((Interior. U.S.S. Arrow, Deck 1. Corridor.))
Jacin: =/\=Aye Sir=/\=
Ayemet gathered her things and finished the scans that we’re running on her PADD, making her way to the door and the corridor. The briefing has been somewhat difficult. Once again she felt that she was not understood, but something played at the back of her mind. A nagging thought that kept an almost drumming presence on her thoughts.
o0 It’s you . Your anger, your frustration and how ‘small’ everyone is 0o
She pushed the thought to the back of her mind. It would have to be addressed. At some point she would have to see a Medical officer and see what was going on. The darkness that she seemed to feel increasingly often could not be ignored, but for the moment she had a mission and orders and, especially after her recent disagreement with Commander Collins, she could not afford another such confrontation.
Jacin: Lieutenant Jacin reporting Sir.
She nodded curtly at Commander Collins, and Connor, and turned to Lieutenant Tallera, offering a smile of sorts.
Tallera: Lieutenant Tallera, pleased to meet you Lieutenant Jacin.
Jacin: Tonk’peh Lieutenant .
Tallera: I believe the best way to protect the Proteus drive is to hide it. We can't cloak it, but perhaps we can camouflage it.
Collins: Well, I love the sound of that. What did you have in mind?
Jacin: we would need something that would blind others to the energy signature of the Proteus. If they find it they can’t pick the lock :beat: as long as their ‘pick’ doesn’t get broken.
Tallera: Simple. Locate a nebula - or perhaps a sufficiently low-mass gas planet - that has a matching ambient temperature and a composition of heavy metals that will make the ring seem just a patch of unremarkable high density. Meanwhile we paint the ring pink. Or whatever color the ambient light is.
He was on board with the first bit. That had a ring of canny practicality to it as well. Not only would they be the only people in the sector that would know precisely where it was, but whatever place they picked would also have the benefits of localized camouflage and likely a physical deterrent from trying to pluck it out of whatever mire they wanted to
The new paint job however...might have been a touch more sauce for the goose.
Despite how much it made him smile wider.
Collins: We can certainly scan for an appropriate hiding spot from Astrometrics and take some deep pulse scans of the system's lightwave spectrum output once we come to full stop. But the livery to match those lightwaves? I haven't the slightest idea where to start there.
Jacin: With respects Lieutenant doesn’t that hinge on the idea that whoever is looking for the drive , if indeed anyone, is not going to be looking closely?
Dewitt/Any : RESPONSE
Jacin: But if they did they would find it, and find it pretty quickly.
Jacin: Insufficient facts always invite danger. I’m merely offering an opposing view so that we can cover all bases.
Ayemet looked across at Commander Collins who nodded in agreement. They’re relationship had taken some damage since Odyssey Station. She felt he didn’t trust her, and he felt, she surmised, that she did not understand what he was trying to convey.
As with all thing the truth lay buried somewhere in between the two opposing viewpoints. Given time and effort it might well be uncovered, but there was precious little of either of those things at the moment. The Chalnoth were going to be a challenge regardless of what their true intentions were, but she found it troubling that the rest of the crew seemed so ready to believe them and rush to their call. It was dangerous. It was foolhardy.
o0 But isn’t that what you would have done? Don’t you believe in the Federation and Starfleet? 0o
A chill ran through her. She was sensing something from Commander Collins. Doubt? Fear? She couldn’t quite bring it into focus, but it was almost as if he was putting on a front, raising his shields. Ayemet smiled to herself as she realised that that was exactly what Counsellor R’Ariel had so beautifully pointed out to Ayemet; that she had raised shields around her. No one could get in, no one could hurt her.
She was woken from her thought last by the sounds on Commander Collins giving orders.
Collins: Right then. Connor, with me. You two, grab whatever you need up here or in the Engine Room and meet us on Deck 4. There are fabrication and replication suites in the Science Lab. Ayemet can show you where they are.
Jacin: Aye Sir.
Commander Collins flicked his wrist to expose an antique wrist watch. Ayemet felt her heart leap. There was something so genuinely moving that in this age of the most sophisticated and powerful computers that rendered such items unnecessary that the Commander still not only wore one but relied on it to tell the time. It saddened her that she felt unable to joke about it or talk about it. A gulf of some sort had been opened between them. By her actions, by his response. The reason seemed so unimportant . The fact was that it was there.
Collins: Just over an hour left still. You can do loads in an hour. Several meals, a few baths...plenty of time, yes?
Ayemet said nothing but merely gave a puzzled look. She would never quite understand humans. Perhaps that was a good thing. History was littered with those who thought they had all the answers only to wreak havoc upon the Galaxy.
Collins: We've got this. Probably.
Commander Collins signalled for them to go and Ayemet gratefully began to head for the turbolift. Relieved to be out of the tense situation. Free from having to talk with him. To face his judgement. To raise those shields.
Collins: Ayemet, a moment? If you please?
Her body tensed. Her heart began to beat a little faster. She turned slowly to face him.
Jacin: Yes Sir?
Collins: Are you okay? I mean to say, is there anything you need to say to me? Now is the time.
o0 Is it getting hot in here? Why is this corridor so small? 0o
Jacin: Fine Sir.
There it was. The automatic response to anyone getting too close to the truth. To the vulnerability.
Collins: We need you, Lieutenant. I need you. None of this is going to work unless we are all together.
She was going to walk away. To deny any negative emotions or the truth of the turmoil inside her. That was the easy thing to do. To Run. To not face the dark animal that hunted her, gnawing at her confidence, at her happiness. Telling her she was alone, unworthy, unloved, and always would be.
oO Lower those shields 0o
R’Ariel’s calm advice that hit upon the truth with piercing her protective wall. That showed her the shield she had built up without demanding they been dismantled. That showed her the possibility of a life where the fear and the pain were still part of her, but only in so much as any of her past was. Something to be acknowledged and learned from but no longer lived by.
Her shoulders slumped, she walked backwards until she felt the bulkhead behind her, and looked directly at Commander Collins.
She looked at him. Her breath broken, her heartbeat lie a drum in her chest. But he was there. Not running, but not demanding. He was there; asking lol.
Jacin :quietly: I’m scared.
Ayemet looked down the corridor, making sure that at least they had a degree of privacy, something that would make her more willing and able to speak the truth.
o0 Lower your shields 0o
Jacin: Ever since we came back from Odyssey Station I’ve felt different. Like I brought something back with me.
Ayemet tensed, bristling at what he said. She thought about responding. Of biting back with a pithy mocking tone, but she was tired, so tired.
o0 Lower your shields 0o
Jacin: You know what happened to Gary Mitchell. What..what if that happens to me? I feel out of place here enough. You know I’ve struggled with it. I…
Her voice trailed off. The fear eating away at her.
When she next spoke there was a softness to her voice. Not of supplication or defeat. That wasn’t what this was about.
Jacin: Commander Regardless of what you think I did listen to you. We may disagree and I’ll not apologise for having an opinion and fighting for what I believe, but I did listen. You think I hate you but you couldn’t be further from the truth. I just need more time. I promise I will get myself checked out after this mission and if at any point I think I could pose a threat you have my permission to :beat: contain me.
Quentin simply nodded. He never dropped his hands though.
Collins: Right. Yes. Deck 4 then. Call ahead to me or Connor should you or Tallera need anything else.
Ayemet nodded, no anger nor resentment in her reaction. For the moment she had her orders and she would do her best to follow them regardless of what the future held.
Lieutenant Jg Jacin Ayemet