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Capt Waterhouse & Lt Cmdr Sharir - "Nothing Left For You To Take Away"

Posted on 2020-11-09 11:05 by Captain Amelia Waterhouse & Commander Nadiv Sharir

Mission: Grains of Sand

Nadiv was the first to arrive this week, he hadn't been sure when Amelia was coming back from her sojourn with some of the crew to Qo'noS, but she'd sent him a message that morning to confirm, and he was glad. He'd gotten used to their chats and looked forward to the release of being able to be completely open and honest with someone about what was going on in his head. He knew that no matter what happened she wanted to cover her own ass and make sure he wasn't going rogue or something but... each week he felt less and less inclined to do so.

Their usual basket of chips and two pints of ale were sat on the otherwise empty table, this time Marmalade Jar, which he'd been recommended as 'something different' so he figured they'd try it. While he waited he was scrolling through images of the trip he'd taken to the Zoo with his wife and daughter. He'd yet to spend any time alone with the latter but while things were uneasy they were going well.

"I am so sorry I'm late, I am never late... I just lost track of time going over this roster. I have eighty spots to fill now compared to the fifty before, and even among the crew that survived the trip across the mirror, not all of them are returning to my crew — mostly requests to transfer away from field work." Amelia started to shrug out of her leather jacket as her eyes slid over the pints and the chips waiting on the table. "I hope I didn't keep you waiting too long?"

"Nah you're fine, I was a little late myself," he said as he stood up and waited for her to finish taking off her jacket before stepping in for a hug. "How were your bar fights and stuff?" he asked. He'd declined the tentative invite, figuring that it would be better looked upon if he stayed on Earth. Besides, the last thing he wanted to do was bail on a chance to get to know Thamin better.

Amelia paused as they pulled apart from the hug, and stared at Nadiv a long moment. "That is the first time you've initiated our hug. I'm proud of you." She slid into the booth with a grin on her face. "Our bar crawl went well. Cillian held his own well enough that Veda didn't come at me for putting him in harm's way, and despite running into my Uncles, my grandmother didn't catch wind that I was on Qo'noS, so I didn't have to drag everyone through Klingon dinner hospitality over gagh — even if Aunt Ba'el's gagh is the best."

"Yeah, yeah," Nadiv rolled his eyes and slid back into his seat. "I can't imagine any Cilly not holding their own, even if they get a little beat up in the process, ya know I've never known anyone to get so... attractively beaten up? Like, how does someone not look like shit with a black eye?" He laughed.

Amelia laughed brightly. "You know, meeting your Cillian reminded me of how I'd hit on mine way back at the Academy. It was a magnificent crash and burn." Amelia whistled, gesturing with her hand as if it were a plane in a nose dive. "Veda just gets protective of him around me because of how she met him — my bat'leth and his nose had a right of way disagreement in the holodeck, and my mother's idea of sufficient safeties is much lower than they should be. She was on duty in sickbay when I brought him in for treatment." She coughed, and sipped her beer.

"Classic nurse and patient story huh? I like it," he said with a grin, amused by the thought. "Ours has never seemed like the kind to want to lay down any kind of roots, different girl every damn mission we went on," he chuckled and shook his head. "I take it Cilly flirted with you to jog your memory?"

"It was less that he flirted—though he certainly did flirt—and more that when I immediately flirted back, I was hit with deja vu like a lemon wrapped around a gold brick hitting me upside the head. Though the encounter with mine during the Academy was only that polite I flirt with everyone, he had eyes on one of the band that was playing in that little hole in the wall Irish Pub hidden down an ally in SF." Amelia shrugged, grabbing a handful of the chips and plucking them out one at a time to munch on.

Nadiv was glad of the clarification in her opening statement, he'd been about to have a heart attack at the notion that Cilly hadn't flirted back which would have been very out of character for the Denobulan. "Well, it's good to know that some things are the same no matter which side of the mirror you're on," he said with a smile. He took a drink from his pint glass and pulled a face. It was an interesting drink for sure, but he found he quite liked it. "So, you've definitely got a ship, that's great news," he said as he set the glass down and picked up a chip.

"Brand new ship. I thought young captains went through a few more hand me downs before getting a crack at fresh off the assembly line toys. I must have impressed someone more than I realized." She shrugged. "You'd mentioned last time there was a Zoo trip planned. How'd that go?"

Nadiv opened up the photo album on his PADD and slid it towards Amelia. "It went better than I was expecting actually, even with hoping that going somewhere less formal would help ease the tension a little. It's awkward because she's old enough to get the concept of amnesia... but she's not old enough to really... understand the reality of it," he explained. "So I deliberately picked somewhere new for all three of us, making new memories that she knows I'll have next time she sees me... I think that helped," at least, it had seemed to. At least Starfleet Medical had agreed that considering the trauma it was unlikely that his memories would ever become more than holos he could watch on a screen. That took the pressure off from that point of view a little.

Amelia slowly scrolled through the pictures, smiling softly as she went. "Yeah, that sounds like a good approach. I still remember the first time you walked in here after you met her the first time, and you told me about your reaction to her hugging you. And then how you nearly crawled out of your skin when I insisted you were going to learn to be comfortable with hugging if it killed you." She chuckled.

"That hug may have been the most awkward moment of my entire life... but I'll be damned if she didn't steal my heart in that moment," he said, his lips quirking into a wonky, affectionate smile. "Leaving her will be the hardest thing once Starfleet decides I'm ready to go back out there," he admitted quietly as he picked up a chip, chewing it as he got lost in thought for a moment.

"I can see that in the pictures — you look so comfortable and relaxed with her. Which Zoo did you go to? The one here in SF, across the bay in Oakland, or another one?" Amelia slid the PADD back as she reached the end of the album.

"No, Prague," he said with a smile as he took back the PADD. "In some ways... possibly because it's something I always wanted but it wasn't the right time and then I lost Tarleeya... being a Dad is the easiest thing about all this. She's easy to love, maybe because while I see a lot of her Mom and the man I'm pretending to be in her... I also see bits of me in her too," he shook his head and munched on another chip. "Sometimes I'm sure I'm just imagining it but... it also makes it easier to hope that maybe there's a universe out there where Tarleeya and I did have the family we never got the chance to make in my universe," he shrugged and picked up his pint, taking a long swig, holding it in his hands this time rather than setting it down.

"From what I can tell, there's a lot in common between people here and in your universe — it really is the nurture that makes all the difference. So the things you have in common with him—the core nature of you both—are probably also things that were passed down to her. The conversation I had with Travis when he returned Thal and Borom's bodies to me certainly helped me understand that. He told me all about his conversation with Dad over dinner after trying—and failing—to hook up with my mother for old time's sake." Amelia rolled her eyes and took a long pull from her beer. "I still can't believe he thought that whining to me about that was the thing to do. What was I going to do? Call my mother up and tell her to just fuck him to shut him up?" She snorted.

"That probably was his logic to be fair," Nadiv responded with a chuckle. "Honestly though it is easier to be a father to another man's child than it is to be a husband to another man's wife..." he sighed. That was the part that wasn't working so well, connecting with a child who was, genetically half you even if she wasn't technically yours was one thing, but... Playing husband to a woman you've never fallen in love with was tougher on both parties. "Sometimes I think Ariana is jealous that I'm managing to make it work with Thamin," he admitted, and it made sense, he understood, he couldn't imagine how he'd feel in her position. "I'm probably going to suggest joint counselling, it's not something we've said out loud but I'm fairly certain we'd be on the same page if one if us did..." he shrugged, unable to help feeling a little guilty about the lack of progress in that department.

"I've heard it said, love is a choice. One you make over and over again." Amelia bit her lip. She couldn't help thinking about Rik and Kate as she said that. She sighed and shook the thoughts away. "Maybe if you ask her—what made her fall in love with him, made him fall in love with her—it might help you understand? I would think it would be a reasonable question in the situation as she understands it. It's hard because you didn't make the original choice, but you can make the choice now to do what you can to pick up where he left off."

“I know that it just... feels wrong, and I don’t think that helping, either of us,” did he want to admit that maybe, just maybe, she could tell he wasn’t her husband? Really he knew that was ridiculous, but he knew that was a fear in the back of his mind.

"Maybe in time that'll get better? But if it doesn't, it's certainly not uncommon for trauma to split couples apart. But that's a choice you and she need to make– both of you will be living with the consequences, and if one of you isn't fully invested in making it work?" Amelia bit her lip, and turned her attention to her beer, staring deep into the pint glass.

"I do want to try and make it work, I'm not here to shit all over his life if I can help it..." Nadiv paused to chew on a chip he'd taken from the basket. "Something tells me you're not talking about me though..." he said, deciding to chance the observation. "Wanna tell me about it?" he offered, fairly certain she knew that he wouldn't be offended if she told him to stick his nose somewhere else.

"I swear, I can't catch a break in my love life anymore." Amelia slumped back against the booth, her fingers tapping at her pint glass. "I told you about the situation with Rik, and who knows if I'll ever even see him again at this rate... but I also started reconnecting with an ex. You remember I mentioned Kate was coming along on the Qo'noS trip? She and I dated at the tail end of our time at the Academy, and broke off on good terms because we didn't want to do the long distance thing. Things had been going well, she was cool with the Rik situation, and hell, I think we'd both even been considering trying the long distance thing. Then I got my orders for the new command."

Nadiv could have laughed, but he didn't. "Let me guess, she's on your crew..."

"Technically it was only a recommendation — I could have put in a request for someone else to fill the spot, no harm, no foul. But it would be her first department head position, and who knows how long it would take the fleet to decide to give her that chance again?" Amelia sighed and rolled her eyes. "We talked it out, and decided to try to roll with it... but she's afraid of it looking like nepotism. She was very insistent that I am hard on her when on duty. I guess I didn't learn my lesson with Rik, huh?"

"At least there was an adult discussion about it," he reminded her, though he was fairly sure his attempt at a comforting remark would fall short.

"Good for both my emotional health—I don't think I could take a repeat of Rik's stunt, especially not now—and for the fact that if she's going to be part of my senior staff, she can communicate through difficult things. I'm keeping all my senior staff from the previous manifest, they only had to add in Kate because they gave me a dedicated tactical department with the larger crew complement." She took a long sip of her beer.

"Bigger ship? Very nice," he said and paused for a beat. "Come on now, you've mentioned it twice at least, and I'm now more than a little curious, with thirty odd spots to fill, who else have you been recommended?" He asked. He'd have no clue who these people were of course, but it would be interesting to see the kind of people she got thrown.

"They gave me fat lists for the rank and file positions, just need to narrow those down to match the number of openings. For the most part, it's a bunch of green cadets where all I have to go by is their transcripts... and some of them apparently requested being submitted for consideration, as there were recommendation letters attached to a few. I had to reject a couple of them outright though — they were clearly drawn to my reputation for skull cracking, and while I'm not afraid to break a few eggs when necessary I try to come up with more delicate solutions as much as possible." Amelia slid on her booth seat, and reached into her jacket for a PADD. "They offered me a handful of more seasoned officers, and the service records look solid, so I think I'm going to accept them. My friend Sean is among those filling out the new Tactical department."

"Please, tell me hes just a friend," Nadiv commented with a laugh and a shake of his head before grabbing a couple more chips.

Amelia snorted and shook her head. "He's like a brother to me. He was usually my wingman when we'd hit the clubs after we'd finish studying. But that is a fair question... if I kept a little black book, it'd be a light year wide." She grinned and turned the PADD on. After flicking at it a second, she turned it to face Nadiv. "Take a look at my new sexy ride."

Nadiv took the PADD and whistled with a grin. "Very nice," he said, scrolling through the specs quickly. "What about your 2IC, you picked your fool yet?" he asked with a chuckle as he handed the PADD back. He was going with a light tone because he knew how much she'd struggled with having to deliver Thal's body to their family.

"I wanted to bring Alleira back, but I guess the incident that introduced me to her in the first place finally sunk in with the paper pushers who decide how resources are allocated, and they're rebuilding her research department. They literally begged her to come back to lead it again. I have a list of recommendations to go over, but I don't know any of them, and they're all currently serving elsewhere, so I wouldn't meet them until after they're transferred... so it makes it harder to judge." She slumped back in her seat, and picked up her beer. "I should be building this roster with the help of my first officer."

"O.k. humour me for a moment," he said with a smile. "Ignoring what they've recommended... What kind of person do you need or want as your first officer?" That, really was the crux of the matter here. It didn't matter who they'd recommended if that wasn't who she wanted by her side on the bridge in a crisis.

"I need someone to balance me." Her answer was immediate — it's what Rik, Alleira, and Thal had all brought, each in their own way. "Someone not afraid to call me on my bullshit when I lose sight of the bigger picture, to help me take my crazy ideas and make them workable. It helps if they like tea too."

"Yeah I don't think they list tea preferences on service records..." he said with a grin. "But that's a good start, so you need someone more prone to look before they leap than you are?"

"Maybe a little less that, and a little more seeing things from a different perspective. That's going to be a given with anyone—no one's perspective is a hundred percent the same—but they also have to be willing to speak up about it, sometimes a little forcefully." Amelia tapped at her forehead with a bit of a snort and a grin. "I'm very much a figure things out as we go sort — outline what we know going in, plan as best we can, and then just be ready to change course at a moment's notice as needed. It's gotten me a bit of a reputation as a wild card, and was part of the reason I was concerned brass wasn't going to give me a command again, but apparently someone up there realizes I get the job done close enough within the lines to make me more useful in the command chair."

"O.k. I think I get it, you got the list with you?" he asked, holding out his hand for the PADD she may be about to hand him.

Amelia looked at his hand a moment and shook her head. The presumption that she was going to let him meddle with her crew roster– Who was she kidding, the nerve it took to assume she would amused her, and it would be interesting to get his perspective if nothing else. She closed out the specs on the PADD and handed it over.

"I should probably also solicit feedback from my senior staff for their departments, but I want to give them my notes when I ask their thoughts..."

"Probably," he said absently, as he started to work through the list. "Thompson looks like he's too cut and dry for you," he commented when he got to the end of that record. He picked up another chip and chewed as he read. "T'Cho might work, she seems reasonable at least. Got some good recs... but if she's not jumping out at you... This would be her first time as a 2IC too, which might make things difficult?" he suggested, his eyes dropped back to the PADD as he reached for his drink.

"Yeah, I was already considering kicking Thompson off the list... but look at his mission success rate there. I just can't figure out why they aren't giving him his own command instead of putting him on XO duty still? He's put in the time, he's proven himself. As for T'Cho, she looks to be very by the book and I'm not sure I could work within those constraints. sh'Thizel caught my eye, but she's recently bonded and..." Amelia sighed and pointedly turned her attention back to her beer.

"Maybe they're hoping you'll get him to... learn to think outside the box a little? Same with T'Cho, her by the book might because she's young and still learning and not had the opportunity to fly by the seat of her pants yet?" he suggested with a shrug. He didn't say anything about the Andorian, nothing more needed to be said. He cleared his throat and ate another chip before going back to the PADD. "What are your thoughts on Mudj?" he asked, curiously, for him they seemed like the best of the lot but there must have been something about them that Amelia didn't like.

"Mudj." Amelia repeated the name as she grabbed the PADD again, and skimmed the opening of their profile. "Oh, yeah. They would benefit from guidance, because right now? They're a solid milquetoast candidate. To be honest, given the amount of feathers I ruffle, I'm not sure why brass would give me such a blank slate to mold in my own image."

"You? Ruffle feathers? Never!" He delivered it deadpan and then broke into a chuckle with a shake of his head. "What exactly about this says weak and bland to you? The guy lost an eye on his last mission!"

"Did you actually read how he lost it?" Amelia scoffed, and helped herself to a handful of chips. "Besides, this is Starfleet, not the Klingon empire. Collecting scars isn't a show of prowess." She was glad that she'd selected a higher neckline for her shirt today, so she wasn't showing off her own scar as she was dismissing Mugj's eye loss. She also couldn't help but think of Dani and what happened to her eyes and why it happened– Amelia pointedly forced a smile as she dismissed the thoughts.

Nadiv rolled his eyes. "I'm not saying it is, I'm saying that despite what he went through hes carrying on with his life and not letting the loss of an eye get in the way. That takes guts, even more so considering the embarrassment of how he lost it," Nadiv insisted. He'd seen Klingons lose everything over embarrassment after all and yes his world was harsher but his point still stood.

"Even if you're right—and I'm not saying you are—he still needs more time to get used to that cybernetic implant. He only just got it put in." Amelia pinched the bridge of her nose. "I know I should be able to work with anyone in Starfleet, but I just feel better having that face to face time before I commit to someone officially having my back, you know? But the nature of intel assignments, that's hard to do unless you're promoting from within your existing crew... and I don't really have anyone on the crew that's suitable. Costello has the experience, but I suspect he wouldn't leave sickbay even if I had him at disruptor point. Abbott's throwing hints that she's ready to move up, but I think she needs to XO for someone else for a little bit of tempering."

"Fair point," he said with a shrug. They could agree to disagree, but she was right, without meeting someone you never really knew someone until you met them. He picked up a chip and chewed on it thoughtfully, "I get it, the way Defenders worked you couldn't promote anyone who hadn't proved their worth. It was just the nature of it, and... I suppose in intel it's kinda similar, you're putting your lives in each others hands, you have to trust them implicitly and without pause or it's not going to work and that kind of trust takes time to build up," he reasoned. He certainly wouldn't have become Trav's Second, or Trav his father's if they hadn't already trusted each other with their lives.

"Well, bigger ship, bigger department? Or... more focused department, isn't it?" Nadiv queried. Either way it was a step up, but maybe not as much as Abbott would have liked. He didn't envy whoever was brought in over her anyway.

"Bigger department, but also they've recommended I split out Security and Tactical... Abbott's getting the security side of things, and then as I mentioned earlier, Kate's taking the Tactical side. I expect the two are going to ruffle each others feathers a bit as they settle into the split. So I'm going to need a first officer who enjoys mediating, because Kate's hard headed, as is Abbott — even though I trust them both, there is going to be some metaphoric dick waving as they both find the boundaries of their departments and figure out how to work together where they overlap." Amelia bit her lip as she looked across the table at Nadiv — an idea was starting to form in her head.

"Well, as long as they keep it metaphorical..." he said reasonably and then laughed, shaking his head. "I'm all outta suggestions, cause I don't know any of them. I can see if my mirror image had met any of them and logged an opinion at any point if you'd like though..?" He suggested. It was a long shot but if he trusted anyone's opinion, he'd trust his own.

"I may take you up on that, but let me pick at a few of my other sources that have a little more direct experience first." Amelia smirked as she said this, putting a mental note aside to do a little bit of research into the prime Nadiv to see if she could plausibly pitch her idea to Hades, let alone the man who sat across the table from her. "Do you have any plans for your next family outing?"

"Let me know," he said with a nod, going to people that she knew was of course the better option, she may know him but she didn't know the other him. "Was thinking maybe a theme park or something? But I need to check into if she'd enjoy that or not," he said with a shrug. He planned his family outings like he planned a mission, all researched and not quite scheduled down to the minute, but at least structured within parameters that allowed him to enjoy himself.

"You should look into The Exploratorium. Every time my parents would bring me and my brother to Earth to visit my grandparents when we were kids, we'd always stop in there. It's a hands on science museum and it's so fun, it's easy for forget you're actually learning as you play with the exhibits. Of course that wasn't a concern with me, I've always been such a nerd–" She laughed and shook her head. "But my brother has always had his head in the clouds, but point him at the stuff involving light and color theory and he's mesmerized for hours — even now, I'd be surprised if he hasn't swung through at least a couple times while he's on Earth for Dad to build him a new ship."

Nadiv nodded. "Sounds good, if the theme park thing doesn't pan out I'll look it up," he assured her. The place did sound like fun, and would be more educational then a theme park. As her father he should care about things like that... but from what he could tell she was doing well in school and it did seem more important to bond with her than to be overly worried about her education for now.

Nadiv picked up his glass and drained what was left of his pint. "Anything else you wanted to talk about?" he asked, figuring they were about done if she didn't.

"Let me know if you need a partner for a scouting mission," Amelia teased with a smirk. "Normally I'd be down for just shooting the shit, but honestly? I gotta put in the time on this roster... they want my first draft back next week. I suspect tea and my balcony are going to fill my next couple days here."

"Have fun with that," he said as he grabbed all but the last couple of chips and pushed the basket towards her so she could finish them off. "And If I decide I need to scout somewhere out I'll let you know," he said with a grin as he slid out of the booth.

"Oh, I know I won't — I hate paperwork... but it's a small price to pay for having a command." She grinned at him.

"If you say so," Nadiv saluted, winked and turned to head out the door.

=/\= End Log =/\=

Captain Amelia Waterhouse
Commanding Officer
USS Joshua Norton

Lieutenant Commander Nadiv Sharir
Field Agent
Starfleet Intelligence


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