SIM:JP - Lieutenant Karynn Ehlanii and Lieutenant Commander Ethan Brice - Fighting Fair... or not

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(( Five Hours Later – Port Nacelle Service Hatch, Junction 12 ))

::Ethan had been beamed back into the bowels of the ship, not into the transporter room. They hadn’t picked him up from his comm. badge, just the bio signature his body was giving out from the nacelle. Directly into Main Engineering, although he guessed it was supposed to be a punishment of sorts. Then again, maybe his punishment wasn’t far off.::

::He didn’t speak to anyone and just walked into his office, head down then head back up again, following a pair of boots to a pair of nice and familiar legs to... Karynn. The door slid to a close behind him.::

Brice: Found me, then?

Ehlanii: I figured you'd come back here eventually. I headed here as soon as my meeting was over.

::Her arms were folded solidly across her chest. Luckily she hadn't needed to wait long after her meeting, but ever since the incident her thoughts had been racing and her frustration had been building. Now that he had finally arrived, she let it out in a controlled stream. Her voice was quiet but icy, her words were crisp and separated.::

Ehlanii: How... could... you?

::He slipped his hands into his pockets and looked down. Weight of his world on his shoulders. He didn’t have an answer for her; he’d done what he thought was best, what he had deemed to be the safest way of controlling things.::

Ehlanii: You couldn't trust me to do my job? We were making progress. Your decision set us back. We don't even know how far back. HOW COULD YOU, Ethan?

::He leant on a rung of the ladder and looked at her. He hadn’t spoken a word so far but he didn’t doubt that the conversation wasn’t one sided.::

Brice: I did what I had to do.

::Her voice rose a few decibels higher::

Ehlanii: Were you even listening? Did you care that you put all of us in danger? You put me in danger with your stupid stunt! What if she had thought that I was complicit in it all? You used my conversation with her to cover your actions! If you didn't care about yourself you could have at least thought of that. Or Ben! As it is, she suspects that he had something to do with it. She might even think it was his orders. He's your friend. Or at least he used to be.

::She took a breath, which gave him an opportunity to say a word.::

Brice: I didn’t think about that, alright? I… I thought you’d all be okay, Danny would beam you all back-

::His time was limited. She wasn't finished and she wasn't yet ready to hear his response. Her voice quickly cut him off again.::

Ehlanii: And that's not even including Sarion and Commander Maria. Or the whole ship! What if she had decided to blow us all out of the sky? Its not like she doesn't have the power to do it!

::His jaw tightened.:: Brice: That’s not fair play! I endangered myself, she wasn’t going to harm the rest of you when the blame was all on me! I did what I had to do to get her on our side, I didn’t see anyone else trying anything!

::Her eyes flashed with anger.::

Ehlanii: I was. I had quite a profile going. I was preparing suggestions to give to Commander Walker. I was probably close to finding the right motivation to get her to help us. Why couldn't you just control yourself?

Brice: Control myself? It wasn’t a question of control! While the rest of you worked on diplomacy, I did my job! I know what she’s like, Karynn, and she’ll have something sitting quietly up her sleeve until she can use it against us!

::An angry tear rolled down her cheek.:: Ehlanii: Couldn't you trust me? Didn't you have enough faith in me that I'd be able to do my job?

::She turned away from him, her anger churning, and started walking.::

::Ethan went after her, grabbing her arm as she walked to the door. Instantly he knew it was the wrong thing to do and dropped his grip as soon as he realised, stepping back.::

::As he let go, Karynn yanked her arm away. She wasn't in the mood to be touched. For that matter, she wasn't particularly in the mood to hear his side. She slowed her steps but didn't answer.::

Brice: Of course I trust you! ::he gritted his teeth:: You don’t have a clue! I did what I did because I knew Ben wouldn’t! I did what he wanted to, he knows as well as I do how dangerous she is! You saw it yourself; she could’ve easily decided to kill me, you, Ben, Maria, Sarion, the whole damn ship because she felt like it!

Ehlanii: And where has it gotten us? Her control is restored and she knows you have the ability to do it. You're barred from going near her again. And we've lost a lot of ground in our negotiations.

Brice: And out of this, what have you lost? Really? You didn’t have to walk back along the port nacelle, you don’t have to deal with Ben in that mood and you don’t have to deal with the regret of it now! The only thing you got was a short and sharp shock when it went pear shaped.

::Karynn was still so angry that the strange phrase "it went pear shaped" floated right by her. Instead, she focused on "the only thing you got".::

Ehlanii: You just don't get it.

::The Engineer held his hands up in surrender.:: Brice: Right, fine I give up. I’ve just walked for five hours, Karynn and I’m well aware I’m going to get pulled through the range for this… please, can we just do this later?

::Karynn was torn between saying "fine" and "no way." She didn't wanted to get this all out now but they were getting nowhere. It clicked over, somewhere in the recesses of her mind, that perhaps it was partly her fault that they weren't getting anywhere. She took a deep breath and let it out, trying to release some of her anger with it.::

Ehlanii: No. I want to have this out now.

::Ethan stepped back, folding his arms and leant against the bulkhead.:: Brice: The only reason you want to have this out now is to get whatever you want off your chest. That’s pretty selfish, if you ask me.

Ehlanii: ::sarcastically:: Yeah, sure. It's all for selfish reasons. ::She rolled her eyes, but she knew that he was at least partially right. But there was another reason.:: Maybe because if we have this out now, its one less fight you have to dread?

Brice: And I’m really racking them up now. ::he sighed:: Fair enough, argue with me; I can understand that but give me the benefit of the doubt, at least! I wouldn’t have done it without a bloody good reason; everyone knows that but everyone in that instance forgot. It’s not a question of me trusting you, its part and parcel of you trusting me.

::He was right. And she knew it. His words cut deep.::

Ehlanii: Fine. I'll listen now. Tell me.

::He paused for a second and looked at Karynn; upset and angry, she looked distressed about the whole thing and he could see why. If she’d been in his position, he couldn’t say what he’d do.::

Brice: Tess is dangerous at the best of times; if Ben was to… put that much trust in her without barriers things could get hectic. I didn’t want Ben to jump in blind without knowing exactly what he can trust her with and what he can’t. It doesn’t matter one iota to her if she trusts him or not, she’ll sell him up the river, she’ll drop the lot of you on an unknown planet in moments if you so much as throw a dart in a bulkhead.

::Karynn was honestly trying to listen. But at the moment, what he was saying wasn't making a whole lot of sense. She bit the inside of her lip and furrowed her brow. The best thing she could do was get him to elaborate.::

Ehlanii: So what was your plan?

Brice: I’m saying that by disconnecting her, at least we could find out more about her; expand our knowledge before we start wading knee high. Ben couldn’t do it, his position as CO of the mission, of the Ronin wouldn’t let him so in the very least it was the only thing I could do.

::He placed his hands on either side of his body on the desk to steady himself.::

Brice: And I knew this would happen, I knew it wouldn’t go well, but I had to do something, you know? ::he looked at her and then back down again:: I don’t expect you to understand, Karynn. Would you try to reason with a maniac who has the powers of a ‘Q’ before trying to hamper them first?

::Karynn paused. He had a point. At least a small one. Maybe. She pursed her lips, trying to phrase things appropriately.::

Ehlanii: I might, if I thought that my team was safe at the time. We weren't in danger then. Everything was under control.

Brice: Aye, maybe, but while we’re on her ship we’re under her control whether Ben wants to believe that or not. We stood a better chance of gaining her help with leverage. And so, I did what I did.

::Karynn had thought something along those lines after she had beamed Ethan off, hadn't she? He was still wrong... and yet, his reasoning had some truth to it. Knowing that trust had already been breached might make them all more cautious. And seeing her reaction to it...::

Ehlanii: So what now?

::He wiped his hand over his face and hit his leg with it on the way down.:: Brice: I don’t know.

Ehlanii: We don't have the leverage - between you and her, she got her control back. You're not going to be around to take her offline in the future. So what did we gain?

Brice: Nothing... ::he laughed quietly, despite the situation:: Absolutely jack.

::Karynn stared at the blank wall a few feet away from him. They were at an impasse really. She still thought he was wrong. He still thought he was right. They each had logical reasons to hang on to their own beliefs about the situation. If she were in his shoes...::

Ehlanii: ::quietly:: I'm sorry I yelled...

::He lifted an eyebrow slightly.:: Brice: You understand, then?

::Her jaw tightened slightly, almost imperceptibly. She shook her head.::

Ehlanii: No. I still think you were wrong. But I... handled it inappropriately... took it personally...

::Nodding, Ethan looked down to the objects strewn on his desk. Underneath the mountain of PADDs somewhere were his photos of Matthew, some of Karynn and himself on one of their escapades in the Holodeck, Ben and Ro’s wedding, Danny and Idril’s... keeping them close to his heart literally meant keeping them in Engineering.::

::It struck him how she’d reacted, how Ben had, how he had – he’d only have done the same thing if the boot was on the other foot. If Karynn had done something so... so stupid, he’d be in the Counsellor’s Office going head to head with her as well.::

Brice: No, I let you down... I should’ve done something else, worked it out differently. ::he looked at her with a slightly sad smile:: Then maybe this wouldn’t be tearing into us so much.

Ehlanii: How about I promise to not hold it against you?

::He breathed a laugh.:: Brice: I can accept that; I deserve less. I would’ve thought you’d have been the last person to find me now.

::A slight smile crossed her face.:: Ehlanii: What? And miss the chance to yell at you? Or let my anger stew longer so my explosion would be worse?

Brice: No, there'd be bits of me all over my office. ::he tongued his cheek:: Should I talk to Ben? Think he'll...

::She shook her head:: Ehlanii: I wouldn't recommend it. I think he's the type that needs to cool off a bit first.

Brice: Yeah… I know. I just thought – I should stop "just thinking", it might solve a lot of problems.

Ehlanii: Good luck... ::She glanced out the window at Main Engineering.:: It looks like you've got a lot to do down here.

Brice: Unfortunately; I've got to prepare for the hand over to the DS17 Engineers. Fancy hanging around and giving me a hand?

Ehlanii: ::shaking her head:: I've got to get my thoughts down and out. Besides... I'm no good at Engineering.

::He nodded. What he was really saying was "I don't want to be alone" but no matter how many people surrounded him, for the next few days he'd feel as much.::

Ehlanii: We're heading back to DS17 anyway. Tomorrow evening. My quarters. We'll have a quiet dinner and try to put this all behind us.

Brice: ::he smiled slightly:: Understood, Lieutenant.

Ehlanii: Don't be late.

::With that she turned on her heel and walked out of his office, with an avid fan of the Counsellor watching, very aware that any more leaning and he'd fall off the desk.::

Lt. Karynn Ehlanii
Ship's Counselor
USS Ronin


Lt. Cmdr. Ethan Brice
Chief Engineer
USS Ronin

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Lieutenant J.G. Karynn Ehlanii
USS Ronin NCC-34523
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Explorations of Partner-ish-ship
Lieutenant Ethan Brice
Chief Engineer
USS Ronin NCC-34523
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