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SD241911.08 || Joint Log || "You Got Some Explaining To Do"

Posted on 08 Nov 2019 @ 12:24pm by Captain Mallory Thorne

Mission: Tyr's Hand

=/\= Begin Log =/\=

After the game, after a shower and change, Roman was ordered to the Captain's Ready Room by someone on the Bridge. Okay, that might have rankled a bit as he wasn't Starfleet but the need to satisfy his curiosity proved to be much stronger. So, he complied and shortly afterward, found himself standing at the door to her Ready Room. In the few days on board, he knew enough about the ship now to get wherever the ship's security protocols permitted a civilian to go. His clothes were neat and modern, having consulted with the ship's computer and with a petty officer who had an eye for fashion, muted tones, detailed by stitching and folds rather than anything more ostentatious. His hair was shoulder-length, a mass of blonde curls that no power in his own time could subdue. Then again, he'd never tried hard either. He pressed the chime and waited for a response.

"Enter," came the muffled voice from the other side.

Mallory heard the door swish open, but she didn't see it because she was sitting at her desk with her head in her hands wondering where she'd gone wrong with her life... She did finally look up, though, and smiled faintly. 'Thank you for coming to see me, Mr. Gant. I...know I have a lot to explain. Have a seat. Help yourself to the replicator."

He entered, waving off the offer, as he took one of the seats across the wide expanse of her desk. He had his feet under him again and with that, came 130 years of experience dealing with a wide variety of people. Before coming here, he would have said those contacts had run the gamut from saintly to demonically evil but still, just the one species. Since coming on board, he'd met any number of new species and had taken the time to listen. You learned a lot by listening, at least he did, and being who he was, he remembered every word. "I confess to more than a little curiosity," Roman said after a moment. "How did I go from guest of 'uncertain welcome' to first officer of your ship?"

She laughed quietly, pushing herself upright and leaning slightly back into her chair so she could meet his gaze. "That is the question of the hour," she said dryly. "I'll admit it was not one of my more...captain-ly moments. The fact is that the ship is in a state of upheaval, plain and simple. The 2419 out that viewport--" She waved at said port. "--is not the same one we left. Whether it's truly a timeline change or a causal loop or...whatever, it's far different. And that woman with me has a hold on us right now, given our weakened state.

"The ship has lost many, many of its crew. A hundred and ten are dead or missing forever from the seven-fifty we left station with." She shook her head, sighing. "I was worried if that...woman found out that you weren't an official member of my crew that she would try something, and I wasn't going to lose one more person from this ship, no matter how long they've been here. And first officer was the first thing that came to mind. With that red-eyed stare, I didn't think hesitation to think of something else would go over well."

Roman listened. He knew what it mean to lose people from personal experience and he knew from talking to the survivors, what it meant to this crew to lose so many of their own. And more than that, he understood what it meant to carry the lives of others on your shoulders. Hadn't he and Vater committed to that course time and time again? And so, rather than speak out immediately, he listened and gave a considered answer. "I can understand that," he said after a long moment of silence. "The whole cyborg eye thing is quite intimidating but I suspect that its intended to be. After all, it could have been altered cosmetically."

"It could have been," Mallory agreed. "My gut says it wasn't. There was a scar I could make out over the eye as well. I'm guessing she lost it in a fight and kept it like that to be intimidating." She caught herself veering off on a tangent, so caught herself and shook her head slightly. "Either way, she has power over us for the moment...and I worry that my verbal gaff may be a bit..." She stopped herself.

"The truth is, Mr. Gant, that to attain any sort of freedom in this universe, there'll be eyes on the ship. And now those eyes believe you're my first officer. As I see it, we can continue the charade until those eyes are gone, or... Well, I'm not going to force you to live up to my slip of the tongue. I'm sure I can come up with some way to change the story and keep things covered. I think."

"Charade? As in pretense," Roman asked, cocking his head to one side. "Seems to me, that you do need an XO."

His response actually surprised her, and she blinked for a moment. "Well... Yes, I do. Mine was one of those displaced but never recovered. My second officer was filling in, but he's now one of those incapacitated. The command structure of this ship doesn't seem very lucky."

Roman considered her for a moment, her weariness, the air of defeat that hung about her. "You know, Samuel Butler once said, 'People are lucky and unlucky not according to what they get absolutely, but according to the ratio between what they get and what they have been led to expect.' I think I agree with that. We consider ourselves unlucky when our expectations haven't been met. But that's not luck. It's just how things are which is all a long way of saying, I don't believe in luck, good or bad. I believe in preparation, hard work, and doing my part to help make sure the bad guys don't win."

Mal smiled a little. "I would tend to agree, to be honest. I haven't usually believed in luck, but sometimes, one wonders." She shook her head. "But no. Things are as they are, and now is the time for preparation and hard work, and figuring out who the bad guys truly are." Right at that moment, to her mind, General Stanton had a bullseye on her head...but that was circumstantial at the moment. "What do you see as doing your part at the moment, if I might ask."

"Well, let's think about that," Roman said cheerfully. His hazel eyes seemed to unfocus as he began to speak. "Of the ten primary duties that fall within the XO's responsibilities, I'm already able to handle about ... 80%. I've spent the last hundred years leading all sorts of missions against all sorts of truly terrible people. Vater and I, well, we tried to help whenever we could. So, we smuggled people out of Hitler's Germany, gathered information in Afghanistan, provided protection for those that Green wanted to kill. I've participated in or led missions for the past hundred years and while I might not know your technology, I know a lot about getting the job done, especially when the odds are against you. So ... that's one. Two is liaise between crew and Captain and with that, add three, act as a conduit of information between the crew and its Captain. Unofficially, of course, but I've been doing that for the past three days. Talking to people, letting them vent, helping where I could." His eyes snapped back into focus as he directed his hazel gaze toward her. "You have a good crew by the way. Sad but still committed. Focusing on what needs to be done, what they can do rather than worrying about what ifs."

His words continued to be a surprise and put many thoughts in her mind, but she paused at that and smiled slightly. "They are a good crew," she agreed quietly. Despite all they had been through so far...

"Where was I? Oh yes," and again, his eyes seem to defocus, "Ensure the safety and security of the Captain. I'm saving that one for now. Advise the CO and act as a sounding board. I may look like a child but I'm 130 years old and I've seen a lot, even for someone as old as I am. And sounding boards? They just need to be good at active listening. I can do that. Hmmm. Handle paperwork? Teachable. And I'm home-schooled, good at picking things up. Settle disputes and arrange disciplinary actions? Been doing that for quite some time now." His eyes came into focus again and he looked at her. "What I lack is an understanding of the ship and ship command. That would be the twenty percent I don't know."

"So if I'm hearing you right, you're actually interested in being first officer instead of just pretending to be because I spoke too fast?" she asked, wanting to be absolutely clear.

"I've spent my entire life in hiding, Captain. That's what you do when you're an alien on a world that doesn't know aliens exist. Live a lie. So when this all ... happened ... I did the research and I promised myself that I would try something brand new. Living honestly." He smiled wryly. "What you've presented me with is living yet another lie but I'm done with lying. So, its either real or you figure how to explain your panic to the intentionally scary woman."

Mal laughed wryly but didn't reply right away. She looked off toward the viewport as she thought it over. What did she really know about this man? How much did she ever really know about the officers that were assigned to her from Starfleet?

Did she really want to explain her panic to the intentionally scary woman?

She turned her head back to face him again. "I can respect that," she said simply. "Well, all things considered, I'm willing to give it a shot and see how we do."

Roman nodded. A life in hiding meant never going to schools, holding down jobs, joining the military. Always off the grid. And now, for the first time in his life, he had a shot at doing something real. Above board. Even better. He didn't have to hide who he was. It was almost too much to take in. He sent a mental 'thank you' to Jackie wherever she was and to the Captain, said, "so ... is there an oath I have to take?"

"Not yet, not officially," Mal replied with a small smile. "For now, this agreement between us stands. And we start some...crash courses in Starfleet. After that, you'll have the choice to continue and take the Starfleet Oath." She considered things for a moment. "First officers to a captain typically carry a commander rank, so you will receive one provisionally, and I'll make sure the replicator in new room has permissions to replicate a uniform."

Roman nodded as he listened. "I've already been doing a lot of reading," he said, "to the limits of civilian access. I'm looking forward to going deeper but there is one other matter that we need to attend to, Captain."

She inclined her head slightly. "Go on."

"That last duty. The XO ensures the safety of the Captain and right now," Roman said, arms folded across his chest, "it's plain to see you're exhausted. Time for you to get some rest."

"I suppose you're right, Commander," she replied with a quiet laugh, holding his gaze. "I'll see to it that your permissions are updated enough to get you going, and then I'll rest. Make sure the ship doesn't hit any more black stars or get thrown around in time again while I'm asleep, eh?"

He winked at her. "Always allowing for newbie mistakes, Captain, I'll do my best."

=/\= End Log =/\=

OOC: You can all now work under the assumption that another text-only message went out to all crew, especially the senior staff, of this change.

Captain Mallory Thorne & Commander Roman Gant
The Universe's Newest Janeway & Chakotay


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