The next morning, Katie stood at her station on the bridge. She wiped her sweaty palms on the sides of her black trousers before stepping out to the front of the captain's chair.
"Sir," she said to a surprised Tigranian very formally. "May I speak to you in private?"
Tigranian exchanged side glances with Annabeth seated next to him.
"Of course, Katie," he said rising to his feet and motioning towards his ready room.
They stepped inside. Tigranian immediately took a seat at his desk, while Katie stiffly stood at attention in front of it.
"Relax, Lieutenant," he said motioning for her to stand easy. She placed her hands behind her back and stared straight at him.
"Permission to speak freely, Sir?" she said.
"As provost marshal of this ship and head of security, it is my duty to investigate any and all misconduct or violations of regulation to report to the proper authorities." She paused and took another deep breath. "Adultery is a crime under Article 134 of the Starfleet Code of Conduct. Now, you have the right not to answer the following the question and request appropriate legal counsel, but are you the father of Captain Geist's unborn child?"
Now, it was Tigranian's turn to take a deep breath.
"I waive my right to remain silent and answer 'yes' I am the father of that child. However," he said raising a hand before she had a chance to counter, "it was exactly as Alex described it last night. I provided a sample that Alex used to impregnate Captain Geist. There was no sexual contact or intercourse at any time. If you need to corroborate my statement, Alex can do so, however, her medical logs cannot be subpoenaed without a magistrate's written order."
Katie pursed her lips and nodded.
"I am aware of that, Sir. And I don't think that will be necessary. However, is Laria aware of this?"
Tigranian was taken aback by her question.
"Does that also fall under your purview as provost marshal, Lieutenant Stone?" he asked somewhat defensively.
"No, Sir," she said straightening her back. "But she is my friend, and I'm not sure I could stand knowing something so significant about her husband and another woman."
Tigranian rubbed the sides of his mouth with his right hand.
"I'm sure she would appreciate that kind of loyalty, Katie," Tigranian replied, "but yes, she knows. She was right at my side during the whole procedure."
"Sir, I'm sorry," Katie looking down at his carpet. "It probably wasn't my place to…"
Tigranian held up his hand.
"It was exactly your place, Katie. It is your duty exactly to root out misconduct, especially among senior officers. Too often in a service as regimented as ours, higher ranks get away with terrible things because the people charged with doing the right thing turn a blind eye for fear of hurting their careers. What you just did took real courage, and I respect you for it."
"Thank you, Sir," she said raising her chin to look at him again. "That's…that's all I have, Sir." He nodded. She turned to leave, but he stopped her.
"Yes, Sir," she said turning back around.
"I would appreciate you keeping this information confidential. I don't want it getting around to the rest of the crew unless Annabeth and Alex feel comfortable revealing it."
"I understand, Sir," she said softly. "Consider it forgotten."
"Thank you, Katie," he said nervously stroking his face. "I appreciate that."
"Sir, if my permission to speak freely has not expired?"
He stifled a laugh.
"Of course not. Go ahead."
"You speak a lot about how this crew is a family. Now, our first officer, chief medical officer, C-O, and science officer are expecting a baby together.
My grandmother used to tell me, 'It takes a village to raise a child.' I didn't understand it at the time, but I think I do now. Do you think it might be appropriate for the rest of us to know so we can help?"
Tigranian shut his eyes tightly before speaking.
"Katie, you might be more Klingon than you know."
"Sir?" she said confused.
"Let's just say my brother and you would probably get along quite nicely." He paused. "Though I might agree with you, it's not up to me in this case."
"I understand, Sir," she said slightly nodding her head.
"Nothing further, Lieutenant. Dismissed." He said turning his chair towards the starscape behind him.
Katie departed through the ready room doors and crossed the bridge towards her station. As she passed the first officer's chair, she clandestinely reached down, grabbed Annabeth's hand, and squeezed it tightly. Before Annabeth could react, Katie took her station like nothing was amiss.
Captain Geist looked over her shoulder in amazement, but didn't say anything. She didn't have to.