Mole Hunt - Johnson/Matsumura

Duty and Personal Logs from the Phoenix Crew.

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Mole Hunt - Johnson/Matsumura

Postby Red » Mon May 15, 2006 12:01 am

Mole Hunt
Joint Log: CDR Dwayne Johnson and LCDR Charlotte Matsumura
***

Charlotte stayed at the annual Alexander ball long enough after fueling rumors to be pulled into one dance with Mal before she started to depart. Admiral Malcolm Alexander escorted her to the door and, from a distance, could be seen giving her hand a final squeeze before she slipped out and he closed the door behind her. Charlotte tucked her purse under her arm and moved toward her air-car.

Dwayne transported down to the surface, then stood within the shadows of a distant brick wall as he watched Charlotte depart the house. He touched the rise behind his ear and spoke softly. "Stand by." His eyes were locked on Charlotte, but the glance did travel toward the house and rest there until the Admiral turned and disappeared from view. Now was the moment. The tricorder stated the presence of minimal guard and there was no one that would notice his approach visually. He was sure that they perhaps noticed his transport in, but why hadn't they stopped him yet. There should've been some sort of resistance as he walked from the cover then out into the open. He stood there in the moonlight where Charlotte could plainly see him.

She reached for the door on her air-car and stopped upon the sudden obvious appearance of Dwayne. Her expression froze as she wondered just how much of her behavior that evening the Commander saw. "Commander," she said with a steady voice and nod. "If you're looking for Admiral Alexander, now would be a bad time for a barroom brawl." There was a cold nature to her eyes as she opened the door and climbed inside. The purse was tossed to the passenger side of the modern-day convertible air-car.

Dwayne looked toward the house then stared for a moment as if he gave the brawl a bit of consideration. Alexander was going nowhere for now, but he was sure that the admiral knew he was there.

Johnson was dressed in Starfleet Intelligence uniform with sidearm against his right thigh. The strap around said thigh held the pistol in place as he walked almost casually toward the air-car. When he arrived he opened the car door, grabbed her purse and tossed it to the cargo area behind seats. He sat in the car and closed the door. Glancing toward Charlotte for only a moment he then turned and stared straight ahead. "Drive!"

Her jaw set, Charlotte powered up the engine, and pulled down the driveway. "I suppose it would be too simple for you to explain what this is all about?" Her gaze drifted toward the weapon on his thigh, and at the uniform he was wearing.

"Did you have a good time with the admiral? Been to see your mother yet?" The way he spoke made it obvious he already knew the answers to the questions he asked. Dwayne slouched a bit in the car seat. He even lifted a boot and planted the sole of it against the dashboard for no more apparent reason than pure cockiness. It made the sidearm on his thigh more accessible if needed and his seated form more secure in place. "How is she?"

Aware exactly of what he was doing, Charlotte kept her eyes straight forward, though they visibly narrowed. "My mother is recovering well. There's even the chance that she'll be able to walk again in a year." Her knuckles were white as she gripped the controls. "As for my evening with the admiral, why don't you tell me?"

He glanced to her for only a moment, before his stare returned straight ahead. He rested his head against the headrest as his left hand reached into the pocket of his uniform slacks. A stick of gum was removed and odd enough he opened the gum with just the use of his singular hand. He pushed the bare stick of gum into his mouth and tossed the wrapper upward to get caught in the wind that whipped around them. "I wouldn't know, actually. None would know that but you and the Admiral -- and maybe a few very rich, very powerful blue bloods. Any idea why that is?" He chewed the gum slowly while eyes were redirected to settle on the profiled view Charlotte presented as she drove.

Charlotte cut him a sidelong glare. "Are you jealous because you weren't invited, Commander? I didn't think this was your type of little soiree." Her voice was as cold as her glare, and she didn't give an inch. A muscle in her jaw ticked slightly as she maneuvered the car around the next right.

"Jealous? Naw ... I don't do admirals or their balls." A slow crooked grin formed within his expression as he kept eyes on her to await a reaction. "I didn't think you did either, but I've been wrong before."

She cocked her head to the side and almost inwardly growled, before she slammed the air-car to a halt and immediately powered down the engine. "Suppose you stop beating around the bush ... Commander ... and tell me why the frak you're here. She said as she turned her expression fully onto him. "Because the last time I checked? Who I am or am not doing was none of your concern."

He slowly chewed the gum after the lurch forward when the car was slammed to a stop. His leg tensed and foot on the dashboard kept him more or less safely within the seat. Dwayne breathed in deeply and right hand slipped between his thigh and the door, which signaled the slow sound of a whine, akin to camera flash charging. His eyes never faltered from her and that crooked grin remained in place even amidst the jostled sudden stop. The only change in his expression was one she'd seen before on duty and in various missions as he started to speak.

"I'm here, because you were there when Nyles and I interrogated the prisoner; when you arrived on the bridge you sent an encrypted message; and then, before going to see your near-crippled mother in the hospital, you ventured to see that old 'bastahd' Alexander -- an Admiral with the tools to make what happened happen .... and who else is there? People with big business connections -- any of which could possibly have ties with Joe ... and to top it all off ... you tried to hide it. How's that for starters?" He started to chew the gum again full on while a crooked grin blossomed into bright broad smile. The brow raised, as if to say silently, "your turn."

"That's what this is all about? I didn't hop to and play a good little grieving daughter and rush over to see my mother in a hospital bed? A bed I put her in? Or because I sent a message to the only person I can trust right now because most of my team has their heads so far up their arses, they couldn't see daylight if they tried?

"Do you realize how much of a loose cannon you are right now, Commander? You and Nyles almost killed that man -- almost ruined any chance we had of getting information out of him. And you frakking think I am the mole? How about looking in the mirror! Kill the informant, we get nothing. Try that one on for size, gaijin." Her teeth were clenched for that last word, and her muscles were wound tight as a spring.

"You didn't put her in that bed! That gaijin, as you put it, Alexander did. It was his department, his office that slipped and tripped. You're smoozing up to ..." He inhaled deep to keep the lid on then looked away from her for a moment. Only after the slow inhale and regained composure did he look back toward her directly and rephrased his words. "You're trusting the one responsible. How do you know he isn't the leak? Sure you grew up around him. Sure your dad worked with him. Sure he's kinda cute in that old man-smell way, but what do you really know about him? He has more secrets than Pierre has ways of surrendering. Face it! You're trusting someone you don't know frak about and leaving your team to drift in the wind. If you would take the time to ..." Another slow inhale and exhale as he suddenly veered the conversation down a different road. "I'm not a loose cannon. Like right now. I'm doing my job and I'm getting results."

Dwayne shook his head and looked from her toward the console display that offered a dim blue glow to their features. The thoughts in his mind ranged from hero worship to school girl crush. "You're the one slipping. You look more guilty than that little shick, Nyles, right now and that's bad."

Charlotte offered a strange sort of chuckle as she shook her head. "You think that I'm trusting the wrong person? You think that I would let myself ... be deceived..." She stopped and shook her head again in disbelief. "No, I'm not infallible, but I'm not wrong about him, Commander. And no, I don't know everything there is to know about him...but Papa does. And Papa trusts him. I trust him. More than I do someone who sits in my car and tells me that I can't do my job -- more than I trust someone who is currently sitting in my car, telling me I can't do my job ... Someone who, rather than asking me, has trailed me all night. I came to Malcolm because he asked me to. Because he knows the office isn't safe any more." She paused a beat. "Because I know he feels as guilty as I do."

He bit at the inside corner of his bottom lip and lifted chin to glance over at her. Eyes issued a series of blinks, before he nodded and locked stare. "Yeah! Papa trusts Malcolm, because he worked with him as a team. The admiral -- no, wait - Malcolm watched Papas back and Papa watched Malcolm's. Whose back are you watching? What team are you on? I know whose back I'm watching and I know what team I'm on. The Admiralty is connected to this in some way. We know that for sure and Malcolm ... is an ... admiral, therefore, until proven innocent, a top suspect. He has the tools at his disposal and several motives. People change, Wifey. How do you know for sure he hasn't?"

Charlotte resisted the urge to kick him out of the car. To do so would prove only one thing: that he could get to her. And it would do little in convincing him that Mal -- Admiral Alexander -- was trustworthy. She lifted her chin "Name one."

"Name one what?" A bit of confusion blanketed his face.

"You're so smart, you've got the whole bloody game figured out, name one bloody reason why a man like Admiral Alexander would turn his back on his friends, and beat the bloody hell out of his best friend's wife?" she asked, her voice escalating only slightly in pitch.

"Revenge. We don't know how every mission went down. We don't know everything he's lost. Like I said before ... we don't know anything more than files about Malcolm. Your Papa has a lot right now that Malcolm doesn't have and many men would be jealous of that. And ... it's something your Papa was able to have despite the Intelligence career.

"Then there's you: What better way to get you in close? He knows you don't have much faith in your team. He knows that you feel you're above us and he knows if push comes to shove, with your father concerned mainly with your mother, who would you go to? What better way to stay onestep ahead if he or one of his comrades is dirty. Admirals have a bad habit of taking care of their own. He could be completely innocent or he could be using you. Meetings away from the office ... jammed rendezvous ... even if he is innocent you know this isn't right. He's not one of us. He was here ... safe ... while we were pounding the ground." Dwayne looked away and then back to her as if an idea suddenly popped into his head. "Odd that his house is still in one piece. If I remember right, your fathers office was hit. Why is Malcolm so exempt? He is like family isn't he?"

"You think I haven't thought of that -- all of it? That my timing -- " Lottie stopped and shook her head. "You're right, jammed rendezvous at the admiral's mansion are hardly standard operating procedure. But where else is he going to go where he feels secure? That bomb did more than just physical damage. It taught us that we are all vulnerable, Dwayne. All of us. Even him. And, whether you know it or not, he is one of us -- has been in our shoes. Just because you've got issues with authority figures does not mean you should go looking for scapegoats."

She focused her glare back on him. "And what about our informant? What makes you think you aren't being played, hmm? Joe has inside information. He knows about your little ... problem. What information does his stooge leak? Two words: Admiral and Dremel. Two words, taken totally out of context. In your mind, you've already connected the lines. But the truth is, regardless of whatever plot you have brewing in your head, we have no connection to any of our admiralty, nor any frakking clue what 'Dremel' means in this context. But what if that's what Joe was counting on? What if he was planning on setting us up to tear each other apart? The pendulum swings both ways, Commander."

He sighed and finally lifted his right hand to rest palm on the front of his thigh. An indication that killing her was dropped down from the surface of his possible actions within the meeting. "He is not one of us. Ask Pierre, Shawn, Nyles, Luce ... if he's one of us. And please! Stop making this about me and my issues! Dammit, I'm not perfect; I've never said I am. I've never tried to be. I'm not looking for scapegoats and I'm not a loose cannon. If I was... I would've kicked that door in and blasted him where his smug ass stood. Malcolm -- " Charlotte slipped in the name used and he was making damn sure she knew he was aware of the implication. " -- knew I was out there and he's letting this happen. Ask yourself why?"

He looked from her and toward the darkness ahead of them barely lit by still burning headlights. "Charlotte, I am doing my damned job. I'm following leads, evidence, officers operating out of standard procedure. If this is a setup, Joe has nothing, the stooge gained nothing." He looked slowly over toward her. The look to his eyes indicated unspoken seriousness. "It's why I came here alone. I needed to know where you stood and what team you're on. If you were on the wrong team you were dead. You're not on the wrong team ... you're confused." Dwayne looked from her and slowly shook his head. An arm lifted and elbow was propped on the door edge. His chin rested against open palm as he gazed out to the black that surrounded the car.

A long moment of silence followed, and Charlotte swallowed. He was right -- she was confused, but not over Mal's alliances. She knew where his stood, even if Dwayne didn't; she knew that the man who had been there for her every day of her life thus far would not turn against her, against the Federation. She was more confused about the few minutes on the balcony ... and the abject disappointment she now felt, knowing that Dwayne thought so little of her that she would jeopardize her team and her own life. "Like it or not, Commander, this does go back to your issues. And, whether I like it or not, I'm not going to be able to convince you of Admiral Alexander's innocence. Of Malcolm's innocence ... any more than you'll ever be able to convince me that he would turn on the Federation -- on me."

"I'm not as connected as you to Malcolm. I doubt if I'll ever be. I trust one thing the USS Phoenix and its team -- a team Malcolm is not a part of. Malcolm is a security risk until he is proven innocent and the only way we'll find that out is if we work together. You ..." He swallowed the lump in his throat and clenched his jaw, because he hated to pull the rank. His eyes shifted over toward her as he finished the statement that dangled. " ... uh ... You operate out of standard procedure again and you won't be part of that team. I don't give a frak if your connection is with the President himself. When it comes to your team, you'll operate as part of it. Malcolm wants in ... he'll go through the proper channels and if ... IF ... I have to go to the Captain with this ... I'm sure she'll agree. If I have to do this right ... so will you."

"That, Commander, is the smartest damned idea you've had all night. There is no smile across her lips, but her grip on the controls releases. You're right -- I have access. I have access that can eliminate a suspect off your list. If we do this right, I'll cooperate. You let your ... issues ... get in the way, and I'll put in for reassignment."

"Issues? Heh! You talk like Malcolm at times ... you're too young to sound like that." He sighed and shook his head slowly once. "Anyway ... You don't know me well enough to know my issues. Don't assume you do." His eyes narrowed a bit as they focused directly ahead. "You've never taken the time. What you see everyday is how I operate. It might not be pretty. It might not be clean and it might not be how Papa or Malcolm have done things, but it works. I take the team in. I do the job. I bring them all home." Dwayne swallowed and shifted eyes toward the left ... damned UK cars with the passenger seat on the wrong side. "Clear your eyes Charlotte."

"My eyes are clear, Commander." ... it's my heart that's a little befuddled at the moment, she thought. "Just make sure yours are."

"That ... that right there ..." Dwayne clenched teeth and shook his head while he growled inwardly. " ... for instance ... I am Dwayne Johnson. My job is... Commander. You serve with me everyday and we face life and death together, but you define me by my job. Frack! Forget I said anything. Let's just head to the city. I'm sure Malcolm is growing concerned. We both know he has eyes on."

Charlotte shook her head. "He's not watching me, Commander. You are." She frowned as she powered up the car, and maneuvered back into the mainlanes.

"Someone has to. We're a team ..." Dwayne said as he glanced over toward her then rolled eyes back directly forward. His foot lifted again and found it's home back pressed against the dashboard just in case she slammed on the brakes again. "You have so much damned confidence in that man. I hope he is innocent and doesn't let you down." Dwayne muttered something unintelligible under his breath and rested chin against knuckles as gaze remained on the road ahead.

Charlotte eyes remained forward and locked on the path ahead as a slight smile tugged at the corners of her lips. "Commander?"

He looked over toward her as if suddenly raised awake from a daydream or thoughts that distracted him for a moment. The Federation brow raised and right hand slipped down against outside of his right thigh to click the sidearm there. Powering it down. "Hmmm? Wha? Yeah?"

"Get your foot off my dashboard." She allowed a bit of the upper class accent to creep in, though this time it was intentional.

"Like you just can't replicate a new one." His face contorted in frustration and near disgust at her tone. "God ... " Muttered under breath. " .... Women." Dwayne raised his voice back to the normal level of conversation. "I have a secure beam out site ..." He revealed the tricorder and leaned toward Charlotte. The tricorder was held within her peripheral vision. " ... there. Can you drop me off there! Unless you want to do breakfast ... that is?" It wouldn't be Dwayne if he didn't flirt with her at least once.

Charlotte cut him a glare. "If we did breakfast, Commander, you'd be spending the night alone in my guest room."

"Now where is the fun in that?" He shrugged, before foot was dropped and corner of lip was bitten. "I think I'll take the invite though. So? Do you like waffles? Pancakes? No! I know! French Toast! A refined breakfast treat." He looked over toward her with slight smirk on his face. There was a satisfied glimmer to his eyes as he felt he had called her bluff.

"Actually ..." She started slowly. "I prefer waffles." Stick that in your 'refined' ear. "Thick, horrible Belgian waffles. With whipped cream and strawberries."

Dwayne looked over toward her. A fake look of shock on his face. "Oh ... my ... God! I think I'll faint!" His expression moved from playful to a far away stare as he thought about the waffles and sitting across the table from her. "A waffle eater ... with whip cream ... and ... straw...berries. Take me home!" He smirked and laid head back on the headrest ... eyes partially closed to a relaxed state. "I've got dreams waiting."

Charlotte gave a snort of ironic laughter. Under her breath, she muttered, "That makes one of us."
MCAPT Katja Romany
USS Daystrom
=/\=
LCDR Charlotte Matsumura
Starfleet Intelligence
USS Phoenix

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