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Shakedown Briefing

Posted on 28 Jan 2020 @ 4:19pm by Captain Harvey Geisler & Commander Terry Walsh & Commander Jayla Kij & Lieutenant Commander Joey Geisler & Lieutenant Commander Gemma Alexander & Lieutenant Commander Camila Di Pasquale & Lieutenant Commander Arjin Djinx & Lieutenant Commander Tivan & Lieutenant JG Charles McCullen & Lieutenant JG Damian Akorem & Lieutenant JG Lina Sorensen & Holographic Assistance and Support Avatar HASA

Mission: Sentience
Location: Engineering Lab Three
Timeline: MD1 || 0900 hours (January 6, 2390)

Camila had to wonder why she and the other senior staff had been called the Engineering Lab instead of the Ready Room or Conference Room, but she would know soon enough. With a PADD in one hand and a cup of strong Klingon Ratkajino in the other, the ombre haired Security Chief headed in and took a seat.

Joey wasn't too far behind Camila, and like her friend, she had to wonder why this particular location was chosen instead of the Conference Room. It didn't much matter, though, as there was likely a good reason for it, which she and the rest of the senior staff would be finding out about soon enough. For now, while she waited for the others to return, she planned to enjoy the fact she was back on duty once more, even if it did mean she'd be away from her little ones for a while.

The only thing more tedious than daily reports were staff briefings. If Jayla had known that being a senior staff member would be so much fun, she'd have done it right out of the academy. (Why no, that wasn't sarcastic at all. Why do you ask?)

But, there was no way to get out of it, so she turned up at the proper place- an Engineering lab, of all places- and the proper time. She broke into a wide grin seeing Joey and Camila already there. "Hi!" she said cheerfully. "How are the babies, Joey?"

"Good morning," Joey said in way of greeting both Camila and Jayla. "The babies are growing like little weeds. Alison is already crawling, and I don't think her brother is too far behind her. He seems to be content to just sit there and watch his sister get into everything she can."

At that moment Master Chief Petty Officer Kai Mazen entered the lab, his loyal android Beagle, Fin (short for Fineagle A Beagle), at his side. He looked around the room and then spoke to Fin. "Find somewhere to lay down where you won't be underfoot."

Fin looked at Kai, then looked at Joey and Camilla. He turned his canine head back to face Kai and barked. Kai chuckled.

"Fine," he said. "Say hello to the--" Fin barked again. "I was going to say hello to them, too--"

Ignoring the rest of Kai's statement, Fin walked first up to Joey, looked up to her and barked and wagged his tail expectantly.

"Lieutenant Geisler, I presume?" Kai said. "And Lieutenant Di Pasquale? Master Chief Kai Mazen. I'm the new Chief of the Boat. The cheerful canine not quite waiting for Lieutenant Geisler to pet him is Fin. He's an android my daughter designed over at the Daystrom Institute. My daughter gave him to me as a companion, but since Daystrom and Starfleet Engineering are interested in how he handles life on a starship, and in the potential for official use, I get to take him to work with me most days."

Unable to help herself, Joey crouched down and extended a hand in Fin's direction to let him smell her before she began to gently scratch him behind the ears. He was definitely cute. "Yes, I'm Lieutenant Geisler," she confirmed, turning her attention back toward Kai with a smile. "Welcome aboard the Black Hawk." Her gaze went back to the Beagle. "And welcome aboard to you, too. He's definitely impressive. Had you not mentioned he was an android, I never would have known."

“He’s super cute,” agreed Jayla. “I suppose he’d be a great option for starships- less danger of him being ‘killed’ and all. I’m the Doctor, by the way. Jayla Kij,” she added.

Gemma was a little puzzled why she'd been invited to this meeting, and in engineering of all places. Usually Walsh just informed her what was going on. She nodded to those she knew, distracted a little by the dog. She'd been a guest lecturer at the Academy and only recently returned so wasn't familiar with some of the newer faces, and there'd been many, that she'd seen.

She walked up to her friend Jayla, "Something I miss?" Her eyes taking in the new face and dog, as she inquired politely.

Camila looked at the Chief of the Boat and then the Beagleoid, or android thing and wondered why the Master Chief was bringing it to the meeting. She gave a nod to Mazen, but kept her eyes on Fin and began to figure out ways to neutralize it if it were taken over.

"Android," Tivan said, having eavesdropped after quietly making entry. "Curious word choice. Cynic might be more accurate than android, seeing as how 'android' derives from the Greek word 'androides' which means 'manlike' while 'kynikos' means 'dog-like' in the same language." She smiled at Kai and then the others. "Then again, it is singularly fascinating how anthropomorphic the human mind can be."

Ignoring all the stares, particularly from those whose ire she had raised in her month aboard the ship, Tivan claimed an empty seat and adopted a posture of confident poise.

Joey arched a brow and turned her attention to Tivan as she stood back up. "I'm sorry, but I don't think we've met before. Who are you exactly?"

Camila looked up as the pointy eared bottle smasher came in and glared at her before turning her attention to Joey. "She's a new Counselor. Don't let her in your quarters, Joey."

Ignoring Camila, save for a furtive glance and coy smirk, Tivan replied to Joey. "Lieutenant Commander Tivan. Starfleet Medical, psychology and psionics division. I was assigned as chief counselor for the Black Hawk last month."

There had to be a story there, but Joey planned to ask about it at a later time. "That would be why I've never met you before. Welcome aboard. I trust you've been pretty busy since arriving?"

"I have." Tivan pursed her lips as if holding back a deliciously amusing secret. "I certainly have."

Joey thought Tivan to be quite the odd one, but snippets of a conversation she'd had with Harvey a few weeks back came to mind as realization dawned on her. Babies, getting settling back in and a lot of other things had kept her from confronting the Vulcan woman, but that was all about to change in the very near future whether Tivan knew it was coming or not. For now, she would fake a smile and lead the counselor to believe everything was okay.

A small holographic figure popped up on his desk next to his screen demanding attention. It was one of the fancy new improvements on the new Black Hawk. One could customise it but Arjin had refrained to do so for now. The female human person delevered him a message that his presence was needed to attend a staff meeting in engineering. "Great he thought. Just what I need. A staff meeting with pleanty of people around." He slammed on the console to get rid of the hologram. As if that could make due of the meeting.

He rubbed his temples in an attemt to get calm and stood. Not bothering this time with adjusting his uniform or grooming himself. A short walk, a padd in his hand so he could pretend being too absorbed to aknowledge anyone passing by, brought him to Engineering Lab three. As he entered he let his eyes glance over the scene inside. "Great, there's already a crowd.", he thought. Luckily they seemed all distracted with a little doglike figure. So he grabbed the moment to quietly enter and take an empty seet away from the crowd.

Charlie McCullen took a deep breath, standing at the threshold to the holodeck, he did what he could to steady his nerves - reminding himself of who he was, a trained and experienced Starfleet officer amidst other people who were, in the main, much the same as he was. He was not an impostor, he was worthy of being where he was and he could do his job, very well in fact.

It didn't help, much, he still felt like a raw cadet about to get chewed out by an admiral, but it was enough that he was able to take the last ten steps and walk into the holodeck with a friendly smile on his face, arms consciously uncrossed and at his sides, and not run for the nearest corner to hide.

As the morning progressed, Terry was getting more and more comfortable in the new uniforms. Huh, the morning...what a morning it had been. He entered the lab and quickly took note of everyone already there. There were several faces that he didn't recognize, but thankfully, there were more that he did. "Morning," he called out in general. As there were only a few seats in the Engineering Lab, Terry opted to stand near the round set of consoles.

When Lina enetered the engineering lab, she saw that many people had already gathered there. It was as always: the one with the shortest way, came as one of the last ones. She had to grin and nodded to the others. "Good morning," she said.

Straightening his uniform upon entering, the doors opened and it looked like he was the last one, the room looking almost full. Including some new faces, it looked like most of the senior staff. Being the new Chief Operations Officer, arriving late was not an option. Hopefully, no one would notice that he had barely slept again. He should really go and get the Doctor to give him something. But that was weak. It's just a phase. It'll pass. Rubbing his eyes, and fixing the left of his collar, he went and leaned against the wall by some of the consoles, away from most people in the room.

The doors to the lab parted one last time, revealing Captain Geisler. He stood in the doorway for a moment to size up the group assembled in the room. Many of the faces he recognized. Truthfully, he recognized everyone. There were some he knew more than others, that time would rectify that. The new faces, much like his new uniform were nothing more than the circle of life.

"Thank you all for coming," Harvey said as he entered the room. "I know the lab is an unusual venue for us, but with today being what it is, it actually is quite appropriate. I'm sure that if you're anything like me, you're eager to see the Black Hawk under her own power once again, especially since we've been locked down for the last six months. Before we get too bogged down in details, I think you've noticed some fresh faces among us. Please welcome, Lieutenant Commander Tivan, our new Chief Counselor, Lieutenant McCullen, our new Chief Flight Ops, and Master Chief Mazen, our new Chief of the Boat."

Arjin watched as the Captain entered and adressed the gathered crowd. When he announced the arrival of three new senior officers, he just listened and automatically uttered the right words of welcome. He would or would not be seeing them regularly whilst on duty. It did not matter to him for now. Fresh faces were a good thing. They would not have witnessed his failure first hand at least.

Joey glanced toward Tivan. She'd already met the counselor, and had already formed some rather damning opinions of her based on things she'd heard about some weeks back. Her attention left the Vulcan and moved to Lieutenant McCullen and Master Chief Mazen. "Welcome aboard," she said, giving each of them a warm smile.

Camila gave a nod to the new faces and wondered which of them would be the first to die or leave the ship first. For her, she hoped the Counselor would leave first.

Fin found a spot under a console where he wouldn't be underfoot and his tail wouldn't get stepped on and lay down for a snooze until his biped needed him again. This obedient behavior usually led to walks, play time and sometimes treats. Fin didn't need to eat, but sometimes ate for enjoyment, mostly treats or cooking/table scraps. His system could convert the food into energy to power his core, and when it did so, consumed all of the matter, producing no waste material. Though his core usually recharged itself, if need be, he could speed that process by consuming matter. There was even a way for him to consume matter that might be poisonous to organic life and covert it into something they could consume. Unfortunately, the engineer who came up with this feature didn't really think through the psychological factors involved in having to eat mush (albeit nutritious mush that had a fairly agreeable scent and taste) from android dog's... a kynikoid's backside.

"If I may, Skip," Kai said to Harvey. "Let me just say how honored Fin and I are to join the crew of the Black Hawk. I've heard a great deal about this ship and crew, and I plan on living up to the reputation this ship and crew have earned. While my main job is advocating for the enlisted personnel and advising the Command staff on matters regarding the enlisted personnel, I can serve as a sounding board on other matters as well. I'm fifty-eight years old. I'm neither the oldest nor the most experienced person on this ship, but I've spent forty years in Starfleet, most of those years in Security. I spent a lot of years as a groundpounder with Expeditionary Security Forces, serving in the Cardassian Border Wars, the Federation-Klingon War, and the Dominion War. I've been through close protection training and worked close protection details. I've been a criminal investigator. I've served in supervisory positions in security from Chief to Senior Chief to Master Chief Master-At-Arms, and the Black Hawk is my second tour as COB."

Kai grinned.

"As for Fin," he said. "He's mainly on board as my companion, he's an artificial lifeform. I guess you could call him a kynikoid, since he's a dog. My daughter Abigayle is an engineer at the Daystrom Institute. Fin is a project she's working on. A... kynikoid designed for service on a starship or starbase. He's got some interesting features built in specifically for life on a starship or starbase. He's my property, but through an agreement with Starfleet Corps of Engineers and the Daystrom Institute, I take him to work as often as I can and see how he handles certain situations. Don't worry about him getting in the way. He rarely ever does. He's programmed to obey commands, mine in particular."

Camila listened to information that the Master Chief rattled off and turned her attention to the artificial life form. "do you have a kill command in place for it?" she asked.

"He's not programmed to kill," Kai said. "But he will defend me and other members of this crew. As for a shutdown code, Fin's ability to interpret interpersonal communication and social situations if far better than a flesh and blood dog's ability to do the same. It's highly unlikely that he would become aggressive unless there was an actual threat to respond to. He's programmed to obey legitimate commands. Sit, lay down, get down, stay, heel, etc, as well as the usual array of scent hound commands."

Charlie maintained his smile, at first he had been relieved that the android doggo had taken the attention away from him and allowed him to skip, at least for now, the awkward introduction speech. But as he had gone one, the master chief had raised the bar from a simple 'hello, nice to meet you' and now the young Ensign felt obligated to follow with some kind of introduction. He squared his narrow shoulders, trying mostly in vain to not look like a teenager. "Uh... hello, everyone..." He began, belatedly realizing that he hadn't really thought of anything to say, "I'm, uh... Lieutenant Charles McCullen, but most people just call me Charlie... I'm twenty-two years old and, uh... the Black Hawk will be my third posting, but my first as Chief FCO. Uh... well... uh... I'm happy to be here and, uh... yeah, thanks." He tried not to grimace, instead holding his smile like a shield against all the eyes looking at him probably making a fool of himself.

Harvey simply smiled, noting how well much of his staff was interacting with each other. The scars from their last mission were still present, but at least they were healing. "Welcome aboard, everyone. One face that is, for those of us who have been stationed here for a while, notably absent. Commander Teixeira won't be joining us for this mission. In fact, he's been promoted to Captain of the USS Blackthorne. For the last several days, I've been searching for a new Executive Officer, and I've ultimately decided to promote from within. As of a little more than an hour ago, our new Executive Officer is... Commander Terry Walsh."

Camila made a note to have the androg taken out first in the event of boarders regardless of what the Master Chief said. He hadn't answered her and that meant he had something to hide about the thing, which meant it had become a liability. She also considered it unprofessional to even bring the thing like a briefing and elaborate on it. When the Captain made the announcement that Teixeira had been promoted and transferred to a new ship, she gave a polite smile and applauded, but his announcement that Terry was the new Exec, her applause grew louder and she gave a loud whistle. "Congratulations!"

Commander Teixeira had gotten his own ship. Good for him. He deserved it. When the Captain pronounced the name of the new XO, Arjin was a bit surprised and then again not. He did not know Commander Walsh that wel. He never had to work alot with him. That would change now because all the department personel business would have to be briefed to him from now on. He wondered if the new XO would like that aspect of his job so much. Most pilot crew never did.

Lina monitored the new faces closely as they introduced themselves. The Chief Engineer did not really know what to make of the new Chief of the Boat. She found him a bit strange. But that could only be her first impression. It was certainly sort of odd to bring a dog to the briefing, whether this do was a real one or an artificial lifeform did not really matter.

The new Chief of Flight Control seemed to look much younger than he probably was. Lina tried to guess how old he actually was, but found it really hard to do. He could be anything between 16 and 21, but given the fact that he had graduated the Academy made it quite unlikely that he was younger than 21 or 22. One thing was for sure. He was very nervous, which made him really likable in Lina's eyes. She nodded to him with a friendly smile to welcome him aboard.

"Congratulations, sir," Jayla said, beaming at Walsh. Better you than me, she thought. She had zero interest in command. In fact, she would probably resign immediately if they attempted to take her out of Sick Bay. Oh, maybe they might be able to talk her into teaching in a few years' time, but there was no way she'd take any sort of command position whatsoever. No, she was much happier being a doctor.

Gemma clapped as loudly as anyone. She had a great respect for Walsh and considered him a mentor of sorts, she was really pleased for him. "Congratulations Rocco." She said happy for him even as she wondered what this meant for the Squadron. Maybe that's why she was here, to introduce the new guy around.

Charlie applauded politely with the rest of the assembled officers, it seemed like the polite thing to do. He knew nothing about Walsh aside from the fact that he was a pilot and that raised him up a notch in his estimation. He noticed the woman with gold shoulders giving him a nod and a smile and returned it, wondering if she was as friendly as she looked. He took a couple of steps to his left, moving in her general direction.

Like the others, Joey applauded their new XO with a smile. She couldn't say she was sad to see Teixeira leave, and why would she be when he locked her husband inside a room with individuals that wanted to kill him? "Congratulations, Commander."

Knowing him by reputation and profile only, Tivan nodded in amiable assent and congratulations for Walsh. As the new XO, she was more liable to rub shoulders with him than before. Her eyes darted to Gemma in assessment of her reaction. They had hit it off only slightly better than Camila, and now her immediate superior was Tivan's as well. How strange the twists of fate could be. Tivan smiled at her thoughts as she waited for whatever else would be revealed.

Damian, not knowing Commander Walsh that much, put on a small smile and nodded in the new XO's general direction. "Congratulations, Commander."

Terry smiled and nodded at each reaction. Some even got a nice chuckle out of him. Some, he wasn't too sure about and expected those initial department visits short and by the book.

"Our last housekeeping item is this," Harvey stated, walking over to a side area where a padd and a small, rectangular box had been placed. He picked up the items and moved back to the center of the room. "Doctor Kij, Lieutenant Di Pasquale, Lieutenant Geisler, and Lieutenant Alexander... attention to orders."

Joey found herself wondering what was going on, but snapped to attention immediately, her attention going to their Commanding Officer. She wanted to look toward the others, perhaps one of them had some clue as to what was going on, but professionalism kept her from doing so.

Camila came to attention and tried to read Harvey's face, but the man was already moving again and calling people to order. Her training made her snap to and she waited to see what the Captain would reveal.

Snapping to attention, Jayla couldn’t stop her brow from wrinkling. Attention to orders? Dear great bird, they weren’t about to try to make her do something else, were they?

Gemma automatically snapped to attention, crisply with the others. Before she could wonder overlong what this meant the Captain read orders aloud.

"Effective today, Stardate 67014.7, you, Lieutenant Commander Jayla Kij, Lieutenant Camila Di Pasquale, Lieutenant Joelle Geisler, and Lieutenant Gemma Alexander are hereby promoted one full step in rank, complete with all rights and privileges therein." Harvey set the padd down, opened the case, and gestured for Commander Walsh to join him. The Captain then replaced Jayla's hollow pip with a solid one, indicating her new rank of full Commander. Harvey smiled to Jayla and gave her an affirming nod before handing her the empty case in which to store her older pip. He then approached Joey to add a fresh hollow pip to her rank insignia. Harvey followed that with a bright smile, though he'd save all informal congratulations to her for after the meeting had ended.

Terry had joined the Captain and picked up the other two boxes. One, he placed in a pocket and the other he held in hand as he approached Camila and Gemma. "As your new Executive Officer, it is my privilege to be a part of this today." He smiled and nodded to Camila as he stepped up to her and attached the pip. "Congratulations, Lieutenant Commander Di Pasquale. Well done." He handed her the empty box and retrieved the other from his pocket. Moving to Gemma, Terry smiled and nodded and added the pip to her rank. "Congratulations, Lieutenant Commander Alexander. Also, it is my privilege to promote you to Squadron Commander of the 325th Black Knights as they are assigned to the USS Black Hawk. Keep them true, Commander Alexander." Then he grinned. "And keep 'em light-hearted, Archer."

It wasn't often that Joey was rendered speechless, but this happened to fall under one of those rare moments. After being infected by the Dolmoqour and doing things she never would have had she been of sound mind and body, a promotion was the last thing she'd ever expected. Still standing at attention, the newly minted Lieutenant Commander nodded her head out of respect as she finally found her voice once again. "Thank you, Captain. I will continue to serve you, and this ship, to the best of my ability."

Oh. Was that all? As long as they didn’t take Jayla out of Sick Bay, they could make her a rear admiral and she wouldn’t care. She resisted the urge to shrug and only smiled noncommittally. “Thank you, sir,” she said politely.

A promotion? Camila was stunned. What had she done to merit a promotion? She had turned the away team over to the Dolmoqour controlled Scruna and they had then went on to infect dozens of others and had nearly taken the ship, and killed more than a few personnel. She had killed several herself in her possessed state, even though everyone told her that it hadn't been her, the guilt was still on her shoulders. "Thank you, Sir," she said and tried to muster herself.

Gemma was stunned, she wasn't sure she deserved it but it meant something to have Walsh pin the rank on her himself. Something in her, she didn't know she still carried, loosened a little at the sign. "Will do Rocco..Sir." She replied, her eyes bright with emotions she couldn't articulate aware of the size of the shoes she'd just been shoved into.

"All right," Harvey said, setting down the padd and standing at the head of the assembled team. "Time to work. As most of you painfully know, we've been drydocked for the last six months, and today is the day we finally get to take the Black Hawk out of here. Starfleet's given us no mission profile, no orders, nothing other than one simple word: Shakedown. I don't know about you, but it sounds boring as hell. Yet, it needs to be done. Over the last six months, in additions to the repairs, we've had a lot of refits and new technology added. It will be our responsibility for the next week to put this ship through the paces, find her new limits, and make sure we won't be going on assignment with faulty equipment."

Harvey fought the urge to sigh before he continued. This next statement would be a bit painful, but it needed to be said, regardless how irritating it would be. "Now, I know many of you have been keeping to yourselves, keeping your heads down and such due to the complications from our adventures inside the Convergence Zone, but it's time for us all to compare notes and start working together as a team again. Therefore, I open the floor to departmental reports. Please let us know how your department is faring, and any significant updates or upgrades that have been implemented in your arenas."

"Well," Terry started, "the repairs over the last few months went well on the Flight Deck itself. The new fighters arrived in time, but the equipment for some minor updates to the targeting systems did not. That got here about a week ago and the teams have worked a lot of double shifts to make sure it got implemented in all of the Gryphons before we launch. The last report I received was yesterday evening and they only had three more to go. I'm sure the new Squadron Commander could let us know something by lunchtime. And have a suggested schedule for time trials and testing of the upgrades."

"Intel is operating at full capacity once more," Joey stated, fighting back a frown as thoughts of Torg crept to the front of her mind. Despite the time that had passed, that was something that continued to bother her, and she still had very little to go on when it came to what happened exactly. "We have been getting a lot of new information on outlying worlds, and have also picked up an increase in pirate activity recently. We also have new algorithms to analyze raw data."

"Security has added eighteen new officers and thirty-two enlisted," Camila said. "The drone program that we discussed is fully implemented and twenty-five of each type are active each shift. The personnel that have trained on them are currently training replacements in the event it's needed. Also, the computer core, engineering, sensor control, and other sensitive areas have all been reinforced with hidden and reinforced micro generators at key locations to power force fields in the event of boarders."

Harvey nodded to the reports given so far. His eyes scanned the group to see if any of the updates triggered surprise or other emotions in the team before turning to whoever would speak next.

"We've got several new medical personnel, including a dedicated veterinarian," Jayla announced. "Well, okay, so he's also she ships zoologist. Even so, there are a growing number of pets on board, so it's good to have him. We've also got a brand new holographic medical imager. It gives us real-time three-dimensional models of patients' bodies. It'll definitely help with tricky diagnoses."

The update part of the briefing was indeed the most boring one of the whole briefing. As Chief Engineer she knew many of the things that had been installed and changed in all the systems of the ship. Some of them would be a real asset, so Lina only listened with half an ear. This changed however as Lieutenant Commander Di Pasquale came to her report.

Lina had already seen some of those drones that seemed to be the solution security had had in mind against intruders and attacks. After the Dolmoqour incident it was sort of normal that security tried their best and came up with ideas to prevent something like that from happening. And drones could be very useful in some aspects. But drones flying around the ship trying to monitor and supervise everything and everyone - that sat heavily on her stomach. It created an atmosphere of mistrust and suspicion that just did not seem right for a Federation vessel - for Starfleet whose mission was to go out into the unknown and discover new life and not mistrust their own people or the new life that was waiting out there.

But perhaps this was just her and she was still too idealistic and naiive. Even the Captain had approved of the drones...
Still being deep in her thoughts she had missed the report of medical. She looked up and since she was standing next in line, Lina just gave her report.

"Engineering has several new personnel. Our department has also been involved and informed and monitoring about all the new technical equipment on board. Some consoles now also have holographic displays which is probably the most obvious change. We've had some problems with the reliability of those, but that should have been fixed by now. If there are still issues, just contact engineering. Our sensors have also been upgraded and boosted, so that they are more effective now. Lina glanced shortly at her PADD. The range has been boosted and resolution has been increased for 5 per cent, so good news for science and tactical," she finally concluded looking at the other officers.

Damian looked around waiting for someone to reply. May as well get mine out the way he thought to himself. He was still hoping no one realised just how out of character he was right now. "Operations is running more or less smoothly. We have been working with Engineering on the holographic displays. The new displays, being holographic, draw slightly more power. Around zero-point-eight percent more power than a normal console. If everyone on the ship was using them at once there may be unintended power fluctuations, but that's a small possibility. We won't know until it happens. There have also been a few new power relay nodes in the sickbays, to use with the new imagery upgrades, but Commander Kij can expand on that." He nodded in her direction.

He paused. He felt his heart rate rising, and his hands were going clammy. The room seemed brighter for a moment. But doing his breathing exercises within a few seconds, he felt more like himself, whatever that felt like anymore. "The sensor upgrades are done. The range is now around 18.75 lightyears and we managed to bump up the resolution by five percent. It's much more effective where regular sensors would struggle, and there are some new sensor palettes installed with new direct visual imagery, rather than just sensor data."

In, two, three. Out, two, three. "Most of the ship is now almost fully restocked, and we are waiting on the final few food cargo drops, to give us our buffer. There are also a couple of medical and weapon requisitions, which were delayed a few days from the sector Quarter Master. Out, two, three "Finally, the new uniforms have been programmed into the replicator systems, and the old uniforms have been removed. Any old uniforms put into the replicator won't come back, so if you want to save one, put it into storage." He nodded to the Captain, indicating he was finished.

Gemma listened as the reports flowed, she made a mental note to follow up with Commander Di Pasquele. Walsh had working relationship with tactical to make sure the Squadron was coordinating well with overall ship defense and Alexander meant to continue the sound practice. Then it was her turn, fortunately she'd been helping coordinate the day to day with Commander Walsh for the last month after getting back from a short term assignment. She tried to give a concise report in an British accented, practical tone. "New members of the ground crews and squadron have been incorporated and are fitting in well. The new pilots are gelling with the rest of the Squadron and all are holding their own with the current heavy training schedule. The techies are reporting that the latest round of flight systems and craft checks, including stress tests are showing green. Related ordinance is secured and topped off as well." She would have told Walsh they were 'Ready to Rock' but she rather though a little formality in ones first briefing was warranted.

"Uh..." McCullen began, swallowing his nerves and giving all the assembled officers a smile, though he was unable to subdue his verbal tic, "Hello, everyone..." He started quietly, "I only arrived aboard the Black Hawk recently but... uh, let's see... uh... yeah." Charlie paused to swallow, noticing that his arms had crossed themselves across his chest and making an effort to uncross them. "I've met with the flight personnel and they seem to be good and, uh... ready and stuff. And... uh, the ship's navigation and propulsion systems are ready to go, impulse engines and warp propulsion are at standby and ready. I've tested and tuned the flight profile best as I could with the data available and projected flight characteristics based on the upgrades to the ship's systems." McCullen's volume gradually increased as he found his stride, forgetting to be nervous as the details came to him. "Once we get underway I can work with engineering and operations to fine tune it. The ship is fully loaded with support craft. We have two runabouts, eight type-fifteen shuttlepods and three type-six, three type eight and two type eleven shuttlecraft all refitted and ready to go. Flight control is ready, sir."

"All is well in Counseling," Tivan said. "The incumbent staff performed with distinction before my arrival, and that has not changed. Nor do I expect it to. My clinical studies are continuing apace, and that is as specific as I care to be." She smiled at cordially Harvey and the others. "No needs or requests at this time."

Kai spoke up. "All enlisted crew have reported aboard," he said. "We've got a good mix of experience and new blood. Among the new and inexperienced are a group of unrated Crewman Recruits and Crewman Apprentices from the nearby Starfleet Enlisted Academy on their Field Training Semester. I'll be coordinating with the First Lieutenant on their training."

Arjin had kept to the last to bring his report. He was doing it in a matter of facts kind of way.
"The Science Department has been filled with new personel to its full capacity. Including a new Assistant Chief. The scanners are working on an efficiency never seen before. But Labs 7 to 10 are still in repair. And there are problems with the bio-hazard storage in Lab 5. Other than that all is well."

Harvey frowned at the final report from his Science Chief. “We’ve been docked for six months,” he said solemnly, disappointed that unreported repairs were still on going. He was equally disappointed that this was the first he’d heard of such a delay. “Coordinate immediately with Lieutenants Akorem and Sorensen on those repairs, and Doctor Kij for the biohazard. I want both projects wrapped within twenty four hours. Understood?”

The Captain's words were another lash to Arjin's soul. But he kept his face solemn. "Off course, Sir.", was all he said.

Lina nodded her brow furrowed. "Aye, Sir. I will send an extra team there and check on it myself." She was not certain how those repairs were not mentioned inlist she got earlierb that day. This would certainly mean a conversation with the officer overseeing those repairs.

"I'll get some officers to liaise with Science as soon as we are done here," Damian replied.

"Aye, sir," replied Jayla, completely unfazed by the fact that one area had been overlooked. After all, there were always issues with refits. Something always got missed. The best they could do now was to do what needed to be done.

"With my use of the science labs for computational modeling purposes, I would be available to assist in any way possible," Tivan said. Stars' light send that nobody tampered with her work space.

With the last of the reports out of the way, Harvey uncrossed his arms and folded his hands behind his back. "Thank you all for your updates. As I said earlier, we will be conducting your run-of-the-mill shakedown for the next several days. I'll have to admit that this is the first I've done under any of my commands, but you can guarantee that we'll all be busy. In addition to breaking in our new gear and new personnel, we have been granted a unique test bed for some new technology. This is why I chose this lab for our staff briefing as opposed to the conference room. This is very much an informal mission, and I think an environment such as this reminds us that it's not all Consortium or Dolmoqour out here in the Gamma Quadrant."

Harvey chuckled to himself for a moment as he surveyed the team. "This particular feature... I know some of you have already been experimenting with it, so I'm sure you already have some decent feedback. Alas, the time has come to fully unveil it." The Captain paused for a moment and simply asked, "Computer?"

Instead of the familiar beeps, whirrs, and processing noise, a whisper could be heard in the center of the room. Lights and forcefields quickly enveloped each other, rippling across as an image was constructed in milliseconds. The sounds ended just as quickly as they began, leaving behind a projection of a human female, She was clothed in form-fitting black clothing, with no skin exposed below the neckline. Her olive skin appeared to be flawless, and her long black hair swept behind her face to be collected by a silver clip to force it all to fall in a straight line just past her shoulder blades. The woman blinked her brown eyes once, and remained looking forward, almost staring at Captain Geisler.

"Yes, Captain?" the avatar spoke, her voice familiar to all as the standard vocal programming that would be emitted by a room's speaker or combadge whenever the computer was engaged.

"Standby," Harvey commanded the hologram in order to keep it from disappearing while he spoke. He stepped forward and began to walk in a circular pattern around the hologram whilst looking at and addressing his crew. "Ladies and gentlemen, I'd like for you to meet our Holographic Assistance and Support Avatar, otherwise known as HASA. She, or it, is a visual representation of our computer. Many of us are familiar with how Starfleet computers have operated over the years, you issue a verbal command, and you receive a verbal response. HASA is designed to be more than that. HASA can interact with you with conversation, much like a character would on the holodeck. Unlike those characters, whom usually generate responses based upon the programming in the story matrix written by the story author, HASA is directly synced to our primary core with access to all files, subsystems, subroutines, and more. Our entire ship is outfitted with holoprojectors, and HASA is capable of lending a physical hand when absolutely needed."

Harvey looked to Lieutenant Sorensen. "Such as being stuck alone in a Jeffries tube working solo on a repair that just got complicated."

The Captain then looked to his wife. "Or needing to talk out a situation when all other algorithms have failed."

He looked next at Commander Djinx. "Or even providing instant feedback when fine-tuning an experiment."

"Caution!" HASA mindlessly said, turning to face the Captain, who suddenly stopped in his tracks, "Standby mode has lasted for thirty seconds. Please make a request within fifteen seconds, or this session will suspended."

Harvey grunted. "Or remind you of things you forget. The point is... among our assignments for this mission is to put HASA through the paces. She does, at least from what I'm told, use up a fair amount of active memory, so we are to start slow. That means that use of HASA will be restricted to Senior Staff, your direct deputies, and personnel cleared by both the Executive Officer and Operations. We will slowly remove restrictions as we move forward, once that we can safely determined that primary systems and standard computer responsiveness aren't affected by this grand experiment. Questions?"

Few people in this room had seen Jayla actually frown before now. It was a strange sight even to those who didn't know her. It was unnatural and awkward. But, she didn't like this new interface and it sounded like she was required to use it. A random hologram popping up every time she had a simple question? That was going to be annoying. "Is there a way to ask the computer, say, the location of the Captain without calling up this hologram every time?" she asked. "I mean, if it uses a lot of active memory, activating it every time we want to know what time it is seems a waste."

"There are preference modes," Harvey shared. "Completely customizable based upon your preferences. You can even preset the form it takes. For instance, if the presence of an Andorian is calming to you, you can request that is what the computer generates for you as an avatar."

Charlie frowned slightly, the bridge of his nose wrinkling as he looked at the avatar. Honestly, he couldn't think of any situation where he'd need a physical representation of the computer. It seemed, to him, to be a complete waste of computer resources. "What a dumb idea..." he said to himself, only realizing he had said it out loud after the fact and feeling his cheeks flame. Foot, meet mouth. "I, uh... mean, I... uh, I mean... well..." Breathe, Charlie. "It doesn't seem very practical..." he added, trying to sound less like an idiot, "uh... sorry."

Jayla had to bite her lips to keep from laughing. Secretly, she agreed with the pilot. It used a lot of memory and she couldn’t think of an instance where she would need a physical representation of the computer. Oh, of course she might come across something at some point and of course she would try to think of something during shake down just so she could say she tested it and had some feedback, but at the moment, she couldn’t think of anything. She didn’t comment, but gave McCullen a wink.

Many things came to Camila's mind when the Captain unveiled the HASA and she had a hard time sorting them out. Others had voiced some of what she was thinking, but she waited to see what others would comment. Finally, she frowned and studied it. "Can it be permanently deactivated if required, Captain, or have protocols put in place that would prevent unauthorized use?"

"Of course," Harvey responded. He couldn't blame his staff for finding this avatar to be nothing more than a gimmick and a waste of time. Nevertheless, orders were orders. "It can be deactivated if necessary using Commander Walsh's, Lieutenant Sorensen's, or even my command codes. Since it is an assistant, and nothing more, it can't act on its own without the consent of whoever is using it at the time."

Alexander didn't know how she felt about it. It seemed a waste of time to her, she could see EMH's and the like as there were very real and practical uses for an extra pair of doctor hands. The examples the Captain mentioned where the computer having form would be useful but she could see other ways to work it that would be just as useful and less drain on ship resources.Maybe she'd be proven wrong, it's happened before. As she listened she noted others were asking many of her most pressing questions though she did asked, "Sir, how much and what kind of data is Starfleet wanting on this one? Any aspects on use they want us to keep in mind?"

"The same thing all researchers and developers want," Harvey remarked, drawing on his own experience as a clinical researcher. "What you like, don't like, how you interact with it, every little nuance is important. If you don't like it, that's fine, but don't just say you don't like it. Please make sure to tell them why."

Arjin grunted a bit at all the negative comment about the new HASA. "I think we can all name several improvements nobody liked in the early stages of their development that have since become indispensable. And as a matter of fact several promising ones that have in the end utterly failed. Why don't you all give it/her/him a chance?"

Harvey smiled and snapped his fingers. His hand then extended his index finger and pointed right at his Chief Science Officer. "Excellent point, Commander Djinx! And giving it a chance is exactly what we're going to do. So, on that note, let's start bringing this meeting to a close with everyone's marching orders."

The Captain looked first to their new helmsman. "Mister McCullen. Coordinate with all departments. There's a lot of systems we're going to have to put to the test. Find us a couple good warp lanes that we can put some stress on the engines with, a couple empty areas of space for war games for the squadron, as well as maneuver testing and target practice. It'll be a good chance to test out our new runabouts as well. Finally, we'll need a nebula with which to test our new sensors."

"Aye sir," Charlie replied, somewhat meekly. The prospect of having to coordinate with all the department heads was a daunting one, but being able to really stretch the Black Hawk's new legs was reward enough to make him a little more enthused at the idea.

One hologram was as good as another in Tivan's mind. What was of far greater interest to her was the senior staff's response to it. Oh, she just might have to add another variable to her observational studies. A faraway look overtook her face as she already began plotting the computational adjustments...

Harvey turned to his left. "Commander Djinx, Lieutenants Sorensen and Akorem, I'll need the three of you to get together and work out some good live diagnostics for these systems, and prepare your criteria for test runs, in addition to the usual shakedown criteria."

Arjin blinked after being pointed at by the Captain. "Sure Sir. Will do.", was all he managed.

Damian felt himself straighten up, almost subconsciously at the mention of his name. He looked to the Captain, and simply nodded in the affirmative."

"Of course, Sir," Lina replied and nodded towards the others who had been mentioned.

"Commanders Di Pasquale and Alexander," Harvey said, turning to his right, "Prepare your war games and training exercises. Coordinate those with Commander Walsh, as I'm sure he'll want to be involved. Internal, external, divided, and united. Let's put our crew to the test."

"Aye Sir." Gemma replied, glancing at Camilia and Walsh with a nod of acknowledgement. Then making a note on her PADD.

"Of course, Sir," Camila said.

The new Executive Officer had listened to everything. Apparently the new HASA would take some getting used to for most everyone. Terry nodded at the Captain's orders. "We can do that, Captain."

"As for the rest of us," Harvey said, turning to look at the rest of the group. "Well, I'm sure we'll have plenty of work to do. Get your teams settled, and run some training sessions with all of them. We've been through a lot together in the last year and a half. I can't imagine Starfleet will have us sitting on the sidelines for too much longer. Let's make sure we're not rusty when we're called back to action."

With the meeting drawing to an end, Tivan boldly asserted herself. "I do have one request," she said, hand raised. "Perhaps this is already a given, but I wished to confirm that I will be fully read in to the crew's response to the HASA trials. It is a potential wealth of insight that may allow me to shave some time off my estimated total."

Harvey still wasn't sure about the emotional Vulcan. "Research and Development is indeed looking for feedback on how crewmembers do respond to their interactions with HASA," he responded to her. "Access is granted, within reason, as long as it doesn't infringe on everyone's privacy."

"Thank you, Captain," she said with a demure dip of her head.

Joey knew where the others were coming from regarding the HASA, and she had a few reservations herself, but they all still had a job to do. That was exactly what the Intelligence Chief intended to do. For now, though, she planned to wait for the Captain to dismiss them so she could take care of a couple things before making it back to her department.

The Security Chief wanted to object to the so-called Counselor required and wondered why the Captain had agreed to it. La cagna probably hadn't had time to piss him off yet, Camila mused.

"Also, before we all leave, I want to mention that I'll be conducting some department visits this afternoon," said Terry. "Some of you Department Heads I know, others I don't. And I don't think I've been to hardly any of your areas. That, however, is going to change." Plus, it'll be good to see what I've inherited, Terry thought to himself.

"You are welcome to insinuate yourself into my schedule," Tivan said coolly, "just like everyone else." If anybody was staring daggers at her, she did not heed them.

Terry looked to the new Counselor and nodded. "Thanks, I'll keep that in mind," he replied.

Satisfied that his staff seemed to be satisfied, Harvey nodded once more to the group. "Computer, cancel HASA. As for the rest of you, we clear our moorings at 1200 hours. Let's get to it." With that, Harvey picked up his padd from earlier and departed the Engineering Lab.

 

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