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Tough Subjects And Sore Spots

Posted on Aug 13, 2017 @ 2:07am by Captain Kassandra Thytos
Edited on on Aug 13, 2017 @ 2:12am

Mission: The Romulan Way

"Tough subjects and sore spots"

(Cont. The Politics of Empire)

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

Location: USS PHOENIX
Stardate: 2.17.0806.2204
Scene: transporter room-> bridge


Kassandra was, predictably, the first to have returned to the ship as soon as the call to return was sounded. She hadn’t been doing anything important, she wasn’t really into the whole “learning about new cultures” aspect of things, at least not when as far as she could tell, the new culture was full of very pointy knives waiting to be inserted between ribs as soon as ones back was turned, so she’d contented herself with shadowing Eve. That had made it very easy to sneak off and get transported somewhere, the Praetorians ‘accompanying’ them hadn’t thought much of the martial prowess or intelligence of humans, and thus had been treating it as a lazy assignment, so they hadn’t noticed when she’d slipped down a side corridor and requested transport. Eve, no doubt, was trying to find a way to discreetly end their tour so as not to arouse suspicions.

She made a beeline for the bridge, nodding at Stiles Orion as she rushed out of the room- The man tended to be chatty, and she was generally willing to indulge him, but right now she wanted to find out exactly what was going on.

She stepped into the turbolift, and set course to the bridge.

“Sir? What’s up?” Kassandra said as she approached Kane’s chair. “Do I-”

“No, you do not need to mobilize your Marines,” Kassandra could swear that Kane smiled slightly at her as he said this.

“Then what, Sir?”

“Don’t look so disappointed- what were you expecting, orders to storm the capital city?”

“Now you’re jus’ makin’ funna me, I don’t want there to be conflict, I’m jus’ ready for it if it happens,” Kassandra huffed.

“I know, Major. But I think it would benefit everyone if you could just resist getting too keyed up. It makes the rest of us nervous,” Kane steepled his fingers and looked levelly at her, his mismatched eyes stern. Again, the smile drifted to the corner of his lips. “Save it for once we get to our destination.”

“Which is?” Kassandra frowned at him, raising an eyebrow in annoyance.

“In due time. We’ll have a briefing. In the meantime, we have a Romulan delegation to get on board. Dismissed, Major.”

“I see we’re going to be secret squirrel about this, then. Fine. But if I’m supposed to relax, can I at least do it in the Tribble over a whisky, sir?” Kassandra said with a sigh.

“If it will keep you from hovering over my shoulder like a particularly persistent gnat, by all means. As long as it’s Irish, and not that paint thinner they try to pass off as whisky in Scotland. And as long a you’re sober when I call the meeting.”

“Aye aye sir,” Kassandra turned around, then turned back. “I don’t suppose that Bourb-”

“Never!” The Captain’s lips twitched again.

“Alright. Relaxing as ordered then, sir.” Kassandra snapped off a salute, and headed back towards the turbolift.


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

Scene: the Vulgar Tribble

“Did Cap’n Homie actually *say* that you were driving him nuts or…” Iphie said with a frown.

“Naw, but he gave me that look, you know-” Kassandra took a sip of her whisky, savoring the burn.

“Ohhhhh yeah. I know that look. I call it the ‘Father is busy now, run along the adults are talking’ look. Or the one you give Buttercup when she gets too enthusiastic with the glitter.” Iphie swiped a towel across the bar, and pushed a tray with a variety of small plates Kassandra was trying hard to ignore. It looked weird, like it was an experiment or something.

“To be fair, glitter gets everywhere. An’ what in tarnation is that nonsense you’re tryin’ so hard to get me to notice an’ no doubt try?” Kassandra scanned the plate, there seemed to be a lot of oil in it.

“Tapas! I thought people might like a lot of little fresh bites to eat instead of a whole meal. And since you’re drinking, aaaaand because the Cap’n ordered you to stay sober, I thought you should try them. There’s boquerones, patatas bravas, croquettes, padrillo peppers, cheese-”

“I don’t need no help, tell ya a secret, my nanites take care of a good chunk of the alcohol before I manage to overwhelm em. That’s why I gotta drink so much, see? And what the heck is a tap ass? Is that raw fish on potato chips? Iphie, what have I told you about weird food stuffs-”

“Not to make you eat them, but hold that thought, here comes the Avenging Veggie, and I think she looks a wee bit pissed.”

“Who?”

“Major!” Jasmine’s voice cut through the chatter of the Vulgar Tribble, leaving no doubt in Kassandra’s mind who Iphie was talking about. Kass turned around to face her, leaning casually against the bar, swirling her drink and the rock in it around unconcernedly. She had a feeling given the tone of Jasmine’s voice, that it would be best to give the impression of attentiveness.

“What can I do for you, Mister Yu?” Kassandra said courteously, smiling pleasantly in an attempt to be disarming. Unfortunately Jasmine was having none of it, as Kassandra could tell by her crossed arms.

“Care to tell me why several areas around the ship are swarming with your Marines dressed in Starfleet Uniforms?”


“Because I told them to?” Kassandra did her best to give Jasmine a level stare. “Those are critical parts of the ship, if we’re going to have the Romulans aboard for a couple of days, then we need to make sure that those areas are secure.”

“Sure, but why are your Marines there? Do you not trust my Security officers? Guarding those points are part of *security’s* purvue, *not* the Marines. I’ve been pretty relaxed about this so far, but I’ve heard stories from my officers about your-”

“You’ve got nothing to worry about on that front. Won’t be playing those games with you- wasn’t so much about Marines versus Security it was more me versus- well, anyway, ain’t gonna be a problem with you.” Kassandra had a very good idea of which officer had been talking. She’d taken to silently referring to Procter as ‘the Procterologist’ because the woman had her head so far up her-

“You keep saying that, and then I keep finding myself tripping all over your Marines. You can’t just go sending them to do whatever you want without discussing it with me,” Jasmine’s voice was firm. Kassandra sighed inwardly. She’d thought she’d have had a few more months grace period before Jasmine would finally put her foot down.

“Sorry, Lieutenant, but I had to do somethin’ with them, they were gettin’ twitchy. Our day-to-day ain’t nothin’ like yours, we got one floor of the ship, we ain’t got any real maintenance to complete, we don’t have much routine chores to do like the rest of the crew does. Mosta my Marine’s days consist of wakin’ up, PT, breakfast, weapons maintenance on weapons they ain’t even fired in the last month, drills, some lessons for the privates, lunch, sparrin’ more PT, dinner, leisure time, more PT- You gettin’ my drift? There’s only so many pushups a youngun can do before they start to foment trouble. We’re deeper in Romulan territory ‘n a pig in slops, an’ they still ain’t got nothin’ to do? They were gettin’ to be a handful and a half.” Kassandra ramped up her folksy turn of phrase to ten and tried to smile winningly at Jasmine.

“That still doesn’t excuse you not consulting me about this,” Jasmine saw right through Kassandra’s tactics, and didn’t budge.

“Fine. Next time, I’ll talk to you first. But they can stay there, right? Those areas need more protection, but we don’t want it to look like we’re trying to protect them, and we can’t use your people because then it will look like we don’t have a full security compliment,” Kassandra resorted to bargaining.

“Yes, they can stay. This time, one time only. Next time you don’t go through me, I’m going to have you all confined to your floor for a week. Got it?”

“Yes Ma’am,” Kassandra managed to control herself well enough it not to sound sarcastic.

“Well, now that that’s settled, Kass, you have to try those tapas, or I’m not refilling that whisky. Jasmine, I don’t have it ready now, but I have been working on some vegetarian with Rastafarian radness, and I think I have a new dish for you, so you stop on by during lunch, okay?” Iphie said blithely, causing the tension between Kass and Jasmine to break. Kassandra wondered if it was intentional, but Iphie’s face betrayed nothing but the slightly manic grin that she wore when she was thinking about food.

“I’ll do that, Iphie,” Jasmine said with a slight smile. She turned to Kass and nodded curtly: “Major.”

Kass spun back around in her chair.

“You know, the more you’re trying to bullshit people, the worse your accent and your nonsensical folksy phrases get,” Iphie said meditatively. “I *so* want to play poker with you now that I know your tell!”

“You *so* do not want to play poker with me,” Kassandra said with a wry smile, tapping her brow. “Sensor nets, remember?”
* * *=(/\)=* * *

NRPG: Oooof. The writing muscles are rusty with this one.

Alix Fowler
As
Kassandra Thytos
MCO
USS Phoenix

 

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