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Crowning Confrontation

Posted on Sat Feb 6th, 2010 @ 1:56am by Lieutenant Thomas Jenkins

Mission: Removing The Blindfold. Season 1 Episode 5
Location: Promenade
Timeline: Immediately After the Commodore's Announcement

Thomas stood with the rest of the Senior Staff as Beverly finished her announcement. The crowd's reactions were a mixture of pride and well wishes for the Commodore, as well as some worry, intrigue - and of course some people couldn't care less. Thomas was a mixture of emotions himself. Less of a mixture really, more of an unstable blend. He knew Beverly wasn't likely to remain on the station for long after her promotion, but why was he so disturbed by the idea? And a Federation strike force? That was a euphemism if he'd ever heard one.

The crowd finally began to disperse, people going back to their stations or shops. A few remained, giving the Commodore their best wishes and saying a few short goodbyes. Thomas waited patiently across the hall, watching, not sure exactly what he was waiting for. As the last of those wanting their moments with the Commodore walked away, Thomas made his way towards her, acting without thinking.

"Why didn't you tell me?"
He asked, bluntly, standing a good distance behind her.

"Lieutenant... Now isn't the time".
She could read the emotion of his face like a poem written by Chaucer. Over the last few months she had grown very close with Thomas, but had never allowed that to interfere in Command or Public domain, he now threatened that yet she understood. Slowly she turned to face him. She so much wanted to reach out and touch his cheek and feel the warmth of his chest but she couldn't. Not here.

Softly she whispered "Come to my quarters and I can explain myself". The simple statement carried with it a weight of emotion, the biggest of which was hope that he would and not continue on this track on the Promenade.

"Oh don't give me that 'Lieutenant' crap." Thomas came back, not realizing what he was saying or how coldly it came across until it had already come out. Hours ago everything was fine, and now.. well now everything was changing, and he couldn't sort out how he felt about it. He tried to stay calm, but he could feel that it was a fight he was going to lose. Nevertheless, he moved in closer and lowered his voice in an attempt to avoid drawing attention.

"A good time would have been when you found out." He spoke quietly, bitterly ignoring her request to take the conversation elsewhere. Beverly's mouth began to move, but he interrupted and continued. "How long ago was that, anyway?" He asked, borderline irrationally. "Weeks? Days?" His eyebrows furrowed. "You couldn't have told me twenty minutes ago, so I didn't have to take it all in, standing in a crowd of every Joe Schmoe on the station?"

"You are out of line Lieuetnant", she barked, raising her voice higher than she had wanted attracting the attention of several passers by.

She pulled him aside into one of the quieter alcoves on the deck. "You know how I feel about you, but my position makes this... What we have impossible. You know that and I know that. Now stop acting like a cadet and start acting like a Starfleet Officer."

"A Starfleet Officer?" He laughed. He couldn't figure out what hurt the most, the fact that she'd yet to refer to him by anything but a rank, or that she was demanding he act like an 'officer.' It was like a conversation with his father, only this time it came from someone he actually cared about; someone he didn’t expect it from.

"You mean a mindless drone? How about cold? Or emotionless, maybe?" He rolled his eyes. "Christ, why don't I just go back in time and join that Vulcan crew the Borg managed to assimilate before turning on us last month?" Being in the alcove, away from the population on the promenade, and now getting angrier by the minute, Tom's voice began to rise. "How about some common decency, Beverly? I didn't do very well in the academy, did they teach that?" He spat out, sarcastically.

Instinctively her palm rose and struck his cheek bone with enough force to be heard across the way at Toka's bar. "How dare you... How dare you!" she stammered, not sure what else to say. Her emotions boiling and her feelings for him burning like a fire that refused to be deflamed.

Common sense would have told him to back off, that he'd crossed a line and was still sprinting past the finish. Common sense would have, if it weren't clouded by anger, betrayal and fear, that is. Instead, the pain in his cheek didn't even register, and he reacted by putting a hand against the wall next to Beverly, leaning in even closer.

"It doesn't matter now, though, does it?" He practically growled. "You can just hop on a ship and fly away, you didn't have to tell me a damned thing." He took a quick, deep breath, hoping it would clear his head - but it didn't help. In fact, it might have made things worse. "Everyone else that creature in you mauled took a skip over to sickbay, was fixed up in no time. Nevermind Thomas though, no! Let's just keep preying on him like he's a piece of bloody meat until play time's over, then move on!" The adrenaline kept pumping, and he started to sweat. "Where's my sickbay, Beverly? Am I supposed to act like a hypospray is going to make everything better?"

Tears started to spill openly down her cheek, streaking the makeup that she had only recently reapplied after the last lot of tears. His words were stinging and hurtful and completely understandable. She felt the same about him, but the last time she had flown into a hostile situation with a loved one he had died. She didn't want a repeat performance.

"I love you Thomas... I do. But I can't have that emotion hanging over me in the heat of battle. I know what it can do... I've seen it, and now my own son won't talk to me because of it... Now do you understand?"

"I understand." Thomas replied, sounding deceivingly calm. "I understand that you can turn your emotions off with a switch, and that's great for you." Tom fought back his own tears, though he hadn't exactly figured out where the emotion was coming from yet. "You do the uniform proud, Commodore," he coldly called her by her rank; "I believe your ship is waiting." Silently, he pushed off with the arm he had leaning against the wall, standing straight and moving out of her way, his eyes now blank of emotion.

Suddenly feeling her legs go weak, panic about loosing him completely, fear over never mending the rift between her and her son, terror over the fact she would be going to war, all of it bubbled to the surface and the sobs fell like rain drops on sand. Each one causing her body to shudder until her knees could no longer support her weight. They buckled and she tumbled to the floor, the tears falling.

Out of desperation she tried to call for him, but the words caught in her throat this time through embarrassment over the public display of emotions.

Somewhere deep inside Thomas, something tried to break through the wall of anger. The woman he - Thomas Jenkins - had fallen for was in tears on the floor in front of him. Deep down he wanted so badly to pick her up and hold her, not to let her go - not now, not when the time came for her ship to leave, not ever. But there were too many other emotions at play, and he was far beyond compassion. He'd tried to follow his heart, tried to give up his promiscuous ways, and where had it gotten him? Through this woman he'd given the federation a chance, despite his lifelong hatred of it and nearly twelve years of disgust since he'd enrolled - and now where was he? Shouting a Commodore down to her knees in a discreet but nevertheless public area. He couldn't do it any more, he was done trying.

"Good luck with your war." He muttered, quietly, empty and completely drained of any remaining emotion. Slowly, he turned and began to walk away. As he walked, he reached his left hand across his chest and loosened the pips from his collar, dropping them on the ground a few steps away from the Commodore.

Enough was enough.

 

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