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Part of USS Denver: Mission 2: Valhalla

The New Chief of Security

USS Denver: Captain's Ready Room
February 26, 2374 10:00
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Captain Rebecca Sandoval stepped away from the replicator in her office just off the bridge.  The walls were still bare and the desk lacked any personalization.   A crate sat on the deck at the end of the desk containing Captain Fitzpatrick’s personal items waiting to be shipped away to his family.  Micha didn’t have a wife so it was likely going to his parents.  A macabre reminder of the dangers of this war.

Rebecca Filled her coffee cup from the newly replicated carafe before offering it to her first officer.   She hesitated before finally sliding into his… My Chair, she corrected herself.  “Lieutenant Stephens accepted promotion aboard the Centaur. I wanted to sabotage the transfer,  but I couldn’t do that the Adam or Charlie for that matter.  We’ll need to get his shifts covered.  I think Ensign Vorath could take over as our Chief Helmsman.”

Cheon had his attention focused on the replacement names on the crew roster that Starfleet had sent them. Absentmindedly he responded to Rebecca as his hand flicked the screen on the PADD to examine the incoming Chief Tactical Officer that he had personally requested.

 

-Space-

Elisabeth sat in the left seat of the USS Colorado, tapping consoles before she stood up and stretched. Just a few hours ago, she had been at her childhood home in Paris, preparing to leave on deployment to the front lines. Elisabeth still remembered the moment she had received the communique that she was being assigned to the USS Denver, a Nebula-class starship that had participated in the disastrous Battle of Tyra. She was to be the Chief Tactical Officer, a role which suited her well. Her mum had broken down in tears when she told her the news, and she had lovingly prepared her favorite meal before she left for the Paris shuttle yard. Because the sectors between Earth and Starbase 75 were firmly in Federation hands, her orders included instructions for her to take the USS Colorado, a Danube-class runabout to the Starbase, and that the runabout was being assigned to the Denver as part of her shuttle compliment.

The beeps coming from the computer woke Elisabeth from her nap. After stretching and yawning, she headed to the pilot’s cabin and tapped a few buttons. Approaching Starbase 75 was the message the computer displayed. She tapped a few more buttons, and a new message flashed on the screen: ETA 20 minutes, 33 seconds. Elisabeth cursed. She made the trip out of uniform, and she had about 20 minutes to get ready and make herself presentable. After slowing the Colorado down a bit to give her some more time, Elisabeth quickly hopped in the sonic shower and put on her uniform. As she was tying her hair into a ponytail, Starbase 75 came into view, and with it, a plethora of starships. Here, on the front lines, the true cost of the war was visible. Starships arrived under-tow, heavily damaged from skirmishes with Dominion forces, and still, others orbited the space platforms, waiting for resupply and reinforcements. Olympic-class hospital ships and other starships pressed into service for that purpose left the station, presumably to go to Federation homeworlds to offload the wounded. It was a lot to take in, and it took Elisabeth a moment to take it all in. She then started scanning for the Denver and set a course for the spacedock where the Denver was undergoing repairs. As the Colorado approached, she sent a message, requesting permission to come aboard.

-Ready Room-

The comm broke over the ready room, “Captain, a USS Colorado is requesting permission to dock.

Rebecca tapped her combadge.  “Understood Crewman.   Authorize the main shuttle bay and ask Lieutenant Chapman to come to the ready room.” The comm ended and Rebecca returned her focus back to her coffee. After a moment of silence, she set her coffee down.  “Well, Cheon looks like we got our replacement runabout and tactical officer at the same time.”

Having placed the PADD down after hearing that the USS Colorado was inbound he stood up and adjusted his shirt. “It is a good thing that this Lieutenant is cross-trained as a pilot,” he stated as he looked out the window as work bees and other crafts flew passed the windows. It was then that his eyes locked onto the Danube-class runabout as it made its way toward the main shuttlebay.

Elisabeth breathed a sigh of relief as the Colorado settled snugly onto the space assigned to it in the main shuttlebay. The ship was a messy construction zone, and she was happy that her trip was finally over. As she powered down the runabout, she opened the hatch, and was greeted by the officer of the deck.“Good morning, Lieutenant. Welcome onboard the USS Denver. Challenge password, and orders?”Elisabeth was taken aback. She wasn’t expecting a challenge password, though her orders (marked sensitive) did contain the challenge password to ensure operational security.“Epsilon-Mike-Two-Nine-Five-Delta-Six. Lieutenant Elisabeth Chapman, reporting for duty as ordered by Starfleet Command.”She handed her PAAD to the officer.“Thank you, Lieutenant. Don’t worry about your bags, we will see that they go to your quarters. The Captain has asked you to see her in her ready room on the bridge, and then you will be shown your quarters. Welcome aboard.”“Thanks, Ensign. I appreciate it.”Elisabeth disembarked the runabout and started walking toward the corridor and the turbolift. She made it to a turbolift nearby and took a breath. “Bridge, Deck 1.” The familiar whoosh started up as the turbolift started to move, and that gave a small comfort to Elisabeth. She knew that it would be a while before she saw home again, but prayed that she wouldn’t ever be on the casualty list sent by Starfleet Command to the Federation President. While she was willing to give her life to the cause, she didn’t want her mum finding out just like that. The doors opened, and Elisabeth was pulled out of her reverie. She asked a crewman where the ready room was, and he pointed toward a set of closed doors. She walked with purpose, then chimed the doors. Once they opened, she saw the Captain and First Officer. Elisabeth stood at attention in the ready room.“Good morning, Captain. Lieutenant Elisabeth Chapman, Chief Tactical Officer, reporting for duty.”

Rebecca stood up and extended her right hand,  “Welcome aboard. I’m Captain Talon and this is Commander Kyo ”

Cheon turned his back toward the bay window and looked at the woman that he has selected to replace him.

“Captain if I might,” he said as he started to step away from the window and toward their new Chief Tactical Officer.

Elisabeth shook Captain Talon’s hand. “Thank you, ma’am. The Denver looks to be a fine ship, even if she is in drydock. Commander, it is very nice to meet you.” She extended her hand towards the Commander, but he didn’t seem interested in formalities. She wasn’t sure what was next, but she hoped she was up to the task. She knew that they had dangerous missions ahead, and she was ready to do her part.

“Have a seat Lieutenant,” Rebecca stated formally.  “Would you like anything?  Coffee? Tea?”

Elisabeth smiled as she considered her Captain’s offer. “I don’t really like coffee, but if you have a glass of orange juice, I’ll take that. I gave up coffee a while ago, after an incident on the USS Allegheny.” She laughed at the memory as she walked up to the replicator, composing herself before she ordered her orange juice from the replicator. “I’m glad that we still have some creature comforts aboard” as she sat down at the table, placing her glass on the table to one side of her.

Rebecca laughed and gave Cheon a knowing smiled, “A month ago we were al crammed on the drive section eating rations.”

Cheon placed a PADD on the table in front of Elisabeth. “Your new position comes with a duty of making sure that the roster is up-to-date. Also, I want you to figure out who is going to be on the next duty shifts, both night and day.” He then took a seat next to Rebecca after replicating a mug of steaming hot Earl Grey.

Elisabeth picked up the PADD and began reading through, muttering to herself. She set down the PADD and nodded with understanding. “Aye, sir. Is there a specific deadline or time-frame you would like updates on the roster and work schedules? If not, I can submit my updates every week as needed, unless there’s an emergency; then I can update as needed.” She continued looking over the PADD, then placed it down, and looked at Rebecca and Cheon.

Rebecca gave Cheon an amused expression over his choice of beverage as she lifted the black coffee to her lips and sipped.  “Ms. Chapman,” she started as she read over the service record.  “An impressive resume.  Lieutenant in four years.  Under normal circumstances, I wouldn’t even consider someone of your experience level for this position,  but in the current climate we are all gaining experience beyond our years, and qualified officers are quite frankly hard to find.”  Rebecca wanted the gauge the other woman’s reaction to being questioned about her abilities.

Elisabeth took a breath, thinking through what she was going to say before she responded. She didn’t appreciate having her talents and abilities questioned, but at the same time, she could tell that the Captain had a lot happen to her. She thought she heard a special hint of extra sadness in her voice as she said “…we are all gaining experience beyond our years…” but decided not to press her luck or ask about what happened. She finally had a response to the Captain’s commentary. “Thank you for the compliment, ma’am. I know Starfleet is stretched thin since the war started. We’re all learning on the fly, ma’am. But rest assured, I am uniquely qualified to be in Security and Tactical.” She smiled, taking another sip of her juice.

Cheon brought the mug to his lips and caught the glance from Rebecca and grinned as he shrugged.

“Well Ms. Chapman welcome to the Denver.  As far as crew reports: weekly will be fine.   In the meantime, we are finishing up repairs and hopefully we will be underway in a day or two.  See to it that your department is ship shape and ready for battle.  You can either give that battle readiness report directly to me or the XO.  We are taking on the new quantum torpedoes as well. See to it you are familiar with that weapons system.”

“Yes ma’am. I recently completed training on the Kingston for the new quantum torpedoes. They were experimental when I was in the academy, but I know they recently were approved for deployment across the fleet. I will be heading up to the torpedo room to test the new launchers with dummy torpedo probes while we test our systems as we depart the station. That being said, the reports should be submitted sometime tomorrow.” Elisabeth finished her glass of orange juice, and then sets it down. “I’m always at your disposal Captain. My department will be ship-shape and Bristol Fashion come time for departure, ma’am.” 

Rebecca stood, “Very good Lieutenant.  Again, welcome to the Denver.  You are dismissed.”

Elisabeth nods, and stands at attention. She extended her hand and shook the Captain’s hand. She was happy to be aboard a new(ish) Nebula-class Starship, and even happier to serve under a pleasant Captain. “Thank you, ma’am. I’ll attend to my duties and my department. Once again, it was a pleasure to meet you, ma’am.” She smiles, then turns and leaves the room.