ASSIGNED TO TASK FORCE 56 OF PEGASUS FLEET
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The End is Coming Soon

Posted on Tue Jan 28th, 2020 @ 4:26pm by Captain Abigail Laurens & Lieutenant Commander Ichiko Gail

Mission: Dead Moon
Location: Captain's Ready Room

 

Pace, stop. Pace, look at the view port. Pace, stop. Pace, turn. Pace, stop. It was a pattern that she had repeated for so long it seemed that she had lost complete track of time.

She couldn't even begin to describe the way she felt. Even if she could gather enough faculties to find the words, she wouldn't know what words to use. She wasn't even sure if she could explain it herself.

Uncertainty?

Fear?

Anger?

Trepidation?

Confusion?

Likely all played some part in her current mood, yet no one stood more prominent than any other, and none were attributes particularly becoming of a Starfleet Captain.

The more she learned of the Charybdis Sector, the less happy she was about having to take the crew in, especially after their last encounter with an 'unknown'.

But the question was, did they have any reasonable grounds to refuse? To blatantly disobey a direct order?

"You must be very lost." Ichiko's voice rang out in the silence of the room. "You missed the chime, and you didn't hear the door. I hope you don't mind that I let myself in." she covered the possible intrusion before the rabbitess made her way over to stand next to Abigail, "Are you alright?"

Momentarily startled by the unexpected voice, Abigail drew in a sharp breath. "Sorry," she apologized, offering a vague semblance of a smile. "I was just..." She sighed, dropping onto the couch and burying her face in her hands for a moment before looking back up at Ichiko. "I was tormenting myself with rocks and hard places," she smirked.

This time, it was Ichiko's turn to get the drinks. Setting Abigail's before her, the Daughter of Ts'usu took a seat next to her friend. "Worry is a powerful force. It leads to so many negative feelings. Doubt. Despair. Dread." she offered, "Talk to me. Not as Ship's Second, but as your friend." she turned to more fully face Abigail. "Tell me your worries."

Picking up the cup, Abigail wrapped her hands around it firmly, letting the warmth from the tea within seep into her fingers. She hadn't actually realised she was cold until the warmth made its way to her bones. "The more I learn, about this place, about this mission, the less I like it," she finally said quietly. "But I don't know if we have any grounds to refuse, thus the rock and the hard place." She took a sip and sighed, her shoulders slumping slightly. "Damned if we do, damned if we don't."

"We have a similar saying back home. It concerns loyalty of vassals and soldiers. Who is more loyal, they ask. The vassal of a just lord, or the vassal of an unjust lord?" Ichiko offered, pausing to sip her tea.

"If you feel there is a danger to the ship, to the crew, you have your grounds to refuse. But if we are the only ship that can arrive and secure the sector and whatever secrets it is hiding before our enemies can, then we cannot refuse." another pause, another sip. "We're in a race. We can drop out anytime, but if we do.... we lose."

"Stay the course, prepare your crew. They'll follow you into Hell." a pause, "And, maybe today, that will be truer than any other day." Ichiko was silent for a moment. Almost a long enough moment to make one believe she was done.

"So, how did I do?" she offered with a smirk.

"Your ability to attempt to rationalize a clearly mentally unhinged CO is impressive," Abigail replied with another slight attempt at a smile. "But see, therein lays my problem. They may follow me into Hell, but what right do I have to ask them? Why should I expect them to willingly go into Hell if I don't want to be there myself?"

Ichiko offered a soft smile. "It's the duty of the ship's second to ensure their shipmaster is in well spirits."

"Things are different between the Empire and the Federation. Back home, we're told to go into hell, and we do so. If it's important to the Emperor, then it's important to us. When we arrive at our destination, if the situation has changed then we make due. We call up the throne moon and let them know of the change, but until then we do our best."

"Here, in the federation, you do your best. If something doesn't feel right, or if you feel uncomfortable, you voice your concern. If there's a better option, then they call them." a pause, "But if there was a better option, they would call them. Not us." she took a chance, and put a hand on Abigail's shoulder.

"They called us. Because we're their best option. When we get there, we'll find out more. Until then, we're off to hell. Together."

"Then to hell we go..." Abigail sighed and shook her head. "Hell hath no fury like an Admiral scorned. If Starfleet loses out on whatever they think this vessel is, I have a feeling Lockwood would make Charybdis look like Heaven." She took another sip of her tea and cast a glance at Ichiko. "Thank you," she said calmly.

The rabbitess gave a nod, "I'm your Second. Keeping you afloat in the storm so the crew need not worry is my duty." a pause, "But, helping you stay together, sufficiently caffeinated, and smiling is my privileged."

Another sip of tea, as she reclaimed her hand from Abigail's shoulder. "So, who or what is Lockwood?"

"Admiral Lockwood," Abigail said quietly. "The Admiral that gave us our orders. "'He is a very..." she paused, thinking her words over carefully. "He is a very persistent man, he doesn't like it when things don't go his way. He's been known to have a bit of a temper."

"Unfortunate. You'd think prestige and influence would have cooled his temper." Ichiko offered. "I'd say to let me handle him, but that's not exactly how rank works in these matters."

"I'll assist in any other way I can."

Abigail nodded slowly, setting her cup down on the side table and standing up, drawing in a deep breath before walking across to her desk. "There is one more thing I need," Abigail said quietly as she opened the drawer and pulled out the small black box, closing it in her fist and holding it tightly for a moment. Turning around, she walked back to her friend sitting on the couch.

"If we're going into Hell, there are a few things I need to take care of first, and this is one of the most important. I couldn't ask for a better First Officer to serve with me in this journey, nor could I ask for a better friend to guide me and keep me steady. No matter what happens in Hell, I want you to know that your dedication to this ship has not gone unnoticed." Abigail smiled faintly as she held the box toward Ichiko.

"Computer, let the ships service records reflect that as of this moment, Lieutenant Commander Ichiko Gail has been promoted to the rank of full Commander, with all the rights and privileges pertaining there to."

"Acknowledged."

The simplistic nature of the reply did naught to improve the austerity of what should have been an exciting moment.

"I wish it could have been done with more pomp and ceremony," Abigail said quietly. "But regardless it is well deserved. Congratulations Commander."

Ichiko very cautiously, very carefully put down her tea, and accepted the box with shaky hands. She was used to protocol, she was used to pomp and circumstance. Something as casual as this, though, held a weight all its own.

"For as long as I remember this moment, you'll never have reason to regret this." it sounded like a prepared acceptance speech, but from her, it had an entirely different meaning. She cautiously removed the pip from its box, and updated her rank personally. Now she felt more complete. "Three full moons and a black hole." she commented, looking at her reflection. "It looks so odd to see it."

She didn't doubt herself though. No questions of did I earn this, or was I worthy. Simple acceptance. "Thank you, Abigail. For one of us to come this far, means a lot to all of those yet to venture to the stars."

"It is more than deserved," Abigail replied quietly.

"Captain, we're approaching the Charybdis Sector," the voice of Lieutenant Rogers came over the comms system and Abigail reached up, tapping her commbadge. "Thank you Lieutenant, we're on our way."

Offering another vague smile at Ichiko, she held out her hand to help her First Officer up. "I guess that's our call," she said softly. "Next stop, Hell."

Ichiko gave a nod, standing along with her friend. She welcomed the hand to help her up. "I hope Terran Hell is nicer than Ts'usu Hell." she joked with a smirk before recycling her tea cup. Before the pair had made it to the door, Ichiko was back to business. The transition from friend to ship second took seconds.

 

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