Q’orvha could hear the comm chatter of the away teams reporting into the various workstations around the bridge, her position near the centre of the room chosen by design to maximize the situational awareness of whoever sat at her current position.
When she had requested her shift as the watch commander to be moved to the nightshift, she had failed to account for this precise scenario: Back-to-back double duty in the Captain’s Chair…and to be fair, under typical Starfleet guidelines, it wouldn’t have happened normally. Typically, by standard procedure and regulation, the First Officer would have led them away teams, with the Captain remaining on board the vessel…but Derohl was rather fresh to the Captain’s game and had yet to be broken of the normalities of his previous position as First Officer.
Commander Akiyama hadn’t challenged or reminded him of it, neither had Commander Hyden…and if the only 3 officers ahead of Q’orvha in the ship’s chain of command weren’t going to deal with it, then neither was she…
After all, it would have been more than just a little awkward to chastise the Captain and his pair of Commanders, when she was…
…A, the one who had at launch had brought up ways for (hypothetically) hiding breaches of rules and regs from the Starfleet Brass…
…B, The Aquarius’s resident intelligence officer who had spent a good portion of her Starfleet career in off-the-books ops that were as dark as a black hole…
…and C, finally and most noticeable, currently not even wearing the red Starfleet uniform she’d been given at the start of this tour, still favouring her personalized Klingon battle dress and HoD’s command robe.
Her eyes darted across the bridge, from station to station, all now brightly lit up to Starfleet Operating standards of ambiance (much to her ocular discomfort) and fully manned as the current mission required. As the Acting Captain, while the others were away, there wasn’t that much for her to currently do, other than continue to monitor things…everything else was being relayed to the bridge workstations from sensors and the away teams, and then relayed out from the bridge to the various facilities throughout the Aquarius…it may have been the recent readjustments to a new sleep schedule, the boredom the plagued her Klingon heart, or maybe just the anxiousness that came with the third iced double-strength Raktijino she held half-finished in her left hand, but Q’orvha was feeling restless.
“Helm, current status.” She called out to the officer sitting in the pit console bunker in front of her.
Looking back at the Commander, “keeping with standard orbit everything is within normal parameters.” Sato replied
“Acceptable,” Q’orvha replied before turning to the nearest console to her left. “Operations. Anything to report?”
“Nothing except a slight deviation in the communications array. But nothing that the Engineers can’t fix. I’ve already dispatched them to fix it. Does that meet with your approval, Commander?” The Operations Officer, a young Benzite, said while rotating their chair around to look at the Acting Captain.
“My approval is not so easily gained, Lieutenant.” The Klingon commander replied, her voice cold and matter-of-fact. “This operation depends upon clear and constant lines of communication between the away teams and this ship. If such a deviation in a mission-critical system is to happen again, I wish to hear about it immediately…and not only after I ask. Understood?”
“Er, y-yes, ma’am!” The Benzite blushed a deep shade of blue and noticeably did a sudden and sharp intake of gas from the atmospheric adaptor that was attached to their chest, before turning back around to bury themselves into their console.
Independent initiative and not informing commanders until all options had been explored was a Benzite trait that Q’orvha was familiar with, as the Benzite Freighter Fleets operating in the Triangle were favoured prey for the materiel they transported. So ingrained was this method of operation, that she had been able to exploit it on numerous occasions. While it did allow Benzite captains to have all options presented to them, it often overall lowered their reaction times as a crew.
Since she’d sworn herself to Starfleet, Q’orvha had noticed it was also common with the handful of Benzite officers that transferred into Starfleet…it was best to beat such notions out of them early on in their careers…
…not physically, of course: this was Starfleet, not the Klingon Defense Force after all. Q’orvha reminded herself as she swiveled the Captain’s chair to face Starboard turbolift doors as they opened.
The transition from working delta shift back to alpha was often difficult. This, however, was the first time he’d been late for the start of the alpha shift. Dujan emerged from the turbolift, his uniform and hair a little disheveled. “Apologies for my tardiness, Commander.” He said as he moved towards the helm. “This transition from nights to days is proving a little rougher than I’d thought.”
“Make sure it does not happen again, Mr. Young,” Q’orvha replied as the helmsman sat down.
Having relieved Ensign Sato, Dujan logged in causing the console to automatically reconfigure itself based on his personal preferences. “Yes ma’am.” It didn’t take long for him to get up to speed on the current situation.
Sato walked over to the auxiliary control and sat down after the Chief took over, she kept an eye on things as they sat there waiting for word from the away team.
Sato remembered an appointment she had with the ship’s counselor, “Sir may I be excused? I have an appointment with the counselor in about fifteen minutes.” Ensign Sato said almost in embarrassment as she forgot that she had made the appointment the day prior.
“Then you best make haste, Ensign.” Commander Q’orvha replied, gesturing widely to the turbolift door.
“Understood sir,” she replied as she walked off the bridge onto the turbolift and headed off towards the counselor’s office. After a few moments, she arrived at the door, taking a deep breath she pressed the door chime and waited for a response.
The Klingon quietly sighed, reflecting on the range of multi-species blushing and variations of flustered or embarrassed faces she had witnessed between the start of her previous shift right up until that very moment, from the Junior Lieutenant in the Graveyard-shift with the unpronounceable name to the Benzite sitting at Ops or Miss Sato. Q’orvha hadn’t taken notice of it before, but there seemed to be quite a bevy of young officers and crew on the Aquarius…perhaps more than one would expect, even for a ship adapted to primarily focus on offering humanitarian aid and protection to the diaspora in the former Neutral Zone…the sort of “low intensity” assignment that Starfleet liked to funnel the recently graduated cadet masses into for their first tour of duty.
Not that the Aquarius had started her actual mission yet…hopefully, the younger members of the crew would prove adaptable to the current disruptive interjection in their plans.