The Turning Point
Posted on Friday, 23 October 2020 - 1:09pm by Captain Barret Stillwater & Lieutenant Talarn Zilth
Location: USS Crazy Horse | Deck 01 | Captain's Ready Room
Timeline: MD 10
Talarn sat down stiffly in the chair across from Captain Barret Stillwater's desk. A small smirk played at one corner of his mouth, the light on the panel over his right eye blinking steadily. "What are you feeling for dinner, love?" he asked. "I was thinking fish..." Talarn was certain that the meeting was casual. Barret didn't usually call him to his office, but the Cardassian wasn't going to argue. Any chance to spend time with his busy husband was alright by him. His blue eyes searched the surface of the desk, enjoying the things he saw on it's surface. The small wooden bear Talarn had carved on Prairie. The jar of shells they had collected together. He crossed his legs, putting his left ankle over his right knee, hands on his leg. "We could try those biscuits again. Maybe I can change the replicator recipe."
Stillwater had fetched himself a mug of rooibos tea and a mug of Cardassian red leaf tea for his husband. Talarn had already seated himself and Stillwater sat the mugs stop his desk, taking his seat behind his desk and leaning forward in his chair to grab his tea. "If you can find a way to get that recipe perfected, I'd appreciate it," Stillwater said of the biscuits.
Talarn picked up the mug of tea and sipped at it, his nose wrinkled a little and he put the mug back down. "I'll work on it. I almost have some of the tea recipes right. How's the rooibos? I can smell it from here. The red leaf is still a little tart for my tastes. I liked it better with the honeysuckle. Toned down some of that tartness. I don't know what it is with the replicators... maybe it's because the flour was sifted... I don't know that I can make the computer understand the importance of sifting flour, but I'm sure going to try." He chuckled.
Setting his mug down and picking up a PaDD, Stillwater mulled over yet another piss poor 'candidate' that was supposed to be being considered for Chief Tactical Officer. If there was one thing Lieutenant Commander Soral and Commander Stillwater agreed on, it was that the candidates that had come their way were just not suitable.
In the most recent situation, experience was needed. Stillwater did what he could under the capacity of an emergency situation to facilitate placing his husband as Acting Chief Tactical Officer, and provisionally restoring his rank to that of Lieutenant. However, with the emergency being lifted and the starship returning to Federation space Talarn would not be 'needed' to fill the position and the 'magic' of fine print used to grant him a provisional commission would extinguish.
Stillwater was, however, sitting on some good news. "Thank you for everything you have done for the ship and crew. Putting you in Intel was one thing, but having you step into your old position as Chief Tactical Officer... I appreciate it. You saved T'Lanna's life you know... the child she's carrying as well undoubtedly," added Stillwater. "I know this hasn't been easy for you... or us in general, leaving Prairie and returning to this life."
Talarn snorted, yet color rose at the tops of his cheeks a little at the praise. "Thank you, Bear," he replied, softly. "I can't just sit in our quarters while things are going on. You know I'm a busy body. I also can't sit around and watch you struggle with no tactical officer when I can do the job." He rubbed the back of his neck with one hand. "As for T'Lanna... I'm going to say the same thing to you that I said to her. It might have been different had she not already been a Borg. I'm just glad I was available and you didn't have to rush her somewhere else to get what she needed."
"Soral and I haven't been able to settle on someone for the position of Chief Tactical Officer," Barret confessed. "Plenty are requesting a transfer and Starfleet Command has given us a dozen of personnel files for potential CTOs, but to be blunt, these people may be good officers with potential, but I don't need potential right now. I need experience and precision."
Talarn snorted again and held out a hand. "Let me see... they can't all be that bad, love. Not all of them. You're just biased because I've spoiled you." He grinned.
Commander Stillwater handed the PaDD over with the most recent candidate. "Practically a child, Talarn," noted Stillwater. "Three years out of the academy. He's had a good first posting aboard the Kingfisher, but a patrol vessel needs maturity in such a crucial position."
Talarn took the offered PaDD and started to look it over. The further he read the faster the little light blinked over his right eye and the more his left brow ridge furrowed. "He... he failed his marksman test... twice... and hasn't had officer training... You're right. You can't have that up here..." He lifted his gaze from the PaDD back to Barret. "There are more. Correct? I mean this is just one of... how many?"
"That was one of the better ones, if not the best," Stillwater replied. "Starfleet recruitment is down. Academy enrollment is down. OTS and OCS applicants are down. The Federation as a whole has been weakened in recent years. You and I made our way to Prairie at an appropriate time. Starfleet Command is sending these candidates for the vacancy because this is what is available right now. It's this or we yank a cadet from the Academy and call it a cadet cruise."
Talarn held the PaDD back out. "Disgusting... but that's what you get when you act like assholes." It was hard for him sometimes, not to be bitter about the loss of position in Starfleet over him being Borg, or ex-Borg or whatever they classified him as now. "I don't mind filling the position, but they're going to make you take someone once we're back in Federation space."
"They will and they do, but this is my command and it is my decision," replied Stillwater. "It has taken time and some doing, but Captain Dashwood and Lieutenant Commander Victrix were able to help me a great deal. Strings were pulled and maybe some arm twisting."
Stillwater reached for another PaDD and handed it over to Talarn. "Congratulations, Lieutenant Zilth. Your commission has been effectively reinstated. You have been assigned as Security Chief." Though Stillwater had a bit to add. "The Caveat is; however, Starfleet is still concerned about an 'Ex Borg' and the compromise may be splitting Security from Tactical. For the time being, I have nobody in mind for the tactical aspect, but I do feel safer knowing the safety and well being of the crew would fall on you."
Talarn stared at Barret, the speed of the blinking light slowly increasing. "Bear..." he said softly. "Of course I'll... take it..." His hesitation crept into his voice as well. "Why is it okay for you to have a counselor that's an Ex-Borg, but I'm suspicious? Just... explain that to me and I'll leave it alone." He put both of his hands into the air and shook his head.
"I have been trying to wrap my mind around that as well, Tal," Barret replied. "I'm afraid that all I can really offer is conjecture. I've had this discussion with T'Lanna as well. I suspect it came down to a few things. She was lucky, she had someone who could look out for her. She also was less of a 'security threat'," offered Stillwater.
He sighed. "Put yourself in their position. Who's more dangers the Ex-Borg that counsels people and listens to their problems or the Ex-Borg with high security clearance and robust tactical and intelligence information?" Stillwater cleared his throat. "Being Cardassian probably didn't win you any favors."
Talarn nodded. "And I have tubules they can't take out... and I spent a long time as a Borg... and yes, I suppose being Cardassian initially doesn't help." He tipped his head from side to side and shrugged. "I guess I just hoped that someone would see that I wasn't a threat... recognize that I was on the same side." He sighed heavily. "I would proudly serve under you, though." He wiggled his eye ridges suggestively and smirked.
Stillwater met the Cardassian's gaze with one of his own of equal caliber. "Your innuendos are not going to go by unnoticed regardless of how much sleep or lack thereof I've had these past several days," countered Barrett. "I look forward to having you continue serving under me, Tal" added the CO. "Now, I'll start the paperwork on making this officially official" Stillwater added as he reached for a PaDD.