Obsidian Command

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Wallace, Wallace, & Shearing

Posted on 29 Feb 2024 @ 11:13pm by Lieutenant Commander Maurice Rubens & Staff Warrant Officer Chadrin L'Orss
Edited on on 29 Feb 2024 @ 11:13pm

Mission: M4 - Falling Out
Location: Rice and Moon's Quarters
Timeline: TBD Day 23?
1603 words - 3.2 OF Standard Post Measure

Chadrin L’Orss had expected to report to her commanding officer in his office or, at the very least, an office. Sitting at the table in his quarters hadn’t even been a thought in her head. Yet, here she was, nervously fingering the cup of coffee he’d offered her and that she’d taken (not that she liked coffee, but it seemed he wanted to be polite, so she was being polite). But now he was reading through her record for what couldn’t have been his first time. After all, he recruited her. They’d worked together years ago, too. Not together; he more or less hijacked her from her other assignment. So his interest in her record with her quietly sitting there was sending all sorts of mixed signals.

Should she be relaxed (for certainly, Rice had greeted her with nothing short of enthusiasm)? Or was this professional (because he was taking a long time with her records)? Was this a meeting of a superior and subordinate (he was in his uniform, she in hers)? Or were they old friends (had they been friends before)?

Without looking up from his PADD, a slight smile creased Rice’s lips.

“Nervous yet?” he asked, as if reading her thoughts.

“You son of a - ” she took a deep breath. “Of course, Sir.”

He put the PADD on the table and chuckled at his own joke. “Sorry, I couldn’t resist seeing if I could still confuse you. I’ve wondered with R’ongovian’s if your radical empathy is cultural or biological?”

She relaxed completely, immediately mirroring his levity. “A little of this, a little of that. You called, I came.”

“Thanks for that, by the way. There’s a lot going on and you arrived at precisely the right time.” He began talking through the staffing challenges the Diplomatic Department was faced with, then the ongoing conflicts between the Obsidians, then on to the Korinn and the issue with the P’yrryx, and the sputtering conference that was considering the issue. The whole briefing lasted nearly forty minutes and he finished with, “So, what do you want to dig into first? There’s plenty to go around.”

Despite trying to bury it, Chadrin sensed Rice’s attention was on the Korinn issue. Having been part of some of his work on Vvanti, she had no desire to jump right into whatever was going on there. Lieutenant Khouri’s work on Loki III was interesting. New species mixing with a clearly xenophobic one: there’d never be a dull moment. Did she really want to take that on? That left staff building, which sounded like as much fun as a Vulcan comedyfest.

“Let’s get into Loki III - ”

The door chimed, interrupting Chadrin and making Rice turn toward it with a puzzled expression. His staff knew to send a message before dropping by, because his ‘temporary office’ was more mobile than stationary. He stood, straightened his uniform with a tug, and walked away from the table.

From where she sat, Chadrin couldn’t see the door, but caught snippets of the conversation that floated to the dining area. Something about lawyers, which immediately made her ears perk up. The voices became louder as Rice obviously led his guests from the doorway back to the table. Rice reappeared tailed by two Humans in dark suits. Chadrin stood up as was customary in some Human cultures), her face falling blank until she could deduce how she needed to act. While waiting to read the room, she considered the two new arrivals. One was tall and thin, a mop of graying brown hair carefully styled in the modern way. His square chin smacked of someone she’d seen recently, though she couldn’t place it. The other much younger woman was clearly related, her pointed nose a miniature edition of the man’s, her brown hair the same shade as the remaining strands in his.

“...I’ll admit being a little confused by it,” Rice was saying as he came back in. “I’m no - please, have a seat - I’m no legal expert, but this feels a bit extreme to start with lawyers. Did the Omoleye and Childress families consider that before hiring you? Oh, excuse me. This is Warrant Officer Chadrin L’Orss. This is Marcus Wallace and Victoria Wallace. Lawyers from Earth. We’ve just been served!”

Chadrin’s eyebrows rose and her personality immediately began to twist into one that might fit a courtroom. “Indeed.”

“Not served, not in the normal sense,” Marcus said as he sat in his chair, slouching just a touch. “Informed of the situation that is developing so that you can prepare.”

“Do you represent the Omoleyes or the Childresses in this matter?” Rice asked.

“We’ve been appointed as representatives for the child,” Victoria piped in.

“I see and no one is concerned by the conflict of interest?” Rice said, gesturing to Marcus. “You’re related to Major Wallace, I assume. You bear a striking resemblance, Mr. Wallace.”

“Everyone knows and neither the court nor the families have issue with it. This is an area of the law that Wallace, Wallace, and Shearing are experts in. We’re the finest firm on Earth if not the Federation for this work, which is why we were asked to step in. It’s a delicate matter. Plus, my brother and I have been estranged for…a while.”

Rice nodded stoically, “I expect this will do little to mend fences.”

“We all want what’s best for Ikemba, Commander Rubens,” Victoria replied. “I think Major Wallace and Chief Xeri will understand that.”

“You do?”

“Family law is always hard, but I always tell my clients to keep a cool head. So far, both the Omoleyes and Childresses have headed that advice as have their attorneys - ” Marcus began, though he got no further as Rice interrupted him.

“It must have been a hell of a fight you had with your brother,” the diplomat said coldly.

“Uh. Excuse me?”

“To do this to him. You must really want to drive the knife home, yeah?”

“As I said, Wallace, Wallace and…”

“No, no. I heard that. Experts. Best in the business, but probably not the only ones.” Rice’s glowered at the pair across the table. “But the thing is. Your brother and Chief Xeri watched as, one by one, their friends and shipmates died violent deaths, or starved or wasted away from disease. And when those friends left their children behind, the Major and the Chief took the children and made a new, loving family for them. They brought them out of that hell by foot. Did you know that? Your brother very nearly died making sure that Ibis Xeri and the kids could escape. And you don’t have any compassion for them? Your own brother? It must have been a real falling out for you to ignore those bonds.”

The group sat in an uncomfortable silence, Rice staring daggers at the Wallaces, Chadrin absorbing and echoing her boss’s feelings, and the two lawyers taking the blows in stride with detached looks. They must be used to this, she concluded, as neither looked annoyed or upset by the enmity wafting off the Chief Diplomatic Officer.

“This will be hard,” Marcus repeated, “for all of us. Um. We’ll need access to the child as soon as it can be arranged. I have the court order I’ll send to you granting us that permission with supervision of course. Is there someone on your staff that we should coordinate with?”

“Warrant Officer L’Orss.”

Chadrin nodded, although she sighed inwardly. Loki III would’ve been an easier first assignment.

“Okay. We’ll talk later then…er…Warrant Officer,” Marcus sat there for a moment and then realized Rice wasn’t going to make a move to stand. “Should we show ourselves out?”

“Please.” Rice looked ready to toss them out.

Both Rice and Chadrin silently watched as the lawyers retreated from the room. As soon as they heard the door hiss shut, Rice stood up and paced the room, muttering about families before he began to issue a stream of orders. “Find the Major and Chief the best damn lawyer you can find. Then contact Starfleet Archives and get every instance of this kind of situation in fleet history. Shit! We’re not going to let Wallace and Xeri hear it from that excuse of a human being. We’re heading over there now. Computer, contact Lieutenant Agaia Adame and tell her to meet us at Wallace-Xeri’s quarters. It’s an emergency!”

As they walked out the door and down the corridors. Rice’s anger began to subside and Chadrin relaxed, no longer feeding off his negativity. Once she was sure he wouldn’t explode, she hazarded to say, “All those years of negotiating with Romulans…I’m not sure I ever saw you angry. They’re only trying to do their jobs.”

Rice glanced at her and shrugged, his voice still a touch frosty, “I held it in well on Vvanti.” He stopped suddenly, forcing her to shuffle back toward him. Anger touched his eyes, but beneath that Chadrin detected…wistfulness? Odd. “It’s not every day a kid loses his parents, but immediately finds people who will love him and fight for him unconditionally. Not everyone gets that. This kid did. Let’s make sure he gets to keep it.”


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