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To Be or Not To Be.....?

Posted on Wed Jan 27th, 2016 @ 10:20am by Lieutenant Commander Vanora Stele & Major Delvok

Mission: Mother Base
Location: Marine Deck
Timeline: Current


It felt like Mago Barca had been a cadet forever. It was true that his graduation from the Academy had been delayed by his extended medical leave, but that didn't change his feeling of running in place. Even getting back to work in Ops didn't change this sensation; all of the turnover there, from Vanora to Peregrine and now Jay, left Mago unsettled and without proper mentorship. After T'Madh helped him start to successfully conquer his anxiety and PTSD, he had abandoned the bottle. Yet he still needed something besides meditation to distract him and pass the time. So it was that he found himself down in the Marine decks, running through the obstacle course that he'd helped replicate on Captain Delvok's orders.

Delvok watched the young man take on the flatpack, transportable and easily carryable Marine Assault course. The design specifics of which were that if the marine recon company found themselves situated on a planet for an extended period of time they could, in theory, take their a assault course with them for training. The creator of said assault course now seemed to be physically punishing himself through mass strenuous activity above and beyond what was expected of a marine. But this was no marine, it was a cadet.

Mago had the advantage of knowing the assault course much better than any marine running through it for the first time. But even though knowledge of the next-best move helped, the cadet did not exploit it completely, relying even more on brute effort. Though he was small, he attacked the course fiercely, sprinting to the next obstacle not even a moment after clearing the last. He didn't notice the marine CO watching him until he had finished the course, panting to catch his breath with his hands on his knees.

Delvok moved himself to the end of the assault course to stand opposite the exhausted marine. Maybe it was just Delvok, but he thought that assault courses always beat the holodeck ones. "Good Session?" asked Delvok conversationally

The sudden appearance of the Vulcan caused Mago to instinctively jump backwards and to his feet. Unlike in previous months, however, he did this without tripping over himself or falling on his butt. It was a sign that his training, and just as importantly his sobriety, was paying dividends. "Captain," Mago saluted sharply. "Yes sir, it was. I apologize for using your course without permission..."

Delvok was a little bit suprised by the Salute. He did not think starfleet officers, or cadets, saluted in within the fleet. But the Marines did, so perhaps it was a respectful gesture. Delvok returned the salute. "No need to apologise cadet. Does it work to your satisfaction?"

Mago nodded enthusiastically. "It's one thing to build it, and another entirely to run it. I don't think there's anything at the Academy that ever worked me as thoroughly as your course did, not even the holodeck simulations." That was perhaps due to how much effort Mago had put into his physical regimen while at the Academy, during which time his mind was constantly preoccupied with his Starfleet officer collectible card business. With that behind him now, on the other hand, he was realizing that his view of himself as a klutz was perhaps a misperception.

Delvok nodded in agreement, he expected the Marine assault course to take a little out of anyone who did not use it on a regular basis. It was not even a proper assault course, rather a portable flat pack one that could be taken with them when needed. But it was a Marine Assault Course and had been designed to push the bodies endurance and stamina. Marines were expected to push themselves physically further than their Starfleet counterparts. It came with the job. “What do you see yourself doing after qualifying from the academy cadet?”

It was a question he'd been wrestling with for a long time, even before that fateful incident with the holographic nightmares. It seemed that he'd never live up to the officers that he idolized for so long. For a while there, he didn't think he'd make it off the Gladiator alive, and after that he was pretty sure it was only a matter of time until he got the boot from both his cadet cruise and the Academy. But now, clean and in the best shape of his life, the old questions came back in a new light. "The Commandant has approved an extended cadet cruise for me, sir, given the amount of time I was on medical leave. So it may be a while more until I graduate. It feels so far off, but at the same time, I'm not sure if Operations is where I belong anymore, not even for the rest of the cruise. I enrolled in the Academy to study and help run starships, and now it feels... wrong. I'm not sure how else to explain it."

Delvok stroked his beard thoughtfully. “There is more to star fleet than the fleet cadet. I have known officers who have gone their entire careers without one ship board posting.” Delvok looked around for somewhere to sit. Not seeing anywhere he sat on the padded matt floor and crossed his legs. “Starfleet is more than the sum of its starships cadet. It’s also the space stations were they are repaired and built; it’s the security officer on a fledgling Federation Colony keeping the peace. It’s the engineer building refugee camps after a planetary disaster; it’s the science officer exploring the wonders of the universe from his laboratory; it’s the diplomatic aid, working hard for a Federation ambassador to make sure the minor details are thrashed out in a negotiation; it’s the nurse tending patients in hospital……all these things and more make up the other elements of star fleet. There is more to this organisation than what its name implies.” He paused a moment “Even now four decades on I still ask myself the question where do I belong?”

Mago nodded as Delvok spoke. "It makes sense I guess. I think maybe I'm worried, though, that I'll spend four decades and realize I've made a wrong choice somewhere. No offense, sir," he said apologetically. "It's just that Humans live a lot shorter than Vulcans do. How am I supposed to know that I'm doing the right thing, or where I belong?"

"Some of the most interesting people I know still do not know what they want to do with their lives...." mumbled to Delvok to himself as he quoted a line from an ancient earth book. "Cadet I sincerely wish I could answer that question for you. Alas many people go through their lives not knowing what their destiney is. Its called Life."

"I've been thinking about that constantly," Mago admitted. He paused for a long while, as if mustering the courage to say something that he'd carried with him for a while. "And I wanted to ask you something else. I haven't cleared it with the Academy yet, but... I've been thinking about asking to switch my cadet cruise rotation. I know it's not normal for Marines to take cadets, or for cadets to become Marines, but... maybe the Academy will make an exception. I don't think they will, though, unless a Marine CO is okay with it, unless you're okay with it."

Delvok nodded his agreement "I am okay with that" said Delvok thoughtfully "and if it is something that you do not want to do then at least we have been able to aknowledge that and you can then try something else. However another conundrum presents itself, do you want to be a marine pilot or a marine rifleman?"

"A rifleman," Mago responded without hesitation. "I've heard that every Marine is a rifelman first and foremost." It was true that pilots were important as well, but his motivation was to make sure he was never in a position again where he could defend neither himself nor those around him, and it seemed like focusing on the core Marine skills would best train him for that future.

Delvok nodded, he was impressed by the cadets knowledge. Every marine, from pilot to soldier, sapper to medic, was a rifleman first. "It is agreed then. You clear it with a the academy, I will clear it with my superiors and we will get you on-board."

"Thank you, sir," Mago said. For the first time in a long time, he felt excited about what the future held.


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