Pandora's Box #13-14 "The Bottom Line"


Takashi was in the Pegasus's torpedo bay cataloging the ship's newly replenished weapons array, as part of his pre-launch schedule. He often did this kind of tasking by himself, giving himself some time to be on his own and collect his thoughts while doing something productive at the same time. Matsu was deep in the belly of ordinance storage walking along a dimmed down corridor in the center of it all, surrounded by torpedoes stack six tubes high, his footsteps echoing bringing about an eeriness to it all. "Mark VII, 1- A Echo Niner….locked down and accounted for….Mark VII, 1-A Foxtrot One….locked down and accounted for…so far so good…" he said to himself as he stopped and took a quick look around to see if anyone was looking before sneaking a sip out of a silver flask he hid in his beltline. ~Ah god…what am I doing with my life~ he reflected to himself as he slid down and sat on the deck.

".. You sharing that drink, Matsu ? I could use a bit of a distraction." the Russian XO of the ship said as she emerged from behind one of the storage racks, stretching and yawning a bit, she with a slight wince would sit down next to him. "Don't bother rising on my account, I'm off duty. Just thought I'd wander the ship a bit, get my thoughts straight. Didn't think I'd run into anyone here."

Though Petrova told her to do otherwise, he instinctively stood on his feet and stood to attention, hiding his flask on a dark blind spot. ~Shit~ he thought to himself, he very much disliked the thought of being exposed as anything other than a proper gentlemen and an officer, as opposed to someone who needed to slack off and have a drink. "Didn't I'd see anyone else here too ma'am"

".. Yeah .. well. Like I said .. I was just wandering the ship a bit, looking to think. Seems to me you were looking for much the same thing." She sighed softly and leaned back against a bulkhead. "How are you holding up ? After all that stuff with the Romulans during our previous mission?"

"Could be better…" he said as he loosened his tight stance and again took another swig out of his flask before motioning it towards Petrova. "You want a swig?" he said as he handed her the flask as he took a look at this schedule padd before setting it down and taking his seat once again on the cold hard deck. ~Not due to be off duty for another 20 minutes~ he thought to himself, as he scheduled some down time for himself in the officer's lounge.

"Yeah. Thanks." She'd take the flask and - after a swig - hands it back to him. "Wanna talk about it ? .. I'm no counselor, but it might help."

"I wish I could pin it down…*takes another swig*, it's just a bit of a downer to lose men during a mission I guess… the service was lovely and that helped but shit…on the first bloody mission. Not exactly a great omen I guess eh?" Matsu said, not exactly interested in getting into a cry fest at the moment, that's why he was down here in the belly of beast of begin with. "To tell you the truth, it wasn't exactly how I'd imagined my first mission as ship's XO would go, either." She'd sigh. "But .. things happen. And we move on. That's life in the military. They knew what they were getting in to when they joined Starfleet, and signed in with security. We all did." She'd look at him, knowing what it's like to lose people. Knowing it full well

"Yeah I know… I've seen it a lot during the war…I'm just sorting some things out right now. When push comes to shove, I'll be ready…"he said in half confidence, downing the rest of the flask before standing on his feet and resuming his duties, a bit a little tipsy buzzed. "I will say one thing though…those f---ing rommies and those aliens know how to fight a down and dirty fight. Could learn a thing or two from them…maybe not lose too many next time." Matsu said as he reflected off the ruthless tactics the Romulans employed when carrying out a boarding action.

"That's what makes us better than them, mister Takashi." As she narrowed her eyes ever so slightly, pulling herself up to her feet again. "The fact that we do Not fight dirty. That's what makes us Starfleet. We start doing it their way, we lose the difference that we have, and we become them. And I do not want that."

"Rules of Engagement, Morals, and honor….that doesn't really matter when stuck in the middle of that fog of war, the bottom line is that it's us and them, and in reality your job is to stay alive and defend the ship. Not question the morality of an action, it's not like I like their tactics but the bottom line is that out here in the black…we're hear to fight for the bottom line, and that bottom line is to stay alive." He said, his breathe sticking of the drunk liquor consumed in large quantities.

She'd sigh softly, watching him, frowning some. "Know what helps me unwind, usually ? That gets my mind off things ? I go to the holodeck and load up a favorite holonovel and just .. vent. Let it all out. Take my claymore, or bat'leth and just rip apart some mindless, nameless meat, using all the dirty tactics and low-down cheesy tricks that I can think of."

"Sounds like a morbid kind of way" Matsu snickered.

A chuckle "I've got some programs stored in the ship's computer, if you wanna have a go at it." She'd nod, then glance at her shoulder, still her left arm in a sling. "Though I won't be joining you."

"I'll consider it...thanks" he said as he continued down on his inventory check.

She just looked at him a moment longer. 'you're taking yourself and your job way too serious' she wanted to tell him, but didn't. A soft sigh, shaking her head a bit. "... Right. Well .. I'll let you be with your inventory." as she'd turn and start towards the exit again.

"Goodnight Ma'am" he said aloud as he walked down the dark lonely storage corridor.


Lt Cmdr Kristiana Petrova Executive Officer USS Pegasus "Cracks in the wall I've built for myself"


Lt. (JG) Matsu Takashi Chief Tactical/Security Officer, USS Pegasus