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'Admiralgate.' [all hands]

Posted on Sun Aug 4th, 2019 @ 8:12pm by Captain Felix de l'Isle & Lieutenant Casparo Zolog & Chief (CPO) Regina Monkfish

Mission: Admiralgate.
Location: USS Lone Star
Timeline: A little while ago


“As it happens, Admiral: yes. I can see how this is rather awkward.”

Felix was an experienced officer when it came to the stifled giggle. He had masked a couple away without due notice of JAG; a few had wafted past suspicious ambassadors. On one occasion he’d smuggled a smirk right over the snouts of the Vulcan Confluence of Ophthalmic Obstetricians. Admiral McArnh was an entirely different matter.

Somehow, Grey seemed to glower with increased incandescence over his diplomatic uniform. Many of the fleet's colours had decorated his shoulders over the course of his career: yellow, red, teal, silver, black, white, like the shades of a repulsive looking bruise. de l'Isle had been bollocked by him in each one and knew it was likely to be painful.

"Awkward is far beyond the low end of the scale explaining the difficulty of the situation, Captain." It served Felix right, as far as Grey was concerned. If he hadn't convinced him to come back to the fleet in the first place, this wouldn't be happening. "Every party to the conference has filed direct complaints to Starfleet Command. The low bar here is shitstorm."

He pronounced the final word with a calm venom he knew would play with his friend's complacency.

“It’s a complex affair, sir. Barely worthy of your time," Felix suggested, pushing an imaginary blond lock from his forehead.

Having been otherwise inanimate, Grey reached forward and flipped a padd over violently. It jumped, pivoted and landed askew, projecting above the day's diplomatic taskboard. "Barely worthy and yet here it is, consuming my time almost entirely."

Felix winced imperceptibly, each pip stretching perpendicular to his worried cervical muscles. He would lie for his crew, of course. But in this instance it had happened somewhat communally. And, besides, both McArnh and, if it came to it, Stanton knew him far too well.

Their only chance to get away with it would be to make sure their story was absolutely straight.

"Not only had this better be good, but it had better be fucking astounding," Grey prompted.

“Yes, sir. The story begins on the bridge. The officer of the watch was Lieutenant Harun, at his own insistence,” Felix confirmed. “It was his first night shift, a part of his agreed training to match his, er, bridge protocols up to Starfleet's. And of course, this happened.”

-=-=-=-

Harun sat in front of the investigative officer a cup of coffee, unfortunately not raktajino, in his hand. The Cardassian stared at the wisps of steam wafting up from the pristine Starfleet mug, his expression hard set but clearly tired as he was still running on rotational hours.

He supposed Starfleet had chosen his usual sleep period to question him for a reason. After all, in their shoes that would have been what he would have done; wait until people were tired and less prone to hold up some elaborate story in order to extract the truth. Unfortunately for Starfleet, Harun had been trained for just this scenario.

And he had to protect Regina.

“Lieutenant Touvoy,” the investigator began touching pale, stick-like fingers on the button to begin the recording, “Would you, in your own words, tell us the events between star dates 201402.19 and 241903.15.”

“Us?” Harun inquired looking around the room that only contained himself and the Starfleet officer in her smart red uniform, “Is there someone else we’re not accounting for?”

The investigator gave Harun a nonplussed look but there was a hardening about the eyes that Harun found satisfying, “A figure of speech Lieutenant. I need the account of your actions between those two dates for the record.”

“How do you want them?” Harun asked as he raised the coffee mug to his lips and took a measured sip. It was weak and tasteless but his body craved the caffeine and so he drank anyway, “Factually? Chronologically? I did a lot of things over those few weeks, most of it was flying looking for the missing ambassador.”

“Lieutenant,” the word was heavy and all but crackled with irritation, “Are you trying to be difficult?”

“Not at all,” Harun said lowering the mug, “I’m trying to be precise and give you precisely what you need for your investigation.”

The investigator did not look convinced but she breathed out a huff of air and settled back in her seat, “Fine. Chronologically, if you don’t mind, Lieutenant.”

Harun helped himself to another sip of the coffee as he considered; the truth was such a flexible thing and always subject to the unyielding mistress of perspective. Harun knew the feeling but he wasn’t about to tell the Starfleet investigator that. “I don’t know how much help it will be to you. I was on my sleep cycle when the ambassador was discovered missing and asleep when he was found.”

“Just tell me what you can Lieutenant, start with when you were first on shift.”

“That was stardate 201402.18, outside the parameters of your inquiry.”

More air and glaring, Harun pretended not to notice, “Just tell me Lieutenant.”

“Nothing entirely unusual,” Harun began and settled himself back in his chair, ignoring the twinge in his lower back, this was going to be a long conversation. “We completed the shift change, I was at the helm overseeing routine maintenance programs on the ships navigation in accordance to the systems checklists expected of the officer on duty for the night shift. A few minor abnormalities were reported by the computer but were quickly resolved by engineering.”

“Whom in engineering?”

Harun stopped and returned to the present moment, “Excuse me?”

“Whom in engineering did you speak to?” the investigator repeated looking to make a note of another possible witness to corroborate. Harun wondered if he had perhaps mis-stepped, would engineering know what happened? That he had purposely pushed the maintenance for navigation over other more pressing systems? Would they tell the investigator?

Harun closed his eyes and composed his face in an expression of concentration, he of course knew exactly whom he had spoken to and what exactly had been said, Cardassian memories being what they were, but he wasn’t about to get that detailed with the investigator. “Ensign Reese, I believe… I spoke to her and a few others multiple times on multiple shifts during those few weeks I can’t be sure. I’m sure the repairs will be in engineering’s log and will have a name attached to them.”

That seemed to appease the investigator and Harun continued, “After routine checks on navigation had been conducted, I went through the checks on the transporter system since there was a scheduled transport of items for the Arboretum and Mapuche later in the shift. There was one issue with the transporter system that also required repair but it was not as quick as with the navigation. Again, I believe I spoke to Ensign Reese or perhaps Chief O’Brady but I could not be certain. This resulted in a delay of the transport.”

“How long was the delay?”

Harun sighed into his coffee, “Six hours. The transporter was not functional until after I had gone off shift. I was informed the next evening that some prized oysters had gone bad in the Mapuche delivery as a result and there was an odor that required engineering to go back into the transporter system. They were still in the middle of sorting out why all other transports reeked of oyster when I came back on shift on star date 241902.19.” Regina had also been involved in the de-oystering but Harun figured it was best to leave her out of the narrative if it wasn’t necessary.

“When did you find out the ambassador was missing?”

“Beginning of my shift on star date 201902.20. I was told by Commander Zolog that the ambassador had failed to appear in the transporter room at the allotted time and had missed transport to the Lone Star. It was believed at first he was simply delayed and communications had not reached the crew but after a full day it was determined he had gone missing.”

“And what did you do after that?”

“Set coordinates for his last known location per the orders of Commander Zolog. A process I repeated for every possible location we had for the ambassador over the next few weeks until he was discovered in the storage crate on star date 241903.15.” Harun allowed a little bit of irritation to fill his voice but as soon as the investigators eyes raised to his face, he gave a little apologetic nod.

The investigator reached out and touched the console to stop the recording, “Thank you Lieutenant Touvoy, I think I have all I need here. Is there anyone you think I should be speaking to in regards to this incident?”

“Chief Engineer Freelove and her team I’d imagine,” Harun said and started to rise, “Also, Commander Zolog since he was supposed to be the Ambassador’s escort. Was there anything else?”

“No, you may go Lieutenant but be available in the event I have other questions.”

Harun offered her a sardonic smile, “I don’t think that will be difficult Commander.”

-=-=-=-=-

The Chief of Security knew how this game was going to go, and she was not amused to be sitting on the 'wrong side' of the interrogation room. She knew better than to push her luck and was careful to keep a neutral expression. She didn't want to find herself confined to the ship again if she could help it. It was harder to keep her tone neutral, but she was trying, "As I mentioned, we investigated the ambassador's disappearance and hit multiple dead ends. The decision was made to put the investigation on hold since we still had to deliver the other ambassadors to their destination."

"And at what point did the Admiral arrive?"

Tonx resisted the urge to smirk since she could see what the investigator was doing. She knew full well when the admiral arrived since it was in the CSec's duty log, and was likely in the Captain's log, as well. Taking a slow, deep breath, Tonx replied, "We were diverted to pick up another group of delegates that were to be delivered to the convention. We were told these delegates consisted of five diplomats, but when we rendezvoused with the transport ship carrying them, we found not just five diplomats, but the Admiral as well.

"Starfleet failed to mention we would be picking up admiralty. We'd managed to get VIP quarters arranged for the five diplomats, but I hadn't arranged anything for the Admiral since we weren't expecting him. Said admiral decided to take it personally, even though we'd managed to get him quarters arranged within the hour," she replied.

The investigator tilted her head, "How did the admiral take it personally?"

To this, Tonx gave a wry smile, "When he found out we hadn't solved who'd caused the Ambassador's disappearance, he decided to 're-open' the investigation and made a point of telling me I was a terrible security officer who wouldn't be able to follow an evidence trail if it were fluorescent. If you know anything about me, aside from a few disciplinary things more related to my weakness for a pretty face and a lovely cocktail, I've done very well as a security officer, with more than a couple of commendations."

"Yet you are still on the Lone Star?"

To this, Tonx did smirk, "Due to my weakness for a pretty face and adult beverages, I assure you."

"What happened next?"

Tonx looked to her hands as she carefully chose her words, "A few of those in my department didn't like how the admiral was treating me, and may have locked him in his quarters when I was off duty. They may not have known he was claustrophobic. I'm not exactly sure all of what happened next because. . .well, I was off duty."

-=-=-=-=-

For her part, Andraste did...far, far less to hide her disdain for the entire process.

All she knew was that she hadn't wrapped the daffy admiral in plastic film, so why was it now her problem?

"Yes. Again. I got a call from the admiral in the VIP quarters. He was completely in a panic. It took me a little while to figure out what he was saying in able to actually take care of his seriously spazzing self." Her interrogator gave her one of those incredulous, raised-brow looks that she just returned for a moment. Neither said anything. "What?" the doctor finally said.

"Not much of a bedside manner for a chief medical officer."

Andra shrugged. "I'm a practical woman. Compassion and pragmatism can go hand in hand and had the admiral been suffering a real medical emergency, I would have been more sympathetic." The look told her to continue and she listened to it, this time. It was, of course, simply because she wanted this whole thing over with. "He was having a panic attack because he was locked in his quarters. And is claustrophobic."

"Isn't claustrophobia a recognized phobia and thus a recognized disorder?"

"Yes."

"So...how was this not a legit emergency for the admiral?"

Andra gave a look that could with grass and very clearly, if silently, asked: Are you a moron?

The look was returned, with interest.

"Claustrophobia. The irrational, extreme fear of small, confined spaces. Have you seen the quarters the admiral received? They're bigger than mine."

A long pause. "Isn't claustrophobia also categorized as the fear of being trapped and unable to get out of a space?"

A dry look. "If his condition is that bad, he should not be in space."

"Not very sympathetic."

"I suppose not. Practical."

Their little standoff continued for some moments before the next question followed. "Alright. So. What happened after you understood the nature of the admiral's distressed call?"

Andra arched her brow in a show that she didn't appreciate the near-pun, intended or not. "I went down to his guest quarters and used my medical codes to do an emergency override. The admiral flew out of the room, knocking me on my ass in the process, and stood there gasping for a while. Once I was back on my feet and he had calmed down, we returned to his room and he requested a sedative. I administered a mild one and left him to go to bed, with the doors unlocked."

"And then?"

"And then..." She shrugged. "I went back to sickbay. I don't know what happened next." She paused then, frowning as she recalled something. "Although he did mention something about possibly calling on...science or engineering or something to fix something in his room that was bothering him."

-=-=-=-=-

“Of course I wrapped the admiral in cellophane!”

The look on the investigator’s face suggested that this was not at all a natural course of action, no matter how certain Burgundy sounded of himself. “You say it like it’s the most obvious thing in the world,” she stated flatly, “Can you tell me how you reached that conclusion?”

The science ensign rolled his eyes and sighed. “The admiral called Engineering, because he was having some sort of meltdown about a supposedly technical issue in his quarters,” he made air quotations around the word ‘technical’ and his grimace suggested how little he thought of the admiral’s cognitive capabilities. “Naturally, because the request was so obviously not related to anything technical - it was something about ‘oysters’, which I believe is an animal of some kind - and the admiral was sounding like a panicked kruus-wontlay Engi-”

“A what?”

Burgundy stopped himself and stared at her. What exactly had he been saying that confused her now? Oh, right! “A kruus-wontlay is a worm-like animal with a set of short sprouts around its trout. It’s common around the tropical regions of Prepondria and famous for the sound it makes when it can’t find a mate during mating season. Like… Nevermind,” he stopped himself before actually imitating one, lest he’d lose his dignity. “Anyway, where was I?”

“Engineering?”

“Oh, yes! Engineering called Science, because the lab is close to the admiral’s quarters. They called in a favour with our chief, and subsequently I had to go.” He muttered a set of curses and tried to think of new ways to murder a gelatinous lump. Not that he thought Perdita was close enough to hear his thoughts, but he could always recall them later.

“So, I got there, right? And what do I see?” he asked in a way that made it a little unclear whether it was a rhetorical question. “A body! Right on the damn bed!”

“A dead person? Are you saying that the admiral failed to notice a dead person on the bed in his quarters?” The investigator looked incredulous. She flipped through her previous notes, trying to see if anyone had mentioned a dead body before; it seemed very unlikely that she would forget such a thing, but still.

“What? No! It was the admiral!” He clarified, making things even more convoluted and confused.

The investigator looked at him for some time, expecting him to expound. When he didn’t she cleared her throat and made a few notes before deciding which question to follow up with. “The admiral was dead? He is alive today.”

“No. Not dead. Lifeless.”

The investigator adopted a deadpan expression. Her frustration was only apparent by the way she pinched the ridge of her nose. She decided not to dig further into the depths of semantics with the science ensign. Instead she opted for trying to go forward. “What happened next?” She had a feeling they were closing in on the whole cellophane thing.

“The admiral was motionless and pale - almost translucent. And the stench about him! Horrid stuff! It was obvious that he’d entered his rejuvenating torpor but failed to calcify. He must’ve felt that the process was going awry and called in while he was about to go under, and that’s why he wasn’t lucid. So I quickly wrapped him in cellophane, to save his life.” Burgundy’s posture testified a pride in his own actions.

“The admiral is human.” the investigator said dryly, while scanning through the earlier testimonies and Dr Vaughn’s medical notes. The kind doctor had noted the dose of the administered sedative as ‘enough’.

“I know.”

“... Humans don’t rejuvenate the way Prepondrians do. In fact, we don’t rejuvenate at all.”

“You don’t? So you’re just… what? In your forties?” He inspected her from top to toe, unembarrassed. Now he felt indignation at the fact that he was forced to explain himself to someone he considered to be a child, or barely more.

The lieutenant - who was 32 - neglected to answer. She sneered a little and looked down at her notes. “How did the admiral end up on the red carpet, still wrapped in cellophane?”

“I dunno. I just called it in to Zaphod. Zopol? Zo-something. The XO. I said the admiral’s situation had been taken care of, and that I didn’t expect him to have any further issues.”

“And the ‘stench’, as you say?”

“Yeah, I’d been wrong about that, apparently! Who’d’ve thought that, huh? I didn’t learn of the crate under the bed until after the whole thing.” Burgundy shrugged and smiled a little. It was quite amusing, after all.

-=-=-=-

Regina sat patiently. Although the events had occurred in a flurry of gold braid and poor judgment, she was ultimately sure that, had the whole she-bang been left to her, none of this would have happened.

"Sorry," the investigator said, returning from a side-room.

"Yes," said Regina flatly, although not without sympathy, staring insistently at the officer's right ear. Without flinching she produced a sonic antibacterial spray pod, which sat between the hands she had been about to clamp together as she prepared for questioning mode. The CoB’s gaze altered a fraction, suggesting forcefully with her eyes that her counterpart should use said device.

“Chief Monkfish.”

Regina cast her head aside impertinently. The investigator grunted forlornly and acquiesced, rinsing her hands for a second time in the potent invisible mist.

“Being a rich source of iron and cobalamin, the Terran oyster is a particularly sought-after delicacy. But at what cost? Rogue molluscs have felled armies. Gastroenteritis, vibrio vulnificus and overemphasised sexual potency. As the chief of the boat it is very much my responsibility to ensure that these matters – hygiene, in particular – do not compromise ship’s operations.”

The interviewer checked the clock, whose numerals had rolled onto fat zeros for the fourth time. “At what point did you realise the confusion?”

“About three months ago, while reading the long-term projections for fleet logistics.”

“Three months ago? That’s imposs–” She relented at the sight of Monkfish, whose eyes risked phasering her. “And what gave you the idea at that time there might be a problem?”

Smugly, Monkfish sat back, her slim shoulders flat and angular against the back of the chair. “Because Gnerix is the name of the major planet in the Gnerix system, where all male occupants consume only bivalve shellfish and are all, also, called Gnerix.”

The interviewer emitted a huff that was also a hiss; the kind that ex-spouses made at divorce proceedings. “So –”

The chief talked at the same time, as she had done for much of this interview. Her role in the drama was to be recounted in her own words, in her own time. The officer had made that much clear at the outset: in her own words, in her own time. Regina smiled peaceably, and restarted.

“After reports of a mollusc-related hygiene transgression you can understand that I activated all necessary protocols, rescinded leave and rest time for all maintenance personnel and instigated a ship-wide search. With the first officer’s approval,” Monkfish added hastily. The Captain had, as was sometimes the case in health and safety situations, been coincidentally unavailable. “As the senior crewmember I decided it only appropriate that I should be the one to check the admiral’s deck and, naturally, his quarters. Without delay, given the emergency! Thereafter the sedge of heron, the remainder of the arboretum and then the bridge crew. That is the order of things. It is established. I arrived at the admiral’s quarters and, while doing so, referred to the entry log.”

Remarkably, the interviewer mused, the only person who had thought to do so. Which made the coming minute or so of testimony more diabolical.

“I for one do not blame the admiral for insisting that his quarters should be perfect. The crewmember who signed off on the job has already been severely reprimanded. I was not on duty,” she confirmed, rewiring a reaching frond of hair back into her buzzing red hive. “His complaints were appropriate and were dealt with by a number of senior officers in rapid succession. I was proud of my crew at this stage, and I could see from the admiral’s tranquility that he was similarly impressed. Ensign Burgundy had obviously helped him prepare to meet the mollusc-feeding delegation by encasing him with the clear film used in Gnerix processional post-dinner marches. They believe it helps them retain the odour of the feast and he certainly had that about him. So, seeing that he was fit and eager for his duties to commence, I contacted Commander Freelove and asked her to take care of his transport personally.”

“Not the transporter chief?” Monkfish’s view of the crew, her role in it and personal roles were one for review, but she suspected her CO would give one reply: we already know.

“Of course not! Chief engineer’s teams were already running diagnostics on the whole transporter subsystem and, besides, Edie and I like to do one another favours from time to time.” Which reminded Regina: she needed to check her pal’s special plants upon her return.

“Tell me what happened next,” said the woman, with driving, fatigued impatience.

“With the admiral no longer in the room I was surprised that his olfactory presence… lingered. Either the transporter problem had resulted in more molluscs being sent to his quarters than he had ordered –”

“Or they had been the explanation for the smell all along.”

The suggestion was meant to bite back at Regina but, like many brushes and combs had in the past, seemed only to deflect.

“I called Commander Freelove and asked her to join me immediately. She did and, when she arrived, we located a crate of half-eaten molluscs. It was a dreadful scene.” Regina sprayed herself fortifyingly with a micro-canister that had been, and was immediately again, concealed in her hair. “Some dangling from their shells, others clearly struggling for their lives. And, in the middle of the crate, the ambassador – clearly afflicted with a desperate sexual longing and only half-covered with his ceremonial plastic. A sorry state. Not fit to negotiate on behalf of his people.”

“Do you remember what Commander Freelove said, or did, at this juncture? What either of you did?”

“I do not. I believe that is when the ambassador became… enamoured with me. At which point I passed out.” Regina looked indignant. “It is no surprise. The interaction gave me vibriochlamydia. I was quarantined for some time.”

-=-=-=-

“This entire situation has been… unfortunate.” Edie spoke to the investigator now. The Chief Engineer reeked of incense and her arms flailed with animation as she spoke.

“Unfortunate? That is putting it lightly Commander Freelove.”

“Well you see. It is much easier for you and I to judge as bystanders. I doubt either of us would be able to resist the charms of Chief Monkfish after several weeks contained in a box of delicious shellfish.” The Commander nodded in agreement with herself and then continued to explain the sudden interaction between the ambassador and the Chief in much detail to the investigator.

“I…. I…. I think we will continue along from that… Uh…. Event.” The investigator had lost her composure for a moment. A look of disgust appeared for a moment on her stone looking face. “Commander. Just what caused the transporter malfunction?”

“Oh.. That..” Edie sighed. “Well that was easy enough to figure out, eventually. Darned particular series of events that led up to that really.” The Chief Engineer recalled her efforts to the investigator. “There was Ensign Grovensor’s mishap in the jefferies tube between decks sixteen and seventeen. You see. The Ensign was new to our repair and maintenance teams. He had found a misalignment in the ODN network and took it upon himself to fix those crossed wires.” Edie shook her head and waved her finger in a ‘tsk, tsk’ motion.

“You see. Lonie prefers that particular sub-junction just the way it is. The poor Ensign had good intentions but ended up causing Lonie to misbehave. A damned feedback loop actually. The poor man ended up with a nasty shock. Lonie can really bite when he wants too.”

“Lonie?” The investigator stopped recording notes for a moment and looked up. “Who.. Is that?”

“She didn’t mean that Lonie.” Edie rubbed the bulkhead beside them. “Anyways. There was also Lieutenant T’Var’s experiment gone wrong.” Edie went on to explain how the science officer had crossbred several different plants in the botany lab. “Who would have thought? A taraxacum and rafflesia arnoldii hybrid would release such sticky spores into the ventilation shafts of the ship. You see. There was so much going on at the time, from a maintenance perspective, that the filter systems in the botany lab were due for a change over. It would have been completed later that day actually.”

“There was the hatch left open from the ventilator system in junction forty-eight, which led to the spores binding with the relay junction on deck twenty one. It overwhelmed the transmitter pathway of the waste disposal system in the junior officer’s quarters throughout the ship. Trust me. You wouldn’t have wanted to take a shit in those quarters during this whole fiasco either. Poor Ensign Figaro ended up covered head to toe in… half the ship’s fecal matter….”

The investigator continued to take notes with rigour as Edie rambled on for several more minutes, adding more and more events which had all transpired at the same time. Each one had synergistically contributed to the unfortunate transporter incident.

“And finally. That error in the backup phaser generator junction, caused by the overload in the ODN network from fixing those crossed wires, lead to the auxiliary port thruster matrix overload and then the failed filtering system which overwhelmed the waste disposal system. That all caused a catastrophic feedback overload in the transporter sub-subsystem. You see, each by itself would normally never cause an issue with the transporter system. It was just a matter of worse case circumstances, several, all happening at the most inconvenient of times. Damned amazing in a way if you ask me….”

“Amazing is one word for it.” By this stage her inquiry had lasted at least a week longer than she had originally envisaged. She craved company. Company that wasn’t certifiable, and that didn’t figure calamity out of every ODN juncture.

There was only one loose end. “And Chief Monkfish? She was… unconscious?”

“Oh.. Regina? I just revived her with some good old mouth to mouth. Reminded me of that night we got wasted in shuttle bay two…” Edie stopped herself for a moment. “Please strike that last comment off the record my dearest investigator. Are you getting hungry? All this talk of spoiled ocean dwelling delicacies has really got me craving some bacon covered scallops and peas.”

Let it end, pleaded the investigator’s very sense of self.

“If you’ll excuse me,” she said, and disappeared quickly into the side-room, not returning for some time.

-=-=-=-

“Madame Investigator? I’m here for my interview. Hello?”

Zolog waited patiently for at least twenty-two minutes before he left.

The investigator left the water closet twenty-two seconds after that.

-=-=-=-

“And that, sir, is how the admiral arrived on the red carpet wrapped in cling film.”

“I have never witnessed a series of events more deliriously improbably and mishandled by a crew of highly intelligent yet antisocial incompetents,” Grey thundered. “I quote.”

“That was about fourth on the list of potential ship’s mottos during the refit,” Felix blathered automatically.

His old friend, a patient man, famed for his dark and humid temper, was menacingly close to his face. There, suddenly, giving him no room to wield his blitheness.

“I will give you in one sentence both an order and a piece of advice, Captain. Go now, go quickly and go far, as far as your sensors can see and then further, taking your incoherent sprawl of mavericks and do not come back until you have achieved something that is not an interstellar disgrace.”

Stunned, gripped to the mottled floor, Felix reached for any high-calibre banter as a response. His hubris had run out of turf. He realised he was waiting for more: a dismissal, or a have I made myself clear. That he was taking up space. That the Lone Star itself was taking up space in an otherwise useful chain of resources, one that was better served saving lives or spreading peace. Not pandering to an expensive box of narcotics-grade psychopathic idiots.

“Yes, sir.”

Admiral McArnh thrust a PADD into Felix’s gut disgustedly and left his own office, leaving de l’Isle rooted to the spot. Eventually he lifted his head, catching the numbers and spatial diagrams that headed the mission order.

Heading 28 mark 343 mark 1.

Where there was nothing known, and where nobody had thought to go, because there was nothing there.

And because it was a very, very long way away, so it would be a very, very long time until anyone heard of them again.

-=-=-=-

by the crew of the USS Lone Star, in no particular order:
Captain Felix de l’Isle, Commanding Officer
Lieutenant Harun Touvoy, Chief Helm
Lieutenant Greer ‘Tonx’ McKenna, Chief of Security
Lieutenant Andraste Vaughn MD, CMO
Ensign Burgundy, Science Officer
CPO Regina Monkfish, Chief of the Boat
Commander Edie Freelove, Chief Engineer
Commander Casparo Zolog, Executive Officer
one seriously pissed off Admiral Grey McArnh, Director, OF Diplomatic Corps
and a Starfleet investigator (retired, traumatised)

 

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