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Riposte

Posted on 31 Mar 2020 @ 2:27am by Captain Harvey Geisler & Lieutenant Commander Tivan

Mission: Sentience
Location: Brig
Timeline: MD 2 || 0930 hours



Previously...0900 hours

"Tivan to Geisler. Please come to the brig."

There was no chirp to indicate a channel had opened and the Security Chief looked over her shoulder again. "Oh, those are automatically deactivated. You can use the replicator for basic nutritional supplements, but don't expect fancy. Computer, dim lights to ten percent so our guest can sleep." The lights dimmed and she walked out.

This was about to get very interesting, indeed. So much to be uncovered here! Tivan suppressed an elated feeling of excitement. "Computer, notify Captain Geisler of a counseling emergency in the brig."

All that she was met with was silence. No activation of the computer or response other than silence.




Harvey hadn't felt this good in months. For the first time in over six months, the ship was underway. Several months ago, he and Joey had boarded an Excelsior class starship to and from Earth, but that feeling was nothing like this one. To a Captain, there was no place like his or her own ship. He'd almost forgotten what it felt like, the subtle rumble in the deck plating as the IDF pushed against the warp envelope.

Just as much as he missed being underway, he also missed his daily inspections. Checking in on inert systems and departments left a bland taste in his mouth, multiplied by weeks of refit and repair. Harvey took stock of the crewmembers he encountered in those departments, as well as passing in the corridor. It was like a new life had reenergized them all.

One new stop on his inspection tour would be at Lieutenant Commander Tivan's office. Aside from the staff briefing, he hadn't spoken with her since she came aboard in December. This meeting was a bit overdue, especially since he hadn't heard much from her and the reports he'd been longing to see for the last couple of weeks. Harvey stopped at her door and pressed the chime. No response came immediately, but he did remain patient outside the door for a minute. Perhaps she was using the self-contained restroom or was otherwise occupied.

He pressed the chime again, and again was not greeted with a response. "This is odd," he muttered. "Computer?"

Instantly, a short blonde human materialized beside him. "Yes, Captain?" replied the emotionless form.

Harvey, even though he had experience with HASA, was still surprised by the computer's decision to generate an avatar for such a simple question. Perhaps he'd have more than a few notes for Daystrom than he expected to, especially since the form it chose reminded him of his first yeoman. The last thing he needed today was to see something who looked just like someone who'd betrayed him more than a year ago. Sighing, he ordered, "Locate Commander Tivan."

The avatar cocked her head slight to the right as her eyes changed colors while the request was processed. Suddenly, her expression turned sour and puzzled, as if it were emulating a human who did not like the information she'd just learned. "Commander Tivan is in the brig. She has been arrested."

"Arrested?" Harvey asked, his eyes widening in surprise. He knew of Tivan's alternative methods first hand. After all, she had jumped into the ship's pool naked. "On what charge?"

"Destruction of personal property, Captain," came the emotionless reply.

Harvey's surprised changed to a frown. Surely this wasn't right. This had to be a mistake of some sort. Harvey raised his hand to tap his badge, only to pause at the last second. No, he'd contact Commander Di Pasquale after he spoke with Tivan. "Thank you, Computer," he parroted, turning and walking towards the nearest turbolift.




Time was an unusual thing, Tivan internally mused with her eyes closed. A sense of urgency could make time seem to fly by, yet a lackadaisical mindset could stretch minutes into hours. Meditating on the eternal now, Tivan toyed with her conscious perception. In her mind's eye, the passage of time accelerated, then returned to normal, then downgraded to almost slow motion--if indeed there was motion for her to observe.

In this way, Tivan was literally biding her time until the captain came looking for her. Oh, it didn't matter how. There were too many kal-toh sticks in place for him not to come find her. Pondering which one it would be threatened to overtake Tivan's meditative state. In order for her plan to come to fruition, she would have to suppress the glee that was welling up within her.

From the time of her first meeting with Camila, Tivan was fascinated by her -- captivated -- by her mind. Such strength bound up by equal portions of fear and loathing that were themselves protected by a powerful facade that somehow combined all three qualities. The Security Chief reminded her a set of nesting dolls she had seen on Earth. Such an enigma demanded further study, particularly in connection with her Dolomoqour survivor status. Tivan had been compelled to weave a spider's web on that fateful day in Camila's quarters. It was a passive strategy, one that required Camila to walk directly into it. Had she not, then Tivan would have had to wait indefinitely. But... events unfolded even more perfectly than if Tivan had planned them herself. She would get mandatory counseling with Camila. The captain would surely see to it after hearing what Tivan had to say. He need only believe her to be serious.

And, so, Tivan continued the required meditation to ensure a stoic disposition.

The large doors to the bridge parted and Captain Geisler entered the room. He stood inside the doorway for a moment, looking first over to the only activated cell to find the Vulcan counselor confined within. He then looked to his right where the warden sat, sipping a cup of coffee. She was a young woman and a new face, all made more the obvious once she curtailed a surprised spittake upon seeing the ship's master and commander. The woman leapt to her feet and brushed her hair back in order to stand at attention. Her action revealed her rank, crewman apprentice.

Harvey himself fought the urge to frown, and instead simply raised a hand to put the woman at ease. He wasn't here for her. The flat palm quickly turned to a point. "Do not inform Commander Di Pasquale I'm here. I will call for her when the time comes."

She nodded quickly and sat back down, embarrassed that this had been her first impression with the Captain.

Captain Geisler approached the cell, but made no effort to deactivate the field. "Imagine my surprise," Harvey began, "when I dropped by your office only to discover that you'd been incarcerated and charged."

Though she had felt the captain's presence before he came to face her through the force field, Tivan did not stir or give any indication that he was expected. When he spoke, she looked up at him as though worried.

"It must have been troubling." Her voice was low, like a snake coiled to strike. "Now imagine the surprise of my young counseling patient at seeing me carted off by Security in the middle of her session." Her lip curled ever so slightly in umbrage. "For an alleged charge of destruction of personal property, no less."

After letting the words hang in the air, allowing the pettiness and absurdity of the situation to marinate for a moment, Tivan asked, "Captain, we struck an agreement when I came aboard. Do you recall its terms?"

Harvey exhaled a frustrated breath through his nose. Human memories--his memory--did not compare to that of a trained Vulcan mind, but he always managed to remember the important items. "You asked for a certain latitude to conduct your studies. A latitude that I seem to recall centering around observation, not destruction." He hadn't addressed the interrupted session with a patient, but he was certain he'd circle back to that later.

"Mhm," Tivan said. "And that was in exchange for... Do you recall?"

"For being the first to hear about unpleasantness before Internal Affairs has a chance to sink its teeth into my staff," Harvey sternly replied. He didn't like where this was going and he had a feeling he was going to walk out of here annoyed and far from satisfied.

Tivan indulged a smirk. "Yes... Now, if you could be a dear and restore my computer access, I have something to show you."

Harvey frowned. Somehow, he didn't think it would be a good idea for him to see what Tivan had to show him. Yet, he'd already started digging this hole that day at the swimming pool, and he'd probably still have to dig deeper before this is done. Harvey also knew that his relationship with Commander Di Pasquale had been placed unto shaky ground over the last year, and with all of the effort he'd made in recent months, that relationship was still fragile. Caution was urged.

"I'm afraid I can't do that," Harvey simply told her. "I cannot afford to undermine Commander Di Pasquale, and especially her position. Why don't you, instead, tell me how exactly you got yourself inside a holding cell?"

"That is precisely what I am attempting to tell you, Captain, but I require the benefit of my personal log and private notes to do so. Since you deny them to me, I will have to recall the information from memory." She closed her eyes and slowed her breathing.

"Tivan T'Yere Ysza'Vel, personal log. December 3rd, 2389. Tonight I was summoned by Lieutenant Camila Di Pasquale, the ship's chief of security. Patient presented symptoms of chronic PTSD, extreme guilt in the form of Survivor's Syndrome, and Alcohol Use Disorder, the latter signaled by copious amounts of opened and empty beverage containers throughout the patient's quarters as well as potential indicators of mild intoxication. All three appear to be in connection to the recent Dolomoqour crisis. Despite the patient's request for counseling, there was little progress made. After discussing a commitment to ongoing counseling and recovery, I confiscated an opened bottle of Romulan ale to prevent acute alcohol poisoning with the promise to return it on our next meeting. Unfortunately, the bottle was accidentally shattered as I lost my grip on my way out the door. I will have to make recompense on our next meeting."

Opening her eyes, Tivan abandoned her familiar leisurely expression and assumed the hard tone of a clinician.

"As it is plain to see, Captain Geisler, your chief of security has become psychologically compromised. She has not conducted another session with me, and it is not because she has recovered from her combat fatigue. If anything, her post-traumatic stress has created a psychotic episode where I am some sort of vandal in her eyes, and this delusion has resulted in unsound judgment, such as unlawfully interrupting my session with a troubled patient, hauling me off to the brig on a fraudulent charge, cutting off my access to the ship's computer and communication system, and then leaving me alone in the dark. She had cited my need for sleep despite it being the start of Alpha Shift." Pausing just a second, Tivan let her observation settle before shifting into a regretful tone. "Under the circumstances, Captain, I am afraid that I have little choice but to recommend that she be removed from her position and placed on medical leave. Left unchecked, I fear her increasingly troubled state of mind may result in real harm, whether to herself or others. I am, of course, telling you this in honor of our agreement. I cannot in good conscience withhold this report from Starfleet Medical."

Her right eyebrow arched. "Unless..."

The Captain remained silent. A fair portion of himself was troubled that he wasn't troubled at the Vulcan's assessment of his Chief of Security. Much of the crew was aware of her drinking habits, even though she often kept to herself after hours. It had even been in her file when he conscripted her from Deep Space Eleven more than a year ago. Harvey had always felt responsible for her. After all, it was he who promoted her into the position during the Consortium Crisis. It was he that kept the ship constantly in danger, and it was she who had to continue dealing with a Captain who wanted things done his way.

Camila, Harvey reasoned, had been unwillingly manipulated into her current state. He'd thought that by bringing her back that he'd be helping her. If Tivan was to be believed, then Harvey had certainly got it wrong.

Strangely and suddenly, his guilt washed away. His own human logic, having recounted what little he knew and compared it with what Tivan had shared, reminded him that he was a Captain first and foremost and that there were duties to perform and protocol to follow. He could play this one of two ways. First, he could simply acquiesce. After everything he'd been through with this crew, Harvey immediately ruled that out as an option. No, he had to fight for them. Now, more than ever.

Fighting was the second option. Tivan could make her recommendation to Starfleet Medical, and it would only take a couple days before that report snowballed and Admiral O'Connell forced to recall the Black Hawk. The entire crew, the senior staff primarily, would be placed on medical leave and forced to submit to psychiatric counseling. If Harvey ever got to resume his command, it wouldn't be on the Black Hawk.

But there was the unspoken third option, which was to use the tools he had at his disposal to come to some sort of agreement between all of the involved parties. "That was the third of December," he plainly stated, finding himself perfectly calm. "More than a month has passed since that log entry, and if you had filed a report, I would have heard about it by now from Command. Undoubtedly you've had your hands full. And, if she had been as compromised as you say just with the first encounter, then I'm surprised you didn't say something then."

Harvey continued, "I am left to wonder why Miss Di Pasquale chose today of all days, our second day on our shakedown cruise, to have you arrested. I have the authority to release you from this cell, but I will not do so without bringing Commander Di Pasquale to the brig so I have had the chance to hear both sides of this matter."

"Until today, I had nothing to report." Tivan shrugged and spread her hands in a gesture of helplessness. "Despite my now evidently well-founded suspicions of psychological dysregulation on her part, I am sure you agree it is unjust to take official action against a Starfleet officer without a firm basis grounded in fact." Her eyes swept over the cell which confined her to passively make her point in a number of ways. "As for why Command Di Pasquale waited until today to file an obscure charge, violate patient-counselor privilege, and lock me up in the dark? I could speculate, but without deeper insight into her psyche, that would be unhelpful. And that brings me to a mutually beneficial arrangement." Tivan turned her head to look on Harvey askance. "It is my belief that nobody would be served by removing the Chief of Security from her position. She is clearly well-qualified with a history of service and an intimate understanding of the crew she polices and protects. But, given the state of affairs, I cannot sweep this situation under the rug. Today, I am accused of vandalism. What happens tomorrow, or next week, or next month? There is no telling what sort of delusional paranoia is teeming inside Camila Di Pasquale's inner mind or how she is capable of acting on it, but I am committed to find out."

This was it. All cards on the table. Shoulders square, chest forward, head tilted ever so slightly, eyes bright and gleaming with special pleading, Tivan made her blitz.

"If you will partner with me, Captain, we can get Camila the help she desperately needs. Sending her away will only delay her recovery. With weekly counseling, daily journaling, and other regular forms of self-therapy under my supervision, I am confident that this episode can be reduced to a stress-induced event with the tiniest of blips on any official record." Her eyebrows arched as if in sudden thought. "In fact, after sufficiently successful treatment, perhaps we could even chalk it up a mere misunderstanding. But that would require intensive cooperation and a dedication to self-betterment. Do you think Camila is capable of that on her own volition?"

At this moment, it occurred to Harvey that he should have dismissed the warden. This conversation had certainly not gone the way he anticipated, and the last thing he needed was the Chief of Security's dirty laundry becoming scuttlebutt. "I think Commander Di Pasquale is capable of many things, including holding a grudge. If she waited this long to act upon a grievance, it would be wise to find a means to keep short accounts."

Harvey fought the urge, successfully, to sigh. This scenario was draining, especially since it all seemed to come down to something so trivial, despite the fact that it had managed to quietly and quickly snowball into the use of the Black Hawk's detention facilities. "To be absolutely blunt, I take it you are asking me to... recommend she seek regular counseling?"

Could it be checkmate? Tivan kept her mouth straight, but inwardly smiled. "No. I am asking you to order it."

He didn't blink. He didn't nod. He wasn't surprised as to the Vulcan's desires, but at least he now had her on record saying it. Harvey didn't have long to act, especially since he knew that Tivan would file her report and recommendation the moment she was clear of the forcefield. It would probably take a day or two to be acted upon by Gamma Command, but it wouldn't matter. It was the worst-case scenario that had the Captain worried, and he would do his best to avoid it.

"I see," he said at last. "As mentioned earlier, I will have to get both sides to this, so I'm afraid I'll have to ask you to remain here for a bit while I track down Commander Di Pasquale."

Tivan arched her eyebrows to a fine point. "Rather than review the arrest report in the Security log for yourself, you intend to uphold this false arrest in order to perpetuate the Lieutenant Commander's charade?" Her shone with pity above her twisted, condescending smirk. "Fascinating. Truly... fascinating. I hope you find what you're looking for, Captain."

"You assume that reviewing the arrest report in the logs is a separate task that is not connected to me finding the Chief of Security," Harvey fired back. "I'm definitely more than aware that I told you I care deeply for my crew, but I am a Starfleet Captain. There are processes and protocols to observe, and I intend to observe them regardless of my feelings on this matter. Call it what you want, but for now, I have to ask you to trust me to do my duty according to both protocol and also the nuances developed aboard this ship."

"Indeed, perhaps following the letter of the protocol is the best course of action," Tivan said dryly. "I will follow your lead, Captain." She seated herself inside the cell and resumed her meditation.

 

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