Author: CF Vici PM
Capt. Hudson said there would be consequences for Lt. O'Neill's actions and he wasn't kidding. But how long would it last? Third season. Canon. One-shot. *COMPLETE*Rated: Fiction T - English - Sci-Fi/Drama - Words: 1,671 - Reviews: 12 - Favs: 5 - Follows: 1 - Published: 01-29-12 - Status: Complete - id: 7787115
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A/N: This is something that has been festering in my head for a while. I just needed to get it out. Totally unrelated to every other story I've done. This is strictly canon, at least as canon as possible considering it's set directly after the last episode, "Weapons of War". This is also probably a record for me as it's uncharacteristically short and I have nothing else planned to follow it.
It had been over a month since Lt. Tim O'Neill had been under disciplinary action for trying to protect a cyber "girlfriend" who'd turned out to be a Chaodai defector. Bad enough the girl, Lieutenant Commander Kimura, was now on seaQuest and outranked him. She'd tried to make light of the way she'd played with his emotions and preyed on his sympathy. She'd ridiculed him for daring to believe her lies, like it was his fault he was so easily manipulated. Then, after he saved her life, she apologized. Right. Like that fixed everything. He could follow her orders and he could be civil enough to live on a sub with her, but he avoided her as much as humanly possible.
Captain Hudson had made avoiding her easier, although Tim was sure that hadn't been his primary goal. The fact Tim had preserved her valuable inside knowledge of the Chaodai might have mitigated some of the captain's ire, but it certainly didn't seem like it had lessened the penalty.
Tim was restricted to his quarters except when he was on duty or performing some form of dirty chore. And Captain Hudson had a list of dirty chores deeper than the Tonga Trench. Tim had cleaned every toilet on seaQuest, twelve times over. He mopped floors until Dagwood started feeling like he was being punished and begged the captain to let him have his job back. In the galley, Tim had washed dishes, peeled potatoes, scrubbed sooty pots, and dealt with all the garbage. All over seaQuest, he'd done parts inventory, run monotonous system scans, and typed up more tedious paperwork than any single person usually did in a year.
But he kept his mouth shut. Kimura had been his outlet before all this, but whining to her and thinking she cared had been his downfall.
He could have unloaded on Lucas a little. He was allowed fifteen minutes per meal in the mess, but he didn't want what little time he had with his friends to be spent complaining. They all had their own problems and didn't need to hear about his.
Darwin would have listened, but Tim wouldn't defy the captain's orders one iota even if he'd been positive he wouldn't get caught. It was somewhat liberating to just accept all the consequences heaped upon him, no matter how ridiculous or unjust they might be.
Finally, after a rather routine night watch, Hudson summoned Tim to his quarters. Maybe this is finally it. He'd endure another scathing lecture, but then he'd be done and he could start to put his life back together. Then again, Hudson's zeal for discipline was nearly insatiable and this could merely be another one of his gloating sessions where he'd end up with another list of dirty chores.
Tim saluted and maintained an extremely stiff attention thereafter.
"How long have you been under disciplinary action, Lieutenant?" Hudson barked from behind his desk.
Forty-four days, eleven hours, and some odd minutes. "About six weeks, sir."
"Had enough yet?"
Tim wanted to say yes. Every nerve and fiber wanted to scream it and add it had been enough four weeks ago. But something inside took over and blurted out, "That depends, sir."
Hudson stood and walked around the desk until his eyes were even with Tim's. Tim hated having this man in his face, but he put Herculean effort into not letting it show. He suppressed the urge to gulp and stared straight forward.
"Depends on what, Lieutenant?"
"Permission to speak freely, sir?" He kept even a hint of tremor out of his voice.
"Granted." Hudson crossed his arms over his chest.
"It depends on whether you consider me disciplined enough to have earned your respect." There. He said it, and by golly, it felt good.
The captain said nothing for a long moment and then, "What makes you think I don't respect you?"
"You've never liked any of the officers who came with seaQuest from whatever time-warp hellhole we fell out of." Tim drew a quick breath. In for a penny, in for a pound. "You've physically thrown me out of my station because I didn't react fast enough for you, you've yelled at me for circumstances beyond my control, and you only didn't send me to the brig six weeks ago because you needed someone to translate during a crisis. Now you have Lieutenant Commander Kimura. She speaks almost as many languages as I. If more discipline will correct my flaws, then bring it on. If no amount of discipline will make me meet your standards, then accept my resignation or transfer me off of seaQuest." His heart pounded in his ears. He tried to calm himself with deep breaths.
"I apologize for throwing you out of your station. That was out of line."
Tim couldn't help blinking in surprise. Did he really just hear that? Dammit, I'm dreaming again. These eighteen-hour work days were wearing on him badly. He hoped beyond hope he hadn't fallen asleep on duty. No longer did he have Miguel to make sure he didn't get into trouble for something like that. He dug his fingernails into his palms in an attempt to wake up. He felt the pain, but the captain didn't disappear.
Hudson was still staring in his face, watching him expectantly and waiting for a response.
Tim cleared his throat. "Apology accepted, sir, but that doesn't change anything."
Hudson's lips curled. Was that a ghost of a smile? "You've earned my respect, Lieutenant. At ease."
Tim relaxed his stance, but he still wasn't convinced he wasn't dreaming. What had possessed him to say all this?
"For the record, you're right. I wasn't happy to get saddled with a bunch of soft, cruise-ship princesses who'd been out of touch for ten years. You all signed on when seaQuest was a research vessel in a world mostly at peace. I deliberately acted like an ass to give you all a target for your frustration, but it appears I've gone overboard and been even more of an ass than necessary."
Tim wanted to shout YES, but he refrained, nodding ever-so-slightly instead.
"I'm never going to be Bridger and I'm not going to try. The UEO could use him right now, and he's gone off to play Grandpa. That's his business. I can't change it and I probably wouldn't even if I could. He's the only one with any greater claim on this boat than I have and I want her."
Tim had to grant the man was honest. He did have quite a passion for the sub, despite her age and mysterious past.
"But I'll tell you something else, Lieutenant, and I'm going to ask you to keep this to yourself. As little as I liked getting stuck with you and Ford and Henderson, that's nothing compared to how much I hate being shafted with Kimura. She used you and me and the whole damned UEO and I wouldn't put it past her to use us all again. I don't trust her for one bloody second."
Hudson clenched his fists a couple of times and took a deep breath before he continued. "I had nothing to do with the rank they let her keep or the position they gave her on this boat. If it were up to me, I'd drop her off at the next UEO consulate and be done with her. You're a valuable officer and I respect you for a lot of reasons, but probably the biggest reason I respect you is you're not allowing Kimura to 'fool you twice'. I can't claim I'm always objective when it comes to women…" He trailed off, appearing to be deep in thought.
Tim had heard the scuttlebutt about his ex-wife and it did seem like she could push his buttons better than anyone else, with the possible exception of the now-deceased Lieutenant Fredricks, but the captain didn't often admit to any weakness. Maybe he'd been dipping into the liquor locker or something. When Hudson's hand arrived on Tim's shoulder, it confirmed his suspicions. I'm not asleep. The captain's drunk.
Yet, there was no hint of slur or diminished mental capacity when he spoke. "I'm not going to butt into your personal life as long as it doesn't affect my boat, but I highly recommend you stand your ground with that particular woman."
Tim nodded. "Agreed, sir."
"You've fulfilled all your disciplinary action. My official report will say you had my permission to take that shuttle because I recognized Kimura for what she was and I suspected she was defecting."
Hudson was going to lie for him? It did make the captain look smart to have intuited such a thing. For some reason, all the brass though Kimura was a godsend, so this lie would benefit the captain just as much, if not more, than it benefited Tim. Still, it was an unwarranted favor. "Thank you, sir," he said with genuine feeling.
"You come to me next time," Hudson replied with just as much feeling. "I'm not as big an ass as I pretend to be."