander Hendricks's mark apparently was.

"People died because of his actions." Colburn said simply before taking a sip of his own drink before sitting down next to the Commander.

"I see." Somehow, that knowledge didn't make her feel any better about the whole thing. "I assume that my being informed of this would be contingent on Mr. Hendricks's revealing said information?"

"Not at all. Its on his file for all to see." The Captain said before taking another sip of his coffee. "I think he wanted to explain to me what had happened rather than reading the dull black and white reports which have been entered on his file which would have made me reject him as my Executive Officer. He knows officers with the right clearance level will see it. Personally I'm glad he came out an told me himself. You should talk to him."

"I will; thank you, Sir... We have a few days before we leave the station, yes?"

Jack nodded silently.

"Good. I was thinking of inviting the male senior staff to my quarters for dinner--I did so with the female members. Just a little informal get-together. Will you attend?"

"We'll see, I've got a lot of thinking to do." The Captain said, with a sigh.

"I understand, although I would be gratified if you would. Even the captain needs a break every now and then." She offered this with no sting, no regret, just a statement of fact.

Jack rubbed his forehead. "I can't see me getting a break until after we've succeeded with this mission." He felt torn, he wanted to confide in his Second Officer, but as it was of a personal natural it didn't feel right to burden her.

"I see..." T'Rhe could clearly see that he was hurting, but it wasn't her place. "If it helps, consider it a time to eat food that's not replicated, spend some time with like-minded people, and put all your troubles off for a few hours."

The Captain sighed, "Maybe you're right. When were you thinking of having this get together?"

"Once we've made sure all our new crew are aboard---I think we're waiting for a couple more, and I think one will be part of the senior staff, unless I miss my guess."

"I hope so, I still feel we're a bit short on senior staff." Colburn said before giving his head a frustrated scratch.

"Indeed. The deaths of Madec and Hunter left holes... Hunter, despite his rash attitude, had the potential to be a good officer I feel, and Madec..." She paused. "You knew her much better than I did, but I found her a model of what a good Starfleet officer should be."

"Agreed." Colburn said with a sigh. "Which reminds me I still need to write to their families and inform them."

"Captain..." T'Rhe's tone was warm but firm, "take some rest. An exhausted commanding officer will do you nor the crew no good. Also, if you wish, I can write to their families."

"No." Jack said after a lengthy pause. "I need to do this." He then paused again. "D'jimpok came to see me before he left the ship at Ty'Gokor. He told me that the Empire wanted to know who had been shipping weapons and equipment for Toral. They sent someone to find out. Commander Tozig, my former parmaqqaypu."

T'Rhe nodded, instinctively knowing what the Klingon word meant. "I understand, Sir... Obviously, she didn't report back, and now you are worried that we will find her dead... Or worse."

Colburn could only nod before looking out of his ready rooms small viewing port.

T'Rhe considered for a moment. "Captain, I will swear to you now, if we find her, I will do my utmost to insure that she returns to you, up to, and including, sacrificing myself to save her. If she is dead, or worse than dead, I shall do all I can within the bounds of Federation and Starfleet law to make certain those responsible pay. This is my solemn word, and I intend it be kept."

The Captain turned to face his Intelligence officer, "Thank you for the offer, T'Rhe, but this will be something I need to do. For me and for her."

"I understand... Still, you should take some rest. Or do I need to get Mac up here?" Her tone was teasing, but the implication was there nonetheless.

Colburn couldn't help but chuckle, "I'm sure the Doc would love to have me relieved of command for a few days. I'm not sure I want to leave Commander Hendricks to fend for himself for a few days, though. Speaking of the Commander, I've asked him to report to you at 1500 for a brief tour and to assign him some quarters. We can't have him bunking in with the non comms."

T'Rhe let out a small chuckle. "Of course, Sir. I'll handle it. You really should get some sleep. If you don't, I will really get the good doctor up here... I can have Jonathan bring you a cup of tea that helps both of us, if you'd like? Might not be scientific, but it really does help. Takes your mind off things, too."

"Alright, Commander, you win!" Colburn said as he headed for the door. "Inform Commander Hendricks I want a mission briefing arranged for the day after tomorrow at 1600 hours." He added before leaving his ready room and headed for his quarters.

"Aye, Commander," said T'Rhe, making a note to have that tea delivered... Double-strong.

*parmaqqaypu - mate


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