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Business First

Posted on Wed Dec 23rd, 2020 @ 7:29am by Captain Osegan Trenna & Lieutenant Commander Arthur Talbot

Mission: Intersession
Location: Ready Room
Timeline: Mission Day 1 at 0815

Trenna was sitting on the small couch in her office, one leg tucked underneath her, drinking her third cup of coffee for the morning. The Altai was slated to arrive at Gamma Command in about an hour and there were still some things that she wanted to handle before they docked. She looked at the PADD and saw that there were some personnel items at the top.

"Commander Talbot, join me in the Ready Room."

Per protocol, as the Captain was in the Ready Room, manning the bridge fell to Artie Talbot. The Altai's smaller size made it easy and quick to perform the daily inspections, and even now with the survey team recuperating in sickbay or resting in quarters, the ship was quiet.

Artie was learning to appreciate the quiet. Upon the summons, Artie rose from the chair, turned over watch to Ensign Martinsen at the helm, and approached the entrance to the Ready Room. He pressed the chime and waited for the Captain to open the doors.

"Hi Artie," she said after the doors slid open. "Have a seat."

Artie took the seat as offered. The act, which was once awkward due to the change in his position, was becoming second nature to him. He nodded to the Captain as he did so.

"How are things going on the Bridge?"

"Nice and quiet," Artie replied. "It seems everyone has calmed down since leaving the planet, especially those that were on the away team."

"Good. So, I wanted to talk to you about some personnel matters." She picked up a PADD and handed it to the British man. "Take a look at this and let me know what you think."

The personnel files on the PADD had some of Trenna's own notes on them, indicating her thoughts on possible actions. She gave Talbot a couple moments to familiarize himself with the content.

Artie accepted the padd and gave it a quick scan. He could tell that what the Captain wanted to discuss first had been placed at the top, and other items had been interspersed throughout to make sure Artie reviewed everything in full. Artie's eyes scanned each of these flagged sections to get himself up to speed.

"A commendation in Batchelder's file is well deserved. He performed admirably, especially since he found himself in the center seat more than the engine room."

"That seems to be a common thread aboard the Altai," Artie remarked, his tone a bit jovial. "Chief Engineers finding themselves in command in the middle of a crisis. At least Batchelder didn't have to deal with Dedecker." Artie thought about the Captain's notes for a moment. "I definitely agree on the commendation. If you hadn't already done so, I would have recommended him for it."

The mention of the former chief tactical officer made Trenna both smile and cringe. Dedecker had been a royal pain in the ass, but also possessed a capacity for greatness. He just chose to focus on fulfilling the misfit role he self-selected into. "Since you brought up Tactical, thoughts on Mister Itajime?"

Artie shook his head. "It's a shame, really. Itajime had so much experience and potential." He had hoped that they could make it through a crisis without losing just one person. "Morale's been low in the department as a result. Both Petty Officer M'Kae and Ensign Crys'l have been stepping up in the meantime to keep everything running."

"Since I'm not sure what's happening crew replacement-wise, you should consider a recommendation for acting Chief Tactical Officer and acting Security Chief. For now, I'm going to have to ask you to wear two hats. Unless you've got someone you feel comfortable running Engineering wholesale."

"I think M'Kae would do well as Acting Tactical. While I've been partial to commissioned offers being in charge of security, Chief Nuñez has performed well in the last few away missions. She'd be suited to lead security until someone is assigned," Artie answered, having not hesitated. "As for engineering, I don't mind keeping an eye on things for the time being. I know the advancements to the warp drive are still getting settled in, so it'd give me an opportunity to keep an eye on that and train a few people on the new processes. Perhaps someone will rise among the crowd?"

"Sounds good. You'll talk to Nuñez and M'Kae?"

"As soon as we're done here, I will," Artie confirmed.

"Next up, Mister Hessen."

Artie scrolled to the appropriate section on the padd and quickly read what was available. "Mister Hessen performed admirably under the circumstances," he commented on his own. "Especially when he inherited the Altai so suddenly. If it weren't for him, we probably would have been stranded a lot longer on that planet."

"Agreed, a commendation is very much in order. As is a promotion. I think he's more than proven himself."

He nodded in agreement. "I'm all for that," he verbally confirmed.

"We've been in need of a Chief Science Officer for a while now. Anyone sticking out in your mind for that?"

"Lieutenant Waverly comes to mind," Artie replied quickly. "She kept the survey team together back there and was instrumental in getting everyone mobilized quickly. However, the experience has caused her to be jaded a bit towards Starfleet. If we offer her the position, I'm not sure she'll accept."

"Can't hurt to ask. Especially since I haven't heard anything from Starfleet Personnel about any transfers." She sighed. "It feels like we're on our own, Artie. A little support from Command would be nice."

"I couldn't agree more," Artie responded. "I get that we're a small ship, but we're not like the larger rapid-responders. You'd think Starfleet could spare at least one experienced officer or two."

The Bajoran nodded and she reached for her coffee. "I know people back in San Francisco; I could reach out to them. It wasn't that long ago I was working there," she said before taking a gulp of the now-lukewarm beverage. "But will it make a difference? Things in the Gamma Quadrant are stretched thin compared to what we're used to on the other side of the Celestial Temple." She froze, realizing what she'd said.

Artie picked up on the Captain's phrasing. "I don't think I've ever heard you talk about the Prophets and religion before." He didn't have much knowledge on Bajor's religious views, but there wasn't anyone in Starfleet, at least not on this side of he wormhole, that hadn't heard about the different names for the wormhole, as well as the Prophets.

"With good reason, Artie." She leaned back into the couch. "There's an.....expectation that all Bajorans follow the Prophets. That we are all devoted to, are adherents of the religion. It's a unifying factor for Bajorans, a shared identity. It helped them get through the Occupation."

"But you don't share these beliefs," inferred Artie. "Don't get me wrong, Captain. I never assumed that you were or weren't. What someone believes in is their own business, and it's not my inclination to pry. Only if someone brings it in conversation, and even then, I try not to ask too many questions."

"You're a good man, Artie," she replied. "I wish more people thought like you. It's a conversation I've grown tired of having, explaining that I'm not an adherent of the Bajoran religion. With both non-Bajorans and my own people. When I was in the Militia, it was a topic that came up a lot."

Her eyes looked up from her mug of coffee to her Executive Officer. "I didn't live through the Occupation. I was one of the lucky ones; my father was able to get me and my mother off Bajor when I was still young. While so many of my fellow Bajorans died under the thumb of the Cardassians, my father among them, I was living on freighters. I survived the Occupation by not experiencing it. I didn't live with Bajorans, so the religion wasn't that pressing. My mother was a believer, so I heard the stories, learned the prayers. But that was it."

"I wear the earring in memory of my father and all of the other Bajorans who suffered and died under the Cardassians," she continued, motioning towards her right ear, "but it doesn't hold any religious significance to me like it does for so many others. I started wearing it to fit in when I returned to Bajor after the Occupation ended, but it quickly took on meaning."

"There's no shame in not believing what others do," Artie stated assuringly. "The Vulcans call it Infinite Diversity, but I don't need to tell you that. One should never have to fit in or cave to social convention just to get by. We all walk our own path. The paths just run parallel to others for a brief time."

"I appreciate that, Artie. Thank you," she replied with a kind smile. "So much of Bajoran culture is tied to the religion. Humans don't have such a monoculture. Your people have had many religions and cultures rise up throughout the history of humanity."

"What about you, Artie? Any religious beliefs?"

Artie shrugged. "I can't say that I subscribe to any one particular thing. As an engineer, I've always had a fascination about how things work, whether it's machine or in nature. The most simple of machines are the most fascinating, yet I've really only learned that nothing is simple, nor can any two people describe complex situations in the same way. The way I figure, if someone has a belief set that works for them, then great. We all have different needs and wants in order to make it through life, whether that's to find the deeper meaning, contribute to an overall whole, or even just get through to the next moment."

"You are a smart man, Artie. Have I told you that before?" she teased. "I believe my mother followed the traditional Bajoran faith. She just never did so outwardly. There were no statements declaring belief, no praying openly, or anything like that. Over the years, I've found myself in relationships with people at either end of the spectrum. One man I dated when I first joined the Militia was very religious. He was Bolian, working for one of the Federation relief organizations helping to rebuild. We made it work. Robin, on the other hand, is not at all religious. She's not even spiritual."

She hadn't even realized it right away, that she'd mentioned Robin. "I assume that's still the case, though I obviously wouldn't know now."

Artie remembered the Captain had mentioned before that her relationship with Robin at ended, but she hadn't gone into much detail on that. He was tempted to ask about further details, but he'd already made a comment earlier in regards to the contrary. This was certainly not the time and place to press. "Life has a way of crossing one's path with similar and opposite alike. Though, the last time we talked about Robin, we'd both talked about calling Altai a home. Do you still feel that way? With all we've gone through?"

"Don't you?" she asked, turning the question back on him. "I have no plans of going anywhere, if that's what you're worried about, Artie. Especially not with the ship only partially staffed. Ask me again if we ever have a full senior staff."

He couldn't help but chuckle. "Somehow, if we had a full staff, I can't see you suddenly decide to leave. Good Captains are hard to find, you know."

"So you think I'm a good captain, eh?" she teased. "I'm glad I have your support Artie. It really does mean a lot to me."

She looked at her PADD. "Ensign Martinsen. Any thoughts?"

Artie didn't have to look at his padd for reference on Martinsen. "Martinsen's been a good staple in the crew. I hear without his bravery, you might have been stuck back there a little while longer."

"He's a quiet one, but very devoted," she mused. "I appreciate his bravery. I'm proud of how well the crew handled this mission. I hope any additions we get are just as good."

"I wholeheartedly agree," Artie stated. "A letter of commendation may be deserved by Martinsen as well. I'm sure he could use the morale boost after that difficult mission. Speaking of, what will happen with the survey team? Will they be going back, or will Starfleet be sending them back to their previous assignments?"

She shrugged. "Your guess is as good as mine. They have more planets to investigate, so they'll probably go back out. Not sure if Alpha Remidian IV will be kept on the list for consideration though. Not sure if that changes if we retain Lieutenant Waverly. Did you have your eye on any of them?"

Artie shook his head. "The entire team was rather malnourished by the time we found them. Everyone had been focused on survival, not so much duty. Though no one cracked under the pressure, I had no other way to see their professional performance."

She didn't respond verbally, instead, she nodded while looking into her mug.

"I'm putting a commendation in your file," she added after a minute of silence. "Keep up the good work and you'll make Commander in no time."

He arched an eyebrow, a bit surprised by the statement. "I appreciate that, Captain," he said, his tone expressing some of his surprise. "I was just doing my duty."

"Despite what some people might think, doing one's duty reliably is how promotions happen. Sure there are people who manage to rocket up the ranks, but those are rare. That's why they stand out. Most of us just do our best to do a good job. Going above and beyond, of course helps. But just keep plugging along."

There was a time that Artie liked the word promotion as that gave him more and more benefits and responsibilities with his engineering research and development. Now, however, each promotion was another step away from an engine room. Well, not that he really had a chance of going back. Not anymore. "Which, I'm happy to do, Captain."

The two officers continued discussing ship business, covering personnel, supplies, and operational considerations. There was, as always, much to talk about, and never enough time.


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