Part 53: Episode 53: "Liberated"Episode 53: "Liberated"
"Molly, not so tight."
"… Hehehe, sorry sir. Sirs."
"… I bet you're-"
"-wondering how this is possible? Yes. We heard the Ozaki…"
"I don't want to talk about… no, let me rephrase. I do want to talk about it, but not in public."
"… I understand. My readyroom?"
"As heavily as Starfleet Intelligence bugs it? No thank you, I don't need anyone else trying to make a psychological profile of me."
"Well, I need some way to send Starfleet Intelligence a message they may actually pay attention to. The bugs make that extremely convenient."
"What about the holo-"
"Holodeck would look weird."
"You just got onboard and the first place you go is the holodeck for some alone time with the Captain? People would talk. Captain… you should totally escort your new First Officer to her quarters. You can, um, 'help her unpack'."
"-not a bad idea."
"Captain… when'd Zero grow so astute?"
"I'll be honest, I'm not sure. Maybe she always was. How are you holding up?"
"… I'm not."
"I see. What happened?"
"… We detected an unusual graviton signature at warp. The computer automatically threw us into red alert, so I dropped us out of warp to investigate. That's exactly what it wanted, I think."
"What who wanted?"
"It was waiting for us, Isshan. Just biding its time in deep space for the first ship to come and investigate. It's like it was looking for Starfleet ships to ambush. It just blasted our shields away with some kind of antiproton beam. I was knocked unconscious in the first salvo… the Ensign in the escape pod with me told me that Scrubs took command and ordered us to abandon ship, then tried to ram it to drive it away."
"Ram what, Hela?"
"I don't know! It was some sort of huge crystal. I don't know if it was a ship, or some sort of life form, but whatever it was… we didn't stand a chance. That's what the Admirals told me, anyway… the Ozaki couldn't have won. Not by herself. Maybe not even with a fleet. They wanted to give me another ship."
"I had to. All our friends from the Von Braun, the Benedict Arnold… I got them all killed. I got Scrubs killed."
"Do you really believe that?"
"I asked them to demote me, for… 'additional seasoning'. I just wanted to be back with friends, not on some new ship with people I don't know, wondering if I'm going to get them all killed too. I… don't know if I'll ever be ready for another command."
"You may not have a choice, Hela."
"We're fighting the Borg, Hela. I can't think of anything more risky. More dangerous. Let them get too close and one little flick of the wrist ends it; and I become one of them. Then you're in charge, and I need to be damned sure you're not going to come to pieces on me if that happens."
"When I chose you for the Benedict Arnold, I knew I could count on you. There wasn't a doubt in my mind that you could handle things if I died. When I put this uniform on, I knew there was a very good chance I'd die in it. So did you. So did Doctor Tamora. So did the crew of the Ozaki. So does the crew of the Brutus, Molly, Tre'gata, Elerena. If I die, I need a first officer who can take charge and do her best to preserve the lives of the crew; not someone who's going to break under the pressure or be paralyzed with fear."
"I can forgive failure, and so can Starfleet… but we can't forgive cowardice. Not when so many lives are on the line."
"Do you understand?"
"Good. I'd hate to have to suggest to command that you be 'quietly reassigned' to a desk somewhere."
"I wouldn't appreciate that, sir."
"Then I guess I'd better give you the opportunity to prove that you can keep it together in a crisis, had't I?"
"… Thank you, sir."
"Captain, sorry to interrupt your… 'unpacking', we're receiving a transmission from the U.S.S. Victory. Captain Four of Ten says it's urgent."
"And it looks like that opportunity will be now. Join me on the bridge, Captain."
"… I'm sorry, sir. I guess I had a bit more baggage to unpack than you were expecting."
"It'd only be 'baggage' if I considered you a burden."
"Only when you're asking questions you already know the answers to."
"… I've missed you, Isshan. You always did know how to make a girl feel welcome. After we take care of this, would you care to help me actually unpack?"
"If you've decided you can hold yourself together, I'll be here."
"Better to not ask."
"… I wasn't going to."
Captain's Log posted:
It's good to have Captain Janzer with us again, even though she will be taking command of the next ship Starfleet offers her. I don't know if she's resolved her emotional problems (I sincerely doubt it; but in her shoes, I admit… I might have fallen apart, too), but she's holding herself together. That's all I can ask of her, right now, and that's all she should be asking of herself.
The destruction of the Ozaki hit me harder than I'd thought. I keep asking myself: is there more I could have done to prepare them? What would I have done in that situation? … and my answer is, I'd have done the exact same thing; and I'd have gotten the Ozaki destroyed, too. For once, I agree with the Admiralty-Hela didn't do anything wrong. There was no way she could have won.
I begin to appreciate the old Kobayashi Maru scenario. Neither Janzer nor I had the opportunity to try it, even if it has been something of a running joke at the academy. I really must advise Starfleet Command to implement a random Kobayashi Maru-type simulation for the second and third year students. Different factors every year, and different tests -so some students can win, and others are put into circumstances where they absolutely can't, to see how they hold up.
I wonder how I'd do in a test like that. I wonder how I'd hold up if I learned the Brutus and everyone I've come to know and trust was killed while I escaped unconscious. I know Hela would've gone down with the Ozaki, if she could… and I'm grateful to Doctor Tamora for saving her.
I just wish he was still here to thank.