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Part of Eos Station: Mission 0: Ready Set Go …

No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

Starbase 50
Late 2396
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Four years prior, late 2396

“Robert,” Drew called out after the man as he darted down the hall, “wait up.” Drew knew it was a stretch hoping that the former Captain would stop. He also knew that up the corridor, to the left, was a somewhat populated lounge. He didn’t want to have this conversation in front of more people than needed. “Robert,” Drew caught up, placing a hand on the man’s left shoulder, “stop.”

Abernathy spun around and, with a slight shove, put some distance between the two. “Tell me something,” he sneered, “Drew was that a complete setup, or did you just cook that up at the end?”

Drew should have expected that he was instrumental in getting the man demoted. “You were there,” he added, “I knew they were planning something, but I had no idea. You can’t pin this all on me, Robert.” Drew got in front of the man and looked at him, “you were bull-headed, temperamental, stubborn, and refused to answer their questions professionally. What did you expect them to do, write it off, and smile as they left?”

“I don’t have to be…” he growled as he pushed Drew out of the way. “Excuse me, Admiral,” his tone dripping with sarcasm. I need to take care of a few things. Unknown to Abernathy several Security Officers were turning the corner, and the Commander was seen shoving a Flag Officer.

However, Drew waved them off. This was why he wanted to avoid this area. “You are not dismissed, Commander,” Drew stated firmly, “you will follow me to Ops, where we will discuss your future in the ready room.

In the history of turbolift rides, the trip to the Ops Center had to be one of the longest either man had seen. The tension between the two was thick and severely uncomfortable. Many passengers left the lift before their stops rather than stand between them. They traveled the main lift, through the center of the station, in complete silence. Drew wanted to say several things but knew that the occasional passenger would interrupt things.

The two walked across the main floor of Ops to the large office Drew had been occupying for the last three months. It was a lovely space, but it didn’t have the same feel as his old one. It was too big. “Robert,” he stated as the door closed behind him. “I am sorry about the demotion, I truly am,” the Admiral added, “you can be pissed at the world, angry at the entire Federation, and me… but that doesn’t change the fact that a part of you brought this on yourself.”

Drew raised a hand, refusing to allow the man to speak, “you are correct, none of us were there, and we don’t know how we would have acted if we were. Star Fleet can take their models, reports, and holographic outcomes and shove them up their asses. We weren’t there.” He could see Abernathy briefly relax but still maintain his defiant posture. “I can’t say I would have done anything differently; hell, I might have done the same thing faced with that outcome. But that is not important, now.”

Drew walked to a nearby cabinet and poured the two men a drink. “I can say that I know Commodore Patton; she wouldn’t have come here with that intention. She meant it when she says she was trying to find another solution.”

Abernathy took the drink as he downed the entire glass all at once. “Don’t take this the wrong way, but I wish I had never answered that call from you on Risa.”

“And I wish I hadn’t called you,” Drew stated, “I should have commanded that mission myself.”

Abernathy was still distraught, and he wanted to lash out, scream at the man, or at the very least tell him what he thought of him. But the simple fact was his career was in the man’s hands. He had to play the part until something worked out. “I can’t say that I trust this whole thing wasn’t a setup,” Abernathy replied, “something doesn’t add up for me, but it’s too late now. Everything I’ve built and established is gone. So now I am stuck on this rock with you, Sir….”

Drew nodded; he wanted to tell the man his attitude tanked his career. His inability to work with others and his refusal to listen to reason. But the man wasn’t yelling or shoving, so perhaps this wasn’t a good time. Clearly, the two had a lot to work out, and the tension was still just as thick. “Your career is still fixable if you are willing to do the work?”

“I’m listening,” he folded his arms in a defensive posture.

Drew sighed, more of that Abernathy determination. He was going to have to work on that. “To be honest, my command here needs help. I can’t give each piece the attention it needs. I am the Sector Commander, the Regional Diplomat, the Commanding Officer of this station, a father, and a problem solver all wrapped into one. The locals below are unhappy; Starfleet hasn’t met the conditions for keeping this station in their planet’s orbit. The Breen are popping up all over the border, and pirates are attacking our transports faster than we can keep up.”

“So, where do you see me fitting into this,” Abernathy again demanded, with his arms still folded.

“Starfleet isn’t going to let me give you command of the station,” Drew raised a hand before the man could continue his previous rant. “But your position here is at my discretion, so I want you to take over as my Adjutant and assume the duties of Officer in Charge of the station. You’d handle all the station’s day-to-day operations while I focus on the other side of my job. Officially the station’s Executive Officer but with a bit more power.”

“Sure, and have you looking over my shoulder questioning my every move,” Abernathy retorted, “as it would still be your command, right?”

“It’s not the perfect setup. Yes, it is still my command, but I don’t have time,” Drew was honest, “I don’t care how many plasma injectors we have or if the cargo in cargobay one was searched. I don’t have time to deal with all the repairs, crew staffing, duty reports, and incoming traffic. You will run the station with all the authority you need, acting on my behalf. If I have a problem, I will come to you. This,” he gestured to the sizeable Ready Room, “is now your office. There is still some empty office space on deck7, far from here,” he added, “I’ll have operations work on converting that into the space I need.”

“Look, I know it’s not perfect, but it’s the best I can do now,” Drew stated, “in time after the dust has settled, who knows….”

“Your people won’t like this,” Abernathy replied.

“Our people,” Drew stressed, “can get over it; they will adapt.”

Abernathy knew it was true; this was a good outcome. Drew could have moved him to a Department Head; he could have assigned him to one of the garrison ships babysitting the sector. This was not what he expected. Abernathy wasn’t going to give in too fast; he had to keep the upper hand.

“I believe the correct reply is yes, Sir,” Drew added, “besides, it was already assigned; you start now, Commander..”

Abernathy growled; Drew was already two steps ahead of him.

Looking out the door, Drew saw Miller entering Ops. “I will be back in a bit; your first order of business is to talk to your Operations staff and loop them in,” Drew ordered, “I will meet up with you later.”

Before Abernathy could reply, Drew turned and left. He wanted to run after the man, drag him back into here, and finish this talk. But he knew that wouldn’t go over well. Assaulting a Flag Officer twice in one day wasn’t going to look good on his record. He’d continue this talk later. He still didn’t like this, but who knows what could happen over time?

Abernathy stormed out of the Ready Room, “I want a report from Station Operations,” he demanded. He looked around the room. He was sure this was the end of his career. There was no way that Starfleet would ever move him back into command after this.  

His entire career ended with one little word, guilty. There was no one left, no one to help him. No one to save him. And, indeed, no one to help him get back on track. If anything, he had to make this work to regain the trust that was once bestowed upon him. He walked over to the nearest replicator and ordered a coffee.  He sipped his coffee, “no,” he said, looking around to make sure no one was there. This station would not be the end of his career; he was determined to fix this, to show Michaels he could move past this.