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100% Certainty

Posted on Mon Jun 27th, 2016 @ 8:36am by Jordan Gunning & Rear Admiral S'iraa
Edited on on Wed Jul 6th, 2016 @ 3:58pm

Mission: Lie Of Omission
Location: Starfleet Headquarters, Cestus III
Timeline: Three weeks after departure from SB332

Jordan Gunning tore into the Personnel department as fast as he could, breezed past Rear Admiral Tores Zand's assistant who was busy packing the outer office into shipping crates and crashed through the door trying to look as fresh as he possibly could. "Admiral Zand!" He tried to sound like he hadn't just been the victim of a self-inflicted illness. "How are you today?"

Rear Admiral Tores Zand, outgoing Director of Personnel of the Eleventh Fleet, scowled at the interruption and looked up from the box into which he had just placed a small pile of leather bound books. He'd lived through too many lifetimes to have been startled by the unexpected interruption, but he was surprised by the apparent condition of the man who had barged his way in. He shook his head and turned back to the bookshelf he was clearing. "Jordan, you're hungover," he said in his usual gentle tone. "There's no point pretending like you're not."

Jordan could feel every pore excreting the local gut rot despite showering twice. Joanie had told him was the closest thing they had to gin and he had gone through it by the bottle. His stomach churned, his head felt as though it was orbiting him at a cosmic distance - maybe admitting it might ease it slightly. "I can't put anything past you can I, Admiral?"

A nostalgic smile crept across the admiral's face as he placed more books into the box. "You couldn't put anything past me when you were a hot shot ensign on my team back at Starfleet Security and you still can't," Zand said before he stopped and looked up at the weathered-looking man before him. "Stars above, man! You look like hell."

"Ah, good. I was worried I wouldn't look as good as I feel." Jordan had known Admiral Zand since he had been a mere Captain in charge of his unit at Starfleet Security. Together they had gone on a series of missions into Cardassian space to nip any rearmament plans in the bud. He smiled at the thought of being that young - and Zand being that hands on. Strangely, they had been happier times. "How's the packing going?" He asked, sitting on the arm of a chair, the rest being covered in boxes.

"Just about done," Zand replied as he closed up the box of books. "Which leaves me free to finalise a few things, sign off on those reports there -" he jerked his head in the direction of a moderate pile of PADDs on the edge of the desk "- and, of course, conducting your exit interview. Then at seventeen hundred hours, I officially cease to be the DPR and tonight I'm aboard the Proteus en route for Trill."

"And you're all set for the big promotion?" Gunning looked around for a plant pot he could drain the water out of but settled for the replicator instead.

"Onwards and upwards, my friend," Zand said, now settling into his chair. "It will be nice to spend more time on my Homeworld, though. Even if managing the sector will keep me ridiculously busy."

"If you weren't kept ridiculously busy you'd just find a way to keep yourself busy. The Trill government could do without being overthrown by a bored fleeter." Jordan was beginning to feel more like himself - the restorative powers of water made everything seem clearer. He shifted the box off the seat in front of Zand's desk and sat down.

The Trill laughed heartily. "Taking over the government is more of a long-term goal anyway," he said with a wink. "But enough about my diabolical plans, what are you going to do? Honestly, I never thought you'd take off the uniform."

"Well, about that. I think I've decided." Gunning had spent two weeks 'deciding' what he was going to do with the rest of his life by looking for the answer in the bottom of every bottle in Pike City. "I'm going to sell the bar for a start."

Zand nodded thoughtfully; he'd never had a chance to visit Alexander's - or Starbase 332 for that matter - during his time in the 11th Fleet, but he did know of it. He also knew that there was a lot of sentiment for Jordan tied up in that place, which meant selling it signalled a major shift in priorities for him.

"Then I need to get myself an investigator's licence."

That made a bit of sense - plenty of ex-security folks went into private security, investigation or law enforcement when they left the service. But something told Zand that there was more to this than plying a trade. "What do you plan on investigating?" he asked after a moment.

"Whatever comes my way," Jordan replied, too quickly, "you know yourself: Galactic South is still the frontier. I thought about going to the core worlds but let's face it I'd be kicking about looking into corporate fraud and looking for little rich kids that have run away to join the fleet - or worse."

"You think you can get enough work here in the South?"

"People go missing all the time." Came the cryptic reply. "We had stacks of reports on three-three-two about people suddenly disappearing and now there's a bunch of pirates spread to the four winds with no-one keeping tabs on them. I suppose what I'm saying is that I won't be sitting twiddling my thumbs."

"Busy enough to keep you from certain idle distractions, hey?" Zand said with a twitch of his eyebrow.

"Or drinking." Jordan echoed, lifting his glass of water in recognition.

"Indeed," the admiral replied with a cock of his head. He eyed the now ex-commander in a way that told the other man he was thinking, working something out, striving to understand some deeper truth. At long last he spoke, in a measured tone. "Jordan, what's this really about? Why did you resign?"

A tense silence fell on the office. Jordan took a couple of moments, sipping from his glass of water, to consider the question. He felt like he'd known at the time. The urge was too strong, it felt like his work on Starbase 332 was finished but the fact was that he couldn't do anything as a Starfleet officer - he was hamstrung by the day to day work. "The Sojourners are scattered to the four winds." Jordan resisted the muscle memory of calling Zand sir. "Starfleet have all but written them off but there's a power structure there. I'm not just talking about the leader, there's got to be a hierarchy that hasn't been brought to justice."

Zand knew as well as any in Galactic South about the damage inflicted by the Sojourners; the losses in materiel and lives. He also knew that Jordan had suffered a personal loss as a result of their marauding. "Is this about vengeance?" he asked.

"I believe they can be found and brought to justice. If Starfleet doesn't have the resources to do it, then perhaps someone else can."

He could be stubborn and the admiral knew that he would not be turned from this course; he had known Jordan Gunning long enough to recognise when he had decided. He still didn't like it, but it wasn't like he could order him around anymore. "Are you sure about this?" he asked, knowing the answer.

"One hundred percent."

The Trill smiled and stood up. "Well then," he said, rounding the desk. "Let me just say three things. First, although Starfleet's attentions are turning elsewhere, don't think we've abandoned bringing the remnants of the Sojourners to justice. So be careful whose toes you step on. Second, I'll always take your call. Remember that."

"And the third, Admiral?"

"Good luck," he said and thrust his hand forward.

Rear Admiral Tores Zand [NPC: Drusus]
Outgoing Director of Personnel and Resources
11th 'Pegasus' Fleet

Jordan Gunning


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