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Interview - Elias


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#1 GM-Creative Director

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Posted Star Date 21907.07 @ 20:08 (08:08 PM)

Benjamin Elias was led into a small interview room, not unlike one found at any standard Star Fleet Brig facility; a metal table, chairs on both sides, and a two-way mirror. Though the Engineer was not under arrest or in cuffs, the large Klingon standing at parade rest by the room's only door hinted at the severity of the situation; the 'we would like a word with you in private' the young and attractive Trill woman in Support Purple had been something of a white lie. The journey in the shuttle with blacked-out windows and a sealed cockpit had been the first clue.

 

An Andorian Crewman, again in purple, entered the room silently with a tray containing a water jug and several cups. The Klingon quickly gave them a visual inspection and grunted for the Andorian to continue; the crewman quickly yet expertly placed the cups and jug on the table before scurrying from the room, the door closing behind him with an ominous click.

 

For what probably seemed like an eternity, but was really only a few minutes, Elias was left alone with the Klingon. The large man did not speak, or even look in Elias' direction, he was like a statue; a 250lb statue that would shatter every bone in the Engineer's body if he even thought about escaping.

 

The tension was finally broken when the door opened again and a young woman in a sharp business suit entered. She smiled politely at Elias as she took her seat and poured herself a glass of water, inviting him to sit with her free hand.

 

"For the record, please confirm that you are Benjamin Elias; currently serving aboard the USS Artemis as an Engineer?"

 

Glancing down at her PADD, she continued.

 

"And you were once the Engineer on the smuggling vessel 'Aces Wild', correct?"


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#2 Ens Benjamin Elias

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Posted Star Date 21907.08 @ 21:52 (09:52 PM)

As Benjamin paced in the small 'interview' room, he couldn't help but get more and more nervous. Despite being over four years ago, he still remembered vividly the debriefings he had gone through after he was rescued from the Tzenkethi. The fact that they had been trying to decide if he was a criminal or not wasn't helped by the fact that he was finally getting sober for the first time in a couple of years. And while this room wasn't entirely similar to those - the Klingon at the door was new, and the Andorian bringing the water had smiled at him nicely - the similarities were more than enough to make him begin to wonder if old wounds were being dredged open. Harkness and his men did all the drug running, he reminded himself. He had known, but had really only been there to tend to the engines.

 

He looked around some more, though there wasn't anything else to look at besides the very imposing, very muscular Klingon, who could probably break Benjamin in half if he even looked at the guard funny. He considered pouring himself a cup of water before reconsidering.

 

Of course, in the absence of other input, his brain began coming up with even more scenarios for this 'word in private' that he had been 'requested' for. A word in private, he thought, could've been at an out-of-the-way cafe, not a shuttle ride and a guard away. Maybe it had to do something with the events on Pomn? Has Nathan found yet another way to make me regret agreeing to help? He thought about that for a few minutes before dismissing the notion.

 

No, he thought. If there were legal or official repercussions, Captain Crawford would be involved. She may be rough around the edges, but he knew she looked after her own. If she didn't, Nathan wouldn't have even had a chance to drag Benjamin to that god-forsaken rock in the first place. And any unofficial repercussions would likely be from the Syndicate.

 

Before he could follow that thought even further down the rabbit hole, the door finally opened. He was surprised to see a young woman in a business suit enter and take the seat nearest the door. Not Star Fleet? She didn't have a badge or anything stating any official capacity to be here, but the Klingon didn't react to her at all. Obviously, she was supposed to be here.

 

She smiled politely and poured herself a glass of water, waving him to the other chair with her free hand. He did as he was asked, confusion at least overriding his paranoia for a moment, and then poured himself a glass as she referred to her notes. "For the record, please confirm that you are Benjamin Elias, currently serving aboard the USS Artemis as an engineer?" He nodded and started to speak when she continued. "And you were once the engineer on the smuggling vessel 'Aces Wild', correct?"

 

His stomach hit the floor, and he was glad that he hadn't tried to take a drink yet, as he wasn't sure his arm would hold the glass up. This was over, he thought. They told me that their investigations were over, and that the case was closed. Why in the frozen waters of Andor are we back at this again? For a moment, he felt as weak as a child being called to answer for something he hadn't even done.

 

But it was only a moment. He swallowed hard and did take that sip of water now, closing his eyes hard as he did to try and force himself back to something resembling calm. "No, ma'am," he said politely, fighting his artificial eye into staying still. "I mean yes, I am Benjamin Elias of the Artemis, but the Aces Wild wasn't a smuggling ship.

 

"The Aces Wild was a legitimate freighter, hauling into and out of the Ferengi Alliance to the Federation's border worlds, and I did serve on her." His hands gripped the cup, tightening as he dredged up the old memories he had done his best to run from for years. "The ship I assume you are referring to was the Longshoreman, operating out of the fringes and hauling cargo, legitimate and otherwise, into the Tzenkethi Coalition. It was lost four years ago after the Tzenkethi attempted to 'capture' it, and I was the only survivor.

 

"However, there were extensive debriefings on that subject at the time of my recovery and before I entered the service, records of which should show that I was innocent, if not entirely blameless." He stopped for a moment, realizing he had been staring at the water intently as he spoke as if willing it to be something else, or maybe just for him to be anywhere else. "So if I may ask, what exactly is this about?"


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#3 GM-Creative Director

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Posted Star Date 21907.10 @ 17:06 (05:06 PM)

The woman simply nodded and made notes on her PADD, seemingly ignoring the comment about the Longshoreman's capture and the jibe about being extensively debriefed when he was rescued. She remained silent for several seconds, as if considering his answers and the question he himself had posed, before continuing.

 

"You are somewhat of an anomaly in Star Fleet; a former merchant crewman who transferred into the service during a time of peace. Usually it is the other way around."

 

Brushing a rogue strand of hair behind her ear, she continued.

 

"This gives you a unique perspective on, shall we say, outdated equipment."

 

Placing the PADD down, the woman smiled. It was a sweet and disarming smile, not unlike the one a certain Betazoid on the Artemis used when attempting to charm something out of someone.

 

"Would you say that stood you in good stead during your recent escapades with one Nathan Ramius?"


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#4 Ens Benjamin Elias

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Posted Star Date 21907.10 @ 21:47 (09:47 PM)

I have no idea who these people are, Benjamin thought as the woman simply made a few notes on her padd, but she's good. She very good, giving no clue as to what she was thinking beyond just consulting her notes, making additions to them, and deliberating on her next move. She did it swiftly, despite the calculated nature of it, and kept going.

 

"You are somewhat of an anomaly in Star Fleet," she noted, ignoring his own question; "a former merchant crewman who transferred into the service during a time of peace. Usually it is the other way around." She brushed a strand of hair behind her ear and added, "This gives you a unique perspective on, shall we say, outdated equipment."

 

He ran through a few choice adjectives in his head, wondering what she meant by that. Sure, he had more than his fair share of making do with outdated tech and making a part work well past its intended specs and lifespan - though rarely both for long - but why was that important? The longer this went, the more confused Benjamin got, even though they had just started the 'private conversation'.

 

She set down her padd and smiled at him. In other circumstances, on other faces, it might have been described as charming and sweet, and some part of him still read it as such. But with all the odd questions, and the strange atmosphere, Benjamin was too on-edge. He worried at his wedding band as she kept going, spinning it around on his finger as she talked.

 

"Would you say that stood you in good stead during your recent escapades with one Nathan Ramius?"

 

He stopped, his eye itching some more as he stared at her for a moment. Pomn, he cursed to himself. The gift that keeps on giving. He briefly considered trying to play dumb, but remembering the Klingon decided that that would be a bad idea.

 

"It did," he said. "Being able to work with isolinear and optolithic systems proved to be an asset, though that wasn't the plan at the start." There was a plan? The question popped unbidden into his mind, but he kept talking past it, not really looking at his questioner as he dredged up the memories. "We managed to bring down an entire sentient-trafficking operation, though much of the credit for that I think has to go to Nathan; he was able to work with their system better than I was. I simply got him access."

 

He leaned forward quickly, arms spreading from where they'd been on the edge of the table, hands out and palm up as he wanted answers. "Look, what is this about?" He locked eyes with her, questioning. "If this is a criminal investigation, then I should be entitled to representation; if it isn't, then if it's all the same to you I had plans for my shore leave I need to get to unless there's a very good reason I should stick around."


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#5 GM-Creative Director

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Posted Star Date 21907.15 @ 18:01 (06:01 PM)

Finishing making notes on her PADD, the woman placed it face-down on the table and calmly reached for her glass of water. She sipped at it, watching Elias carefully with sharp eyes as she did so, before placing the glass down again.

 

“Midshipman Ramius and your august self took it upon yourselves to infiltrate and conduct a covert operation on sovereign territory. Had you been caught by a government agency; that could have been construed as espionage, if not an outright act of war.”

 

Leaning forward, the woman folded her arms and rested her weight on them.

 

“There are some at Command who, having read about your exploits, believe you to be a loose cannon who will drag Star Fleet into disrepute.”

 

Leaning back again in her chair, she continued.

 

“On the other hand, your skills and experiences could be very useful…”


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#6 Ens Benjamin Elias

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Posted Star Date 21907.16 @ 21:49 (09:49 PM)

Benjamin was impressed by the woman's calm, and the training of the Klingon, as they ignored his petty provocation. He drank his water, as the woman calmly finished making notes, and then drank some more of her own water as well. He noticed that this time, the padd was face down, and her eyes pierced him to his seat. Okay, so maybe not the best of plans, he thought, and tried not to slink too far down in his chair. Benjamin was many things; a cunning master of intrigue was not one of them.

 

"Midshipman Ramius and your august self" - he heard sarcasm there, even if it wasn't actually present in her voice - "took it upon yourselves to infiltrate and conduct a covert operation on sovereign territory. Had you been caught by a government agency, that could have been construed as espionage, if not an outright act of war."

 

Again, he kept himself upright by force of will. "That wasn't why we went there," he started, but he choked himself to silence as she leaned forward, resting her arms and weight on the table.

 

"There are some at Command who, having read about your exploits, believe you to be a loose cannon who will drag Star Fleet into disrepute." He held his tongue this time, sensing more to her statement, which proved true a moment later as she leaned back in her chair. "On the other hand, your skills and experiences could be very useful..."

 

Benjamin swallowed as his mouth went suddenly dry, but didn't want to grab the water on the table. "Useful?" he finally said. "Useful to whom? You just implied that many in the Fleet would rather see me walk than let me serve."

 

What's going on here? he asked himself. Obviously this person represented a powerful group, or else he wouldn't have been extracted so simply. And 'extracted' was definitely the right word; the Syndicate couldn't have done it as smoothly as they had. They seemed to know everything about him, and he was sure they had all the right details even if she had confronted him with them incorrectly. It had seemed more deliberate than accidental. And now, she's implying threats to his career, though not in as many words. She left the door open for it, he told himself, though part of him thought he was reading too much into it, letting his own insecurities fill in blanks that weren't necessarily there.

 

Maybe it was simply his environment, so similar to where he had been after the Longshoreman's destruction and where his life had turned. One road from there had led to incarceration and darkness, while he had managed to take the right hand road to the Fleet and a purpose. Now, with this mysterious woman threatening that redemption, he couldn't help but feel like he didn't have a choice in all of this. A deal with the devil to stay in heaven? he thought.

 

He sighed and leaned forward a bit, his hands still in his lap. "It seems you've got me over a barrel," he said. "What do you need me to do?"


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#7 GM-Creative Director

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Posted Star Date 21907.19 @ 16:59 (04:59 PM)

The woman nodded and smiled thinly as Elias spoke.

 

"We have need of someone with your specific skill set. If you are interested, please sign this."

 

The woman passed the PADD across the table to Elias before continuing.

 

If you sign that PADD, you agree that you may be removed from your current assignment at the discretion of my superiors and dispatched to any part of the galaxy without knowing why."

 

Leaning back in her chair, the woman folded her arms while she awaited Elias' reply.


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#8 Ens Benjamin Elias

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Posted Star Date 21907.19 @ 21:34 (09:34 PM)

She smiled wanly at him, just deepening his guilt. "We have need of someone with your specific skill set," she said. "If you are interested, please sign this."

 

The request made him suspicious again. A request that wasn't really a request? Or was she genuinely giving him an option to get out? He wasn't sure, but he nothing about the situation made him feel the offer was genuine. She passed the padd across the table and noted, "If you sign that padd, you agree that you may be removed from your current assignment at the discretion of my superiors and dispatched to any part of the galaxy without knowing why." Having said her piece, she leaned back and folded her arms, looking at him as he made up his mind.

 

He, in turn, stared at the padd. It contained simply a signature box; no other information or context. He sat there for a moment before sighing and picking up the stylus.

 

I've already had a friend drag me into trying to topple an entire criminal enterprise, he thought. At least these people look like they have resources if we're trying anything that stupid. He just hoped that this decision didn't come back to bite him like that one apparently had.


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Posted Star Date 21907.26 @ 20:20 (08:20 PM)

Receiving the signed PADD from Elias, the woman checked his signature against the Federation database to ensure its authenticity, before fixing him with a disarming smile.

 

"We're done here, if you'll come with me."

 

Rising from her chair, she neatly placed it back under the table before leading Elias from the room and off into a new adventure.

 

==This is the end of this thread. Stay tuned for more!==


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