Part of the unit-wide mission Task Force 86: Headquarters and Task Force 86: Headquarters

Meeting The Task Force Commander (Or, How To Possibly Stick Your Foot In Your Mouth On Your Very First Day)

Starbase 86, Central Spire, Captain Mek's Office
October 18, 2399, 1330 Hours
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After finishing her prune juice in the Lounge, Carrie then made her way, not without having to ask the walls a few times where the Hell this place was, to the Central Spire and to the Task Force Commander’s office. Orders in hand, she signaled the chime to his door.

The yellabek plant’s leaves swayed a gentle to and fro against the air recycling system’s faint breeze. Mek looked up. The glass frontage of his office looked out across the Task Force 86 operations centre, staff officers, intelligence and communication specialists, science teams and diplomatic liaisons hurried from desk to desk. They collated reports, coordinated ongoing missions in the surrounding sectors, funnelling pertinent information towards the eyes of those who made decisions. It wasn’t glamorous work, but Mek could see from the expressions of determination that those who occupied that circular mission control room knew they made up a small but crucial part of Starfleet’s brain. That alone woke them up every day with a sense of meaning. Well, that and the raktajino.

An unfamiliar figure caught his eye, moving across the office floor and towards the door. Unlike the others, the blonde haired human seemed a little unsure of her surroundings. He recalled Commodore Tharc‘s words from that morning.

“Staff transfers today,” she’d announced in typical matter-of-fact fashion from behind her own desk in starbase ops, “new counsellor. Coming from the Repulse, no less.”

“Glad she’s still sailing,” Mek looked up from the PADD, “what’s it got to do with me?”

“I’m stuck in a meeting with the facilities planning committee all afternoon,” Tharc grumbled, “I’m going to tell her to report to you.”

“I see.” Mek nodded, not entirely pleased. He had been planning to peruse the reports of strange radio signals coming from The Triangle.

“Appreciated, Captain,” reaching out, she handed him a small box, “and I’d also be most grateful if you could give her this.”

 

***

 

“Enter,” Mek called, nonchalantly. He rose from behind the desk as the young woman walked through the door, “you must be Ensign Metrios.” He held out a hand.

Carrie braced to attention. “Yes, sir,” she replied. “My orders, sir.” She handed him a PADD that had her pertinent orders on it as well as statements from her two previous commanders.

She didn’t have the heart to tell him that she’d gotten lost six times on the way here, and that she had poor kinesthesia. For what it was worth, the big Aurora-class starbase was a great deal larger than an Excelsior-class ship, her last posting, and was absolutely gigantic when compared to the Thunderchild, the Akira-class ship she’d first been posted to.

It’s a small wonder you don’t get lost going to the head, Caroline Renee, she thought to herself. If you’d bothered to look at a fucking map, this wouldn’t happen to you.

“At ease, Ensign,” Mek exhorted her, “and welcome to Starbase 86.” He quickly skimmed the PADD then placed it on the desk, “How was the journey here?”

It wasn’t the most enthusiastic attempt Mek had ever made to make conversation, but he felt the need to be at least civil to the new arrival.

“The journey here was rather uneventful, sir,” Carrie told him, relaxing a bit. “It helps when you have your own personal runabout so that you don’t have to deal with the headache of civilian transport or hopping a ride aboard a passing starship.”

Carrie, nervous as always about meeting a new CO, paused for a moment before explaining, “The runabout, a Danube-class, was a gift from my last CO aboard the USS Repulse. Her proper name is USS Oklahoma, registry number NCC-73107, named so after the section of the North Canadian River that runs through Oklahoma City on Earth.”

“Ah Earth… It’s been a long damn time.” Mek almost grew wistful, “I did enjoy Yosemite…” He snapped back, regaining eye contact, “The Danubes won’t let you down, Ensign Metrios, you can be sure of that. Spent plenty of time in them myself.”

He felt old talking to this fresh faced officer, but his eyes still creased into a smile. To Mek, it hadn’t been so long ago since it’d been him stood there back on Brreyt Station, a gleam in his eye and a song in his heart. He reached over to the desk, picked up the box and opened it carefully. Inside, nestled in a spongy lining, was a single hollow pip.

“Ensign Metrios, it’s my understanding that you are to be permanently re-assigned to Starbase 86 as Station Counselor. On behalf of Commodore Ciffao Tharc, Starbase Commanding Officer, and as ratified by Starfleet Command, you are hereby promoted to the rank of Lieutenant Junior Grade.”

Carrie immediately braced back to attention as Mek pinned the new pip to her collar, as is tradition.

“I’ll do my very best not to let you down, sir,” Carrie said, a broad smile on her face. “That said, I do have some concerns about the mental health of the ships of the Fleet, sir. Namely the Altai, a ship that I’m told has spent much time out near the Breen border retaking Outpost Sierra Zulu One. With your permission, sir, I would like to take the Oklahoma out to the Altai and perform a mental health wellness check on her commander and crew, as one of my first duties to the Task Force. I am concerned, however, that Commander Streth may not want a ‘pink-skin’ psychiatrist aboard his ship.”

Mek pondered Carrie’s request for a moment. He knew vaguely of the USS Altai and its assignment to the coreward edge of Federation space, “The Altai does face a challenging assignment. We’ve also received some alarming reports detailing what they’ve encountered in the caverns below the outpost.” He took the PADD from the desk again and brought up Streth’s log, “Yes, I believe psychological evaluations could well be in order. That being said, they’re five weeks travel from here, Metrios. Are you sure you’re up for the trip?”

“Aye, sir,” Carrie said, a serious look crossing her face. “I’ll go wherever I’m needed, and it sounds to me like the crew of the Altai may require my services. It may be a long trip, but if the crew needs help, I’m willing to do it, and all you need to is give the word, sir.”

“Very well. I’ll inform Commodore Tharc there may be some delay in your assumption of duties aboard base,” he handed her the PADD, “These logs will no doubt help with your evaluations. Should give you a good idea of what they’re dealing with out there.” Looking approvingly at the new Lieutenant, he was impressed by her initiative, “As for Commander Streth, if he’s still worried about being in the midst of “pink-skins”, then he’s going to need more than psychiatric help.”

“Aye, sir,” Carrie said. “I’ll be back in a couple of months, so keep a landing pad open for me.”

Carrie was excited at this first mission for a new commander, and the thought of doing some good for the Fleet as a whole was something she was looking forward to. “With your permission, sir, I’ll take the Oklahoma and head for the Breen border immediately.”

She turned and left his office, sprinting down the corridor with PADD in hand, off to Landing Pad 14, where she’d parked her ship, and a brand-new adventure where she wondered what would happen next.