Part of Endeavour: The Risan Beachhead

To Go Off The Beaten Track Or Not

Endeavour NX-06, docked at Risan repair yard in orbit of Risa
Tuesday 12th April 2157
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“Captain’s starlog April twelfth twenty-one-fifty-seven. For the last four days we’ve been repairing the Furanda while hosting its crew and passengers. Captain Jarandis has been particularly grateful for our efforts. As we arrive in orbit of Risa, she has offered to organise a short break for the whole crew. We’ve also been given the opportunity to dock at one of their repair yards to conduct maintenance on the damaged systems we sustained from the Orion attack. Though I am reluctant to accept her offer due to the war, Rear Admiral Paulsen has had other ideas.”

Standing in his ready room and looking out of his window down at the planet below, Captain Campbell wondered how much of a diplomatic catastrophe rejecting the Risan offer would be. The door to his office went off and without looking behind him, he replied. “Come in Number One.” 

Leonov stepped in, head already tilting at the way the captain stood without turning. “Captain.” She clasped her hands behind her back, waiting before the desk without presumption in the face of his obvious distraction.

Turning around after sighing quietly, Campbell offered his first officer a mug of tea. “It’s fresh and pretty warm.” 

“‘Pretty warm.’ A sterling report. Thank you.” She sounded wry rather than ungrateful as she took the mug, eyebrow quirking. “You didn’t ask me here for tea.”

Gesturing for her to sit in the armchair in the corner, Campbell took his own chair by his desk and spun it around. “I need your counsel.” 

“That is apparently a key part of my job,” she said, sitting down and watching him, gaze level.

“Rear Admiral Paulsen believes we should take the Risan’s offer of having us take a vacation at their pleasure resorts.” Campbell remarked, slightly adjusting himself he picked up a wooden statue that was sitting on his desk. “Captain Jarandis even gave me this gift, it’s called a horga’hn. She said it’s a symbol of good luck or something.” He waved it around as he spoke. “My point I’m trying to get across is, I don’t like the idea of us sitting still for so long and enjoying ourselves while there’s a war going on. Admiral Paulsen thinks not only will it cement further relations with the Risans but the crew, including me, need a holiday especially with what happened with the Orions. She thinks we all deserve to take a break from the war effort. Her exact words were: ‘You’re no good to the war effort if you’re still traumatised’.” He exhaled a heavy breath as he looked at Leonov in the eyes. “I want your honest thoughts and when I say honest, I mean honest.

There was a silence as Leonov sipped her tea, thinking. “Honestly?” Another pause, before she wrapped her hands around the mug. “I’ve spent enough time with pilots who thought that if their egos were big enough, they didn’t need petty things like mental health care or even breaks. And I think you know as well as I do that every single one of those officers burnt out. Some sooner than others, but the problem with burning out later is it’s usually more catastrophic and at a more critical time.” She shrugged. “You wanting to get back to war as soon as possible isn’t you being dutiful, sir, because you know perfectly well you’d advise a different crew to take a break after what we’ve been through. It’s vanity. You don’t want to be seen as weak – if only to yourself.”

Chuckling to himself, he appreciated her candour. “Are you certain you’ve not been talking to my husband?” He joked as he tugged on his ear before picking up his own mug of tea. “I suppose you’re right. A burnt out crew isn’t as effective as a well rested one. Plus none of us have truly had time to stop in the four months.”

She merely tilted her head at the mention of his husband, a dry acknowledgement of the joke with so little amusement it was unclear if this was her own sense of humour or a polite indulgence. “The ship will benefit from the repairs. It’s a fine opportunity for us to recharge as well. Important work is still being done in the meantime, and then both craft and crew return to active duty in top condition.”

“Captain Jarandis has offered for us to have eight days at their most luxurious resort. She’s suggested that we split the crew in half, so that one half has the first four days there and the other half has the final four.” Campbell shared. “Thoughts?”

“That sounds sensible. Enough time to wind down, with enough crew on-hand to help supervise the repairs.”

“Can I leave it with you to organise the roster and shifts to make it work?” Campbell wondered. 

“Of course,” said Leonov with her usual brusqueness, sounding almost insulted at the idea this was a question. Then her brow furrowed and she straightened. “I’ll liaise with the Risians on our downtime as well. I’m sure you’ll use this opportunity to build bridges with their leaders and people, Captain, and I would expect nothing less. But leave the management of the crew’s shore leave in my hands.” So you can rest, was the unspoken remainder of that argument, and her eyes fixed on him with cool certainty.

Appreciating the offer, Burton nodded with her suggestion and thanked Leonov for her time. “Just make sure you take a break too.” He ordered before bringing their chat to an end.