Returning to the bridge after her quick run to the transporter room, Billi stood at SCI II, configured for Intel work, which was desperately needed with their current location. She waited patiently for the Executive Officer to return to the bridge.
Cassandra stepped out of the turbolift and waved off the announcement of her presence on the Bridge. "OK. I want eyes and ears on the Away Team at all times," she said, looking around at everyone. "I also want our long range sensors stretched as far as they can stretch. I don't want any surprises." She looked over at ENS Billi and motioned to her. "Ensign...join me," she said and headed into the Ready Room.
Not expecting that, the hard nose order to accompany the XO, Billi felt a twinge of nervousness.
Once the ensign had entered the room, Cassandra pressed the button on the Admiral's desk and the door closed between the Bridge and the Ready Room. Cassandra sat down in one of the chairs in front of the desk and motioned to the other. "Have a seat, Ensign," she said.
Billi took the other chair and angled her torso toward the Commander.
"Are you going to be able to keep your mind on the task at hand?" Cassandra asked. "Or are you going to be distracted by your girlfriend....Taavis...being on the surface?" she added to her question. After seeing the public display of affection in the transporter room she worried that the girl wouldn't be able to concentrate if she was worried about her girlfriend.
Billi's anger rose up causing her to give direct, clipped responses. "How I choose to do things is on me, a part of who I am. Just because you don't understand it, the why and how, is no reason to belittle me with baseless accusations, Commander." She kept her eyes locked on the XO's.
Cassandra was taken by surprise with the ensign's reaction. She held her hands up and said, "whoa, there, Ensign. Slow your roll. No one has accused you of anything...baseless or otherwise. I saw your PDA with Lt. Taavis and figured you two were in a relationship...which I don't care about one way or the other. What I am concerned with is whether or not you worrying about her safety is going to distract you when I need everyone to be on top of their game since the Admiral's safety is at stake. That is my number one priority. By your over reaction I am thinking you will not be able to contain your emotions and should be replaced on the Bridge during this mission."
"You have some nerve, Commander." Billi would not relent. "This reaction is all about your approach to me and some absurd belief you have about things that aren't even true. As for the Admiral, he is just that, an admiral. Whoopdee-friggin-doo. He still has single ship command, which essentially makes him just another CO in charge of a ship, no better than any number of others who have the title 'captain' bestowed upon them, no matter their bloody rank!"
Cassandra bristled and sat up, opening her mouth to speak.
Billi took a few breaths. "I am NOT in a relationship with Taavis. However, in Intel, we are taught to always hide our true intentions behind a familiar facade. I did that with Taavis, by touching her in a way that said ORION. Again, it is expected of me with people's ignorance, so I play the role to deflect attention away from what I am actually doing." Getting her tone back under control, not wanting to yell, Billi softened her eyes to try and get some understanding from the XO. "Look, did you even see where I touched Taavis? Behind her ears, along the neck behind the ears. So, not only do you have an Orion pheromone signature to track now, while it lasts, but I placed a radioactive isotope on her flesh, based on the Veridian patches. Extremely hard to detect when you don't know what to look for."
Standing up, looking down at Commander Quinn. "Apologies for the upset, but I was just trying to do my job in a way where no one else on the away team knew what was what. For safety reasons. If they get interrogated then they can honestly show that they had no clue, in the event that the isotope is found. Hell, even if it is all Starfleet has to claim is tracking for the safety of crew. Right?" She waited to see where this would go.
Cassandra slowly stood so she was face to face with Billi. "You could have lead with that, ensign," she said, evenly, without raising her voice but keeping a stern look on her face. She didn't realize it but she was evolving from the head busting Chief of Security to a more subdued Executive Officer. "I am going to ignore your insubordination and as to the Admiral being just another CO....whatever his rank...he is the CO of this ship and is still my priority. That's my job. Yours is to help me do my job. And I would appreciate it if you would do that without giving me attitude every time we have a discussion." She hooked her thumbs on her belt buckle and said, "like I said....I am going to let it slide this time. But next time you go on report. Dismissed."
Billi recognised in herself, her stance and poise, as defending herself against another powerful female. Orion instinct, which she immediately reined in. "Apologies, Commander. Truly. I would have explained it first had you not led with libido over lives. It stoked a fire, a part of me I wish people would let lie. I will accept any disciplinary action you deem fit. Good day." Having been dismissed, Billi walked back out to her post on the bridge.
Cassandra watched the young Orion leave and took a deep breath before she followed.
CDR Cassandra Quinn