Posted Oct. 20, 2020, 5:45 p.m. by Lieutenant Fihnrilkk'Hob"ledn-ardol (Fin) (Chief Intelligence Officer) (D Grisham)
As she raised her hand to ring the chime, Fin looked upward as if to ask the Fates, ‘how did this happen’? She’d thought taking a position away from Intel headquarters would keep any chance of running into someone from her past from happening. Apparently, not. She shook her head at how the universe had once again put her in her place.
“Just get it over with, Fin. One face to face and then you can avoid each other as much as possible.” She allowed her hand to activate the door and waited to be allowed entrance to the inner office.
The door slid open and a familiar voice said “Well… this is something, now isn’t it?”
The Executive Officer of the Wolverine stood up behind his desk and gestured to one of the two chairs in front of it. He looked almost the same as when they last knew each other, and his trademark smile and bright green eyes fixed on Fin. “And here I thought you… how did you put it? Oh, right… ‘I can go straight to hell because there is no way in this or any other reality did you ever want to lay eyes on me again.’ … or something to that effect.” and he chuckled. “So what happened? You lose a bet or something?” and he sat down and leaned back in his chair.
She crossed the room, her lips pursed. “Actually, the Wolverine wasn’t my personal choice.” As she sat in the chair he’d offered, she cast a curious glance around the office. It was ordinary, standard and boring, but if memory served, Jason wasn’t one to give away information about himself to just anyone. “I have to go where I’m assigned, just like everyone else. Its just bad luck that it made us cross paths again.”
She gave him an insincere smile and then began examining the sleeve of her uniform for lint.
Reilly smiled like the proverbial cat-that-ate-the-canary and said “Well maybe your bad luck. I actually like this ship.” and he chuckled and tapped the desk interface and scilling data was reflected in his eyes.
“Redacted files for background as expected… no known mental issues, at least no more than expected. Physical is clear -” and his eyes darted to her and he half-whispered “- but that was never an obstacle for you, if I remember correctly.” and they went back to the file. After a few moments of review, he cleared the file and leaned forward slightly.
“Your bad luck too, Jason, as I’m sure you don’t look forward to the possibility of meeting me face to face around the next corner for the next few years.” There was satisfaction on her face with that declaration.
“So tell me, Fin… are you still the same regimented black ops automaton I knew those few years ago? Or have you managed to pull the stick out yet?”
Now she laughed. “Regimented? Well…I suppose to someone who plays everything by ear, it might look that way. But having a stick up my backside? That’s never been an issue and you know it. I do what I have to, to get the job done. I’m not squeamish like someone else in the room.” She got up and made it halfway to the door before turning around. “Besides, you never complained. In fact, you complimented me on my flexibility and willingness to explore…certain options.”
As she waited for the smart-alecky comeback he was so good at, Fin ran a hand back through her hair, tossing it out of her way. “Can we call this done? You know I’m good for the position. Why prolong the agony?”
Reilly smiled broadly and said “Well.... to your point about the possibility of running into each other around every corner… I’d say you haven’t looked at the Wolverine’s layout too closely. Doll…” he said using the term he knew made her skin crawl when he used it on a target, “… there are seventy people on this ship and seven decks. The entire ship isn’t even two hundred meters long. So not only will we run into each other… we’ll see each other almost every single day for the foreseeable future. So what I need to know, Lieutenant, is if you can handle that?” He stressed the rank. When they had last worked together, Fin had been the senior agent on the operation. And Reilly remembered the myriad times she made sure he remembered that… although a few of those had not been exactly bad.
At the word ‘doll’, her face shut down into a blank canvas. She didn’t want him to see a reaction because she knew he’d said it on purpose. “I can handle anything you can dish out, Reilly, but I thought you might have grown up a little in the last few years. I will be very professional when you and others are around. When its just the two of us? Well…why pretend we like each other if there isn’t an audience?” Still standing, Fin clasped her hands behind her back—a very familiar and comfortable stance.
“I’m also aware that I am required to follow your orders. You already know I’m very good at that—following orders, I mean.”
Reilly looked at her for a long moment, the smile never slipping, and then said said simply “I also know you chafe under any direct authority and follow orders to the letter… even when its a stupid damn order. Or have you forgotten Dreslid X already?”
The Dreslid X comment surprised her enough that one eyebrow raised of its own accord. They’d pretty much agreed just after the incident that neither one would bring it up again.
Suddenly, his demeanor shifted to something she hadn’t seen in him prior: a completely professional Star Fleet officer, and a Commander at that. The shift was jarring to almost anyone seeing it, but especiially to those who only knew the man as he usually was. His tone was steady and even, but allowed for no doubt he expected it to be followed. “Now… Sit down, Fin. I’ll give you run down on the ship and crew, and then what I expect from the CIO of this ship.” His green eyes flashed with something… amusement? Anger? Lust? Frustration? Oddly enough, even with her experience with Reilly, it wasn’t at all clear… which was a significant change from the Reilly she was with those years ago. Which made it even more clear: even with as close as they had been, albeit briefly, Reilly only allowed her know what he wanted her to… and there was apparently much more to him than she had been shown.
Fin found herself moving back to the chair, eyes on Reilly. So, there had been some changes since she’d seen him last. His professional demeanor was something new and positive in her opinion. “Certainly, Sir.” Since he was now in First Officer mode, she responded accordingly—as a Starfleet officer. There would be times in the future, she was sure, when the two of them would butt heads again, but for now?
“I would appreciate your input, Cmdr.”
Reilly’s eyes sparkled slightly and he said “I’m sure you would, but I think we should stick with developing a professional relationship.” and the smile came back. He had played his hand well.
Before she could react he leaned back and reached down, pulling out a bottle and two glasses. “Still a rum drinker?” and he poured the two glasses half full, sliding one across the desk. “Peace offering.” He raised his glass slightly to her and then continued..
Ever the smartass Fin thought as she readied herself to spring from the chair and leave the office. But the offer of a drink made her hesitate.
“In all seriousness… the Wolverine is not like any other ship you or I have ever been on. The crew is… well… ‘eccentric and unique’ doesn’t quite do them justice. They are an eclectic group, probably more fitting to a penal colony than a starship. But… they are very effective. And much sharper than you will realize at first. Don’t let that bite you, Fin. And I am telling you this in all seriousness… don’t think some of them won’t knife you in the dark if you piss them off. Review the records first… then engage. But be careful. Some of these folks don’t play well with others.” He took a sip and said “Have you met Boudreaux yet?” His tone held a sense of amusement… at her expense, no doubt. But at least this time it seemed jovial, not hostile.
Swallowing the rum, Fin enjoyed the way it warmed her throat all the way down to her stomach. “Mmmm, not bad. But I do seem to remember you were always good at getting your hands on the good stuff, no matter where we were.”
She stretched in the chair, pushing her legs and feet out in front of her along the carpet, then crossed her ankles. She sat a bit slouched now, looking quite relaxed, but she was still paying very close attention to the man on the other side of the desk.
“Seriously, Jason? Knife me in the back? Since when does Starfleet condone murder? And for the simple crime of pissing someone off?” She snorted her derision at the idea. “And, no, I have not met the Captain yet.”
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