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Posted on Thu Jan 30th, 2020 @ 1:24pm by Fleet Admiral Donatella Figueroa & Lieutenant Commander Michael Essex

Mission: S01E05 ConQstador
Location: Science Office


Essex was preparing his department. He'd just held a staff meeting and it was glorious. He wanted to shout from the roof top. Sing in the rain. It had been so long since he was a department head but he found that he settled into it better then being a member of the rusting brass.

He was in his office going over reports when his door unceremoniously opened. He looked up to see Fig standing there. "Hello Donatella...I mean Captain," One perk he'd miss is calling captain's by their first name although he never was one to stand on ceremony.

Captain Figueroa dismissed the formality with a simple swiping gesture. "Oh please," she said shaking her head and sighing. "It will take me forever to get used to not calling you Sir or Admiral" she admitted openly. "I do not like being called Donatella by anyone, not even by my own mother. It's always going to be 'Captain' or 'Fig,' and seeing as we have no choice in this little arrangement, Michael. I believe 'Fig' will be appropriate between us when not on the Bridge" she explained.

"So that's what it looks like?" commented Fig as she studied the man's facial expression and that peculiar look in his eyes. "The look of someone who's been behind a desk for too long, finally getting a taste of what starship life is like again...should I be looking out for my Captain's chair?" she teased.

He laughed, his voice rich and low. "I don't think you have anything to worry about, Fig." He sighed and smiled warmly with no strain. In fact he felt as if a burden had been lifted off his back with the pips being reduced. "That's what it looks like though. I am glad to be sitting here, doing what I'm doing now." He tilted his head and motioned for her to sit. "I have fresh brewed coffee if you'd like." He gestured to the pot off to the side.

"After having the pleasant honor of meeting, Commodore Hoffman, I'll see your coffee and raise you a shot of Irish whiskey to top it off with" she replied swiftly. "What a charming woman" she added. Captain Figueroa welcomed the mug of coffee as a sort of olive branch between her and the former thorn in her side, Admiral Michael Essex.

He smiled and poured the coffee. He then reached under his desk to a hidden drawer and pulled out whisky. "I'm a literalist so here's the whiskey raise." He sighed. "That one is....well she's trying to swim with poisonous sharks. Starfleet is...not what it once was. That's why I'm glad as hell there are officers out there like you and your crew. There is hope for us yet."

Essex studied her. He laughed again. "I am starting to learn your expressions. I'm guessing you have questions."

"I did some reading on our dear Commodore" replied Fig. "She's cunning, sharp tongued, and ambitious. She was not born and bred for starship service like the lot of us. She and I share similar upbringings, but our career paths diverged and I much prefer the company of myself than being in her presence. Commodore Hoffman was a career civilian prosecutor before joining Starfleet. One would expect she'd go into the JAG Corps, but no. She went straight into Starfleet Service in Operations Division working in various office positions at Starfleet Command. They put her through command training and slid her into a First Officer position aboard a small space station. She rose to the position of Commanding Officer and time served and puckering her lips, she ass kissed her way to Commodore...she's a bureaucrat plain and simple."

"She is, her Ambition is known widely but as you said she's cunning and sharp and those can be the key to her undoing. As I said in our meeting with her. She's swimming with the sharks but she's not one of them just yet. She's pretending to be but...well we'll see. I'm sure they'll fill the Admiral seat I vacated within the year and she may be a candidate. Question is how do we use that to our advantage?" He looked at her again, "And you two might have had a similar upbringing but you are ten time the person she is. Remember that."

Fig scoffed "I wish it were your small little Admiral desk she wants to sit behind" commented the Captain. "I don't think she's going to be comfortable settling for that vacancy, Michael. Her as an Admiral? There's not much gain for her there..." Fig looked the former Admiral in the eyes "Paris perhaps? Palais de la Concorde seems like the place she has her heart set on."

He laughed, "Well where ever she chooses to settle we'll figure it out. Let me give you an insight. Did you watch her at the meeting? Have you noted that she acquiesced to me a little too much? I still have strings I can pull and trust me she won't mess with your ship or you. I'm here to help you navigate crazy Commodore speak...and supply the coffee and whisky."

"I'm honestly more of a wine woman myself, but anything will do if I have to deal with Commodore Hoffman" stated Fig. "You may have your strings you can pull, but how extensive do your strings go? A few admirals in your pocket is certainly helpful if we were dealing with a little wildcard Commodore, but if my suspicions are correct and she is eyeing something a little more political in nature, she will probably mind her Ps and Qs. She cannot afford to buck Starfleet brass."

"True enough. We'll just have to be careful." He studied her. He hadn't seen her since the incident on the previous ship. "How have you been holding up all this time?"

"Not that great" she confessed. "Teaching has been a nice distraction. I honestly was not expecting to see the Captain's chair of a starship any time soon. It's been nothing but a gauntlet of Admiral after Admiral questioning me about my decisions aboard the Musashi these past few years, especially our ill fated mission to investigate those missing colonists. They weren't pleased my actions escalated a 'war' with the Sheliak, but they were certainly appreciative I lead them to the bargaining table for a treaty."

"Sounds about right. There is a reason that they're called Brass...I usually leave out the first two letters and leave the last three." He smiled. "You did what you had to. There is an old Earth saying, if you want peace you must prepare for war. That's all you did. That treaty will not be signed and the Sheliak would not have respected us if we'd been a little nicer." He paused. "Happy to be back in the chair?"

He had valid points. Some were the talking points she had used to defend her actions, but there were some things she could not defend herself against. "Happy is relative" she replied. "I do not know if one can ever truly be happy in the Captain's chair, but I am glad to have the opportunity to command another starship. What I could not really dodge was the child matter...they were not thrilled I withheld my medical circumstances from them as long as I did and they sure the hell were not happy with who fathered the child. It just seems like more and more starts to mount up against me."

He waved his hand. "Bunch of idiots the whole lot of them. Fig what you went through...that was horrible. Where were they when you needed them? You still have a lot of healing to do and what you told them and didn't tell them is a part of that healing. They'll realize that." He rubbed the back of his neck. "I don't know how to say this without sounding ... ancient but I'm proud of the person you are. For what it's worth I think you are one of the strongest women I know and I'm honoured to be under your command."

She smirked and looked at the man she once considered a thorn in her side, a foil, a potential advisary in a whole new light. She could even potential see herself calling him a friend, but she was not going to push it. Not here and certainly not now, but being more at ease around him was in the cards. "You are ancient" she said to him jestingly. "But then again who am I to judge, I'm a smidgen bit older than you by a few months. Somehow that new blue uniform makes you look younger" she added.

Fig shook her head. "Flattery will get you nowhere with me, but I like hearing it" she added, but she knew his words were genuine. "It is the 2250s and brass acts like we've encountered a temporal anomaly setting us back into the 1950s. Do you know how many women have been made Captain in recent years? Too God Damn Few" the Captain said. "It is beginning to feel like a disgrace to names like Captain Erica Hernandez."

"I agree with you. I've had these same arguments with the brass for a while now. Things will change." He drank his coffee. "Patients and persistence." He thought a moment. "Have you ever thought about seeking and Admiral's commission? The only way to change things is to have strong women rise to power."

"I'd rather die" she replied crisply "Than become a Commodore or ride the away up to Admiral" she added.

He smiled, "Fair enough. Baby steps." He studied her a bit. He was thankful that she hadn't asked him more specifically about his rank decrease. "So. We've not been in the same room for near half an hour and you still haven't sent me out the air lock." He laughed remembering their first meeting.

She held back a laugh. "You haven't done anything to warrant it yet. Though I will remind you that things get complicated when dating shipmates" she added.

"Fig...can I ask your advice on something?"

Fig nodded as she awaited what he had to ask.

"Actually it's about Lieutenant Commander Seleya." He stood and began to pace. "I swear when I'm around her I feel like an idiot. I can't even talk to her. Damnit I'm not a Monk. I've had girlfriends, one night stands, relationships and all was well. The day I met Seleya my brain leaked out my ears. Just before coming aboard my former XO called her over at a bar and I fell on my a...behind." He corrected. I got up like some...first year cadet and ran out. What the hell is wrong with me?"

He dropped in his seat. He looked up at Fig. "I thought being away from her would change all that but...Is it possible to be addicted to a person? " He threw up his hands. "Hell I don't even know what I'm asking." And just like that he went from confident former Admiral to first year love sick cadet. He rested his face in his hands quite sure his Neanderthal rant was over.

"Some call that love, Michael" replied Fig. "I was engaged once and quite enamored by him, felt like I had discovered a new world, and I simply could not get enough. Love is complicated, but I do believe it is possible to be addicted...maybe not necessarily to the individual, but definitely to the feelings and sensations that individual causes and the chemical responses that they induce."

He sighed and then smiled. "Yes our doctor is convinced that I'm having a heart attack every time I'm around her." He laughed and then turned serious. "I need you to know that my feelings for Seleya...they're real. I know when we first met you were not too sure about that and you thought me a louse but she is the sole reason I breathe on some days."

"Well..." Fig mulled the thought over in her head. "It was not so much that I thought your feelings were not genuine so much as inappropriate as an Admiral," she said stating an emphasis on his previous rank. "As an Admiral, you had a level of authority that I did not like in regards to a member of my crew; however, as good fortune would have it not only do I outrank you, Commander Essex," teased Fig "But Doctor Seleya should she feel it warranted, can relieve you of duty and has authority to do so. So, as long as she doesn't present any harassment allegations, feel free to pursue her to your heart's desire."

"There is a problem with that...every time I try to tell her how I feel something goes wrong. I don't know....I'm beginning to think the fates are conspiring against us." He studied her and then smiled. "I just had an idea."

"Sorry, Michael, fates and all of that was my previous First Officer's forte" Fig stated, referencing Commander Christopher Samuels who had been a renaissance man serving aboard not only as her First Officer, but Chief Science Officer, and ship's Chaplain. He was more than just an excellent scientist, he was an advisor and friend. She missed him, but K'Niras was also her friend and their command relationship was blossoming. "I'd send you to the ship's Chapel, but I am not even sure if the new ship has one. Personally, I like my fates and deities like the Klingons. When I was their captive, Ke'gak would mistake my mutterings for rescue as pleas for some sort of God, and he would tell tales of how the Klingons killed their Gods."

He sighed, "Yes, they would. The Klingons are....a nutty bunch." He studied her. "Well, I guess this is a fresh start for all of us, this new ship."

Fig nodded with that statement. "You are right. It is a new start for us all and yes, the Klingons are a nutty bunch. I am hoping that this fresh start also means getting away from our Klingon problems. War efforts aside, if I don't see another Klingon battlecruiser it will be too soon, and that goes double for Ke'gak."

He shook his head. "Honestly, the brass has been talking about bringing the Klingons in, I just... I just can't ever see them being a part of the Federation."

"They have us back agaisnt the wall, invading our space, expanding their empire...we may lose this war and God help them those optimist think they can tame those beasts and bring them into the fold?" Fig scoffed. "Bullshit" she said with vigor. "You show me a civilized Klingon who can be part of the Federation, and I'll show you a ship full of dead souls who pissed that Klingon off one day by ordering it to bathe."

Essex sighed, "It'll never happen." He reached over and gave her hand a pat. "Fig, you don't hear this often enough but you are one of the good ones. The fleet is better for having you in it," he said honestly.

"The Fleet just needed a woman's touch" she teased "albeit I'm a little heavy handed and I don't do 'gentle' and 'quiet' very well" she added. "For what it is worth, I do think I'll like you more as a subordinate than a superior in the brass" she added with a smirk.

He laughed. "Well then I have to practice my annoying traits."

"And I am sure you will" replied the Captain. "If that is all, we have a mission ahead and I think you're just the person I want leading the landing party" added Fig.

"Sounds like a plan." He studied her. "Well then you're trusting me with a landing party. I guess you like me after all."


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