Pandora's Box #107&108 - "Human After All..."

-={On}=- [Captain's Ready Room, Deck 1, USS Pegasus]

Caelen had sat back in his chair and sighed heavily, he rubbed his eyes a bit, somehow this virus was wearing him down faster then a normal days work would. Another sigh as he leaned back in the chair "I wish I was still an XO... things seemed so easy back then..." he thought to himself. He glanced around his room and spotted the miniature he had broken earlier, "that's not the only thing you've broken..." he told himself before he hit his combadge =/ \= Commander Petrova, please report to my ready room =/\=

Kristiana closed her eyes and muttered softly under her breath. "Are you Sure you want to see me again, Sir ? And not just look at me before yelling at me and sending me off again ?" and now that that was out of the way she tapped her combadge and replied for real =/\= On my way, Sir. =/\= and a good minute later, she rang his doorchime.

"Enter" Caelen knew that this was it, it would either make or break their relation as XO and CO, as Kris entered he motioned her to the chair "Please take a seat Commander"

She remained quiet, apart from some quiet counting, under her breath. When this was all over and they found a cure for the virus, that was gonna make things a Lot easier. That moment couldn't come a moment too soon. She sat down where indicated.

"Commander... Kris... could you please tell my why you brought this problem to me and didn't solve it yourself?" Caelen asked, still a bit bluntly, unlike Kristiana he found this virus liberating. "I thought the XO is capable and allowed to punish and discipline crewmembers in case of a misstep" what bugged him most was that for no obvious reason, to him, Kris had send this case to him rather then solve it herself.

"This is true, Sir. I am .. I have the authority and know the rules about punishment in cases like this. " she would begin her reply. "I excersized this right and authority when writing up a punishment for the security officers involved - a punishment that you changed, I might add .. " she sighed softly, not having wanted to say that particular bit. "But in the case of Ryylar, I felt that my personal involvement might cloud my judgment, and atleast give rise to rumors among the crew of pulling favorites. That would undermine my credibility as XO."

"First of all, I did not change the punishment... as you have written it down it still stands, luckily I have a few collegues in the rest of Starfleet that might want to help me out on other matters..." Caelen smirked at the idea that the officers wouldn't be allowed to serve on any federation ship for the coming year. "As for personal involvement, you are no more involved with Ryylar then with Evans, you're collegues... maybe you talked a bit more with him but that doesn't take away that when you're on duty we're addressed and treated by rank"

"And while on duty I'll do my utmost best to do just that, Sir. But .. we've been seeing eachother off duty as well, and .. " She sighed softly and started counting again. Which would probably tell Caelen enough.

"And matters are a bit different then with, say, Evans..." Caelen confirmed her half answer. "...I'm..." he remained quiet a bit "...supposed to tell you that relationships in starfleet are frowned upon..." he slowly shook his head "...but frankly I can only say I'm happy for you" he smirked a bit, he remembered the speech he had gotten when his CO got wind of his relationship with Jennifer, and how he couldn't care less what Starfleet Command thought of it.

She's sigh with relief, and actually smile - he hadn't seen her smile very often, but it was a kind smile, the kind that warms the heart. "Thank you, Sir .. That means a lot to me." Then adding "So you can understand why I didn't decide on a punishment for him, myself."

Caelen stood up from his chair and started pacing "I understand a lot of things now..." he admitted turning to Kris slightly " I know why you reacted so fiercely... and I understand that I should've never called you in my ready room to sit out the punishment of Mister Ryylar" he started pacing again, hessitating a bit as he saw the shattered miniature still laying on the floor, before he swiftly spun around and watched Kris again.

"The virus is affecting us all, Sir. Some more than others .. " as she looked at him. " .. But it's affecting us all. Might I suggest counting under your breath ? I find that helps me make only a half a fool of myself in front of our crew, instead of a complete idiot."

"If my thoughts make me an idiot then so be it... I finally have the chance to say what I think without my human mind twisting everything so that it seems right to myself... I might not be proud of what I say but at least I'm saying what's on my mind... which is a lot more then others can say..." Caelen walked up to the window and looked out again "only a few more hours until we reach Earth"

She rose to her feet again and sighed softly, wandering over, to look out the window again, counting quietly, looking thoughtful. ".. Ryylar and me .. were going to head down, to see my father .. together .. So I could introduce him to my only remaining family, and have his moral support in .. dealing with some unpleasant business." She quietly told Caelen.

Caelen sighed and looked to his side "You know I can't..." he looked out to stars again " long would you need?"

"A day .. at most, Sir." She quietly spoke, falling into her routine of counting underneath her breath again, simply staring out into space. Part of her dreaded what she was going to do, once they reached earth. And part of her longed for it, more than for anything else.

"You have twenty hours..." Caelen spoke with determination before completely turning to Kris "...according to regulations in the Starfleet charter, some subsection of a by-law" he winked at Kris notifying her that there was no such by-law. He slowly walked back to his chair and sat down, another sigh "you know somehow this virus should help us understand each other... but all it does is make the gap between us bigger" he turned to Kris "tells you something about humans, doesn't it?"

"That it does, Sir." She smirked. "Tells me that we two should NEVER date." she added with a chuckle, before turning more serious again .. giving a nod. "Thank you, Sir. For those twenty hours .. And .. well, for talking."

Caelen smirked and nodded slowly "I'll keep that in Mind commander..." he rubbed his temples again and leaned back in his chair "...two hundred years of evolution straight out the window by a simple virus... I still can't get my head around it" he wasn't talking to Kris but to himself.

"Oh it's not That bad, Sir." She sighed softly. "Atleast this way you really get to know your crew. For better or for worse. And except for the counselor, we can all still do our jobs with some measure of efficiency, while infected." A slight pause. ".. And in our engineer's case, I'm not really noticing much of a difference, anyways."

Caelen chuckled a bit at the last comment "Don't tell her that, it's bad enough already... have you heard that she blurted out her feelings towards Evans... and he did the same thing..." he shook his head, how he would've loved to have been there.

"Ah, and I missed it." She smirked a bit, then turned more serious. ".. Will there be anything else, Sir ?"

"You should really stop the small talk, she doesn't like small talk..." Caelen whispered to himself, before he sighed and turned to Kris "...No, that'll be all Commander"

".. It's not that I hate small-talk, Sir - but there's a certain feline in the brig that I wanna go and talk with." She'd nod "Thanks again for talking to me, Sir." as she turned to head towards the brig.

The doors closed behind Kris "It was the least I could do..." he said, probably not being heard by his XO


Cmdr. Caelen LaBrie Commanding Officer


Lt. Cmdr. Kristiana Petrova Executive Officer

USS Pegasus