Disclaimer: CBS/Paramount own Voyager and the characters established on the show. The story and original characters are mine. I'm not making any money from this.
Author's Note: This is a sequel to Reporting for Duty, my previous Naomi & Icheb story. This first installment is just my way of getting back into writing after my vacation. This is just a short little prologue for the upcoming story, which takes place immediately after the events in Reporting for Duty. Thanks for your patience!!!
After a pleasant dinner with Doctor Franklin, Icheb and Naomi adjourned to Icheb's quarters to discuss strategy for tomorrow's meeting with Captain Dax.
"Icheb, how much trouble do you think we are in?"
"I have no idea. I have never been the direct subject of Captain Dax's ire before. However, from my observation as well as stories I've heard, she can be quite acerbic on occasion."
"Do you think this will be such an occasion?"
They were sitting side by side on Icheb's couch and before he answered, he put his arm around Naomi and pulled her head onto his shoulder, "I'm afraid so."
"What are we going to do?"
"That depends. Mostly I think the Captain will be letting us know what we can and can't do, should and shouldn't do. Perhaps it would be best if I answer any direct questions from her."
"I suppose so, as long as she doesn't get the impression I have nothing to say about this."
"Well, that isn't the impression I am trying to convey. I just think since she has known me longer and I am the ranking officer, I should do most, not all, of the talking."
For the next hour, the two Starfleet officers speculated as to what the nature of the meeting would be, and how they would handle the eventualities they came up with.
When Naomi got back to her quarters, she wasn't surprised to see her roommate, Mary Melody waiting up for her.
Mary was positively smirking, "So, when's the wedding? Can I be a bridesmaid? That is, of course, assuming the Captain doesn't have you both shot at dawn."
"Lucky for me Starfleet frowns on summary executions."
Ezri sat in her ready room dreading 0800 hours. She had been in a state of agitation most of the previous evening. She couldn't decide if she had been duped by her first officer into bringing his girlfriend on her ship, or if the situation with Ensign Wildman was a new occurrence. Whichever was the case, something had to be done about it.
The door chime sounded, announcing the arrival of the happy couple, happy for now anyway. Ezri composed herself, squared her shoulders, put on her "Captain's face," and bade them enter.
"Please sit down," at this she gestured to the chairs facing her desk. Once they were seated, she continued, "First thing, officers in uniform do not hold hands in public."
As her opening shot hit them, Icheb and Naomi looked properly abashed while simultaneously replying, "Aye sir." They were well aware holding hands in public was inappropriate, but their hand holding display the previous evening was more a matter of expediency than a deliberate breech of protocol. The ploy had obviously worked since the Captain had already heard about it.
"Where shall I start? Do they still teach an Ethics and Officer Conduct class at the Academy? If so, did you both fail that class? From what I can tell you are both guilty of conduct unbecoming an officer, disregarding the rules regarding fraternization between superior officers and their subordinates, misuse of Starfleet property, specifically the Ruth Elder, getting an omnipotent being to arrange for you to spend time alone, and bad judgment all around. Also, Icheb I believe a case could be made against you for using undue influence with your superior officer in order to get your girlfriend posted on this ship."
"Yes sir, but we didn't get Q to do anything…"
"I don't care. Have you ever heard the phrase 'The appearance of impropriety'? This situation positively screams appearance of impropriety."
"Yes sir, I can see how one might see it that way, but really that isn't the case at all."
"What about the word appearance do you not understand? No matter what the case is or isn't, it appears as if I have been blindsided by two of my officers, most especially my first officer."
"Captain, let me assure you…"
"Right now, Icheb, your assurances aren't worth very much to me. The fact is you have both created a situation on this ship which has the entire crew gossiping like a group of teenage girls. I had been giving you the benefit of the doubt, knowing how rumors can sometimes have no basis in reality. However, that was before I arrived in the shuttle bay yesterday, deeply concerned about two members of my crew who had been missing for hours, I find said officers holding hands and looking like a couple of lovebirds.
"I assume you both realize pursuing this relationship will call for some ground rules?"
Icheb and Naomi again answered simultaneously, "Aye, sir."
"Good, let me reiterate, there will be no public displays of affection; no hand holding, hugging, kissing or the like, especially when in uniform, understood?"
"Yes, sir," Icheb and Naomi were getting into a smooth rhythm with their answers.
"You will never be assigned to an away mission together again. Any project on which Ensign Wildman works, she will report to Slor or someone else in Stellar Cartography. She will never report directly to you Icheb. Is that clear?"
"Good, now get out."