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Part of USS Alita: Liberating Sevury and Bravo Fleet: The Lost Fleet

The Dishonest Truth

USS Alita - Captain's Ready Room
MD03
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“The god damned Breen?” Frankie spat. “It wasn’t the damn BREEN.” 

Tiffany raised her hands to hold off any further arguments and protest, “I understand, Commander. I do. These orders come from the highest levels of Starfleet. As far as anyone can know, this issue was orchestrated by and executed by the Breen and no one else. We are under strict orders, under penalty of dishonorable discharge and charges of treason, to not make any mention of the Dominion or their involvement in this,” Tiff explained. “I don’t like it either, but I’m hands are tied here.” 

Frankie sat back with a huff and glared off into the distance, “You know I got recruited by Starfleet Intelligence to be a field operative and I said no to avoid exactly this kind of cloak and dagger bullshit,” She grumbled. 

Melody had been quietly chewing her lip, contemplating the information that Tiffany had just given them. Finally, after another stretch of silence, she spoke, “Why hide this though? I could understand not wanting anything to get out while it was going on, but at this point… why hide it? It feels like they’re trying to cover something up,” She said. 

“I don’t know, and frankly I don’t want to go down a rabbit hole trying to figure it out. We’re not allowed to talk about it, and that’s it. End of discussion, alright?” Tiffany asked, getting reluctant nods from the two women. 

If she was being entirely honest with them, she hated it too. It felt wrong to lie about what had happened, and she couldn’t make sense of the order’s logic, but at the end of the day… She knew if something was going on, she could do more about it from the center chair than from a jail cell. She was definitely tucking this one in the back of her mind. She had a feeling it would make more sense in time. 

“Okay,” Tiff said, turning her hands palm down and moving them slowly downward to ask for calm. “So, where are we on the ship?” She asked. 

“Looking good, sir. French’s team has been working around the clock to get our systems back online. She’s requested permission to take a small detachment to the other ships and help get them back up and running. Hope you don’t mind, but I figured you’d authorize that and went ahead and let them go,” Frankie explained. 

Tiffany nodded, “Good call. Faster we can get those ships back up and running, faster we can get back to our assignment. I’m all for it.”

“Exactly,” Frankie replied with a nod. “We’ve got warp 7.8 sustainable, our structural integrity field has gotten back up to ninety-six percent and all weapons systems are back online. There’s a few power fluctuation issues because of some of the blown EPS manifolds, but Chief says those will be resolved pretty quickly here,” The XO finished. 

“Any dry dock time needed?” Tiffany asked. 

“Not right away, boss. Frenchy says that the next time we’re in for a resupply we can get more of the cosmetic fixes done if you want to get back out on the line. She said everything else we can fix ourselves,” Frankie explained.

“Sounds good,” Tiffany replied, nodding and turning her attention to the other red head in the room, “What about the relief efforts?” 

“Going well,” Melody replied. “Team on the surface has been working with Blake and Ops to go over every inch of data and computer core memory to make sure that the Jem…. Breen,” She said, correcting herself grumpily, “didn’t leave any logic bombs, or backdoors, or other malware in place. French send down some engineers too to help shore things up and get everything at least generally repaired. Thatcher is handling medical ops down there… She’s struggling with that, but she’s doing okay. I’ve got two of my guys following her everywhere to make sure she feels protected. Her history with… you know… stuff. It’s still in there,” Melody explained, tapping her temple. 

“Yeah,” Tiffany said, sounding distant for a moment as she thought about that. “Yeah, I’m sure it is. Well, we’ll make sure she’s good once she’s back. I got word a couple hours ago that the USS Nightingale is on its way here now with a full disaster recovery crew and a large contingent of SFI operatives to manage this situation,” She explained.  

SFI?” Frankie said, bitterly. “They going to interrogate the victims now?” 

Tiffany shot her a look, “No, Commander. But they are going to provide training and a framework so the colonists can remember the story,” She explained. 

“I hate this,” Frankie bit back. 

Tiffany sighed, “Circle of trust? Cone of silence in here right now?” She asked. 

The other two women nodded. 

“I hate this, too,” Tiffany griped, smacking her hand into her desk. “This whole thing smells of horseshit to me, but there’s nothing I can do about right now. I know you’re frustrated. I am too. I want to wring someone’s neck and demand answers, but we won’t get that. So right now, we have to put on the brave front and try to keep the crew in one piece, okay?” She asked, looking between the two women. “I need you to have my back right now, no matter how frustrating it is. We have to be a united front on this, alright?” 

Melody and Frankie looked at Tiff, then at each other, then sighed and nodded. 

“Sorry, boss. You know how I feel about dishonesty. Coming from the brass, it just feels extra bad, you know?” Frankie replied. 

“I know,” Tiffany replied. “How do you think I feel? Not only am I having to be dishonest, I’m having to tell my whole crew they’ve got to lie with me. This isn’t a fair situation, but it’s the one we’re in.” 

“Tiff… I’ve got some contacts. Can I like… very quietly sniff around? See if I can find out any information about the why we’re having to lie?” Melody asked. 

Tiffany worked her jaw for a minute, considering the potential consequences of that request. Finally she shook her head, “No. At least not yet. Let me chase official channels first and then if that fails… then we’ll see what your friends can get us. Sound fair?” 

Melody nodded. 

Tiffany sighed and leaned forward, “Guys, I know these orders are tainting everything but… this really is a cause for a celebration. We drove back… damn it, we drove back the damn Dominion. We took on some of the fiercest warriors we’ve ever had to fight and we won. We saved a whole damn planet and that’s worth celebrating, right?” She said, grinning. 

Melody and Frankie both gave reluctant grins.

“Yes, boss,” Frankie replied. 

“We are kind of bad asses, huh,” Melody said with a grin. 

“We are total bad asses,” Tiffany responded back confidently. “C’mon,” She said, standing. “Crews are in place. Let’s take a few hours of down time and have some drinks and celebrate.” 

The other two women stood to join her, “Can’t complain about that order,” Frankie quipped. 

The three women made their way through the bridge and into the turbolift, all pondering the outcome of the day. It was definitely the most harrowing mission to date and they’d come through it. They’d grown stronger for it, and that’d pushed the bonds of trust they already had even deeper for it. Despite the misgivings around the rest of it… today was a good day. 

“Hey boss,” Frankie said, letting her fist hang in the air between them as they got on the lift. 

“What?” Tiffany asked, looking over at her XO. 

“C’mon,” Frankie said, shaking a fist a little. “C’mon, you know you love it.” 

Tiffany hesitated, but eventually laughed and fist-bump-explosioned her XO, shaking her head as she did

Melody laughed as the turbolift doors closed, “You guys are idiots.”