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A Knight By Any Other Name

Posted on Sun Jan 31st, 2021 @ 11:10pm by Captain Dirk Taggart & Captain Abigail Laurens

Mission: Season Two - Incidentals
Location: USS Astraea

"Admiral with all due respect, I don't give a rat's razoo what protocol is or what you think. You're sitting there behind a desk making demands and expecting that I just kowtow, and I can tell you right now it will not happen. Now, you have my list of crew. This ship is scheduled to launch in less than 24 hours. If MY people are not on this ship, I will not launch. Do you understand me?"

There was stony silence across the bridge as Abigail stood, 5'5" against the 6'4" holographic representation of Admiral John Huber, her arms folded across her chest as she stared up at him defiantly.

"Captain Laurens, this is not how we conduct business, this is not the appropriate way to air grievances. There are processes to be followed."

"They are your processes, not mine. If you want MY ship to launch, then you will have MY crew here before the day is out. Laurens out. Ensign Yoder, end transmission!"

"That man, I swear to the deities..." The sound of exasperation was clear in her voice. "I could...." she made a strangling motion with her hands which was accompanied by a highly frustrated squeak.

"Uh... Captain?"

Abigail spun on her heel, about to offer a sharp retort toward Ensign Yoder, the young Operations officer who had spoken, but instead found herself staring directly into a startlingly familiar face.

"Dirk?" The disbelief she felt echoed in her voice as she stared up at him.

"Abby the Fearless?" He said questioning, "I mean Captain," Dirk stuttered out shocked to see Abby in her uniform. A rush of memories flooded his mind, the scent of her hair, the taste of her lips, shaking his head, he began laughing, and saluted mockingly. "Captain Dirk Taggart, reporting aboard the USS Kindergarten, for transport."

"Transport?" Abigail glanced toward Yoder, trying to silently will away the hint of colour rising in her cheeks.

"Aye Ma'am, the PaDD was put on your desk a few hours ago. Captain Taggart will be joining us until we reach the Delta Quadrant where he will be taking his own assignment."

"I see." Abigail drew in a breath, her gaze drifting back to Dirk again. "Captain Taggart, will you join me in my ready room?" she asked quietly, motioning momentarily with her hand before walking toward the doors.

"Lead Onward, Oh fearless one," Dirk said smiling as he followed Abby. He knew he'd have to be careful since this was her ship, but he was going to enjoy this as much as he could. He whispered as he followed her, "He looks a little old to be in kindergarten." Pointing at Yoder.

"Security for foreign dignitaries?" Abigail countered as soon as the doors closed behind them, her eyebrow raising slightly as she turned to face him. "And I never said I was a kindergarten teacher, just that I felt like one most of the time." She watched him for a moment, her steady gaze settling on his face. "I didn't think I was going to see you again," she finally said quietly.

"I was XO for the security department of Diplomatic Affairs, now I'm being assigned to a ship to replace an aging CO. I am also surprised to see you too, though if I am being honest, it is a pleasant surprise," he said with a wink before taking a seat on one of the chairs.

"I see," she said quietly, moving to take the seat across from him. Crossing her legs neatly, she folded her hands in her lap, spending just a few moments watching him in silence. "We're being reassigned to the Delta Quadrant," she finally said quietly. "Or, at least, that's the intent once they manage to find my crew. Our ship," she drew a deep breath, straightening her shoulders and steeling herself. "Our ship was destroyed, a lot of my crew scattered once we got back to Earth. Now that I've been reassigned here, I won't leave until I have my crew back together, but we've been cautioned that this is expected to be a long term assignment."

"The ship I'm taking over is in the Delta Quadrant, so I'm assuming Starfleet has something up their sleeve on how to get us there. With the Graviton Catapult shut down I am curious as to how they plan to accomplish the travel," Dirk said business like before pausing. "Wait a minute, you destroyed a Starship? What happened Abby?"

“We will be travelling to the Delta Quadrant using the Pathstone Project, it’s an artificial wormhole generator controlled by a Delta Quadrant species called the Dalacari,” Abigail offered as an explanation. “The Ts’usugi also have access to it, which is how we got back to Earth as quickly as we did after the ship was destroyed.” She sighed, aware that that lead straight back to the other question she hadn’t wanted to answer. “The Astraea, the original Astraea, Akira class, had a cascade systems failure that ended in loss of warp core containment. We made the choice to evacuate the ship before attempting to resolve the issue, thankfully, because those of us that were left almost didn’t make it… some didn’t.” Her expression darkened slightly as she finished speaking.

Dirk sensed the change in mood immediately, he moved beside her and put an arm around, "It's gonna be ok, you're Abby the Fearless, I'm certain you made the best decisions you could with the information you had available. Beating yourself up isn't going to make things better."

As his arm moved around her shoulder, she felt herself drawn into him, his proximity, his familiar scent, all sending her senses into overdrive. "I know," she said quietly. Finally, drawing in a breath and forcing a smile, she pulled away and stood up. "Let me find your file so I can make sure your quarters have been assigned and your access is set up. I couldn’t possibly have you going without your morning coffee."

"Funny that you mentioned that I packed about 20 pounds of freeze dried coffee, I plan on rationing as long as I can." Dirk's face broke out into a mischievous smile, "So do you have one of those Counselor Troi uniforms hidden away somewhere?"

She raised an eyebrow as she picked up a PaDD and thumbed into it before looking back at him. "Those uniforms are completely overrated," she said with a laugh. "Besides, don't men usually fantasize about nurses in cute little uniforms, not counselors?"

"I have issues," he said with a wink, "It's nice to see that smile, so since I'm here is there anything I can do to help?"

Abigail smiled as she walked slowly back toward him, reading the data on the PaDD. "You've been assigned VIP quarters, deck six." She handed the PaDD across to him. "It looks like everything was already set up so you should have access to everything you want or need. Deck six also gives you easy access to the lounge if you want a change of scenery, and of course, your access level allows you into basically the entire ship. Perks of being a Captain," she smiled.

“The access will be nice, but I don’t want to feel like a free loader, Abby, I mean as long as I can make coffee, and workout somewhere I don’t need much. I don’t want to be just be a VIP. I’ve been dying to get back into space, and I don’t want to spend it watching you have all of the fun.”

There was a small smile as Abigail sat on the coffee table in front of him. "I'm sure you'll have your hands full once you get to the Delta Quadrant, but if you want I'm sure I an connect you with both my First Officer and our temporary Mission Advisor, they're both Delta Quadrant natives, maybe they can give you some valuable insight into what you're about to face?"

“I’d like that, Captain, I definitely want to familiarize with some of the politics and happenings in that area. I’d like to refamiliarize myself with some of the bridge consoles as well. I haven’t stood watches on a ship in a few years, and I’d rather knock the rust off before arriving at my new command, if you catch my drift.”

Abigail shrugged slightly as she stood up again. "Well, if that's how you want to spend your hours, I'm sure something can be arranged. I'll let Commander Gail to know to allocate time for you," she said quietly.

“I don’t want to hold you up from your duties Captain Abby the Fearless,” he teased, “Is there anything I can do before I get settled into my new quarters?”

"No, at this stage I think I just have my work cut out for me..." She walked toward her desk, looking at the pile of PaDD's in front of her that needed her attention. Finally, drawing in a sharp breath, she turned back toward him. "Actually, there is something," she said quickly, before she could lose her resolve. "Have dinner with me tonight?"

Dirk sauntered over to her,” Why Abby, I thought you’d never ask,” he kissed her quick before stepping back, “Thanks for dessert,” he said grinning as he picked up his PADD with orders, “Just tell me where Darlin’ and I’ll be there.”

"My quarters, at 8?" Abigail asked after recovering from the momentary surprise of his kiss. She smiled, her hand sliding into his. "And Dirk?" She paused again. "I'm glad you showed up here today.

“I’m glad you showed up yesterday, I’m assuming we will have to keep this under wraps in front of your crew? I don’t want to upset your reputation among the crew,” he said seriously.

Abigail laughed softly. "If you think this can be kept quiet, you clearly haven't spent nearly as much time on a Starship as you claim you have," she said quietly. "I trust my crew to be discreet and behave appropriately. We've been through a lot, we're a family. Which means you should probably behave, because, you know, you upset their Captain and they're likely to jettison you out a torpedo launcher mid Pathstone launch."

“Duly Noted Captain,” Dirk said then made a sloppy salute, “No hanky panky in front of the crew,” before turning to the door with a huge grin on his face.


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