SIM:JP: LtCmdrs Core & Rahman: Confounding Factors (Part 2)
The events in this SIM occurred on stardate 239110.07.
((Roshanara Rahman's Quarters, USS Garuda))
::And just like that, her name had been cleared. She was no longer a traitor. The court martial was gone.::
::Yet a day since Naughton's “experiment,” here she remained in her quarters, having locked herself in just as before. Her small bag still lay packed on her desk, though she hadn't touched it. She hadn't done much of anything really after what had happened on Deck 42.::
::Next to the bag on the desk lay a PADD Naughton had given her. It was his final report, summing up his investigation. On the display, was the last page. . .
::He was indeed persistent.::
::Finally, she went over to the door, opening it to find Tristam on the ground in front of the locking mechanism, a tool in one hand and another sticking out of his mouth. He glanced up, taking the tool out of his mouth.::
Core: The door chimes are installed onto doors for a reason.
::It wasn't his usual playful tone but that of a soft understanding.::
Rahman: ::crossing her arms, looking unamused as she leaned against the door frame:: I changed the lock since the last time, if you were wondering.
Core: That explains the new wiring. ::He heaved himself up off the ground.:: And the new shock feature - thanks for that, by the way. I shall add it to the new door locking mechanism requirements should they ever come up again.
::She shook her head, rolling her eyes.::
Rahman: What do you want?
Core: To see if you're okay. Is that too much to ask?
Rahman: Okay? Yes, I'm “okay.” The question is, are *you* okay? I can understand Naughton being reckless, but you should know better! Playing around with the antimatter containment system? As a test?! You're supposed to be the chief engineer! Your first priority is always to the ship, for God's sake, Tristam!
::She was clearly upset, although it was unclear whether those words were meant for him or herself.::
Core: I knew what I was doing, Roshanara. I went through every scenario, every possible outcome, nothing was going to happen.
Rahman: You “knew” what you were doing?
::She looked back incredulously.::
Rahman: I thought after working in R&D four years ago, you'd have learned this: it is *impossible* to know every outcome! I am seriously considering filling a formal complaint against Naughton. . . and I'm wondering if I should do so against you as well! The safety of this ship is not-
Core: This ship was never in any danger!
::She returned a momentary puzzled expression.::
Rahman: What are you talking about?
::It was then that Tristam realized he was now unable to back out of this conversation. This was not something to be spoken about out in the corridor - so with little hesitation, he gently pulled her back into her quarters. When the door finally slid shut, he opened up - probably not all that good of a decision on his part.::
Core: I told you that I'd do anything to keep you aboard this ship. I meant it.
::Still confused, she narrowed her eyes::
Rahman: *What* did you do?
Core: I spoke with Naughton. Before and after the Mercury, both about you. I had to open his eyes - everyone was going to miss the one crucial fact, that piece of evidence that made you innocent of everything.
::She took a step back, shocked at what she was hearing. Had he really betrayed her trust like that?::
Rahman: ::quietly:: You didn't. . . you wouldn't dare. . .
Core: I didn't have a *choice*, Roshanara. We were running out of time - *you* were running out of time. We needed a quick way to prove your innocence - I had *no choice*.
::She turned away in frustration, walking over to her desk with her arms crossed. She looked down at the PADD, the final page of Naughton's report still on display.::
Rahman: Stop saying that! You *always* have a choice! For God's sake, at least own up to what you did!
Core: What do you think I'm *saying* here!? I betrayed your trust, I know that! I had no right, but I wasn't going to stand by and watch while the one person that matters most to me was going to be shipped away!
::She abruptly turned around with a sudden realization. Her voice was like cold steel.::
Rahman: Wait. Are you trying to tell me that you knew about Naugton's experiment beforehand?
::He took a deep breath.::
::She looked at him with a ferocious intensity but said her next words rather calmly.::
Rahman: Please tell me you had emptied the antimatter beforehand.
::The Rodulan's eyes drifted up to the ceiling. How could she trust him so little after everything? Especially with something as dangerous as this!::
Core: I'm not stupid, Roshanara. Egan Manno wouldn't have made me your replacement if I wasn't at all capable of doing your job.
Rahman: No, you're right. You're not stupid.
::She looked away again, down at the deck.::
Rahman: Apparently, *I'm* the one who's stupid, played like an idiot.
Core: Don't do that. ::He shook his head.:: You weren't played. You did what was expected.
::Her glance shot back to Tristam, and now tears could be seen welling up in her eyes.::
Rahman: “Did what was expected?” I can't believe you'd let him do that to me. After I told you about Ross and everything that's happened in the past two years. . . I cannot believe you stood there and watched.
Core: You think I wanted to!? Roshanara, the way he handled you - I was ready to jump in at a heartbeat! I actually owe him a broken nose! If it wasn't all for keeping you out of harm's way, it wouldn't have happened in the first place! ::He paused.:: But I was *right there*. I was by your side. If something went wrong, I would have been the first to act and pull you away.
::She closed her eyes, wiping them with her fingers.::
Rahman: Tristam. Please leave. If our friendship means anything to you, just listen *for once* and go away.
::It was that word again. “Friendship”. As if any normal friend was capable of putting up with her antics 24 hours a day, seven days a week. He shook his head.::
Core: I was never in it for friendship, Roshanara.
Rahman: ::rolling her eyes:: Just doing your duty to see justice prevailed then?
::He stepped up to her, close.::
Core: You don't get it, do you? I mean, there was a *hint* of acknowledgement on the Pioneer, but now it's just gone. Subtle doesn't work with you anymore.
::She was getting frustrated with his rambling.::
Rahman: If you have something else to say, then just say it!
::She was unbelieveable. Smart but so stupid at the same time. Taking another breath, he shook his head again.::
Core: I don't need to say anything.
::And just like that, he went for it. She looked back up at him, waiting for him to add more, but instead, he brought his face in closer to hers, and their lips finally locked. She hesitated at first but then relaxed, instinctively closing her eyes.::
::When he finally leaned back, and she opened her eyes again, there was a brief quiet moment.::
Rahman: . . .you son of a bitch.
::Her voice was cold and measured again.::
Core: Technically I didn't have a mother, so . . . that phrase doesn't work on me.
::There was a pause as she just glared at him.::
Core: But I'm serious. I wasn't going to let anything happen to you - I *won't* let anything happen to you. I'm *here*.
::She closed her eyes again, and it was then that she realized what she needed to do.::
Rahman: ::softly:: Fine. If you won't leave, then I will.
::It wasn't what he had hoped to hear, but he didn't try to argue with her this time. At least she'd be leaving on her own accord.::
Core: I can't stop you.
::She looked back at him, surprised.::
Rahman: I just. . . ::She looked towards the PADD again.:: . . .there's no place left for me here. I need some time to myself after everything that's happened.
Core:::nodding.:: I know.
::He didn't bother saying anything more. With only a single glance at Roshanara, Tristam walked out of her quarters. She watched him leave before she sat down on her bunk, buried her head into her hands and let out a deep sigh.::
::In the span of 24 hours, the universe had become a lot more complicated.::
Chief Engineer, USS Garuda
Acquitted, Unfit for Duty