Third Wheel - Johnson/Matsumura/Alexander

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Third Wheel - Johnson/Matsumura/Alexander

Postby Red » Mon May 15, 2006 12:06 am

Third Wheel

Joint Log: CDR Dwayne Johnson and LCDR Charlotte Matsumura
With an appearance by ADM Malcolm Alexander (NPC)
***

Malcolm Alexander stood on the doorstep to Charlotte's flat the following morning and shoved his hands down in his pockets. He shouldn't be here -- he knew that; he also knew the implications of this visit so early in the morning and so soon after the scene on the balcony. He simply wasn't prepared to admit to them. Not yet, and definitely when they were not appropriate for someone located squarely in Lottie's chain of command. Nevermind the reaction Ronin would have, he thought. Swallowing, he reached up and rang the doorchime.

He paused a moment, glancing out into the street. There was no movement yet, but did it matter if he was seen? No, not really. If nothing else, he did have a legitimate reason for seeking her out: he had more information on the investigation. That would be his excuse.

And when the door opened, he was suddenly glad he had an excuse.

Commander Dwayne Johnson stood in the doorway, stripped to the waist, clad in only a pair of flannel pajama bottoms. A smile curled across his lips. "If it isn't...Malcolm. Bit early for you isn't it, old chap? The mall walk doesn't start until eight."

Malcolm frowned briefly at the greeting. His stomach turned seeing Johnson answer the door this early, despite all the frustrations about him Charlotte had vented. The frown, however, disappeared as quickly as it appeared. He cleared his throat. "Is Charlotte home?"

Johnson leaned against the doorframe, one arm stretched overhead. "Maybe ... Maybe not. May I ask what this concerns ... Admiral?" He braced his hands against his lower back, and arched backward slightly. "Nevermind.. ungah.. ouch... Ohhh ... crook in the small of back... ever get one of those? Mmmph... damn."

He stepped aside to allow Alexander to enter. As he moved further into the flat, he twisted and stretched from side to side, swiveling his hips. "Charlotte! Wifey! We have company!" he called, then turned back to the admiral. "She'll be right out...Admiral...She's getting dressed."

"What? Who's there?"

Alexander looked up as Charlotte emerged from the kitchen, fully dressed. She coughed, her eyes widening as recognition settled. "Mal... I thought I was going to come see you."

The admiral passed a glance to Dwayne, arching his brow. "Yes, apparently."

Lottie looked between the two men. The tension between the two was palpable, and she rolled her eyes. "Oh, bloody hell. Will you two see who can piss the farthest already so we can get this over with?"

Dwayne gave the admiral a once over. A slight grin curved his lips as he swept past Charlotte and entered into the kitchen. "Oh I'd never compete with an Admiral. Out of my league, Wifey. So will you be having your coffee with Mal? Sugar and cream?" From the kitchen, he called, "Can I get you some coffee, Mal? I promise not to spit in it...sir!"

Taking the opportunity, Malcolm closed the gap between he and Charlotte. His voice was low when he spoke. "Keeping company?"

Matsumura chose not to acknowledge the innuendo behind his statement. "He stopped me as I left your party last night. It was late, I offered him the guest bed." She raised her eyes to meet his. "You know me better than that."

Malcolm hesitated a moment before nodding. His eyes still holding hers, he brushed a lock of dark hair from her forehead. "I do," he said. A gentle smile flickered across his lips. He then traced Johnson's path into the kitchen.

"Coffee, black, if you please, Mister Johnson," Charlotte heard him say. She swallowed, closing her eyes as she took a moment to slow her heart which was now pounding in her ears.

Entering the kitchen, she watched as Dwayne looked to the side as he poured three mugs of coffee. A devilishly crooked grin lit his features as he saw Alexander nearing, just within the edge of his peripheral vision.

"So, Admiral" -- Dwayne paused and turned toward him and flexed one of the bare pecs a few times, before fully handing him mug filled with the black coffee -"should I excuse myself and let you have a bit of privacy with Charlotte?" He then lifted his own coffee to his lips. Unlike Malcolm's, it was filled with cream and sugar until it was a light brown, resembling hot cocoa.

Aware of what Dwayne was attempting to do, Alexander took the coffee. "Thank you, Commander." He lowered himself into a seat at the table next to Charlotte. "Privacy? Ah, no... I don't believe that's necessary. What I have to say concerns you as well as it does Lott -- ah, Charlotte."

Beside him, Charlotte merely sipped her tea with a sigh. It was going to be safer to be a spectator. She did, however pass a blank glance to the cup of coffee Dwayne poured for her. It seemed he didn't know everything...

Dwayne sipped his coffee and curled lips inward, away from the steam radiating off the scalding liquid. He blew over the surface of drink and sipped once more. "I'm shocked." Stepping backward, he hopped up and took a seat on the counter. His feet dangled over the edge, rocking to and fro as they must have when he was a child. "So...do tell Mal! We're off the clock; informal works. Isn't that right, Lott?"

He took in her glance toward the fresh coffee cup. Inwardly, he shrugged. live and learn,he thought. His eyes shifted back to rest on Alexander -- eyes that narrowed a bit, before he looked down toward the mug in hand that warmed palms. He was grateful for the singular comfort amidst the tension.

The admiral pursed his lips, looking down at his own coffee cup, cursing himself for his near slip. It wasn't a secret that he'd known Charlotte her entire life, nor was it a secret they were friends. But Lottie was a name only her friends and close family used; one he had used for many years.

At length, Malcolm cleared his throat, and forced his mind onto the matter at hand. "Commander MacDonaugh contacted me this morning. Before she visits our friend, she wanted to have something to go in with, something to trip him up...and she might have found something."

Reaching into the vest pocket of his jacket, he withdrew a minicomp, and handed it to Dwayne. "It seems there was quite a bit of traffic between our logistics department and a particular Ferengi shipping company."

So many things ran through Dwayne's mind. He was such the natural smart ass, but there were times ... times like these he kept them under wraps. He lifted the mug in dual grip then sipped slow as if using the drink to aid in keeping him silent. Dwayne stared toward Alexander and leaned toward him from his perch on the counter ... nearly toppling off. Grabbed the minicomp and used thumb to start reading the information therein. A frown distorted his features. "Who's in charge of logistics?" He looked up from the screen and rested an accusatory glare on Alexander. "You?"

"Ultimately, the responsibility does fall to me... though the day-to-day operations are run by the department head. He provides the requests for proposals, selects the vendors; I sign off on the budgets."

"Yet something else slips by you right under your nose?" He shook his head before Alexander could answer. "Forget I said that." He rolled his eyes and motioned the minicomp toward Charlotte as if to pass it to her. "And who is this department head? Where is he? What team is assigned to bring him in?"

Mal straightened in his chair, frowning at Dwayne. "On the surface, there's nothing unusual about it. It wasn't until MacDonaugh began digging that she found unusual shipping volumes, and higher payments than required by the contract."

Beside him, Charlotte patted her hands and gestured for Dwayne to toss her the minicomp. She caught the minicomp, snatching it out of midair. Her eyes scanned the information as she scrolled through it.

Dwayne noticed the frown on Alexander's face, but his own face showed nothing as he tossed the comp to Charlotte and hopped down from the counter at the same time. His feet slapped the cool floor in the landing.

"The division officer is Lieutenant David Clancy," Alexander continued. "He's been on staff for over three years. Commander MacDonaugh and her team were assigned to bring him back to headquarters to... ask a few questions."

Johnson walked over and sat at the kitchen table with them, crossing his legs and sipping his coffee as he settled. The sweet concoction of coffee was nearly gone. "But? And?"

Malcolm shook his head. "There are no buts, no ands. He should be waiting at headquarters when we arrive."

His lips nearly pursed, Johnson narrowed his eyes as he fixed them on Alexander to gauge the reaction when he spoke. "At... headquarters?" he asked. "Mind if I assign one or two officers from the Phoenix team? No offense of course. You have to agree things at HQ aren't exactly running smoothly...sir." The formal address was very delayed.

"I'm well aware." The admiral sighed and nodded. "Feel free to assign whomever you feel comfortable with, Commander. Just make sure all my equipment remains in place this time?" He arched a brow, his tone offering a challenge, laced with humor.

"We'll make sure that no Starfleet...tools...will be used unless absolute neccesary." Dwayne finished his coffee and placed the cup on the table. After a moment, he arched his own brow, and when he spoke his tone matched Alexander's. There was an indirect accusation masked within reply.

"So, how is Charlotte's mother? Any new word from the hospital? I'm sure Papa knew you were coming by this morning ... Mal." He blinked, offering an innocent expression.

Mal glanced down, swirling the dark liquid in his coffee cup. When he spoke, his voice was thoughtful, measured. "Liz -- Charlotte's mother -- is doing fine. But I'm sure she's already told you all we know at the moment. Injuries as serious as hers hardly change from day to day." He paused a beat. "Her recovery is going to be a long one."

There was a slow nod from the commander as he noticed Alexander only answered half the inquiry. A mischievous gleam twinkled in his eyes as he stood and walked over toward the counter next to sink. He dumped the remainder of strawberries into the bowl of whip cream then sauntered almost lazily back over toward the kitchen table. Third wheel? he thought. Eh ... it works for tricycles.

Aloud, he said, "I'm just glad that she's going to have a recovery. She'll be fine if Lott over there is an example of her.

"I talked to Charlotte about your involvement in this case, about how, until we have more proof, you're a suspect. It seems that everything is ultimately leading right to you." He lifted a strawberry after twirling it in the cream. biting the tip. "Damned ironic don't you think?"

Exasperation in her voice, Charlotte began, "Commander..."

Dwayne looked over toward Charlotte and then back toward Alexander waiting for the reply or reaction. He said nothing more at the moment. Merely waited and watched. Some could say he was being an ass and some could say he was on the clock ... testing a hunch.

Alexander placed a hand on Charlotte's forearm. "It's okay, Lottie." He turned to Johnson. "You're going to do whatever you feel is necessary, Commander. I just sincerely hope you don't let your personal feelings get in the way of doing your job."

His hand remained on Charlotte's forearm as he continued. "I consider Liz and Ronin as part of my family; the same applies for Charlotte. I want this guy as badly as you do, Mister Johnson." His eyes drifted ever so slightly toward Lottie. "Perhaps more so."

One could learn a lot by watching body language, Dwayne thought. The way Alexander's hand touched her forearm and how she didn't pull back and away as she normally did when anyone got too close. And there again was the nickname ... Lottie. He was definitely reading them both while twirling strawberries in cream. "Personal feelings? You know my record; you've probably read it backward and forward. I've never let personal feelings get in the way of my duty. Can you say the same?"

The Phoenix exec looked toward Charlotte and then back to
the bowl, lifting the strawberry and biting the tip. He chewed lazily, cheek slightly bulged as he eyeballed the Admiral. He made it fairly obvious he trusted him only as far as he could toss him.

Alexander leveled a glare. "We're all professionals here, Commander Johnson."

"Mmhmm ... that's why you have been undermining the Captain and I, by meeting with one of our officers without our direct knowledge?" Dwayne asked just before he tossed the last of the strawberry into his mouth and licked at fingertips. That's not very professional... Mal."

"Contrary to your understanding of the situation," the admiral began, "I have met with Captain Tolerre. Given our, ah, past experience, I thought it was better that I interact with either she or someone else within her chain of command.

"I know Charlotte... I trust her. She was the logical choice."

Dwayne narrowed his eyes and stood. He crossed toward the sink, thinking now, tongue picking at a molar, then resting against inner cheek. Tolerre was next on his shit list. It seemed to him the team wasn't as much a team as he thought. Yes...Alexander hit a nerve. "Is this normal operating procedure for Starfleet Intelligence, Admiral? Fracturing a team from within? Breaking the chain of command?" He dropped the bowl into the sink. It clattered as he kept his back to the pair. Two hands gripped at the edge of the counter. "That's professional?"

"As professional as clattering dishes in a sink." Mal arched his brow. "Or assaulting the Director of Operations?"

He nodded and stared out the small window over sink to the back garden. The muscles in his back tensing as if he about to pounce Alexander at any moment -- but he restrained. Charlotte had said he was a loose cannon; for once he turned and looked to the Admiral and smiled rather than cut loose the fury.

"You know what, Admiral Alexander? I'm really sorry that happened. I wish it had never happened, but I feel like you're responsible and while I grieved over loosing one third of my family... my emotions got the better of me. Yeah, you looked just like a bullseye through the tears. So I'm sorry I assaulted you or Ramsey -- or anyone else. I still feel and will always feel ... you're responsible. It's your fault about my family; it's your fault about her mother. You were on watch and you slipped. So I tell you what: you keep right on poking at me -- keep right on knocking me down." He smiled and chuckled a bit. "I'll keep getting right back up."

He looked over toward Charlotte. "I told you, Wifey, never get into a pissing contest with an Admiral. Outclassed every time." He walked over and poured another cup of coffee, this time black, sipping it and shaking his head as he padded across the kitchen. "If you'll excuse me."

Alexander's jaw was tight. "Yes, it was my fault," he started slowly. "If you'll pardon the rather crass expression, I did 'screw the pooch.' But I want to make this right."

"Can you bring my family back?" Johnson stopped and stared to him with mug in hand.

"You know as well as I do that I can't. I can at least bring the responsible parties to justice." He rose, draining the last of his coffee, now cold. "If you'll pardon me, Charlotte. I'll meet you at headquarters later."

"Well, you can't make it right can you?" Dwayne narrowed his eyes, locked on the Admiral as if Charlotte wasn't even in the room. "And no ... you can't bring the parties to justice. We will."

He sighed. "No, Admiral, you don't have to go... I'll go."

Malcolm held up his hand, waving off Johnson. "No, no, Commander. I'm sure your clothes are around somewhere." He smirked. "Charlotte, please see me out?"

Charlotte rose from her seat, nodding. "Of course." As she moved toward the door behind Alexander, she tossed Dwayne a glare that would have frozen fire.

In the kitchen, Dwayne wanted to toss the mug. He wanted to beat Alexander down, but he didn't. He just grinned a bit to Charlotte. "Sorry about that ... but... ya know... Go Team!" He shook his head and moved toward the steps.

Charlotte watched until her senior officer disappeared on the second floor. She stood in the entryway, her voice quiet. "I'm sorry, Mal."

Alexander gave a rueful smile. "So'm I, love." He kissed her on the forehead, then slipped out the door.

Dwayne pulled his pants on over the pajamas, then tucked ends into the boots. He pulled the top over and on in one piece, before walking out of the bedroom and to the hall. He stopped at the top of the steps and looked toward Charlotte at the door. Yes it was true: Alexander won that round. He got under his skin. He stayed in place near the top of the steps until he was sure Alexander had left.

As he descended the staircase, Charlotte closed the door behind the admiral, pausing. She leant her forehead against the doorframe, eyes squeezed tightly shut. He dropped his eyes, then inhaled deeply as he reached the foyer.

Straightening his uniform the entire way until he appeared well dressed and proper, he cleared his throat. "I'm sorry about that ... I really am. I didn't mean to -"

He sighed and bit at his top lip, taking in a deep breath and releasing it slowly. "Look, I'm not going to say anything to the Captain. I said this was between us and I'm learning it's rare in Intelligence, but I keep my word. As far as anyone knows, none of this ever happened. I'll report that there was a meeting this morning and evidence was uncovered... nothing more."

Her hand still against the door, Charlotte allowed it to drop slowly as she turned. "I...appreciate that, Commander." She furrowed her brow. "There's just something..."

Drawing in a deep breath, she shook her head. Now was not the time, and Dwayne Johnson of all people was not the appropriate confidante.

"And you're wrong about intel, you know. Most of the time, we do keep our word." She gave him a rueful smile, then headed back through the flat toward the kitchen.

Johnson looked to Charlotte and tilted his head, then watched her as she walked past him and toward the kitchen. A slow turn on his heel as he looked to her back. "That's not what you were going to say was it? I mean, I was looking for you to say something else -- anything else -- maybe even knock me on my ass for insulting your boyfriend there, or hurting his feelings." He stood with his hands on his hips. "That seemed almost practiced."

Lottie stopped in her tracks at the word 'boyfriend.' "What did you say?"

His hand on the doorknob, Dwayne turned and opened the door. He touched the bump behind his ear and activated his comm. "Alpha 2A to Mother -- stand by." He shrugged and lowered hand. "I said it seemed almost practiced...what you said."

Brow furrowed, Charlotte shook her head. "No. Just something... I'm not ready to say. To anyone." Even myself, she thought.

"Well, I got your back when you are ready to talk. Curse me, damn me, shout, scream, whatever. I'm a good listener and can soak up one of your punches like none other."

He grinned a bit and shrugged as he turned and walked out the front door. "Mother, belay transport home. Transport me to Hawaii! I have four hours until my shift and, heh, surf is up! I need to clear my head." He looked over shoulder toward Charlotte, before he closed the door. "Coming? It'll be fun ... I'll teach you how to surf."

Lottie shook her head. "Not this time. I have a few things I need to sort out." She offered him a smile as the door closed. "Have a good time...Dwayne."

"You know where to find me. Site to Site, Mother; initiate transport." He shimmered out. Arriving on the beach, it dawned on him and he just smiled a little... but suddenly felt incredibly overdressed.
MCAPT Katja Romany
USS Daystrom
=/\=
LCDR Charlotte Matsumura
Starfleet Intelligence
USS Phoenix

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Re: Third Wheel - Johnson/Matsumura/Alexander

Postby Adml Mansur » Mon May 15, 2006 2:04 am

Red wrote:Lottie looked between the two men. The tension between the two was palpable, and she rolled her eyes. "Oh, bloody hell. Will you two see who can piss the farthest already so we can get this over with?"


WE HAVE A WINNAH!!!!! :twisted:

Great log guys.
Fleet Adml. Isa M. Mansur
Commanding Officer, SF RES Golden Eagle ARRV 580320

"If the sword shatters, take its fragments to the forge." ~~ Ancient Romulan Proverb
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