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Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2012
Posts: 106
# 5
02-18-2013, 05:50 PM
* * *

"Admiral Kane," Azera chirped in a voice somewhere between cheerful enthusiasm and wide-eyed panic, darting around her ready room to lightly pick up each one of the dozen tribbles hopping around the room and drop them onto the sofa before settling into her chair... and then jumping to her feet again to lift an indignantly squeaking tribble off the cushion, perching it atop her desk with a weary sigh before sitting down to focus on the screen.

"If this is a bad time commander," the handsome, and stern-looking, admiral began...

"No, no, it's fine," she waved her hands quickly and apologetically, "we're just having a little tribble on the Roanoke. I mean, a little trouble! It's kind of a long story..."

"Let me try to guess," he smirked, "one of your crew bought a tribble on Drozana Station. The Ferengi who sold it probably promised that it was sterile. It wasn't."

"Okay," she admitted sheepishly as she hastily set aside a purring little furball that she'd suddenly caught herself petting, "so it's not such a long story."

"Don't worry about it," he chuckled, "tribble infestations are practically a rite of passage for new captains. Have you decided what you're going to do with them yet?"

"I've set up a rendezvous this week with each of the 17 Federation-approved tribble handlers in this sector, and we'll be dropping off about, oh, three dozen per handler. We should have the ship cleared out and the tribbles going to good homes in just a few days."

"You're not just jettisoning them," Admiral Kane tilted his head a little, "I admire that. Anyway, I was calling about your report on the Devidians and Franklin Drake. You've handled the situation well. Unfortunately Drake has connections in Starfleet that make challenging him with your testimony alone a dangerous proposition, but he's already placing a remarkable amount of trust in you. Give him enough rope and he'll hopefully tie the knots himself."

"Understood admiral," she responded more seriously, artfully dodging a tribble that'd tumbled off one of the shelves behind her and brushing her rose-pink ponytail back again before leaning closer toward the screen, "what should we do about his orders in the meantime?"

"So far he's talked a big game about Section 31, but he hasn't really asked you to do anything that Admiral Quinn or I wouldn't approve. The Devidians are a major threat to this region and Starfleet did authorize the Enterprise-D's visit to the 19th century to stop them. We have ample precedent for likewise authorizing your trip to the 23rd century, though we don't need to share that approval with Drake. We'll let him think he's winning your loyalty for now."

"Ugh," Azera muttered to herself in disgust, and then flashed a tight-lipped smile, "as long as it ends with me waving to him through the force field of a brig, it'll be worth it."

"It will," he reassured her, "we just want to make sure you're on the right side of it."

Azera had already started to straighten up and reach for the console when she realized that the call wasn't actually finished, that the admiral had simply grown silent for a moment, as though lost in his own thoughts. She waited politely and curiously until he began to speak again.

"Commander," he said, "I also wanted to talk to you about the Borg."

"Oh," she said after a long pause, and she realized only as the word crossed her lips how apprehensive her voice must have sounded, "how can we be of service?"

"No," he shook his head quickly, "it's not a mission. It's just... it must be hard, fighting them after the Vega Colony attack. And after your experience in the Celes System before that."

"It's fine," she tried to offer nonchalant shrug, "I'm just glad to be part of the fight, that's all. All of us are. This is our home, admiral. We're not going to let them take it."

"I know you won't," he nodded, and then, after another hesitant pause, "Azera, have you ever wondered about what happened when you first encountered the Borg?"

"Oh that," she asked with a small laugh and a nervous gulp as she tried to swallow her pounding heart back down her throat, "telepathy, the doctor said, just one of the crazy drawbacks of being a telepath. Don't let the Betazoids fool you - it's not worth the hassle."

"I suppose not," Admiral Kane agreed, and then, "you really don't like the Borg, do you?"

"No sir," she answered with a grimly frowning honesty, "they're everything we were afraid of as children. They're the bogeymen, except they're real. We'll keep the lights on, we'll push them back into their shadows and make this quadrant safe again. I promise that."

"I'm glad to have you on our side," he said thoughtfully, "well, good luck with your tribble adoption run, and try not to step on any butterflies in the 23rd century, okay?"

"Aye aye," she saluted with a cheerful smile again.

Back at Starfleet Headquarters, Admiral Kane closed the channel and leaned back in his chair, his fingers clasped together as he stared up at the ceiling in frowning thought and replayed the conversation again and again with all the things he might or should have said. Then he sat up straight again, fingers tapping the smooth black desktop faster than the LCARS display could light up. In another moment it showed the list of files he'd called up, a personnel record of every officer kept by Starfleet Intelligence. A simple, unassuming report lay hidden halfway down the list: "Biographical Analysis of Azera Xi, 1st Revision." Only a handful of people in the Federation would even be able to see that title on their screen. He highlighted it, brought up the miniscule list of officers with viewing access and then began to type in one more approved name.

Azera Xi, Starfleet Serial Number 361-4752-118

"It'll be here," Marcus said quietly as he saved the file, "whenever you're ready for it."

Last edited by sparklysoldier; 02-19-2013 at 03:45 PM.