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"What Goes Up." [Felix, Casparo]

Posted on Tue Sep 3rd, 2019 @ 7:25am by Captain Felix de l'Isle & Lieutenant Casparo Zolog

Mission: Admiralgate.
Location: Ready Room
Timeline: SD241909.03

The words emerged only stubbornly from the captain’s mouth, loathe as he was to speak them. Each one seemed to crush Zolog slightly further, compacting his vertebrae individually until he was only as tall as Felix. For the first time, the CO felt pity for the man.

“Do you have any official response, Commander?” It was the last time in a while he would be addressed by that rank. Felix did his best not to emphasise it.

Casparo was crestfallen. It felt as though a singularity had nested in his chest, pulling into it every screed of positivity. Everything he had achieved, everything he’d worked for was suddenly not there.

“I was trying to protect the crew, sir.” His dignity was disintegrating but not just yet. “Collective responsibility. I…”

Not unkindly, Felix closed down any further comment. “That’s enough now. We understand.” As though the first person plural would somehow make it better. That it would, inexplicably, absolve him of some of the awfulness that was about to reach its full assault.

The captain was silent as he approached Casparo. Technically he should have uttered the words: confirmation of the unfairness. Instead his hands managed the deed wordlessly. Zolog looked baleful as the full, hard-won pip was plucked from his collar.

The two men stared at it. After a minute Felix closed his hand.

“What happens now?” Casparo asked.

“Now,” Felix said, “I’m going to get you very, very drunk.”

“Is that an order, Captain?”

“You bet it is.”

Casparo stood and watched his CO skulk toward a blank panel. He was rooted. As soon as he took a step away from this spot he would no longer be the same person. He neither knew how nor wanted to be anybody else.

“There are two saving graces to your situation, Casparo. Sit down. Sit,” Felix insisted, when he didn’t, and at last Zolog moved, retreating without looking to where the captain had pointed. Within moments a glass of something green and foaming had been delivered to his hand. “Drink it.”

The fair-haired, dark green humanoid studied it stupendously for a moment. It looked suspiciously like Romulan Ale: while now synthesised across most of the Federation, it didn’t smell much like the beverage he’d seen once, on a holodeck, in training. Looking up, he found the captain’s eyes on him, waiting for his command to be met. Casparo took a tentative sip and coughed wildly, waving the fumes excitedly from his face.
“First time’s always the hardest.”

Immediately quite intoxicated, Casparo blurted: “Is that demotion or this stuff, Capt’n?”

“Both. Saving grace number one.” Felix swigged from his own before refilling both as he spoke. “You studied xenolinguistics and communications science at the Academy, did you not?”

Casparo dredged through his rapidly diminishing active memory. “Yeah Cap, I–”

“Good. Part of the orders were not to let you lead a department, but I’m overruling that. We need a communications officer. You’re it.”

More time on the bridge looking at his old chair. Casparo’s head dangled, staring into his drink. “Comms,” he repeated, in a dull, fragile tone. His green-brown face reflected in the pool of ale, providing only a silhouette. “Great. What’s the other one?”

Felix leaned forward, but Casparo seemed to pay this no mind. “You just did the one thing that might finally make the crew respect you.”

Without looking up, Casparo asked: “They didn’t respect me?”

“Drink,” Felix insisted. “We have some talking to do, you and me.”

Casparo necked the rest of the glass and promptly fell back into the sofa.

“Although possibly not today,” the captain acknowledged, settling back into his chair and pouring himself another half.

For the first time, he almost felt sorry for him.


By Captain Felix de l’Isle and Lieutenant Casparo Zolog


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