Star Trek: Apollo

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Post 16 - The Maxwell Meeting

Posted on Sun Dec 22nd, 2019 @ 11:46am by Lieutenant James Maxwell PhD & Captain Sean Gaudain & Commander Cælestis Everett

Mission: Episode 0 - War Games
Location: Captain's Ready Room
Timeline: Mission Day 02 - 0900 Hours

[USS Apollo - Captain's Ready Room]
[Mission Day 02 - 0900 Hours]

Gaudain was pacing. He was unhappy with Starfleet's orders to take James Maxwell as his Chief Science Officer. Unlike many of the dossiers that had crossed his desk, he'd read this one fully when it had been forwarded to him by the Judge Advocate General's Office. Skirting the regulations was one thing, but ethical lapses like experimenting with sentient subjects while researching a plague seemed pretty fucking bad to him. That was the sort of thing that you should be sent to a rehabilitation colony for, not posted to a starship, but from the report, it looked like technically he hadn't actually violated any major criminal laws, he'd just made an extremely bad judgment call. Still, Gaudain wished that it hadn't been his ship that was to be the site of his exile.

Cal entered the ready room with a stormy look on their face. It hung over them in tangible weight and atmosphere. "I got your comm," they said. "Maxwell's here?"

"Yeah," Gaudain said, crossing his arms. He studied them for a moment; it was quite a different atmosphere than the night before. "He's being escorted up to the ready room so we can explain to him what a short leash he'll be on," he said, sitting down behind the desk. "I do believe in second chances--God knows I've had a lot of them--but I'm uneasy about this."

A deep, unsettling crack echoed in the room as Cal tilted their head sharply and cracked their neck. "Yes, well. Second chances are for those who are capable of learning from them. Somehow I doubt the man capable of sacrificing people to a blood plague even realizes he did something wrong." They crossed their arms almost defensively and let out a very sharp breath as the open storminess faded into a distant thunder. "That's unfair of me. I'll...reserve my judgment until I meet the man. I think uneasy is an understatement for me."

Gaudain looked at them again and nodded. "I'm meeting with the commodore later today. If this goes badly, I'll see what our options are," he said, in a calmer tone of voice. As he said that, the door chime sounded. "Come in."

***

Doctor James Maxwell had long since given up on trying to engage in meaningful conversation with his guards, as they downright ignored him to the point where they never even told him their names. While they did lack a certain empathy, yet technically didn’t drag him through the hallway, which was nice, there was very little doubt in James’ mind that the two Security officers who flanked him on either side would only allow him that privilege for as long as he’d keep walking in the right direction. They hadn’t exactly been lenient during the trip to the Delta Quadrant and neither Burly nor Frost, as James had started calling them based on the male Ensign’s sheer body size and the female Lieutenant’s general demeanor towards him, would probably lose a night’s sleepover gently nudging him back in the right direction.

Part of him actually considered the distinct possibility that they hoped he would accidentally take a wrong turn.

More by sheer luck than anything else, James managed to navigate the fellowship through the hallways; taking a left upon exiting the turbolift and, without anywhere else to go at the first junction, taking a right until they reached a door that read ‘Ready Room’. As Lieutenant Frost reached to press the door chime, James could feel how the big hand of Ensign Burly came to rest upon his left shoulder. If the Canadian Microbiologist had even wanted to do anything funny, the mildly uncomfortable squeeze of the Ensign’s hand was there as an additional reminder of why such a thing would be unwise.

Within a couple of seconds, the door of the Ready Room opened with a soft hiss. Lieutenant Frost entered first and, after she had advanced a couple of paces, James could feel how Ensign Burly stopped squeezing his shoulder and instead removed his hand completely as a sign it was alright to follow Frost into the room. Just as the Canadian Microbiologist did so, he could hear the slightly German-accented voice of the Security Lieutenant as she spoke up. “Captain, my name is Lieutenant Sophie von Labitz.” It seemed she had a name after all. “Ensign Banning and I are here to transfer Doctor James Maxwell under your care.”

As Frost took out a PADD and approached the captain, James presented both him and the tall, brown haired being next to him with a smile and a friendly “Hello!”

Gaudain accepted the PADD and nodded to the lieutenant in gold. "Thank you. Dismissed, Lieutenant. Ensign," he said, watching them as the two retreated from the ready room. The captain's gaze turned to Maxwell. "Welcome aboard the Apollo, lieutenant. It's my understanding that you don't particularly want to be here," he noted, placing the PADD on his desk.

Everett stood behind the captain with a curiously blank expression on their face, entirely nonreactive to James' smile. They remained silent and clasped their hands behind their back.

A frown appeared on James’ face as he thought of a good reply to what the Captain just said. While it was true that he wasn’t overly happy about leaving the Alpha Quadrant, the Canadian had initially prepared himself for a long stay in a penal colony; even considering the behaviour of Frost and Burly, this assignment definitely looked like the better deal. Knowing that such honesty was unlikely to be appreciated given the circumstances however, James softly scraped his throat after two or three seconds of silence. “I’m a Starfleet Officer, Sir.” As he spoke, James’ slightly Canadian-accented voice was diplomatic and professional. “If Starfleet Command feels like my talents can be of use aboard the Apollo, I go where I’m told.”

Gaudain's eyes panned over him. "Yes, well, since Starfleet does think your talents will be useful, you're going to be our Chief Science Officer--at least for the time being. Commander Everett will be overseeing your work; they're a scientist as well," he said, turning to look at the first officer for a moment. "You're going to be submitting daily reports on your activity and you'll seek approval before conducting any experiments."

Everett dipped their head only slightly as the Captain looked at them. Their body is incredibly still otherwise. "I expect to know the minutia of the goings-on within Science; nothing will be too small for me to know about. I ran a Science department for ten years, so trust in that I know how it ought to be run. Should troubles arise regarding the thoroughness of your reports, I won't hesitate to escalate my oversight further."

Momentarily turning his attention to the tall being next to the Captain, James acknowledged what she said with a polite nod before switching his attention back to the Captain once more. “That’s reasonable, Captain.” As the words left his lips, James knew that neither the Captain nor the tall being next to him would care any less whether he considered it to be reasonable or not. And in all honesty, that was alright with James; to make him their Chief Science Officer was more than reasonable, and much more than he could have expected given the circumstances. “I look forward to working with both of you.” A smile began to appear on James’ face before he turned his attention to the Commander again. While their oversight would be somewhat of an inconvenience, it was understandable. “It will be interesting to work with someone who has that much experience, Commander. I’m sure there is a lot we can learn from each other.”

"You're very cheerful," the captain noted, before looking down at the PADD the security officer had handed him. "We've both read your dossier, and I want to be clear that any future lapses in ethical judgement aren't gonna fly. You're smart and talented, but I think you're well aware that Starfleet's not going to be in the mood to grant third chances," he said, tone neutral.

"You represent Starfleet, now," Everett continued. Their tone was far from hostile; rather, it's matter-of-fact, simple, unerring. "Wholly; to both this crew and to the individuals we will encounter. I expect you to consider that whenever you find yourself in a place where you may feel your judgment lapsing again. If the preservation of the lives of this crew are not enough to convince you otherwise."

James listened to both the Captain and Commander and nodded in response. It seemed that, over the last couple of months, a lot of people ended up reading his dossier; as a result, James would find himself on the defending end more often than not, and it became really tiresome after a while. Eventually, he learned to just take it with a smile and move on. “Understood, Captain. No third chances.” As he spoke, James knew that it wouldn’t matter even if he were to promise to be the very picture of ethical judgement, so he instead resorted to a more diplomatic and easier promise in the form of “I’ll represent the interests of Starfleet and help maintain the wellbeing of this crew to the best of my ability.”

"Good. Any questions for us?" Gaudain asked.

James straightened his back just slightly and gave the Captain a nod. “Actually, I do. Where are my assigned quarters?” Having been aboard for only mere minutes, the Canadian hadn’t been given the opportunity to snoop around and explore the ship yet. “I would like to get installed and get to know my Department.” As he spoke, James knew that it might not be as straightforward as that; if the Starfleet Board of Science and the scientific community in general were any indication, he might not exactly be warmly welcomed by his peers.

"That's not exactly the kind of question I had in mind," Gaudain said, looking around his desk for a PADD before taking the correct one from Cal. "Deck 2, aft. Get settled in. We'll expect you on the bridge at 1430 for a warp engine test," he added, looking to Cal to see if they had anything else to say.

"Sometime in the near future we'll convene and discuss the particulars of the reports I expect," Cal said, "and some other details not pertinent right now. But for now, that's all I require from you."

"Dismissed, lieutenant," Gaudain said, standing up to signify that the meeting was over.

A warp engine test at 1430. James made a mental note of that, and just nodded in response. “I’ll be there, Captain.” Presenting the Captain and the Commander with a smile in acknowledgment, James turned around and began to make his way out of the Ready Room. He realized the introduction had gone better than he’d initially anticipated, so he at least at that going for him. Which was nice.

A mission post by

Captain Sean Gaudain
Commanding Officer
USS Apollo

Commander Cal Everett
Executive Officer
USS Apollo

Lieutenant James Maxwell, Ph.D.
Chief Science Officer
USS Apollo

 

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