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A Few Things

Posted on Wed Nov 29th, 2017 @ 6:27am by Lieutenant Christine Descharmes & Captain Sun Mei Xiang

Mission: Shakedown Mark II
Location: Shanghai Mess Hall
Timeline: a few hours before First Views of A New World


The counselor was frazzled, to say the least. Piles of PADDs littered her desk, the rest of her office was filled with the gifts for the colonists that the crew dropped off, and they still kept bringing more. Christine was fortunate the Captain agreed to meet her in the mess hall, for now. There would have been no place to sit.

"Thanks for meeting me, Captain," Christine said, sliding into the chair across the table from Sun. It was a window view, the curve of the planet visible in the lower half of the window. The counselor had two PADDs with her, one of which she slid across to the captain. "I've arranged a meeting with the colony leadership as requested. They are looking forward to meeting the crew of the Shanghai. The details are listed. My office is also full of gifts I have yet to box and bring to the hangar bay, but my junior counselors have been working non-stop to get it sorted."

"Thank you, Lieutenant," Sun said, sort of sitting to one side and watching that curve of an alien world. She took the padd that was offered to her and glanced over it. "I'll have ops send a few extra hands to move everything for you once you're ready. Looks like you've all done quite a lot already." She skimmed the details a bit more and then glanced over to the woman, "Thank you, again. It's weird to look at an alien planet and try to imagine it as home. But, being welcomed will help. And feeling like a community will help." She gave a smile and set the padd down. "I can't help but notice you have a second padd with you. And this one," She tapped on the screen of the padd she was given, "seems to be pretty much about that topic. Meetings, gifts..." She nodded towards that one, "And that one?"

Christine stared at the captain for a full minute and glanced down at the second padd. "Oh..this," she said quickly. She had nearly forgot she had brought it with her. She scrolled through the information before she slid it across to Sun. "This is my formal request for bridge officer training. I know we all take some form of training at the Academy, but as you know, I had less conventional schooling than most." Christine referred to the intensive, condensed training she had received only a couple of years earlier from Starfleet Academy. It combined all necessary courses, taking into account the training she received on the job, for the most part. She continued, "In the event of an emergency, I would like to be able to help out so to speak."

Sun gave a quiet nod. She pondered it for a moment before taking the data device and looking it over for a second. "And official request..." Mei tapped the button to close the screen. "Lieutenant, I need every officer I can get out here. We're short staffed, and need more command officers." She paused, "But I want to be sure you understand exactly what that means." Her eyes drifted to the window. "I trained as an instructor. A teacher. My plan was to work out of the Marine Corps Academy office in Beijing, Seoul, or Okinawa. I didn't plan on this path." She adjusted and twisted around to look straight on at the Counselor. "I say that because I understand, in a way, where you are now."

"That said..." Mei spoke quietly. "I took a command position." She swallowed. "Christine, are you ready for this step? Out here this isn't a simple bridge position. Back in Federation space, you'd probably have a quiet night shift. Here... here is different. You will make choices that define the lives of people in this frontier for years to come." She gave a shake of her head. "You know better than almost anyone the nightmares that keep me awake at night... so I need to hear you say you are ready before I even begin to read this," She said with a tap to the padd.

Christine folded her hands together on the table. She took the captain's words in and mulled them over in her head. "I understand. I have thought it over, many times, before I wrote that out. True, this is my first real deep space mission. And I understand that this will be different. I am ready. I want to help out, I want to help you."

"Okay," Sun spoke softly. "I'll look over your request and decide officially in the next couple days." She paused, "Just to explain, I will need to take up your case with the admiralty." She took a breath and leaned back a little bit. "If it is accepted, there will be... unpleasant... parts." She added before shaking her head, "But, before that. Let's see what we can do to ease you into that transition." She said, "What do you need study and practice in?"

"I need leadership studies, bridge operations, starship operations mostly," Christine answered, nodding her head. "As my training was condensed, I did not see the need at the time to take any command modules, so that area is very minimal. But I am willing to work hard, Captain." She did not mention it would take her mind off of something else that had been bothering her lately.

"Studies are easy enough." Sun added with a nod, though she seemed to note something about the counselor's demeanor, even if she couldn't put a finger on it. "You can block off a few hours a week to use the holosuites. There should be a lot of basic and intermediate courses on Starship and Bridge ops." She gave a smile, "I'd suggest reading for leadership studies, but that is my own personal preference." She tapped her head, "Then, I'd say you can take some time on the bridge. Just watching for a couple weeks, and maybe once your ready we can let you take up an Ops station for a time." She said softly, "At least until I can get a personalized plan. What do you think?"

Christine nodded eagerly, "That would be great, Captain. Thank you so much. I will get started right away.Anything I can do to help you ease your workload, of course." She fell quiet for a minute and bit her lip, staring down at her hands. She wasn't going to ask, she probably shouldn't. But she had to know. And the captain might be able to tell her something. After another minute of gnawing her lip, she looked up at Sun. "There...there is something else I have to ask you."

"Something else?" Mei said to herself for a second. She glanced over the woman and worried about that question for a moment. A bit of a tightening in her stomach, a bit of dread - if only due to the nerves she saw in her counselor's body language. She gave a little half bow. "Of course. I'm here to help, with anything. My door is always open." She spoke softly, "And if you need, you can always ask or speak off the record."

Christine hesitated, the confident counselor suddenly unsure of herself. "It''s about Lieutenant Commander Barnes...James..I was wondering..have you heard anything? Since he left, I's been months.." She never once pried into his personal life..or his work, he was in Intelligence after all. But she had to know, even if it was the hard truth.

Mei sighed a bit and shook her head. "If I had something to give you Christine, I would..." She said softly, "I don't know anything though." She swallowed, "After we got back, and returned to zero zero one for repairs and refit before Cait, his station wasn't needed. We were safe, and had a direct line to Intel. So, they needed him elsewhere." She took a deep breath. "I put in a request when we left, but Starfleet only returned a heavily redacted response." She sighed, "I can give that to you if it might help set your mind at ease. But unfortunately, I do not have anything concrete to can give you. I'm sorry. I wish I knew more - or that he had been able to come with us."

"I see," Christine said quietly and looked down at her hands. "It's just..he didn't say good-bye. I woke up one morning and he was gone. I loved him and he just left. Surely you can understand how that feels." She took a deep, shaky breath. "But maybe it is better this way. Thank you, Sun."

"I can only guess," Mei said softly with a little shrug, and shake of her head. "I wish I could help more Christine, I really do." She said softly. "And if you need to rant about it, or just talk, or just have someone listen you know where to find me." She smiled, "And I mean that. Anytime, anywhere. Whatever you need. And if I hear anything you'll be the first to know."

She smiled at Sun. "Thank you. That means..a lot actually." She gave the captain another smiled, flashing dazzling white teeth. "Who counsels the counselor, right?" Christine stood from the table. "I better let you get to work. And I have to get my office back in order."



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