“Tem-uh-rare. It’s pronounced Tem-uh-rare.”
Standing behind the desk in the compact ready room that had quickly been made available to her, Captain Tharia sh’Elas used both her ears and her antennae to ensure she got the pronunciation right of her ship’s new name.
“She’s named after the HMS Temeraire, which was a 98-gun ship of the line of Earth’s United Kingdom’s Royal Navy during the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars. She fought only one fleet action, the Battle of Trafalgar, but became so well known for that action and her subsequent depictions in art and literature that she has forever been remembered as The Fighting Temeraire,” the Tellarite sat opposite her revealed quite proudly, having done his research. “Pretty apt for a pocket battleship, wouldn’t you say?”
“You’ve certainly done your research Commander,” Tharia smiled, pulling out the faux leather chair behind the desk, standing behind it with both hands on the headrest.
“Well, it isn’t every day that one’s ship has its name changed,” Vasoch shrugged, crossing one knee over the other, hands holding the arms of the chair, “nor is it every day one’s captain is usurped and replaced.”
Sitting down, the Captain shuffled and squeaked until she got herself positioned comfortably. It wasn’t as comfortable as her chair on the Santa Fe, but that was fine. It was no doubt one of countless things she would have to grow accustomed to in the coming days now that she found herself in command of the Temeraire, much to the chagrin of the Tellarite (and many of his colleagues). The means of her arrival were contentious to say the least, Vasoch’s comment alone evidence of that fact, but she had to make peace if she was going to form a command worthy of the mission they were to undertake.
Tharia thought carefully about her choice of words. She had to appear authoritative, but not combative. “I had nothing to do with the decision to replace Captain Ruas,” she told the Tellarite, “you know as well as I do that command decisions are far beyond the paygrade of a mere Captain. I’d also remind you that I, too, had a decision go against me. It was not my decision to scrap the Santa Fe,” she frowned and her antennae bobbed as she sat back in her chair, echoing his stance. “Listen, if you don’t like the decision that Starfleet made, fine. Log your protest with them. You can even request a transfer from this ship if you so choose,” she advised him, a shrug of her own this time. “But I want you here. I need you here if we are to join these two crews successfully and complete the mandate given to us,” she added, her gaze steely and focused on the older man opposite her.
“My people are the only reason that I am still on this ship,” Vasoch retorted, running a hand through his beard as he spoke, “I am here to make sure that there is no favouritism, no stigma, no discrimination against them. Whatever the perceived failures of our captain were, we all played a part. I will make sure they are not punitively punished by you, or anyone else.” Feeling bold, the Tellarite rose from his chair and glared down at the Andorian. For centuries, Andorians and Tellarites alike were bitter enemies, their clashes on the historical record for all to see, but ever since the formation of the Federation, tensions had thawed considerably. Until today.
“Let’s get something straight, Captain,” he spoke in a deep, gravely voice, almost a growl to his tone, “I don’t like you. I don’t like the way you are swanning in here and taking over a command my captain worked her herself to the bone for, and I do NOT like the idea that your people are going to just sweep in here and take the jobs of my people,” the Tellarite concluded his speech, his gaze never once diverting from the eyes of his Andorian foe.
Tharia had listened, for the most part, very intently. Assuaging his concerns was part of her new role aboard the Temeraire, but she would be damned if she would let him speak to her in that way. Especially since he had not requested the customary permission to speak so freely in the presence of a superior. Slowly, with her trademark steely determination, she rose to her feet.
“I guess since we’re speaking so freely,” she paused with emphasis on the older man’s failure, “I want you here, Commander, but I won’t have a destabilizing force on my crew either. I will tolerate you and your concerns, but that tolerance will only go so far. You don’t have to like me, and I don’t expect you to, but frak me, you will respect the rank that I possess and the position I hold. Is that clear?”
Perhaps the realisation of the way he had spoken, and crossed the proverbial line, had dawned on the Tellarite as he stood up straight and clamped his hands to his side. “Sir, yes sir!” he barked.
Shaking her head slowly, she could see that they weren’t going to get anywhere right now, but she had tried. The rest, as they would say, was up to him. “I want a full report of personnel and repairs by the end of alpha shift. I will make my final decision on department heads by the end of the day. Dismissed,” she said in a very matter of fact tone. She then raised a hand to stop him in his tracks. “There will be a reception this evening where I expect to see all of the senior staff, from both crews. Make it happen,” she instructed him sternly.
Vasoch gave a simple nod of acknowledgement and clipped his heels together before making an about turn and vacating the ready room.
Lowering herself back into the chair once the door had closed and granted her solitude, the woman crashed her blue head to the table, her forehead bouncing twice before resting in its place. An almighty rumble of a sigh emanated from beneath her silver locks as the Andorian took stock of what had just occurred.