Posted Dec. 1, 2021, 10:07 p.m. by Lieutenant Commander Bethany Kovra Gadi (Chief of Security) (Jennifer Ward)
Posted by Lieutenant Miranda Martel (Chief Engineer) in Kindred Souls - Tag: Martel
Posted by Lieutenant Commander Bethany Kovra Gadi (Chief of Security) in Kindred Souls - Tag: Martel
Posted by Lieutenant Miranda Martel (Chief Engineer) in Kindred Souls - Tag: Martel
Bethany’s ever present grin widened, “It is not intruding if I invited. So none of that. The offer and company is there when you decide you want it.”
“You know that thing where people make an invitation or make plans to go do something with someone but … never actually mean it? That’s a thing.” Miranda said, but then tilted her head, giving Bethy a wry smile. “But … I’ll be happy to test that. It’s a lot shorter walk to your quarters than to the mess hall.”
Bethany nodded slowly several times, “Yeah, but that’s not me. If I didn’t mean it, I certainly wouldn’t offer.” And she wouldn’t. Of course before she’d taken the position on the Dresden, Bethany wouldn’t have offered whether she meant it or not. “So, you test away, and then you can tell me how I scored, hm?”
Not all of them went away, but some. As she sat and ate, she reflected a little. The big black knot in her chest where her heart resided was still there. But it wasn’t as tight now. And while she didn’t know Gadi from Eve, in that moment she didn’t’ feel quite so alone. And yet realized just how alone she’d been feeling. Yet desperately she didn’t want to go back to that. Sure, ‘the life’ was moving from post to post, in many cases. But part of her craved stability. Somewhere she could just be for a while, and make real connections, real friends. Maybe eventually find someone she could call hers. But for now? Just somewhere to be where she felt she belonged was enough. And where … others might have her back as much as she had theirs. Part of her hoped Gadi would. It was a security type’s job to be a shield. But… the variables of the moment could dictate things change at any moment.
Martel was mulling things over, chewing it over in her mind, her uncles would say. She was trying to decide if she could trust Bethany, she wanted to, but wasn’t sure she could. It was times like this that Bethany was grateful for the counseling training her mentor had insisted on. It worked wonders in the field, but it also allowed her to help others, people who mattered, people who were innocent, or were trying to do the right thing, to make the best impact. It didn’t balance out the scales, but it helped.
She was aware Gadi was watching her, studying her. But at the same time she didn’t feel that it was in an unfriendly way. Or even trying to figure her out like a puzzle. Just one concerned person to another.
Her gaze traversed back up to the officer across from her. “So … as much as this all brings back some bad memories… you look ready to bolt, or knife someone. You mentioned earlier you don’t want to be here. At the risk of destroying blissful ignorance… what has you so rattled?”
Bethany took another bite of her food and then washed down with her drink. “We’ve been assigned a security liaison, some sort of bad cosmic joke, karma, what ever you want to call it. I know him, and everything in me tells me to run, to get the ship as far away from him as possible. But the mission…will continue. No one knows him like I do, and I can not in good conscious leave ship and crew with him around. Despite knowing walking away is the best thing for all of us.”
Slowly she nodded, listening. “So it’s a person, rather than… an event. Or a type of people.” Sampling her soup a little more she mulled it over. Par to f her wondered what kind of bad news this guy was, if he had someone as tough, smart, and capable as Gadi rattled. At the same time the idea that someone like him was attached to this mission made her guts knot up again. But she didn’t feel right walking away either. No matter how much it might cost her. No matter if the smart move was to get the hell out of there as fast as she could. Her conscience… her heart, her sense of duty, honor, integrity… Those things would not let her go. And she knew it. Mind and spirit were not in agreement on the matter, and that was the bigger struggle. Perhaps in some ways this was her Kobayashi-maru.
A moment later she reached out, taking Bethany’s hand once more. But this time it wasn’t reaching for comfort, an anchor, but to give some of that back. Her grip was tight and a little worn form almost two decades of monkeying with machines, equipment, and labor. Green eyes locked on Bethanys, and for a moment they seemed almsot depthless. “If I can help you deal with this ass, i will.” Just don’t let me twist in the wind.
Bethy laughed, a slightly strained but honest sound. “You do not simply deal with him.” Sigh “But that’s the rub. He honestly will make the difference between our success and our failure. He’s just that good. He says he is simply here to help. I have never known him to lie. He has no use for such things, nor for half truths. I might be able to negate the consequence of working with him, but no guarantee.
“The road to Hell is paved with good intentions. He might claim to be here to help but some people are just a jynx. Bad news no matter how much they try to do good,” she said. But was she actually talking about this guy or projecting? Who knew. “If he’s here to help, and he’s not a liar, or any of that… What makes him such a problem child?”
Bethany stared across the table at her. To tell or not to tell. The task force was dissolved and it wasn’t like the most wanted list was a secret. Just their specific work and where they were and what they were doing and how they went about it. Bethany leaned back in her chair and pulled her right booted foot up and brought the heel to rest on the edge of her chair. She had a piece of bread in her hand and she tore pieces of it off and popped them in her mouth. Finally she tossed what was left of the piece on her plate and dusted her fingers off. She draped her right forearm over her knee and and laced her fingers together. “His name is Elias Balthazar and he was on the Federation’s most wanted list for over 10 years. The list of his crimes is too long to mention. He has his own code of ethics and follows it strictly, but it doesn’t match with anyone else’s. If he says he will help he will, but if he says he’s going to kill us, he’ll do it, have no doubt. So the question is why is he helping?”
There was a shift in Miranda then as she listened. Less haunted or hunted, and more focused. She dug into the last of her soup, feeling her appetite start to come back with a vengeance. As Bethany asked her question she fixed the security chief in her green gaze. “Self interest. He’s not trying to better himself, I would wager. He’s getting something out of this. Even if it’s own sick amusement. But he sounds like the aberrant type. At least we can take him at his word.” She pointed her spoon toward Bethany, just for a second. “Find out what that is, and you’ll be a bit ahead. Or at least not so lost in the dark. And that benefits us all. … What about this Federal agent riding along with us. What’s his angle? Did he promise something to this Balthazar? Leniency? His record expunged? Hookers and blow?” The last brought another smyle. It was crass, perhaps, but some people just responded well to appeals to their baser natures.
The whole situation made Bethany feel like she was in a pressure cooker that was about to exceed it’s limits.. She was aware of that and it’s what stayed her tongue, stopping her from making a very rude comment about Martel’s observations. Bethany was well aware of what gains Elias might be after. She knew Martel was trying to help, and it would be wrong to take out her anger on the woman. She hadn’t asked her here to do that, but to help Miranda move past the panic she was dealing with.
Bethany shrugged, “I don’t even know if Pikelsimer knows anything about him. The Federation has a very no negotiation stance with people like Balthazar. Doesn’t mean someone isn’t working independently.” She mulled it over for awhile. “The Federation lies too much, I don’t think Elias would willingly work with them. Then again he was supposed to be dead 3 years ago, so what do I know.”
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