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A Little Chat

Posted on Wed Nov 21st, 2018 @ 8:07pm by Captain Osegan Trenna & Lieutenant JG Kemm Talu

Mission: Light is Dark
Location: Kemm's Quarters
Timeline: MD 05 | 1030

As she walked down the corridor, passing various crewmen, Trenna thought about what she was about to do. The chaos that had occurred on the bridge was still vivid in her mind; it wasn't everyday that two senior officers came to fisticuffs.

Arriving at the door, she reached out and touched the announcer.

Inside, Kemm heard the chime but continued staring into his monitor. Following the status meeting, he had assigned himself to the group responsible for understanding the root cause of the interference. The documented reasons were that he was ill-trained to process the pulsar data and his confinement made him less useful as a project manager. Another, more personal reason was that he likes working on sensor technique and output projects. Though he decided to become an anthropologist, Kemm never lost the love of sensors he learned in the Bajoran militia.

"Enter," Kemm said over the top of his screen.

The doors parted and Trenna stepped into the quarters. She spotted Kemm behind the desk. "Lieutenant," she said in greeting. "How are you?"

Kemm was surprised to see his commanding officer standing in his door, and he quickly stood up. He knocked into the half-filled tea mug on his desk and caught it before it spilled, placing it right before returning his attention to Trenna.

"Captain, please come in. I am..." Kemm trailed off for a moment. "I suppose I shall know soon enough. Would you like something to drink? I have a pot of fresh-brewed deka tea."

"Sounds nice, thank you," she replied despite her preference for coffee. Deka tea was thoroughly Bajoran so it wasn't surprising that Kemm would drink it. Trenna, having not growing n up on Bajor, had never acquired a taste for it. She didn't dislike it, but it was far from her preferred option for beverages. "I'm sorry for coming by unannounced, but I thought we should talk."

"Aye Captain, and I should have spoken to you long before now," Kemm said, pouring a mug of the tea and handing it to Osegan, motioning to a seat opposite his own desk chair as an invitation to sit. Kemm waited to follow the Captain's lead, and felt himself tensing as if preparing for a fight. He ignored it and instead tried to calm himself. Hopefully admitting his own fault in the incident would make this entire conversation easier.

She accepted the offered cup and sat. "That would have been preferable to a fistfight on the bridge," Osegan conceded before lifting the steaming mug to her lips and taking a sip of the tea. "However, that's not what happened. Instead, well, you ended up confined to quarters. I think we can agree that this is a less than ideal arrangement. Especially given our current mission."

"I take your point, Captain. I was working toward an objective and operated with a single-track mind," Kemm said, restraining himself from continuing.

Her eyes studied his face. He was difficult to read. She looked down at the mug warming her hands and then back up at Kemm. "I'm sorry."

The captain's apology removed the uncertainly and apprehension from Kemm's mind. He felt himself relax almost instantly and lean back heavily in his chair. Relief washed over him - he probably wouldn't be court-martialed and the captain seemed to understand his point about Dedeker. As he ran an inventory of his emotions, Kemm found he was only left with anger.

"I just..." Kemm started to say, but stopped himself. He remembered a saying from his mother: Apologies come in pairs, or else they mean goodbye.

"I haven't worked on a team in a long time," Kemm said. "And I'm sorry I didn't come to you first. I felt the need to act swiftly, but only because I didn't act sooner."

"I appreciate that." She leaned back in her chair and lifted the mug to her lips again. The tea heating her as it flowed down her throat. "Before you...act out like that again, talk to me. Deal?"

"Aye Captain," Kemm replied.

Setting down her cup, Trenna continued. "I looked at your file. You served in the Militia. Through the Dominion War even. We have that in common."

Kemm found it an odd change in topics, especially since their experiences in the Militia were far different in his mind. Still, Trenna was making an effort, and Kemm was committed to the same. “That feels so long ago,” he said. “I once thought I’d never leave the Militia, or Bajor for that matter.”

"What changed?" Unlike the science officer, Trenna hadn't grown up on Bajor. Her father had been able to get both Trenna and her mother off planet, thereby saving them from the horrors of the Occupation. It wasn't until after the Cardassians had left that she had returned to the planet of her birth and joined the Militia. "I remained in the Militia for nearly two years after Bajor joined Starfleet. The offer of a commission and the opportunity to see more of the galaxy than the Militia typically gets to lured me."

"Vedek Aco would tell me the only change was I stopped lying to myself about what I wanted," Kemm said. "And maybe he's right. But since I was captured, Bajor doesn't feel like home anymore. Do you ever feel that?"

It was an interesting question. Having only spent about a decade on Bajor, her feelings on the subject were....unclear. "To be honest," she began, "I'm not sure if Bajor felt much like home until the Dominion War. And even then..." Her voice faded away as she lifted the mug to her lips and took another sip of the deka tea. "I was raised off-world and didn't return to Bajor until after the Occupation ended. I joined the Militia so I could help reconstruct the home I never actually had. It was the threat of the Dominion that fostered feelings of 'home' for me."

"Threats to Bajor," Kemm said, looking into his hands. "Or perhaps threats to Bajorans. Because our planet is an empty husk without our people, and the prophets will guide us through all the stars." Looking up, Kemm realized what he'd begun saying, "I'm sorry Captain, I don't mean to preach."

"No need to apologize." She had never latched onto the religious part of Bajoran culture, perhaps due to having grown up off planet, although her mother had been an adherent. For some reason, it just hadn't settled in with Trenna, which had required some adjustment when she'd returned to Bajor since it played a significant part in Bajoran society. "Whether it was the planet or the people, I was drawn to serve. Which, eventually, led me here."

Osegan took another drink of tea, swallowing before setting the cup down and leaning forward. "I'd like you back on active duty," she stated. "If you can keep from, literally, lashing out, you could have a solid Starfleet career ahead of you still. The question is: is that something you want?"

"I'm drawn to serve, as well Captain," Kemm said, looking into his empty cup and wondering if Osegan would notice that he didn't answer her question, exactly. "I assume you don't require any elaboration of my concerns regarding Senior Chief Dedeker?"

"Is there more than you'd like to say?" she countered, unsure if Kemm was eager to expound on the subject.

"I do believe he's a danger to himself and others, but it has come to my attention that..." Kemm paused, looking for the right words. He could imagine himself in Dedeker's place, remembering how hard it was to re-integrate after his time in captivity. But instead of lashing out, Kemm had tried to become a recluse and entered the monastery. "We're talking about home in the abstract and the past -- these feelings are at an arm's length, and at least we have our duty to guide us. But I worry that Dedeker feels like he doesn't have a home anymore."

The words gave Trenna pause. Her mind had been focused on trying to deal with not only the mission at hand but also reacting to the obvious issue, so she hadn't given much energy to the more circumspect approach of resolving the Kemm-Dedeker spat. "Oh?" she pushed. "What makes you say that?"

"Just reading his service record and seeing his behavior. He's always been brash, I'm sure, but one person can only take so much before they move on to belligerent," Kemm said. "He was betrayed by his brother and when Starfleet welcomed him back, they took away his wings."

Kemm paused, unsure if he should continue. Or if he wanted to continue. "When I came home and found out my wife had re-married while I was presumed dead, I was not a pleasant person. I accepted the divorce -- they already had children. But I still... I don't have a hard time imagining how Dedeker could hate the world."

"I will certainly take that under advisement," she responded after a long pause. "You're a good man, Lieutenant. Many other people would not be so concerned about Mister Dedeker's mental or emotional state." She set down her cup. "I hope you'll give me another chance. I want you here on the Altai."


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