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USS Eagle, NCC 2185

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CPT Kematsopoulos & LTjg Richards

JOINT LOGS
Joint Logs by Myth, Stoffe and Nouri

Title: O, What a Tangled Web We Weave, Part Six
Location: The USS Eagle
Setting: Captain's Quarters

Captain Kematsopoulos put two fingers in his mouth and whistled. A minion of minute metallic marvels exploded into sight in the kitchen as if they had been hidden for a secret assault. They spilled out of almost everywhere there was to hide in the tiny kitchen. As they danced and tumbled over, under and around each other it was impossible to get an accurate count. Some popped out of the upper cabinets and into the air where they wafted down suspended below small, white strips of cloth that used to be some of the Captain's linen napkins.

Leah stood in the Captain's kitchen utterly speechless. She'd known there were a lot of robots, and even vaguely been aware that at least some of them were in the Captains quarters. She hadn't realized they'd taken paratrooper classes while hiding in his oven and cabinets however. ~This is not good, not good!~

The Captain was hoping that LT Richards finally understood the magnitude of this problem. He was getting a description from the earpiece set up, but wished he could see her face to see if she really comprehended how serious this was to the ship.

Leah gulped and forced herself to say something - anything. "Uh... it ... might be more than thirty, sir."

He waited for her to reply and thought,  ~Yes indeed.~

She fell silent after that, not sure what to say or do next.

"Do you understand yet? This is quite serious. Do you know how many are there?" he said interupting her silence.

"But it wasn't supposed to go like this!" Leah blurted.  

"How was it supposed to go?" he asked.

She stared at the teeming floor feeling a bit lost. "Well, I didn't think they were mechanical rabbits!" It was mind boggling that two robots could produce so many kiddies so quickly.

"You mean how they multiply?" he asked.

"Yeah..." Leah was stunned. ~How did they ever all fit in my closet...?~

"Just how do they multiply???" he asked. ~~ By dismantling the ship, bit by bit?~~

Leah almost laughed. This was feeling very ridiculous. "Fast, apparently!"

"Do you see what danger this puts the ship in? Especially with the mission we are on?"

"I-I didn't m-mean for this happen, sir..." Leah stammered.

"And when it did happen, what did you do?" he asked.

"Do? When do you mean?" She hadn't really had the chance to decide what to do about the baby bots since she'd found out about them - things had happened too fast.

"When you found out about them, what did you do?" he asked sighing and feeling around for a chair. He hoped it was not covered by the swarm of bots.

"I... I didn't get the chance to figure out what to do, sir. Bob, only ... um, told me when he told me his wife was busted. And I haven't gotten that dealt with yet, either." Leah answered. She was feeling a bit miserable and knew this was only going to get worse.

He found and put his hands on the chair. "Clear?" he asked.

Leah glanced at the chair to make sure none of the parachute bots had landed on it. "Yes, it's clear, sir."

"Knowing what to do with the bots isn't all of the problem, that isn't all up to you. What should you have done?" he asked.

Leah moved to the defensive reflexively. "I couldn't just hand 'em over! I promised to help him!" She could only hope that the Captain would understand.

"Promised?" he asked.

She shrugged. "Myself, I guess. I don't really have a lot of friends - I was tryin' to do right by them, that's all."

"What about the promise you made to the crew?" he said trying to redirect her thoughts to focus on what was most important.

Leah looked back down at the floor and the botlets. "It wasn't supposed to go like this..." She mumbled as much to herself as in reply to the Captain.

"How was it supposed to go?" he asked.

"I didn't see how one little robot could hurt anybody! I didn't know he was gonna build a - a herd!" Leah exclaimed. The term army leapt to mind first, but she didn't want to imply any evil intent on the part of Bob or his kids, as irritating as they all could be.

"That's the good thing about rules, sometimes they are there to protect us from things we can't anticipate. What should you have done as soon as you found out about the smaller ones?" he asked.

Leah swallowed. It sounded like a lecture would be coming soon. "Yes, sir. I wanted to tell you - you already knew about Bob anyways, but you were still in Sickbay." She had at least wanted to bring Mrs. Bob to him and then perhaps explain the rest, but it hadn't worked out that way.

"I haven't been in Sickbay the whole time. I am fine now. There were plenty of times to tell me. Which ones did you miss?" he asked.

Leah scowled. "There was that whole thing with alien intruders to handle, too. It's not like you weren't busy with more important things," she pointed out, "sir."

"Try again," he said very disappointed.

Leah looked away again, ashamed to have lied in the first place and then to start arguing with him now. "I know - I just..." She cursed. "I messed up. Again. I'm sorry."

"What do you do when you have a problem, especially one you can't handle?" he asked.

"I thought I had this one under control!" ~Mostly~ "I didn't know they'd left my quarters - I mean other than the one's Hanson took, honest!" If they'd stayed in her quarters at least the problem would be contained.

"It's not under control. You can't even tell me how many parts are there and what type of damage was caused to the ship," he reminded.

She continued to argue just out of habit. "Bob kept a list. I don't know off the top of my head is all!"

He shook his head. She still didn't get it. "It's not yours to control either. It affects the security of every man, woman and even the children we have on board (  http://usseagle2185.tripod.com/rbwomzb20asecchalandra.html  ) not to mention the mission.  You've endangered them all. The first thing you should have done was tell someone one above you - CSEC, CENG, me, someone senior to you," he said.

"Yes, sir," Leah answered in a tiny voice.

"You had plenty of chances to tell me. Let's see...1? 2? 3?...thirty? Just a moment ago, not to mention that the time we waited for my quarters to be opened," he further reminded.

"I thought they were still in my quarters..." Leah mumbled.

~Another excuse.~ "That's irrelevant. You knew they were here, also, didn't you? You have to stop lying to dig yourself out. It only digs you in deeper, can't you see that?" he asked.

Leah flinched. "I didn't mean for things to go this way! I-I'm tryin' to be good at this, it just... ain't that easy." She wanted very much to be able to sink into the floor.

"In general, anything worthwhile in life isn't easy. There's always a cost," he said.

"Y-yes sir." Leah took a deep breath trying to calm herself. "I really am sorry, sir."

"If you want to be a good officer or anything else, you are going to have admit your mistakes and get help when circumstances warrant it and if that means something like this exposes a secret or something untoward about you or a friend, you still have to do it for the good of the ship, her crew and the mission. You just made lieutenant. This is a big step. You have to be responsible for so much more now. You have to start thinking how things are run. Why they are run a certain way and as a lieutenant the level of expectation for your conduct is much higher. This was never your problem to deal with alone. You should have come right away to someone above and asked for help. You had plenty of chances, but you didn't take them. This is serious. With even one or two you should have come forward, but how many of them are there? Just here?" he asked, trying to get her to see the scope of it.

"I don't know what Hanson's done with the one's he took..." Leah muttered as she tried to count the squirming pile they were surrounded by.

~Again with the blame and misdirection.~ "Don't blame Hanson. Take responsibility for what is yours to take," he ordered.

That upset her. Leah had promised Hanson she'd treat him decently from now on, and being accused of breaking that promise on top of everything else wasn't helping. "I ain't tryin' to blame him - I just don't know if this is all of them or not!"

"I didn't ask that. How many here that you can see? Can't you see the magnitude of this? Were they programmed to multiply too?" he asked still trying to get her to see the problem.

"Yeah! It's hard ta count when they don't stand still, though." Leah shrugged, glad to be off the subject of Hanson at least. "I don't know what they're programmed to do, sir." She wondered if Bob was around since he would be better able to answer that kind of question.

"We are in a dangerous situation here. Attacks, intruders, now both from a future or another place that appears to have knowledge of our very future and actions ... we can't afford anything to go missing, a critical part or tool, with nanoseconds away from something failing that could save us. The question wasn't to ask you the nature of the programming but to get you to think. What if they multiply soon?" he asked.

Leah froze. " ... you want to dismantle 'em?" The idea horrified her.

"We are not on to that part of the conversation. I want you to truly see the magnitude of this and what you did wrong and failed to do and why it is so serious beyond that rules and serious safety protocols were ignored," he said in a fatherly way.

"I know." Leah remembered Bob's little trick with the turbolift. In order to get her attention he'd dropped it into free fall for a second. ( Bob used that to get her attention to tell her some news http://usseagle2185.tripod.com/rbwomzb16asecbob.html  ) She had to admit that having things like that start to malfunction on their own would be extremely bad even under the best of circumstances and this situation was far from that. "But I can't change what I did - so what do you want me to do now?" the lieutenant preferred action to talking any day - especially where this conversation was headed.

"First convince me you understand this. Tell me what was wrong and what should have been done. I'll get to a plan of action after that," he said.  ~Depending on, of course, if we get shot at soon,~ he thought.

Leah's voice shook a little, much to her disgust. "I... I should just left 'em there. Or, or asked to bring 'em. But I didn't. And then I just ... I didn't tell anyone," she sighed. "So we don't know what's missin' or ain't workin' now. And I can't even guess how many there is or where! So it... ain't good." She trailed off and wiped her eyes, having just realized they were full of tears. She really hadn't meant for any of this to happen at all. "It wasn't H- Ensign Hanson's fault either. He didn't know I'd snuck 'em on or anything, I didn't want him to know cause then he'd be in trouble, too. And..." She tried to get her thoughts in order, realizing she was rambling a bit. "You're right - I had chances, I know you gave me plenty - I just... didn't take 'em."

The Captain gave a small sigh of relief. ~She finally acknowledges some things without making up new excuses and lies. There is hope for her,~ he thought relieved.

"Please, I know I messed up a lot. But I don't want to lose this. Starfleet's all I got. I just ... I dug myself in too far, I know. I wasn't thinking..." Leah didn't want to beg, but she'd have thrown herself flat on the floor and promised anything to stay.

"You have to, everyone's lives here depend on you to do your job and come forward when something like this threatens us," he said.

"I know, I know..."

"So your word on this? Your word to me? This won't be something you can go back on without serious repercussions," he warned.

Leah was surprised. "Of course, sir. But ... why would you trust me now?" After everything she'd done and all the lies on top of it she'd fully expected to be tossed out of Starfleet.

"Everyone screws up sometimes and deserves a chance if they are sincere about it. This is your chance." Nouri knew that a good leader has to be able to take risks, to stick his own neck out for the sake of his people. There's a fine line between a genuine screwup and a basically good officer who has genuinely screwed up, but deserved another chance. Many times, it was the officer who knew what it was like to really fail who had the perspective to succeed when things got tough later. He was willing to take that chance with Leah.

She was utterly serious. "I won't mess this up, sir."

"Good. Your word?"

"My word. I swear, sir."

"Good."

Leah stood there a moment feeling relieved and lucky, but also a little worried. It wasn't over yet. "So ... what happens now?"

"For now, you will have extra duties to try and compensate the ship and crew for this, when time permits. Until I decide what to do with these bots, the cost of each and every part is coming out of your paycheck. You will make an inventory of each and every part. You will be totally honest about this. Odds are too, BTW, that I already know the answer to this," he said. He winked and to emphasize that he pulled out the bot that was in his boot and put it on the tiny kitchen table.

Leah realized that this represented getting off extremely easy, but she didn't like the idea of losing that much sleep to the list and Hanson's laundry. "Aye, sir."

"This is what is decided for now. I will have to discuss this with the senior staff and that of course includes..." he paused.

"Commander Unstoffe." Leah said softly.

"Yes. Now, how is it best for him to find out?" the Captain asked. He paused waiting for her reply.

She gulped. "You want me to tell him."

"Exactly. Why?" he asked.

It felt like she was a kid again standing in front of the principal being handed another detention slip. "I should have told him before this. I know."

"Yes, this is another thing you must do and do it quickly The alternative is for him to find out at meeting in front of CENG and others which would be even worse," he said.

"Aye, sir."

You can imagine how he will feel then or reading a memo or perhaps ... how he felt being asked to make sure you make your anger management classes...He should be the first person to find out or among the first," Captain Kematsopoulos said.

Leah winced again. She wasn't going to forget the look on his face when that memo from the AMO had popped up-ever. "Yes, sir."

"Anything else ?" he asked, knowing full well that there was more for her to tell.

Hail the Captain of the USS Eagle

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