Part of USS Cygnus: A Failure to Communicate

Captain’s Log

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As Bane sat down behind his desk, fresh from giving Lieutenant Commander Larsen direction on getting the staff and ship moving, he tapped his computer. This would be the first time Bane had a chance to complete a log. He knew if he did not get to it soon, some bureaucrat at Starfleet Command would start sending him nasty-grams.

“Captain’s Log, Stardate 99648.2.”

“So far, this mission has been nothing if not interesting. In an unusual move, while en route to our next mission, Starfleet decided to change out several key people on the ship, including the Captain, Executive Officer and Counselor, three major positions. In an even more unusual move, all three officers came aboard from different ships rendezvousing with the Cygnus, or via shuttle, having to catch up to the Cygnus while en route.

“I have found the staffing on this ship with much to be left desired. The staff is certainly capable, but each of them, myself excluded, are extremely new to department-head level responsibility, or to command-level responsibility. The Executive Officer, Lieutenant Commander Larsen, is probably the most experienced of the crew of the ship, though he himself has never had command-level training beyond his duties as Department Head on the ill-fated USS Ascension. Time will tell if he is up to the challenges of command. It is my responsibility to make sure he is, so I will be especially hard on him until I feel he is ready. My ultimate goal with him is to get him ready for the center seat. Starfleet, as fluid as it is, could have him sitting in the Captain’s chair of the Cygnus or some other vessel before we know it.

“The next most senior officer in my estimation is the Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Elodin Devan. A Bajoran like myself and roughly 60% of the crew, he seems to me to be the most comfortable person in his or her role, owing to his several years in Starfleet, and the two years he has been assigned to this vessel. I am sure I will be leaning on him a great deal to keep abreast of the pulse of the crew, to use a medical term loosely. Although the Cygnus is a science vessel, Doctor Elodin is blessed to have the most officers assigned to his department, with the Cardassian-Bajoran Dr. Dattek-Winters, and a Cait’sune, Dr. Kin’Fuji. I am extremely comfortable to have a varied and well-mixed lineup in that department.

“Our Chief Tactical Officer, Lieutenant Gore, is an odd duck, for sure. Most of his background is in intelligence and in the spy network of Starfleet Command, and thus, his background is largely classified higher than my clearance allows. I’ve only talked to him one-on-one just once, but he seems stable, caring and has a solid disposition. It does make me wonder, however, if and when Starfleet will jerk him from under my command to assign him to another clandestine operation.

“Which leads me into another Security and Tactical Officer, Lieutenant junior grade Carsen. I’ve only seen him in passing, and have never talked to him. It seems Lieutenant Gore and Commander Larsen keep me insulated from the crew, which has its own advantages and perils. With Carsen being the Assistant Department Head, I will need to talk to Gore and Larsen to get a feel of him. Then again, I could just talk to him. I do not wish to usurp the authority and stature of Carsen’s two immediate superior officers though.

“The Chief Engineer, Lieutenant junior grade Anderson, while having been a member of this crew a bit longer than I have and some of the other officers I’ve mentioned already, should have never been put into a leadership position beyond Assistant Department Head. Per her own admission, she is more concerned and much more interested in research and development than she is starship engineering theory and practice. I have made her Acting Chief Engineer since this ship lost her Chief Engineer during the changeover of key positions I had mentioned, and we were lacking a Chief Engineer. She is a fine officer, but needs a great deal of seasoning and even more hand-holding. While I will be mentoring Lieutenant Commander Larsen, I will likely be assigning Commander Larsen to mentor Lieutenant Anderson. With any luck, we can shape her into an excellent Chief Engineer.

“Both the Chief Science Officer as well as the Chief Counselor are Ensigns. It is probably the starkest example of the lack of experience on this ship. Ensign Spangler, the acting Chief Science Officer, is, well, in a word, aloof. I have only seen him move with a sense of urgency and purpose only once. Most of the time, he meanders. I have been impressed however, that he gets his departmental reports in to Commander Larsen on time. His writing and management of the department are exemplary. I will be adding pressure to Commander Larsen to add pressure to him, to see if he can handle the strain. If he can, then he will come out shipshape. If not, well, the problem will resolve itself in due time. 

“As for Counselor Scott, she seems like an incredibly sweet woman, and seems like she cares deeply for the mental and emotional well-being of this crew. However, she is incredibly green, obviously so. I will be interested if she will keep up with the same zeal, gusto and sunny disposition in which I was greeted from her. She has some really good ideas about keeping morale up among the crew, which she tells me I am not invited to, and also some very unorthodox ideas and plans. If it turns out to be a disruption to the good order and discipline of the crew, I will of course stop it. It is my hopes that she will manage her events and ideas within the rules and regulations of shipboard activities in which she is expected to follow, and also keep crew morale, mental and emotional health to a high standard.

“The Assistant Chief of Operations is also extremely new, Ensign Robinson. I haven’t spoken to her directly yet either. She came over from the Ascension with Commander Larsen. He vouches for her and tells me she is a high-quality officer. I have not yet seen that of her, but then again, there also hasn’t been a lot of opportunity. I will be keeping my eye on her, and possibly giving her expanded responsibilities, should she prove herself enough to warrant them, and be able to handle them.

“My final official review of the crew of the Cygnus is a poor one, unfortunately. The Chief of Operations, Lieutenant junior grade Lisald Vaat, leaves much to be desired. I’ve watched him work, and his quality is left wanting. He is eager to please, too eager, and loves to drum up drama and click-bait. I am not impressed with Lieutenant Lisald, and even less impressed when considering he holds a doctorate degree. It seems to me that he should be one of the best officers on this ship, having managed the Science Department before I came aboard, and managing the Operations of the ship now. If I had an option, I would transfer him off the ship and get someone with a great deal more experience to manage the department. A ship of this size and complexity needs a Second Officer, a position generally reserved to the Chief of Operations, but it will be over my dead body that he gets involved in command. Looking over his Officer Performance Report, my predecessor, Captain Stafford, sung his praises and took Lieutenant Lisald under his wing, and was even administering Academy Command Extension Courses to him, with the help of the previous XO, Commander Pope. I’ve put a stop to that, as I do not believe he is ready.

“On a personal note, it truly boggles my mind that, with the exception of a few notable officers and crew, the crew assigned to this ship is very green or not ready for leadership positions. I have put in an official request for more officers with greater experience to Starfleet Command, but have yet to hear back on that. If I am granted this request, I already have a few officers in mind I would like to bring her from my old ship, the USS Sentinel who I think would be well-deserving of leadership roles, and would benefit from the experience in continuing on their careers and their marches to their respective goals.

“Moving on to the mission at hand, the Cygnus has been tasked with making First Contact with a new space-faring civilization called The Commonwealth, roughly on the back-side of Cardassian Space. Upon arrival to the designated star system, we surveyed the planets within the system and discovered that the third planet used to harbor intelligent life, as evidenced by the satellites in orbit, as well as the multitude of cities on the planet, extensive transportation networks and subterranean infrastructure for waste material extraction, water allocation and advanced tectonic management systems. I sent an away team to the surface, commanded by Lieutenant Commander Larsen, when we found out nobody was home, and it was reported back that it appeared all organic matter had been stripped from the planet, from the most complex humanoid life to the microscopic single-celled organisms. Upon further investigation, several pieces of evidence has led us to believe this planet was attacked by the Crystalline Entity. The crew has come up with a way to track it, and we are about to break orbit now to find it. We are working on several options at this time in the event we find it. It is our hope that we can stop it or sway it to steer clear of Cardassian space, Bajoran space and other life-sustaining worlds in this region.

“End log.”

 

Bane Plase, Captain

USS Cygnus, Commanding