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Promises and Promotions

Posted on Sun Mar 10th, 2019 @ 4:00pm by Commander Temerant Bast & Lieutenant JG Emilie D'Astous & Captain James McCullen
Edited on on Fri Mar 15th, 2019 @ 3:55pm

Mission: Route to Raeya
Location: Ready Room, USS Sentinel
Timeline: MD1, 1115 Hrs

Lieutenant Commander Bast hovered over Lieutenant D'Astous's shoulder as she tried to enter the course parameters into her console. For some reason, every time she tried to engage the simulated coordinates, the navigational computer altered the trajectory by two degrees to port.

"Dammit!" she swore. "I don't know what the frak is wrong with this thing. I've tried restarting the console three times already, and it doesn't change anything."

"Did you talk to Lieutenant Zemta?" asked the First Officer. "It was his responsibility to calibrate the console."

Emilie looked at him and sighed. "He just finished working his third double shift in as many days, I thought I'd give him a couple of hours of sleep," she replied.

"All right," nodded Bast, rubbing the bridge of his node as he also tried to clear his mind.

The refit had been harrowing, no one had gotten much rest. They had been put under pressure by Providence Fleet Yards since Day One of the operation. They had pulled quite a few strings to be put at the top of the maintenance schedule, and Commander Hudson had found a way to make them pay for it - by squeezing two weeks' worth of maintenance into six days.

"I'll access his test logs, and see if he had any issues," suggested Emilie.

A thought suddenly occurred to Bast. "Cross-reference with the navigational sensors," he said. "Maybe there's a glitch in the interface between the two systems that forces the computer to compensate the trajectory."

The comm system came to life at that moment. "McCullen to Bast, report to my ready room please."

Bast tapped his combadge. "On my way," he replied before turning back to the junior officer. "Make a note in the maintenance log. Ask Engineering to run a Level Two diagnostic on the navigational sensors." He walked over to the Ready Room door and pressed the door chime.

"Enter," McCullen called and the door slid open, admitting the XO into the room. "I've got three kinds of news - good, bad and just news. Which do you want first?" He asked as Bast entered.

Bast halted in midstride and pondered the options. Lamorra would have gone for the good news first, Wilem for the bad. He opted for the middle ground.

"Just news," he replied.

"Take a seat," the captain offered, waiting for the commander to sit before he continued, "we've gotten our mission from command. It's a bit of a milk run."

"At this point a milk run would be good," commented Bast as he took a seat in the brand new chair on the other side of the Captain's desk. "We still have a few bugs to iron out of the system."

"I've not looked into the files, yet, but the gist of it is we're heading to the Raeya sector. We've got to stop by Outpost Curtiss and pick up some cargo, something sensitive I'm told, then run the Raeyan Transit Corridor to Faltan Station, drop off the cargo and proceed to Starbase 440 for further orders. I think we can use the run to Raeya, about 10 days at warp eight-ish, to run shakedown and get squared away."

Bast nodded. "I'll schedule a series of drills for every department during those ten days."

"I was thinking just that," McCullen agreed, pleased that Bast had suggested it before he'd had to bring it up. "I'll look over the files and then send them to you to read, then we can have a staff briefing - tomorrow hopefully, and get underway. And speaking of staff, that brings me to the bad news."

Bast took a deep breath and steeled himself for what was to come.

"Lieutenants K'Var and Makarova are leaving us, they've been reassigned. Doctor Makarova is apparently needed more elsewhere and Lieutenant K'Var is being assigned to something... rather black, I suspect."

"Damn," replied Bast. "This is a hard blow, just a couple of days before leaving Spacedock. Can Sector command provide us with replacements?"

"Apparently, they're on the way." The captain said, "their files are in the information pack, but I've not looked yet. That's on my very long list of things to do." He smiled wryly, "I cannot wait to get out of this damn drydock and get back into open space."

"I hear you," replied Bast. "It's been a rough week. I feel like Hudson got his revenge on us by pushing in the same direction we were. He's trying to get us to clear the berth faster than we can run. He needs it for the USS Adirondack. We pushed hard to be moved to the top of the list, and now we're paying the price."

"It'll be worth it, when it's done." McCullen commented, "but yes, we are paying a heavy price. I had to send Lieutenant Hunter to bed, he'd been working for fifteen hours without a break. Lieutenant Zemta was in the same boat. We're all running at the ragged edge. I'm tempted to suggest that the first day of the journey could be spent just holding in space with everyone asleep."

Bast gave an exhausted chuckle for a reply. "That might not be a bad idea, but I wouldn't give Hudson the satisfaction. I'll make sure people get enough rest on the way to Outpost Curtiss."

"In other news," McCullen laid his hands flat on the table and pushed himself up out of the chair, "another order came through from command." He moved over to the replicator and picked up the small box that was sitting there, tucking it in his hand before turning back to Bast and setting it down on the desk in front of him. "This is yours."

Bast frowned and reached for the box. "What's this?" he asked. He picked up the box and looked at the captain quizzically.

A memory surfaced in Temerant's mind. "The last time a man gave me something in a box, he got down on one knee," he added with a lopsided smile, referring to the time Lamorra's husband had proposed.

"It's your punishment for doing too much good work, Commander Bast." McCullen grinned, "and I'm already married."

Bast opened the box and saw the full pip it contained. His eyebrows rose in surprise - this was the last thing he'd expected. He had already passed the Bridge officers' test long ago, and the results had been filed away until such time as a promotion was warranted. Now it appeared that his time had come.

"Thank you, Sir," was all he could think to say. "I'm honored."

"You've earned it, Mr. Bast." The Captain smiled, "your actions in the nebula and everything you've done since justify it, and I'm happy for you. Just don't get any ideas about getting your own command and leaving me all alone - not just yet, anyway."

"Of course not, Sir," replied the Trill. He opened his mouth and closed it again, unsure how to formulate his next statement.

He placed the box back down on the desk. "Which brings me to my next point. You know the conversation - every First Officer has it with their new Captain. Circumstances never really gave us the opportunity to have it, but this seems as good a time as any."

Bast paused, and looked at the expectation on his Captain's face.

"You know Starfleet regulations are a bit hazy on the captain taking an active role on landing parties. As First Officer, it's my duty to ensure the Captain's safety. I hope we'll be on the same page."

"Ah," McCullen moved around the desk and sat himself down in his chair, he remembered the talk he'd had with his own captain as a new XO - it hadn't gone very well. "I won't promise that I'll not go on any landing parties, I can only say that my safety is fairly high on my own list of priorities and I won't take any undue risks."

"As you've mentioned yourself, Captain, you're a married man. Not only that, but your wife is an Admiral. If I were to allow you to put your life in jeopardy, I'm sure she wouldn't consider it such a brilliant career move on my part," said Bast with a lopsided smile.

"Hah," the captain shook his head, "I understand, commander, I also live in fear of my wife's wrath, but she is a Starfleet officer well before she is my wife and she was a captain before me, she understands the job as well or better as you and I. But I take your point, Mr. Bast, I will promise never to take undue risk, only when it's absolutely necessary."

Bast picked up the little black box from the desk and stood. "Thank you, Sir," he said, extending a hand.

McCullen pushed himself upright and took the commander's hand, giving it a firm shake. "You're welcome, Commander Bast."


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