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Part of USS Cygnus: A Failure to Communicate

Positional Promotion

Captain's Ready Room
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Captain Bane sat back down in the chair behind his desk in his Ready Room, fresh from being violated in every imaginable way by Dr. Elodin, and set about his next order of business. With the departures of Captain Stafford, Captain Pope and Lieutenant Cohen, Bane was left without a Chief Engineer, someone he could call upon to push their ship to the limits, or, if necessary, hold someone accountable in the event that was necessary

Before Captain Stafford left on the USS Calgary, he had told Bane that the ship had recently been assigned an Assistant Chief Engineer, a Lieutenant junior grade Erica Anderson. He had not read her file yet, and likely wouldn’t, if truth be told. Sometimes people excelled in positions that, on paper, they were never meant for. Not that Lieutenant Anderson wasn’t meant for the position, he mused. With precious little time available to him, Bane tapped his comm. badge and ordered Lieutenant Anderson to his Ready Room.

As Erica received the summons, she wondered why she was needed by the new Captain. She mentally filed the upcoming meeting under the ‘unexpected delay’ routine for her daily agenda. She lived by her daily agenda, following everything by a strict guideline. Routine was good; it meant her life was settled. She even had an amount of time for unexpected delays, including if the ship were forced to be in battle, and so far, everything had gone as planned.

She walked through the corridors, considering her plans for the future. Already, Captain Stafford had left, with a Captain Bane Plase taking the role. She had read his file; he was a competent officer, and as a Captain, he was a decent officer. Would he have read her file?

It didn’t take long to reach the ready room, and as she did, she rang the chime, waiting to be given entry.

Bane looked up at the door.  Lieutenant Lisald had literally just left, not more than 15 seconds ago. It could be him, or it could be Lieutenant Anderson, as he had called her from the bowels of the ship right before calling Lisald to his office. He commanded the door open, and was greeted with Anderson. “Ah, Lieutenant Anderson,” he said standing up and smiling warmly. “Please, do come in and have a seat. I tell you, it is a pleasure to meet you.”

Erica nodded in return. “Thank you for saying so, Captain,” Erica said, as she sat down. “It is… good to meet you too,” she added, trying to think of the best wording to use. “I must confess, I am unsure why you would be pleased to meet me, sir. I’m just an engineer,” she said, wanting to try and understand the point of the meeting.

Plase exhaled through his nose. “Lieutenant, someday soon, you will want to read my service dossier. You will find that I was a Structural Engineer back in my day. I know how hard each of you work down there, how hot and dirty and funky it can be, especially during crisis modes. You aren’t “just an engineer,” Lieutenant. You are the lifeblood of this ship. As I am sure you are aware, Lieutenant Cohen was suddenly reassigned a bit ago, leaving us without a Chief Engineer. You up to the task?”

Erica raised an eyebrow. “As Chief Engineer? Certainly I am able to fulfil the duties of the role, if that is your wish. I should tell you that the only experience in a more senior role, sir, was aboard this ship for the short time I have been aboard. I have also familiarized myself with your service record sir. You came here from the USS Sentinel, where, for one year, your ship had been on a classified assignment. Before that, the USS Bloembergen and before that the USS Pegasus D which was your first position as a Commanding Officer, although that was also your first posting as a Starfleet officer,” Erica recited, recalling the man’s record.

The Captain sat back in his chair, impressed at the rote memorization of this particular officer. “That is correct,” Bane said, remembering each ship. “Good job on doing your homework, especially being I’ve only been aboard for a single day. I am sorry to say that you have me at a disadvantage; I have not the opportunity to study all of the dossiers of the officers on this ship just yet. All I have to go on is that Captain Stafford said you had just come aboard as Assistant Chief Engineer, and that you, unusually, brought a runabout to the ship after the ship left Deep Space 9.” Bane inhaled deeply, and let it out again. “I know there are a lot of officers on this ship that are in positions well above their rank and their experience. I will need you to do that as well, Lieutenant, if you think you can handle it.”

Erica nodded. “Sir, I’ve been studying Engineering since childhood. For me, being an engineer is all I want to do. I live my life by a strict schedule, because it makes life easier. This was… certainly unexpected, but I can adapt and take the role of Chief Engineer,” Erica confirmed. “I already have a few upgrade suggestions to improve the engine efficiency and the effectiveness of shields and sensors,” she added.

Bane smiled, feeling he accomplished a small mission. “Excellent on both accounts, Lieutenant. Please get with Lieutenant Lisald about your proposed suggestions; I am all about improving things wherever we can. Never know when we are going to need that extra power.” He paused, then spoke to the computer. “Computer, please enter into the logs on this stardate that Lieutenant junior grade Erica Anderson is hereby appointed to the position of Chief Engineer of the USS Sent….correction, USS Cygnus,” he said, almost falling into an old habit, “With all the privilege’s thereto.”

“Confirmed. Lieutenant junior grade Erica Anderson is noted as Chief Engineer, USS Cygnus,” it said in its female voice that was somehow devoid of all compassion.

Plase looked to his new Chief Engineer. “Good luck, Lieutenant, and congratulations.”

“Thank you, Captain,” Erica said, smiling at her, already drawing up her new agenda, knowing she had to change her system to accommodate everything, including her new position and making the duty rosters. “Is there anything else you need, sir?”

“At present, no. You will be expected to turn in daily reports of your department. You will get a mulligan for it today, but please have one ready to turn in by the end of the duty day tomorrow. Is there anything you need from me? Any questions, comments, concerns?”

“I’m sorry, what is a mulligan?” Erica asked, confused.

The Captain smiled. “I remember asking the same thing first time I heard it when I was at the Academy. It comes from an ancient Earth game called Golf. It is a maneuver where you can, in effect, forget about a stroke.” He saw the confused look on her face again. “Er, by stroke, I mean a shot or try. The goal of the game, paradoxically, is to play as little of the game as possible. The winner has the lowest score, as odd as that sounds. I tried it many times. It is a fun game, but extremely challenging. In this context, it means I will overlook you not turning in a departmental report for today.”

There was a silence between them for several moments. To Bane, it almost seemed as if she had up and left the room and left her body there. It was only for a moment, then she was back. Bane dismissed it as merely a trick of the light, or possibly from the strain he was filling trying to fill all the critical positions on the ship, and with officers that may not yet be ready for that level of responsibility. Whichever way it was, he continued. “That is all I need, Lieutenant. Congratulations. Your first ship as Chief Engineer will always be a special one to you. Dismissed.” He watched her and she stood, did a curt nod, then left through the door in which she entered.


Lieutenant junior grade Erica Anderson

Chief Engineer


Bane Plase, Captain

USS Cygnus, Commanding