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Posted on Thu Jul 2nd, 2020 @ 11:31am by Captain James McCullen & Lieutenant Oliver Ross

Mission: Shadows
Timeline: MD 01 - 0845 hours


Ross entered the Ready Room carrying PaDD. Still in the throws of laughter from a joke PO Morris said to him. Once he stood before the Captain all joviality ceased and young stood at attention before the desk. "Sir, I have the After Mission Bridge Report." He motion to hand McCullen the PaDD. "You should know that the crew acted admirably in your absence and I would also personally like to thank you."

"Take a seat, lieutenant." McCullen smiled, taking the PaDD and gesturing with it to the empty chair across from him. Ross had proven to be a capable and dependable officer and the captain was aware that he had been a little remiss in spending some time with the man. "Thank me for what?"

Ross sat down in a chair. "Well sir it's not very often I get to...uh..." A nervous feeling came over him. Though he didn't know why. Never before had he felt the need to feel so, even in front of his commanding officer. "It's not very often I get a chance to be in command. A few shifts here and there. But even though it was brief. I am grateful for the opportunity."

"You handled yourself well, Lieutenant." McCullen responded, wondering at the nervous hitch. He'd never known Ross to be the nervous type, it kind of reminded him of his son Charlie, who'd always been a jittering, babbling, nervous wreck of a boy. He frowned softly at Ross, "From what I hear, you didn't put a foot wrong, so what's got you nervous?"

"I don't know. I guess I am not used to being honest about how I feel. Personally." Ross ran a hand across his neck. "There are some things I like to keep to myself."

"Hm," the Captain's frown remained, "have you considered talking to someone about that? We all have things we keep to ourselves, but if you're interested in taking on more of a role in command then it'll be something that will need to be addressed."

"Thank you for the advice, sir." Ross moved to a different subject. "You'll notice in my report that there were no real proficiency issues and the junior crew kept cool heads when things went south on the asteroid."

"I'm glad to hear it, lieutenant." James replied, "if we had the chance, I would have liked to take time to commend the junior staff, but with things as they are it will have to wait."

"That's all I have sir, I did send a copy of the report to Commander Bast. Unless there is anything else you'd like me to attend to," Ross asked as he relaxed a little more in his seat. The more he spoke with McCullen the more it became easier for him to speak.

McCullen pondered silently for a moment, musing to himself about the future of Lieutenant Ross. The man was dependable and had proven he could be relied upon to command, albeit briefly, there was something there, an opportunity if he wanted it. Almost, McCullen asked outright, but he knew better than to act on impulse. This required time for thought, and a discussion with his executive officer. "What..." he began tentatively, "do you see for yourself in the future, Mr. Ross?"

Ross ruminated. He was looking around room for an answer to fall into his brain. It wasn't often that he was asked such a question. The last time was at the Academy roughly after his brother had been named Captain of USS Saturn. Some people were already comparing them both and when his advisor that year sat him down Oliver's only reply was a shrug.

"I rarely ever consider my future sir. I love being an officer. What ever I can do to serve my Captain and my fellow officers is my best reward. Why do you ask, sir?"

"Curiosity, mostly," The captain replied. He remembered doing the whole live for now and damn tomorrow thing too, in his youth, but the relatively early arrival of children into his life at the age of 22 had changed that very quickly. "In my experience a person has to have something to strive towards, a goal or a desire. But if you haven't figured out what that is yet, that's fine too."

"Well if you must know...and this is between you and me." Ross sat forward as if he wanted to tell the Captain a large secret. "I've always wanted to Command my own ship some day. I know it can seem like a pipe dream for a introvert like me. But after my brother and then my sister was given their own it sort of felt like a private need."

Ross sat back. "Our parents always told us to not aim too high. You may never get what you want and it could make could hurt you if you don't. 'Never compare yourself to others,' they'd say. But I want to prove to myself and to my family that aiming high isn't such a bad thing after all."

James nodded, "I always told my kids... did you know I have children? My oldest is a few years older than you... I always told them to aim for the stars but keep your feet on the ground, want success but don't expect anything to come to you if you don't work for it, and always be prepared to fail. There's nothing wrong with aiming high, as long as you are prepared to invest the required time and effort and are ready to handle failure." The captain paused for a moment, a slight frown forming on his face as he made a decision, discussion be damned. "How," he leaned forward, studying Ross' face for a reaction, "would you feel if I offered you the provisional position of second officer?"

The Lieutenant's hear took a great leap. "Really? Sir?" Ross composed himself before he was about to stand up and do a dance. "I would have to say. I'd be happy to accept your offer."

James couldn't help but smile, that he'd finally found something to spark some excitement in Ross was an achievement unto itself, it was just the reaction he had hoped for. He took a moment to school his features back to neutral and then continued. "Understand lieutenant that it is provisional, conditional on you completing the required training courses and being up to the task, commander Bast and I will be watching you closely. That said, I wouldn't be offering you the position if I didn't think you were capable of it."

"I understand sir. Thank you. I will do my best." Ross shifted his position in his chair, "May I please be excused Sir there are some things I have to attend to before our conference."

"Very well, lieutenant." McCullen's smile returned, "make sure to check in with Commander Bast at the end of your shift, he'll give you your official duties as second officer."

"Aye sir," Ross stood up and headed to the door. "And thank you again."

"You're welcome, Mr. Ross," McCullen replied, "dismissed."


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