[NOVA] Colonel Durst (K 5.3a)

Ksenia, Colonel Durst looks at you in silence for a long moment, then speaks. "I have received excellent reports on your conduct on Blue. I'd like your evaluation of your performance, particularly in regards to protecting your partner's life and her ability to perform her duties." He steeples his fingers and waits patiently.


  • edited May 2015
    To his comment on the reports, I answer, "Thank you, sir." When he asks for my eval, I reply, "When we first came onto the raft, I suggested to Mei that she search for the strongest signal, look for the queen. She established contact with the being, they communicated. I tried to seem inoffensive to it, in hopes that I could protect Ensign Mei if needed. She was the strong swimmer, I just treaded water."

    It feels oddly relaxing to talk about this mission. To say aloud all the things we did. It's hard to talk it over with Mei, she's so self-critical. The crew? They don't understand Psi Ops. I barely do, and I've been trained. Plus, I'm dating one.

    "As we were searching the collection of entities, I sensed Celesta. We're both Martians, and somehow I felt her." My words seem hesitant, unsure of how to express this. "Mei was able to draw out more from her. I was Mei's anchor as she explored. The people trapped there said it was paradise. Ensign Mei was tempted by the alien entity. There were moments when I felt her slipping away. Our partnership. Our, ah, friendship, was a tool I used to convince her to remain. We determined the alien being was akin to a drug and the opinions of the Tangaroa staff couldn't be trusted to give accurate reports. The Polity wanted answers, and our job was to rescue these people."

    I realize I'm clenching my hands a bit, and force myself to relax. "Mei was able to break them free. She's... very powerful. Once she severed the connection, we were able to lead everyone back. I believe we did the right thing, even though it wasn't the easy thing. Ensign Mei and I work very well together. She is strong, but sometimes unsure of herself. She has unshakable faith in me, and I use that to keep her on task and productive."
  • "So, you believe Ensign Mei is most effective with you as her handler? She has lost her... unique advantage under your watch, Ensign Cribbage. Has she not? We paired you because of your pre-existing association, against my recommendation, mind you. Do you think she can continue as a high-value asset for Psi Corps without your involvement, Ensign?"

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    "Colonel Durst," I say in as frank but respectful voice as I can maintain. "You and I both know Ensign Mei is still an extremely valuable asset. She's smart, capable and resilient. Yes, the entity is no longer riding her. However, that entity chose her for a reason. She's gifted. More than any other psi I've seen. Test her. You'll find out."

    I pause, let that sink in. Then, I continue, going for my pitch. The one I've been thinking up for hours. No, days. " With or without me, she's one of the best assets the Psi Corps has. However, Mei is young. She has moments where she can lose focus. She is hyper critical of herself, of her choices. She needs a very careful hand to guide her. Sometimes, she needs someone to kick her ass into gear. That's what I do. That's what I've done from the start, and what I'll keep doing. Take me away, and she's back to square one. She'll lose confidence in the Corps' evaluation of her abilities, and she'll lose faith in herself. And all of us will lose out on something amazing. If you can be patient, she will eventually work her way back. But that will cost precious time. And hey, you know you have me by the short hairs and I'm not going anywhere. So from my point-of-view, what do you have to lose?"

    I don't cross my arms, give him a cocky grin, anything like that. I'm calm, collected, prepared. This is my gambit, Durst. Let's see how you counter.

    You are not taking Mei away from me.
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