Captain Jonathan Bastin and Commander Rena Yuri sat across from one another in the Captain’s ready room. He’d just returned from the station after a conversation with Legate Aren and he had expressed a desire to fill his First Officer in on the details of said exchange. Yuri, for her part, had been intrigued by the results of the conversation as well as the prisoner exchange itself.
“I suppose it would be best to start off with the prisoner exchange. It would appear that one of the prisoners tried to escape our custody while being transferred and was summarily shot down. Prisoners from the Argonaut and Edinburgh also attempted an escape, with almost identical consequences,” Bastin began his explanation.
“I’m not shocked,” Yuri said with a shrug, “I had expected a few of them to have ideas about what was waiting for them and would rather take their chances trying to get away, even if such attempts were doomed to fail.”
“Agreed. While it’s unfortunate that it had to occur, I have a hard time being upset over it happening. I suppose if they hadn’t been such irredeemable thugs, I might have been capable of mustering up a bit of sympathy for their inevitable fate… I can’t help thinking that it might be a boon that they are so far gone that I don’t have to lose any sleep over how they’re going to be handled,” Bastin said with a wry smile.
Yuri nodded with a smile of her own, “I suppose that’s the silver lining in all this. No matter how deserving they are of poor treatment, we never would have been able to give it to them. The Cardassians, for all their flaws, won’t hesitate or waffle over the possible morality precisely because their morals don’t find issue with what’s about to happen.”
“I actually don’t agree with that,” Bastin said abruptly, “I think Cardassian morality has come a long way since the Occupation of Bajor. Or else the Legate wouldn’t have bothered to ask if I’d have issues with the prisoners being interrogated in true Cardassian form. That isn’t to say that they’re completely different from how they used to be, but there’s been growth.”
“That is surprising,” Yuri said, her hand coming up to her cheek in a show of feigned shock.
“I can understand you being somewhat dubious about that, but it seemed like a genuine inquiry on the Legate’s part, not simply a formality she was obligated to go though. I don’t have a great handle on her motivations yet, but there are times when I get the feeling she’s being unusually upfront… for a Cardassian,” Bastin said, taking on a caveat right at the end.
“I wouldn’t know. I haven’t spoken to her at length like you have,” The woman retorted in a very dry tone.
Her sudden tonal shift caught Bastin’s attention just as he was about to say something and he asked instead, “Is something wrong?”
“Honestly, Jon? Yes… I have a problem with you going off and meeting with Legate Aren so frequently. Duty obligations aside, you don’t need to socialize with her nearly as often as you do…” the Commander said, folding her arms in a bit of a huff.
A cutting response formed on the man’s lips as he felt himself getting rather defensive about the insinuated accusation, but he didn’t let the impulse actually get the better of his judgment. He sucked in a calming breath as he formulated a much more level headed response.
“I will admit that from the outside, our socializations do seem to speak of a much deeper intimacy than actually exists,” Bastin offered.
“At least you have some self-awareness…” Yuri grumbled as she shifted impatiently in her chair.
“Would you feel any better if I brought you along tonight?” Bastin asked in a much gentler tone.
“You’re going to meet with her again? Did you ask her out to go drinking or something?” Yuri frowned.
“She’s the one who brought it up, actually,” Bastin remarked, “And she didn’t specify it was a private affair since it was drinks at the bar on the Promenade, which also happens to be the only bar on the station. So even if she didn’t explicitly invite you along, I doubt it would raise much of a fuss if you were there with me.”
The Commander gave him a glare for a moment before closing her eyes and pinching the bridge of her nose in annoyance, “I feel like you wouldn’t have said anything at all if I hadn’t brought it up.”
“I just hadn’t gotten that far into the events that had taken place. She sprung that on me as I was leaving,” Bastin remarked.
Yuri looked up at Bastin without moving her head, “Is that so?”
The woman let out a long sigh and finally lowered her hand, “Fine. I guess I jumped the gun assuming you’d leave that part out and go galavanting off with some Cardassian woman.”
“I’m hardly known for ‘galavanting’ with anyone,” Bastin pointed out bluntly.
Yuri’s face scrunched up in protest, but she couldn’t actually name a time since they’d started working together on the Argonaut that he actually had engaged in less than professional liaisons with anyone, crewmember or otherwise. His statement took a lot of wind out of her sails as she floundered to find a reasonable retort. When it became rather obvious that she was merely venting her jealousy over how she’d felt left out, she decided to drop the issue and change the subject.
“Did you tell her about what we managed to find out?”
“No,” Bastin said, leaning back in his chair, “I decided to leave that out for the moment. I told her I haven’t looked through all the reports from our efforts to interrogate them, so we can still go back later and mention it should they turn up something similar. While I’m personally invested in cooperating with the Cardassians as much as possible, from a professional standpoint, giving away what we know before we really understand what we have won’t help us in this instance. At best, they will simply hide anything they find from us if it is as politically relevant as we believe our information to be.”
“So you’re playing this a bit closer to the chest, from a diplomatic perspective,” Yuri said thoughtfully.
“I believe it’s prudent. As I said, we can always come to the table with our information should it seem likely that it would fill in gaps that could aid both sides in getting to the bottom of things. And if it isn’t something we absolutely need to do, at least we’re not completely in the dark about what’s going on in regions of Cardassian space we aren’t able to access,” the Captain said pointedly.
“I can’t help but agree with that. Just because we’re able to operate in a small area within Cardassian space that doesn’t mean we have the whole picture of what’s happening in the entire Cardassian Union,” the woman admitted.
“If you’re going to say I’m playing it close to the chest, then the Cardassians are keeping their cards locked in a vault,” Bastin said with a chuckle.
“I’d imagine that’s probably not that far from the truth…” Cmdr. Yuri said with a shrug.
It was about then that a chirp issued from Bastin’s desk terminal. He tapped a command key and the display popped up with a notification from Empok Nor, more specifically from Legate Aren, stating that she would be heading to the bar in the next ten minutes or so.
“Looks like we’re going to the bar,” Bastin said, deactivating the terminal.
“Guess we need to get changed,” Yuri said, getting out of her chair.
“No,” Bastin said, “I think it would be better if we simply go as is. This isn’t that informal of a gathering, just an informal setting.”
“Oh, well then…” the woman shrugged, “Lead the way.”