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A million and one things

Posted on Mon Jan 28th, 2019 @ 5:04pm by Commander Temerant Bast & Captain James McCullen

Mission: Reactivation
Location: Officer's Mess, Providence Station
Timeline: MD1, 1030 Hrs

James McCullen settled at a table near the corner of the room where it was quieter and sipped the cup of coffee he'd ordered and set the small stack of PaDD's down on the table before picking up the top one, a list of potential new personnel for the Sentinel.

Temerant Bast walked the corridors of the Regulus-class station and made his way to the officers' mess. It was relatively quiet at this time of day. The mess had a capacity of close to two hundred people, in order to accommodate both station personnel and visiting ships, but fewer than twenty people were currently in the room. In a little over an hour, things were going to be a lot busier.

He found his commanding officer sitting in a booth in a corner of the room. He made a beeline to one of the replicators and ordered a strong coffee before joining McCullen at the table.

"Mr. Bast," McCullen smiled and set the PaDD down, "I've got good news and bad news."

Bast groaned as he sat across from McCullen. "I hate that kind of introduction," he said. "Okay... Start with the bad news."

"Let's just say Commander Hudson was... less than pleased that I've officially stolen you away from him. The consequence of that is that the Sentinel is firmly at the bottom of the list for reactivation and repair." McCullen frowned, "it could be weeks before we get done, and there's not much we can do about it, he's not breaking any rules."

Bast smiled humorlessly. "That sounds like Hudson all right. He's a bureaucrat all the way to the bone. I'll see what I can do about going around him. I might still have some pull with the staff here, I'll try to shuffle some things around."

"That would be helpful, I really don't want to go over his head if I can help it." McCullen had hoped Bast, having been assigned to the station and worked with Hudson, would have some influence on the situation. "I already pulled an end-run on the man, getting you transferred to the Sentinel in less than 24 hours. That's the good news, you're officially the Sentinel's XO, back-dated to when you first took up the post."

Bast nodded. "Thank you, Sir. The red uniform will take some getting used to, but it's a welcome change."

"You wear it well, commander." McCullen smiled again, Bast was worth putting up with Hudson and his grudge, "I think I can speak for everyone when I say we're all glad to have you aboard - officially. I've been thinking about the second officer, and the two names I keep coming up with are Lieutenant Ross and Lieutenant Ragez. What are your thoughts?"

Bast took a sip of coffee as he considered his answer. "I haven't worked with either of them closely enough to fully make an opinion yet," he said. "But my first impression is that either of them would make an excellent choice."

"Hmm," McCullen replied, glad he had Bast there to bounce his ideas off, it helped him think to voice his thoughts to someone else and that just wasn't possible with any of the other members of his crew. "Lieutenant K'Var was also an option, but frankly, I need her focused on tactical, not distracted by command duty." He paused to sip his coffee and think, "Ragez is a little bit older, a little more experienced and a little more apt to speak up. I think between the two, I'd pick Ragez. "

Bast considered the options. "Given the area of space we're in, perhaps having someone who has firsthand knowledge of the Orion mindset would be to our advantage," he agreed.

"I've yet to receive official orders for our next assignment," the captain told his XO, "but talk among the fleet and recent events lead me to believe that we'll be assigned to the Raeyan sector. What do you know of it?"

"I know that the Waeyan corridor is a very important buffer zone between all major powers in the quadrant," said Bast. "Federation, Romulans, Klingons, SoK and a few minor players all have a presence here and everyone tries to strengthen their foothold in the sector. But as for the Raeyan sector that lies beyond the corridor, I don't know that much about it. I haven't been privy to the Intelligence reports."

"The Raeyan Transit Corridor is a five-lightyear wide, forty-lightyear long slice of Federation space that cuts through Romulan and Klingon space, it's an enforced barrier between the two and there are significant forces on both sides that would dearly like to see it disappear. The Romulans want their systems back, the Klingons want any excuse to go to war with the Romulans." McCullen explained, "the Raeyan sector itself is relatively peaceful at the moment, but unsecured and fairly unexplored."

"Given the sector's status as vastly unexplored, wouldn't it be better if Lieutenant Ragez could focus his attention entirely on the scientific nature of our mission? Offering him the position as Second Officer would divert his attention away from that."

"I had thought about that, but honestly, we don't know what kind of mission we're going to be given." McCullen explained, "with the current situation in the corridor we could just as easily be assigned a patrol mission as a scientific mission. One can hope for the better of the two, but we have to prepare for the worst."

Bast nodded. "By that same rationale though, one could argue that given the state of the Sentinel right now, the Chief of Operations should be focused entirely on that aspect of his job, and not be given the double duty of Second Officer."

McCullen had to agree, they were working from the same playbook. "Either way, one department is going to be slightly compromised and I'd rather have operations intact, we'll have enough scientists aboard to pick up whatever slack Lieutenant Ragez leaves with second officer duty. Good operations officers, on the others hand, are like hen's teeth."

Bast nodded. "Ragez does have the service record to warrant such a position."

"That's settled then," McCullen smiled, gratefully checking one item off his insanely long list of things to handle, "What do you think about Lieutenant Hunter's desire to be the Chief Engineer? I'm inclined to give the kid a chance, he did well in the nebula, despite his clear lack of experience, but I worry that he's not ready for the job."

"He is young," agreed Bast. "And fresh out of the Academy. He got excellent grades and strong recommendations from his professors, but leadership is something that can't really be taught - he has to learn it through experience."

"We'll see how he performs over the next week, I want you to keep a close eye on him when you can, and if we both agree that he's up to the job, we'll give him the chance." McCullen replied, "I'd rather have someone we know in the post than a new officer if we can help it."

"What about Lieutenant Hughes? He has the rank, and at least some experience."

"Lieutenant Hughes is spoken for," McCullen explained, "he was only here temporarily to get the Sentinel out of the Nebula, he'll be heading off to his next posting very shortly, I imagine."

Bast nodded again. "We can make him Acting Chief Engineer. I was an engineer once, I can keep an eye on him."

"I wonder how Starfleet Command is going to feel about this," McCullen mused, frowning slightly at the thought of another impending battle. First Bast, then Commander Hudson and now this. But he'd picked this battle himself, it was a fight worth fighting. There was only one more person that needed discussing for the moment. "I'm going to ask Lieutenant D'Astous to stay on as flight control officer, she's between assignments and she seems to know what she's doing."

"She's a good officer and a fine pilot," confirmed Bast. "I've flown with her a couple of times here at Providence."

"That's another thing settled, then." McCullen smiled, "just another hundred-and-fifteen crew and a thousand-and-one things to sort out and we'll be good to go."

Bast chuckled. "What could possibly go wrong?"

McCullen raised his hands in mock horror, "Never, ever challenge the power of worse, Commander Bast. Fate is a fickle bitch and she likes a challenge." He grinned, "but we're in Federation space, we have clean uniforms, sonic showers, beds and food that isn't rations. I think we can handle whatever she throws at us."

Bast raised his coffee in salute. "Here's to flying in the face of fate," he cheered.

McCullen raised his own mug and tapped it with Bast's, he felt like a subtle change had begun in their relationship, he could imagine a friendship with the man sitting across from him, as much as their respective positions would allow and he felt true confidence that together, and with the rest of the crew that had come back from the nebula, they really could handle just about anything. "I'll drink to that, Mr. Bast, every day of the week."

"One final thing I think you should know," said Bast after he'd taken a drink. "I've moved into my quarters on the Sentinel. It'll be more efficient to keep an eye on the refit."

"As have I," McCullen smiled, "though there's not much more than a cot and a terminal in there right now. I plan to use the industrial replicator to make myself a desk, at some point today."

"At least it's better than the crates you had in your Ready Room," said Bast.

McCullen chuckled, "it was better than squatting on the floor."

Bast nodded in agreement.

Out of the corner of his eye, he spotted a stunning redhead walking in the corridor just past the officer's mess and turned his head to follow her. "If there's nothing else, Sir, I uh... think I should be getting back to the ship..."

"Go right ahead, Mr. Bast. I have to go talk to three Admirals and a captain about my after-action report." McCullen pulled a face.

"I will see you on board," said Bast. He put down the coffee cup and took off after the redhead.

McCullen watched Bast go, he had a good idea what the lieutenant commander was after and he remembered fondly his own years of sowing wild oats, he hoped his XO had as much fun as he'd had. With a shake of his head and a grin, he drained the last of his coffee and gathered up his PaDD's. It was almost time to face the gauntlet.


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