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Secondary Detail

Posted on Thu Nov 30th, 2017 @ 5:15pm by David Hawkins & Lieutenant JG Wakeham Paul Alasia PhD

Mission: Operation Red Garden
Location: IN route
Timeline: Back-Post

OOC: Can you add a location and time period that makes sense relative to the mission? Paul would need to have had a rendezvous with the Gladiator on her way to the mission.

ON:

Paul had a habit of switching from his heads-up as he approached a given Starfleet ships, peering directly out of the hatch near his seat. Watching from a screen often undermined the sense of awe that came from seeing a heavenly body or a massive accomplishment of engineering in person. Why serve on ship duty if not to have the occasional experience of true awe?

His habit of trying to view objects in space without the intermediary of the viewscreen often meant, depending on the angle of the approach, that Paul would not get much of a view at all. Half the time, he would stare blankly into the void of space until some off-kilter portion of the bulkhead suddenly appeared in his line of sight. One of the practical realities of space travel meant that, often, by the time the ship was directly viewable, it was too close to immediately determine which portion at which one was even looking, let alone be struck by its tremendous scale. This was not one of those times. Paul's hatch window framed the Gladiator perfectly, as if during the slow zoom in on a photograph in a documentary. The darkness of deep space offset the hues of dark gray with just a hint of blue that characterized Starfleet flag ships in recent decades. Paul had not served on the original Gladiator long and yet, it was still hard not to be struck by how different the vessel looked. Though he had been told the Excaliburs were bigger than their Sovereign Class cousins, it looked more robust and imposing somehow. Stout, perhaps.

Almost by chance, Paul had been informed of a mission aboard the Gladiator with a key diplomatic component. Paul had long delayed his return to ship duty for a detail on Earth, and had decided to leverage the opportunity to return to his former home. Of all the ships Paul had served aboard, he felt the Gladiator felt most like home, brief as his tenure in that home had been.

Still and all, Paul was a nervous. His original request for three months leave had tipped over past more than a year. In the meantime, Paul had heard, the Gladiator had even had another Diplomatic Officer detailed to her crew. Though Paul intellectually knew that the Captain must have approved his return to the ship, Paul hadn't talked to Hawkins directly. It occurred to Paul that it was possible the Captain or even the XO had, in a pique of disinterest, casually approved the appointment of a new CDO without having noticed that he wasn't new at all. The possibility that his commanding officer would be angry or, worse, disappointing to discover Paul strolling the corridors of the ship had been a source of some anxiety for Paul over the preceding days.

The pilot of the run-about, an Andorian Ensign, Paul surmised, was likely 23 or 24, if not younger gestured to the Gladiator. "We're in communications range, sir. Should I signal them?"

"If you don't mind." Paul replied with less than his full attention, staring at the ship as it moved across his field of vision from left to right.

The Ensign pressed a small button on console in front of him. "Gladiator, this is the runabout USS Chengdu. Come back."

The voice that replied was clear but backed by a chorus of white noise. "We read you, Chengdu."

"I have a Lieutenant Junior Grade Wakeham Alasia reporting."

"Yes." Came the reply. "Authorization?"

"Authorization Golf, Tango, Yankee - 560013131, Sector 001."

"Confirmed. Ok, Chengdu, Conn will send over encrypted coordinates and timing procedures shortly. You are to maintain a parallel heading and speed. Both the Gladiator and your runabout will drop out of warp simultaneously. During that window, the Lieutenant will be transported aboard and we will resume warp. Make sure Lieutenant Alasia has his things ready to go as the transport window will only be a couple minutes and he won't have time to return to retrieve anything he may have forgotten."

The Ensign glanced at Paul who nodded in the affirmative.

"Very good." The Ensign replied. "Standing by for coordinates and timing procedures."

"Also," the voice from the Gladiator communications added, "please tell Lieutenant Alasia to report to the Captain once he's aboard."

Paul nodded to himself. The Captain remembered.

"Affirmative." The Ensign concluded. "Chengdu out."


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1 hour later:
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Paul nervously approached the bridge, as he stepped off the turbolift, he scanned the room for a friendly face but he didn't recognize anyone. Turnover of junior officers is typically high on a ship the size of the Gladiator, he reassured himself. It was always a longshot to see anyone he knew.

An NCO security officer glimpsed Paul's entrance and looked up from his console. "Can I help you, sir?" He asked with a voice that belied both an obvious desire to be helpful and perhaps a slight skepticism that Paul belonged.

"Hello." Paul replied quietly, hoping not to disturb anyone else. "Reporting for duty, the quartermaster told me I would find the Captain on the bridge."

"In his ready room." The security officer gestured across the bridge's threshold.

"Thank you." Paul nodded and approached the door, signalling his presence with the all-familiar chirp of a Starfleet door.

David was looking over the details of the mission before him while resting on the edge of the desk. The images and data were being holographically displayed and he had full control of the images and data being shown to him with a wave of his hands. He had given himself more than enough time sitting at the desk that he was looking forward to take advantage of his larger Ready Room.

Even though the Gladiator-A wasn't the most advanced starship in the fleet, it was a battleship, decked out with all the newest technologies available to the fleet. One of many were the faster processing speeds of the ship's computer systems and holographic systems.

"Yeah... come on in," the captain called out as he looked over the holographic read out of the solar system that were heading to and the past couple years of conflicts. The door slid open and he looked over to see a ghost from the past. he waved his hand forcing all the data to the side so he could see the man before him. "Huh... So Mister Wakeham Paul Alasia decides to come back after his 3 month leave request."

Paul approached the Captain's desk and handed him the PaDD containing his orders. "Yes, sir. Three months." Paul sheepishly made fleeting eye-contact with the Captain out of the corner of his eyes. "I am sorry about that, sir. It was never my intention to leave the Gladiator in the lurch."

"So what were your intentions?" David asked as he crossed his arms over his chest and leaned up against his desk. He wasn't angry, per say, but he was wanting to know the details.

"I guess it depends on how much detail you'd like, sir."

"I'll leave the explanation in your head, Lieutenant. But, I hope that I have earned in your eyes the decency to at least have a vague idea of what happened," the captain simply stated as he relaxed his posture.

"In short, I had family business to attend to. It was deeply unpleasant and..." Paul hesitated. "I'm a little ashamed to say, I briefly considered leaving Starfleet. I was detailed to Starfleet Diplomatic and, on a day-to-day basis, it was easier to go along and get along. I never asked for my re-assignment back to Gladiator and no one ever mentioned it. I did my research, I kept my nose down... in my head, I kept saying 'I'll request re-assignment next week.' Before I knew it, a year had passed."

"There is nothing to be ashamed of in stepping down from Starfleet for the right reasons. This is a service and a way to explore the galaxy. Can't go wrong with leaving for family though. Lots have."

"Yes, sir. The reason I'm ashamed -- my father hates the Federation. He hates Starfleet and most of all, he hates that I joined. So, after some deeply unpleasant conversations with him... most of my shame is tied up in the fact that I very nearly knuckled under to what my father wanted. His endless hectoring almost had the intended effect."

Paul blinked as if suddenly coming back online. "I'm very sorry, Captain. None of this is your problem, and I don't know why I'm laying this at your feet. It's very unprofessional and I apologize."

This only made David wave his hand as he shook his head as well. "No need for you to worry, Paul. You can call me David when its just us or the senior staff if its in an unofficial capacity. Sound fair?"

Paul's countenance lightened considerably. "Absolutely, sir. That's very gracious of you."

"And no need to apologize at all. You didn't go off killing people, and you can always make it up down the road. Sound fair?"

"More than fair."

"For now, go get settled in and we can talk later. Welcome back, Paul. You are dismissed," David nodded and had a slight grin on his face as he watched him simply smile back. It was nice to see old family come back, and even though he wasn't with them long, still was a familiar face.

Paul turned on his heels and exited the office of his once and future CO. For the first time in a long time, he felt optimistic about his future in Starfleet.

OFF

 

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