Embers, Part 3

Characters: Terry Hale, Margaret Morgan, Tomás Darquin

When Darquin followed Morgan into the Captain’s office, he had to remind himself he wasn’t in trouble. Or maybe it was safer to assume that he was.

Terry let them file into her office before her, and let the door close behind. “Anything you’d like to say?” she asked both of them.

“Other than…’This has gotta be the biggest mistake of my life?'” he said, completely sincere.

Ie. I should have… controlled myself better.”

Terry sniffed, but she didn’t try to smile – it wouldn’t have come out right. Instead of going around her desk, like she would have in a matter of discipline, she crossed to one of the viewports and leaned her back against it. “I found myself at a loss for what to say.”

“We can’t just let it stand, I know that.” Darquin sighed. “G’fen crossed the line. In a big way.”

Morgan nodded, agreeing. She reached up to massage her temples, winced, then decided not to. “How did they let him complete training like… that?”

“They probably kept him in limbo, debating whether to let him do another training cycle or…just kick him out.”

“I’ve no idea. Perhaps he was better at hiding his personality, his opinions,” Terry sighed. “Something does need to be done with him, though.”

“Do you think we can reach him, in some way?” He didn’t sound hopeful.

“Even Citizen G’kar’s mind was changed on the matter. I do not believe it impossible. But not likely. At this point, he’s going to have to do the reaching. If we were near Minbar, I’d drop him back into training… or debriefing for expulsion.”

“We could send him back,” Darquin said. “But we would have to be able to spare a minder. I would not trust him.”

“And if we spare a minder, we’re down two, instead of just one.”

“Tianmun could probably handle him. He hasn’t worked with her too often, so he’d have a hard time reading her. And a Minbari could hit at least as hard.”

“You’ll be less two for your security teams then. Could you work around that?”

“Sure. Even if I have to pull double shifts myself.”

“I would be concerned of that, though,” Morgan put in. “At least until we know what we will be doing here.”

“All I know is we can’t trust him in any job higher up than bottle-washer. He doesn’t have the discipline. That’s painfully obvious.”

Terry fell silent for a few moments. “Do that. Galley clean up, recycling system maintenance. He’s not on duty any longer. I want his weapons impounded, and his privileges trimmed back.”

“All the way back,” the first officer added, scowling.

“Already in work,” Darquin said. “His access codes have been wiped, and the security system’ll shut his PPG down if he charges it.”

“Good. No trips planetside as well. I could imagine a dozen things that could go wrong with that,” Terry said. “When we see how this situation at Centauri Prime is going to go, we can then decide on having him sent on a shuttle back to Minbar with Tianmun. They let him into training. They can decide if he can stay in.”

Morgan suddenly bared her teeth. “If he becomes bored, we can instruct him in military etiquette.”

Darquin nodded. “I should say up front…it’s my fault he’s here. I gave him the chance. I should’ve checked him out more thoroughly.” “He was convincing enough back in training that they let him in and let him stay. It should have been enough of an indication.”

“Amen to that,” he muttered.

“I can give him the final word,” he added. “I was going to see him eventually.”

“Better you than me.”

He gave her a rueful grin. “Hey, it’s the least I could do.”

“All right. Be careful. I don’t want this ending in Medlab.”

“Aye, sir.”

“Go ahead then. I’d like one more moment with Morgan.”

“Yes, ma’am. I’ll have a status report waiting.”

“Thank you.”

Taking a step back to the door, he gave her a respectful nod before heading back to the bridge.

Morgan straightened as the door shut again. “Yes, Captain?”

“You lost control out there.” Terry wasn’t angry. Concerned, if anything.

“I know sir. I… Mira is there, and we are friends. She is Centauri and Anla’shok, even if she is leisured at the moment. And Mr Carlacci has been taken there now… And…” She stopped, running out of anything rational to say.

“I know, it’s a bad situation, but watching what happened on the bridge out there… it was quickly sliding into chaos.”

“Yes, sir. I do not know what happened. I do not usually… snap.” She sniffed. “Calculating anger is what I am known for.”

“All right. Just try to remember yourself next time. Even if it is a great temptation to do otherwise.” She smile finally, dryly.

“Too great, ie. I will do my best, Captain.” She paused, flexing her hand carefully. “Permission to leave my post temporarily, Captain?”

“Go ahead. I’ll take the bridge.”

“Thank you. I will be back quickly. And… I apologize.”

“I understand. Take what time you need.”

Morgan nodded. She bowed to Hale, and turned to go.

Terry let her go, and lingered for a moment, looking at the desk. “Not that I wanted to stay in here much longer,” she said to herself. “This is starting to feel like the principal’s office.”

Phoenix–“Embers, Part 3” c 2003 Alida Saxon, Leslie McBride, Joe Medina

Babylon 5 tm and c 2002 Warner Bros.


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