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Hard Bargain

Posted on Jun 06, 2020 @ 5:40pm by Lieutenant Commander Aerdan Jos
Edited on on Jun 06, 2020 @ 5:40pm

Mission: Dog Days Of Summer

"Hard Bargain"

(Continued from "Switcheroo")

Location: StarBase 104
Stardate: [2.20] 0606.0025
Scene: Medical Director's Offices

“You’re an idiot.”

Oh, what a familiar, crass voice. Sobriety had not dulled Cade Foster’s sense of a well time insult. In fact it had sharpened it considerably. The elder doctor was looking hale, hearty and brighter than ever as he swung into the open office of an old friend, waving a PADD with a new story around like it was a fresh off the presses paper.

Aerdan Jos had the good graces to look up very calmly and pierce Cade with a cold stare.

“Should I even ask you to elucidate?” The Andorian’s soft, even lisping tone was a mixture of long-suffering patience and an undercurrent of amusement.

Cade shrugged, plopping his butt on his companions desk. “Sure, ask. I mean that makes it all polite and shit and you know I’m gonna tell you anyways.” He smirked with a sense of triumphant one-upsmanship. “But consider… take a look around.”

He gave a broad sweep of the nice, dimly lit office, with a plant and pictures of smiling family and a tidy stack of things to do.

“Here you are, in a nice cushy desk job in Starfleet medical. Regular schedule, regular vacations, nice big comfy Trojan Class II Starbase, extra time off for holidays and plenty of space for your family to come visit and they’re even angling to promote you… and you decide to drop it all and go back to the Phoenix?” Cade chuckled heartily and stabbed a finger at Aerdan. “You’re an idiot.” He repeated with finality.

With a soft sigh, the Andorian leaned back, looking up at his longtime… friend? Yes, friend. Somewhere along the way that had happened. “Ishe got accepted to Starfleet Academy. Zabrielle is going with her to Earth, and then embarking on her research project. It feels… lonely here.”

Cade shook his head, unconvinced. “Take a professorship, you ninny! Or get a new desk job in the Sol sector.” He leaned forward meeting the medical director’s gaze with his own. “Don’t tell me you’re bored?” He got a shrug from the lithe Andorian. Cade’s sharp grey eyes twinkled. “Or feeling old.”

What was it Marcus Ford used to say? ‘Little of column A, little of column B…’ Aerdan offered the smallest of nods to indicate that yes, that was true but the situation was complex.

“I don’t want to be the parent that is hovering over their child. I love my daughter, but I did my very best to raise a girl who could make her own way. I am always there for her, but I also want her to have the freedom to make her own choices. I was pushed into my field by my father… I’m not going to do the same.” He said quietly. That thought lingered in the air a moment, and Cade didn’t even feel the need to make a joke about it. As the pensive atmosphere turned to awkwardness Aerdan indulged in a slight smile. “Besides you’re the professor. You get off on that stuff.”

“Damn Skippy.” Cade nodded with a grin. He stood with a sigh. “I’ll miss you.” He admitted.

Aerdan looked back with a contained smirk. “You know, Z has a bet that you’ll re-up your commission within 6 month and join me…” He offered ever so slightly enticingly.

Cade shook his head and waved his hands in a quite melodramatically emphatic ‘no.’ “Oh, I promised myself I gave all that up.” Finally he stilled himself by crossing his arms in front of his chest. “Please tell me you put her in her place?”

Aerdan gave a light nod. “I did counter her bet.”

“See, that’s my boy.” He smirked. “What did you tell her?”

The Andorian kept his expression still until he got the full force of the retort home and only then did he break into a wide smile. “I bet her it would be three.”


Location: Docking Bay – StarBase 56 -> CO’s Ready Room, USS Phoenix
Time Index: two weeks later

The news was abuzz as Lt Commander Aerdan Jos straightened his teal blue uniform and made his way towards customs. A treaty with the Romulans was hot on everyone’s lips. Aerdan was no politician – he had a Hippocratic oath to stop any people not actively trying to kill him or his friends from bleeding, and he really didn’t care the color of the blood. If this treaty prevented more people from getting killed then it was a good one.

He was also, apparently, in luck to have pre-clearance because the starbase was going on lockdown. Something, something about a missing child and (what his security clearances told him above the rumor in the hallways) something, something about an interdimensional wormhole and an alternative universe.

The more things changed the more they stayed the same.

Everything was in order. Of course it was. He wasn’t a wide-eyed ensign. Far from it. Too many missions, too many quick launches, too many changes of ships and crews made this process efficient and professional. Maybe that was a relief for everybody – cargo control certainly seemed to appreciate the organization and quick approval that came with a seasoned officer.

Captain Michael Turlough Kane was a busy man – again, what else was new? So Aerdan Jos had a very small window to get in, meet with his once and former CO and get settled down before Starfleet sent the ship off on some insane mission. Again.

Cade was right, he missed this shit.

One transport and one turbolift ride later and here he was, walking through the doors of the Phoenix’s bridge. It looked the same, a little less ‘rogue’ and ‘fighting for our lives against the essentialists’ but the same. Same Byte. Same hum. Same little haze at the bottom left hand corner of the viewscreen.

The doors slid open where the Captain gave a quick glance towards the doorway.

“You’re back.”

Same Kane.

Maybe this really was home.

Aerdan tipped both antennae forward in greeting, speaking softly. “Starfleet honored my request for once.” He waited for the doors to closed behind him and he tipped his head to match the incline of his antennae. “It is good to see you again, Captain.”

“I’m pleased you’re back.” He offered evenly. That was pretty personable for Kane.

“Well, to make it official, Lt Commander Aerdan Jos, reporting for duty, Sir.” He said formally, politely.

“Welcome back onboard the Phoenix, Commander.” Kane settled himself, gesturing for the doctor to do the same.

Aerdan settled and let the silence linger for a moment, waiting to see if Kane had any first orders or words of wisdom before he decided to move forth and ask questions.


The silence was easy. Neither man talked overly much. Still he had waited long enough for a question to be appropriate.

“I noticed there was not confirmed position on my orders, Sir. Where would you have me?” Aerdan queried gently.

Leaning back, Aerdan wasn’t sure if Kane was testing the waters or just playing cool. Or both. “Medical. Position is open. I had considered Chief Surgeon.”

One brow and one antennae perked in unison. That was an over-emotive bad habit he picked up from too much time around Cade Foster. Generally Andorians would simply raise the antennae. “A position I specifically recommended against being implemented because it muddied the command chain.”

“I saw that report.” Kane tossed back lightly. “Then I considered science officer.”

That raised antennae twitched. Another role Aerdan had served in for a short time. Not his favorite or his best. “Not my preference…” he started evenly.

“Neither is strict medicine from what I can tell.” Kane countered. “Your real strength is leadership and I would be a fool to waste that.”

Aerdan may have tinged every so slightly navy. It wasn’t so much an open compliment as a recognition of strengths and weaknesses. Aerdan was a competent doctor. He was a trained neurosurgeon. He could save lives. But he had always paled in comparison to the skill and genius of his fellow officers. Cade was only the most visible and notable contrast. There had been dozens more who easily bested Aerdan’s raw medical skill.

But medicine was something he had been trained to do from a young age. Talent was something one had; and one had to find a way to apply it. He was tactical, good at leading away teams, fearless and committed.

He had enjoyed being a command officer, even though he never admitted it.

He tipped his antennae downwards in a silent appreciation for his CO’s words, but actually asked “So where will you have me?”

“I haven’t cleared it with Bartlett, yet. But I know who I would rather have on a planet with a phaser in one hand and a medkit in another” He gave the handwave that clearly said ‘Starfleet Captains work in mysterious ways.’

Aerdan simply nodded. He was experienced enough to know that sometimes you just waited until things were ironed out behind the scenes. “Chief Surgeon it is until otherwise notified.”

It was a role. A leadership role that would be the arm of the Captain until things were shuffled. He was OK with that.

If Kane smiled Aerdan didn’t see it, but there was that nod of understanding. Even if the words spoken talked around the issue, both men could see eye to eye on the actual intention and structure of orders.

Raising to his feet Aerdan offered a polite nod

“Then by your leave Captain, I shall settle in.”

Kane gave the time-honored gesture of ‘dismissed’ and they both went about their duties.


Location: USS Phoenix
Scene: Main Sickbay

He was just checking things out. Seeing how many changes had been made, doing the once over. All that good stuff.

And it looked like there had been a tornado in here.

Antennae twitched.

Someone else was here.

“Hello? Is anybody there?” He called in his soft, faintly lisping, polite voice.

A sassy feminine face with softened Klingon features poked out. “Who the hell are you?”

Aerdan didn’t even bat an eye. He had a decade of experience bantering with Cade, everything else was downhill from there. He tutted, clicking his tongue against the roof of his mouth. “I’m the new guy, and yourself?”


With the faintest of polite blue smirks. “I asked first.”

A faint huff. She pulled herself up to her full height to see the ‘new guy.’

Well, crud. He had three pips, she only had two. There went that idea.

“Dr. Tulla Keiku, Assistant Chief Medical Officer.” She offered giving him a very pointed look that said ‘now you?’

He smiled very gently. “Dr. Aerdan Jos, your new Chief Surgeon.”

She shuffled her feet very slightly, looking at him. That name sounded oh so vaguely familiar. Hell, with three pips and living through the Essentialists, he probably had some connection to the Phoenix, but not enough of one for her to immediately care. “Surgeon, huh? What do you specialize in?”

“Neurosurgery.” He said evenly, taking a few steps over to see what she was working on. “Well, that’s where all the hyposprays are.” He added in the lightest observation. Someone had been taking lessons in how to be logically irritating from Suvek.

“I’m sorting them.” Tulla affirmed.

“Do I need to get the fall hazard holosigns out?” He asked back.

“No!” Tulla turned back to him, and started to scoop up stray equipment. Blinking she wondered if he was trying to get under her skin, or did he just not care? “I’ll… take them to the medlab. So they’re not in the main bay. Good?”

“Need help?” he offered openly.

“No!” She continued in her scooping and paused. “Maybe.”

He crouched down and started to gather them up. “Here, I’ll help carry. Makes sickbay look a little less like a tornado ran through and gives you the chance to tell me a bit about yourself.”

“Do I have to?” She said in a mock-complaining way.

That faint smile lingered. “I mean I could pull rank.” I mean – another figure of speech he had picked up from Cade. He hoped nobody noticed.

A huff from Tulla sealed the deal. “Ok, fine, you strike a hard bargain Dr. Blue.”

She got the most enigmatic smile in return. Maybe someday Tulla Keiku would meet Cade Foster and learn exactly why that was. But for today it was just settling in and meeting all the new people.

Lt Commander Aerdan Jos
Nebulously Assigned Medical Officer
USS Phoenix
Simmed by: Jamie LeBlanc

"Why do we fly? Because we have dreamt of it for so long that we must"

~Julian Beck


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