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It's The Chain I Beat You With

Posted on Wed Apr 22nd, 2020 @ 8:32pm by Lieutenant Commander Jonah Wilson MD & Captain Akiva ben-Avram

Mission: S1E4: The Hills Have Eyes
Location: Starfleet Command | San Francisco, Earth
Timeline: MD 1

"Captain," Jonah said, from the terminal at his desk in the CMO's office. "I just spoke with Admiral Tau and he was a bit annoyed that I have been left in command of the station. He's also initiated some sort of protocol and there has been a severe limitation of command codes on the station."

The unexpected communication caught Akiva sideways. It was being patched through to him from the Phantom which had reached Venusian orbit by now. Fortunately he had been able to duck inside a private booth for one. He was slightly hunched over the comm display.

"He has?" Akiva flinched. This wasn't going according to plan. "What did you tell him?"

"I told him that I was in command of the station while you were with the away mission. He informed me that he was concerned a medical officer was left in command, that I were to provide him constant updates on the mission and the station, and when I told him I would inform you of those requirements he issued some special order with Ferrofax and then we've had a loss in command controls since," Jonah said, quite angrily. "I don't know what this man's problem is, sir, but he certainly needs to get a grip."

Akiva gave a wry chuckle. "Welcome to the Office of Special Investigations where secrecy and superiority are premium commodities. Just count yourself fortunate the admiral didn't show up in person." The possibility wasn't lost on Akiva that Tau still might do just that. He would have to cut his unsanctioned mission short, loathe as he was to do so. "I'll be back as soon as possible. If Mrazak concludes his wild goose chase, then I will arrive with the Phantom. Otherwise I'll arrange more immediate transport. In any event, you may expect me back the day after tomorrow at the latest." He thought through the various possibilities. Most of them were bad, but not all. "Have there been any problems or concerns apart from the command lockout?"

"We've had failures of minor systems but I have a sneaking suspicion that I'm being tested by our fine holographic friend," Jonah said.

"More than likely," Akiva said. While he knew the gist of the special orders hardcoded into Overwatch Station's automated processes, there were undoubtedly many nuances and details that eluded him. Hopefully Ferrofax would not make things worse. "I'm sorry this happened on your watch, Doctor. When I return, I'll have to find a way to make it up to you."

At that moment, the transmission was interrupted as the display screen divided to show another face. It was the unmistakable and inimitable Admiral Gareth Tau.

"Captain ben-Avram," the admiral intoned in his deep baritone voice. "You have been an incredibly difficult man to find of late."

Akiva could see by the look on the man's face that he had patience for nothing but the direct approach. "I apologize, sir. How may I help you?"

"Help me," Gareth repeated. "Do you think I have tracked you down in search of help? No, Captain, I am in search of answers. So far, I only have more questions." His eyes diverted to the other part of the screen, evidently taking in Jonah without acknowledging the man. "It is very troubling for me to receive a personal communication from the administrator of a planetary colony in the Sol System, no less, citing your name in a formal complaint against this directorate." His brow flared in umbrage at that fact. "To further complicate matters, when I sent a communication to your office, I was redirected to your Chief Medical Officer who informed me of very little other than the fact you were absent from your post without leave. When did you mean to tell me what is going on?"

When phrased like that, it certainly didn't put Akiva in the best light. "Mrazak self-reported a Theta Alert on Venus," he said carefully, "citing an internal report generated from one of the artifacts. I remain skeptical now as I was then of its legitimacy, but it seemed to better to be safe than sorry. It seemed prudent to come along to directly supervise, given the sensitive location of the field team's operation."

From all signs, Tau did not find it convincing, as he did not budge an inch. "Then answer me this: what the hell are you doing on Earth?"

Akiva flinched at the outburst and hated himself for it. "Given the volatile exchange between myself and Administrator ch'Vihron, prudence further dictated that I not personally provoke him with my presence. Rather than sit idly on the Phantom, I decided to make use of my time in the Sol system to update my command codes and protocols directly with Starfleet Command."

"Is there a reason that couldn't be done from your office on Overwatch Station?" Tau's barking voice suggested there was not.

"No," Akiva said, drawing out the word. "But since I was practically in Earth's airspace, I figured why not do some administrative tasks on site rather than remotely while Captain Mrazak completes his wild goose chase? Anything to keep Administrator ch'Vihron from filing another complaint, right?"

Tau narrowed his eyes. "That sounds like Grade-A bullshit, Captain, but I will abide it because it will be more trouble than it is worth to rectify it." He lowered his chin and stared down his nose with an intense stare. "It would behoove you to keep it that way. Because if you cause any more trouble for me over this, then so help me God I will klap your service jacket back to cadet. Do I make myself clear?"

"Crystal." There were times to speak up and times to be silent. Whatever his feelings on the matter, Jonah was still watching the entire transmission. This was not the time to argue with the admiral. A man of his ego would undoubtedly not respond well.

"Good," Tau said. "Now get your ass back to your duty station."

"Yes, sir."

The admiral's side of the transmission cut out, returning the feed to just Akiva and Jonah. "I'm sorry you had to see that," Akiva said.

"He thinks highly of himself, for sure," the Commander said, with a shake of his head.

"The way I see it, plans are unchanged. I'll see you when the Phantom returns to Overwatch in the next day or so. Ben-Avram out."

With his official business concluded, Akiva stepped out of the private comms booth and left Starfleet Command. His next stops were very much of a personal nature.


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