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Part of USS Daedalus: Those Moments Inbetween

Home is Where

USS Daedalus
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“Captain Halsey, I must object!” Jordan Reid had nearly shouted as she jumped from her chair, a ring of red tinge to her cheeks.  His suggestion had less of an optional feel to it and more of a requirement ring.  She stared at him, unable to form further sentences.

Leopold Halsey didn’t stand.  He leaned back in his chair, pushing a low whistle between his lips.  “That wasn’t the reaction I was anticipating, Lieutenant Reid.”  He held up the PADD he had been reading from, “You also didn’t let me finish.  So two strikes in the ‘not how we usually conduct business between us’ column.  Please, sit down.”

She felt her face burn hotter with his firm admonishment.  Her reaction had come from somewhere deep inside, and it had shocked her as the echo of our outburst faded from her lips.  She slowly sat down, feeling the ground shifting below her.  “I…apologize, sir.”

He leaned forward in his chair, “Apology accepted.  Jordan…what the hell was that?”  They had made progress in dropping the formality of their ranks, and he disliked having to rebuke using it, but his quick response had come instinctually.

Reid gripped the chair, “I…don’t know.”  Her heart was racing as the sound of the blood flow rushed through her ears.  She breathed in through her nose and out through her mouth.  Five times.  Eventually, she could find the words again, and she met the eyes of her department head, “I…the last time I was a Chief Medical Officer was on the Mackenzie, and it was with Ambrose.  I stepped down.  When I came back, I made it clear I was content to remain deputy chief.”  She kept her gaze on him, “You assured me I would…”

He shook his head, “My words were – as long as I can manage to be the XO and the Chief Medical Officer.  With all the work we’re doing out here, I need to be able to focus full-time on being the executive officer.  I never assured you you’d be able to stay deputy chief forever.”  He slid the PADD across the desk to her, “You’ve done the job before. You’ve passed every certification I’ve thrown at you.  The crew enjoys working with you and for you, Jordan.”  He didn’t mention that a good portion of the orderlies, nurses, doctors, and assorted medical staff had vouched for her.  “The only thing getting in the way of this is you.”

Gritting her teeth, she grumbled.  He was right.  He was usually right.  “It’s hard, Leo.”  She took the PADD, reading through his report and recommendation for her assignment to the chief medical position.  “You say a lot of nice things in here.”

“All true.  I don’t know what’s next for us out there.  I know you’re talented, and I know you’re experienced.  They don’t let a captain like me stay on a small ship like the Daedalus forever.”  He saw the question in her eyes, “Yea, yea.  I know.  I said I didn’t want the chair.  Frontier Day hit us hard…and it hasn’t been easy across Fourth Fleet and beyond.  I’ve had a few calls about the need for good people out there.”

Reid asked, “You leaving us, Leo?”  She’d grown to like, respect, and learn from him.  To hear him talking like this was unusual.  Halsey was the optimist among the crew.

“It’s not up to me, Jordan.  We’ve still got lots of work out here, and there’s plenty of coordinating work with Mackenzie to be done. I’m not on a list or anything at the moment.”  He snagged his cup of lukewarm coffee, “I thought the Mercy was going to be my home…and had figured on the Daedalus too…but sometimes home is on a sliding scale – you don’t get to choose it sometimes.  You can never get too comfortable in space.  It’s always changing.  The new, the old, the past, the present – it’s always shifting.”

Jordan marveled, “You can be downright philosophical sometimes, Leo.” 

He indicated to her with his half-empty coffee cup, “So, you going to take it?”

“You don’t give up easily.”

“Didn’t make captain because I was subtle.”  He waited, staring at her with a sly grin, “As much as you don’t want it…I think it’s what you’ve always wanted.  I read your profile when you were on the Erigone and the Edinburgh.  You did incredible work in the worst circumstances.  You refused a commendation, I believe.”

Her face blushed.  She had.  It was still somewhere on Starbase 72, waiting for her to pick it up.  “I…I love my job, Leo.  I get to be a doctor and help those in need.  I get to make a difference out here…and like you said – sometimes in the worst circumstances.”  She sat back in her chair, her eyes shining from the emotions that had been dug up as they’d talked.  “Home was never anywhere…parents are still piloting out there somewhere on the ship I called home.”  She chewed on his words, “Maybe the position is my home.  Maybe being chief is where I belong.”

Halsey watched her stare at the PADD, in thought.  Her fingers rested over the accept button.  With a sigh, she tapped it and handed it back to him.  He clicked through his portion, “Congratulations, Lieutenant.  You are now the Chief Medical Officer of the USS Daedalus.”