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The Devil You Know

Posted on Jul 23, 2020 @ 4:40am by Lieutenant Eve Dalziel & Captain Kassandra Thytos & Iphigenia Bonviva
Edited on on Jul 23, 2020 @ 4:40am

Mission: Dog Days Of Summer

“The Devil You Know”

(Continued from “Gunboat Diplomacy”)


LOCATION: USS PHOENIX, docked at Starbase 56
STARDATE: [2.20] 0719.1620
SCENE: Dalziel’s Office

Kassandra turned smartly into the Counselor’s office, her head full of things that a few days earlier had been an impossibility. “Jes’ checkin in,” she said hesitantly, staring for a moment at Eve’s desk. The personnel files were stacked so high that she couldn’t see where Eve would normally be sitting.

“Over here.” Eve was sitting in a side chair. She was browsing through a document, another two in her lap. “So, how did it go with Doctor Pauli?”

Kass sat down, the vantage point making the piles of data look even more ridiculous. She wasn’t sure what to say other than it was over for today. “Not bad, I think?”

Eve looked up. “You’re still in one piece. I call that a success.”

“Heh. So far. This is the time for a pokin’ and a proddin’. Blood don’t come ‘til later.” She looked at the mess again. “Ah jest love what ya done with tha place. What is all this? You look as busy as a one-legged cat in a sandbox.””

“It’s been decided that Billy would have a better chance to thrive with an appointed guardian, or guardians.”

Kass grimaced at the thought of Perfect Ten losing custody, even though the boys’ identity was still in question. “Didja havta come up with that all by yerself?”

Eve’s expression grew more serious. “Thankfully, no. But Aerdan and Doctor Bartlett asked me to work on possible placements. So that’s what I’m doing.”

Kass picked up one of the stray PADDs that was littering Eve’s desk and began reading, just to see what kind of rogue’s gallery she had to deal with in finding good foster parents for Billy. “Woah.”

Eve looked concerned. “I didn’t think any of these should be eliciting a ‘woah’. I thought I already weeded those out.”

Thytos dangled it in front of her. “This ain’t about Billy. When were ya gonna tell me you got a promotion?”

Dalziel snatched it right back from her, placing it back where Kass had taken it from. “Oh, that.”

“Don’t ‘oh that’ me, missy. Yer finally free of this blasted place and that’s all ya got fer me?”

“Because I haven’t made a decision. I need to find Billy a guardian, stat. A job offer is just a distraction right now.”

“At least you get yerself a ship,” Kass said glumly as she sunk into her seat. “ They want to send me back ta mah home, a fate worse’n death as far as I’m concerned.”

Eve put down the case file. “Wait- what?”

“The brass want me as their second inna battalion at Port Emily. Promotion, too,” the redhead said sheepishly.

“And you weren’t going to tell me?” Eve smiled. Turnabout was fair play.

“I reckon we all got tha right ta make up our minds,” Kass grumped. But if Eve’s offer had come at the same time, maybe there had been others.

Eve sipped her cold cup of mocha and winced. “Do you think it means something? Or is it just a coincidence?”

The MCO shrugged in commiseration. As different as the two of them were, they seemed to have a similar opinion. “They’re payin’ attention to us all o’ a sudden like we won the blue ribbon at the triticale bake-off.”

“Yes, but why now? Why not right after we defeated Edgerton?”

“Ya know iff’n they wanted us to find out, they woulda told us. Our job is ta follow orders.You can’t let that stop ya from decidin’.”

“I won’t,” Eve asserted. “But would your going home to SHERMAN’S PLANET really be that bad?”

Kass stared at her. “You met my Ma. ‘Nuff said.”


SCENE: The Vulgar Tribble

Eve hadn’t left her office in hours, and a break from her quest was long overdue. She had stopped by Security first, to get a feel for Lieutenant Procter’s schedule as a potential parent and to speak to Lieutenant Yu about the job offer. The Asian woman had always played things straight and factual, which would have been a much needed and valued opinion during all this uncertainty. Unfortunately, that couldn’t happen, and Eve left the department with far more questions than answers. She reluctantly decided the only thing she could fix right then was her hunger. Her feet felt heavy as she plopped down at the bar.

“What can I do ya for, Woo-Woo?” Iphie asked, her multicolored braids swinging as they poked out from a coordinating do-rag.

“I’m starving. What are your lunch specials?”

“Honey, lunch service ended over 2 hours ago. Got some great early bird offerings though.”

“Did you know that Jasmine is gone?” Eve blurted out. “Because I didn’t.”

Iphie nodded, wiping her hands on a kitchen towel. “Yes. Miss Avenging Veggie herself came to say a quick goodbye before she transferred. I even gave her a few of my no-fail vegan recipes.”

Eve smiled. “It was nice of you to do that.”

“When someone likes your food, you can’t hold it against them. Even the best magicians give away their tricks some of the time. So, what do you want?”

“A meal that says I’m a strong, independent woman who can make important decisions wisely.”

“Oh, a challenge.” She started rummaging for ingredients, and an avocado and cucumber made their way onto the prep area, along with a tomato. “You know despite my previous comments, that I’m not a magician, right?”

“I’m okay with that.”

“Did you want a drink with dinner?” Iphie sliced the tomato and cucumber into super thin slices with a mandoline.

“Not yet. Duty calls. And I don’t think these decisions will be any easier through beer goggles or rosé-colored glasses.”

Iphie had been working while chatting up Eve and chucked the peeled and pitted avocado in the processor with lime juice, garlic, onion, paprika, cumin and whirled it into a paste. Whole grain seeded bread was slid into the toaster oven. “Like work decisions, then?”

“Vital work decisions.”

Iphie nodded, pouring a steaming cup of black tea. It was actually English Breakfast tea, but despite the anachronism of it, Eve looked like she could use the caffeine.

Eve put a generous amount of honey in her drink and stirred. “How do you know when it’s time to move on?”

"I don’t know why Jasmine left,” the Chef said, generously slathering both pieces of toast with the avocado spread, then layering the sandwich with sliced swiss cheese, the tomato and cucumber, and alfalfa sprouts.

“I’m not talking about Jasmine. I’m not speaking in specifics. I’m speaking in hypotheticals. When is it time to go to the next assignment?”

Iphie cut the sandwich on the bias into 4 perfect triangles and plated it up with some purple potato chips. “I’m not sure I’m the right person to ask. Usually I leave when the restaurant closes or when I’m fired.”

“You’ve never voluntarily left a place?” Eve asked.

Iphie thought about that. “Are we still talking professionally?”

Eve chuckled. “Yes.”

“Well then it’s less than personal,” Iphie admitted. Shrugging as she leaned on the bar she mused, “Same idea.”

“Iphie, I’ve seen you leave at 0130 and I don’t think it’s the same thing,” Eve smiled.

The bartender smiled back. “I mean, Woo-Woo, when it’s time to go, you know. Either you feel it or someone kicks you out. Either way, the effect is the same.”

“What should I do?” was Eve’s quiet plea.

Iphie stared at the beautiful sandwich that Eve wasn’t eating, but should have been. “I thought you said this was hypothetical.”

“I wasn’t entirely honest with you.”

Iphie thought about it for a moment. “Well then this is more like 0130 than I thought. How real is this? Is this just a passing fancy or is it real?”

“The offer is real. The hypothetical part is whether or not I choose to take them up on it.”

The pink-haired cerulean skinned bartender/chef leaned in. “Wrong question you’re asking then. The question you should be asking if something is real: why wouldn’t you be taking it?”


SCENE: CO’s Ready Room

“Captain.” Eve examined Kane as she often did when they had a meeting. He had a resolute leadership quality about him, with the undercurrent of a strong Irish temper, although it was rarely displayed. But today felt different. There was also something else, something more behind his mismatched eyes this time. Confusion? Frustration? Anger? She wasn’t sure. And that was part of the reason she was here.

“Lieutenant,” he acknowledged with an edgy weariness as she took her seat. “I take it you have found a suitable list of candidates for Guardian of the minor child?”

“Actually, I believe I have found the ideal solution, as to that question. The only thing remaining is to get your approval.” She passed over a PADD.

Eve squirmed while Kane dug into her report, knowing what was coming. About fifteen seconds later, he stared straight up at her, his eyebrow raised quizzically, his expression unlike anything she had seen before. “Are you bloody serious?”

If Eve was capable of blushing properly, she would have. She had underestimated his excitability. “Yes, very. I think you should have Guardian Ad Litem status for the minor child, known as William Benito Bonviva-Crichton. That is the recommendation I’d like to give to JAG.”

Michael Turlogh Kane chuckled wildly. This day just kept getting better and better. “Really.” When Jake had asked for a favor, Kane knew this wasn’t what he meant. In fact, Kane dared to think that if Crichton had any idea that Billy would end up in the Captain’s quarters as his ward, he might have tried harder to forge a relationship with the boy. “Have you spoken to Mister Crichton about this?”

But the dark-haired Cns had given this a lot of thought, and she tried, perhaps in vain, to impress this upon Kane. “That is the point of assigning someone to look after the minor child. He is no longer Jake’s responsibility.” She began to state her case. “The PHOENIX is between missions and is undergoing HCARS renovation. To put it bluntly, you have the time. You aren’t encumbered by other children, or any mission that would divide your attention. Billy desperately wants to bond with Jake, which leads me to believe he would do well with other authority figures. And we don’t have anyone on a higher level in that regard than you.”

Admiral Stiles’ words tortured him. Dalziel had absolutely no idea how unencumbered he was. “As you just stated, I *don’t* have children. That also means I don’t have parenting experience.”

“You are responsible for the care of over a thousand people every day. And one of them is Kass, so don’t tell me that’s not a challenge because I know better.”

Kane allowed himself to smirk at the mention of the Major. “That’s not the same and you know it. The crew is not made up of children.”

“Billy’s not an infant. He’s ten. He has a little autonomy. You can program the replicator to only give him the most nutritious foods. He’ll have to go to school of some sort. There’s even an Emergency Babysitting Hologram you can use if you have a meeting or other duty that you need to attend to. He will not be at your side all the time.”

“It’s going to feel like it,” Kane deadpanned. On more than one occasion, spending a few minutes with Crichton’s bratlings had practically rendered him dumb. “See? You’ve obviously put some energy into this. You’d be a much more suitable candidate than I would.”

Eve shook her head. “I’ve thought about it. And being adopted myself, I really do feel for the kid. But Billy needs stability, above all else. I don’t think I’m going to be able to provide that.”

“Why not?”

“I trust you’re aware of the offer sent to me by Starfleet Command?” She handed him another PADD.

Kane glanced at it out of habit, but there was no need to read it. ‘Yes. And you’re going to accept?”

Eve took a deep breath. “Yes.” She let her answer hang in the air for a few seconds, then continued. “I’ve already spoken with Captain Britt, and he’s aware of any and all unfinished business I would need to take care of before assuming the new role.”

Kane’s temptation to be more open about what he knew was tempered with the Admiral’s warning. “Britt… why does that name sound familiar?”

“You’re probably thinking of Admiral Gala Britt, but she’s retired. This is her son. He was given a command at the end of the Neo Essentialist conflict.”

Kane stood and clasped his hands behind his back, walking over to the view of the Starbase, its gangway, and the stars beyond. Eve had been right. The elder Britt had given a speech once during his time at the Academy. He didn’t remember much about what she had said, but did recall her eyes were the most stunning shade of blue-green, like the color of the ocean. Memory was a funny thing. “Lieutenant, you know you don’t owe me an explanation, any more than Command does for the decisions they make,” he said pointedly. “But, will you tell me why?”

“I did a little digging and found that Jake’s been offered his own Command.”

Kane nodded. “Yes.”

“That means the position of Executive Officer aboard the PHOENIX would be available.”

“*If* he takes the job.”

Eve relented. “Okay, if. What I’m saying is if they think I’m worthy of the ExO position, why send me elsewhere? Why not promote from within? I considered countering their offer with a request for that spot.”

Kane paused. There *was* no position. The PHOENIX had no future if she was being retrofitted for a life much less noteworthy than her history. Her best years were behind her, and perhaps his were too. But the devil in him made him ask. “Then why didn’t you?”

Eve folded her arms, staring him down. “If you want to know my answer, I have a question for you. When was the last time you spoke to a Counselor? I know you haven’t spoken to me, but *any* Counselor.”

Kane paused. He felt a stirring of defensiveness but swiftly tamped it down. “It’s... been a while.”

“I’m not surprised. If I had a strip of latinum for every Captain that kept to themselves in the presence of a Counselor, I’d be a rich woman. That being said, I don’t think the same should be true of a Captain and their Number One.”

“What do you mean?”

“You and Jake are more different than alike, and because of that you complement each other’s leadership styles. On that point, I think we could do the same. But…”

“But *what*?” he said with more irritation than he intended.

Her voice raised a little to match his. “We’re a *team*. The crew of a vessel is a team. The Senior Staff is a team. The CO and ExO are a team. You can’t operate effectively as a team without a certain level of understanding. You and Jake, for the most part, have that understanding.”

Kane shrugged. It hadn’t felt as much like that between them lately. “I suppose that’s true.”

“You and I have served together for years, stood side by side through a hell of a lot. Yes, you’ve taken my advice, my professional opinion, and done so respectfully. But to be your Executive Officer, you need to be able to share things with me that you wouldn’t share with anyone else. And I don’t think you’ve ever really let me in.”

Platitudes would not work here, not that he would have offered them. Eve had a distinct view of interpersonal, crew relationships given her position as CNS. It would be useful as ExO. But she still had much to learn; learning that would only take place once she was in that chair, Kane thought to himself. “It’s a... different relationship,” he finally said, realizing once the words were out of his mouth that Eve would not accept them.

Eve looked doubtful. “With all due respect, Sir, I’m used to doing the heavy lifting when it comes to relationships. That’s why it’s my job. Even as an ExO, being the one shouldering the interpersonal workings of the ship would be my specialty. So that you can take care of business. As long as we are working together behind the scenes. But at the end of the day, I think we’ve gone too long without having that connection, to just snap our fingers and have it now. We need to be meeting halfway, and I believe that at this stage, that distance will be too great to cross.”

“I see.” It was too late in the eyes of Starfleet Command as well. He was still full of ire and disagreement, but he couldn’t see anything past it except more of the same. He looked at the two PADDs on his desk, not pleased with what either of them said. “Is that all?”

“Please reconsider what I’ve said about you taking care of Billy. I think you both could be good for each other. Maybe developing a custodial relationship with him will give you a better idea how important those skills could be in other parts of your life. But the decision is yours to make.”

He fell back into his seat and waved her off. “I’ll let you know.”

“And Captain?”

“Yes?” **Hadn’t there been enough?** He thought.

Unspoken feelings lingered in Eve’s gray eyes. “Before time gets away from me, I wanted to say, it’s been a privilege to serve with you.”


NRPG: Sometimes you have to write things that you’re not sure how you’re going to get your character out of. This is definitely one of those times.

Thank you to Sarah and Alix for all the hand holding, encouragement, and help.

A Joint Post by

Susan Ledbetter
Writing for
Lieutenant Eve Dalziel


Sarah Albertini-Bond
Chef Iphie Bonviva
Proprietor/Bartender for The Vulgar Tribble


Alix Fowler
Writing As:
Captain Kassandra Thytos


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