<USS Banshee> "Every Rose Has It's Thorn"

  • From: "Brad Ruder" <GroundZero@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: ussbanshee@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Sat, 31 Jan 2004 20:20:22 -0800

?Every Rose Has It?s Thorn?
by Lieutenant Joshua Asper
& Ensign Telsia Ehling

"Can we increase the output on the phaser emitters?" Josh Asper tapped a PADD as he rounded another corner towards Engineering. The weapon systems, according to a new transmission from Starfleet, had fallen below par. The couplings were out of date and were to be replaced. And the mandate was for immediate change, but with the Nightingale - no matter the abilities of the ship - looming closely, Josh took it as a personal setback.

Thomas Lark had to double-time his step to keep up with Asper, but he was managing. "I think we can, but we'd have to reset the entire system before making the change and reinitializing. We'd have to drop weapon systems and I'm sure that Commander Andros wouldn't be too happy with that." Lark was the first through the door and beelined for the weapon access terminal. "We'd be sitting ducks for at least an hour."

Josh walked through the hissing doors and followed suit, completely passing Terje and his fiancee without much of a second glance ? he wasn?t even aware either of them were there. He slid into the chair in front of the console and began his work, half listening as Lark rambled on about the fact that the upgrades were borderline irrelevant. "This is ridiculous, I agree fully. It is from Starfleet, though, and therefore we have to bend over backwards to make sure that they're not unhappy."

Telsia was standing near Engineering's door talking with Terje about basic work stuff when Josh followed another man in and went straight to a console. He seemed to be all business and had completely ignored her. Shrugging slightly, she moved to another console nearer to the engines and began to run a few tests.

"The interface with the primary power matrix will interfere with the engines. We'll need to disengage the weapon subroutines from the engine processing core," Lark stated with a absentminded gesture towards the console Telsia had moved to, "We're going to have to modify a lot of the Engineering systems. Make sure you go from system to system so you're not jeopardizing the entire mechanical foundation of the Banshee.

"I'm aware of the basics," Asper said stepping a few feet to where Lark had pointed, "Excuse me, Miss," he said as he half pushed Telsia out from behind the console and sat down. His fingers danced nimbly over the console's surface and he quickly disengaged all the necessary components. "Maybe some of the engineers would be willing to crawl underneath and reinitialize the weapon's array. We can't do it from here."

If looks could kill, Josh would probably be dead at that moment. Telsia couldn't believe that Josh had treated her that carelessly, even if he was just doing his job. "Excuse me, Sir," she said in a bit of an antagonistic tone. "But is there something I can help you with?" She was so tempted to cross her arms and tap her foot but controlled herself.

"No, thank you. I've got it covered."

"All right sir, if you do need help I'm sure you know how to get the help you need." With a small bit of attitude, she turned and moved over to another console to finish doing the work she had started.

Lark leaned over with a smirk plastered across his face, "What's wrong with that broad?"

"I don't know," Josh said, with a smile as he continued to focus on his work. The PADDs were beginning to run together and the information was starting to become one in the same. Step by step procedures were becoming novels that were explaining how to change red to blue using silver and black. "Engineers are like that sometimes, it doesn't make much sense to me either. That's why I went into security."

Telsia had over heard the men but bit her lip from saying anything in public. She couldn't wait to give him the treatment he deserved though, once they got back to their quarters. Working at the console, she decided that it would be best to ignore the men and just do what she needed to do, less she act disrespectful to Josh in front of others.

"We?re going to need someone to climb up to the second level to power up the weapons systems," Tom said as he swiveled in his chair and narrowed his eyes at Telsia, "Miss, would you be so kind to go up there and reinitialize the weapons systems with the upgraded modifications?" Tom attempted that tilted head look with the trademarked smile, but only Josh could pull that off; his face was still buried in the console he'd threw himself in front of near the engines.

With a smile that could be taken as flirtatious, she nodded her head, "of course. While I'm up there is there anything more I could do for you?" Her voice was on the more sugary sweet side.

Lark shook his head as he turned back to his own console.

With an effort, Telsia was able to control her need to either hit both of them upside their heads or to walk out. She quietly made her way to the second level and began work on reinitializing the weapons systems like she was asked to do. "Is that good?" she called down once she had finished working on them.

Lark shook his head, "You need to polarize the emitters first."

Telsia rolled her eyes and stifled a sigh that threatened to escape. Silently though, she did as he said. "There, is that okay?" she called down a second time.

"Perfect!" Lark leaned over to Josh, "Some engineers aren't completely incompetent. It just takes a couple of times to get them to do what you ask."

Josh looked at him with an odd look, "Need I remind you that YOU'RE an engineering?" He called up to the second level, "Thank you, Miss!"

Even though Lark had spoken in a low voice, Tel still had heard what he had said about her incompetence and then Josh's lack of defense on her character and ability. She knew her face was colored a deep red in embarrassment and hated to return down to the first level. So instead she stayed above for a while, running scan's on the engines performance.

Josh was looking at the console when the integrity of the emitters started to shut down. It lowered and continued to fall and nothing Josh did stopped it, "Hey! You up there, watch the integrity subroutines! Learn how to do your job!" He turned his head up and looked at the empty banister, waiting to see if the person above him had heard him.

The embarrassment was even worse this time and with the red flaming cheeks came watery eyes. Normally she wouldn't let something like this effect her but it was her fiancé yelling at her and treating her no better then if she was just some fresh out of the academy ensign. Moving to the ladder she climbed down and walked right up to Josh. "Watch them yourself or get someone else to do it. I am not your lap dog," she said through clenched teeth and stormed off to another part of Engineering to pass her time until her shift was up.

Damn, Josh thought. He had honestly no idea that Telsia was even in engineering. Granted she did work there and he should've been paying attention when he had first walked into the room, but the work was what was on his mind and nothing else mattered. Now he felt that dull ache in his stomach and there was only one thing left to do - beg and plead with her for forgiveness. "Telsia, I'm so sorry," he said as he booked it after her, "I wasn't aware you were even in here."

She turned and looked at him, anger pouring out of her. "You weren't aware I was here?!" she practically yelled. "I work here for goodness sakes and you freaking walked past me when you came in, pushed me away from my console, bossed me around and let that guy with you boss me around like I was below you or something and you didn't even defend me when your friend made a comment on my supposed incompetence. No, instead of defending me, you made it worse by yelling at me in front of my coworkers and peers." Telsia was positively seething. "It's nice to know I'm so appreciated by my own fiancé." With that, she whirled back around and continued to walk off.

"Wait a minute!" Josh ran in front of her and stopped her, "I have a job to do and I'm sorry if that was occupying my time, but we needed to get things done. I apologize profusely if I offended you in any way, but you know how I feel about you and there's nothing that's going to change that. You have to understand that there are levels of stress that I deal with that you know nothing about and couldn?t understand..."

Oh, there it was. Josh stepped into territory that no men should enter.

"I mean..."

The tears were still in her eyes but the eyes themselves flashed anger. "What do you mean Josh? You know, because sometimes it's hard to understand what exactly you mean. And you want to know the reason I don't know about the stress you deal with?" she asked, moving forward in her anger. "Is because you don't talk to me, maybe if you did I would understand better but you don't. And if you want to talk about stress, lets talk about those two and half years in which I had our child but didn't have you. Instead I had an abusive husband. How's that for stress?"

"You know that if I had the opportunity I would've been there! Special assignments from Starfleet Intelligence to be involved on a flight team while being a cadet isn't something that I could avoid! I died not being able to be there!" Josh was wallowing in his own anger and his tightened fist, clammy from perspiration, was a wondrous sign of it. "I talk to you as much as I can Telsia, but there are things that I have experienced that I want to stay buried for a long, long time. I don't think that at this point in my life I can share them with you without reliving them over and over again. I've seen things that I wish I never saw - it's a curse I'll have to live with forever."

"Have you ever thought that maybe talking about them would help you deal with them?" she asked, still ticked but feeling mad at herself for bringing up Josh's need to leave her back when they were young. "Maybe if you talked to me about them and got them out in the open, you would finally heal and wouldn't be so damned cursed. And do you ever think about how your buried and unhealed past is going to effect Cameron someday?"

"Are you saying I'm incapable of being a father? You're one to talk about skeletons in the closet! Your first husband beat the crap out of you on a daily basis!" And, once again, Josh crossed over another dreaded line, but this time he had meant to. "You have a habit of branching out. We can't talk about one thing; let's factor our entire lives into the conversation. Yell at me for things that we did while we dated why don't you. I stood you up on our first date - rant about that, OK?"

Telsia's hand suddenly had a mind of it's own when it connected with the side of Josh's face in a solid slap. She was totally shocked at herself for her behavior but she didn't apologize, she was still hurting from everything he had said. "I guess this relationship was doomed from the beginning," she said, removing the ring she had been wearing on her left ring finger. "Cameron and I will be moved out by the time your shift ends." Tears now freely falling down her face, she turned and headed to Josh's quarters to pack up her things and move somewhere else, where, she didn't know, just somewhere. At least, she thought, Josh can now stay here, where he wants to be, and Cameron and I can move to a ship that would want us.

He felt the slap to his face and the cold metal from the ring hit the warm surface of his hand, but he couldn't manage to say anything. He heard the doors hiss open and then shut, but still couldn't form anything audible.

Lark stood and walked over to him, drawing Josh's eyes to the entire Engineering staff gazing on. "Are you all right, Josh?"

Josh shook his head, "No. I just lost her, Tom. And what's worse is I let her walk away."

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