Haumea Colony

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I Mustache You a Question

Posted on Thu Nov 4th, 2021 @ 5:26pm by Cornelius Warner MS & Captain Luka Mahone
Edited on on Thu Nov 4th, 2021 @ 5:27pm

Mission: Frizzle
Timeline: After finding the first set of kids
1851 words - 3.7 OF Standard Post Measure

Luka had yet to let his shoulders rest since he heard news of the children's disappearance. But, at the sight of the first few rescued kids, the young Captain found it appropriate to release all his tension in the subtle motion. Which he did hiding in the the tent Cornelius had set up, now starting to empty out of potentially malicious parents after the Captain for his ear to bend.

He watched as a small Andorian child toddled up to one of the civilian engineers, breathing a sigh of relief when they seemed ready to leave for the medical tents after they shared a hug. This was a good sign, he reassured himself.

As more children were spotted, either being led by various Starfleet and Marines to the Medical tent, or reuniting with their parents, Luka took the opportunity to settle himself in. Sure, everyone else needed rest, but what the Captain needed?

Another cup of coffee. And maybe another talk with the mustached bartender. Who was, thankfully, not that hard to find. "You don't happen to have anymore of that elixir of Not Grumpy left, would you?"

Placing a cup down on the makeshift bar space, Cornelius laughed at the tired voice of the Captain. "Fresh pot brewing right now," he said, leaning against the table. "It sounds like you could use something stronger though, though I feel the parents might frown upon that," he said he pulled the fresh pot from its resting place and poured the cup.

"I'll wait till I've got the paperwork filed." Luka cast a tired look toward one of the small groups of parents. "Or at least until everyone is accounted for." He took the cup, letting it sit and warm up his hands before taking a sip from it. "I don't know if I can exactly blame them for being as antsy as they are. Not having all the answers to something this dangerous might not have me as aggressive. Assertive, maybe, but not aggressive."

"It's a fine line we walk between aggressive and assertive," the spook-turned-bartender said with a shrug. "The difference comes with how much we let ourselves give into the anger, and usually once you cross that line, it is very hard to come back from it. Though, if it was my kid in there, I probably would be much the same." His eyes flitted to the parents as they wandered by. He was starting to recognize faces, the ones who frequented his bar. He'd even added colouring books to the collection of things he could offer, seeing as many in Starfleet, and the Federation as a whole, rarely understood the meaning of a bar being for only adults. Still, he knew some of the faces young and old, and knew that the people were feeling uneasy. There would be drinks and hot meals had in the Silver Tongue tonight he was sure, and of those, probably some apologies shared.

"It is a fine line. And there's an even finer one lodged in there too. Sometimes you lose reason, start a mob, and blame the first person who looks like a big target." Luka shook his head. "Sometimes you dive off the deep end so far it becomes your whole reason for taking up a position that's offered to you. I guess it's a bit cheese to say I know what it's like to not have all the answers, but... I get that anxiety. I find it hard to not, really."

Cornelius gave a shrug, and nodded to a pair of parents walking by. "That's the Khalil's, he's a climate scientist here, his wife is a nurse in the civilian clinic. They're some of the calmest people I have met, never even heard him raise his voice when his daughter was being a child. And yet, in the moment, when things boiled over, I saw him shouting with the rest. You, and I, have spent years training on how to deal with this stress, how to keep calm in the moments of high stress. Many of these people? Not so much." He picked up his own coffee and took a sip. "Starfleet stares down the void so often, its easy to forget how people don't do that. Its easy to forget that, for the most part, your average person is a single bad day away from being a bad person. A lot of parents today got very close to having that very bad day." Abbas stopped to look into the tent, giving a sheepish nod as he gripped his wife's shoulder. Cornelius nodded back, raising his coffee at the man.

"But," he said, his eyes cast back towards Luka, "that's not an excuse. We all make those decisions, we get to look the void down and decide whether it consumes us, or we push it back. It sounds like your own personal void is coming to grips with the fact you'll never have all the answer, never have all the truths. Starfleet, these people, friends and family, everyone keeps secrets. Everyone keeps their truths tight, and there are going to be times you make decisions without being able to see the whole picture."

"Too tight, I'd say," Luka agreed. His gaze followed after Abbas, but not for long. The Captain wanted to give people their space and time to heal. "Thoughts and feelings might be difficult to overcome, but it's the actions that make or break people." He frowned. Was this something he wanted to entrust with Cornelius? In a moment of tired weakness, or sheer insanity, Luka decided it didn't matter. "I don't think I've ever said, but I think I assumed you knew to some degree. Have I ever told you about my sister?"

The other man shook he head. He remembered a note somewhere mentioning a sister in his file as a list of kin, but aside from that he hadn't really dug into it.

Luka took to leaning against the nearest counter and closing his eyes as he tried to recall all the files he had combed over. "See, her Starfleet file states she's deceased, from some faulty something in a mission." He waved a hand in the air. "But she's not. She had been in contact with me on and off a few years ago, well after she was supposedly KIA. I could easily nod it off as someone trying to pull my leg and masquerade as her, and I almost did, but before I could really investigate who was actually messaging me or why they would be doing so, all the messages disappeared. I did some digging anyways, turns out she was last spotted on one of those civilian vessels. Mary Rose I think it was called, but that was a couple years ago. Who knows where she is now. And if I ask around too much, I'm coming up to red tape and a lot of questions on why I'm asking about her. She was wrapped up in something that was beyond my clearance level last time I looked."

Cornelius sat and listened, his eyes fixed on the man, sipping from his own coffee as the Captain talked, explaining the situation. Part of his brain wondered if he could scan through the records and find more information about the woman, but knowing that if she went missing for a reason, then finding that paper trail would be easier said than done. The Mary Rose caught his attention - he knew Gregnol enough to be vaguely familiar with the ship in question, but not enough to remember any of the crew. It was an interesting idea that someone had faked their death to sneak under the radar.

"The point is," Luka shook his head, "I get it, where these parents are coming from. What it's like to not have answers on a loved one you feel helpless in trying to get to. And the annoyance of anyone getting in the way turns maddening."

The corners of Warner's lips turned up slightly, the barest hint of a smile. "Hold onto that feeling, it serves many well," he said, straightening up from where he had hunched over to be close to the man. "But don't let it consume you, there is a careful line to walk between annoyance and passion, to cross over to madness and obsession. Don't hold this moment against all of them, but remember it well. I'm sure they will. And as for your sister," he paused, considering his words carefully. "If you ever need someone to root around, I feel that's a privilege afforded to you from our friendship."

"Oh I should get you into more trouble more often. I've addled your brain and fogged your judgment." Luka shook his head. "Maybe one day, but I think for now I'll have to settle for her having her own little adventures. She was never one to keep in one spot anyways, so if I did get a hold of her? I'd lose her just as fast." He gave pause, thoughtful frown on his lips. "It's a weird feeling, knowing that you'd do that for me. Not because we're friends, but because I've spent so long prying answers from people in Intelligence, it's different knowing it might be an iota easier. At least, in this case it might be."

"Intelligence types are taught from the day we enter the academy to be cautious, to guard our secrets close, even from others in the field. Starfleet Intelligence is an goliath of intelligence gathering, one that can sniff out the smallest secret possible. But it's also decentralized, kept segmented into groups. It means if you have a breach in one spot, they can't get everything. It keeps us safe, and it keeps the other powers thinking we're disorganized and incompetent." He smiled, not his usual smile with bravado and charisma oozing from his dimples. No, this was a different kind of smile, a knowing smile, where there was something said in the low hush between two friends telling late night secrets at a slumber party. "It may not be that they don't want to share, that person might not know."

"... That explains a little bit." If it explained too much, Luka feared for the SFI elves coming down and wiping his memory of this conversation, or his favorite sandwich. He wasn't sure which he felt worse about losing at the moment. Shaking his head of the imaginary thoughts he knew he was overthinking, the Captain chuckled. "It explains a bit about why I can't ever get straight answers out of a whole lot of Intelligence types."

"But-" Luka's eyes darted out of the tent, where he spotted Davna squinting around the area aimlessly for him. "I shouldn't keep you longer. The coffee's always appreciated." He tipped the empty mug to Cornelius, setting it on the counter. "As is the conversation."

"My door is always open," the man said, watching the Captain walk towards his Yeoman, who herself clearly looked as though she could use a coffee.

 

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