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A Better Man Than Your Father

Posted on 26 Nov 2017 @ 11:13am by Lieutenant Sterek & Captain Harvey Geisler

Mission: Crossing Over
Location: Captain's Ready Room
Timeline: MD3 || 1100 hours

Sender: T'Shirel, Khir Ahl Province public communications server 0082, Vulcan
Recipient: Captain Harvey Geisler, USS Black Hawk
Subject: Lieutenant Sterek

Captain Geisler,

I understand that Lieutenant Sterek is serving as a Medical Officer aboard your vessel. His father, my brother, has now passed away following a long illness. I write to request that you grant him extended compassionate leave in order to attend a memorial service with his father's colleagues at Starfleet Medical Headquarters. Details of the precise time and location are attached to this file. I calculate that the date of the service will allow him sufficient time to return from your current posting in the Beta quadrant. I hope you will give this request adequate consideration.

Peace and Long Life,

T'Shirel


Harvey had read the message several times over; five in fact. First of all, once Harvey had moved past his disbelief, he'd wondered why a Vulcan thousands of lightyears away would have reached directly out to him regarding a member of his crew. He then wondered why Sterek had not formally requested time away, or even a memo from both Doctor Kij and Commander Teixeira that a member of his crew had requested leave and not granted it.

Perhaps, Harvey finally mused, that there were other reasons, other motives at work here. And, while he could use his own logic to defer this request to Sterek's direct supervisor, he had a feeling that logic was not something he could debate with a Vulcan, let alone two.

The Captain tapped his combadge. "Lieutenant Sterek, please report to the Ready Room."

=^=Sterek here. I am on my way.=^=

Sterek arrived in the Ready Room shortly afterwards, dressed in his lab coat and scrubs as usual, although his shift had technically finished half an hour before. It wasn't beyond imagining that he'd been working late again, since it seemed to be a habit of his.

"What did you wish to discuss, Captain?"

Remaining seated, Harvey's eyes scanned the Vulcan before him, as if he were trying to size up the medical officer. After a moment, Harvey opened his mouth and declared, "I just received one of the most unusual messages, Lieutenant, and I was hoping you could clear things up. Do you know a T'Shirel?"

Sterek didn't look any different from usual; certainly there were no signs he was in mourning, even in a restrained Vulcan way. At the mention of T'Shirel's name his brow creased lightly.

"My paternal aunt. Has she contacted you?"

"She did," Harvey confirmed, his tone mixed with concern and aggravation. "It's not my place to meddle in familial affairs, however, I offer my condolences about your father."

Sterek's expression remained impassive. "I did not receive any notification that my father had passed. Was this the content of the message?"

"Just part," the Captain answered. "She has requested that I extend to you a leave of absence to attend memorial services back home."

"I assume her intention was to exert pressure on me to attend by having the news come from a superior officer. I apologise for the... disingenuous nature of her communication. She does not speak for me, Captain," Sterek said.

Harvey raised an eyebrow at the Vulcan's logical assumption with the communication. Evidently, the man was right on target. "I'll admit I was surprised that she contacted me directly. Is it safe to assume that she did so thinking that you would decline the invitation?"

"It is." Sterek continued to show little reaction to the news that his father was dead; if anything, his expression bordered on annoyance, rather than sadness. "And unless you plan to order me to attend, which I do not anticipate is likely, her assumption will remain correct."

The Captain fell silent for a moment, appreciating the Vulcan's honesty. It was clear the lieutenant's focus was not on family, but rather logic and duty, so who was Harvey to order a Vulcan against his will in such a situation? "You anticipate correctly. I will not order you to attend, as such actions are not within my purview. Given the nature of our mission, I also have given orders to all Department Heads to not grant any leave requests, especially since it is possible that we can enter the zone relatively soon. I can't afford to be short personnel when we don't know what we can expect on the other side."

"I understand." Sterek dipped his head in a slight nod, expression unreadable. "Your logic is sound. Is there anything else you wish to discuss?"

Harvey shook his head. "That was it," he replied. "If you don't have anything else, you're dismissed."

For a moment it looked as if Sterek was ready to leave, but he paused, suddenly thinking of something. "Captain. You doubtless have more important tasks to see to, but you should be aware that I will not be responding to T'Shirel's message. If you wish to reply directly, you are, of course, at liberty to disclose the fact that distance and unavailability are not the primary deciding factors for my lack of attendance."

"I will be replying directly," Harvey stated, his tone dripping with aggravation. He had planned to reply to the Vulcan, but he knew he had to calm down a bit before doing so. Though he had thought to call Commander Teixeira or Chief Rasputin to compose something for him, Harvey felt bound to personally reply to the inquiry. "Family matters must be handled by families, not a starship captain."

"Again, Captain, I can only apologise. It was inappropriate for her to contact you." Sterek went to stand. "And it is not my intention to force any obligation on you to respond. Outside of genetics, they have long since ceased to fulfil the definition of family for me. You need not be concerned that a lack of response will cause offense to them. I do not consider their opinions relevant to either of us."

"And here I thought it was impossible to offend a Vulcan," Harvey quipped. "As for the apology, don't sweat it. It is not your fault that your aunt contacted me."

Sterek seemed fractionally more relaxed at that - blink and you'd have missed it. He bowed his head and moved to leave. "My thanks again for your understanding, Captain. I will detain you with this matter no further."

Harvey provided an affirming nod, grateful for the Vulcan's honesty. "Thank you, Lieutenant," Harvey added, though he had a feeling it wasn't needed.

If the apology was superfluous, Sterek was polite enough not to say; he merely inclined his head again and then left.

The Captain stared at the closed door for a moment, still wondering what logic Sterek's aunt had employed to think that he would simply approve an extended leave. Finally, he just sighed, shook his head, and leaned forward to his terminal so that he could compose a succinct and sufficient reply.

 

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