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Emotional fallout

Posted on Fri Feb 9th, 2024 @ 11:11am by Captain Rhenora Kaylen & Remal Kajun

Mission: The Beginning of the End
Location: Bajor
Timeline: Current-ish

The trip to Bajor had done little to soothe her raw emotions, replaying the events over and over as though some horrible holovid that she couldn't turn off. Stalking up to the cabin she sought out Remal.

Remal on the other hand had not been privy to the storm that was now brewing in the distance. Instead he had transported down to the village from a shuttle in order to pick up supplies for the cabin, and to check in with some locals. Now an hour and three counseling sessions later he was walking up the mountain path to the cabin by the lake.

The cabin was more than half finished and moreover, Remal was pleased to have been informed there were some locals tending the grounds and in general keeping an eye out for any suspicious activity. This information provided some comfort despite the political climate which seemed to have become stale in their absence.

As fate would have it, she arrived only minutes after he had finished setting the groceries upon the counter. As though there were a cloud above her, Remal could see and sense something awry in her very walk. Sighing, he prepared her a tall glass of Springwine, and something with a bit more kick, for the nerves.

She made her way into the cabin, the right rein on her emotions disintegrating the instant she saw the man who was her rock. The anger disappeared and hurt replaced it, great sobs shaking her rounded frame as she wrapped her arms around him. It was minutes until she had the comprehension to put her feelings and thoughts into words.

“They replaced me” was what came first.

Clearly needed, he held on for as long as she needed. Not until she spoke did he even think about speaking, only about what might be wrong to cause her to release in this manner. In his mind he acknowledged her emotions had been off as of late, but once she spoke his thoughts melted away and he focused to both listen and understand.

“They? What do you mean ‘replaced you’?” He asked earnestly. She had pulled back slightly allowing him to look at her tear soaked face.

Taking a shuddering breath she composed her thoughts, blinking the tears that clouded her eyes and her mind.

“Admiral Clarkson, signed the order for Commander Baldric to replace me when I go on leave, and to ‘job share’ from now until that time.” There were moments where her voice caught in her throat. “I wasn't asked, I wasn't consulted, it was done before I even knew about it” the tears began to give way to anger and the myriad of emotions that accompanied it. “ And Baldric of all people! She's had her eye on my job since she left years ago. Prophets known what she had over Clarkson to make him sign it”

The anger melted into frustration that boiled into betrayal. She looked at Remal, trying to read his reaction.

He was immediately angry on her behalf, but knew she needed him to be the level-headed one, the calm and rational one, otherwise bad things were bound to happen. He squeezed her and rubbed his large hands up and down her back. "Baldric? Isn't that the upstart Commander who had bounced from one posting to another? She served under you for a while didn't she?" He thought back to earlier days and couldn't recall much about Baldric. "Not very memorable."

He then redirected, "You probably haven't had the opportunity yet, but would you like a glass of wine and we could contact this Clarkson and ask what he is thinking by not at least giving you a heads up." Remal could see she was visibly shaken up, but he also understood the ideal behind the maternity leave. It was bound to happen eventually, just maybe not as a blind-side situation.

She nodded wordlessly, her tears and frustration now spent and expelled into the universe. There would be a logical reason behind all of this, of why she hadn't been told anything, or had she missed it in the plethora of communiques that crossed her desk every day. "I'm sorry, I didn't even say hello. How are you my dear?" She asked with a look of shame on her features.

"I'm well, worried for you currently." He motioned for her to sit and guided her into the comfort of the nearest couch. Then he turned and handed her a glass of her favorite wine. "Give me a moment to find a relay." As he said this he moved away to the monitor and entered the communications array which patched him into the satellite system and then to DS9 which served as the local relay station before shooting the signal across the quadrant to Sol.

Minutes later the face of a Starfleet Communications officer blipped upon the screen. "This is a secure Starfleet channel, may I help you?"

Remal smiled, "Counselor Remal Kajun representing Captain Kaylen of the USS Sunfire. We would like to speak with Admiral Clarkson on a priority one matter." The communications officer blinked in disbelief, then the screen went blank and a moment later the face of Admiral Clarkson appeared on screen.

"Yes, what is it, what is the emergency?" It appeared as if he had just been roused from bed. He saw the face of Remal, "Who are you? What do you want?"

Remal simply smiled, "We," he emphasized, "would like some answers." And with that Remal stepped back to the couch allowing the monitor to see both he and his wife as she sat upon the couch, wine in hand, tears still upon her cheeks.

Clarkson took in the expression, the glass of wine, and the interior of a rustic cabin and braced himself. He knew he had toed the line, if not crossed it when he had thrown Baldric her bone.

"I see the Sunfire made it back to DS9 in one piece" he said, more a statement than a question and definitely a lame attempt and redirection.

"We did, the mission report was filed two days ago. I'm sure you've seen it" Rhenora replied with more than a touch of sarcasm.

Clarkson winced but recovered quickly. "I would have thought that someone in your 'condition' would have given more thought to a succession planning." It was a low blow and he knew it.

"I'm pregnant not dying. I have no intentions of retiring, or leaving my position for more than a short period of time. We were doing just fine until you stepped in. Commander Savar and the rest of the senior staff were doing an exemplary job" Kaylen spat, resisting the urge to stand in anger.

"Commander Baldric had noticed the report from your CMO stating your reduced hours and why. She put forward an argument of shared duties including a smooth handover when you... you know..." Clarkson blushed at the inference.

"She called you, you had missed it, and you had no reason to reject her proposal when it saved you a buttload of work. Grow a set will you Jeremy, you could have just called me." The exasperation in her voice was evident.

Remal took in the conversation with interest, allowing Rhen to vent her frustration directly to the man who had caused said frustrations. It was often the best way in a counseling session to be a moderator for when communication went sideways.

He looked at Clarkson, "I feel we can all agree Admiral Clarkson made a huge mistake in not communicating his intentions ahead of time and just from his words alone may I just recommend at minimum an apology, and at most a Remedial Gender Studies Course as a reminder, with a counselor perhaps?" It was more than a suggestion as Remal was prepared to back it up with an order if necessary.

"You've allowed an upstart Commander to pull your strings and now we are left to deal with the fallout. I think you can understand our frustration Admiral." Remal added sternly. "And I think if you know what is in your best interest, you'll make this right." He left the ending of his statement like a knife hanging in the air before the strike. A threat, but also a plea for reasonability.

Clarkson knew when he'd been out maneuvered and his bluff has been called.
"I apologise for not letting you know about it earlier." He started. Rhenora meanwhile waited for the ever present barb to follow but the Admiral seemed to visibly bite his tongue. "It's done now though, so I suggest we all try and make it work as well as possible."

There was a pregnant pause as all considered their options. The Captain knew she could push things further and call him at the highest level for his misconduct, but what would that accomplish? She also wasn't going to let him off Scott free.

"We will do our best to incorporate Commander Baldric into the command team, however I can assure you her tenure on the Sunfire will be temporary. I have no plans on resigning anytime soon, merely taking some leave." Rhenora said firmly, taking a sip of her wine as she finished speaking. "She has a lot of bravado about her, but she needs to learn how to manage people, not just command them.*

Biased, Remal considered that a reasonable compromise. He had yet to have the talk with Rhen about what would happen after. This felt like that door being opened. None of them knew that Baldric had her own plans, though they would find out soon enough. "Are we in agreement then Admiral?" He added in an effort to end on a positive note where all parties were at least comfortable if not partially satisfied.

"It appears we have an accord. I will leave you to manage Baldric. I warned her you were not to be trifled with" Clarkson admitted. "Good luck" he closed the channel before either of them could reply, almost as though he were throwing a curve ball, a potentially problematic one and has no intention of hanging around for the return shot.

"I think I need to find out what Baldric has been up to over the last few years. To still be a commander means that the Admiralty doesn't think she's ready." Rhenora mused as she flipped back against the couch. She turned to Remal, placing a hand on his knee. "Thank you for supporting me in that. You didn't have to and I appreciate it"

He gave her the side-eye, "Yes I did. It's my job as your husband after all." He reached for his glass of wine. "As for Baldric, your research can wait, relaxation first. Besides," he mused, "she has no idea what she is getting herself into." He finished by wrapping his arm around Rhen and pulling her close with a gentle kiss upon the bridge of her nose.



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