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Unexpected Elevation

Posted on Mon Jan 7th, 2019 @ 1:59pm by Lieutenant T'Shan & Commander Alexia Hunter-Nolan

Mission: Colony Support
Location: Captain's Ready Room

It had been an absolute hammer blow to Alexia when Jael had come to tell her that she'd been transferred off of Centaurus for another posting. She'd come to rely heavily on Jael's counsel and guidance throughout her time as Commanding Officer, and considered her a good close personal friend as well. It was a huge blow to her personal morale that she'd left, but Jael had promised to keep in regular contact to continue her ongoing therapy, which was much appreciated.

Not that she entirely blamed Jael, after all, the crew had been nothing if not combative with their erstwhile XO - who'd only been trying to help them. Instead of taking what she said as assistance, most of the time, they took it negatively and acted really badly towards her. In addition to this, Jael wanted to start her family on a station, not a starship. Two very compelling reasons to leave. She was utterly furious that the attitudes of some of her officers had been such that it had caused Jael to leave, and they were going to feel the wrath from her for it. Oh yes, they were going to miss Jael alright. The days of easy going life onboard were over.

However, this left a significant problem for Alexia. They were about to launch an extremely important split mission, and she didn't have a First Officer. To make matters worse, the Second Officer had come down with a rare virus, and had been required to be shipped back to Starbase One for isolation and treatment. That left Alexia without a command team, and this needed to be resolved.

Reviewing her current team of officers, there really was only one person who had the necessary resolve to step up and act the part. They'd have an extremely high learning curve to go through, and a lot of personal development, but then so did Alexia when she started out.

"Hunter-Nolan to T'Shan, please report to my ready room." She said, tapping her comm badge.

"On my way, Captain." T'Shan responded, assigning the tasks she had been working on to her deputy, who seemed slightly overwhelmed by the mountain of data she was reviewing. In less thna a minute she was on the bridge, and passed by the other officers with a nod, before passing through the doorway to the CO. "Captain?" She asked as she arrived.

"Good morning Lieutenant." Alexia said, as the doors closed behind the Andorian woman. "Please, take a seat. Would you care for something to drink?" Might as well do all she could to put the more militaristic woman at a sense of ease. After all, this wasn't a dressing down.

"Yes Captain. Just water please, five degrees C." She said, sitting, her antennae feeling around curiously, betraying her lack of awareness of the nature of the meeting.

Alexia replicated the requested beverage and placed it on the desk in front of T'Shan. "How's your department doing? Your deputy chief shaping up?" She asked, leaning back in her chair, holding her tea-cup and saucer up, taking a sip from the porcelain cup.

"The crew are performing to my expectations. Drills are perhaps slower than is ideal, but the improvement curve is significant from when I first arrived. The Ensign is more hands-on than Assistant Chief status usually necessitates, but I am confident he will adjust to the administrative workload with practice." T'Shan said, taking a sip of the water, which brought her back to the cool streams of her homeworld.

Deciding not to beat around the bush anymore, Alexia dove straight into it. "You are probably unaware of this, but Commander Steiger has transferred off of the ship. As a result, I presently do not have a First Officer. With Lieutenant Hunter currently off the ship due to medical requirements, I also do not have a Second Officer. As a result of this, with our upcoming mission requirements on Gemini, I require a First Officer to lead the away team. As the most experienced officer from our current department heads, I would like you to step up as Acting First Officer."

T'Shan was expressionless by practice, but her antennae betrayed her, standing rigid and upright of a sudden. She took another sip of her water before responding. "I understand, Captain. If you believe I am ready, I would be honoured. Will the temporary assignment be simply mission-based duties or will I also be assuming shipboard responsibilities?"

"You'll be filling in completely in an acting capacity until otherwise notified. That means you assume all duties relating to the First Officer position. We're too close to the beginning of our missions for Starfleet to find me a replacement. I'm sure you'll do fine." Alexia said, and opened her desk drawer and produced a small velvet covered box, the same size as a ring box. She slid it across the desk towards T'Shan. "I expect you to change into a red uniform and make sure you're appropriately dressed." She smiled, indicating the box.

T'Shan took the box, slightly confused by the gesture, though she would never admit she was feeling slightly overwhelmed by the sudden events. She opened it, and understood, closing it again. "I will have one of my crew replicate a command undershirt and change immediately, Captain." She said, standing as felt appropriate to demonstrate imminent haste. "If I might make a recommendation, though Ensign Gardner is next in the order of seniority, I would recommend Warrant Officer Xaosk take charge of Security and Tactical for the duration of my temporary assignment. He may not have been to the Academy, but his experience is second to none."

Alexia frowned. "Won't that cause issues for Ensign Gardener, taking orders from someone subordinate in rank? I appreciate that they're junior and inexperienced, but passing them over for a Warrant Officer is highly unorthodox, and could be quite insulting to the young Ensign. Would it not be best to put Ensign Gardner in as Acting Chief with Warrant Officer Xaosk as his acting assistant?"

"With all due respect to Ensign Gardner, sir, I do not believe he is ready. His confidence has been shot since he ruined that banquet when he was with diplomatic security. The Assistant Chief position is a sink or swim moment for him, and though he is improving, I still find myself having to re-do most of his reports and duty rosters. If it were any other department I would agree with you, however Security and Tactical cannot necessarily afford the slips he is still prone to. I believe the pressure would be.. detrimental to his already somewhat fragile mental health. Xaosk may be subordinate in rank, but he is a twenty-year veteran. Gardner graduated with the class of '93. If I know my department as well as I believe I do, there is nobody within who would feel affronted by him taking charge, Gardner least of all."

Alexia realised that she'd made the right choice with elevating T'Shan. She was barely five minutes into the role, and already doing the job of a First Officer justice. She'd made an eloquent case for her decision, listened to her Captain's opinion, and provided appropriate feedback. If she carried on in this vein, she'd make a fine First Officer. "Very well, Number One. You make a compelling case. I shall advance Xaosk to Chief Warrant Officer, and appoint him Acting Security Chief. A Chief Warrant Officer is equivalent in authority to a Junior Grade Lieutenant in substantive rank, so it works out. I'll let you inform them yourself as your first task as First Officer."

"Yes, Captain." T'Shan said with a nod. "I will do all the necessary due diligence on personnel files once the remaining administrative duties are complete, however I feel I should ask directly. Is there anything I should be aware of about the ship or crew that may not have been made known to me as Security Chief?"

"It's all in Commander Steiger's very well kept files, to which you now have access." Alexia replied. "You'll probably want to read up on Ensign Rathburn, she's a bit of a problem child, but she's improved a lot recently. Although she's still on punishment detail for her... minor indiscretion with the terrorist leader."

"Understood. I will be up to date by start of shift tomorrow, Captain." T'Shan said, taking box with the golden pip inside and finishing her water, waiting to be dismissed. "And.. thank you, for this opportunity. I will not fail you."

"I'm sure you won't." Alexia replied, kindly. "Carry on."

"Captain." T'Shan turned on her heel and left, moving from the bridge to the turbolift, where she returned alone to the Security Suite. As the turbolift descended, she punched the air with satisfaction, grinning in a way she hadn't done since graduation from the academy, before composing herself as the doors parted.


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