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Part of USS Edinburgh: Mission 2 – Wings of a Phoenix and Bravo Fleet: Sundered Wings

Shuffling the Cards

USS Edinburgh / Starbase Bravo
June 21, 2400
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Starbase Bravo – Repair Dock – 0700

“Good morning, Commander.”  The dock master accepted his PADD and scanned it into the secure system. It beeped and he gestured him on through.  They had arrived late last night after limping their way home with Chief Katsumi working her hardest to keep the ship functional without tearing the buckled decks or the damaged parts of the hull apart.  She’d refused to leave last night and slept in engineering to make sure none of the Starbase Bravo crew would do anything to her Edinburgh.  She’d formed a fast bond with the ship, and it brought Harris a measure of joy to see her smile grow when she talked about the ship.  He walked along the corridor and caught glimpses of other ships in station for repair or even resupply.  He slowed to take in the various other classes.  A massive Galaxy class was departing the station while an Excelsior II class had just slipped into its moorings.  The latter class was a thing of beauty, he thought.  She was a direct descendent of the class of ship that had names like Sulu attached to them in the past.  He pulled away from the portholes and headed down to the Edinburgh.

USS Edinburgh- Bridge – 0715

Stepping onto the bridge he found it in chaos and repair – the carpet was being ripped apart as consoles, stations, and the ceiling was swarming with engineers from both the ship and the station.  He gave a nod to those he recognized and entered his ready room to find his first officer standing before his desk in civilian clothes, nervously holding a PADD.  She turned and gave him a nod, “Commander.”

He gestured to the couch below the window with a hesitant smile, “Dr. Court…I didn’t think you’d beat me to my ready room.”

She looked at him for a long time before handing over the PADD, “I wanted to do this as quickly as possible, Commander Harris…I’ve come to realize there’s a reason why I retired.”  Blanchefleur Courtemanche stood and snagged an iced lemonade from the replicator before returning to her seat, “I’ve seen more action on this posting than anywhere else.”  As he attempted to speak, she put up her hands, “I hit that deck pretty hard when we went toe to toe with that Commodore…I wasn’t prepared for what was in store for me.”  She pulled her communications badge and the rank pip container out of her pocket and handed them to him, “You won’t talk me out of this, Commander.  Better men than you have tried…and failed.”

He accepted them and stared at her for a moment, “It’s my first resignation.  A little hard to figure out where to go from here, you know?”

She smiled warmly, “Commander – we all find where we’re supposed to be in life.  I thought coming back was the way I could help…but I’ve found out my heart just isn’t in it… there are younger and battle-ready officers out there.”  She finished off her lemonade, “You’ve got a great crew on the Eddie, Commander.”  She stood and he pushed off the couch as she extended her hand, “It’s been a pleasure serving with you, Commander Harris.  I wish only the best for you and your crew.”  

He returned the handshake with, “You were exactly what I needed as a first officer, Dr, Court.  Thank you for your service.”  She gave a nod and left the room, the door closing out the sounds of chaos on the bridge, leaving Harris to fiddle with the badge and pips in his hands.

Starbase Bravo – Quarters – 0800

“That’s all she said?”  Jordan Reid sat at the table working her way through a sausage omelet as her boyfriend and CO worked at the desk with his PADD.

“You didn’t like her, I get it.”  He tapped through a list of applications for Chief Counselor.

Reid shrugged, “That’s fair.  It’s hard to work with someone who’s been at it for so long…makes it hard to learn together as you go.”

Ambrose highlighted five names and tapped at the PADD, “Take a look at these.”

She picked up her PADD and scrolled through, “Number 1’s too academic and book smart.” She read further, “#2 and #3 would not do well on a starship.”  Another glance, “#4 looks solid – no-nonsense, seen some action in her practicum hours on a starship while earning a combat support badge.  #5 looks like everybody else you don’t want on your command team.”  Harris made a note to call in the 4th candidate in a few hours’ time.  Reid returned her dishes to the replicator, “You figure out what you’re going to do for your first officer?”

Harris collected his PADD into a case, “I’m thinking of offering it to Chief Katsumi.”

Reid considered the idea, “She’d need a rank bump.  First officers are usually Lieutenant Commanders or above.  Yea, I was the brief exception to the rule.  I think it’s the best you got – finding a command officer outside of your crew can make for trouble.”  Ambrose thanked her with a kiss on the lips and dashed out the door.  Jordan smiled quietly.

USS Edinburgh- Engineering- 0830

The room was still chaotic and officers moved quickly and with purpose.  In the midst of all this stood thirty-five-year-old Okada Katsumi, Chief Engineer, and second officer.  She tapped calmly at her PADD as officers passed near her for instructions and updates.  She noticed her CO a moment later wandering around, looking at consoles.  “Commander!  Over here, sir.”  She called him over and he slipped to her side.  “What can I do for you, sir?”

Harris chuckled, “Well, I’d hoped to do this another way but…everyone!  I need your attention!”  His voice got loud and booming, sending the others skittering into silence.  He smiled, “Chief Engineer’s gotta have a big voice…I still got it.”  The current Chief smiled in appreciation while he continued, “Lieutenant Okada Katsumi, Chief Engineering Officer as well as Second Officer, it is my distinct pleasure and honor to promote you to Lieutenant Commander.”  He held up the rank pips as the gathered crew applauded wildly until the CO motioned them to stop, “Now, you all may know Chief Katsumi has repeatedly turned down this promotion in the past.”  She gave a sheepish nod as he spoke further, “It also comes with a promotion in officer status.  Lieutenant Commander Okada Katsumi, it is my distinct pleasure and honor to confirm upon you the role, duties, and responsibilities of the First Officer of the USS Edinburgh.”  The clapping and cheering were louder this time as Katsumi blushed in complete embarrassment at the spectacle in her engine room.  Her crew eventually quieted down to watch the CO add the pin to her uniform and shake her hand, “Congratulations Chief.”

Her smile was wide as she played with the new rank pip on her uniform and she spoke at last, “Thank you, commander.  It is a sacred duty and honor.”  She shook his hand and leaned in, “Now could you please get out of the way…please?”  He laughed out loud and gave her a nod as he waved goodbye to the gathered crew.

Now all he needed was a chief counselor.