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After the Meeting

Posted on 20 Jun 2015 @ 10:39pm by Commander C. Kos & Captain Harvey Geisler

Mission: Repairs
Location: Briefing Room

The doors to the briefing room closed behind the last of the departing senior staff, leaving Mackenzie alone in the room with Harvey. The timing couldn't be any better because she was about to explode.

"Do you honestly think I'm going to let you lead the away team? What are you thinking?" she nearly yelled.

Harvey faced her, his expression grim. He was expecting her protest, but not her tone. "I'm thinking I want some answers," he replied to her almost sternly. "I'm tired of living in the dark out here and sitting on my ass waiting."

"And it's rosy for the rest of us?" she pushed back. "It's hard out here. It's part of the job. And you're making my job harder by preventing me from doing it."

"How is that exactly?" Harvey spat. "I'm the Captain! It's my prerogative, my duty to find out what's going on out here and do something about it."

"I know I'm still new at this, but I know my job. As First Officer I'm supposed to help keep you safe. Leading away teams so that you can remain on the ship is part of that." Mac's voice had started to crack. "I don't want you to get injured. Or worse. I just can't let that happen. I like you too much, Harvey."

Harvey knew full well what her job was, having spent years of his own as an Executive Officer. He was about to fire off another retort of his own, but her last statement confused him. Surprised him. He knew not what to say, so he stood still, staring at her, hoping she would clarify or move on.

Mackenzie stood there, in the middle of the briefing room, on the verge of tears. She was not normally so emotional. But this was not a normal situation. "What I'm saying is... Damn! I have a hard time saying it."

"Then say it," Harvey simply replied, almost hoping she would and wouldn't say what was on her mind.

She sucked in a deep breath. "I'm very fond of you, Harvey. I... This is difficult," she began. "I have feelings for you. I'm still trying to sort them all out, so its hard to explain."

The Captain froze. He'd been here once before, many years ago. Except he'd been the one to make the first move. In a flash, Harvey couldn't help but see Alison before him now, on the verge of tears. Except her face was not full of distraught like Mac's. As the apparition faded, his eyes locked with Mac's, but only for a moment. He intentionally broke his gaze and took a step towards the windows.

Dammit! I shouldn't have said anything. "It's okay if you don't feel....well it's not okay....but it is...," she stammered. A deep breath cleared the fog of emotion. "I don't blame you for not returning my feelings. I understand." I understand, but it still hurts, she thought, tears welling up in the corners of her eyes.

Harvey shook his head. He wasn't sure what he felt about Mac. Something was there, but he didn't know what it was. Because of that, he had no words to say. "Look, it's personal, okay?"

She could sense his reluctance. His hesitation. "You can talk to me Harvey. I'm your Exec. And more than that, I'm your friend." And that's as far as this is going to go it seems, her inner voice chimed in. She tried hard to ignore that voice.

"When this... When the boarders came... I was just starting my inspection." Harvey knew he didn't have to go into detail about that. After all, the crew was well versed in his daily routine. "Emily was with me. The power went out, and she had me at gunpoint." He turned and looked at his XO. "They captured me, Mac. Just like the Dominion. They put me in a cell to rob from me. The last time they did that, I lost everything! I'm sure as hell not going to let that happen again!"

"War is horrible Harvey. It takes so much from us. People and places that we love. It also can take a piece of us, of our soul. It leaves us forever changed."

Mac had been lucky to not see much action in the Dominion War. The war formally started during her junior year at the Academy. During her senior cruise, and immediately after graduation, she was serving on the Excelsior-class Agincourt as a relief helmsman and operations officer. The ship was assigned to help protect the core of the Federation near Vulcan and Andor. They had been involved in a couple of small skirmishes, but nothing on the scale of what was happening on the front lines.

She transferred to the engineering department of the Galaxy-class Murmansk just in time to take part int he Battle of Cardassia, which ended the war. She was fortunate to have had such minimal involvement in such a massive conflict.

"I want you to feel comfortable talking to me Harvey. About anything. Talking about our feelings, our problems, that's what helps us work through them." She paused. "That's why Starfleet has counselors. We see some intense things out here. And we need an avenue to reconcile what we experience with what and who we are." She crossed to where Geisler stood. She wanted so much to wrap her arms around him and rest her cheek against his shoulder. But she resisted, instead putting her hand on his shoulder. "I want to be here for you."

He didn't see it coming. In fact, it was only a couple seconds after it happened that Harvey realized that his hand had covered hers on his shoulder. "I... I do... I do know that..." he stammered, unsure of what was swelling now within him. Out of self-preservation, he backed away and looked out the window at the golden nebula they were now sitting helpless in.

All his life he'd been active, from the research labs to the sickbays to each bout with the red Command collar as an Executive Officer. He was very much used to getting in there, getting his hands dirty to get the job done. Harvey knew that by accepting Starfleet's assignment on this ship, he would have no choice but to leave that behind. His duty now was to his ship.

And it was high time he learned that.

Collecting himself, he turned to face his Executive Officer. "Then it's settled." He crossed the room again, this time to withdraw the yellow isolinear chip from the access panel. With a slight act of hesitation, he held it out to Mac. "The Tigris leaves in an hour. That doesn't leave you much time to prepare, but you'll have a few hours on the way."

Mac, knowing that she had pushed enough for one day, took the proffered data chip and started for the door. The door, sensing Kos' approach, opened with a muffled whoosh. She paused, standing in the doorway, and looked over her shoulder. "Thank you," she said. A simple phrase, but one who's meaning was largely up to the recipient. Mac meant it in several ways. She was thankful that Harvey was letting her lead the mission. She was also grateful that he had opened up to her at all, even if just a little. He was such a private man, something that she found as entrancing as she did frustrating.

"I owe you dinner when I get back."

Harvey replied with a half-smile. "I look forward to it," he said, unsure of why his voice was soft.

 

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