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Mic Drop

Posted on Dec 11, 2016 @ 4:20pm by Captain Kassandra Thytos
Edited on on Dec 11, 2016 @ 4:20pm

Mission: Aftermath

“**Mic drop**”

(cont. “Chill, homie”)

* * *=(/\)=* * *

Location: Earth, Starfleet Security

Scene: Briefing room three

Stardate: 2.16.1211.1159

TI: Just after the end of “Burning thoughts and lingering questions”

“Yeah, so let’s commence, because the sooner we start, the sooner y’all are gonna feel like assholes for draggin’ my name through the mud,” Kassandra crossed her arms and sat down across from the review board. Her sensor nets took in the empty seat and the two humans sitting across from her at the table. “We waitin’ for someone?”

“Language, Captain,” Gilvari admonished “don’t make me warn you again, this is a serious proceeding. As to the empty seat, our colleague is dealing with family issues. She’ll be in if she’s able, but we’ll start without her.”

““This whole precedin’ is a disgrace, *Sir*” Kassandra said without preamble, putting all of her disdain into the last word, glaring daggers in the direction of the man sitting in the center seat, “I would like to state for the record, that I object strenuously that no member of the Starfleet Marine Corps is on this board.”

“To that point, there is some difference of opinions as to whether your commission with the Marine Corps is legitimate. You were given a medical discharge from the Corps over two decades ago after it was decided that you were no longer able to perform your duties due to the loss of your sight, your most recent stint with Starfleet ended with a dishonorable discharge, and your recent re-enlistment was orchestrated by none other than Richard Edgerton,” the man steepled his fingers, and leaned back in his chair.

“Seriously?” Kassandra sat up straight, her stomach sinking. So this was the tack they were going to take. She’d been down this road before. It wouldn’t be the first time that Starfleet had screwed her over, but this, this was so *unfair.* “At this point it’s only a he-said she-said scenario, I know, but I honestly didn’t know what Edgerton was up to when he gave me my commission. Soon as I’d sussed out his true intentions I jumped ship, metaphorically and literally.”

“As I said, medical discharge, dishonorable discharge: You weren’t suspicious? You didn’t think he had an ulterior motive? You didn’t question what he asked you to do?”

“He said he’d reviewed my case, seen how I’d been screwed over by Starfleet, wanted to make amends. I had been screwed over by Starfleet. Royally. I figured he was doin’ it for the optics, ‘gee look at how I have the best interests of all our service members at heart,’ but I didn’t think it was nothin’ more than that. I ain’t one of these people who thinks about motives behind motives and wheels within wheels of plottin’. Took him at his word, and figured I’d finally get a modicum of purpose in my life again,” Kassandra said with a frown as she thought about that meeting with Edgerton.

“How had you been ‘screwed over’ by Starfleet, that you were so credulous of his offer?” Gilvari asked. Kassandra winced. A question she couldn’t really answer, not in its entirety.

“Classified, sir. Suffice it to say I worked with some tech prototypes, and one of them had some… side effects. I wasn’t in my right mind, but rather than get me the treatment I needed, they blamed my behavior on me, and tossed me out with a dishonorable discharge.”

“That doesn’t sound like Starfleet.”

“I couldn’t say, Sir. But some things Edgerton said when I’d returned to Earth and he’d realized I’d turned against him lead me to believe that the project I was workin’ on mighta been something the Neo Essentialists had their hand in. Can’t say more’n that for sure.” Kassandra realized that her answers seemed evasive, but Gilvari seemed to ignore it.

“And why did you turn against him?”

“Because, he tried to force me to be complicit in the deaths of more than a hundred people, innocent people, *OUR* people. I don’t do that. He thought that he could just tell me it was for the good of the Federation and I’d just do it. People look at me and they see somethin’ wild an’ scary, but I got morals, I got rules. Ain’t always the same as what everyone else has, but they are there.” Kassandra ground her hand into her fist.

“I wouldn’t have thought you’d have problems killing. You’ve shown yourself to be adept at it on multiple occasions, if your history is any indication,” the Asian woman next to Gilvari said suddenly. The name tag on the table said her name was Mizikawa.

“I only kill people who are trynna kill me. I don’t go around slaughtering people fer no reason. What sorta person do you think I am?” Kassandra was taken aback. She was always a little shocked when she got these momentary flashes of insight as to what people thought of her when they first met her. “Anyway, at this point, I’d made a promise to myself: No more killin’. Kept it fer nearly two decades, too. Edgerton blew all of that outta the water. Had to kill my squad, had to kill some others, but I saved the rest of the crew. It’s all in my last deposition-”

Things seemed to be going well, they’d reached the point where Kassandra was going over the mission to Edgerton’s underwater base, when suddenly the doors swished open to admit an angry looking Andorian. R’shee, Kassandra surmised from the nametag on the empty chair. The Andorian fairly flung herself into the chair without explanation.

“Nice a you to join us. D’ya want the synopsis, or should we just repeat everthin’ we just talked about?” Kassandra couldn’t keep the snark out of her voice.

“No. Please continue,” the Andorian said with a sniff, as though she wished she was anywhere but here.

“I’m sorry, am I inconveniencing you? If it’s all the same to you, I’d prefer if one of the three people who’re supposed to be deciding my ultimate fate had some actual understandin’ of my situation, rather than flouncin’ in more n’ halfway through, and takin’ absolutely no interest whatsoever in my case-”

“I was late because I was making memorial arrangements for my sister,” the Andorian snarled, interrupting Kassandra. Gilvari’s muscles tensed as though he were about to rise from his seat and say something, but he held his peace, “and I’m quite sure you’re not so deep and complicated a person that I won’t be able to get the measure of you.”

“Sorry for your loss, but if your job is secondary to you right now, you oughta take a step back an’ maybe give it over to someone with a clear head. Ain’t bein’ combatative, for once, but I ain’t exactly keen on someone with an axe to grind bein’ in charge of my fate. You’re clearly distraught, Maybe you decide better safe than sorry, better to sentence a few innocent people than let one guilty one go, either way, that’s a crossfire I don’t want to be caught in the middle of,” Kassandra realized her words were perhaps unnecessarily callous, but this was her damn life they were talking about. Sure, they wouldn’t execute her, but getting kicked out of Starfleet again would be just as bad. She tried to envision surrendering herself to the aimless, purposeless, grey existence she’d had between working on the Icarus project and when Edgerton had given her back a purpose in life, and she felt a well of near panic. She couldn’t go back to that.

“We’ve seen what one guilty person can do,” the Andorian snapped back, “besides, you’re hardly one to talk to me about ethical behavior, don’t forget I’ve read your files. We all have.”

“Yeah, we just had a nice little discussion about that, if you’d cared to show up on time,” Kassandra shot back, regaining her composure and irritation. “I ain’t gonna stand here and have you talk about things you don’t know nothin’ about!”

“Please, I already know all about you.” R’shee waved a padd in the air. “Everything you’ve done up until now has been in line with Edgerton’s ethos. The massacre at Barbossa, your chosen profession. Those missing four years, the fact that a great many parts of your service record have been redacted, and not even SFI can find the missing parts? It’s suspicious to me. It sounds like something a Neo-Essentialist might have done so that they couldn’t be tracked. Why would someone with a dishonorable discharge be re-recruited anyway?”

Gilvari’s head had been sinking as the woman’s voice got louder and louder, and by the end he had one hand against his temple, and a sigh escaped his lips. He didn’t say anything though. Kassandra lost her temper.

“So what, you gonna judge me on what you got or don’t got in that file? Do my actions in the past year count fer less than all the shit you see on that paper? I had no part in Edgerton’s little plot. I was livin’ my life, then he comes and offers me a job because he thought I was a loyal, dumb attack dog that’d do what he wanted as long as I was told it was for the good of the Federation. Well, guess what, once I realized what was goin’ on I turned right around and started workin’ against him. An’ now you’re standin’ here, darin’ ta treat me like some sort of suspected traitor? Questionin’ my ability? Well, see here-” Kassandra began to pull off her uniform top, causing a squawk of disapproval from the Japanese woman sitting next to David Gilvari.

“Captain Thytos, I really don’t think-” Mizikawa said, her discomfort evident in her voice.

“Captain Thytos, this is conduct unbecoming of an officer- If you continue to make a mockery of these proceedings, I will have no choice but to find you in contempt and-” Gilvari was on his feet, his face furious.

“Considerin’ your opinion as to the validity of my commission, I got an uncertain opinion as to whether or not I gotta do a damn thing you say. Anyway, quit yer caterwaulin’, ain’t like I’m naked, and I’m trying to prove a point. Take a good look, right?” Kassandra spread her arms, and turned slowly. She heard the hissing of breath from the Japanese woman, and she was satisfied she was making her point. It that her body was an unsightly mass of scars, or anything like that, but many people were unused to seeing scars and remnants of old injuries.

This was especially true in Starfleet, where top notch medical care was usually only a quick transporter ride away. To them, the sight of scars was shocking, perhaps a little repulsive, especially some of the large, knotted scars that graced Kass’ torso and arms, the legacy of a body that had been injured so many times that it was becoming slow to respond to modern healing techniques so that healing had to be doled out judiciously. Heal a mortal wound, not a scar, and all that.

“Now, see that there?” Kassandra pointed to the angry red scar that started on her left side, just under her shoulder blade and slashed its way diagonally across her back until it ended in a starburst in her right side, just under the ribcage, “I got that scar on Limbo, fightin’ Kalenda the Black in a gladiatorial match tryin’ to get information that’d lead us to Selyara Chen. You know, the lady who managed to give us the information that allowed y’all to root out mosta the Neo Essentialists that had infiltrated themselves into your illustrious organization? Nearly died, woulda died for sure if it weren’t for an oversized hunk of muscle known as James Barton who took it into his head to rescue me.”

“See this?” Kassandra pointed to the blotchy scars on her torso and arms where scars from radiation burns were slowly fading to match the rest of her skin. “These are from some radiation creatures we called the Amaterasu that inhabit the Hyperion expanse. Myself and Barton took our asses outside the safety of the ship and fought our way through a bunch of these beings to rescue the whole damn ship, gettin’ crispified in the process. And we helped put down a mutiny.”

“See this?” Kassandra gestured to the raw, scabbed area of her shoulder, the most recent of all her injuries. “I got this not more than a couple days ago savin’ all your asses from the Aegis Shield and that megalomaniac Edgerton. Phaser blast, directly to my chest. Only reason I’m still standin’ here infront of you lot of ingrates is that I was wearin’ full armor. An’ that’s not even startin’ on things that you can’t see anymore, like dislocated shoulders, bruises an’ the like.

You take a damn good look at this, an’ then you look me in my eyes an’ tell me that I don’t deserve to be in Starfleet. You stand right here in front of me, and tell me that you still think I was complicit in Edgerton’s plot, an’ tell me that my actions in the last two years don’t speak volumes louder than those damn files in front of you right now. Do that, and I’ll call you out, all of you, for sittin’ on yer asses an’ doin’ nothin’ while Edgerton grabbed more and more power right in front of your eyes while I was riskin’ life and limb to stop him!” Kassandra folded her arms defiantly and glared at the Andorian for a moment before turning on her heel and heading towards the door.

It didn’t open.

She stood in front of it like an idiot, forcing herself not to look back. The only thing more embarrassing than a failed dramatic exit was copping on to the fact that it was a failed dramatic exit.

* * *=(/\)=* * *

Scene: Gardens outside the Presidio.

Time Index: Several hours later

Asta and Lysander stood with Horatio Bellecotte outside of the Starfleet Security building. The plaza behind them was packed with tourists and members of Starfleet. The atmosphere was somewhat subdued, but nowhere near as bad as it had been just after Edgerton’s overthrow.

Some enterprising souls had decided to turn the entire gardens into a winter themed wonderland, a glorious mashup of dozens of disparate cultures that made up Starfleet. Twinkling lights flickered in every tree and bush, and sparkling faux icicles were draped artistically from branches and eaves, and bridges. Silk lanterns hovered in the air, dappling the ground with patches of colored light, small lanterns lined the paths, and people had festooned the pine trees with some sort of shiny strings that fluttered in the wind and a large quantity of glass baubles. Someone had even set up a machine to make snow and frozen the ponds to a perfect clear ice, and people were skating on it, oohing and ahhing at the carp swimming underneath their feet.

Even the areas around Starfleet were getting into it as well, bringing in pine trees and decorating everything with pine branches, and putting up elaborate displays in the shop windows. Decadent croquembouches, delicate pastries, beautiful handmade wares all displayed with a flair of gilt paint and ruby and emerald.

The effect of all this was a sort of ginger optimism, a hopefulness and sense of ‘we have to keep on keeping on’ that had been lacking in the days after the Paris story broke.

Some vendors were even milling around the gardens peddling a thick hot chocolate and roasted nuts, which Lysander was partaking in with gusto.

“Best thing I’ve had in ages, are you sure you don’t want some?” Lysander was much more cheerful than he had in days, for which Asta was grateful. Her twin was always much more sensitive than she, and he had taken the destruction of Paris hard, and the grief of all the patients he’d had to counsel in the aftermath even harder.

“No. That’s your third one, don’t you think you ought to take it easy? You’ve been stuffing your face with candied nuts and chocolate since we got her. We’re going to have to roll you home.” On the other hand, the sybaritic hedonism her twin was wont to display annoyed her greatly. It reminded her of her Aunt’s approach to life, albeit without the self destructive bent towards tobacco, alcohol, and unhealthy relationships.

“It’s back to replicated rations for us soon. You should try enjoying yourself. You’ll like it. Have just one or I’m going keep hounding you until you lose your temper, and then you’ll have spoiled an otherwise lovely night, and when Aunt Kass gets out she’ll give us a lecture, and you know how *that* will go,” Lysander looked to Horatio for backup.

“He does have a point. You could use some sweetening up. Besides, tis the season and all that. If you can’t enjoy yourself to celebrate peace on earth and goodwill to all, when can you enjoy yourself?” Horatio mussed Asta’s hair. Anyone else would have found themselves looking at the wrong end of Asta’s fist but Horatio was family, and she found the fatherly gesture comforting.

“Fine. As Kass would say, ‘I know when I’m outclassed and outmaneuvered.’ Give me the damn chocolate,” Asta grumbled, and grudgingly accepted the cup from Lysander, who fairly skipped off to get himself another hot chocolate. It was pretty good. Really good. Thick and creamy, with subtle hints of spice. Lysander bounded back with two cups in his hands just as a familiar figure approached the three of them from across the garden.

“Kass, glad to see you didn’t get yourself locked up for being a pain in the ass,” Horatio boomed, his voice cutting through the chatter around them. A few of the people nearby gave him dirty looks for his profanity, but Horatio was oblivious.

“I was such a pain in the ass they decided to let me go so they wouldn’t have to deal with me anymore,” Kassandra quipped. Asta rolled her eyes. That was an entirely plausible scenario, knowing her Aunt. “Even let me keep my commission. Probably so they can punish some poor soul of a Captain who’s crossed them in the past.”

“Yeah, about that: We know exactly which poor sap has to put up with you, got the notifications today, everyone in the squad’s gotten new assignments, Asta and Lysander too,” Asta could tell by the twinkle in Horatio’s eye that he was going to string her Aunt along for a while.

“I suppose we’ll all be goin’ our separate ways, an’ I’ll have to break in a new squad. An’ I’m probably stuck at the logistics depot on Sherman’s planet, then?” Kassandra looked a little disheartened. She was not a woman who particularly relished change, even as she enjoyed unpredictability and excitement. It was a bizarre paradox that Lysander would no doubt have some deep insight into.

“Worse than that,” Horatio said, his voice serious.

“Desk job?”

“No. You’re gonna have to deal with all of us *and* run interference with Captain Kane on the Phoenix for the forseeable future,” Horatio said, his mask of seriousness turning into a chuckle.

“Yer an ass!” Kassandra punched his arm. “Come on, I’m starvin’. Let’s get somethin’ ta eat before we move our crap back on board.”

* * *=(/\)=* * *


Alix Fowler
Writing as
Kassandra Thytos
Queen of the Mic Drop


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