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In The Quiet Moments

The moments where the Olympic is not in mission or on an adventure

ITQM 001 – Change of Assignment

USS Olympic
5.15.23

“You’ve got to be kidding.”  Craig Syracuse stared at Lieutenant Presley Atega.  In his hands was a PADD with a message from the Federation News Network that he couldn’t believe.  “This…is some joke.  A prank.  They didn’t send this.”

Atega remained composed, “I checked it several times, Mr. Syracuse.  I even reached the Editor in Chief of News Reporting, Bernie Reagan.  He was very clear.  You were being reassigned to the USS Olympic as,” she thought back to the conversation to get the wording right, “…a string reporter until further notice.”  She stood at attention and left the briefing room.

Syracuse was furious.  “How dare they…they can’t…I’ll appeal…I can’t be told what to…goddamn it.”  He sat down in a huff and soon felt the stare from across the table burning into his eyes.

“You find yourself in a situation created entirely by your actions, Mr. Syracuse.  Consequences and all that.” Dr. Persefoni Hargraves spoke evenly with a light smirk playing on her lips.  She’d had some of a hand in his predicament, but much of the complaints had come from the people on Janoor III.

He turned on her as if to shout her down but caught himself and his breath as his eyes caught hers.  A tranquil lake drifted across their eye contact but underneath simmered a Kraken that metaphorically threatened to tear him apart.  “I won’t be here long, Doctor Hargraves.”  He stood from his chair, “I’ve got some calls to make.”

Captain Helena Dread walked in as he left, caught his red face, and slid into a chair opposite the Olympic Journal’s Editor in Chief. “I’m guessing he received the news.”  A nod.  “You don’t seem upset by it.”  Another nod.  “You want him here?”

Hargraves replied, “I want him to be the better journalist, Command Dread.  He offended nearly everyone on Janoor III with his lame attempts at drumming up his version of the truth. He attempted to influence my editors, researchers, and reviewers.  You do not break into my house, try to steal my things, and then imagine you can walk out without nary a word.”  She leaned back in the chair, “I wish there were a way for more than words.”

Dread whistled low, “I’m glad it’s just words because I’d have to put him back together, Doc.  You think you can set him straight?”

Persefoni cackled, startling Dread, “I’ve raised children.  I’ve wrangled print journalists, directed academics through the peer review process, and demanded excellence through all of it.  Craig Syracuse doesn’t scare me.”  She picked up a PADD, “Since our accreditation’s been reactivated, our June issue has started to fill up rather nicely.  Several articles examine the theories and studies on how the Borg nearly completed their task with Changelings.  We’ve even had a philosophical paper regarding the presence of good, evil, and grey in the universe.”

Helena grimaced, “Have I told you how much I dislike being a part of the review process?”

A shrug was her answer, “It is part of your duties as second in command to assist with the peer review process.  Given that writing your papers and submitting them to medical journals is a part of your responsibilities, I think you’d be at least somewhat excited about the prospect.” 

Dread sighed in defeat, “It was worth an attempt.  Send me what you have and I’ll start later tonight.”  She stood, “Anything else you need, Dr. Hargraves?” Persefoni waved her off and was alone once more.  She sipped at her simmering green tea until Mark Henry appeared at the door, and she gestured to the seat across the table.  “Your reporter heard the good news.”

He sat, rubbing his face, “They don’t like him much anymore at FNN.  They’ve kept me on as his producer for now…but I don’t think they’ll put up with much from him.”  He accepted a cup of iced tea, sipping at it.

“Don’t you fret, Mark.  I’m dedicated to getting Mr. Syracuse up to standard and back to his journalist roots.”

He gave her a curious look, “Why does that sound like you’re going to be ripping him apart appendage by appendance and beating him with them until he complies?”

Her face brightened with a sly smile, “I forget you’ve seen me in action.  He was once a shining star in the FNN…and we’ve got to keep him from flailing his way into the ground.”

“You said we.”

She handed him a PADD, ‘Revised job assignment and requirements from FNN.  You’ll report to me as a special advisor and producer with Syracuse under you.  The FNN team was very keen once they learned of our professional working relationship.”

Mark groaned, “Per…I don’t know if this will be a good idea.”

She returned the work before her, “It’s a great idea.  As I said, I like you now.  I no longer want to throw you out of an airlock on sight.”

Henry stood, “That’s comforting.”  He departed, and she was alone again.  She’d never really wanted to throw him out of an airlock.  The truth she’d never shared with him was that he was one of the best in the business when she worked with him.  She quietly rejoiced when his name appeared on the roster.  The future looked bright indeed.

ITQM 002 – Something Old, Something Borrowed

Starbase 72 - USS Olympic
5.25.2401

“I miss the Mercy, Leo.”  Theodora Walker-Halsey sat next to her husband, Captain Leopold Halsey, as they waited for their assigned representative from the USS Olympic to arrive.  Their short stint at Starfleet Academy hadn’t been bad.  They hadn’t had any complaints, but something was missing from the experience.  They’d both seized on the opportunity when openings had been posted for the Olympic. 

He understood.  Two months on the USS Mercy had left an indelible impact on both of them that had been hard to shake all these months later.  “There will never be another crew like her.”  He glanced sideways, “But we can’t stay stuck in our old memories, Theo.  We’ve got to make a new path and a new home for our future.”  She sighed but nodded quietly.  Theodora was half Human and half Vulcan.  She had grown up in a human household with little awareness of her other side.  In the last few years, she had begun to study her people’s ways and practice the foundational methods.  It hadn’t been easy.

“Captain Leopold Halsey?”  The young woman stood before them, a PADD in hand.  “I’m Ensign Alanna Barker, Yeoman.  I’m here to escort you to Captains Crawford and Dread.”  The two stood and followed her as she continued, “Both will interview you in one of our briefing rooms.  Our two Deputy Chief Medical Officers will also be in attendance.”  They rounded a corner and continued down the expansive hallways of Starbase 72, “There’s been plenty of conversations about your experiences in your first mission on the Mercy, Captain Halsey.”

Leo flashed back to the station and the Borg drone that had mutated into something more terrifying and dangerous.  “It was something I hope to never repeat in my lifetime, Ensign Barker.  The mission files certainly make for…interesting reading to outsiders.”

Her smile faltered.  In her excitement, she had forgotten he and his former crew had lived those harrowing moments.  “I’m sorry, sir…I didn’t…”

He waved away her apology, “No need to apologize, Yeoman.  I know the Olympic has been on plenty of adventures that would look and feel the same to me.”

 

She led them into a large briefing room with a long wooden table in the middle surrounded by chairs and officers already seated.  “Captain Leopold Halsey and Theodora Walker-Halsey.”  They sat opposite Crawford and Dread as Barker placed waters before them and returned to her station by the door.

Crawford greeted them both and welcomed them aboard.  “This interview is required given the nature of the positions we’re looking to fill.  Dr. Halsey, we’ll start with your questions.”  He gave a nod, and Peter continued, “You’re applying for the position of Chief Medical Officer.  You’ve been the CO of an Olympic Class starship yourself…how will you separate the CO part of you while serving aboard this ship?”

Leopold drummed his fingers on the table, “I don’t want the center seat anymore, Captain Crawford.  I served two months on the Mercy…, which was some of the hardest work I’ve done. The decisions we had to make…the choices we had to balance…it’s something I am proud of…but I have no wish to carry the weight of that chair into the future.”

Pete pressed further, “It’s important that we clarify that statement fully, Doctor.  You have no desire to return to the command track?”

Halsey felt the eyes of the current XO and Chief Medical Officer staring at him from across the table.  He’d done his share of reading on Dr. Dread. He replied, “I have no desire to return to the command track.”

Crawford returned to the list of routine questions and went through each of them, pressing Halsey on each with gentle assertiveness.  Thirty minutes later, he thanked the former CO for his answers.  “Now, Doctor Walker-Halsey.” Theodora glanced up, her focus returning after listening absent-mindedly to her husband’s questioning.  She gave a nod.

It was Dread’s turn, “Doctor, you’ve applied to the Head of Civilian Science Operations.  You shifted to that role on the Mercy when Grace Pottinger arrived to direct the crew to assist in dealing with an issue with an observational post.  Why haven’t you chosen to return to Starfleet?”

“My passion for Starfleet Science operations isn’t what it used to be, Captain.  I’ve found the civilian world far more free and open to ideas and discussions.  Getting a taste of the differences is hard to ignore.  And before you ask – I have no intention or desire to return to Starfleet.”  She caught a small smile from Dread.

Helena continued by questioning her published works and ongoing projects from the Mercy that had come with her to Starfleet Academy.  “What can we expect in partnership with your team on the Olympic?

Theodora clasped her hands together as she answered, “Full and complete, Captain.  As much as I do not wish to be a Starfleet Science officer, I recognize the importance of working together.  We cannot allow a separation to occur – this opens us both up to risks from those seeking to harm or supplant us.”  She winced at the memories of Frontier Day, still very fresh in her mind.

 

“We need a consistent hand over sickbay, Dr. Halsey,” Dread was walking him through the main hospital sickbay, Reid and Clemente following behind.  “My ability to handle the role of Executive Officer has been strained as we’ve stepped into more and more action.  We decided we needed someone.”

Leopold stopped, “Who else are you looking at for the position?”  He turned to the two Deputy Chiefs and back to Dread, “I wouldn’t be here for the interview if I didn’t believe I was the best choice.”

She smiled broadly, “They told me you didn’t dance much, Captain Halsey.  Dr. Reid and Dr. Clemente were not interested in the position.  There have been a few other applications.  You are the last interview, to be clear.  You wouldn’t be here if we didn’t believe you were a strong choice for the position.”

He realized this was his chance to land that impression that would last.  “I’m at home on an Olympic class, Captain Dread.  My wife and I want to make the universe a better place.  There’s no better ship than the one that started it all.  My record speaks for itself.  I don’t have a ladder to climb or an admiral to impress.  It’s just me and Theodora.”

Dread listened to him and nodded as he spoke.  He was a simple man, she decided.  She motioned to Jordan Reid and Samuel Clemente to join them, “What do you think?”  She turned to watch Halsey.

Jordan read from her notes, “He’s thoughtful, patient, and straightforward.  You don’t want someone who talks the air out of the room.”

Samuel tapped his PADD, “He’s someone I would want to work for, Captain.”

Helena scanned the reports they had just sent her.  There wasn’t much question between the two about if they should bring him on.  Dread still had concerns about him and the center chair.  She’d pulled the reviews from his former crew, and it had been hard to ignore the common threads in their statements.  “I’m going to offer you the position conditionally.  You’ll have a probationary period of three months, upon which Captain Crawford and I will review your performance and make a final determination.”  Halsey gave her a nod of acceptance.  She extended her hand to his, “Welcome aboard the Olympic, Captain Halsey.  Follow me, and I’ll show you your office.”

ITQM 003 – Old, New, and the Rest

USS Olympic
5.25.2401

“…and these are your quarters.  Your belongings were transported earlier, so you can feel free to unpack and decorate as you see fit.”  Ensign Alanna Barker led the new counselor, Ensign Sam Soojin, into the small room.  “You have a separate bedroom and a living area with a small kitchen available with the standard equipment.  What questions can I answer?”

Sam looked around and felt some semblance of her former home on the Mercy returning to her heart.  “This…is very nice, Ensign Barker.  Thank you.”  She nervously fidgeted with her hands as she glanced around her new quarters.

Barker stepped into the room and let the door close behind her before she asked, “Is…everything OK?”

Soojin placed her bag on the ground and leaned against the kitchen bar, “I’ve been moved around a lot since I graduated and became an ensign.  I…I’m just hoping this is somewhere I get to stay, you know?”  She wondered what Barker’s story was, and quietly hoped they could be friends.  She didn’t have any friends that she knew on the Olympic.

Alanna smiled sympathetically, “Sam…I know how you feel.  I landed here because they needed someone to manage the resulting organizational chaos.  Before that…I wasn’t sure where my home would be – or if I’d end up bouncing around the various fleets for the rest of my life.”  She encouraged the fellow ensign, “You are where you’re supposed to be.”  She handed her the PADD with the rest of her welcome information and left the young counselor in her room.

 

A few hours had passed.  She’d hung a few posters, some memories from the Academy, and the few items she treasured from her childhood.  It had started to resemble a home, cobbled together as it was.  She was startled by the chime to her quarters.  “Enter?”

The figure that stepped through the door shocked her, “Captain Halsey!”  She stared at him as he smiled widely and accepted her running hug as they embraced until she pulled back, “Sir…what are you doing….here?” He explained the events of the last few days, and she felt her smile fill her face.  “I’m glad to see you here, sir.  I was worried I wouldn’t have…well, friends.”

Halsey faux punched her in the shoulder, “You’d have made friends no matter what, Ensign.  I’m hosting a small dinner for the medical and counseling team.  Milty seems bound and determined to beat me at my own game in the kitchen.” Sam gave a nod. They caught up on what each other had been up to and confirmed the time for dinner.  When Halsey left, she felt relief pouring off her shoulders.  The Olympic felt a little smaller and a lot less lonely now.