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Part of USS Cygnus: A Failure to Communicate

Operations Matter

Deck 3 Conference Room
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Instead of sitting behind his desk on Deck 3, Lisald instead was leaning against the bulkhead with his left shoulder. He didn’t necessarliy believe in pomp and circumstance, and certainly didn’t believe in all of the formality and rigors of military institution; he was a Scientist by education, training and trade, of course. The only reason he was in the position he was in was because of the previous Commanding Officer of the Cygnus, Captain Stafford. He had saw something in Lisald that put him into the yellow uniform. What that was, Lisald wasn’t quite sure. Yet, here he was, welcoming aboard his very first Assistant Chief of any department he had ever been in.

“Tell me about yourself,” Lisald said lightly. He didn’t want this to feel like an interview or anything. He wanted it to be a conversation, light and informal.

What was there to tell? Andy was still gathering her wits about her.  In wisdom only known to Starfleet Admirals or faceless back-office bureaucrats, Andy had found herself and her belongings, thrown into a transporter beam on the Ascension and whisked across the quadrant to a new ship and a new crew.  She was only just beginning to get used to the old one.  

“I’m from Benecia, sir. I recently graduated from the Academy, so I’m still getting my spacelegs.” She was getting good at these introduction speeches.  

“Please, I am a scientist first, Starfleet officer second. Whenever we aren’t around someone higher ranking than me, you can call me by my given name, Vaat. Or, if it is more comfortable to you, Lisald. Congratulations on your graduating,” Lisald said. “Forgive me, apparently Starfleet didn’t give us any notification that you or Lieutenant Commander Larsen were coming. I bet you are incredibly excited about your first posting being in the Assistant Chief position instead of stuck on the Shuttlebay Control Room,” he said with a slight smile. “Fast tracking it to command, you are!”

Andy’s eyes brightened at that last bit “Command? That sounds exciting.” she said. In truth, the shuttlebay control booth was okay too. Nice and quiet, not much responsibility.  I mean, she was out here zipping around faster than the speed of light. Any job was all exciting when thought of in that context compared to sitting through another afternoon dust storm on Benecia.  This Assistant Chief position worried her slightly, that meant being in charge. Hopefully in the middle of the night; she could handle that. Probably.. The recent computer failure on the Ascension had placed her momentarily in the spotlight. Andy had performed okay, but she was acutely aware that her confidence and trust in her abilities to react to crisis had taken a knock.

“I’m looking forward to it.” Andy responded, not entirely convinced of herself. 

Lisald smiled. “Excellent! So am I,” he revealed. “As I mentioned, I am a scientist by education and training. Before I was Chief of Operations, I was Chief Science Officer on this ship, before the Captain saw it fit to transfer me over to Operations. That being said, I will likely rely on you a great deal, especially in your expertise in Engineering. I was working with the previous Chief Engineer to bring me up to speed, but there is still quite the sizable gap in my knowledge.”

Andy was no engineer herself. She knew the difference between a ram scoop and a warp core, but her expertise lay in how the systems interacted with each other, balancing the power flows, sub system connections, cargo storage priorities, etc.  “I’ll help where I can, sir.” she answered.

The Lieutenant smiled. “Please, call me Vaat when we aren’t with anyone higher ranking than me,” he reminded her. He was much more interested in creating a positive, collaborative, friendly relationship with Andy than he was upholding military dogma. “And sounds perfect. Uh, do you have any questions for me, anything you’d like to know about me, this department, or this ship?” He figured he would give her the opportunity to feel him out and gain some knowledge easier than he had gotten it when he came aboard years ago.

“What’s the Captain like? As a person?” Andy asked.  Would the person sitting in the center seat charge headlong unthinking into battle, try to outrun a galactic storm front, or spend a really long time on a bio-survey mission.

To be fair, Lisald really didn’t know much about the Captain, beyond the last week he had been aboard. “Not much, honestly. He has only been aboard for a about a week. I do know that he has been a Captain for 15 years, and has been a Commanding Officer for six years beyond that, so I imagine he thinks things through and has a knack for making the right decision more often than the wrong one. Space is a dangerous place, full of everything that wants to kill you and me. He has done pretty well so far. When we had our Staff Meeting the other day,” Lisald continued, “he made sure to get everyone’s input to make sure we were on the correct course of action, and to make sure that everyone knew everything there was to know about our mission. He seems to really value the thoughts, ideas, opinions and perspectives that each member of the crew bring to the ship.” It was then that Lisald realized he liked Captain Bane. “You knew Commander Larsen from the Ascension, correct? What is he like?”

Andy thought about Larsen. Her interactions with him one on one had been sparse.  In the turbolift that one time, bonding briefly over an alien stimulating beverage, and then again in the crucible of the cascade aftermath. Surrounded by fire, debris, and bodies, he seemed capable. Then again Andy wasn’t judging him back then. Amid the mess, the two shipmates had shared the hopeful grin, wide eyes, and clenched smile that said ‘I hope this works…’ without actually saying a word.  Hardly the ideal scenario for judging command or personal skills.

“He’s good in a crisis” Andy said, smiling wryly.

The Lieutenant thought there was a great deal more that she wasn’t saying, but figured the better part of valor would be to let that one go. For now. “That’s good,” he eventually said. “Goodness knows if ever we come to a crisis, we will need it.” He shoved off the wall and stood at his full height. “If you would, please have diagnostics run on all six of the transporter rooms and the cargo bay transporters as well. Once you have seen that started, please run a full systems test on all of the shuttles and the runabout. With the extra shuttle and runabout, we will need to determine if there is enough room to berth them, and if so, we want full run-ups done on them and have them officially assigned to this ship.” Lisald then smiled at her. “I have to get to the bridge to check in, but once I am done there, I will come find you and we will knock out whatever is left together. Talk to you soon,” he said, both of them exiting the room and going opposite ways.

Ensign Andy Robinson

Assistant Chief Operations Officer

USS Cygnus


Lieutenant (jg) Lisald Vaat

Chief Operations Officer, USS Cygnus