Posted on Thu May 9th, 2019 @ 6:02am by Commander K'Niras Sh'howul
S01E04 The Outpost Has Eyes
Location: Earth, San Francisco, Starfleet HQ
Michael shuddered as he looked in the mirror. He'd avoided the meeting as long as he could. Now it was time. It wasn't that they were all bad people, there were many good people within the Admiralty, but there were a couple that made his skin crawl. The recent betrayal of one of his staff of Seleya made it imperative that he get on the Musashi to make sure Seleya was protected. He trusted her new Captain, but in another hand he only trusted himself with her safety.
Sighing, he knew that the time had come. One last tweak of his pips and he headed out. It didn't take long for him to reach the conference room from his quarters. He stood outside the door for a good minute before punching in his code and entering the room.
It was already filling up. There would be nine of them. He greeted those there happy to see he at least had a few minutes before the worrisome ones entered.
Just as he'd poured himself a cup of coffee the doors whooshed open and one of the dislikeables, as he called them, entered. Admiral Rowlins, Andrea Rowlins made his skin crawl. She'd set her sights on him the moment they'd met. For his part, he'd managed to keep the disgust out of his voice when she was around but how much longer he could do that...
"Well, well. If it isn't the delectable Admiral Essex. It seems like it has been forever since we were in the same room," she cooed, as she sauntered up to him and placed her hand on his shoulder. He had the distinctive feeling that a thousand worms were crawling all over his skin and the feeling of wanting to vomit returned, as it always did in her presence. He sighed, "Hello Rawlins." In his frame of mind, forever was short when it came to being in the same room. He wished it literally was forever.
"Sugar, call me Andy. Maybe you'd be more comfortable if we knew one another better," she said.
He suppressed a shudder and stepped back when she stepped forward. "Yeah, we know each other well enough." He turned and scurried to the empty seat between Admiral Baker and Captain Forner, who was soon to be Admiral Forner.
The door whooshed open and in walked the Admiral he was most worried about.
His name was Doctor Jacob Stein. Admiral Jacob Stein. He was a man that was driven, although those around him weren't always sure by what. Admiral Stein was one of those scientific people that easily became obsessed with his projects, or at least it seemed that way. When he was on to something he was studying it was all consuming to him. He was in research and development, but not a whole lot of people knew exactly what it was that he was researching or developing. He was a tall thin man, with a beak-like nose and round glasses that seemed a little too small for his face. His hair was dark, just starting to develop salt and pepper colors on the sides, at his temples. He made most people nervous, many could not explain why, except that he stared at things too long, often no one else could figure out what he was staring at.
Andrea Rowlins settled into her seat not paying notice to the new addition. "Alright, Michael. We're here. What is this about."
Essex sighed. "The Musashi. They have been asking for more crew for a while. The have a CMO now and I feel that they require someone in Science." Essex could feel Jacob's gaze on him. The only reason he was on speaking terms with the good doctor was because Stein thought Essex would deliver him the one thing he wanted, Seleya.
Baker looked up. "There are many ships who require a new crew and the Musashi is last on the list for us. Especially since the Captain is not quite..."
Essex spoke up. "I have a solution that would allow everyone to be happy."
Admiral Stein leaned back away from the table, his thin lips pressed into an almost invisible line. He raised one eyebrow slightly, trying not to show the interest he felt. For a moment, he struggled internally with how he should go about getting this impossible man to bring him what he wanted. He would have to approach it carefully, no matter what he did. "Please, share with us your solution," he said with almost Vulcan-like coldness.
"Look, you all always complain about the USS Musashi. I have a solution. They are short staffed. They have been bugging Starfleet for more staff. Also recently we've all heart the rumours about their new CMO, my former CMO. I can assure you, as her Commanding Officer, I haven't noticed anything out of the ordinary but we can take care of two birds with one stone. Send me to the Musashi. I can keep an eye on the CO and the CMO and report back to the council." He had no intention of doing that, but he'd say what he had to. "I could bring my science expertise to the ship and perhaps some much needed advice to get the ship back on track and more into the fold."
Baker looked at Essex. "That's actually not a bad idea. The sentiment was mixed, but they would all sway towards Rawlins and Stein both out of fear and to keep them from making life miserable. Rawlins could be a problem. Stein, thank the gods, still trusted him a little. He'd worked hard to stay on the good side of that loonie. "Jacob, you once told me that you thought I wasn't paying enough attention to Seleya right? This is my chance to investigate and finally put things to rest."
Jacob was still staring at Essex, coldly. "I'm not sure that sending Admirals into the field is such a good idea. What I would like to see is you go and get Doctor Seleya and bring her back here. She should have never been allowed aboard that ship. She is endangering their crew. You, are endangering their crew."
Essex resisted the urge to punch the man. "Come on Jacob. You are a scientist... at least I thought you were. If we acted on rumours where would we be. Think of this as a field test. I'm not happy about going either," he lied. "I have my own command and frankly it isn't going to be easy to give that up to chase rumours and to spy on a ship, but hell, it's in the name of Starfleet," he lied again, knowing with that speech he'd won Forner over.
Rawlins sighed and her lips pouted. "Sugar, we'd all miss you."
He resisted the urge to shudder. "And I would miss sitting with you all," he said, tossing her the best smile he could muster without vomiting. He swore he heard Baker snicker. He turned his eyes to Jacob. "Come on Jacob. You and I have worked on science experiments before. We've patiently waited for results. Let me see if there is anything to these rumours. Just think, if there is nothing, then your career is ruined. No more experiments, no more prestige, only stripping of rank and a cell. We need to know for sure."
Jacob leaned forward, putting his hands on the table and intertwining his fingers in front of him. He wasn't sure that he trusted Essex anymore. He had seen how close he had grown to Seleya. He also knew that Starfleet would never remove her from her post unless it was absolutely necessary and the only one that could get close enough to her to deem if it was actually necessary was Essex. Jacob took a deep breath and finally nodded. He knew Essex was right. "I agree. As much as I would like it to be otherwise, you're right. They are just rumors."
"We need to know," Essex said. "So, I ask again ladies and gentleman. Shall we try this? We need to know about the good Doctor and we need to make sure the Musashi is following fleet guidelines."
Jacob nodded. "I agree..." he said simply.
Rawlins didn't look convinced. She pouted her lips. "I don't know. That would take you away from us and I don't know about these guys, but I'd miss you..."
Essex resisted the urge to dry heave.
Baker stepped in and the final votes were tallied. He got the go ahead. They named his XO the CO of his ship and then there was the mingling. Essex found himself at the dessert table with Jacob and Rawlins. It was Rawlins who sashayed up to Essex and ran a hand from his chest to his shoulder. "You'll be gone for a while. Whatever will I do without you?"
Again the nausea hit. "You'll survive." He extricated himself from her touch, glad that someone else had caught her attention. She waived and was gone. He sighed with relief and turned to Jacob. "You like testing theories right?"
"Of course I do..." he said dryly, looking at Essex with one eyebrow raised in interest. "Do you have a proposal?" he questioned.
"Sure. I have a theory about Admiral Rawlins there. My theory is that she is insane. How do we test it?" He chuckled.
Jacob crossed his arms over his chest. "I am not certain that I disagree with your theory. Of course, I believe that she has already demonstrated insanity, by doing the same thing again and again and expecting different results." He looked over to where Rawlins was putting her hands on someone else who didn't seem to appreciate her advances either.
Essex smiled. "And they say doctors and scientists don't have a sense of humour."
Jacob snorted. "Shows how little they truly understand us. I know you will do your best to assess the situation with Seleya. Keep others' safety in mind when you do." Jacob then stepped away from Essex and toward the bar.
The rest of the evening passed mercifully quickly and soon Essex was heading back to his quarters on his ship to pack and let his XO know he was in charge. He was anxious to get ready to go and hoped that he could meet up with the Musashi with little trouble.