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Noah walked in to Captain Arzie's office, feeling strung out and disillusioned by the farce of a trial he'd just been subjected to. He waited until Arzie noticed him and merely handed his boss a PADD.
"I need to take some leave, Captain," Noah said preemptively.
"After this…trial…I need some time to put things into their proper perspective. And everything for The Dive Shack has been delivered and needs to be put into order," Noah explained.
Scrolling through the PADD, Arzie frowned. ‘Hien, this has been an unfortunate affair all around. I don’t know what JAG thought they were doing coming out here and disrupting things.’ Handing Noah back the PADD, Arzie replied, ‘Of course you have approval. There’s no question about that. You’ve been working way too hard over the past two years. I’m surprised you haven’t taken leave sooner.’
Noah was not surprised that Arzie had that kind of information at his fingertips. Noah had learned Arzie’s thoroughness was an extension of his commitment to professionalism.
“I’m glad to hear that, boss,” Noah said, sighing wearily.
“In the interests of full disclosure, this” he held up another PADD, “contains a letter resigning my commission. I...need to...get my head right; this farce I went through shook my faith in Starfleet,” Noah explained.
Arzie eyed his First Officer without moving his head. He arched an eyebrow. ‘I trust it’s not something you’re asking me to process, Noah.’ He responded, adding, ‘I don’t think I could get an adequate replacement, especially not one who could keep Lexington maintained as well as handling all the administrivia I don’t want to deal with.’
“I can’t honestly answer that question right now, Captain. I figure the best thing for me to do is to go put The Dive Shack together and see where my head is then,” Noah began. He paused, let out a weary sigh and paused another heartbeat before speaking.
“This whole affair has tainted my view of Starfleet. If they would waste the time, energy and resources to conduct...that...thing,” he said, waving his hand in the general direction of the Main Building which contained the interrogation rooms, “then what happens when we really need Starfleet to back us up out here?”
Noah hung his head for a moment. He was glad he could talk about this with Arzie, but he was also ashamed at his own naivety.
Arzie just sat. He really didn’t know what to say. It was ridiculous for Starfleet to have a whole trial out here, where it would take eight weeks for the Judge, Prosecutor, and Defense to get out here, when a simple investigation from Starbase ### would’ve easily cleared him of any wrong-doing.
‘I don’t know what to tell you, Noah.’ Arzie said finally. ‘The bureaucratic mentality is the only constant in the universe. I’d like to say that I knew there was some method to their madness, but I honestly have no clue.’ He got up and headed for the Replicator. ‘Get you something?’
Noah nodded and chuckled mirthlessly. Arzie, as was his usual manner, was right.
“Uh, how about a Andorian ale,” he replied.
Ordering himself a glass of Romulan wine and an Andorian ale, he walked over to his First Officer, handed him the low squat tumbler and leaned against the desk. ‘I really can’t answer your question. You know full well I don’t have the same driving belief and idealism in Starfleet that most officers have. I’m just here for the free research. I never expected to get be /here/.’
The Catullan sighed, running his hand through hus cyan hair. ‘Of course. Take what you need, but not what you can’t afford to, eh? The Almighty doesn’t give us credit for the easy stuff. You know the administration of this outpost better than anyone else. It’d be foolish if I let you go without so much as a howdoyoudo -- without at least trying to work together. I need the person I can trust most administering the Outpost. There’s been no one else in the Fleet aside from you. If you decide you’d rather be someplace else, I’ll understand. Just. . . don’t take too long to decide, eh?’
Noah took a long pull at the ale and fought off the memories it’s flavor recalled.
“I’ve requested a month’s worth of leave but I’ll be available if you need me,” Noah said over the rim of his glass.
Arzie nodded. ‘Sounds fine to me.’ He said, taking a sip. ‘Good luck, Commander. I hope you’re able to work everything out.’ He added, extending his hand for a firm handshake.
Noah stood, shook the offered hand and set the now empty glass on the edge of Captain Arzie’s desk. He was already kilometers away. He would vaguely recall, when he thought about it later, leaving through Ops, only stopping to make sure Lt. Guptha knew how to reach him.
Twenty minutes after saying good-bye to Arzie, Noah was out the door to his quarters with his largest bergen on his back. He’d packed it as soon as the delivery had confirmed; tools, camping gear, climbing gear...he had everything he needed. Noah set out and, for once, didn’t look back.