Pandora's Box #111-112: Politics as usual


<Cellblock, USS Pegasus>

Kristiana wandered onto the cell-block, on her way to see Ryylar. She passed by the cells of the security-guards first, the ones that were in there because of the very same incident. She remembered giving one a few broken ribs, while knocking several teeth out of another.

Ryylar sat back, his eyes closed and his head resting against the bulkhead behind him as he just slowly breathed in and out, trying to get a handle on his emotions.

"Hey tiger .. " She spoke in a soft voice, arriving at his cell. " .. It hurt to see you in there, like that." as she pulled up a chair to sit right outside his cell, so she can more easily talk with him.

He smiled a bit as he heard her voice and opened his eyes, the other swollen a bit more to the point of almost not opening from one of the hits he had taken earlier.

"Hey beautiful..." He said softly, moving closer to her.

"If you think that'ssssss bad, trrrrrrry being on thissssss ssssside and not being able to touch you..." He said softly.

She'd smile softly, but sadly, and give a nod. "Yeah .. Well .. I'm still trying to sort through the entire headache that this situation brings. Atleast Caelen agreed to give us 20 hours together when we reach earth, so we can visit my dad, and mom's grave .. That way we'll also have some 'us' time."

He smiled and nodded.

"That wasssss nicccce of him, rrrrrrremind me to buy him a drrrrrrink when I get out of herrrrrrre." He said, though his eyes might have been a bit sarcastic, his tone was genuine and she could tell he truly appreciated the Captain's 'mercy'.

A soft chuckle "As long as it's not a poison one." She then frowns and turns more serious. "I also have some .. not so much fun things to talk to you about. But .. I feel that if we get them behind us now, that means that the worst is behind us."

"And herrrrrrrre I thought the worrrrrrrssssst parrrrrrrt of thissssss would be my handsssssssome looksssss being brrrrrruissssssed." He said with a slight smile and nod, letting her know to go ahead.

"Eh .. That'll heal up and you'll be drop dead gorgeous again. If a bit furry." she replied with a soft chuckle, before returning to serious-mode. "You've been getting noticed eversince we docked at the starbase, prior to this little cargo run. And not in a really good way .. Kidnapping me from sickbay - granted, I co-operated fully, and am as much to blame as you .. Now this brawl ... your general attitude towards Starfleet and Regulations .. " She paused a moment, letting him reply to his, if he wanted.

"Mmm..." He said, nodding a bit as he looked at Kris, knowing where this was heading.

"Didn't we have thissssss converrrrrrsssssation in yourrrrrrr quarrrrrrterrrrrsssss?" he asked her, refering to their earlier conversation in her quarters before running into, literally, Melina.

She shook her head a bit. "No .. Well, not really. It's because of me that you're in here, because of the things I told you, I said to you. But .. I want to avoid seeing you in here again, after this is over. Which is why I'm bringing this up, now." She'd frown a bit, reaching out to touch the forcefield dividing them, and wincing slightly as it discharges into her hand.

"If you keep on being noticed for the wrong reasons, you'll eventually be demoted and thrown out of Starfleet .. I know you don't care much about Starfleet, and I can understand why - there are times I think that the entire admiralty should be tossed out an airlock .. But consider this .. I'm a career officer. When you are thrown out of Starfleet, I'll still be on this ship."

He moved forward in slight alarm at her well being. He cared for her, so the reaction was natural. When he heard her words of admonishment, he looked down and away from her, too ashamed to look at her.

"Yeah... I know..." He said softly.

She would give a nod. "I'm not asking you to change. If you Did change, I'd smack you around, demanding to know what you did with the Real Ryylar .. I'm not asking you to become a model starfleet officer - I know you couldn't do that, and you'd be unhappy that way .. I'm just .. asking you to consider, that .. Well .. you're not alone anymore. Which means that you can't live as if you Were."

She smiled softly at him through the forcefield. "So .. If you want to keep me happy .. Don't get kicked out of Starfleet."

"I honessssstly am trrrrrrying Krrrrrrisssss. I walked away in that lounge. I told them I'd go to Commanderrrrrrr LaBrrrrrrie...." He said, starting to make excuses.

"It'sssss harrrrrd you know... it'ssss like what I sssssaid to Commanderrrrr LaBrrrrrrie earrrrrlierrrrr. When you've been kicked out of the only worrrrrrld you've everrrrrr known and find you'rrrrrre not fully welcome in yourrrrrr new worrrrrrld, well it..." He said, trying to find the right word.

"It'sssss harrrrrd to accccccept that... It'ssssss almossssst like I can't fit in no matterrrrrr wherrrrrrre I am... excccccept when I'm in yourrrrrrr arrrrmsssss." He said, turning as he said that last bit to face her.

She'd nod "I know it's hard. Well .. I can understand. And I know I'm not the easiest person to get along with, either. But you say that the only place you feel like you belong, is in my arms .. If you get kicked out of Starfleet, you won't be able to experience that anymore. It's .. like a package deal, really. You take me, you get Starfleet, free. Offer only valid while supply lasts." Kristiana would smirk softly. "If you expect to not fit in, you won't. It's like a self-fullfilling prophecy. You'll see every little thing that goes wrong, that rubs you or your colleagues the wrong way, and you say 'see ? I don't fit in here either' .. But, think about it. You run the bar - and it's a popular place on the ship. You have several staff, who all like you. And you have Me. It's a start."

"All I need issssss you..." He said softly, turning and if it wasn't for the silver sheen of the tear rolling down his swollen cheek, she wouldn't have noticed the tear in his voice either.

"What am I ssssssuppossssssed to do though? Back down? Wait until ssssssomeone elssssse comesssss to ssssstop a prrrrroblem? If I had waited on the Rrrrrrrhode Island forrrrrr the ssssssecurrrrrrrity officcccerrrrrsssss to sssshow up and ssssstop thossssse Brrrrreen, I and ssssssseverrrrral people would be dead rrrrrright now." He said, frowning a bit.

"I can't tell you what to do, Ryylar. I can't even make suggestions. Everything you did - then, and now again .. was the right thing to do, morally. But this brawl still got you notice, the wrong way." She'd shoulderslump slightly as she tried to find the words. "One of the problems is that you're 'just' a Warrant Officer. With a bit of a fatalistic view on things. If that were to change .. "

"How can that change? I'm only sssssssslightly above the enlisssssted crrrrrrrew herrrrrrre, and ssssssuperrrrrriorrrrrr rrrrrranking sssssseemsssss to mean that you'rrrrrrre alwaysssss rrrrrrright." He asked her, commenting on why he was in here in the first place.

She'd blink a bit at that last remark, then shrug some. "They're only higher ranking because they went to the right school a bit longer. But you're a smart guy, you can learn if you wanted to." Then a grin. "You know I'm right. After all, I'm higher ranked 'n you." she joked.

"But accorrrrrrding to ssssstarrrrrrfleet, only the commanding officccccerrrrrr can asssign a comissssssioned rrrrrrrank, unlesss you arrrrrre a grrrrrrraduate of Sssssstarrrrrrrfleet Academy. Which I'm not." He said.

She'd nod "But you can be." Shrugging lightly. "You're smart enough to waltz through a correspondance course, then take an exam, and presto: Commissioned officer. You'll get better quarters, too."

"That would be fourrrrrrrr yearrrrrrsssss of trrrrrraining..." He said, citing the normal time it took to complete the Academy.

"Bessssssssidesssss, I doubt Sssssstarrrrrfleet would asssssssign me to yourrrrrrrr quarrrrrrterrrrrrsssss." He said, smiling gently.

"Four years of training for kid students." She'd shrug a bit "I've seen guys do it in six months." remembering some other non-com officers who wanted up in the fleet.

"All rrrrrrrright... if that'sssssss what you want Krrrrrrrissss, I'm game and we'll play thingssssss yourrrrr way." He said, shaking his head a bit.

"I don't want a slave to cater to my every whim, Ryylar." Slight pause. "Well, not outside the bedroom, atleast." Some snickering from the next few cells "And if I hear so much as one peep out of Any of you, I'll knock out the rest of your teeth and break the rest of your ribs as well. Am I understood ?!" after which a chorus of "Yes Ma'am !" sounded, and Kris turned her attention back to Ryylar.

"I'm saying this, to give you an idea of what's possible. If you do this .. Do it for You. Not because I want you to - because, frankly, I'm not gonna love you more if you do, and I'm not gonna love you less if you don't. It's just an idea, a possibility."

"Krrrrrrissss, the only thing I have rrrrrrright now isssss yourrrrrr happinesssss. Thissssss sssssship... thissssss uniforrrrrrm... thisssssss rrrrrank... it meansssssss nothing to me. I could walk away tomorrrrrrrrow. I could live without you. I've done it forrrrrrrr mosssssst of my life Krrrrrrrrissss... But now that I have you... I don't want to live without you." He said, trying to point that fact out to her.

She'd nod. "In that case .. What I want most of all, from you .. Is that you are happy with who you are. And right now, I don't think that that's entirely the case. Maybe if you built up something, if you become more than a bartender, you will find some pride in your life again. Because I want to see you happy."

"Doesssssssn't Ssssstarrrrrfleet have a rrrrrrrregulation on that? Being too prrrrrrroud? Having fun?" He said jokingly.

"I'll be happy when I can hold you in my arrrrrrrrmsssss again." He said with a somewhat shaky voice.

"Besssssidesssss.... what kind of officccccerrrrrrr am I going to make when I have thissssss blemissssssh on my rrrrrrrecorrrrrrrd?" He asked, gesturing to the cell around him.

"There's nothing on your record Yet, Ryylar." She looked straight at him. "Caelen's waiting for a reason to add that on top of the cell and the house arrest. Showing him that you want to work on fitting in and becoming a reliable, productive member of his crew might make him not put that note on your record. Don't hang me up on this, though - he just might, anyways .. "

"I don't want to be an embarrrrrrasssssment to you Krrrrrrrissss. That'sssssss why I wasssssss going to appeal the decisssssion. Everrrrrrryone hassssss told me that I did the rrrrrrright thing... If I did the rrrrrrright thing, why should I be disssssciplined forrrrrr it?" He asked, still having a bit of difficulty with that.

"Because you did the right thing, from a moral standpoint." she'd explain. "From a legal standpoint, you should've called people in. If not security, then me or Caelen. There are strict rules about striking ranking officers. Mostly because it is assumed that these ranking officers outrank you for a reason - be it age, hard work, or whatever." she'd sigh softly

"Caelen agrees that you mostly did the right thing. That's why you only got four days instead of four months."

"That'ssssss what I don't underrrrrrrssssstand about you humansssssss. No offensssssse dearrrrrrr, but if you'rrrrrrre making a law that prrrrrrotectssssssss people like that..." He said with a thumb pointed in the direction of the four security guards.

"Then what they do issssss the rrrrrrright thing by that law." He said with a frown. He wasn't a lawyer or a politician or even any sort of leader, he was just Ryylar, a party boy and entertainer shoved in a Starfleet Uniform.

"Well, what would you get if we allowed any lower ranking officer to just go ahead and beat up on ranking ones ?" She inquired. "Pandemonium. Chaos. Anarchy. Death, mayhem and destruction. And several other bad words to describe the situation." She smirked softly. "That rule is based on the idea that higher ranking officers know how to behave properly." as she'd glare in the direction of the other cells. "Which SOME obviously, do Not."

"But when you have higherrrrrrr rrrrrranking officccccerrrrrrsssss who abussssse theirrrrrr powerrrrr and posssssitionssssss, it fallssssss on the morrrrralssssss of we peonssssss to enssssssurrrrrrre that higherrrrrrr officcccerrrrrrssssss don't sssssssscrrrrrew up... What would have happened if Errrrrika Benteen didn't help againsssssst Admirrrrrral Leyton? Orrrrrr if any commanding officccerrrr wasssssn't rrrrrrelieved of command by an inferrrrrriorrrrr officccccerrrr afterrrrr a mental brrrrreakdown?" He asked.

"Officially, you're report their wrong behaviour to an even higher ranking officer. Black, Caelen or Me. Not that Black has a very high rank, but she's the second officer, and has authorities that regular Lieutenant Junior Grade's don't .. And then we, even-higher-ranking officers, will look into the situation, and relieve the offending officer from duty, if applicable." Kristiana would nod to Ryylar. "This chain of events is preferable to throwing them across the bar." with a soft smirk. "But, I know .. That would've taken time, and Mason would have drawn the short straw in that case. So .. We understand why you did what you did .. But it wasn't the 'politically convenient' thing to do."

"Therrrrrre'ssssss that worrrrrd again... You know... I am ssssssstarrrrrrrting to underrrrrrsssstand a bit morrrrrrre why I'm herrrrrre." He said with a slight smile.

"What - because you're politically inconvenient ?" She'd snicker a bit, then nods "Yes, we humans are a strange breed."

"You had a generrrrrral back in yourrrrrr hisssssstorrrrrry. I think hissssss name wassssss Patterrrrrssssson... No, Patton! That'sssss it... He wasssssss one of the mosssssst geniussssss militarrrrrry leaderrrrrrsss of yourrrrrr hissssstorrrrry. We have entirrrrrre courrrrrrrrsssssesssss on hissssss tacticssssss at the Caitian Militarrrrrrry Academy on Cait." He said with a smile, watching her, just enjoying the beauty he could see of her through the reddish glow of the low setting forcefield.

"He wasssss harrrrrrrd on hisssss trrrrrrrrroopsssss, but he wassssss the mosssssst effective commanderrrrrrr yourrrrrr ssssspecccciesssss had durrrrrrring yourrrrrr sssssecond worrrrrrrld warrrrrr, but he wassssss continually rrrrrrremoved frrrrrrom command becaussssssse he wasssss assss you ssssssay, 'politically inconvenient.'" He said with a nod, starting to gain a grasp on it. While he still didn't understand the motivating reason behind it, he was at least understanding the reason he was being punished. Not because he had done something truly 'wrong', but because it would be politically incorrect for him not to be punished.

She'd smile at him. "Exactly. So, you understand a bit better now, why you're here ?" She'd reach out towards him again, and again winces as the forcefield discharges into her hand. "I'm planning a little surprise for you, for when you get out again, in a few days."

He frowned a bit and moved forward, stopping just as his whiskers hit the forcefield and singed the tips.

"Ohh? Well I'm underrrrrrstanding a bit morrrrrre, though I think it'll take a lot morrrrrre than a college courrrrrrssssse to get me to underrrrrrssssstand even morrrrrre." he said with a nod.

"Well .. I still want you to decide for yourself if you're going to go through with that. Personally, I think you should. We still have a few openings on the ship, most notably in Tactical, Security and Comms. You'd need to choose a specialisation. " she'd tell him.

"Sssssecurrrrrrity?" He asked, his ears piquing with interest. Though he wasn't much on communications or Tactical. His Caitian military training had given him years of hand to hand combat experience and physical training. And if it gave him a chance to impress Kristiana, then he'd be all for it.

"Yeah, we've got a few openings in there .. " She'd nod, then smile. "And it's what I did before doing Command and getting this comission. But that would put you in the place of Those guys .. " as she motioned to the other cells again.

"I think that people might feel a bit morrrrrrre sssssssecurrrrrrre with sssssssomeone like me than with thossssssse fourrrrrrr." He said, thumbing over towards them again.

"Well, it's your choice, hon .." She'd sigh softly. ".. And I should return to duty." as she rose from her chair ".. You'll be alright. Take care .. "

"I'll trrrrrry." He said.

"Oh Krrrrrissss beforrrrrre you leave... uhm... can you lowerrrrrr the forrrrrcccccefield forrrrrr two sssssecondssss?" He asked in a low whisper.

She'd nod. "Sure thing .. Computer, override forcefield." the red shimmer would vanish, as Kris stood in front of the cell.

He moved towards her slowly and ever so gently reached out to stroke his fingertips over the soft skin of her cheek, smiling a bit at her.

She'd nuzzle into his hand, then pull him into a tight hug, and kiss him, with definate passion, for a few moments, before stepping back again.

He held her and kissed her, fierce tears gently running down his cheek and staining hers as he held her for a brief moment, dutifully stepping away and back into the cell so she could reactivate the forcefield.

Last thing she did before reactivating the forcefield is reach over to wipe one of his tears away .. "Computer, reactivate forcefield .. " .. And without saying another word, she turned and walked out again. She knew that words were not nessecary at that moment.

He watched her leave, moving to the opposite side of the cell to see her until she moved out of view and sat down.

"You don't deserve her pussy cat." Said one of the security officers down the cell block in a sarcastic tone.

"No... and I rrrrregrrrrrret not clawing out yourrrrr eyessssss... because ssssscum like you doessssn't desssserve to look at herrrrr." He said in retort, sitting back on the bench in his quarters. It certainly was going to be hard. Even without this stupid virus affecting his mind, it was going to be difficult to become less 'politically inconvenient', but he would do it. Not for himself, not for Kristiana, but for the both of them.


A JP by:

Lt Cmdr Kristiana Petrova Executive Officer USS Pegasus "As politically inconvenient as Patterson"


Warrant Officer Ryylar Morale Officer Lounge Manager USS Pegasus "Being politically convenient doesn't mean you're right."