Star Trek: Apollo

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Post 04 - Setting Expectations

Posted on Mon Nov 11th, 2019 @ 5:37am by Commander Cælestis Everett & Captain Sean Gaudain

Mission: Episode 0 - War Games
Location: Deck 01 - Conference Room A
Timeline: Day 01 - 1400 Hours

[USS Apollo - Deck 01 - Conference Room A]
[Day 01 - 1400 Hours]


After his meetings with two of his new bridge officers, Lieutenants Thiesman and Wilson, Gaudain moved across Deck One to the Briefing Room. He thought that would be a good place to have a sit-down with his new Executive Officer. Cal Everett was not a name that Gaudain had heard until they had been formally appointed by Starfleet Command to serve as his second-in-command, but he was impressed with their service record. Gaudain's strengths were much more on the martial end of the spectrum, so it would be good to have an experienced science officer aboard for their mission.

"Computer, have Commander Everett join me here," Gaudain said, as he walked over to the window, observing a passing work bee as he waited.

Only a handful of minutes passed before the door to the Briefing Room slid open, and Commander Everett entered. They're tall—taller even than Gaudain—and waspishly thin. They stand at attention with a warm smile that lights up their whole face.

"Captain. Commander Everett reporting."

Gaudain surveyed them for a split second, as he returned the smile. "At ease, commander. Sean Gaudain. A pleasure to make your acquaintance. I thought we might grab a bite to eat while we chat. I haven't really had the chance since I came onboard," he said, crossing the room and offering a handshake.

A brief expression passes over Everett's face as Gaudain approaches—something caught between fear and disgust. It passes nearly the second it's visible, and the only remnant of it is the tension in Everett's shoulders as they offer a self-recriminating smile.

"The pleasure's all mine. And a meal sounds lovely, Captain." They take one of their hands from behind their back, wriggling their fingers to draw his attention to their regulation gloves. "My apologies—I don't do handshakes."

"Oh, sorry about that," Gaudain said, finding himself momentarily embarrassed. He stepped over to the replicator. "I was impressed by your service record, commander--ribeye steak, medium rare, with a baked potato and iced tea--it will be good to have you aboard," he said, glancing between them and the replicator while he ordered. He took the items when they materialized and sat towards the center of the long table, still offering Cal a smile.

Cal waited until their meal materialized—crepes and a coffee with four espresso shots—before they said, "I appreciate that. I've had an unusual path to get here, but I'm more than eager to serve as your XO."

They take the seat opposite Gaudain as they finish speaking. They don't remove their gloves even as they begin to eat, sipping the quadshot coffee without so much as a twitch. "I admit, your record intrigued me. I did some reading before the transfer and you really did some work on the Galaxy. I've been tucked away in the Delta Quadrant for the past decade—it was quite something to learn about your exploits on the border."

Gaudain chuckled. "You do your homework. I like that. The Galaxy is a good ship. I cut my teeth on small ships like this one, though. I'm more comfortable closer to the action. We're being sent to the Nacene Reaches--it's the pretty name Command has come up with for the area Voyager first arrived in," the captain replied. "We'll be almost 25,000 light-years away from the Gradin Belt, so it'll be like a whole new quadrant for you, almost. You weren't tempted to apply for something that might stay a little closer to home this time around?"

"Ah, that far out? Interesting. I'm sure we'll have our fill of action in the Reaches," they said with a grin. "And not especially. I love the work I did aboard the Diligent, and I don't have any family. Figured I'm a prime candidate to be stationed this far out. And what brought you all the way out here? Beyond the promise of commanding a small ship, I mean."

Gaudain took a bite before answering. "Well, I believe the thinking has to do with my, uh, preference towards avoiding unnecessary regulation and red tape when possible, so the furthest frontier in the galaxy, 70,000 light-years from home seemed like a logical choice for Starfleet Command," he said, ruefully. "Might be useful in dealing with the Kazon."

Cal was about to take another drink of coffee but managed to stop just before a surprised laugh burst from them at Gaudain's frankness. They covered their mouth and amused smile with a gloved hand. "I don't mean to laugh, but I imagine they think this is time-out for you? Put you in the Delta Quadrant until you agree to follow the rules?"

Gaudain shrugged. "I wouldn't put it past the admiralty," he said. "I don't want you to get the impression that I always shoot from the hip, but we need to be on the same page that I like to do things my own way. We need to maintain order and discipline, but I'm sometimes going to make decisions that interpret regulations creatively, and I don't want you to be surprised when that happens," he added, smiling again.

"Well, I appreciate the heads up," Cal replied, returning the smile. "I'm not...precisely keen on 'creative' regulation interpretations—my old XO was fond of the letter of the law, so to speak—but I'm not about to stand in your way, Captain. This is your command and I have no reason to doubt you; I'll support your decisions, regardless of their—ah, compliance with regulation, within reason, of course."

They paused. An interesting expression crossed over their face before they continued, "...although I don't believe I need to ask, but I've found it better to be upfront regarding expectations: I hope you don't mind if I insist upon the Apollo following regulations regarding contamination and sanitation to the letter." As they spoke, they spread their gloved hands, vaguely drawing attention to them. "It's something of a hard lesson I learned early in my career."

"I don't expect you to always agree with me, commander. I'm just not one who's gonna put the regs in front of the safety of the crew," Gaudain explained. He studied them for another moment, curious about that last request. "Sure. I trust your decisions when it comes to the way you want to manage the crew. I'm not a micro-manager," he added.

"Of course, Captain. That's about what I expected." They grinned, looking relieved and ever-so-slightly embarrassed. "And I appreciate it, thank you. It's fortuitous; I'm not exactly a micro-manager, but I'm close enough that I think being an XO might be my calling."

"Good. You can think about the details and I'll think about the big picture," Gaudain said. "I've met Lieutenants Thiesman and Wilson, so far. They both seem competent--eager to get to work. Wilson's already got an idea on how to improve the Apollo with a farming lab. We should keep an eye on the two of them. Neither of them have been department heads before--not that I've ever been a captain or you've ever been an XO for that matter," he said, before taking another bite. "I'm sure it'll be a learning experience for us all."

Cal tilted their head, nodding along as they listened. They finished their coffee and leaned back in their chair. "That it will. So long as they're eager to learn as well as work I'm positive we'll have a good, solid crew. I'll have to introduce myself after I settle in. I haven't been aboard long, but I've felt a very strong sense of excitement and some normal jitters from the crew I've been around. I think many of them are thinking about the war game. That should be something."

"It'll be a helluva thing, that's for sure. The Arcturus should be arriving within the next few days. Fleet Captain Hayden's a legend in her own right, but that ship is going to be like nothing we've ever seen before. We'll part of her Task Group, facing off against the Magellan and her group," he said, referring to an older but still very-powerful Galaxy-class ship. "Starfleet wants to see how well the Arcturus can function as a flagship before they send her off across the Galaxy. Without any starbases in the quadrant, she'll be our mobile base of operations. I hear she has a full mall and thirty-two holodecks. Not exactly shore leave, but it'll make things easier on our crew."

Cal whistles in admiration. "That's quite the ship. You're right about it not quite being shore leave, but it'll definitely be something we can work with. I have a few tricks about alleviating the strain too; whenever the counselor boards, I'll liaise with them and discuss tactics to avoid the crew feeling too cooped up." They tilt their head thoughtfully and nod. "And a mobile base might prove useful, especially considering the Kazon."

"I want us to be running regular combat drills once we're in the Delta Quadrant. We're more than a match for Kazon ships, but they've proven themselves to be pretty tenacious in the past. Not to mention the Vidiians," he said, with a frown. "I'm glad we're running this exercise, though. It'll be a good chance to see how well we work together."

"Very true. Combat drills will especially help work out any kinks we have, let alone give some helpful experience for the greenhorn department heads. The Vidiians are especially wily. I'll work on setting the drills up once the war game is done and we have the data on our performance." A grin, then. "I'm sure we'll be a stellar team. Hopefully with only a little practice."

"I have no doubts," Gaudain said, focusing on his meal for a moment. "I should let you get back to your duties. It's good to meet you... number one," he said, offering them a smile.

Cal returns the smile. Theirs is nearly beguiling in its openness and earnestness. "I think I rather like that," they say, delighted, almost to themselves. "I have to say the same: it's been wonderful to meet you, Captain. I'm looking forward to...all of this."

They clean up after themselves, and with a parting bow of their head they step out of the conference room, head held high.



A mission post by

Captain Sean Gaudain
Commanding Officer
USS Apollo

Commander Cal Everett
Executive Officer
USS Apollo

 

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