Date: 18 Aug 2013 09:01 Title: 'Second Chances'
Two weeks, six days and twenty-two hours earlier...
"Again?" Gardner asked, eying the cut on Molly's face. "What'd you do to piss him off this time?"
"That is none of your business," Molly answered, thumbing across the now-scabbed over mark. She knew full well she should have just gone and had it sealed up, but she had other things to attend to first.
Namely speaking, unless something was done to stop it, the next time Gregory McGregor threw a glass at her, she was going to shove the broken shards where the sun wouldn't shine. And all the better if they were still brandy soaked when it happened.
She might have been guilty, but this was the last time that man was ever throwing something at her.
"Then why are you here?" Eddie asked, wiping his hands off and looking at her bemused.
Molly's eyes flashed, and a blade of a grin crossed her face. It was not in humor. "I have a plan. I need your help."
After all of the crawling he had to do recently, Eddie Gardner was more than onboard when she detailed out what it was.
"Romulan ale? Why Eddie, you had this and you didn't offer to share with the class? Stricken, I am. Betrayed. Wounded, heartbroken, and terribly thirsty."
Eddie looked over the rim of his tumbler at his captain, whose pale eyes were narrowed in mirth and a not-very-well-concealed rebuke for not sharing the good stuff. To sweeten it, he pulled the tumbler back to his own chest in an emphatic denial. "And what have you done for me lately, Captain? Besides drive me half mad with your reckless disregard of ship's systems."
"I've entertained you, haven't I? Face it, you would have us dance no other dance. Give us a glass, would you?"
Eddie did not actually like Romulan ale; his tastes tended to range towards warmer colors in the spectrum. And this was not exactly standard Romulan ale. It was a very special brew, the sort sought after across the quadrant; the makers were renowned as the finest their species had to offer. It was smooth, it went down with just the right amount of heat, it gave a hell of a nice buzz and just when you thought you were buzzing to the right frequency -- the frequency where most Romulan ales would stop -- it then kicked you in the head and knocked your ass into a drunken stupor that was only marginally more preferable than the hangover you had the next day. For Romulans, it was lauded as the perfect drink.
For humans, it was an asskicking in a bottle.
Eddie took the biggest swig he could and turned away.
"Think big, overgrown, scruffy toddler," Molly had said, still stoked to a low boil; the cut was long gone, but her grudge about the pitched glass was far from. She handed him the bottle -- worth more than a month's paycheck, more than a little illegal and who knew where she got it -- and some advice that Eddie, admittedly, already knew. "The more you tell him no, the more he's going to want it."
Eddie didn't actually want the hangover he'd have. But for the good of ship and crew...
McGregor apparently really wanted that ale. He implored. He cajoled. He pestered. He teased. He tried -- and failed utterly -- to pull regulations. Eddie laughed in his face.
Given what they were up against out there in the greater universe, likely the captain saw it as a fun little diversion. Eddie and Molly saw it as a way to get some back on him, and Eddie happily played his part. Had to happen sometimes. Now was one of those times.
Finally, likely driven to it, McGregor showed up with a bottle of Eddie's favorite. "Come now, a wee nip. It's more than a fair trade; in fact, it's highway robbery."
"If you'll stop sniffing around my skirt, fine," Eddie quipped back, earning a brief jump of the eyebrows in appreciation for the wit.
He slid the bottle down the bar and took the one on offer. "One tumbler, Captain. Just one."
"Stingy, Eddie. But fine." McGregor whipped out the biggest tumbler he could find, and filled it to the brim, daring Eddie with his eyes to protest.
Eddie rolled his own and caught the ale bottle when it was slid back to him. "As if you can finish that much."
McGregor raised the tumbler to his lips with a wicked smile. "Watch me."
"I've got better things to do." Eddie took his newly procured -- and unexpected! -- prize and left with the remainder of the Romulan ale.
Captain Gregory McGregor was sprawled on the floor of the Den, drifting in a sea of drunk-beyond-all-possible-cognition. Eddie Gardner was proud of his handiwork.
Molly Cartwright was entirely pleased herself. She kicked McGregor's boot, which earned a little groan. "Very, very nice. I owe you, Gardner."
"Provided we pull this off, I'll keep the two bottles and call it a fair trade," Eddie replied. "Harris dealt with?"
"For the rest of the night, and tomorrow morning." Molly smirked. "Somehow, she came down with a mild, painless but contagious, completely curable rash and had to be quarantined. Just for the next twenty-four hours."
Eddie whistled. "Didn't know you had it in you."
"The devil is in the details," she murmured, then stepped forward to grab one of McGregor's arms. "Come on, McGregor."
"Molls." He managed to rally himself enough to open his eyes, peering up at her completely unfocused. "I thinnnnnk... thinkssss... somethink."
"So I noticed. Eddie?"
Eddie got the captain's other arm, and together they managed to lever him upright with not a little difficulty. Then, one on one side, one on the other, they dragged McGregor off for his quarters.
The thing about McGregor was that he was clever. Cagey. A whole lot smarter than people gave him credit for, too.
And paranoid. Very paranoid.
Getting into his quarters was not a guarantee when he was there, and breaking into them was out of the question when he wasn't: He would know.
Unless you had an in, and what better in than the man himself?
He managed to get them through the door, head lolling, too messed up to do much more than that. They practically had to carry him, and when they dropped him on his bed, he just made a little noise and didn't move.
They went to work.
The very first thing they did, before anything else, was make sure that any surveillance devices he might (probably) have planted were scrambled. If there were, he'd know they were up to something, but he sure wouldn't know what it was.
Every single glass. Every single one. Every one was replaced with something that looked and felt like glass, but wouldn't shatter upon impact with anything. The next time McGregor lost his temper and started pitching glasses at walls and fellow officers, he'd quickly find that it was a lost cause.
That, however, was not the crowning piece of their layer cake. Because once they finished with the glasses, it came time to cajole the override codes for the replicators out of him.
This might have proven more difficult, if not for the fact that the pleasant aspects of the drunken stupor were rapidly becoming quite unpleasant, and he was far too drunk to do anything more about it than suffer. And suffer he did.
Molly didn't coddle him any; doing so would be a dead giveaway. "I can't replicate an antidote to Romulan ale," she said, just the right amount of brusque overlaying a concern that was not insincere. "It's one of the no-no items on the replicator, McGregor. I'm sorry."
"Nnnn," was his answer, as he tried to curl his arms around his head. He cut a hell of a pathetic picture, and even as pissed off as she was at him, Molly felt for him.
"Judy?" he asked, or more mumbled.
"She's busy. There's been a rash outbreak. How much did you drink, anyway?"
For a moment, Molly did think about calling Monroe. Ending McGregor's misery. And then she remembered, he threw a glass at her head, and decided that no. No, he had earned this, and he was going to have to live with it. "I wish I could help you. But the replicator keeps denying me."
McGregor put it together all by himself -- no mean feat, given his state -- and managed to stumble his way through the voice-printed override codes he'd put in on the replicators. And then he promptly threw up in the bucket they'd made sure to have handy beside his bed.
Eddie was fast as he uploaded the new permission files, buried under McGregor's custom coding, hidden and slick. From here on out, McGregor would not be able to replicate real glass, only the substitute, on every replicator on the ship; if he wanted real glass, he'd have to buy it somewhere. Which, he doubtless would eventually. If he ever found out. But until then, this was a feasible workaround.
And then Molly finally replicated the antidote.
Or, more precisely, about half the antidote. Enough to spare him some of the misery. Not quite all. Some lessons required a firmer hand.
Eddie slipped out, and Molly shot it into his neck, and was even kind enough to pull his boots off before tucking him in.
By then, he was still a drunken mess, but at least not a puking drunken mess. He slurred out, "Tanks, Molls."
"Don't thank me," she said, still brusque and concerned. She just sat on the edge of the bed and leaned over until she was speaking right into his ear. "And don't you ever throw anything at me again."
With that, and a pat on the shoulder that was affectionate even in her ire, she got up and left him to it, disabling their scrambling device on the way out the door.
Best review ever! Will now have to find a way to make that fit into canon.
Date: 25 Jul 2013 05:30 Title: 'Second Chances'
This is a truly superior chapter. No kidding. The step back in tume. The fight. The way they found each other's bruises and dug their thumbs in. And I don't know if you meant it, but even as they fight here, you can see their love shine through, too. All the scars, all the problems, but here in this moment, raw and real and frank and cutting. Damn. Damn well done.
Date: 01 Jun 2013 00:29 Title: 'Second Chances'
Whew, what a heated conversation between these two. Molly is necessarily uptight and nervous about bringing all this to McGregor. She hid it from him. She let her ex husband go. And McGregor is upset. Well, more than upset, the dude is RAGING and it’s nice to finally see him get mad. McGregor smash! Anyways, with McGregor so angry (apparently the way to get McGregor’s whitty cool to drop is to threaten his ship and crew) getting through to him was goin to be tough and it was.
I’m proud of of Molly standing up to him, sitting there and engaging him after all this time. She makes some tough points abou McGregor giving out second chances, and we get some nice backstory history here on all the crew. Dexter, troubled child. T’Vel, with a crippling condition. Becca, and her deal. Eddie, a recovering alcoholic and someone dealing with massive grief. And McGregor himself, who got his second chance that took away his family (more backstory, McGregor! More!)
McGregor is duly reminded of all this and finally gives in to the terms of Molly’s agreement. But man, some harsh words were exchanged between the two and now Paul could be in some super serious trouble. I hope, for his and Molly’s sake, that he stays out of trouble. But McGregor seems to have lost some trust and faith in Molly. I hope the two can patch things up. They’re gonna need to be on the same page when crazy things inevitably happen.
Date: 01 Dec 2009 07:30 Title: 'Second Chances'
The two of them are a good match for one another, both of wits and stubbornness. The dynamics between a captain and his first are always interesting, but there is so much to these two that they almost can't be contained in one room. I also like the brief glimpses into both of their pasts, where we see that there is far more than meets the eye. You write conflict very well.
Well with a character like McGregor in the big chair - he needed someone who was able to handle him and stand up to him on occasion. So Molly had to be as stubborn and dogged as the good captain. I personally find the pair of them fascinating to write. They want me to write all sorts - but nothing to do with the story all the time. But this was their first big scene only the two of them together and their was some big stuff for the pair to thrash out. Not to mention the fact that Molly doesn't like the idea of being in the wrong for once and not having the upper hand/moral right when it comes to McGregor. Yes, the two of them have a shared past and murky aspects tot heir pasts. Hopefully, we will learn more as time goes on. And thank you. I'm glad the conflict worked effectively and thank you for the little ego trip.
Date: 06 Aug 2009 14:30 Title: 'Second Chances'
An intense and emotionally charged chapter, mind i was expecting that when she was going to tell McGregor what went on.
A great and imaginative insight into the troubled past of most of the other senior staff as well as what akes the captain tick.
Thank you so much. Meant a lot to me to write this chapter as they are both two strong characters. I had to make sure it came off ok. On top of that, we also got some reveals about the different pasts of some of our characters. So glad you liked and pointed that out.
Date: 15 Jul 2009 10:43 Title: 'Second Chances'
Wow. That shook me up pretty badly. In a good way I mean, but still. Talk about adding drama. I mean the real thing. Wow. Still, even in the midst of all this, the line about the sold counselor cracked me up. Hope she's doing fine, wherever she is. ;-)
Way cool writing. I'm awed. :)
Aw Anna. Mega thanks and mega blush. And glad it was real thing drama. I think it had to be and I fervently hoped it would be with McGregor and Molly butting heads. When two such personalities come up against each other [and no doubts they probably often do do so but this time on a serious one to one front] it had to amount to something and be tight. So I'm glad that in your opinion [which I hold dearly] you thought it worked out ok. I'm awed by you. Much thanks and appreciation.