SIM:JP: Captain Kells & LtCmdr Rahman: Allah Yerhama
Author's Note: On stardate 239005.03, Aron Kells was combined in a Ring-induced temporal incident with his 60-year-old self to create a double who was infused with his memories from the future. Aron Kells himself was kept prisoner for nine months while his double returned to the USS Mercury and continued to serve as CO, believing he was in fact the 60-year-old Aron Kells who had traveled back in time from the year 2421. Both Kells and his double's subsequent actions after stardate 239005.03 have altered the original timeline.
This SIM was written and presented on Jun 20, 2013 (corresponding to the IC stardate 239006.20), but the events in this SIM take place in 2392, in the original timeline before it was disrupted by the return of Kells and his double from the Ring. It is presented in italics to emphasize this distinction from the current/altered timeline.
See also: The sim "Replacement Parts" is essentially the current/altered timeline version of this scene.
(( Captain's Ready Room, USS Mercury, 2392 ))
:: As the Mercury's chief engineer, Roshanara could count on one hand the number of times she'd been to the captain's ready room. Her domain was deep below decks. A chief engineer away from engineering usually meant one of two things: the ship was docked for shore leave or things were going pretty badly. ::
:: While the Mercury was now safely back at DSX, the scorched fabric of her uniform and the bags under her eyes suggested the latter. ::
RAHMAN: ...for now, the sensor module remains uninhabitable until radiation containment protocols are complete, and repairs can be started. Shuttlecraft Valentina Tereshkova is a complete loss.
:: The captain seemed to have little interest in the technical details, however. After all, he had no doubt read all of this already in her written report. Having her personally come up to Deck 1 -- his domain -- meant this meeting was more about *her* than the ship. ::
KELLS: Lieutenant Commander Rahman, the full explanation, please.
RAHMAN: Yes, sir. As laid out in my report, I... hesitated to make a command decision at a critical moment, which resulted in an inadequate response to the plasma cascade failure shortly thereafter. Fortunately, Mr. Walker and Crewman Qwin recognized the situation and stepped in to prevent its spread to the rest of the ship.
:: "Fortunately" was an understatement. They'd been damned lucky. If Walker and Qwin hadn't acted, the damage would have been far greater with who knows how many casualties. As it was, the Mercury had escaped with only a couple of broken bones and bruised egos. ::
:: That her staff had acted as they did was certainly commendable -- and perhaps in a different light, a testament to the competency of her department that she had molded in the past three years as its chief. ::
:: But that Lieutenant Commander Rahman wouldn't have tolerated what had happened three days ago -- not from the lowest-ranked crewman, let alone herself. That Lieutenant Commander Rahman wasn't in charge that day. ::
:: The captain ignored the deflection of praise and zeroed in on the matter at hand. ::
KELLS: Your hesitation, Lieutenant Commander. Tell me. I know about the ramifications, but not of their cause.
RAHMAN: I... it's difficult to explain.
KELLS: Perhaps so, but it is even more difficult for me to comprehend if you don't make an attempt. (beat) What happened?
:: He was giving her a chance -- and not her first one at that. ::
RAHMAN: I don't really know, either, sir.
:: It was a lie. As it had been the last time she had said as such to him. But their previous meeting in this room had been one of a captain's private concerns to his officer. Today's was one of retribution. ::
:: Aron sighed. Well, that wasn't entirely accurate; he kept himself from sighing at the last moment, but he also inflated like a bellows and performed everything but the actual exhalation of the sigh. This was not something he wanted to do, but he couldn't have a chief engineer who had lost her competence. ::
KELLS: Then you understand that I have to relieve you of command. If this were a mistake we could correct, I could perhaps do otherwise; but if you aren't able to tell me how or why this most recent lapse occurred, I have no guarantee that it won't happen again, and I can't risk the personnel or equipment of this ship.
:: She heard him clearly, but she didn't react. She knew he was right. This wasn't her first lapse of duty over the past few months, but none had been so severe as this. Now, it wasn't a matter of probability but inevitability that it would happen again. And next time, it would be the lives of her colleagues that would pay for her selfishness. ::
:: All this she knew, and yet as the captain said it aloud, she remained quiet. Perhaps because she had known for a while now. ::
KELLS: Lieutenant Commander?
:: She snapped back to attention. ::
RAHMAN: I... yes, sir, I understand.
:: She paused for a moment, the fear in her eyes betraying the conviction of her words. ::
KELLS: Until such time that the reason behind your hesitation in a critical situation is discovered, you will also be relieved from duty.
RAHMAN: Yes, sir.
:: She stayed still, numb as he continued to outline the repercussions. ::
KELLS: Further, you will receive a medical discharge because of the likely possibility that your lapses in concentration are caused by an as-yet undetermined biological aberration, or perhaps even something systemic.
:: That did cause a reaction. Her fear turned to sadness. Only one person on the ship could have called for that. ::
KELLS: I've signed the recommendation of medical discharge into an order, and I must ask that you surrender your Starfleet commission.
:: She looked up at the captain. Never before had his tall figure seem so imposing. ::
RAHMAN: Please, captain. I understand I need help, but...
:: Her voice was shaky. ::
RAHMAN: This is all I have left.
:: It was the closest she came to pleading with him for mercy. ::
:: Aron blinked, but just once, and not enough so that the reaction was likely noticeable, given the state his former chief engineer was in. ::
KELLS: I understand. This is not an order made to strip you of your personhood. It is to protect this ship and her crew, (beat) and you. If you don't know why this happened, it may happen again, and you could very likely hurt yourself, possibly severely.
:: But he didn't fully kid himself. That was true, but he hadn't relieved her of duty for her own safety. He'd done it for himself -- him, his ship, and his crew.
RAHMAN: ::nods:: ...aye, sir.
:: She grasped her combadge in her fingers and handed it to the captain. Only silence accompanied the brief moment that their hands touched as she passed the device to him. ::
RAHMAN: Is there anything else?
KELLS: No. Nothing more. (beat) You can clear out your quarters and work spaces as you see fit. You won't be restricted in your movements, nor are you ordered to leave the Mercury or DSX. Should you wish to leave, the Federation transport Bathgate is arriving at 1500 tomorrow with new personnel, including the new chief engineer. (beat) That is all.
:: That last bit of news stung: "the new chief engineer." Her career had ended before she had even stepped into the room. ::
RAHMAN: Understood... would you allow me to brief my replacement before I leave?
:: He hesitated there. Was there anything wrong with that? Certainly not, but now he felt a certain uncleanliness about what he'd just done. He could mitigate that by ordering her off the ship, but that was not for the good of anyone but his own latent guilt. He nodded. ::
KELLS: Yes, of course.
RAHMAN: ::quietly:: Thank you.
:: He cleared his throat. An apology was on his lips and he barely bit it back in time. He cleared his throat to cover the noise. ::
KELLS: Ah. (beat) Dismissed.
:: Roshanara's gaze met his a final time, but she didn't say anything before she turned to leave. She knew the ship would be all right without her, that her staff would manage. That Lieutenant Commander Rahman had ensured as such. As she made her way back to her quarters, she did her best to keep a dignified front. ::
:: That Lieutenant Commander Rahman wouldn't have been angry. She wouldn't have felt sorry for herself, and she wouldn't have broken down in tears once she was safely away from view. ::
:: But that Lieutenant Commander Rahman was long gone. ::
CO, USS Mercury
Former Chief Engineer, USS Mercury