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Posted on Wed Nov 6th, 2019 @ 11:05am by Lieutenant Joshua Miller M.D. & Captain James McCullen

Mission: Reaching Out in Hope
Location: Ready Room | U.S.S. Sentinel
Timeline: MD009 | 1810 Hours

Josh's head was spinning. They had arrived in orbit of New Bajor this morning and within hours Ben had received new orders and transferred off the Sentinel. Now, only a matter of hours later, he'd received new orders of his own and was due to beam over to Opaka Station himself where he would catch a transport back to the Alpha Quadrant.

'At least I'll be able to travel back with Ben.' He mused silently as the turbolift deposited him on Deck 1. Requesting permission to depart from the Captain was a formality and he could have easily skipped it but in his short time onboard, Josh had come to not only respect the Captain on a professional level but also like him on a personal level. He approached the door to the Captain's Ready room and pressed the chime.

"Yes sir, McCullen out." Jim replied, stone-faced as the comm channel closed. He let it sit for a second, then on impulse slapped his hand on his desk, upsetting a stack of PaDDs and causing them to cascade all over the surface. "Bastards!" he snarled, finally releasing the pent up frustration that had been building throughout the entire five minute discussion with Starfleet Command where he'd explained rather directly that a last minute transfer of his Chief Medical Officer hours before they were due to depart on a mission where medical assistance was likely to be a major factor was not helpful and then had been told that no, he couldn't keep his chief medical officer and no, there was no arguing the matter.

The door chime sounded and he took a second to put his composure back together, taking a deep breath and letting it out slowly through his nose before pushing the door control and calling "Enter."

Doctor Miller stepped into room he'd only been in once before, just after arriving onboard. He was certain the Captain had already been informed of his transfer. Walking up to the desk, he straightened up. "Good evening, sir. I'm sure Starfleet has already made you aware of my new orders."

Almost, McCullen let his anger color his reply, but this wasn't the doctor's fault. Miller hadn't requested a transfer, Starfleet command had issued the orders unasked. "Yes, they have." He wasn't able to keep a tinge of the anger still bubbling in his gut out of his voice and added a thin smile in an attempt to mitigate it, "take a seat, Doctor."

The Captain's anger was understandable. "I'm sorry to be leaving you short handed in Sickbay at such short notice, particularly given the nature of our," he paused and corrected himself, "nature of your mission out here."

"You've nothing to be sorry for, doctor." McCullen said, pausing to let out a sigh, "I would rather have kept you, but we go where we're ordered. I spent five very frustrating minutes discussing your orders with Starfleet Command and couldn't get them to budge. Whatever they've got you lined up for next is apparently more important than..." there was that anger again and the captain paused to swallow it. "In any case, I'm sure you'll do very well in your next assignment. Do you have any idea what it is?"

Josh nodded. "Chief Medical Officer of the U.S.S. Nightingale. She's an Olympic-class hospital ship. The assignment also comes with a promotion to Lieutenant Commander." While he would relish the challenge that being Chief Medical Officer on a ship with such a large medical staff would bring, he was only beginning to feel at home on the Sentinel. To have been ripped away so quickly, and at such a crucial time seemed cruel but not atypical of the Starfleet bureaucracy.

"Well, congratulations Doctor," the captain managed to find a smile. It was typical of Starfleet to move people around like this without considering the implications to current assignments and he could be angry about that, but he was genuinely pleased for Miller and found a small measure of comfort that his chief medical officer was going off to do something important and was being taken away from him for anything asinine. "We're going to miss your expertise on our mission, but at least you're going to do something important."

Doctor Miller didn't manage to return that smile. "Yes sir." He nodded in agreement. "But I was doing something important here. Was about to do something important." It was Josh's turn to sigh. "I guess I made the mistake of letting myself start to settle when Starfleet can just whip the rug from under you." He straightened in the chair. "It's been an absolute pleasure serving under you, sir. And with the officers and crew under your command."

"Thank you, Doctor. I think I can speak for everyone aboard in saying that the feeling is mutual." McCullen stood and extended his hand, "I wish you well, Lieutenant Commander."

Joshua stood and grasped the Captain's hand firmly, giving it a shake. "Thank you, sir." The two men pulled their hands back and Doctor Miller snapped to attention. "I request permission to depart, sir."

McCullen nodded once, taking a half second to study the doctor's face before responding. "Permission granted, Lieutenant Commander Miller."

"Thank you, Captain." With a nod, the newly promoted Lieutenant Commander turned on his heel and strode out of the Ready Room to begin the next, hopefully longer, chapter of his career.


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