Trojan Horse #123&124 - "Disturbed Peace"

-={On}=- [Main Bridge, Deck One, USS Pegasus]

Lt. Kathleen Black knew that she was going to have to speak to the captain soon.. about what had happened over there, on the Lantree. She awoke in Sickbay a full twelve hours later and spent a moment with Evans before going to... well, his quarters. Hers were still damaged. She made use of his shower, making sure she was all clean and neat, and ate a full meal... then she made her way to the bridge, looking for the captain. She looked much better than the waif that had wandered into Sickbay the better part of a day earlier.

Caelen sat in the centre chair, looking like he desperately needed either sleep or a strong cup of coffee, whichever came first. But he stayed at his post until he was sure he and the remainder of his crew would arrive at the Starbase in one piece. Or at least... alive enough to tell about it.

Kitty saw the top of his head from the bridge turbolift and stepped down to face him. "Sir... I'm ready to address what happened on the away mission." She blinked. "...You look like you could use the sleep I just had," she added without thinking.

"I don't remember giving you permission to speak freely, Lieutenant..." Caelen stated bluntly, he stood up from his chair and then walked to his Ready Room, opening the door by pressing the button next to it. It didn't fully respond, staying half closed but open enough for Caelen to get in. The room he stepped in was dim lit and had a muff smell, also one of the beams had fallen down into one of his cubboards, he was a bit relieved that it was just the hardcopy closer of all the paperwork he had done. He walked to his chair and picked it up from the ground, cleaning it a bit with his hand and sitting down.

Kitty frowned at that and followed him meekly. She stepped sideways into the Ready Room and then pulled the door closed behind her. "I'm sorry, sir," she said quietly, quite certain that she'd Messed Up Again.

"No you're not..." Caelen replied to that, he wanted to add 'but you will be' but that would even be to cruel even for him "...what was it you wanted to share about the things that happened on the Lantree?" he asked her, leaning back in his chair.

"We had trouble from the damaged EMT there, sir. She had constructed a number of mobile units with integrated phasers and sensors. They ignored us at first, because they were headed for the single functioning transporter pad. They were headed for the Pegasus. Most of the security team went to stop them while I headed to the bridge and disconnected the main computer core. I hoped we could get to Engineering before the EMT rerouted to the secondary core, but it only took her a few seconds. We encountered gravity traps in the deck plating, mobile devices, and the EMT herself with a mobile emitter. The security team sent to keep the Pegasus safe was pinned down." She took a breath. "I helped clear some of the corpses, sir, during the time that we were not under fire. I didn't want to lose more people."

"Clear corpses? In what way?" Caelen asked, she had explained it before but this was the official report and he had to ask again, for the record.

"Vaporized, sir. Phaser at maximum." Kitty closed her eyes. "If it helps, for identification or whatnot, I am certain I could describe each and every one. In detail." She tried to not show that she was starting to shake again.. just a little.

Caelen shook his head in disgust again, just like the first time "And at what point did you think it was morally right to vaporize the bodies of your fallen brothers and sisters in arms in stead of pushing them out of the way? There was no Gravity right? A slight push would've sufficed"

"They did that at first, sir. The.. the bodies kept coming back. These were dead bodies. I was trying to prevent More dead bodies. We were in trouble.. we already had injured among us. If they were in stasis, sir, I would never have allowed it. But They. Were. Dead." Kitty took another deep breath, holding onto the arms of the chair, tightening her grip.

"So the dead have no rights? Their families no rights for a last goodbye?" Caelen stood up from his chair, this was exactly the reason he hadn't seen Alexander when he had died. "Where you in immediate danger?" he then asked "what was there that kept you from pushing them away again until you cleared that area?"

"If I had been able to communicate with the ship, sir, I could have asked your opinion on the matter. We could have pushed them, and they would have drifted back to us. As little atmosphere as there was, we disturbed by walking past. I can't say honestly that all that passed through my mind at the time, though."

"But you were the senior officer on that away mission, Lieutenant, why did you make the decission?" Caelen asked "did somebody force you to pull that trigger? did someone fire first?"

"I didn't make the decision, sir... but I did not object either, and I was the senior officer on the away mission." Now she shifted to clasp her hands slightly together, trying to not show how trembly she was. "I did not fire first. Nobody forced me to pull the trigger."

"Then Why did you?" Caelen snapped back to the desk and landed his fists on the table "What Made You Pull That Trigger And Turn The Men and Women That Gave Their Lives In Order To Safe Ours, To Dust?!" Caelen his voice rose above talking level and he was just right out shouting at his 2nd XO "How Can I Trust You to Make Command Decisions If on the First Away Mission You Start Vaporizing Your Allies! Your Friends! Your Own Kin!" he pushed himself of the desk violently, because of this it shook slightly as it was not in the condition anymore it was used to be in. He walked up to the forcefield that kept him from being sucked into the vacuum of space. Many times in the past he had wondered how peaceful it would be, how soothing, just die out there in the void. No sound, no vision, no feeling, just space. All these dark thoughts and memories of the past returned to him at that moment. He had killed the crew of a Starfleet vessel, he had blood on his hands and he had no God to forgive him, no way to redeem his mistakes, he was a killer, a murderer… and it would only get worse.

"They were already dead," Kitty repeated, her voice tight. She'd jumped when Caelen pounded his fists on the table and then jumped to her feet in alarm when the desk had shaken. Then her own voice rose. "Suppose I hadn't, okay? Suppose I hadn't allowed it, hadn't done it. Suppose they'd been drifting back towards us when Sulan fell into the gravity trap right afterwards. Suppose one of them had drifted into the trap and injured her worse.. or blocked a security officer's line of fire while he was covering for us! That is precisely what I was hoping to Avoid, and we Succeeded! We brought back everybody who'd gone over with us! I respect the dead, sir, I honestly do. But not at the point where I will risk the lives under my command. And if that makes me a bad commander..." Her voice had quieted now, and she glanced down. "Then maybe you should've made someone else the Second Officer."

Caelen slammed his fist into the forcefield, she was right, she was so unmistakably, undeniably, right. "Next time, Lieutenant... at least try..." he stated, not turning around. He didn't want her to see him like this, although it was apparent by the sudden change in voice. A tear was falling from his eyes, down his cheek and landing softly on his uniform, where it got soaked up in the fabric " least try" his voice silencing now, he closed his eyes. The silver ring around his right hand a painful reminder of those he lost, a reminder so that he wouldn't forget.

Kitty wanted to say I DID! But the change in voice gave her pause... and she simply said softly, "Yessir." She was visibly trembling again, and she knew he had to be able to tell... but the he closed his eyes, and she saw the tear, and wondered if he'd noticed her shaking at all. She swallowed... and took a deep breath. "Y-you could change your mind, sir..." Her voice trembled. "And make someone else your second officer, maybe Evans, it usually goes to Chief Ops anyways... and you get along better with him. I.. what with all this mess, I wouldn't blame you." She fell silent, still standing, tightening her hands around the back of her chair.

Caelen shook his head "I don't like Evans more then you, Kathleen, I don't like T'Rell less then you... You are all my Senior officers for a reason, I respect you" he turned around to fully face his Chief Engineer "if you thought you did the right thing then I trust you..." he walked closer to Kathleen and put a a hand on her shoulder and giving her a gentle squeeze "...just make sure you stay true to yourself" he said cryptically. He glanced over that the bearily closed doors of his ready room, everybody on the bridge would have heard them being angry at each other, but knowing Starfleet they would never say anything about it. "Dismissed Lieutenant" he then stated, professionally, emotionlessly, before lifting the hand of her shoulder.

"Thank you sir.." Kitty whispered, tears in her eyes... and she turned and hurried out of the Ready Room, making a beeline for the turbolift before anyone else could see.


Cmdr. Caelen LaBrie Commanding Officer USS Pegasus "How peaceful would it be?"


Lt. Kathleen Black Chief Engineer USS Pegasus