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Ten minutes later back on the ship, Lt. Dylan stood outside the briefing room awaiting his fate. The doors opened and Lt. Jose Tyler stepped out along with Rowe. Tyler and Rowe were appetizers. Dylan was going to be the main course, desert and coffee.

“Good luck in there, Rick,” said Tyler as he walked away.

“Dylan, get in here,” Captain Pike demanded.

Dylan walked into the briefing room to face his Board of Inquiry, Captain Pike and the calm, cool and sometimes intimidating Number One. Dylan stopped in front of the desk where Pike was sitting and snapped to attention. Dylan's uniform was ripped, sliced and a little blood spattered from the fight. Dylan was battered, bruised and exhausted. He tried to think of more pleasant things of the evening like the Orions and the incredibly stunning Dr. West. There was no avoiding the storm called hurricane Pike that was about to blow in with full force.

Dylan had no time to shower and get himself more presentable. Number One was to Pike's left and slightly behind him. Captain Pike looked over the reports of the incident from Star base Security. Captain Pike looked up at Dylan. Pike leered at Dylan with his cold blue eyes. Dylan felt like those eyes could cut through his soul like a phaser beam. After what seemed like an eternity, Captain Pike rose and spoke. This was the calm before the storm.

“How are your injuries,” asked Pike.

“I'll live sir,” replied Dylan.

“You may not live through what I am about to do to you. Mister, just what the hell were you thinking,” Pike wasn't so much asking but shouting.

“I don't appreciate my officers starting riots, Mister Dylan. Especially at one of our own Star Bases! I hope I will be able to sit down because the base commander spent twenty minutes chewing my ass off! He said I can not maintain discipline of my crew and accused me of losing control of my officers! He thinks I have a ship load of loose cannons!”

Pike had to pause for a moment to catch his breath.

“You know Dylan,” Pike continued. “I could understand if this was some dive on a remote outpost at the ass end of space. I could overlook that one. But no, you had pick a fight at a Star Base with so much polished brass down there you need sunglasses! This is not how my officers conduct themselves! There were several injuries to customers, not mention the property damage to the bar, which by the way, was completely destroyed!”

All Dylan could do was stand there and take it. Pike was right, the base security reports were right and there were fifty people at the bar who saw Dylan throw the first punch. Pike circled around the desk, then sat down and cooled off for a minute. Dylan stood there at attention like a statue just like he was back in basic training at the academy. The way Pike was yelling at him, he couldn't help but think that Pike was a drill instructor at one point. It was not a good cop bad cop routine, Number One just remained indifferent.

Pike was tired and exhausted from a mission that while successful did not go well. He was on a short fuse to begin with and the last thing in the world he needed was Starfleet superiors coming down on him.

“All right, Lt,” said Number One. “Let's hear your side of it.”

“Tyler, Rowe and I were having drinks,” reported Dylan. “An Inaurian approached us and attempted to sell us sex with three Orion women. We refused, the Inaurian kept insisting. We kept refusing. He kept trying to talk us into the deal. We tried to get rid of him. He grew angry and was going to take it out one of the girls. He grabbed her and shoved her to the floor.”

“And that's when all hell broke loose?” asked Pike.

“No sir,” added Dylan. “All hell broke loose after I hit the Inaurian.”

“Lieutenant, you are on very thin ice here,” Number One's tone was firm, firmer than it usually was.

“I know that, sir,” Dylan continued. “I accept responsibility for the entire incident. Tyler joined in the fight only after the Inaurian hit me. Rowe walked away at first, but came to help us out when she saw Tyler and I taking a beating. They did participate in the fight, but I was the one who started it. May I make a request, sir?”

“No. But go ahead anyway.”

“Captain, let Rowe and Tyler off this one. Or at least go easy on them. This incident was not their fault. As I just mentioned it was mine. Rowe and Tyler shouldn’t have to suffer for my bad judgment, sir.”

“Are you sincere about that?” Pike inquired.

“Absolutely sir.”

“I appreciate that, Dylan. You're in a lot of trouble, but you have integrity,” Pike offered. “I’d love to bust you in rank and leave you on the base, but you are a damn fine pilot and I need you at the helm.”

“Well at least your stories consistent and they all match with the base security report,” said Number One.

“Dylan, have you ever dealt with Inaurians before,” Pike seemed a little cooled off but still on edge.

“Tonight was the first time I have encountered them, sir.”

“The Inaurians love to provoke people and start things like this. I don't understand it. Maybe that's how they get their rocks off, I don't know. In the future, perhaps you had better steer clear of them. I'd also suggest a little research on their culture. You will have plenty of time to study.”

“Yes sir. What's the damage?”

“I'm not going to dock your liberty, Lord knows you earned that. Effective immediately, thirty hours confined to quarters and a double shift on bridge duty. You can use the rest of your liberty when you've done your time. Dismissed.”

Dylan nodded, did an about face and walked to the door.

“Dylan, wait a minute,” said Pike.

“Sir,” asked Dylan.

Pike closed a couple of folders. “Were the Orion girls hurt?”

“Not a hair on their pretty green heads, sir.” Dylan didn't offer that the Orions joined in the melee and seemed to enjoy it.

“Allright, mister,” Pike said barely smiling. “Get outa here.”

For the first time during this whole ordeal, Pike let out a smile. Dylan did not hang around. As Dylan was heading to his quarters, he passed Dr. Phillip Boyce who noticed the briefing room doors were still open. The doctor stepped inside. Pike look up from his material.

“What can I do for you Phil,” asked Pike.

“You can join your crew down on the base and relax,” replied Dr. Boyce.

“Come on, we have been through this,” Pike huffed.

“Chris, you are exhausted. That last mission was hell on everyone. You need a break as much as everyone else on this ship. We aren't scheduled to leave for another week, so you have the time. We
had a talk very much like this before the Talosian situation. Keep this pace up and you are going to crack and I may not be able to help you.”

“Doctor, I know my limits.”

“I don’t think you do, Chris. You have been beyond your limits for months.”

Number One stayed silent. She wanted no part of this and kept out of it. Pike rifled though his material, avoiding the doctor's prodding. The room was quiet for a few minutes as Dr. Boyce waited for a response that he would never get. The fact was that the doctor was right and Pike knew it.

“All right,” said Dr. Boyce. “I can see I need to get out the big guns. I need you to take seventy two hours off this ship.”

“Or what?” asked Pike.

“Or I will deem you unfit for command until I decide other wise. As the CMO I am the only one on the ship who can.”

“You wouldn't.”

“Oh yes I most definitely would. I have the certificate prepared and all I need to do is sign it.”

Pike gave up, sighing. “All right, doctor. Here are my terms. I will disappear from this ship for three days, when and only when the crew has had their rotation of leave, deal?”

“Sure,” replied Dr. Boyce.

“Captain, you really should get off the ship for a while,” said Number One.

“You are not helping, Number One.” retorted Pike. “You are in luck, Doctor. I have to go down to the base tomorrow and smooth things with over with the brass anyway.”

“That's not exactly what I had in mind,” replied Boyce.
“But it’s a start. Perhaps a case of Romulan Ale will help.”

Dylan entered his quarters. He took off his torn uniform shirt, throwing it across a chair. Dylan thought Pike's choice of discipline was interesting. The ship wasn’t going anywhere for two weeks and yet he is stuck in his quarters for thirty hours. Still, it was better than the brig or manually mopping the hangar deck.

Dylan was exhausted from the fight and his injuries and the butt chewing that Pike gave him. If Dylan had to do it over again, he would not have changed anything. Dylan stretched out on his bed and thought he might catch up on some reading while he was in hack.

Dylan had to laugh. He had met three very sexy Orion women and one very attractive doctor in one evening, and here he was stuck on the ship. On the positive side Dylan would see that cute doctor in a couple of days.

“Why the hell do you do this to yourself, Dylan,” he asked himself.

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