STF

IntSec Office/Tom's Quarters (Vanessa and Tom)

Posted Aug. 13, 2022, 2:49 p.m. by Lieutenant Junior Grade Vanessa Slade (CNS) (Kate O'Neill)

Posted by Lieutenant Tom Jarvis (Internal Security) in IntSec Office/Tom’s Quarters (Vanessa and Tom)

Posted by Lieutenant Tom Jarvis (Internal Security) in IntSec Office/Tom’s Quarters (Vanessa and Tom)

Posted by Lieutenant Junior Grade Vanessa Slade (CNS) in IntSec Office/Tom’s Quarters (TAG Vanessa)
Posted by… suppressed (18) by the Post Ghost! 👻
Snip
“Judge Wilkins O’Flannery at the fourth precinct and Father 0’Boyle of the Immaculate Conception on tenth street.”

Algorithms would extrapolate the individuals they were trying to reach and the IS3 priority would bring up the Internal Security splash screen as well as playing the notification chime at a very noticeable volume.

The holo-panels that lit up for the communication showed Vanessa waiting for the connection.

  • Tom, IntSec

As she waited for the comms to connect, Vanessa looked at Tom. “Is all this…typical?” Her gesture and expression showed Vanessa’s question was an honest one. This was the first time she had ever been on a ship where space was at a premium. On Earth, one could just expand an office or move to a larger space if needed. On a ship that was impossible.

Vanessa Slade CNS

Tom leaned back in his chair. The panels automatically adjusted for maximum comfort. It was the same kind of chair Vanessa was sitting in and, if she looked at it, though feeling very solid, the panels were held in place by what she could only assume was electromagnetism or gravity manipulation technology.

“This is typical for me. Special installation and accesses that require specific clearances.” he said matter of factly while gesturing to the desk.

“There is a certain aspect that I should inform you about. This is all being recorded. I’ll send you a copy of the recording. People usually find the recordings a little disorienting as I have a condition that will cause you to forget me within three minutes after you leave line of sight with me. People I work with have a tendency to use methods of recording or taking notes to keep track of interactions with me.”

  • Tom, IntSec

Vanessa broke out in a full bout of laughter hearing his comment. She knew the jokes about spies and spooks associated with the intelligence division but never someone telling her she was going to forget him. Her laughter began to slip from full bodied to more nervous as she looked at his calm and neutral expression. It was never good for therapeutic rapport to laugh at ones patients and although Tom was not technically a client, one day he could be. The last thing she wanted was from Tom to come back with ‘the last time I shared something important with you Slade you laughed at me.’ Coughing she tried to roll into a more serious tone although it would never have actually hidden her initial reaction. “Wait, so you are serious? I am literally not going to remember you when I wake up tomorrow?”

Vanessa Slade CNS

Tom shook his head.

“No…”

Leaning forward…

“You won’t remember me three minutes after leaving this office.” he said.

“Because I will have developed an acute case of amnesia?” Her comment sounded maybe slightly sarcastic but aside from the odd night of heavy drinking, Vanessa rarely forgot a face. “What kind of condition makes someone else forget things?”

Tom leaned back again.

“It’s a low level psionic field that operates on personal line of sight. It’s not in just one part of my brain either, it’s given off by my entire neural system. Every last nerve and neuron and I have no ability to control it. It’s always on. It intensifies if I get intoxicated which is why you’ll never see me using intoxicants.”

“Shut up,” Vanessa’s voice had a ring of awe to it. “So you are telling me that if we get you drunk no one in the bar or anyone we pass on the way home will remember our exploits? Where were you when I was in the academy,” she let out a small laugh. “You know how many fences and fire escapes that would have saved me?” While his condition was not positive in any way shape or form, Vanessa’s chosen career had taught her to find the positive and use that to her best advantage in making people the best they could be. While this was not a therapy session, it was hard not to ever be off the clock when it came to crew morale.

But you wouldn’t remember either and, by intensify, I mean that people start loosing memory of me and the details of other memories, around the same time, start becoming collateral damage. If I pass out due to an intoxicant, it’s like a mindwipe bomb that takes everything in the last three days and random stuff from up to three weeks. There’s nothing good or fun about it.”

“I don’t know. There are some nights I would love to never remember.” She meant it as a joke but also the truth. What people saw as negative, Vanessa always tried to find the positive in it especially in cases like Tom’s. There was nothing he could do about his situation. Focusing on all the negative aspects of it wasn’t healthy. While this was probably the lousiest way to find a positive, there was some truth in what she said.

Tom smiled genuinely for the first time since he’d been in Vanessa’s presence and it was a very brief moment.

“Well with someone like me you could have those wild nights and remember nothing about it in regards to me. Your questionable interactions with others, however, would still be embarrassingly present.”

Over her career, Vanessa saw some things that she prayed she could forget. While it was not ethical in any way to want to suppress events in ones life, it was not always fair either what happened to some people in their lives. For a second, she debated if she would ever use Tom’s power for this purpose if she had it. Luckily, it wasn’t her burden to bear because Vanessa worried she might not have as much control as Tom seemed to have.

“So there are no exceptions,” she asked very interested in the topic.

“Of course there are exceptions. Cybernetic memory augments, brain damage, extradimensional beings, machine intelligences, AIs… Although with Machines and AIs, for some reason, the sentient ones are affected by my condition. There’s also extended contact for more than three hours.”

Tom looked at the holographic displays floating above the surface of his desk.

“We should have connection by now. Though people do have a tendency to get nervous when they see Internal Security pop up on their monitors. Forgive me, I’ve been rude. Would you like something to drink?”

  • Tom, IntSec

“I guess if I ask for a double shot of whiskey I won’t have to feel weird about seeing you in the halls later,” Vanessa replied with a half smirk.

Tom changed course from the replicator to a cabinet under the media center. He pulled a bottle and a single glass and set them just outside the camera’s field of view.

=/\=Slade this had better be good. You know it is three in the morning here=/\= Judge Wilkins said in a tone thick with the grogginess of sleep. =/\=Speaking here were are you?=/\=

“Not in town but that is not important. I need you to write an emergency order granting my parents custodial rights for Frankie and Johnny until I can figure out what to do to straighten out their parents. If you do I will send my brother over to fix that up stairs bathroom you have been getting estimates on.”

=/\=How can you know....you know what…forget it. Our problem is going to be however who is going to serve it and pick them up. I am assuming they are sending them to a shelter for the night?=/\=

“Let me handle that. Just upload the documents to me and I will do the rest,” Vanessa pleaded.

Vanessa Slade

Tom waited for the next request.

  • Tom, IntSec

The next voice that came through had the classic Irish twang. =/\=Nessie ‘ahney ‘ow is life treatin you. I am gahnna assume you finally left sahbo sence you are callin me and naht at my wendow o’ my vehecle.=/\=

“Yeah, and something came up. I need you to pick up a priest, a judge, and some papers,” she scratched her forehead as if she was trying to avoid the conversation.

=/\=You know dat sooehnds like a bad jahke?=/\=

“Yeah but it’s not. I contacted Judge Wilkins,” Vanessa said getting serious.

=/\=Aht dis ‘our? An’ he didna through you in de hooskal=/\= O’Flannery shot back with a hearty laugh.

Tom wondered if the man had missed the Internal Security splash screen at the start of the call.

“O’Flannery will you focus. Joey and Frankie ran into a pinch and they called me as their one call. ‘Course their pa and mah are nowhere to be found so I have to deal with that,” she went into a slew of profanity discussing the arresting officer she had to deal with.

O’Flannery didn’t need to be told why the priest was involved now. It was to make sure someone got their last rites before O’Flannery sent two men to meet their maker. =/\=Boeht I gaht a gaheye in de back ov de squad car? Can’t Daltahn take it?=/\=

“No, he is handlin’ Hoffman’s trip there. You know how much harder it is to get them out once their paperwork is processed. So you need to get there now,” she said urgently.

Her comment was replied to by vehicle doors slamming and the sounds of grunts and moans as O’Flannery let the man out of the back of the car. =/\=You are so goin’ to owe me. Does Denny stell do electrical?=/\=

Tom smiled briefly before suppressing it.

“And yes I will have Denny stop by this weekend.” Vanessa looked at Tom with a raised eyebrow wondering if the background sounds she heard matched what he thought just happened. “Did you just throw him out of the car?”

Tom arched and eyebrow in a very Vulcan manner but the hint of his smile still lingered at the corners of his mouth.

=/\=He’s too drunk to git fahr. Comm ya back Ness,=/\= O’Flannery said clicking off the call.

Dropping back in the chair she drummed her hands on the arm rests looking around. All they could do now was wait. “You know at times I think I would need a universal translator if I hadn’t grown up back in Boston,” she joked. “Where did you grow up?”

Vanessa Slade

Well…” Tom started as he brought up a few screens that started to scroll the extensive forms Vanessa would have to fill out just to learn his place of birth, “You’ll have to fill out a request of information form in triplicate. You then submit that form to the Internal Security administrative office, the Star Fleet Admiralty, and Star Fleet Intelligence. They will ask for your Sigma 7 clearance, or higher, for minimum access. You will be thoroughly checked out as the recorded traces of your life are scrutinized with a tunneling electron microscope. You will then be subjected to an interview where you will be observed by experts in body language, bio response, and voice stress analysis. Should you meet all the requirements, you’ll have access to the most basic information in my file beyond what my handlers feel you’d need to practice your profession on me.”

Tom sat back and waited for that to sink in.

  • Tom, IntSec

“Or I could just ask you and you could tell me,” she let out a small laugh. Tom fascinated her. He had a sense of humor but it was dry and highly intelligent humor…or was it? It was too soon to tell if the man sitting ninety degrees from her was joking or being serious. “I am a sucker for birthdays,” she said leaning back waiting for the next call to come through. “I know some people aren’t but they celebrate a person’s life and each one is like the start of a new chapter about someone. It also comes with cake and anytime you can have cake it is a good thing.” With no one remembering who Tom was, it was unlikely he had birthdays. That was definitely going to change with Slade around.

Vanessa Slade CNS

“I remember having birthdays until I was about twelve, then people started forgetting me. Now anything birthday related is rare. I still get messages passed to me from my parents wishing me a happy birthday but they’re tense and uncomfortable as they barely remember anything about me after the age of fourteen.”

As a therapist, Vanessa had to work hard keeping emotional components out of the equation when helping people. When it wasn’t an official session, much like this there was some flexibility. For people to see someone as trustworthy, they had to see them first as important. While there was no reason in the universe for Tom to see Vanessa as anything other than a nameless face in a sea of crew, her second most important job on the ship was to make people realize they weren’t a number to her. That she could separate out the friend from the co-worker role and read them the riot act in sessions but still show up after hours demonstrating what happened behind closed doors stayed behind closed doors. Not everyone accepted this nor did everyone want it but for those that did, it helped her bond with the crew and establish trust. Since this conversation was not in her office, Vanessa let a small frown dance at the corners of her lips. It wasn’t pronounced but it did show his comment mattered to her.

Tom took a drink of his fruit infused water and sat silently for a few moments as if weighing options.

“But still, if you want to know, I can have the information request forms delivered to your quarters. You don’t have at least a Sigma 7 clearance but, if you come up with a compelling reason, they might let you have more specific information that the year I was born.”

  • Tom, IntSec

“No,” she said firmly already coming up with several ideas in her head. “I don’t want someone is HR to flash a number on my screen that is you only to be replaced with another random string of numbers that I assign artificial importance to. I can wait. One day you will come up behind me…and then after telling me who you are again,” she broke the tension with a small joke, “you will proudly announce hey Slade today is my birthday,” she imitated him very badly in a deep voice that made her sound slightly like lunatic Sicilian mob boss. “Until then,” she pulled out her phone, “we are going to celebrate Tonessa Day. For the record,” she gave him a smirk and side glance as she stored the information into her phone, “that is going to be you official unbirthday focusing on what really is important. Remembering the day I got to meet you,” she held up a finger with an expression that said but wait there is more like on the holomercials, “and in remembrance of the first scheme, I dragged you into. Trust me with your abilities there will be more so this is sort of an anniversary of sort.

Vanessa Slade CNS

Tom looked puzzled. This wasn’t the first time something like this had happened but it always ended the same. Uncomfortable moments as recordings are watched and unease knowing that the man before them should be familiar but was a complete stranger outside of recordings and communications. And when there was intimacy there was a different set of problems. Sometimes anger, usually resentment.

“That is unnecessary. It could create many potential complications.” Tom said but there was a trace of uncertainty in his tone, “I’m used to having to rely on myself.”

He was socially awkward, over analytical, and had a tendency to say the wrong things at the wrong times.

  • Tom, IntSec

“Absolutely. Having friends is such a pesky complication.” It was slightly sarcastic but not everyone responded to being handed kleenex and having their hair braided as they got emotional about a problem. She had also come to the realization that those that needed their hair braided didn’t actually want their problems addressed. They were happy with their problems and just wanted someone to listen. Tom definitely did not need or want his hair braided but that did not negate the fact sentient beings needed contact.

“Because that makes you so much happier,” she countered. Raising her hand she cut off any response before he could make it. “Have you ever heard the saying Starfleet did not assign you a spouse and kids with your duffle bag?”

“It is something Herman Hornsby was always barking out in the security classes he taught at the academy so that you focused on the task at hand. For security personnel having emotional attachments is a hindrance. You go into combat situations and you need to focus solely on the task or you could die or cause the death of someone else. The problem is when you get home and you are alone your mind can go to places it shouldn’t be leading to depression, PTSD, irritability,” she listed a series of complications and then stopped. “Individuals need a combination of alone time and social networks. Networking is different for everyone. Some people need vast networks. Others need one or two close friends.” Adjusting in her seat, Vanessa leaned back and looked at Tom. “So we are going to start with a group of two: Me and you. I am persistent so unless you enjoy yammering to my family or watching guilty pleasure serials with no point or content, what do you like to do?”

Vanessa Slade

Tom pointed at the old entertainment system.

“High adventure, horror, comedy…” he said, “I had to learn to make my own happiness as my condition inhibits my ability to be social with people outside of official needs. I was addicted to the holodeck for a while, mainly in my academy years when I needed stability somehow. Fictional characters don’t forget who they’re programmed to believe you are.”

Tom could talk about things he did in his career but he’d have to turn on scramblers and such to negate any recording devices and have class 2 amnestics ready in case she had a resistance to his curse but, he didn’t want to deal with that hassle.

“I have had many people claim to be my friend. Mostly they were just friendly. Very few people have been able to maintain a friendship with me and only two tried to be romantic. Both of those failed spectacularly.”

  • Tom, IntSec

“Well there is a reason for the saying try and try again,” she polished off the rest of her coffee. “Tomorrow night. Pizza, beer…my place 6 pm…Galaxy Quest. It is a movie about life in Starfleet or at least the comedy version of it. Never gets old and a plot line that doesn’t take a lot of mental capacity.” Vanessa was used to after hours work although her ways of connecting with people did not seem to always fit the norm.

Vanessa Slade

Tom looked at Vanessa and could see her sincerity.

“I guess we could try the friend thing. I’m in for the pizza but I don’t drink. Galaxy Quest is a classic, it’ll be nice to see it again.”

Tom tapped on his desk, a subtle but complex pattern, and a holographic panel rose from the desk. He input the date and time with a note and the panel sank back into the desk.

“Set yourself a reminder before you leave or there’ll be an awkward moment when I come ringing your door chime.”

  • Tom, IntSec

“No,” Vanessa said firmly but in a kind tone. “This is not an appointment that gets scheduled in the books. It is two friends getting together so text me something like ‘Hey Vanessa I am on my way over to watch the movie to hang out. You aren’t going to remember so check the video I sent you. Can I bring anything?” Looking back at Tom, she smiled. Yes, this was just two friends getting together but on some level, it was far more than that. Tom hid behind his condition and let it make excuses for him to pull back and stay introverted. Vanessa needed to increase his confidence and make him want to establish, build, and nurture connections with others.

Vanessa Slade CNS

“Okay, we’ll try it your way.” Tom said, “And I want to bring popcorn.”

“Perfect I will bring the pizza so come hungry,” Vanessa stated.

Tom smiled, it was warm and friendly but, brief and somehow managed to vanish just as quickly as it came.

“So, do you need me to see about pulling some strings? Maybe launch an investigation into the officer that took the boys?”

  • Tom. IntSec

“No I know exactly why he took the boys,” she let a frown fill her face. “He is a dork and just wants to be a hard case. The kids are not going to win community partner of the year awards. They have a crappy life and probably will grow up just like their parents; however, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try to make a difference. I do have to believe that if I can change just one person in ten then I am doing okay. People don’t tend to want to change. Really change I mean. They will say it and make grand gestures but they rarely make the actual changes needed to have a better and healthy life.”

“Vanessa Slade. You know it is 2 am in de mahrnin girl. What you are doin ooeht o’ bed?” Father O’Boyle’s voice filled the room changing the topic from movies and popcorn to the reason Vanessa and Tom were sitting there.

“Yes Father and I am so sorry to do this but Frankie and Johnny are in a bit of a predictament,” Vanessa tried to be gentle as she eased them into her story.

“What dey need is mahre time at de choehrch and a few ‘ooehrs in de cahnfessional,” O’Boyle did not miss a beat. The frown on his face was evident as he began to put on his uniform. “What ded dey do?”

Tom sighed inwardly while showing nothing outwardly. He understood that the indoctrinated believed their mythologies had all the answers.

“They stole some water guns for water day at school and got caught. I don’t know why? If they had just asked I would have made sure they had them but it’s hard with me not actually there anymore but I will try harder,” Vanessa apologized. Even though the boys were not her responsibility she did feel responsible for them. It was hard not to when you worked as close as she did with some families.

“I’ll be ready. I assume dey’ll be spendin de night at yooehr mahthers ‘ouse and dat I’ll see you dis soehnday?” He talked as he affixed his collar. No more did he look like an man just woken from a dead sleep. Timothy O’Boyle was not Father O’Boyle and ready for work.

“Yes. She knows and than you for this Father. As for Sunday I would but I am…not on Earth.” Vanessa let out a sigh of relief. She had no doubts the man would help her but it was in the middle of the night. She also had trouble lying to him like she did her mother. It was easy enough to tell her mother she was stationed on Vulcan but not her priest.

“Gahd doesn’t care where you are as lahng as you show oehp Vanessa Slade.” His tone was slightly chastising and made Vanessa look aways slightly.

“I will make sure I am there,” she conceded.

“Good because Vulcan is not the other end of the galaxy honey,” Father O’Boyle said with a soft smile.

Vanessa avoided looking at Tom or O’Boyle. Lies always had a way of muddling a situation.

“Well it seems yooehr brahther is ‘ere and you’ll be ‘ere Soehnday? Now ahff to bed wit you girl. We ‘ave dis.” His smile was warm and bright as he looked back at Vanessa and Tom. It had almost a grandfatherly essesnse to it before the man clicked off the connection and the screen went black.

Vanessa looked at Tom and her cheeks blushed a slight red in embarrassment before she tucked a lock of hair behind her ear. “Nothing more embarrassing than being sent to bed at 2 am.” It was better to focus on one elephant in the room over the question of why her priest thought she was calling in from Vulcan and not the Genesis.

Vanessa Slade CNS

Tom had no questions. Her personal life was none of his business unless it was going to create a risk to the federation and Tom didn’t see this being that dire.

“It’s not 2am here so, technically, you’ve got a while to wait if you want to do as he says. As for being there Sunday, I usually find the religiously inclined have a tendency to talk metaphor. He doesn’t necessarily need you there physically, merely in thought as you observe wherever you are at that time.”

  • Tom, IntSec

“No he really means he wants to see my face or at least my login,” Vanessa let out a laugh. “Some churches are only about the monthly check but Father O’Boyle is about your eternal soul. They had this console wall that members can join. It looks like a massive comm call when you are in the pews. The idea was for everyone to feel a little closer to home when they can’t physically be there. He is a good man,” she leaned back in her seat. “He will make sure everything is done the way it is supposed to. I just needed to get all the players into the right spots.”

Looking Tom up and down, she let out a deep sigh. “Did you want to get into intelligence or were you voluntold because of your unique skill set?”

Vanessa Slade CNS

Tom’s smile held a hint of someone that had fond memories yet felt somewhat betrayed at the same time.

He pulled up a form on a holo panel. “This is a form that says that we have begun a counseling evaluation session. The information I’m about to give you is classified but can be deemed necessary for you to better assist me should I need your services. Please verify with a hand print.”

“Um okay, but I was really not trying to counsel,” she replied before the PaDD began to flash and self-identified her as one Lt. j.g. Vanessa Slade. “And I guess this is an impromptu counseling session,” she let out a small chuckle. “Just so you know I will waive the ten credit co pay.” Vanessa liked Tom but he was a little intense at times about his past. It didn’t matter a damn bit if he needed clearances or not. She was bound by a code of ethics and medical privilege. There was not one person who could walk through her door and demand to know the in’s and out’s of Crewman Smith’s obsession with Chitter and Spacebook or Ensign Chelepptos fascination with tentacles and fur. While waiting for Tom to start Vanessa got comfortable.

“While Intel was trying to recruit me, I was literally seduced into Internal Security. And yes, it was all about my curse.”

“Or difference,” she added. If Tom was going to make this a conversation, she would start the therapy machine to try and make him see a different aspect of himself.

“I was tracked via my academy log ins as no-one could remember who or what I was. It popped up as an anomaly and a full investigation was carried out initially by Internal Security as they thought they could be dealing with a threat to the Federation itself as an Academy infiltration can put a threat uncomfortably close to Command HQ.

“And Starfleet Academy didn’t step in and vouch for you? They had to know of your unique circumstances when you entered.” While Tom’s condition presented a set of obstacles, he would have had to been through medical and psyche joining the academy. Of course, the records could have been altered later yet someone like Tom would have been on the radar joining. At times Starfleet was a heartless beast but there were people that actually cared.

“Once they knew that there was actually a being there, Intel was brought in in case the potential threat was from outside the Federation.”

“So they assumed you were like a data breach initially,” she nodded. It would make sense. A login with no one physically attached to it would draw attention.

“It didn’t take them long to figure out who I was and an agent from Intelligence started trying to recruit me for covert ops infiltration and wet work. What better spy and assassin could there be than one that no-one can remember?”

“Internal Security wanted me too and as they’re more familiar with me and had better access to my psyche profile, they knew just how to manipulate me.”

“How did they know how to manipulate you?”

Tom paused a moment and watched Vanessa for her reaction to his next few words as the fond but betrayed smile came back.

“They sent me a girlfriend.”

-Ton, IntSec

“Did you like her?” Her comment was extremely fluffy but there was a reason.

Vanessa Slade CNS

Tom laughed but it was a cold laugh of someone who had been manipulated.

“Of course I liked her, I was meant to. Her looks, mannerisms, her proclivities were all tailored specifically to me. How could I not like her? She was older than me by five years and had so much to teach me. Unfortunately the intimacy was to keep me off guard as she influenced me to join Internal Security. She was very good at her job. In the end, that’s all it was for her, a job. I will admit that it really damaged my ability to trust but, so much the better for my job eh? Trust no-one, keep your phaser handy and all that.”

  • Tom, IntSec

“Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don’t resist them - that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like. That is a quote by a man named Lao Tzu who was a famous Chinese philosopher that invented Taoism. Taoism is the belief that you should just go with the flow. It says that individuals should focus on what is natural and that there is a cosmic force that connects all of us and binds the universe together. We all get played from time to time but the power and strength from being played is understanding what you did to allow it.” Vanessa took a second to pause and let her comment sink in. If she needed to put on kid gloves and break out the tissues she would but that approach rarely if ever did anything but mire, someone, into the self-destructive thought patterns they showed up on a therapist’s doorstep wanting to change. Tom was uniquely different in that he did not book a one-hour session to discuss something in his past but he did bring it up. There was a power and strength in the officer sitting across from her but his true potential was carefully shielded by the events from his past. Not everyone had the desire to look at a situation the way she was going to present it but she hoped he did.

“I actually prefer The Book of Five Rings by Miyamoto Mushashi, The Book of Family Traditions On The Art of War by Yagyu Munenori. I have also read The Confucian Analects, The Works of Mencius, The Art of War, The Doctrine of the Mean, and The Great Learning. I have also read The Tao Te Ching.” Tom replied, “So I’m fairly familiar with classical Eastern Earth philosophy.

“So you fell in love. So what,” she leaned forward hoping her off-handed comment didn’t close him off too fast. “That just means you have far more courage than half the galaxy. She screwed you over,” Vanessa showed she was completely on Team Tom side with her comment. “No one is immune from wanting their version of the fairy tale with someone else. When that fairy tale turns out to be more of a horror story it hurts. Sometimes so much that you don’t think you will ever go on but you do. That is where the Taoism comes into play. Tell me…if you had never met her. If you were never forced down the path you are on now. What would you be doing this second instead of sitting with me on the Genesis saving hooligans back in Boston from the juvenile hall?”

Vanessa Slade CNS

“What I would be doing is sitting here in an Intel officer uniform instead of an Internal Security uniform. Likely not much would be different except my purview would be dealing more with threats from outside the Federation than from within. We’d likely have a slightly different Admiralty in Star Fleet Command and potentially be in a war with the Lyrans for violating a no hostilities agreement by getting involved with the Kzinti/Mirak and the Romulans for setting up hidden forward listening posts in he neutral zone.”

Tom leaned back in his seat and took a deep cleansing breath.

“And I wouldn’t have been able to help you with your problem.”

  • Tom, IntSec

“Sure you would,” she let out a small laugh. “You would be in intel officer and still have a way of waking up a priest in Boston at two am. By letting others define you, you are giving up your life. I can not say whether or not we would have different Admiralty or if we would be in a war right now based on things you did. It wouldn’t matter anyway. That is the past and we can not change that but we can change the future. Excuse my bluntness but you are not that important or unique. Sure you were on those missions in the past but if I have learned one thing in life it is that everyone can always be replaced. The seedier elements in Starfleet operate under the premise of anything is acceptable as long as it achieves a mission. If you hate it or what they made you in the past then get out. There is always a way to get out. It is just whether or not you want it bad enough.” Vanessa just gave Tom a tough pill to swallow but if he did there would be a way to change the direction in Tom’s life to be the one he wanted and not the one he was assigned.

Vanessa Slade CNS


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