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Cmdr Archer, Lt MacLeod | "Half Truths and Circle Talk"

Posted on 02/23/2021 @ 5:18pm by Lieutenant Craig MacLeod & Commander James Archer

Mission: Genesis

The call from MacLeod for a meeting had come through a veil of fog. James’ mind was hazy, bleary, and full of alcohol, but the call had been important. It gave hope of finding the truth as it pertained to the loss he felt. Rochelle Ivanova’s death had left him gutted and empty with a hole that couldn’t seem to be filled back in even with the copious amounts of booze and sleep he’d subjected himself to. He’d never been a black out drunk, at least not before she’d been taken. Times change. Wounds needed healing, or at least a proper amount of numbing, and conspiracy theories hardly ever sat well with him.

The rest ran in circles looking for answers and icons and pillars of hope that she wasn’t really gone. James had skipped denial day and went straight to anger, guilt, and pain. The only reason he was roused from his stupor was at the rallying cry of hope, sure, but not that she was alive. That he could make the son of a bitch who’d killed her pay.

“Shuttles just don’t fall from the sky on Earth.” He muttered, knowing MacLeod was approaching from behind. Before them both lay the gaping, twisted, wreckage of the Liberty.

Craig’s head shook in agreement, knowing well the spook couldn’t see him but would somehow understand the sentiment. They were strange beings, the ones that answered the call of Intelligence, after all. “Nae, that thay certainly dinnae.” He finally found his voice. Archer’s grief rolled off of him in heavy waves strong enough that it certainly didn’t take an empath to feel them. Strong. Like the sharp scent of alcohol reeking from his skin. It left Craig swirling in the memory of his own loss and how the bottom of bottles had seemed like such a perfect place to crawl.

Pain and misery often followed. Sickness too. There was no real escape aside from coming to meet said suffering head to head and even that stung like hell.

“You said you had information?” James’ voice was thick and gritty, lacking empathy but ripe with a demand for answers. A hand ran along his unshaven jaw and up through his hair, trying to steady the nerves that threatened to break and send him hurtling down some self-destructive pathway or another.

Had Craig known the exact fathoms of the man’s pains, there was a high chance that the information would have been held and waited for discussion in front of a group of peers. Valeese had been adamant that he speak with Archer. Not her husband, not another member of Intelligence, but Archer and orders were orders whether it left him feeling right about it or not. “Aye.” He nodded, coming to stand beside the hungover spook, “I ha'e e'idence th' romulans were involved wi' th' crash, or at least efter th' crash.” A hand came up, offering a PADD in the spook’s direction as he continued to speak, “I cannae say who for sure, I ha'e nae access tae th' profiles th' print 'n' th' blood sample skelp oan, bit I wis tellt by Commander Stacker that ye cuid.”

“The Romulans…” The sensation of any remaining buzz washed itself away from James’ syntaxes the moment the words entered his brain and were categorized into something that made sense. His eyes widened and he turned to face the taller Scot, taking the PADD and turning it on, “How many people know about this other than you and Stacker? And which Stacker are we talking about? Doctor or…?”

“Doctor Stacker, and only her.” Craig clarified, watching the spook come alive and begin to work.

It only took seconds for James to enter the right credentials to access the information profile. The print and the blood belonged to the same individual. Vrith Tr’Bak, Romulan Praetor. Known terrorist - except if they would have asked James his opinion, the hobgoblin was more of a pest than a terrorist. A street stray that had been given a couple hand outs too many and wanted more. His head shook and he covered his mouth with one hand, looking up at the Doctor from under his brows, “No one else gets to know about this, MacLeod. No one. Not Dahe’el, not Shran, not any of them. Understood?”

Shifting his weight from one foot to another, the burly Scot could quite literally feel his blood pressure begin to rise and his temper begin to flare. He was exhausted, hungry, and emotionally bankrupt after a long couple weeks filled with the agony of loss and the worthless guilt associated with losing a friend and being helpless to solve the mystery of their death. To be so close and have it ripped from his fingertips left Craig more than a touch frustrated. It left him downright angry. “Normally I dinnae dae questions, I juist dae as I'm tellt, bit noo I ha’e tae ask questions.” He glowered, “How come yer hiding this fae a' body else? This is guid. It means we ken wha did this!”

“No we fucking don’t know who did this!” James roared back, stepping closer to the Scot, “Your job is to look at things and save them. My job is to look at things and save them. The difference is in my world the first answer is pretty much the wrong answer and if we go off half cocked, we’ll start a fucking war we can’t win!” A pointed finger buried itself between the younger man’s pectorals, jabbing to emphasise each word, “If Tr’Bak had done this, we’d have known it by now. It serves no purpose, there’s no gain. He’s a selfish, self serving bastard that doesn’t want to kill her. He… I don’t fucking know how to put it. He may have her, but…” The ranting stopped for a moment, the PADD flicked off and James set to pacing and booting small parts of the wreckage out of his way as he went.

“Something’s very wrong if Vrith Tr’Bak went to Earth…”

It took every once of inner strength and peace that Craig had left not to knock the spook upside the head and drag him down to sickbay to sober up and come to his senses. Luck had it that Archer discontinued his barrage of stupidity before it could wind up boiling down to such a point. Instead, Craig tugged his tunic down and watched the man pace and mutter. An eyebrow arched as he tried to follow along as best he could even though the fellow was erratic to say the least of him. “Aye. Nae doubt.” He agreed, "For whit tis worth I dinnae think tr'Bak teuk her fae us. I dinnae think he's responsible at a'. Bit I dae think he kens who is."

James nodded, rubbing his chin, “That I think you’re right on the money with. He’d have done it another way and it would have been a big production, not a shot in the dark from behind.”

“Then who did it 'n' how come hasn't th' Commodore bin returned?” It begged to be asked and Craig couldn’t hold back from asking.

“Because she’s dead and they don’t want to take responsibility for something they didn’t do.”

“Stop talkin keech, Archer.” The Scot growled in displeasure, “Ifn she died, they'd ha'e left her tae be fund 'n' juist disappeared. Nae skin aff thair hooter for that. She's alive, I dinnae doubt it noo fur a seicont.”

“You have a point.” James’ head shook as his fuzzy mind raced for an answer, “It’s not a ransom situation. They want us to think she’s dead… The fuck are you thinking Tr’Bak?” He hissed, trying to jog his head. The lack of context clues left him reeling on empty and that was a terrible frustration. And then it hit him. Hard. “Nothing to gain… But there’s nothing to lose unless there’s everything to lose… Unless it was an inside job… He knows it… The territorial fucker knows it…” His eyes snapped back to the Doctor, “Not a fucking word about Tr’Bak, you let me handle that. You just… I don’t know, come up with some bullshit to tell Dahe’el that you have reason to believe she’s alive and there was sabotage. Do that. Whoever did it is going to be feeling really fucking uncomfortable really fucking soon with people starting to talk.”

“Fine.” It wasn’t a lie, at least. It wasn’t necessarily false hope either. Craig could deal with the orders being given, and he’d follow them for now while allowing the spook to do what he did best. That was all he could do, no matter how helpless it truly left him feeling. “And whit wull ye be doin?”

“Going back to Earth.”


Commander James Archer
Chief Intelligence Officer

Lieutenant Craig MacLeod
Chief Medical Officer


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