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Part of USS Edinburgh: Mission 1 – What Burns in the Darkness and Bravo Fleet: Sundered Wings

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USS Edinburgh
May 17, 2400
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USS Edinburgh – Ready Room – 1030

“We have her in a medically induced coma in the intensive care bed.  Her injuries are numerous and extensive.  Her arms were broken at least twice.  There are multiple hairline fractures on both legs, not to mention her shoulders being dislocated multiple times.”  Reid shook her head, “We’re still evaluating her skull, brain, and the number of concussions she suffered at the hands of Rexin.”  She turned to the new member of the crew, Lieutenant Commander Blanchefleur Courtemanche.  “Dr. Court, your experience and knowledge will be extraordinarily helpful with Ensign Kranz’s recovery and ongoing diagnosis.”

Harris watched the two women carefully.  He hadn’t had a chance to welcome the new Chief Counselor officer aboard.  They’d started this briefing with her walking in the door.  The older officer gave Jordan a thoughtful nod, “It will be paramount that I or one of our counselors work with her as you treat her.  The level of the trauma she has experienced…what she’s seen, heard, and felt – will grow and multiply within her if we don’t start our work as soon as possible.  If she is to remain a member of this crew…we’ll have to work hard at ensuring her treatment plan is complete.”

Harris spoke up, “I think that we make that official.  You will both work together to ensure our ensign is able to eventually return to duty physically, mentally, and emotionally stable.”  Both women gave slight nods and he moved on, “We’re working on getting the shields repaired and our power issues that surfaced during the attack understood.  We’ll be in this sector for a few days.”  He looked to both of them, “Questions?”  There were none.  “You are dismissed.  Doctor Court, if you can hang back for a moment.”

Reid stood and left the room quickly and Blanche turned to her new CO,  “Me being the first officer isn’t going over well with her, is it?”

Harris sighed and leaned forward at the desk, “I’m sorry we didn’t have a proper introduction when you came aboard.  I would have liked to have given you the head up on a few things.  One, Lieutenant Jordan Reid was my first officer since about March.  Your arrival and your rank determined the change was needed.  Two, she took great pride in being assigned that role…and even though she held the title for but a few months…the lieutenant doesn’t have a shortage of passion and feelings.”

The new first officer scoffed, “So…what, I’ve bruised her ego?”

“Dr. Court – we’re a young crew.”  He glanced up from his notes to look her in the eyes, “You won’t find many long-serving chiefs in our command crew and our assigned officers and crewmen are all recent graduates from the academy.”  He didn’t look away from her as he continued, “I hope that you will remember your early days in Starfleet…and what that felt like.  I’ve only held the center chair for three months…but in my previous positions I’ve seen where the path of an unhealthy crew culture goes…and I’ve seen where one officer remains stuck in their ways…and the unintentional harm it can cause.”

She met his gaze and held it as he spoke.  “You’re telling me I’m a guest in your house.”

The CO shook his head, “No.  I’m offering you the chance to be adopted into this crew and run with us as long as you want.  Adoption means full access and full acceptance.  That goes both ways.  You’re here to help our crew grapple with the loss of two ensigns some of them knew pretty damned well. They’re going to be looking to you for help, bruised egos and all.”

“I think I know how to do my job, Commander.”  She went to stand.

Harris cleared his throat, “You are not dismissed.”  He stared at her and she leaned back into the couch.  “You know how to do your job, Dr. Court.  What you don’t know is our crew…and what we’ve been through.”  Waving off her offering the PADD with the mission reports detailed, “Those reports are just the start.  My main helmsman isn’t able to return to full-time work because he discovered the body of Crewman Ismael floating in space.  Do you remember the first body you ever dealt with?”

Blanche felt her temper fire but tempered it as she listened.  As much as she didn’t want to admit it, the commander was starting to make some sense.  “I do.  It was our second officer.  He’d gotten stuck in engineering trying to prevent a coolant leak.”  She bit her lip as the once-dormant senses of that day flashed.  “I was just a junior counselor then…helping with the search and rescue teams.”  She glanced up, “Commander…I’m sorry.  Stepping back aboard a starship…I haven’t done this command crew thing in five years.”  A chuckle, “Being retired meant I could say what I wanted when I wanted and to who I wanted.”

Ambrose accepted her apology, “You shouldn’t feel like you can’t say what you need to me.  First Officer is my sounding board…the one who talks me down from storming the castle or making a bad call.  I need you to feel free to say what you need.  The puzzle piece to all of that…is that you need to know the audience you’re stepping in front of today.”

A moment of silence passed between them and she replied, “I can do that.  Any advice with Doctor Reid?”

“Be yourself with her – seek her guidance with this ship and crew.  She doesn’t put up with pretense.  Good luck, Dr. Court.  And welcome aboard the Edinburgh.”

She stood and stopped as the door to the bridge opened, “You should give her a nickname, Commander.  Edinburgh is a mouthful.  Maybe The Eddie.”  The door closed behind her as she left.

Harris let out the breath he’d been holding and leaned back in his chair.  The console beeped, =^=Bridge to Commander Harris…I have a priority one message from…a USS Polson?”

The CO tapped the console.  He wasn’t familiar with the ship or its captain, “I’ll take it here.”  The screen on his desk displayed the logo of the Olympic class USS Polson and then the image of her captain filled the screen.  He frowned, “Mom?”

Rachel Harris grinned widely from her own ready room.  “Ambrose!  I’m sending you updated orders from Starfleet.  We’re passing through with our task force and they’ve given us a bunch of equipment and templates for your modular pods – mostly medical and weapons based.  We should be in your area by 2000 hours.”

Ambrose wasn’t sure how to respond.  His mother had made captain somewhere in the last six months and hadn’t told him.  She was a part of the Diplomatic Corps which gave him questions he was most certainly not going to ask his mother.  He found his response, “Appreciate the heads up, mother.  You have a habit of crashing the party.”  She rolled her eyes and closed the channel.  Harris thought about everything he’d need to get ready for a visiting captain and then his mind found the one thing that he hadn’t put a name to.  Well, that they hadn’t put a name to.  He muttered, “Shit,” as he tapped out a message to Jordan to meet him in his quarters for lunch later.

It rained, and it poured on the Edinburgh, he decided.