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T'Mar/Mel

LtCmdr. T'Mar & Cmdr. Liam Frost- Changing of the Guard

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((First Officer’s Quarters, USS Gemini))

::T’Mar sat in her quarters, trying desperately to meditate. It had been much harder for her to successfully meditate lately as she had been trying to get off of the medication to protect her from her empathy. She had finally found a good balance when she received word of Salek’s passing. She was not particularly close to the man she was bonded with. In fact, one could say that she had cheated on him by having a relationship with Zage, but in her mind the two relationships were vastly different. She had no intention of being with Salek, but the loss still hurt her. He had been good to her and he was a talented scientist. Death made no sense to her. It never had and it never would. And the fact was, since Vanessa’s death she had never been quite the same. She stood and hit her communicator.. she needed to speak with Liam.::

((Gymnasium - USS Gemini))

:: Liam felt his breathing getting heavier as the speed of his routine increased. The movements were nearly automatic at this point. Not something he would generally do in an actual fight or combat situation, but it was good for speed and endurance training. His hands were a bit sore, but that was part of the training, to build up his tolerance, to see how far he could push himself. And it was also therapeutic. The stress of chasing down a rogue captain and his crew, and trying to prevent an angry Klingon from starting what would have been an at least semi-justified war. But he could take some of that stress and force it into his workout. The mental exhaustion and pain became physically manifest, and that pain would fade with rest. One of these days he would have to find someone to spar with. He could train on the holodeck all he wanted, but it wasn’t quite the same as fighting a living, breathing, thinking opponent. But first he would need to find out who else on the crew had some sort of combat training.::

:: He was so lost in the routine that he very nearly didn’t hear the sound of his comm badge going off.::

T’Mar: =/\= T’Mar to Captain Frost =/\=

:: He took a few deep breaths to try to steady his breath, in an effort not to sound so exhausted over the line,. He grabbed the badge, and the towel it was resting on and made a basic effort to make himself look a little less dishevelled.::

Frost: =/\= What can I do for you,Commander? =/\=

::When Liam’s voice came over the line, T’Mar almost lost her nerve. She knew she was making the right choice, but it was not as easy as she had hoped it would be. She had worked so closely with him over the years and she could not help but wonder how he would take the news.::

T’Mar: =/\= Are you busy? I wish to speak to you. =/\=

Frost: =/\= Sure thing. I’ll meet you in about 20 minutes. =/\=

T’Mar: =/\= Thank you, I will meet you in your Ready Room then. T’Mar out. =/\=

::As she closed the line, T’Mar took a deep breath and put her uniform back on. She probably could have shown up in her off duty attire, but she didn’t want to be too casual for such a serious conversation. She briefly thought back to when Jaxx had called them both into his office to inform them that they were being transferred. She remembered the mix of emotions that washed across her as she realized the Apollo would no longer be her home. In the time since then, she had met with Liam to learn that he was entrusting her to be his First Officer on the Gemini. It was a huge step, but one she took in stride. She quickly found herself adjusting to the role and to the new ship. She never had thought that she would find herself feeling at home anywhere but the Apollo, but the Gemini had done just that to her. Now she would be beginning a new adventure on the ship.::

:: He was curious about what the Vulcan woman wanted, but as usual, her cold, logical tone left him very little to work with. The only thing he could tell was that whatever it was, it was important to her. She had a way of letting just enough of her Betazoid side out when she was deeply concerned about something. But he was far from able to tell what it was. And he was far from being presentable enough to talk about anything that she cared about that much.

((Timeskip - Captain’s Ready Room - USS Gemini))

:: Showered, shaved and wearing enough of his uniform to make it look like he was doing something official, Liam was as ready as he was going to get. He made his way over to the replicator, debating for a moment on the best choice of drink before settling on juice. The last thing he needed right now was caffeine, much though there was a part of his brain that demanded it. He was beginning to wonder if there was some sort of secret medical procedure performed on command-track candidates that forced them into dependance on it, or possibly some sort of voodoo curse.::

:: It wasn’t long before T’Mar entered the room, her stereotypical Vulcan efficiency bringing her to her destination in as close to the allotted twenty minutes as he cared to try to measure. He hated to dwell on stereotypes, but every now and then, they existed for a reason. She was clearly making an effort to keep her pace and stature very carefully measured, as she often did, but he had served with her long enough to know that there was definitely something on her mind. Or, at least, he liked to think that he knew her that well.::

Frost: Help yourself to the replicator.

::T’Mar had walked into the Ready Room exactly 20 minutes after their conversation. She was sometimes mocked for her efficiency, at least she took the comments as lighthearted mockery anyway. Regardless, she always chose to take them as compliments as she prided herself in her efficiency. She was thankful that unlike Jaxx, Frost was not a Betazoid. She was certain the nerves she was attempting to bottle up would have impossible for Andrus to not notice, even if a Betazoid did not try to intrude on emotions. At the offer of the replicator, T’Mar nodded and made her way over to it so she could get some soothing tea.::

T’Mar: Thank you, sir.

:: Liam liked to think of himself as a reasonably good person to talk to when someone had something on their mind, at least to those that knew him. In another career, he might have even made a halfway decent counselor. But that would have been dependant on him being able to get through the requisite training, which he was fairly certain was at least somewhat unlikely. His listening skills were certainly ample, but he suspected that his bedside manner might need a fair bit of polishing in some areas. The people who knew him well enough would understand his real demeanour and intent, but a new patient might not appreciate his bluntness.::

::With her hot green tea in hand she walked over to the seat in front of Liam’s desk and waited for a knowing gesture before she took a seat. She took a few sips of the tea before deciding she could speak up properly. She hoped he wouldn’t notice the delay, but it was likely he caught on at least a little bit. Afterall, it was not often that she asked to meet with him after hours. She brought the cup of tea down to her lap and held it tight as she looked up at the man she trusted and knew so well.::

T’Mar: Thank you for seeing me on such short notice.

Frost: Of course. You know my door is always open.

T’Mar: Yes, well, it was not something I thought should wait.

Frost: I gathered that from your tone. Your Betazoid side tends to peek out a bit when you’re worried. about something.

::She brought the tea back up to her mouth again. The soothing warm liquid provided a wonderful reason to take a break from saying what she needed to say. She likely could have found a way to have an entire conversation with Liam without saying a darn thing at this rate, though. T’Mar had practiced in her mind how to bring up her concerns, but it was as if everything had vanished from her highly efficient Vulcan brain.She closed her eyes and took in the steamy scent of the tea and focused her thoughts on the issue at hand. When she opened her eyes again, she looked down at her tea and not at Liam.::

T’Mar: I must apologize for having to leave the bridge during the height of the situation with the Spartan.

:: The act had definitely struck him as strange. He had never known T’Mar to leave her duty post without a [...]ed good reason. The strange part was that he had allowed that trust to grow so strong that he had assumed that she had some valid reason for doing so. Combine that with how occupied he had been with the Klingons, he hadn’t really had the time or the wherewithal to ask.::

Frost: I’m sure you had your reasons.

T’Mar: The truth is, sir, I have been struggling to maintain control of my emotions for some time now. Vanessa Driscoll’s death only served as a catalyst to make it worse.

:: Vanessa’s death had hit everyone hard, even those who had never met her directly were affected. She had been a part of their extended family, and any loss was lessened all of them. Liam had taken it very hard, as had Alex. Though it seemed ingenuine to have some sort of contest about who was feeling it more.::

Frost: It hit us all hard. I was genuinely surprised that commander Richards decided to come back.

::Now she did look up at Liam. There was no more hiding behind her strong facade. It was not the first time he would have seen her like this. They had so much history together, afterall, and on their mission with the Iconian Gateway, T’Mar had completely lost control of her senses and had attacked Sundassa. While recovering, she and Liam had had an in-depth conversation about being uncertain about whether or not one could tell they were ready for promotion. It was really the first time she had fully opened up to him. She had always considered herself somewhat close to the senior staff of the Apollo, but it took her a long time to show them that she was more than a cold Vulcan. Now she was back on that strange planet again with Liam, facing the vulnerability that came with second-guessing herself.::

T’Mar: I am on medication now, but I am afraid that the damage to my confidence is already done.

:: Confidence was a strange thing, especially when it came to Vulcans. They were all certainly more than capable of assessing their own abilities in an objective way. He found it strange that there was anything that they could experience that would cause them to question their confidence. He wasn’t even sure they possessed such an ability, since one could argue that it was arguably an emotion. Not only that, but a lack of confidence was at odds with the cold logical assessment of her ability. For a moment, he was tempted to say something flippant, but now seemed like one of the few times it would be tremendously inappropriate.::

Frost: I’m glad you’re taking care of yourself. This crew respects you, and looks up to you. And as much as you might not like it, they worry about you too. But, at the risk of sounding insensitive, I don’t think you wanted to meet to discuss your medical status.

:: He could see the conflict in her eyes. much though she was trying to hide it. She was, most of the time, very calm, collected and even in the way she carried herself. It was, in many ways, the perfect counterpoint to his own brash, impulsive nature. He tended to make decisions based on instinct, on feeling, and without a lot of forethought. T’Mar on the other hand kept him in control, and wasn’t afraid to tell him that what he was doing was absolutely mad. It was something that was important to him, something he relied on.::

T’Mar: To be frank, sir, I do not believe that I can effectively serve as your First Officer anymore.

::There. She had said it. T’Mar’s heart pounded as she anticipated Liam’s reaction to what she had just said. It had come out much more straight forward than even she had intended, but she knew she was beating up the bush.. or whatever that Terran phrase was about not getting the point across. She looked down at her cup of tea again, not wanting to see how he reacted to her words.::

:: Outwardly, Liam kept his expression calm, cool and collected, but the news hit him like a punch in the sternum from a Klingon. He had to make a significant effort to keep himself in check. He wanted to question her, loudly. He wanted to jump up on his desk and begin shouting at her that she was absolutely mad. He wanted to grab her by the shoulders and begin to shake her until the part of her Vulcan brain that had come loose was stuck back into place and made her realize that she was wrong.::

:: But he knew she wasn’t. T’Mar was almost never wrong. In the entire time that he had known her, he could count on one hand the number of times she was actually wrong without the information she was working with having been wrong first. As much as he wanted to scream and shout at her to change her mind, he knew he wasn’t going to. And even the most logical argument he could come up with was likely something that she had already thought of.::

Frost: I imagine you’ve given this a lot of thought.

::T’Mar would have laughed were she a full Betazoid no doubt. Thinking about this decision was all she had done for what felt like months but was in reality several hours. It was a horrible feeling, knowing that Liam did not like this any more than she did. She could hear it in his voice just as he could probably see it written all over her face. She was trying to hide her feelings, but her whole demeanor was not how she normally held herself. Being selected as Liam’s First Officer was one of the happiest and proudest moments of her life and for the past several months she had worked hard to keep the ship in one piece for him. She almost cared more about this choice for him than herself. It was not logical, but it was the truth. She blinked a few times to stop tears from forming in her eyes and looked back up again.::

T’Mar: I would never come to you with something this severe without having thought it over quite a bit.

:: He would have guessed as much. Logical to the last. He let a long sigh out before taking another sip of his drink. He wanted to consider his next words very carefully, though he wasn’t sure that there was a proper way to address it without making his disappointment known. Not in her, of course. He could only describe her performance in the role of First Officer as exemplary,. And he had noted it as such on her performance evaluations. No, he could never have been disappointed in her, not after everything she had done for him. But he was disappointed that he would no longer have her sitting in that chair.::

Frost: What about the rest of your career. Are you planning to remain in Starfleet?

T’Mar: Actually, I was hoping to remain aboard the Gemini. I am not particular where you place me, but I still wish to serve under you assuming you’ll have me.

Frost: Of course you can. You are an exemplary officer, and I have always been able to depend on your counsel, and your advice. As I said when I asked you to take the job, in many ways, you are many things that I’m not, and you’ve been the sober voice of reason to my impulsiveness. That will be hard to replace.

T’Mar: Understandable, sir. I believe we work rather well together.

Frost: And more importantly than that, for what it’s worth, I also consider you a friend. As far as I’m concerned, there will always be a place for you here.

:: He wasn’t sure how much of an effect the statement would have on the Vulcan woman, though perhaps it would cut through the veneer of logic and practiced calm and reach the Betazoid part of her. But as long as it conveyed the right feeling, he didn’t much care how it got through to her, just that it did. He wasn’t sure what else to say, so he did something that he wasn’t sure he had ever done with her before. He reached out and offered his hand.::

::As Liam reached out his hand towards T’Mar, she thought about the words he had said. Friend.Truth be told, Liam had become the best friend she had in this universe over the past few years. Of course, she felt close to Sundassa and others, but after serving so closely with him, she felt she understood Liam more than she had ever thought possible. To know he felt the same tugged at her emotions more than she was prepared for. She took his hand without second-guessing herself. As expected, the physical touch gave her a wave of emotions and thoughts, but she blocked them as best as she could and looked him dead in the eye.::

T’Mar: That.. it.. Sir, it means a lot to me.

Frost: And to hear you say that means a lot to me.

::The moment of closeness was both comforting and terrifying for T’Mar. It was like the first time she had kissed Zage. She enjoyed it, but feared what it meant at the same time. Still, she did not listen to her fear, but rather succumbed to accepting her own awkwardness as she changed the subject back to the matter at hand.::

:: Liam understood how complex Vulcan’s feelings on physical contact could be. Add to that the empathic abilities that came with her Betazoid side, and it was something that she was likely to have to be very keenly aware of. He had never probed much into the nature of how such abilities would affect her, beyond whether or not they would affect her ability to perform her duties. Up to that point, every medical and psychological report she had undergone stated that the chances of it having any significant effect on her abilities was “well within acceptable risk levels.” And more importantly, he trusted her to be a fairly good judge of her own capabilities.::

T’Mar: I realize many departments are currently fully staffed. I would prefer, however, if I could work in an area I am familiar with.

Frost: I’m sure we can find a position suited to your talents. And more importantly, I’ll need to begin looking for a replacement.

T’Mar: Quite true. I can assist you with the search if you would like.

Frost: I’d appreciate that. And I’m glad you’ll be staying with us.

T’Mar: I understand, sir. Wherever I can best assist you and still protect you oO From yourself and others Oo

:: There were still a number of options for what position to assign T’Mar. The fact was that he wanted to make sure that she was still on the bridge. Whoever he chose to have as his new first officer would have his full and complete confidence, but having her there to tell him that whatever he was planning was completely mad. Oliver had told him that more than a few times, but it wasn’t always in the context of a bad thing.::

Frost: How would you feel about a specialist role?

::T’Mar thought for a moment. A role like Mission Specialist would allow her to still advise Liam, but realistically she knew that he would listen to her concerns no matter where she was. And, all of her experience thusfar was in a Security-related role.::

T’Mar: I would be honored to accept that position.

Frost: Then consider it done. You will assume your new duties as soon as we reach Deep Space Ten. Until then, I want you to take some time to make sure you’re ready to resume your duties. I don’t want you back on duty until you’re ready for it.

T’Mar: Sir.. I want to thank you for understanding my concerns. I will not let you down.

:: Unless Liam was mistaken, he was detecting something that resembled sentimentality coming from the Vulcan woman. It wouldn’t exactly be the first time she had let her emotional side show, but they were few and far between, and even rarer for them to be by choice. But it was refreshing to see her being willing to show that side of, if only to remind him that it was still there.::

Frost: Think nothing of it. It’s what friends do.

END

Commander Liam Frost

Commanding Officer

USS Gemini

and

LtCmdr T’Mar

Mission Specialist

USS Gemini

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