That's My Q # 44 & 45 - "Burdens of Fathers"


[Starbase 47, Costume Party]

Carl sipped from his glass and scanned the room. To him this was not just an occasion to have some fun in dressing up as your favorite fictional character, though he was certainly enjoying it. It was also an opportunity to mingle and to get to know some of the senior staff that he hadn't got a chance to meet.

He couldn't quite figure out whom some of the people were as they decided to wear a mask or some variants of a mask. But most others could be easily to identified.

His eyes fell on a beautiful redhead sitting at a table by the windows. The name Hannah O'Driscoll popped up in his head. With the glass in his hand he walked over. "Lieutenant O'Driscoll?" He asked softly, trying not to startle her.

Hannah looked up, smiling. Jesse had been called back to the Edinburgh to deal with a minor incident, and she had been trying to pass the time till his return by trying to guess who everyone was supposed to be.

She recognised the man in front of her, though they had never had anything more than the formal introduction. "Lieutenant Lee?"

"Glad to see you here, lieutenant." He smiled in return. "May I?..." He gestured at the empty chair.

"Be my guest." Hannah said, welcomingly. "So, what have you come as?"

He sat down in the chair and placed the glass on the table. "Oh, this?" His lips curled up in a smile. "Yang Wen-li, a character from an ancient Earth novel and animation. A pacifistic historian wanna-be who ended up in the military and came down in history as one of the greatest military commanders."

He shrugged slightly. "Ironic, isn't it? Just like life itself." Then with a grin he commented, "It's a lovely dress you got there. Let me guess, you are a beautiful princess from a fairytale?"

"Something like that." Hannah smiled. "Juliet from 'Romeo and Juliet'. But you're right about the beautiful part." She laughed.

Carl laughed in kind. "I know a beautiful lady when I see one." Then he thought for a second. "Ah, 'Romeo and Juliet', I remember that story. It's one of my father's favorite plays of all time. A bit too tragic for my taste though.¡±

He took a sip from the glass and continued. "My father used to drag my sister and me to the theater and force us to sit there for hours and watch the whole thing." He chuckled. "That's probably why I never developed an interest in those ancient Earth plays."

Hannah shrugged. "I never was much interested in Old Earth, but Shakespeare's a classic."

"He sure was one of the greatest playwrights.¡± Carl nodded slightly. ¡°I am just not very into stories with tragic endings. Laughter, however silly, is always better than tears. Don't you think so?"

Hannah nodded. "Absolutely. There's too much crying in the universe nowadays."

"Yes...yes, sadly......" His voice trailed off as he turned his head and looked out of the window for a brief moment. When he turned back, a smile was again on his face. "How do you like the station so far? It must be quite different from your last ship assignment, the USS Pegasus, wasn't it?"

"Yeah." Hannah said. "The diversity of people here...the numbers - I haven't experienced this since the academy."

"The academy," Carl smiled. It brought back some quite pleasant memories. "Those were some of my happiest years. Too bad we can't go back in time." He laughed softly. "Anyhow, what class were you?"

"2378" Hannah said, "but I graduated a semester late...there were complications in my third year..."

"what happened?" Carl could feel the curiosity lurking inside of him.

"You didn't recognise my last name?" Hannah said, somewhat surprised. The O'Driscoll scandal had been somewhat legendary at the time - something to do with the position of his father, no doubt.

O'Driscoll...the name began to ring a bell. "Rear Admiral Andrew O'Driscoll?" He paused briefly. "You're his¡­daughter?"

Hannah smiled sadly. "Unfortunately so."

Carl stared at her as he struggled in his mind: to tell, or not to tell, that was the question (speaking of irony). But he quickly made up his mind. "Before my father retired, he was a JAG officer." After a brief pause, he added, "Rear Admiral Bin Lee."

It's better that they knew whom each other was now. If he had chosen to conceal it, later it might complicate matters even more. But how would she react? He wondered.

Hannah's face hardened. "Leave this table. Now."

Carl sighed. He had expected a negative response, but nothing this strong. After all, it had been over five years. He thought time would have at least diluted any ill-feelings. But perhaps it hadn¡¯ t. "Lieutenant," He said in a leveled voice, "My father was simply doing his job as a JAG officer. That's all. I hope you would understand."

That, of course, wasn't entirely true. His father, then Rear Admiral Bin Lee, who led the investigation into and later the prosecution against Rear Admiral Andrew O'Driscoll, did not take the case as just another assignment. He was outraged and disgusted by what O'Driscoll had done with his position: embezzlement, perjury, selling classified intelligence, compromising Federation security, you name it. To Admiral Lee, his once-colleague and friend betrayed the oath they took and everything that uniform stood for. And he prosecuted the case feverishly.

"Your father seized my assets, had me under house arrest for three weeks, interrogated me for four hours every day, and then to make matters worse, alienated every friend I had at the academy by hauling them in for interrogation as well." Hannah almost snarled.

"And then when I was found to be 100% innocent in my father¡¯s treachery, what did I get? An apology. I still have it framed in my office." Hannah said, sarcastically.

Carl lifted an eyebrow. "Those were standard investigation procedures. You couldn't possibly expect my father not to investigate people close to Admiral O'Driscoll in a case of that magnitude. And as you said, once you were cleared of any wrongdoings, my father and the JAG did apologize. What more do you want?" Despite his conscious effort to remain calm, his voice rose slightly. He just couldn't let someone question his father's integrity and do nothing.

"I wanted someone not to decide I was guilty before they met me." She said silently.

Suddenly he felt bad for her. His voice softened, "My father's tactics could be...aggressive at times, but I assure you, he would never wrongly accuse someone innocent." He looked into her eyes and said sincerely, "I am sorry that you had to go through all those. It must be...tough." He could only imagine.

Hannah sighed. "Maybe right. Besides, if I judged you based on your father, I'd be no better than those who judged me."

Carl sighed inwardly. It seemed she still held grudge against his old man, but at least the two of them could treat each other without the burdens of their fathers. Maybe one day she would leave that burden completely behind her, maybe.

"Thank you." He smiled softly. Then the smile broadened. "So, where's Romeo?"

"First you call me beautiful, and now you're checking whether I have a boyfriend?" Hannah smiled. "Are you hitting on me?"

Carl laughed. "Well, we do seem to have all the background ingredients for another 'Romeo and Juliet'." Then, with a bright smile, he asked, "Care for a dance?"

Hannah laughed. " long as you don't mind giving me up when my boyfriend returns." She stood, shrugging her shoulders. "Sorry."

"It's worth a try." He smirked. Standing up, he walked to her side. He bent his right arm so that she could take it. And then together they walked to the dance floor.


Lieutenant Hannah O'Driscoll Chief Strategic Operations Officer SB 47 ¨C Starbase Ronin


Lieutenant JG Carl P. A. Lee Chief Diplomatic Officer SB 47 ¨C Starbase Ronin