The captain stepped into his quarters and immediately unzipped his jacket. He stumbled over to the couch and collapsed on the floor. Laria was already at her desk studying technical schematics for her next scientific survey.
"That kind of day?" she said not looking up from her work.
"I really hate transitions," he muttered while staring up at the ceiling. "Twenty different admirals kept pinging my inbox all afternoon demanding to know the same pieces of information over and over again. 'Are you ready to fight tonight if necessary?' 'Did you conduct a good handover with the Nevksy?' 'What color of freakin' underwear do you have on?' I swear, no one in that monstrosity of a headquarters building in San Francisco talks to each other."
"If they did," Laria said making a few notes on a blank PADD, "there wouldn't need to be twenty of them. It's called 'job security,' Babe and you know it."
"You wear the rank of a lieutenant, but you speak with the wisdom of the ancients," Tigranian replied still staring upwards.
"It's kinda hard not to grow up fast on this ship. It has a captain that's never boring," Laria said flashing him the slightest of grins.
"Can I ask you a question?" Tigranian finally got out.
"Of course," Laria replied.
"And will you be honest with me?"
Tigranian's last statement caused her to pause and look over.
"Am I sexist?" he asked with a mix of meek regret and self-loathing curiosity.
"I'm guessing this had to do with that little closed door conversation you had with Annabeth earlier?" she asked. Tigranian tapped his nose.
"Remember, you promised to be honest."
Laria pondered her words carefully.
"Do you consider the women under your command to be different than the men under your command?" she asked.
"I acknowledge that there are some inherent differences between the biology of a male and a female. Don't ask me to explain Andorians though, I'm still trying to figure that four genders thing out."
"No one is talking about biology, Daniel," Laria replied shaking her head. "You have a penis. I don't. Big Deal. What I'm asking is 'Do you think you should treat the men and women under your command differently?'"
"Of course not," Tigranian replied. "And I never thought I did until today…"
"Some context here would be helpful," Laria said.
"But you acknowledge that this is a husband asking his wife for advice, not the ship's captain talking about the first officer to a lieutenant behind her back?"
"Well Duh, Daniel." Laria said rolling her eyes.
"I told Annabeth that she shouldn't go on the away mission to Subik IV. She flamed me and then said she was going anyways."
"Do you think that she's unqualified for the away mission?"
"Of course not."
"Then why did you say she shouldn't go?" Laria asked plainly. Tigranian sat upright and stared at her.
"Because she's eight months pregnant!? It's a biological fact. I think it's something we have to acknowledge and regulations back me up."
"If everyone on this ship followed regulations to the letter, you'd be a champion gladiator in the Romulan Empire right now instead of lying on your carpet complaining about bureaucracy."
Tigranian stared back at her.
"That's a low blow, L," he said.
"But a necessary one. I've never known you to be so concerned with regulations. Why now?"
"I don't know…" he muttered.
"Could it be that you think you're worried about the baby's safety more than the woman who's carrying it?" Laria asked.
Tigranian shook his head, but then paused.
"No…" he said trailing off.
"You didn't sound very sure of yourself there."
"It is true. I am very concerned about this baby, but I've always given Annabeth and Alex the freedom to make the choices that are their rights as parents."
"Until now…" Laria said turning back to her work. "I think that answers your question, Daniel."
"That is not fair," he said spurned.
"Do you know what's not fair, Daniel?" she said turning back to him. "Being in Starfleet is hard enough without having to deal with people always assuming you can't do your job because you're a woman. That's what's unfair."
"It's the 24th Century, Laria. Women wear admiral's uniforms and command starships."
"Oh, Baby…" she muttered shaking her head. "Annabeth is a captain. But she is also dealing with the fact that a good amount of the crew, benignly or malignantly, thinks she suddenly can't perform her duties because she happens to pregnant. What's worse is that her commander apparently is one of them. Don't make her choices any harder than they are."
Tigranian tried defending himself.
"If Phil or Scharr had a medical condition that put their abilities at risk, I would ask them to stand down as well."
"Would you ask them to stand down for a whole month? That's what you're asking Annabeth to do. How would you like it if your boss said, 'Just go sit in the corner and twiddle your thumbs. You're not important enough to matter?'"
"I didn't say anything like that!" Tigranian shouted back. "Annabeth is one of the most important people on this ship."
"Didn't you though? Put yourself in her shoes and then re-examine the conversation."
Tigranian thought silently for a moment and then collapsed back down on the carpet.
"I think you know what you need to do now," Laria said turning back to her notes.
"Qu'vath guy'cha baQa…" Tigranian muttered. His knew his wife was right.