Posted by Lieutenant Commander Bethany Kovra Gadi (Chief of Security) in We Be Pirates (Tag Martel)
Posted by Lieutenant Miranda Martel (Chief Engineer) in We Be Pirates (Tag Martel)
Posted by Lieutenant Commander Bethany Kovra Gadi (Chief of Security) in We Be Pirates (Tag Martel)
Posted by… suppressed (18) by the Post Ghost! 👻
Gadi usually held meetings in her office or small groups in the Armory. But for the whole department, well that required the solitary holosuite on board or the Mess Hall. Since this wasn’t a training session, but more a think tank type of thing she decided to not take time from the only recreational facility on board.
The meeting ran for a couple of hours, the security team taking up most of the mess but cramming in as close as possible to the far side. Ridad and the team that boarded the freighter we’re discussing what happened and techniques they used and how the equipment worked, etc. Then the rest of the meeting Bethany led a giant counseling session. Talking about how they felt, the consequences, their alias compared to themselves, and how they were handling all of that. Especially Piklesimer killing the captain. That they would be using the weapons and armor they stole. That no matter how they felt about that they had to bury it deep and never let those thoughts interfere later. It would make them hesitate and cost lives. Not just their own and the crew but the people they were trying to save. Gadi and Ridad stayed a long time talking out the minutiae of it all with them until everyone has a handle on it. Maybe not acceptance but a handle on how to cope. She would be checking in with them all frequently.
Some left for duty, some for their beds, others stayed and played board games, some went and found a drink together. Gadi patted Ridad on the shoulder as she stood. She had a few more things to take care of. Ridad nodded and sat there sipping at his sweet tea as his boss left.
Forbes had been animated during the event, but afterward was quiet, sobered. The After Action Report was what he’d expected, and was standard operating procedure. Where did they screw up. How they could improve. Sand the edges off. But outside of that, there wasn’t much to say. The situation sucked all around. Best he could do was do his job, be ready when things went to crap. Flow, fill in the gaps, stay liquid. So it was that he finished his coffee, and was heading out the door. He brushed past the cute redhead engineer on his way through the hatch. Martel. Chummy with Ridad and Gadi. He flashed her an appreciative smile, just there for a moment as he headed for his bunk.
Miranda seemed to barely register as she headed for the replicator bank long one side of the mess hall. It seemed the security team was breaking up. She supposed that was good. Getting a reload on her massive insulated thermos for tea, she just happened to cruise a little closer. Her seafoam colored eyes were shadowed in uncertainty. she doubted any of them would give a real answer to anything at this point, but it didn’t hurt to ask. “How’re the holding up? I take it there weren’t any surprises?” … ***How badly did we screw them? The last wasn’t aloud, but it weighed on her mind. Pretty sure people died, even if it wasn’t from the phase disruptors. The feedback she’d shunted into the system was enough to blow up plenty in people’s faces, or fry them with electro-plasma.
Ridad looked up with a faint but friendly smile. “Hello, Lt.” He watched as the dept scattered. “They will be right, eventually. Some are adjusting harder than others. The boarding went smooth. We saw no one until we got to the bridge. They fought, but really very little resistance.” Ridad took a long gulp of his tea, “After their captain died there was none. Everyone stayed out of our way, hid, after that. The cargo was tagged and brought over.” He wave at the seat next to him. “Join me?”
Miranda nodded. “Sure.” The word was little more than a whisper. The engineer stole a quick glance at Bethany as she moved to sit, tucking one foot under her like she was going to hatch it some day. “I hope it was worth it.” There was a little more strength in those words but not a lot.
Ridad followed Martel’s gaze as she watched Gadi leave. “Yeah I hope so too. Chief says the mission is important and I trust her judgement. I’m not sure…” He shook his head. “Well not my place to say. I heard those weapons you installed in the ship really packed a wallop.”
She nodded. “Yeah. I’m … kind of regretting making them now, though.” She shook her head. “Maybe some day I’ll get the designs a little more tweaked and sell ‘em to Starfleet, if we live that long. And who knows, maybe we’ll actually get to use them for .. what I really made them for: dealing with the Syndicate.” At least then she might sleep only the tiniest bit easier.
“We’ll get there. Chief likes ‘em. After the Dominion she’s all for a little more show of force against those that need the reminder. As she puts it. Might have a market for selling to colonies for planetary defenses.”
“And yeah. It’s important. Maybe the most important thing in the last decade.” She chewed her lower lip, picking at one thumbnail with the other. “How are you holding up?”
Ridad shrugged. “Alright I suppose. Better than some of the more idealistic folks. Not my first go round. First time getting this deep though. It’s not easy, pirating is not the glamorous tale of old that fiction writers make it out to be.” He lifted his glass for another drink. “What about you? How are you doing?” He looked at her, genuine concern on his face.
“Full disclosure?” She shook her head. “I dunno exactly. But I know it’s not great. I’m glad we’re getting the job done. I’m not happy about how we’re getting it done. Now I’m one of the people I swore to stop. That would never get a chance to .. do something like this while I could do something about it. Regardless of whether I wanted to or not. Doesn’t change the facts.” She shook her head. “I’d say I need a drink, but I’m not sure I’d come back up for air. And you do not need a drunk engineer on this tub.”
Ridad nodded. He understood that. He lifted his glass, sweet tea, and shook it slightly so the ice clinked against each other. He wasn’t to the point of needing a drink, but it would help sleep come faster. It was not a habit he wanted to start though.
She sighed. “Not much I can do bute.. do what I have to, and sort it out later. If there even is a later.” She shook her head. “And I dunno, that was a very very easy milk-run of a smash and grab. Or we just over-prepared. Or we’re better than we think? I’d prefer not to lean into the last option as that leads to complacency. We can’t afford to be careless or lazy.”
“That’s the truth. Complacency and over confidence will get us killed.” He sighed but it was frustrated. “I told the chief the same. It felt too easy. No doubt the armor and weapons will make a huge difference is, but…No one got hurt…in our side that is, not really. It was so....surreal.” He took a drink not sure if he was glad or disappointed it was just tea. Ridad leaned over and patted her arm. “There will be a later. Not sure what it will look like but there will be a later. In the meantime…we make the most of the special things.”
“Sure. Special,” she said, not quite able to keep a sardonic smile off her face, then snickered faintly. It felt good to laugh, even a little. Even if it was at herself. Especially at herself. At the same time, she didn’t pull away from the contact. Instead, she laid one hand over his, almost as if to pull him away, but instead she just gave a small squeeze. Just for a moment, taking a little refuge in a little human contact. “I hear ya though. There’s no point in dwelling on it. Wasted energy. Might as well focus on somethign better. Right?” She nodded to herself. Right.
Ridad slipped his hand away after a moment. He didn’t want another close call with her anger. “Yeah, special. Small things, like pride in your work. The basics of it, you know. Staying fit and skills sharp. Peace and quiet to think, a favorite drink, or late night treats. Good conversation, and something to laugh at. Friends, new connections, hobbies. Little things that make life special and unique for each of us. It’s what will keep us going.”
She frowned when he pulled away. But, she understood. That bridge was burned.
Ridad cocked his head as she drowned. Did she want him to hold her hand? She’d made it clear the last time she didn’t appreciate people in her physical space or gentle compliments. He thought she would appreciate him remembering. Martel was certainly a mystery.
It all sounded well and good. And some of it she was trying for. Pride in her work. But it wasn’t enough. “Not sure I deserve half of that, if any of it,” she said quietly. “But I’ll take what I can get.” Friends? That she didn’t know about. Meaningful relationships had been hard since the Shamshir, for a whole host of reasons. But at the same time, she supposed at least three folks aboard would pass The Funeral Test.
“Of course you do. We all do and you are no exception there. These people we are going after, they don’t deserve it. Why would you say you don’t? I have not heard anything but good about you. Your dept likes you, finds you smart, fair, and determined.”
“We’re not much better than they are, not after today.” She shook her head. “As for the rest, that’s part of it. But I’ve just felt that way for a long time too. Even though I know on some level it’s not true. But intellect and emotion are two vastly different animals.”
“That they are. Have to be cared for and fed in different ways to make sure both are healthy.”
She didn’t know where she’d picked it up over the years, but she’d heard it said that the difference between an acquaintance and a friend was.. whether or not you would attend that person’s funeral.
Ridad made the list. So did Gadi. And Calloway too, she supposed. The jury was still out on Dacascos. She’d pour gasoline on MacMillan’s funeral pyre. Only reason she’d go. Doc Ryley… maybe? She didn’t know him all that well, but she wanted to. At least a little after he’d patched her up.
Ridad a few friends, he’d been on the Azzie for awhile. But we’re they lasting friendships, who knew? Only time. “You got any hobbies, Lt?”
“Mostly stupid ones,” she said, not quite meeting his gaze. “Hiking. I love to get out and go on long hikes up in whenever hill country I can find whenever there’s a real planet to be had. A holodeck .. when there’s time helps too. I picked up martial arts and kickboxing at a young age. Always been a scrappy fighter. I like to shoot too. Tinkering helps me think, calms me down. Scratches a certain itch in my brain. Sometimes doing math proofs and equations too. Then there’s fabricating and forging. Making things. And then sometimes it’s just beating the hell out of some hot steel when nothing else seems to do. Not beating the hell out of a heavy bag. Sparring a holo…” Then there was, y’know… breaking her hand on a bulkhead or searing her leg like a steak with hot metal. But those weren’t really hobbies.
“Reading a tech manual when I want to fall asleep and nothing else is working. What about you?”
“Me?” Ridad chuckled, a deep rich sound. “I guess sparing and shooting, though those are more for work now than fun. Getting outside is great. Hiking, as you say, but sports I guess. Biking, rollerblading, surfing, swimming, kayaking. Not good at any of those, but after being on a ship for a long time, I just enjoy being out. I paint…like paint by number kind of thing. Following the pattern is cathartic. And um…I make cough stuffed toys. You know…for kids.” He probably wouldn’t be doing that for a long while.
“Swimming is good. I love to swim. There was this crystal clear lake back home I used to swim in all the time. I’m not worth much in a kayak, but I did like them. Surfing, I’ve never done, but I’d like to think I’d be good at it. It seems like fun. And biking, I haven’t been on a bike in a long time. But that sounds fun too. And painting, even if it’s paint by numbers, can be a lot of fun. I imagine you can make some pretty pieces at way.” When he mentioned making stuffed toys for kids, she just smiled. “That’s unexpected. Any particular reason why?”
“When my mom had my little sister I was totally enamored with her. I had to go to school but didn’t want her to forget me. It was all very childish nonsense. So I ripped up a T-shirt, stuffed it, tied the ends closed, and drew a face on it, and gave it to my baby sister. My mother showed me how to make it better. I made one for each of my younger siblings.” Chuckling he took a drink. “Then at the academy I learned that on Earth emergency responders used to keep teddy bears for when dealing with children. We all need a hobby, so…” He shrugged, “I decided it was a good idea to keep a stash because kids are everywhere.”
Miranda nodded, a small smile plastered across her face, pleased more than amused. “That’s good. Really sweet, and smart,” she mused. A moment later she cracked open her drink storage and took a long pull from it. “Ever thought about making any rugrats of your own?”
Ridad looked at her, a slow grin and a wicked twinkle on his face. “Oh yeah. I would love to have kids one day. Haven’t found the right person yet. I don’t mean to sound cliche there, but even if the other parent and I didn’t stay together, it’s a long term relationship to raise kids, and I don’t want to be an absent father, or have a kid with someone who would use them as leverage or keep them from me.” He swirled his glass. “Right now I’m glad I didn’t find anyone yet, given our mission. What about you? Ever thought about it?”
She listened, nodding slowly, a small smile drifting over her. “Couldn’t agree more. And I do think about it from time to time. When I see parents out with their kids. Or sometimes in the quiet moments.” She picked at her nails some more. “Someday. Maybe. I’d have to find the right person. And I have no idea if it’s even possible.” Silence hung for a few moments before she looked back up at him. “They’d have to be pretty special. And it would take a lot of work.”
“All relationships take a lot of work. Friendships, co-workers, partners, romantic partners, spouses, siblings, parents and children. It’s all a lot of work. In different ways, and we’re invested more in some and less in others. But for any relationship to last both people have to be willing to work at it. Be honest, but not cruel, listen but still talk. Receive but also give. Remember but also remind and be reminded. And Respect. That doesn’t mean you’ll always get along or won’t fight, but if you can’t come back to those things to work it out, well…sometimes it’s better to not force things to remain. It’s idealistic maybe, but I’d rather end things than continue and it get worse and even the fond memories don’t last.” Ridad shrugged, “Deep thoughts. But that’s what I want some day. Someone that I can fight and argue with but still respect and love in the end. Someone I can laugh and be goofy with and doesn’t belittle me for it. Someone if it should end I can still see years later and hug them and still love them for who they are. I mean I’d rather it not end. I would rather retire to some planet or one of those generational cargo ships, and build a family.” He laughed then, “or maybe someone who can play pirate with me when the mood strikes.”
Miranda listened, nodding in agreement with virtually every point he made. “Same,” she said quietly. there wasn’t much to add to those criteria, not that she could think of right then. “That all sounds well and good. It would be nice to have even a fraction of that. But that’s a future I can’t even think about right now, and am pretty sure doesn’t exist for me. So for now, I’ll just take what little good I can get.” Slowly she chewed on the corner of her lower lip in thought, shifting uncomfortably in her seat, lost in thought.
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