Leading his two most senior officers into his office, Burton slumped down into the chair behind the desk as the two men who had followed him stop just after the door and look at him. “Okay, let me have it.” Burton said, sounding like a teenager who was just about to be told off by his two disapproving parents.
Rodham just crossed his arms across his chest and looked at Walker who did a similar thing before returning his stare at the captain. Shrugging his shoulders, Rodham spoke up. “Why bother sir?” He asked sarcastically and carried on in that same tone. “It’s obvious you’ve seriously considered what you’ve just committed yourself to and that you are able to defeat a Klingon general in a hand to hand combat situation. Why else would you place yourself in danger?”
“Sarcasm really doesn’t fit you, Alex.” Burton responded, “but yes I have seriously considered the consequences.”
“Wow, that quick?” Walker countered back with, also in a similar sarky tone.
Burton now gave Walker a look before sighing. Rolling his eyes, Burton expressed his thoughts to them both but knew he wouldn’t be able to convince them to get on board with his plan. “I know the dangers and that it’s more than likely he’ll defeat me but if I can get Merik to see that we have honour in a Klingon sort of way then he may be more amiable to listen to our evidence. We’ve already passed one test and shown him that we can handle ourselves in battle against his ship.”
“And that required the support of the Kriosian flagship, which I would like to point out is limping next to us right now.” Rodham remarked in disbelief. Shaking his head at what he thought was complete nonsense, he rubbed his forehead. “I can’t believe you are hoping to convince a Klingon general on a possible whim that he may listen and may consider taking our evidence to his government to redirect their efforts against the Romulans.”
“It is farfetched, sir.” Walker added in support of Rodham. “That said, how confident are you in beating him?”
“Really Cooper? You’re entertaining the idea?” Rodham shot at the science officer.
Defending his position, Walker looked back at the pilot and first officer (who was now pacing the small office) and shared his point. “I’ve seen the captain working out in the gym.”
Burton smirked at Walker before answering. “Thanks Cooper; I did boxing for many years as a teenager and carried on doing it while at STC plus I’ve not stopped practising ever since.”
“I don’t think the Klingon honour code is going to let you have a timeout sir.” Rodham quickly replied back with. “It’s not as if Cooper or I could throw in the towel for you. Merik may want you dead.”
“That’s a bad idea.” Walker then said before the door chime went off, breaking up the conversation between the three of them.
Sighing aloud, Burton soon answered. “Come.” He said at the top of his voice.
The door swished open to the right and automatically Kefira Ben-Ami stepped in and started on the captain. “Are you mad?” She asked straight away and without blinking stared at him with the same expression that both Rodham and Walker had branded him with moments ago.
“Obviously news travels fast around my vessel.” Burton said looking at both men, who now looked sheepish. It was clear one of them had given her a heads up before they had followed him into his ready room. Turning his attention back to his chief medical officer, Burton raised both hands to show her to calm down. “I’ve not lost my mind, Kefira but thanks for the house call.”
Shaking her head and sighing aloud, Ben-Ami looked at him with utter bafflement at how cavalier he was being with the whole thing. “Lloyd, you do know that Klingons have so many redundant organs that give them the upper hand in being able to remain in a fight. It’s what makes them excellent warriors. Their stamina is twice the size of yours, maybe even more!” She almost shrieked at him. It had been the first time in front of others she had used his first name and in such an informal manner. “Do I need to relieve you?” She then added.
Standing up sharply at that, Burton looked at her. “Absolutely not.” He said. “And that’s not helpful in this situation.”
“Well I may just have grounds that you have gone crazy from agreeing to fight a Klingon to prove something that is so barbaric. It’s not as if I could give you performance enhancement drugs.” Ben-Ami said as she crossed her arms against her chest now.
Looking at them all after taking in a deep breath through his nose, Burton held his own against them all. “I know none of this makes sense, but if I can prove to the general that I am a man of my word that goes a long way in a Klingon’s perspective.”
“And if you die, what then? This crew has seen too much loss in its command structure. How are we meant to carry on? ” Rodham asked, in a solemn tone. It was obvious he was thinking about Michael at that time.
Appreciating that point, Burton sighed as he rubbed his face. “Okay, okay,” He started with, “this is what we do. If I do meet my dimesly death then Alex, I’m ordering you to return the task group back to Earth and inform the Kriosian that Earth will need to send out a different representative.”
Rodham nodded in silence at that.
“Are we all in agreement with that?” Burton checked with the other two.
Ben-Ami and Walker looked at one another then back to their captain.
“It’s not a great option.” The doctor said sarcastically.
“Agreed, I’d prefer you to be alive sir. My wife wouldn’t be happy with me if we returned home with you in a torpedo casing.” Walker said. “Especially when you have three little bundles on the way.”
Again, he sighed heavily at being reminded about that, Burton nodded in agreement. “Perhaps I was a bit too gung-ho with this one.”
“Even at warp four, we are two days away from Haydorian. Why not spend some time putting in some extra training with the MACOs? I’m sure Luis would be happy to help out.” Rodhad suggested.
“I’d be happy to do some weightlifting with you, sir.” Walker offered.
Ben-Ami rolled her eyes at the level of testosterone she now felt she was being surrounded by. “I suppose I could do a proper physical check on you, to make sure you’re in your best state. I mean you do have the honour of Earth to protect.”
Chuckling somewhat at how their conversation had changed, Burton shook his head. “I love the fact you’re now all reluctantly getting on board with this.”
“I think we can agree that none of us are happy with it sir.” Walker stated.
“Agreed.” Ben-Ami said with an extra stare at the captain.
“But if we can divert the Klingons’ attention towards the Romulans then it may help with the war effort.” Rodham added. “Even if it’s a slim chance, then I suppose it might be worth it.”
Before Burton could speak next the intercom went off and Avery’s voice followed. “Bridge to Captain Burton, sorry to disturb you sir but we’ve just been called by the Kamala they’ve reported that during the battle with the Klingons that the First Monarch was severely injured. She’s now stable but something has happened involving Corporal Jenkins. Prince Kalluum wishes to advise you further of what has happened.”
His expression changed to show concern now, Burton placed his hands on his hips and ordered his communications officer to direct the call to his office. All four officers turned to the monitor on the captain’s desk as it changed from its standby mode to one showing the prince’s face.
“Prince Kalluum, is everyone okay on the Kamala? We heard Her Majesty was hurt.” Burton said.
“Do you require further medical assistance?” Ben-Ami offered.
Raising a hand to calm their offers down, the prince smiled to show appreciation. “That’s very kind of your doctor, but our medical teams are doing a fine job. My wife is stable, thanks once again to your amazing men. I owe both Lieutenant Stewart and Corporal Jenkins hugely for helping her and stabilising her before her own physician was able to arrive on the scene.”
A sense of pride washed across Ben-Ami and Burton at that news as they gave each other a quick glance of their smiles. “That’s great to hear.” The captain said. “My communications officer said that something happened to Liam, is he okay?”
More wide smiles came from the prince as he replied. “Yes, the corporal is well, however during their attempt to save Kaitaama she had to use her empathic abilities to connect with him so that our unborn baby survived.”
“Empathic abilities?” Walker questioned.
“Baby?” Rodham asked.
“Connect with an unborn baby?” Ben-Ami queried.
Burton gestured for the three of them to calm down with their quizzing of the prince and turned his focus back to their ally. “Your Highness, as you can see we have many questions. Can you clarify further please?”
“Of course,” Kallum answered, “some of my people have empathic abilities that allows us to adjust ourselves to be more tuned into our loved ones.”
“Tuned in?” Burton asked for clarity.
Smirking at that, Kallum explained further. “Some of us are able to be empathic metamorphs, where we can adjust our emotions and feelings to those we love. It’s quite common in males, not so common in females, but when it comes between a child and their parents then most Kriosian have a low level empathic link with the unborn child. Normally parents will share this, it’s a sort of comfort for the child to feel their parents prior to birth.”
“A sort of emotional blanket?” Ben-Ami tested.
“Yes, that’s one way of looking at it. We can sense their emotions and vice-versa. However during the Klingon attack, to avoid stress on our child Kaitaama shared her empathic link with Corporal Jenkins. He is now connected to my son.”
“Will the link cause any hurt or damage to him?” Burton asked, knowing that Ben-Ami would have said the same thing.
Again he shook his head and replied. “Nothing serious. This is a great honour to be bestowed upon him and I can only thank him for doing this. By doing this he was able to avoid the Heir to Kriosian throne from feeling any pain his mother was experiencing.” Kalluum explained. “I’ve already connected but I wanted to inform you that it is vital that he remains close by. I am requesting that he remains with us and I would like him to consider becoming my son’s Principal Guardian.” Realising that he needed to explain what that was, the prince went on. “A Principal Guardian is someone who agrees to look after a newborn child in case something was to happen to their parents. With the corporal being married, it would mean Lieutenant Stewart would become one as well.”
Burton suppressed a smirk and wondered if both young men would realise how important their new roles to the heir to the Kriosian throne would be. “We have a similar role on Earth, called godparents. I am happy for you to ask both Liam and Niall.”
“I appreciate that captain.” Kalluum said with a slight bow. “Now, I’d like an update on our efforts with the Klingons.”
Sighing quietly, Burton nodded and went on to tell the prince what was now happening.
Once Burton was complete, the prince nodded and spoke. “I appreciate the gesture in fighting on behalf of my people, captain; I should be the one though to be their champion.”
Not surprised to hear that from him, Burton could sense the relief coming out of his fellow officers but chose to ignore it. He could appreciate that a man like Kalluum who had served his people in its military for a long time would want to defend their honour. However that was the issue here now; not Kriosian honour but Klingon honour. “Your Highness, the issue here that concerns me is that if I approach General Merik to tell him that I won’t be fighting him instead it is you then he may take it as an insult. Klingons don’t normally agree to such terms like Merik has.”
“Then we will share our case and add a touch of further honour to it. I will fight alongside you and he can choose another comrade to battle with him too.” Kalluum suggested.
Noticing the change in his officers at hearing that idea, Burton pressed on. “Very well, I will make the call.”
“Excellent, let us train together tomorrow!” Kallum said before closing the channel.
“You really do have the honour of Earth weighing on your shoulders.” Ben-Ami muttered as Burton fell into his chair, realising what had just happened.
It was finally getting late into the evening and Trommler was slowly making his way back to his quarters to sleep. He had skipped dinner and was now reading the roster for the next day on a tablet when he noticed a slim figure waiting for him outside his door. Holding a tray that had a covered up meal underneath it, a white flower sitting in an empty glass vase along with two mugs and some other items, was Ensign Avery. Confused, perplexed, baffled, the MACO leader wasn’t expecting to see her. “Tanisha, this is a lovely surprise.”
Smiling at him sweetly, she spoke. “I’ve just got off duty and headed straight down to the mess hall to grab this.” Avery said, carefully balancing one tray on one hand, she lift the lid over the covered food to reveal it to be a pizza. Filled with various meat toppings as well as peppers, she smiled at him. “Chef Lawson said she hadn’t seen you and suggested I come here before you call it a night.”
“Oh wow, that looks super amazing.” Trommler said, appreciating her efforts. “Thank you.” He leaned in to kiss her and she returned the gesture. “How did you know pizza was one of my favourite dishes?”
“Actually, Montana helped me with that.” She admitted, still smiling.
“Either way, come on in.” Trommler offered as he pressed the access button and offered to take the tray off from her.
“I know we’ve been trying to find a moment to be just us and with what’s going on with the Kriosians and Klingons, it’s not been the best of times.”
“It’s not been anything.” Trommler commented as the door slid close behind him and he placed the tray down on the floor and offered for her to join him, after grabbing a few pillows for them to sit on. “This looks delicious, Tanisha. Thank you.”
Joining him on the floor, she filled up both mugs with the fizzy sparkling flavoured water she had in a bottle. While she did that, Trommler proceeded to light the candle that was also on the tray.
“This really does smell good.” He remarked.
“I can go back for dessert, if you want.” Avery offered as she handed him the mug.
“I think I can come up with other ideas besides dessert.” He said with a cheeky grin and ended up raising his mug to hers. “To us finally being able to be alone.”
“To us.” She repeated before clinking her mug edge with his and then taking a sip.
Before they could get stuck into their pizza there was a knock on the door. Both of them paused and the expression of frustration soon appeared across their faces.
“Who is it?” Trommler asked.
“Yeoman Harris, sir.”
Wondering why the captain’s assistant wanted to see him, Trommler excused himself as he got up from the pillow he was in and went towards the door to open it. Pressing the button, he opened it to see the young Welsh man standing there. “Jamie, how can I help?”
Before talking he noticed the low light in the room and then saw Avery sat there in an immediate scene, Harris paused before he answered and then turned his focus back to Trommler. “Sorry sir, but the captain has requested that you assist him in preparing for his upcoming fight with the Klingon general.” Harris then proceeded to pass a tablet to him.
Taking the tablet, Trommler thanked the yeoman and placed it on the side shelf behind him. “Is there anything else, crewman?”
“No sir, just be in the gym for oh-seven-hundred hours.” Harris said before waving goodbye to Avery as Trommler pressed the button to close the door and lock it.
“So much for a peaceful evening.” Trommler grumbled as he ripped his MACO jacket off and slung it over his bed before returning to the floor with Avery.
Sighing to herself, she took a sip and spoke up. “Do you want postpone this? I’d hate for you to workout too hard with the captain tomorrow and end up puking up pizza in front of him.” Avery offered.
“Absolutely not.” Trommler said with conviction. “That pizza and you are the only things that are getting my attention tonight.”
“Now that sounds promising, Captain Trommler.” Avery said as she leaned in towards him. Gently pushing him onto his back.
“I promise!” Trommler chuckled as he ended up on his back as she got closer to him and the two of them ended up kissing further.