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A Damned Borg? Seriously?

Posted on Sun Feb 4th, 2018 @ 4:30am by Lieutenant JG Cailus Griffin & Ensign Vecon Fick & Chief Petty Officer James Frost

Mission: Into The Wild
Location: Bridge/Ready Room
Timeline: After “Difficult Colleagues”

On the Bridge of the Pandora, Cailus and everyone else watched and waited. The stolen Ravager Raider, crewed by Captain Temple and his incursion team, was moving further away from the Pandora and closer to the Carnage. Some carefully executed maneuvers by Ensign Vecon ensured that the Raider couldn't be suspected of being captured by the Federation ship, but now, there was nothing more to be done. While Lieutenant Mindo and his staff worked below-decks to prepare for the coming battle, there was very little for the bridge crew to do except sit there, monitor sensors and...wait.

Cailus, for his part, was simply sitting in the captain's chair, reading endless reports on a PADD. It was that old paradox: being uncomfortable in the Big Chair, but never showing that you were uncomfortable. Morale was a fragile thing, after all. Cailus was quite content with his job as Chief of Security, and he even had command experience of a sort, but he sure as hell wasn't confident being left in command by Temple. He and Nash would have some hard words for the captain when he returned from the mission on the Carnage.

The Turbolift doors opened and all eyes on the bridge turned to see a small black dog prance out onto the bridge, sniff around a bit and then turn and sit facing the lift.

A moment later Frost stepped out of the lift and looked around. This was his first time on a starship bridge in a few years. Everything looked pretty much the same as they had been years ago. No doubt under the surface there had been plenty of upgrades but the sense of familiarity was there.

“Hello everyone. I heard you all needed a new Coxwain so here I am!” Frost smiled at the crew. “So, where’s my seat?”

Fick glanced over his shoulder and had to do a double take. He turned completely around in his chair and stared at Frost. He felt a cold chill run up his spine at the sight of the borg implants. He had heard of reclaimed borg, even seen a few at the academy, but not really right up close and personal like this and with Chief Petty Officer rank to boot. He pointed at Cailus, unable to formulate words at the moment.

Cailus glanced automatically at the lift as the doors whooshed oopen. He first saw the dog and eyed with animal with confusion...then, when Frost left the lift, the confusion turned to alarm. His hand twitched towards his sidearm, but sheer force of will kept his expression carefully controlled, the phaser safely in its holster. Instead, fighting hard to retain discipline, Cailus stood, his hands tightly held behind his back and greeted the man.

“Welcome aboard, Chief,” Cailus said curtly. Blast it, the phaser qualification paperwork had said that they were getting a Chief of the Boat, but not that he was a damned Borg. Realising immediately that the issue had to be addressed, Cailus gestured towards the door next to the turbolift that the Chief had just walked out. “Ready room.”

Frost raised an eyebrow. He knew this shtick all too well. His implants almost always ended up with him dealing with fear and prejudice. He tried to keep a good nature about it though.

He patted his leg. “Rosie, come!” And headed towards the ready room with the dog in tow.

"Ensign Vecon, you have the conn," Cailus said to the helmsman with an undecipherable look before he followed Frost. "Inform me immediately if anything changes."

"Yeah..." Fick replied and then seemed to snap out of it. "I mean, yes sir!" He spun his chair around to face his console again.

Once they were seated Frost didn’t waste time. “Let me guess. You lost family and seeing me brings back painful memories?”

Having sat himself in the other 'visitor' chair rather than the captain's, Cailus nodded curtly. The lieutenant still looked distinctly cold, rather like a Vulcan. "Close enough, Chief. I take it that you're used to this."

Frost leaned back in his chair and scratched Rosie’s head. “I have this conversation every morning in the mirror lieutenant. Pretty sure I’d have shot myself by now if now for Rosie here.”

He patted Rosie on the head and then spoke to her. “Go introduce yourself to the security chief.” Then he patted her rump and she jumped off the chair.

Cailus obligingly stroked the dog, scratching her behind the ears as if he was well-practised, but he never took his eyes off Frost.

“I lost my parents while I was in the training system.” James sighed and pointed to his eye. “Along with this,” he then wiggled the fingers on his artificial hand. “And this.”

He pointed to Cailus. “What about you?”

Cailus was silent for a moment, distinctly unwilling to share something so personal. Still, he couldn't ignore the fact that he and Frost needed to trust each other to make this thing work. Cold professionalism wouldn't work this time. If anything, it would hinder the mission, and with so many lives hanging on the line, that simply wasn't an option.

"My wife at New Providence, in 2367," he finally ground out. "And my daughter at Wolf 359, a bit later. She was in command of the USS Firebrand. You're the first Borg...ex-Borg...that I've met." When Rosie whined happily at his ministrations, Cailus glanced down at the dog and frowned. "Chief, if you feel that my conduct towards you is unprofessional at any point, say so. I will not permit my personal garbage to affect our working relationship. You're the Chief of the Boat, and your past should have no bearing whatsoever on how we interact."

“It’s alright.” Frost leaned back in his chair. “I understand. My trauma isn’t just my own. In fact these days it’s hard to find someone who hasn’t been affected by the borg in some form.”

He stood up, walked around for a few seconds and then leaned against the captains desk. “People seem to forget the victim of assimilation a lot when they see me people like me. The first thing they do is panic and sometimes they even reach for a phaser.”

At that last point Frost winked.

Cailus didn’t react at all, simply watching Frost stonily.

Then Frost continued. “What they don’t see is the cost I’ve paid to be here. I’ve lost my entire family, my eye, my hand and there’s bits inside me that I have no idea what they do.”

He walked over and rubbed Rosie’s head. “It also cost me my commission. I used to be a ship captain you know? I commanded ships in combat. Now I can’t even command myself to get out of bed without a service dog.”

Again, Cailus glanced down at Rosie, his expression undecipherable. Now that he’d gotten over the shock of seeing an ex-Borg stride onto the Bridge, he contemplated the dog herself, realising that Frost must indeed have serious problems to be afforded such an extreme emotional aid. To be allowed back in Starfleet with such issues, even as a non-com, implied that Frost had extraordinary skills, friends in the admirality or both.

“I don’t want you to feel bad. I just want you to understand.” Frost smiled. “I feel like you and I were meant to have this conversation. Turn fear into beer. I know I could use a beer buddy.”

Now Cailus’ eyes flicked back up to Frost’s. He had his limits. “One step at a time, Chief. I am very particular about my beer.”

“I’m sorry about your family by the way.”

“Appreciated,” Cailus answered stiffly, distinctly uncomfortable. “Now on to the business at hand. I assume that you talked to Captain Temple before he departed with the incursion team, and he briefed you on our situation?”

“Somewhat yes but I wouldn’t mind a tactical assessment.”

Cailus nodded, grateful to return to the situation at hand. "It's simple enough, Chief. The Carnage has superior defences and armaments, but since we need to defend Salvaxe, we must hold our ground. It's a classic defence against a stronger opponent, and we'll fight as such."

Frost grinned. “Sounds like fun.”

He stood up and tugged on his uniform. “I guess now would be a good time to meet the crew then. That way they know who is looking after them before crap hits the fan.”

Cailus stood as well, standing 'at ease' out of habit. "Good idea. Just be back on the Bridge before we engage the enemy. We'll need your own tactical experience in this battle in case the Ravagers use some unusual tactics."

"I can do that." Frost winced at a memory. "Keep in mind though, my tactics can be a tad... unorthodox."

As the Chief turned to leave, Cailus raised a hand to indicate that he should stop, frowning down at Rosie. “Chief, is your dog regulation compliant? I wasn’t aware that emotional support animals were permitted in active duty areas.”

Frost pursed his lips for a second and let out a sigh. He knew this would come sooner or later. "She's fine. If you don't believe me feel free to refer to the ships counselor. I'm sure they have my file by now."

Then without another word, Frost snapped his fingers, the little dog scampered to his heel and they both walked out.

After Frost left, Cailus simply stood there for a few seconds in silence. Then he sighed, rolled his eyes and followed Frost out the door, even more irritated than before. Why the hell was it so difficult to work with other officers today?

 

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