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A Pale Reflection

Posted on Monday, 20 December 2021 - 10:38pm by Captain Pippa Whitley & Lieutenant Alex Kingsley

Mission: Operation: Mirror of Madness
Location: USS Standing Bear | Turbolift

Captain Whitley and their Acting First Officer had stepped onto the turbolift as Captain Whitley gave the command for the lift to proceed on its descent downward to the appropriate deck, but with the doors closed and the lift on its way, Whitley cleared their throat. "Computer, hold lift." The Captain gave the command swiftly. Their eyes locked onto Alex's who was undoubtedly ready and expecting this conversation.

"I do believe that Soral is...was..maybe still is on Vulcan, and I still have all intentions of going to Vulcan to deliver this speech," stated Pippa. "However, I have been taking what Hamura and others, including yourself have stated about Commander Soral's actions lately. I think we have to proceed with an internal yellow alert" noted Pippa.

Is. Was. Maybe. The choice of words brought a hint of a smile to the science officer's lips although it disappeared long before it could develop further. "Soral has never endangered this ship or crew," she pointed out, trying for all she was worth not to sound like a wife defending her husband even if that was, essentially, the case.

Pippa Whitley nodded in agreement. "That is correct. However, his behaviour has been contradictory to what you and the rest of this crew has been used to. If he's under the influence of something...a pathogen we haven't been able to detect, reprogramming, or hijacked by a parasitic species like the bluegills, then can we truly proceed as though he's not at least potentially a threat?"

"Allow me to dive off a cliff of logic and science for a moment, and please entertain these possibilities, but what if your husband is not really your husband. It looks like Soral, speaks like Soral, medically scans as Soral, but is not actually Soral."

Biting back an immediate retort, Alex paused. There was no doubting the woman was being absolutely serious. "That is quite a cliff dive," she said slowly, "and I do not have any issue with precautions if you think it is necessary, but I will not jump off that cliff without actual evidence. He is my husband, we are bonded and I cannot even begin to explain what that is like..."

"I'm not ready to cliff dive either, Lieutenant, not without concrete evidence, but that is why I have you with me. If anyone is going to be able to find that evidence, it would be my Chief Science Officer - and his wife. The phasers are just precautionary, I have no intentions on using them. Though I will be keeping Soral off duty for a few days at the very least, medical examinations etc pending. I'll be going to Vulcan and leaving the Standing Bear under your command."

"I'm sure Soral will understand your caution," Alex assured her. "I'm also sure Command would raise an eyebrow at leaving Soral's wife in command... What do you plan to do on Vulcan?"

"Make myself a gosh damn spectacle," Pippa quipped. "I'm going to deliver that speech, and I am going to make them listen...see me. Watch me, a non-Vulcan trek through the Vulcan Forge and ascend the sacred Mount Seleya, and no offense intended, but undo the mess that Commander Soral caused with his thunderous speech condemning the Federation and driving a bloody wedge between its founding worlds."

Alex's eyes widened and before she could stop herself she blurted out, "are you insane?! You could be killed just trying to get to Mount Seleya, never mind the climb!"

"Clinically, that is debatable. I am certainly tenacious" Pippa stated. "That said, I value your strong concern about my well being. As my First Officer...acting or otherwise, I'd expect you to be vocal against my going. However, it is necessary. The Vulcans are not going to respect a Starfleet Officer beaming down to the top of Mount Seleya, but I will establish Ethos with them by going through the forge and ascending the mountain. I will leave it the speech to appeal to Logos."

"It is debatable if the Vulcans will respect anything at this point but you can pretty much guarantee they will at least listen. They can however, be incredibly stubborn," Alex pointed out, adding with rueful smile, "some more than others."

Pippa sighed. "I have to at least try, Alex. I have to. If the Vulcans are left with those words they may start finding logic in leaving the Federation. We already lost the Andorians. If we lose yet another founding member in the Vulcans? The Tellarites will then go. What then? It's Earth holding the United Federation of Planets together...and I don't think our membership numbers will hold at that point."

It was sound logic. "From what I understand, many member worlds have been threatening to leave since before the Romulan relocation efforts. Since before Mars. You realise it may only be a matter of time before the Vulcans - and others - leave the Federation?" She paused, nodding as if to herself. "If you must go then I won't stop you. But at least take precautions. And some company. It is dangerous and I don't really think the crew can deal with losing another Captain."

"Lieutenant K'Var won't let me go alone. I had already mentioned it, and I am pretty sure she hissed at me under her breath before reading off regulations to me. So, I won't be alone. Lieutenant Kolani had also volunteered to go with us, taking us down into the forge by shuttle."

"Good to know," Alex nodded. It would also, she realised, bring down the senior staff to the bare minimum. Hardly ideal but better than letting their CO die trying to solve the galaxy's newest headache.

"Our newly promoted Lieutenant Eberhardt will be your Acting First Officer in my absence until Soral is cleared for duty." With that said Pippa cleared their throat. "Right, Soral will be arriving soon. Best get a move on. Computer, resume lift."

Alex nodded as the lift resumed its journey, which in typical Standing Bear style, was short and sweet. A small ship had advantages. “After you,” Alex said as the doors opened.

Captain Whitley nodded, taking a bit of a breath, and proceeded forward. "Let's hope this goes well" sighed the Captain.


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