Posted on Saturday, 20 March 2021 - 1:36pm by Captain Barret Stillwater & Lieutenant JG Maximus Mackenzie & Lieutenant Haru Hernandez
Operation: Trail of Tears
Location: USS Standing Bear | Captain's Ready Room
Timeline: MD 10 2394
Haru maneuvered his hover chair towards the Captain's ready room. He was determined to get an audience. He was not a member of this crew officially, He was here thanks to the good graces of Stillwater and Mac' request and Zilith's romantic heart. He had thought long and hard about what he was going to say to Stillwater and finally he worked it out thanks to the new strength he'd gained from finding his family's Kamidana.
He waited for Stillwater to answer the chime a sense of peace settling over him.
Captain Stillwater sat aside the PaDD he was skimming when his Ready Room came alive. The chime triggered Stillwater to authorize the doors to open, an unexpected visitor was not uncommon. Stillwater cleared his throat "Come in," he called out. Soon, a man came across the threshold in a hover chair.
It was Haru. "Mister Hernandez," Stillwater said greeting the man. "Please, come in and..." Stillwater resettled himself in his own seat behind his desk. Have a seat wasn't exactly the right thing to say. "May I help you with something, Haru?"
Haru maneuvered his chair through the door and by the Captain's desk. "I ... wish to speak with you on the record sir."
"Of course," replied Stillwater. "On the record. What would you like to speak about?"
He handed Stillwater a PaDD. "As you know I was left behind by my crew after I was injured. While I understand it, I was ... somewhat disappointed. I have always been thought that one leaves nobody behind. They went as far as to toss my things out even before Mac arrived. I wish," he pointed to the PaDD. "I wish to tender my resignation to Starfleet. I will not go back to the ship that threw me out and can be of no use to you here," he said motioning to the chair.
"Starfleet when it had it's ethics in check, would not leave a man behind unless absolutely necessary to do so. The Starfleet of now? I cannot speak very fondly of," admitted Stillwater. "The Federation pulls the strings, and even so, it is not the Federation that I was raised aspiring towards."
He looked the PaDD over. "I can accept your resignation and ensure it is processed" promised the Captain. "If you want a civilian life, I'll grant it to you, but you are useful as an officer. I would not want to discard that prematurely."
He looked at the Captain. "How can I help someone as a TACT/SEC in this?" He pointed to his chair.
"How does a Ferengi serve as Security Chief?" countered Stillwater. "We tend to think of someone strong and burly, a brute in said position, but I've seen a Ferengi hold their own in it."
Stillwater set the PaDD down. "You compensate. As a border patrol vessel, we are going to be stumbling across some unsavory entrepreneurs. Those operations could benefit from your knowledge and expertise, and perhaps we could use someone manning the security station in the Brig. Processing our detainees and monitoring them while they are held?"
Haru's eyes widened. "You would have me serve on the Standing Bear?"
"I won't get into personal matters, Haru, but I feel you and I were cut from the same cloth. You sitting in that," he said motioning to the man's situation "...It makes you feel useless. Men like us cannot tolerate that. If I let you go into civilian life you'll hate every waking moment of it. You need a purpose and the distraction of duty. Serve on the Standing Bear and I can assure you that you will be kept busy."
Haru met the captain's gaze and knew in that instant that his was a man of honour, one he could trust, one that had a soul similar to his own. He had already respected the captain in the capacity that he served but now his respect grew. "I accept the challenge." It would be that, a challenge but he would not let the man down.
"And it will be a challenge" sharply replied Stillwater. "I happen to know the Chief Tactical Officer very well, and you want a challenge, Talarn will certainly be it. Have you ever tried to impress a Cardassian ex-Borg? I'll give you a fair warning; You cannot impress them. They seek perfection that is unobtainable, but you can do a 'suitable' job."
He grinned for the first time in a long time. "Ha! I'll take I and make him say WOW Haru you're the best officer I have...wait don't say I said that Mac will take exception to that he's convinced he's the best.' Haru chuckled. He didn't know what he was expecting but it wasn't this."
"Your secret is safe with me," replied Stillwater. "So..." added Stillwater picking up the PaDD that had Hstu's resignation. "Clear this garbage from my Ready Room, Lieutenant, and return with a request to transfer to the Standing Bear, and I'll leave it for Commander Soral to look over."
He took the PaDD, "Yes sir." He sat up straighter and gave a salute.
Stillwater stood from his desk and gave the man a return salute in a manner to show respect. "Thank you, Haru. You will be doing me a great personal favor by joining the crew of the Standing Bear. We certainly could use your experience."
Haru studied him. "Permission to speak freely sir?"
"At your leisure, go right ahead."
"You are one of the few truly honourable men I've met in Starfleet. I won't let you down, sir. I promise."
"There are still some of us old guard out there in the fleet,"replied Stillwater. "I know that you won't let me down."
He gave a nod. "Glad that there are still people out there like you sir." He held up the PaDD. "I'll have this transfer request completed within the hour."
"Great," replied Stillwater. "If that is all.. dismissed, lieutenant."
Haru left feeling a new sense of purpose.
One hour later
The door to Stillwater's office chimed. This time it was Maximus McKenzie with PaDD in hand.
Stillwater was fetching himself a hot mug of rooibos tea when the chime rang. He scurried over to his desk to grant access, and rounded the desk to take his seat. "Please, come in" he called out once the doorway began to open.
Crossing the threshold, a familiar man entered. "Ah, Mac," replied Stillwater. "Help yourself to the replicator and have a seat."
Mac gave a nod as he entered. "Thank you sir, I'm fine." He held up a PaDD. "This is from Haru," he said in almost wonderment "He...wants to transfer to the ship says that you are alright with this?"
"More than alright," replied Stillwater taking a sip of his tea and casting his mug aside for the time being. He would let it cool a bit as he conversed with the officer. "I recommend it, encouraged it, and wholeheartedly endorse the decision. Commander Soral will need to look it over, but I don't foresee him taking any issue."
"I don't either." He paused. "Permission to speak openly, sir."
"Proceed, lieutenant" Stillwater replied.
"I think that...for the first time in a long time I've seen a determination on his face. I.... I know we're in the same department but it won't interfere how we work together and I think you are getting a fine officer, not just a bias but a fact. Thank you for doing this. He's been so lost as of late that I was afraid that he'd be completely lost."
Stillwater took a sip of tea and mulled over how to respond. "I'm not a counselor, not a Psychologist, but has he been seeing Lieutenant Vali? If not, he's going to need to when he's ready. Haru feels useless and that makes him feel lost. Keeping him in uniform and assigning him duties will help, but he has a lot psychologically to work on."
"He hasn't seen her yet but I've spoken to Vali about him. Yes, he feels useless but what hit him worst of all was that he was left behind, something he'd never do to anyone." He sighed. "Captain I won't forget what you did for him."
Stillwater nodded. "I gathered that. Lieutenant Vali will be more trained at assessing him than myself, but as someone who has stuffed from PTSD, the signs are there."
He gave a nod. "May I ask a personal question?"
"You may. What is it?"
"Since you said that you've had PTSD.. how did your husband support you? Every time I try he gets so angry or depressed."
"Talarn has his own issues having been assimilated by the Borg many years ago. It was not easy for either of us to open up, but one good screaming match at one another opened up old wounds, our mutual love for one another caused us to realize we had a shared pain."
He gave a nod. "We've been doing a lot of screaming...but it hasn't gotten us anywhere." He sighed. "But this...this will help. I have no words to tell you how grateful I am."
"I'm just doing my job," Stillwater said with a nod. "I'll keep an eye on Haru."
He gave a nod and stood. "Permission to express myself openly again sir."
"Go ahead," Stillwater said.
Mac stood and walked over to his CO. He grabbed the man's face and kissed him on the forehead "You, sir, are a gem. Thank you for giving both Haru and I hope."
"Don't make a habit of doing that, Lieutenant. I have a reputation of being prickly to uphold."
He grinned. "Sorry." He blushed slightly. "I'm just so hopeful that this will help Haru. God knows I've tried everything."