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Lieutenant Victria & Captain Ethan McConnell

Sol System, Earth, Station Caspian Two



"I hope you aren't thinking of doing anything foolish."


"I do not know what you mean," she said dryly.


"Don't be coy with me, Victria. You know exactly what I mean. I know you better than you think."


"Do you?" One eyebrow rose, not in query, but in challenge.


Ethan smiled thinly in response. "There is nothing you can do for him. He brought this about on himself. I understand better than you like. From the reports I've seen, I know that his actions were necessary. It was not, perhaps, the wisest course of action, but for someone who had gone through all of the proper channels…" He shrugged. "There was a time when I might have done the same."


"Do not tell me that you understand only to hide behind your protocols. If you truly thought that he had no other recourse, he would not be imprisoned."


"What he did was very public, Victria. It cannot be ignored. We have laws for a reason. He broke them and knew there would be repercussions. He will suffer his punishment honorably."


"I know this, but that does not mean I have to like it," she snapped.


"I don't like it. I wouldn't expect you to." He sighed, running his hands through his hair as he leaned back in his chair. "I only want to make sure you aren't going to do anything."


"Like what, exactly?"


"I know how impulsive you can be. I know how your anger controls you."


"I dislike games that do not involve bloodsport. Ask me plainly what you want to know."


"Are you going to try to free him from prison?" he asked bluntly.


Having not considered anything of the sort, Victria stared in surprise. "Free him?! You think I would attempt to free him? And then what? We fly about the quadrant, hiding from your Federation patrols? Start a rebellion?" She let out a single incredulous laugh. "I am sometimes brash and instinctual, but I would never be so dense."


He seemed to relax. "Ah, glad to hear it. I had hoped… well, never mind. From your reaction, I can see that you weren't even contemplating it. But you are planning… something, aren't you?"


"I had only planned to visit him. Before Excalibur disembarks, I wish to visit him. Can you grant me that much, at least?"


"I'll see what I can do," he promised.


Shuffling the stack of padds in front of him, he pulled one free and glanced at it. "On to other business, I brought you here to discuss two things. First, we need to debrief you on what actually happened. I read your report, but many of the items need clarification. Second, I have your transfer orders."


"What do you mean, transfer orders?" Her brows drew together as his face became the instant focus of intense scrutiny.


"You are being reassigned, but we'll get to that…"


"No! You will tell me now!"


Slightly surprised by the vehemence in her voice, he glanced up. "You are being reassigned to work with us here."


"Absolutely not! You are not taking me off the Excalibur."


"I didn't think you would want to remain on that ship with… with the command changes that will be taking place."


"I am not leaving that ship. If you wish to assign special projects to me in addition to my normal duties, fine. I can easily complete them when not on regular shift, but you are not dragging me down here on some thinly veiled pretext that hides your true intentions."


"Really, Victria. We have discussed this. I would never let th.."


"You might not," she said, cutting him off, "but there are others that would. I am not a subject for your medical examiners to dissect and study. Here, I am under constant scrutiny and have absolutely no privacy. If you want to see me lose my patience and rip the throats from your colleagues, by all means, reassign me here. I guarantee it will happen within the month."


"I… I had no idea you felt so strongly about it. I only thought it would give us a chance to work together. There is much I want to know about you and your people." He studied her face for a moment, then shrugged and looked back to his notes.


Her nostrils flared as she caught the carefully controlled emotion that he wouldn't show. Ethan McConnell was a decent man that had always treated her with respect, but there were those that he worked with that would see her enslaved for the purposes of science, no matter how they justified it to themselves. Though the interest and curiosity between them was mutual, she would never attach herself to his division simply because he wanted to be her friend.


"Under other circumstances, perhaps, but not these," she felt compelled to say.


There were reasons why she wished to remain aboard the Excalibur for a bit longer, of course, chief among them that the ship would eventually be going back to the Gamma Quadrant. She had no intention staying aboard any longer than she absolutely had to, but she would never divulge that information to Ethan. If she admitted it aloud, he would be forced to have her reassigned, likely locked away in some subterranean laboratory for her own 'safe keeping'. From the way he looked at her, however, she wondered if he guessed at her intentions. He met her gaze, inclined his head slightly, and returned his attention to the report before him. Her respect for him edged upward.


"I understand," he said. "I'll have the transfer cancelled. You can do more on Excalibur when she's in the Gamma Quadrant than anywhere else, anyhow. No one can argue with that."


"Thank you, Captain," she said genuinely. "Now, what would you like to cover first?"


"From the reports, there are many things that have happened over the past two years that we need to discuss. Let's begin at the beginning…"

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