Bane had been touring the ship on his own for close to an hour at this point, having already met with the Chief Medical Officer and meeting with Lieutenant Anderson, who was now the ships Chief Engineer. That promotion was a necessity rather than merit-based, which of the two, the latter is what he preferred. Bane now found himself deep in the ship and, by the clues he had picked up with his Sherlockian skills (the names of the rooms printed on the doors), he surmised he was in the Science Division of the ship. He couldn’t remember exactly what the name of the Chief Science Officer was, only that Captain Stafford had mentioned that he and the Science Egghead had not been able to form a close relationship.
Bane had been in command of one starship or another since he was a Lieutenant Commander. He had taken command of the Akira-class USS Pegasus-D when his late Captain, Captain Montgomery, had taken a leave of absence from Starfleet for more than a year, way back in 2379. In the 21 years since, he had served as Commanding Officer of four different vessels, including the Cygnus, and so far, in every single instance, he had formed a close relationship with his senior staff on each of those. Sure, over time, some of them had been promoted out from under him and moved on to greater responsibilities, and others had gone back home, but even then, when a new one rotated in, he managed to form a close personal bond with them. Maybe Captain Stafford and the Chief Science Officer had not had the opportunity to form that bond before Stafford had been reassigned.
In any case, Bane stepped into Science Lab 1, looking for the Chief Science Officer.
“Dimethyl sulfoxide.. where the hell is that coming from?” Spangler mumbled to himself, rubbing his neck slightly. He ran the analysis again, and watched as the representation of the atoms rearranged themselves again into the H3C-S-O-CH3 combination that was causing the experiment to fail again. Probably.
He closed the process; he’d spent enough time on the project and had other work to get to now that his lab tech had returned. Albert turned, “We need to get the mass spectrometer calibrated again; the damn thing-” He paused mid-sentence, the person standing inside the lab was certainly not his tech; for one thing the number of pips was all wrong. “Hello. Sir. Can.. I help you with something?”
Plase nodded his head. “Yes Ensign. I’m looking for the Chief Science Officer. I’m Captain Bane, the new Commanding Officer of the Cygnus. You are?” he asked, quickly following that up with another question. “What are you working on?”
“Well, I suppose there isn’t one, erm, Sir.” Albert’s eyes shifted around the room briefly, before returning to the Captain. “But uh.. I suppose I am the next best thing. Acting Chief.” He stared for a moment before smiling awkwardly, hoping the facial expression was a suitable exchange for something useful to say.
For the time being, Plase would ignore that the Ensign ignored the other two questions Bane had asked. “This is primarily a Science vessel, and we don’t even have a Chief Science Officer? What was Starfleet thinking,” he exasperated rhetorically. “How long have you been in this role, Ensign?”
“Well.. sir, I suppose it’s been a few months.” Albert shrugged, “Our last Chief started just before I did, he was a fill in too, until they made it official. That was Lieutenant Lisald.” Spangler nodded slowly, replaying the last few moments with an internal cringe. “I’m, uh.. Ensign Spangler, by the way.”
Bane closed the distance between the two and offered his hand in the traditional human way to shake Ensign Spanglers. “It is a pleasure to meet you, Ensign. Captain Bane Plase. Sorry about that; I am continually surprised at the lack of experience and rank aboard this ship. However,” he said in retrospect, “Things seem to work out very well for this ship and crew. It will just take some getting used to. How is the status and readiness of your department?”
Spangler accepted the hand, completing the gesture as he considered the Captain’s words. “Seems to, yes I suppose so.” Albert looked around the lab, considering how honest to respond. “Well, Sir. We have managed. Ever since I came aboard after the retrofit, we’ve been constantly chasing around issues. Some minor; we’re still finding lab equipment from the retrofit that wasn’t set up correctly.” Albert gave a slight tired shrug, “Or the more serious; we’ve struggled to maintain calibration in our sensor arrays, particularly long range. We’ve gotten by with constant adjustments and some modified probes Lisald and I put together.. but still. Every problem we resolve seems to uncover two more.”
The Captain nodded, looking around with Spangler as he spoke. “It really does seem Starfleet wasn’t thinking very clearly about sending this ship on missions. Perhaps Captain Stafford was fluffing his reports,” he asked rhetorically. Far be it from Bane to bash another Starfleet Captain, but things really seemed off to him ever since coming aboard. Things half done, not done at all, and worst of all, done incorrectly. “Have you gotten with Engineering to see if they can assist with the calibration issues, or is that something specific that needs to be done in house?” Bane also noted that Spangler gave Lisald some credit; Bane would have to remember that.
“There has been some overlap; but Engineering has been busy themselves.” Albert shrugged, “Really it’s our job to maintain them; it’s easier to keep track of discrepancies if we’re the ones correcting them.” He chose not to respond to the Captain’s first comments, or his own struggles rising to the position he found himself in.
Plase nodded. He admired the Ensign for wanting to take care of his own sensors and systems himself rather than rely on an outside department. That spoke volumes about his work ethic and pride of his position and his department. “Very well then, I will let you to it,” he said, referring to whatever it was Spangler had been working on. “I’ll have a Staff Meeting tomorrow around 0800. Please be there, Conference Room, Deck 1.”
A JP between:
Ensign Albert Spangler, Acting Chief Science Officer, USS Cygnus
Captain Bane Plase, Commanding, USS Cygnus