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[Round 14] JP - Lt. Commander Ethan Brice and Lt. Commander Karynn Bri


Alleran Tan
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JP - Lt. Commander Ethan Brice and Lt. Commander Karynn Brice - BACKSIM - The Risk of Being Reasonable

((Brice Quarters, the night before arriving at DS17))

::Matthew was asleep. His Haliian step-mother stood staring out the window, watching the stars speed by as they headed back toward Deep Space 17. Her arms were folded over her chest, as she pondered the situation at hand... and the discussion she needed to have with her husband. If there was anything she had learned during their past few missions it was that life aboard a starship was dangerous. And the fact that the little boy had some idea just how much danger he had been in didn't sit well with her either. In her mind, Children should be innocent, living carefree lives as they grow up, and not be burdened with adult problems.::

::A small sigh escaped the Haliian's lips. She wasn't looking forward to this.::

::Walking out of their bedroom, Ethan ruffled his wet hair and cast his glance over the living room. He had to look hard for his wife, finding her nearly out of sight in the shadow cast by the large window. Through the last mission, it had felt as though Karynn had been a million miles away from him. The moments they had to spend together were so few and far between now that she had taken up the First Officer's position again and he knew that the decisions she made weighed heavy on her. He wanted to tell her that it never got any easier, but who was he to know? He hadn't tried to get that far.::

::He crunched his bare feet into the carpet as he moved up to her back and settled his arms around her waist, breaking her moment of solitude by the starlit window and kissed the side of her head gently. Almost as quickly, he felt her tense slightly, but that might have just been his imagination. When he spoke, his concern showed in the slight wobble of his vocal chords.::

Ethan: Is everything all right?

::Karynn turned and nuzzled her husband's cheek with her nose before gently kissing it. It was nice to have his arms wrapped around her. She felt supported, safe. For once she could let go of the feeling that the entire weight of the Prometheus-class starship was on her shoulders. She slipped her arm around his waist, leaning her head on his shoulder.::

K. Brice: At the moment, I suppose. ::she paused:: Do you think it's right to have kids on the ship?

::The question threw him off balance for a second as he tried to work out what she meant. She could be cryptic at the best of times but the query was so blatantly thrown out, there was no room for mistaking her intent. He frowned slightly.::

E. Brice: "Right" is a loaded term in this day and age. It seems the meaning is different to everyone we encounter. I suppose I'd...

::He stopped. He pulled back from her embrace slightly, not stepping away, but enough to cradle her in his arms and look into her green eyes questioningly. Surely she didn't mean... ::

E. Brice: Kids in general or our kid being on this ship?

::Karynn met his gaze for a moment but couldn't hold it. Breaking eye contact she looked past him, barely able to say what was really on her mind, much less look at him while she did it. Every once in a while she regretted saying something, finding herself wishing she could just take it all back. This was one of those times. But now that it was out, best to push ahead.::

K. Brice: ::quietly:: Both I guess. ::she paused:: He knew there was danger, Ethan... four year olds shouldn't have to deal with that. He needs to be a kid.

:: Ethan nodded and chewed on his bottom lip for a moment looking past her, through the starlit window. Thoughts tumbled around in his head like socks in a dryer until finally he held onto one long enough to get it down to his vocal chords and through his mouth.::

E. Brice: You don't think he's better off this way? With his father? With you? With parents he can... he can... rely on to take care of him and protect him?

::She looked out the window and took a breath, trying to keep her emotional temperature calm and quiet. When she did speak her voice was soft, only a little above a whisper.::

K. Brice: You're not... We're not his only option for staying with parents, Ethan.

::He dropped his arms from around her and held his hand over his mouth for a moment, concerned of what might come out if let loose. Instead, he pointed out of the window to the pitch black of space and the twinkling stars.::

E. Brice: I'd rather him be on this ship with us then out there, on one of those planets, having to cope with Rebecca's next onslaught of a boyfriend. She'll have him calling every one of them "dad" while she puppets the doting little boy with the absent father. I won't have my son... our son... in that predicament. I wouldn't leave a dog with her permanently for fear of the tricks she'd teach it.

::The Haliian glanced in the other direction, at the child's room. Taking a step back she folded her arms across her chest, an almost defensive gesture. She knew that Matthew's parents didn't exactly have the most amicable relationship, and she didn't exactly think highly of the former Starfleet officer herself. But that didn't change the fact that she was Matthew's biological mother and being alive with her was better than...::

K. Brice: I know. But even that would be preferable to ending up dead because we kept him here with us.

::In the back of his mind, he knew she was right. Unequivocally. He was putting Matthew in danger by keeping him on the vessel, by wanting him to be nearer to them and have at least some semblance of a stable home to grow up in. The Engineer ran a hand up through his hair.::

E. Brice: You didn't have to deal with your father disappearing on a starship all the time, never seeing him from one month to the next. I don't want that for our children, it's not fair.

::Karynn sighed. Absentmindedly her thumb rubbed the inside of her other elbow.::

K. Brice: You know the mortality rate as well as I do Ethan. And space, the Vaadwaur, the Reaper things, the next big enemy we face, they don't distinguish between officers and civilians, or between adults and children. A Reaper attacked Sidney's daughter. It could have gone after him.

::His fuse was shortening a lot more than the young man would have liked to admit. The fact that he knew she was right was niggling at the back of his head. He had put off sending Matthew back to Earth, saying goodbye to him again and seeing that tearful look in his eyes when he gave the hugs out, maybe thinking it would be the last time he'd ever see his father and indeed, his step-mother, alive again. Over the top, perhaps, but his train of thought took over.::

E. Brice: I don't *care* about Sidney's daughter!

::The remark was quick and loud and he immediately regretted it. He didn't mean that, at all. A child was a child and needed protecting. He sighed and rubbed his tired eyes with his index finger and thumb.::

E. Brice: Sidney's daughter is not my son; she isn't our child. I want my son near me so I can protect him, he's safest here with me where I know where he is.

::Her voice rose slightly, although she did her best to keep it under control. She didn't want to wake Matthew.::

K. Brice: The fact is we're not always around to protect him. I'm on the bridge, you're in engineering. And when things are at their worst, the last thing either one of us can do is take a break from our station saying "Oh sorry, I can't be here, I've got to protect my son."

::His eyes narrowed and he was half way between scoffing and laughing. He turned around, looking up at the ceiling as though some mystical force would come down and prove her wrong.::

E. Brice: I... I can't believe how callous you're being about this... Its dangerous, hell it's space we don't even know about yet, but we're not a war vessel, Karynn! We are scientists, explorers and diplomats! If I can't keep my son on a diplomatic vessel out in the nether reaches of space, where can I put him? On Earth? A million light years from me? ::he mimicked her voice:: "Oh, sorry, my ex is having a bit of boyfriend trouble so I've just got to nip back to the home planet to pick the nipper up." Sounds so much better, doesn't it?

K. Brice: We serve on the flagship in a dangerous region, Ethan. It's hazardous out here and I just don't think this is the safest place for him to be. I'm not trying to be callous - I love that little boy. I'm just trying to be reasonable about the risks.

E. Brice: Reasonable be [...]ed! Tell me, First Officer. Tell me to send my son back to Earth to live with his mother then go in there ::he pointed to his bedroom door:: and tell that to him. Tell him its not that we don't want him, it's that he's not safe here so instead he can go and live with his mother on a planet he barely knows with family who hardly know him.

::She clenched her jaw, fighting back the bit of damp in her eyes. She didn't want to appear weak on this one. She knew on some level that she was right. She wasn't being callous - she was just trying to protect both of the men who were important to her. She kept her voice low, trying to keep the quiver out of it, and for the most part succeeding.::

K. Brice: I can't Ethan... I won't. I won't tell you what to do. The policy on the ship is what it is, and this decision is yours. But think of this... could you ever forgive me if I were in charge, if I gave an order and he died as a result? Because given what just happened on the last mission that seems like a bigger possibility every single day.

::That was it. The nail in the coffin. He tongued his cheek and turned around, zipping up the collar of his uniform and went for the doorway.::

E. Brice: Then I guess its true what they say. Command Officers shouldn't have kids.

:: And walked out into the corridor, letting the door shut behind him.::

::The dampness that had been building in her eye slid out and down her cheek as the door slid shut. Another hot tear followed closely behind. She turned and looked back out the window, watching the galaxy fly past. Brushing them away with her fingers she sighed. All she wanted to do was protect the two men she cared about most - and she had just ended up hurting one of them. But she was right. She knew she was right. Because as much as this hurt now... losing Matthew would hurt him even more.::

::Turning, she headed toward the bedroom. Chasing after him wasn't exactly a good option at the moment. Sleep was probably best...::

Lt. Cmdr. Ethan Brice

R&D Engineering Officer

USS Independence-A

and

Lt. Cmdr. Karynn Brice

First Officer

USS Independence-A

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