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Old Dog, New Tricks

Posted on Fri Sep 23rd, 2022 @ 4:41am by Lieutenant Chester "Duo" Maxwell & Chief Warrant Officer Josette Mackenzie

Mission: *CD*
Location: Deck 14-Chief Security Officer's Office
Timeline: Current

Duo sat at his desk pouring over a large number of PADDs. He had one in each hand and was splitting his attention between each of them and his terminal.


"Enter." he replied. Chief Jossette Makenzie strolled in and smiled. Duo spared a flick of his eyes up briefly and noticed her. His brow furrowed. "Is it 1300 hours already?" he asked.

"No. it's only 1230 hours, but I was bored." She said playfully. Without invitation, she walked over to the replicator and ordered two cups of tea. She and Duo had discovered a mutual love of tea, and many other things. She stood there holding both cups and saucers, one in each hand, staring at him expectantly. He finished his paragraph and set his PADDs down and met her gaze. At first, he couldn't puzzle out what the look on her face meant before he realized that she meant to set the cups down, but there was no room on the desk. He grinned sheepishly, and began collecting them to make room. She set the cups down and took a seat. "What's all this then?"

"It's uh...nothing. Just a little side project." He replied.

This was unusual for him, and she took notice. They were very open with each other. Much more than the typical commanding officer-subordinate relationship was concerned...even by pre-war standards. There was one PADD remaining on the desk. She saw her chance and took it. With lightning speed, she snatched the PADD off his desk before he could take it.

"What do we have here?" she mused. Scanning the contents.

"Hey! What gives, Mac!" He found himself beginning to get angry at what just happened, but then he remembered who he was dealing with.

She finished a quick inspection on the contents and met his gaze. "This is a list of Operations and Engineering courses from Starfleet Academy. What do you want with them?"

His face flushed red. It was an all too common response to nearly every emotion he had. Anyone with a passing knowledge of humans always knew when Duo Maxwell was experiencing strong emotions. He forced his rising anger and embarrassment back down to the depths where it belonged. He slumped back into his chair and steepled his hands, as was his custom.

"That PADD in particular contains a list of Operations and Engineering extension courses offered by the Academy for serving field officers. These..." he put his hand on one stack "are the latest Starfleet Starship Operations procedures with an emphasis on Akira class vessels..." then putting his hand on another stack, " and these are a list of Engineering related topics for general starship maintenance and operations.

"What, you don't have enough work gotta go making up work for yourself?" she jested. She never missed an opportunity to practice her wit on him.

"Hardly." She set the PADD down on his desk gently and picked up her tea cup and saucer. They never drank it from mugs. It was another thing they shared. "But seriously Elle-Tee, what gives?"

Duo sighed, picking up his own cup and taking a sip. "Something happened when I was on the weather station. I found myself with Lt. Kla'ren in the Engineering section, desperately trying to keep the station from falling apart around us. I discovered that I have a large hole in my knowledge base. To be honest, I felt rather useless...slightly better than a hindrance due to my own ignorance."

She brought the cup down from her lips, and audibly scoffed. "Surely it wasn't that bad. I don't believe that for one second."

Duo sighed, "Well...maybe not. I'm much more severe on myself than anyone else. It pushes me to pursue higher and higher goals...but it comes at a price. I admit that." He continued, "But the fact remains, we didn't get out of there by anything I did. Kla'ren is brilliant...and thankfully he is brilliance extends down enough to drag me along."

She waited for him to finish. "So, what now? Are you going to become an Engineer?"

"Not quite. I minored in starship operations in the Academy, and did my first tour as an operations officer...albeit very briefly. A parenthesis, you might say. In the Academy, I didn't care much for the engineering courses I had to take. They just didn't interest me. After the events on the weather station, I began to study up on what happened...and how to keep it from happening again if, God forbid I was ever in another situation...especially one where Kla'ren isn't there to hold my hand."

At the time of saying "God forbid, he crossed himself. She did as well. It was another trait they shared. Normally he would keep such private devotions...well private, but he and Josette were close and were developing a deep bond with one another. And she shared his devotion as well.

"As I conducted my 'investigation' I found that I had an interest in such things...and that I understood them a lot better now than I did then. I've been spending my free time pouring over anything I could. I even signed up for a few distance learning classes to give them a try. Just see how it goes."

Normally, this would have been a perfect time to interject with a quip or two, but she said nothing. She just continued to sip her tea. She had learned enough about him to know when to be playful, and when to just let him speak.

He picked up a PADD, gave it a glance and slid it across the desk to her. She picked it up and read it.

"This is a request to transfer to Operations." she said, trying not to let the shock show too much.

He met her gaze. "It is."

"Don't you think it's a bit rash...daft even? Sure, it was a life changing situation but changing your whole career path?"

"There's more too it than that, Mac." He dropped her gaze and looked down at his desk. A shadow seemed to have passed over him, darkening his countenance. "I've hurt people, Mac. More than a lot in our field." He kept his gaze lowered, but could sense by her body language she wanted to speak, but she stayed silent. "I know what you will say, and it's true. It was always in self defense, or in the line of duty. Completely good an noble. And that's true, of course. But justified or not, it takes a toll on a person's soul. The things I did that Godforsaken war..." He trailed off. He had to drag himself out of the tempest of those memories and remain in the present. He looked up and met her gaze. "I don't want to hurt people anymore. If I stay here in Security, I will for sure. Hell, it's in the job description." He gave a half hearted chuckle.

"If you stay in Starfleet, you'll have to cause hurt to someone, at some point." She offered.

"Quite right." Duo raised his index finger, "But! The chances will be a lot lower crawling around the Jeffery's Tubes rather than a guard detail. I'm not turning into a pacifist or anything, I could never be that naive with all I've seen. But, I just don't need any more weight on my soul." He managed a true smile this time, which she returned.

"No, I understand. And I'm happy for you. If this gives you some peace, I'm all for it."

They sat for a few moments, just looking at each other. There was a lot you could say to someone without actually saying anything. It was another trait they shared.

She picked up her cup and brought it and the saucer up for a sip. "You better finish your tea quickly, Elle-tee or will will be cold. Plus, it's almost time for our rounds."

Duo picked up his tea and obeyed.



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