USS Vesta

A Play-by-Nova roleplay game.

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The Talk

Posted on Sun Aug 23rd, 2020 @ 7:37pm by Commander Martin Sorenson & Captain Ewan Darrow

Mission: When the Bough Bounces
Location: Galaxy's End
3225 words - 6.5 OF Standard Post Measure

It had been nice to be able to walk along a corridor other than the one to his own quarters, but as he arrived in front of the Darrow quarters, Martin felt himself fidgeting with his uniform before activating the signal. He really had no idea what to expect or even what to say. That feeling only increased when it Allison rather than Ewan who answered the door.

"Hello, Allison," he said with a slightly awkward smile. "Yoshi asked me to talk with Ewan. Is he here?"

Allison sent a genuine smile back at Martin, "I figured that would happen eventually." She said as she shook her head, "No, Ewan is currently at Galaxy's End waiting for me... but... I think I can wait a little longer."

"Oh, no. You and I have already talked and I don't want to keep you from dinner. I only came by because he didn't seem to have any time free until now," Martin objected, already backing away. "I'll try to get him to see me tomorrow."

"Oh no Mr. Sorenson, its fine, You and Ewan need to have a little chat." Allison stepped back from the door as she pulled her jacket off and set it onto the back of a nearby chair. "You'll both find excuses to not do it tomorrow."

Martin blinked, confused. He looked at the chair, then looked back at her. "So, um... you want me to wait here for you to come back from dinner?"

Allison sighed as she shook her head, "No Martin."

That was when Ainsley who had been sitting in the back of the room when Martin had arrived just laughed, even a smart man like Doctor Sorensen couldn't pick up the hints. "She's saying you're going to dinner with dad you idiot."

"Ainsley!" Allison said as she turned to look at her daughter, "Language."

"What, he obviously didnt get the hint." Ainsley said with a shrug before turning back to her book.

"It's okay. I've been called worse," Martin said, but ducked his head, cheeks coloring slightly though the blush was as much from the awkward prospect of showing up in Allison's place as from embarrassment at missing the hint. "Are you sure? I kind of feel like disrupting a romantic dinner is only going to make things worse."

"Please, Romantic? Ewan? A dinner in Karrun's lounge? Are you hearing what you're saying?" Allison said with a laugh trying to lighten the mood a bit after Ainsley all but calling out the Doctor for not getting the hints. "Martin, You're both very stubborn people when it comes down to it, think of this as myself and Yoshi forcing this conversation to happen even if we didn't plan it ahead of time."

Even if there was no collusion, Allison and Yoshi both being determined about this... he and Ewan together weren't stubborn enough to resist that irresistible force. "Okay," Martin conceded. "But if people can hear your husband yelling 'What are you doing here?' all the way from Ten Assward, you get to explain it to Karrun."

"Oh I'm telling Karrun you called it that." Allison grinned as Martin turned and started down the corridor. She had a call to make now.

Martin arrived at the lounge feeling even more awkward and uncertain than he had at the Darrow's door. He paused a moment and took a breath before entering, thinking how ironic it was that until now he'd been looking forward to getting to come here again. It only a moment after he passed the door to spot Ewan. Now or never.... Straightening, he headed over toward the table.

Ewan looked up from his menu, yes menu despite the replicators Karrun had decided narrowing down the selections made it feel more restaurant-y and like an actual place to go which seemed to have worked to an extent, when he felt someone approach the table. Expecting Allison, he was greeted by the sight of Martin. "Well... You're not the one I was expecting to see." He said rather matter of factly with a blank expression on his face.

That was better than Martin expected. "To be honest, I wasn't expecting to be here either," he said as almost as matter-of-factly. "Yoshi asked me to talk to you, and when I went by your quarters, Allison insisted I take her place here." His mouth went a bit sideways in an apologetic half-smile. "Sorry."

It was at this time that Karrun appeared at the table a tray in one hand and the other pushing Martin down into the chair across from Ewan. "Gents, by special order drinks are on the house." She said as she dropped a glass of scotch, 2 fingers with 1 cube of ice, in front of both of them. "Good vintage too, 120-year-old scotch I got from some little distillery in Scotland itself. I think it went out of business about 30 years ago. Takes a lot for me to crack open this one so enjoy." The El-Aurian said with a smile and a wink before turning and leaving the pair at the table.

Ewan stared at the drink for a moment before looking back up at Martin. "I feel like you've been as ambushed by this as I have, though for entirely different reasons." He said with a sigh as his right hand started to play with the napkin. "I.. suppose it is time we had a talk."

Martin reluctantly settled into the chair, feeling only slightly less uncomfortable about it than the last time he'd been set up on a blind date. At least they knew each other, or had thought they did. He idly turned the glass on the table in front of him before looking back up at Ewan. "Yes. This was not what I had in mind, at all. But Yoshi seems to want me to stay, and if we're going to work together, I do feel like we need to talk this through."

Ewan grabbed the glass, lifting it to his lips and taking a sip. It was smooth with a solid consistent flavor. "Well.. she wasn't kidding." He muttered to himself before setting the glass back down. "I suppose I'll start since I was the one who finished it last we spoke." He leaned back in his chair, lifting his chin to look Martin straight on. "In hindsight I was rather harsh, I will admit. I understand Allison explained some of the past between myself and Yoshi, more than what we tend to tell people about our friendship. I'll be honest really its surprising Command let us be in command together but Admiral Markstrom had some sway in that."

"I was in a bad headspace, which didn't leave to entirely uncoloured thought processes, but either way you had disobeyed a direct order causing additional stress on not just me but the Marines who arrived to help us. My response was well within my rights as a commanding officer to do." He stated calmly as he stopped looking at Martin and down towards his glass again. The ice had cracked a bit as it began to melt. "I'm also rather stubborn if you hadn't figured that out, and I had made up my mind. No amount of your justification at the time would have changed anything. I do know though that what you did was what you felt was right, what you felt needed to happen to save the lives of those you had under your care, it just didn't make it any easier for me. As a command officer sometimes I have to make hard decisions that will affect the lives of others sometimes to the determent and possible harm of them as well. These are not decisions that I take lightly, nor decisions I know you take lightly, but they're the decisions that have to be made at the time."

Martin pursed his lips, looking down into his glass. He wasn't sure whether that was an attempt at apology, justification, accusation, or a little of all three, and he wasn't sure how to take it. It probably didn't matter though. The irony was that he kept being told he disobeyed a direct order, but he had been about to follow it and that, not that he wound up disobeying it, was what he still felt most guilty about. So the heart of the matter was that he'd do the same thing again, and the question was, could Ewan accept or even understand that.

"I'm a doctor, Ewan," he said finally. "I don't take any life and death decision lightly, and as a doctor, sometimes those decisions are hard, but I have to make them. I didn't intend to disobey that order, but faced with obeying or turning away a child whose mother was dying, for me there was no other choice." He looked steadily up at Ewan. "I regret that it caused you additional stress, but I don't regret making that choice. I've been told about your past with Yoshi, but I have a past too and," he looked back down; it wasn't something he wanted to talk about again, certainly not here in public, "...this hit close to some things that I suppose I buried because the memories were ...hard." He took a sip of his drink, holding it moment and focusing the smooth burn as it went down, before continuing. "The point is, I would make the same decision again, and I need to know if you want a CMO who wouldn't."

"Martin..." Ewan sighed, "I'm honestly not sure how to handle this mostly because your experiences are different. We're from different worlds and different experiences. I don't want you to change who you are to do this whole command thing." He stopped to think, think about where he had been coming from, it was more then just his worry for Yoshi, more then that. It really went back to the beginning of his career.

"When I joined the fleet, I was in a fleet that had barely left one war, and was already back into a new one, possibly the worst the Federation has seen in centuries. So many of my friends died, so many fought and never came back. Myself, Allison, Yoshi, so many senior officers these days, we're survivors. The war changed who we were fundamentally. So many people idolize us because we helped to 'save' the Federation from the big bad Dominion, but we're still just people. We couldn't have saved so many though if we hadn't saved ourselves. Thats the key thing here maybe where I was thinking, how are we supposed to save all those people we run into that need help every day if we cant even save and protect ourselves? What I saw was you, being you saving people, but in doing so you put yourself at risk, and if you had been hurt or killed, how can you help the next child, how can you help the next colony?"

"Maybe what I was angriest at was the fact you had to face that entire situation to begin with by yourself. We should have never sent you down without a larger team, without security regardless of what the community thought." Ewan frowned, now it was all looking at this in hindsight, through the lens of calm individual light-years away safely on their starship. "Maybe thats just all excuses to try and justify my actions and yours."

Martin sat back a little. He hadn't thought about it in those terms, and chided himself for it - he had had enough psychology that he should have seen it. And not just Ewan's mindset, but his own, which was equally shaped by that era but in the opposite way: he had been barely a teen when the war ended, so every impression he had of Starfleet was of the idolized saviors who went out and put themselves in harm's way to protect civilian populations. The same had been reinforced later when the Borg briefly re-emerged. In a purely analytical view he could see that some of that had been deliberate propaganda driven by a need to recruit after devastating losses. It hadn't inspired him to join then because Starfleet was so associated with war and he was focused on healing and largely a pacifist at that point in life. Still, that impression was his embedded in psyche.

"Hindsight is 20/20," Martin remarked with a sigh. "I should have understood that that was where you were coming from, but my earliest impression of Starfleet was those people putting themselves at risk to protect and save others. I suppose that was a big part of my shock and anger at being told I had failed as an officer, because in my mind I was doing what I thought Starfleet is out here to do." He held a hand up to signal he was explaining, not arguing. "I do understand. I agreed to send my people back, ordered them to leave without me if necessary in fact, because I didn't want to put any of them at risk. So in that sense, I guess I'm a bit of a hypocrite there," he admitted, mouth going a little sideways.

"Honestly I don't think a larger team with security would have helped though, at least not unless you would have let us stay if that had been the case. I know what abandoning sick desperate can lead to," he frowned down into his drink a moment. No... still not ready to say more about that. "I should have made the point better. I don't think there would have been an angry crowd if we'd stayed, and then I could have just walked to the beam out site when you found Yoshi and Izzy. And, I know, I could be completely wrong about that, but it's still the thing I regret most." He took a drink, and pursed his lips a moment. "Well, that and not listening to a local about steering clear of the big guy throwing crates around."

"Alot of ifs and buts. If we had done that, but what if we had done this?" Ewan said with a shake of the head, "I don't think it really matters now what happened. What happened did happen and we just have to live with it, the consequences of our actions," Ewan paused for a moment as he considered it, "and our words." He took another sip from his drink, it was good, dangerously good scotch that could probably get him more drunk then he thought he was fast. Maybe that loosening of his inhibitions was what he needed right now.

"Martin, you're not a failure as an officer, you were doing what you thought was right. While I didn't and somewhat dont agree with your decision, it is the one you made and you stuck to it. That is an indication of an excellent officer in the face of adversity. You made your decision and one that was not going to be popular with command and you stuck to it even when you were being grilled and yelled at for it. Lesser officers would have caved, said what the one in command wanted them to hear."

Martin released a breath hadn't realized he'd been holding, and in some sense had been holding for quite some time. "Command needs someone to blame, and apparently I'm it. Consequences, as you said." He took a shot of the whiskey, smiling at the pleasant burn. "It was you I was worried about though. Maybe I shouldn't have been, but I was. I can't stop being a doctor, so I'll always put patients lives ahead of orders. If that meant you'd always find me wanting as an officer that wasn't going to work, so I'm relieved to hear that's not the case." He tipped his glass toward Ewan and took another sip.

"I told Yoshi I'd resign rather than be a detriment to the ship or a problem for him or you. Which I guess is why I wound up being ordered to take Allison's place," he paused - the whiskey might be stronger than he thought because that hadn't come out quite right, ", by Allison, not by Yoshi, though I'm not positive there was no collusion."

"So... not back to normal, but... back to the something maybe," Ewan said with a questioning look on his face as he downed the last of his scotch. He definitely needed another after all this. "It's highly likely Allison just saw the opportunity and took it when it came. She's rather good at that sort of thing. First time I ever met her she took advantage of my being distracted by her and drugged me." He said with a chuckle.

Ewan waved to the server running around as he set his now empty glass down. She approached with a smile, "Another please, maybe not the top shelf but something."

He usually stuck to one with strong drinks, but Martin also felt another was called for now. "Yes, and one for me as well, please." Draining the last of his glass, he lifted an eyebrow at Ewan. "Drugged you, eh? I'll keep that one in mind," he said with a slight grin.

"Yes well, I ended up marrying her, and I was arguing about going back into a collapsing engineering room to get back to work," Ewan said with a bit of context, "After of course I tried to ask her who she was because It might have been the concussion but she was the most beautiful woman I had ever seen." He chuckled a bit at that, "Still is, so she got a pass."

Ewan grinned thinking of the memory, "Feels like just yesterday sometimes." He frowned as he considered the circumstances though of their meeting, "A yesterday best left in the past."

The last statement placed the dire circumstances of that meeting, but Martin still felt a small pang. When he'd last seen Liz, after the time skip and return to earth, she was still one of the most beautiful woman he'd ever seen. She was also newly married and expecting her first child. He was happy for her, but there was an empty place where that imagined family and future together had once been.

He took another drink and let the mellow buzz push the old ache aside. It wouldn't have worked out; they'd broken it off years before because they'd both realized that. "Well, I have no romantic intentions at all, but if you try to run into a collapsing engineering room, I will sedate you," the doctor warned, then smiled, adding, "Unless I'm running in beside you to reach casualties."

"Well then we'd have other issues, but if we ever reach that point, we'll cross that bridge when it comes to it." Ewan said with a smile himself taking his newly arrived refill and taking another cautious sip. Not as smooth, but not bad. "Now... I have no doubt Karrun will tell on us to Allison or Yoshi, so might as well sit for a while. What shall we discuss in the meantime?"

"True." Martin took a sip as well, considering topics. "I hear we're going to be ferrying a scientist after our stop at Sirius..."



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