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Posted on 26 Jan 2024 @ 4:33pm by Captain Harvey Geisler & Ensign Kendra Kyle

1,446 words; about a 7 minute read

Mission: Return to Razmena
Location: USS Black Hawk || Ready Room
Timeline: June 16, 2930 || 1000 hours

If there was one thing Harvey hated about being a Captain, it was regulations. It seemed bureaucracy was getting worse in the Gamma Quadrant, if only to account for every jot and tittle. No stone could be left unturned, and vacancies just couldn't be filled. Personnel had to be properly vetted and qualified.

For Harvey, this posed multiple problems. The Black Hawk had at least two departments without a head: Engineering and Flight Control. He couldn't just promote someone to fill the seat. No... the Chief of Personnel in the Gamma Quadrant wanted those open positions to remain open in order to persuade Starfleet Command that there was a major need across the quadrant. This meant ships like the Black Hawk were forced to limp along.

Harvey, however, was a creative person. He could find favorites, and he could create acting chief positions, but only under the right circumstances. This "creative process" gave Harvey a chance to finally do something about a position that needed filling quickly, and that was the helm.

The Black Hawk didn't have much by way of candidates. But he did have a pool of fighter pilots to draw from. If nothing else, Harvey could always continue to rotate the limited (and unexperienced) flight control department through the position in hopes he could find someone that was reliable. He reviewed the squadron's manifest, targeted a couple of candidates, and sent them individual messages informing them of the opening. All any interested candidate had to do was to stop by the Ready Room during alpha shift.

With the message out, all Harvey could do was remain at his desk, coffee in hand, and sift through the growing mountain of paddwork while he waited.

Kendra had seen the announcement about the open Chief Flight Control Officer position and immediately had mixed feelings. She'd not been on the Black Hawk long and honestly hadn't felt very connected to the wing as of yet. Her reputation had certainly followed her within the fighter community and while she'd felt geared up to earn a good name for herself... she couldn't help but think that she wouldn't mind being a department head again. Sure, it wasn't a fighter role, and surely she'd put herself through a lot both times in flight training to get there, but maybe that wasn't what she wanted out of her career. Maybe being more involved in missions and having the opportunity to rise in a different section of Starfleet that wasn't as gossipy would be a good fit.

Either way, it's not like this would be a permanent appointment, and maybe it would help gain her some traction on the ship in and out of the wing. After a couple of hours of agonizing about the decision, she decided she'd present herself to the captain and offer.

Dressed in a regular duty uniform, she arrived at the Captain's Ready Room and rang the chime, her brain still caught in cycles of self-guessing the decision she'd made.

The door opened almost immediately, revealing the captain behind his desk. The ready room was small, but still fit a small table, two chairs, and a couch with enough room to walk in between. "Come in," Harvey said, not yet glancing up to see who was at the door.

It was too late now though, she thought, as she proceeded through the door. She moved to the Captain's desk and a few steps from between the chairs she came to attention.

"Ensign Kendra Kyle, sir," she said.

Harvey looked up from his padd, recognizing the fighter pilot. While he hadn't yet met everyone on board, that didn't stop him from learning names and matching them with faces. "At ease, Miss Kyle. What can I do for you today?"

"Well, sir, I saw your message about flight control. I have experience doing that job prior and I thought I should volunteer," Kyle said. Her mind, of course, added on 'as tribute', but the Captain didn't need to know that. She was genuinely trying to be helpful outside of her constant re-evaluation of herself and what she wanted out of her time in Starfleet, which became clouded in the turmoil she caused herself.

"Oh?" Harvey asked. He set down the padd he was reading and rose from the desk. "Care to tell me a little about your experience? Also, can I get you anything to drink?"

"I'm fine, sir; thank you for offering," Kendra said, fully adjusting to an at-ease position. "I'm sure you know my record isn't exactly stellar. I was kicked out of fighter school for reasons I'm not proud of and regretfully. I worked hard to get a second chance and finished, and I find myself not loving the job like I did before. It's like a bad taste that lingers or something?" she said, not really sure how to explain what she was feeling.

"Frankly, I'm shocked that I feel this way. I really loved fighters, but I spent time flying shuttles and runabouts on a Starbase. I spent time as Flight Control Officer for one of the attached ships," she finally got around to saying. "I liked the work. It got me a chance to do something besides flying and getting involved in other mission things. I think that I might enjoy that more... and I think that it will keep me in that mindset of being a better officer. I guess I don't want to return to the way I was when I got busted out of flight school, sir," she said, being completely honest despite how it embarrassed her to admit this to her commanding officer.

"Frankly, the fact that it could help me move into a leadership role faster is also interesting... I feel like my reputation in fighters is going to hurt me."

By now, Harvey had returned to his desk with a cup of Darjeeling. He sat down in his chair and sipped the hot beverage, carefully considering the pilot's words. "I think we all have parts of our past that we're not proud of," Harvey remarked, recalling several incidents of his own. "In fact, I'm surprised that I myself was not drummed out of Starfleet at multiple opportunities. In a way, we all must learn how to atone for our sins while trying to make the best future we can."

He set his teacup on the desk and looked up at Kendra. "I'm not saying this to tell you that you can't have a shot at the helm. In fact, your reasoning compels me to place you on the next rotation. I will tell you this, though, from my own experience. Don't spend too much time in the lower decks worrying about reputation. I've seen plenty of cutthroats and crowd pleasers. Opportunity finds the cutthroats first, and often quicker advancement. Crowd pleasers don't make L-T until their mid-thirties."

"I'm not looking to please the crowds, sir. I'm just looking to let the stupid things I did when I was barely in my twenties stop following me. And I doubt that I'll be thought highly of within the fighter community by giving up on my rare second chance, either," Kendra said after a moment of reflection. "I don't really want to be a cutthroat either I just want to do a good job and be given a chance to prove I'm not just a screw up, sir."

The Captain sipped his tea while his eyes remained fixed on Kendra. "Well, Ensign, you will certainly have that chance. I have some pull with Commander Walsh. Between him, Commander Reynolds, and myself, we'll work out a schedule for the next month and get you some time at our helm. As for whatever squadron duties you'll have, that'll remain to be seen. Though, I do have to ask before I let you sit behind the helm... have you flown anything this big before?"

"Honestly, sir, no, not since the simulators, but I promise you that you won't know the difference," Kendra responded, worried that this might be a deal breaker. "I'll also put some time in the holodeck simulating the Black Hawk."

To be fair, the Captain would have been surprised if she'd said yes. "Try and talk to any of the other shift helmsmen. I know the port forward thruster likes to stick. Engineering's working on it, so they say. In the meantime, definitely put some ime into the holodeck. I'll let Operations know to reserve Holosuite 4 for you for the next week. Any questions for me?"

"No sir," Kendra said, "thank you for the opportunity."

The Captain nodded, thankful for her eagerness. "You're welcome, Ensign. See you on the bridge."


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